have become just like the gods they trust
Psalm 115:8 ESV
“Images of Jesus matter… there is a strong correlation between the images of Jesus and images of the Christian life. Our image of Jesus affects our perception of the Christian life in two ways: it gives shape to the Christian life; and it can make the Christianity credible or incredible.”
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
How do you see Jesus? The answer to this one question sets so many beliefss, ideas, and expectations.
What is the role of Jesus in the over all scene of things?
I heard Brad Jersak quote Meistersinger Ekhart “God, save us from God.” After hearing it, it rolled around in my head for the next few days. I couldn’t shake it. I have been accused of making God in my own image or the version of Him I want to believe in. If you think about that, we all have. We have a vision of who God is based on our perceptions whether good or bad our rendition is based on what we or who we believe God/Jesus is.
I have changed my thinking and perceptions in the past few years. Formerly I was in the standard evangelical charismatic with a touch of American Pentecostal thrown in for good measure. I was a conservative republican Bible toting American. The Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it kind of a guy. To me Jesus was just as much apple pie and American as you can get. I saw a God of love and war and judgement. I believed in hell fire and brimstone for the masses who didn’t see it that way… and I was okay with that. I saw God as a judge and Jesus as my lawyer my arbitrator. My Christianity or my perceived righteousness was based on my spiritual activity and accomplishments. I was riding a spiritual roller coaster. Running to God when I had a couple notches on my spirit belt and ducking in shame and guilt when I felt I fell short. In order to be able to go to God it was a mental game to me. If I messed up, I guess I ould have to read some extra chapters maybe fast a couple meals and God will see I am repentant and worth giving me a glance.
I found myself to be a judgmental jerk. I would play mind games looking for the short comings in others in order to make myself look better than them. I probably put people off with my mental gymnastics. I know I wasn’t drawing them in with my being me. My version of God was skewed and it formed my very being. My actions and the way I treated people came out of that.
What’s your version of God/Jesus?
That will tell a lot about you. God, save me from God! Save me from the God that I thought I knew. Save me from the judgmental spirit my paradigm birthed within me. I knew that God was LOVE (period), but always had caveats as to how he was going to roll out the book of Joel and Revelation an come out swinging and taken names and letting the blood flow. I had a bipolar godhead. God, save me from God, save me from who I believed Him to be. There is a book titled The Shack by WM Paul Young.
” “Then,” she said with finality, “if you are able to judge God so easily, you certainly can judge the world.” Again she spoke without emotion. “You must choose two of your children to spend eternity in God’s new heavens and new earth, but only two.” “What?” he erupted, turning to her in disbelief. “And you must choose three of your children to spend eternity in hell.” Mack couldn’t believe what he was hearing and started to panic. “Mackenzie.” Her voice now came as calm and wonderful as he had first heard it. “I am only asking you to do something that you believe God does. He knows every person ever conceived, and he knows them so much more deeply and clearly than you will ever know your own children. He loves each one according to his knowledge of the being of that son or daughter. You believe he will condemn most to an eternity of torment, away from his presence and apart from his love. Is that not true?” “I suppose I do. I’ve just never thought about it like this.” He was stumbling over his words in his shock. “I just assumed that somehow God could do that. Talking about hell was always sort of an abstract conversation, not about anyone that I truly…” Mack hesitated, realizing that what he was about to say would sound ugly. “Not about anyone that I truly cared about.” “So you suppose, then, that God does this easily, but you cannot? Come now, Mackenzie. Which three of your five children will you sentence to hell? Katie is struggling with you the most right now. She treats you badly and has said hurtful things to you. Perhaps she is the first and most logical choice. What about her? You are the judge, Mackenzie, and you must choose.” “I don’t want to be the judge,” he said, standing up. Mack’s mind was racing. This couldn’t be real. How could God ask him to choose among his own children? There was no way he could sentence Katie, or any of his other children, to an eternity in hell just because she had sinned against him. Even if Katie or Josh or Jon or Tyler committed some heinous crime, he still wouldn’t do it. He couldn’t! For him, it wasn’t about their performance; it was about his love for them. “I can’t do this,” he said softly. “You must,” she replied. “I can’t do this,” he said louder and more vehemently. “You must,” she said again, her voice softer. “I… will… not… do… this!” Mack yelled, his blood boiling hot inside him. “You must,” she whispered. “I can’t. I can’t. I won’t!” he screamed, and now the words and emotions came tumbling out. The woman just stood watching and waiting. Finally he looked at her, pleading with his eyes. “Could I goinstead? If you need someone to torture for eternity, I’ll go in their place. Would that work? Could I do that?” He fell at her feet, crying and begging now. “Please let me go for my children. Please, I would be happy to… Please, I am begging you. Please… Please…” “Mackenzie, Mackenzie,” she whispered, and her words came like a splash of cool water on a brutally hot day. Her hands gently touched his cheeks as she lifted him to his feet. Looking at her through blurring tears, he could see that her smile was radiant. “Now you sound like Jesus. You have judged well, Mackenzie. I am so proud of you!” “But I haven’t judged anything,” Mack offered in confusion. “Oh, but you have. You have judged them worthy of love, even if it costs you everything. That is how Jesus loves.” When he heard the words he thought of his new friend waiting by the lake. “And now you know Papa’s heart,” she added, “who loves all her children perfectly.” ”
To love perfectly, that is the premise of my view of God! He is said to be love. Gods love is unconditional, it is never ending and all sufficient. Is that agreeable? Is there another view that says this would be false? Where does wrath come in or better yet how does it fit in? If he is both a God of wrath and a God of unconditional love how can that be? I was saved from that God. I was released from a bipolar godhead and and a guilt ridden lifestyle of Christianity. No, I do not believe that I now have a license to sin or free to willy nilly do as I please. The freedom I have been given or entered into has driven or you could say it propels me to want to know Him more, to trust Him more, and to believe in Him moi used to mess up and fear going before Him because I felt unworthy, I now run to Him freely because I know how He sees me and how He defines me. That definition is all that matters. How you view God will impact your personification of Him. It will either hamper or hinder your ability to relate in fear or intimacy.
