People of Promise 87 If

God’s promises are many and ever true, but they all come with that little two letter word upon which so much depends: “if.” You see, we have to do something in order to receive and function in the promises of God. In Deuteronomy 28 Moses outlined all that God was prepared to do for the Hebrews. Note how the chapter starts: IF YOU will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth (Deut. 28:1).

God is nobody’s fool, and He’s not about to freely pass out His blessings to those who won’t believe in Him, believe what He says, or act in concert with His design for humanity. So, there must be that conditional “if.” This is not a “do it or else” condition. God does not threaten us the way humans might—“if you don’t pick up this room immediately, there will be no supper for you.” It’s not a matter of forced labor, intimidation, fear, badgering, etc., etc. It’s merely a statement of fact, no different that saying, if you want to drive a car you have to have a license.

God’s promises could equally be called “terms of the contract.” For, God has made a blood covenant with humans. There was the old covenant (Old Testament) and then with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, there’s the new covenant (New Testament). John 17 lists the terms of the New Covenant—it is Jesus’ Last Will and Testament. In order to receive all that God has provided for us in this new covenant, we have to sign our names on the bottom of the last page next to where God has signed His. When we do, we say that we agree to the terms of the covenant that God makes individually with each of us. These terms say what we will do and what God will do. So, in that sense, they are promises by God, but they are likewise promises by each of us, individually.

Too often, Christians haven’t read the covenant they made with God. They have only a vague idea of what it really says. Perhaps they have a vague understanding that if they are “good” then God will allow them into heaven. There are plenty of jokes about this: “A man appears at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter asks him….” In this mode of understanding, God becomes the equivalent of Santa Claus—“Making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice, Santa God is coming to town.”

Nothing could ever be further from the real Truth, Who is Christ Jesus. God does not keep a list, and then weigh us and find us either “naughty” or “nice.” He doesn’t dispense gifts to the “good” guys and a lump of coal to the “bad guys.” I almost gag writing this tripe. But, unfortunately this is the misconceived notion that many have.

Here’s how it actually works: we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end (Heb. 3:14). When we give our life to Christ (sign the covenant) then that guarantees us “all He has for us,” and that’s a lot! When we sign the covenant we say that we believe God is real, and that He rewards us with all the blessings outlined in the covenant—which He has also signed in the Blood of Christ Jesus. We have to trust Him fully (have absolute faith in Him) that He will indeed fulfill His end of the bargain, for without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out] (Heb. 11:6).

Now, what God does for us goes well beyond what humans would do for us in a contract. God not only signs the contract with His own blood, but He then makes all His power and authority available to us to help us keep our end of the contract. Not only that, but when we mess up and violate the terms of the contract, He’s ready to forgive us, and set us up back in the full terms of the contract. All I can say is what an amazing thing God has done for us. It just shows how much He really loves us and how much He desires the very best for us.

Now, look carefully at the “if” statement in Heb. 3:14, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end. The question that should immediately come to mind, is “how do I do that?” The answer is rather simple, but the process not so much. Actually the process is simply, just hard to do with any consistency. What God is saying, is “stay in love with me.” “Keep your full confidence in me, never let it drop.”

So how does one stay in love with God and keep up absolute trust of the King of kings? First, and foremost is to constantly work on your RSMMA—read, study, meditate, memorize, and act. Don’t let a day go by that you don’t activate, enhance, and mobilize your trust in God by reading His Word. It doesn’t have to be great swaths of the Word—just reading John 3:16 and spending a few moments contemplating all that’s said there will certainly stimulate your faith. But you have to do it. You have to because faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself) (Rom. 10:17). We know this is absolutely true because we are to look away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2). Jesus is the One Who initiates faith in us and sustains it in us as we live in His Word.

The second part of the equation is to pray daily. Not some dry, preprinted prayer, but prayer from the heart. Certainly you can pray for specific people and specific things, but pray the way you would say it and for the needs that you see. It’s OK to look at the ways others pray, but use it as a model for you own words. What you should think of is that prayer is talking to God on a one-to-one basis with Someone Who loves you so much He was willing to die cruelly on the cross so you could live, and not just live, but live in His total blessing in His eternity. Pray with love and joy in your heart, and gratitude moistening you lips.

Stay young at heart, seek God’s presence and walk hand in hand with Him on a daily basis. BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name! Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! (Ps. 103:1-5).

People of Promise 85 Rock Solid

One of the most important, if not the most important, understanding that we must claim and stand on is the fact that God will never, never, never abandon us, regardless of the situations we face. We can turn away from Him, we can wallow in our own thoughts, have the most glorious pity parties anyone has ever experienced, roll our cares onto others and the world, and completely cut God out of our decisions, but He won’t leave. We need to keep our lives facing into the Glorious Light of His presence, no matter what. We need to grasp, with a grip that will never loosen, very precisely what God has said regarding His ever-presence with us: Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me? (Heb. 13:5-6).

