Jesus Freed You From Sin!

Written by Guest Writer Matthew Guillot

So today I realized what an integral part fear plays in temptation. The enemy will tempt you but couple that temptation with the fear of falling into the temptation, and the fear of losing control. The enemy will do whatever he can to convince you that you are incapable of controlling yourself, and once you believe that lie, he has got you right where he wants you. The enemy can continue to bombard you with tempting thoughts and emotions, and because you are convinced you don’t have control over yourself, you are much more pliable to these temptations and to give up because you have lost hope of resisting the devil (fear of the devil, or his ability). Additional thoughts of how “powerful” the enemy is (sometimes intimidation) may also be the focus of his bombardment. This is to prop himself up in your mind to also lead to fear of the enemy, and hopelessness to resist. So ultimately the goal of the enemy is to get you to forget who you are and how much self-control you truly have, and to get you to a place of hopelessness and fear.

If you give into the temptation and sin, then the enemy can accuse you of the sin, making you feel guilty and ashamed. The enemy then starts working on convincing you that you need to keep your distance from God, because God is either upset with you or you haven’t repented enough and need to jump through hoops before God accepts your repentance. The enemy will suggest by thought, hoops from the bible that Jesus said is impossible to do without Him. And because you have convinced yourself to distance yourself from God, you are hopelessly left to your own ability to try to jump through these hoops. The enemy knows this will ultimately lead to you being discouraged more. Another tactic the enemy uses if he can’t get you to try to distance yourself from God, is getting you to focus on yourself. The enemy often uses the tactic of convincing you, that you need to always be introspective and on your guard all the time. If the enemy can get you to try to defend yourself by your own effort, then he knows that eventually (most of the time very soon), he will be able to tempt you again and take you down the all too familiar path to sin. Only Christians who are afraid of the enemy’s temptation or the enemy, find it necessary to always be on their guard. Our protection is our faith in God, not our own ability to guard ourself. (Ephesians 6:16)

If the enemy is able to convince us that we have no ability to control ourselves or resist temptation, or resist him, we fall into guilt, shame, hopelessness and fear; and go down the repetitive cycle of being tempted into sin. And because our own ability to resist doesn’t cut it, the enemy is able to eventually get many people into depression, and even feelings of rejection, loneliness, or neglect from God. The enemy’s goal is either to get us into deeper and deeper depression to commit suicide, or, if he can’t get us to kill ourselves, keep us in a place where we unwittingly choose to keep parts of our hearts from God because of our perceived uncleanliness from our sin (shame) and/or the fear of coming before God.

Romans 6:17-23(NASB)

“17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Notice the contrast Paul uses and the past tense verbs used to describe our past condition in sin and present tense verbs for our current freedom from sin (exception “became” describing something Jesus already did to free us).

What we need to realize is that Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all of our sin once for all. He died on the cross with all of our sin in mind, and nailed all of it to the cross. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Notice that Jesus does the cleansing, not us. It also says Jesus is completely faithful and righteous to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness, not just some of it and and leave us to deal with the rest; ALL! The Bible also states in past tense that Jesus’ death on the cross freed us from slavery to sin.  However, God will not violate your free-will if you choose to put up a wall to keep yourself from God (even just parts of your heart from God), because of your perceived “unrighteousness”. The enemy knows this, and this is why he works hard at this strategy to convince you that you can’t approach God and that you shouldn’t, that you are now unrighteous before God. The enemy’s goal is always to get us to forget the cross, and to not focus on Jesus. The enemy knows that as soon as you let God into the picture, he is toast. This is why the Bible says to first “submit to God” then if you “resist the devil…He will flee.” (James 4:7) Not the other way around.

We are no longer slaves to sin. But Jesus never intended for us to live out this reality by our own ability. Jesus went to the Father to send us a Helper, the Holy Spirit!!! (John 14:26) The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is the one who leads us into ALL truth (John 16:13), brings into remembrance everything that God has said and is saying (John 14:26), instruct us in the way we should go (John 16:13, Acts 16:6-10), and give us His (God’s) character and attributes (fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-24). In other words He (God/Holy Spirit) empowers us to live a righteous lifestyle. Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:3-5) You have the ability inside of you to resist the devil every single time successfully and confidently. But it is not your own ability but the Holy Spirit inside you. What is happening when you are operating under the Holy Spirit’s ability (His fruit)? God is letting you operate in character and traits that are not your own, and with the outpouring of His Spirit inside of you they manifest as if they were your own attributes.

It is extremely beneficial over the long-term if we can learn how to operate with His fruit regularly, allowing Him to completely empower us. As we do this our thought patterns completely change because we come to the realization after multiple times that we actually can be free from sin. Once we are convinced of this, our true nature, free from sin can finally come out, without our minds being in conflict with the reality and truth of our freedom. The Bible tells us that Jesus already freed us, but this freedom won’t manifest in our lives until we truly are able to believe it. Unfortunately our carefully enemy-orchestrated experiences tend to tell us otherwise, and it is easy to be convinced that we aren’t really free. The enemy keeps us in his cycle of thought patterns, fear, hopelessness, guilt, and shame to try to ensure that we will never have the perception of ourselves that God has (the righteousness of Christ, perfect, spotless, and without blemish), so that we will never realize the freedom Jesus paid such a heavy price for. This is not to say that we will never sin, but that sin is no longer our compulsion and is supposed to be rare, abnormal, and awkward for us.

