What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mid-East Prophecy Update – January 29th, 2017

The Rapture According to Jesus Christ

Reposted from omegaletter.com
Prophecy - Signs
Monday, January 30, 2017
Pete Garcia 

Not many years ago, famed Reformist and Partial-Preterist theologian R.C. Sproul authored a book entitled “The Last Days According to Jesus Christ”. In it he states that “I am convinced that the substance of the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled in AD 70 and that the bulk of Revelation was likewise fulfilled in that time period” (page 158). Unfortunately, his view is not unique within Christendom.

From the fourth century onward, the dominant eschatological view within Christendom had been built upon Augustine’s teachings that the Kingdom was a spiritual one which was already in effect. By the time Augustine had come to some renown, Israel had not existed as a nation for the better part of 300 years. Much of Augustine’s teachings were used as the foundation stones for the budding amalgamation between pagan Rome and Roman Christianity…which later came to be formally known as the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).
With the decline of the Roman Empire, the RCC became the prevailing force dominating Europe and parts of the Middle East for the next thousand years. It wouldn’t be until the 14th century that an awakening began to take hold for those who wanted out from underneath the oppressive Roman Catholic regime. Men like Jan Hus, Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, and later Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli did much too course-correct Roman Catholicism’s abusive and errant stray from true, biblical Christianity.

But one of the leftover doctrines that did not get reformed was that of Christian Eschatology. The Reformers all but kept the same teachings that were first propagated by Augustine that the Kingdom was now. Unfortunately, Augustine’s influence continued to have a significant impact on Martin Luther and John Calvin who were the fathers of the newly flourishing Protestant movement.

The only major difference between the Reformers and the RCC Papists was who actually was running ‘the Kingdom’. Obviously, the RCC thought they were since the Pope himself was supposed to be the ‘Vicar of Christ’ on earth. The Reformers later began to view that if anything, the Pope was not the ‘Vicar of Christ’, but rather the ‘Antichrist’. What they did agree on was that the Kingdom was already in effect, the Jewish people were no longer God’s chosen, and that most of prophecy had already been fulfilled.

Given their time-frame (circa 14th-17th centuries), who could blame them? Christendom had just emerged out of the Dark Ages. Israel hadn’t existed as a nation for over a 1,000 years. Life moved at the speed of horse. Technological advancements had just given the world the printing press. The Ottoman Turks were the rising power in the Middle East. Roman Catholic domination over the politics in Europe was fracturing, and a whole new world was being discovered and exploited.

The early Protestant Reformers may have had cause to think the way they did eschatologically speaking…but what excuse does the R.C. Sproul types have today?
The world went through two great wars and a Nazi Holocaust causing six million Jewish deaths. Israel became a nation again miraculously after almost 1,900 years. The world has progressed faster technologically and educationally speaking, than the previous twenty centuries combined. Pestilences, earthquakes, wars, national and ethnic strife, violence, and starvation are increasingly amplifying. The world population has reached over seven billion, while at the same time the world is teetering on economic collapse…but somehow the first century was worse than the twentieth? (Matt. 24:21-22)

Christian theology is chock full of doctrines, teachings, insights, and various other topics that have seemingly become more and more controversial over the past two millennia. It doesn't matter if you're talking about spiritual gifts, eternal security, the Trinity, Sabbath day worship, baptism, Communion, tithing, etc...If there is a topic-Christians of every stripe and flavor have found a way to argue and divide over it. But perhaps none have been as controversial as the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church.

The Apostle Paul didn’t invent the doctrine, (Gal. 1:11-12) rather he simply expounded upon what the Lord had already said concerning it. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep (1 Thess. 4:15). So regardless of denominational history, church dogma, creeds, early church father views, etc.…Jesus has a theological position on both the Rapture and the Second Coming, and I promise you it’s not Augustinian.

