Category Archives: forgiveness

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!
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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.

How You Get Grace According To Religion

In the previous post I shared about religion’s definition of grace – unmerited favor, getting what you don’t deserve, and religion’s acronym “God’ Riches At Christ’s Expense”.

If grace is unmerited favor, if grace is something you don’t deserve – then that implies God is not real happy with you.

Have you ever considered that heathen religions were continually dealing with unhappy gods? Over the centuries they appeased their gods through sacrifices. Hmm, looks like there is a common thread with heathen religions and religious Christianity!

Thus, ‘do’ things/sacrifices to get on God’s good side and receive His favor.

Religion's Grace Has Strings_Nancy Teague_GrowingInFullness.com


Traditional Religious steps (strings) on getting grace

• Acknowledge you are a sinner – that is who you are and  who you will always be
• Repent of your sins – i.e. be sorry for them, really sorry
• Let the tears flow – they add more sincerity and genuineness to your repentance – they especially mean that to those helping you and watching you ‘get grace’
• Ask God to forgive you – that is the only way to be reconciled with Him and for Him to welcome you into His presence
• Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord

Am I saying if you did these things above then they didn’t count for your ‘salvation’? Nope. But those things have nothing to do with your salvation. When I get to describing true grace, you will see that.

To continue receiving and enjoying His grace/favor religion says you should

• Continue to repent of any sins
• Obey His commandments
• Guard your heart and keep it clean
• Give grace to others if you expect to get any more favor from God
• Read the Bible, memorize scripture, pray, go to church, worship, be in fellowship

THE KICKER

What these traditional religious steps imply about God and You

• A conditional God
• A God of expectations and demands
• A God who is never satisfied with you
• His grace is never secure since it has requirements
• You will never be worthy since you always have to do something for God in order to get something from God
• Anytime you think you are experiencing His grace there will always be the conscious or subconscious understanding that you are not worthy of such favor
• There is really no rest in God because there is always something you have to do since you are just a sinner and always in need of forgiveness
• Hence be on your guard – He is watching you

My goodness, how could you ever draw close to God, let alone stay there?!!!

Religion preaches that grace is a gift and uses the scripture “we are saved by grace, and not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8 ) But, reflecting upon how you get grace according to religious teaching and considering their implications about God – grace is not a gift at all – there are strings attached.

Dig In
• Man’s grace has strings attached. God’s true grace has no strings attached. e.g. Were there strings attached to the prodigal son’s big shindig? Were there strings attached to the elder son’s invitation to join in on his brother’s ‘undeserved’ party? (Lk 15:22-24, 28)
• Religion is such a ‘downer’. Jesus came to show us how ‘up’ we really are. He made the ‘up’ all possible before time began (2Tim 1:9,10 Rev 13:8) and has freely given it to us all. (Lk 12:32 2Cor 5:19)
• Have you ever noticed that none of Paul’s letters tell you to ask for God’s forgiveness? Have you noticed that Paul never did repent of His sins, ask God to forgive Him, and ask Jesus to be His Savior? Remember, Paul got free from all the religious requirements he was taught and lived by because he received a revelation of true grace. (Gal 1:12)

P.S. Next post will discuss when/where do you get grace and why do you need grace – according to religion.

Satan Fell Like Lightening Names Written In Heaven Things Hidden From The Wise Part 2 Names Are Written in Heaven

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” He said to them, “…do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:17,20 NKJ)

Part 2 Your Names Are Written in Heaven

Jesus told the seventy.

Boy, that sure stirs up questions!

• Why did Jesus only tell the seventy?
• Does God have favorites?
• Jesus said, “are”, not “will be”, written – how can that be when He hadn’t even died yet?
• Why did their names get written in heaven? Did the disciples do something to make this happen? Maybe because they were casting out demons, i.e. doing the ‘work of the Lord’?
• Did Jesus mean they would be ‘in heaven’, as religion defines it?
• Is that what it takes to ‘get into heaven’ – having your name written in heaven?

