“That” Is Personal!

Jesus died to save you from THAT!

“From ‘that’ what?” you may ask.

The truth is Mary gave birth and called her son Jesus “because he will save his people from their sins.” [Mt.1:21]  ‘Sin’ can be defined as anything that interferes with anyone getting to know God better. In that case, any bad habit we have that interferes with anyone else drawing closer to God is a “that” (a sin).

“… we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
and run with endurance the race set out for us,
keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
…he endured the cross, … has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
… so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. …”
Heb.12:1-4 (NET)

So, according to the writer of Hebrews, “that” is the sin, what some might call a ‘bad habit’, which “so easily hinders” YOU in your progress towards becoming more intimate with God (NLT)—Yes, “THAT” is personal!

This saving truth may be made clearer in reading these words by Charles Finney1Finney-PrinciplesofUnionwithChrist

“Jesus Christ saves His people not only from hell, but also from their sins… YOU have no Savior if you are not saved from your sin in YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE.”
“Jesus Christ…is not only a justifying Savior, but also a purifying Savoir… He saves from hell only upon condition of His saving from sin.”
“YOU must know by your own personal experience what Christ meant when He said, ‘YOU are already clean because of the word I have spoken to YOU!YOU must know His love and know that YOU are washed clean by the shedding of His blood.”

And, by the Words of The LORD, via Ezekiel:
“For, here’s what I’m going to do: … gather you from all over, and bring you back… I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands… I’ll be your God!” Ez.36:24-28 (MSG) 

Yes, “that” is a personal thing to God; He provided a way to salvation FOR YOU so you could become personally His! Accepting Jesus’ salvation from hell gives YOU the ability to embrace and personally confess salvation’s Truth:

Jesus was crucified in MY place to die in MY place as a sacrifice so MY sin could be forever forgiven. He, now, sits at the right hand of The Father’s Throne so I CAN sit in Heavenly places. Jesus defeated sin’s hold on ME and His grace is sufficient so I CAN LIVE FREE FROM SIN while here on this earth.

 

SOURCES
1
Finney, Charles G.  “Jesus My Savior”, Chapter 2, Principles of The Union with Christ, Charles G. Finney, Louis Gifford Parkhurst Jr., Ed., Bethany House Publishers (1994).

2 John 15:13

Picture:  goodreads.com

Bible Versions: NET- New English Translation; NLT- New Living Testament; MSG- The Message Bible.

A GOOD, RIGHTEOUS MAN…

The following is my rephrase of Proverb 12 with a focus on the attributes of the “righteous man”. However, I have gleaned from numerous Bible translations available to me at the time of this writing. Therefore, the phrasing in some cases are not my own, and I have not intended to present them as such. As a mother and grandmother, my intent in taking on this endeavor and making it public is to encourage young men of faith to ‘stand’ stronger for Christ in their everyday lives. May every reader be blessed! ~ag

pr0-12-3

According to Proverb 12, a good, righteous man… 

1) … is not stupid; he gladly receives correction because he loves knowledge.

2) … obtains favor from The LORD.

3) … has “deep roots” that make him stable in all his ways. He cannot be uprooted; he is steady because he is established in the faith.

4) … chooses a wife of noble character and appreciates her help that comes from a good reputation.

5) … makes and follows justly-advised plans.

6) … speaks faith-filled, life-giving words which protect him from the need of rescue.

7) … “stands firm”; he establishes his home on the unshakable Rock of Salvation.

8) … is commended for his prudent wisdom (good sense).

9) … understands that pride comes before a fall, and remains humble before his God. He doesn’t concern himself with notoriety; he knows his God as his source for all things needful.

10) … shows kindness by regarding for the needs of his animals. [The Voice Bible commentary on v.10: “Those who are righteous treat their animals humanely…”—A person in a positive relationship with God stands in a right relationship with His creation. How we treat animals may mirror our souls—not just the pets in our home, but the pets in our neighborhood and the animals in our food supply. One who is truly right with God considers the needs of His creatures.]

11) … doesn’t try to live out idle fantasies, but understands the principle of cause and effect, and works his purpose towards abundance.

12) … desires that his root flourishes, produces so that his success blesses others.

13-14) … escapes trouble by faith-filled words of praise, emphasizing the God-given promises which produce as surely as “the work of his hands rewards him.” [see v.6~ Faith speaks!]

15) … “listens to wise advice.”

16) … is not quick to show “his annoyance”, but instead, responds with empathy and a willingness to guide with practical wisdom and skill in order to give good counsel. [meek and “prudent”(Strong’s #7919)]

17) … has an honest testimony that represents Truth.

18) … is not harsh, but speaks deliberate, encouraging words that can heal a broken spirit.

19) … speaks Truth.

20) … reaps joy as a promoter of peace.

21) … is blessed by things meant for his harm being turned for his good—“No harm befalls the righteous.”

22) … delights The LORD because of his faithful truthfulness and honesty.

23) … doesn’t flaunt his knowledge; he uses discernment on when to speak and when to be silent. In other words, “The wise man sits back and listens while the foolish man tells all he knows.” (unknown) [see v.16]

24) … is not lazy; he leads with diligent hands.

25) … doesn’t worry, nor listens to negative reports—he is careful what he hears! (Phil.4)

26) … “is cautious in friendship”—uses discernment in choosing whom he allows to be his friend, but is always a friend to his neighbors. [“Bad company corrupts…” ~1 Cor. 15:33]

27) … “prizes his processions”, not allowing them to go bad by neglect—he is grateful.

