sin

Another Way to Live

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The New Testament makes it very clear that when we come to Jesus, our relationship to the Law has ended. The New Testament also makes it very clear why our relationship to the Law needs to end. In 1 Corinthians 15:56, we are told that “The strength of sin is the Law.” In other words, sin gets its power from the Law. Allow me to illustrate; I am going to give you a command, “Do not think of a green monkey!” You haven’t even thought of a green monkey, but I bet you are now. Some of you are even saying, “Oh yeah! Watch me!” There was nothing wrong with the command I gave you; the problem is that sin uses the Law to make us think of a green monkey. This principle is true, even with the Law that came from God on Mount Sinai!

In Romans 7, Paul said that the power of sin used the Law to stir up in Paul, “all manner of coveting.” In other words, Paul was not struggling with coveting, until the Law told him not to covet. Again, this is not the fault of the Law; it is simply a revelation to us of how sin uses the Law to stir up more sin. That is why all diets fail. We are told not to eat the cookie! Do not eat the cookie! The power of sin uses that Law to stir up within us desire for a cookie, and what are we going to do? We are going to eat the cookie, right? Wrong! We are going to eat half the bag!

Can I share with you one more verse? It is Romans 5:20. Now before we go there, let’s ponder how life works for humanity. I as a parent, have kids running in the house. It is not safe for them to run in the house, they might get hurt. So I make a law, “No running in the house!” Now, why did I make that law? To stop them from running in the house. This is why we make laws as a people. Our country made a law that there should be no killing. Why did our country make that law? To stop people from killing. Own this reality; we make laws to stop certain behaviors! That is normality for the world.

Now go to Romans 5:20, and hear the other worldly reality that God declares. He says that “the Law came in that sin might INCREASE!” Oh my goodness, did you see that? God gave the Law, knowing full well that it would not stop sinful behavior in any way, shape, or form. God gave the Law knowing full well that we would sin even more! Now, why would God do that? My personal conviction is that God did that so that just maybe we might get sick of sinning by trying to follow the law and cry out to Him for another way to live! Then, and only then, could we be led to Jesus and find in Him the power of His life to live differently! The reason we don’t want a relationship to the Law is because sin will use the Law to stir up more sin in our lives. The glory of the New Covenant is that we have died to the Law so that we could be placed into union with the very Spirit of God Himself instead! Now that is worth living for!

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Sin Isn't Your Master

 If I am not "under grace"... but instead look to self-discipline, or principles, or effort, or meeting expectations of myself or others, SIN WILL BE MY MASTER!

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Sin Isn't The Supreme Issue

When Adam sinned, God's heart was grieved - of course it was! What grieved His heart most is what man would have to experience fear, grief, sorrow, anxiety, guilt, shame, and isolation as a result.

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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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If You Needed More

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Glorious revelation into the heart of God and His desire to bless.

When David sinned with Bathsheba, God told him these words:

"I anointed you king, I delivered you from Saul, I gave you your master's house and wives, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. AND IF THAT HAD BEEN TOO LITTLE, I ALSO WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU MUCH MORE."

Now I realize, that David had done something really wrong. And God was not pleased with what David had done. And God was going to discipline David to help him further down the path of faith... yes to all those things! 

But do you hear what I am hearing? "If you needed more, all you had to do was ask!"

Wow! What a God!!!

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It's Not Just Sin, It's The Aftermath

This is what grieves God's heart. You do know that man was NEVER supposed to be concerned with doing right or now doing wrong.

This is what grieves God's heart. You do know that man was NEVER supposed to be concerned with doing right or now doing wrong.

When Adam ate from the tree, he sinned. No buts about it, he sinned. He "missed the mark" and this has been the proclamation of the church ever since. HE SINNED!

Though that is true, I do not believe that is the supreme issue when it comes to our Father's heart! May I illustrate. I also play the role of father, a role given to me from God Himself. When my children sin, when they miss the mark, that bothers me as a father. Of course, it does! They sinned. They missed the mark.

But hear me please, that thought is not what dominates my heart. My heart is consumed with a much greater thought --- and that is not so much that they did wrong, but that they are going to have to suffer some ominous consequences because they did wrong. That is what grieves me... I NEVER want my children to experience what they were never designed to experience. Does that make sense?