The big questionYour character is written in heaven

If their names are already written in heaven and they hadn’t asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins and be their Savior, then has religious Christianity been preaching the wrong message?! Selah

The big point

Time for some Greek understanding of a few key words in Lk 10:20.

names   (GR character, reputation, fame, (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character)

are written   (GR I write, inscribe, to engrave)

in   (GR on, among, inside, within)

heaven   (GR more correctly translated ‘the heavens’, the visible heavens: the atmosphere, the sky, the starry heavens; the spiritual heavens)

In essence, Jesus was telling the seventy (who basically represent all of mankind):

Your character, your fame, your being, your true identity as a reflection of Me, made before time began, is engraved within the heavens. Your fame shouts everywhere! It has nothing to do with anything you do. It has all to do with how I see you, made you, and know you.

My Father and I reconciled and restored the world to Ourselves (2Cor 5:19) to reconfirm the certainty that who YOU are is beautiful, astounding, and worthy. That is why it takes something big, like the heavens, to eternally and joyfully manifest this truth of significance and value.

There is nothing you have to do to be written up like this. I did the write up. In fact, I heavenly engraved it before foundation of the world.

So rejoice in this – your names are engraved within huge places!


Dig In

• So much for the religious notion that your name could be erased. Engraved and inscribed declare permanency. Don’t ever forget, there is a permanency for God’s unconditional love for all.

• Doing the work of the Lord can cause rejoicing, but the greater joy is about the certainty of your true identity and your place in Him. By the way, heaven is not our destination, Jesus is. And speaking of ‘place’ – Eph 2:6 reads in the Greek – “and raised us up together and seated us together within the heavenly realm/divine/sphere of spiritual activities within Christ Jesus.” Now religion says this only happens after you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be your Savior. My how religion negates His finished work. His wondrous truth comes by revelation, not by doing something. Enter into the joy of where you are and who you are. It’s free.

• Why does traditional religious Christianity make it so hard to enter into the joy of the gospel and the joy the Godhead has over us? Hmmm

Jesus’ Gospel The Woman Caught In Adultery Includes Us!

Have you ever considered that the woman caught in adultery is a wonderful picture of us?

Now some might be offended that I would place them in company with an adulterer.

Isn’t it interesting how we Christians can get so hung up on particular sins, itemize them, prioritize them, and hence easily accuse. We decide which sins are really bad, which ones are allowable, and even which ones are not worth considering as sin.

Back to the woman caught in adultery being like us. This story in John 8:3-10 shows how Jesus brought out His scoop shovel to remove the mess she got caught in, as well as remove the mess she was drug into.

What Jesus did in this situation totally deconstructs the false teaching explained in my previous post. Our traditional religious Christian Gospel preaches that our salvation is up to us, Jesus begs to differ with that.

Click on the video to discover the true Gospel,, preached by Jesus Himself. Get the full scoop and nothing but the scoop.

Dig In

  • Grasp that His scoop shovel can handle and remove any mess.  And even in the midst of a mess, He does not condemn you.
  •  Seriously, why would God condemn someone made in His image? He knows our life, our experiences, our traumas, our poor choices, our misperceptions – and in the midst of that He values us.
  • When we realize we are not accused by God, then it sure makes it harder to want to accuse others. That is part of fullness!

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 Peter Mean With Born Again?

Sorry to be tardy in getting out my next post! I’ve been steeped in trying to learn WordPress.org designing and plugins – in hopes of improving the look and features on my website and blogs. Arrggh! Talk about complicated. But, praise God, I found an easier solution. So my life can go on. BTW – hope you like my new header! It expresses some of the playfulness, liveliness, and joy in His fullness for us.

Okay, here we go! Back to the great topic at hand (a month ago) – what about this BORN AGAIN stuff!

Peter used the word born again

If your frame of reference and understanding is the traditional Church teaching on ‘born again’, i.e.

  • acknowledge you are a sinner and repent of your sins
  • ask Jesus to forgive you and cleanse you of your sins
  • ask Jesus to be your Savior,

then you would automatically think Peter is using these words to elaborate on how you got born again (AKA saved).

Many Bible translations interpret Peter as saying ‘born again’. Here are the verses:

  • 1Pet 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father…who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope… (NASB)
  • 1Pet 1:23  “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable…” (NASB)

If we take the Bible translators word for it (no pun intended) then we question not, because it confirms  what we have already been taught by the religious system – i.e. once we ask Jesus to save us then we get this incorruptible seed and have access to heaven.

