These are some meaningful words that God is using in my life these days. He is especially using them by making them meaningful to me and then giving me opportunity to apply the meaning to my life. I share what I have received and hope that it can be of some encouragement to others.
Sin is a word that is surrounded by confusion and opinion. But for me it has become simple to define though not always easy to pinpoint. Romans 14:23b, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” There is no need to talk of cloths, tobacco, vocations, or any such things. If my activities and speech are in response to faith there is no need to discuss these things. But I must be ever growing, listening moving toward God and his will. God’s will is defined for me in Romans 8:29 “…to be conformed to the image of his son.” If someone has this as his standard there is no need to talk of other things, if not there is no profit in talking of other things.
I was listening to a preacher today or yesterday speak of sin and the devil. He spoke as if sin was something that comes from outside my body. As if the devil puts ideas into my head that I would never have thought, on my own. We need to understand what we are made of in order to come to the right conclusions about how God wants to work in our lives.
James 1:14-15 says “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived it brings forth sin.” So sin comes when I entertain lust. And there is an abundance of those in my flesh that come up regularly and want to entertain me. As I wrote this I thought of the strange woman in Proverbs 7:6-23. She entices the young man and he succumbs. I don’t know if women can appreciate this, as much as men, but for me it is a clear picture of how lust draws me away and entices me. As soon as I consort with the lust in my mind I have sinned.
Jesus came to save us from our Sins. There is significant evidence that this means more than just paying the debt for sin. That is redemption. To be freed means to be loosed from the power of some force. When the slaves in the south were freed, their former masters had no more legal right to control their lives. Some slaves remained servants in the hire of their former masters, but some left and lived lives free of their former masters. To be free from sin then indicates that I now have the power to choose and a will to choose to not sin. So I am coming to understand that Salvation is an activity that begins after we are redeemed and continues until we become like Jesus (Rom. 8:29). This is a calling that I must actively work with God to achieve (Phil. 2:12-13).
“The Word of God is living and active and sharper than a two edged sword dividing between soul and spirit… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. 4:12. This is the tool I use to decide if I have heard the Word of God or just some words. This makes God’s word much more prevalent in unsuspected places and for me helps me judge my life. The question is ‘does this word have power to point out or show me where I am and where I ought to be?’ If the answer is yes then it is The Word of God. If not then for me right now it is not. This is clearly illustrated in the different translations of the Bible. I prefer the King James Version, but some others cannot understand that version. For them it would not be the Word of God because it would have no power to reveal God’s will for them, to them. Revelation is God speaking and man hearing. This is different in all but we can judge by the fruit whether the revelation is from God or not.
I know so little, but I do believe I have learned a little. God’s Word says much about faith, and I have sought Him for practical understanding that I can use. In Luke 18 Jesus speaks to the disciples about offences and how to respond in the right way to offences. After this the disciples ask him to increase their faith. I believe the disciples used a word that was practical for them, but for us has a somewhat vague meaning. There seems to be a strong belief involved in faith. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed you will say to this sycamine tree, “be thou rooted up and planted in the sea.” and it would obey you.” It is a belief in what I am saying or doing. If we are talking about faith toward God then we must believe that what we are saying or doing is what God would have us to say or do. So then after Jesus explains how to deal with offences, he says “After you have done all things that you are commanded, say ‘we are unprofitable servants, we have only done that which it was our duty to do.’” Faith involves action. Action in response to revelation.
I know absolutely nothing about prayer. But I am sure it is communication. God communicating with man and man with God. God speaks by his word and in my heart convicting me of sin and righteousness. I cry to God in need and thankfulness, and far too often in unthankfulness. Once in a lifetime is grossly too often. There is also something of coming to a divine consciousness. Having the mind of Christ. I have experienced these things in the smallest of ways, and thankfully my Father has and is giving me more and more hunger to know him and to live and move and have my being in these things.
“In me, that is in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. (Rom 7:17).” The problem for me and for all of mankind is that we have lived all of our life obeying the dictates of our flesh, and are not even aware of what we are doing. There is a lot of talk in religious circles about how Jesus was crucified and how that was a violent and cruel type of execution. I have become aware that God’s word also speaks of my crucifixion. Gal 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ…” Gal 5:24 “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its’ lusts and desires.” And this is my responsibility and calling, and it is violent, but the only appropriate way for me to live if I want to fallow Jesus and call him Lord.
Proverbs speaks a lot about wisdom, but these days James 1:5 is LIVING. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives too all men liberally and upbraideth not.” I find that I am crying out to God in more and more areas pleading for wisdom. I am also finding that when I do that in faith (with the intention to obey) I realize the right way to go. This is practical for me and is a great encouragement.
All of these things are tied together in the life of faith. There is so much that our Father wants to do in us and give to us. We must throw ourselves with abandon on his will. He is our Father, His love for us is fathomless. We will make mistakes along the way but we need have no fear if we are committed to living by “the faith of Jesus Christ.” Gal 2:20.
I recently heard a comment by a man who had quit taking some very vital medicine because he believed that he had heard from God that he was healed. He said “I’d rather die believing than live in unbelief.”
Be Faithful, Rick