Paul says the law is a load of old bull!

You gotta love Paul.

He says it like it is.

Take Philippians.

Look at me, he says. I was the perfect law keeper…

Circumcised on the 8th day, of the tribe of Benjamin, of the people of Israel, a Hebrew of Hebrews! As for the law, a pharisee. As for legalistic righteousness, perfect.

Then he says:

But I consider it all rubbish compared to Christ.

And do you know what word Paul uses when he says rubbish?

Our bible translators didn’t have the courage to use Paul’s word.

The word Paul uses, in Greek, is skybalon.

It means dung, excrement, or bulls**t !

Believing we can make ourselves righteous by obeying the law is a load of old bull, according to Paul!

Righteousness comes by faith in Christ.

Paul couldn’t believe it.

There he was, a perfect Jew, a perfect law-keeper, who suddenly found out that he was righteous by faith and not by obeying the law.

Suddenly, Paul didn’t have to try anymore.

No more effort required.

Imagine that!

All your life you struggle to obey the law and then someone reveals to you that it’s impossible to become righteous by your own efforts, but not to worry because God has given you His righteousness as a free gift!

What?!

Unbelievable!

This is why Paul couldn’t stop banging on about God’s grace.

Couldn’t stop banging on about how righteousness is a free gift and nothing to do with our own self-efforts.

Not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.

– Ephesians 2:8

Some people teach we are “positionally righteous”, but that we have to struggle and strive to live up to that righteousness.

Well, show me where Paul says that.

There is no talk of being “positionally righteous” in Paul’s letters. There is no “now but not yet” as some people teach in the church today.

We are righteous now.

That is the gospel.

And it’s free!

The battle isn’t ours to overcome sin – Christ already won that battle on the cross.

He appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

– Hebrews 9:26

Christ has done away with sin. That was His battle, and He won it.

Our battle is to stop believing we have anything to add to Christ’s work.

Our battle is to stop clinging to our own ability to overcome sin, and to cling to Christ’s ability.

Was Christ successful in crucifying sin on the cross, or wasn’t he?

Either Christ did away with sin or he didn’t.

Was the writer of Hebrews lying?

Is God’s Word a lie, or the truth?

Either we believe God, or we don’t.

Either we trust God, or we don’t.

Either we are free from the prison of sin, or we are not.

The answer doesn’t depend on how we live.

We can’t make ourselves free from sin.

The answer lies in Christ’s crucifixion.

Was it effective or not?

Was it finished, or wasn’t it?

Are we free, or aren’t we?

Paul seems to think we are.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

– Galatians 5:1

So does Jesus.

If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!

– John 8:36

Our battle is not with sin, our battle is with our self-righteousness.

Our battle is with our pride.

Our battle is with our need to play a part in our own salvation.

Our refusal to accept we have no part to play in our own salvation keeps us from true freedom.

Christ has set us free yet we chain ourselves back up again, desperate to prove to God how good we can we be, when God has told us

There is no one good, except One.

Mark 10:18.

What does Paul say?

Does he say:

Now that we are righteous by overcoming sin ourselves we have peace with God.

Or does he say:

Now that we are righteous by faith we have peace with God.

– Romans 5:1

He says we now that we are righteous by faith we have peace with God.

We aren’t righteous because of our own brilliant self-effort.

We aren’t righteous because we have succeeded by ourselves.

We have peace with God because of what Christ achieved for us.

We have peace with God by faith.

Nothing we do, no minor success in our battle against sin, can earn us any gold stars with God.

Jesus gets ALL the gold stars.

That’s right, ALL of them!

Every single one!

Nothing we do can make us any more righteous than He has already made us.

Do you think we can add to the robe of righteousness God has draped us in, by our own self efforts?

How proud we are to believe that!

John Stott is right where he says:

We resent the idea that we have nothing to contribute to our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.

The Cross of Christ

We have nothing to add.

Christ did it all.

The sooner we start preaching the true gospel, that we are righteous by faith, through grace, the sooner people will be free to enter the rest God wants us to enter.

Does Jesus say:

Come to me all who are weary and I will make you struggle and battle to defeat your own sin.

