This past weekend I watched the McGregor/Mayweather fight. I watched as round after round went by thinking about the endurance each athlete had to have to continue fighting. I thanked God for the endurance He has supplied me with to fight the good fight of FAITH. Because life is so much like the boxing ring and I am thankful that Jesus has won the war for me.
I had posted a great pic a few weeks ago of what I am going to write about in this blog post. You can look at it here: Coming soon…Why the race is about faith and not behavior….#Hebrews11 #Hebrews12 . Let’s get to it.
Hebrews is beautifully written to well…..Hebrews….but there is much for us in the church in present times to look at here. I went through the history of this book in Did You Really Just Say That?!?!. So please go back and read this post if you haven’t yet. Hebrews 11 is the faith chapter and there are a couple of things I want to make clear with this chapter. This faith chapter includes people like Rahab, King David, and Samuel. It also includes what the Jewish people suffered holding on to their faith (trust, belief) in Who God is. Please note King David was during the law but his faith made him righteous and Rahab’s faith made her righteous enough to be in the lineage of Jesus and she was a prostitute. At the “end” of this chapter it states:
And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.(Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB)
Apart from us they would not be made perfect…..because something was provided by God that was better for us. This is describing what Jesus had done in their lifetime and ours. As the letter moves into Chapter 12 of Hebrews, we get into some pretty important wording that we all need to carefully look at.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin (noun) which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners (adjective-describes a noun) against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB)
I have written about sin before in the New Testament in the blog Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4). I have questioned: How could Jesus say, “Go and sin no more.” When He said to go and “sin” (verb) no more it was so much more than their behavior, as we might think of it. We need to remember that Jesus is the “mark” we do not want to miss in the New Covenant. Jesus came onto the scene here on earth proclaiming, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” And He was truly desiring for people to look at things or see things as God sees them. Jesus also clearly noted that their faith healed them not their behavior. The definition of hamarte (noun) also describes every action/decision done apart from faith; this is a heart condition which then can convert into a mind decision. I make a decision or choice of faith in God in the very beginning (faith as small as a mustard seed). In this faith (trust/belief) I also believe that all my sins (transgressions=hatah, iniquity=avon, and sin=peshah) have fully been cleared by Jesus’ payment on the Cross. When we see the word sin in the New Testament we think behavior instead of looking deeper and actually understanding the Hebrew word Peshah. Peshah means to make a counter covenant and to clearly, of your own free will, choose to identify with the principles of evil. When you see it this way it is in direct opposition to God and all that His Son has done for you. This is fully making a decision or action apart from faith. This word contains the idea that this is their own free will choice, self empowered choice to forfeit or have no part of or share of…..God’s desire to have a relationship with them which Jesus provided a free and clear way through the Cross for the whole world. This is truly “missing the mark”, Jesus. This is what equates to wickedness or sin isn’t the Greek word hamartia.
Yes, think about him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you won’t grow tired or become despondent. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in the contest against sin. Also you have forgotten the counsel which speaks with you as sons: “My son, don’t despise the discipline of Adonai or become despondent when he corrects you. For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips everyone he accepts as a son.” Regard your endurance as discipline; God is dealing with you as sons. For what son goes undisciplined by his father? All legitimate sons undergo discipline; so if you don’t, you’re a mamzer and not a son! Hebrews 12:4-6
I don’t know if this scripture has scared anyone else, but it has me. This verse always makes me envision an angry God up in heaven waiting to dole out some pretty hefty spankings when I don’t line up and follow all the rules. How about you?? Let’s look at the beauty of these words in the Greek to have an accurate picture of Who God is and what the unknown author was really saying.
