Let me offend some of you right out of the gate.
G-d is not that impressed with your unrighteousness or your real failures, not nearly as impressed as some of y’all are with them.
Now that I have said that, let me frame what i mean.
See, many of us enjoy making much of how much of a sinner we were/are/will be when we come to Christ. And yes, I know, there are some pretty messed-up things that we each did in our live BC (Before Christ).
However, what we end up doing is making the egregious error of saying we ARE sinners saved by grace.
We take our own unrighteousness, real or perceived, and make that the determining factor and lynchpin of our walk with Christ. “But I am going to sin every day. Even when Ben Franklin kept a list and tried to stop sinning, he came around at the end of the day and saw it was impossible”.
Um, how do I put not to fine a point on my response.
How about, “hell, no”, for starters?
The rat race of staying sinless as an end in itself is an exercise in futility.
And there is no reason to add sin to sin by saying we are filthy, miserable, bastard, sinners who are barely saved by grace, and then engaging in an attitude of self-spiritual-rape as if we are not good enough, and then inviting the enemy to do the same on a near-constant basis.
Your sin and your unrighteousness Before Christ, real or perceived, is not the Lodestone, lynchpin, North Star, or the Determinant of the Matrix (see Linear Algebra and Cramer’s Rule for an explanation) of your relationship with Christ after coming to know Him. Rather, his righteousness is. And He sanctifies you and makes you righteous. Romans 8 is an astounding exposition of this concept.
I WAS a sinner. You WERE a sinner. You have been redeemed, and are a new creation.
You ARE ravished by His affections, He deeply adores you and chases you and treasures you and HAS, even in your pre-Christian state, given you gifts from conception. One of these is called your Redemptive Gift.
He has foreordained you to chase after your destiny, not beat the hell out of yourself and focus on your pre-Christian state.
Sure if you mess up, you repent. I told the Prophetic Movement they neede to fix that mindset of near constant screw-ups. That is why 1 John 1:9 is in the book.
But overall, we move from glory to glory, and from faith to faith, not from glory to inglory, or from faith to obsession with dead carcasses and old bodies that Christ has buried.
Sure we may return from time to time and say, “did I realy screw up that badly before He found me?’. But we do not make that the reference point for our compass.
Rather, we make it True North. Or in Scripture, True East.
Now tell me and expound what you are.
And let me expound this with an appendix from my book on Ephesians.
DO not pit your unrighteousness against Christ’s righteousness and live as if your unrighteousness matters more than or somehow overcomes Christ’s righteousness.
It does not, not even close….
A List of the Benefits that Believers have as a Result of the New Birth
******NOTE: Before you go into this list, PLEASE STOP ASKING what is not possible, and begin to ask G-d what IS possible. Stop saying what always happens in your life and start believing for what CAN happen in your life. You can get all the information you want and get this stuff as head knowledge, but until you accept what G-d has promised by faith, it will not come alive in your heart. No eye has seen what is possible, no ear had heard, and it has not entered into our minds what G-d has prepared for us who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).*********
“He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” -Ephesians 1:3-
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is not variation or shifting shadow.” -James 1:17-
Benefits merely as a result of the New Birth. Ladies and gentlemen, this is your identity as a result of being born again:
- We have access to every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3)
- We are chosen in Jesus. (Eph 1:4)
- We are able to be holy and blameless in Jesus (Eph 1:4)
- In tender love, we are predestined to sonship, which is adoption as mature sons that reflect the character and qualities of the Father that adopted us (huios) (Eph. 1:4-5)
- “Predestined” is broken apart into “destined” and the prefix “pre-” which means, ahead of time. He has a destiny for us that is given to us ahead of time. (Josh. 1:8). That destiny is to succeed and not fail, to increase from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), and to increase from faith to faith (Rom 1:17).
- The question is, will we accept that path and destiny, or will we reject it, choosing instead a mediocre life that does nothing, says nothing, and is nothing. He did not call us so that we would constantly struggle with addictive sin, and constant nagging failures and regrets. He called us to a place of transformation (2 Cor. 5:17).
- We were predestined according to the kindness of the Father’s will (Eph. 1:5).
- The Father bestowed His grace freely upon us (Eph. 1:6).
- The Father bestowed this grace on us in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6).
- If there is any confusion as to the identity of the Beloved, it is the Beloved Son, in whom the Father is well-pleased (Matthew 3:17, 17:5, Mark 1:11, 9:7, Luke 3:22), Jesus.
