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The Truth About What Faith Actually Looks Like

Has feeling sad or afraid while facing a difficult time ever caused others to question your faith? Has it ever made you ask yourself if you were really trusting God? In this freeing video, Frank shares the truth about what faith actually looks like.

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The Truth About What Faith Actually Looks Like

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Have you ever been there with God, the place where nothing in life makes sense? Where you just cry out, “This makes no sense!”

Oh, how hard it can be to remember that He is God, and His mind is bigger than ours. He knows what He's doing.

Habakkuk just couldn’t come to grips with that, have you been there? When you just can't come to grips with what God is allowing? So, he gets tenacious, and he goes up in his prayer tower and he tells God, “I'm not coming down until you answer me!” Two weeks go by, and God finally answers. Hallelujah, God answers! Now, are you ready for what God said? He told Habakkuk to trust Him. Wait, that's it? Now he has a whole new problem; he's cried out to God, and God has said, “No.”

I don't like it when God says no, do you? So what does Habakkuk do? He starts recalling to his mind, all that God is, and all that God has done. He remembers how God parted the Red Sea and made the sun stand still for Joshua, and he says, “Bring on the Chaldeans.” He makes the choice to rejoice, a choice we all have.

In chapter 3, he makes this famous statement, “There was trembling on my lips and decay in my bones.” I love that statement because faith isn’t always a huge smile on our faces, faith is trembling, faith is decay, faith is “I'm dying and I don't understand, but I believe you because you are good and all that you do is good. This doesn't look good, but somehow by faith, it's going to be good, and I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

David says, “Though the fig tree does not blossom and there be no fruit on the vine, my soul is going to cling to you.” And what tense does David use there? He uses the present tense. You see friends, you can cling all you want in the past, it's not going to deliver you in the present. You can say that you will cling in the future, it's not going to deliver you in the present. His name is I AM, and your faith must be present tense to connect to the I AM. Take a look at what David adds, “Your right hand is going to uphold me.” That's what God does beloved, our part is to believe and trust, and God's part is to deliver or sustain.


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A Life or Death Choice

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It is so very easy to be a critic; all you have to do is open your mouth and speak negatively about someone. But have you ever pondered what the Bible has to say about it?

The Bible says that when we slander or gossip about someone that we are actually “Satanizing.” That’s right, we are in partnership with the enemy and joining him in his work to steal, kill, and destroy!

In 1 Timothy 3 the actual translation of a gossip is a “she-devil." Why would we want to do that? Why would we choose to live so contrary to who we are - a vessel of life, and instead choose to live as someone that we are not – a vessel of death? It is not only evil but foolish to do so.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that every time we open our mouth, we are either going to be extending words of life or words of death. So, what do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a minister of life or a minister of death? The choice is yours.

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What Every Hurting Person Needs to Know

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There was a great onslaught against David, and he could have easily remained living horizontal and kept his eyes fixed on all the obstacles and pain around him. He could have stayed living horizontal, and looked at the wilderness he was living in instead of the throne room, but David says, “Oh no, I'm going vertical! You are my God!”

You see beloved when we encounter the adversities of life, one of the facts that we must remember is that God always holds on to us; whether we hold on to God or not though, that’s the choice we must make. And if we choose to stay horizontal, we will lose sight of God.

We must make the choice of the will to see past what is coming against us, to the God who is sitting on His throne. That is what David does, he says, “I am alone in this desert. Yet I am not alone!”

You see, in those trauma times of life, we can feel so alone, can’t we? We can feel like there's no one out there who gets us; even the one we're married to sometimes. When we're going through a traumatic time, we get the feeling that they really don't get us, and then we start to cry out, “Is there anyone out there who gets us?!” The answer is yes! Psalm 73 says, “Who do I have in heaven but you?” And then what did he say? “Who Do I have on earth but you?” Oh God, you get me.

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Glorious News for Mankind

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In the final analysis, there are really only two “religions” in the world. First, there is the religion of Human Achievement; this is the religion that all mankind was placed into the moment Adam ate from the wrong tree, the tree of good and evil, or the tree of right and wrong. This tree says "Tell me what to do and I will do it. Tell me what not to do and I will not do it." Of course, the huge assumption is that we will be able to pull it off, and of course, there isn't, and never has been, a man who can do that.