Excerpt from Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd
Constantine had a fetish with Christian symbolism, placing them on weapons of warfare and going into battle. Upon his victory he said the victory was the result of the Christian symbols and the Christian God. This see the up Christianity as the religion of the state.
“Almost overnight the church found itself in a chaplaincy role to the empire and on a trajectory that would lead to the catastrophe of a deeply compromised Christianity. The catastrophe of church as vassal to the state would find its most grotesque expression in the medieval crusades when, under the banner of the cross, Christians killed in the name of Christ. The crusades are perhaps the most egregious example of how distorted Christianity can become when we separate Christ from his ideas. Yet we continue to do this—we worship Jesus as Savior while dismissing his ideas about peace.
For seventeen centuries Christianity has offered a gospel where we can accept Jesus as our personal Savior while largely ignoring his ideas about peace, violence, and human society. We have embraced a privatized, postmortem gospel that stresses Jesus dying for our sins but at the same time ignores his political ideas. This leaves us free to run the world the way it has always been run: by the power of the sword. Under pressure from the ideology of empire, concepts like freedom and truth gain radically different meanings than those intended by Christ. Freedom becomes a euphemism for vanquishing (instead of loving) enemies; truth finds its ultimate form in the will to power (expressed in the willingness to kill).
This is a long way from the ideas of peace, love, and forgiveness set forth by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. It was Jesus’s ideas about truth and freedom that made him dangerous to the principalities and powers. But today our gospel isn’t very dangerous. It’s been tamed and domesticated. If Jesus of Nazareth had preached the paper-thin version of what passes for the “gospel”today—a shrunken, postmortem promise of going to heaven when you die—Pilate would have shrugged his shoulders and released the Nazarene, warning him not to get mixed up in the affairs of the real world. But that’s not what happened. Why? Because Pilate was smart enough to understand that what Jesus was preaching was a challenge to the philosophy of empire (or as we prefer to call it today, superpower). In making Christ the chaplain-in-chief of Constantinian Christianity, what was unwittingly done was to invent a Manichean Jesus who saves our souls while leaving us free to run the affairs of the world as we see fit.”
This God of love and peace has been morphed into a God of wrath and war.
“words for the first time, it so shocked me, I left my house, book in hand, and walked for a mile pondering what I had just read. It was a “take the red pill”moment for me. What I saw was that great and powerful nations shape God into their own image; great and powerful nations conscript God to do their bidding. Great and powerful nations use the idea and vocabulary of God to legitimize their own agenda. Great and powerful nations project God as a personification of their own national interests. And for the most part, they don’t know they are doing it. This is not to say that everything great and powerful nations do is evil—far from it. They maintain order, provide security, produce industry, maintain civility, educate the populace, preserve culture, and so on. But neither are they to be confused with the kingdom of Christ. And neither can they claim that the God revealed in the crucified and risen Christ is their God, committed to their interests! No! There are no “Christian nations”in the political sense. The risen Christ does have a “nation”(see Matt. 21: 43), but it’s not a nationalized body politic, rather it’s the baptized body of Messiah! This is what I was beginning to see—disturbing yet liberating truth.”
Can a nation claim God’s right and just cause belongs to them and that the nation is carrying out God’s will?
Lately I’ve been contemplating the songs we sing and how even the tense of the the verbs or the viewpoint to which traditionally have been applied to them affects our paradigm and can possibly create a present moment or put things off at a distance.
There was a song I never heard going down this morning, really liked it and it made me think more on distance or delay.
I took a picture of the chorus and then thought about each line through His perception or what I think his view may be.
“We love you and we’ll never stop”
You always loved us and you’ve never considered anything else
“We can’t live without you Jesus”
You’ve never been separate of us ever constant never far
“We love you were can’t get enough”
Your thoughts are forever for us never anywhere else
“And all this is for you Jesus”
His all in all, His creation was solely made and designed for us His kids, His lineage, His inheritance.
I re-worded each of the lines of the chorus from my thoughts of what God would look at us and sing it over us in reverse if you/He would.