28) … has eternal life.

~~ ♥ ~~

SOURCES

Picture: Proverbs 12:3 nlt | by Bob Smerecki .

Bible Versions:  Amplified Bible, Emphasized Bible (aka Rotherham), Jerusalem Bible, Message Bible, Net Bible, New International Version, New Living Translation, Revised Standard Version, Voice Bible.
(Disclaimer: To the best of my recollection, this list contains the Bibles I read concerning this study. However, it may not be all inclusive.)

 

BAPTISING “THE CHURCH”

A NOTE CONCERNING BAPTISM IN MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

baptism-Ro6

As “THE CHURCH”, we need to re-think our requirements about baptising converts. When it comes to ‘baptising’, shouldn’t JB (John, The Baptist) be our model?! JB required evidence of repentance as a prerequisite to being a candidate for baptism. His call to “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” [Mt.3:3,NIV ] was preparation for salvation through repentance. He preached (Mt.3:2), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (NASB)…Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near (NLT)…Change your life (MSG).” Only when the people showed evidence of living Godly ways, and only then, did he allow the people into the baptismal waters. He baptized them with water as a sign they had “cleansed” their lives through repentance (see v.7-11 below).

In verse 11, JB says, “the one coming after me is more powerful than I am… (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”. The reference to “baptize with Holy Spirit” is a reference to the actual NEW BIRTH at the point of Salvation. The old spirit man dies and a NEW SPIRIT comes into existence IN YOU! Note that ‘fire’ is a term to mean a total purification would take place, not just a ‘washing’. The salvation Jesus brings* does not just wash sins away, it rebirths every “whosoever” who believes and confesses~ brings forth evidence! 

I found a good explanation of Biblical baptism (#907) at NETBible.org:

“The clearest example that shows the meaning of ‘baptizo’ (#907) is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words (‘bapto’ and ‘baptizo’). Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto-#911) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. “Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. “When used in the New Testament, this word (#907) more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mr 16:16. ‘He that believes and is baptised shall be saved’. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle!” (Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989).

My point?

Jesus said, “GO! Make disciples….” I know of few denominations and even fewer local church facilities that follow JB’s example of established, evidenced repentance as a prerequisite.  However, I am convicted that DISCIPLESHIP classes should be offered as an integral part of The Church’s baptising services. Otherwise, it is a disservice to ‘the world’~ SELAH!

~*~

Mt.3:7-11, VOICE, including commentary-in bold.
But John is not exactly warm to all those who come to him seeking cleansing.

He (JB) told some Pharisees and Sadducees who came for the ritual baptism,… “You children of serpents! You brood of vipers! Did someone suggest you flee from the wrath that is upon us? 8-9 If you think that simply hopping in the Jordan will cleanse you, then you are sorely mistaken. Your life must bear the fruits of turning toward righteousness. Nor are you correct if you think that being descended from Abraham is enough to make you holy and right with God.Yes, the children of Abraham are God’s chosen children,but God can adopt as daughters and sons anyone He likesHe can turn these stones into sons if He likes.”

To be made right with God, one must truly repent.
It means to turn completely away from sin and completely toward God.

“…I ritually cleanse you through baptism as a mark of turning your life around. But someone is coming after me, someone whose sandals I am not fit to carry, someone who is more powerful than I. He will wash you not in water but in fire and with the Holy Spirit. He carries a winnowing fork in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor; He will gather up the good wheat in His barn, and He will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”

~*~

Romans 5:20-6:6, VOICE

5:20 “When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. 21 In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.
6:1-6″How should we respond to all of this? Is it good to persist in a life of sin so that grace may multiply even more? Absolutely not! How can we die to a life where sin ruled over us and then invite sin back into our lives? Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing, we entered into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through this baptism into death so that just as God the Father, in all His glory, resurrected the Anointed One, we, too, might walk confidently out of the grave into a new life. To put it another way: if we have been united with Him to share in a death like His, don’t you understand that we will also share in His resurrection? We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power.” 

~*~

*For further understanding of the New Birth/Salvation brought by Jesus’ Blood, see the  New Testament letters to the Romans and Ephesians.
Bible Versions: NIV~New International Version; NASB~New American Standard Bible; NLT~New Living Testament; MSG~The Message Bible; VOICE~The Voice Bible.
Picture source: QuotesGram (It is my understanding it is a public domain image.)

Give!

GIVE-Up, In, or ALLFACT: Life in this world can be difficult. All of us get to points at which we must either muster up courage to go on or give up. Of course another choice is to compromise and give in, relieving the pressure for a period of time. However, the trial will almost always returns in a more forceful attempt to get you to quit altogether.
TRUTH: Faith in Jesus Christ GIVES HOPE in all circumstances to endure them~ His grace is sufficient to not only carry us through but to strengthen us for whatever lies on the other side! His love never fails; trust it.

“Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.” 
~ROMANS 5:2-5, The Voice Bible

Sin is Sin; God is God

Sin is sin. Half truths are not less ugly and do not hurt less than a BIG lie, and white lies do not create less darkness. There are no little sins. All unrighteousness, any deed violating God’s ‘Law of Love’, is sin. Sin is ugly. Sin hurts people; it leads to death. God is love; His ways lead to life. ~ag

“All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin… sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ… [DON’T BE DECEIVED.] It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil,… The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil’s ways. People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children:

The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God,
nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister.
A simple test.

~1 John 3:4-10 (MSG)