Romans 3:23 tells us that, "ALL of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." So the religion of Human Achievement, no matter what emblem it falls under or what name it is known by, emphasizes what man does in order to merit life and acceptance from God. 

There is, however, another “religion” – the religion of Divine Accomplishment. Here the emphasis is not on what man must do for God, but what God “has done” for man – hence the name Divine Accomplishment. God has done it! It is finished! This is the most glorious news available to man! God offers what He has done for man, to man as a gift; the only “requirement” for man is simply to humble himself and open up his arms and receive the gift by faith. A gift given is not necessarily a gift that has been received. That is where faith comes in, and that is in Hebrews it says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God!”

What is your religion? Is your religion the religion of Human Achievement, a religion that is all about you, and all that you have done and are doing in order to try and achieve merit before God? Or have you entered into the religion of Divine Accomplishment, where God loves you so much that He has done it all for you! The choice is yours!

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The Bridge

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You know, Pilate asked a question, “What shall I do with Jesus?” The crowds said, crucify Him. Jesus asks that same question of each of us today; What will you do with Jesus? 

I often use this illustration when I'm sharing Christ with someone in my office or on the street; picture a great big, extremely wide river. Let's go down to that river and make a good effort at jumping over it. How far are you going to go, six feet? Eight feet? I'm an ex-athlete, with the emphasis on "x," so I might go ten feet. Does it earn me bragging rights that I jumped ten feet but you only jumped six? No! Why? Because we're both soaking wet, floating down the river! There is no way that we're ever going to be able to jump across that river. There's only one way across, and that's if someone builds a bridge. It's the same way with our relationship with God. Adam plunged us all into sin, and we're now separated from God just like that great big, extremely wide river separates one side of land from the other. We can try all we want with all of our good works to try and get to that other side, but that big old river of sin hinders us and the only way we're ever going to make it across is if someone builds a bridge and that's what Jesus Christ came to do. He came to build that bridge for anyone who will make that choice when the question is asked, what shall I do with Jesus? 

If you're reading this today and haven't made that choice, I pray you would because this is a choice with the greatest consequence you will ever have. To choose Jesus is to have life eternal with Him; forgiveness of sins and to be put into union with God and enjoy Him forever. What a marvellous, marvellous consequence! To not choose Jesus is to choose death, and why would anyone want to choose that?

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All Things Work Together For Good

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1 John 4 says, “God IS love.” It’s a very important verb choice. He didn't say God HAS love. If He HAD love, He might NOT have love. Instead, he uses the verb "is," the state of "is-ness," this is one's state of being,  the part of you that cannot be changed. God IS love, and He made us a promise in Romans 8:28 that “All things will work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purposes.” This is true even for the worst choice ever made by a man in all of history. A choice that's even worse than the one Adam made two-thousand years ago. 

My friends, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. He had healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the poor, heralded the Kingdom of God and proclaimed that in Him there would be forgiveness of sins and life eternal. The people hailed Him as the Messiah, but at that point, the Jewish leadership got a little envious. John 11 reveals that they knew this man did miracles. Did you hear that? Unbelieving, rebellious men, admitted that miracles were being done. These were not Jesus’ followers; these were people who hated Him, and they acknowledged that miracles were being done. The problem for them was that if they let Him keep doing what He was doing, all of Israel would believe in Him, and the key is in their next phrase, “We’ll be out of a job.” 

My friends, do you know what really killed Jesus? It was job security. And so they held an illegal trial, trumped up false charges against Him that He was inciting rebellion against Rome and turned Him over to Rome for permission to have Him crucified. The problem was, the Roman Governor found Him innocent of all charges, but the Roman Sanhedrin continued to stir up the people. Pilot was afraid of a riot. If he could not govern well, he'd be out of a job. He realized there was a custom in Israel where they would release one prisoner every year. Coming up with an idea, he made a choice, and the choice was offered to the crowd: Jesus or Barabbas. 