There is no more distance or delay in my thoughts these days. I had for so many years always put my righteousness or sanctification out there on a subliminal calender in the future. I had the mentality of I’m a poor sinner being saved grace and that I was wallowing in a sin nature and always fighting some area of … oops I’m falling short again with some 7 step program.
Where God is involved i no longer see as distant and aloof, he has never left us! The NT is littered with references of “Christ in Me” whether I have acknowledged it or not. He put a plan in place prior toothed creation of the world (pre-dirt) and full filled it before Adam even breathed his first breath. The only view He will ever have of His kids is perfect, holy, redeemed, and loved! He has given all for us…
His view of you is not based on your level of faith or or some level holiness. You are His gift of grace to himself. Complete now. He provided this gift for ALL at no cost.
Seeing God as one who is truly twitterpated with you one who is fully engaged in chasing you down.
Don’t put His love and acceptance of you in the future after you have attained some higher degree of holiness. It’s the “faith of God” not the “faith in God” that matters. He believes in you way more than you could ever believe in Him.
Re-thinking what I thought I knew…
Just cuz you heard it over the pulpit does not mean it is true. The Pharisee thought they knew how the Jehovah would come on in as a warrior triumphantly wiping out any that opposed their version of God. Guess what? They were wrong…..
A friend I have known since he was a little kid wrote this…
Go ahead read it.
Truman, so proud of you!
When putting together a resume you want to put it out there who you are and to put the object of your purpose. A resume should say who you are in a short concise manner.
Paul was a very accomplished individual. He was a learned man, a Pharisee, he was known as a zealous man who prior to his conversion he persecuted the followers of Jesus. He was known and feared. He was a brilliant mind, a commanding knowledge of philosophy and religion, and could debate with the most educated scholars of his day.
After his conversion is credited for writing at least 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. The dude should have an impressive Resume…
Yet when reading the New Testament he does not intriguing himself on his accolades.
In Romans he opens it up on verse 1 with his resume;
“Paul, passionately engaged by Jesus Christ, identified in him to represent him. My mandate and message is to announce the goodness of God to mankind”
Okay, so this is not necessarily his resume but he states his accreditation and his objective.
He is validated by his “passionate engagement in Christ, identified in HIM to represent HIM”
“My mandate and message is to announce the goodness of God to mankind”
His identity was not based on himself, it was not based on his abilities, or his history. It was purely based on Christmas in him. It was determined by not what he could do for God, but what God had done for him, what God had provided already.
It’s relational it’s not ability or accomplishment based.
In the start to his letter to the Ephesians he re-asserts his resume;
1 Paul, employed by the delightful resolve of God and commissioned to represent Jesus Christ to the saints in Ephesus, also to every believer in Christ Jesus,
2 I greet you with the grace and peace that proceed from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Let’s celebrate God! He lavished every blessing heaven has upon us in Christ!
4 He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world ! Jesus is God’s mind made up about mankind! He always knew in his love that he would present us again face-to-face before him in blameless innocence.
It’s on God’s doing and action not what man could ever do!
1 Persuasion confirms confident expectation and proves the unseen world to be more real than the seen. Faith celebrates as certain what hope visualizes as future. (The shadow no longer substitutes the substance. Jesus is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of everything the prophets foretold. The unveiling of Christ in human life completes man’s every expectation. Col 1:27.)
2 People of previous generations received the testimony of their hope in faith. It was faith that made their hope tangible. (Only the Messiah can give substance to the Messianic hope. No substitute will suffice!)
3 Faith alone explains what is not apparent to the natural eye; how the ages were perfectly framed by the Word of God. Now we understand that everything visible has its origin in the invisible.
4 It was faith that made the difference between the sacrifices of Abel and Cain, and confirmed Abel’s righteousness. God bore witness to righteousness as a gift rather than a reward! Even though he was murdered, his faith still has a voice today. (It was not in what they brought, but in Abel’s faith that righteousness was revealed.)
5 Enoch enjoyed God’s favor by faith, in spite of Adam’s fall; he proved that faith defeats death. (His absent body prophesied the resurrection of Christ; faith does not die!)
6 There is no substitute reward for faith. Faith’s return exceeds any other sense of achievement. Faith knows that God is; those who desire to respond to his invitation to draw near, realize by faith that he is life’s most perfect gift. (If he is the desired one then no substitute will suffice. Jesus Christ defines God’s faith; he is Emmanuel. He is the substance and evidence of all that God believes. Jesus is what God believes. The word translated “reward” is the word misthapodotes. This word is only used once in the Bible and is an interesting combination of two words, misthoo, a wage and apodidomi to give away; righteousness is revealed by faith as a gift and not as a reward for keeping the law; faith pleases God, not good or bad behavior.)
7 Noah received Divine instruction to save his household from judgment; faith prompted him to construct the Ark immediately, long before the rains were evident. His faith demonstrated the difference between judgment and justification.
8 By faith Abraham acknowledged the call of God which gave him his identity and destiny, as evidence of his inheritance as he journeyed into the unknown. (The word, kaleo, means to call, to identify by name, to surname.)
9 Nothing but his faith seemed permanent while Abraham camped in tents like a stranger in the land of promise. His sons Isaac and Jacob joined him as sojourners; equally persuaded that they were heirs of the same promise.
