Don’t approach God in a lie!

Most Christians would agree that God does not lie (Heb 6:17-18).

When we approach God in any way except as He declares us to be, we are approaching Him in a “false identity”, a lie.

The problem is usually one of ignorance. Many Christians do not see themselves as the Bible describes them, because they have not been taught what God says about them. The Bible makes several statements about what happens to someone when they put their faith in Jesus (Rom 10:8-13).

  • You are forgiven of all your sin, forever. (Col 2:13-14, Heb 10:12-14)
  • Your nature is no longer that of a sinner. (2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:9-10, Eph 2:1-10)
  • You are made righteous by Jesus. (2 Cor 5:21, Rom 5:17, Phil 3:8-9)
  • You become one spirit with Jesus – Him in you and you in Him. (1 Cor 6:17, John 15:5)
  • You become a citizen of heaven right away. (Phil 3:20)
  • You are loved unconditionally by God. (Rom 5:7-8, Romans 8:38-39, Eph 3:18-19)
  • God is not angry with you. (Rom 5:1-2, Rom 5:9, 2 Cor 5:19)
  • You become a son/daughter of God. (Gal 3:26, 2 Cor 6:18)
  • You become a joint heir with Jesus – get everything He gets. (Rom 8:17)
  • You receive all possible blessings. (Eph 1:3, 2 Peter 1:2-3)
  • You can ask anything in Jesus’ name and receive it. (John 14:13, John 16:23-24)
  • You are healed and made whole in every way. (1 Peter 2:24, Col 2:9-10)
  • You have authority over the devil. (Luke 10:19, James 4:7, Mark 16:17-18)
  • You have access to the Holy Spirit who reveals all things. (1 Cor 2:10-12)
  • You are prosperous, Jesus broke poverty’s curse. (2 Cor 8:9, Gal 3:13-14, Phil 4:19)

These statements are what God declares our identity to be. When we choose to approach God with a non-Biblical identity, we are approaching Him with a false identity (His statements about us are 100% true). When I approach God in a false identity, I’m approaching in a lie.

Many people approach God with the attitude that they are unworthy, dirty sinners who at best might be qualified to be a slave. They beg God to do something for them instead of having the confidence of sons/daughters approaching a loving father (Heb 4:16). A father who has declared them sin free and righteous (right with God) by their faith in Jesus.

When we approach like this, we tie God’s hands! We are telling Him that we don’t believe what He says about us!

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The Ten Commandments can kill you!

2 Corinthians 3:7-9
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.

Here the Apostle Paul describes the Ten Commandments as a ministry of death! Why does he use such extreme language? Aren’t the Ten Commandments a good thing? Don’t they tell us how God wants us to behave?

The truth is the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law of Moses (613 Laws) are good. They show us God’s perfect standard and that standard will never change. The problem is that it’s a standard that spiritually and morally bankrupt men were unable to keep to in their own strength!

Let’s look at some more verses:

Galatians 2:14-16
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

The Law could not justify (make right with God) anyone.

Galatians 3:10-12
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”

All who choose to live under the Law are cursed if they don’t do every single part of the Law. 99% compliance is not good enough!

Romans 5:20-21
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Law causes sin to increase.

Romans 3:19-20
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

The law makes us guilty, but it can’t make us justified (right with God).

1 Corinthians 15:56-57
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Law strengthened sin and brought death.

Wow, this is a strong set of statements right out of the Bible! What is going on? If the Law never made anyone right with God and it made sin and death more powerful, why did God give it to Moses?

Galatians 3:19-25
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

We see here that the Law was given, not to make us righteous, but to show us that even with all our willpower, we could not be righteous by ourselves, we needed help, we needed a saviour (Jesus)!

Before the Law was given, people were living under the Covenant of Abraham. This covenant was a covenant of blessings with no requirements upon the people except that they believe in God. It was a covenant of faith without any requirements of performance.

The problem was that the people were still in their hearts sinful and without an absolute standard from God, they were using their lack of punishment and their comparing themselves with one another as a measure for how good they were. Slowly this way of thinking was pushing them deeper and deeper into rebellion against God and they were in danger of destroying themselves. God intervened by giving them the Law through Moses. Now they had God’s perfect standard and as they tried and failed to keep it, they realised their need for help, that they needed a saviour. To stop them being totally destroyed on the spot by their sin, God gave them the animal sacrificial system that functioned as a temporary cover for their sin, until Jesus could take it away forever on the cross. The dying of animals for their sins, also helped the people to learn that sin brings death and it must be paid for with blood.

So what about today? How do we deal with sin and how are we made right with God?

Some people try to use the Law of Moses and by obeying it, they think that God accepts them. The problem is that no one except Jesus has ever been able to keep the Law, so anyone who thinks they are keeping it is fooling themselves. Other people put their faith in Jesus but then also try add keeping some of the Law to be right with God. This also is problematic because the Bible is clear, if you want to keep the Law then you are required to keep all of it perfectly. It says that if you break even one law, you are guilty of breaking them all!

