Category Archives: It’s all about Jesus

Q363 “when does hope become faith?”

Faith is such an illusive truth ~ it waves its promises in our faces ~ it beacons us with the anticipation of “a new way to live” ~ yet so few live the life it promises, so few discover the deep currents of the Spirit.

Sure we grasp the gift of salvation, the beauty of Christ, the wonder of His love ~ yet “the life of faith” seems to elude our grasp…. to the extend that many settle for its counterpart “a life of hope”. Hope in itself is a good thing, in fact; it is the forerunner to faith ~ but it isn’t faith, and never can be.

Hope springs from the heart of man, faith springs from the heart of God.

There is a generally accepted notion that “living by faith” is immediately ours when we turn to Christ ~ that by leaving behind the old life of faithlessness we automatically become its opposite, “filled with faith”. It’s not so, our salvation is simply that we have ‘stepped into God’s faithfulness’, the life of faith now awaits us… if we can discover its unique rhythms.

It’s not that God is hiding the ‘way of faith’ from us, that He has deliberately made it hard to find ~ its just that it can’t be found when we search for it with our earth glasses on. We need to put on our heaven glasses (like night vision glasses), we can only find it with the eyes of the heart, the vision of the inner man.

Many Christians repeat spiritual truths (they have all of the correct information) ~ but this information hasn’t become revelation because it is still perceived from an earthly perspective. Earth glasses turn spiritual truths into hope, the eyes of the heart turn spiritual truths into faith. And all because of one thing ~ hope, seeks the method for converting spiritual information into reality ~ faith, declares the spiritual information is already reality.

Hope says, “what must I do to receive this spiritual truth”. Faith says, “I have this spiritual truth because of what Christ did“.

In many circles this ‘hope thinking’ masquerades as faith so well, that many folk believe it is faith…. but it isn’t. We can dress-up hope with spiritual talk and rhetoric, we can cloth it with all of the garb of faith so that many people are impressed ~ but it’s still just earth-based ambition.

While hope is attempting to get God’s attention, faith is soaring on the wings of the Spirit… hope seeks while faith rests.

In the end it comes down to this ;

Hope attempts to engage God in the issues of life, it tries to activate spiritual truths through its own resources, it strives to pull the work of Christ into the drama of earth.

Faith declares that God became engaged in the issues of life 2000 years ago, the truths of the Spirit were activated when Christ shed His blood for us, every issue of the earth was nailed to the cross with Christ ~ the drama is hidden in Him not in me.

… such sweet rest, in the work of Christ.

Graeme

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Filed under It's all about Jesus, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith

Q301 “what is the one thing God can’t do as well as me?”

That question got your attention ~ what could God possibly not be good at ? ~ He is omniscient after all, all-powerful ~ and I am just plain old mortal me.

Yet there is one thing that I can do better than God, much better in fact… 100 times better… 1 million times better !!

I can remember my sins.

I have a hopeless memory, I need to write notes to myself, I need to ask my wife questions about stuff that happened – all the time, I need to ask people what their name was – again. Sometimes my wife will ask me ” do you remember a certain event that happened last year” and I scratch my head and try really hard to remember it, but I can’t find it in my head… and I don’t remember all my sins either.

But God is even worse at remembering my sins than I am ~ Heb. 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” In fact, God can’t remember any of my sins ~ not just the small ones, or the old ones ~ He can’t remember any, even the really big, recent ones ~ and here’s the real kicker, He has forgotten tomorrows sins even before I committed them.

Now, we know that God has been around for a long time, but this memory loss has nothing to do with the aging process. It’s actually a characteristic that is unique to God, it is connected to His creative ability (by His word He can create anything) ~ and by His word He can un-create anything (it’s reverse-creation). That’s why in Isaiah 43:25 He says; “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more”.

What we have created, God has un-created ~ that’s how He is able to forget it, because He has un-created it, (as if it never existed). Whatever God blots-out is fully-blotted… trust me – nothing, no-one, no sin, can stand against His blotting-out power. He can create out of nothing ~ and He can un-create back to nothing ~ that’s blotting out.