10 His faith saw a city with permanent foundations, designed and constructed by God.
11 Sarah’s testimony of faith is just as amazing: she conceived and bore a child when it was humanly impossible. She believed that God would be faithful to his promise, and gave that belief authority over her life. (The word, hegeomai, strengthened form of ago, to officially appoint in a position of authority.)
12 Faith brought into reality an offspring beyond calculation; from one as good as dead children would be born more numerous than the stars and as impossible to count as the grains of sand on every distant sea shore. (The uttermost parts of the earth, bordered by the sea shore, will know the blessing of righteousness by faith which is the blessing of Abraham, meant for the entire world.[1 Pet 1:3] )
13 These heroes of faith all died believing. Although they did not witness the promise in their lifetime, they saw its fulfillment in the future and embraced the promise by their persuasion. Convinced of its reality; they declared by their way of living that they were mere sojourners and pilgrims in a shadow land whose geography could neither confine nor define their true inheritance.
14 They clearly declared by faith a hinterland beyond their immediate horizon. (A place of promise where God and man would be one again.)
15 They did not regret the country they had left behind. Their faith took them beyond the point of no return. (Do not allow the contradictions in your past or present to become your reference once again. James says that the person who goes back into an old mind-set immediately forgets what manner of man he is, as revealed in the mirror word, the law of perfect liberty [Jas 1:24, 25]. The revelation concerning who man is in Christ declares that the old things have passed away [in his death]. Behold, everything has become new! In his resurrection we were born anew. [2 Cor 5:14-17, 1 Pet 1:3])
16 Their faith saw a greater reality in the spiritual realm than that which they experienced in their present situation; they reached for their true native city designed by God where he himself is proud to be their permanent address. (The fulfillment of the promise is Christ. He is both our native land and our eternal city!)
17 Faith became a more tangible evidence of the promise than even Isaac could ever be to Abraham. Isaac neither fulfilled nor replaced the promise. Inspired by what faith saw, Abraham was ready to do the ridiculous; to sacrifice his only son, convinced that not even Isaac’s death could nullify the promise that God had made to him. (If Isaac was not the substance of Abraham’s faith then who was? Abraham saw beyond Isaac. Jesus said, “Abraham saw my day!” [Jn 8:56-58] “Before Abraham was, I am.”)
18 Yet Abraham knew that God had said that his lineage of faith would be traced through Isaac!
19 He made a prophetic calculation by faith to which there could only be one logical conclusion based on the word he had received: that God would raise the promise from the dead. (In the context of Abraham’s vision, this was an analogy pointing to the parable of the death and resurrection of Christ. A calculation, logical conclusion, from the word, logitzomai, from logos; God’s faith is God’s logic.)
20 By the same faith Isaac extended the future of the promise in the blessing he pronounced over his sons, Esau and Jacob.
21 In his dying moments, Jacob, in worship to the God of Abraham, as the father of the nations, included in the promise the sons of Joseph who were born in Egypt. (In exalting the two grandsons into the rank and right of Joseph’s brothers, he bestowed on them, rather than on Reuben, the double portion of the first-born. Again, faith exceeds the natural. Even though they had an Egyptian mother, they would have an equal interest in all the spiritual and temporal blessings of the covenant of promise.)
22 At the end of his life, Joseph prophetically reminded his sons of the exodus. He had such a firm belief that they would possess the land of promise that he exacted an oath from them: they were not to leave his bones in Egypt.
23 By faith the parents of Moses did not fear the king’s decree, but hid him from Pharaoh for three months, because they saw a future in the child.
24 It was faith that made Moses realize that he was not the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
25 By faith he preferred to be associated with the affliction of God’s people rather than with the fleeting privileges of Pharaoh’s house, which did not constitute the true portion of his inheritance. (The word, hamartia, from ha, meaning negative, and meros, meaning form or portion, without your portion, to fall short of your portion; often translated as sin.)
26 He was not embarrassed to be associated with the Messianic promise at the expense of the treasures of Egypt. He deliberately looked away from those towards the greater riches of his reward in Christ. (No reward of the flesh can compare with the wealth of faith.)
27 The rage of the King did not scare him when he abandoned Egypt; faith, giving substance to the invisible, made him brave.
28 His faith saw the Paschal Lamb and the sprinkled blood on the door posts as the salvation of the people.
29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, but the Egyptians drowned when they followed them.
30 By faith the walls of the city of Jericho collapsed when Israel marched around the city for seven days. (They did not conquer through the strength of their army.)
31 Rahab the prostitute’s faith saved her even though her house was built in the wall! While all the other houses collapsed around her, her own remained. She welcomed the spies and acknowledged the God who saved them out of Egypt. (Josh 2:11) Her family also was given an equal opportunity to be saved through her faith. (Imagine their surprise, bearing in mind her life and shameful reputation!)
32 And so the list of faith-heroes continues. There is not enough time to tell the stories of Gideon and Barak and Sampson and Jephtah, of David, Samuel and the prophets.
33 These are they who conquered kingdoms by faith. (Gideon, like Rahab, was in no position to claim any credit for his achievement; faith nullifies boasting [see Rom 3:27, Judg 6:11-16] They accomplished righteousness by that same faith and thus secured the promise [by faith and not by performance]. Deborah told Barak the son of Abinoam that, although he would deliver Israel, he would not get the honor, since a woman would do it for him. [See Judg 4:21] In the principle of righteousness by faith, the flesh will take no glory. Barak, means to worship in adoration, and Abinoam means, “my father’s delight” or “grace.”) By faith they shut the mouths of lions. (Samson, whose mighty achievements were immediately accredited to the Spirit of the Lord who moved upon him. Again there was no occasion to glory in the flesh.)
34 Their faith extinguished powerful fires. They escaped from fierce battles. They were empowered in spite of their frailty. They became heroes in battle and caused hostile armies to flee before them. (Jephtah whose own brothers disinherited him because his mother was a prostitute became the captain of the army of Israel.)
35 By faith women received their children back from the dead. (1 Kings 17:18-24, 2 Kings 4:32-34) Others were severely tortured for their faith and refused to accept release when it was offered them on condition that they would renounce their opinions. To have accepted deliverance then could have saved their lives, but their faith saw a more honorable and glorious resurrection.
36 Still others were mocked and ridiculed for their faith: they were beaten up, shackled and imprisoned.
37 While some were stoned to death, others (like Isaiah the prophet) were sawn asunder with a wood saw. There were yet others who were tempted by the promise of possible release from torture, and then were brutally slaughtered with the sword. Many became wandering refugees with nothing but sheep and goatskins for clothing. They lost everything and were harassed and tormented.
38 The world did not realize their worth. These faith-heroes were often driven from their homes and forced to live in the deserts and mountains; sleeping like animals in caves and holes in the ground.
39 Their lives were trophies to their faith, as the substance of what was visualized by their hope, and the evidence of things their natural eyes never saw.
40 God saw the perfect picture in us; we now complete the history of their lives. (Everything that the shadows prefigured has now found its substance through Christ in us.)
by Mirror Bible – mobile app. http://www.mirrorbible.com
“A bird is defined not by being grounded but by his ability to fly. Remember this, humans are defined not by their limitations, but by the intentions I have for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in my image”
Man is not to be defined by man’s abilities or accomplishments or even lack of accomplishment. Man is defined by God’s thoughts towards man. God calls mankind his beloved sons and daughters, full heirs to His inheritance now. Not at some future point in time but right now. 2 Corinrhians 3:18 speaks of a man looking into a mirror and seeing God’s reflection. A mirror sees/reflects only what is directly in front of it at that exact time. Not some future point but right now.
1 John 4:17
English Standard Version
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
In digging into grace and seeing things shift in my thoughts and understanding I believe there has been a shift inside of me and sometimes things like this may bring about new themes, Ideas, and perspective on other arenas of life also. The Mirror Word Bible (a paraphrase version by Francois du Toit has also give a new vocabulary to which to speak out and even sing out. Three friends of mine have taken this paradigm and used it to write a song to express this idea or chains of thoughts. If you have read the Mirror Word Bible you may really enjoy this.
The lyrics are below as well as links to the Chord chart and a mp3 to listen to it.
**I have not told them I am sharing this yet so I may take this post down if there are any issues with me posting this at this time.
** Mark clicked the “liked it” button so I’m assuming it’s staying up
He Made His Home In Me – Key of D
Whatever my God believes about Jesus
Is what He believes about me
What’s true of Him is quite true of me
Now I’ve become His glory
There’s not a thing I could do to set myself free
He paid the ultimate price for my liberty
The success of the Cross was full and complete
Now I’m innocent, righteous and holy
For He made his home in me
He made his home in me
He made his home in me
When I look into the mirror of His Word
The reflection I see is me
I’ve come to know now I fully believe
It was Jesus’ delight to reveal Himself in me.
Sin and shame have been defeated
He has called me son
No more distance or delay
For God and I are one
His delight is on me now
I’m covered in His love
I’m perfect and complete in Him
All hiding is done
For He made His home in me
He made His home in me
2015 – Mark Hendrickson, Dan Caudell, John Hendrickson
Contemplating from Romans and Hebrews this morning
There is a difference between a reward and a gift. One is worked for the other is given. It is for lack of understanding of one’s identity that changes a paradigm of “I can do this, it’s on my shoulders” to “it’s been done for me, striving is no more.”
Romans 4:1-4 (Mirror Word Bible a paraphrase)
4: 1 If we look at our father Abraham as an example and scrutinize his life, would you say that he discovered any reason for placing confidence in the flesh through personal contribution? (What qualified Abraham to be the father of the multitudes of nations? The only part he played was his unwavering belief in God’s faith in him.)
4: 2 If he felt that his friendship with God was a reward for good behavior, then surely he would have reason to recommend the recipe; yet it is plain to see that it was all God’s initiative from start to finish!
4: 3 Scripture is clear, “Abraham believed what God believed about him and that concluded his righteousness.”
4: 4 There is a large difference between a reward and a gift: if you have earned something through hard work ; what you receive in return is your due and certainly not a gift
It’s that revelation of that gift, that I do not have to work for a position or standing before God. That sin nature I have fought and struggled with my whole life has in the past crushed me. It has caused pain, depression, inferiority, and a feeling of failure. Identity, how God sees me, has made that view of sin nature far less daunting. I used to spend 90% of my time contending with my flesh. I based my relationship on my ability to control my sin management. The verse in Hebrews below, reminds me of Romans 6:10-11 ” For when he died, he died once and for all as far as sin is concerned. But now that he is alive, he lives for God.
In the same way, you too must continuously consider yourselves dead as far as sin is concerned, but living for God through the Messiah Jesus. “(International Standard Version)
I (God) have deleted the records of your sins, past tense a given, it’s already been done. Our confidence is firmly set in what He has done and how He sees us and defines mankind. It’s this definition that propels me to be or do. If I do a work or deed from this point on it is not out a self doing or self production (hope that makes sense). It is living out of Christ in me, Him living in and through me. He is love, He is love and because of that or through that I can now actually love people and want to see them as God sees them. It’s a paradigm shift. “We have a high priest in the house” and I am that house, I am His address! That freedom to approach Him with and in confidence knowing He sees me as complete, holy, sanctified, righteous, and not a work in progress but as a full standing loved completely son and or daughter. …
It frees you to see yourself not as you see you but how God sees you.
Hebrews 10:17-24 (Mirror Word Bible, a paraphrase)
10: 17 This is final: I have deleted the record of your sins and misdeeds. I no longer recall them. (Nothing in God’s reference of man, reminds him of sin.)
10: 18 Sins were dealt with in such a thorough manner that no further offerings would ever again be required. Nothing that we can personally sacrifice could add further virtue to our innocence.
10: 19 Brethren, this means that through what the blood of Jesus communicates and represents, we are now welcome to access this ultimate place of sacred encounter with unashamed confidence.
10: 20 A brand new way of life has been introduced. Because of his flesh torn on the cross (our own flesh can no longer be a valid excuse to interrupt the expression of the life of our design).
10: 21 We have a High Priest in the house!
10: 22 We are free to approach him with absolute confidence, fully persuaded in our hearts that nothing can any longer separate us from him. We are invited to draw near now! We are thoroughly cleansed, inside and out, with no trace of sin’s stains on our conscience or conduct. The sprinkled blood purges our inner thought-patterns; our bodies also are bathed in clean water. (Our behavior bears witness to this.)
10: 23 Our conversation echoes his persuasion; his faithfulness backs his promises. (His integrity inspires our confession.)
10: 24 Let us also think of creative ways by which we can influence one another to find inspired expression in doing things that benefit others. Good actions give voice and volume to the love of God.
That is my thoughts so far for this morning. Not necessarily fully thought out…
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the incarnate begotten son of God, loves the Father and esteems the son with equal affection.
2 In this knowing [of mankind’s co-genesis revealed in the Christ-incarnation,] we love the children of God with the same love that we have discovered in God; we 1treasure the 2conclusion of his prophetic purpose with affection. (The word 1tereo, means to attend to carefully; take care of; to guard; to treasure something with great affection. Westcott and Hort uses the word poiema instead of tereo. The word 2entole is often translated commandment or precept; this word has two components: en, in and telos, from tello, to set out for a definite point or goal; properly the point aimed at as a limit, that is, by implication, the conclusion of an act or state, the result; the ultimate or prophetic purpose. Strong’s 5056.
3 For the love of God is realized in the way we evaluate his 1precepts; if love’s triumph is 1the conclusion of every prophetic pointer, how can this be interpreted as an unbearable burden? (Again the word 1entole is used.)
4 Whatever is born of God is destined to triumph over the world system. Our faith celebrates a victory that is already accomplished!
5 This is the ultimate victory: the certainty that the human Jesus is the divine son of God; (that he is indeed the incarnate Christ – and the central theme of both the Word that was before time was as well as the key to undertanding all of Scripture. He is the Savior of the world. See Luke 24: 27 and John 1: 1-3, also John 5: 39,40)
6 This is he who was to come; he arrived in the flesh via his mother’s womb – 1by water and blood – Jesus Christ. And in his ministry as the Christ, he was not only borne witness to by John the Baptist 2in the prophetic baptism of water, but he went all the way into his baptism of death, 2in his shed blood, where he died humanity’s death. And it is the Spirit that bears witness according to her own being, which is truth! (Note the change of the prepositions 1διά by, used in the sense of accompaniment, also of instrumentality, i.e., by, through, by means of, for 2ἐν in, clearly pointing to his baptism in water and then in his shed blood! No wonder John writes, “He was not only revealed in water; but also in blood!”If humanity’s salvation could be secured only in the incarnation of the Christ and his 3 years of ministry, then his death and resurrection would be irrelevant. See John’s reference to Jesus’moment of realizing that the hour has come for the son of man to be glorified in the single grain of wheat, falling into the ground, not to abide alone, but to bear much fruit. Then he says, John 12: 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour!”Also John 1: 32-34 And John the Baptist bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”)
7 There are three witnessess,
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three 1agree as one! (καὶ οἱ τρεῖς 1εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσιν; the word eis, into, indicating the point reached; the one does not distract from the other. The only Greek manuscripts in any form which support the words, “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one; and there are three that bear witness in earth,”are the Montfortianus of Dublin, copied evidently from the modern Latin Vulgate; the Ravianus, copied from the Complutensian Polyglot; a manuscript at Naples, with the words added in the Margin by a recent hand; Ottobonianus, 298, of the fifteenth century, the Greek of which is a mere translation of the accompanying Latin. All the old versions omit the words.)