Or does He say:

Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.

– Matthew 11:28

He says I will give you rest.

Rest.

To sum up then, we cannot become righteous by ourselves.

Like the Prodigal Son, our Heavenly father has draped us in his best robe.

The robe of righteousness.

I always quote this verse, but I can’t help it. I love how excited Isaiah gets:

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God, for He has draped me in a robe of His righteousness!

– Isaiah 61:10

Who draped Isaiah in righteousness? Did he drape himself? Or did God drape him?

God draped him.

And in the same way, God has draped us.

The moment we put faith in Christ He draped us in a robe of His righteousness.

His best robe!

His robe.

Not ours!

As if we can dress ourselves in a more righteous robe than God has given us!

That’s like the richest man in the world giving you a precious stone for Christmas and you give it back with a proud face, saying:

“Thanks for the gift, but I’m sure I can find one more beautiful, if only I try!”

Try all we might we will never drape ourselves in a more righteous robe than God has given us.

We can’t make our robe more beautiful.

We can’t make our robe more holy.

God has given us our righteousness – as a free gift.

All we have to do is receive.

What an amazing God!

Amen!

Steve Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

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Does Romans 7 say we are still sinners?

Hebrews tells us Christ ‘did away with sin’ on the cross.

Paul tells us our righteousness is a free gift.

Jesus says we have been set free from the prison of sin.

If Jesus has set us free, why do we want to lock ourselves up again?

In Romans 7 Paul points out that he can’t stop himself from ‘doing what he does not want to do’ – but he finishes that passage with

Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul is saying only Jesus can save us – we cannot save ourselves.

But Paul isn’t finished there.

In Romans 8 he explains

You, however, are not led by the sinful nature if the Spirit of God lives in you.

Paul also tells us

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

We are not under the law of sin anymore.

Whatever we do, we are holy, we are pure, we are righteous – as we are not under law but under grace.

God knew we could never obey His law so he made us righteous, perfect and holy as a free gift.

This is why Isaiah was overwhelmed with joy. He understood what God had given him:

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God for He has draped me in a robe of righteousness.

Who made him rightoeus?

God did.

Just as God has made us righteous, through Christ.

Now, if Christ has done it for us, can anyone take that away?

Can our sinful actions subtract from that?

Christ’s blood would not be very powerful if we were able to negate it everytime we messed up.

But we can’t negate it.

The truth is, if we do mess up and break God’s moral law (which we do every day) we are instantly washed clean.

We are protected. We are draped in a robe of God’s righteousness!

The amazing truth is – no ‘sin’ can taint us.

That can’t be the gospel, I hear you say. That’s too good to be true.

Yes it is too good to be true!

The gospel isn’t just good news, it’s the ‘too good to be true’ news.

Yet it is true!

If we do sin, John says, Jesus is our advocate. Our defence lawyer.

He has already paid the price for all of our sin, therefore we can never be held accountable.

We are free – forever washed clean in His blood.

In his book Destined to Reign Joseph Prince likens our position in Christ to being stones in a waterfall – nomatter how dirty we get we are perpetually being washed clean.

Spurgeon says it is as if we are ‘bathing in Christ’s blood.’

Paul says

Christ is…our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

1 Cor 1:30

And John says

As He is, so are we in this world.

– 1 John 4:17

If Jesus is a sinner, so are we.

But if Jesus is pure, holy and righteous, so are we!

Just as no sin tainted Him, so no sin can taint us.

If it could, our sin would be more powerful than His blood.

Is sin more powerful than His blood?

No!

We are not sinners.

We are, as Peter says

A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.

I know it’s amazing, but this is the gospel!

We are holy, perfect and righteous.

We are free!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

– Galatians 5:1

Will someone give me an ‘Amen’ !?

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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Shall we go on sinning?

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

(Romans 6:1)

If we go on sinning, grace increases.

The more we sin, the more God pours out His grace.

Grace is ‘on tap.’

Many people think that a true understanding of this will cause people to sin purposely, saying:

Well, God forgives me, so I can do what I want.

But this is a lie.

Anyone to whom God has revealed grace to has already reached the bottom of the barrel.