Now, imagine you are in prayer and a sin committed pops into your mind, so you say to God; “before we go on, I just want to confess a sin to you” ~ God scratches His head and tries really hard to find it ~ eventually He says, I’ve looked everywhere for that sin, I’ve gone through all the records and it’s not there, all I can see at that time was that you were in Christ… now, that is something I remember really well, it was when my Son Jesus stormed hell and took all of your sins, past, present, and future, and threw them in the sea of my forgetfulness ~ that was a day worth remembering.

It’s quite silly really, that we insist on bringing up sins that God has forgotten. And besides, it’s also just a little bit offensive – our habit of telling God that Jesus didn’t do a good enough job of disposing of our sins.

Graeme

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Filed under Grace - the most lavish gift, It's all about Jesus, Renewing the mind

Q181 ” which bridge to burn, which bridge to keep ?”

If you burn your bridges, you do something that makes it impossible to go back from the position you have taken. Yet so often we are reluctant to burn some bridges that should have been set alight the moment we received salvation. The result is that we cross back and forward over some matters of faith that we were only meant to cross once.

Lets take John 5:24 as an example, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”. That bridge must be burned, we don’t ever want to re-cross it back to death.

How do we burn that bridge? Contrary to what you may have heard it is not by doing good and living a life that is pleasing to God, it is by believing that Jesus did good and His life was pleasing to God. In fact by placing confidence in our own good works we construct a gospel which is different to the one that saves us. The gospel that saves us is by grace alone, and the gospel that keeps us saved is by the same grace aloneif only we just stopped living so introspectively we would discover that in Christ all fear of failing is dead and gone.

What bridge do we keep? We retain the bridge of ‘faith in the blood of Jesus’- it is the ONLY bridge we need. Everyday our lives are lived from the fullness of our inheritance in Him. Everyday we drink deep drafts of the water of life. The sacrifice that Christ made for us has resolved every issue both spiritual and physical we will ever have.

2 Peter 1:3 says “His power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him”. The bridge of the knowledge of the complete work of Christ on our behalf is a forever and ever bridge.

Yet how many have retained the bridge that ‘we crossed over from death to life’ – simply by the act of fearing that He is still measuring our worthiness. We are worthy by His grace not by our works.

And how many have burnt the bridge of ‘faith in the blood of Jesus’ – simply by placing confidence in their own righteousness instead of His. We are worthy by his grace not by our works.

The power of the blood of Christ has burnt the bridge of the dominion of the kingdom of darkness over me, I will not re-construct the bridge that cost Him his life by doubting that His sacrifice was sufficient – even for me.

Graeme

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Filed under It's all about Jesus, No more guilt or condemnation, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus

Q1. “is God good ?”

Happy New Year, welcome to 2012 – the year of renewing our minds !

“is God good ?” seriously, I thought this was going to be a blog with a bit more depth. Of course God is good, otherwise why do we believe in Him ?

Think about this – many Christians say that they believe God is good, but act as if He has a dark side. How often have you heard the statement ‘everything happens for a reason’ ? which implies that God sends us bad stuff to make us into good people… Most of the Christians I know think that God sends them good stuff and bad stuff so that they will eventually mature into grown up Christians, its as if God is giving them a test to see if they can respond in a way that is pleasing to Him.

This question is 1 of 3 questions which we will look at over the next 3 days – these questions form the framework of our entire Christian response to life and the first one, ‘is God good’ is the real make or break one. If I cant get this one right it will effect every aspect of my Christianity. My confidence in my daily walk with God is completely about this question.

Christianity is not a melding of 2 covenants, Law & Grace – it is an abolishing of the old covenant so that God’s kindness and favor can continually and unrelentingly flow through our lives. Eph. 2:15 says that Christ abolished the law with it’s commandments and regulations, Heb. 10:14 says we have been made perfect forever.

God does not send good and bad so that we can participate in His self improvement program, He has already made us perfect through Christ – no more improvement required. Christ died and removed sin from me and now God is completely and irrevocably happy with me. This is a huge leap for some, it sounds presumptuous and disrespectful, but give it time…

so now I live today and forever in the river of life which is teeming with all God’s goodness.

Graeme

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Filed under Christ in me, Grace - the most lavish gift, It's all about Jesus, Renewing the mind