Category Archives: sin

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.

Joy Came To Earth – Religion and The World Did Not Know And Still Don’t

Consider – before the Incarnation, God had not spoken to man (through the prophets) for over four hundred years! Selah

When God finally had something to say it centered on joy and a Person!

Even though this joy was for the whole wide world, joy happened in a small and ‘hidden’ way, consequently religion and the world didn’t know it and still don’t!

‘Hidden’ Joy

God’s way – small, hidden, humble.Mary Greets Elizabeth

Look at these small ‘hidden’ joy-filled encounters involving the Incarnation story. Note Greek meaning elaborations included.

  • Elizabeth shouted with clamorous screaming that was extremely boisterous with great emotion as she explained, upon hearing the sound of Mary’s voice, how her baby John in utero – leaped skipped, bounded with exuberant, wild, ecstatic, delightful joy! (Lk 1:39-45)
  • Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, extolled that her spirit was experiencing a gladness that was jumping in celebration! (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel, standing before the shepherds, reassuringly and excitedly declared – Don’t be afraid, I bring good news of great and large joy! It is a joy because of grace recognized. And this joyful news is for ALL the people!” (Lk 2:9,10)
  • Then suddenly the sky filled with a multitude of heavenly host, who brought the message to conclusion – “peace to the earth and goodwill, happiness, favor, and delight in men”. (Lk 2:13,14)Heavenly Host Declaring Peace and Goodwill Towards All
  • The Shepherds urgently went searching for the babe. Can you imagine their wide-eyed excitement and anticipatory joy at what they would find? Afterwards encountering, they spread abroad this joyful good news. Those who heard marveled and were astonished. Perhaps because it came from shepherds! (Lk 2:16-18)
  • The Wise Men, after their arduous long-seeking journey, when they saw the star standing still to indicate where Jesus was, rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. (Mt 2:9-10)
  • The earth was given a declaration of peace – i.e. a sense of welfare, to tie together into a whole, God’s gift of wholeness. Imagine the joy with that kind of ‘togetherness’! (Lk 2:14)

Joy Is The Focus Not Sin

When Jesus became flesh it was a happy, exuberant celebration. Joy for the world was the Godhead’s focus in coming to earth. Sadly, sin is religion’s focus for His coming.Oh The Joy!

Please realize Jesus did not have to come, He wanted to come to restore truth. Jesus came to show us who the Father really is and who we really are. (Jn 14:9 2Tim 1:9)

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world be saved, preserved, rescued on account of His Son. (Jn 3:17)

God’s joy over us propelled Him to come and remove the emptiness of sin that was keeping us from real relationship with Him.

Sin literally means ‘without form, having no substance’. Truly when we sin there is no fullness in it. It leaves us formless and empty in the long run.

God hates that emptiness. He originally made us to enjoy His fullness. Jesus came to restore that fullness. That is why God was so happy when, after 400 years, the fullness of time had come to reveal His eternal joy over us and restore access to the fullness.

Dig In

  • At times it can seem God is nowhere to be found, all is silent, life seems hopeless. But joy is coming. He might surprise you in a humble hidden way. Be open to believe (be persuaded) and receive, just like Mary. (Lk 1:38)
  • If you live in fear and guilt in your relationship with God, then know that is a religious relationship. Repent = change your religious mindset! Joy is a huge part of  God’s kind of relationship. Ask for the real deal. He longs for you to have it.
  • The Incarnation is huge – it means God enjoys our human ‘be-ing’. And God is not partial in His enjoyment. Consider – He made known to illiterate poor shepherds (the lowliest of people in that culture and time) something profound. In the darkness and quiet of the night He let them encounter  the supernatural and hear heaven-resounding news that affected the whole wide world. The shepherds didn’t grasp it all. But, they were one little hidden way He expressed His value of all mankind.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!

Oh the Fullness in hidden smallness!

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!

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.

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.

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

What Did Jesus Mean Go and Sin No More?

Jesus’ last words to the woman caught in adultery were, “Go and sin no more.”

What in the world did He mean?

Before we get to that let’s review a few key points of Jesus’ actions from the post/video “Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

Jesus Stoops for the Woman Caught in Adultery

Jesus stooped down – Jn 8:6,8

  • ‘stooped’ – Greek bend, bow the head
  • He put Himself in a weak position
  • Jesus became vulnerable
  • made Himself lower than the woman caught in adultery, thereby making her above Him (remember He came to lift us up to our original exalted position in Him – Eph ??? 2:4-6
  • He was identifying with the woman who was being shamed, put down, and accused
  • by bowing His head in essence He was cowering, like one would do if fearful and ready to be harmed. He was identifying with this woman.
  • He even put Himself lower than the accusers and essentially implying stone Me! I will take the blows for all your accusations towards her.

