Monday, June 4, 2012

The Call of God: Free Will to Pursue

God calls us out of our darkness and into His light. It is a part of the human experience. Every human is created with a yearning to seek his or her Creator. We each have a piece of our heart that can only be filled with the perfect peace of the Spirit of God. Every person has a choice: either life or death. It is WHAT we put our faith in that is important. Are we willing to deny ourselves and take up our cross for His sake? Or, are we complacent in our current state of separation from God? It boils down to a denial of self and a renewal of mind. We must lay down our pride and let God have His way with us. He won't attempt to drive a vessel that has another captain, rather He says, "your will be done." He desires us to choose Him and He desires us to lay down ourselves to see Him reign in our bodies, in our minds, and in our spirits. He doesn't force Himself on us. He doesn't need to. He is that He is. It is our responsibility to reach our hearts out to Him. His salvation is sufficient and efficient for all who call on His name. "For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13. Is a calling on His name a surface level state of mind? Is it like a telephone call where someone mindlessly picks up the phone and make the call? Or is it the heart of the man that is measured by God? Does it not say in Jeremiah 29:11-13, "11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." God is saying that a man must use all of his heart, not some, not most, but all. Our hearts must be fully devoted to finding the answer to our depraved state. Romans 2:14-15 says, "14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them" God's law is written on the hearts of man. We understand our fallen state. Adam and Eve knew their sin when they covered themselves because of the law. They knew they violated His word by disobeying His command to not eat of the tree. Just as we understand our fallen nature, we must not choose to hide from the Truth in sin, but allow God to expose ourselves with the piercing Word of God. He seeks, and we seek. It is concurrent. Why does God seek if He already knows? He seeks so our seeking will not be in vain. He is constantly seeking because He constantly IS. His presence is everywhere, so His presence is constantly seeking. Without His presence we could not find Him. Our seeking would be in useless. He intends for those who seek earnestly and fully to find Him and according to His Word, those who seek Him with all of their heart will find Him. So did God give us the ability to seek Him with all of our heart? Or are we robots who have no ability or desire to choose the more perfect way unless God makes the choice for us? We are created to seek, we are created to yearn. There is no other purpose that we are created for: our yearning is for the Creator and our yearning cannot be successfully fulfilled by any other thing. So, again, does God draw us? Yes. Are we responsible to answer that drawing? Of course. Does the choosing itself save us? Absolutely not. It says in Ephesians 2:5 that, "even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" We have been saved through His glorious Grace. Why do people ask if I am receiving the glory for choosing Christ? I receive no glory in recognizing, through His calling, that I have a NEED to be saved-- Him showing me my sinful state is Grace and my putting my Faith in Him is what saves me and justifies me. Do you receive the credit for going to the doctor when you are sick and the doctor fixing you? Or does the Doctor? The doctor of course! You just recognized your sickness because of the sinfulness of your heart and chose to walk in the light of your own conscious. God calls everyone to Him. "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (John 12:32 ESV)." More references to God's plan of salvation being sufficient and efficient for all: Romans 5:8, Romans 6:10, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 2 Corinthians 5:15, Hebrews 7:26-27, Hebrews 9:11-12, Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18. Belief and obedience go hand in hand. In the Gospel of John, believe and obedience were almost never used exclusively. Our response to His calling us is this: putting our faith, hope, and trust in the person of Christ and repenting of our sins, confessing of our sins, and turning away from our former life-- then we will be sealed with the Holy Spirit. If man has no stake in the matter, then why did God create us the way that He did? If we have no free will, then what is the purpose of the Cross? Free will is defined as this: the freedom, through our God created consciouses, to seek God and to replace our will with His. Free will could be defined as free choice.

God started the chain of free will in the Garden of Eden. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16, 17 ESV)"
The Law is the definition of free will. They had a choice: to follow God's decree, or eat of the tree and die. So, why did Adam and Eve fall? They were "good" according to God. "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31 ESV)" So man, in his goodness, chose death over life. They actively chose to rebel against the command of God. God made man the way He did for a reason: since the beginning of time, He has wanted to see us choose Him over ourselves. The humbling of ourselves is the key to the disease of humanity. Jesus states, "Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24, 25 ESV) So, we must lose our life in order to find it. Losing our life means denying our self: replacing our will with His. When we, as human, can get to the point where we understand that, we can walk free from the bondage of self. Oh what a path to walk when man is free from himself. (Note: Jesus states "whoever", not "only a select few.") God calls the man. Man calls to God. In mans genuine call to God, God saves the man. There MUST be a part that the human plays in his salvation. But Blake, no one seeks God! "no one understands; no one seeks for God." (Romans 3:11 ESV) But, is this an absolute statement? I will send you a link:

I hear people say because we, as humans, are dead in our trespasses, that our being dead makes us unable to choose God. That is, it makes us totally dead to everything. That man has no choice but to do evil acts (Romans 3 is quoted a lot, but people take that passage out of context and forget to read the rest of the book of Romans.) But, if that was the case, then why would David state, "Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34:14 ESV) Why would David say that if he knew man had not the ability to turn from his evil ways and do good? If a person can show me in scripture where it states that man is "unable" to seek God, then i want to see it. The fact is this: its not in there. If that would have been the curse that God put on man, then why didn't He say it? Rather, God states that death was passed on to the generations to follow. "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19 ESV)" why didn't God say that man would now be unable to seek and unable to find me? The same applies to the Philippian jailor. I will quote the whole passage.
"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God." (Acts 16:25-34 ESV)
If man had not the ability to seek God, then why would Paul say "believe in the Lord Jesus" if man had no ability to believe or seek? Paul knew that man had the ability to seek God and the ability to choose Him. YOU believe on Christ: which brings glory to Him and takes it off of the man. So was the jailer saved if He was seeking? Or was he seeking to be saved? But Blake, unregenerate man cannot seek to be saved since no one seeks God! That's a lie from the pits of hell that has infiltrated the Church's doctrine and I lament when I hear my brothers and sisters say things like that. From the beginning, God gave man the choice of whether to follow His voice or to disobey Him and walk in disobedience of the law written on man's heart (Romans 2:14-15). The jailor believed and he was saved. Just as he believed and was saved, every man has to ability to believe and be saved. I challenge you to re-evaluate the way you believe if this is what you believe. Pray with an open heart. I will continue to pray on your behalf brother or sister.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Gospel Is Our Doctrine

Doctrine can sometimes be taken the wrong way and given a negative connotation. Doctrine is not bad at all! Without correct doctrine, it is impossible for someone to grow in Christ. But, this post is to examine the message we preach and the means though which this message is preached. The message we are to preach is the simplistic Gospel-- nothing else.

Doctrine is the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is love. EVERYTHING hinges on God's love for His people. Without His love, we COULD NOT walk sanctified, righteous, or Holy. To ignore the love God has for His people would be a travesty in the most enormous proportions. Examine John 3:16. For through God's LOVE, Christ died. No greater LOVE is this that someone would lay down his life for his friend. **It is not the idea doctrine (in and of itself) that saves us, but rather our following in His path and believing in His name and repenting of our ways which led to death. The Gospel, in essence, is simple. Christ in us, the HOPE of glory. It is not-- true doctrine in us the hope of glory. Not to take away from the vitality of true doctrine though. It is important to have true doctrine and that doctrine is the Gospel and its saving power through the Holy Spirit. But, once again, our job is not to fix others' bad doctrine. Only to live as Christ.

Where did we get off in thinking that WE have to correct the mistakes of others and somehow enlighten them as to their horrible errors in biblical methodology, theology, and interpretation. It would be like if we had the cure for cancer. We would be giving that cure to everyone who had cancer. We would no longer be examining cancer and its effects on the human body whilst people slowly died from it. Absurd! But, in essence, that is what we are doing when we harp on people with wrong doctrine. Preach the cure-- CHRIST. Stop re-diagnosing people and start letting God do the healing through the Power of the Holy Spirit! Praise Him! We are to preach the Gospel, and if someone does not take what we are preaching, we MOVE on-- not linger around and hope that our arguing will save them, because it won't. Our goal should not be to correct others in bad doctrine, but, as the last chapter of 1st Peter says, live by example! We should do our talking by the way we live. People followed Jesus for His words, but more importantly, they followed Him for the miracles and signs and wonders that followed Him and His love for others. He spoke and LIVED Truth pertaining to Life and Godliness. If all we do is sit around in an underground system that does not go OUT and preach the Gospel for ourselves, we are deceived. If we believe that it is our duty to correct and fix immorality and sin, we are mistaken. If we believe that we have to always correct bad theology, we are sadly mistaken.

Our JOB as Christians, is to live like Christ, love Him and Love others. If all we do is discuss proper theology, doctrine, and the Biblical methodology on how to run the Church, and we do not go OUT into the world, we are nothing more than lazy, un-caring, and un-loving. We must wake up and realize our goal in this life is to reflect the LOVE of Christ. Through His love and Grace, people have the ABILITY and PRIVILEGE to come to know Him. Our goal should be Kingdom minded, not doctrinally minded. Knowledge puffs up, and God resists the proud and His hand will not be defiled in a temple that refuses to surrender their everything to Him.

Doctrine is simple: love God, and Love others. Do not try to over-complicate things. Beware of over-complicating, because then the message is skewed, and the effectiveness of the Gospel is lost and God does not work. If there is no freedom, there is no Spirit of God. Where is the freedom? Where is the Hope? Where is our love for others? Where is OUR preaching of the Gospel?
In Paul's letters to the Churches in Corinth, Ephesus, and Philippi-- the Gospel is the underlying theme in everything. Paul did point out errors in the Corinthian church and he addressed problems that they seemed to be having. As I have said before, doctrine is not something we slide under the carpet. But, if we are so zealous for doctrine, it has become our idol. Everything good can be turned bad (that is simply Human Nature). As Romans 1 talks about, they worshiped the creature rather than the creator. It would be like if we worshipped a tree. "Well, God made this tree!" We miss the point. We are called to worship the creator, not the products he creates. We must return to WHO we Love and WHY we love Him. We do not love others because of correct doctrine! That is absurd! We love others because Christ FIRST loved us! We posses correct doctrine because of the love of Christ!

The Gospel is Love. Through love, Christ died to save ALL of mankind from sin and its hold on every human being. My question is this: if it is not love, then WHAT is it? If my job as a Christian is to correct those in error, then I don't want any part of this thing called Christianity. A harsh, but true statement. God has installed a love in me for Him, and through that love, I want to see others transformed through the Cross-- not to see others' doctrines fixed. Transformation occurs at the reality of the cross, not the reality of unbiblical doctrine. What is our goal anyways? WHY did Christ die? Why was the last thing Jesus spoke "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel?" The reasons for the aforementioned questions are these: to see others come to Him and live a life unhindered by sin and for His name to get glory. That is all. Through the reality of the Cross, true doctrine will come (with the help of brothers and sisters in Christ). Doctrine literally means in the Greek, to teach or a teaching. Doctrine is the Gospel-- repentance and remission of sins through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them." Roman 16:17.

Paul addresses those with bad doctrine and what does he say? AVOID THEM. Not track them down and debate with them. Why does he beseech this? Because arguing doctrine has NEVER produced fruit unto righteousness? What is the point? Your waisting meaningful time that could be spent somewhere else preaching the reality of the Gospel to a man of peace.Doctrine is the true Gospel of Christ.

"Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:46-47.

That is what Christ commanded the disciples to preach. Repentance and remission of sins should be preached. There is indeed a focus on doctrine in the Church of God, but the focus was simple.

"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or [if] you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-- you may well put up with it!" 2 Corinthians 11:3-4.

The simplicity that is in Christ! What a statement! The simplicity is not to be over analyzed into a doctrine that is not the Gospel of Christ. Paul warned to beware of the over-complication of the Gospel. When the focus shifts from the essence of the Gospel, it becomes a false one. When the Church becomes all about structure, performance, and theology, it loses everything it has been given power to accomplish (and we wonder why there is division in the Church today). The Gospel is the doctrine of the Church. That is it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

All Eyes on You

God, this is our yearning. This is our desire: that we be set free from ourselves. Lord, that we would no longer be reigned by trivial and carnal emotions, but that we be filled with the mighty, transforming power of You. That you would reign in our mortal bodies. That all of our everything is established, confirmed, and built in You. That You, God would be our source of breathe, our very sustaining life. Lord, that our eyes are kept on You. That you would be magnified in our walk on this earth, even through temptation, death, trial, and famine YOU are still faithful God.

I believe so many times we miss the very reason why we are alive. We think it is about going to church, having relationships with others, making money, making more money, loving others, or doing good deeds. These things are not wrong or sinful-- in fact some these are what the Bible teaches us. But these very things are not capable of being fulfilled unless our eyes are on Him. We miss the very voice of God when we focus our everything on the will of Him, rather than He Himself. God never said, "put your eyes on what I am going to do for you." He never said, "focus on my will for you."

Rather, we lift our eyes to where our help comes from. "1 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." Davids plea is not, "God, I set my eyes on the life You will give me." He is crying out to where the source of His life comes from. David runs to the source rather than the product that comes from the Source. Paul discusses this in his letter to the Romans, "Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." We exchange the very validity and authority of God with a false depiction of what our calling is and who are calling is for. We must see that our calling is not for us. It is not to satisfy us, but it is to satisfy Him-- the very Creator of your calling. The foundational problem is selfishness. We must put our wants aside to see His. We must put our love aside to see His. We must put aside our hope to see His. Our satisfaction is found in His satisfaction. He must increase and we must decrease.

We need to look to the very creator of the will that we run so hard after. Jesus lived His life on earth to accomplish God's will, not His own. How many people would still follow Christ if He told them that His will for their lives was to die a gruesome death before they were 40? Not many. Where is our faith? Where is our selflessness? Where is our hope to see His kingdom come on earth? Where is our desire to live for Him even if we get nothing in return? Faith takes action, and belief takes obedience. We walk by faith. Faith is not knowing our every step. Faith is not a blueprint. Faith is a blindfold we must put on ourselves. We let Him reign in us, and we let Him make our paths-- but we must be obedient to walk down them. By establishing His reign in us, we establish a true faith and love based relationship that will open doors, open hearts, and open minds. But we must not walk in the establishment of our faith towards Him, we must walk in the permanence of His faithfulness to accomplish His will. We trust Him to lead us into His life. Running into His arms is what we are created for. To know Him is why we breathe. To breathe His breath. To touch His heart. To know His voice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Question Concerning Love

Love is a two way street. Left un-reciprocated, it dies. If we fail to actively show love to God, our relationship dies. That statement is echoed through our daily relationships with others. We are called to actively love one another. Love without action is empty words that leaves the other end dead and dry. So the question lies in: how do I show love? That question is answered best by this: one shows love by denying him or herself in order that the other person may strengthen. When we fail to demonstrate love to others, we fail, in essence, to love them. "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8. We are called to be like Christ, and that means we DEMONSTRATE our love for one another by dying ourselves. Demonstration is not a feeling or emotion, it is rather a deep yearning that is seen in our daily walks with one another; a yearning that is held by no bounds; a yearning that only can be satisfied with the perfect will of God. Love that God requires is sacrifice, love that man requires is sacrifice. We must sacrifice ourselves so that others will be lifted up.

Without each other, we could not walk this Christian walk. If that were the case, we would all be alone. God is a relational God, and He made us in His image. An Image of sacrifice, holiness, purity, abandonment, LOVE, and righteousness. It does not matter what you feel like, we are called to love one another at all times: even if the whole world is falling on your shoulders. But take heart, cast your cares upon Him so that you can love one another. Because when you wallow in anger and hurt and pain, you blind yourself from the opportunities to demonstrate Christ's love to others. You cannot do this on your own, so you must rely on your brothers and sisters in Christ to exhort and lift you up. That is why love is a two way street; a street filled with potholes and red lights that seem to never turn green. But the good news is that we are all walking this path if we are all IN CHRIST. We must endure to the end to be saved, and you cannot endure on your own. Lean on Him, and lean on others. Don't take away your brothers and sisters in Christ, because when you do that you cut one of your legs off. Stand firm, hold fast, and be encouraged.

Monday, May 23, 2011

In Christ

A phrase that is heard throughout the Christian world. In Christ we are free. In Christ we are redeemed. In Christ we have purpose. In Christ we are made heirs. In Christ we were created for good works. In Christ we are made new. In Christ we are holy, righteous, redeemed, and sanctified. But, do we really understand the weight which that statement carries? That statement holds a lot of weight when you see Christ as creator of the universe. So, what does it mean for Christ to be IN us? How does He abide? Why does He abide?

Christ abides in us through the Holy Spirit. He takes residence in vessels that have repented and been transformed by the power of the Cross. Vessels that have no captain, crew, or rudder. That is where and why we must die. When we die, Christ lives. Paul says in his letter to the Church in Galatia, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. "It is no longer us who lives then, it is Christ that is made alive in us. Our selfish ambitions and our selfishness must die, and Christ must be made whole IN us. He abides through faith. Faith is the rudder in our vessel. Faith in Christ leads us to maturity. Faith in Christ is our daily breath-- it is our very life source. Christ had to die to make us alive-- without His death and resurrection we would not have the Holy Spirit. It is the same way with us-- we must die in order for Christ to live in us.

Jesus said, "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." Christ will only abide in those who love Him. Love is more than a feeling and it is more than simple words in our hearts. Love towards Christ is utter sacrifice-- abandonment. Love towards Christ is a life that is Christ-- being Christ. In order for Christ to reside and live, we must allow Him to drive our vessel. That is how Christ is matured in us-- that is what drives us to perfection.

"But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." When we keep His word, His love is perfected in us-- a love that is disastrously contagious. A love that lives. This love is only manifested to those who abide in His love. When we abide in His perfect love, our eyes are truly opened. Perfect love is manifested through obedience. It says in John that whoever loves the father will keep His commands. If we truly love our Father, we will obey His every command. When we understand that the creator of the universe, the very one that holds everything in existence, lives in us-- we will not take so lightly the words of "in Christ."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Am I of This World?