The Rapture of the Church vs. the Second Coming
The first thing we have to realize is that Christ’s Second Coming is broken up into two parts…the Rapture (Harpazo-catching up) of His bride the Church (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:51-56)…and His return to earth with His bride the Church…at the Triumphal Return as chronicled in Zech. 14:3-5, Matt. 24:29-31; 26:64, Jude 1:14-15, Rev. 1:7; 19:11-14. These cannot be the same event because of the numerous and glaring distinctions juxtaposed against each other. (Differences chart)

Critics of my aforementioned statement (Second Coming in two parts) fail to recognize that the Jews of Jesus’s day had that exact same problem concerning Christ’s First Coming as these critics now have with His Second Coming. They (first century Jews) thought the Messiah would come kick the Romans out and usher in the Kingdom right then and there. What they failed to see in the Old Testament (but what we Christians now clearly see with Scriptural hindsight) is the two separate comings of the Messiah…first as the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, and later as the conquering King. (Isaiah 53, Dan. 9:24-26, John 1:29, Psalm 2, Zech. 10, 14) Critics of the Pre-Tribulation view, fail to see that Christ’s Second Coming is also in two parts.

We (proponents of the Pre-Tribulation view) recognize that Jesus does talk extensively about the events leading up to and including His Triumphal Return, but that does not diminish nor deny that He also talks about His return for the Church first.

Days of Noah vs. the Olivet Discourse
The first mention of the concept of the Rapture in the Gospels is found in Luke 17:26-30. In it Jesus likened the time of His return to that of the days of Noah and Lot-a world which was largely carrying on as if it didn’t have a care in the world. In fact, He went out of His way to emphasize the sense of normalcy surrounding these events despite their OT pinning’s. Were they in massive tribulation prior to the flood, or prior to Sodom and Gomorrah’s fiery hailstorm? No…life was normal. Incessantly wicked and violent yes, but normal in the sense that a frog cooking in a pot doesn’t realize the water it’s in is being boiled until it’s too late. (Gen 6, 19)

People were going about their normal lives…and then calamity struck. Jesus could not be possibly referring to the events inside the 70th Week of Daniel primarily because after 21 divine judgments are unleashed, the world is forever changed. Those judgments cause half the world’s population to die, large percentages of the ocean and fresh water to turn to blood, the sun has a ‘nova’ like event, then goes dark, people are struck with sores, and the Two Witness’s perform unbelievable signs and wonders, etc., so there leaves little possibility for ‘normal’ inside the seven-year Tribulation.

The Olivet Discourse on the other hand is what most people automatically default to when they want to get Jesus’s view on the last days. The Synoptic Gospels-Matthew, Mark, and Luke all carry a variant of the Olivet Discourse. What often gets overlooked, is that each of the Gospels, provide a different perspective on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus because they were geared toward different audiences.

Matthew: portrays Christ as the rightful Heir of ‘David’s Throne’ and has very Jewish overtones throughout the book…and it contains the Olivet Discourse. (Written circa 50AD)
Mark: portrays the servanthood of Christ and is written with a Gentile audience in mind…and has the Olivet Discourse. (Circa 68AD)
Luke: portrays the humanity of Christ and is written with a Greek audience in mind…has the Olivet Discourse. (Circa 60AD)
John: portrays the deity of Christ…is the last gospel written well into the Church era and does not have any version of the Olivet Discourse. (Circa 85AD)

Wait…did John forget to put his version of the Olivet Discourse in there? He was one of the attendees after all (Mark 13:3). Maybe he knew he was going to write the book of Revelation later in life (95AD) and decided to save it till then…oh wait…he didn’t know that either. (Did he know he was going to get banished to the Isle of Patmos under Domitian?) Hmmm…I wonder why John didn’t record a variant of the Olivet Discourse? Why would John leave out one of his Lord’s longest and most prolific discussions? Perhaps it is because the Holy Spirit instructed him not to. Instead, he records the Upper Room Discourse (John 14-16)…which was taught exclusively to the eleven disciples the night before His crucifixion. Instead of recording wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, pestilences, etc.…John records the comforting words that Christians of every generation could take solace in.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3
Jesus (being God in the Flesh) knew before He ever came the first time that His second coming would not be a singular event. Rather it would be two events, both of which bestow a special place of honor for His bride the Church. It is not that we the Church are deserving of any such honor, but only because Christ shed His own divine blood for us and that we are the Church He built (Matt. 16:18-19). We are the pearl of great price in the parable in which the merchant sold all He had to purchase it (Matt. 13:45-46).

Now R.C. Sproul and many other subscribers to the Amillennial, Post-Tribulation Rapture, and Preterist views consider the Olivet Discourse to be the be-all, end-all description of the last days, but they do so neglecting many other passages that fill in the gaps of Jesus’s macro-view of the last days. While they might disagree on when those last days actually occur (Post-Trib sees future while Amillennialist and Preterist look to past fulfillment circa 70AD), what they miss are the clear distinctions between the two future comings.

