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Understanding is a fountain of life. This is a Christian teaching ministry with the purpose of bringing more understanding and revelation to the global body of Christ about the Gospel of Grace.
Understanding is a fountain of life. This is a Christian teaching ministry with the purpose of bringing more understanding and revelation to the global body of Christ about the Gospel of Grace. << Show Less
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How to Hear God's Voice (Individual Messages) IntroductionToday, I would like to talk about a very exciting topic and of much interest among Christians and that is, how to hear God’s voice. In spite of an abundance of Christian materials and sermons available today, many believers still struggle to hear God’s voice and have a genuine desire to know how God speaks to His people in the New Testament. In our discussion today, I will try to provide answers to 5 questions: „Why Do We Need to Hear God? Does God speak today to all born-again believers or only to certain people who are more holy or chosen by Him? How does God speak? How can we discern God’s voice from all the other voices and What can we do to learn faster to hear God’s voice?” Why Do We Need to Hear God?Some believers may wonder why they should ever hear God’s voice in their lives. How would it help them? Is hearing God’s voice something of vital importance that deserves our attention, time, and effort, or is it just a good skill to have in any event? Well, there are many great benefits to hearing God’s voice. First, it will protect you from many harmful decisions, situations, people, or things that might try to come into your life. Second, it will help you see many opportunities and open doors for you to be blessed and be a blessing for other people. Third, it will direct your steps to your destiny and calling on this earth, so that you will fulfill as much as possible of what God has planned for you and your life. Fourth, it will encourage you and strengthen you in your spirit and your faith in those moments when you will feel weak or discouraged. Hearing God is vital to a life of continuous glory, victory, success, peace, joy, health, well-being, and prosperity here on earth. To Whom Does God Speak?In the New Testament, God wants to speak and speaks to all born-again believers. This is different from the Old Testament, where God spoke only to certain people chosen by Him. You may ask, Why is that? Things are this way because in the Old Testament all people were under the authority of darkness. Jesus had not died yet on the cross and the Holy Spirit was not yet dwelling in human beings in a permanent way. The Holy Spirit was given from time to time to certain people for specific and temporary tasks and in partial measures. In other words, the Holy Spirit would come and go. However, in the New Testament, the Spirit of God has been sent on the inside of believers to be in them and with them forever. We see this in John 14:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19: John 14:16–17 (NKJV)16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV)19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?God always speaks to all believers in Christ and that is something normal. That should be a daily normality for Christians and not something abnormal happening from time to time in some very special anointed moments. Every believer in Christ has the ability to hear God. God wants to speak to us much more than we are ready to hear Him. In fact, He speaks much more than we hear. Look at what John 10:27, John 14:26, John 16:13 tell us about hearing God’s voice:John 10:27 (NKJV)27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.John 14:26 (NKJV)26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.John 16:13 (NKJV)13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you <
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How to Hear God's Voice (Individual Messages) IntroductionToday, I would like to talk about a very exciting topic and of much interest among Christians and that is, how to hear God’s voice. In spite of an abundance of Christian materials and sermons available today, many believers still struggle to hear God’s voice and have a genuine desire to know how God speaks to His people in the New Testament. In our discussion today, I will try to provide answers to 5 questions: „Why Do We Need to Hear God? Does God speak today to all born-again believers or only to certain people who are more holy or chosen by Him? How does God speak? How can we discern God’s voice from all the other voices and What can we do to learn faster to hear God’s voice?” Why Do We Need to Hear God?Some believers may wonder why they should ever hear God’s voice in their lives. How would it help them? Is hearing God’s voice something of vital importance that deserves our attention, time, and effort, or is it just a good skill to have in any event? Well, there are many great benefits to hearing God’s voice. First, it will protect you from many harmful decisions, situations, people, or things that might try to come into your life. Second, it