If you are saved and still feel like you have the compulsion to sin (sin nature), it is most likely because you are believing a lie about yourself, about your relation to God, or other people. Sin can seem like a viable coping mechanism to those with wounds and pain from past or present offenses. Believed lies from the enemy are always the root of what perpetuates wounds and pain, which is the cause of any Christian’s current desire to sin. Ask the Holy Spirit if you are believing a lie, and ask Him to replace this with the truth, depositing His truth deep in your heart.

Don’t let the enemy keep you in bondage and slavery to sin anymore. Jesus already paid for you to be free!

Much Love,

Machew

Deny thy self.

To my brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are in a time in the United States where we are surrounded by many who claim to be of God but do not act as if they say they are. We hear many false gods’ being preached about while we  the people of God do nothing. When we hear about some person who is actually doing the work of God we sit back and say good for them. Why? Why don’t we stand beside those who give there lives for our Lord? At the very least we could be praying for them without ceasing. “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-” (Ephesians 6:18) Why don’t we give our lives for the Lord?

Now that I got your attention. Lets look at Luke 9:23-26. “Then He said  to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Farther’s, and of the holy angels.” Here is the tough question do we pick up our cross and follow our Lord daily or, do we waste time doing other things? What are we doing when we do not follow Christ daily? We are doing all that we want to do. When we do not follow the Lord daily it becomes a whole lot easier to fall into temptation and sin. Do you really love God enough to give him your life and stand for him?

I challenge all to get alone with God and ask him to show and guide you how to deny yourself. After you pray that don’t just say amen afterwards but, listen. He may tell you or direct you to a bible verse you need to read. Personally I have realized that there have been times when God has been trying to tell me something and I was too loud to hear him. I believe that when you truly seek after God you will find him.

To God be the glory!

Doing things God’s way

Ephesians 6:12 reveals to us that our battle is not against humans, but against the demons that use them. And this is a battle we see having been waged since antiquity.

Judges 7:16-22 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. 17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ” 19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.

We see here in this passage in Judges that victory was not won by force (the Midianites were about 400 men for every 1 Israelite), but by faith in God. God could have allowed just Gideon to be victorious over all the Midianites, but He chose to allow 300 Israelites to share the victory with Gideon.

We will see that each of the “tools” God told the Israelites to use in this battle hold spiritual significance and can be applied to our lives today.

In ancient times, trumpets were used to unite the troops and prepare them for battle. The trumpets used in the passage here show us that God expects us as believers to unite against the forces of evil. We are to be one in Christ because only when we are divided, can satan truly have victory over us.

The clay pots can symbolize our bodies…many times in scripture we are referenced in terms of clay and clay pots. This shows how weak we truly are because although fired clay seems strong, if it drops it shatters. This shows how little we can truly rely on ourselves. So the clay pots represent our weaknesses and emphasizes our brokeness in Christ.

The torches inside the pots represent a fire inside our fragile, broken bodies. What fire do each of us Christians have living inside us? None other than the Holy Spirit. This example may even be prophetic of the fact that the Holy Spirit would live within believers, offering that strength, that fire within these fragile, weak bodies of ours.

Now back to the 300 Israelites. God could have chosen just Gideon to have victory over the Midianites…but if that had happened, then Gideon would have been the one claiming the victory, and he would have gotten the glory from the other Israelites. But God wanted to show us something here. For one, we know that the Israelites were vastly outnumbered (in Judges 7:1-6 we see God lowering the number of troops who would be facing the Midianites until they number 300). Now, according to our worldly standards, the odds of victory for the Israelites was completely impossible. But God doesnt work within the standards of this world. He chose this victory to prove the importance of having faith in Him; that we should learn to trust in God for His strength in battle, not our own.

When God’s people are united in Him, our victory and power over evil forces increases exponentially.

Many people wonder, why if God’s so powerful, why is He allowing satan to continue hounding us? Why if Christ declared victory over him…why is he still roaming the earth like a lion, seeking whom to devour? Why isn’t he completely done away with? Well, God is allowing the presence of satan in order to build a resistance in our lives…only by resistance can we truly grow spiritually. Only through resistance are we truly broken and learn to trust and put all our faith in Him and His strength.

Faith is not real until it is put to the test. Faith is not just knowing something, it is acting upon what we know. God wants us to not just know ABOUT Him….He wants us to KNOW Him.

Let me take a real life example…someone who’s trying to get their muscles stronger can’t accomplish that goal by say sitting on the couch watching an exercise program (though that would sort of be nice)…nor can their muscles strengthen by reading about exercise (although it would strain the eye muscles :P)…no in order to see physical results, you must actually DO the exercise. We need to tax our muscles beyond their comfort zone so that in a sense they’re injured…but when they heal, they heal in a way that the entire muscle becomes stronger than before the exercise which caused the damage.