Let's run with this then. When Adam sinned, of course that grieved the heart of God. But what grieved the heart of God even more, is what man would have to experience because he did wrong.

Now man is going to experience death.
Now man is going to experience loss.
Now he is going to experience fear, grief, sorrow, anxiety,
guilt, shame, isolation, independence, and on and on we could go.

All of these are going to occur because man was now divorced from God and now married to the law. A system of performing right and avoiding wrong in an effort to make himself "like God".   And all in an attempt to be "right" independent of God. Now man is going to experience guilt and shame when he does wrong, and he is going to experience pride when he does right.

This is what grieves God's heart. You do know that man was NEVER supposed to be concerned with doing right or now doing wrong. That mindset, that economy, only came into the experience of man because Adam sinned by eating from that tree of right and wrong. Before this event, (this sin) man had no idea of what right and wrong, good and evil were.

All he knew was God, and that was enough.

Sadly, ever since that fateful day, this has been the struggle of man. Not trusting that God is enough. Always laboring instead to do right and not do wrong in a feeble attempt to make himself "ok" independent of God. 

Do you see why the sin of Adam (and any sin of man) grieves the heart of God so? It is not just that man has chosen wrong that sorrows God, but the fact that man is going to now experience the consequence of other than God. As a Father, He wants so much for us as His children. He does not want us pursuing the "doing" of right and the "avoiding" of wrong. That economy is an economy that only came into our experience as a consequence of Adam's sin. 

He wants us to experience Him as the only One Who can make us right,
and express right, through us as we trust Him by faith.

That is why throughout the New Testament He heralds loudly how He rescued us from the law through the Person and Work of Christ so that we could once again be married to God!

What a Father we have. His great concern is not just that we have sinned, but that we have to experience consequences from that sin. And know this, His concern is so great that it led Him to send His Son, not only so that He could remove our sin, but also remove the consequences of sin. He delivered us from the code of ethics, the system of right and wrong, THE LAW so that we could be restored to Him. 

WOW INDEED!

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Who's Your Master?

Living in an economy NOT OF PERFORMING, but an economy of receiving all that God is to all that I need at the moment of faith!

Living in an economy NOT OF PERFORMING, but an economy of receiving all that God is to all that I need at the moment of faith!

One of the great dangers of our humanity is that when we enter into communication with each other, we do so with "filters".  We say what we don't mean to say, we hear what we want to hear, we don't hear what was said because we filter what we are about to hear through our own thought processes and circumstances and experiences....

sooooo...
Sometimes we need to really work at what we are trying to say and work to hear what others are saying to us.  Sometimes we need to say things differently so people will hear us, and sometimes we need to hear things said differently in order to really have true communication. Does that make sense? That is true even with the Scriptures Father has given to us.

Case in point: Rom 6:14
"sin will not be your master because you are not under law,
but under grace!"

I hear that and it is clear. But when I hear it stated another way, it really confirms what I hear and enables me to appropriate it. Let's state the above truth from a negative perspective and see if that helps us...

"if you are NOT UNDER GRACE, 
SIN WILL BE YOUR MASTER!"

To hear it said differently helps me. Did it help you? If I am not "under grace" but instead, if I am under self-discipline, if I am under principles, if I am under striving, if I am under the expectations of myself or others, SIN WILL BE MY MASTER!

The only way I can truly be free of sin as my master is to be "under grace".  Living in an economy NOT OF PERFORMING, but an economy of receiving all that God is to all that I need at the moment of faith!

That is the only way to really deal with sin. You see my friends, too often the attack hurled against us as the people of grace is that we are "light on sin". Did you see what we said above? Did you hear it with the eyes of your spirit led understanding? The attack that is levelled against us is wrong!

The only true way to deal with sin is to live under grace! 

I hear what Father is saying.... do you?

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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!

Sin is Insanity!

Please know that you will NEVER be able to understand, figure out, or find an answer for "why" someone does something that hurts you or you do something that hurts yourself.   Sin is INSANE!

Please know that you will NEVER be able to understand, figure out, or find an answer for "why" someone does something that hurts you or you do something that hurts yourself.  Sin is INSANE!

