Category Archives: identity

God’s Not Dead 2 Movie Warns of Scary Judgment by God But What Is God’s Judgment Really?

 

One of the noted lines in the movie God’s Not Dead 2 is,

“I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.”

 

Stand With God Not Be Judged movieGrace Wesley, the main character, was not going to be afraid to say the name Jesus and concluded her stand with Jesus meant she would avoid God’s judgment, but the world would get what’s coming to them.

Gee whiz, the implications of this quote are an offense to all that Jesus did for the world –in His incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension! Yet, most religious Christians would say a hearty ‘Amen!’ to Grace’s seemingly brave conclusion.

World, Please Forgive

No wonder the world is offended by and critical of religious Christianity. No wonder there was vitriol portrayed by unbelievers in this movie. I am sorry World for how we have presented God. Please forgive us, we are perpetuating lies about God to you, and even ourselves.

Comeback

Now some believers will get up in arms. They will vociferously declare, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Rom 14:10)

Great! I love this verse, for it speaks of intimacy and of complete revelation of our true identity, actually of all men’s true identity.

Say what?!

Context for the Judgment Seat

To grasp the fullness of this beautiful welcoming “judgment seat”, let’s consider the context –  Romans chapter 9-15, dealing with judging others.

Paul is challenging the Jews with their uppity self-righteousness, their exclusivity, and being offended that God would include Gentiles. Paul blasted away with Isaiah’s bold words – “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made visible and was comprehended by those who did not ask for Me.” (Rom 10:20) Yikes, that shoots a hole in the traditional sinner’s prayer!

“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand for God is able to make him stand.” (Rom 14:4)

“So why do you judge your brother, why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (Rom 14:10)

The Judgment Seat via Greek

Here’s the skinny on Rom 14:10-12 through Greek meanings. It’s wondrous!

…We will all stand close beside the elevated place, the throne of God. For the Lord says, “As I live, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall confess – i.e. consent fully, give thanks, praise, fully agree and acknowledge that agreement openly and without reservation, to God.” Therefore, each of us with full comprehension of himself, shall give ‘logos’ (a word, divine utterance, ‘logos’ is used preeminently of  incarnate Christ Jesus to express the thoughts of the Father) to God. Therefore, let’s not judge one another anymore.

Please note:

  • the same Greek word for stand is used in Lk 2:22 when Jesus was ‘presented’ to the Lord – i.e. stand, ready to present, to bring near into fellowship and intimacy. There is no standing and trembling in either of these passages. Hmmm.
  • most translations use the word ‘account’ – give an account to God. Sounds scary! But the Greek word is ‘logos’!

In summary – while being close to Him, everyone will bow and give thanks to Him, as they fully see their true identity in Christ Jesus and totally agree with God’s logic.

Amazing!

Dig In

  • Judgment of all sin took place at the Cross. His death brought the end of sin. There is no more judgment for sin. (Heb 9:26, 10:10,12 2Cor 5:21  Jn 1:29) Why do we still fear that and proclaim it?
  • Jesus does not judge according to the flesh. Paul finally got that by revelation. (Jn 8:15 2Cor 5:13-16)
  • Judgment is scary to many Christians. Our legalistic, works-driven, guilt-induced, fear-filled mind set cannot comprehend that God has always been for us, desires us, enjoys us. In our religious stupor we simply cannot grasp that God truly reconciled the world to Himself. May revelation undo you, so you can stand with God in agreement about His wondrous judgment of innocence and reconciliation for all. (Eph 1:4,5 3:19  2Tim 1:9  1Jn 4:17 2Cor 5:19 Col 1:22) It is part of growing in fullness. It will change your perspective!

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!

Is God A Judge? What Is God’s Judgment? Who Gets Judged?

What is God’s judgment and who gets judged?

Many Christians believe God’s judgment happens when He comes back. He will separate the goats from the sheep. God will get those nasty evil people who refused to repent and ask Jesus into their lives.

My goodness what a vindictive and punitive mindset to have about God who loved the world!

Scary judgment versus True judgment

Judgment is a confusing and scary topic. Religion makes it so.

If we do not understand His judgment through His everlasting lovingkindness, then it will continue to be intimidating, unsettling, and fearful.

Understanding of true judgment comes when we recognize that everyone is made in the image of God, God does not make bad reflections, and He sent His Son to restore this truth.

Is God A Judge?

Does God judge?

