Saturday, December 15, 2012

Joy to the World: A Savior was Given

An evil, lost and dying world

It doesn't take a scientist to see what kind of world we all live in. There's too much evil around us that it can't be denied there is something wrong with all of us. We always get in each other's way and there seems to always be evil thoughts in a man's heart.

Tragedy strikes humanity every so often and today was not an exemption. The massacre of 27 people, 18 of which are small children in Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, Connecticut, leaves us bewildered of the evil that is among us. How can a person be so heartless? How can a person be so cruel? So depraved? 

Oftentimes, we look at tragic situations like this and condemn the acts of violence that lead to the loss of precious lives. Yet, we fail greatly to acknowledge that every single day, humanity showcases this heartlessness and cruelty and depravity in many other tragic areas. 

This same depravity rules in the lives of those who perform abortions; those who wreck havoc in families through divorce; those who disrespect another's heart by lusting and fornicating with them; those who abuse themselves with substances; those who gossip and destroy others by words; those who abuse others physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually; those who lie and cheat their way to the top; those who selfishly indulge their greed with unnecessary shopping sprees while others in the world starve to death; and the list can go on and on. 

These are realities that we deliberately ignore, as if they are not a problem to our society. This is our DEPRAVITY. We have all been living in this delusion of grandeur where we think of ourselves highly as we look down on those labeled as "criminals." We have this distorted reality of sin which makes us think there are lesser and/or greater degrees of sin in this life.

Our problem lies in the grass-root level of it all... and that is our sinful, carnal way of life. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) that:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"


The word desperate is defined as extreme, awful, and beyond hope! That defines our REALITY. God's Word speaks a great amount of Truth in Romans 3:10 when it tells us that, "THERE IS NONE righteous. No, NOT ONE!" God could not find a single heart, a single individual, a single human being who isn't depraved! 

ALL OF US, in the eyes of the Holy God, are sinners and as we live with hearts that are desperately wicked, there isn't really anything in us that seeks after God. How amazingly accurate God's Word describe humanity to be. His word saith in Romans chapter 3:

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; 
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13Their throat is an open sepulchre; 
with their tongues they have used deceit; 
the poison of asps is under their lips:
14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17And the way of peace have they not known:
18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Isn't this the reality of humanity? There is NO FEAR OF GOD before our eyes. We all have the audacity to live our lives in our own way, thinking that our way is right! We come up with depraved thoughts to try to convince ourselves that our choices lead to life. Oh, but God's Word just couldn't stop EXPOSING THE REAL DEAL with us!

"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, 
but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)

"All we like sheep have gone astray; 
we have turned every one to his own way..." (Isaiah 53:6)

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; 
and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

Still think you are a "good" person? We won't even come close to PASSING the test if God's Law (the 10 commandments) are used to test us. Have we lied? Have we stolen anything (no matter how small it was)? Have we looked at another with lust? (That's the same as adultery in God's standard!) Have we dishonored our parents by disobeying them? Where do we stand when God uses HIS laws to see if we really can be considered "GOOD" in His eyes?

Reality is, WE DON'T STAND A CHANCE! God is a Holy God and He doesn't fool around like we do. When He demands holiness and righteousness, it is the perfect holiness and righteousness that is of Him! Unfortunately for us, there isn't anything we could ever do to attain THAT! No amount of religious practices, or practical prayers, or mystical experiences could wash us clean from the filth of our sins! No degree of piety nor amount of penance could clear our record before God. Remember Isaiah 64:6? Our righteousness are as FILTHY RAGS!!! We are enslaved to our sins and chained to death! What else can we do? Where do we go?

We need something else other than ourselves! 
We need... a Savior...

Joy to the World: A Savior was given

It is critical for each one of us to understand AND accept our depravity. This depravity places us in a tight situation with God because our depravity calls for His righteous judgment to fall upon us. 

The Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We deserve an end to this depraved, sinful life and that is death. We all became destined for an eternal separation with God in hell (the second death, Revelation 20:14), because none of our filth, unrighteousness and depravity can come near the holy throne of God in heaven!