Someone recently asked me to define "sin"... EASY!
The Greek word is "hamartia" and it means "to miss the mark"...

But that is not how I define it. As I have worked with people now for many years, and of course have lived many years, the best definition I have ever come up with is "INSANITY".  

Sin is "INSANITY".

We as a people know those sinful things are not right, not good for us, not helpful to the ones we love, disrespecting to our Father Who loves us, and yet we still do them!!! INSANITY!

Please know that you will NEVER be able to understand, figure out, or find an answer for "why" someone does something that hurts you or you do something that hurts yourself.  Sin is INSANE!

And please know and praise God that He continues to love insane people...LIKE ME!

 

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!

Birth, Not Behavior, Determines Identity.

As human beings, we all too often identify others and ourselves by what we do. We tell people, “I am a doctor. I am a lawyer. I am an engineer.” For those of us who have what appears to be “lesser roles” in life, we might say, “I am just a housewife, or I am just a janitor.” This is tragic because God has made it very clear in the Bible that what we do does NOT determine who we are. It is birth that determines identity, not behavior. May I help you with this?

Take a second right now, and bark like a dog. Yes, I am serious, do it right now! Well done, and now a question, “Did that make you a dog?” Absolutely not, you are a human being who at that moment was “acting” like a dog, but a dog is definitely not who you are because you were born a human being and not a dog! This is true in the spiritual realm as well. The Bible identifies that there are only two kinds of people in the world. First, there are sinners. Far too many people define a sinner as someone who sins. We have already learned though, that behavior does not determine identity. That is a very poor definition of a sinner. Remember, identity is determined by birth, not behavior. Therefore, a better definition of a sinner is someone who is born in Adam. This means that they were born spiritually dead and separated from God, and therefore, because they are a sinner – they sin. It is not sinning that makes them a sinner, it is being a sinner that makes them sin.

When a person receives Jesus as their Lord, Savior, and Life, the Bible tells us that in that very moment we are “born again” – we have been given a new birth. This new birth comes with a new identity. We are now saints, and no longer sinners. That is why the word saint is used of us throughout the New Testament instead of the word sinners. We have been completely changed because we have been born again into a new identity! GLORY!

Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t sin. What it does mean is that we are now saints, who don’t act like who we are sometimes, and that is really foolish for us to do that, don’t you think? But hear the glory, when we sin, it does not change us back into sinners any more than barking like a dog would turn us into a dog. Again, behavior does not determine identity. The truth is you are not a doctor, or a lawyer, or just a housewife, or just a janitor. Incidentally, there should never be “just” allowed into our defining of who we are. You are either a sinner, born in Adam, or you are a saint who has been reborn in Christ! If you are a saint, and have been birthed into God’s family, that means you are now a child of God! You cannot get any more significant than being a child of the King of Kings, because that makes you either a son or daughter of that King of Kings.

By the way, what do you call the son of a king? You call him a prince. What do you call the daughter of a king? You call her a princess. That is who you really are. If you are a believer, if you have received Jesus, you are either a prince or a princess in the kingdom of God! WOW! Don’t ever say you are “just” again… no prince or princess would ever say that about themselves.

It Can Be Hard to Wait...

I am so excited to share with you today.

In the book of Genesis, it records how God came to Abraham, and promised him an heir through his own seed with his bride Sarah, and through that seed would come descendants numbering like the stars in the heavens. In addition, God promised that through his seed ALL the families of the earth would be blessed! Abraham was 75 years old when God made that amazing promise to him. Even more amazing, Sarah was 65 years old. What an exciting promise to an old, childless couple!

As the years went by, though, no child arrived, and God continued through those years to reaffirm His promise. Abraham and Sarah had to wait and wait and wait! "WAIT" is for me one of the worst four-letter words found among humanity! It is hard to wait, especially when the promise of something so good and wonderful is delayed. 

As time progressed, Abraham and Sarah decided to take matters into their own hands. First, they offered to God that their servant Eleazer might be considered the heir. Then, at Sarah's request, Abraham had sexual relations with Hagar to produce Ishmael, whom they offered to God to be the heir. God, of course, said "No" to their suggestions of help and continued throughout the years to affirm His promise that He would provide an heir through them, until one day He did provide when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, and way past the onset of menopause! 