The word counteract bears more looking at. Counteract means to act in opposition to. We have not acted in opposition to sin to the point of shedding blood against sin. Yet, Jesus has. Jesus has resisted, opposed and superseded sin to the point of shedding blood. The word sin here is a noun not a verb. It is describing a person, place or thing. When Jesus is explaining to go and sin no more it is a verb which is an action. We need to be watchful of the use of the words. When I have read scripture in the past I would see the word sin and automatically think verb which means action. Where here it is a noun. The use of the word in the sentence changes what it is defining. As I stated above the word hamartano is described as this in biblehub: Every decision (action) done apart from faith (4102 /pístis) is sin. Every action done apart from FAITH is sin. Yet this word is a noun, person, place or thing. This is how I felt the Lord was describing it to me. The sickness mumps is a noun, it is a thing. Yet that sickness develops actions like swelling of the neck and fever still things yet your actions come out of those things. Like sleep, sweating, drinking liquids. I hope this is making sense. So Jesus sat and opposed or counteracted sin the noun so that we would not have the actions of sin the verb. Here is how I see it in my mind:
FAITH (trust/belief God) VS SIN (counter covenant)
Jesus counteracted sin. Here is a good example: The doctor gave you medicine to counteract the effects of the sickness. So: Jesus made sin ineffective in the lives who by faith walk through the door He opened. That is the pill. We simply keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith. He restrained, neutralized the ill effects of sin (noun) because He is the direct opposite or in opposition to sin. Jesus counteracted sin for all of humanity as we have faith in Who He is and what He did for us. So, the question always comes down to this…why do I sin….are you talking transgression, iniquity or actual sin according to the Hebrew. See, Jesus says He paid for all of that on the Cross. There are iniquities that are weaknesses to fall under temptation….yet what did Jesus do…He said it is finished, So it is finished. The payment has been made for the whole world but those that have access to it simply trust God for what His Son did for the world. The enemy would like us to think that our salvation is dependent on our behavior when it is actually our faith that brings us into covenant with God, not our behavior. What do I do when I have transgressed? If you haven’t already please read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4); which will answer that question for you. The realization that my relationship with My Father in Heaven is not based on my behavior but completely by His behavior brought freedom and a light load. It is really that simple.
As I realized how Jesus counteracted sin, He then asked me, “Why do people want to be sin foucused instead of Me focused?”
I believe the answer to this question is: as humans, since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, have tried to attain our own righteousness, holiness and right behavior. The law though has only proven we can not attain this. Yet, still as Christians, we try to somehow attain holiness and righteousness by our own deeds still instead of realizing Jesus counteracted sin, He paid the price and for that I am eternally grateful. We do have a new nature He paid to give us and we do act in that more and more as we focus on Him not our behaior. Don’t put the Cart Before the Horse? So we instead of becoming sin focused (a choice outside of faith) let us remain Jesus focused by believing and trusting that He has begun a good work and will remain faithful to finish it. (Philippians 1:6) Because God promised to write the law upon our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16) and be our God. This is us in the New Covenant. We believe, have faith, this is what God has done in us and realize God is finishing this work within us and believe He has created a new nature within us, that the old nature is dead with Christ and we have risen new with Christ.
In the Kingdom of Heaven trusting (faith) = righteousness, holiness, benefits of sonship/daughtership and so much more
Regard your endurance as discipline. This means your endurance (see definition above) is discipline. Discipline means to reach full maturity. Remember that your seed of faith is given by God and is as small as a mustard seed but when fully grown becomes a large tree. Strong, that can withstand a storm. One of the notes on biblehub states that God uses things that happen in our life to mature us. God’s discipleship is to mature us through life’s experiences. Life happens and we either mature or we stay stagnant. Choosing to mature grows our faith. And just to make sure you understand: if we choose not to mature at that time GOD IS NOT MAD AT YOU!!! And there will be plenty of more “LIFE HAPPENS” to mature. We no longer live under the law; so please do not think that God is waiting to punish you as if you had to hold up your part of the bargain; because remember His Son, Jesus, has paid the full price for you.