When God says something once, we need to listen and pay the utmost attention (Prov. 4:20-23). When He says it twice, we need to leap to our feet, snap to attention, and get our butts in gear immediately. When He says something three times, well, you get the idea. And in this passage in Hebrews, He say, three times, that He will not in any way leave us helpless, nor forsake, nor let us down. That means that He will not, He will not, He will not!!! Grab this, imbue your life with it, swim in it daily, never, never, never, let it slip away from the very core of your being (Heb. 6:12). If you grasp it as you should, it will become the foundation bedrock of your life. God is always there and will not ever leave you. Hold onto that as if your life depends on it—because it does (Heb. 3:14)

It does in the sense that with absolute confidence in God’s ever-presence and care, you will live the fullness of the life He has for you. Now, in this regard, look carefully at the verses above. There is a great misunderstanding that has been generated by a casual reading of what God is telling us… and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]. Without carefully reading this into the context of the passage, it seems that we are not to try to better ourselves, not try to get a good education, not try to “get ahead,” not try to be more than we are at this particular moment. That’s not what’s being said. Can you imagine God saying “don’t try”? That’s just plain ignorant. Ignorant of what God wants for all of us. In fact, what He wants is for us to never be satisfied with all that we’ve become in Christ Jesus. We are to surge ahead as strongly as possible to become more like Christ Jesus each and every day. We are to work at having ever more faith in the Rock of Our Salvation (PS. 62:2, 95:1, John 6:29).

So what is God telling us about this “be satisfied”? What He is saying is not “don’t try to be more than you currently are,” but rather, “be relaxed in Me, and allow Me to guide you and point you where I need you to go.” “Don’t strive to second guess me.” “Don’t be dissatisfied with your current circumstances because I am with you always, and always working to move you forward.” God wants us to be satisfied in Him. Content to rely on Him. Satisfied with our son/daughtership in Him (Rom. 8:17), and not striving to outfox Him, not all anxious about who He has made us to be, not grumbling because God has not moved us along as fast as we thought He should, not upset because God has called us to move into an area of our lives where we feel a bit uncomfortable. Rather, He wants us to simply rest in Him and respond positively to His directions.

Dissatisfaction can cause some to strive for a better life, but at the same time it causes others to crash, cave in, implode, give up, lose heart, become anxious, experience fear and dread, etc. God says, Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).

And, although He very specifically says, do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble (Matt. 6:34), He does not ever say that we are not to plan ahead. If that were the case, He would not have given us prophets to show us what is to come. Rather, He has specifically told us that when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future] (John 16:13).

God is not against planning, He is not against our wanting to become more than we currently are. He is against anxiety, worry, fear, dread, and all other emotions that drive us away from our reliance on Him. They cause us to be dissatisfied with our current circumstances, and then, rather than planning with God, we grumble, get angry at God, snip at our loved ones, and generally fall into a bad mood. When these emotions come, they are our signals to turn our faces into the bright light of the face of Christ Jesus (Rev. 1:14), and rely fully on Him to help us get through whatever situation we find ourselves in, and onto a higher plain with Him.

We are told to Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will] (1Thes. 5:18). Note this very carefully, we are not to give thanks for the circumstance, but in the circumstance. When things are going great, it’s natural to want to give thanks. But when things are not going great, giving thanks seems a bit much, as if we were hypocritical. No, when things are going bad, we don’t give thanks for the “badness,” we give thanks that God is there, that He will never, never, never abandon us. That He is ever ready to help us get through the bad times. We need to give thanks that we can call out to Him, and He will hear, and help us (1John 5:14-15).

God has sworn to be the anchor for our souls, the “anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.” God, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it—a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil (Heb. 6:17-19).

God wants us to affix our anchor to the three-part cord of the Godhead (Eccl. 4:12), and then allow that anchor to catch onto, and dig deep into, the Great Rock of our Salvation. He wants us to enter His great rest and rely fully on Him (Matt. 11:29-30). And with a promise like the one He has given us in Hebrews 13, we can ever and absolutely be confident of our reliance on His care and love.

People of Promise 84 Rebuilt 4

OK, so we’re on our way to a full rebuild: (1) a new spirit linked eternally to Christ’s Spirit (1Cor. 6:17, Gal 2:20), (2) the mind of Christ to think God’s own thoughts (1Cor. 2:16), (3) God’s Agape love so that we can see the world through His Agape eyes, (4) if we choose, the baptism in the Holy Spirit to empower us to live out the fullness of God’s will, and (5) a new carcass—yet to come. When all is said and done, we will be completely rebuilt from the “ground up,” so to speak: a new spirit, and new soul (mind, will, emotions), and a new body. A resurrected body.