9 Now if it is reasonable for us to be readily persuaded by the evidence that people may lay out before us, how much more certainty is there in the evidence that God has so compellingly borne witness to concerning his son! (To go back to the very beginning is to find the Word already present there; face to face with God; this Word, translated into the prophetic promise in Scripture and pointing to the Messiah Redeemer for centuries, the Logos, finally became flesh and forever divided human history into a BC and AD. The heavens declare his glory, night to night exhibits the giant solar testimony that is mathematically precise, revealing that God knew before time was the exact moment he would enter our history as a man, and the exact moment the Messiah would expire on the cross and be raised again from the dead! No one has ever known God as Father; Jesus, the humble brother of the human race, [as my dear friend Baxter Kruger would say,] he has revealed him in the most articulate language as our Father. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father!”John 14: 9. “In that day, you will know that as I am in my Father, so you are in me, and I am in you!”John 14: 20. The Holy Spirit now endorses in us what happened to us when Jesus died and was raised, and now echoes from within our spirits, “Abba Father!”)
10 Whoever shares in the same persuasion concerning the son of God, has God’s testimony confirmed within themselves; he who rejects what God believes concerning Jesus sets himself up against the testimony of God and makes God out to be a liar.
11 The evidence is clear, God has given us back the life that we have lost, the life of the ages, which is the life of our design; this is the same life on exhibit and mirrored in his son. (The word 1didomi can also mean to return something that already belongs to the person.)
12 To 1mirror-echo the son is to mirror-echo life; those who ignore this 1inner resonance concerning the son, miss out on the very life of their design! (The word, 1echo, means to hold, like sound is held in an echo; to resonate
13 My intention in this writing is to endorse your belief in the name of the son of God; [you are convinced that the name Jesus means that he is indeed the Savior of the world.] To know this is to know the life of the ages!
14 Thus we engage in an 1unreserved conversation, 2face to face with the father; we know that it is his delight to be our audience in whatever we may ask him. (The word 1parresia, from para, a preposition indicating close proximity, and rheo, to pour forth; to flow freely, suggesting unreservedness in speech; bold utterance. The preposition 2pros means towards, face to face. It is not a question of whether we are asking anything according to his will or not; but rather a statement that it is his will to hear us in whatever we may ask of him!)
15 And convinced of his delight with us within this place of intimate conversation, it is clear that our every request is held in the same echo – we already have what we’ve asked for!
16 (Note on verse 16: The language and sentence construction here is not found elsewhere in the New Testament; ie to sin a sin not unto death, ἁμαρτάνοντα ἁμαρτίαν μὴ πρὸς θάνατον; then again to sin unto death, ἔστιν ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον It is my humble thought that this would be another case where a scribe added their opinion and commentary, which became absorbed in the text. The issue of a sin unto death has kept the commentators and theologians busy for many a centuary without any conclusive agreement! Some of the many explanations are as follows: Such sin as God punishes with deadly sickness or sudden death. (!!??) All those sins punished with excommunication (according to the older Catholic theologians). An unrepented sin. Envy. A sinful state or condition. The sin by which the Christian falls back from Christian life into death, etc. etc. The only time in scripture where a phrase remotely like this is used is, λαβεῖν ἁμαρτίαν θανητοφόρον, to incur a death-bearing sin, which is in Numbers 18: 22 [Septuagito ¡] And henceforth the people of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. Henceforth the distinction between sins unto death and sins not unto death became common in Rabbinic writings. This type of doctrine gave rise to the heresy of indulgences and people getting baptized on behalf of the dead! See my note on 1 Corinthians 15: 29.)
17 1Disharmony in relationship is 2unlike the true rythm of your being. The deception of a distorted image will 3not face death again! (The word unrighteousness, 1adikia, from a, negative and dikia, indicating two parties finding likeness in each other. The word often translated, sin, is 2hamartia, from a, negative and martia, from meros, form; thus a distorted form. Sin will not face death – this is the whole point of the gospel! Jesus as Savior of the world; the Lamb of God took away the sins of the world; he died humanity’s death. See Hebrews 9: 27,28 The same goes for everyone: man dies only once, and then faces judgment. Christ died once and faced the judgment of the entire human race! His second appearance has nothing to do with sin, but to reveal salvation for all to 1fully embrace him. See 2 Corinthians 2: 15 We are a sweet savor of Christ unto God evident in everyone we meet. The fragrance of Christ is recognized in all unto salvation. The same gospel that announces the fragrant victory of Christ declares the odor of death; the defeat of destruction in everyone! [This parade of victory is a public announcement of the defeat of the religious systems and structures based on the law of works. Just like it is in any public game where the victory celebration of the winning team is an embarrassment for the losing team. The death of evil is announced in resurrection life! The word, apollumi, is derived from apo, away from, and ollumi, to destroy, to ruin.] The message we communicate is a fragrance with an immediate association; to darkness, it is the smell of doom [the death of death]; to life it is the familiar fragrance of life itself. We are not competing with those who have added their price tag to the gospel. Our conversation has its source in Christ; we communicate from the transparent innocence of a face to face encounter with God. [The law of personal performance or kapeleuo, meaning retail; which is a gospel with a price tag.)