will help you see many opportunities and open doors for you to be blessed and be a blessing for other people. Third, it will direct your steps to your destiny and calling on this earth, so that you will fulfill as much as possible of what God has planned for you and your life. Fourth, it will encourage you and strengthen you in your spirit and your faith in those moments when you will feel weak or discouraged. Hearing God is vital to a life of continuous glory, victory, success, peace, joy, health, well-being, and prosperity here on earth. To Whom Does God Speak?In the New Testament, God wants to speak and speaks to all born-again believers. This is different from the Old Testament, where God spoke only to certain people chosen by Him. You may ask, Why is that? Things are this way because in the Old Testament all people were under the authority of darkness. Jesus had not died yet on the cross and the Holy Spirit was not yet dwelling in human beings in a permanent way. The Holy Spirit was given from time to time to certain people for specific and temporary tasks and in partial measures. In other words, the Holy Spirit would come and go. However, in the New Testament, the Spirit of God has been sent on the inside of believers to be in them and with them forever. We see this in John 14:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19: John 14:16–17 (NKJV)16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.1 Corinthians 6:19 (NKJV)19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?God always speaks to all believers in Christ and that is something normal. That should be a daily normality for Christians and not something abnormal happening from time to time in some very special anointed moments. Every believer in Christ has the ability to hear God. God wants to speak to us much more than we are ready to hear Him. In fact, He speaks much more than we hear. Look at what John 10:27, John 14:26, John 16:13 tell us about hearing God’s voice:John 10:27 (NKJV)27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.John 14:26 (NKJV)26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.John 16:13 (NKJV)13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you <
Session 17 - Confession of Sins and the Lord's Supper (The Glory of Righteousness) The Power of the Lord’s SupperIntroductionLet’s first read the famous passage on the Lord’s Supper from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34: 1 Corinthians 11:17–34 (NKJV) 17 Now in giving these instructions I don’t praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it’s not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I don’t praise you. 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.  Many Christians interpret the passage above in the following way: “Before I take the Lord’s Supper, I need to examine myself very carefully, check for any unconfessed sins in my life and confess them all. Then I can partake of the Lord’s Supper. This is the worthy manner of taking the Lord’s Supper. Otherwise, if I take it with any unconfessed sin, I might lose my salvation, I might lose the blessings of God, or God might punish me with sickness or even death. And I will not be able to come to God and ask Him to heal me, because I did it with my own hands. So, if I feel too unworthy on occasions, it’s better not to partake of the Lord’s Supper in order not to be punished by God.” This is how many believers read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and they treat the Lord’s Supper as something very sacred and dreadful, that can be partaken of only if they have been completely honest about their lives with God and made sure they confessed every sin they know before Him. Otherwise, God will strike them with sickness and curse. Because of the fear of punishment, many believers refrain from partaking of the Lord’s Supper for long periods of time. Overall, most believers consider the Lord’s Supper to be something similar to the bitter water from Numbers 5:16-28, that women suspected of adultery had to drink to prove their innocence. If those women were dishonest and guilty and drank that water, their bellies would swell, their thighs would rot, and they would become a curse among their people. This is the mentality with which most Christians approach the Communion. However, this interpretation and practice of the Lord’s Supper are far from the truth and rob believers of its precious benefits that Jesus intended when He initiated it. The Necessity of Innocent BloodLet’s analyze the passage carefully in its context. First, the expression “unworthy manner” from verses 27 and 29 doesn’t refe
Session 16 - What to Do When We Sinned (The Glory of Righteousness) In this session, we will answer a few objections to the one-time confession of sins perspective, and then we will talk about what to do when we sinned, how to approach God and relate to Him. For more Bible teaching, we invite you to visit our website: eserediuc.com/en

