The Gospel of Grace

The Bible tells us that we are justified by grace (Charis) through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:7)

To be justified means to be made innocent. To be made righteous.

However to continue living in sin according to scriptures will produce death. Now some say that this includes spiritual death while others say only physical death due to consequence for sin. Regardless of that age old question let us consider the point of the whole argument.

Death according to this verse in Romans is thanatos in the Greek.

Thanatos is a Grecian deity. According to ancient Greek beliefs this god puts people to sleep and carries them off to the underworld.

That doesn’t exactly sound like a position any Christian wants to find themselves in.

Paul tells us in Romans 6 that Christians are not to continue in sin counting on grace to abound or continue for them.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Romans 6:1

Romans goes on to tell us that those of us who have been baptized into Christ’s death have put off the old man and are raised like Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.

When Jesus rose from the dead he took the power away from Thanatos (to take men to the underworld). So now that old devil Thanatos has no more ability to keep the Christian under his dominion.

Christians who are born of God have a new Lord who rules over their life. Jesus Christ the righteous.

Since this is true, scriptures tell us the old man is dead to sin. Thanatos has no more authority to rule over the blood bought redeemed.

Jesus took the keys or dominion away from Thanatos and his partner Hades. 

These two demons have no power to rule over the Christian.

Giving sin or hamartia place in our life gives Thanatos opportunity to rule over us.

Hamartia is the Greek word for sin. It means to come to a tragic end in ancient Greek literature.

When a character in an ancient Greek story came to a tragic end it was because they  committed a grievous mistake or error in judgment.

Hamartia by the ancient Greek definition is the inner quality or character of a person which causes the action to occur. In other words the sin or hamartia nature. This bad action determines the character of a person.

How a person reacts to life circumstance determines the character which in turn creates the outcome. The consequence for hamartia always results in a tragic end.

This word is used by Paul to show that bad behavior results in a negative consequence. Whether you are a Christian or not. Sin will always lead to a tragic end.

In Jesus Christ this nature or hamartia is done away with. Instead of coming to a tragic end the Christian whose sins are forgiven now result in a good end.

Christians (born of God) have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. To be alive unto God is to have the new man yielded to the Holy Spirit which exercises dominion over hamartia. Thus preventing Thanatos from having his way.

The key to this equation being realized is the phrase “know ye not.”

Don’t you know that you have been baptized into Christ’s death? He has tasted death for every man. Don’t you know that the whole of hamartia has been destroyed? Don’t you know that you are made free from the dominion of Thanatos so you don’t have to come to a tragic end?

The key is knowing. When you know you have been delivered from the power of darkness then you can yield to the Holy Spirit. You are bought with a price. Redeemed from Hades and Thanatos. Set free from their dominion to serve God in newness of life!

So don’t let hamartia reign in your mortal body. Rather yield or give over your members or body to God so he can control your life by his Holy Spirit.

The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-14

Have the Same Mind!

1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God. 

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14

What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?

Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.

Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.

Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.

God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.

Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.

Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.

According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.

To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit. 

Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.

Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20

Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?

 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.

Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.

Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.

Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.

Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.

No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.  

Think about that! When we patiently endure and prayer then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.

The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

A Greater Authority

In Luke chapter 7 of the Bible, Jesus goes to Capernaum and finds a centurion’s servant is dying.

The centurion had sent elders of the synagogue to ask Jesus to come heal his servant.

These elders told Jesus that this man, the centurion was “worthy” to be healed because of the good deeds he had done for their people. He had even built a synagogue for them.

Jesus went with these religious leaders and when he was almost there the centurion sent a message. He said, “Don’t trouble yourself to come because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. I know that you have authority in your kingdom to make a command just as I have authority in my kingdom and it will be done. Just say the word and I know what you command will be done. ” (My paraphrase)

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Now it is true that the centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to know the command of healing would be done ( which it was ) but the faith Jesus marveled at was that the centurion recognized a greater authority than the Roman world authority.