The moment you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you become God’s child (Rom. 8:16-17), and a member of the Kingdom of Love and Light. Your eternal life in God, through Christ Jesus, begins the very moment that you become God’s child. You don’t have to wait until you die to enter God’s eternal rest (Matt. 11:29-30). It’s yours from the very start. And that’s the way we have to live our lives. We don’t live our lives in the “hope” that we will get into heaven. We don’t live our lives looking forward to being with God—He lives in us, now (John 4:20, 17:21). We don’t live our lives somehow wishing that God would help us get things done—He does that all the time, whether we know it or not. We need to live as if we were living with God at our elbow, ever ready to help, advise, counsel, comfort, intercede, teach, strengthen, and standby us—that’s what He’s already doing.

Now about this new body thing. Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead; the Firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29), and as such is the first to have received a new body, a resurrected body that is as different from the old body of flesh and blood as is our new spirit from our old one. He is, and always has been, our paradigm. He models what we are, and what we will eventually become (1Cor. 15:42, 1John 3:2). He is the perfect example of God’s rebuilding program for His children. Do you see what He’s up to? He links our spirit to that of Christ Jesus, Who, unlike Adam, was able to defeat Satan, once for all. He rebuilds our souls, and after this physical body wears out, we’ll get a new one, totally different and totally righteous before God. A new body that won’t be yearning for things that oppose God’s will.

Stop just a second and think carefully. Why would God, in His rebuild process want to leave any part of the old us when He can completely rebuild us? Now have a look at Jesus. His spirit is perfect, His soul is perfect, and His new, resurrected body is perfect. When we finally get to live totally in His presence, we shall be like Him (1John 3:2). We shall not have any desire to live outside a relationship with God. That’s God plan for the new us. Totally new to be totally united with Him. Not so we will be puppets, but so that we can enjoy every last blessing He has for us to the nth degree. That’s what He wants for us. Agape could not want less. Jesus defeated death so that we could have incorruptible bodies that will never be subject to death—and that means never subject to sin.

But there’s more to it than that. God has always wanted us to live lives of health. True, some will live longer than others. True, some will be more subject to sickness and disease than others. But that doesn’t change what God wanted for us when He created us. It reflects, rather, the fact that we live in a fallen world in imperfect physical bodies. It also reflects the fact that Satan attacks the human race with every weapon that he can muster. God, in His mighty wisdom and love for all humans, gave us the capacity to understand sickness and disease and devise ways to help us overcome them—it’s called the science of medicine. Remember, Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse] (James 1:17).

Don’t avoid medicine because you think it “worldly” or in any way of the Evil One. Satan would never give us medicine, only sickness, disease, poison, etc. Only God would give us medicine.

But even beyond that, God is willing to strengthen our mortal bodies and help them to stay healthy. That’s not to say that Christians never get sick or have medical problems, it is saying that God can and does help strengthen our weak, mortal bodies and helps us to fight off sickness and disease. In Proverbs, He tells us, My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:20-23).

Roughly translated this means that the more we dig into, feed on, and digest God’s Word, the more it will strengthen our bodies and help them fight off sickness and disease. For this reason, we need to daily give thanks, and with the Psalmist, say, BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name! Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring] (Ps. 103:1-5).

People of Promise 83 Rebuilt 3

Bending our old will to God’s will is actually impossible. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot (Rom. 8:7). Not only that, but the necessary energy (power) to bend our will to God’s will and keep it there is more than our old natural “soul” can muster (soul = mind, will, and emotions). Even for those that has given their lives to Christ and received the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit, it can sometimes be a difficult task.

Now, look carefully. We have the mind of Christ, which thinks with the things of God to help us operate in all He has for us (1Cor. 2:16). We have God’s own personal Agape love poured out into our hearts so that we can view everything through His Agape eyes, superseding our worldly emotions and allowing us see others as God sees them (Rom. 5:5). These we get automatically as part of God’s grace toward us. But the Holy Spirit (Who helps us bend our will to God’s will) cannot be poured into us unless we choose to invite Him in. His presence can only be given to those that are truly God’s children. The people of the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit under any circumstances. Jesus clearly told us, The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you (John 14:17). At the same time, any person of the world can receive Christ’s redemptive act and become God’s child (Rom. 10:13)—at which time they then qualify for infilling of the Spirit, if they so choose.

When we become God’s children, our new spirit is Christ’s Spirit, and if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you] (Rom. 8:10).  But this not the infilling of the Holy Spirit. That is a separate act, done by a request from us. Think carefully. Were the 120 in the upper room, awaiting Pentecost, Christians or not? Did they believe that Jesus was the Messiah or not? Did they believe this after He rose from the dead? If they did believe that He was Who He claimed to be when they were in that upper room praying, then they were, indeed Christians. And, their new spirits were, indeed, the Spirit of Christ Jesus; the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him (1Cor. 6:17). Clearly, then, the 120 were not just hangers-on, they were full-fledged believers in Christ Jesus. And just as clearly, Jesus had more for them than just the renewing of their spirits.

