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Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 1:10 AM
HI, HOPE YOUR OK.................
BUT I'M SURE YOU'RE RIGHT WHERE GOD WANT'S YOU!! GOSH, DO I EVER WISH I COULD KNOW GOD LIKE YOU DO! BUT I AM SUCH A SINNER I BLOW IT DAILY. I KNOW I'M A BIG ZERO.
DO YOU THINK I'LL LOSE MY SALVATION FOR SMOKING CIGARETTES?? I FEEL SO DEFEATED. & SO TIRED OF LIFE. GOD HAS DELIVERED ME FROM SO-MUCH BUT I CAN'T SEEM TO WIN THE TOBACCO WAR???? SORRY FOR DUMPING ON YA!!
I THINK YOUR MESSAGE IS RITE-ON.--ONLY JESUS DESERVES HONOR & PRAISE. GOSH I WISH I HAD SOME GOOD FELLOWSHIP--WITH FOR-REAL BELIEVERS.
I KEEP THINKING OF HOW ABRAHAM WAS''JUSTIFIED'' BY FAITH. IS GODS LOVE CONDITIONAL??????
FROM A PAIN, [undisclosed]
[The above text is a copy of an email as it was received. Others have sent similar questions and sentiments, so I thought posting some of the email along with the replies, might help someone else who might be going through the same things. Since we all go through these things every now and then, perhaps this might help someone else who is under similar attacks of the enemy. We all need to be aware of and recognize the subtle devices of the enemy: how he loves to torment us by manipulating our thoughts and feelings in order to accuse and condemn. The text below was written in reply.]
Have you lost your mind?
First of all, your note to me seems to indicate that you think I must be "holier than thou" as if you sin but I don't? You may not have meant to suggest that but I see that you do not see me, or think of me, as being a sinner just like you. Whatever gave you the idea that I must walk on water or that I don't sin or that somehow I must be better than you? We all sin, and in fact the word of God says that if any man says he does not sin, he is a liar. [So much for the idea or image of sinless perfection while we are still in this mortal flesh!]
Secondly, If you could go to hell just because you smoke cigarettes or because you still struggle with sin then obviously the blood of Jesus was not powerful enough to cover that, right?
[If we confess our sins] Since when did the blood of Jesus Christ lose it's power to save and to continue to cleanse us????
It seems to me you need to get past the deceptive teachings that your salvation is somehow based on your performance instead of upon Jesus Christ . [The emphasis on "performance based salvation" toward which so many churches have leaned so heavily for so long has very nearly done away with His mercy and His grace and His ability to save us at all!]. You need to get back to the central truth of the gospel!
Read the book of Galatians. Did you get saved by your good works or by how spiritual you were? Did you get saved by how holy you were? [No!] Since you have accepted Jesus Christ and trust Him for your salvation, since you are saved by grace by the work of Jesus Christ on His cross, do you suppose that you must now finish your own salvation by the work of your own hands?
Your works in this mortal flesh did not save you and your works cannot keep you! Did you earn your salvation by your good behavior? [No.] You did not earn your salvation by your works or by good behavior, Jesus Christ saved you by His works and by His obedience [and He saves us when we come to Him, in spite of our disobedience!]
And since your righteousness is "of Him" -meaning since you are counted as righteous in the sight of God based on what Jesus Christ did for you and not because of you &/or of your works, then why do you let the enemy harass you with such condemnation?
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. <--- That means, there is no condemnation for those who trust in Jesus and in His work [which God worked through Christ by His Spirit] for their salvation. It means there is no condemnation for those who choose not to "walk after" the flesh, i.e., who chose not to trust in the ways of the flesh or in the works "of the flesh" for salvation.
You do not earn salvation by your merit or by your virtue. And you do not keep your salvation by personal virtue or your own merit: Jesus does/and did that by His virtue and on the basis of His merit! [I repeat, OUR SALVATION is by HIS merit and HIS virtue -which [for believers means] in CHRIST ALONE!
Paul the Apostle said that he considered himself "the chiefest of sinners." and he also talked about how he himself still had to deal with sin "working its will in his flesh." Paul said that the things he wanted to i.e., knew he should do, he didn't do and he said the things he did not really want to do, he ended up doing.
Now doesn't that sound just like you and I? That is our human state IS until Jesus returns, until this corruptible mortal flesh puts on the incorruptible at His coming. Until then, unfortunately, we will still have to deal with the problem of the old sin nature trying to rise up. Until then, we still have to deal with "sin working its will in our flesh" even though we have in fact, already been delivered from the power of sin by Him and "in Christ" we are counted [by God] as righteous [in His sight] by and because as the Lamb of God by the blood of Jesus Christ, HE made atonement for all our sins as our Great High Priest.
