The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…

I had made a meme…A Little of What… .  This had been part of something the Lord had been telling me:  "You are the pearl, be the pearl. You are the treasure, be the treasure. You are the coin, be the coin."  One of the things I would have believed or interpreted from this statement in the past, because my view of God was off, is this:

"Darlene, shape up because you aren't behaving like you are one of My children."

Yet, this isn't what God was saying to me at all.  What He is saying is:

  • You are pure; because My Son made you pure.IMG_1590
  • You are priceless; because you are you created by Me.
  • I will keep running after you; because you are so very beloved by Me.

When you believe you are pure, priceless and beloved by a Father in heaven it changes you.  You can't help but be changed.  Your whole mind shifts from a place of fear to a place faith.  When we start to understand the fullness of what Christ did for us on the Cross: how fully forgiven we are, how beautiful and priceless we are, how greatly loved we are this in and of itself changes our perspective of ourselves and others.  This alone is huge.  Yet then God gives His gift the Holy Spirit, Himself to live within us.  The closest we can get to Him this side of Heaven and that is amazing love.

Whose you are
and
Who you are

It isn't about your or my behavior when He says, "Be the pearl".  It is all about seeing yourself as or believing you are the pearl, treasure and coin. This is called: "faith in what He did for you".  That is the Kingdom of Heaven….be the pearl.

Matthew 13:44-45, Luke 15:8-10

What Has Your Big Brother Done For You?

Maybe you don’t have a big brother in your family like me….yet I do have a Big Heavenly Brother, Jesus, and He has done a lot for all of us.

You may have been taught many times regarding the woman with the alabaster box, in Luke 7.  How she had poured out everything she had on Jesus; and while that is a beautiful teaching, as I read this story with fresh eyes the Lord woke something up in me that I want to share with you.  Let’s dig into this historical account about this nameless woman, called a sinner, whom had an interaction with Jesus which changed her life forever.
In the beginning of Luke 7, Jesus is invited to Simon’s house, a Pharisee.  Right before this invite He is talking about John the Baptist and says this: ““I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!”” ‭‭Luke ‭7:28‬ ‭(CJB)‬

What I find extremely interesting is this is exactly who Jesus ministers to…the least.  They are the people society deems less than through our human eyes.  Jesus did come to help the world see how His Father sees, among many other things He did. As Jesus traveled in those last three years of His life there is an emphasis in what He DOES which shows us just how important each individual is.  No one is higher or lower.  Everyone is on equal standing no matter wha they have done or not done and yet each of us is still uniquely made.  When we look at the historical life story of Jesus, within scripture, He healed the blind, lepers, woman and children.  Yet, to the many of the “well taught” men he was trying to heal their thinking.  He desired for them to repent, to see things differently and that had to start in the brain of these well taught “leaders” in the community.  It is the same within the story in Luke 7.  It is interesting that the least, within societies beliefs at that time, saw Jesus for Who He is; while those that would be considered greater had a much more difficult time seeing Who He is.

Let’s look at this account in Luke 7:36-50 (NASB)

“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

Three things I took note of in this passage:

  1. “The definition in Greek of the word “love” used here is: 25-agapáo-With the believer agapáo (“to love”) means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (His power and direction). True agapáo (“loving”) is always defined by God- a “discriminating affection which involves choice and selection”.  Properly, to prefer to love;….preeminently (above all) this refers to what God prefers as He “is love”.” biblehub.com
  2. Remembering faith is a gift from God.  See: It All Begins and Ends With Trust and Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2) for a greater understanding of how faith is a gift from God.
  3. What the woman did versus what she didn’t do.

