Category Archives: the Word

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!

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Meaning of Be Doers of the Word James 1:22

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (Ja 1:22 NKJ)

Most Christians read James 1:22 as their marching orders to DO WORKS.

We must DO things to please God, to prove we are believers, earn rewards in heaven, maintain our salvation, etc.

If you don’t DO – then figure you will be deceived about the security of your salvation.

Doer Versus Grace

How does grace fit in all this religious doing? It doesn’t.

What do we do with – being saved by grace through faith, and not by works, lest there be boasting? (Eph 2:8)

Remember, when Jesus was asked by His disciples, “What must we do to do the works of God”? Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (Jn 6:28,29)

Hmm, is ‘believe’ a work?

But James said we must be a ‘doer’. What do we do with that?

Religion came to the rescue to tell us what to do.

Traditional Religious ‘Doer’ Meaning
• Pray a lot
• Read and study the Bible
• Memorize scriptures
• Fast
• Worship God
• Weekly church attendance
• Serve and participate in church activities
• Be accountable
• Witness to unbelievers
• Get people saved
• Tithe and give offerings
• Observe the rituals
• Do good deeds

If the above list exemplifies a doer, then what is a hearer? Religion to the rescue again.

Traditional Religious ‘Hearer’ Meaning

Religion would say a ‘hearer’ is one who goes to church, listens to the word preached but forgets the sermon message and doesn’t personally apply its points. But they like to feel good or justified for a while from what they heard.

The religious institution would explain a ‘hearer’ is not committed to the Lord or the church.

Religion would say a ‘hearer only’ is a surface believer. Religion might even say a ‘hearer only’ is not a believer!

Religious Christianity values doers over hearers. They have to, it keeps the doors open.

To Do Or Not To Do_Nancy Teague GrowingInFullnessy

 

True Meaning of Doer and Hearer

To understand the ‘doer’ and ‘hearer’ words, in James chapter one, let’s look at their Greek meanings.

doer – Greek poiétés – (poy-ay-tace’) – a maker, poet, a doer, carrier out, performer

Poiétés is the word from which we get poet. So when you read ‘doer’ think of a creative person, a sensitive person, someone who has heightened awareness of themselves, their surroundings and others. They have empathy and compassion. Consider a performer – be it visual or verbal –  expressive, desirous and able to touch others’ lives.

hearer – Greek akroatés (ak-ro-at-ace’) – a hearer of, a listener to

A hearer is a good thing. Jesus said multiple times, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God Christ (actually ‘Cristos’ in the Greek = Christ Jesus). If we truly listen and hear we will be hearing of things about Jesus and listening to what He has to say about who the Father really is and who we really are.

The Father even said, this is My Beloved Son, listen to him! Looks like that Word made flesh has important things to say and for us to hear, not do.

Hearer Is A Doer

In truth, James 1:18-25 is a beautiful picture of a grace-drenched hearer-doer. When you really hear the fullness of the Gospel you can’t help but be a doer!

Dig In
• Many Christians struggle with am I doing enough good works or are they the right good works. This ‘works’ mentality is driven by fear and guilt. Not good. Not God.
• Believe in Jesus – that is the only ‘work’ Jesus Himself said is doing the work of God. To fully believe is an incredible place of trust, confidence, and rest. What a place to live from and ‘do’ from.
• You’re a poet and don’t know it! It’s part of the fullness of your true identity.

P.S. Next post we will go look more closely at the verses in James 1:18-25 which point to the wonderful law of liberty that releases us as true ‘doers’.

Religious Grace versus True Grace In The Old Testament

In the last three posts I’ve been unpacking the When, How, Where, Why of grace according to religion.

Now it’s time to begin to see true grace in scripture.

But there is a problem!

If your understanding of grace comes from religious influence, then you will be hindered in knowing the fullness of true grace in either the Old or New Testament.

This religious influence can be determined by two words – ‘If then’.

If Then says Religion. Really?_GrowingInFullness.com

 

‘If then’ is religious Christianity’s formula for knowing God and following God. But is it right? Really.

The formula works something like this –

  • If God does this, then you must do this.
  • If you do this, then God will do this for you.
  • If you want God to do something, then you should do this.

So when reading the Bible please consider that many translations come from those influenced by ‘If then’.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Religious ‘If then’ Old Testament grace translation of Ps 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps 84:11 NKJ)

As an aside, in case you didn’t know, when you see a word in italics in a Bible verse that means the interpreter added this word.

