Monday, December 30, 2013

Who are the overcomers? - Part IV (What can help you to overcome)

In this final part, Part IV, we will look at the means or ingredients at our disposal, or simply what we are to do, to overcome. 

Again, as in Part III, I will comment on a select of verses from Scripture.

Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

My comment – “feet” and “path”, these have the connotation of “a walk” or “an on-going life”. 

The Word is the lamp to unto my feet; it means that the God’s words illuminate where I put my next immediate steps; that I do NOT put my feet into a pot-hole, for example; that I do NOT step on a pointed nail (pointing up!); or that I do NOT tread on a brood of vipers!  In other words, the Word can help me to avoid many immediate dangers about me; and that is part of overcoming, in life.  

The Word is a light unto my path; it means that God’s words point to where I would go, like, I, to go to the east or to the west.  For example, the Word can be telling me that the road to the east leads to where I may be attacked or ambushed or to do some important work for the Lord, or that I should stay with a particular path for the season. 

The Word covers the far ground and the near ground.  It is like we are driving a car or navigating a ship, we have to look at the far ground ahead of us, and we also need to pay attention to the near ground ahead of us; and then we can safely arrive at our destination, Heaven, in this case.

Having said this, I am NOT saying that we would be trouble-free {remember we looked at John 16:33}; also 2 Tim 3:12 - In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

The point is that with the Word, you don’t go where the Lord would NOT want you to go.  There may be trouble at the place the Lord has you go, but if it is His will, you can expect Him to be there with you, to face the trouble. 

No crashing out or shipwrecking possible?  Really?  Scripture does have a verse about shipwrecking! Shipwrecking our faith!  It is found in 1 Tim 1:18-19.

18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. (1 Tim 1:18-19)

The instruction here, in v18, to Timothy, was to oppose heresies (v3), and Timothy was told, in his good fight, to hold unto the faith and a good conscience. 

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, some have rejected the holding unto the faith and a good conscience with devastating result of them shipwrecking their faith.  Shipwreck carries the connotation of destruction, NOT just setback.  Having one’s name blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life, that would be destruction, that would be shipwrecking one’s faith! 

We will NOT go at greater length into this (about the importance of the Word), and it suffices to say that one needs to understand the Word well, have it abides in him, to (1) hold unto the faith, and (2) have his conscience always on the guard, so that it will always remain good. The Word is very important to us to continue to be an overcomer in life.

Acts 17:11 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

My commentRightly dividing the Word; this verse tells us what we should do with messages we hear; we should examine the Scripture daily to see if what were said are true. 

There are just too much heretic teachings out there; we need to be discerning, or we may end up like the two assistants of the Apostle Paul whom he referred to, who had fallen away (v20), in the 1 Tim 1 text to Timothy; the two became heretics. 

In fact, Timothy himself, we have seen above (1 Tim 1:18-19), was exhorted to be careful, lest he be ensnared by the heretic teachings, even as he was to oppose them.  Many heretic teachings are out to win you over, if you are NOT careful with the purity of your faith.

1 John 2:3-7 - 3 We know {ginosko} that we have come to know {ginosko} him if we obey his commands.4 The man who says, "I know {ginosko} him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know {ginosko} we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 

My comment – 2 things are underscored here:  One, continuing with the above, about the importance of God’s words, if we obey NOT His commands, we know NOT God, and the truth is NOT in us.  I ask us 2 simple questions:  Is God the truth?  If the truth is NOT in you, do you think you will go to Heaven to be where Truth is? 

Two, another angle to what is required: We need to be in Him, in the truth.  How do we know that – that we are in Him? V6 said it – we must walk as Jesus did. 

Is there a patterning after the Lord required, for salvation?  Yes.  What is key in the Lord’s earthly life?  He was sinless, righteous, and He lived and persevered in being sinless, being righteous; He overcame all that the world threw at Him; He overcame the world (John 16:33), and overcame death (Rom 6:9 - For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him). 

So what must we do?  What must we remember? It is we have to walk as Jesus did. What is Jesus’ pattern in regard to overcoming?  He had to live an overcoming life to the end; and so, must we.

Hosea 4:6 - my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

My comment – Again, this is about the importance of the Word.  Though the setting was in the OT, then the law was the Word of God, and there was a focus on the priests, yet, its principle is still applicable to us, for we, NT believers, are the Lord’s royal priests. 

We can get destroyed from lack of knowledge or from our reject of knowledge; and the knowledge here is more particularly, referring to the knowledge of the Word or God (Hosea 6:6 KJV).  To overcome, one must aim NOT to be destroyed; and for that, we need to address our lack of knowledge of the Word, and we must avoid (us) rejecting the same.

It said there, if we ignore the Word (laws of God), God will even ignore our children.  When we are IN HIM, we have spiritual covering from the Lord; and we, as parents to our children, extends the covering {at least some extent of it} we have, from the Lord, to our children. Now, if we are NOT in Him, we have NOT, the covering from the Lord (that is why we can be destroyed), and if we have NOT the covering of the Lord, we cannot extend what we do NOT have, to our children; here said as “our children get ignored”.

Matthew 10:28 - Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

My comment – Who are the “those”, and who are the “One” in the verse? The “those” refers to Satan and his minions; and the “One”, God.  This is an example of knowledge talked about in Hosea 4:6, that we all must understand and receive in.  Which side do you want to be overcomer, for?

Now, this should be understood: Though Satan cannot directly destroy the soul, for He is NOT the one who would (in the last day) commit your soul to Hell, it is he, Satan, whom you can be counted with, and so, be going to Hell, just as he, Satan, has been destined to go.  It is God who can destroy both soul and body in Hell (the One there, in the verse is NOT Satan).