The truth is that Law Keeping as a way of being right with God is no longer the way. Since Jesus, we have a New Covenant that is totally different from the Old Covenant (The Law of Moses). The New has made the Old obsolete (no longer to be used) as a way to approach God.

Hebrews 8:6-13
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

We can’t mix the Old and New way of doing things together.

Matthew 9:16-17
16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

God has through the New Covenant, made a way for us to be transformed from sinners to saints through believing in Jesus. By accepting Jesus as our Lord and believing in our hearts that He died for our sins on the cross and rose again on the third day, we are saved.

Romans 10:8-13
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

1 Corinthians 6:17
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

This is called being born-again. It means that Jesus’ Spirit (Holy Spirit) enters and combines with our spirit to birth a new spirit within us. Our old sinful selves are totally reborn, now with the perfect sinless nature of Jesus. Our very nature changes!

2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Along with Jesus living in us and our getting a new nature (becoming a new creation), we get to be made righteous, just as Jesus is!

2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 John 4:17
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

We see then, that the way God dealt with sin, was to punish Jesus for us and make us innocent. He also changed our nature through the new birth so that we are no longer sinners. All this is ours through believing in Jesus, nothing else. This is why the Bible says Jesus brought us the blessings of Abraham (Covenant of faith).

Galatians 3:10-14
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The way for Christians to walk lives free of sin, is to realise that they have been set free by Jesus. It is a renewing of the way we think. If you think you’re a sinner, you set yourself the expectation of sinning and you act according to that expectation. If you think you are now a saint (one saved and set free by Jesus), you set the expectation of being free from sin and overcoming temptation. Your actions always follow how you truly see yourself within! We must see ourselves as God has declared us to be, saved, set free from sin and made righteous in Jesus.

Romans 12:2
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Understanding Christian Hope

Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27 (The Passion Translation)
27 Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it!

The Bible speaks of our hope of glory (salvation and entry into God’s kingdom as sons and daughters) being that Christ dwells within us as believers. Some readers may think the use of the word hope here means that there is some doubt as to the outcome. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Greek word for hope: ἐλπίς elpis; from a primary ἔλπω elpō (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence.

Christian, Biblical hope is not the “gamblers hope” of maybe, maybe not. It is the confident, joyful expectation of something happening. This is the hope that believers in Jesus have.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (NKJV)
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (The Passion Translation)
19 And now we are brothers and sisters in God’s family because of the blood of Jesus, and he welcomes us to come right into the most holy sanctuary in the heavenly realm—boldly and with no hesitation. 20 For he has dedicated a new, life-giving way for us to approach God. For just as the veil was torn in two, Jesus’ body was torn open to give us free and fresh access to him!21 And since we now have a magnificent King-Priest to welcome us into God’s house, 22 we come closer to God and approach him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from him. For our hearts have been sprinkled with blood to remove impurity and we have been freed from an accusing conscience and now we are clean, unstained, and presentable to God inside and out! 23 So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises!

We have full assurance of our salvation through the blood of Jesus shed for us, there is no doubt!

In Christ

One of the great revelations of the New Testament is that when I receive Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, He is in me and I am in Him. The idea here is that we become one with Christ and so many verses in the Bible start to make sense when we understand this.

John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

This concept goes beyond just two individuals who are close together, it speaks of a total fusion of two to become one!

1 Corinthians 6:17
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Think of two different colours of paint mixed together. Once they are fully combined, you can no longer see two separate colours but one new colour. This is why the Bible talks of those who are born-again as being new creations!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The more we realise and renew our minds to the fact that we as believers are literally one with Christ, the more we will walk in the victories Jesus won. If they belong to Jesus and He is one with me, then they are also mine!

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

In a sense, I no longer exist as I used to, I am now so completely fused with Jesus that God the Father, only sees the perfectness of Jesus when He looks at me!

2 Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I am now like Jesus, not because I’ve somehow become perfect through my own efforts but because through the miracle of the new birth, I am now fused with Him, to become a totally new creature that is like Him in this world.

1 John 4:17
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

If you’ve been in attending church for longer than ten minutes, then chances are you’ve heard of the idea of becoming more “Christ like”. This is often made to mean, try to be better, try to be nicer, try to be good. The focus is on us trying to get something through our efforts and will power.

The way to become more “Christ like” is by realising that you are one with Christ and that your true nature is therefore the nature of Jesus. By starting to think this way, you will start to act this way and after a short time of thinking this way, you’ll be far more “Christ like” by accident than you ever were on purpose through your own efforts!

Understanding the value of the gift

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Do we really understand the amazing gift that we have in Jesus? We can get so familiar with the fact that Jesus took our sins away that we forget how truly awesome it really is!

How we value a gift will determine how we treat it. If I gave you a gift like a can of Coke, you would probably appreciate it but you wouldn’t cry if it got stolen or spilt. If I gave you a diamond worth ten year’s salary, you would treat it very differently than you treated that can of Coke. You would keep it close to you and guard it carefully. You would make sure that you knew where it was at all times!