They have strived and tried to overcome sin themselves.

They have wrestled with God.

They have cried out to Him from the bottom of their hearts, begging to be released from the sin that enslaves them.

It is when we completely and utterly give up, and say to God:

I desire your presence more than this continual struggle with sin.

that He reveals grace to us.

It is when we have nowhere left to turn, when our trying and striving just seems to lead us to more sin, more shame, more self-condemnation, more self-hatred, and so more sin, that we cry out to God and he sets us free, with a freedom so beautiful, so abundantly forgiving, so amazing.

The gospel of grace is this: it is not what we do that makes us holy, it is what Christ did that makes us holy.

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

(Hebrews 10:10)

It is not what we do that makes us righteous.

How much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life?

(Romans 5:17)

Righteousness is a gift of God.

And this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.

(Ephesians 2:8)

We cannot overcome sin. If we could, would Christ have had to die? Would Christ have had to sacrifice Himself, like an animal?

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

(Hebrews 9:26)

Because of Jesus’ great love for us we are pure, we are righteous, we are holy.

We could not do it on our own. We can not. Only He could do it. As Paul says:

Nothing we do, it is the gift of God.

If only all of the men and women Christians who still believe we have a part to play in defeating sin would just throw their hands in the air and give up, then God could reveal the wonder of His amazing grace to them and they would be free.

Unfortunately, pride gets in the way, as John Stott says:

We regret the idea that we have nothing to contribute to our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.

(The Cross of Christ).

Yes, we may make mistakes, yes, we may mess up, yes, we may do wrong, but Jesus paid the penalty for every mistake we will ever make, ever, so that God is able to see past our old sinful nature and see us as righteous, perfect and holy – as he intended us to be – our true selves.

If you’ve ever felt the presence of God, you’ll know He is amazingly beautiful.

If you’ve ever felt the love of Jesus you’ll know that He is amazingly beautiful.

Well, that’s how God feels about us.

To Him, we are amazingly beautiful.

As beautiful (I know it’s hard to believe) as Jesus.

To God we are righteous and perfect, because He decided, out of His abundant love, to adorn us with His righteousness, with His glory, with His beauty and majesty, as a free gift!

As if we can add anything to the beauty and majesty He has given us!!!

Not of ourselves.

It is the gift of God.

And finally, for those who say too much freedom leads us to sin, there is no such thing as too much freedom.

If God has decided to reveal radical, pure grace to you, it is because you needed to hear it – perhaps you were struggling, and condemning yourself, like me, feeling unworthy of God’s love.

Perhaps you are in a leadership position and God wants you to be preaching His grace to the flock under your care.

Or perhaps God simply wanted to set you free from the trying and striving to please Him, so you may rest in His beautiful presence and simply enjoy the freedom that comes knowing you are completely forgiven and perfectly loved – and that nothing you can do will ever change that.

It is finished!

There is nothing left for us to do, except, like Paul:

Complete the task Jesus has given us to do, the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

(Acts 20:24)

Amen!

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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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Philippians 3:16 Living up to righteousness

Let us live up to what we have already attained.

(Philippians 3:16)

Why does Paul say let us live up to what we have already attained? What have we already attained?

Righteousness!

Paul has just spent the previous 5 verses explaining how his righteous acts obeying the law are ‘rubbish’compared to the righteousness that comes directly from God:

A righteousness that comes from God and is by faith!

(Philippians 1:9)

We are already righteous, says Paul, therefore, let us live up to it. Let’s make the right choices, choices that empower us and help others; choices that display our joy and the glory of the Lord.

“Let your lights shine before men,” says Jesus, “that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

It’s true God will never be angry with us ever again, as Isaiah says in his Song of Praise:

Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away.

We can live free and with confidence that God will never be angry with us ever again, thanks to Jesus taking the full force of His wrath for us.

Thank you Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, we are already righteous, as a free gift by the grace of God.

Therefore, let’s do good works and make the right choices, not because they will make us righteous, as, says Isaiah:

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.

(64:6)

But let’s do good deeds and live righteously out of love and thankfulness for Him, because He has made us righteous – as a free gift.

Let us live up to what we have already attained!