“For they disciplined us only for a short time and only as best they could; but he disciplines us in a way that provides genuine benefit to us and enables us to share in his holiness.” (Heb) 12:10 CJB
We receive genuine benefit and share in His holiness as we hang on to our faith, let go of the law (heavy burden) and the sin (separate of faith). Faith is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven. Faith in the One who resisted to the shedding of blood, the One Who bled so we can partake in His righteousness and holiness. This “fight” is the fight to remain trusting and believing in Who God said He is as we walk through this timeline of our life. This is what every person listed in Hebrews 11 did and they endured horrible hardships. This is what every believer had done in the time this letter had been written. They endured terrible deaths. Yet they were not told to make sure they didn’t do x,y,z but were told to not claim a counter covenant and keep the covenant Jesus paid such a dear price for. As we look at the end of chapter 12 the author says: let us have grace through which we worship and are accepted by God. Grace…let us have grace this is how we worship and are acceptable to God. So that means accept Jesus’ free gift of grace, fully redeemed, fully loved, fully holy, fully accepted, fully clean, fully righteous because of what Jesus did…not because of what you did or didn’t do….Just believe, trust; which simply means FAITH. So know you should feel lighter as you have let go of the law and grabbed hold by faith…grace given by Jesus.
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:
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 the 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.
The Lord, a few years back, had shared with me the statement I put in the picture right here: This was hard for me to hear back then because I was a “law woman”. Keeping the rules with a slave mentality instead of a daughter mentality was the relationship I chose to have with my Father in Heaven…until He set me free (see It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law). Yesterday, as I talked with a good friend, the Lord reminded me of this word. As I was talking, I finally received understanding for this statement because He has helped me understand how to be His woman. First and foremost, we must start at the right starting point: Jesus took my place and all punishment, condemnation, and sickness, that was my due because of sin, was placed on His body and for that I am eternally grateful. I didn’t understand this when He had told me this a few years ago…I was still striving in my own effort to hold up my part of the bargain in this relationship with God; which I had been taught in the church to do (religious law keeping). If I didn’t hold up my part of the bargain then I was lacking, God would then turn away from me or lift His hand of protection. I would then have to go to Him repent, showing enough remorse. Then, and only then, He would be able to look back towards me, cover me again with His hand and all would be well……until…….I somehow messed up again. This was a continual process of shame, guilt and remorse….and I NEVER felt like I would EVER be good enough for Him. Wow!! So the statement, there is no failure in Him had me mystified…until….yesterday. All because I have the right starting point now. Here is the picture God gave me:
When I see His timeline or plan, many times it comes to me as a tapestry that is being made. It is not complete, but is complete. In the inner weaving of this fabric pattern are the failures in which He has made a beautiful tapestry out of. Yes, the failures which He has made beautiful. How can that be?!?!?!!!! These failures are not failures because they have actually fulfilled a purpose in our lives which He ALWAYS make BEAUTIFUL for His sons and daughters. The scripture that comes to mind is this:
“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;”
Romans (Rom) 8:28 CJB
I encourage you to put past failures in His hands and take a look at the bigger picture of the tapestry of life that He is creating. It is beautiful and honors Him. ❤
How many times have you been taught about the armor of God? I can say I have sat through many teachings and preaching regarding the armor of God. Most times the teaching was about how I needed to put on the armor, keep on the armor, how not to take off the armor. I don’t know about you but for me God wanted to reassure me that it wasn’t so much about me and my behavior but about Him and standing in what He has already done for me.
I have been waiting awhile to write about this. I have been so excited to write about this topic. Here is why: the Lord had asked me, “Darlene, do you know how well Bryan (my husband is a police officer) knows how to use his weapons?” I answered, “Yes.” Then He asked, “Do you understand how to use My weapons?” I answered, “I don’t know.” “It is time for you to understand,” He replied.
Let’s look at the scripture in Ephesians:
“Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.” Ephesians (Eph) 6:10-14, 16-18 CJB
You may want to read It All Begins and Ends With Trust, Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2), and A New Wine Skin if you haven’t already. These set up where I am going next. Like I said in It All Begins and Ends With Trust:
The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your trust. That is what he is roaming about to do. Yet God brought eternal life through His Son which we receive through trust.