As I put all three of the above things together while reading this account, I wept with the beauty and simplicity of Who God is and has been since the beginning.  In this story holds the simple yet glorious good news that Jesus had come to bring to all the people in this world He had created and loves so dearly.  The woman can be found in each one of us born from Adam; as we are born into sin (Psalm 51:1) and if you don’t believe this to be true you are deceiving yourselves (1 John 1:8).  I don’t know about you but I know I have had many sins, even after receiving God’s free gift.  Please remember we go from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I also know that there is no way I could keep all of the Law as Jesus Christ has done for He has “upheld and upholds” the law (Torah) (1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 CJB).  Because of this everyone should be able to relate to this woman, a sinner.  So what did this sinner do??  She loved (agapáo)!!!  Not just a mushy…oh I love you; but a preference, a personal selection, a free will choice showing good judgement and chose to follow IMG_1583the God given mustard seed of faith and trusted, believed in Who Jesus is.  She went and treated Him for Who she saw Him as, the King of kings.  The Pharisee, Simon, in this account did not.  Simon didn’t believe he needed much forgiveness.  He also believed He wasn’t in need of a Savior because he had the law to follow, his own performance that he relied on, and the yearly sacrifice for Israel-the Day of Atonement.  He was a Pharisee for goodness sake.  Yet, Jesus here told an important truth those that do not feel or think they have many sins love little.  Their reliance is more on themselves and their behavior and less on Him and what He desires to do for you.  Lastly, the woman did not go and beg Jesus to forgive her.  She did not speak all of her sins out and ask for forgiveness.  She actually did not utter a word to Him; she simply trusted in Who He is, and chose to believe Who He was in her heart and her actions showed her belief.  This faith is what saved her.  She boldly approached the throne of Grace, as a SINNER, and she simply from the heart believed in Who Jesus is and Jesus announced her faith (trust and belief) saved her.  Out of this faith, in Who Jesus is, came an act of agapáo (“loving”), an affection of choice and selection, a desire to love from and through Him, His strength that made her whole as Jesus said, “Your faith (belief, trust) has saved you, go in peace (wholeness).”  Her faith saved her, not her spotless record she tried to maintain but her faith.  Your faith saves you not your spotless record or your performance or your trying to act right.  Just your faith and out of this faith come these actions of agapáo.  This account happened before the Cross, before Jesus took all of the sins of the world upon Himself.  He was showing the “ones who were more influential in the world’s eyes” how their system of trying to follow the law could not be done nor would it ever bring the type of relationship that God, the Father, was desiring from the beginning: humans desiring , preferring , choosing and selecting Him out of our own free will.  He sent His Son to make the Way for us and all we have to do is agapáo- choose Him, just like the woman who walked in a sinner, broke her alabaster box and chose Jesus, believed in Who He is and walked out forgiven and whole.  There was no groveling but an active free will choice to choose Him, to believe in Who He is.

Jesus’ agapáo was
going to the Cross for us,
God’s agapáo was sending His Son
and then placing His wraith for the sin
humanity was due on His Son
and humanity’s agapáo
is to believe in Who He is

Because see He first chose you, us, the world.  He agapáo us.
Jesus’ agapáo was going to the Cross for us, God’s agapáo was sending His Son and then placing the wraith for sin humanity was due on His Son and humanity’s agapáo is to believe in Who He is.  This is the simplicity of the Good News: fully loved, fully chosen, fully selected, fully forgiven, fully righteous, fully reborn, fully live forever with God, fully whole.  This is how I see myself daily in the facts of all Jesus did for me on the Cross.   He does not want a groveling child but a child that is confident in what their Big Brother has done for them, what their Daddy did for them…living from that place of reassurance, embraced by the Holy Spirit our Helper…why not come join me in this safe place.

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

Prophetic: Mirror, Mirror

As I have gone back and looked at some of my journals and the words God has given me I have realized how “off” my interpretation or understanding was of what He was trying to tell me; because I did not see Him clearly back then.

So the other morning this is what God and I were talking about:

In the prophetic it is imperative that we see God correctly.  That our view is clear and we start at the right starting point. As believers, in Christ, we should be able to see God clearly for Who He is and what His Son has completed for us.  When we know who we are and Whose we are the interpretation of the prophetic is on target.  When we start at the wrong starting point, because we don’t know who we are or exactly Whose we are, our interpretation of the prophetic will be skewed or off. 