The conundrum is this; if it’s already all happened, why the instruction to watch and be ready? Or, if I’m destined to go into the worst period of human history and I can’t change anything about it…why am to take comfort in that? Some reason that we need purification…so why aren’t they missionaries in North Korea at this very moment boldly proclaiming the Gospel? My response is that there is plenty of purification going on there these days...so why wait?

Watching and waiting in and of itself has a very purifying effect not only on our lives, but on our theology as well. It keeps us grounded by not becoming so focused on building our own little kingdoms in the here and now. Being earth-focused is what led us to the Dark Ages in the first place. If Christ didn’t want us to understand and learn Bible prophecy, He wouldn’t have given John the Revelation to give to us. Furthermore, when Jesus revealed Himself glorified to John on Patmos, He had some choice words to say for the early church…and by extension us-he who has an ear, let him hear.

Speaking to the Church with her Vicar, her political machinations, and her “Kingdom” He says-
And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. Rev. 2:21-22
Speaking to the Christian Church who does not watch and understand prophecy-
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon youRev. 3:3
Speaking to the Christian Church who does-
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Rev. 3:10-11
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:20-21a

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Jesus or Barabbas

Reposted from www.raystedman.org
Read the Scripture: Mark 15:1-20
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them (Mark 15:15a)
All the gospel writers tell us of Barabbas. He was a bloodthirsty revolutionary, hardnosed and bloody-handed; he was a murderer. The interesting thing about him is his name, which means son of the father. And in a most dramatic historic coincidence, according to some old manuscripts, there is some evidence that his name probably was Jesus Barabbas: Jesus, the son of the father. I do not see how we could read and understand that without knowing that this is again God silently guiding events behind the scene, bringing things to light that otherwise would never be known. For this crowd is confronted with choosing between Jesus, the son of the father, who rules by force and makes his living by his wits; and Jesus, the Son of the Father, who rules by love and is ready to sacrifice Himself.

Why did they choose Barabbas? The answer seems to be that they were disappointed with Jesus. This was the crowd that, just a few days before, had welcomed Him into Jerusalem. The city was filled with people Jesus had healed. The eyes of the blind had been opened, the deaf made to hear, and the lame to walk. He had awakened within the people the hope, the flaming desire, that this was indeed the Messiah, come to deliver them from the yoke of Rome. All their ideas of messiahship centered around the thought that He would be the one who would set them free from the hated bondage of Rome. Now, when they saw Him standing helpless before the Roman governor, saw His apparent unwillingness or inability to make any defense or to do anything against the Romans, all their loyalty to Him collapsed. In anger and disappointment, they turned and chose Jesus, the son of the father, who lived by force—Barabbas the murderer. Continue reading

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sometimes, it is indeed personal. Sometimes, it ought to be!

Reposted from servehiminthewaiting.com jesus-wept

When you serve the Lord, expect opposition.  Sometimes it is not in the form of conflict or disruption in your life, but rather more personal than that. Satan attacks where we are most vulnerable. Even with the armor on, God doesn’t guarantee that we will win every skirmish.  Sometimes we will get some bruises.  An oft-overlooked and rarely focused-upon portion of the Ephesians 6 “Whole Armor” passage is that relatively passive instruction that says  “that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand“.

Sensitivity to and awareness of evil around us, is an ability that God gives in varying proportions to different believers.  A profound sensitivity is a gift that few of us would choose if given our “druthers”.  As humans living in this period of human history, there is an awful lot happening in our world which is terribly grievous to our spirits.  We are not unaffected by the rising noxiousness of evil.  God equips the called, but He also requires us to bear, within His yoke, things we could not bear on our own.

It is often said among Christians “If anyone has reason to smile, it’s Christians, so don’t go around looking glum”.  While I can understand and appreciate the point being made, I usually find the person who makes that sort of proclamation one of those people who does not pay much attention to, nor involve himself in the opposition of, the evil taking place around us. Though some people do prefer a head-in-the-sand approach, that statement  is not necessarily an indictment of negligence or lack of compassion on the part of the speaker who says those things.  It simply may not be their calling.  I get that.  I just wish that the person who says those things understood that if there were not those “assigned” to concern themselves with those less pleasant things, who would be the caring voice of God to the ones who suffer under that evil?  Who would be the hand that pulled them out?  If you or  I don’t take it personal, who will?