2 Cor 4:18 - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

My comment – Again, this is an important knowledge that we should know, so that we persevere and overcome for the right things.  The world and the things in it, they will pass away; don’t persevere and overcome for such; over and above the same, persevere and overcome for the unseen things, the eternal things.  In the Book of Revelation, especially in the messages about the 7 churches, some of the unseen and eternal things have been recorded for us; overcome for those things; these were listed in Part III (of this series).

1 Cor 3:12 - If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

My comment – What is the foundation of your living built on?  We must know from the Word, what we are to build the foundation of our life and living, with.  Again this is knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and it is important knowledge, and we must spend time building the right foundation, for if the foundation is NOT strong and built out of the right stuff, when the waters of testing come, it will collapse (Matt 7:24-25; also Luke 6:46-49).

James 1:2-4 - 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

My comment - Our faith will be tested.  If there is no testing, there will NOT be question of perseverance, and overcoming to talk about, would there?  This text explains how God sees the trials of many kinds that come your way.  The testing of our faith is in the will of God - 1 Pet 1:6-7 said this: 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Only when you have overcome, or perseverance has finished its work, that you may be mature and complete.  Think about the end result, and we can consider it pure joy to have to face trials of all sorts.  Trials can be expected in our salvation journey.  Face each one well, don’t just run away from it, and you will grow or mature as you go along, until the work started in you is brought to completion (Phil 1:6).

James 1:5-7 - 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.  

My comment – to overcome the various troubles, and trials in life, we need godly wisdom.  The text here said we should ask God for it.  But please also pay attention to the conditions given.  One condition given here, is that, you are to believe and NOT doubt.  Another is that you got to have the fear of the Lord, which is that you must hate evil {that which God hates} (Pro 8:13); for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, said Scripture (Pro 9:10).  Without hating evil and therefore, embracing holiness, one can have no godly wisdom given him!

Phil 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

My commentthink no evil, and do no evil, NOT only that, let your mind be occupied with the right thinking; focus on things that were listed in Phil 4:8.  The Christian meditation is NOT focussed on emptiness, but on the right things.

Eph 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:11 - Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

My comment – Again, this is knowledge, we, believers, must have and NOT reject.  Don’t be like some people, believing there is God, but NOT believing there is also the Devil and his minions.  IN HIM, we can do all things (Phil 4:13), yet we are NOT to underestimate the enemy; for when NOT in Him, we are NOT more powerful than the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  

NOT in Him, you and I are NOT more powerful than Satan!  Stop kidding yourself.  Scripture said we are created a little lower than the angels.  We are stronger and more powerful than Satan and his minions when we are in Him.  Eph 6:12 explained clearly we are NOT wrestling against flesh and blood, but with evil principalities.  To fight the principalities and to overcome, we are exhorted to put on the full armour of God; Eph 6:14-18 gave us what the full armour comprised.

2 Thess 1:4-10 - 4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

My comment – 2 understandings here, we should embrace, in line with the need of knowledge as said in Hosea 4:6. 

One, our faith will be and is tested, and so, we have to persevere and overcome, so that we, at the end of day, are counted worthy of the Kingdom of God {so that our faith maybe proved genuine – 1 Pet 1:7}.

Two, don’t harbour the attitude that God is NOT just.  V6 said God is just.  There is no equality, but there is justice with God.  But it may NOT be now or at the time you want.  God judges, and He will judge when the Lord comes back again (2nd Coming); and punishment according to His justice and righteousness will be meted out; it is entirely up to Him if He would mete out any punishment in the meantime.

Ps 89:14a - Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Ps 97:2 - Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

Ps 33:5a - The LORD loves righteousness and justice;

My comment – The first 2 verses tells us that the Kingdom of God that we have entered into, albeit, the earthly phase of it, are founded on God’s righteousness and justice.  And so, you and I must embrace the very foundation of the Kingdom – God’s righteousness and justice.  The point is we cannot expect God to be with us in our overcoming if we subscribe NOT to His justice and righteousness – the foundation of His throne and rule.

Matt 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

My commentThis was the Lord Jesus’ exhortation – that we seek first, God’s kingdom and His righteousness; other things can then fall into place.  Now, it does not mean there will NOT be trouble (John 16:33 already said trouble can be expected), still despite all difficulties, seeking first, God’s kingdom and His righteousness must be embraced.  If everything is always swell and well, there is NOT talk of overcoming applicable, is there?! 

We have to stay the course of seeking first, His kingdom and righteousness, and then we can look to His grace flowing out to us, from the head of righteousness.  God’s eyes are on the righteous.  Ps 37:25 said this: I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.  All who are righteous can take comfort in this.

1 Cor 13:12-13 - 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My comment – The exhortation: Now, there is no perfect clarity, but at that time to come when we come face to face before God (end time), everything would be clear; for now, always live in FAITH, holding onto the HOPE of eternal life, and practice LOVE (be in the ever cycle of being loved, and be loving).  This is one of the wise prescriptions of the Apostle Paul, for Christian living.

Ps 91:14-16 - 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

My commentLove God always, and with all of you.  This is the secret to a believer’s well-being.  See all the promises of God in the above text for those who love Him – rescue, protection, answer from God, God’s presence in trouble, deliverance, honor, long life, and life eternal.

Matt 28:19-20 –
19Therefore go and make disciples {G3100 – mathēteuō} of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 and teaching {G1321 – didaskō} them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

My comment – This is the Great Commission recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. Yes, at that time, it was addressed to the 12 Apostle-disciples (11 actually {v16}), but it is taken as addressing all believers.  The commission given was to make disciples of all nations. 

Some translations use the word, “teach” (all the nations) for verse 19; no, that is incorrect, the Greek word used was G3100 – mathēteuō; and this has the meaning of making disciples, not teaching, simply. 