One of the things I have been telling myself and others lately is God never promised that we would not have “evil days”. What is interesting is Paul also told us that our struggle is not against human beings. Now we have to look at context here. This is during some evil days. Christ followers are being fed to lions, crucified, boiled in tar….by other HUMANS. What, the what!?!?!!! If Christ followers were being told by Paul to specifically do something when all of this was happening to them, we might want to take note. I have to say I have not been fed to lions, crucified or boiled….but some tactics felt like that in my life….just not unto death in this lifetime. So….let’s pick apart this very strong statement Paul makes through the Holy Spirit.
First Paul reminds us of the very thing in which I believe the entire armor truly consists of in his opening statement in Ephesians 6:10:
“grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength!”
Here is the direct translation from Biblehub.com:
“be empowered (1743-I fill with power, strengthen, make strong)
in [the] Lord and in the strength (2904 dominion, strength, power; a mighty deed)
of the might (2479-strength(absolutely),power,might,force,ability*) of him.”
Note that there are two different strength meanings in this verse. What I want you to see is how God does this for us. We do not do this for ourselves. We simply TRUST (believe) He will do it for us or already has done it for us and we thank Him for doing it. I want to clarify here, my strength comes from the Lord alone. I do not have enough strength of my own to be able to stand in circumstances that are beyond me. Truly I don’t know how people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus do life. I love the direct translation from bible hub.com because it helps us to start at the right starting point-trusting (faith) Him to do for us what we can not.
Next Paul calls what he talks about next our “war equipment that God PROVIDES” and that we are to put it on or use it so that we can stand (2476-I cause to stand) against the schemes (3180-a way of search after something, an inquiry; a method), scheming, craftiness, deceit.). Again I want you to see in the Greek that HE will enable us to stand against the methodology of the evil one or “rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”. Father causes us to be able to stand!
Now into the nitty-gritty. I believe Paul is showing us the way to stand during trials and tribulations. Yes they come to the believer and the non-believer. As believers we do not get a pass on these trials and tribulations: but what we do get is Someone, the Great I Am that walks it with us, enables us to stand, helps us to see a greater picture and to have good come out of it (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Romans 8:28).
Truth-But not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea;reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness: true to fact. Literal: what can’t be hidden.=Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Righteousness-divine righteousness. =Jesus gave us our divine righteousness our righteousness is like filthy rags (1 Corinthians 1:30,Isaiah 64:6) Romans 10:10 helps describe why righteousness is a breastplate; because, “For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness.”
Peace-Good News of Shalom-wholeness. Jesus came so that we would have “firm footing, foundation, preparation, readiness” in that He came to give us wholeness (shalom, peace). This is a foundational truth of what He did for us in His death and resurrection and what He desires for us to share with others. (Luke 1:79)
Trust-belief, come to trust, confidence, be persuaded, core meaning of faith=DIVINE PERSUASION- Jesus came, died and was resurrected and our part is to believe in who He said He is. This is why we are to always carry this “shield”. It all starts in the faith of Who Jesus is. For we have been delivered by grace through trusting and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (Ephesians 2:8). This shield (4570) thwarts, extinguishes, and I suppress. As we trust the true battle is won. Like I said above the enemy wants to steal, kill or destroy your trust.
Salvation-saving, bring salvation. This word is derived from the word soter which means Savior who of course is Jesus– Again Romans 10:10 helps us understand why salvation is a helmet, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance (salvation).
Sword (3162 properly, a slaughter knife; a short sword or dagger mainly used for stabbing; figuratively- an instrument for exacting retribution) given by the Spirit which is the word (rhema) of God. In Matthew both the sword and word (rhema) are used for the first time in the New Testament. Let’s look at both: in Matthew 10:34 Jesus says He came to bring a sword and in Matthew 4:4 Jesus says we are not to live by bread alone but every rhema (word) coming out of the mouth of God. Also in Revelation Jesus is shown to have a sword coming from his mouth (Revelation 1:16). Rhema word is very different from the Logos word. Rhema (4487) means (from 4483 /rhéō, “to speak”) – a spoken word, made “by the living voice” (J. Thayer). 4487 /rhḗma (“spoken-word”) is commonly used in the NT (and in LXX) for the Lord speaking His dynamic, living word in a believer to inbirth faith (“His inwrought persuasion”). Because we are here to continue Jesus’ ministry (see A New Wine Skin for more info) we are to speak what the Spirit tells us to. Remember when Paul encouraged us that we would know what to say when we need to say it (Matthew 10:19). We are to bring the necessary words in the time of need through being connected to the vine Who is Jesus. This is how we know what to pray…by His Spirit in us.