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Session 15 - Confession of Sins in 1 John 1:9 (The Glory of Righteousness) Confession of Sins in 1 John 1:91 John 1:5–2:1 (NKJV) 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and don’t practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.   The question we should ask ourselves about 1 John 1:9 is this: Is this verse addressing believers or unbelievers? In the context of everything we have seen so far, this passage cannot be addressed to believers in Christ because, it it refers to believers, then it undermines the whole Gospel. If all our past, present, and future sins have been forgiven, there is nothing else to forgive. If we became righteous at the moment of salvation, then there is no more unrighteousness to be cleansed of. We cannot say that we have been cleansed of all sin and that we are still being cleansed, both in the same time. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He said to Peter in John 13:10: John 13:10 (NKJV) 10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”  Based on this verse, many Christians wrongly conclude that, as born-again believers, they are completely washed and clean in a sense, but they still need to wash “their feet” by asking for forgiveness for the sins they do. Such a conclusion is inconsistent with what Jesus did on the cross, and it has nothing to do with the context of the washing of feet, which was about servanthood to each other.  Coming back to 1 John 1:9, this Scripture was written to a congregation of believers, but it was meant for unbelievers, and we will see why. We see this kind of address in the epistle of Romans as well, which was written mainly to believers. However, we find Romans 10:9-10 addressing the unbelievers who might have been in the church among believers, and tells them how to be saved. Moreover, in our churches today, preachers usually use the expression “brothers and sisters” to address a congregation, but not all in the congregation may be true brothers and sisters. Some can be just nominal Christians while others can be  unbelievers altogether. In the same way, especially the first chapter of 1 John was written to the church as a whole, but it addresses a certain context and a certain issue of the day, that was happening in the church, and that was Gnosticism.  Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis,” which means knowledge or insight. We know from church history that near the end of the first century, and in the early second century, proto-Gnosticism, specifically Docetism, arose within the church. Docetism was the doctrine that Jesus Christ didn’t come in the flesh, that He didn’t have a physical body, and that therefore His sufferings were only apparent. In later years, this developed into a theological system known as Gnosticism. By the middle of the second century, this philosophy blossomed into full expression and its advocates were producing their own gospels and epistles, of which the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Judas are some examples. John appears to have anticipated Gnosticism’s development and threat to the health of the church and he wrote 1 John to counteract its influence.  Gnosticism blended Greek dualism with Eastern mysticism. It adopted the dualistic view that only the nonmaterial, or the spiritual, was good while anything material was evil. Along with this, came Eastern mysticism’s focus on a secret spiritual knowledge reserved only for the chosen few. The Gnostics were trying to fellowship with believers in the church and that’s how their ideas and thoughts infiltrated Christianity. They were saying things like the following: “It’s great that you are a Christian, it’s great that you are acquainted with Jesus Christ, but now let me lead you into a deeper knowledge of some de
Session 14 - Confession of Sins (James 5:14-16) (The Glory of Righteousness) Confession of SinsRomans 8:1 says this: Romans 8:1 (NKJV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  Many Christians read the above passage and again they add in their mind, without even realizing, the following: “Yes, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus [as long as they don’t have any unconfessed sins in their lives].” However, that is not true. As we will see from the Bible, confession of sins doesn’t constitute the basis, or the condition of MAINTAINING salvation. Once believers are justified by faith, they have peace with God forever: Romans 5:1 (NKJV) 1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  If maintaining justification or salvation depends on believers’ confession of sins (either of all sins or even only the known sins), then the most loving thing that God, the Father, can do for believers is to take them to heaven immediately after they are saved. This way believers are not in danger of ever losing their salvation by missing even one unconfessed sin. When believers confess their sins, can they be sure they confessed everything? Do they have enough time to confess everything?  