The Greek word, meaning teaching, simply, is the word, G1321 – didaskō; and it was used in its proper place in verse 20.  The word of Jesus quoted here, by Matthew, was clearly that disciples be made of nations.  What this means is that believers or Christians are disciples of the Lord; it is NOT some believers are disciples and some are NOT intended to be!

Can you claim the last bit of v20; you (and I) sure want to – that Jesus be with you always, to the very end of age?! (There are many other rights and provisions for the disciples, including authority and power {egs. Luke 9:1, Matt 10:1}).  Can you claim? 

Yes, if you are disciples, NOT merely believers, for the text was addressed to disciples (“to make disciples”).  When you are one of the ones made, and are a disciple, as I have explained here, you are also expected to carry out the Great Commission, and if you indeed do so, you are entitled to the “Jesus be with you always”; and when Jesus is with you always, you needn’t fear, do you?

So, if you agree that you are a disciple, live in keeping as one.  In short, how should a disciple live?  A disciple is one who is totally submitted to the teachings of the person who is disciplining him. So, as a disciple of Jesus, we are expected to obey Him, follow Him and serve Him.

Gal 5:16-17 - 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Romans 8:14 - because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

1 Cor 6:19-20 - 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

My comment - Be led by the Spirit, NOT by your carnal flesh anymore.  The will and desires of the Spirit and the carnal flesh are conflicting.  Do NOT gratify the desires of the carnal flesh.  Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us.

What can help us to live an overcoming life?

The Word is very important; (a) we need to understand it; (b) have it abides in us; (c) through the Word, hold unto the faith; and (d) vis-à-vis the Word, guard our conscience, so that our conscience is always good.

The Lord commands that we be “IN HIM”; how? How do we know that – that we are in Him? 1 John 2:6 – we must walk as Jesus did. 

We should also fear God for He can destroy both soul and body in Hell (Matt 10:28).

You need to hate what God hates - evil.  You got to hate evil, and embrace holiness, in order to be given or be possessing of godly wisdom.  And you do need godly wisdom to overcome adversities of life.

Focus on the right things – that which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).

Take on the Kingdom (of God)’s value discernment, value the eternal things, the unseen, and NOT the worldly, the transient, the seen.

Consider the foundation of your life and living; build a right and strong foundation.

Understand that there would be trials of many kinds along our journey of life.  Face each one well, don’t just run away from it, and you will grow or mature as you go along, until the work started in you is brought to completion (Phil 1:6).  You grow in your faith, and you DON’T instantly mature upon entry into salvation. Our faith will be tested so that we can be counted worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, and so that it (our faith) is proved genuine.

Understand that there is a warfare going on, and we have taken side with the Lord; the other side is Satan and his principalities.  So, learn and be equipped for battles.

Don’t be upset with God, there is no equality but there is justice with God.  The timing and how justice comes, we have to leave them to God.  The foundation of God’s throne and therefore His rule, is unmistakably righteousness and justice.  In fact, if we embrace NOT His righteousness and justice, we are failing ourselves and putting ourselves at risk.

There is no perfect clarity in our present earthly life, but at that time to come when we come face to face before God (end time), everything would be clear; for now, always live in faith, holding onto the hope of eternal life, and practice love (1 Cor 13:13).

Love God always, and with all of you.  The protection and much blessings and promises of God are most assuredly, assured for those who love Him (Ps 91:14-16). 

Be a disciple NOT merely a believer.  As a disciple you are expected to obey the Lord, follow Him and serve Him. Live in keeping as a disciple. He promised, when you do so, to be “with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20)

Be led by the Spirit, NOT be your carnal flesh anymore.  The will and desires of the Spirit and the carnal flesh are conflicting.  Do NOT gratify the desires of the carnal flesh. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

There we have it, what would help us in overcoming.  Of course, it has always been, and will always be, Jesus, who is the leader and helper of our lives; are you following Him?

Anthony Chia, high.expressions
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Psalm 23:2-3 – The leading of the LORD, my Shepherd

Ps 23:2-3 - 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Psalm 23 is a psalm by King David. 

I have expounded on Ps 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd,I shall NOT be in want.  In it we talked about if we truly are holding the Lord as our shepherd, we must mean what we declare; we must want to be led by the Shepherd, and NOT go about on our own, as if we got everything that we need to manoeuver through life, outright.

In today’s article, we look at how the Lord leads, as the shepherd of our life, when we follow Him wholeheartedly.

NOT we have arrived, but it is He is still leading, and we follow
This is the foremost thing we must all know and remember, that we are NOT arrived, but it is that we are to follow our Lord, our Shepherd, as he leads, and in the process we are to grow in holiness and godliness. 

All those teachings promoting we are arrived, perfect, not needing to seek righteousness, not needing be taught by another, having the full mind of Christ, cannot sin, having no need to be forgiven again and be cleansed of any unrighteousness from sins which we may commit from time to time, they are heretic.

Be led by the Spirit, the key to holiness and godliness
The metaphor of shepherd-sheep, found in both OT and NT, tells that we need to be led by the Shepherd.  Not only do we NOT be in want, in terms of sustenance, soul restoration, and righteousness guided (vv 2-3), we will find later (in subsequent verses, v4 & ….), that we need to be following after the Lord to be availing ourselves to protection, etc, etc. 

For the NT believer, be led by the Shepherd is the same as be led by the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ, for all three, are referring to the same.  In the time of Jesus living on earth, it was as prophesized; Jesus was come, as the Emmanuel – God with us. The Jews then had Jesus living with them, and led them who were willing to follow after Him.  When Jesus went back to the Father God in Heaven on His death and resurrection, He was still with us, even for the present day, through His Spirit being with us; indwelling us, and leading us, if we let Him do so.

