Category Archives: The complete work of Jesus

Q349 “do the flesh and the spirit agree?”

Many Christians spend their entire lives uncertain of their salvation, always examining the depth of their repentance, the validity of their decision and the substance of their belief. This is a dilemma that can’t be resolved by self-examination, there will always be weaknesses in our response to God, there will always be areas of our lives that need to be worked on.

The only way we can ever put this dilemma to rest once-and-for-all, is to examine the work of Christ instead of examining ourselves ~ after all, God examines the work of Christ when He looks at our weakness and sin, and is satisfied in His examination.

If the assurance of our salvation depended on our part in the process, it would always be found lacking. We come stumbling and bumbling out of the kingdom of darkness (when viewed from the perspective of our response, conviction, and determination)… when we view this event from the viewpoint of the work of Christ it is robust, bold, and rock-solid.

God never left anything to chance when He set about the task of saving us, He didn’t provide for a 50/50 transaction, (50% His work on the cross, and 50% our belief) ~ He didn’t establish the work of salvation on such a precarious foundation (the vagaries of mankind’s response), He placed the entire task upon the shoulders of Christ ~ there was no measurement of our response or determination to change our lifestyle involved…. all that was required was that we gaze upon the sacrifice of Christ and accept it, say ‘Yes thankyou’ to it.

The flesh wants us to swing the spotlight back on to ‘the evidence of conversion’ ~ the flesh has determined that if we are saved then an obvious change of lifestyle will be visible…

The trouble is that; the flesh was not born again – the spirit was ~ it is not for the flesh to determine the evidence of a work of the Spirit, the flesh doesn’t know what to look for ~ in fact; very often changes to lifestyle wrought by the flesh are short-lived and superficial. The flesh is a doubter, the flesh measures degrees of change and always comes up short, the flesh is always cynical about the work of the Spirit.

The Spirit on the other hand speaks to us daily of the accomplishments of the blood of Christ ~ the Spirit waits for us to get to the end of our self-effort and determination, the Spirit patiently waits for us to throw our hands up in despair and declare “I can’t do it, I can’t live a life worthy of the blood of Christ, I can’t make my lifestyle reflect the life of Christ” at that point the Spirit is able to show us another way, He begins to instruct us in the ways of the Spirit… that uniquely Christian rest known as; “Christ in me“.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”… the Spirit says place your confidence in the sacrifice of Christ, and watch me work the works of God through you.

Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus

Q316 “when is repentance sin?”

Repentance is hailed by legalists as the last, best, good work. When they have run out of rules and regulations and have to concede that the old covenant is over, they wave the repentance flag in the desperate hope that someone will remain bogged down in the mire of the law to keep them company.

What exactly is repentance ? Repentance is a change of heart – a turning in the opposite direction – a letting go of the old, to embrace the new. It is to believe in something you previously didn’t. It’s turning toward Jesus.

What is not repentance ? A heart that wants to please God by its remorse. A determination to walk away from sin. A committment to live a more honourable life. A decision of the will to do better. It’s not turning toward my self own improvement.

There is only one last, best, good work ~ the death and resurrection of Christ in payment for our sin debt, we do not participate in the process, nor do we do anything that brings us into God’s favour. Prior to becoming Christians we were dead in our sins, dead people can’t be remorseful, make commitments, or decide to follow God. All dead people can do is be brought back to life, repentance is simply the acknowledgement that Christ breathed new life into us at the cross “I no longer live but Christ lives in me”.

Repentance has nothing to do with how you intend to live now that you’ve chosen to believe, but is has everything to do with realizing that Christ purchased your freedom from sin, death and satan ~ and accepting this new condition.

Repentance becomes sin when we shift the focus off the work of Christ and onto the work of myself, (my decision to do better). Repentance is all about Jesus, and not at all about me.  When I shift the spotlight on to my own effort to respond, my own choice to live better, my own ambition to give it all ~ then I am entering into a work of the flesh, and every work of the flesh has it’s origin in sin.

I guess that’s the tragedy of it all ~ repentance is supposed to be all about realizing the wonder of Christ and falling into His grace and love, unfortunately legalists have turned repentance into a work of man ~ the result being that many Christians remain bound-up by the law, too scared to trust in the goodness of Christ alone to lift them out of the mire of sin.

