Sonship Or Slavery

Sonship Or Slavery

 John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

The devil has been deceiving the world about sin since the Garden of Eden when he told Eve that through sin she could be like God. Time has proven, not only to Eve, but to each one of us, that this is not true. Sin brings death and not life. Jesus is making it clear that sin enslaves. We become slaves not only to the sin itself, but also to the author of sin, the devil. We are either servants of God through obedience or servants of the devil through sin.

Jesus is likening the bondage that sin produces to slavery, while comparing the freedom that comes through serving God to being a beloved son. No one would doubt that being a son is better than being a slave. Likewise, obeying God is better than yielding to sin. True freedom is found only in serving God. There is a false freedom that Satan has been promoting since the Garden of Eden. He has deceived all of us at one time or another into thinking that God is a tyrant who really doesn’t want us to enjoy life and consequently has told us not to do certain things. Because we believe this lie, we disobey God (or sin) in the name of freedom.

However, the Word of God and personal experience conclusively prove that the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23. Jesus is stripping sin of any glamour with which the devil may disguise it. Sin brings bondage. The only true freedom is found in Jesus. Jesus not only dealt with the original sin that contaminated the human race, but He also dealt with each individual act of sin. Even if an individual could stop all sinning, he could not change his sin nature with which he was born. That’s the reason we must be born again.

Jesus Paid It All

Jesus Paid It All

 

John 8:28 “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”


This is the second of three times that Jesus spoke of Himself being “lifted up”, John 3:14; John 12:32-33. As the scripture explains in John 12:33, this was a reference to crucifixion as the means of His death. The lifting up is speaking of being lifted up from the earth and suspended on a cross in crucifixion. The Jews understood that Jesus was speaking of death.

The crucifixion didn’t just happen. It was planned by God. Does this mean that God bears all responsibility and those who were actually instrumental in the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus are not guilty? Not at all. Jesus came to the earth to die in our place and thereby purchase redemption for us. That was His plan but He didn’t force anyone to fulfill it. His ministry and message placed Him in direct opposition with the devil and his followers. Their hatred for Jesus caused them of their own free will to crucify Jesus.

God, in all His wisdom, simply knew what man would do and He determined to use their rejection of His Son to accomplish His will. He never controls our will to accomplish His.

If a person truly understands the message of the cross, then he understands grace. Jesus didn’t just make a token sacrifice for us. He paid it all. There’s no sacrifice that we can make that will add to or replace the sacrifice of Christ. He did it all, and we can thank Him forever!

God Likes Us

God Likes Us

 Matthew 18:14 “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

One of the greatest truths of the Bible and also one of the hardest to comprehend, is that we are the objects of God’s love. God didn’t just pity us or feel some sense of moral obligation to save us. He saved us because of His infinite love for us, John  3:16.

God loves people. He even loves those who have gone astray. As Jesus said in a similar parable, Luke 15:7, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Once we experience the life-changing power of Christ, there is a tendency to become harsh and impatient with others who continue to live their lives without Him. We sometimes forget that it was the love and goodness of God that brought us to repentance, Romans 2:4, and we become condemning and judgmental toward the lost. This is not the attitude that Jesus had, nor the attitude He wants us to have.

“Even when we were spiritually dead because of our sins, God’s forbearance was working on our behalf. He was tolerant, patient and kind towards us. God abounded in excessive proportion with good will, compassion, and desire to help us. His disposition was kind, compassionate, and forgiving in His treatment of us. He wanted in abundant supply to alleviate our distress and bring relief from our sins. He did this by giving us life in place of death.

It was with Christ that this salvation was secured. By grace, kindness, and favor we are saved. All of this was the result of God’s extremely large degree of love wherewith He loved us, always seeking the welfare and betterment of us. God likes us, Ephesians 2:4-5. God loves YOU!