What does the Shepherd or the Spirit of Christ lead us to? Remember now, we are still living on earth, we are NOT dead, and so, Ps 23:2-3 is NOT about we have arrived or we had reached the endpoint, Heaven; green pastures, quiet waters, are NOT representing Heaven.  These verses are referring to here and now, as we live, following the Shepherd.  I repeat we have NOT got everything we need, outright, that we can go about, on our own; it is the Shepherd leads (leads by His Spirit), and we follow.

“He (the Lord) makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me besides quiet waters”, said the psalmist King David. Notice the plurals used, green pastures, and quiet waters.  In our life journey, as we continue to live, the Lord, by His Spirit, wants to lead us to green pastures and quiet waters; meaning, He wants to see us get to positions where our needs can be met.  It is NOT one position or place, but positions or places, just like the sheep would be led to different places of pasture and water.  Is it NOT true, for various reasons (weather change, invasion of beasts, etc), the man-shepherd would move the sheep to different pasturelands and waters, from time to time?  The shepherd knows when to direct the sheep to one piece of pasture, say, of young grass, to another, say of different grass specie; or from one place of quiet water that is going to freeze over, to another, that is NOT, for example. 

The point is that the shepherd wants the needs of the sheep met, and he would lead them to where such can be met.  The same too, is the Lord, as our Shepherd, doing, wanting our needs met.  That the Lord knows; it is the role of His, for you to be NOT in want (v1). What are our needs, in the eyes of the Lord?

Our needs, according to Ps 23:2-3
Green pastures and quiet waters.  What do these represent?  What the sheep needs; they are the diet of the sheep, what they need to take in to maintain mortality or physical life.  Putting us in, it means the Spirit leads us to positions of us having our sustenance.  In another psalm of David, Ps 37, he spoke of it this way (Ps 37:25) - I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.  It would a failure of the Lord, if you truly are righteous (if follow Him absolutely, how can you NOT be righteous), and you have to go hungry and thirsty, for no apparent reason!  (Righteous ones can be persecuted, and he can only be persecuted when God allows it, and God does NOT allow it for no reason; even when we are aware NOT of the reason, or could NOT appreciate it).  In Matt 6:31-32, we read this: 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Now, the verses talked about green pastures and quiet waters; the connotation is that the sustenance provided by the Lord is good, NOT lacking, and NOT fearful to be consumed.  Sheep is fearful of rushing waters, and will NOT drink from it; they will drink from quiet waters.

Not to worry; but what if I seem NOT able to sense the leading of the Lord? Do this:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition {supplication}, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil 4:6).

Ps 23:3 said He restores our soul.  In the KJ version, verse 3 is a new sentence, although in the NIV, it is NOT.  I do NOT read the satisfaction of our physical needs, of food and water, as all that is needed for restoration of our soul, although, it does NOT help an already devastated soul, if he is in dire hunger and thirst.  The soul, as the seat of emotion and passion (and is the life-participle), its well-being can be unperturbed by hunger and thirst, even impending physical death, but can be greatly troubled from disagreement with God or from being unrighteous. 

The KJ version puts restoration of soul with the paths of righteousness, and rightly it is to be so.  We read this, as continuation of Matt 6:31-32, which I have already quoted in the preceding paragraph, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things {what you need} will be given {added} to you as well.” (Matt 6:33)

What is restoration of soul?  To restore something, first of all, has the connotation that, that something was originally of a certain manner or state, and now no longer of the same (manner or state); and to restore is to bring it back to the original state.  What was the original state of the soul?  What had happened to it? 

The original state of the human soul was that it was in agreement with God, and that simply was that the soul was righteous – right on with God, as to what He desired done and when He wanted it done; in short, in tune with God.  From the Fall of Man, in the Garden of Eden, the soul of Man was corrupted; it now needs to be guided in the paths of righteousness. 

The fallen soul needs to be restored, and the primary restoration with Jesus’ coming (first coming), is through we entering into salvation or be converted.  Even so, the soul continues to have the need to be maintained and guided.

There are 2 sets of paths opened to the soul, paths of unrighteousness, even evil, and the paths of righteousness which are the ways of God or of His kingdom.  We are exhorted to seek the paths of righteousness, and the Lord, through His Spirit, leads in such paths; evil leads the other set of paths.

Why does it say that – “for His name sake”? The 2 sets of paths lead to 2 very different endings or places; one, to eternal life in Heaven, to live with God, and the other, to torment in the lake of everlasting burning fire of Hell.  God’s people obviously are to go to Heaven; God’s name is at stake, for we, believers, are called His people, His children.  We as children of His, are to make it back to His heavenly dwelling place, Heaven; He knows (His part) and He is faithful to guides us in those paths of righteousness, that we may reach the desired ending; our failure does NOT reflect good on God.

If we follow the Shepherd, we shall NOT be in want – NOT in want of our sustenance (what we will eat, drink and wear or shelter), NOT in want of restoration of our soul, and NOT in want of the righteousness Guide (for the NT believers, He is the indwelling Spirit of Christ).  There are more, to what we would NOT be in want of, when we next look further down the psalm, in another article to come, on the remaining verses of this psalm.

Know rightly, and have faith
For those who read the 1st article (The LORD is my shepherd; I shall NOT be in want) of this series, they will realize that I said that those who suggest the OT characters in the like of King David, could be saying and praying like any “half-baked” modern day believers who have NOT the correct understanding of how the ways of God are to work, they are so wrong to quickly jumped to the conclusion that such claims are of no validity.  We have to know what was said, rightly, and then, have faith; and note 3 very important things: one, perseverance is often needed (on our part), and two, God’s thoughts towards those who love Him are always good, and three, He is able. 

