salvation

Called to The Struggle.

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Hi Frank,

I know of some professing believers who have demonstrated a genuine walk with the Lord, and yet are choosing an “alternative life style”. They say it’s okay because the church they are attending says it’s okay and that they still love Jesus etc. etc etc. 

What would your rebuttal be to the young adult who says that his or her choice is okay because they are okay in their relationship with the Lord? Curious to know your thoughts.

Thank you, Frank!

What a difficult question you ask...

I find it very interesting that Jesus said salvation is a narrow road (Matthew 7:13). He also told us that we will know someone who's saved by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). He also said that there will be many who claimed to love and follow Him, but He says He NEVER knew them (Matthew 7:23). It seems that it's so difficult to be saved!

Yet I marvel at how easy He made it in John 3, when He says "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life."

The account of the bronze serpent is found in the book of Numbers. The children of Israel had been attacked by poisonous snakes. God directed the leaders to create a bronze serpent and put it high above the camp. All it took to be healed of the serpent bites was for people to look on the snake. I call that the "glance of faith".

It figures to me, that if God wants to save His people, and He does, that He would not make it difficult. 

There are those who claim to love Jesus, yet continue in an unbiblical lifestyle. I point those individuals to Jesus' words in John 12-14, "If you love me, keep my commandments." So, assuming they've genuinely received Christ, they are firm in their standing as children of God. However, if they pursue a sinful lifestyle they are not ok in their relationship with Jesus - in that they are failing to love Him and "grieving" the Holy Spirit.

Bottom line, they are still caught in the great plague of a man-centered Gospel, rather than a Jesus Gospel. The focus is on themselves, what they want, how they want to live.

Even as I write this now, I can hear the rebuttal: "No, they aren't actually saved!" Really?

What's fascinating to me is how Jesus promised He'd never leave us - and He meant it. Regardless of the behaviors we are engaging in or the sins we are committing, we take Christ with us into them. I think of 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul says that a believer who goes to a prostitute not only joins himself to her, but joins Jesus to her as well!

You would think that if ever there was a time that Jesus would say, "I am not going with you into this", sleeping with a prostitute would be such a time. Engaging in homosexuality would be such a time, but as He promised, "I will never leave you."

So what am I saying?

Of course we cannot ultimately know if the individuals you're referring to are saved or not. They very well could be. For me, 1 Corinthians 6 raises an interesting and challenging hurdle. In it, Paul makes a list of people who do not inherit the Kingdom. Of course, there is the murderer and the adulterer and the homosexual in that list. He also includes the angry and the selfish and the one who covets. I daresay that every human on earth gets caught somewhere on that list.

The key though, is verse 11:

"Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

NO ONE would ever ask Christians to celebrate the sin of murder or adultery, but the LGBTQ community is not only asking us to accept their behavior, but CELEBRATE IT! That to me indicates a conscience that was either never redeemed or has been cauterized by sin so badly that such a one does not hear the convicting work of the Holy Spirit anymore (Hebrews 2). 

Here at Grace Life, we affirm our love for such individuals. In the same way that some individuals are born with an extra propensity for lying, or an extra propensity for anger, some are born with a propensity for same sex attraction. We call them to "the struggle": the challenge to live according to how they have been re-born and made new.  They are to walk new instead of according to the propensity they were born into in Adam.

You are Loved,

Frank

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The Simplicity of Jesus

Paul said we are to take care that we DO NOT LEAVE the simplicity of Jesus...

Paul said we are to take care that we DO NOT LEAVE the simplicity of Jesus...

Many people come to me, as an older man who has walked in the grace of God for a long time, with their fresh, new ideas regarding some passage in the Bible. I would never want to question the heart of any other man or woman, but with their questions and a lot of the speculative discussion I see going on, I have to wonder what the purpose of seeking the new and novel is all about?

Perhaps it is to "wow" their own hearts with God; perhaps it is to "wow" the hearts of others... let me share wholeheartedly - agreed! There are so many glorious truths in Father's Word that can indeed "wow" our hearts.

I am, however, finding myself less and less interested in the new and novel, and the speculation, to focus my attention on what Paul said in Corinthians about "the simplicity of Jesus".

In fact, in that passage, Paul said we are to take care that we DO NOT LEAVE the simplicity of Jesus....

Maybe because the sheer simplicity of Jesus is so full of complexity.  God became a man, to die for man, so He could live in and through man.  That is more than enough "WOW" for all of us.

I have to wonder, does not the "WOW" of Jesus, squeeze out all the other "wow's" that would compete with His "WOW"? Agreed?

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In His Royal Family

...the Bible says that when we receive Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and Life, that we have the authority to be called a "child of God."

...the Bible says that when we receive Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and Life, that we have the authority to be called a "child of God."

I love the Bible. It is a gift from God that tells us of His great love for us. It is a manual on man. It explains why we live the way we live and how to change the way we live by finding the real source of LIFE. This is so important because we will never really know who we are until we find Who He really is to us. 

In the Bible, God mostly heralds His truth to us, literally screaming them to us, so that we do not miss them. There are, however, other truths contained in His Word that are found not by direct declaration, but through deduction. 

Deduction = the deriving of a conclusion by reasoning; inference in which the conclusion about particulars follows necessarily from general or universal premises. This is the old if A = B, and B = C, then A must equal C. Make sense?

So where are we going with this? Well, the Bible says that when we receive Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and Life, that we have the authority to be called a "child of God." Wonderful! But we are not done yet. The Bible also tells us that God is not just a king, but the King of Kings! Wonderful! Now let's make a deduction.