The centurion recognized this because he considered himself to be unworthy for Jesus to enter his house. The centurion recognized that the kingdom of God is greater than the authority of Rome or the world system.

The centurion saw himself as a man of worldly authority who submitted to the greater authority of the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The centurion recognized that even though he was put in a position of prestige having worldly authority in the land, that he was considered unworthy in the kingdom of God. His position he held in the world held no weight in the kingdom of God.

This recognition of the human sin nature (being unworthy) allowed the centurion to humble himself as an
unworthy person or in other words he put himself in a subservient position to a greater authority than the authority of Rome.

In other words the centurion recognized that Jesus was other worldly or from a kingdom not of this world. Therefore being familiar with athourity he knew that Jesus just had to say a word and the healing would occur.

This is the gospel message. Recognition of one’s sinful or unworthy nature, recognizing the need to be in subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority and trusting in Jesus Christ as the head of the kingdom of God with the power to save and to heal.

Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith because he knew the steps to salvation. Recognizing one’s unworthiness and inability to save one’s self and being in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ for salvation.

What about you? Are you trusting in your “worthiness” because of all the good works you have done like those religious leaders did?

Jesus marvels at the faith of the person who recognizes their unworthiness and looks to his authority to be saved and healed.

Call on Jesus Christ to save and heal you.  All the authority and prestige of the world system will never get you into heaven.

Simple recognition of your inability to save yourself is the first step to salvation. Once you recognize that then you can call on Jesus Christ the King of all kings to save you from your sin.

If you do that then you can be saved, forgiven. healed and given eternal life. You will become a member of the kingdom of God!

Whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved. Roman’s 10:13

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The Gift of God!

When someone offers a free gift automatically we ask, “What’s in it for you?”

Human nature is not so trusting. Most of us have not fallen off the turnip truck yesterday! Something free usually has a benefit for the giver in there some where.

I would like to point out that God’s free gift has no benefit for the giver at all. In fact quite the opposite. All the benefits go to the recipient!

What could one possibly give to the God who made everything and owns everything? Ever try to buy a rich friend a gift? Quite impossible actually. Even if you gave a home made card all you have given is sentiment. Nice to know they are thought about but still you can’t measure up. They can get anything they want for themselves!

God has given a gift to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Everyone who puts their trust in him for salvation will be given eternal life. They will pass from death to life.

This free gift of God’s salvation is motivated by his love and is an expression of his mercy. This free gift of salvation is God’s undeserved unmerited gift.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

The gift of God is not earned! We can’t work for it! We don’t need to do penitence or any kind of work or ritual to get it. A gift is simply received! That’s it!

The great thing about receiving God’s free gift is that not only are we saved by grace or undeserved mercy BUT a part of the gift is the empowerment to live a life that pleases God! He gives us the ability by his power to endure all trials and tribulations in this world because we have the assurance of an eternity spent with him.

He provides all our needs because he is our all in all! God gives us his free gift of salvation and he takes care of us while we are in this world as well!

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9

 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

God’s grace saves us and also empowers us to live a life that pleases him! As we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we are blessed with God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

Saved by grace is different than being saved by faith as some in error preach. They put the cart before the horse!

This difference is very important. If we are saved by faith we make the salvation experience about our own effort, our own ability, but God has chosen grace because it involves no effort on our part at all.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If we had anything at all to do with our salvation we might have reason to boast but God has made salvation a free gift to those who receive (through faith) this gift of his mercy.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

Not only does God give us grace to be saved but he also gives us grace to stay saved!

Are you trusting in God’s grace through Jesus Christ for his salvation? All you have to do is ask! Turn to Jesus with all your heart for he is mighty to save!

Good From Nazareth?

Luke Chapter 4, tells us that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. ” If you are really the Son of God then prove it,” (my paraphrase)

Jesus does not comply. He had nothing to prove. Jesus knows who he is!

Considering the source, Jesus rejects the temptation. He tells the devil to take a hike.

