Grace, Forgiveness and The Blood.

Why are we always taught to continually ask for forgiveness?

If we have been forgiven once for all as Hebrews says, why ask for something we already have?

The writer of the book of Hebrews says this is like treating the blood of Christ like the blood of ‘bulls and goats.’

The Jews had to sacrifice bulls and goats for their sin over and over again.

Moses had to splash the blood all over the temple, the altar and all the people!

He took the blood of calves and sprinkled the scroll and all the people…in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.

– Hebrews 9:19-21

Can you imagine? It must have been a bloody day.

But all this was pointing to Christ.

As Hebrews 9:22 says:

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Every year the Hebrews had to make a new sacrifice to be forgiven. But those animal sacrifices couldn’t take away sin, the writer of Hebrews tells us. They were only a ‘reminder’ of sin.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder for sin. Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.

– Hebrews 10:3

It is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sin.

It was all pointing to Christ who took away our sin once for all.

We don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore because Jesus was the last, once for all sacrifice.

Through His sacrifice we have forgiveness of sins.

He will never sacrifice Himself again.

As God says in Isaiah:

From that cup, the globlet of my fury, you will never drink again.

– Isaiah 51:22

Christ’s one sacrifice was enough for all sin, for all people, for all time.

So, when we turn to God and beg for forgiveness in a way we’re behaving like the Jews of the O.T who needed to be forgiven again and again.

But we don’t need to be forgiven again and again.

Because we have been forgiven once for all.

As Hebrews says:

For Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise he would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But, now, at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

– Hebrews 9:24-26

So, let’s stop asking for forgiveness. We have forgiveness already.

If we do it’s like saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.

But it was enough!

It was once for all.

But what happens when we sin? I hear you cry. Surely we should ask God for forgiveness?!

What does John say in his first letter?

If we sin we have an advocate who goes to the Father for us – Jesus Christ – the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only our sin, but for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1

Who goes to the Father?

Do we go?

No! Jesus goes to the Father for us and we are in Him – approved by God in Christ.

Amen!

ps. want to know how free you are? Listen to my recording of Romans 6 on soundcloud!

What Benefit Did You Reap?

Jesus painting close up

What I hear a lot of is this:

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

I used to believe this.

I used to believe this – in the way that many Christians believe it today.

But what we’re actually saying is this:

Jesus’ crucifixion wasn’t good enough to cleanse us from our sin.

The blood of Jesus wasn’t powerful enough to destroy sin.

Jesus did not die to sin “once for all”, as Hebrews tells us.

It wasn’t ‘finished’ as Jesus shouted, pouring out His blood, from the cross.

No.

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

Brilliant English theologian John Stott says this:

We resent the fact that we have no part to play in our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.

– The Cross of Christ.

You see, either Christ ‘did away’ with sin on the cross or He didn’t.

But He did.

Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

– Hebrews 9.26

Paul tells us how.

He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us.

But this is a little confusing.

What does it mean exactly?

I like this translation:

GOD’S WORD.
God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin.

However we phrase it, when Christ died, our sin died with Him.

All of our sin – past present and future.

This is great news!

This is the gospel!

On the cross, our sin died with Him.

But Paul goes further:

Anyone who was baptized into Christ was crucified with Christ. We were therefore buried with Him, through baptism, into death…

and

If we were united with Him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.

If we are not yet a believer, we are still living with ‘sin.’

And, as Paul says:

The wages of sin is death.

But – and this is the good news – if we are in Christ we died with Him.

Crucified on the cross.

But, Paul says:

If we died with Him we believe that we will also live with Him.

– Romans 6.8

and

If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal body through His Spirit who lives in you.

– Romans 8.11

It is only in Christ that we can rise from the dead.

We will rise as He is risen.

This is the good news!

It is nothing to do with if we mess up, make mistakes, or ‘sin’.

And –

Where sin abounds, grace super abounds!

– Romans 5:20

Super-abounding grace!

We are free!

“But that means we are free to sin!” I hear someone say.

I answer with Paul’s words:

What benefit did you reap from those things you are now ashamed of?

– Romans 6:21

Really, what benefit did you reap in the past from your wrong doing, from your selfish, destructive behavior, from your mistreatment of yourself and others, and from your unwise choices?

I know what benefit I reaped: shame and soul-destroying guilt.

