Faith, Justification, The New Man

Do not give place to the devil

Neither give place to the devil.”

Ephesians 4:27

Are you giving place to the devil? Maybe we do not understand how this can happen, but the apostle Paul talks about how a believer as a new man in Christ is not to walk in the vanity of their own minds. Paul conveys that a believer is to walk in the grace of God with righteousness and true holiness. The question arises if we as believers are walking as God’s dear children. We were all bought with a great price to become God’s children. The fact that the apostle Paul addresses the Ephesians in the 1st verse of chapter five as dear children is an endearment of love. Chapter four and five should be read carefully because we are witnessing how the days are evil. There is such bitterness, wrath, anger, uproar, and evil speaking which has brought about civil unrest. Violent crimes are happening across the US and in certain locations around the world. Since Covid-19 Burglary and Theft has hit number one worldwide.

It seems now that the phrase “new man in Christ” may have lost its meaning, or it has become vague in its meaning. Throughout the New Testament there is a clear change in the character of a person who has become a believer. Paul goes out of his way in explaining and distinguishing the difference between the old man and the new man. Have we as Christians missed this change. The body of Christ should be edifying itself in love and not in hate. Unless the method of salvation has changed, and I pray that is not the case we should be walking in the love of Christ. Did not Christ make us alive when we were dead in our sins? Paul mentioned that in times past those who are unbelievers “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience,” [Ephesians 2:2]. Those unbelievers were fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, [see Ephesians 2:3]. Salvation through faith begins on an individual basis and then it becomes the body in the church where Christ is the head.

The church is to be perfecting the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, [see Ephesians4:12]. The church is to speak the truth in love until the unity of faith with the knowledge of the Son of God reaches the point of a perfect man in the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ, [see Ephesians 4:13]. Were we not blinded and ignorant before hearing about Christ as our savior? We were all past feeling of consciousness having given ourselves over to uncleanness and greediness.

Put off concerning the former manner of life the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”

Ephesians 4:22

Are you still carrying the old man that is corrupt with you? We need to take stock of our actions. We are not to follow or get carried away by every wind of doctrine by the craftiness of those who would deceive us from the truth of Christ. It is through faith in Christ that has reconciled us to God. We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, [see Ephesians 2:20]. When Christ ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men, [see Ephesians 4:8]. As a believer we died to the old nature of man and became a new creation in Christ Jesus. This is done through prayer and faith in the work of Christ who became the power of God in reconciling us unto God. We have been made near to God through the blood of Christ. Christ work on the cross has taken the penalty for our sins and Christ has given us access to the Father by giving us the Holy Spirit. If we are walking in the flesh, then we are not walking in the indwelt Spirit of Christ in which we were sealed by an inheritance.

That inheritance is why Paul exclaimed to “not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you are sealed unto the day of redemption,” [Ephesians 4:30]. We are to be renewed in the spirit of our mind to that of Christ. Christ position is our position. Christ identity becomes our identity. Paul told the Corinthians that though “our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is renewed day by day,” [see 2 Corinthians 4:16]. We put to death all things that is unclean or the unfruitful works of darkness and ask God for forgiveness and to cleanse us from all works of darkness. Our identity is in Christ and not in this present world. We do not belong to the devil; we belong to Christ.

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.”

James 4:7-8

We resist the devil and his evil works to the one who has given us the power to overcome him and that is Christ. We try every spirit to see if Jesus has come in the flesh, and we know what the spirit of truth is, and the spirit of error. Whatever is not of faith in Christ Jesus is sin. We do not grieve the Holy Spirit who is our comforter. We put away all lying, stealing, evil speaking, anger, malice, and covetousness and ask God to cleanse our heart and mind to that of Christ. We pray that the Holy Spirit would come and convict those who are not walking in the Spirit of Christ. We ask for the fruit of the Spirit to fill us with the love of Christ and change us from glory to glory into the person of Jesus Christ. We pray for the understanding what the will of the Lord is. We must speak truth and not lie. There are many forms of truth, but only one truth has given us the victory and that is through Jesus Christ.

Our doctrine is of Christ and not of any other. Beware of what doctrine you follow. I remember Smith Wigglesworth said to beware of any word that has “ist,” or “ism” at the end of a word. I though it funny at the time of hearing it, but there is some truth to what he said. There are those who follow a different teaching that is not of God. It may sound good, but their objective is not of the doctrine in Christ. The latest new word “Christian Nationalism,” is creating a divide all across America. This movement began in the late 50’s and has come to the forefront in recent years. Christian nationalists are defined as those seeking to preserve the status of a Christian state. Its focus is on national identity. As an American citizen the Bill of Rights gives people the right to the establishment of religion and free exercise thereof. It does not state that Congress should make a law of one Religion over another. History has proven that making a law upon religion has brought about expulsions such as what happen in Spain’s history. Any type of law for a religion has brought civil unrest upon a country or nation. Freedom of religion gives each individual a choice.