Jesus, Himself, had commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which [He said] you have heard Me speak. For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with (placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Jesus planned baptism in the Holy Spirit, not just for the 11 remaining apostles, but for all; 120 people in the room, including His mother. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is for all, not just a special few (Rom 2:11).

What He had to give them was not just power, either. What He had was another person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, Who could infill every believer and be with them in all the glorious fullness of the Spirit of Christ Himself. Jesus told us, And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever—The Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you (John 14:16-17). Note the 7 functions of the Holy Spirit toward those who are God’s children.—Helper can also mean “Teacher.”

Read what Jesus said, very carefully, notice exactly how He says it: I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter. Slow down there just a bit. Do you see it? He will give you another Comforter. That must mean that He had already give us one Comforter—that was Jesus. Then Jesus told His disciples: I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you] (John 16:7).

Now how is it possible to do better than having God living in a human body (Jesus), and walking around among us, helping us? He was telling us that although the physical Jesus would not be with us, His Spirit could come and live in us, enabling us to do the work that God has for us (John 6: 28-29, 14:12). We can be “little Christs” doing the work He did when He was here physically—that is the meaning of Christian—“one like Christ.” That should be the goal of every Christian.

I once heard the Christian life compared with a water faucet. We are not supposed to turn ourselves on and off at whim, we are not to be leaky, and drip all over the place. We are, however, to be every ready to pour out the waters of life in whatever measure God asks, when He asks. He turns us on, and He decides how much should flow out of the faucet at any one time. Being filled with the empowering of the Holy Spirit enables us to pour Him out whenever, wherever, and however we are directed to do so.

I’ve heard all the arguments against the “infilling,” or as John the Baptist and Jesus, both, called it “the baptism” with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8, Acts 1:5). I’ve heard them all, and I say to them, “nay, you’ve got it wrong.” It’s no different than atheists saying that God does not give new life to believers, that we are not “born again” (as Jesus called it—John 3:3). How can they possible know what God can and can’t do if they will not trust Him to do what He says He can do (Eph. 2:8, Heb. 1:6)? Likewise, how can anyone not filled with the Spirit say that it doesn’t happen? That’s just silliness.

When I was a wee slip of a lad, the people in my church told me to avoid those “tongue talkers” because it was Devil worship. How was I to know any different? When you’re a tiny tot, you believe what you’re told by parents and those in authority—even the stuff that is simply wrong. Ah, but the Holy Spirit had different ideas, and many years later, as I was deeply investigating every dot and tiddle in the Word, I realized that God does, indeed, still infill people with His Spirit, and is still ready to do so whenever we come to Him and ask with absolute confidence. And so, infilled I was, with speaking in tongues (over which I have absolute control, as God intended). And what does that infilling do? It electrifies and magnifies everything about your relationship with God through Christ Jesus. Suddenly the Bible comes alive (Heb. 4:12), and its meanings become clear and operative in your life. Everything about your relationship to God comes into sharper focus, and to do His will becomes your sole life’s goal. Infilling completes the rebuilding of your soul—mind, will, and emotions. There’s much more that can be said on this subject, as past lessons reveal. To see them go to

People of Promise 82 Rebuilt 2

Our rebuild process began with the crucifixion of our old human nature (spirit), and its full and complete replacement with a spirit linked eternally to the Spirit of Christ Jesus (Gal. 2:20). But that’s only Step One. For you see, we did not get a new body, and the desires of the old carcass are in conflict with the desires of our new spirit (see Rom. 7 and 8). Not just our physical body, but our old soul, too. The soul is the mind, will and emotions. Before we became God’s children, our mind, will, and emotions were strongly influenced by our body and by input from the world around us. We thought the way the world thinks, we desired to do and did things the way the world does, and our emotions were tightly tied to our experiences in the world.

God could not leave us trapped, body and soul, in the ways of the world, and so He made provision for us to receive the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16), the Agape love of God (Rom. 5:5), and infilling of the Holy Spirit and His power (John 14:16-17, 16:7-11, Acts 2:1-4, Eph. 1:19-20). Thus we have installed in us the mind of Christ with which to supplant the old mind related to the ways of the world, the Holy Spirit to help us will what God wills, and God’s Agape to supersede our old emotions. But, and this is a very important but, we have to choose to use the mind of Christ, to be infilled with the Spirit and operate in His power, and to allow God’s Agape to control our feelings.

Remember, we have absolute free will (Deut. 30:19, Josh. 24:15). God cannot make us do anything. We have to choose (we have to “will”) to do God’s will. He will work hand in hand with us to accomplish all that needs to be done in our lives, but we have to choose to allow Him to do so. This is the place where the “rubber meets the road” because it’s very easy to get lazy and slack off, falling back into old worldly habits and actions. If we have the mind of Christ in us, why don’t we think with the mind of Christ, then, and not our old mind, which is focused on the ways of the world?