Then after that temptation trial Jesus returns in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.

There Jesus becomes well known throughout all of that region. Jesus teaches in the synagogues, heals the sick, casts out devils. All the people are blessed!

After that Jesus comes to the city of Nazareth where he grew up and where every one knows him as Jesus the carpenter.

It was in a synagogue in Nazareth (where he probably went every Sabbath as a kid) that Jesus reads from the book of Isaiah, announcing that he is the fulfillment of that Messianic prophecy.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1,2

After closing the Torah Jesus sits down. Everyone’s eyes are on him.

Then Jesus gives notice to all the people that he had grown up with that he is the promised Messiah.

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Luke 4:21

Only Messiah could fulfill that scripture. He knew that. They knew that.

The people of Nazareth were blown away by that announcement. Is this not Joseph’s son?

Whaaattt? Is he saying what we think he’s saying?

Then Jesus tells these people who he knows on a personal basis.  And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. Luke 4:23

Seems quite fantastic that Jesus knowing full well he would be rejected in Nazareth would make the announcement of his being the promised Messiah there. To all his friends and family.

Is there a bigger picture happening here?

Nazareth was a small town. Populated mostly with farmers, shepherds and labourers. It basically was a place with low social status.

That is why Nathanael said to Jesus “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46

Jesus goes to his own home town, small and insignificant, tells them he is their promised Messiah and they out right reject him!

Who saw that coming?

After Jesus tells them that a prophet is never honored in his own home town the people in the synagogue get so riled up that they literally grab Jesus and haul him to a cliff in order to toss him off. They were intent on harming Jesus. Maybe even kill him.

The guy had the audacity to call himself a prophet! That’s it! He’s out of here!

But passing through their midst…what? How could that happen? They had him by the scruff of the neck and he passed through them?

Well Jesus transported or something because he got away.

Then Jesus goes to the next town and preaches in their synagogue. The people in that place were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

That place loved him! At least they loved the miracles.

I think Jesus was making a point or a prophetic act if you will when he announced who he was in Nazareth.

Nazareth was a foretaste of what was going to happen to Jesus in the future. The whole nation of Israel would reject him but this time instead of throwing him off a cliff they would crucify him.

Interesting but it goes even further than that today. Now it seems the world is rejecting Jesus’ Christ’s claim to be Messiah or Savior of the world with the same old unbelief.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Where is the promise of his coming? Who made that guy a ruler over us?

Jesus gives the same answer today as he always does to the doubters. 

One day you will say to me …if you really are the Son of God ….prove yourself…make these stones turn to bread….fix all these problems we ourselves have created. You are only an historical figure. We don’t want you! Give us Barabbas. You know that rebel! We want him not you!

History really does repeat itself doesnt it?

There is a good ending to this story however. Remember what the angels said after Jesus rose from the dead and was taken up in the clouds in front of over 100 of his disciples?

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:11

And don’t forget this time, “Every eye will see him!” Revelation 1:7

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Maranatha! 

Joint Heirs

According to Romans 8:16,17
As children of God we are now heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

A joint heir is a legal term. It means a person who inherits jointly with another heir of an estate.

Another way of saying it is co-heir which is one of several persons among whom an inheritance is divided.

In other words as children of God we inherit a portion of the Father’s estate.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15

According to Hebrews 1:2 Jesus is the heir of all things. Jesus being the exact representation of God is above all things. His authority is our authority because we are in him who is above all things.

Through the name of Jesus those born of God have access into the holy of holies. All we need to fulfill our call in this life is available to us when we present our requests before the throne of God.

Scriptures tell us that we are more than conquers. That means as children of God we can do more than conquer a problem, we can completely subdue it and annihilate it in the name of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:29 tells us that if we belong to Jesus Christ then we are Abraham’s seed according to the promise.

Since Christians are considered to be Abraham’s seed through faith in Jesus Christ then the promises of Abraham apply also to the Christian.