Our verdict? GUILTY. Our case? HOPELESS... 

But not UNTIL...

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son..." (John 3:16)

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

"And this is the witness, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." (1 John 5:11)

God's Word tells us that because He does not want any to perish but for all of us to come to repentace, He sent His only begotten Son to save us from our sins! His precious Son because the sin-offering that we drastically needed in order to be saved. His precious Son, Jesus Christ, died a sinner's death (though He did not sin) in order to rise from the dead and bring us into new life for eternity!

What MUST WE DO TO BE SAVED? Well, it should begin by acknowledging our NEED for a Savior. We cannot fully embrace the work of Jesus and the gift of salvation which He offers us UNTIL WE COME FACE TO FACE WITH OUR DEPRAVITY! 

JESUS finished the work of salvation! He completed what God had demanded as payment for our sins! 

"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4I have glorified thee on the earth:
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (John 17:1-4)

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished
and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30)

When something is FINISHED, it means it is DONE and whatever work that is that needed to be finished, it is finally OVER. Jesus paid the FULL price for sin when He died on that cross. He took the punishment for sin, or the wage of sin which is death! BUT, because He is the only begotten Son of God, WHO IS GOD Himself, He was buried for 3 days and on the third day ROSE FROM THE DEAD because death could not hold Him!!! Hallelujah!!!

THAT is His promise of eternal life. All that we have to do is to TRUST HIM and TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT that He has paid the price in FULL! What does God's Word say?

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Seems to be too simple, right? Unfortunately, though, that is the stumbling block of many people. So many want to give themselves that feeling of accomplishment and doing something for the sake of their own salvation so they get the "reward". 

The guilt of SIN in our lives is so heavy that many deceived hearts tend to want to do things ON THEIR OWN to really feel that they became good enough to appease God's righteous judgment. UNFORTUNATELY, though, GOD ONLY ACCEPTS THE ONE and ONLY WAY HE HIMSELF HAS GIVEN TO US! His only begotten Son died an undeserved death on the cross to save us from our sins and to save us from death... it's THE ONLY WAY. Jesus proclaimed that clearly! HE IS THE WAY...

This is why we need a good does of REALITY and a face to face session with our depravity and sin in order for us to realize WE NEED JESUS and WE CRITICALLY NEED WHAT HE ALONE HAD and CAN OFFER! Our sinfulness, filth and most of all our SELF-RELIANCE ought to bring us to our knees in Repentance to God as we grow that Godly sorrow that will plant the FEAR OF GOD in our lives!

Let's break it down to get to the bottom...
  • CONFESS--meaning, "acknowledge something to be TRUE"...
  • THE LORD--meaning, "one with considerable power and authority"...
  • JESUS--meaning, "who saves us from our sins"...


  • BELIEVE--meaning, "to accept something as TRUE"
  • THAT GOD--meaning, "the supreme, ultimate reality Being who is perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe."
  • RAISED --meaning, "moved above"
  • HIM --pertaining to JESUS CHRIST
  • FROM THE DEAD --meaning, "from having lost life; Not having the capacity to live."
We MUST accept the FACT that God supplied His only begotten Son to powerfully save us from sin and death by MOVING FROM THE STATE OF HAVING LOST ETERNAL LIFE, to MOVING ABOVE THAT BY LIVING FOREVER!

My question is simple... Since JESUS FINISHED THE WORK OF SALVATION for mankind, 

You must, beloved... for that is the ONLY TIME when you will achieve and understand the JOY that came when the Savior was given... 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Joy to the World: The Light Has Come!

Walking in darkness

I remember a time in the past when my little hometown in the Philippines would have regular schedules of a blackout. It became part of everybody's daily living when, on certain days of the week, the lights just won't turn on and entire neighborhoods would start the nights out really dark. 

There's nothing much that anybody can do in the dark. Even with the luxury of owning a source of emergency lighting such as some flashlights, rechargeable lamps (which is what we mostly used at home) and some candles, the dark will still pretty much debilitate us. It just wouldn't allow us to see as much as we need to, much more do what we're supposed to do.