On perseverance, Rom 5:4 tells us that perseverance produces in us character, and well-developed character, is with hope in God, always.  On God's thoughts towards us, Jer 29:11 said this - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  And on God's ability, in Eph 3:20, we read it said of God this way: “Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,…”, and in 2 Cor 9:8, we have this: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Up to this point, remember this:
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

And, there is more ….

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

1 John 1:9 - Q&As

Preamble: You are strongly encouraged to read my separate article on “1 John 1:9 is for believers”.  The Q&As here serve to answer some of the pertinent questions raised concerning the interpretation of this 1 John 1:9 verse, and the surrounding text.  If you go through all the Q&As here, you will get a good picture, too, of the posture expected of us, believers, in our lives, in relation to a holy God.

1.          Some say that 1 John 1:9 was a result of this: A confused church in Asia asking the Apostle John to write a letter to help clear up some major doctrinal heresy called “Gnosticism”;  is this a correct position to take?

Ans: There is a belief that this 1 John 1 was written to counter the Gnostics who said that Jesus did not come "in the flesh," but only as a spirit, but to say that  it (1 John 1) was written to counter the Gnostics purely, it really is incorrect, for after 10 verses of 1 John 1, in the 1st verse of 1 John 2 (please note that original letter has no chapters and verses numbers), John made clear the purpose of his writing of the letter, i.e. "so that the children of God (of the targeted church) would NOT sin".  In other words, it was about how believers were to live their lives post-entry into salvation.

2.          Some say, the “light and darkness” in 1 John 1 text could simply be replaced by “saved and lost”, is that correct?

Ans: No, in my view that is NOT what light and darkness there represented. That is simply eisegesis to tie with the “once saved always saved” (OSAS) theology.

3.          What about light (in 1 John 1 text) as love?

 Ans: If light were love, then darkness in the same passage would be “hatred”; that would NOT be the truth of the matter, for verses 5-6 would be odd:

1 John 1:5-6 - 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

Putting “love and hatred” in, we get, “….God is love; in him there is no hatred at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in hatred, we lie and do not live by the truth.”  To say that God is love, that is NOT wrong.  But to say that in God there is no hatred at all, that is NOT true!  God does hate; God hate evil and wickedness.  Prov 6:16-19 reads, “16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:  17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,  19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

4.          What then does light (in the 1 John 1 text) represent?

Ans: holiness.  So, that, vv5-6 could read like this: “….God is holiness; in him there is no evil (or wickedness) at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in evil, we lie and do not live by the truth.”

5.          Talking about the cleansing by the blood of Christ, is it once we become a believer, we are continually be cleansed by the blood of Christ, so as we can never be sinful, something like a computer virus program that auto-cleans our computer of all viruses?

Ans: My answer is no.  But let me explain: The efficacy of the blood of Jesus does run into the future, but in specific manners, NOT in all manners. 

One specific manner is this – that although Jesus died more than 2,000 years ago, and so, His blood was capable of cleansing then (at the time He died), and has continued to be available for cleansing right up to this moment, and into the future.  In other words, today someone can still appropriate the works and blood of Christ, done and shed respectively, more than 2,000 years ago.  In the years to come, a non-believer is still able to come into salvation based on it.

My “no” is to this manner:  I do NOT believe, from the moment a non-believer became a believer, the blood of Jesus has continued to cleanse him automatically, the moment he sinned, under all circumstances.  We can see in 1 John 1:7 a condition was specified - “if you walk in the light”

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

My “no” is also to this manner: I do NOT believe, from the moment a non-believer became a believer, all his sins, past (strictly, speaking there is no such thing as a present sin; it is either a sin is committed or NOT yet committed; once it is committed, it is past, if NOT yet committed, it is a future thing) and future, were forgiven him, AT THE MOMENT of entry into salvation.

There is still the expectation for a believer to ask God for forgiveness of sins he commits subsequent to his entry into salvation.

Scripture said that Jesus is the propitiation for the world; yet even for that, it is NOT automatically, everyone has been made a believer.  Generally, each has still to appropriate the salvation works of Christ Jesus.

6.          Bro. Anthony, based on your belief as expressed in the answer to Qn 5, that we have to ask God for forgiveness for sins after entry into salvation, what about sins we are NOT aware, not remembered or sins of omission, surely we are NOT expected to be able to name all sins, in our confession to God; you are asking the impossible, right?!

Ans: Let me answer by asking you back this question:  Did you name every single sin you committed in your entire life up to the point of conversion, when you entered into salvation?  The answer has to be no; and so, were you forgiven of all your sins (past sins) or NOT?  So, really what is the reasonable understanding here?  At the time of our conversion, with a right heart attitude, in our confession, we named those sins we were conscious of, then, and for the rest, we employed a “catch all” prayer. 

For conversion, I would recommend this – encourage people to name their conscious sins in their confession and ask for forgiveness, and then also ask God to forgive their all other sins. The most important thing here is the right heart attitude; even if, you just asked God to forgive you of all your sins, it would be alright, as long as your heart attitude had been right then. 

In fact, for me, it was more of I asked God to forgive me of all my sins at my conversion; and then, over the course of weeks as I prepared myself for water baptism, being sensitive to the Spirit of God, I would confess specific sins the Spirit brought to mind, over the weeks leading up to the baptism.  For example, I would be brushing my teeth, and suddenly a past sin popped up in my mind; straightaway, I would confess it, and asked God to forgive.

So, the same goes with our on-going confession of sins before God.  Daily, we confess our conscious sins; for unconscious sins, we ask God to forgive us, with a “catch all”; remembering at all times, it is the right heart attitude that is most important.