Sin has terrible, life damaging consequences.

And…

The wages of sin is death.

But…

The law of the Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

– Romans 8.2

We have been set free from sin and death.

In Christ we have life!

Eternal life!

In Christ we have everything to live for!

This is the gospel.

The true gospel.

The amazing gospel!

Amen!

Steve Edwards

Be Holy for I am Holy. Or else.

For it is written: “Be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16

Often we’re taught we should ‘be holy’.

God is holy, so we should be holy.

But this is impossible. No one can be as holy as God.

That was The Law.

So, what does ‘holy’ mean?

We are sometimes taught that the Hebrew word for holy – quadosh – means ‘set apart’.

But set apart from what ?

The Bible Hub website says ‘holy’ means to be set apart from human impurity.

Set apart from sin.

Amen!

But who sets us apart?

Check this out in Hebrews:

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

It is Christ who has made us holy. Christ who has set us apart from sin.

So, what does Peter mean by “Be Holy for I am Holy.”

Is it possible for us to ‘be holy’ by demand ?

If not, why demand it of us?

Isn’t he quoting a law that was impossible to keep?

And wasn’t The Law only given to show us how much we need Christ?

Here’s something we don’t hear in church often:

Be Holy for I am Holy is NOT a command – it’s a promise!

Check out this translation from the Greek:

Holy you will be, for Holy I am.

Holy you will be, for holy I am.

That’s completely different from “Be Holy, for I am Holy.”

It’s not a command, but a promise!

And we are children of promise!

Here’s something interesting. Remember when God said to Moses:

Go and tell the Israelites I AM has sent me to you.

Exodus 3:14

Remember this verse? When Moses asks God His name and God replies: “I am who I am.”

Well, the Greek translation of God’s name I am is

ego eimi

Now, check this out: when Jesus says his seven I am statements:

I am the bread of life.

I am The Good Shepherd.

I am the Gate for the sheep.

I am the Light of the World.

I am The Way the Truth and the Life.

I am the True Vine

and

I am the Resurrection and The Life

– his words I am are translated in the Greek as ego eimi.

The name of God!

‘I AM has sent me to you.’

I am.

Like when Jesus says:

Before Abraham was, I am.

– John 8:58

The Hebrew words are –

Ehyeh asher ehyeh

– which literally translates as:

I Will Be Who I Will Be.

And just as

I am who I am

can be translated

I will be who I will be

so –

Be holy as I am holy

can be translated as

Holy you will be because holy I am.

So you see God isn’t commanding us to be holy.

He is telling us we will be holy because He is.

And God doesn’t mean we will be holy at some random point in the future.

The tense of the verb gives a sense of now and forever.

We are holy now and we will forever be holy.

Our holiness is ongoing – now and forever.

Amen!

Paul also teaches us that –

Christ Jesus is…our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

– 1 Cor 1:30

So, to sum up, Hebrews teaches us that Christ has made us holy.

Peter teaches us that we will forever be holy because God is.

And Paul teaches us that Christ is our holiness.

Being holy has nothing to do with our own effort to overcome sin.

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

Christ did it all.

It is finished!

So what does Peter mean when he tells us:

Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

1 Peter 1:15

Peter’s reminding us to behave in a way that reflects who we already are.

Just as Paul said:

Let us live up to what we have already attained.

– Philippians 3:16

Christ made us holy by His sacrifice.

Christ redeemed us.

Christ paid the price.

Christ took our punishment.

Christ served our sentence.

Christ did everything for us.

“Worthy is the Lamb. Not worthy is the Lamb and me!”

(Thanks Joseph Prince for that one!)

To conclude, then, it is Christ who has made us holy.

Holy you will be for holy I am.

We could never be as holy as God so He made us holy.

What a God!

This is the amazing wonder of grace.

So, finally, Peter isn’t commanding us to be holy.

We have already attained holiness in Christ.

Check out this verse from Paul:

But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Who makes us holy?

God does.

Through Christ.

Because He loves us.

He loved us in the past.

He loves us now.

And He will always love us… continuous, ongoing, now and forever.

For –

God is Love

Amen!

Related posts:

Be Holy, Hyper Grace StyleHis Grace is Enough – Simon Yap 

If We’re Holy, Why Does God Call Us To Be Holy? Escape to Reality – Paul Ellis

What Does God Mean When He Asks Us To Be Holy? Christianity Today – Joel Scandrett

Steve Edwards

Awake oh sleeper…grace abounds!