We need to start off believing, having faith, that Christ has completed all that we never could, on our behalf, putting us in right standing with God for eternity.  And as my mom said forever, or eternity, is a long time. ☺️.  We are made righteous through Christ alone. As we begin at the right starting point with these truths we can begin to interpret what God is saying to us much more clearly.  “For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me.”‭‭ 1 Corinthians 13:12‬ ‭CJB

If you believe you are prophetic, I would encourage you to read through my blogs and begin to undo what you may have been taught in the past of Who God is and begin to soak in Who God truly is and who you are in Him.  As His sons and daughters we are to see Him clearly and you will be much more confident as you know to the depths of your being just how important and beloved you are to Him. ❤️

Gossip?!?!?; For One Day We Will Judge the Universe

Gossip…that word you have probably heard taught in the church; if you have been in the church for any length of time or maybe you have been harshly accused of gossiping. I have actually never heard a sermon on gossip, maybe your experience is different, instead I would be accused of gossiping when it seemed convenient to someone.  So never understanding what gossip is or isn’t has had me confused so many times I just stopped talking.  Being called a gossip, for me, is like being called a liar or a cheater and I don’t like that.  Plus I didn’t want to hurt people.  What I have found though is the word “GOSSIP” is used by many in the church to silence the TRUTH from being told.  This is when, as believers, we begin walking on dangerous ground.

“Truth”…something Pilate himself was looking for.  Something, as believers, we are to walk in, search for and be able to discern. Something I see many in the church not looking for; because they are afraid to be called a GOSSIP.

Today the Lord wants to bring clarity as He shared with me this statement:

Gossip is Slander

Simple, yet I believe so many in the church do not have a grasp on what gossip actually means in scripture in the Greek.  This in turn lends to bad teaching that has led to people unwilling to search out the truth, ask questions, and live a life from the inside out, unafraid.

As believers, we are to walk in the light as Christ walked in the light (1 John 1:7).  This is simply done by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting Him that He was enough of a sacrifice for the whole world. This leads to living from the inside out because we know He did what we could never do for ourselves and He is our righteousness. This trust leads us to lay in a place without fear of condemnation, punishment or separation from our Father in Heaven.  We know Him to be Father not judge.  From this place we can be honest, truthful and sincere because we have no fear of our Father in Heaven turning away from us.  Now, truthfully, have you seen a church like this?  Let alone maybe a IMG_1546person like this?  They are few and far between because the church teaches performance, fear, and condemnation as the way, the truth and the light rather than Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light. See the latter is the Good News that Jesus wants told.

Once I realized the love of God, even after I accept His free gift, is not EVER  based upon my performance I am able to live open, honest, and in the light with God and with people. The people part is difficult only because there are so many still afraid to live in the same manner because too many Christians still believe after they accept the free gift there are requirements to stay in “right standing with God”. This is the FURTHEST from the truth.

The belief you must perform
to stay in “right standing with God”
is in direct opposition
to the TRUTH of the Good News

In actuality it is the opposite of the TRUTH of the Good News. AND what is even more interesting, this is similar to the meaning of GOSSIP–the opposite of truth regarding a person.  Here let’s take a look:
According to the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) version the word gossip is used five times in the New Testament.  It would be found in the following scriptures (in bold are the meanings of each word in Greek):

  1. “They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and vice; stuffed with jealousy, murder, quarrelling, dishonesty and ill-will; they are gossips,”
    ‭‭Romans (Rom)‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  5588-psithuristés: a whisperer; properly, a whisperer; a sneaky gossip (a “back-stabber”); a backbiter, quietly (secretly) destroying another person’s character – i.e. covertly, not out in the open, but rather operating “in a corner.” See 5587 (psithyrismos).
  2. “For I am afraid of coming and finding you not the way I want you to be, and also of not being found the way you want me to be. I am afraid of finding quarreling and jealousy, anger and rivalry, slander and gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians (2 Co)‬ ‭12:20‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  5587 psithurismos: a whispering; -properly, a whispering to “quietly” spread malicious gossip; “whispering” that launches “secret attacks on a person’s character” (Souter). [5587 (psithyrismós) is “an onomatopoetic word for the sibilant murmur of a snake charmer (Ecc 10:11)” (WP at 2 Cor 12:20).]
  3. Similarly, the wives must be of good character, not gossips, but temperate, faithful in everything.” ‭‭1 Timothy (1 Ti)‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  1228 diabolos: slanderous, accusing falsely; (from 1225 /diabállō, “to slander, accuse, defame”) – properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship. [1228 (diábolos) is the root of the English word, “Devil” (see also Webster’s Dictionary);  in secular Greek means “backbiter,” i.e. an accuser, calumniator (slanderer). 1228 (diábolos) is literally someone who “casts through,” i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy). Satan is used by God in this plan – as a predictable wind-up toy, playing out his evil nature.]
  4. “Besides that, they learn to be idle, going around from house to house; and not only idle, but gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t.” ‭‭1 Timothy (1 Ti)‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  5397 phluaros: babbling; prating, talking foolishly, babbling;  (an adjective, derived from phlyō, “to boil, bubble over”) – properly, what bubbles over (like a seething, boiling pot). 5397 (phlýaros) is only used in 1 Tim 5:13.
  5. “So if I come, I will bring up everything he is doing, including his spiteful and groundless gossip about us. And as if that weren’t enough for him, he refuses to recognize the brothers’ authority either; moreover, he stops those who want to do so and tries to drive them out of the congregation!” ‭‭3 Yochanan (3 Jo)‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭CJB.  5396 phluareó: to talk nonsense; : I gossip against, talk idly, make empty charges against, talk nonsense.; (from 5397 /phlýaros, “to bubble up, boil over”) – overflowing with speech “that is fluent but empty” (WS, 562). It is used only in 3 Jn 10. See 5397 (phlyaros).