These promises include justification, fruitfulness, multiplication, provision and favor.
Genesis 12: 2,3

Though Jesus Christ we have become the children of God who inherit the promises of God.

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (The non Jews) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Galatians 3:7-9

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:25

Being a joint heir with Jesus Christ means all the blessings the Lord gave to Abraham is our inheritance as well.

Some of these promises include:

Hebrews 1:4
Ministering of the angelic realm
Titus 3: 7
Heirs of eternal life

James 2:5
Heirs of the kingdom of God

1 Peter 3:7
Heirs of lifetime grace

In many wills or inheritances there are conditions for inheriting the promises or benefits. The gifts are subject to a condition. It is the same in God’s inheritance.

One condition made clear in scripture is, “IF we suffer with him so that we will be glorified together.”

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8: 17

The word suffer in this verse is sumpaschō in the Greek. It means persecution or experiencing the same kind of pain.

In other words if we partake in similar sufferings as Jesus did then we will inherit the same promises as he did.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 1 John 3:13

Persecutions come with being a Christian. They are allowed to demonstrate we belong to Jesus Christ. If we live godly in Jesus Christ we are blessed but nevertheless we will be persecuted for belonging to him.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4

Living godly in Jesus Christ brings persecution but living godly also brings blessings because we are made joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness

The scriptures tell us that according to the law of Moses without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness or remission of sins.

The KJV uses the word remission which is more than just forgiveness. It means to be set free from sin and its consequence.

Remission in the Greek, is aphesis, which means forgiveness, deliverance and liberty. To not only be forgiven (letting go as if they had never been committed), but to be released from the bondage or imprisonment of the penalty for sin.

Sin has consequence. Under the law, a life must be given up for a life. The soul that sins shall die. Romans 6:23

Jesus, who was without sin, gave his life up for the sinner who repents and forsakes their sin. Repentance is a big factor in the remission process. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. In order to receive this remission of sin, one must repent.

Without repentance, there is no remission of sins. Acts 2:38

 Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19

Repentance Metanoeo in the Greek is to have a change of mind for the better. To turn from sin or breaking God’s laws. To be converted to God’s word. That is to receive the gospel’s truth.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Isaiah 52:9

Sin has consequence. It produces death. Not just eternal death but death as in no life of God. It separates us from God. He does not hear prayer, we lose our joy, and we can become fearful, sick and weak.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. Galatians 6:8

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 3:19

Scriptures tell us that it is FAITH IN THE BLOOD that saves from the penalty of sin. When we repent and turn to the truth of the gospel we must have faith in the blood of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

We cannot save ourselves by good works or good deeds.

Romans Chapter 3 tells us that under the law we all are condemned to die eternally because of sin. Unless we turn to Jesus Christ for the remission of our sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 3:25

Once we are forgiven by repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ then we are made righteous before God as if we have never sinned.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Romans 5:21

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9

If we confess our sin to God, repent of our sin and have faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and made righteous by God as if we have never sinned.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. John 1:9

  


DO YOU NEED A MIRACLE?

Jesus performed many mighty miracles in certain cities in Israel but they still refused to repent.

Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Matthew 11: 20

What did these cities not repent of?

We have to read the whole Chapter of Matthew 11 to find out.

Jesus was preaching and teaching the people. He explained to them that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet of the OT because he came proclaiming Christ the Messiah. John was the messenger preparing people to receive Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. The people as a whole did not believe John’s message.

Then Jesus goes on to say that people criticized John for his prayer and fasting or for being set apart. (Being a fanatic basically) and then they turned around and criticized Jesus for ministering and eating with sinners. They accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton.

Obviously the people did not believe or receive John as the Elias which was prophesied to come or Jesus as the Messiah prophesied to come.

Jesus then tells the cities he did the most miracles in that they were going to be in big trouble on judgment day because they were not repentant.

Their sin was that they did not believe.

Jesus performed many miracles in their midst and yet they remained unrepentant.