Sadly religious Christianity preaches that God is a judge – meaning, someday He will deal with all this sin in the world and all those sinners. He will pound the gavel and declare “guilty” or “innocent”.

Really?

What do we do with the following scriptures that negate this religious vindictive punitive mindset?

  • God didn’t send His Son to judge the world, but that the world be saved through Jesus. (Jn 3:17)
  • The Father judges no one (nothing) but gave all judgment to the Son. (Jn 5:22)
  • I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (Jn 5:30)
  • You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15)
  • …I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. (Jn 12:47)
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19)
  • While we were sinners, Christ died for us and justified us by His blood and saved us. (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through His Son’s death, and since reconciled we are saved. (Rom 5:10)
  • Through one man’s offense judgment resulted, so through one Man’s righteous act resulted justification (GR. acquittal, absolution, approval) to all. (Rom5:18)

Sure looks like God is a non-judge Judge! Or His definition of judging is certainly different than ours.

Example of non-Judge judging

When Jesus said, “you judge according to the flesh, I judge no one”, He was speaking to those judging the woman caught in adultery. The self-righteous wanted to stone her to death, because the law commanded it.

But, Jesus had no words of condemnation. He came to fulfill (perfect) the law. Its perfection meant He spoke to her true identity. When He said ‘go and sin no more’, He didn’t mean do not commit adultery ever again. Jesus was exposing her emptiness and speaking of her true identity.

Sin (hamartia) means to have no share, to have no part, to be without, to be empty, to have no substance, to miss the mark.

Our mark, our identity, our part, our origin is God and He made us to enjoy and reflect His fullness of goodness. When we do things that don’t reflect Him we are without substance, without share. We are left empty as are others affected by our lack.

Jesus did not judge her actions, He spoke to her true being and for her “to be” so!

Meaning of Judge and Judgment

judge (krínō) – I judge, decide, to separate, distinguish, think good

judgment (krísis) – a decision, a judgment, divine judgment

Now, isn’t it interesting that ‘judge’ also means ‘think good’?

If “God is good and all the time God is good.”, then why wouldn’t His judgment be to ‘think good’ of all of us? Certainly something to think about.

Dig In

  • We tend to see judgment as a negative thing. We hope to escape God’s judgment because we believe it will be fierce. How quick we are to gloss over – God did not come to judge, but to save the whole wide world!
  • God’s judgment is reconciliation, restoration, salvation. The Greek word for salvation means deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness. God is not against man, He is for man – His wondrous reflection. We have believed lies about ourselves. God’s judgment dealt a death blow to those lies and falsehoods. One day He is coming to make it very clear who we all really are, in the meantime He is bringing this truth here and now. Yay!
  • If we understood what His judgement really means, then exceeding joy would be our confidence and perspective. One big result – we would judge with a “righteous judgment” – just like His.

What Are The Macedonians Riches of Liberality? Are You Rich In Liberality?

Religious institutional Christianity often uses the story of the Macedonians to inspire us or guilt us into being liberal givers like the Macedonians. (2Corinthians chapters 8,9)

However, maybe it is more accurate to call it ‘guilty inspiration’?

Religious preaching makes us note that the Macedonians gave liberally even though they had no money!

God-giving

The Macedonians were God-giving. Their giving came with an abundance of joy in spite of being under great persecution and extreme poverty. (2Cor 8:2) Amazing!

Paul explained that this strange mix of persecution, great joy, and deep poverty caused the Macedonians to abound in the riches of their liberality. (2Cor 8:2 NKJ) What does that mean?

Meaning of liberality

Many might think being very liberal in this context means being generous with your pocketbook.

After all, the dictionary defines liberality as the quality of being generous.

But the Biblical meaning is much different!

New Testament definition of liberality

liberality Greek: haplotés

  • simplicity, singleness, sincerity, purity, graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

By the way, do you know haplotés is also used about Jesus?

“..the simplicity (haplotés) that is in Christ.” (2Cor 11:3)

Hmm, pause and think about that. Macedonians and Jesus = haplotés.

Importance of the word “in”

Sometimes more understanding comes when we consider little bitty words in scripture verses.  e.g. the word “in”

  • abounded in the riches of liberality
  • the simplicity in Christ

This particular “in” in scripture is

eis – prop. into, unto; lit. “motion into which”, implying penetration and union to a particular purpose or result.