From these definitions I looked up a couple of words: calumniate and Prating.  I am a stickler when defining a word not to use the word in the definition because it doesn’t illuminate the word at all.  So here is the definition to both words from dictionary.com:

CULUMNY: noun, plural calumnies.
1.a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something:
The speech was considered a calumny of the administration.
2.the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation.

PRATING: intransitive verb 1:to talk long and idly

As you read through the definitions a few things becomes clear.  First there is a huge difference between how we define gossip today and the five Greek words used within the scriptures above.  It is quite clear from above the Bible is defining someone who knowingly, maliciously and on purpose decides to malign, lie, and make empty charges against both openly and quietly; their whispering launches secret attacks to destroy another person’s character; they choose to hurt, and destroy and to condemn a person’s character; and they desire to sever a relationship by doing all of this. As you can see from above, this is a tactic of the enemy; hence the Greek word “diablos”.  The Greek word above translated as “Gossip” is someone who is a false accuser or an empty accuser (full of air just bubbling over) that does not want to bring unity but disunity, not life but death and not healing but destruction.  Let’s look at the original meaning of the word “gossip” in English from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

History for GOSSIP:

At first the word gossip, from Old English godsibb, meant “godparent.” Later it came to mean “close friend” as well. Close friends, of course, share secrets. Gossip has come to mean anyone, friend or not, who shares the secrets of others.

The word GOSSIP is NOT
found once in the KJV

So, interestingly enough, if you look up the word “GOSSIP” in the King James Version (Old English) you will not find one scripture with the word “gossip”.  There are zero results.  We need to understand the meaning of the original Greek words translated as “gossip” if we are to judge the universe (1 Corinthians 6:2) and understand what was truly being talked about in the five scriptures referenced above.  In the first letter to the believers in Corinth Paul is referencing a problem that came up between two believers and one took the other to court and he is asking,

“Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?”….Can it be that there isn’t one person among you wise enough to be able to settle a dispute between brothers?”(1 Corinthians 6:2-5).

One of the many things we need to understand, as believers, is that we have the Holy Spirit within us and we should be able to discern the truth from a lie.  But we must hear both sides of the story to be able to do so and then wait upon Holy Spirit to help us.  Is one side gossip??? The real meaning of gossip???  Is it a fabrication to bring down an individual, and why would this individual need to be brought down?  Is there something the enemy is trying to hide?  Paul and the apostles ran into this time and again as they brought the Good News and the enemy did not want the Good News to be believed.  So people would rise up and gossip (the real meaning) about the apostles in hopes the apostles would not be listened to.

As believers, we also must understand we need to be open, honest and truthful with what we experience.  We should be able to talk about circumstances that are unhealthy and tell our side of the story without the fear of being called a “gossip”.  For far too long the church has covered up great harms done to others by calling the truth GOSSIP and that is an unhealthy trait.  For it covers actions in darkness instead of bringing things to light to be dealt with in a loving, healthy way (Matthew 18).  I believe this truly happens because we are too busy trying to perform holiness, as we think we should, instead of simply knowing we are holy because of what Christ did for us on the Cross.

No longer be afraid to speak the truth when asked, search out the truth when something doesn’t sit right with you and judge the matters before you.  For one day we shall judge the universe.