[Read the Book of Romans especially chapters 5 through 14]
Meanwhile as Christians, until Jesus Himself returns [bodily in the clouds of His glory] we have His promise of our redemption and we already also have been sealed by His Spirit; we have been adopted by God as His own [in His Son] and His Spirit bears witness with our spirit of this fact, crying Abba, Father.
Having received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He has sealed you with His Holy Spirit whereby He has given us the promise of redemption through Him! So hold fast to your confidence in Jesus Christ, knowing that as the scripture tells us: HE IS able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him. Hold fast to your profession of faith, knowing in whom you have believed! Remember, dear brother, that HE IS well able to keep that which you have committed unto Him [the keeping of your soul you have entrusted to Jesus Christ who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls!]
I realize the enemy even tries to use scripture to try to condemn you for your failures, but you have to remember that Jesus Himself has fulfilled every requirement of the word of God on your behalf for your salvation! Your salvation rests in Him and who He is, NOT in you!
We need to read His word in the Light of all that He is! It is written "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." God's perfect holiness demands perfection but He knows that man cannot measure up to that standard [because man is not perfect, man is not God and man cannot be perfect like God.]
Knowing that we could not measure up to the holiness and perfection of God, Gos gave us His only begotten Son and through His death and resurrection Jesus alone now stands in our place "to be all that we could not be"! If we arw in Christ, Jesus Himself stands for us in our place, Jesus Himself is counted "as our" perfection on our behalf!
The word of God tells us: "be ye holy for I am Holy" but again, you have to remember God has made provision for our holiness "IN CHRIST". God provided His Only Begotten Son to be "holiness" for and on behalf of those who are "IN CHRIST"!
It is written that "without holiness, no man shall see God." When God put that in His word, God already knew that there is only One Way that "we" could ever be counted as "holy" in His sight! The only Way we can be counted as holy in His sight is for us to come to God through Jesus Christ His Son, asking Jesus to forgive our sins and save our souls. Having been born again by the Spirit of God by grace through faith which is in Jesus, HE receives us unto Himself as members of His body and hides us in Himself so that HE HIMSELF then stands in our stead. "In Christ" JESUS HIMSELF stands as our holiness for us in our place on behalf of those who have received Him trusting Him for their salvation. By grace throguh faith which is in Him, Jesus Himself justifies us and sanctifies us IN HIMSELF.
In order for us to be counted as holy [sanctified] in the sight of God who alone is alone is Holy, we must come to God through His Son so that we can be hidden "in Him and by Him" who is Holy (God). Jesus Christ stands in our place so that we can be holy because He is God! Do you get this? Jesus Himself is God and He came in person to hide us "in Himself" so that He Himself could "stand for us" as our "Holiness unto the Lord". For those who have received Him: He is hides us in HIMSELF so He can count us as holy by virtue of His Holiness alone!
If you think you can lose your salvation because you sin then what you are actually saying is that we have to STAY perfect and sinless "in and of our own selves" as if somehow because we've been saved it must mean we're never going to sin at all or we're dammed from then on? Then WHY does the word of God in the New Testament make provision for us as CHRISTIAN believers to have our sins confessed and forgiven?
In 1John 2:1 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. [In other words, John is indicating that he teaches first of all "that we might not sin" and it is certainly better that we didn't sin, but [our human nature being what it is] -so that we do not despair when we sin, John goes on to say in that same verse ...] "...and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world."
Here is a basic definition of the word "propitiation" taken from Microsoft's Dictionary:
propitiation, expiation, satisfaction, reconciliation, conciliation, pacification
reclamation, redemption, divine function
sacrifice, offering, burned offering, peace offering, sin offering, oblation
sin-eater, scapegoat, whipping boy, chopping block, substitute
peace offering: propitiation, appeasement, leniency
divine function: propitiation, atonement, redemption, justification, salvation, mediation, intercession
oblation: expiation, propitiation, atonement
Jesus Himself IS all that for us even though [and because He knows] we sin. Jesus Christ is our holiness. He Himself is our Righteousness. He Himself IS our sanctification: our sanctification is "of God", it is "by Him" and it is "through faith in Him". That is where your salvation is! Your salvation rests not in or by your works but salvation is of Him, and in Him, by Him and through Him: by grace through "faith in Him" -in Him, as your all!
He came and did it all for us because God knew we could not. Remember, Jesus did not come to blaze some trail for us to follow but rather He Himself -IS- "The Way". Jesus did not come as some kind of an avatar -He was not just some prophet pointing the way [He is The Way.] Jesus was not some ascended master, He is the Master, He is Lord and He is God. Jesus Christ didn't come as some kind of Hindu "way-show-er" so that He could show YOU how YOU ought to do it!