I feel sorry for Dr. Michael Brown of Charisma Magazine. In fact, I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t grasp the glorious truth of God’s amazing ‘grace’ that is sweeping the world. This is grace as it is supposed to be. Not grace-mixed-with-law, not luke-warm grace, but hyper-grace or super-abounding grace.

I feel sorry for Dr. Michael Brown because on the amazon blurb to sell his book Hyper Grace: Exposing the Dangers of The Modern Grace Message, he says this:

At a time when the church needs an urgent wake-up call and a fresh encounter with Jesus, the hyper-grace message is lulling many to sleep. 

OK, Dr. Brown, let’s break this down.

First, you say the church needs a wake-up call and a fresh encounter with Jesus.

Yes!

This is exactly what God’s new ‘modern grace’ message is doing. When God revealed this message to me via Joseph Prince’s ministry it was like discovering a whole new Jesus. Jesus says:

Behold, I make everything new!

– Revelation 21:5

The modern grace message is the wake-up call.

It is the fresh revelation of Jesus.

It’s like Dr. Brown is a Jew waiting for The Messiah, but when The Messiah stands in front of Him his mind is blinded and he can’t see who He truly is.

He came to those who were His own, but His own did not recognize Him.

– John 1:11

Paul talks about this:

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the gospel of Christ.

– 2 Cor 4:4

Of course I’m not saying Dr. Brown doesn’t believe in Jesus. It’s clear he does. However he doesn’t believe in the gospel the modern grace preachers are preaching – which we believe is the true gospel of the glory of Christ. But he doesn’t believe in God’s super-abounding grace. He does not believe that Christ’s work was finished. That Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin.

This grace message is the glorious gospel of Christ. Not just that Christ died for us and gave us a place in Heaven, but that we can never, ever be punished for our sin, ever again. To only believe Jesus saved us from our sin pre-conversion, is to only believe half of the gospel, and that is no gospel at all. The fact is, Jesus saved us from all our sin, past, present and future, once for all, forever.

What Dr. Brown believes is a mixed grace gospel – grace mixed with law – exactly what Paul warns the church against:

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace!

– Galatians 5:4

Paul is clear that the righteousness he received is not from obeying the law, but through faith in Christ. We cannot achieve righteousness ourselves. Or holiness. It is all a gift. It was all achieved for us, on our behalf, by Jesus Christ.

John goes further still. ‘Those who are born of God,’ he says in his first letter, ‘cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.’ (1 John 3:9). And ‘It is impossible for those who are born of God to continue to sin’ (5:18).

Strong word, impossible. How is it impossible? We know we mess up every day. It’s impossible because we are covered in Christ’s blood. Just as it were impossible to save your firstborn from the Angel of Death unless you had the blood of the lamb on your doorpost, so it is impossible for us to sin if we are covered in the blood of Christ – the Lamb of God.

Jesus promises He has released us from the prison of sin. (Luke 4:18).

Now, if Christ has released us, can we lock ourselves up again? If so, then Jesus’ blood was weak and we are all damned, for all of us fail to live up to God’s moral standards every day. But Christ’s blood was powerful enough to cleanse us from all of our sin, once for all.

This is what the writer of Hebrews is getting at when he says:

Now, at the end of the ages, Christ has appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

– Hebrews 9:26

And Paul:

He cannot die again. Death no longer has power over Him. The death He died he died to sin once for all.

– Romans 6:9

Once for all.

Now, it was either once for all or it wasn’t once for all. And I believe it was once for all.

So, what is the difference between the old grace message as traditionally taught by the church, and the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing, modern grace message? Well, the old grace message says that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, has given us the power to live holy and righteous lives, whereas the modern grace message says Jesus did it all. That ‘We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10) and that our righteousness is a free gift (Romans 5:17).

Essentially, the old grace message says Jesus did his part, now we must do ours. Hyper-grace says Jesus did it all. There is nothing left for us to do, except ‘believe in the One He has sent.’ The old message is the law, it is up to us to overcome, up to us to obey the commandments, up to us not to sin. The new message says it was all up to Jesus and he fulfilled the law for us. The old message says we must do it. The new message says Jesus did it. Past tense. Finished action. It is finished!