A Humble Heart Remains….

As I was talking to my husband about this upcoming post, he gave such a great analogy regarding this particular subject.  He said when he is aiming at a target downrange if you are just a little off it will impact your ability to hit the target.  It may not seem like you are off that much yet as the bullet travels away from the gun the trajectory which started just a little off will make a big difference downrange.  How far off have you been or are you now about your view of God?  How far off are your core values to His?  It again points to the starting point which is how you view God that allows a direct hit of a target downrange.

For so long I held on to a belief system that I had to prove myself worthy of God’s love.  I didn’t realize that I said one thing-“God loves me!” while at the same time deep within myself believing I had to do everything right to keep His love.  This is a wrong core value or starting point.  This way of thinking sent me hitting targets like: I am not good enough, I will never be good enough, I hate myself because I can’t get it right, God hates me, the whole world hates me because if God hates me then how in the world could I love myself much less anyone else.  I just NEVER could perform in excellence like….well…..Jesus did.  I was told I must emulate Jesus in every way and I found myself lacking…day after day.  Now WHAT!?!?!!!  I didn’t give up on God….but I believe we see a generation that quite frankly….IS.  Why are they?  I believe because they are starting at the wrong starting point with their view of God.

In my last post, It Truly Can’t Get Any Better, I promised to write about the “law of liberty” found in James.  It is important we have the correct view of God to fully understand this concept “law of liberty”. Many in the church see this “law” as “right behavior”–“Do this, but don’t do that!”.  Yet, early Christians understood this to mean something completely different…..or maybe they just started at the right starting point. Let’s dig into the words here (info comes from biblehub.com):

Law-Nomos (3551)-This word must be taken in context to understand what law is being talked about….I can hear my English teacher: context, context, context!!!  The law regarding the Christian faith is used only 4 times in scripture: Roman 3:27 Law of faith; Galatians 6:2 Law of love; and James 1:25 and James 2:12 Law of “liberty”.

Liberty-Eluthria (1657)-“Freedom, liberty, a state of freedom from slavery”. Freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by FREE IMPULSE of the SOUL what the will of God requires.  There is a note in biblehub.com it states see Epistle of Barnabas 2,6. Which led me to the Epistle…which in turn led me to the scripture in Psalms 51:

 

 

 

As I meditated on this scripture and the meaning of the “Law of Liberty”, I distinctly heard the Lord say to me:

“A Humble Heart is required when you become a Christian to even accept such a free gift; it continues to take a Humble Heart to run the race and realize it is not about you—your behavior or your “goodness” but about Me, My behavior and Goodness.”

That was so good to hear and yet I knew there was more He wanted to articulate to me.  And of course it came….I needed to understand the word HUMILITY.

Now let’s look at HUMILITY in the Greek:

Tapeinophrosune-5012-humility-

(a noun, derived from 5011 /tapeinós, “low, humble” and 5424 /phrḗn, “moderation as regulated by inner perspective”) – properly, low; humility, “lowliness” of human pride (self-government); that quality of mindset of “having a humble opinion of oneself, i.e. a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness – i.e. lowliness of mind” (J. Thayer). In Scripture, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“lowliness, humility”) is an inside-out virtue. produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord (rather than to others)… For the believer, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“humility”) means living in complete dependence on the Lord, i.e. with no reliance on self (the flesh). The word occurs neither in the O. T., nor in secular authors.

I have written a little about this in, It’s an Inside Job.  When we compare ourselves to Christ we will always fall short. In this, we realize we need a Savior and must always rely on His Finished Work and the Holy Spirit working inside us; not our own ability (self/flesh) that produces any “right behavior”. This is humility, as a Christian: realizing it isn’t your ability that is creating any right behavior but His Spirit in you changing you from the inside out. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) Free from the carnal desires of the old corrupt self. Simply live from that truth. Remember the word “liberty” in Greek means our soul, because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us and He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, will by FREE IMPULSE do what the will of God is and we are free, no longer slaves, to our old corrupt desires.  This is the truth, the fact that we live from.  This is what James is telling people.  He says, “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free.” (James 2:12) We, in truth or in fact, live from the place of freedom from our old nature.  It is dead and we now live as a new creation, alive with the Holy Spirit within us.  Are we perfect, NO of course not—Jesus was and is the ONLY PERFECT SACRIFICE.