Barabbas, the text says, was an insurrectionist, a murderer and a thief. The choice before them, my friends, was simple; you can have the righteous and innocent Son of God, OR you can have the murderer. What will you do with Jesus? And they chose Barabbas. They chose a murderer over the Messiah, and they screamed for Pilot to have Jesus, who had been declared innocent, crucified. 

I don't know if you've ever thought about the fact that Pilot had already declared Jesus innocent. Jesus not only could have been set free, but He should have been set free. The people CHOSE to have Jesus crucified, and Pilot CHOSE to let it happen. There were so many poor choices made, and those choices had horrible, horrible consequences. 

Pilot washed his hands to try and declare himself innocent; that it was not his choice to crucify Jesus. At that point, the people cried out, “His blood be on us and our children.” They made the most horrible choice that man has ever made, to crucify the Lord of Glory... But God! But God! See my friends; it was a true statement; His blood was on them, it was their choice. But because of God, his blood was FOR them. 

In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said, “I'm coming to give my life as a ransom.” In Matthew 26:28, He said, “This is my blood which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Do you realize my friends, that our incredible God used their choice against Jesus, as a consequence, but not as a consequence against them, but as a consequence for them. It is the greatest fulfillment of Romans 8:28 in all of history, “That all things will work together for good.” The one they killed shed His blood for them that they might be offered a second chance choice to place their faith in Him and secure life eternal and forgiveness.

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Saved From Our Sins

Our gracious, forgiving, merciful God, will overrule the bad choices that can bring bad consequences. 

Our gracious, forgiving, merciful God, will overrule the bad choices that can bring bad consequences. 

I raised my kids on a mantra; life is all about choices and choices have consequences, so make good choices. Why did I drum that into my kids? Because I wanted them to experience Life. I wanted them to have joy and peace and rest. I didn't want them making choices that would leave a trail of guilt and shame and loss. The same is true for you and me as adults. This mantra is not just for kids. Every one of us in this room is confronted daily, on a moment by moment basis with the need to make good choices and avoid bad choices. 

We were all placed into this predicament by Adam who made a very, very bad choice. He could have chosen God, but instead, he chose the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He could have done what God said, but instead, he chose to do what Satan said. He could have believed what God said, “You shall surely die" but instead he chose to believe what Satan said, “You shall surely NOT die.” That terrible choice, my friends, had very horrible consequences. 

It says in Romans 5 that death spread to all men. To personalize that, death spread to you and I. The world became under a curse, and thus every one of us experiences things now that we were never designed to experience. Having left our state of innocence, we're now confronted daily with the potential to make a wrong choice that will lead us to experience a harmful consequence. Scripture is filled with people who've done this; Cain murdered his brother, a terrible choice that caused him to suffer being cursed from the earth. Hagar gave her handmaid to Abraham and caused family division AND national division, a consequence we still face today; Arab and Jew to this day because of that choice. Noah chose to get drunk and caused his sons to be judged and disciplined. And of course, David chose to have an affair with Bathsheba and brought chaos not only to his family but to the entire nation. 

Galatians 6 says, “Whatever a man sows that shall he reap. Sow to the flesh; you'll reap corruption, sow to the Spirit you'll reap Life everlasting.” What I want to share with you friends is this; that law is NOT a universal law because there is a God who has revealed a place in His New Testament that says, “But God.” 

Ephesians 2 says, “Even though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and by nature, children of wrath, BUT GOD who is rich in His mercy and His great love with which He loved us, saved us from our sins.” 

God proclaimed His name to Moses in Exodus 34 when Moses said, “What is your name?” God says, “My name is God, the Lord God. Merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” That's a whale of a name, isn't it?! This gracious, forgiving, merciful God, my friends, will overrule the bad choices that can bring bad consequences. 

I think of Jacob; he made a choice to wrestle with God. That's not a good choice! He ended up with a limp for the rest of his life, BUT he also ended up with a changed life. I think of David and his sin with Bathsheba; it had horrible consequences, BUT that union later brought a great gift named Solomon who brought great wonder and mercy to the world because God is who He is. Don't you just love Him?!

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In response to the Sutherland Springs, Texas mass shooting.