Because God knew that all men sin and fall short of the glory of God and He knows that we are not perfect nor sinless, in His wisdom, God sent His Son: who came to do it for you and for me. Through His suffering and His death, and by His resurrection, Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation in Himself [in our place on our behalf] and so by an act of His mercy and His grace [if we will accept His work in Himself on our behalf] He now counts HIS WORKS and HIS LIFE and HIS DEATH in place of ours: so that we may share in HIS Righteousness: so we could be counted as righteous, not based on our merit or our virtue or on our performance but solely upon His!
Are we supposed to do good works, yes, but our works do not save us! Instead, "in Christ" by His work of the cross, God has reckoned or counted us as "dead" and has "hidden" US "in Himself" so that HE could stand FOR US and "declare Himself" as our righteousness, holiness, sanctification etc. as the propitiation for all the sins we have ever & would ever commit.
Does that mean then that we can sin without consequences, certainly not!
If we continue to sin, repeating even the same sins, God will of course chasten us, He is a Faithful Father who will correct us. (As a figure of speech: We cannot live like the devil and not expect consequences.) We will suffer consequences for our sins: those consequences include [judgment] the merciful correction of our Lord which [judgments] are not meant to punish us but are meant to correct and deliver us. [Keep in mind, there is a difference between those judgments which are His merciful correction for us, and His judgment in a pouring out of His wrath.]
As believers, when we sin, His word says: if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1John 1:9] Notice that does not say He will only cleanse "some of us" from "some unrighteousness", it says if we [any of us] confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to "forgive our sins" and to cleanse us from "all" unrighteousness.
And how often will He forgive us when we sin? -how about "seventy X seven" in a day!
Thirdly, in reading your note, the key word in what I hear is this: you FEEL like this, and you FEEL like that....
One of the favorite devices of the enemy is to try to attack us by manipulating our thoughts and our feelings [using thoughts and feelings against us.] Satan wants to make you think you are a failure &/or make you feel like a failure [and to oppress us with our failings] in the place of or instead of you looking to Jesus as your all.
Satan wants you to think it is hopeless, he wants you to feel hopeless because of sin, instead of seeing [knowing] Jesus Himself as your victory over sin. The last thing Satan wants is for you to look to Jesus, trusting Jesus no matter what you go through!
Satan wants you to focus on your own self, instead of on Jesus!
The devices of the enemy include both pride and also condemnation. But the basic principal is the same: he wants you to focus on self, not on Jesus.
The enemy wants your eyes on self so that he can either puff you up or he can try to condemn you! [But the key is to always to get you to focus on self!] Satan does not want you to fix your feelings, your thoughts, your heart and mind on Jesus who is our Hope of glory!
So, dear brother, Get your eyes off of yourself and get them back on Jesus Christ! He is everything we are not and everything we never could be and our salvation is not of us, but of Him!
It is written: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength! Tell your fretting heart and tempestuous mind to be still. Be still and know that HE is God!
Quit letting the enemy get you to focus on what you are or on what you are not -and get your eyes back on all that Jesus Christ is for you in your place!
While focusing on self, you have your eyes off the Lord! Quit contemplating your failures or commiserating your short comings and contemplate His word instead! Tell me, do you hear failure anywhere in this verse of scripture: "Faithful is He that has called you, who also will do it" [?] -No, you don't! Get back into the word of God and look up all the verses that refer to Jesus and who He is and all that He has worked for us. [If you need a list of scriptures, I can send you some.]
Remember that your salvation is not dependant on what you do with what God gave you, your salvation rests in what God has done and what He will do with [by] WHO He gave you: Jesus Christ, His Son!
Remember, the Hebrew Name for Jesus is Yeshua. The word "yeshua" actually means: salvation. And He is just that, HE is our salvation! Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him [Heb. 7:25] -and you are His!
So when the enemy starts condemning and harassing you, tell the enemy to shut up. Every time Satan whispers in your ear order [to puff you up for who or what you are] or if he manipulates your thoughts and feelings to try to condemn you for what you are not, just use that harassment as a reminder to worship and praise the Lord Jesus Christ for being all that He is for you on your behalf.
Thank the Lord that He Himself is your all and that He died to earn the right to be our all, and in all on behalf of all who have received Him!
P. S. At the closing of your note, you said: I KEEP THINKING OF HOW ABRAHAM WAS ''JUSTIFIED'' BY FAITH. IS GODS LOVE CONDITIONAL?????? I believe the Lord was trying to answer your questions for you even out of your own mouth. I believe He was trying to dispel your fears and get you to reconsider the foundation of your faith, the fact that our salvation rests not in our own works but in the faith of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, say "Amen" and get some rest, dear brother.
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