God has given each individual a choice to believe or not believe. If you take away that choice and make it legal, it becomes a manmade law based upon legalism which promotes ritualism. Let us remember that ritualism did not save the Jewish nation. If man can not conform to God’s laws, how can they conform to their own laws? The law concluded that all are under sin.

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”

Galatians 3:24-25

Paul warns about legalism and how the two systems cannot co-exist, that of law and grace. We cannot work the good works through the law to receive salvation. If we are justified by the law, then Christ has become ineffective [see Galatians 5:4]. Paul goes on to say that those who are justified by the law have fallen from grace. “We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith,” [Galatians 5:5]. Therefore, we should walk carefully and not as fools but as the wise redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Make sure you are standing in the faith through Christ and no other doctrine. Do not allow or give place to the devil in not walking in the Spirit of Christ. Remember that God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son to reconcile the world from sin.

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Justification, Love, Righteousness

Perfect Peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed o thee, because he trusted in thee.

Isaiah 26:3

The world is a dusty dirty place and we as Christians must walk in it every day. There are times when conflict and the daily grime we experience weighs heavy upon our heart to bring us down. It is no wonder that Jesus said to shake off the dust of your feet in Matthew 10:4. We go out to work, play, and buy and it is not always pleasant. We witness anger, arguing, and nasty words not worth mentioning, but see no peace. Visiting someone’s house who may or may not be receptive to what you have to say can be nerve wracking.  Some do not want to hear what you have to say because you’re a Christian. We may want to tell the world what God has given us, but we are hit in the face or told to shut up. Has this happened to you? Has someone walked away from you because you are a Christian? Some may even say, “Oh! you think you are so righteous.” It happened to me.  I just looked upon the person with sadness in my heart, for they were speaking judgement rather than the love of God. This is a reflection upon themselves that they are not what they want to be. In fact, no one is righteous before God.

Only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God who died, and arose from the dead, have been given the gift of Christ righteousness. The word righteous is a Hebrew word “ tsadiyq,” meaning to be upright or just. This speaks about an upright or just man. The meaning is of a just man because that person is right with God and follows God’s commandments. As a child of God, we carry the peace of God with us everywhere we go. If you are not received, when you depart, shake off the dust of your feet. Why? Shaking off the dust of our feet is a testimony against them [see Luke 9:5]. This speaks to the day of judgement, and your peace should be return to you. We are to be in perfect peace no matter what happens in the world. God’s peace should reign within our hearts. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” [John 14:27]. As Christian we see with different eyes because of Christ.

Because of Christ we are a new creation. We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation. This is the ministry of atonement for our sins, for judgement came upon us all, but through Christ we have the gift of justification toward life [see Romans 5:18-19]. We have been made righteous through Jesus Christ. If our mind is anchored in Christ, we will have perfect peace within our heart and soul. Our trust is in what Jesus has accomplish for us on the cross. Paul states that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ,” [see Romans 5:1]. In fact, the whole fifth chapter of Romans 5 speaks about our justification. It is about living in the grace of God and having hope. Paul affirms that through tribulation, that we experience, we will learn patience and hope. We are not ashamed because the love of God is in our hearts. Love is the fulfillment of the law [see Roman 13:10]. All things must be done through love, or it means nothing, and what is done is done in vain. That is why the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 13, “now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Love makes the world go round. . .love is what we humans need. Love is what God gave us through his son Jesus. That love gave us perfect peace. As Christians we are restored because we trust in the Lord.  That is what Isaiah was talking about in chapter 26. It is a testimony of the restored and the path of the just.  Jesus Christ is our strength when we are weak. He is our peace, if our mind is firmly anchored in him. We are not to be anxious about anything, but to pray and ask God for help. “Let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” [Philippians 4:7]. This is a promise that God gave us that we ourselves would have perfect peace, if our mind and heart is anchored in Christ Jesus. If we do not have peace, we must ask the Lord why? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what has cause the peace to leave. Remember a right relationship with God is an open relationship where nothing is hidden.

I remember singing this worship song titled, “Peace Give I To Thee,” at youth meetings in 1974. I also had the album. Let this song resonate within your heart and share it with others as a reminder of who gives us peace, faith, hope, and love. May God’s perfect peace be with you at all times.