In today's post, I'm tackling a very difficult and painful topic. I'm responding to the mass shooting that happened at a Sunday morning church service in Texas this past weekend in which 26 people were killed - ages 17 months to 77 years.

This is one of the lengthiest posts I've ever written - but it is necessary, in order to address this in the fullest possible manner.

- Frank


Oh my goodness, ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING! And this time it was a church! WHY? That is the haunting question – why is this happening?

Immediately upon the voice leaving the lips with that haunting question, there are those who will herald loudly that it is God’s discipline or judgment on America! They cry out that God has removed His protective hand from a nation that has turned its back on Him. Oh, my friends, why does God always get the blame when something bad happens?

The Scriptures are full of declarations of how good and loving God is, in both the Old and the New Testaments, so why the rush to pin all the bad things on a good, good God?

On the other side of the equation are those who are so quick to defend the reputation of God that they herald just as loudly that God had nothing to do with it, it is just the result of living in a fallen world that is replete with evil and sinful men. We need to remember that God has in his great love, not created robots. He created men with a free choice, and given men the right to exercise that choice, and some men, under the influence of the enemy and their own sinful natures, make very bad choices to hurt other people.

Let’s add some more to this supposition. Could we not also add that this rise in crime and evil is the fruit of a society and culture that abandoned God in the 1960’s? In that decade of “liberation” – we not only removed prayer from schools, we also removed the teaching of Christian ethics and even the concept of the existence of God. Evolution became the standard teaching, wherein man has simply evolved to become the supreme animal, and so he is simply doing today as he has been taught. He is nothing more than a primal animal that has evolved to the top of the food chain, but without a moral compass he is free to do whatever his sinful heart desires to do, and he is choosing to be very, very wicked.

My friends, we need to be biblically honest when confronted with these horrible realities of life. God is good, yes He is. He is so absolutely good, that there is no evil that dwells in Him at all, so says the book of James and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

So let’s get this straight from the beginning, He did NOT cause these recent mass shootings! These horrors were the fruit of the choice of sinful men with evil as their source. On the other hand, let’s remember that God is also omnipotent, so powerful that nothing is impossible with God! This confronts us with a harsh reality:

Though God had NOTHING to do with causing these wicked men from exercising their evil choices, He could certainly have intervened and stopped them in an instant, should He have chosen to do so.

We need to remember this biblical fact and stop trying to defend the reputation of God in these matters, because the truth is God does not even defend His own reputation. Have you ever read Exodus 4:4? There God tells us that He makes the deaf and the dumb, and does not even clarify why He would do such thing! How can that be?

As a parent of two children with special needs, I have repeatedly asked "How can a good God do such a thing and even admit that He does it?" 

Please note my friend, that even in the context of heralding that reality, God offers no explanation at all as to why He would say and do that! And how about Job, poor old Job. Remember all the calamities that God allowed into His life? And in the book of Job, it is made clear that God did indeed allow all those things to happen from the hand of the enemy unleashed on Job.

Yet, when Job finally questioned God, all God did was ask His own questions of Job… “Were you there when I hung the stars in the sky and named them? Were you there when I hung the earth in a balance?” Job, overcome by the sheer greatness of God as revealed in these questions, repented of his questioning of God. He can only muster up what really is the only answer we really have to such questions as to why such evil things happen…. Job says, “I used to say I knew you, but now my eyes really see!” I believe Job is saying, “God, I knew you were big before, but now I am beginning to see how really BIG you are!”

And therein lies our answer to why these horrible, horrible realities of life are occurring. We know that it is men exercising their free will to choose to do evil, and we also know that God is allowing such men to exercise their free will.

So why is He allowing this to occur? WE DO NOT KNOW! God is sooooooooooo VERY BIG AND WISE AND GOOD that we in our puny minds are unable to harmonize all that we see with our eyes, with all that we know about God as revealed in the Bible and in the cross of Jesus.