The physiology of sight is a complicated thing, but the bottom line of it is that seeing will be impossible without the presence of light. The human eyes have to catch rays of light that are then absorbed by light receptors in the interior portions of the eye, which will then be processed by the brain into images that will eventually become clear pictures before us.

No matter how sensitive these eye receptors are and how complex their processes can be when it comes to interacting with the brain to form the picture, seeing is not possible if there isn't any ray of light to work on! When our eyes eventually become adjusted to seeing in a dark room (like in a theatre), it is solely because our light receptors in the eyes caught on some light rays. Without light, we are just as blind as a mole!

Can you imagine what it will be like if we never have a sun to light our days? Or if there was never a moon to shine light during the night? We would all be groping around for everything for sure if we never have any source of light!

Living in the dark

It is quite interesting that the Bible talks about the LIGHT that came into our dark world. Isaiah 9:2, prophesied this about the Messiah, who fulfilled it when he visited a certain town in Capernaum:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." (KJB)

The prophet Isaiah spoke about those who are walking in darkness, and that they will see light. But take note that he spoke of a light that's not just any kind of light. He said that these people that walked in darkness have seen a GREAT light and that this light shined upon those that dwell in the land of the shadow of death!

There are two (2) things we can observe from Isaiah's prophecy about the people who will see a great light. These people:

  1. Walked in darkness
  2. Dwell in the land of the shadow of death
We ought to realize that these does not only describe those who were living in Capernaum. These description fits every human being on planet earth--in a SPIRITUAL SENSE! 

We ALL walk in spiritual darkness and we all dwell in the land of the shadow of death! When the fall of Adam happened, the Bible tells us that death became the consequence of that sin of disobedience and that death was passed on to ALL human beings because ALL HAVE SINNED (Romans 3:23)! 

Sin alienated us (humankind) from God and our spiritual understanding is darkened because of the sin that is in us (Ephesians 4:18)! Paul even added that there is this "blindness of the heart" in people! 

Like in Isaiah's prophecy, God's Word rings true to all of us as we ALL walk in darkness spiritually and that we dwell in this land of the shadow of death! Isn't death a reality to all of us? Isn't death like a shadow to every one of us living on this earth? Death is a shadow as it follows our every move. Death is inevitable!!! This is our reality. 

There isn't really any hope in the above situation. We ALL have sinned, says the Word of God and death is upon us all. We are SPIRITUALLY in DARKNESS because there isn't any LIFE IN US ANYMORE because of sin's consequence. Technically, we are already dead IN our sins! 

Just like in the physiology of sight, we cannot really SEE OUR REALITY because of our spiritual darkness. UNLESS there be a ray of Light to shine upon us, we are good as dead and hopeless as can be. We just CANNOT HELP OUR OWN SELVES!

The Light has come!

How wonderful it is to read the Bible and be made aware of the consistency of Truth in ALL of God's Word. 1 John 1:5 tells us this:

"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, 
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

God is light. The apostle John made sure we get this message right! God's Word has made it clear that we are all living in darkness and dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, but there IS hope...

"1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
4In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

We just got reminded that we are all living in darkness and that death is a reality to us all because of our sins. In the end, we really deserve the fullness of DEATH as the book of Revelation calls the lake of fire, the SECOND DEATH. But now we read that GOD IS LIGHT and IN HIM WAS LIFE! 

Isn't it amazing that the two main things that are a reality in our lives, God used to be the platform for our HOPE and SALVATION?

  • We are living in darkness --> GOD IS LIGHT and HE IS THE LIGHT OF MEN!
  • We dwell in the land of the shadow of death --> IN HIM WAS LIFE and the life WAS HE LIGHT OF MEN!
The promised Messiah came in the form of God's only begotten Son. He was the Word that John spoke about and He was the LIGHT that was prophesied in the past. 

JESUS CHRIST is the ONLY HOPE and SALVATION for ALL OF US who are in utter darkness.

Joy to the World, the LIGHT has come!