For Martin Luther, confession of sins was a daily discipline. Sometimes, he confessed for as long as six hours at a time! He took it to the highest extreme. Luther was asked on one occasion, “Do you love God?” to which he answered, “Do I love God? Sometimes I hate Him.” How could someone say such a thing? Only  someone tormented by his sin could come to such a conclusion. Luther confessed for hours. He would review regularly the Ten Commandments and the seven deadly sins and the greatest Scriptural fear he had was breaking the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). He would also review often the Sermon on the Mount and question whether he could faithfully live according to its principles. The scenes of judgment in the Book of Revelation haunted him as well. R.C. Sproul explains with more details what used to happen in those times in this way, “Confession was a regular part of the monastic life. The other brothers came regularly to their confessors and said, ‘Father, I have sinned. Last night I stayed up after ‘lights out’ and read my Bible with a candle’ or, ‘Yesterday at lunchtime I coveted Brother Philip’s potato salad.’ (How much trouble can a monk get into in a monastery?) The father Confessor would hear the confession, grant priestly absolution, and then assign a small penance to be performed. That was it! The whole process took only a few minutes. Not so with Brother Luther. He was not satisfied with a brief recitation of his sins. He wanted to make sure that no sin in his life was left unconfessed. He entered the confessional and stayed up for hours every day.” Luther’s reason for confession was his fright about God’s judgment. He thought God was offended by his sins, but God was not offended because of Christ’s sacrifice. Luther lived in daily fear of the immediate judgment of God on his life. He said on one occasion, “If I could believe that God was not angry with me, I would stand on my head for joy.” That’s how much he became distressed with the enormity of his own sins and his inability to satisfy a righteous God.  Luther confessed every sin. He hated his sin. In fact, because of his obsession with confession, Luther was even deemed crazy. Some monks believed he had deep sexual struggles, because only that kind of sins would bother a monk so much that he would confess as much as he did. The monks thought Luther was on the verge of a psychotic episode or breakdown. His heavy doses of confession caused even physical pain and suffering to him. He developed digestive difficulties (e.g., kidney stones and gallstones) due to the anxiety caused by his battle with sin. No particular sins distressed him. It was his overall corrupt nature –“What can I do to win a gracious God? Oh my sin, my sin, what shall I do with my sin?” Today, maybe Christians don’t take confession of sins to such extremes like Luther, although they should, if they were really serious about it. However, they still go through a similar relative torment like Luther and always feel unworthy before God. The Israelites in the Old Testament had a Day of Atonement once a year when they would confess their sins and put them all on a goat - a scapegoat called Azazel - and then they would send that goat in the wilderness. Can anyone imagine a few million Jews taking the tim
Session 13 - Believers Cannot Sin (The Glory of Righteousness) BELIEVERS CANNOT SIN (1 JOHN 3:9)1 John 3:9 (NKJV) 9 Whoever has been born of God doesn’t sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.  Many people struggle to understand this passage because its context clearly shows that Christians still sin: 1 John 1:8 (NKJV) 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  1 John 1:10 (NKJV) 10 If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.  1 John 2:1 (NKJV) 1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.  These are three instances from the same letter where the writer, the apostle John, talks about sinning. The first two passages communicate that, “If you say you haven’t sinned, you are a liar.” Then, in the third passage, John adds this, “I am writing to you so that you will not sin (future tense). But if you do sin, you have an Advocate with the Father.” Then, in 1 John 3:9 he declares, “If you are born of God, you cannot sin.” That sounds very contradictory, isn’t it? Both Scripture and experience reveal that Christians can sin and still sin. Even the entire context of the book of 1 John shows that it’s possible for a born-again believer to do something that is sin. Yet, 1 John 3:9 clearly says that if you are born of God, you cannot sin. How can this be? Some people take 1 John 3:9 to mean you cannot “habitually” sin. Several Bible translations now even render it this way. People who think along this line preach something like this: “If you were a drunk before you were saved, you might get drunk once or twice, but if you are truly saved, you will not habitually sin. Eventually, you will see victory in that area, or you were not truly born again.” However, in order to embrace this view, you have to categorize sin – which God doesn’t. To Him, there are no “big” sins and “little” sins. By His definition, we all habitually sin. We all habitually fail to study God’s Word as much as we should. We all habitually fail to love others the way we should. We all habitually fail to be as considerate as we should. We habitually get into self-centeredness, and God has to habitually deal with us about it.  