Did you ever wonder why it was that Jesus wept over Lazarus’ death ( John 11:35)?   It was not because He was going to miss the man, He knew He was about to raise Lazarus back up.  Verse 33 says Jesus “groaned in his spirit and was  troubled”.  Jesus is a High Priest that is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15).  This event took place only days before Jesus Himself would lay down His own life as a ransom to pay the sin-debt of man, and I imagine He grieved over the tragedy of sin, the curse of it which leads to death, for the unnecessary suffering which sin created and continues always to create, and for the horrible cost of it all.

I read an article today which, on top of the harsh and secret realities recently exposed behind the very people leading our government, and on top of the awareness of evil in general, really made me physically sick.  It is a story about one of the leaders, one Donna Hylton, of the recent marches of angry women in all their “pro-choice, anti-Trump and anti-hate” rage.  It is about this one woman’s criminal record, one heinous crime that flies totally in the face of the supposed “oppression” she and her “sisters” claim to loathe and speak out against and want to see come to an end.  A woman who, along with 2 other women,  bound, tortured, sodomized, and killed a man.  I thought the article was surely some sick attempt at satire.  But I checked the sources.  It’s not fictional.  This is what those “millions” of women worldwide who marched the day after Inauguration, uphold as their mentor. Along with the likes of Madonna, and Ashley “I am a naaaasty woman” Judd.

When the Bible talks about homosexuality as an abomination and a curse, when it addresses the fact that women partake in this sin, it uses an interesting adverb.  It says “even” their women exchanged the natural use into that which is against nature. 
This seems to indicate that there is something particularly awry when women have started to do something that men already have been known to do.  After all, women are mothers, nurturers, they have special intuition and a capacity for compassion which men can more easily suppress in themselves because of their role as warriors and as hunters/gatherers. The women who marched in those “protests”, have rejected these God-ordained qualities and differences between male and female, as God designed them.

Christians know what is sin.  The unsaved are not enlightened to the things of God, but everyone has a God-given conscience and knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong.  Those who have seared their own consciences are the ones who can participate in horrific things without the slightest qualms, and not only that, but come to love it, to have an insatiable appetite for it.  Those who “take pleasure in” their evil deeds are as guilty in God’s eyes, as the perpetrators, and there were all those women cheering this reprobate woman.
If that is not an example of  calling evil  good and good evil, putting darkness for light and light for darkness, (Isaiah :20) I can’t imagine what is.

I read about the thirteen year old girl last week who live-streamed her suicide on Facebook, and I wondered yet again how long the Lord will continue to restrain the coming judgment.  That little girl’s blood is on someone’s hands.  She was no saint, I heard her foul mouth on other of her posts, however, she stated she was being molested by her mother’s boyfriend.  Where was the mother?  Where was her actual father?  Who will and does care about these neglected children and the dying babies, and the women and children, both male and female children, who are captives in the sex trade industry?  God cares.  And I won’t apologize for caring.  I pray, and yes, I grieve.

Rapture-Ready had two posts today that particularly resonated.  One was an expose on the role Obama may have played in the change of Popes, and the role both he and the Pope have in the goal of a New World Order.  I believe the Pope is the False Prophet, and the developments will ultimately be all in God’s plan, however, we know that the way the world responded to Obama was at the very least, proof of the world’s readiness to embrace one man as their leader.  Obama  was literally worshiped.  The other post was a submission by Gene Lawley entitled “Making Sense Out of the Swirling Scenario” which was featured on several other prominent end-times websites as well.  Lawley repeated a phrase several times in this piece.  It was “sometimes things are not as they appear to be”.  And I think that is the word for this hour.  Deception, mind-games, sleight-of-hand, bait-and-switch, you name it, we are in the thick of it.

Wearing the armor is crucial, but remember, in the end, sometimes all God expects is for us to stand our ground as Christians, remain standing, and “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day”. There are 279  different accounts of  the Lord delivering His own from the hand of the enemy in the Bible that use those very words. That is not to say we are idle.  It’s not to say we don’t continue to fight the good fight, but  Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12a).

