Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holier than thou?

"I inwardly grimaced when the worship leader led us all to sing:

Holiness, holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what
You want for me, for me.

What's my problem with that chorus? It's because it asks for something we already have! We don't need holiness. We have it right now! The reason so many people squeeze their eyes closed and sing like they're begging God for holiness is because they think they aren't holy based on how they've acted, felt and thought lately. But it's not about that at all.

If you think holiness has to do with moral perfection, I encourage you to take a look at the New Testament Church in Corinth. To say that these people misbehaved is an understatement. Inside that church there existed divisions, drunkenness, jealousy, immorality and many others sinful behaviors.

The Apostle Paul wrote the Corinthian Christians a letter and here is how he began it: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling …” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Paul said the Corinthians were “sanctified in Christ Jesus.” He knew about their behavior and even addressed it later in his letter, but Paul knew something that many believers today don’t understand. Our behavior does not determine who we are! These Corinthians were saints, regardless of their behavior. They were saints, even if they were “saints behaving badly.” Their holiness didn’t have a thing to do with what they did or didn’t do.

Paul reminded them a little later, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). He says that it was God’s doing that they were in Christ, and that Christ is their sanctification, or holiness. Again we see that the Corinthians were already holy in God’s sight.

Paul made very clear how we have become holy. God did it through Christ. As the writer of Hebrews put it: “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

It is by Christ’s work that we have been made holy. What about places in the Bible where the Scripture seems to teach that we are to seek holiness? Consider, for example, Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” What does the verse mean when it tells us to “pursue” sanctification (holiness)? The answer has to do with what we mean by pursuing it.

If you define “pursuing sanctification” as getting better and better at keeping rules, you will find yourself right back in legalism, but we have already seen that rules-keeping is not the meaning of holiness.

To pursue it means that we act diligently to agree with God concerning what He has said about us and we act like it’s true – because it is true! You have Jesus Christ and He is your holiness. So we are pursuing sanctification or holiness when we are living out of the reality of His indwelling life. We grow in the expression of holiness in our thoughts and attitudes and even in our actions, but we don’t become more and more holy. You are holy. That is what you are! "

Steve McVey

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


"In Romans 5:20 Paul makes a radical statement that has been the thorn in the side for many believers throughout the centuries. It basically sounds like Paul is creating a license for sin. He says, “The law was added so that trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

Although Paul has made it clear that grace is no license for sin (Romans 3:8) Paul is still maintaining that man’s sin cannot outstrip the grace of God. Paul uses two important words in this verse that makes Paul’s intent clear. He uses the word “increased” in reference to both sin and grace: where sin “increased” graced “increased” also.

However the difference between the “increase” is not proportionate: where sin increased grace increased all the more! How much more is the question: a little more, a lot more?

The Greek word for “increased” with reference to sin is not the same Greek word in regards to grace. When Paul refers to sin increasing he uses the Greek word pleonazo and when referring to grace he uses huperperisseuo.

According to Strongs Concordance the former means “abound” but the latter means “to abound beyond measure, to abound exceedingly, to exceed a fixed number of measure.” In other words Paul is telling us that as sin increases grace increases disproportionately to cover that sin. What amazing grace. Look at the way the Amplified Bible has dealt with the original language:

20But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded.

This is the gospel of God’s amazing grace according to Paul and admittedly it can seem to sound like license for sin. Let me say this categorically and in no uncertain terms: unless the gospel we hear doesn’t “sound” like a license for sin then we have not heard the gospel of Paul.

How do I know that? In the very next verses Paul says, “shall we go on sinning that grace may increase”? Although he is quick to qualify what he is saying Paul knows for certain that his message seems to sound like that very thing!

As we read this verse we need to remember that Romans 5:20 is the climax of the message of the entire fifth chapter and needs to be understood within that setting. Paul commences in verse 1 by telling us that since we are justified by faith we have peace with God. This is a summary statement of everything he just said in the book as a whole. This verse also sets the scene for what follows in the chapter which climaxes in radical statement in verse 20. In Romans 1-4 Paul has carefully set out to define what Justification by faith is.

He tells us that to be justified means to be “declared righteous” not made righteous – in spite of all our failed attempts to keep God’s law. The word translated “declared righteous” in the NIV of Romans 3:20 is the exact same word as “justified” in Romans 5:1.

To be justified by faith is not an ethical quality but a legal, relational standing one has with God through faith in the blood of Jesus. It has nothing to do with how righteous I become in regards my behaviour here on earth. To be justified means that God freely declares us righteous by faith in Jesus and then credits to our account all the good works of Jesus and credits all our sin to Jesus himself.

See Romans 4:1-6. It not only means “just-as-if-I-never-sinned” but it also means “just-as-if-I-had-only-ever-been-righteous”. Although forgiveness of sins is included in justification (Rom 4:7) it goes beyond it: it also means acquittal which means we never committed any sins that need forgiveness.

The Revised Standard Version of Romans 5:18 translates the same root word as “acquittal” compared with “justification” in the NIV. Forgiveness means we have committed wrongs but acquittal means we never have!

Because of all this Paul concludes that the believer has peace with God. Rom 5:1. And just in case we still don’t get it, Paul continues to labour the point in chapter 5 by listing even more results that accompany this blessing.