So how in the world do we do this? I have been taught I need to prayerfully put on each piece and make sure none of my armor slips off. If it slips off I need to say sorry and pray to put it back on. I have finally truly repented from this way of thinking and see it God’s way. I believe the Lord has shown me exactly how we are clothed in the armor and are able to fully use the weaponry God has given us. Please note God gave this all to us through His Son. His Son made the way for all of the above. All we need to do is believe in Who Jesus is. We find a great secret in Isaiah 56 and Hebrews 4. Let’s take a look:
Isaiah 56:1-2 (CJB)
“Observe justice, do what is right,
for my salvation is close to coming,
my righteousness to being revealed.”
Happy is the person who does this,
anyone who grasps it firmly,
who keeps Shabbat and does not profane it,
and keeps himself from doing any evil.
Hebrews 4:1-3 (MSG)
“For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith.”
How are we disqualified? By not having faith or trust in Who Jesus is–the Son of God! Once again faith (4102) is a gift from God never generated by us. Again this all begins and ends with faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed that each of us is given by a loving Father in heaven.
So, we have a choice, yes that is a free will choice that God also gave us, to enter His rest as we choose to believe the Good News of Who He is and choose to trust He has truly done it all for us. This is why we can approach the throne boldly with our requests, our prayers; we can stand in the evil day and when God has completed or literally, “worked down to the end-point,” i.e. to an exact, definite conclusion (2716 katergazomai)— we are still standing, because of what Jesus did for us. We trust that Jesus is Who He says He is and that the promises are ours…we rest in ALL that Jesus accomplished at the Cross in His death and in His resurrection.
That is literally what the armor is….resting in ALL THAT CHRIST DID FOR YOU. Otherwise known as standing in Christ the vine.
And we pray in the Spirit. The Greek word “en” is contained within this sentence, “in the Spirit”. Realize again this word means:
The Holy Spirit dwells within us and time after time the prayers that have been “in the Spirit” always align with God’s will. This truly is a whole other topic that will take another post. Realize though or prayerfully ask Father what His will is in situations…not what you expect but what is His will. His love is multi-dimensional and doesn’t always look the way you think it has to. Ask Him and rest in Him.
I left off last post, It All Begins and Ends With Trust, with a teaser to read Numbers 5:18-27. If you haven’t read it here it is:
“The cohen will place the woman before ADONAI, unbind the woman’s hair and put the grain offering for remembering in her hands, the grain offering for jealousy; while the cohen has in his hand the water of embitterment and cursing. The cohen will make her swear by saying to her, “If no man has gone to bed with you, if you have not gone astray to make yourself unclean while under your husband’s authority, then be free from this water of embitterment and cursing. But if you have in fact gone astray while under your husband’s authority and become unclean, because some man other than your husband has gone to bed with you…” then the cohen is to make the woman swear with an oath that includes a curse; the cohen will say to the woman, “…may ADONAI make you an object of cursing and condemnation among your people by making your private parts shrivel and your abdomen swell up! May this water that causes the curse go into your inner parts and make your abdomen swell and your private parts shrivel up!” — and the woman is to respond, “ Amen! Amen!” “The cohen is to write these curses on a scroll, wash them off into the water of embitterment” and make the woman drink the water of embitterment and cursing — the water of cursing will enter her and become bitter. Then the cohen is to remove the grain offering for jealousy from the woman’s hand, wave the grain offering before ADONAI and bring it to the altar. The cohen is to take a handful of the grain offering as its reminder portion and make it go up in smoke on the altar; afterwards, he is to make the woman drink the water. When he has made her drink the water, then, if she is unclean and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that causes the curse will enter her and become bitter, so that her abdomen swells and her private parts shrivel up; and the woman will become an object of cursing among her people.” B’midbar (Num) 5:18-27 CJB
(If you want to read the whole of this directive in Numbers 18 start with verse 11.)