The amazing thing I find in this account is the commentary found on it in Romans 4:18-20, where God says of Abraham, that "against hope believed; he was not weak in faith; and never doubted but was strong in faith!" Are you kidding me? He NEVER doubted? What about Eleazer? What about Hagar and Ishmael? Makes me question, "God, do you even read the Bible that you wrote?" How are we to explain this, that God says Abraham never doubted, when clearly he did?

The answer I believe is very simple. The Bible tells us that whatever is not of faith, is sin. So Abraham's lapses in faith were sin. However, through his seed that was going to be born, Jesus, God removed all of Abraham's sins and cast them as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered by God no more... in other words, when God looks at Abraham He truly does not see ANY lapses of faith; nor ANY sinful choices, He sees only righteousness, for God has chosen to not remember such failures. 

And now the glory... It is the same for you and me. We have had many lapses of faith, many sinful choices that we regret and find hard to forget. The glory is that God has taken those things infinitely away from us, and chooses to remember them no more... So completely has He done this, that when He looks at us today, He sees only righteousness. WOW! Glory to God!

The Mercy of God is Greater Than You Believe.

In the Bible, God has multiple names, which is as it should be to help us define and embrace His multi-faceted character. After all, He is so big and so good, no one name can suffice to describe Him. Hence we have, "Adonai" = Master; "Yahweh" = Lord, "Elohim" = Mighty God, "Jehovah Rapha" = God our healer, "Jehovah Nissi" = God our banner, "Jehovah Tsidkenu" = God our righteousness.... and so it goes.

One of my very favorite names is found in Exodus 34. What is fascinating is that this is the name He personally revealed to Moses, following the making of the golden calf and the drunken orgy by the children of Israel. STOP! DO NOT READ THAT LIGHTLY! This horrid sinning was done by the people of God, who personally experienced the miraculous plagues God put on Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea! After receiving so much, isn't much to be expected? Wouldn't a holy God be done with such a people who "know better" because they know God? So what is His name?

"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin!"

Now that is some kind of name! As I ponder it, it seems as if even God Himself cannot find the words to describe His mercy to man. I would put it this way my dear friend, "No matter how great you believe the mercy of God is, it is greater than you believe."

"No matter how great your sin is, even sin as a believer, his mercy is greater than your sin. His mercy is like the light.... the greater the darkness, the brighter the light will be made manifest!" IT IS TIME!

It is time for you who have committed GREAT SIN (even as a believer), to recognize how much greater is the mercy of God toward you if you would only run to Him, instead of from Him. What a great name!

It's Not Enough That Jesus Died...

The other day, I heard one of the old hymns we used to sing. Do you remember this one? "I need no other argument, I need no other plea, it is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."

Nice hymn, but the theology of it is insufficient....

If all the Gospel is, is that Jesus died for my sins so that I can go to heaven someday, then the Good News has been reduced to a destination. Jesus functions like fire insurance, in that His death keeps me out of hell. If that is the Gospel, then we are nothing more than forgiven sinners, and what is going to happen in the meantime between the time we got saved and the time we get to go to heaven? Well, in the meantime, it is going to be a MEAN TIME! Because if that is the Gospel, then we are left to face the rest of our lives in a sin-cursed world, battling the flesh and the enemy with our own resources. No, my friend, it is not enough that Jesus died for me, though that is indeed a part of the glory He secured for HImself through His incarnation and work.

The really good news, is that He rose again. That He put us on the cross with Him (Rom 6:3-6) so that we too could be crucified. He then buried our old sinful self with Him, so that when He rose, we rose too! Why did this happen? To make us righteous (II Co5 5:21) so that He the Righteous One could now live in us and express His life through us. This was so He could save us right now with His life (Rom 5:8-10) in a great exchange of resources - our weakness for His strength (Isa 40) - so that we could experience God now, and know Him now in an intimate and glorious union of love (I Cor 6:17) --- enabling us in a very real way to experience heaven right now, while we are on our way to heaven. So what is heaven? Oh, it is a place, but it is a place where we find a Person... and the Person of God is what makes heaven, heaven.