We want Him to wait a little longer, as Lawley mentions the words to an old song, “for our loved ones to come in”, but our hearts long to leave the pain and sorrow, the sin and filth, of this world.  It feels hard to breathe this air.  We stand. We are weak but He is strong.  No one is more  grieved by these things than Jesus.  To Him, you better believe it’s personal.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law, but did not abolish it?

What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law, but did not abolish it?: What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law, but did not abolish it? Are followers of Jesus today under the authority of the Law, or free from the Law?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Brethren and Enemies (Pastor Charles Lawson)

Romans: The Gospel According To Paul … Part 3

Romans: The Gospel According To Paul … Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series The Book of Romans

Romans 3:21-4:25

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)
Having shown conclusively that all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, are unable to earn a level of righteousness sufficient to escape God’s wrath, Paul now introduces the notion of a righteousness apart from the Law. This righteousness was spoken of through out the Old Testament. Rather than being earned by obedience, it’s imputed to us by faith in the Lord’s atoning sacrifice. His sacrifice, though performed only once, would apply all along the human time line, from the first sinner to the last. God even set aside the punishment due to those who lived before its time, but died in faith of its eventuality, so His death could atone for them as well.

Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:27-31)

No one can take credit for this righteousness, or look down on others like the Pharisees of old. Whether from Jewish or Gentile backgrounds, all who believe are justified by their faith alone, undeserving recipients of God’s grace. And contrary to abolishing the Law, this righteousness fulfills it, just like Jesus promised. “Don’t think that I’ve come to abolish the Law and Prophets. I haven’t come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt. 5:17)

Romans 4

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6)
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” (Psalm 37:1-2) (Romans 4:1-8)
As soon as we inject something of our own into the equation, we render it ineffective. Grace plus work equals work. Faith is the only participation we’re allowed that isn’t counted as work.
Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Romans 4:9-12)
In the context of time, Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness over 400 years before the Law was given, and even before he had been circumcised.
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” (Genesis 15:5) He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:13-18)
As Paul said earlier, the Law was not given as a path to righteousness but to make us conscious of sin. Certain behavior may not be right, but if there’s no law against it, then it isn’t illegal. And as we’ll see, this righteousness lets God see those who are not as if they are.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Gen. 15:5) Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:19-25)
This chapter closes with a remarkable example of God’s grace. No mention at all is made of the incident with Hagar and Ishmael, which some would characterize as a lapse of faith. Having only Paul’s account we could surmise that Abraham and Sarah had waited patiently throughout the span of time between the Lord’s promise and the birth of Isaac, going well past the age of childbearing without wavering in the slightest.

But that’s not the way Scripture records it. Sarah did grow tired of waiting and gave her handmaiden to Abraham, saying, “Perhaps I can build a family through her.” (Gen. 16:2) Ishmael was born, and Abraham did view him as the fulfillment of God’s promise. (Genesis 17:18)

But God ignored all that. When He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, God called him “Your only son.” (Gen.22:2) And Paul, inspired of the Holy Spirit, failed to even mention it. When speaking of Abraham’s righteousness it’s as if none of that ever happened.

So it is with you. When you became a believer, God did more than forgive your sins. He re-created you and no longer remembers your past. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17) And from that time forward, He has chosen to see you not as you are, but as He’s made you, as righteous as He is. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21) All your failings and shortcomings have ceased to exist in His mind. Now, any time you sin, you need only confess to be both forgiven and restored to righteousness, (1 John 1:9) your sin immediately forgotten.

This is what a righteousness by faith is. God cannot abide in the presence of sin, and yet He desires our presence with Him in eternity. We can never become sin-free on our own, so in order to keep us around, He had to find another way to make us righteous. The way He found was to send His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. All of them. The moment we believe that He really did that for us, the righteousness of God is imputed to us by faith. Now we can dwell in His presence, and He in ours.

I’ve spent some time among the Jews on their own turf. I’ve seen the lengths they go to in keeping the Law. The Church’s most ardent legalists can’t hold a candle to them. And yet Jesus told us that unless our righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees we would certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt. 5:20) Then He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) Haven’t you always wondered what He meant by that? Well now you know. He was talking about a righteousness by faith. It’s the righteousness of God, the only one good enough to get you into His presence. Our time here’s almost up. Better make sure you have it. 01-20-07

Revelations 17 The Woman That Rides The Beast - Pastor Crone

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