What got me to this verse was actually studying why Jesus didn’t drink the first drink He was offered before the Cross and why He drank the second offer of bitter drink. There is always purpose in everything He did. So as I studied the two words for the two drinks offered to Him at the Cross there was a distinction in the words and the origin. I have talked about looking at the Greek and Hebrew and meanings and also when they are used: first time word is used etc. So, let’s dig in to the words!
The story is found in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and partly in John 19. Let’s look at Matthew 27:34 and 48-50; and John 19:28-30 to get a full picture:
“they gave him wine mixed with bitter gall to drink; but after tasting it, he would not drink it.” Matthew27:34 CJB
“Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, soaked it in vinegar, put it on a stick and gave it to him to drink. The rest said, “Wait! Let’s see if Eliyahu comes and rescues him.” But Yeshua, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit.” Matthew 27:48-50 CJB
“After this, knowing that all things had accomplished their purpose, Yeshua, in order to fulfill the words of the Tanakh, said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of cheap sour wine was there; so they soaked a sponge in the wine, coated it with oregano leaves and held it up to his mouth. After Yeshua had taken the wine, he said, “It is accomplished!” And, letting his head droop, he delivered up his spirit.” John 19:28-30 CJB
In verse 34 wine is made from grapes and the gall is bitter herbs. You can check here Verse 34 at biblehub for yourself or here is the definition from biblehub.com:
1. bile, gall: Matthew 27:34 (cf. the Sept. Psalm 68:22 ()) (cf. B. D., under the word Gall); Acts 8:23 (on which see πικρία); for מְרֵרָה, Job 16:13.
Then we can get to the Old Testament word from Job 16:13 in which we learn the root word for this is marar (4843) which is found in our opening scripture with the woman drinking the bitter water. He tasted the bitter waters we have had to drink because of our transgressions: “These bitter herbs, called maror (ma-ror), are symbolic of the bitterness of slavery and the miserable existence in Egypt. To us as Christians, the eating of bitter herbs reminds us of our lives before we knew the Savior. The maror also symbolizes the bitter cup our Lord tasted on our behalf. The horseradish brings tears to our eyes as we taste it and remember”(Celebrating Biblical Feasts, Zimmerman, pg. 67). This means, He knew what it was like to be us. Yet, He was still sin free. Remember, He had been fully tested in the 40 days in the desert (see Matthew 4). Thus, when Jesus tasted this drink yet chose not to drink He was stating He is like us in that He understands the bitterness and that He is the one and only pure Passover Lamb (fully man and fully God) that would choose to be sacrificed for the whole world (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Now that we are sure He is THE PASSOVER LAMB of all Passover lambs let’s see why He drank the last vinegar offered to Him? This is the last act He does before yielding up His Spirit. And it is a critical move on His part. This is the only time this word is used in the New Testament scripture. The Greek word for vinegar here is:
3690 óksos – Definition: vinegar, sour wine mixed with water, a common drink of Roman soldiers.
Just before His last statement, after He had taken all of the worlds transgressions, iniquities, pain, diseases, wounded for our crimes, punished for our sins, disciplined for our wholeness (Isaiah 53), Jesus cries out My God, My God why have You forsaken Me! Jesus says this because His Father allowed Jesus to become each of us on the Cross. Jesus became every person that has ever been born and all of our wrong doing, all of our disease was put on Him the perfect sacrifice.