So, no my friend, it is not enough that Jesus died, I need more than that and praise His name there is more.... He LIVES! And He lives for me, in me, and through me, and that and that alone is enough!

We Were Never Designed to Live by Doing Good, and not Doing Evil.

One of the most amazing verses I have ever read is Romans 5:20. Before you read it though, let's think together.

When as a parent you made a rule: "There will be no running in the house!" Why did you make that rule? Because you intended that this new rule would stop the kids from running in the house, right? How did that work for you?

When our government made a rule, "There shall be no murder" - why did our government make that rule? They did it of course to stop murder. They did it to stop the faulty behavior. How did that work?

So when we as humanity make a law, we do it to curb behavior... our motive is to alter behavior, right? Otherwise, why would be make a law?

Now let's read Romans 5:20. "... the law came in that sin might INCREASE!" Did you see it? God made the law, knowing full well, that the law would NOT alter behavior, and that in fact through the giving of the law our behavior as human beings would in fact --- GET WORSE!

This happens because as Romans 7 says, "the power of sin uses the law to stir up more sin!" The problem is not with the law, for the law is "holy, perfect, and good." The problem is with the power of sin that thrives on law like gasoline poured on a fire."

Don't look at the wall behind your computer screen! Do you hear me? You better not look at the wall behind your computer screen! Most of you have already looked at the wall as soon as the command came forth. Others of you are pondering why it is so wrong to look at the wall and will soon join your other wall viewers! Some of you will now stare at the wall all day!!! This is how the power of sin works!

And yet, still God gave "the law" knowing full well that this would happen to us. God gave the law knowing that "sin would INCREASE!"

That tells us that God is not afraid of sin! He is more powerful than sin. It can increase and He will still take care of it! WOW! We have a big God.

That begs a question however, and that is "Why?". Why would God give the law knowing full well that we were going to sin and sin and sin in the giving of the law?

My friends, I believe it was so we would get sick of that law system and pursue God for another economy. I believe it was so we would get sick of sinning and cry out for another way. You do know, that we were NEVER designed to live by doing good and not doing evil. That is an economy that Adam plunged us into when he ate from that tree. We were NEVER intended to live by right and wrong.

We were created to live in an intimate and dependent relationship with God! We were designed to live by a Person, the Spirit of God, not by an outside, lifeless, economy of demand! Praise God, through the Person and Work of Jesus, God established a New Covenant... a covenant of relationship with a Person, none other than God Himself Who now lives in and through us as we trust Him by faith.

It is this glorious new way of life that allows us to fulfill our intended design to be experiencers and expressers of God to His own glory. This is true worship and a life that is satisfying and rewarding.

'Your failure has done nothing to change my mind about you.' - Jesus

We as believers have all taken our turn at making great boasts for God. Lord, I will follow you no matter what! Lord, I will go through whatever you have for me, trusting you all the way! Lord, I will do whatever you call me to! And... we have all failed so often in our boast! When that has occurred, the enemy of course has been right there to whisper in our ears, perhaps even shout into them, that God could never use us again. Perhaps he has even slandered us by calling into question if we are even the children of God. After all, how could we be people of faith and yet live so faithlessly?

Well, to all of us who have been so boastful and failed, to all of us who have been slandered by the accuser, take comfort from the life of a man named Peter. Peter had made great boast before God, only to have denied Jesus three times. How does that bring comfort you might ask?

In John 21, sitting around a campfire, Jesus asks Peter, whether or not Peter loves Him. The kicker in this passage is that Jesus asked this question three times... THREE TIMES! Obviously, Jesus was reminding Peter of his failure (as if he needed reminding)...

No, my friends, that is not really the issue. The key is that each time Peter answered the question, that yes, he did love Jesus, Jesus responded by saying, "Feed my lambs!" Why is that significant? Because that is exactly what Jesus had commissioned Peter to do before he failed so miserably. In other words, Peter, even though you were so boastful and prideful, and even though you failed so miserably, you are still my guy that I have chosen to use in my kingdom work. Your failed boast has done nothing to change my mind about you! One thing we must once and for all lay hold of if we are to stand against our accuser,is that there is no one who can "outsin" the grace and calling of our Lord Jesus. NO ONE!