Religious ‘if then’ interpretation of Ps 84:11 explains (and in my former traditional religious Christianity I would have concurred)

  • The religious translation says ‘will give’ (future implication), it does not say ‘gives’ (present tense). Thus any grace (or even glory!) He might give will depend on something you do.
  • If you walk uprightly (are good, live morally upright, do the church requirements – go to church weekly, participate in church programs, tithe, pray, worship, have daily quiet time, memorize scriptures, do the rituals, etc.) then He will give you good things.
  • He will even be a shield to you – i.e. will protect you if you live uprightly and do those religious requirements.

Conditions, conditions, conditions to get God’s blessings. Really?

Ps 84:11 is better and fuller than ‘If then’ religion says!

Check out the eye-opening fuller Hebrew meanings (in bold) of the key words in this verse. The words are in order as listed in the Hebrew translation of Ps 84:11. (source BibleHub.com)

“For (because) a sun (daylight) and shield; Lord God put/place/set grace (charm, pleasant, elegance, precious) and glory (glorious, abundance, riches, honor); the Lord not withhold (restrain) good (beautiful, pleasant, agreeable), walk (go, come) blameless (complete, sound).”

In other words – Because God is a sun and shield He put grace/charm/elegance/preciousness and glory/abundance/riches/honor (in you)! He did not withhold good/beauty/pleasantness/agreeableness (from you). So you go forth as you really are (full of charm, preciousness, abundance, and honor) – in blamelessness/completeness/soundness.

Notice the present tense of this verse in the Hebrew. There is no future tense ‘will’ nor is there any ‘If then’ equation in the Hebrew.

Now that is true grace!

Don’t let religion make you think or believe there is an “If then” in your relationship with God. Be you really are – full of grace and glory. Amazing!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘if then’ with God – all His promises and gifts are “Yes and Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2Cor 1:20)
  • God has ALWAYS been for you, in fact for everyone. Read scripture with this truth in mind, it will help you get rid of the religious ‘If then’ mindset.
  • Grace came in fullness when Jesus (God Himself) showed up as a human being, but the shadow of Jesus and His fullness is found in the Old Testament. Process all grace (in Old and New Testament) through Jesus Christ and you will grow in true grace and in fullness.

P.S. More to come in really seeing true grace in the Old Testament.

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!

God Is Watching You and You Must Give Account! But Religion Mistranslates Hebrews 4:13!

Do you know that God is watching you? Does that scare you?

Hebrews 4:13 would suggest we need to be a little scared, after all He is watching and we have to give an account.

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him, to whom we must give account.” (Heb 4:13 NKJV)

Make you a little nervous? Years ago, it did me.

You just might be surprised at what Hebrews 4:13 is really saying!

Click on the video  and/or open the PDF below to get the real truth!

Free PDF download – God Is Watching You And You Must Give Account! But Religion Mistranslates Hebrew 4 13!

Dig In

  • Perfect love casts out fear. (1Jn 4:18) Yet, we can still read some scriptures with a sense of fear of what God will do to us. Remember, fear involves punishment. If you think you might be punished by God then you still need a clearer revelation of His love! If you think He needs to punish certain people then you do not understand pure love. God is not about punishing, He is about love and caring for His children,  which is actually ALL mankind!
  • If you see italicized words in a scripture verse that means those are added words. They are not part of the original Greek. Might be a heads up to check out the real meaning of that verse. Bible Hub is one online resource to do just that.
  • To grasp – God can’t take His eyes off you because you are such  a delight to Him – is understanding more of your true identity. As you truly grasp His delight in you, in turn, you will delight in others. Oh, relish the certainty and fullness in knowing He is always ‘watching’ you – His ‘logos’, His expression of a beautiful thought!

What Was the Word Jesus Spoke To Say All Are Clean?

Trying something new in this post! Always good to stretch oneself. Right?

The topic at hand is found in John 15:3 – what is the word Jesus had spoken to His disciples that said they were already clean?

Here’s a clue –  prune, clean, washing feet – have something in common.

You have two ways to find out the full answer!

First choice – watch the video.


Second choice – Download the PDF  The Word Jesus Spoke To Declare You Are Already Clean  – for Bible study details.

Would love to have some feedback on the video, to see if it is a helpful way to get this fullness message out. Also your thoughts on the PDF are sure desired.

Maybe there will be enough that say – “Hey, just keep doing what you did before.”

My biggest desire is that you be struck with the enormity of Jesus’ words about being “already clean”.