The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

Lots of people came to see the miracles Jesus performed! Yet they still did not believe.

“But what went ye out for to see? ” Jesus asked the people concerning John.

The people it seemed went out to see a show.

They watched all the miracles being performed by Jesus and yet they did not believe that he was the Messiah. That is why Jesus pronounced future judgment on them!

Isn’t that kind of like today? How many people flock to miracle meetings to see the show yet fail to surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ?

No where in the Bible does it say that miracles produce faith. Some people think that. They even think that if they just had a sign from heaven then all their problems would go away.

Jesus says in his word that to seek a sign other than the one important one he has given is to be in unbelief.

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:4

What did Jesus say to John when he wanted confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah to come?

After Jesus gave his testimony he said, “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. ” Matthew 11:6

In other words Jesus said believe that he is the Messiah and don’t be offended because Jesus says that he is the Messiah.

Lastly Jesus tells us that the Father reveals through his word Jesus is the Messiah and the Son reveals the Father to those who receive the Son.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew 11: 27

It is not miracles as wonderful as they are that produce faith! According to the Bible, it is revelation of the Holy Spirit through the word of God that produces faith.

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:14-17

The Bible makes it clear that people who did receive miracles from Jesus actually believed before they got the miracle. It takes faith in Jesus Christ to get a miracle but watching miracles being performed does not produce faith.

And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Matthew 8:17

And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” Matthew 9:28

The Bible teaches that Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God!

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

When God’s word is revealed to our heart then we will get a miracle!

A miracle specific to our need, for God knows what we have need of even before we ask him! (Matthew 6:8)

“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” Psalm 119:114

Born of God

What does it mean to be born of God?

First of all let me tell you what it does not mean. It does not mean a natural physical descent in the same way as a natural birth.

To be born of God or gennaō ek theos in the Greek is to be born again or regenerated by God. (palingenesia in the Greek)

To regenerate is to regrow or replace something that was missing. To be formed again. To produce anew.

To be born again from a spiritual perspective is to be recreated.

The term palingenesia is actually a Greek Hellenistic word used to describe a process or recreating. To be born again. Restore to the original.

Jesus uses this same word to describe the regeneration of his Kingdom that is to come. The new earth which will be recreated. Restored to it’s original.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28

Keeping this context in mind we can see what is meant by being born again or born of God.

It is actually a recreation process of the Holy Spirit.

In fact the word used for the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. To be born of God. gennaō ek theos.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. Colossians 1:15

Jesus was born of God. His human form was created by the Holy Spirit.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:18

Those born of God are recreated or restored to the original. palingenesia

Regenerated from the old man whose spirit was separated from God and dead in sin to the new man made alive in Christ. The new man created in righteous and holiness.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:21-23

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24

To be born of God is to be recreated by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual re birth. Restored to the original. United with God’s Holy Spirit.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

It is this requirement that makes one a child of God.

All the intellectual ideology about God or all the theological principles of the Bible does not make one a child of God.

Nor does going to church, participating in catechism, saying hail Mary’s, or Bible reading. You MUST be born again.

You MUST be regenerated. You must be restored to the original spiritual creation.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

That being said what then can one do to acquire this regeneration process?

The Bible makes it clear that we must first of all believe that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Then we must receive him as both Savior and Lord.

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

That means we receive his salvation gift and his Lordship.

for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

It is not enough to simply believe in God. Even Satan believes in God.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19

Many believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour but they do not receive him as Lord.

If you confess Jesus as Lord you shall be saved.

Why is this an important factor in the regeneration process?

Because to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord means to confess him as one’s head, having authority over, one’s master and ruler.

Lord kurios in the Greek. “Master,” or “Owner.”

You are not your own but are bought with a price the Bible clearly tells us.

know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20

In other words you are redeemed. That is you are the possession of another who has purchased you with a price.