Well, the mind is not the brain. The brain is our “hard drive,” and just stores information. Any and all information. Good or bad, useful or useless. Our mind is the “thinker,” the “software” that manipulates the information housed in our brain. Our mind is our “decider,” making the decisions by which we guide our lives. And now for the really, really important bit of information: The mind of Christ, which God has put in us, will not, I repeat, will not, think with the things of the world. This is critical to becoming all that God wants us to be. We must, I repeat yet again, we must, choose to get God’s information into our brains so that the mind of Christ will have something to think with, and help us act appropriately.

And this is the tough part. It’s our part (God will help if we ask Him to). There’s no way around it. We cannot side step our responsibility. We have got to Read, Study, Meditate, Memorize, and then Act on God Word. That’s your resume (RSMMA), make it full and complete. There just “ain’t” no other way. I know, it’s time to whine and make excuses; that’s nothing but the manifestation of our childish nature. Get a grip. It’s time to dig in. As I’ve noted in the past, the presence of God in your life and your ability to operate in all His blessing is directly, let me say it yet again, again, directly proportional to the amount of time you spend in His Word and talking with Him about it. So, don’t go to God complaining and accusing. Get your butt in gear and do what you should be doing. As you do, you will discover a joy in working on your RSMMA that will absolutely possess you.

Now, Christians have their own “church” language. That’s good, because it allows us to talk about and think about concepts without always having to define them. But, often the “average” Christian doesn’t have a firm grasp on the definitions of the words being used. So let’s look at a commonly used word that fits in right here: sanctification. It means to become more like Christ Jesus. It means to be set aside for God’s use. It means getting a strong RSMMA together. Now, lets’ see what Jesus has to say about this process of sanctification: Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth (John 17:17). Well now, God’s Word is what purifies us, makes us holy, consecrates us, and sets us apart for God’s use. Furthermore, Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).

As we enrich our RSSMA we are also becoming more free in Christ—more free of Satan’s and the world’s influence, more free to share the Gospel, more free to pray and spend time with God, and more free to continue working to build up our RSSMA. Our faith in Christ and in God’s Word leads to yet more faith, which of course leads to more freedom. For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17).

Dig in, build your RSMMA, and continue to work on it. Free yourself from the things of the world and become all that God’s intends for you. Fill your brain with God’s information and allow the mind of Christ to operate richly in you. Get sanctified and more sanctified. The rewards are both here and now and eternal.


People of Promise 81 Rebuilt 1

We often miss all that God has for us by thinking the way we always did before we came to know Christ as Lord and Savior. One of the reasons that God had the Bible written for us is so that we have a written record that can help us think and act differently—like children of the King (Rom. 8:17) and not children of the world. We need to understand that God has provided a way for us to be totally rebuilt—from the ground up as it were. Since we are three part beings, spirit, soul, and body (1Thes. 5:23, Heb. 4:12), then God must have planned a way to rebuild all three parts. And, of course, He has.

The first rebuild is what happens when we make an honest, heartfelt denial of the ways of the world and accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. When we really and truly repent (turn away from the ways of the world and accept the ways of God) and really and truly ask God to make us His child, we are “saved.” But saved from what, and saved to what? Saved from our old ways of living and being and an eternal life with Satan, and saved to God’s ways of living and being and an eternal life with Him. But, and we need to understand this very, very clearly: God does not automatically rebuild us totally in spirit, soul, and body. There’s work for us to do, too.

He does rebuild our spirit being instantly and completely. He needs to do that so that our spirit (who is the real “us”) can then work with Him to rebuild our souls. When we give ourselves to God through Christ Jesus, our old spirit is crucified (put to death) and we are given a spirit that is eternally linked to the Spirit of Christ Jesus. As Paul noted, I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20).

Rather straight forward, but note the part that says the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God. God’s children are to live in faith in what Christ Jesus has done for us. In fact, when the crowd asked Jesus what their work was, He told then quite bluntly, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger] (John 6:29). We are operate our lives in complete trust in what Jesus did for us. It’s all been bought and paid for by His redeeming work on the cross, and He wants us to believe in what He has done and live our lives to reflect that belief. But then, we have to know all it is that Jesus did for us by His death on the cross. And not knowing is where we fall short.

So, Number One, believe that you now have a spirit that is eternally linked to, and part of, the Spirit of Christ. If that is really true, then this means that you truly are God’s child. Not some old sinner saved by grace, but rather a Child of the King, bought and paid for by the Blood of the Lamb. You are no longer the old you, and you need to think of yourself as a new you. Only then, will you be able to begin the process of becoming all that God intends. We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him] (1John 5:18).

Yet, even as God’s children, we can still sin from time to time, but such sin is not a part of our new God given nature; it is not a part of our new nature to desire to sin. Let’s define sin so that we can see what it really is: sin is living outside a relationship with God. If that’s true, then since we have the Spirit of Christ in us, we are eternally living in a relationship with God. However, the desire to rebel against God still lurks in the background because the information about our old rebellious nature still remains in our brains. So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God) (Col. 3:5). You see, it is not our new spirit that wants to rebel against God, it’s the old us, whose information is still percolating around in our heads.

James very clearly set forth the way to such rebellion, to do things that put us outside a relationship with God. Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death (James 1:13-15). We are responsible. The devil didn’t make you do it, and God didn’t make you do it. You made you do it. Period. End of discussion. What’s the solution? How do we honor our relationship with God and live in it to the fullness He intended?

Paul, who received his revelations directly from Christ Jesus understood this battle of sprit versus worldly desires and information, and wrote, For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [bin the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh]. O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin (Rom. 7:22-25).

If we do sin (operate outside a relation with God through Christ Jesus) then He has provided a way to get fully restored to that relationship. We repent for what we’ve done that offended God (sincerely and honestly turn away from the offense), and ask for His forgiveness. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action] (1John 1:9).

We can indeed, overcome the, “desires of the flesh,” (acts that stand in opposition to God’s desires for us) with God’s help. [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight (Phil 2:13). For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue) (2Pet. 1:3).

And just how do we tap into that power? Easy. We go to God and tell Him we need His help. We explain the situation, in detail, and ask Him to help us avoid doing “xyz” so that we can live in perfect union with Him. We bind and loose as necessary (John 16:19, 18:18) employing the name of Jesus as our authorizing authority (Col. 3:17). And we give praise and thanks to God for all His aid (1Thes. 5:18). That’s the starting point. In the next lesson, we’ll look at other necessary tasks that we have to do that will help us to sustain our relationship to God.

People of Promise 80 Judge Not? 12

Doubt is one of the strongholds of the Evil One. It’s always there, in the background, to haunt us and taunt us. It’s Satan’s way of getting us to rely on only what we can see, hear, taste, smell–the physical. That is not what we know and understand and have faith in relative to our relationship to God. In fact, faith is defined as the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses] (Heb. 11:1). And, therefore, it is faith that doubt is always working against. Doubt is a feature of our “flesh,” not just our skin and bones, but our old “worldly” attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. We are to walk by faith (what we know is true about God) and not by sight (our physical senses and worldly mind) (2Cor. 5:7).

But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you]. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you (Rom. 8:9-11).

There, precious brothers and sisters in Christ, is the way we judge our relationship to our Father—it is always through Christ Jesus. He is the only One Who can give us that relationship, and the only One Who can verify it. There is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). And when we give our lives to Christ, our spirit is permanently linked to the Spirit of Christ Jesus (Gal, 2:20). And so it is that The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).  It is this testimony of the Holy Spirit (Who is the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus) in our lives that allows us to judge our relationship with our Creator.

Because we are creatures of doubt before we become creatures of faith, with lives linked eternally to God through Christ Jesus (2Cor. 5:17), we will, from time to time, lapse back into the old ways of thinking—the ways of doubt and fear. But, we have not been given a spirit that is like the old one, one that lives in constant fear, doubt, and emptiness. No, we have been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2Tim. 1:7). And it’s in this mode that we are to operate and to live out our lives.

So, what to do when fear, dread, anxiety, doubt, and other counter-productive thoughts and emotions raise their ugly heads and try to tear us down? Well, there are several things that we can do. But first and foremost we must pass judgment on them and condemn them. They are already condemned by God, and so we have the right to condemn them in our lives. Hold on just a minute. I’m not saying that we are to be totally oblivious to our emotions and feelings. Exactly the opposite. We need to be 100 percent honest with God and with ourselves so that we can deal 100 percent effectively against them.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Remember you are wearing the Armor of God (or should be) (Eph. 6:13-18). Use it!
  2. You have the right to bind and loose (Matt. 16:19, 18:18). Bind the bad and cast it out of your life. Loose the good stuff—the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). Always loose after you bind so that God’s goodness fills and occupies the space left when the bad stuff has been cast out.
  3. You judge, pass judgment, and carry out the sentence against doubt, fear, etc. in the Name of Jesus (Col. 3:17), and with the Blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11), in the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:19-20, Phil. 2:13).
  4. Probably the best and most significant thing that you can do to give us the wherewithal to judge properly is to stay in the Word. Read every day. Don’t neglect this. Why, because faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself) (Rom. 10:17). Jesus made an interesting comment about why we need to read, study, meditate, memorize and act on the Word when He said, Whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Matt. 13:12). He wasn’t saying the He would take away the pitiful amount of knowledge from those who have not. He was alluding to the fact that (1) we tend to forget over time, and (2) Satan and his minions are always trying to ram stuff into our minds that slowly but certainly push out the things of God, unless we constant re-enforce what we know about Him. Staying in the Word constantly helps us to judge the things that enter our life and help us to dispel the bad and keep the good (Rom. 12:9, 21).

People of Promise 79 Judge Not? 11

Now, lest you think that this “judge not” idea reflects God’s heart, and that He doesn’t judge, because “if God is love He would never send anyone to hell,” let me straighten you out. God does very much, indeed, judge. In fact, that was the problem with humankind right from the beginning. Adam’s idiot move of believing Satan rather than his Creator, put the whole world under judgment, and it has been thusly positioned ever since. Jesus’ mission was to create a way for any human who wants to escape the penalty imposed by God’s judgment to do exactly that.

In fact, Jesus told us that was His very specific mission. If anyone hears My teachings and fails to observe them [does not keep them, but disregards them], it is not I who judges him. For I have not come to judge and to condemn and to pass sentence and to inflict penalty on the world, but to save the world. Anyone who rejects Me and persistently sets Me at naught, refusing to accept My teachings, has his judge [however]; for the [very] message that I have spoken will itself judge and convict him at the last day (John 12:47-48). Can’t get much clearer than that. Jesus did not come to judge but to save. Why not judge? Because the world is already under judgment. Jesus said, that when he went to the Father, He would send the Holy Spirit to us. And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment: About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him (John 16:8, 11).

Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), and all who have not made Jesus Lord are under the control and judgment of the Evil One. Remember, whomever you believe is your god. In that regard, look at the definition of Grace. It is God assigning to humans His judgment and favor of Jesus. And yes, God had to judge Jesus. When He did, He found Him perfect and perfectly pleasing (Luke 3:22). Thus, all who appropriate what Jesus bought and paid for on the cross and become one with Him (Gal. 2:20), get God’s judgment and favor of Jesus assigned to them. Likewise, all who are under the headship of Satan—that is, all who are not under the headship of God–receive the judgment that is due to Satan.

That’s why Paul could write so assuredly: Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit (Rom. 8:1). When we become God’s child (Rom. 8:17), we really are new creatures (2Cor. 5:17), and we need to start acting and thinking that way. We are free, free, free. No longer under the condemnation of God’s judgment, but living in all that He has for us—in total freedom and harmony with Him.

This does not mean that we are perfect and never sin anymore (1John 1:10). That’s just a pipe dream. No, we are not made perfect in every way by salvation. We are, however, made to be God’s children and able to grow more like Him. We are not made perfect, but we are made able to grow toward perfection. God made humans so that He had someone to share His love with (John 14:21, Eph. 2:4, 1John 4:10, 19), and recognizing this is the first step in our journey to become all that God wants us to be. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life (John 5:24). We could likewise say, that anyone who accepts Christ as Lord and Savior is passed over from judgment to freedom.

Now about this Hell thing. Of course God does not want anyone to go to Hell, but it’s not His choice. Absolute free will means absolute free will. You can’t say “The Devil made me do it.” Equally likewise, you can’t say. “God made me do it.” All you can ever really say is “I made me do it.” Yes, there can be influences both good and bad—like to old cartoons of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other—but in the end, you are totally responsible for you. And that’s hard to accept. It leads people into such misshapen ideas as “predestination”—everything is all preplanned by God. What a lie that is. If God had it all preplanned, then free will is not free will. Not only that, but it would mean that He preplanned for some to become His children and the rest to go to Hell; some to get cancer and some not; some to die young and some to live to a ripe old age; some to die in car accidents and others to go their whole lives without an accident; and so on. Odd thinking that, especially in light of the fact that God wants everyone saved, and that all who call upon the name of Jesus can and will be saved.

No, what we can count on is the promise that the “world”—our human nature without God is under judgment and thereby under condemnation, and that all who have made Jesus Lord and Savior are not under judgment and condemnation. That’s reason aplenty to celebrate, and something that everyone should be told.


People of Promise 78 Judge Not? 10

The whole idea of not judging and not evaluating lest we “be judged” is certainly not God’s idea. True His Word (in English) seems to say that, but look a bit more closely at the Amplified Bible translation: Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released (Luke 6:37).This is talking about a judgmental spirit and holding onto resentment and unforgiveness, not about evaluating the facts. In fact, as we’ve seen, there are plenty of reasons to be evaluating things in our lives and those things around us that impinge on our lives.

Hmm, perhaps looking at the whole passage will give us a better idea of what God is really saying. It’s not any different than jerking the statement “and you’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free,” out of context. If you really want to understand this truth thing from John 8:32, the read John 8:31. Likewise to really want to see what this “judge not” thing is really all about, read it in the context of the whole passage dealing with that statement.

Luke 6:27 But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred,

Luke 6:28 Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you].

Luke 6:29 To the one who strikes you on the jaw or cheek, offer the other jaw or cheek also; and from him who takes away your outer garment, do not withhold your undergarment as well.

Luke 6:30 Give away to everyone who begs of you [who is in want of necessities], and of him who takes away from you your goods, do not demand or require them back again.

Luke 6:31 And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.

Luke 6:32 If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even the [very] sinners love their lovers (those who love them).

Luke 6:33 And if you are kind and good and do favors to and benefit those who are kind and good and do favors to and benefit you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? For even the preeminently sinful do the same.

