Don’t Be An Angry Porcupine

Some people change as easily as the seasons and yet there are many who embrace change as if they were hugging an angry porcupine! It’s a fight all the way with lots of kicking and screaming!

Growth means change and when we are opposed to change we are not open to growing. Therefore many Christians are still in the baby stage of their walk with God when they should be teachers of His word (Heb. 5:12). Have you ever seen a plant or a tree (or an organization) that’s growing and not in a constant state of change? For the plant or tree it’s easy. It just grows and the change is evident to everyone. Our life should be just like that—growing, changing, and evident to the world. The Word of God in us is the same. When planted in a fertile heart, it just produces, easily.

 

No Substitutions Please

If you’re like a lot of Christians, you have probably tried to change many times but find it hard and frustrating. Why? Because you aren’t going about it God’s way. Many substitute prayer, fasting, and self-effort for the seed of God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong, prayer and fasting are important! They are like water and fertilizer to a seed. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that not depending on self-effort means NO EFFORT! The only effort on your part is to put God’s Word in your heart and protect and nurture it. Then God’s Word will produce the change. You cannot disregard faith, but don’t turn your faith (or fasting or prayer) into a work of the flesh.  A seed needs water and fertilizer. But it is the seed that has the design and the miracle that produces life in it. The Word is the seed but it needs to be watered and fertilized.

Eph. 4:15 says, ‘But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:’

How do we grow?

Well, we must eat and exercise and live a long time and experience things and learn from them along the way.

We Will Never Grow Unless We Want to Grow

We must WANT to grow.

1 Peter 2:2 says, ‘Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.’

Many like being babies. They don’t want to grow. It’s easy to be a baby – no responsibility, others feed you, clothe you, and change your diaper. But we should never be content to being a baby throughout our life. That should not the goal you have before you. We are born babies so we can grow up and be productive and useful.

I guarantee that something in your life is about to change, so just get ready and grow with it. When Jesus came there was a change and the religious people did not want the change. People who are hard to change are normally religious in their thinking and ways of doing things, because they do or don’t do those things religiously.

The Covenant Changed

In Exodus 19: 4- 8 we can see something about change. Here there was an exchange of covenants and in verses 9-20 we see that everything changed. The children of Israel elected to come under a different covenant based on their performance, and it was not pretty. But thanks be unto God that all changed again under Jesus and God does not deal with us today like He dealt with the Old Testament people. Why? Because He is operating under a different agreement with us, His Sons and Daughters. We are under the agreement of grace and not law. It is no longer do good – get good and do bad – get bad.

Titus 2: 11& 12 says, ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;’

If you think because you are under grace you can just go out and sin, then you really don’t even know what grace is. You do not understand grace. You are not under grace because you don’t know grace. Jesus is grace and truth. John 1:17, ‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Grace and Truth are a singular unit and a singular verb in the Greek language, they are synonymous terms. You cannot separate grace and truth, this unmerited favor is truth and this truth is unmerited favor. And they came by Jesus.

Look at Joseph, he did not have a law, so how did he know what to do? The answer is he had a personal relationship with God. To know Him is to love Him and to know Him is to understand just how much He loves you. When we have a real revelation of His love for us it will stop being all about how much we say we love Him and all about how much we tell of His great love for us.

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

What Sin Are You Talking About

Hebrews 8:10 (KJV) 
10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

What an awesome statement! God said He would be merciful to our unrighteousness and would not remember our sins and iniquities anymore. The difference between the Old and the New Covenants is in this scripture right here. If only Christians could believe this! And the reason why many Christians haven’t accepted this is because the Old Covenant wasn’t merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and iniquities were held against us. They have been living in the Old Covenant (in their thinking) and have not entered into the New Covenant. We can know that if the Lord doesn’t remember our sins, then He certainly can’t and won’t bring them up to us. He has removed them as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12). If God doesn’t remember them, neither should we (Hebrews 10:2).

When the Lord made a new covenant with us through Jesus, then the other covenant became old and should be retired, likewise with the commandments The Greek word “APHANISMOS,” which was translated “to vanish away” in this verse, means “disappearance, i.e. (figuratively) abrogation” (Strong’s Concordance). The word “abrogate” means “to abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority” (American Heritage Dictionary). The Old Testament Law should disappear and be abolished. – Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

 

There is an old song by an old gospel group, The Spear Family, titled “What Sins Are You Talking About” (see the link). I was reminded of it as I sat down to write this. We are living in the most exciting times in history and God is pouring out His love and gifts all throughout this world and we are right in the middle of it. And because of this the enemy is also stepping up his efforts. But let me encourage you in something…”we always win”!! One of the areas I see the devil operating in that is keeping the children of God held back is in the area of self-condemnation and guilt. These are not from God! (Romans 8:1) (Out of the sixteen translations that I checked, eleven left out the phrase, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”) So what’s my point? It is this…’that there is NO condemnation from the Lord to those who are in Him, PERIOD.’ But if believers walk “after” the flesh, there can be condemnation against them from other sources. It is impossible for me to go into every aspect of this truth in this short article, but do some study on your own and use the resources that are available. Greek concordances and translations and commentaries are all available on-line and most are free.