Sometimes, we also pass over things that God calls sins. For instance, God views gluttony the same as drunkenness, adultery, and murder (see Deuteronomy 21:20). Gluttony is a sin that can only happen habitually. You cannot become overweight by eating just one large meal. Even if you gorged yourself one meal, it would only make a pound or two of difference. However, in order to gain an extra fifty to a hundred pounds, you would have to do it repeatedly. Being overweight is a habitual sin. I don’t say that to condemn anyone, because I know there are overweight people who are not that way necessarily because of food. But I want to put things into perspective.  If you interpret 1 John 3:9 to mean that you cannot habitually sin if you are truly born of God, then nobody would qualify, because we all habitually sin. The only way this can be preached is to say, “Well, you cannot habitually do the big sins, but the little sins, yes, you can habitually do them.” However, this is not what this verse is saying.  I believe that the apparent contradiction and confusion created by the book of 1 John concerning the new creation and sin flows from the frequent and subtle alternation between sinning at the level of the body and soul and sinning at the level of the new spirit. If you understand the human composition of spirit, soul, and body and that God deals with the born-again believers in the spirit or at the spirit level, then a better interpretation of this passage would be the following. The only part of you that is born of God is your spirit. Your soul is not born of God and your body is not born of God. They have been purchased, but they are not redeemed yet. Your soul and mind are being renewed, and your body will be glorified at the end. But the only part of you that is changed right now in an instant is your spirit and your spirit cannot sin. That spirit was created in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). Once you believed, your spirit was sealed (Ephesians 1:13), preserved and encased in the Holy Spirit in such a way that sins that you commit in your actions and in your thoughts don’t penetrate it. Since the recreated spirit cannot sin by itself, it retains its purity and its holiness. You don’t lose your spirit’s holiness based on your performance. This understanding is pivotal to having a relationship with God and fellowship with Him.  Based on Hebrews 9 and 10 and on wha
Session 12 - Condemnation and Future Sins (The Glory of Righteousness) Free of CondemnationAnother way your conscience is cleansed of the consciousness of sins is by realizing and acknowledging in your mind and heart that, even when you sinned, you still remain free of condemnation. Let’s read the most famous passage on freedom of condemnation found in Romans 8:1-2: Romans 8:1–2 (NKJV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  Who is Paul referring to in the above passage? He addresses those who are in Christ, meaning the invisible church (which is the true church), and not the visible one. Now, what does it mean for you to be in Christ? It means that you are a born-again believer and a new creation. It means also that you are saved, justified, that you have eternal life, and have the Holy Spirit in you. These are all equivalent phrases about being in Christ. So, this passage is addressed to believers that still commit sinful actions. In the physical and natural realm, when can a court of law condemn you? You are condemned when you break the law of the country you live in. In the spiritual realm, being condemned before God means that you are a sinner. What does “no condemnation” mean before God? It means justification, or having the “justified” legal status declared by God on you as a believer; it’s right standing with God. That means you are “unblammable,” as if you’ve never sinned. Justification is more than forgiveness of sins. In our inter-human relationships, forgiveness means that the wrong done to someone remains still unpaid, but the wronged party chooses to overlook it or forget about it. The phrase “forgiveness of sins” in relation to God can be used only in the sense that believers didn’t pay themselves directly for their sins because of His mercy. But Someone paid. Christ is the One Who paid for them and in their stead, and they paid in Him. God didn’t just overlook or forget their sins without any payment. Christ paid for them. Justification means that believers paid in full for their sins in Christ, and that they have been reborn into a new justified creation that has never sinned. If you received Jesus Christ into your heart as your Savior, then you became justified, you paid in full for all your sins through Christ, and you have been reborn into a new justified creation that has never sinned and will never actually sin ever again. I will explain that in detail later. As a believer in Christ, all your sins - past, present, and future - have been completely and permanently removed, not just forgiven.  