The sin of repentance is the compulsive need of mankind to do something for himself. The grace of repentance is the realization we can do nothing for ourselves, so we fall into the goodness of the cross of Christ. Our repentance is not a gesture we offer God ~ but a gift He offers us.

It reminds me of the time Jesus dressed-down the Pharisees for keeping the people under bondage in Matt. 23:15 “…you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are”  –   sobering stuff…

Graeme

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Filed under Grace - the most lavish gift, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus, The defeat of satan, sin & death

Q236 “am I still a sinner?”

I give myself between 450 to 500 words to write a post, that’s not always enough words to make plain every aspect of the subject matter, but today I want to leave readers with absolute certainty about what I hold to be true.

A few days ago someone made this comment to me; “for Christ’s sake, why don’t you stop playing around and tell people they are sinners?”, or words to that effect.

The answer is simply because; we are not sinners!!!  this blog aims at renewing the minds of believers, (that’s not to say that if an unbeliever stumbles upon my blog I don’t want them to read it ~ but they cannot yet have their mind renewed because the Spirit of God has not yet made His home in them, and so they need to face up to their need for a saviour first); ~ but they are not the group that I am writing to. I am writing to believers… and they are not sinners.

This statement may seem like presumptuous sacrilege to some people, and indeed it would be if it depended on my own efforts, but it has nothing to do with my efforts ~ it is 100% the outcome of the shed blood of Christ.

John 16: 8-11 tells us; “And He (the Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 1. concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 2. and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 3. and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged”. Lets unpack this; The Holy Spirit will convict the unsaved of their sin and their need for a saviour, He will convict the saved of their righteousness in Christ, and He will convict satan that he stands condemned. The Holy Spirit no longer convicts the believer of sin, because the blood of Christ has destroyed sin on their behalf, if He were to convict believers of sin he would be declaring that the blood of Christ was not enough.

Yet; that is exactly what many Christians are taught the world over, they are taught that sin remains in them, that they must continually confess it to retain their standing with God ~ this teaching is the biggest miscarriage of the truth possible, it is a lie from the pit of hell, as Paul puts it “it is another gospel”. I will not have a bar of that teaching, it is the most destructive, debilitating, deception yet invented by the religious controllers.

You might say; ‘but I still sin’… yes, we all fail, we all get things wrong, we all miss the mark ~ simply put; we forget or fail to live in our new identity in Christbut our new nature is sinless regardless, we were made perfect by His blood.

Graeme

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Filed under My perfect union with God, No more guilt or condemnation, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus

Q203 ” what’s the worst thing you have ever done ?”

As far as I know I haven’t met anyone who has murdered anyone, (but you never know for sure because it’s not the kind of thing one broadcasts). Taking a life has got to be high on the list of bad acts, but there are plenty of others; adultery, robbery, deceit, abortion, pride, addiction, indifference…etc.

One thing I am certain of is that if you ask a person what is the thing they are most ashamed of doing in their life – something immediately comes to mind. It seems to me almost everyone has got a ‘stand-out failure’ that they regret deeply. Whats yours ?

Being mindful of our failings is a normal human condition, we are wired up toward guilt, we wish we could relive that moment or period in our lives – we wish we could take it all back and do it the right way. We wish…

My observation is that in the main, Christians are not as good at forgiving themselves as God is. We have a tendency to hold on to regret and guilt as if it is a burden we are expected to bear for life, in exchange for our salvation. The notion of forgiving ourselves for our past failings can seem irresponsible considering the hurt and pain our actions may have caused. We tend to see forgiveness as being a condition that pertains to eternal life after we die, but not especially related to the here and now… Why?because our mind wont let us forget our worst moments.

Rom. 12:2 instructs us to “be transformed by the renewing of our mind“… I would contend that, if after receiving the gift of righteousness from Christ we continue to be conscious of our sins, then we have not allowed our minds to be renewed. If the blood of Christ is powerful to wash away our sin, then we must allow ourselves to fully agree with it’s work and declare ourselves perfect, holy and righteous. To do less is to call the blood of Jesus ineffective and the word of God a lie. There is nothing godly or spiritual about feeling unworthy – the blood of Christ has made every believer completely worthy before God.

Becoming righteous is not a process that depends on the maturity of our Christian walk, it is an instantaneous transformation. God  is not slowly chipping away at us to get us into shape, he re-built us in his image in a split second when we believed.