So the Macedonians had experienced a union, a penetration into Jesus’ purity, simplicity, sincerity, graciousness. And it was for a particular purpose or result.

The Macedonians were ‘one’ with Jesus. They were a true reflection of God’s liberality. They reflected Jesus’ purity, sincerity, graciousness. There was no duplicity in their giving, no hidden agenda, no ulterior motive. No ‘notice what I did’ or even a ‘pat on the back’.

Give according to ability

What caused these Macedonians to be effusive in the riches of liberality, i.e. of simplicity?

Paul explained – “…that according to their ability…” (2Cor 8:3)

Doesn’t this sound like self-effort?

It’s up to you. So muster up that ability with positive thinking, positive confession, talk yourself or guilt yourself into it. Be inspired by the preacher’s persuasive words declaring a great need and we need your ability to give.

Right? No way!

Quite the contrary, supernatural stuff was going on here.

  • according tokatá – properly, “down from, e. from a higher to a lower plane, with special reference to the end-point
  • ability dunamis power, might, force (dunamis is where we get our word ‘dynamite’)

Down from a higher plane (Jesus) to a lower plane (the Macedonian’s hearts – it’s intended end point) – God’s power came and wonderful fruit resulted. Now mind you, Jesus is in them/in us – so this ‘higher plane’ is not heaven or somewhere up there that power comes down. It is an internal dynamic.

Oh to give like true Macedonians! Oh the rush of joy!

True Liberality Flows Simply GrowingInFullness Nancy Teague


Dig In

  • Biblical ‘liberality’ flows simply and freely. It abounds in simplicity, purity, sincerity and singleness. It is not complicated! This kind of liberality has nothing to do with religious Christianity and all to do with Jesus.
  • You were made to naturally and easily reflect this beautiful liberality. It’s a God empowerment. He loves seeing you ‘be Him’ in your own unique way.
  • Get free from religion’s persuasive kind of guilt giving. There is no ‘have to’ with God. Let Him empower you with His kind of liberality. It is part of fullness. Enjoy the powerful flow!

P.S. Next post – what is the real source of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving?

What Is Agape Love What Does Agape Love Have To Do With A Cheerful Giver

In the previous post I exposed the misunderstanding of what ‘cheerful’ giver means. It has nothing to do with being happy! ‘Cheerful’ in the Biblical Greek is about being persuaded, disposed toward someone for their benefit…..

This post will explore who loves who and why in the context of giving.

Who loves who?

Bible translations for 2Cor 9:7 say – “…God loves a cheerful giver.”

Many may take this to mean, even though God loves the world, He especially loves those who cheerfully give. But this would mean God is partial and that He loves under certain condition.

Seems another reason why many believers are uncertain about their relationship with God.

Meaning of ‘love’ in 2Cor 9:7

The Greek word for love in this passage is agapaó.

Christians know it as ‘agape’ love.

Years ago I was taught ‘agape’ means

  • unconditional love
  • a love not based on will, it just is
  • a love not based on emotion
  • a constant love
  • only God’s love is agape

I was taught it, I believed it. No questions asked. Never did think to look up this agapaó love. I blindly accepted the traditional religious explanation.

Hmm, have you ever considered how many things, rituals, traditions, dogma you have been taught by the religious institution and blindly accepted them as gospel truth?

Greek meaning of ‘agape love –

agapaó (ag-ap-ah’-o) – I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Cognate: agapáō – properly, to prefer, to love

Hey, this is a much bigger and better agape than I had been taught!

Even consider “God is love.” (1Jn 4:8) He is the personification of the Greek meanings of agape! Hmm.

This agape love is referenced throughout the New Testament as God’s love to man, man’s love to God, and man’s love for one another. (e.g. Jn 3:16, Rom 5;8; Jn 8:42, 1Jn 4:20; Jn 15:12, 1Pet 4:8)

Back to love and cheerful giver. Who loves who?

God does not love a cheerful giver

Be assured I am no Greek Scholar, but upon looking up this verse in the Bible Hub Concordance for Greek, I was shocked to see the grammatical order actually says –

“…a cheerful giver loves God”!

This actually makes more sense.

Consider. We love because God first loved us. God so loved the world He gave. Freely you have received, freely give.

When we grow in grasping His agape love for us, then we really will love ourselves, and in turn naturally love our ‘neighbors’.

Remember, the meaning of ‘cheerful’ (giver) – favorably disposed toward others, are disposed because satisfied, and cheerfully ready to act because already approving.

So a ‘cheerful’ giver has first experienced God cheerfully giving to them! They have encountered His approving disposition towards them. In addition they have encountered His agape love – His preference for them, His esteem of them, His pleasure in them, His longing for them, His wishing well for them.

Giving does not involve

  • I will give to show God I love Him
  • I will be happy when I give because the Bible tells me to
  • I will be a cheerful giver because the church told me I should be
  • I will give so God will love me

Giving Involves

  • I love God because He first loved me
  • God has cheerfully loved me and given to me and I have received fully
  • I love God, I am a reflection of Him, and that naturally makes me a giver and a lover
  • God loves me whether I give or not, but I want to give. It is part of my spiritual DNA!

Dig In

  • Please say the meaning of agape love over yourself – God wishes well to me, He takes pleasure in me, He longs for me, His love for me flows from reason (it is not a fickle whim), He prefers me, and He esteems me.
  • If you have trouble loving your ‘neighbor’, then maybe you still need to love yourself. But that is hard to do – until you see how wonderful you really are. When you get that it changes the way you see everyone else, besides yourself!

Love Gives and Refelcts

  • No wonder Paul prayed – “…that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

If God Is Gracious Why Do We Ask God To Be Gracious To Us?

Have you ever cried out – “Oh God, be gracious to me.”?

Perhaps in intercession you have groaned – “Oh God, be gracious to them.”?

Maybe a heartfelt prayer like – “God, be merciful, God be gracious, God forgive us.”?

Is that scriptural?

Well some psalmists certainly prayed that way. Thus, we should too. Right?

But were those psalmists right in their request? Did they really know God?

Misguided Scripture praying

Some Christians believe you must pray scripture in order to be more effective. So they comb the Bible to find key verses that God will answer. Been there, done that.

Is that how it works? Did God give us the scriptures so we can maneuver Him  and then expect Him to answer our formulaic request?

Hey, what if you totally misunderstood the meaning of a verse and dogmatically prayed your ‘gospel truth’? I confess.

What if the scripture you are praying is not even true about God? Have you ever considered that the Bible also consists of some expressing things that are inaccurate, misunderstandings, even lies about who God really is?

Here’s an example. Ever prayed from the book of Job? Maybe you never noticed towards the end of the book what God said about Job’s friends’ eloquent comments about who God was? God Himself said that what they had spoken of Him was not right, not accurate, not the truth! (Job 42:7)

Is God Gracious Or Not?


Scripture Cannot Make Up Its Mind

I found ten verses in the Old Testament where the cry was ‘be merciful/be gracious to me.’

Now why is that a big deal? Because, it illustrates our confusion of who God really is. It also reinforces the dynamic of many Christians’ identity crisis.

Did not God describe Himself as “gracious” to Moses?! (Ex 34:6) If He is gracious, then why do we ask Him to be?

But, some got it. There are also ten verses where the Psalmist, Jeremiah, Joel, and Jonah said God was gracious! Of course Moses would know that too. There is hope for us.

The Confused Psalmist

Here’s a blatant example of identity crisis of God and of self – right in the Bible.

The Psalmist cries out –

“You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious (chanan), longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy (chanan) on me! (Ps 86:15,16)

Yee gads! Make up your mind!

Now how many of us can say “Uh, that’d be me.”?

Meaning of Gracious

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for gracious is:

chanan (khaw-nan’) – to show favor, be gracious. In late Hebrew Aramaic chanan also means – yearn towards, long for, be merciful, compassionate, favorable, inclined towards

What a beautiful description of God! And it also implies how God feels about you.

So when the Psalmist is crying out ‘Have mercy on me!’ – just figure God is trying to get him to hear – “Hey, I already do yearn towards you, long for you, am inclined towards you, am favorable to you, am compassionate towards you.”

FYI – chanan is often translated ‘be merciful’ in the Old Testament. Please realize the fullness of chanan!

Remember Moses Glory Goodness Gracious

When Moses wanted to see God’s glory, God told him I will make all My goodness pass over/upon you. (Ex 33:18,19) When this goodness passed over Moses, then God proclaimed “The Lord God, merciful (rachum – compassionate) and gracious (chanan), longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.”

Just think about this glory, goodness, and graciousness coming upon you – just like it did Moses. No longer be confused about identity. You can be certain. Experience fullness!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘I might be gracious’ or ‘I will be gracious’ (future tense). Like, “Let Me think about it, let Me see how you behave first, let Me hear you say the right things – then I will be gracious to you.” No! Never is God like that!
  • When all this glory, goodness, and graciousness was passing over and upon Moses – it was a prophetic picture of Jesus – the One who came to make clear the fullness of our gracious God. We must look for Jesus when reading the Old Testament.
  • If you cry out for God to be gracious to you – stop it! 🙂  Instead shout out “Oh God, thank you for being so gracious to me, for longing for me, for being inclined towards me, for yearning for me, for showing me favor. Hey, You really like me and enjoy me!”

P.S. Grace (‘chen’) comes from gracious (‘chanan’). More to explore in the Old Testament about grace – next post!

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 Good Is Your Good Friday? Is God Good On Good Friday?

(Note: taking a little side trip from my focus on grace, to explore Good Friday in this post.)

Why is Good Friday good?

Since Good Friday focuses on Jesus’ crucifixion and being marred beyond recognition, was God good that day?

After all, Jesus was smitten by God, and afflicted. (Is 53:4) In addition, Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46)  More on this later.

Back to Good Friday.

Does God feel good about our Good Fridays?

If you recognize this day, does it make you feel good?

Have you ever realized how Religious Christianity uses Good Friday to heighten our guilt and condemnation?

Is this heaping on of guilt a part of how good God is?

I remember, years ago, participating in a Good Friday service where we had opportunity to literally hammer nails into a huge cross drug into the sanctuary. As we hammered away tears, sobs, remorse, guilt, condemnation freely flowed. There was a strange mixture of ‘what a wretch I am’ and thankfulness happening in ‘God’s house’ that evening.

Certainly nobody felt good that evening, with nail and hammer in hand. How about God? Did He feel good about that Good Friday and how it made us feel about ourselves? At the time, I would have poignantly responded, “Yes.”

Now I realize the true answer is a huge, “NO!”

Traditional Good Friday

Traditionally in the church system Good Friday is melancholy, sad, doleful, mournful, and introspective. The lights low, the cross draped in black, the message heavy, the music somber, and interaction minimal. It is time to be pensive, reflective, regretful.

Wonder if God is participating? In fact, I wonder if He thinks – “Here we go again. They still don’t get the good news.”

The truth of Good Friday

God did not smite Jesus, and afflict Him. The truth is, “we esteemed (considered, thought, reckoned) Him smitten by God…”. (Is 53:4 Emphasis mine) Do you see that? We thought that.

God did not forsake Jesus at the cross. Now, we think “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” means that God turned His back on Jesus because He could not look on sin. Once again our false understanding of who God really is. We overlook or are ignorant of these truths:

  • “Indeed the hours is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (Jn 16:32)
  • “I and My Father are one.” (Jn 10:30)
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19) This is huge – Jesus wasn’t the only one on the cross!

Why then did Jesus cry out “why have You forsaken Me”? Remember, even though Jesus was God, He was also fully human. In His humanness He felt all of humanity’s pain and confusion. His cry was the cry of humanity – “Where are You God, don’t You care?” Jesus was expressing our lie. He was voicing our misunderstanding. God was always with Jesus, even on the cross. Even as God is always with us, even when we think He isn’t.

The fullness of Good Friday

  • One died for all, therefore all died. (2Cor 5:14) Hey, that means, besides God the Father, we were also on the cross! Whoa!
  • By one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many made righteous. (Rom 5:19) Note – it’s the same ‘many’!
  • By the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift of the one Man, Jesus, abounded to many. (Rom 5:15) Note – it’s the same ‘many’!
  • We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation – right on the cross! (Rom 5:11)
  • Since God was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself – God is pleading “be, reconciled”. (2Cor 5:20) In other words realize your redeemed true identity!
  • For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)

Stop wallowing in guilt and condemnation. There is no condemnation in Jesus. He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it – make it whole. (Jn 3:17)

Turn up the lights. It’s time to shout and rejoice on Good Friday!

Rejoice Its Good Friday!


Dig In

  • Come into the revelation of the incredible joy that was happening on ‘Good Friday’. Discover certainty and fullness.
  • Throw off that sackcloth, wash off those ashes. Stop believing lies about who religion says you are.
  • Rejoice! Don’t wait for Resurrection Sunday. The joy started at the cross. God was very good on the true ‘Good Friday’ when He made you very good again. (Gn 1:27,31) Embrace the revelation of all this happy goodness!

Does Religion Explain Grace Accurately?

Ever wonder about grace?

• How do you get grace?
• Where does grace come from?
• Who gets grace?
• When do you get grace?
• What does grace REALLY mean?

I have been purposefully pondering grace for weeks now and discovering some surprising things in scripture about it. My dilemma – too much to share at once!

Hence, a series on exposing the misunderstandings of the how, where, who, when, what of grace – then concluding with scriptural clarity to explain true grace. I realize several of these posts will be offensive to some, but if you hear me out through this series, you just might welcome the slaying of some sacred cows that you had no idea were such.

If you have grown up in religious Christianity you may identify with some of the typical explanations of grace below. But, have you ever thought past those religious meanings to their implications about who God is?

Traditional Religious Christian explanation of graceReligion explains Grace

1) God’s unmerited favor
2) Getting what you don’t deserve (of course mercy is then defined as “not getting what you deserve”!)
3) God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

Are these definitions true and accurate about grace? NO!

Let’s examine religion’s explanations and implications.

According to the dictionary
favor – has to do with approval; preferential treatment; a kind or obliging act freely granted
unmerited – not deserved
deserve – you are qualified for or have a claim because of actions, qualities, or situation

In essence religion is saying – you don’t deserve any approval or kind act by God. You are not qualified or have any claim to receive His approval, but in spite of that He will oblige you with kindness. After all, remember you are a “wretch” (think “Amazing Grace” song).

Religion’s acronym for grace – “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”

Not sure who came up with this, but it is catchy, easy to remember, and recite. At the surface it seems appropriate.

However, what does this really say about you and God?

What are God’s riches? What is Christ’s expense?

The ‘riches’ are the riches of His love? The ‘expense’ is Jesus’ horrific death on the cross?

Does that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? Or does it make you feel guilty? How about, it makes you feel like an awful rotten person when you consider what Jesus had to do for you – you wretched person, you.

Does God want you to feel guilty? Does God want you to feel miserable about what your rottenness made God have Jesus do? Does God want you to be remorseful and regretful about what your sin did to Jesus’ life? No, no, no.

Is this what grace is about? NO!

Dig In
• Have you ever thought about the ‘pat answers’ you have been taught?
• Have you ever considered those ‘pat answers’ from religion just might be wrong?
• Is grace really undeserving, or is it something way beyond religion’s grasp?

P.S. Next post – “How you get grace” according to traditional religious Christianity.

Joe Cocker Is Beautiful Has Always Been Beautiful Even As You Are

This morning I heard the news of Joe Cocker’s death.

Immediately my thoughts went to having heard his wonderful song “You Are Beautiful” on the radio about two months ago.

Listening to it, while driving my car, tears welled-up in my eyes. It felt like God was singing that song to me as well as every single person in the world.

Joe Cocker, you probably didn’t know how prophetic your voice and song were of God’s heart towards humanity. Thank you. And thank you God for making Joe Cocker!

In an article I read this morning, Cocker, when being interviewed by NPR two years ago, told them “You Are Beautiful” was his favorite song. He also shared this was originally a gospel song whose lyrics Billy Preston rewrote into more of a love song. Cocker said, “It kind of woke up something – that softer side.”

Additional thanks to Billy Preston for tapping into the heart of God when you changed the lyrics!

Cocker had a troubled younger life with drugs and alcohol. Wild eyed and gyrating moves with a captivating gravely voice. And all along God would have been singing to His son these words – “Joe, you are so beautiful to Me, can’t you see? You’re everything I’ve hoped for, you’re everything I need..such joy and happiness your bring.”

Now Joe Cocker ‘sees’ – magnified in eternity.

Imagine the melodic echo going on between the Godhead and Joe Cocker now – as they sing to each other – “You are so beautiful to me.”. Oh my goodness!

Of course some religious folk would chime in – “We don’t know if Joe Cocker went to heaven. He might not have asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and save him.” Yee gads! How small some make of God’s unconditional love and Jesus’ finished work at the cross.

Please let this prophetic song wash over your heart. Let it touch the ‘softer side’ of you – the real you. Feel His delight over you.


You are beautiful to Him. In fact, that is why Jesus became flesh, to show you how awesome you are and a reflection of God Himself! Oh, may you see. It is part of fullness and your true original identity.