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Justification

How are we Justified

A man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:16 [beginning of verse]

How are you justified?  It seems that people make themselves justified by doing various things.  Even Christians can fall right back into working for their justification leaving Christ behind.  I pray this does not happen but when we read the word of God, God brings warnings about the subject of justification and how it is applied.  Thus, the apostle Paul in his writings to the Galatian churches gave warnings about mixing the purity of doctrine with conduct and distorting the Gospel of Christ.  The cleverness of some who exhort their authority to teach a different doctrine will in part go along with salvation is from Christ, but then insist that one should also work for their salvation as well.  It is like saying “let’s cover all our basis just in case.” just in case of what?  That our salvation is assured? That we are justified by our own efforts?

 

Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 2:6 [ending of verse]

The apostle Paul tells the Galatians that the works of the law no flesh[man] will be justified.  How do we establish the law and its meaning?  The do and don’t rules have been designated by God with the ten commandments and how the Jewish people followed the “torah” that provided instruction on behavior and conduct for living.  Tradition is the discipline in how we live and treat each other that is handed down from generation to generation.  The customs that each nation has is derived from its indigenous population.  For the Jewish population it is the establishment and the correct practice and interpretation of the “Torah.” The Jewish rule may be seen as common law even though to some it may seem as codified.  In essence it is a matter of interpretation and what is happening at that specific time.  Historians are at times baffled and continue to argue to this day.  If we get down to the root of the problem in God’s eye it will always be a matter of the human heart.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” [see Matthew 15:6, KHV].  This is the root of the problem our heart.  We speak of what is in our heart, what is in our mind as we personally perceived it to be. In Proverbs 23:7, it is said “as he thinked in his heart, so is he.”  We are in life is what we become through what we think.   Jesus said that it was the traditions that made the commandment of God ineffectual [see Matthew 15:3-9].  maybe we should give this a little more thought since we are so easily influenced to go back into legalistic ways of keeping a standard of rules in order for God to accept us. 

The Hebrew root word for salvation is “Yeshua,” which means the Lord is Salvation and it carries on with the meaning of freedom from that which binds or restricts.  Now if we look at the Hebrew word for justifies “sadaq,” is carries the meaning of condemnation that brings judgement.  What Paul is conveying in Galatians chapter 2 verse 16 is that Jesus is the only way that we can have freedom from that which binds or restricts us to where we will not have condemnation or judgment.  Our freedom from condemnation is only through Jesus Christ because He is the final sacrifice for all our sins.  We cannot earn God’s favor by doing or keeping certain traditions or laws of man.  This is not God’s method for reconciliation no matter how good it sounds.  We receive God’s favor through the finished work of Jesus Christ.  We receive it through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, not by any efforts we do ourselves.

If justification was by our works, then why did Jesus die for our sins?  Justification by our works nullifies what Jesus has done on the cross.  It also nullifies the ministry of reconciliation towards God and each other.  Did you know that nullify means to remove the force?  Would we deny the force of Christ sacrifice on the cross to save us from the oppression of the evil one?  Be careful to what you subject yourself too [such as any social movement], it could bring you under bondage.  Legalism in the church lacks joy because they feel they deserve something from God by doing good works.  Legalism in the church compares themselves with others thinking that they are better than others.  “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known,” said Jesus to his disciples in Luke 12:1-2.   Pharisees followed strict observance of the traditional and written law claiming that they were more righteous than other people.  The truth was that they could not even follow their own words they spoke or told others to do.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Galatians 3:24

That is why Paul stated that the law is our schoolmaster to bring us back to Christ.  Did you know that there is power in the blood of Christ?  That power gave us His righteousness, His faith, and His love.  He gives us the victory over the evil one and even death.  He also gives us eternal life.  Let us come to Jesus and place our faith in Him alone and nothing us.  Let us ask Jesus to keep us free from that which binds or restricts us in any way from His power and from who Jesus is, the son of God, who came in the flesh, and arose to sit on the right hand of God ever making intercession for all of us.  Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us not nullify who He is or His power to save us all from the evil one, our sins, and our pride.  Jesus truly is our justification, and it is by our faith in him alone not by anything we can do ourselves that we are justified.  Let us praise God for providing us the way to reconciliation.

Listen to a Messianic classic song titled “The Sacrifice Lamb” sung by Joel Chernoff.  In the early 1970’s the duo group “Lamb,” who was Joel Chernoff and Rick Coyhill came on the scene with this wonderful song titled “The Sacrifice Lamb.”  This song has always touched my heart, and I pray it will touch yours as well.

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