This is where faith comes in. Faith is defined in Hebrews as the “substance of things not yet seen.” We believe, but we do not see. Hmmmmmm….. and what is it that we believe? We believe as we have been told in the Scriptures that God is good, and God is loving, and God is all powerful. We also believe that God has a plan of summing up all things in Jesus (Eph. 1:8-10) and in doing so one day He will restore all the years that the locusts have eaten, and one day He will wipe away all the tears, and one day He will bring beauty out of the ashes, and turn our mourning into joy, and in that day there will be no more pain, and in that day there will be no more tears…

… and in that day there will only be the experience of peace, rest, joy, love, and we will bask in the glory of God. II Cor 4 tells us that His glory is so going to “oppress us” that it is going to be an eternal weight placed upon us that will be so incredible that the sufferings of this world are not even going to be worthy to be compared to the glory that is revealed – and here is the amazing thing – that glory will be revealed IN US! We are going to radiate in our own lives, in our own person, the glory of the Person of God Himself!The God who refuses to allow anyone or anything to compete with His glory, is going to freely share His glory with His kids.

So why is this happening? I don’t know, I am too small to understand how such tragedy can be used by God to accomplish such good. I do know that God and only God could ever pull that off.

So I, bewildered, and perplexed, place my hand in His and
trust Him Who is so much bigger and better than I am.

Please, please, however, do not hear me being “theological” here, or flippant in any way.

Little kids have died and parents now have empty arms.
Parents have died, and little kids have been robbed of their mommies and daddies.
Some have been robbed of their kind and gentle-hearted grandparents!

Wickedness has devastated so many lives; pain reigns and tears flow! So where is God in all this? That is the question I heard on the morning news as a news commentator asked a pastor that very question, “Where is God?” I won’t go into the pastor’s answer. He did well, but in my own heart of hearts, I would have answered differently.

If someone had asked me, “So where is God when things like this happen?” I would have answered very simply, “He is in the same place He was when His own Son got slaughtered by wicked men exercising their free choice to do evil, and His Father's heart was grieving then just like it is grieving right now. Wicked men have exercised their free choice to do evil once again, and His heart is weeping just like our heart is weeping, for we as believers share His same heart!

Well then, why doesn’t He just send the Lord Jesus back right now and put an end to this madness. Oh please hear my heart, I pray that virtually every day, just as the early church prayed. Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus! But do you realize, if he came today and did put an end to this world as we know it, so many, so very many people of unbelief would die in their sins and spend an eternity separated from God.

One morning, not long ago, I was praying that Jesus would return soon, and the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Son, that is a very selfish prayer.” If you know me at all, you will not be surprised by my answer, as I asked the Lord, “Sir, and your point is?” I heard nothing more that morning, I surmise that our Father shook His head as if to say, “What am I going to do with that one?”

I have always been, and I suppose I always will be a “why child” and not settle for overly simplistic Christian jargon or trite cliché. I hope you won’t either.

This is not the time for Christian cliché and jargon.
It is not even a time for contemplation.
 It is a time for action. It is a time, not for “why” but for WHAT!

What are we to do in light of what and who we know about Who God is and longs to be to us! And what are we to do with the horror and degradation and loss that our eyes see on the evening news? II Cor. 1 is the passage that issues forth our marching orders for times such as this! It tells us that we who have been comforted with the comfort with which only God can comfort, are to comfort others!

Oh dear beloved ones of God, do you hear it??

Ours is not to try and figure out what cannot be discerned, ours is to march into the battlefront and unleash the love and care of God into the destruction that the enemy has wrought upon humanity.

Ours is to hold on tight and hug those who mourn, ours is to weep with those who weep, ours is to not try and fix people but just extend the look in the eye and express very little words on our lips.

We cannot fix people who endure such tragedy, so why do we try with such trite stupid phrases like, “It will get better!” or “They are in a better place!”

Don’t you realize that in that moment a mom or dad does not want their child in a better place, they want them in their arms? How insensitive can we be? No, ours is to be quiet, to be available, to love, and if we must speak, if we simply must speak – let it be simple and powerful. “I love you, and I am praying for you!” That is all, and that is enough! In the moment of great anguish, people do not need theology, they need love and comfort and we can be the ones to do that. We can be the ones who offer God the Comforter with skin on…. As we unleash the Spirit of God Who dwells within us unto others to simply love and comfort.