In the story of Daniel, after he was thrown into the lions’ den and God saved his life, if someone came to king Darius and told him that Daniel broke the law, it would have been unjust for the king to punish Daniel again for the same law break. Daniel had already been thrown once into the lions’ den. In the same way, God’s justice today demands our acquittal because of Christ’s sacrifice. We are not justified based on mercy, but based on justice and righteousness, because our sins were paid in full in Christ. In the night of the Passover, when the people of Israel were getting ready to leave Egypt, God told them: “When I will pass through your door and see the blood (not your good works or your good name), I will pass over” (Exodus 12:13). Blood means that there has already been a death. Jesus died for us and that’s why God’s righteousness is on our side. Many Christians read Romans 8:1-2 and, unconsciously, add to it in their mind the following phrase:“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus [as long as they don’t do sinful deeds].” However, Paul addresses born-again believers in this verse, who still have sinful deeds in their lives. If they didn’t have any sinful deeds at all, there would not be a reason for them to feel condemned in the first place, and the verse would be irrelevant. The apostle Paul has in mind exactly those people who were regenerated, who were made righteous, but still have sinful deeds in their lives, like you and me. It’s exactly those deeds that have the tendency to make you, as a believer, feel condemned, although you are not condemned anymore. Another way some Christians read the above verse is the following: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus [as long as they do works of righteousness and walk according to the Spirit].” However, at the moment of salvation you have received an eternal redemption and justification, completely apart from works and independent of your good or bad works: Ephesians 2:8–9 (NKJV) 8 For by grace<
Session 11 - The Great Exchange (The Glory of Righteousness) The Great Exchange2 Corinthians 5:21 says the following: 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) 21 For He (God, the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  Question: In what way was Jesus Christ made sin on the cross? Was He made sin only legally OR was He made sin vitally in His nature as well, meaning in His spirit? Then, in what way were believers made righteousness? We have already seen and proved earlier that believers had to be made righteousness both legally and vitally in their nature. Here we will focus on how was Jesus made sin on the cross and on what kind of death He experienced as a result of being made sin. Did His spirit experience spiritual death and complete separation from God together with His physical death? These are very important and complex questions that we will attempt to answer. When I talk about nature throughout this section, I will refer to the spirit of a human being, respectively to the spirit of Jesus Christ.  There are two prevalent perspectives concerning the answer to the above questions. The first perspective is that Jesus was not made sin vitally in His nature, but sin was only legally or judicially imputed to Him. By the same token, born-again believers remain sinners in their nature and righteousness is imputed to them just legally as well. The second perspective is that Jesus was made sin both legally and vitally in His nature, and He took on the nature of Satan on the cross. By the same token, born-again believers become righteousness both legally and vitally in their nature. Both these perspectives have difficulties. The problem with the first perspective is that it makes believers in Christ only legally righteous. The issue with the second perspective is that Jesus takes on the nature of Satan. The viewpoint that I will present and explain in this book is a third alternative: that born-again believers were made righteousness both legally and vitally as I have already proved earlier, but Jesus was made sin only legally, and not vitally in His spirit as well. Moreover, I will advocate that Jesus experienced only soulish death and physical death, but not spiritual death in His spirit. Why do I believe that sin was only imputed legally to Jesus? There are about four reasons for that. First, it’s because whenever the people of Israel brought animals for their sin and guilt sacrifices in the Old Testament, and laid their hands on the animals for the transfer of guilt, those animals never became sin in their nature. It was just a legal transfer. The same happened with the azazel scapegoat that was sent in the wilderness in the yearly Day of Atonement, caring legally all the sins of the congregation. The scapegoat didn’t became sin in its nature. Second, we see that God credited righteousness to Abraham and the other people of God in the Old Testament only legally and in advance, before Christ came to die on the cross. In the same way, sin was imputed to Jesus Christ just legally, but in His case, it was both retroactively (in order to include Abraham as well) as well as for all time. Third, if Jesus had been made sin in His nature, meaning in His spirit, then He would not have been anymore the perfect, blameless sacrifice for humankind’s sins. Let’s read two passages that illustrate how the Passover Lamb of the Old Testament (Exodus 12:21) was a “typology” of Christ and how Jesus Christ, Himself, was going to become the Lamb of God (John 1:29): Exodus 12:21 (NKJV) 21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.  