If God is the King of Kings, and we are His child, what does that make a man/woman who becomes His child? What do you call the son/daughter of a King? You call them a prince/princess. That is how God sees you, and that is how you desperately need to see yourself.

This is why the Bible says that "through Christ,
we will reign in this life..." (Rom 5:17) because we have become part of the "royal family"
(I Pet 2)

This is not just something to know, it is something to live. How does one treat a prince/princess? With incredible respect, honor, and dignity. How does a prince/princess treat themselves? With incredible respect, honor, and dignity. It is time for us, the true royal family, to live like the true royal family we are so that the world will wonder where we have found such a distinctive life.

Then, we can point them to our King, Who loves to add people to His royal family.

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After the Cross, Now What?

...and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

...and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

I was listening to a famous Bible teacher this morning. He is a good guy and greatly respected. He shared how he wanted to be known as a herald of the Gospel - the Good News that God has brought to us! And what is the good news? He shared this: The Good News is that Jesus was crucified for our sins, died and was buried, and rose again the third day! Isn't that good news? Our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven! Yes, my dear friend. You are correct! Our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven. Please know, that my heart would NEVER be to throw stones at that glorious good news, but I do want people to know that it is even "GOODER" than that!

If that was all there is to the Gospel, then that is not really going to
encourage us in the dark days we encounter in a fallen world.

I am going to heaven, but I am experiencing hell right now! If all the Gospel is, is that I get to go to heaven someday, then what happens in the meantime? Well, in the meantime it is going to be a MEAN TIME! I will be left to slug it out in this fallen world with my own resources, which are simply not sufficient to overcome the death that is on my plate on a daily basis.

Thankfully, there is more to the Gospel. The "finished work" of the Gospel was not finished at the cross! There was more for Jesus to do! First, He ascended to the throne to sit down. It was then, and only then that He could send the other Comforter - by the way the Greek word for "another" is another of the same kind! It is the coming of the Holy Spirit that allows the finished work of Jesus to continually be worked out in our own lives as we trust Him by faith to be our everything.

As we live on this planet, we exchange our strength for His strength, our knowledge for His wisdom, our independence for His guidance, our affections for His love.... and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

Now, that is really good news! We must take care to understand and help others understand, that the Gospel is not just a set of historical facts, but the experience of a relationship with God because those historical facts bring me to a Person who offers to be all that He is to all that I need as I trust Him.

Now that is GOOD NEWS!

Jesus Is My Mediator.

In the New Testament, we are told that there is "ONE MEDIATOR". There is only one, and that is great news. Missionaries from a few centuries ago reported that one of the great reliefs that came to the various tribes was the glory that they no longer had to worry about appeasing a multiplicity of gods, that would be very akin to a polygamist having to please multiple wives. No easy task to be sure. 

The greatest relief of all, of course, was that this God of the Bible did not need appeasing by any man, for He had already paid the ransom for us all. The law demanded death, and He paid the price in our stead - Oh the glory of the love this God of the Bible has for man. 

But it gets better... In Job 9:33, the major complaint of Job was that there was no umpire between him and God, someone who could put His hand in both God and man's hands and place them together. This is what our One Mediator also accomplished. In a very real sense, God, though He knows all things, could never really "get man." 

Before you consider me a heretic, think about this. God could never know what it was like to be tempted, to be weak, to feel fear, or to be betrayed, or to die.

But because Jesus became man and experienced all
those things personally - God in Christ now "gets us."

And man, because He is so much smaller than God, can never really "get God." But in the person of Jesus, God clothed with skin, man could now see the glory of God in a safe way and not be blown to bits. Because of Jesus, we can now see God for what He is really like, and "get God" - sort of! 

This is what Jesus did. He is the one Who alone could put His hand in God's hand, and put His other hand in our hand, and bring us together so that we could "get each other" in a wonderful relationship of love, grace, and mercy. There is ONE MEDIATOR between God and man, and I hope you know Him. HIs name is Jesus!

Extending Grace to Others: A Difficult Task!

GRACE! It is more than a doctrine that we learn in our mind. It is an economy for living… and even more than that: it is a Person that provides that economy.

In Titus 2, we are told that “the grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” So grace, though a doctrine to be sure, is a doctrine about a Person who brought us forgiveness and most important of all – LIFE! He brought us His LIFE, to be experienced by us, and to be expressed through us. Those are the two key elements for which we have received grace, to experience it for ourselves and live in freedom, and to express it to others so that they can live in and experience freedom. 

I define grace as: “Being delivered from the economy of performing in Adam, and being placed instead into an economy of receiving, all that God is to all that we need at the moment of faith.”

So grace is trusting God, to be “our everything” in the moment in which we find ourselves. That to be sure, is no easy task. It is hard to trust a God we cannot see against all that we can see. That is why Hebrews tells us to “labor to rest.” It is hard work to deny the fleshly resources that are all too easy to live out of and trust God instead. Again, this is no easy task. 

An even more difficult task is extending grace to others. I am finding in the movement of grace that we as a people are much better at receiving grace than we are extending it to others. Yet, to fail to extend grace is to live in incomplete grace. So, let me help you out.

If you want to know if you are not only experiencing grace but expressing grace as well, go to those closest to you and ask them these questions. “Are you able to relax around me? Are you able to let your hair down and be yourself around me, or do you have to be on guard with what you say and what you do when you are in my presence?” Please tell them to answer honestly, because you really need to know the status of your own walk of grace. 

Hear me on this! No one, not even the enemies of Jesus, was ever afraid to be in His presence, and He is the epitome of grace. I do not want people to be fearful or on guard in my presence. I want to be such an expression of grace, that people will want to be able to relax and be themselves when they are around me.

How about you?