And ‘lulling many to sleep,’ Dr Brown? LOL. The opposite! It is waking us up from our sleep and revealing a whole new Jesus to us, full of grace and truth! Ask anyone who has had a new, modern revelation of grace. It is spirit-filled, filling us with a new love for God and a Holy Spirit empowered dynamism the Western church hasn’t seen since Lakeland or Toronto. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you can see!

This is a revival which God is orchestrating. He has had enough of the grace-mixed-with-law message, keeping His people bound in chains of sin which can never be broken. God wants everyone to know that He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to take our sin from us, crucifying it in Himself on The Cross. To say less than this happened is to take the victory away from Jesus. He cleansed us from our sin once for all. He has made us righteous. He has made us holy. Him Him Him.

As Joseph Prince says, in Heaven it will be ‘Worthy is the Lamb,’ not ‘Worthy is The Lamb and me!’

I pray, LORD, that Dr. Brown asks in prayer for a fresh revelation of grace, that he can receive the revelation and awakening he desires for the church, so he can begin to preach to his wide audience the wonder of this new revelation of God’s amazing grace. The true gospel.

If you’re wondering what this modern grace message is all about, read Paul Ellis’s article How Well Did I understand Grace Before I understood Grace?

Also, listen to Joseph Prince’s podcasts on itunes.

Check out Creflo Dollar’s article  and see my blog roll for other brilliant, charismatic modern grace teachers, including Chris Kratzer, Bas Rijksen, Simon Yap and Phil Drysdale.

For old school ‘modern grace’ preachers, see Martin Luther, D.L Moody, Spurgeon, and St. Paul !

Grace be with you!

Steve Edwards

 

Sunday Sermon: Is sin a crime or a sickness?

Been thinking a lot about a question Chloe Dudley posted on Twitter about whether sin was a crime deserving to be punished or a sickness to be healed.

Isaiah 53 says:

He was crushed for our sins.

He was pierced for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought our peace was upon Him

And by His wounds we are healed.

When I received my amazing revelation of grace last year Jesus told me that sin was a sickness and He was the Great Physician – The Healer. In fact, one of God’s names in the Old Testament in Hebrew is ‘Rapha’ – The Lord who Heals. 

However, in The Cross of Christ John Stott argues that the full force of God’s anger burned against our sin in Christ, which suggests punishment.

Jeremiah prophecies:

The LORD has given full vent to His wrath.

He has poured out His fierce anger.

Jesus has a prayer battle with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane about drinking ‘the cup’:

Father, if it’s possible, please take this cup from me.

Isaiah 51:22 tells us what this ‘cup’ is:

From that cup, the goblet of my fury, you will never drink again.

See how Isaiah reassures The Christ? He will never have to drink it again. His sacrifice, as Hebrews says, will be once for all. 

As we know Christ’s cruxifixion fulfilled the Passover. He was our passover lamb sacrificed for us. The Last Supper was a passover meal.

At the meal four ‘cups’ of wine are drunk, each pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross.

You can read a detailed study on Mike Ratliff’s blog.

However, here’s a brief explanation of the 4 cups and how they point to Christ and The Cross:

The first cup to drink at a Passover feast is The Cup of Freedom (Christ sets us free at The Cross.)

The second cup drunk is The Cup of Judgement (God judged our sin at The Cross).

The third cup drunk (I’d be drunk by now) is The Cup of Redemption (Christ redeemed us at The Cross).

The  fourth cup is The Cup of Restoration (Christ restores us (heals us) at The Cross).

Amazing, huh?

The Jewish people have been celebrating Christ for years in their passover celebrations!

It doesn’t stop there. Get this:

It was at the the third cup – The Cup of Redemption – that Jesus stopped, lifted the cup, and said to His disciples:

Take, drink, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed to give the forgiveness of sins.

How amazing is that?!

It was the Cup of Redemption! This is why Christ’s blood is called ‘redeeming.’

Two definitions of the verb ‘redeem’ are:

1. to compensate for the bad aspects of someone.

2. to clear by payment.

We could say that Jesus did both. He compensated for our bad aspect by giving us His righteousness.

He also paid for our sin. He was punished for our crime.

So, I think to answer Chloe’s question we can look to the 4 cups.

At The Cross we were set free, judged righteous, our debt was paid (He was punished for us) and we were restored (divinely healed).