In addition, since Peter and Jesus used the words ‘born again’ it shows they are in agreement with what we believe that word means. Thus we can go on our merry way knowing such agreement secures our traditional doctrine of needing to get born again, so we can be saved.

But, what if the ‘official’ Bible translations interpret certain Greek words through their religious  assumptions and doctrines of tradition? Jesus’ use of ‘born again’ and Peter’s use of ‘born again’ are great examples of that ‘what if’.

Peter’s unusual word for ‘born again’

Peter used the Greek word, anagennaó. He used it twice. He is the only one who used this word in all the New Testament!

It is worth noting that this word does not occur in Classical or Septuagintal Greek. This underscores the  importance of its rare use.

Did Peter make up anagennaó? Did he know he was the only one using it? I don’t know. But in light of its rarity, curiosity arises as to its true meaning.

The accurate translation

anagennaó – to beget again, from above

The break down of  anagennaó

  • ana  –  up, again (ana intensifies gennaó – emphasis mine)
  • gennaó  –  beget, be born, begotten, sired

Here are the verses with the actual Greek meaning in mind:

  • 1Pet 1:3  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has anagennaó (begotten/sired us AGAIN from up/above) to a living hope on account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
  • 1Pet 1:23  “…having been anagennaó (begotten/sired AGAIN from up/above), not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, on account of the word of God, which lives and abides forever.”

Peter is NOT talking about our religious traditional doctrine of ‘born again’ – how to get saved or how someone got saved through saying certain words or doing certain steps.

 What is Peter really saying?

Peter is extolling the eternal truth of our true origin and identity.

He is reminding us

  • God made us in His image – (remember there is only one Father of all)
  • We are begotten with an incorruptible seed that resides within each man
  • we were first begot from above
  • of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus – Nick you first came from above (and to get there had nothing to do with your good works)

What’s the big deal with ‘ana’?

Why would Peter tack on ana – emphasizing ABOVE/AGAIN – if he wasn’t pointing to something that was already there in the first place!?  That is what the AGAIN is all about!

From Above Again

Here’s the mind boggling truth – God did this AGAIN thing before the foundation of the world, before He even made man! Think – Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Sin was not an “Oh no!” to God. He dealt with it before creation.

God never changed His mind about us. God sealed the deal of His eternal intentions of having us always be a reflection of Himself before time began.

Paul echoes this staggering truth  – “He saved us and called (Greek invited,named) us with a holy calling…before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who abolished death and brought life…” (2Tim 1:9,10)  Press pause. This verse takes some pondering, because religious tradition does not teach it or believe it.

Jesus’ word anouthen and Peter’s unique word anagennaó echo across the ages and throughout eternity of who we really are. May you have ears to hear that echo in your heart.

Dig In

  • Nicodemus couldn’t grasp Jesus’ ‘born again’ because his frame of reference was of a corruptible seed that needed to be made incorruptible by doing good stuff and following the rules. If you think like Nick, ask Jesus to show you the incorruptible truth of who you really are – He really does want you to know.
  • Looking up Greek words in certain verses can enlighten you to real truth – Truth that exposes religious tradition that nullifies Jesus! (Mk 7:1-13)
  • If you cannot grasp, or even resist, that ‘all men have already been ‘born again’ – not to fret. As Peter said, this word lives and abides forever. It is not dependent on us getting it for it to be so. But when we get it, we get the pure Gospel – talk about fullness!

Why Is Born Again A Big Deal!

The previous post about Jesus NOT saying “you have to be born again” certainly stirred up some questions and challenges from some readers. Great!

Hearing ‘Born Again’ For Years

Having heard the ‘born again’ phrase for over sixty years, I too was taken aback when I heard the real meaning to what Jesus said. So I am not surprised that those raised in or involved in ‘church’ would balk, dismiss, or wonder ‘what in the world is she talking about?!’.

It is unsettling and even upsetting to have our traditional religious teachings and phrases called into question, dismantled, or (gasp!) blown up! Resistance is to be expected.