So then, why is there still evil in this world? Because God is preparing for Himself a companion, tried and true…a companion worthy enough to spend eternity with Him. Do you know the church, being the bride of Christ, is in fact a warrior princess??

God is allowing satan to work so that through the resistance and struggles that are created in our lives, we can become more and more conformed into the image of Christ as we rely on Him in becoming victorious through each struggle.

In this story in Judges, we see that victory was won, not by using man’s way, but by using God’s way. And that serves as an example for us in our own lives…when we rely on our own way to overcome difficulties, we fail..but when we rely on God and seek His way to overcoming the trials in our lives, we not only experience victory, but we experience true spiritual growth….and only a mature tree can bear any fruit. As we grow, we begin to bear more and more good, spiritual fruit for the Lord.

One way we can gain victory is by digging into His Word. We should never treat the Word of God as a mere chant or incantation. We are victorious not when we can prove how often we can speak the words over and over again…or even how many Scripture passages we can quote….we are victorious only when the Word becomes our bread and butter.

Personal application of God’s Word is what gives us victory in spiritual warfare (not just the action of reading the Word and/or repeating it).

We cannot wage this spiritual warfare in our own wisdom and strength (for the Bible makes clear that man’s wisdom is utter foolishness…and the clay pots reveal that man’s strength is truly a facade)…victory goes only to those who look to the Lord. So keep your eyes upon Christ, do not give in to the temptation to fall back on your own strength or your own “wisdom”…look to Him and Him only and you will be victorious in all things.

Who is Satan? (Part 2)

Has Satan Fallen From Heaven?

Does he still have access to the throne of God? According to the Bible, Satan still has access to heaven and God.

Ezekiel 28:16: “Thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God.” The prediction of this judgment is for a yet future event to happen when Satan is cast down out of heaven to earth in the middle of the Tribulation. This passage does not teach that Satan was cast out of heaven at the time of his sin and as an immediate judgment for his sin. It just states the sentence that has been given to Satan which has not yet been meted out (kind of like a person on death row; they have already been sentenced to die, but the punishment has not happened yet).

Job 1:6: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” In this passage, no confusion is apparent about the appearance and presence of Satan among the other heavenly beings. This passage shows his position in heaven and also reveals that, in the days of Job, Satan was free to go and come into heaven from the earth.

Luke 22:31: “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” From this passage, we must conclude that Satan still had unchallenged access to the presence of God when Jesus was on earth.

Ephesians 6:11-12: “11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” According to the Scriptures, throughout this age the believer must be prepared to war against spiritual beings of wickedness who have access to heaven. The evidence presented in this passage shows Satan is not yet cast out of heaven.

There is another revelation concerning Satan’s present position in which it is declared that he now has access to earth as well as heaven, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). From these passages it may be concluded that the position of Satan in heaven and his freedom to go to and fro in the earth has not changed since the days of Job.

What Will Happen To Satan?

Revelation 12:7-9 is the first passage in the Word of God which declares Satan to actually be banished from heaven, “7And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” This passage also teaches that Satan remains in heaven until the time described here. According to its context in the book of Revelation, this is a yet future time when, in the middle of the Great Tribulation, Satan will be finally banished from heaven (along with his demons) and will personally indwell the person of the Antichrist.

Thus, there is no question concerning the sufficiency of the power of God over Satan. It is only a question as to when that power will be exercised. It is important to distinguish Satan’s yet future physical banishment out of heaven from his moral fall. He obviously fell morally at the moment of his refusal to obey God’s will for him, but his physical position throughout the ages until the Tribulation is in heaven. From this position, he has access to both God and to the earth. God’s final judgments against Satan are not yet executed. In like manner, God has not yet caused sin to cease in the earth; but the day is coming when He will. Also, Satan is still under God’s power; he cannot do anything without the knowledge and permission of God, hence Satan having to get permission from God to afflict Job in the Old Testament book of Job.

What Was Satan’s Sin?

Satan was the first being to manifest a will opposed to the will of God. Those passages from Isaiah state the sin of his pride, “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit upon the mount. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most High.” Satan seeks not to make a violent attack upon God’s throne, but to steal the hearts of the unfaithful in the kingdom and, through his lies and subtleties, gain a kingdom for himself. He would thus become an object of worship and attract attention from others to himself. It is apparent that pride was the first sin and thus pride is the sin from which all others stem from.

Satan triumphed over the first Adam when he wrested the scepter of authority from man by securing man’s loyal obedience to his own suggestions and deception. This earthly scepter Satan held by full right, seemingly without challenge from the Lord, until the advent of the Last Adam. Christ is considered the “last Adam” because through his sacrifice, he undid the curse of sin (which was eternal spiritual death for all humankind), thus undoing the curse on all mankind which the first Adam introduced to the world through his sin. However victorious Satan may have been over the first Adam, it is certain that he met a complete and final judgment and sentence in the Last Adam.

Referring to His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). Still another scriptural testimony to this great defeat of Satan is recorded in Colossians 2:13-15 “13And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” It is clear that though Satan may have triumphed over the first Adam and thus became the god and prince of this world, he himself was finally triumphed over and judged by the Last Adam on the cross.