Category Archives: Cross

Does Good Friday Make You Feel Bad Religious Christianity Wants You To

The focus of Jesus’ horrific death on Good Friday certainly results in many ‘feeling bad’ about what happened. Maybe it should be called BAD FRIDAY?

Good Friday Guilt

A lot of “it’s my fault” or “mea culpa” happens on Good Friday.

Does God find pleasure in our ‘mea culpa’?

Even as Good Friday elicits major guilt and condemnation from believers, it is also leveraged to make ‘unbelievers’ feel really bad, with hopes they will finally believe in Jesus. What a way to come into the kingdom – through guilt, fear, and sorrow.

Is that how God wants us to feel? Is that how God wants unbelievers to ‘get saved’?

Does God want and appreciate our guilt, condemnation, remorse, and regret over Jesus’ crucifixion?

Hmm, I wonder how much God looks forward to the religious Good Friday services that make us feel so bad?

What really happened on Good Friday

What really came down during Jesus’ crucifixion? All blue skies at the Cross_photo by aaron burdenNotice, it has nothing to do with making you feel bad. In fact, the truth about His death should make you feel GLAD – very glad!

  • God so loved (take pleasure in, esteemed, wish well to) the world He gave His Son…not to judge the world (Jn 3:16,17)
  • When we were weak/ helpless/impotent/ without strength Christ died for us. Realize that scarcely for a righteous man or even a good man would one would die, (Rom 5:6,7)
  • God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were still sinners, His Son died for us – much more then we were justified/made righteous, acquitted, approved) by His blood (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies/hostile/with deep seated hatred, we were reconciled/decisively changed to God on account of His Son’s death (Rom 5:10)
  • Much more having been reconciled, we are saved/healed/ preserved/rescued by/inside/within) Jesus’ life (Rom 5:10). Indeed, on top of this, we are rejoicing/boasting/exulting/with head up high in God on account of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:11)
  • Since One died for all, all died (2Cor 5:14), therefore we were buried with Him into His death – and just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we also walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4)
  • The Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting the trespasses against them (2Cor 5:19)
  • For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured/remained under/persevered the cross, despising/looking down on/scorning/disregarding the shame/disgrace (Heb 12:2)
  • He reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God in one body on account of the cross (Eph 2:16)
  • You once thought you were enemies with God, but He reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless (Col 1:21,22)
  • You were dead in your trespasses, but He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses (Col 2:13
  • He saved us and called/named/invited us with a holy calling/summons, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace – given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2Tim 1:9)
  • By God’s will we have been sanctified on account of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:10)
  • This Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12)
  • By one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified/(set apart as holy (Heb 10:14)
  • Their sins He remembers no more, thus no longer an offering for sin, and we have boldness to enter His presence by a new and living way that He consecrated for us through His flesh (Heb 10:17-20)
  • We draw near in full assurance of faith/divine persuasion – free from an evil conscience and our whole being washed clean/guiltless/innocent (Heb 10:22)

There are many more scriptures, but can you begin to see a pattern here? Please don’t let religious tradition and mind sets blind you from the fullness of truth!

Bottom line

Good Friday is really a GLAD day – reconciliation, peace, sanctification, innocence restored, joy, the end of all sacrifice and works – happened!

Good Friday is not a time to feel guilty, mourn, and regret.

The God Head was rejoicing, because “It is finished.” Humanity/the cosmos is reconciled, healed, rescued, made whole – whether the cosmos knows it or not.

How God proved the reconciliation of all

Ever wonder why Jesus was raised from the dead?

Many might think it makes going to heaven possible or that God will now forgive us of our sins. Think bigger.

Jesus’s resurrection only happened because of our justification/acquittal/ divine approval. (Rom 4:25) Selah

Mind you, this justification has nothing to do with something we have to do. He justified us without our permission or pleading. He even forgave us without our asking for it. Goodness, who is this God?!

So, stop ‘feeling bad’ on Good Friday or any other day! It’s ALL good!

Dig In

  • Religion focuses on God’s wrath being poured out on the cross. But the Word points to a lot of intentional restoration and joy going on. God restored what He started in the first place when He made man in His image and likeness.
  • To grasp the power of the Resurrection, you have to grasp the power of Salvation that happened ONCE FOR ALL on the Cross.
  • Do not let religious Christianity steal joy on your Good Friday. Enter into this celebration with the lights on and overflowing gladness flooding your heart and mind – even before the Resurrection celebration happens!
Advertisements

What Do Good Friday And Communion And Death Have In Common

After my previous post on how good is Good Friday, I began to ponder Communion.

So bear with me – one more break from my series on grace.

Have you ever thought about the similarities in religious Christianity’s observance of Good Friday and Communion?

Here are some similarities:

  • Focus on death
  • Focus on sin
  • Somber
  • Serious
  • Introspective – sin searching
  • Guilt and fear inducing

Serious Communion

Because Communion is so serious (to the religious mindset), it is also restrictive.

In some denominations you cannot partake of the bread and wine/juice unless you are a ‘member’.

In most denominations you dare not partake if you have unconfessed sin in your life. Bad things could happen to you. Gulp.

Is that what Jesus intended and desired when He said – “Do this in remembrance of Me.”?

Does God Enjoy Our Communion

My previous posts posed the question – does God enjoy our religious Good Fridays? Nope.

Knowing that God really is one very happy God, I wonder if He enjoys our somber and restrictive partaking of Jesus’ body and blood?

I wonder if the Holy Spirit can’t wait for those times of Communion so He can convict the socks off of us and uncover the littlest of sin? After all, don’t we tend to think God wants us squeaky clean?

Sure seems like Christianity’s ritualistic Communion (AKA The Lords’ Supper) continually crucifies Jesus all over again with its emphasis on sin. Does God like that?

The Focus on Death

Jesus died on Good Friday.

You proclaim the Lord’s death as you eat the bread and drink the cup. (1 Cor 11:26)

Obviously Good Friday and Communion have a death theme going on. But have we misunderstood what that death really means?

The Real Meaning of Death

Death from our perspective is grievous, difficult, confusing, final, and in some cases is wrong.

Death from God’s perspective is something altogether good and beneficial.

Remembrances of Good Death_GrowingInFullness.com
Death to God means:

  • total forgiveness
  • reconciliation
  • sanctification
  • joy
  • life
  • perfection

These things are true whether you ask for them or not, whether you believe them or not, whether you receive them or deny them. Holy smoke! Let’s embrace His good death!

Proof of God’s good death:

  • you, once were alienated (estranged) and enemies in your minds…yet He has reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, blameless, above reproach (Col 1:21,22)
  • when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (Rom 5:10)
  • on the cross – God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their iniquities against them (2Cor 5:19)
  • the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses your conscience from dead works (Heb 9:14)
  • through Jesus’ will to do God’s will (i.e. save the world Jn 3:17), we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. (Heb 10:9,10)
  • by one offering (through death) He has perfected forever, those who are sanctified (Heb 10:14)
  • sins are no longer remembered because there is remission (Greek complete forgiveness) of these – thus there is no longer an offering for sin (Heb 10:18) Yee gads! Do you get that!?
  • One died for all, therefore all died (2Cor 5:14)
  • knowing this that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin be done away with…for he who died has been freed from sin (Rom 5:6)
  • we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we also walk in newness of life (Rom 8:4)
  • for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured (under the load) the cross and despised the shame that sin brings (Heb 12:2)

God’s death is something to shout about!

God is not into somber, serious, sin searching, death-focused Good Fridays or Communion services.

 To proclaim His death, to do it in remembrance of what He did, is to remember you are totally reconciled, restored, sanctified, forgiven, perfected.

Hey, it is also a time to realize you are joyously celebrated by Him! That’s why He did that death for you – to restore you to His eternal delight over you and enable you to enjoy it too!

What beauty, wonder, and joy is to fill our Good Fridays and Communions – all because of DEATH!

Dig In

  • When Good Friday or Communion rolls around – get out your dancing shoes and get ready to rejoice!
  • Repent (i.e. change your mind) of your misconception of death. Death is nothin’ but good when you get right down to the truth of it.
  • Religion, sadly, feeds off of sin. It just cannot grasp that Jesus’ finished work through death dealt a complete and final end to sin and complete restoration to God. Come into revelation of the fullness of His death. It’s all about the reconciled perfection of who you really are.

Did the Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Do you know the steps one must take to get saved? Have you been taught the “Four Spiritual Laws”? How about “The Romans Road”? Maybe the “ABCs of Salvation” is the better way to get saved?!

Yee gads, how did becoming a believer get so formulated? Man. Man likes to help God out.

Paul, the Apostle, knew none of those formulas. In fact his life is a prime example to blow up all our religious ways of ‘getting saved’ or ‘born again’.

Check out the  to video see if Paul really got born again the way we think it should happen –

Here is a free PDF download with all the details and scriptures –Did The Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Dig In

  • If any aspect of your walk with God involves a formula, steps, a system then beware. These man made ideas have no LIFE in them. Only Jesus is the life!
  • It was revelation that awakened Paul to who he really was, even in his mother’s womb. His violent action affected NOT the security of being in Jesus and Jesus in Him.
  • True salvation is not dependent on feeling bad about your sins and asking forgiveness. You were forgiven at the cross – all mankind was forgiven at the cross. Now to wake up to that powerful truth! Sin is in NO WAY  more powerful than His eternal love expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. There’s certainty and fullness in Christ’s final words –  “It is finished.”

What Does It Mean God Prunes Us?

The previous post addressed the first half of John 15:2 to show that Jesus DOES NOT cut off those who abide in Him if they don’t bear fruit. He actually lifts them up!

Now to the second half of verse two –

“…and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (NKJV)

Check out the Greek to better understand –

and – ‘kaí’ – also, moreover, even, indeed

everyone  – pás – each, every, each part(s) of a totality (note: ‘branch’ is not specifically listed in the Greek translation)

fruit‘karpos’ –  fruit, result, gain

bearing – phérō – properly, to bear, carry (bring) along, especially temporarily or to a definite prescribed conclusion

he prunes‘kathairó’ – I cleanse, purify, prune; make clean by purging (removing undesirable elements)

that hína’for the purpose that (in order that), looking to the aim (intended result)

more ‘pleión’ – greater, more, of higher value

fruit (‘karpos’)

it bear (‘pheró’)

A paraphrase in light of the Greek   –

…moreover for those in Him bearing fruit He will cleanse or purge of any undesirable elements so they can bear even more fruit of higher value.

Okay, looks like the Vinedresser, Father God, has to do occasional cleansing in order to get more fruit from us. How do you think He prunes, Does the Vinedresser Pruneif this is indeed what He does? Some might say:

  • expose more sin in our lives
  • get us to repent more of our sins
  • feel more sorry (grieve more) for our sins
  • make a deeper commitment to obey Him
  • follow His commandments better
  • wants us to do more things to try and abide

BUT

What do we do with Jesus’ next statement?!

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (Jn 15:3)

Yikes! Did Jesus just contradict Himself?!

First He told us the Father prunes (cleanses) every branch that bears fruit, but then He tells us you are already cleansed! Does this mean He does not really prune us since we are already clean?

How can the disciples be already clean? For goodness sake, Jesus hasn’t even gone to the cross yet! In fact they have not even asked Him to be their Lord and Savior!

Here’s something to note:

  • prune (verse 2) is ‘kathairó’, which comes from katharos.
  • katharos is the word for clean (verse 3)!  Selah

Back to verse three – let’s elaborate a little more on the Greek words –

alreadyḗdē (a temporal adverb) – already now, referring to what is not yet strictly present but already impacts the present

you

are – eimi – I am, exist

cleankatharos – clean, pure, unstained, either literally or ceremonially or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright. what is separated (purged), hence “clean” (pure) because unmixed (without undesirable elements); (figuratively) spiritually clean because purged (purified by God), i.e. free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.

because of diá (a preposition) – on account of, by reason of, for the sake of

the

word –  lógos (from 3004 /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”) – word, speech, divine utterance, being the expression of a thought; lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit, God’s logic.

that hos – who, which, what, that

I have spoken  – laleó – I speak, say

to you

To very loosely paraphrase Jesus:

Already now – even though it has not happened in the strictest sense, but what will happen has already impacted the present (because it actually happened before the foundation of the world –i.e. the lamb was slain) – you are clean. Let me help you understand this ‘already now’ a little more – Disciples, it is like when I said to the woman at the well – “an hour is coming and now is”. Okay back to already – already you are like Me – ‘I am’, you exist as I am  – in other words you are a reflection of Me, you are a reflection of My image. Thus I say you are already clean. And this is true because of the word (which is actually Me, the final word) that declares you are clean, innocent, guiltless, and without mixture.

Now some of you might get bent out of shape with my loosely paraphrased verse 3 because of the implications. That being, some might consider it heretical because it sounds like you don’t have to ask Jesus to cleanse you, get forgiven, be “born again”, get saved, etc.

Perhaps it is good to let this simmer (please don’t let it boil over) ;-), before we find out (in the next post) –

what was the word that Jesus had spoken to them – that already made them clean?

Dig In

  • What do you think it means to be pruned by God? Do you see it as hurting? Does it make you a little afraid of God, if that is what you think He does? Please know, He never ever wants to hurt us or make us afraid of Him.
  • Have you ever thought that Jesus would contradict Himself? If you did, have you ever considered how often we just might misunderstand what He is really saying because our religious filters contort who He really is?
  • Have you ever thought your understanding of His unconditional love and the cross might be too small? Have you ever considered that traditional western Christianity is what makes Him so small?! So to even consider that we might already be clean is just too far out there.

Why Do We Repent What Is True Repentance

What does repentance mean to most Christians?

What do most Christians do when they sin and feel bad about it? Their traditional response to God is “repent”!

Gee whiz, even John the Baptist said, “Repent! The kingdom of God is at hand.” But, what did he really mean by this? If you stick with the traditional mindset of repentance you will miss the good news in his declaration. Hey, don’t forget that John the Baptist also said, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Christians gloss over the ‘takes away’ part, because Christianity has a sin focused mind set.

The Christian religious system teaches that repentance involves being sorry for and feeling bad when you sin and that you must repent to God in order to receive His forgiveness.Misguided repentance

Traditional Christianity also preaches that unbelievers are big time sinners and they really need to repent in order to get saved! If they don’t they will go to hell. Sounds like traditional Christianity is presenting God as One who declares – “I really do love you, but you must repent and love Me with all your heart, otherwise I will torture you for all eternity.” Now that’s a God I would want to know! (tongue in cheek here)

Of course the Christian religious system makes it clear that because God is so good, He will forgive those who repent, whether they are believers or unbelievers.  Doesn’t that sound like a conditional goodness. Isn’t God’s goodness bigger than that? Isn’t His goodness unconditional?

Here’s the sad part about all this ‘must repent’ doctrine. Have you ever considered that many will still not ‘feel’ forgiven, in spite of their sincere repentance! Their sin, failure, guilt still haunts them.

Now sometimes believers will ‘cleanse their conscious’ by doing certain rituals or works. They are taught these activities will help persuade God to forgive you, and they will show you are very serious about your repentance. Amazingly these rituals/works seem to help make them ‘feel’ better. At least until the next time, then the cycle repeats itself again. Been there, done that.

Is that what the “abundant life” is in Jesus? Is this His fullness for us? Do believers really feel intimate with God because of this pattern of how to repent? No, No, and No!

Isn’t it interesting that the way most Christians understand and use the word “repent” (v.) or “repentance” (n.) has nothing to do with the Greek meaning of this word used in scripture! ‘Repentance’ is not even found in the ancient Biblical Greek manuscripts.

Repentance is an old English word where some folk added ‘re’ (a prefix that means to do again and again) to the Latin word ‘penance’.

The meaning of ‘penance’ (Merriam Webster Dictionary) –

  1. an act of self-abasement, mortification, or devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin
  2. a sacramental rite that is practiced in Roman, Eastern, and some Anglican churches that consists of private confession, absolution, and penance directed by the confessor.

So when the scriptures say “repent” what does it really mean in the Greek?

The Greek word is metanoia – made up of two Greek words  –

  1. met  –  primary preposition denoting accompaniment – together with, amid,
  2. nous –  the intellect, that is, mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by implication understanding

metanoia means literally

  • to come to your senses
  • to come into your right mind
  • to think as the result of observing
  • to change your mind, to change your way of thinking
  • to intelligently understand
  • to think differently after taking a closer look at a matter
  • suggesting a radical mind shift – an about face in the way you think

Metanoia  is like your mind ‘coming together’ with God’s mind – joining Him in His thoughts, His feelings about you. When He made man He said it was ‘very good’ – He has never changed His mind about that. This is why Jesus came, to restore what is really true about you! He wants us to metanoia!

Thus we see metanoia (the Greek word man translated as repent) has absolutlely nothing to do with penance, with regret, with sorrow and remorse! Man has built a false doctrine on a mistranslated word. This has kept us from truly knowing His eternal unconditional love, goodness, and kind intentions for us!

This mistranslated word of metanoia is a factor in why so many Christians still see themselves as “sinners saved by grace”. Our focus on ‘repent’ in order to be forgiven maintains a ‘sin consciousness’ in Christianity and misrepresents the Gospel. Sin consciousness and traditional ‘repenting’ has nothing to do with the Good News! Having to repent of your sins to get saved and continuing to repent (as the religious system teaches) will not help you to really know Him or for you to really know your true identity in Him.

This sin consciousness is like a heresy against the finished work of Jesus dying on the cross. God doesn’t remember our sin (Heb 10:17,18), He took away all sin (1Jn 3:5), He forgave us ALL our transgressions (Col 2:13) – so why in the world are we elevating sin!?

We need to change our mind! This Good News really is good news! In fact, when True repentance AKA metanoiayou begin to hear the real good news you will think it is too good to be true!

Hey, how good is your God anyway?

Dig In

  • May you begin to realize that the Christian religious system has perpetuated a kind-of-good-news that includes a lot of ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’, and ‘musts’.
  • Get it through your head and heart – ALL your sins are already forgiven. Jesus took ALL sin away for ALL men. So who are you, and who is your neighbor – really?!
  • Get ready to metanoia – as you discover the real truth of the Good News it will set you incredibly free!

Does Fear of God Help Make You Certain

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I have been so overloaded with fresh life revelation and truth that it’s hard to know where to start and what to say! It is like I am growing in fullness in ways never imagined because of more understanding of the foolishness and power of the cross!  What fullness He has for us – fuller than we can totally grasp – for all eternity – and yet it is for here and now! I’m finding this smile on my face and heart, along with a giddy feeling inside. Does the message of the cross do that for you?  Oh the certainty in His cross! And yet so many Christians live in a place of uncertainty because of an identity crisis of not knowing who God really is, who they really are, and what Jesus really did.

The previous post, Christian Identity Crisis Affects Certainty, illustrated our delusion of distance and separation from God. Fear also compounds this delusion. In fact how you heard or know the Gospel message can feed that fear!

Do you fear God? Are you afraid of Him? It’s amazing how many believers are afraid of Him. Some of that fear comes from not wanting to be bad or make a mistake which would disappoint Him and even make HWrong Fear of Godim angry. Of course, if someone said ‘Yes’ to Jesus because they didn’t want to go to hell, then it is understandable why they would live in a fear relationship with God. Not good.

Traditionally, yet sadly, the Gospel is basically about Jesus dying for you so you can go to heaven. (Do you know it is so much more than that!) Generally speaking, you are told that even though you are a sinner, God loves you and that is why He sent His Son to die for you.

But you have to do something in order for His death to have any effect in your life. Basically you must:

  1. repent of your sins
  2. ask God to forgive you
  3. ask Jesus into your heart

If you do these things, then you will be saved, go to heaven, and hence not have to spend eternity in hell. When you think about this kind of presentation of the Gospel, it sounds sobering and grim. It inadvertently makes God look like a meanie, since He will send some to hell if they don’t repent. No wonder it’s easy to be afraid of Him!

I grew up hearing, and hence believing, that Jesus loved me. I did ask Him to be my Savior as a child. But there was this little fear of God operating over the years that had me believe He was watching me and if I messed up then I would be in trouble with Him. In my twenties I encountered the Lord in a very experiential way that made Him so real and close. My ardent love and zeal for Him was palpable. The words in the Bible came alive and I hungered for His word. When I did mess up I felt so bad that I had disappointed Him. There was lots of repenting, tears, begging for forgiveness, and wanting to be right with God again. Little did I know it was my lack of understanding of Him and the cross that was messed up, not me! Now at the ripe old age of 64, I am being blown away by clearer understanding of His complete and finished work on the cross!

I would venture to say that the majority of Christians fear God in such a way that it does not help make them certain – i.e. certain of His love, certain of His goodness, certain that He really cares for them, certain they are totally accepted by Him, let along certain of His love for ALL mankind.

Do you know the Old Testament Hebrew meaning of the word ‘fear’, when it comes to God, has to do with wonder, awe, amazement, reverenceWonder and Awe of God? It has nothing to do with wincing, trembling, or being afraid of Him. Brennan Manning states, the Biblical meaning of ‘fear of the Lord’ is “silent wonder, radical amazement, affectionate awe at the infinite goodness of God”. Please pause to ponder this deep insight. Oh to absorb that reality!

Hey, let’s consider 1Jn 4:18 – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” Looks like God is not into punishment. In fact it says He wants to free us from fear! To be free of fear we need to grow in revelation of how much He loves us.

Scripture even says, “God is love” – that means He is Love personified! So, why do so many fear Him in the wrong way? Does it have something to do with the way the Gospel is presented with its heaven or hell consequence? I think it also has to do with what I call religious post salvation steps. These religious requirements and expectations keep new (and old) Christians busy, performing, striving to please, and trying to do it right and be right. My goodness, how we don’t know who God really is – all because of a narrow Gospel presentation and religious efforts.  Of course, the Enemy has maligned and misrepresented Him since the Garden of Eden. But, praise God, He knows how to draw us into truth and the freedom of His unconditional love and acceptance. Expect to be wowed by the really, really, really, really, really Good News! There is no fear in it – only wonder, awe, and amazement!

Know for certain He does not want you to fear Him – i.e. be afraid or anxious about a mistake, worry that He is watching your every move to ‘get you’ when you goof. That is not God. If you struggle with an unhealthy, false fear of God, then get excited because He is going to free you from that! When you begin to understand the REALLY Good News, all that wrong false fear will flee. He wants His children to be confident in and certain about His love for them. You are called to walk in the true life-giving fear – awe, wonder, and amazement of a stunningly good God.

Dig In

  • Have you ever considered how many times in scriptures when God shows up He says – “Do not be afraid.”
  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (Jer 31:3)  If you are not drawn towards God, then figure fear is lurking somewhere. Allow Him to show you His unconditional love for you and fear will flee!
  • Do not fear, for I am with you’ do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Is 41:10) That is Good News! There is no false fear in HIS Good News! Hey, what is the Good News you believe?

What is the really, really, really, really, really Good News anyway?!             Stay tuned.