Sunday, November 28, 2021

835. Things Seldom Heard in Church: You Are Righteous - Apart From Works

We continue our discussion this week on the differences between faith and works. When it comes to salvation and justification, it has to be one or the other, and the Apostle Paul made it clear within the revelation of the New Covenant, we are not bound to a law of works, but the law of faith.

This eliminates any boasting on our part, as we receive the gift of His righteousness, which occurs apart from a law based upon works. Faith will lead to God working in and through us, allowing Him to bear His fruit instead of our own.



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Sunday, November 21, 2021

834. Things Seldom Heard in Church: Faith Has Nothing to Do With a Law of Works

Sometimes when people discuss faith, if you listen carefully, you’ll begin to hear them vocalize something that is more based upon their works, lifestyle choices, and what they perceive to be an improvement in moral character. If we’re not careful, it can become about us and what we do or don’t do, instead of placing a complete trust and faith in what God has done for us through His Son. Depending upon our abilities to attain right-standing with God—instead of choosing to believe in God’s ability—is not based upon faith.

When the Jewish people were pursuing righteousness through a law of works, it was not a righteousness of faith, but it was based on their inconsistent works, which did not bring peace with God. For those who were described as having lived by faith or done great things because of faith, it had nothing to do with the law or their own works. Do we need those old rules and commandments to lead, teach and guide us as believers in Christ? No, we have Someone who lives in us who will fill that role much better.



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Sunday, November 14, 2021

833. Things Seldom Heard in Church: Rahab "The Believer"

Her story is in the book of Joshua in the earlier days of Israel becoming a nation. Many years later, this woman named Rahab was still known as “Rahab the harlot,” as referenced a couple of times by New Testament writers. Like many people today, she was identified by something she did.  In this case, it was considered negative, and something looked down upon.

Something that easily gets lost in between this gentile woman’s occupation and her willingness to help Israeli spies … is that she was a believer in the one true God before she ever did anything to help the Israelites. She wasn’t one who was under the law. There was nothing that she (or anybody) could “do” to be accepted by God—she was justified in the same way as all people are … whether Jew or Gentile. She believed in God by faith because of what she heard that He had done.



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Sunday, November 07, 2021

832. Things Seldom Heard in Church: The 10 Commandments Not Written on Our Hearts

In the 8th chapter of Hebrews, the writer was looking back at a prophetic statement from the book of Jeremiah. He was explaining how the previous covenant containing the law was not the same as the New Covenant which was established by Jesus, our new High Priest. God declared to Jeremiah the New would not be like the Old when it was given to Israel at the time they were delivered from Egypt!

When God spoke about His laws being put in our minds and written upon our hearts in this better covenant, the assumption by many church folks is that this is a reference to the Ten Commandments. But why would God want to write something on the hearts of His people which brought condemnation, resulted in sin increasing, and wasn’t based upon faith? In the previous chapter, the writer had just declared that old ministry as one that became nullified or cancelled because it was weak and unprofitable, unable to bring a required spiritual perfection. Our hearts now contain and reflect something new and better than a law of sin and death—it’s “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” It’s based upon the ministry of God’s Spirit in us, the gift of righteousness, faith, love and liberty.



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Sunday, October 31, 2021

831. Things Seldom Heard in Church: We Don’t Love God Because Law Commands Us

Continuing from last week’s thread … in John’s first epistle, he explains the love of God from the perspective of the New Covenant. This also connects with our love for Him and for others. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandments were under the law (from the first covenant given to Israel). Jesus answered with this from Matthew 12: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Nobody has ever achieved being able to follow those commandments which had the entire law wrapped up in them. This is quite different from what John stated, where the truth revealed that it wasn’t that we loved God, but He loved us. As we begin to receive and understand the fullness of this perfect love, it allows us to freely love God apart from the commandment—because we want to do so—and that love which abides in us also enables us to love others in the same way God loves us. Perfect love casts out fear and provides us with confidence in the day of judgement. It’s better than depending on your own inconsistent strength and abilities which always leave people falling short.



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Sunday, October 24, 2021

830. Things Seldom Heard in Church: Keeping Commandments - New Covenant Style

This week, we look at a couple of verses—from 1 John chapter 2—that the legalistic mindset will focus upon outside the context of the New Covenant. It’s a perspective based upon a mixture of law and grace which comes from sources who believe “maintaining” salvation involves the working of our own efforts instead of the work of Christ alone. They’ll pitch salvation as a gift apart from works, but then try to sell you an extended warranty, suggesting you can forfeit so great a salvation based upon your actions. It’s nothing but complicated double-speak.

John writes about keeping commandments, but he isn’t very specific in listing them out. Covenant clashers would try to have us believe he is referring to the Ten Commandments and may selectively throw in a few extras for good measure. If John was encouraging believers in Christ to embrace a stone tablet ministry of commandments, then he not only contradicted the Apostle Paul, but also would have contradicted himself in this very same letter. Peter and Paul stated the commandments which came through Moses were burdensome and unbearable. Jesus said the same thing. But John said the commandments he was referring to are not burdensome. Either John disagreed with them … or (and let’s go with this) he is referring to something different as it relates to the New Covenant.



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Sunday, October 17, 2021

829. Things Seldom Heard in Church: We Live By the Spirit - Not Written Commands

The law from the Old Covenant was holy, righteous and good. In fact, it was so good, nobody could ever achieve the required standard. Because of being taught a phony mixture of law and grace, the majority of church attendees have assumed the written commandments—at least a small portion of them—are meant to lead and guide us into a state of righteousness and approval from God. When they hear us talk about living under grace … and not being under the ministry of the stone tablets, they automatically jump to the false conclusion that we’re telling people it’s okay to sin as much as they want.

Instead of trying to live by the written letter (which kills), the more effective approach will be for believers to come to a greater knowledge of the truth about their identity in Christ and who God already declares them to be as a righteous, holy and perfected person, having inherited the very nature of God through belief and spiritual birth. As one who is described as a partaker of the divine nature, believers can begin to live from this place, thereby allowing the Spirit of God to more effectively bear His fruit through us, apart from the law of works. He is the one who will lead, guide and teach us as we allow Him to do so. The goal is not to work at becoming someone we think we are not, but to live and rest from who God has already declared us to be.



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