Through a series of contrasts he speaks of the peace that comes through justification. The key phrase in this chapter is “how much more” and climaxes with his radical statement in verse 20.

Paul tells us that we not only have peace with God as a result of justification but we also have a number of other things: continuing standing in the grace of God (v.2), hope for the future coming of Jesus (v.2) and meaning and purpose in trials (vv.3-4).

This hope that grows out of justification is grounded in the very love of God which has already been poured out into our hearts. Romans 5:5. It is at this point that Paul commences his series of comparisons; his “how much more” statements.

He reasons that if God has already poured this love into our hearts through the experience of justification by faith (which has resulted in peace) and since God demonstrated this love to us through the death of Jesus whilst we were still lost sinners, then how much more certain can we be now in our standing with God: if he loved us and Jesus died for us when we were lost sinners then how much more now can we have peace knowing that we will escape his wrath?

Read verses 5-9 in one sitting carefully to notice the contrast. He continues with the next contrast and says that if God made peace and reconciled the lost world to himself through the death of his Son then how much more should we rest peacefully secure since we will [not “may”] be saved through faith in Jesus life? Romans 5:10.

He goes onto say that if through Adam’s one sin we were all wrecked then how much more peacefully safe are we now in God’s grace that overflows to undo and compensate? Romans 5:15. Then Paul finally arrives at his radical statement on the grace of God. He says that if the introduction of the law worsened our situation by increasing sin then how much more at peace can we be, knowing that our standing with God is never jeopardized since God’s grace superabounds our sin?

What amazing grace! We cannot out-sin the grace of God: this is the essence of the good news of the Gospel. We can rest assured of the peace we have for it is grounded in the marvelous and boundless grace of God demonstrated through the doing and dying of Jesus."

Santo Calarco

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Walking like Jesus...

Have you ever heard that we should "walking like Jesus"'s an interesting thought, Jesus had a steady diet of grace for 30 odd years, before he started "walking like Jesus"...

Most Christians today have had a steady diet of Law mixed with Grace for years...Now we want to preach grace for 3 months and then say, now go walk as Jesus did...go figure.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MORE !!!

I am a lover of the gospel of is the only message that brings freedom! It is the gospel and the gospel IS the power of God (Rom 1:16)

The longer i am in "it", the more i want to know...I want to know this grace, this multifaceted gospel, this sweet glory...

The more i wallow in "it" the deeper i want to go, the further i know i can run, the higher i believe i can climb...

aah Jesus...!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Warning heeded !

"The Bible says God does not judge by external appearances whereas the religious world is very much obsessed with judging by external appearances. Paul makes it clear that there are people who think their portfolio is to come into churches and come amongst believers and spy on their freedom with religious disapproval in their eyes. They work in demonic anointing and can bring people back into slavery.

Paul said we did not negotiate with them. If you sit and discuss these issues with these kinds of people even for a moment they'll get inside your head. Before you know it an hour has passed, a day has passed, a week has passed and before you know it your life has been controlled by religious condemnation."

Rob Rufus


Saturday, March 13, 2010

A tsunami of grace...

The ground swell, oh the ground a tsunami, the grace revolution keeps powering forward...ain't nothing going to stop it...why? because God's behind it...silencing every voice calling for calm, calling for dialogue, calling for unity....the ground swell, oh the ground a tsunami....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ecstatic satisfaction!

"The Great Gospel of imparted righteousness is in continual orbit around this glorious King and His Kingdom; Like the living creatures surrounding the throne continually singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy". All of heaven is enraptured in the ecstasy of His holiness and astonished that this holiness has been graced to us!

This holiness and righteousness is not attained by self-submission and self-obedience. No, this righteousness can only be drunk down as a gift. For no other kind of righteousness can stand before His presence. No other dance floor can hold His Joy and His Glory. Nothing but an unearned, unachieved, glorious gift!

In turn this Happy Message produces in a man such heart filling peace and enamoring joy that he realizes that he need nothing else. This man, that receives such a glorious existence given only by such a glorious God, becomes completely satisfied!

This is the state of Kingdom existence. Ecstatic satisfaction! This is what the Gospel affords and imparts to those who believe."

Benjamin Dunn

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Question: Are we to tithe (give 10%) because Abraham tithed?

HEB 11:39-40 says...

These (including Abraham) were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

We (in the New Covenant) have received The Promise !!!! YEEHAAA

So the answer is.....

NO!....we are to be way more generous than Abraham, since we have the Holy Spirit LIVING IN US and Abraham didn't!

Simple really...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beyond YOUR ability...

"I’m going to personally challenge you to follow the example of the Macedonian churches (2 Corinthians) – which is really the example of Christ. Give yourself fully to God. Relinquish all your rights, desires, and goals to Him. Seek the counsel of His Spirit, and follow His will. Then, give. Give generously! Give, even beyond your ability to give!!! Choose to deny your own desires and wants so that you can give even more. Choose to even deny your needs for a time.

But I also challenge you not to do this in an attempt to be holy if your heart is not in it. If you do not feel joy in the giving, then don’t do it. When you give under compulsion and grudgingly, you do not give out of love. Your gift becomes meaningless because there is no love with it.

But if your faith is responding to the grace of God – to the glorious gift of His Only Son who has freed us from sin and death – then give as much as you can and even more! Allow God’s power to work through your life to do more than you can even expect or imagine."

Paul Williams