What an AMAZING Creator God! In our depravity and sinfulness, He has provided a way to give us eternal life (John 3:16). In our utter blindness and spiritual darkness, He provided THE LIGHT! In the midst of our dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, He provided LIFE! God indeed does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). He is not willing that any should perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)!!!

What an AMAZING REALITY!!! What a WONDERFUL TRUTH that is! It surely and truly IS JOY TO OUR WORLD which is engulfed in darkness and sin, 
because LIGHT has come!

Reality Check

One thing has to be placed into consideration, though, because we have been living in darkness for so long. HOW SHOULD WE REACT TO THIS LIGHT that has come upon us? We need to ask ourselves this question because, just as eyes that had been used to the dark for so long are adamant to come to the light; and just as any bright light exposes everything that is hidden in the dark, JESUS, who is the Light of the World will do the same to us in our spiritual darkness!

"19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:19-21, KJB)

Jesus' own words will serve as our warning. Light indeed has come to our world, BUT we are sinful people and our deeds are evil. NONE OF US doeth good, according to Psalm 14:3! None of us understands and none of us seeks God, says Romans 3! 

John acknowledged this fact in John 1:5, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. We all are unrighteous and all of our secret deeds are evil. The dark conceals all this and DOES NOT ALLOW US TO SEE. We are not aware of this depravity and NEED FOR A SAVIOR until we come to the Light to shine upon us!

Jesus bids all to COME TO HIM. He will not force you to follow Him. It has to be YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHOICE to come to His Light and be EXPOSED FOR WHO YOU REALLY ARE BEFORE HIM.

The LIGHT OF JESUS will expose who we really are--sinful, depraved, spiritually blind, technically dead. The more we come near the Light, the more our evil deeds become manifest before our eyes, and the more the REAL PICTURE OF OUR LIVES come into view. 

Are we scared to come to the Light? Are we scared to have our evil deeds exposed? Are we too comfortable in the darkness of our sins? WE MUST COME TO THE LIGHT in order for us to be redeemed!


JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD and IN HIM IS LIFE. We cannot continue to live in the dark if we truly want to have LIFE and LIGHT in our world. We cannot continue to convince ourselves that we can attain righteousness and heaven with our own attempts at being good. 


Will you come to the Light today, beloved? Let HIM open your understanding and shine HIS LIGHT upon you today. Let HIM show you your TOTAL depravity and sinfulness. And let that lead you to a godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Let HIS LIGHT SHINE SO BRIGHTLY IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU WILL NOT WANT TO GO BACK INTO UTTER DARKNESS AND LIVE IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

Repent... turn from your sins... turn to the LIGHT... and follow HIM ALONE!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Struggling-with-SIN", Part 1

I find it rather amusing how the Lord works to allow us to learn directly from HIS WORD when He wants to expose a false teaching! I've heard many different sermons from different "bible-teachers" and I've grown to love and respect a few of them, but over the years I've as well dropped and left many of them along the way. 

The  reason I would no longer listen to a bible teacher or be a part of anything he works on is because at one point or another, God exposes the real heart and message using the Truth in God's Word.

Oftentimes, I feel my spirit immediately discerning a false teacher with the message that he preaches, but sometimes, there are some of them who are very much like their father, the devil, who are very cunning in all their ways. One would have to really sit down and STUDY THE WORD for themselves in order to TEST the spirit of these kinds of bible teachers. 

This morning, God allowed me to go over some old notes I have in my sermon notebook and somehow, He led me to my notes on a particular message I've heard sometime in July of this year. I said some "amens" back then, but God brought me to read His Word this morning to review and test that teaching against Scripture.

The Word of God commands us to do that, anyway. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading and studying Scripture personally. God can speak through the message of a sermon, no matter how deceptive it is formulated to be by the preacher, but HIS SOVEREIGN TRUTH will never change and it always prevails in His Word. And this Truth will expose every dark corner, every nook and cranny of every message a so-called "bible teacher" will have embedded in their message! God's Word will shed light to ANY subtle lies of the enemy.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)

The "Struggle" with Sin
The sermon notes that God made me go over again this morning was one that was based primarily on Romans 7:11-25. My notes showed that the preacher said that the apostle Paul still struggles with sin 27 years after being saved! 