Redeem is to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

Jesus Christ purchased you with his blood. He gave his life up for you in exchange for your life belonging to him.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1: 18,19

This means one repents of living a self serving life and surrenders to live a life determined by God in his word.

Repent Metanoeo To change ones mind. To have a a transformative change of heart.

God requires repentance as a part of salvation. Repentance is turning away from what is wrong to what is right.

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3″19

For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 2 Chronicles 30:9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Repentance is the fruit which proves one has being born again.

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8

While confession of sin is important it does not save in and of itself. Many confess their sin but keep going back to it.

True repentance stops the sin. In other words one must turn to God in surrender rather than continuing to live a life of sin. Repentance is accompanied with godly sorrow.

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:10–11

Repentance requires sorrow for sin. Not a sorry I got caught but a sorrow to the point of laying down the sin at the cross and not picking it up again.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelations 3:9

When one reaches a complete surrender of self to God through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance toward him the Holy Spirit will bring regeneration.

Without repentance there is no true salvation.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

Jesus said you shall know who belong to him by their fruit.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1John 4:7

Those born of God do not continue in sin.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Corinthians 6:9

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21-23

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John3:9

Those born of God overcome the world. Their faith in Jesus Christ is the victory that overcomes the world.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name. John 1:12

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

Now that does not mean there is not a battle and a real devil who tempts but what it does mean is that a true born of God person will not continue to live a lifestyle of sin.

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

To be born of God is to be born of the Spirit and born of the word. These two agree in one. The word of God is the seed. The logos which is made alive by the Spirit.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Peter 1:23

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:4-12

If you are born of God or become born of God scriptures tell us to grow up in the Lord by feeding on his word the Bible. Then you will mature and become the person God has created you to be!

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16,17

So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10

Valuable Sparrows!

In Matthew chapter 10 Jesus is instructing his disciples on how they would minister in his name after he was not with them anymore in physical form .

Jesus told them that they would have power over devils and be able to heal the sick but they would face great persecution for it.

Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid because God will provide for them.

You are more valuable than sparrows.” Jesus tells them.

This is a significant metaphor because not only are sparrows very tiny but they are the most common bird in the world. Their value on a monetary scale is less than a penny. You can buy two for one.

This metaphor reminds us that even though we may not consider ourselves to be very important in the grand scheme of things, Jesus puts great value on us. He says that if God cares about even a sparrow that falls to the ground, and makes sure that their needs are supplied then why wouldn’t he care for us? Our value to him is so much more!

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Not only are sparrows common birds but they live in any small area they can find. Sparrows particularly like to live near human populations.

The sparrow metaphor is used by the Lord because the sparrow signifies humanity. There are masses of people on the earth just like the common sparrow.

One has only to look at the parallel of the sparrow to realize that humanity is in a decline situation. The environment for sparrows is being effected by sin in the same way as it is for humans.

As humanity turns away from the living God they decline in every way in the natural realm. This in turn affects the sparrow who lives along side of humans.

The decline in sparrow populations today is significant. It is reflective of the human population turning away from God. This is a prophetic sign that we are indeed in the end times.

Sparrows feed predominantly on seeds. They do eat insects when they can find them but their mainstay is seed. Without seed sparrows perish. This is another reason for the metaphor.

Jesus said that the word of God is like seed that a sower sows. The receptivity of the heart determines the outcome of the seed. Whether the seed goes on to produce a good crop or whether it does not. All is dependent on the soil of one’s heart.

God’s word is like seed. Planted in good soil the seed will grow into the abundant life promised by Jesus Christ. Planted in not so good soil the seed will die. Matthew 13

Just like sparrows need seed to survive so does humanity need the seed of God’s word to survive. Without God’s word humanity will die both physically and spiritually.

Article on decline of sparrow populations.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/10/05/sparrows-dying/2923241/

God cares about the sparrow and he cares about humanity. Jesus cares about you!

It is only by turning back to Jesus Christ and his word that we can be taken care of in the natural as well as in the spiritual. Both now and for eternity.