For me to hit the bulls eye downrange I needed to start at the right point.  The starting point is simple: God loves me no matter what before I was a Christian and after I accept His free gift.  This is Grace.  I used to believe God loved me before I was a Christian but now that I am a Christian I have to earn His love, favor and protection.  See this slight difference makes a HUGE difference downrange.  This wrong starting point puts me back under a law that I was never intended to be able to perform.

I also came to better understand that I have complete dependence on God.  Yet even that understanding had to come from the right starting point.  I finally realized I can not make myself behave or do right…..but He changes my thinking, my actions and He does this from the inside and it naturally becomes outward actions.  Do I always get it right…..no!  But does He still love me and has He already paid the price for my mistakes….YES!!  Do I spend hours with Him….of course I do….HE LIVES IN ME!  He is there 24/7 in ME!!!!!!  Do I make it a religious thing….certainly not…He told me to let go of the rules.  He wanted me….all of me…flaws and beauty…the whole package.  He didn’t want a robot or someone ultra religious, trying to look holy or make myself holy….He knew it was just an act…just me relying on my flesh to make myself holy.  But now I understand He truly makes me holy 100%…not because I have done everything right or performed A, B and C…..and don’t forget about D….heaven forbid I forget D…I say this in jest, but honestly that is how I used to live.  No more…I live from a place of freedom.  No longer a slave but a daughter of the Most High King.  Holy because He is holy, Righteous because He is righteous, Fully forgiven because Jesus paid for all my sins and Saved because He rose from the dead.  Simple faith that grows inside which is a free gift from God that I receive.  According to Psalm 51:16-17, He does not want us going through the motions or IMG_1502a flawless performance….yet He does desire broken pride and a shattered heart.  Humility is the opposite of pride.  It took humility to realize I needed saving and righteousness in the first place.  It takes humility to realize Jesus is the only One Who paid the price to give to the world salvation and righteousness. Humility must remain after we accept the free gift because that is the place we live from knowing that it isn’t us that changes our inward parts but God through His Spirit in us……that is GRACE.

It Truly Can’t Get Any Better

Such an important truth revealed, just in time for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday…..Enjoy

Have you ever been afraid of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.”,  I sure have!!!!  We will get to that soon but first we must clarify some things……

What is the law for?  I have been taught many different things i.e. : It is there to keep us safe.  It is there so we know how to “act” as Christians.  It is there to point out how Holy God is and how unholy we are.  It is there to give us a framework for our behavior.  It is what we have to do to secure our salvation….what a minute…..WHAT?!?!  This in so many ways is what is taught to the church (ekklésia the body of Christ).  Behavior is what keeps you going to heaven.  Here are some examples, DO NOT: lie, cheat, talk bad about people, listen to certain music, read certain books, be around certain people (because they are doing “wrong things”), don’t drink wine or any alcohol, don’t gamble, don’t dance, don’t wear pants….I mean the list could go on.  The Law in the Old Testament was given to Moses, not Abraham.  Abraham believed God and that is where he received his righteousness, a gift from God.  The Mesopotamian’s had their own law known as the Code of Hammurabi which predates the Law given to Moses by around 300 years or more.  The Code of Hammurabi has many similarities to the Law given at Mt. Sinai.  Why?

Paul also talks about the law in Romans 2 and here from a biblical scholar we have a huge answer about the law. Let’s read from the Message version:

“If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.

If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.

When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.” Romans‬ ‭2:9-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

And to save on space….(so I encourage you to go and read all of Romans)…..Here is a little more:

“Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God’s ways are as good as the circumcised—in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don’t you see: It’s not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It’s the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.” ‭ ‭Romans 2:25-29‬ ‭

And:

“So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys. No one’s living right; I can’t find a single one. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mudslides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. They open their mouths and pollute the air. They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, Don’t know the first thing about living with others. They never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:9-20‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It sounds like there were Jews judging non-Jews saying that they are all fine and good because they were given the Law and are circumcised; not realizing that they also need a propitiation for themselves just as much as the non-Jew.  But why?  They followed the law and yet still sinned.  Remember the rich man who followed the law complicity until he was asked to give all he had to the poor and follow Jesus.  He couldn’t do it.  We all have our places where we fail to follow the law. Paul was making it very clear the law nor their personal behavior could ever make them righteous; because there would always be an area of failure in every single person’s life no matter if they are Jewish or not. Circumcised or not. Taught the commandments or not.  We all fall short of the glory of God. The law is put in our conscience from the beginning of conception.  It is written in the fabric of our being because of Adam and Eve.  When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil it was implanted in them and as we are born from the seed of Adam we also have the understanding of good and evil in each of us. The Law comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Pure and simple.  Otherwise how could Hammurabi come up with some of the same laws 300+ years before Moses wrote them down for the Israelites?