The message was all about struggling with sin in these last days and living in light of the judgment to come. Now the message was opened up by a personal testimony of the preacher about how he "struggled" with some things over the years now. That he's gotten victory over some things but hasn't done so in others. All that made him conclude for himself that he is truly unworthy to do the work of the Lord, but is humbled to have been called to do it. 

My notes showed that the teacher taught primarily from Romans 7:11-25, and it shows us that as Christians it is not supposed to be a surprise for us if we "struggle with sin" ("fall into sin" is the subtle message) regularly because even the apostle Paul "struggled" with it on a daily basis. The teacher goes on to say that Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God's Grace is sufficient in times of weakness and that Paul's thorn in the flesh was an avenue for  God's power be manifest through our weakness.  

My notes went on to show that this teacher mentioned 1 John 1:9 as an important tool and confidence of Christians, as it reminds us that we just NEED TO CONFESS  our sins to God and know that Christ's forgiveness is available to us every time. 

The message ended with the twist on continuing to do the work of God to reach other people with the gospel message in these last days. It sounded like a legitimate message, an encouragement of Christians who consider themselves weaklings for "struggling" so much on a regular basis with sin, but must continue to fight the good fight and run the race until the end.

This teacher's message was simple: The Christian life will be a DAILY STRUGGLE with SIN, and though it's not a license to sin, we need not be discouraged because great men like the apostle Paul even "struggled" with it during his time. Suffice it to say, though, that we can always run back to Jesus to confess our sins and be forgiven because the Bible tells us that God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This we MUST remember that we may be encouraged to continue to do the work of the Lord by not focusing on our weaknesses, but to focus on reaching the lost in these last days.

My question is this, "Should THAT be the case for true, genuine believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ? Should we regularly encourage ourselves to stand up again after "struggling" with sin and run back to the throne for mercy (again)? Was this REALLY the case for the apostle Paul?" 

The Word of God in context
Over the years, the Lord has taught me to never take a verse or even a couple of them out of context. I have to go back and also read forward a few verses or even a chapter before I consider the message that pops out of a certain verse. Verses pulled out of their context do so much damage in the end.

So, let me share with you what the preacher said was Paul's heart cry on his "struggle" with sin. Romans 7:11-25 says this:

"11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."  (emphasis given during the message)

Unfortunately, though, the above verses cannot be taken out of the context and used to back up what the preacher spoke of in his message. Romans 7:16-25 is just a small portion of the HUGE TRUTH about SIN. One has to read beginning in Romans 5:18 all through Romans 8:9. 

The apostle Paul started to speak about the Truth of the gospel in Romans 5 and that by one man (Adam) SIN enter into the world, and DEATH BY SIN, and that it was passed upon ALL men. 

Paul then explained that just as JUDGMENT came upon all men to condemnation because of that one offense, the FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD became available unto ALL MEN through the obedience also of one man (Jesus) for the JUSTIFICATION of us all.

Paul said that the LAW OF GOD was given (entered into the scene of the world) in order for SIN to be revealed. It established GOD's ABSOLUTES and made it clear for mankind that the SIN that was passed on to ALL OF US is, in fact, an offense against God. But, Paul added, where sin abounded, the GRACE of GOD did much more abound.

Since in the chapters before this in Romans 3:23 Paul already mentioned that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God, we now understand that as sinners, the judgment of God for sin is poured toward us which is DEATH BY SIN. 

The apostle Paul explained it in Romans 7 that the LAW (which established that SIN is a GREAT OFFENSE against GOD) only has dominion over man for as long as he LIVES. When he dies, JUDGMENT FOR SIN has then been passed. And he that remains CONDEMNED remains DEAD for all eternity!

But the beauty of the GOSPEL TRUTH is presented by Paul in that he did mention in Romans 6 that those who DO BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished and completed work of salvation are baptized into HIS DEATH. Those who do believe and trust in the Lord Jesus to save them from sin and death are BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM and are RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD IN NEWNESS OF LIFE!!!