We wouldn’t be ready to stand before God in a million years if it depended on some divine personal improvement program, No, we were completely improved when we were re-born of God.

ain’t it grand !!

cheers, G

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Filed under Christ in me, No more guilt or condemnation, The complete work of Jesus

Q188 ” what happened at the cross ?”

If we view the cross only from the perspective of the visible, earthly suffering and death of Christ we miss the full impact of the drama that took place. It would be like going to the opera and watching only one person on stage when there are many others performing their parts.

I’m sure Christ himself was very aware of the wider drama taking place. He had a clear view of the evil powers that were arrayed against him as well as the angelic hosts looking on. He was also always intimately conscious of the Father and Spirits presence in His life, which is confirmed by His statement on the cross when He became sin for us “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me”.

Christ was true God as well as true man. We know the man part was brutally killed on the cross, but what of the God part. The God part (or eternal Spirit) cannot die, but it was subjected to punishment beyond imagination (separation from the Father). We don’t know if this separation lasted minutes or days, but we do know that when it happened Jesus was full of sin, every sin of mankind was focused into his Spirit, every vile act, every deceitful thought, every lustful intent contaminated His purity.

By choosing to become the scapegoat for mankind Jesus sentenced himself to the most appalling anguish, He knew it was coming, and He took it like a lamb to the slaughter. The nails through His hands and feet were shocking in themselves, the scourging, whipping and beating were unimaginably cruel, but the thing that was most agonizing, was bearing in His perfect Spirit all of the sin of the human race.

What happened on the cross was this, ‘ the perfect darling son of heaven was transformed into the most grotesque  of sinners to ever walk the earth’, this sinful condition attracted the full wrath of His Father God, and He was punished with the full force of the law, He was abandoned by the very one who He had been with in perfect loving union for all eternity, and subject to unimaginable shame and humiliation.

When justice had been done, punishment meted out, the expectations of the eternal legal system satisfied for me and you and every sinner to ever walk the earth, the Father said “IT IS DONE”, I am satisfied that no human being now needs to spend eternity in darkness, removed from my presence.

Now mankind will be friends of God forever, as they look upon the cross and receive for themselves the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Such is the drama of the cross.

Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, Renewing the mind, The complete work of Jesus, The defeat of satan, sin & death

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

Q144 ” what about someone who receives Christ but continues to live like an unbeliever ?”

This is a question that is troubling not only for us in this century, but also troubled Paul in the first century.

Firstly, lets say this much;  the moment we believe in the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross – we have eternal life. John 6:47 says “he who believes has everlasting life”.  That means that irrespective of our behaviour, the blood of Christ is effective in saving us, because it is His behaviour not ours, that brings us right standing with God.

In Galations 5, Paul talks about 2 themes, Freedom in Christ & Life by the Spirit. These 2 themes are companions, they are always supposed to travel together. It is only as we see our awesome release from all bondage obtained for us on the cross, that we are energized to live magnificent lives by the Spirit. To attempt to live in such a way without a revelation of Christ is religion at it’s worst – simply dead works.

By talking about the fruit of the Spirit, v22-23, Paul is describing what a life led by the Spirit looks like. He is not saying -‘you need to bear this fruit to qualify as a Christian’ but rather ‘because Christ has already qualified you as a Christian by the blood He shed for you – this is what your life will look like”.

Unfortunately, the Christian church in the western world is so well established now that the very fundamentals of our faith are often lost in programs, culture and traditions. Many Christians rarely talk about the very one who’s name they have adopted as Lord and Saviour. It is as though they know about Him, but they don’t know Him.

In my view it is impossible to live a life that is blatantly un-Christian once we have grasped the magnitude of what Christ accomplished on the cross. It would be like watching a loved one die and then going about your life as if nothing had happened – quite unthinkable.

So my conclusion is this; we must stop playing church! We must stop presenting a gospel that treats the precious shed blood of Christ as if it was only a tragic event that happened 2000 years ago. It is personal, it is to be treasured by each individual, it cannot be treated lightly, if we truly grasp it’s magnitude it will change us forever then we will truly live like a believer.

I’ve been a Christian a long time, but it wasn’t until I stared in awe at the staggering work of the cross that I was  really motivated to live for Him. But now it’s such a joy, not a chore, just to live for Him.

Graeme

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Filed under How to be a believer, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith, The complete work of Jesus