John 1:29 (NKJV) 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  If we continue with this parallel, we can notice that the sacrificial lamb in the Old Testament had to be “unblemished.” At the time of sacrifice, a hand would be laid on the unblemished sacrificial animal to symbolize the transfer of guilt. We can see that in many passages like Exodus 12:5, Leviticus 4:3-4, Leviticus 23-24, Leviticus 32-33, and Leviticus 22:20, but let’s read just two of those passages: Leviticus 22:20 (NKJV) 20 Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf.  Leviticus 4:3–4 (NKJV) 3 If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. 4 He shall bring the
Session 10 - What Is Sin? (The Glory of Righteousness) What Is Sin?Now that we defined righteousness, we are in a better position to define sin, by comparison with righteousness, in a more holistic way. We said earlier that righteousness is the nature of God that defines His character and His ways of doing all things. 2 Peter 1:2-4 says that those who are in Christ have also become partakers of God’s divine nature and righteousness: 2 Peter 1:2–4 (NKJV) 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  Just by looking at the definition of righteousness, we can deduct two things about sin. First, sin is also a nature the same way righteousness is a nature. In fact, the Bible shows that all human beings are born on this earth with a sin nature in their spirit, that was inherited from the first man, Adam. Second, sin is  everything that God is not. Sin is the complete opposite to righteousness, to God’s character, and to His ways of doing things. We can see this contrast illustrated in many passages of the Bible. Let’s read just a few of them: Romans 6:18 (NKJV) 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  Romans 6:20 (NKJV) 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  Similar to righteousness, there is positional sin and practical sin or, better said, inherited sin and manifested sin. Inherited sin or inherited righteousness decide your eternal destiny and have to do mainly with eternal damnation and eternal salvation respectively, while manifested sin and manifested righteousness have to do with the quality of your life here on earth, as well as with eternal rewards after this life. People who remain with a sin nature by not accepting the sacrifice of Jesus, will go to eternal damnation in the lake of fire after physical death, no matter how many good and righteous deeds they did while living on earth. By contrast, those who change their sin nature into a righteousness nature and are transferred from death to life by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus for their sins (John 5:24), will go to eternal salvation in the presence of God after physical death, even though they still did sinful deeds in their lives on earth. Their eternal salvation is secured by their righteous nature received by faith as a free gift and not by their righteous deeds or manifested righteousness.  How should we define “manifested sin” that accompanies the sinful nature or is still present sometimes even in people with a righteous nature? In the eyes of most believers, manifested sin amounts only to immoral and wicked deeds, which have first been revealed by the human conscience when the first man fell, then by the Law of Moses as transgressions of the Ten Commandments, and later on by Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, where He expanded the moral law to the level of thoughts and intentions of the heart (Matthew 5-7). Finally, apostle Paul described in detail in his epistles this kind of manifestations of sin, in passages like Ephesians 5:3-4, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:10-21, and Colossians 3:5-9. These are: sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality, impurity, lust, uncleanness of any kind, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, slander, abusive language, gossip, idolatry, theft, lying, drunkenness, abuse, sorcery, hate, envy, jealousy, strife, anger, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, murder, evil desires, and wickedness. These sinful deeds and attitudes are all sins of commission, mostly external, and they are the most obvious among all sinful behaviors. Then, there are sins of omission like when believers can do some good and yet don’t do it (James 4:17), or when they don’t love God with all their heart, and their neighbor as Jesus loved them.  However, there are also some other sinful deeds of omission that are less obvious, yet still sinful in God’s eyes. If you remember, I mentioned somewhere in the beginning of this book that righteousness does not consist only of morality, although morality is included in it. Righteousness is much more than that; it consists of God’s nature, character, and ways of doing things. Righteousness inc
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