Effortless Fruit

Effortless Fruit

John 7:38 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

These rivers of living water are referring to the Holy Spirit and the effects He produces in the life of the believer. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “…the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” These qualities should flow out of us as an artesian well. They should not have to be pumped. They will flow as we conform our thinking to God’s Word.

Jesus speaks of bearing fruit in John 15 and declares that “. . . without me ye can do nothing.”, John 15:5. This fruit is the product of the Holy Spirit, not our effort. However, since “…he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit,”, 1 Corinthians 6:17, then this fruit of the Spirit is also what our born- again spirit produces. Our spirit always has these attributes regardless of what we feel in our emotions. Failure to understand this has caused many Christians to think they would be hypocrites to express joy when the truth is, they are depressed. However, it’s only our soulish part that gets depressed. Our spirit is always bearing the fruit of “love, joy, peace, etc.”

For a person who is seeking to walk in the Spirit, it is actually hypocritical to let our soulish emotions dominate our spiritual emotions. The truth is, our spirit is never depressed, just our soul. Those who understand this have the choice of letting their soul depress them or letting the Holy Spirit, through their born-again spirit, release the joy and peace spoken of here.

The “fruit” is not produced by the believer, but by the Holy Spirit, as we live in union with Him. Our part is to yield and trust; God’s part is to produce the fruit.

Holy Ghost Teacher

Holy Ghost Teacher

 John 7:15 “And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?”

Jesus received His wisdom and knowledge by direct revelation from the Spirit of God rather than by the teachings of man. Jesus had been learning, but not through man. The Holy Ghost was His teacher. Jesus had to be taught the things of God. This looks contrary to Colossians 2:3, which says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus. If Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, why would He have to learn or be taught?

The harmony between these apparently opposite statements is that Jesus’ spirit man was 100% God and had all of the wisdom and understanding of God in it, but it was manifest in natural flesh. It wasn’t sinful flesh but it was flesh, nonetheless, and had to be educated. Jesus was not taught by man, but He was taught by the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. The knowledge was within Him but it had to be drawn out.

At the new birth, a born-again man’s spirit “is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”, Colossians 3:10. “We have the mind of Christ”, 1 Corinthians 2:16, and “an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”, 1 John 2:20. All of these things are a reality in our spiritual man. However, just as Jesus had to be taught, so we must draw this wisdom and knowledge out of our spirits and renew our minds with it, Romans 12:2. This is one of the main ministries of the Holy Spirit to the believer. Through the new birth, we have received the mind of Christ in our spirit man and are in the process of growing in wisdom by drawing this knowledge out of our spirits and renewing (or reprogramming) our minds. This wisdom has to be drawn out by faith, time spent in the Word, and prayer.

Limitless Forgiveness

Limitless Forgiveness

 Matthew 18:33 “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”

Peter thought he was being very generous by offering to forgive his brother seven times in one day, but Jesus said he should forgive him 490 times in one day. It would be impossible to have someone sin against you 490 times in one day. Jesus is actually saying that there should be no limit to our forgiveness.

When we are offended or hurt, we often feel justified in holding a grudge. The Old Testament law expressed this when it stated, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth”, Exodus 21:23-25. Until the offense was paid, we did not feel free to forgive. However, God dealt with all men’s offenses by placing sin upon the perfect Savior who was judged in place of every sinner of all time. To demand that others now earn our forgiveness is not Christ like. Jesus died for every man’s sins, extending forgiveness to us while we were yet sinners, and we should do the same.

The main thrust of this parable is that when we have people who wrong us, we should remember the great mercy that God has shown to us and respond in kind. Any debt that could be owed to us is insignificant compared to the debt we were forgiven. We should have compassion on others as Christ had on us.

If God expects us to forgive our brother who has trespassed against us 490 times in one day (actually an unlimited number of times), certainly He who is love will do no less with us.

The forgiveness that we have received from the Lord is infinitely greater than any forgiveness we could ever be asked to extend toward others.