Isaiah, it seems, agrees:

The punishment that brought our peace was on Him.

AND

By His stripes we are healed.

Phew!

Deep question.

Thanks for asking it, Chloe.

So…what do you think? Is sin a crime or a sickness? Or both?

Grace be with you.

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Have you had a GRACE revelation?

Have you had a GRACE revelation?

But what is a GRACE revelation, I hear you ask.

A GRACE revelation is, as you would expect, a revelation of GRACE!

Some of you may be reading this, thinking, but I already know what grace is. I don’t need a revelation.

I know, and I understand, that Christ died for my sin so that I would be forgiven.

I know that when I sin I can come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and He forgives me every time.

I know that God’s grace means that His blood will always cleanse me if I repent.

I know that grace means that, by the power of the Holy Spirit I can conquer the sin in my life.

I can overcome.

I can have the victory!

I, I, I !

This answer reminds me of this verse attributed to the prideful Satan.

I will ascend above the clouds of heaven,
I will make my throne above the stars of God,
I will make myself like the most high!
(Isaiah 14:13)

If you think you understand grace, and believe grace is God giving you the power to overcome sin in your life, then the truth is you may be too proud to believe that there is absolutely NO WAY you can overcome sin.

There is also NO WAY therefore that you will ever have a revelation of GRACE as Paul and Luther did, as Spurgeon and Joseph Prince and many other modern day preachers did, because you think you are in control, you are in the driving seat with the Holy Spirit as the engine empowering you to live a holy and righteous life.

If you believe this, your heart is probably too hard, you are too ‘long in the tooth’ with your degrees in theology and PHD’s in Pauline Epistolary. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

But no ‘mature’ Christian wants to think of themselves as having a ‘hard heart.’ No ‘mature’ Christian wants to think of themselves as not being open, as being too proud to receive new revelation. And the tragic truth is, if you are not open to new revelation, your faith is no longer in the God who writes His law on our hearts, but is rather in your degrees, your PHD’s and your theses.

And as long as Christians are teaching the false doctrine that ‘Jesus did his bit, now we must do ours’ then the church is sick: sick in its obsession with sin, and sick in its obsession with its self.

It is sin focused and not righteousness focused. It is self-centred and not Christ-centered.

This is what GRACE is:

GRACE is the fact that God knew that we could never, ever overcome sin so He became sin for us, crucifying it on the cross.

As the writer of Hebrews says:

Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

(Hebrews 9:26)

He did away with it. It is dealt with. Sin exists no longer in those who put their faith in Christ.

As Joseph prince says, it is as though we are stones in a waterfall, constantly, perpetually washed clean.

Spurgeon described it as if we are bathing in Christ’s blood.

Now this is something to celebrate! This is why Isaiah was ‘overwhelmed with joy’ !

This is why Paul opened and closed all of his letters with ‘Grace and Peace.’

Christ has absolutely, completely set us free from sin, forever!

Nothing we do can change that.

If we are in Christ, we are free.

And if The Son sets you free, you are free indeed!

Now that is what I call ‘good news’.

Are you open to a revelation of GRACE ?

If you are, read Paul Eliis’s great article:

How well did I understand grace before I understood grace?

Have a great Sunday!

You are not a sinner.

You know what, you’re not a sinner.

That’s not how God sees you. He sees you as righteous and holy.

He sees you as perfect.

By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who have been made holy.

(Hebrews 10:14)

He sees you as His glorious, beautiful child, they way He intended you, because Jesus cleansed you of all of your sin on the cross.

Sins, yesterday, today and forever.

His sacrifice was once for all. 

For we have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.

(Hebrews 10:10)

Our righteousness is a free gift, by grace.

Even if we sin, grace keeps on flooding out. That’s what’s so amazing about grace. That’s the gospel. 

We are free forever.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

(Galatians 5:1)

I know how terrible sin can make you feel.

If we could only grasp the wonder of seeing ourselves how God sees us – as beautiful as Jesus – then we could truly start to walk in freedom.

If we could really grasp how much He loves us, how the sacrifice of Jesus cleansed us once for all.

If we could really believe and accept that !

Lord, help us to see ourselves as you see us, adorned with your beauty and majesty, dressed in garments of salvation, as Isaiah says, and draped in a robe of your righteousness!

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