7.          Bro. Anthony, are you saying that we are NOT sure of God’s forgiveness for any sins we may commit in the future, when you said only past sins were forgiven at conversion?
Ans: What I am saying is that it was NOT stated in Scripture that God MUST; it is (1 John 1:9) God is just and faithful to forgive and cleanse us.  Heb 11:6 said that we have to believe that He exists, and rewards those who seek Him earnestly.  All believers have to have the faith that God is just and faithful (faithful is NOT equal to “He must” - see Qn 15 below).  And so, the correct posture for any believer should be “I have faith in God to be just and faithful to forgive me of any future sins that I may come to commit”, and it is NOT “God MUST forgive me, or that He had already forgiven me of all my FUTURE sins.”

8.          But what if I die before I could confess to God and ask for His forgiveness, for a sin I just committed, will I still go to Heaven to have my eternal life?

Ans: The short answer is that, I believe, God looks at the circumstances and our heart condition, and ultimately He judges or He decides.  Know what God desires, and do as He desires, and then leave Him to be God (we don’t play God).  His desire is that we be holy (state/condition/posture), and to act holy (in what we do, be holy) – 1 Pet 1:14-16.  Repentance, confession and asking for forgiveness from God, on-going, is necessary, for one to perfect holiness -  be holy and to go on to act holy.  Ultimately, it is God’s counting that matters – we are to be of hope (salvation hope) that at the end, God counts us righteous and holy, to enter into His dwelling (Heaven) to live eternally.

9.          Bro. Anthony, true repentance and confession stem from the Holy Spirit’s conviction, is it NOT; but I heard some brethren saying the Holy Spirit does NOT convict believers of sins; He convicts only the non-believers, right?

Ans: That the Holy Spirit does NOT convict the believers of sins is an incorrect teaching; the Holy Spirit can convict all, non-believers and believers, of sins. 

People who tell you that the Holy Spirit would NOT convict a believer of sins, they are of the theology of, once you have been converted, all your FUTURE sins had been forgiven of you;  the argument being the Spirit of God could NOT be still convicting you of something God had already forgiven you of. 

To me, there is no concrete scriptural support for arguing that all our FUTURE sins had been forgiven us AT THE MOMENT of our conversion.  Such OSAS (once saved always saved) proponents argue that “ALL sins” must be including the FUTURE ones; but Scripture did NOT define “ALL sins” to be inclusive of future ones, when it is referring to sins forgiveness, AT THE MOMENT of conversion.

10.       Can’t we possibly be cleansed forever, from the cleansing at conversion, that we do NOT ever need to be washed again?

Ans:  To me, we do need to be washed again, for we get dirty.  From Jesus’ words at the occasion of the Last Supper, Jesus talked about such things as one can be body-washed (cleansed at conversion), and then still needing to be washed of feet (cleansed from time to time) from contact and exposure in the fallen world that we are in.  While it is right to say, we do NOT enter into salvation or be converted again and again (we need only to be primarily justified once), we need to be forgiven of sins, by God, and be cleansed of all unrighteousness from sins, subsequent to conversion.

11.       We are told that the “we” in the 1 John 1 text, where 1 John 1:9 is found, does NOT refer to believers, but to non-believers or Gnostics; is that acceptable?

Ans: No.  Now, if we begin to treat “we” as NOT “we” but say, “you”, and vice-versa, there is no end to how Bible can be interpreted.  In fact, you will NOT be surprised that many people treated scripture commandments and exhortations as being put there for God to do or act(!), instead of having the understanding that most of these, if NOT all, were put in there, for us to do or act.  We just can’t define things anyhow we like, to suit the theology we made ourselves!

“We”, in the text, could either be (a) referring to the Apostle John and those with him, or his contemporary (those who were together with him as early disciples; eye-witnesses of Jesus was a man in the flesh), or (b) referring to John and those with him or his contemporary, and those in the same class as him, John.  The point is that this pronoun must be including the speaker or writer, himself.  In other words, “we” in the text CANNOT be referring to non-believers, for John was NOT a non-believer, but a believer.

Those who argue on this ground that the “we” in 1 John 1:9 was NOT including the author, the Apostle John, and so, could be referring to non-believers, at the exclusion of believers, are WRONG.

12.       1 John 1:10 must be referring to non-believers, right; for 1 John 3:9 (KJV) said that a believer cannot sin?

Ans:  On the contrary, 1 John 1:10 was referring to believers.  Firstly, 1 John 3:9 (KJV) does NOT mean it is impossible as in, the believer is unable (impossible) to sin; that is interpreting the verse without taking into consideration of the Apostle John’s style in his employ of superlatives. 

In essence, what 1 John 3:9 (KJV) said is that it is inconsistent or incongruent for a believer to sin, or simply, believers are NOT supposed to sin, NOT that we cannot ever sin (If we say we cannot ever sin, the truth is NOT in us {1 John 1:8}, and we are making God out to be a liar {1 John 1:10}). 

Just ask yourself (a believer), is it impossible for you to sin, or are you unable to sin?!  In fact, v10 cannot be referring to a non-believer, generally, for it is NOT expected the words of God to have a place in his heart, the non-believer (or unbeliever), in the first place; we wouldn’t say such, to a non-believer, would we, that the words of God would then have no place in his heart.  Rather it is, rightly, because we expect believers to be having God’s words in their hearts, we say such, to them, when they claimed contrary to the Word (that they have NOT sinned). When we were yet believers, we have sinned; even after we have become believers, we have sinned.  I have, have you NOT?!

13.       So, Bro Anthony, are you saying we can be “in and out of fellowship” with God, because of how we walk or live?

Ans: You may NOT be completely out of fellowship with God (although, in the extreme, I believe you can), but your fellowship with God can be poorer than what God has intended it to be, because you are NOT taking care of how you lived.