Do I blend into the world and its passions? Do I believe to love God yet still love the world and the things which it can bring me? Or am I a Kingdom minded person? Is my hope set fully on Christ and His glory?

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-- is not from the Father but is from the world.And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17

Are we as Christians ever going to realize that being friends with the world is enmity with God? (James 4:4) By being of the world, you are becoming hated by God. Because God hates the things of this world. The Greek word for 'enmity' means "opposition or hated; the opposite of agape, 'love.'" The love of the world is the love that God hates. Proverbs 6:16 lists things that God hates. But God gives more Grace! Without the Holy Spirit, we would be hopeless and we could not live lives Holy and acceptable to God. The belief in your heart is communicated through your actions. You are right, God does know your heart, but by your fruit you are known. A tree without fruit is useless and will be cut down. If we are merely blending in the world and not truly being Sanctified and being made set apart, we are of the world and we are in utter rebellion to God and His commands. The Grace He has given us is the Holy Spirit by which we can walk free and set apart from the world. Further in James 4, Paul states, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." Draw near to Him-- live off of Him and you will surely live. Resist the world and its passions, and you will surely find the life that God has for you. We need to come to the pertinent realization that we are not our own. We have been bought with a price! As Christians, we are to be subjected to God and His Kingdom! Not this worlds. Because you cannot serve two masters, you will surely die. We must remember that we are a mist, here and then gone. Are we making the most out of the time God has given us? Or are we spending it indulging in flesh and 'fun?' Are we Kingdom minded people, seeking always to further His Kingdom and to see His will done and not ours?

Lord, that is our prayer. Your will be done; not ours. We know that on this earth we are to be ministers of reconciliation and ministers of Your love and Truth. Let us truly see that we are Your servants and we live for no other reason than to see Your will done.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Have Been Sanctified

Sin has indeed lost its power in our lives once we are truly born again and we receive the Holy Spirit. The battle rages on in our flesh and spirit; but Christ came so that we would overcome. He has given us a way out in every situation. We must choose life or death. Our spiritual resurrection is what causes us to live lives holy and pleasing to God-- our death on our cross is the first step. Those who have been baptized into Christs name, His death, His resurrection, and His spirit are not "sinners saved by grace." "Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning." 1 Corinthians 15:34. You have been bought with a price friends! Your debt of sin has been paid! You no longer are enslaved to sin, but you have been justified and made righteous through the blood of Christ. You have been set free from sin! If only we could grasp that elementary concept we could see that Christ came to save the sinner, to make us new; therefore, we become a new creation. What don't we understand about that new creation concept? We must consider ourselves DEAD TO SIN. We no longer operate under our fleshly desires, but we operate under the power of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that took residency in Christ is the same Holy Spirit that resides in us. Because we have been made new, we do not continue to sin. Those that do continue to live in sin have not been truly baptized into Christ. We are slaves to righteousness! That means that sin has no authority in our lives. Holiness, purity, and righteousness are chained to your spirit. We are slaves to the name of Christ.

"But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." We are sanctified through Christ. That clearly means that sin is absent. Does that mean that we do not have the desire to sin? By no means! For even Jesus was tempted-- thus implying that He was human just as much as you and I. But, we overcome the desire and NOT SIN with the help of the Holy Spirit. To say that you can't is denying the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. So many times I hear the, "Well, I am just a sinner saved by grace" statement and that is not even close to being a Biblically sound statement. No! You WERE a sinner that is saved by grace and you have been SANCTIFIED and made righteous.

"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and you are justified by grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ." Romans 3:21-24. Sin no longer rules you! You RULE IT. You are in charge of your flesh. You can choose life or death. But you must count the cost of following Christ-- the cost is your entire life. Every single bit of it. If you have not given your whole life to Him, you are not born again. Plain and simple. The justification cleans our debt, and we are made new. We are called to be Holy and righteous. It is simply impossible to do without the Holy Spirit. This sanctification has set us apart. Strong's concordance says that the word for sanctification is "a the state predetermined by God for believers, into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it." In Romans 6:19 the word is defined by Strong's as, "holiness." God has called us to righteousness and holiness. Plain and simple.

My challenge to Christians is this: are we using the excuse of "I am a sinner saved by grace" to continue sinning and justify our flesh? If you are a sinner, you are not one of God's children. So, walk in the newness of life and live through the power of the Holy Spirit, because without it, you will continue to sin.