Dig In

  • If you have been brought up in the  traditional Christian religion, please don’t summarily dismiss the possibility that God could be even better than you thought.
  • To have mindsets challenged is a good thing! Fullness of life is way bigger than we’ve been told or can even imagine. So be open to the renewing of your mind. It will impact your identity.
  • Don’t forget the disciples didn’t get what Jesus was saying. (Jn 13:7) Yet, He was faithful to help them get it little by little. He really does want us to “get it”!

What Does It Mean to Abide In The Vine? Part One -The Wrong Way!

Do you abide in the Vine? How? When? Why? Where?

Shoot, all I knew was, I sure didn’t want to be one of those branches that gets cut off and thrown into the fire! That thought alone is enough to make me want to abide or at least die trying to!

Come on now. Is that what Jesus was trying to get across in His message about the Vine and the branches? You had better abide, or else.

Have you ever noticed how we Christians are notorious for wanting a step by step plan to:

  • Do it right
  • Be right
  • Please God
  • Impress God/others
  • Mature in things of God
  • Advance the kingdom
  • Do our duty
  • Show how thankful we are for His ultimate sacrifice by doing and obeying

Hey, maybe just give me 3 points, and I will do it. How about a list, then I can check it off. I know, let’s make a chart and the visual impact will be a big motivator!How NOT To Abide

Sound familiar?

Truly I did not understand Paul’s words – “…they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:2-4)

Confession time – I was one zealous believer back in the day. I had no clue of “knowledge”, even though I thought I did! Hey, I even remember using that phrase, “they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”, as a way to judge others! Sick, huh?

Paul nailed it with this wonderful description of those of us who, in misguided sincerity, are trying so hard. Our fervor and zeal only wear us out, they don’t do a lick to develop any righteousness or please God, let alone abide. But we can’t see that, because we busy doing the stuff, or feeling guilty for not doing the stuff.

By the way, do you see how our “step by step” formulaic mindset is another way of establishing our own righteousness?

Geesh, I’m so thankful in my ‘old’ age He finally broke through all the religious mindsets to show me what He really wants. Has to do with fullness and freedom!

Okay, back to the Abiding topic.

Traditional Christian responses on how to abide:

  • “Quiet time” is necessary – BE STILL, focus on Him, renounce any wandering thoughts, write down wandering thoughts so they stop wandering.
  • Make sure you sincerely worship God, which best happens with worshipful music. In fact, some believe you can only truly worship with music.
  • “Carpet time” might help. (For those who aren’t familiar with that phrase, this means laying prostrate on the ground as you worship Him or are ‘still’. Not to say this is a bad thing to do, but it gets twisted as a work, a should, a must, a need to – particularly to show Him you are humbling yourself.
  • Read the Bible and meditate on scripture. Even memorizing scripture will show Him you really want to abide.
  • Pray in tongues, but do it quietly for true abiding. 🙂

Is that what God had in mind when Jesus said “Abide in Me, and I in you.”? (Jn 15:4)

Dig In

  • Are you good at abiding by doing stuff? Have you been caught in the religious works traps of abiding? Please realize you don’t have to stay trapped.
  • Do you like three step formulas, check lists, charts? Have you ever tracked your abiding success rate from these things? Having done the stuff do you feel restful, full, and certain?
  • What kind of fruit do you bear with the traditional Christian ways of abiding? What kind of fruit do you think God is looking for when we truly abide?

Next post we will find out what God had in mind about abiding! You just might be surprised!

What’s With All the Joy Around Jesus’ Birth? Part 1 Baby John

Ever wonder –
how much joy happened?
who had the joy?
what kind of joy was it?
when was this joy?
what did darkness have to do with this joy?

How much joy?

Gosh, how do you measure joy – by the cup, by the gallon, by the barrel?

Is there such a thing as immeasurable joy? You bet. We all need this immeasurable joy?! In fact it is part of our inheritance.

Who had this joy – way back when?

  • Baby John (AKA John the Baptist)
  • Mary
  • The Angels
  • The Shepherds
  • The Wise Men
  • The World

For this post let’s do

Baby John’s joy

 Two key dynamics here – a voice and a leap

The setting –
Mary, was in the midst of hearing incredible news, from the angel Gabriel no less. She heard the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Highest would overshadow her so that she would conceive, and give birth to God’s Son (God’s incarnation). As if that wasn’t enough baffling good news, the angel also explained that her relative, Elizabeth (a barren woman, now in her old age), was six months pregnant! Goodness gracious, what a day of news!