I give us a metaphor:  Let’s say you are married.  Are you in “marital fellowship” (if I may coin such a phrase) with your spouse?  The answer is yes; but can your fellowship be poorer or better, depending on your handling/mishandling, in your life with your spouse? It is yes, although you are still in marital relation (well, in the extreme, a divorce could be in the works!).  God is definitely more forbearing that your spouse, but still, it does NOT mean that you and I, can profane the grace of God. 

You cannot simply hang onto, “My spouse and I are one; and so he/she is with me”, when you commit adultery!  God is also NOT with you in your evil, despite His Holy Spirit dwells within us!  "But God is found everywhere!"  Yes, but God is NOT in evil!  If you go there - practice evil, God is NOT in fellowship with you, there.  God may go there, and out of the goodness and faithfulness of Him, snatch you back, but He is NOT in fellowship with you, there – in evil.

I give us another “shadow”:  During the time of sojourning to the Promised Land in the OT, the Jews were having the pillar of fire, as the LORD travelled with them in the night (God was in the Tabernacle, moving with them); suppose some of the Jews just ventured away from the light, wouldn’t they be lost to the darkness in the surrounding?!  They would be, if they strayed too far, and did NOT come back into the light, in good time.

God is light; so, you and I, believers, got to stay in the light. Non-believers are NOT in the light, unless they, be "brought" into the path of the light.  Only believers could stay in the light, non-believers cannot; but believers can stray away (it is NOT impossible for them to) from the light, but we must come back in.  The least we can do, is to be of humble and contrite heart, “call out” to Him to come to get us back in; before darkness (or evil or wickedness) completely engulfs us. 

14.       Are you advocating “keeping short accounts” with God; I thought we don’t need to do that, anymore?

Ans: Yes, I am advocating “keeping short accounts” with God.  Those who teach that the Bible doesn’t exhort us to keep short accounts, are perhaps, themselves smitten by lies of the dark.  It is classic, but it doesn’t mean that it is wrong; you and I need to do that.

15.       God got us into salvation, and He is faithful, isn’t He?

Ans: Yes, God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (1 Cor 1:9), but faithfulness of God does NOT mean, no matter what, He must get our butts into Heaven!  Faithfulness is NOT “there is only one route; no choice”.  Faithfulness’ connotation is that there are possibilities, but one who is faithful stays on the course of one, unless He was overpowered-ly constrained from doing so.  It is NOT there is one route; there isn’t another; a must be.  

What can constrain God?  Only one thing and one thing only, His holiness.  If you continue to be stubbornly evil or wicked, good luck to you!  Why “good luck” (I don’t readily use the phrase), because you are going against His holiness, and betting that He would nonetheless, sovereignly, turn you around.  Scripture has this: “Do NOT test the Lord your God” (Matt 4:7).

16.       Bro Anthony, you are turning the whole faith into a “bar of soap” or a “license to sin”, aren’t you?

Ans: I thought it is the other way round; that I could say that to those who insisted on OSAS (once saved always saved)!  I tell you God is bothered with even insinuation against His holiness.  Who is insinuating against the holiness of God? 

When you insist that no matter what evil you do, God got to get your butt to Heaven, even when you are with "the so-what” attitude, that is insinuation against His holiness.  On the other hand, there is no insinuation against the holiness of God when you confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness. 

Do NOT forget, 1 John 1:9 is with a qualification, and it is this:  God has to find it, just.  On top of that, His faithfulness is constrained by His holiness.  1 John 1:9 is NOT a bar of soap or a license to sin, when embraced by believers.  Embedded in it, is a requirement to be of right heart attitude.

But at the same time, I am NOT advocating that people just need to ask God for forgiveness, and can ignore reconciling with the one (man) they have offended; you have to ask for forgiveness from the one you hurt, if it is still possible (when he has died, it is impossible); even restitution may be in order. 

On the other hand, you are standing on thin ice, if you take the attitude that, for whatever wrongs or sins you commit against another man, you only need to deal with the matter with that man, and have no need to deal with the issue that, you most likely have also wronged God.

17.       What have you got to say to this: “To teach we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven doesn’t produce changed hearts.”

Ans: There is misunderstanding, here. It is NOT we confess our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness to produce a changed heart!  While it can be true that a touch from the Lord can change heart, and that touch can, sometimes, take the form of our gratitude from being forgiven by God for something really bad that we have done, the process/sequence is this:
It is if we numb NOT our conscience, and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and so, when the Spirit of God convicts us of sin, we response in humility and contrite of heart to repent and confess to God we have done wrong, and ask God, in His faithfulness, to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness from the sin; and we are to believe that God is just (and faithful) to do that – forgive and cleanse us again.  The norm expected is conviction leads to change of heart, to confession (NOT the other way round).

18.       To demand confession of every sin we commit, isn’t that legalism, Bro Anthony?

Ans: In one of my earlier answer to one of the questions in connection with confession of all sins, I have explained that no legalism was expected.  We confess all conscious sins, and ask God to forgive us of them, and also, all other sins we have committed (including sins of omissions). 

People who argued against believers confessing to God and asking for forgiveness for sins committed, commonly are the same ones who would argue for you to do that confessing and asking for forgiveness from the ones (men) you hurt; now, if asking God is legalism, asking men is NOT?!  What double standard!  Common on, if I step on your toes, one time, and I have to say sorry to you, can I tell you in the face, the next time I step on your toes, “Why, you want me to say sorry (this time, also); why, you want me to practice legalism(?); I won’t do it!”

Worst still, some even argue along the line that because we ask people to do something (to confess and ask God for forgiveness), that makes the whole thing a law, and so, it cannot free us from sin!  Please-lah, we ask non-believers to do something-right (to confess Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour), on conversion, it also makes it all a law(?), and so, it cannot free people from sins?!