IN & AFTER

The use of the words “in” and “after” in this chapter are very important. “In” signifies a fixed place or position. “After” signifies a lifestyle. Christians (and this is so very important to constantly keep in the forefront of our thinking) are “in” Christ and should walk “after” Christ. Now it is possible for a believer who is “in” Christ to walk “after” the flesh. But a true Christian cannot be “in” the flesh (Romans 8:9). We do not have TWO natures living on the inside of us. When you accept Christ as your Savior your spirit is totally made new and there is no old sin nature left inside of you. This probably comes as a complete shock to a lot of you reading this who have been taught to believe in the-old-nature-versus-the-new-nature theology. Many Christians have been taught to believe that after salvation they are still the same at their core. I heard one minister say this (as a matter of fact years ago I said it myself), “it’s like having two wild dogs on the inside of you and to whichever one you say sickum to the most wins” and they live the rest of their lives trying to restrain this old nature. They believe they have two natures. Dear friends, that’s schizophrenic, and it produces Christians who are nothing like Christ. So, why then…..you may be thinking, do Christians still struggle to live the ‘Christian life? Well, in Romans 6:6 it says this “That the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” The sin nature is dead and gone, but like us when we die we will leave behind a body, and the body left behind in this case is the carnal mind. It’s like a computer that has bad programming in it and until it is reprogrammed it will function under the old program. It needs to be programmed. But GOOD NEWS is that the Bible says in Rom. 12:2 that your mind can be renewed or programmed, transformed. (see also I Cor. 2:16) If you have not studied the subject of Spirit, Soul and Body, let me encourage you to do so as it will open up the Word of God for you. It is a powerful study!

Paul makes it very clear, distinguishing between “in” and “after”,  that born again people cannot be “in” the flesh but they can walk “after” the flesh. I know this upsets some of our thinking and theology but it needs to be. The word that was translated “in” here is the Greek word “EN,” and it denotes a “(fixed) position (in place, time or state)” (Strong’s Concordance # G1722). In contrast, the word that was translated “after” in Romans 8:1, 4-5, and 12-13 denotes “according to anything as a standard, agreeably to” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon G2596). Therefore, when Paul spoke of being “in” the flesh or Spirit, he was referring to a fixed position or state. When he spoke of being “after” the flesh or Spirit, he was referring to whatever we might be using as a standard of conduct or whatever we are agreeing to at some point in time. Christians can agree to or conduct their actions according to some standard other than God’s and still keep their position in Christ (Romans 6:20) (chew slowly as this is a big piece of meat). So Christians can walk “after” the flesh, but they are never considered “in” the flesh. So now we know this truth, that we are now new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and have a new identity, we are a new species that never existed before (as one translation puts it) which is our spiritual man, not the flesh. An unbeliever might try to walk “after” Christ, but the truth is they will always be “in” the flesh until they put their faith in Christ alone. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ (Heb. 11:6)

Romans 6:22 makes an amazing point. Paul is saying that in the same way that our good acts could not change our sinful nature before we were born again, likewise, our sinful acts cannot change our righteous nature now that we have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Servants of sin is a description of people before they were born again, and likewise when he says free from righteousness he is not saying that a lost person cannot do anything that is right but what he is saying is all, every good act they do is not enough to change their NATURE. Why? Because they must be born again. (John 3:3,16)

RECEIVE HIS GIFT OF NO CONDEMNATION

So why am I saying all this? It is to bring you, the Christian, out of the place where the devil defeats so many and keeps God’s children dwelling on sin and keeps healing from being manifested and victory maintained. When the Christian continues in condemnation and guilt he or she lives a sick and defeated life. The Greek word translated “condemnation” in Romans 8:1 is “KATAKRIMA,” and it means “an adverse sentence (the verdict)” (Strong’s Concordance # 2631). Paul was stating that God has no adverse sentence against us once we receive Him and confess Him as Lord. All our punishment has been placed on Jesus, and we don’t need to bear it because if we were to bear it then that would be double jeopardy (Legal Definition: No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure). Those of us who still walk in condemnation are being condemned by the devil or are condemning ourselves. It is not God who condemns us! That would be a miscarriage of justice and God is faithful and just. (Romans 8:34).

We, as born again believers, are free from the law of sin and death. We are free to receive God’s free gift of Righteousness and no condemnation. We are free to walk in health and victory and joy and peace. It is time for the child of God to do as the Father of Jesus has done and accept the judgment that was placed on Jesus as sufficient and as full payment for the debt of sin that was owed.

 

 

References

Strong’s Concordance

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of New Testament Words

King James Bible

Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

 

 Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone