My Thoughts. . .
Monday, April 29, 2019
“And you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Who made that statement? He is referred to as the “prince, ruler,” or “god of this world” (John 14:30; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4). He succeeded with Adam and Eve. They wanted to be partner gods with Satan (Genesis 3:1-5). He gave it his best shot to deceive and win Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). He failed in that attempt and all follow ups (Luke 4:13). We join Adam and Eve’s indiscretion. Paul told Christians at Rome, “There is none righteous, no, not one” and “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). That’s our story!
God gave Moses and Israel the Law. It made the tribes aware of what sin was (Romans 7:10, 13, 15-19 NIV). 1,600 years were spent with every Hebrew individual attempting to live it perfectly. Satan fortified his position keeping tabs on their sins. Trillions of animals were slaughtered, and blood freely flowed to pay for those shortcomings. Despite the numbers, the Hebrew writer announced, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin” (Hebrews 10:4). The animal may have been innocent, but not those making the sacrifices. God’s lesson pointed out that their imperfections were proof that they failed in saving themselves. So, God sent Jesus, His Messiah or Anointed One. Israel rejected him. Law reigned and the flesh was Satan’s partner. Man failed in his efforts to keep that Law. Justification does not come from man, but from God. Self-justification has been doomed to failure since Genesis 3:5.
Although God added to the saved some “of the circumcision” or “Pharisee” Party, he told them that one is justified “by the faith of Jesus” (Galatians 2:16). Jesus’ faith was perfect. Ours? Unless you are duped by Satan, you know the answer. Some follow in the footprints of Adam and Eve, attempting to share the same “god” crown. They see themselves as partners in saving themselves. Their works are payment which will motivate God’s gratitude.
God makes us holy. We aren’t holy because of our standard, but because we accept His. That standard is that Jesus paid it all upon the cross. Some believe the New Testament is just a glorified law mimicking the Old Testament. We will be rewarded with salvation if our obedience is close to perfection and God’s grace is sufficient to make up the difference. It is believed that salvation in Christ is not a present reality, only an insecure hope based upon the quality of our perfection when we stand before Jesus.
Satan wants us to put our trust in our ability to be close enough to perfection that God will reward us with His grace. The devil encourages faith in Jesus as our co-partner rather than as our total source of salvation. He convinces us that Jesus’ blood is not sufficient to erase our sins as children of God. That position has us, with each infraction, being returned to Satan’s darkness until we repent in prayer. Those who are consumed with that theory never know how much they lack, nor the amount of grace they need to be saved? Isn’t that doubtful assurance? Where is their trust in the redeeming blood of Jesus? They don’t know if they are saved or lost. In that belief, one has more confidence in being lost than in being saved.
In a recent article in a publication, one writer stated, that “confessing and asking God’s forgiveness” is part of walking in the light but “God does not wait until they do to forgive.” God knows a person’s heart. He doesn’t kick the person out of the body of Christ when that person sins. He continues to keep him cleansed because God’s grace and Jesus’ blood are greater than our shortcomings.
Is there scriptural evidence about how patient God is with His children? Yes. Look at the sins engaged in by the church of God at Corinth. Yet Paul addressed them in the present tense as “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 1:2). How could they be His church if they were back with Satan due to those sins? God said they were “the body of Christ” (12:27). He said they were the “temple of God” and God dwelled in them (3:16-17). He said they were the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and were “bought with a price” (6:19-20). Since God dwelt in the Corinthians, but they were back with Satan, wouldn’t God be in darkness with those He was dwelling in?
How many were they told to withdraw from? If the entire group is back with Satan, how can they turn someone over to the devil if they are all in residence with Satan? All were to withdraw from one individual (5:1-11). One! How can you withdraw from someone if you are in the same place with him? They could withdraw only because they were still in fellowship with the Father who was dwelling within them in spite of their need to be corrected. When they received Paul’s letter, they had not yet repented, confessed, nor prayed for the removal of those sins.
Sometimes we hear the prayer, “If we have been found faithful . . .” Usually being “faithful” is equated to “being perfect.” Since no one is “perfect,” no one can know if he is saved or lost because his “faithfulness” is less than perfect. The foundational doubt is, “Maybe we are close, but does close suffice?” If so, what is close enough? That insecurity robs one of his assurance and ignores Jesus’ perfection and purpose for the cross. One hopes his obedience is sufficient enough though short of perfection. Honesty negates his hope and places him in a spiritual Catch-22 scenario! That belief system denies the power of Jesus’ blood and God’s sufficient grace. It denies that we receive God’s righteousness. It blinds the individual. It motivating him to believe his salvation depends upon his righteousness. It causes him to overlook and ignore what Jesus did for him upon the cross!
The lie introduced in the Garden is still alive today! Satan’s serpent still pleads, “Partner with me!”