Paul makes it clear that we all have a conscience that has been written on what is right and what is wrong.  That is why you would see the uncircumcised following the law without ever hearing of the law. The Law just makes known that we know what is right and wrong and we, in and of our own selves, can NEVER do what is right and avoid what is wrong 100% of the time.  Nor has God EVER BELIEVED we COULD!!!!  That is why He had to set things right.  Here is the scripture:

But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21-24

Okay, the question I have today to some of the church leadership around the world is the same question Paul asked the Galatians in chapter 3 of his letter to them:

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Selah (Hebrew for lift up,exalt or pause) Please pause and think about the above statement Paul made.

The Galatians, like many Christians today, were trying to perfect what God had already IMG_2795done.  They were “working their heads off to please God?”  Remember the list above I had made of the do’s and don’ts?  Those things are common sense things.  Some are just rules that are said to “keep us safe”.  But, in the end all of these “things” will not cause God to be pleased or not pleased with us.  What we need to understand is that God was pleased to give His only Son on our behalf, to set things right for us.  He pleased Himself with what He did for us.  The Galatians were so caught up with themselves and pleasing God with their behavior they forgot what Jesus said to the crowd at the sermon on the Mount:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NASB

I don’t know about you, but for me this verse has scared the daylights out of me.  I was so scared that I would do something wrong and then when I am ready to enter the kingdom of heaven Jesus would look at me and say, “I knew you not, depart from Me.”.  I believed this was based on behavior.  I could think of the lawless deeds I have done since becoming a Christian and what if I missed one that I didn’t say sorry for….WHAT THEN!?!?!?!???!!!!  I AM DOOMED!!!! AND MIGHT AS WELL STOP TRYING…..because I could never fully live up to the law.  Until, I understood I am righteous in CHRIST JESUS and I will never negate what He FULLY FINISHED at the Cross for me.  And this Scripture above proves that.  Let’s look at the Greek meanings from the above scripture in Matthew:

  • will=theléma= properly, a desire (wish), often referring to God’s “preferred-will”, i.e.: His “best offer” to people which can be accepted or rejected.
  • do=poieó=With nouns which denote to carry out, to execute; as, in Classical Greek to make a law of legislators; but in Biblical Greek to do the law to meet its demands-the things which the law commands.
  • lawlessness=anomia=NOT law; properly without law i.e. : (“lawlessness”) includes the end-impact of law breaking– i.e. its negative influence on a person’s soul (status before God).

First, what is His BEST OFFER?  Of course that is Jesus, Who He is and what He has done for the whole world.  That is God’s “best offer”….remember Paul said the crucified Jesus is where God set things right for us.

Second, do the things the law commands.  What are the commands of the New Covenant? According to 1 John 3:23, it is: This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another*, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (*loving one another is the Law of Liberty talked about in James chapter 2, which I will discuss in another blog.)

Third, lawlessness here in scripture is pointing to a person’s soul and it’s status before God.  When we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be delivered, made righteous in Him and be justified before God. (Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:1 and many others).  This means your soul’s status is clear before God because of what Jesus did for us (propitiation).

It is time for the true Message to go forth once again.  Full circle to what was originally taught by the apostles.  The Message of exactly what Jesus Christ did on the Cross and in His Resurrection.  ALL of what He accomplished at the Cross when He said, “It is Finished!”  For our faith to be in Him not in our behavior.  It is time for the church to let go of teaching behavior and simply teach JESUS. It is simple trust that sets you right with God not your behavior. Keep the faith in what He did for you which FULLY assures your soul that it’s status before God is pure…not because of what you did but ONLY because of what He did for you.

It is all about: Knowing Whose you are and who you are.