Look at the story of Jesus and the woman who washed His feet in Luke 7:36-50. Jesus is invited to eat with a Pharisee (a religious person) at his home. While Jesus is there, a woman, a prostitute, comes in and pours perfume over His feet and cries, washing His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. The Pharisee is offended and complains. Jesus replies that when He arrived, He was not given water to wash His feet (a common curtesy at the time), yet this woman came and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. The Pharisee did not value who Jesus was, the one sent by God to take away the sins of the world. The sinful woman knew that here was the one who could take away her sins. She responded this way, because she valued the gift! The Pharisee was a Bible scholar and he should have recognised Jesus from the scriptures, but he was blind.

Galatians 3:13-14
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

When Jesus died on the cross in our place, taking our sins upon Himself, he released all the blessings of God upon us and took all the curses earned by disobedience to the Law of Moses on himself. Jesus gave us access to all the blessings without getting any of the curses!

To truly appreciate what you have and what you have been saved from, go and read the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28.

Blessings – Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Curses – Deuteronomy 28:15-68

When we see the gift God has given us through Jesus, we can’t help but throw our hands in the air and praise Him!

With Jesus you are powerful!

As a passenger in a car, you have no control over where the driver of the vehicle takes you. You can request to go right but if they choose to turn left, then left it is.

Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were like passengers in the “car” of our lives. Sin was in the driving seat and we were its slaves. Sin took us wherever it wanted us to go.

After receiving Jesus, we were set free and empowered by Him to sit in the drivers seat. No longer were we taken along for the ride as powerless victims but we were given everything we needed to turn our lives around. We now have access to the keys, steering wheel, gearshift and foot pedals. In Jesus we have everything we need to be victorious.

The problem is too many Christians are sitting in the driver’s seat but are still thinking like passengers. Like passengers,
they are waiting for something to happen, usually for God to do something to change their lives.

We need to stop thinking like “passengers” (powerless victims) and start thinking like “drivers (Overcomers). We have the full power of God residing in us through Jesus. We need to change the way we are thinking and start exercising the authority the Jesus has given us to change our situations and circumstances.

We are not leaves blown around by the wind, we are children of the most high God! Let’s engage with the power of Jesus within us and live victorious lives.

Enforcing the victory
Be effective by knowing what you have
Our minds are the battlefield
Your tongue steers your life

 

A correct starting point is critical

There are two important points for any successful journey, the start point and the end point. Using this analogy of a journey, we could call the good things of God: health, prosperity, peace and joy, etc the end point. They are the things we are pursuing, where we want to get to. The Bible is full of directions on how to reach these goals, the problem is that most people neglect to check their starting point. The best directions in the world will get you lost if you are starting in the wrong place! Left, right, left.. oops, I’m lost.

The correct starting point and the only way the Bible directions work is to understand the following: God is 100% good and He is never the initiator of evil. God loves me unconditionally and wants only success for me. Jesus takes away all my sin and makes me righteous before God (no exceptions). The devil is the evil one who steals, kills and destroys. God has given me the power through Jesus to live an overcoming life.I have God’s authority and power to heal the sick and drive the devil away in every area of my life. God is not the one holding out on us, His nature is to give, it’s us who need to learn how to receive through faith.

Exploring God’s nature
Enforcing the victory 
Being well in your soul

Trust God to guide you

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

So often, we get caught up in trying to solve our problems ourselves in our own strength. This is not the way God designed things to work. We were never intended to carry the burdens of our cares and worries on our own shoulders, that was supposed to be God’s job.

Let’s learn to not only trust God to carry our burdens but to guide us into the right paths. We can avoid the pitfalls along the way if we listen to the God who knows what’s coming!

John 16;13
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

John 10:27
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

As Jesus’ sheep, His people, we have the ability to hear His voice. Let’s expect to hear from God and to see great things happen!

Click here to learn more on hearing God’s voice

Hope, an anchor for the soul

Hebrews 6:17-19
Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil

An anchor keeps a ship from going adrift, especially in stormy seas. Our hope (joyful, expectation) in the truth of God’s Word and the fact that He can’t lie, will keep us from drifting away and being wrecked by life’s storms.

If our hopes are in material things or in life going well, where will we be if things take a turn for the worst? Our hope should be in Jesus, who gave His life for us so that we could have the assurance of eternal life. If our hope is in Jesus, the giver of life, then no matter what is taken away from us by the devil or this broken world, we know we can overcome, because He is the restorer of our souls and the redeemer of all that is lost.

Psalm 121
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Look to God and don’t let the enemy steal your hope. Evil things come against us for one reason and that is to steal our hope and faith in God’s Word and promises. Don’t let the devil’s plan work against you, be steadfast in believing God and trusting in Him.

Remember David, who was unjustly hated and hunted by King Saul. David at his lowest points, when all seemed lost, was able to look to God and anchor his soul in Him.

Psalm 43:5
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 62:5-8
My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Remember God is on your side! He will never leave you nor forsake you. Anchor your hope and trust in Him and He will always empower you to be an overcomer.

Romans 8:31-32
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Click here to learn more on the goodness of God
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Click here to learn more on God’s restoration