18 What was made absolutely 1clear [in the incarnate Christ] is that whoever is begotten of God cannot be a 2distorted image of God! Likeness begets likeness. Jesus did not come to reveal the “otherness”of God, but his likeness in human form. There is nothing wrong with mankind’s design, neither with their salvation! To 1see one’s true revealed and now redeemed genesis in God, is to treasure the person you really are by his divine engineering and to remain 4unstained in your thoughts by 3the “I am not Tree system.”The 3idea that I am not the expression of his image and likeness can no longer 4attach itself to my thoughts, neither do I allow it to ignite its destructive cycle of self-righteousness or depression! The system of this world is based on a mentality of separation, which is marked by 3hardships annoyances and labors! It becomes an all consuming and most exhausting lifestyle of having to prove oneself in every relationship and a futile striving for recognition; with its inevitable results of disappointment, condemnation, rejection and pretense. (John begins the 3 sentences in verse 18,19 & 20 with he verb 1οιδαμεν which is the Perfect Active tense of 1eido, to see, to observe, to pay attention, to perceive, to know as an eye-witness. The Perfect Indicative Active tense denotes an action which is perfected or completed in the past, but the effects of which are regarded as continuing into the present. A distorted image is what the word 2hamartia suggests; from ha, negative and meros, form; thus withoiut form. The word 3poneros, often translated evil, refers to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [poneros] which is the fruit of a lost fellowship, identity, value and innocence. Through hardships, labors and annoyances mankind has strived for generations in vain, to redeem themselves from their own judgment and their illusions of separation. The word 4haptomai means to fasten itself to, or to cling to something; from hapto to kindle a fire; to ignite. If there is indeed nothing wrong with mankind’s design or redemption, there can only be one problem, we are thinking wrong! See Isaiah 55: 8,9; “Your thoughts are not my thoughts, therefore your ways are not my ways!”also Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”Isaiah 55: 9,10 Just like the rain and the snow cancels the distance between heaven and earth and cancells the drought, so shall my word be, it shall cancel distance and drought and saturate the earth (flesh); every nook and cranny of human life shall be filled in the Incarnation! The word became flesh and indwells us! In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has brought final closure to the rule of the “I am not Tree-system.”The idea of God’s absence as well as every definition of distance and separation was canceled. Jesus is God’s mind made up about mankind! He is not more Emmanuel to the Jew than what he is to the Gentile. See John 1: 14 Suddenly the invisible eternal Word takes on visible form! The Incarnation! In him, and now confirmed in us! The most accurate tangible display of God’s eternal thought finds expression in human life! The Word became a human being; we are his address; he resides in us! He captivates our gaze! The glory we see there is not a religious replica; he is the authentic begotten son. The glory (that we lost in Adam) returns in fullness! Only grace can communicate truth in such complete context!)
19 We know that we have our origin in God; yet the whole world 1lies trapped in the blindfold-mode of a lost identity; intoxicated by the poneros system of a futile mentality of hardships labors and annoyances! (The word keimai means to lie prostrate, outstreched; buried.)
20 This is what has become distinctly clear to us: the 1coming of the son of God is God’s mission accomplished! He is the incarnate Christ. The moment all of Scripture pointed to has arrived! The son is 1present! In him God has given us the greatest gift, 2a mind whereby we may know him who is true; and in the same knowing, to find ourselves there in him who is true! Mankind is fully included and located in him, in his son Jesus Christ; this means that whatever Jesus is as son, we are. This is the true God; this is the life of the ages! (The word 1heko means to have come, to have arrived, to be present. John uses the word 2dianoian; deep thought; with dia relating to the means by which we may know; a mind to know; compare metanoia, to know together with; an entwining of thought; the mind of Christ. Jesus said, you will know the truth as it is unveiled in me, and that will set you free! The culmination of the gospel according to John is summed up in these verses: John 14: 20 “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you!”Also 1 John 2: 7 & 8, “what is true of him, is equally true of us. 1 John 4: 17 “As he is, so are we in this world! Our lives are mirrored in him”as well as here in 1 John 5: 20) 5: 21 This defeats every image of our imagination that could possibly compete with the authentic likeness of our design! Darling children, distance yourselves from every substitute image, which is what idolatry is all about! (The word 1eidolon, often translated idol, refers to image or likeness. Isa 40: 18-21 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? The idol! a workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. He who is impoverished chooses for an offering wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skilful craftsman to set up an image that will not move. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? Act 17: 28-31 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said,