Question

Let me ask you a question. Does the Christian teaching you have had, does the truth that you know -REALLY set you free? Do you live in abundant joy? Do you live in certainty and confidence? Are you content in whatever circumstances you are in? Do you abide in a place of rest and peace? Do you really love yourself? Do you experience love for ALL people?

If your answer is “no” to any or all of the above questions, then maybe what you know as truth is not the fullness of truth. Just maybe you have not heard or understood the pure Gospel, the really good news!

Do I live in all those things (above) all the time? No. But I now realize it is mine to have right now right here – because that is what the New Covenant scriptures declare! I am maturing in these truths.

Hey, it really is okay to question. Just think, how many times Jesus called into question the traditions of His day!

Back to the ‘born again’

Two more points:

1)      John 3:3 – Jesus totally changed the direction Nick began with, by starting with the words (various translations) – “Most assuredly” “Truly, Truly” “Verily, verily” “Truly…emphatically” “the solemn truth” “guarantee this truth” “Most certainly”

The Greek words in the text are “amḗn, amḗn…” Phonetically (am-ane’)

amḗn definition: verily, truly, amen, so let it be; as an “emphasis marker,” introduces a statement of pivotal importance – i.e. that is essential in interpreting the over-all passage.

Nicodemus You Are From Above!

Verily, Verily. Pay attention Nick!

Looks like we need to pay close attention to what Jesus was saying!

2)      Did you notice this in Jn 3:7?!

Jesus seems to conclude with a little humor by including Nick’s Greek word gennáō  (Greek  beget, give birth to Jn 3:4), as He re-enforces His anóthen point about needing to be ‘from above’.

“Do not be amazed that I said to you, “You must be born again.”

Now if we grew up with this ‘born again’ phrase we would automatically think Jesus is confirming what we’ve been taught in church – ‘you have to be born again’ – i.e. you have to repent of your sins in order to be saved, you have to be forgiven of your sins, you have to ask Jesus to be your Savior. Then you are saved and can go to heaven.

But, Jesus is NOT saying that!

The Full Import of Jn 3:7

Let’s look at a few Greek words from this verse, to get Jesus’ point.

  • amazed – Greek thaumázō – astonished out of one’s senses; awestruck, “wondering very greatly”
  • must be – Greek deí – properly, what must happen, i.e. what is absolutely necessary, inevitable
  • born – Greek gennáō – properly, beget (procreate a descendant), produce offspring; (passive) be born, “begotten”
  • again – Greek  anóthen  – from above, from a higher place, from the first, from the very first, from of old, anew, over again, indicating repetition

Here’s my very loose paraphrase of what Jesus was reiterating for Nicodemus:

“Hey Nick, don’t be bent out of shape, what I am saying is an absolute must.  Your natural birth must first originally begin at the very first from a higher place. Where you began has to happen anew, it must happen over again.”

In other words, Jesus was trying to get Nicodemus to see where man originally began, before he came from his mother’s womb. Jesus would renew and restore our original source and beginning. He accomplished this through His death and resurrection. And, He also dealt sin a final death blow, once for all!

My point is to help you begin to see how important it is to get back to your beginning, your origin, your true identity. That is the really good news! Talk about freedom!

Dig In

  • If you find yourself absolutely unwilling to question your religious traditions then consider how confined you are. Jesus came to bring freedom. Religious rituals, rules, doctrines do not bring freedom.
  • It really is okay to question what you’ve been taught. God is not nervous about or disappointed in you questioning. He longs for you to be immersed in abundant truth and know fullness.
  • Don’t let your shallow identity keep you from discovering your true identity. You are meant to be ‘wowed’ with who you really are. God is certainly ‘wowed’ by you. For goodness sake – you are made in His image – why wouldn’t that be a ‘wow!’?

More points to follow! Stay tuned!

Negative Consequences of Religious Christian Gospel Part 3

The previous post laid out three of the five negative consequences I feel result from our traditional gospel message. Those three were:

  1. guilt and fear
  2. judgment and favoritism
  3. perpetuation of a system that promotes expectations and works.

Below are the other two negative effects that I see coming from the sin focused traditional Gospel.