Jesus wrote on the ground  – Jn 8:6,8

  • Greek ‘on’ – properly, into – literally ‘motion into which implying penetration’, union, to a particular purpose or result
  • by writing in the dirt He was prophetically showing His oneness with humanity. The Creator of mankind became flesh and penetrated the dirt from whence we came. A prophetic union had taken place!
  • Getting His hand ‘dirty’ showed He had no aversion to mankind.
  • Greek for ‘ground’ means earth, soil, land, inhabitants of a region. It is also the same word used to describe Adam/mankind, i.e. “of the earth” (1Cor 15:47)

Jesus raised Himself up – Jn 8:7,10

  • ‘raised’ – Greek raised Myself, look up, am elated
  • a picture of His resurrection after He had stooped to identify with mankind
  • in raising Himself up Jesus got face to face, eye to eye – not only with the accusers the first time, but then with the woman caught in adultery. In those connections He was demonstrating to them their worth, their true identity, and the relational essence of their being with God.
  • a picture of the Godhead’s elation over the restoration and reconciliation that They knew was coming. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)

Note: when Jesus called her ‘Woman’, He was using a word that also means wife or my lady.  He was referring to her with respect. There is even an implication of the Bride of Christ with this word.

 Religion’sGo and sin no more’ meaning

  • Sober up.
  • Don’t you dare blow it again.
  • I have high expectations of you, in fact I demand perfection.
  • You need to try harder.
  • Don’t disappoint Me.
  • For all I’ve done for you, now you owe Me.
  • I don’t condemn you this time, but if there is a next time don’t expect such leniency.
  • It’s moral behavior I want, so be good.

Remember – Jesus prefaced “Go and sin no more” with “Neither do I condemn you.”

 Neither in the Greek is a big word. It means – neither indeed, not even, moreover not. It introduces a statement whose negation totally invalidates and rules out the statement that precedes it.

In other words, Jesus is saying ‘no condemnation allowed from anyone’ – even though the law says there should be condemning consequences, even death!

Jesus’ ‘Go and sin no more’ meaning

Therefore My lady –

go (Greek – move from one destination to another, depart from here and reach a particular destination)

and (indeed, even, moreover, also)

from (away from)

now (just at hand, immediately, now in light of what has gone before)

no more (no longer)

sin (without a part, a share; properly having no share in, without substance or form)

My loose translation based on insight into the Greek words:

‘My lady, your destination is not to be stoned, you have a better destination. Go away from what is at hand. Go away from what just transpired with all its accusations and legal requirements. You have a particular destination to reach so move to it. Leave the past behind. No longer be without your part and share of what I have for you. Stop believing lies about yourself. Repent, change your way of thinking. No longer stoop to a lesser identity. I did not make you to be formless but to have substance – to have significance, value, respect. Be who you really are! You belong and we are one! I rose up to show you how elated I am over you. So go your way, free to be all I made you to be. I made you for fullness of being – being My fullness in your own unique way!’

Can you just imagine the transformation that happened to that woman? She encountered the God of the universe, the God whose name the religious people would not even pronounce, the God who looked just like her – looking her in the face, eyes to eyes – saying in essence I love you, I value you, never will I condemn you, go and be who you really are.

Hmm, did she walk away with her head held high, a smile on her face, a skip in her step, and her eyes bright with who she really was? I’m thinkin’ so. She just faced truth and heard truth that set her free – free indeed! Gosh, imagine what all those accusers and onlookers thought of that?!

 Dig In

  • No matter what wrongs you do or mistakes you make, God will never ever condemn you. He specifically came to show you how valuable you are to Him, that you have always been precious, and never deserving of condemnation and judgment.  By the way – sin was judged, not mankind. (Jn 3:17  Jer 31:3  Heb 9:26  Heb 10:10)
  • You are never stuck in sin. Begin to realize He lifted you out of that formless place. Go and grow in revelation of the beauty of your being that began before time began – and BE IT! (1Tim 1:9,10)
  • Jesus ‘stooped’ below us in order to ‘raise’ us up to His level. Oh the glory of His inheritance in us! (Rom 4:25  Eph 2:6  Eph 1:18)