Tag Archives: Jesus

Q235 “is it possible to be a believer who doesn’t believe?”

This would be a really funny question if it wasn’t so tragic. The hallmark of a believer (Christian) is to believe in the works of Christ. Yet the institution that is broadly called ‘Christianity’ doesn’t always believe in the works of Christ ~ sometimes it just participates in the activities of the organisation known as the church.

It all comes down to our understanding of the word “believe”. We use this word a lot; I believe that children are our future,.. I believe in love,.. I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows,.. I believe that all men are created equal…. There is a difference between these expressions of belief and the Christian meaning;  these are personal values, they are an expression of our deepest opinions, an inner yearning, a firmly held ideal.

Belief, as portrayed in the above paragraph is not the belief portrayed in the bible. Belief in the Christian context is this;To align ones life so fully with the finished work of Christ that no other truth obstructs it’s reality in our lives“. In other words, I am putting all my eggs in Christ’s basket, I am staking my entire existence on Him. There is no plan B, there is no grey area, He is the primary fact that fills my entire screen.

The reality is; that many Christians don’t realize that they do not actually believe in God, they only believe in the ‘idea of God’.

That’s why Hebrews 11:1 says; “being certain of what we do not see” ~ believing is the crazy notion that if God says it, then it is true, even when our circumstances scream out ‘liar’. It is the stuff that causes believers to step forward into an arena of man eating lions, it is the raw material that says ‘I will never bow down to onother God even though you burn me alive’. Yet; we modern Christians seem to have lost the ability to live confidently in the simple statement; “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”, and so at the first sign of difficulty we blurt out ‘where are you God, I’m having such a bad week?’ … at the outset of trouble we beg, plead, make deals and try to manipulate God anyway we can.

That’s not believing in God, that’s believing in the idea of God.

We all have noble notions of how we would never deny the faith, even under torture we would hold the line for Jesus, they can saw-me-assunder and I wont recount!!! But it’s all a bit silly really,  if we don’t know how to stand strong in God when someone smears our reputation, or leaves us out of their party invitation list.

If he is God we can stand strong in Him ~ if He is just an idea we subscribe to, then we might as well put our trust in the easter bunny.

cheers, Graeme

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Filed under Gazing upon the cross, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith

Q211 “what’s the most offensive thing a Christian can do?”

Ok, I don’t know the answer if we are talking about whether swearing is worse than lying… or omission is worse than commission.

But I do know that there is one thing that causes the angels to squirm and the demons to laugh  out loud more than anything – ‘when Christians don’t believe in the efficacy of the blood of Jesus‘. It must make the hosts of heaven so frustrated that they could spit when a believer lives no different from an unbeliever, knowing that the blood of Jesus has set them so far apart –(I’m not sure if angels spit).

And it’s not just angels, Rom.8:19 says “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed”, everything created is observing humanity watching and waiting to see who gets it, anticipating the moment when the powerful blood of Jesus exerts it’s mighty energy against a stubborn heart or situation. The created world has eyes, and they are trained on us, waiting to see if we will entrust everything to Jesus.

The most offensive thing a Christian can ever do is to carry in his heart the very Spirit of God, to bear the perfect righteousness of Jesus as a gift of grace, to be hidden with Christ in God… and yet live his life as if this was some sort of heavenly fairy tale, a divine myth that it’s nice to know about, but requires no real personal response.

I am so utterly infused with the blood of Christ that it is more real than a dip into a hot bath at home, how could I live as if this fact was somehow theoretical or metaphorical. The angels must scratch their heads in amazement when they observe us Christians in such a divinely cleansed condition, but living as if nothing has happened.

So, what to do ?

In some respects it is easier to live inoffensively before the eyes of mankind – than the blood of Jesus. The world simply wants us to live decently, but the blood of Christ deserves our life, our soul, our all. In the same way that the blood of those martyred in Rev.6:9 cried out to God for vengeance, so also the blood of Christ cries out to us to believe in it’s life giving power.

By now most readers will know that I’m not one for piling-on condemnation… because, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, we do however have a unique opportunity to live as people who have plunged headlong into the fountain filled with blood. An image that would border on the macabre were it not the very substance of the author of life Himself.

Its the only blood that washes whiter than snow…

Graeme

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Filed under No more guilt or condemnation, Renewing the mind, The adventure of Faith

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