There is just much abuse of “legalism”, making it the strawman!

19.       Bro Anthony, I have read this statement, what do you think? – Promoting confession (to God) keeps us under the power of sin because we are consumed with thoughts of ourselves in a sincere desire to please God.

Ans: Being consumed with thoughts of ourselves in a sincere desire to please God does NOT keep us under the power of sin!  I think people really should think before they write; what contradiction this is! 

We exist to please God.  We should be consumed with thoughts of ourselves in a sincere desire to please God.  Rev 4:11 tells that we are for His pleasure or we exist to please Him - Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.  Also the Apostle Paul wrote in Col 1:16: For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.

20.       Bro, Anthony, but we have also read: if we become so preoccupied with getting our fellowship right with God, as you are saying we do need to do, as opposed to others, who said, that it (the fellowship) was right all the time, and there was nothing to get right about, we would NOT have time for our relationship with other people (men), serving one another in love; what say you?

Ans: John 15:5 - “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If I may say so, many people, non-believers and believers, think they do a lot of good, but really, in God’s eyes, it may very be “you have done nothing”!  To be bearing fruit we got to be in right fellowship with God.  To love one another, what Scripture is exhorting, is we are to love one another with the love of God.  Unless, we are in right fellowship with God, how is the love of God to flow through us?!  You may be loving, but you may NOT be loving with God’s kinda love, without right fellowship with God.  

Again, there is just misunderstanding here, the process is like this: our relationships with men, and our serving one another in love, are to stem from our right fellowship with God.  To argue that our preoccupation with our fellowship with God would cause us to be NOT relating to men and serving one another in love, is making serious allegation against God, claiming he is contradicting Himself with the call to love Him with our all, and to love our neighbours with his love.

21.       What about this one – “If we are too busy keeping “short accounts”, we will NOT be able to serve our brothers in love”, Bro Anthony?

Ans: Again, this is NOT the kind of exhortation we are to dish out to believers!  Rather, more importantly, it is this:  Jesus said at the occasion of the Last Supper,  if the Apostle Peter were NOT going to have his feet washed by Him, metaphorically, to have himself (Peter) forgiven and cleansed by the Lord, he, Peter, would have no part with the Lord. 

The feet-washing was NOT particularly about humility or that we were to serve one another, although the entire symbolism of the Last Supper was on Jesus’ re-establishment of the Servanthood (unto God); it was particularly on, if you did NOT get yourself forgiven and cleansed from the filth from contact and exposure from the fallen world, you could NOT serve with and for the Lord (no part with Me!).  We have to keep short accounts if we are to be having a part with the Lord.

22.       Bro Anthony, if you will just accept it that God loves the believers, regardless, and when believers know that, their lives would change, they would love God, and they would love one another; would you stop asking believers that they should do this or that?

Ans:  A kind of well-said hypothesis!  But I have NOT seen it, in practice, to be generally true; and more true than the exegesis of the Word calling for believers to love God through resisting sins (even to the point of shedding blood – Heb 12:4), practice righteousness and perfecting holiness, including embracing 1 John 1:9, in the fear of the Lord. 

I live a country with many churches, including a few mega churches, and churches with overly grace or hypergrace theology, alongside traditional churches, but I have NOT seen, markedly, the OSAS (once saved always saved) or overly grace (hypergrace) proponent churches, love God more, love one another with the love of God, more; or are serving the Lord more.  In fact, many are so proud of their motto – the means and end of the faith is just to bask in grace; and hallelujah and do nothing, purportedly; or just do what comes to your mind, no need to “ought” or “should”, purportedly, that would be going down the slippery road of works or law!

23.       Bro Anthony, why are you so stubborn, Scripture said that Jesus said, “It is finished”; why do you still deny that?

Ans: People are making eisegesis on Jesus’ simple words of “It is finished”. 

Jesus did NOT say it is all finished; there is nothing for you to do. 

Jesus did NOT say it is all finished; all sins, past and FUTURE, are forgiven at conversion. 

Jesus did NOT say it is all finished; on conversion, you become perfect in holiness and righteousness, so perfect, that you can NEVER be non-holy or unrighteous, or that you will NEVER again to seek His righteousness (People claiming Matt 6:33 NOT speaking to believers!). 

Jesus did NOT say it is all finished; with immediate effect, you have the full mind of Christ, that you have no need to “should” or “ought”, no one need to tell you what to do, purportedly, had God wanted you to do anything, you would have known! 

Jesus did NOT say it is all finished; you cannot sin, ever again, after conversion! 

And Jesus did NOT say it is all finished; you do NOT need to repent, confess and ask for forgiveness from God, ever again!

What did Jesus say?  He said all the tasks the Father God had assigned Him to do, He had done them all; He finished His assignments.  Jesus had always claimed He was doing what the Father wanted done.  The last task was for Him to die crucified, and so, just before He breathed His last, He exclaimed, “It is finished”.

His (assignments), finished, ours, NOT yet.  To be like Christ, we, too, are to finish what we are assigned, and then we go to join our Lord, just as He has finished and went to join the Father.

The way to go - love God, have faith and work with God:

God loves us first, and we ought to love Him back.

Heb 11:6 – Without faith it is impossible to please God, and we who want to go to God, we must believe He exists and would reward us when we earnestly seek Him. 

That we have entered into salvation, Phil 2:12 said, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Work with God; He can give you the desire and power to do what pleases Him (Phil 2:13).   

When we love God, have faith and work with Him, we can expect, in His faithfulness, as Phil 1:6 puts it, He will bring to completion that which He has started in us. 

Don’t listen to people who tell you, you are perfected on conversion; we start with conversion or entry into salvation, and in His faithfulness, God will bring to completion that which He started in us, from conversion.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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