Before Jesus gives up His Spirit he does one last thing He drinks the sour wine, vinegar or vinegar wine. I believe I am only scratching the surface here. I believe Jesus drinking this sour wine/vinegar symbolizes a few things and I want to point out two of them. First, this word vinegar is associated with Number 6:3 chomats (2558) and is something a Nazarite could not drink when making a vow to God to separate him or herself from the world and live only for God. I believe His drinking this chomats Jesus was making it known that through Him you would now be separated from the world (John 15:19). That only through Him is access to a relationship with God. We no longer had to make a vow and work for the relationship with God. A relationship was provided by the work Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
Second, we needed to understand that the full cup of God’s wrath had been finished on the Cross within Jesus Himself. There are many scriptures that state cup of wrath but the one I want to look at is in Isaiah 51:22
“this is what your Lord ADONAI says, your God, who defends his people: “Here, I have removed from your hand the cup of drunkenness, the goblet of my fury. You will never drink it again.” CJB
Isaiah 51-54 tells of the hope that is coming in and through Jesus Christ. It tells of ALL that will be accomplished through Him. It tells of God’s plan for ALL the people of the world through His Son’s sacrifice. When Jesus took that drink after He had asked why have You forsaken me, it was that He had fully drank the cup of fury or anger and we as believers in Him NEVER HAVE TO DRINK IT AGAIN because He physically removed it. He kept His promise. He proclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” ALL OF IT!
Let me make this as clear as day. The curse has been removed from us. We as believers DO NOT, CAN NOT EVER live under a curse, EVER. Once you understand and truly know this truth you stand in the power and authority Jesus Christ suffered, drank, died and resurrected for us to have. Read Isaiah above again actually go and read Isaiah 51-54 for yourself and understand or see ALL of what God did for us through His Beloved Son and remember Who lives in you through His Holy Spirit. Many times I have known Christians have believed we can be cursed but that is not TRUTH. We can not be cursed….now if you believe you can then I believe that causes the ability for the curse to alight (Proverbs 26:2). Since Jesus swallowed God’s fury that should have been our due, I stand fully aware in what Jesus did for me. I simply trust, believe in what Jesus did for me. So can you!
I have been studying blessings and curses and how it pertains to what Jesus did for us. I have been also studying the armor of God that Paul talks about in Ephesians. God will tell us things so that we pray, so that we stand. I think the standing we have learned vs the way the early believers stood are different. I believe this is because the early believers knew it was a fight for faith or trust above anything else-remember Paul firmly stated to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy (2 Ti) 4:7) and also, “Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you testified so well to your faith before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12).
Faith meaning to believe, trust, cling to. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In Romans 14:23 Paul states, “But the doubter comes under condemnation if he eats, because his action is not based on trust. And anything not based on trust is a sin.”. Now, no worries here because Paul talks more about faith or trust here in Romans 12:6 “But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, use it to the extent of your trust;”. And remember Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man takes and sows in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up it is larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the birds flying about come and nest in its branches.”” Mattityahu (Mat) 13:31-32 CJB. Also Paul stated, “For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift.” Ephesians (Eph) 2:8 CJB. So, we start off with a mustard seed and God grows our faith which is a gift of God.
Some may have more trust in one area and another more trust in a different area….that is why Paul said, “or, to put it another way, so that by my being with you, we might, through the faith we share, encourage one another.” The common faith, trust or belief in Who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us we have as believers when we come together we are able to encourage one another as God grows our faith in who we are in Him through our life circumstances.
I refuse to make the enemy bigger than God (read Why Seek Something Inferior??? (Charlie Game) or God Is Bigger Than The Boogeyman?) or believe that God doesn’t know the circumstances that are going on in my life (read God’s Big Plan). Faith or trust in Who God is and all of what Jesus Christ did for us in His death and resurrection is exactly what the enemy wants us not to trust or believe in. We tend to think it is about the circumstances when truly the enemy is trying to bring doubt to our belief or trust in ALL that Jesus did and how the Father loves us. This is truly the enemy’s tactic. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your trust. That is what he is roaming about to do. Yet God brought eternal life through His Son which we receive through trust. So with this foundation in the next post I will get into either the armor of God or blessings and curses…..stay tuned. 😊 This is exciting stuff!