- In Jesus we have redemption through His blood (Eph. 1:7).
- Forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7, Isaiah 53:5).
- Healing of sicknesses and deliverance from demonic oppression (Matthew 8:16-17).
- Healing of sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).
- We have forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7).
- We have access to the riches of His grace. This grace has been lavished on us (Eph. 1:7-8, 1 Jno. 3:1).
- Is there anything the L-rd’s grace cannot provide?
- We have access to all wisdom and insight (James 1:5, Eph 1:8).
- By His wisdom and insight, we have access to know the mystery of His will (Eph. 1:9).
- As His sons, we have no need to ask, “what is the will of G-d for my life”? He will give us the answer. We will never be left in the dark as to His will (John 10:27).
- We have access to this will, specifically as a result of the Father’s Kindness.
- His will for us as individuals is given with a view to the end of days. He wants to fit His plan for our lives into the larger plan of the ages. We play a part in that plan. But we have to agree and get our will in alignment with His will. Eph 1:10)
- We have an inheritance that is multifaceted, comprising many different things (Eph 1:11).
- We have a destiny that was written for us ahead of time (Eph. 1:11).
- We have been sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13).
- The seal of the Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance. He is the Father’s down-payment to us, the first installment, and the entry-point into that inheritance. Hence, we are responsible to get to know Him really, really well. (Eph.1:14)\
- We have the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation who give us the knowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our knowing G-d does not come merely or only from reading about Him in a book, and acquiring a bunch of information, rules, and regulations. It comes from encountering Him as we read, as we pray, as we worship, as we meditate on Him and the Scriptures. We can know Him. He reveals Himself to us and gives us flowing Wisdom (Eph. 1:17).
- Our eyes have been enlightened (Eph. 1:18).
- He has a rich and glory-filled inheritance in us (Eph 1:18).
- Are we using the riches and the glory He has put in us?
- The greatness of His power is pointed toward us who believe (Eph. 1:19).
- We have working in us the strength of His might (Eph. 1:19).
- We have this same strength working toward us and on our behalf (Eph. 1:19).
- All demonic authorities and rulers and principalities and dominions are under His feet. We are His body and He is our head, therefore these things are placed under our feet (Eph. 1:21-23)
- We have been given Christ, by the Father, as our head (Eph 1:22).
- If Christ is our head…what are the implications?
- Christ fills us with His fullness, therefore nothing in us need be lacking, missing, or incomplete in Him. You are not incomplete until He makes you one with your husband-to-be or wife-to-be. You are complete and fulfilled in Christ, when He comes to live in you. The sad truth is most believers refuse to apprehend that truth, much less appropriate that truth (Eph. 1:23).
- You are no longer dead in sins (Eph. 2:1).
- You are no longer walking according to the course of this world (Eph. 2:2).
- You are no longer children of wrath (Eph 2:2).
- You are no longer living in the lusts of the flesh (Eph. 2:3).
- You are the recipient of infinite and tenderest affections, and the fullness of His heart. You have unhindered access to the fullness of the depths of the heart of the infinite creator of the universe. This relationship with the Lord can grow like nothing else. Think of the most lush, verdant garden in the midst of spring. This is much greater than that (Eph 2:4, Song of Solomon 4:16, Psalm 23:2-3).
- We have been saved by grace, which is more than just freed from eternal separation from God. We are the recipients of a birthright, a calling, a destiny (Romans 8:29), deliverance (See Exodus), healing from all issues emotional and physical, and a whole compliment of commanded blessings (Psalm 133).
- We are raised up in Jesus, (Resurrected) and full of the power of His resurrection (Eph. 2:6, Romans 8:11)
- We are seated with Jesus (See #23, Eph. 2:6).
- Given that the L-rd is G-d Most High, and given that Melchizedek was priest of G-d Most High, if we are seated with Christ, and if we are a royal priesthood, then we are seated in the highest places and we are therefore as a result of that, made priests after the order of Melchizedek. We are thus priests after that shadow and type. We are priests of G-d Most High (Genesis
- In the ages to come, the Father will show the surpassing riches of His grace and kindness to us. What does that mean now? A portion of those riches, the down payment of His inheritance in us, is available to us now, as this list details. How much of His kingdom is available? Let us see (Eph. 2:7, 1 Cor. 2:9).