4.      Grace + law = Gospel

The Fallen Man Gospel (as I call it) is actually a mixture of law and grace. The traditional gospel declares we are “saved by grace and not by works” (Eph 2:8), but you can bet your bottom dollar that what follows this initial ‘grace message’ is works and lots of ‘shoulds’. The true gospel is not a morality gospel, nor is it about do’s and don’ts.

The pure gospel is about a new covenant, not of the letter. (2Cor 3:6) It has absolutely nothing to do with the law (Old Covenant). We cannot mix even a little law with the Good News of grace and expect any kind of fullness of life. Paul made it clear – even when we were dead in our trespasses, Jesus made us alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having wiped out the hand-writing of requirements that was against us…took it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Col 2:13,14).

The Greek word meanings, for the phrases “wiped out” and “took it out of the way” elaborate on what actually happened:

  • wiped out exaleiphό – I wipe away, obliterate; remove totally from a previous state with the outcome of being blotted out (erased)
  • tookairό – take away, lift up, removed, I raised
  • out ofek – out from among, from out, suggesting from the interior outwards
  • the way mesos – middle, in the midst, within

Certainly no ambiguity with what He did! Do you realize that Jesus could take those requirements out of the way because He fulfilled the law, for us! (Mt 5:17)

Hey, did you grasp what Paul said in Colossians? We were dead in our sins – we were corrupt – in a bad place. But, in the midst of our corruption and failure He made us alive! Why? How? Because, He forgave us ALL our trespasses! That’s a big ‘Whoa!’! For goodness sake, since we are already forgiven, then why is the traditional gospel message focused on sin?!   

The law cannot declare unconditional acceptance and forgiveness. The law states there is still stuff you have to do or not do. Sadly, many Christians continue to do ‘stuff’ not realizing they are living a mixture of law and grace. This is not the good news.

5.      God Is Misrepresented

Misrepresentation is the most grievous harmful consequence from our traditional Fallen Man Gospel. God is presented as distant and separate – all because of our sin.

Further misrepresentation happens. The Fallen Man gospel implies that God is still angry about sin. But He will stop being angry with you if you are sincerely remorseful for your sins, repent, and ask for His forgiveness. Until then don’t expect any kind of relationship with God. Of course if you sin again, then you are separated from God and have to go through all the hoops of remorse, repentance, and asking forgiveness, in order to be reconnected.

This was my general understanding of God – loving, yet I had this sense of some distance and that He could be provoked. Well, doesn’t the Old Testament portray Him that way?! I used to think so. Now I see how tradition, the sin focused gospel, lies, and deception have veiled our eyes from seeing the fullness of  the gospel of the glory of Christ.

By the way, Robert Capon’s (oops) Paul Copan‘s book, “Is God A Moral Monster?”, sure cleared up my misunderstanding of God in the Old Testament. Maybe it will help you.

Check your foundation  Check Your Foundation

Have you ever wondered if your foundation, about God and who you really are, is built on lies or truth?

Paul said there is no other foundation than Jesus Christ. (1Cor 3:11) Then on top of this foundation He builds His temple. Us! ((1Cor 3:9,16) The big question is – what is the FULL meaning and implications of the foundation of Jesus?

Unfortunately religion has an unstable foundation of law and grace. Religion also likes to build its own temple! From this structure, that is a big part of our sin focused gospel, come many expectations and requirements. No life in that! No wonder there is so much uncertainty among many Christians today.

In contrast, God puts no expectations or demands on us. He has freely given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2Pet 1:3) We have been enriched in everything by Him. (1Cor 1:5) He saved us with a holy calling…according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. (2Tim 1:9) He has abundant life, unspeakable joy, and pleasures forevermore for us. Is it really that good? You bet. Check your foundation.

Dig In

  • Please know that the ‘law’ can be very subtle in your life. You might think you are living in grace but anytime you sense ‘I have to’, ‘I should’, or ‘God expects me to’, then you are living in a mixture. No fullness will be found there.
  • If God seems distant from you – even a little bit, or occasionally – then know you are not believing the true good news! You are believing a lie, a misrepresentation. God wants to displace that with truth!
  • Make sure your gospel foundation is based on Jesus and His good news, not man’s tradition. His good news is liberating and fulfilling.