This goes with the Truth that Jesus mentioned to Nicodemus in John chapter 6 that we MUST BE BORN AGAIN. Because, our first nature is that of SIN--carnal and dead! And so we read in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whoever believes in Him SHALL NOT PERISH but have everlasting life. 

The context of the above passage of Scripture is not that Paul was saying he is STILL in that state of  "struggling" even AFTER HE WAS BORN AGAIN! That portion of Scripture shows Paul explaining on the natures we all have which is the carnal AND THEN the spiritual. Take note of what he said as an opening to his long explanation of the law of sin and death in us. 

Before Paul started speaking and explaining the Law of sin and death in a person's life in Romans 7, he went on to say this in Romans 6:18-23:

"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Look at verse 19 above and see that Paul said, the saints HAVE YIELDED (past) their members servants to uncleanness, but then continues to say EVEN SO NOW (at present, that they are ALREADY BORN OF GOD), they now have to yield their members servants to righteousness.

Look at Paul's use of words here... In verse 20 he said, they WERE (past) servants of sin. But when he got to verse 22, he said BUT NOW (at present, having been born of the Spirit already) they have been MADE FREE FROM SIN and BECOME (present) SERVANTS TO GOD!

Chapter 7 starts with this... "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?" Paul is now using this to open his remarks on the Law of sin and death in chapter 7! 

Take note that he said, "I speak to THEM THAT KNOW THE LAW...". Paul spoke of the role of the Law in chapter 5 saying that the Law imputed SIN. And this is what he expounds in Chapter 7 when he spoke of what the Law of sin and death is in our beings. 

When Paul talked about doing the things he did not do, he simply was using illustrations of the fact that there is that Law of Sin and Death, and the Law of LIFE in Christ Jesus upon which every believer is MADE FREE with!

(Continued in PART 2)

"Struggling-with-SIN", Part 2

Dead IN Sin or Dead TO Sin?
We read in the New Testament of those witnesses of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and Paul reiterated the Truth of the gospel message in Romans 6:9 saying that knowing that Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, He will no longer die for DEATH has NO MORE DOMINION OVER HIM. Christ Jesus DIED UNTO SIN ONCE and WHEN HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD, He LIVES unto God.

Take note of what the apostle said next in Romans 6:11-18:

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sinbut alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members asinstruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members asinstruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sinbut ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

The apostle mentioned in verse 9 and 10 that because death has NO MORE DOMINION OVER CHRIST when He rose from the dead, Paul then followed up with this admonition for those who BELIEVE in CHRIST JESUS:

  • LIKEWISE --> in other words "IN THE SAME WAY"
  • YE --> "YOU" addressed in plural form (this was a letter to the saints in Rome. Romans 1:7)
    • Take into consideration who are called the "SAINTS" by reading 1 Corinthians 1:2
  • ALSO YOURSELVES --> continuing on with whom he addressed the letter to... (born-again believers of the Lord Jesus Christ who were in Rome)
  • TO BE DEAD --> speaking about the death of our carnal beings to gain NEW LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS. (Jesus spoke of the NEED to be born again in Spirit in John 3:5-8, because the first nature we are born into is of the flesh, or carnal. Read more about being born-again here.)
  • INDEED --> means "IN FACT" or "WITHOUT A DOUBT"
  • UNTO --> archaic word for "TO"
  • SIN --> the GRAVE OFFENSE AGAINST GOD that was passed unto ALL MEN from Adam.
Paul admonishes a TRUE BELIEVER in CHRIST JESUS, one who has BEEN BORN AGAIN, to really consider, or assume the state of being DEAD TO SIN and no longer DEAD IN SIN.

The excuse to "struggle"
It is very important that we STUDY and UNDERSTAND God's TRUTH directly from HIS WORD. So many preachers today talk about this thing called "struggling with sin" and ? 

Many Christians today believe in this false belief that they are STILL defeated, frail, lacking victory AND have to REGULARLY struggle and fall into sin in their lives! Many professing Christians make this "struggle with sin" an EXCUSE to a life of carnality! Many would convince themselves that they do not have the power to OVERCOME their sinful habits because it's okay to be weak anyway, because God's Grace is sufficient in weakness! But is it really like that?!