Luke 6:34 And if you lend money at interest to those from whom you hope to receive, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you? Even notorious sinners lend money cat interest to sinners, so as to recover as much again.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.

Luke 6:36 So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].

Luke 6:37 Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.

Luke 6:38 Give, and [gifts] will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will they pour into [the pouch formed by] the bosom [of your robe and used as a bag]. For with the measure you deal out [with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others], it will be measured back to you.

This passage really has to do with the way we treat others, not in the way in which we evaluate facts. As God’s children, we are to show God to the world, not our ugly old sinful nature. When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are given a spirit linked forever to Christ’s Spirit (Gal. 2:20), and we thus become new creatures in Him (2Cor. 5:17). It is the new creature that is supposed to be in charge, not the old one. We are to think with the mind of Christ (2Cor. 2:16) and not with the mind of our old sinful nature. We are to act and speak in the power of the Spirit, and not the way the people of the world think and act and speak.  This is basically the entire message of Paul to the Corinthians and to us.

So get on you thinking cap. You are supposed to judge, to evaluate, to use God’s Word as the guide to the way we evaluate and think. When Jesus sent the disciples out to peach the Good News to the Jews, He very specifically said to them: Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves. Be on guard against men [whose away or nature is to act in opposition to God]; for they will deliver you up to councils and flog you in their synagogues (Matt. 10:16-17).

In other words, watch out! Being as wise as serpents means to: Be careful! Pay attention to what’s going on around you! Evaluate the situation! Don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder. Don’t beat people up side the head with your Bible and give God a black eye in the process. Peter, impetuous Peter, took this to heart and told anyone who will pay attention, But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully (1Peter 3:15). That’s being as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove, and judging aright.


People of Promise 77 Judge Not? 9

Here come da judge, here come da judge! That’s you. The book of Judges in the old Testament describes the time when judges governed the Hebrew people, before they had their first king, Saul. They had crossed into the promised land, and soon fell prey to the temptations to co-mingle with the inhabitants thereof and worship their idols. In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judg. 17:6, 21:25). This is basically anarchy, and was, and is, not God’s plan for His children. His plan is for us to have Him as our King and Leader. It is His plan for His children to follow His lead and do what is pleasing in His eyes, not for us to act independently and do whatever we dang well please.

So, God set up judges to guide the Hebrews into the Truth of His Word. Some of these were warrior judges, some were prophet judges (like Eli and Samuel), and others were just judges. And not all were men. Deborah was a judge. None-the-less, they had the job of administering God’s Law to the people so that they clearly understood what was right and what was wrong in God’s eyes. They were not kings, rather guardians and guides, and they had the right to literally judge the actions of individuals, or to judge the people at large.

God is not a benevolent dictator. He’s not any kind of a dictator. Far from it. God has given us total free will (Deut. 30:19, Josh 24:15). This means that He is incapable of being a dictator. What He wants to be is our Leader, our Guide, our benefactor, our Blessing, our Gracious Lord, our Father. He has established His headship and leadership through our covenants with Him—the Old Covenant (old Testament) and New Covenant (New Testament). We currently live under God’s grace and not under the old Law. That’s because Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the Law and fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah, and so was able to become our Sacrifice and buy us back, out of bondage to the Evil One (Gal. 4:5, Titus 2:14). Thus under the New Covenant, anyone who wishes to become God’s child, and benefit from all that He has for us, need only ask. For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved (Rom. 10:13).

When we become God’s child we also become a judge. That is, God writes His Law in our hearts (Jer. 31:33), and we get to judge our own lives. This is critical. We need to always be self-examining, on a day-to-day basis, not once a year on our birthday or some other self- appointed time. Certainly we need to be doing so before communion (1Cor. 11:28), but we also need to be watching our words and actions as if watching another—to evaluate and see areas where we can improve (Rom. 14:22).

We can act as a warrior judge, standing in the armor of God (Eph. 6:13-18), wielding the sword of the Spirit and resisting the Evil One so that he flees from us (James 4:7). For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (2Cor. 10:4-5). We can act as a prophet judge, speaking forth the Truth of God’s Word to evangelize, instruct, exhort, and edify others (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-18). We can be self judging, looking honestly at ourselves and seeing what God sees, so that we may change and become stronger in who we are in the Lord.

But we are not to have a judgmental attitude toward others. Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s. Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? (Rom. 2:1-4).

Don’t do any of this judging on your own. First, ask for wisdom in the judging process (James 1:5). Second invoke the name of Jesus in your prayers and in your evaluation. And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him (Col. 3:17). Don’t try to be a judge on your own. After all, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin and helps us sort out the good from the evil and select the good. And when He comes (the Holy Spirit-GB), He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me]; About righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer; About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him (John 16:8-11).

You are a judge, commissioned by God to evaluate your life and change it to more closely align with His Word (Phil. 2:12). This, by the way, is called sanctification (John 17:17)