An Interesting Insight Found in Galatians

There is a very interesting insight found in the book of Galatians. Here we have an entire book devoted to defending the pure grace of God and warning against mixing the old and new covenants. This book stresses repeatedly the Gospel, that salvation is by faith and not by works. Think of it, my friend, an entire book that stresses that we must not add works to the message of salvation.

There is however, one verse that stands out like a sore thumb in chapter 5. It says that we are to be very careful to not use our freedom to serve our flesh.

Now, let's put those two thoughts together. An entire book that warns against a performance oriented mindset in terms of our faith, versus one verse that warns against perverting our freedom. This tells us something.

Most people are going to err on the side of performance. This is understandable, is it not? We were all birthed under law (Rom 5:20), lived out of the flesh for years before coming to faith, and of course were blitzed by the lie that we shall be as God. Our greatest struggle is that we are going to be prone to a man-centered, performance oriented, law keeping, righteousness earning mindset when it comes to the things of God.

For the precious few who come to understand the grace of God, we will face a different danger, that we will abuse grace and walk in our flesh. This too is understandable, for when our pendulum is found to be at one extreme, it very often swings to another extreme.

The vast majority of people need to understand what the Gospel of grace is all about, but they will never understand it when we who know grace continue to walk in a self-oriented, self-satisfying lifestyle that refuses to lay down its life in sacrifice for others and blame that lifestyle on the grace of God.

Why sin grieves God's heart

When Adam ate from the tree, he sinned. No buts about it, he sinned. He "missed the mark" and this has been the proclamation of the church ever since. HE SINNED!

Though that is true, I do not believe that is the supreme issue when it comes to our Father's heart! May I illustrate.

I also play the role of father, a role given to me from God Himself. When my children sin, when they miss the mark, that bothers me as a father. Of course it does! They sinned. They missed the mark.

But hear me please, that thought is not what dominates my heart. My heart is consumed with a much greater thought --- and that is not so much that they did wrong, but that they are going to have to suffer some ominous consequences because they did wrong. That is what grieves me... I NEVER want my children to experience what they were never designed to experience. Does that make sense?

Let's run with this then. When Adam sinned, of course that grieved the heart of God. But what grieved the heart of God even more is what man would have to experience because he did wrong. Now man is going to experience death. Now man is going to experience loss. Now he is going to experience fear, grief, sorrow, anxiety, guilt, shame, isolation, independence, and on an on we could go. All of these are going to occur because man was now divorced from God and now married to the law. A system of performing right and avoiding wrong in an effort to make himself "like God"... in an attempt to be "right" independent of God. Now man is going to experience guilt and shame when he does wrong, and he is going to experience pride when he does right.

This is what grieves God's heart. You do know that man was NEVER supposed to be concerned with doing right or now doing wrong. That mindset, that economy, only came in to the experience of man because Adam sinned by eating from that tree of right and wrong. Before this event, (this sin) man had no idea of right and wrong, good and evil was. All he knew was God, and that was enough. Sadly, ever since that fateful day, this has been the struggle of man. Not trusting that God is enough. Always laboring instead to do right and not do wrong in a feeble attempt to make himself "ok" independent of God.

Do you see why the sin of Adam (and any sin of man) grieves the heart of God so? It is not just that man has chosen wrong that sorrows God, but the fact that man is going to now experience the consequence of other than God. As a Father He wants so much for us as His children. He does not want us pursuing the "doing" of right and the "avoiding" of wrong. That economy is an economy that only came into our experience as a consequence of Adam's sin.... He wants us to experience Him as the only One Who can make us right, and express right, through us as we trust Him by faith. That is why throughout the New Testament He heralds loudly how He rescued us from the law through the Person and Work of Christ, so that we could once again be married to God!

What a Father we have. His great concern is not just that we have sinned, but that we have to experience consequences from that sin. And know this, His concern is so great that it led Him to send His Son, not only so that He could remove our sin, but also remove the consequences of sin. He delivered us from the code of ethics, the system of right and wrong, THE LAW, so that we could be restored to Him... WOW INDEED!