As I've mentioned, it is VERY IMPORTANT to study the Bible in context because EVERYTHING IN GOD'S TRUTH FALLS INTO PLACE as we read and study and learn from Him directly. Why can't we excuse our REGULAR, HABITUAL SINNING with the idea of "struggling with sin?" Because the apostle Paul never spoke of sin as a REGULAR PART of his NEW LIFE IN CHRIST!

Listen to his very words in the letters he wrote to the saints...

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:5)

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." 
(Romans 8:6-7)

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. " (Romans 8:9)

"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." (Romans 8:10)

"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. " (Romans 8:13-14)

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:" (Colossians 3:5)

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:24)

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6)

What about Paul's "thorn in the flesh"?

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Paul spoke of a "thorn in the flesh" which he asked the Lord to remove, but thrice it was denied. Now many Christians today believe that this "thorn in the flesh" is comparable to Paul's constant "struggling with sin!" Even the so-called Bible teacher whose message I listened to mentioned that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was something that HINDERED HIM and KEPT HIM BACK in attaining victory! 

Knowing Paul's stand against SIN and Paul's belief on a true believer's VICTORIOUS life in Christ Jesus, it just goes to show that the above kind of teaching is nothing but a happy session of twisting and misusing scripture to excuse carnality!

CONTEXT is always the key and we need to step back a little to see and understand what Paul is talking about when he spoke of his "thorn in the flesh." Take note that Paul said he was given a thorn in the flesh, which was then followed by a phrase giving light to what this "thorn" was--the messenger of Satan to buffet me! God's Word itself shows us what this thorn is, contrary to what the teacher said in his message that God didn't allow us to KNOW what this thorn was so we can "fill in the blanks" for whatever it is that we all may "struggle with!"

We ought to study Scripture ourselves and learn from GOD'S WORD DIRECTLY to TEST every spirit that puts itself up as an authority on Scripture. Read 2 Corinthians 11:16 - 12:10 and see how it shows off Paul's accounting of his measure as an apostle of Christ. He even considered his accounting a "little boasting" of himself and his accomplishments.

Through those passage in Scripture we see Paul establishing himself as one who is indeed a minister and a labourer of Christ. I remember him saying the same things in the book of Galatians when he described himself as a Pharisee among pharisees... he was all THAT, in short! So Paul was in the line of proudly presenting his credentials as an apostle of Christ.

But he concluded his accounting with 2 Corinthians 12:5-10:

"Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities6For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Paul NEVER talked about any regular STRUGGLING WITH SIN in the context! He was talking about this thorn in the flesh BEING GIVEN TO HIM BY GOD to keep him in check lest he become so proud of who he was and what he's done for Christ.

The thorn in the flesh was said to be the "messenger of Satan". Have you ever read the book of Job? You might as well know that GOD ALLOWED Satan to wreck havoc in Job's life. A messenger of Satan can may well be the fallen angels or demons or demonic spirits that are in this world. Their purpose we read in verse 7 --> Paul said they were given TO BUFFET HIM.

The word buffet means:
  • To drive or force with...
  • To hit or beat...
  • To force with difficulty...
Review Paul's account of his experiences and see that he's been through so many persecutions as an apostle of Christ. THESE were SOVEREIGNLY ALLOWED BY GOD, through that messenger of Satan, in order to KEEP PAUL's PRIDE IN CHECK!!! 

Nowhere did Paul ever talked about a CONSTANT STRUGGLE WITH SIN! How can he have one when he KNOWS he has been CRUCIFIED IN CHRIST and it is no longer him who lives BUT CHRIST LIVES IN HIM?!

A constant "struggling with sin" is the excuse of a carnal "christianized goat". Many Christians today are so lukewarm and given over to carnality that their tickling ears receive messages that "encourage them" in their frail, defeated so-called christian lives.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR CONTINUING WITH SIN. The apostle Paul shouts out this beautiful Truth in Romans 8:1 that every professing believer must come in terms with:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, 
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." 


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