In these very dark days, the world desperately needs to see the light of God, and we are as Jesus said, the light of the world because He, the true light, lives within us to be expressed by us.

As Jesus said, let our good works so shine before men, that the world will have to admit that God is alive because they can see Him in us.

As the Apostle Paul put it in II Cor. 4, “As  the death comes upon us daily from the outside in, the resurrection life can be unleashed by us from the inside out, to overcome the death so that world seeing the death and resurrection lived out in the present tense, will be forced to join the heavenly choir and admit that there is a God!” (My paraphrase). Therefore, we do not quit (II Cor 4:16)

I leave you with the words of Francis of Assissi, “Preach Christ always, and sometimes use words.”

The world has heard our words, it is so dark now they need to see the light of our works – and specifically the works of love and comfort!

 

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Never Going To Leave You

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time.

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time.

One of the most common fears I hear voiced is that "this time I have really done it!" The dear one making that statement has made a choice, a really bad choice and entered into such poor behavior that they are sure God is going to abandon them, and deservedly turn His back on them.

In I Corinthians 6, Paul addresses such a poor choice with a response that has scandalized the religious world for centuries.  If ever there was an occasion where God would, dare we say "must" reject His sinning child, it would be this one! BUT HE DOES NOT DO SO!

What did they do? They had sex with a prostitute. Now, finally, we are going to see it said! Right? Surely for this sin, God is going to separate Himself from the sinning one, at the very least for the time that this sin is occurring. Right? Jesus is going to say, "If that is what you are going to do, I will wait for you outside. Right? NO! DEAD WRONG!

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time. When you unite yourself to that prostitute, you are going to be uniting Me to that prostitute.

Oh my friend, Jesus said He is never, NEVER going to leave you or forsake you. NEVER!

A friend of mine says it this way, "When you backslide,
He is going to backslide with you."

When you became His child, nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ! NOTHING!

Now, grow up in this love, rest in this love, embrace this love, affirm how secure and significant you are in Him. You have not, nor can you ever separate yourself from His love.

And by the way, as you learn of this love, I believe you will find that your pursuits of other counterfeit life and love, will dissipate and you will not be making those poor choices, because they really do not satisfy the desperate need of your soul to find life and love, for you will have found it in Him!

Getting Serious About Jesus

... the key to walking out the truth is in   setting the mind  .

... the key to walking out the truth is in setting the mind.

Proverbs 23:7 is perhaps the most transformational verse in the Bible in terms of our living the Christ- Life! It says, “As a man thinks within himself, so shall he be.” In other words, the key to walking out the truth is in setting the mind. That is why all over both the Old and New Testaments we are exhorted to set our mind and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Well then, what should our mind be set on? Well, SIN of course! At least that is what far too many in the church think. We have got to stop sinning! Put sin to death! Avoid sin! And I trust you know, that when you say the word “sin” – you have to do so in a high pitched, nasal twang and drag the word out like this, “s-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n!” It really helps as well, to put a glare on your face with wrinkled up nose like your’re smelling something foul!

Now, I understand the pre-occupation with sin in the Old Testament. Sin is what separated us from God and there was no way to permanently remove it.  So man had to always be aware of their sin and offer sacrifices for them! But with the coming of the New Covenant and Jesus removing our sin from us, taking them away completely and forever, sin is no longer to be the dominating thing we set our mind on. When the writer of Hebrews finished his theological treatise in chapters 1 – 11, how did he begin his application? Did he say, “Therefore, fix your eyes on sin?” NO! A resounding NO! He said to lay aside sin and fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith! Our mind is no longer to be set on sin, but on Jesus.

As we fix our eyes on Him and live in dependence upon Him,
let me say it simply, “The Christ-Life in us does not sin!”

Well then, why do we sin? Because we make a choice to live contrary to who we are, and live as independent creatures from God, we in the moment of unbelief choose to sin. If we are really serious about sin, the thing we need to do is become even more serious about Jesus. Remember, He did not just come to be our Lord and our Savior! He came to be our very LIFE! (Col. 3:3-4) Oh the glory of this reality!  He enables us as indwelt men and women to experience and express His own abundant LIFE!