- We have not been saved by law, though the law is a good thing and not to be despised. We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8, 1 Jno. 3:1).
- We have been given such a large gift of grace from G-d (Eph. 2:9).
- We are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10).
- We are not separated from Christ (Eph. 2:11).
- We are included (part of) in the commonwealth of Israel (Eph. 2:12).
- We are no longer strangers to the covenant with Abraham (Eph. 2:12).
- We have hope (Eph. 2:12).
- We are with G-d (Eph 2:12).
- We have been brought as near to G-d as we want to be, so long as we want to draw near, and to the extent to which we want to draw near (Eph. 2:13, Jas. 4:8).
- We need not fear drawing near to G-d, as if we need to fear Him punishing or spanking us at random or on a whim. G-d is not in a bad mood, nor does He experience mood swings. He is not an absentee drunk, or abuser.
- We are not given some ethereal, intangible peace. The Father Himself is our peace, and the Son Himself is our peace. The man, Christ Jesus is our peace. The Prince of Peace is Himself our peace (Eph. 2:14).
- We who are non-Jews are made one with those who are Jews (Eph. 2:14-15). He has made peace between Jews and non-Jews.
- We have been placed in one body with the Jews because of the cross, and thus have access to the covenants given to the children of Abraham (Eph 2:16, Gal 3:29, Romans 4:16).
- We are reconciled with Israel in one body to the Father (Eph 2:16).
- We have access by the power of the Holy Spirit to the Father (Eph. 2:18).
- We are not strangers, aliens, bastards, or second-class stepchildren who are tolerated a corner in heaven (Eph 2:19).
- We are CITIZENS (Eph. 2:19).
- We are part of G-d’s household (Eph. 2:19).
- We are built on the right foundation in this household (Eph. 2:20).
- We are being fit together (Eph. 2:21).
- We are fitted with the capacity for growing (Eph 2:21).
- We are part of a holy temple, and the temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:21, 1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:19).
- We are being built into a dwelling for G-d’s Spirit. Combined with #54, this makes us “already” and “not yet” a temple for the Spirit. Scripture is full of many of these “already/not-yet” paradoxes.
- If we yield our lives to Jesus, deny ourselves, we have access to become prisoners of Christ Jesus, for whatever people groups He has called us to minister to. (Eph. 3:1).
- Your “cross to bear” is not a sickness or a mental disorder, or some imperfection, or some handicap. There is only one “cross to bear” according to Scripture. The only “cross to bear” is the cross of self-denial, period. If you take up that cross, and only that cross, you will find the life He has always wanted you to have.
- The statement “whatever does not kill you only makes you stronger” is not biblical. Whatever does not kill you is not from G-d, because G-d wants to kill you. Deny yourself. A sickness is not you denying yourself. A malady is not denying yourself. A handicap does not make you humble. You can be a quadriplegic and still have pride up to your eyeballs. You can live below the poverty line and still be entrenched in greed as high as the sky. What does the trick in carrying your cross is denying your rights whatever those might be. Your right to fornicate, be offended, walk in pride, walk in lust, etc.
- We can receive revelation in order to know the mysteries of G-d (Eph. 3:3).
- We can understand insight into the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4).
- We can walk in the same revelation that the apostles and prophets walked in (Eph. 3:5)
- We are fellow heirs of the promises given to Israel in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph. 3:6).
- We have access to the unfathomable riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8).
- We have access to the manifold wisdom of G-d (Eph. 3:10).
- We have access to G-d’s boldness and confident access to the Father (Eph. 3:12).
- We can be strengthened with power through G-d’s Spirit (Eph. 3:16).
- Christ can dwell in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17).
- We can be rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17).
- We have the capacity to comprehensively know the breadth, length, height, and depth of G-d’s love which surpasses knowledge. We can know what surpassess knowledge (Eph. 3:19).
- We can be filled with all the fullness of G-d (Eph. 3:20).
- We have access to more than we ask or think according to the power at work in us (Eph. 3:20).
- We can walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1).
- We can walk with humility (Eph. 4:2).
- We can walk with gentleness (Eph. 4:2).
- We can walk with patience (Eph. 4:2).
- We can preserve the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3).
- We are each given grace (Eph. 4:7).
- We have each been given gifts (Eph 4.8).
“Get into the car and drive off into all G-d has for you.”