Mary takes off from Galilee, for an 80-100 mile hike to the hill country in Judah to visit her Elizabeth!

Was Mary so full of joy and wonder that she just couldn’t sit still? I bet there was a lilt in her step over all those hills as she walked, and walked, and walked. Figure about 24 hours to get there.

Mary arrives with a greeting. Ever wonder what Mary said?

But, it wasn’t her words, it was her voice that sparked a special response!

When Elizabeth heard the greeting, six 6 month old John,  while in her womb, leaped. (Lk 1:41)Visitation by Carl Bloch

Elizabeth explained, “…as soon as the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44)

Okay, gotta do a little Greek to get this joy.

heard –  akoúō  (ak-oo’-o) – I hear, listen, comprehend by hearing; properly, to hear (listen); (figuratively) to hear God’s voice which prompts Him to birth faith within (cf. Ro 10:17).  akoúō) is the root of the English term, “acoustics.”]

voicephóné  (fo-nay’) – a sound, noise, voice

cameginomai  (ghin’-om-ahee) – I come into being, am born, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point (realm, condition) to another

leap/leapedskirtaó  (skeer-tah’-o) – I leap (for joy), skip, bound

foren  (en) – in, on, among. En (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).
[Obviously the word ‘for’ used in this passage is not the most accurate translation on en!]

joyagalliasis (ag-al-lee’-as-is) – exultation, exhilaration, wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation. (from agalliáō, “to exalt” – exuberant joy; “intense joy and gladness”)

John didn’t do just a little leap in his mommy’s womb.

We’re talkin’ about an inward exhilarating, wild, ecstatic, intense joy and delight of skipping and  bounding – that manifest itself physically!

Geesh! Did that leap hurt? Apparently not, Elizabeth, being filled with the Holy Spirit after her son leaped,  shouted out with a loud voice… (Lk 1:42)

Realize – Elizabeth was one wild crazy old lady at that moment. She shatters the ‘little old lady’ mindset.

A little more Greek

loudmegas (meg’-as) – large, great, in the widest sense

voice kraugé  (krow-gay’)  a shout, clamor, outcry (from 2896 /krázō, “cry out” – loud crying, done with pathos (great emotion); clamorous screaming (shrieking) that is extremely boisterous

Whoa! Can you cop a picture of Elizabeth?!

Now some might think – well, I don’t want to look that stupid. However, it sure looks like this kind of reaction can happen when you tap into the pure Gospel.

Of course Mary, Elizabeth, and John only had an inkling at how good this news was really going to be. We on the other side of this wondrous story have a clearer opportunity to realize what this immeasurable joy is all about. Just remember though that religion is really good at stifling fullness of joy by its ignorance, misunderstanding, and proper decorum mindset.

Next post – Mary gets ‘whacked’ with joy!

Dig In

  • Looking up some key Greek words really helps to dig into what is really being said in a passage of scripture. BibleHub.com (LINK) is my go to source for getting the goods.
  • Jesus stated, “out of the mouth of babes You have established strength.” Scripture also states “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. In light of baby John, we could also include, ‘out of the movement of babes…’  Hmm, how strong was baby John at just 6 months in the womb?! Now don’t forget, this exhilarating joy burst forth all because of a sound. It’s that simple. You can’t work it up. Let the sound (the acoustics) of His voice reverberate in you – the same wild joy can be yours. It’s part of fullness!
  • Something else to ponder – ginomai – the Greek word used when Mary’s voice came into Elizabeth’s ears, is the same word used in Jn 1:14 “And the Word became flesh…” Hmm, now that’s a whole ‘nother  point to dig into! Just sayin’ – those Greek meanings are worth the search.

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!

Does Religious Christian Evangelism Preach The Wrong Gospel – Part 1

What is the gospel message?

What would you say? Before reading further, please take a moment to give it some thought.

Here’s my summary of what I was taught and believed to be the Gospel (AKA Good News):

  • Man is a sinner thus separated and distanced from God
  • Man needs to be saved from his sins
  • Man needs forgiveness for his sins
  • God loves you and sent Jesus to die for your sins and be your Savior
  • You need to ask God for forgiveness of your sins in order to be saved
  • When you repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you, then Jesus will cleanse you of your sins
  • Result – you are reconciled to God and are assured of going to heaven (not hell)
  • Now that you are saved there will be things you should do and will want to do (that show God you love Him and will serve Him)
    1. go to church regularly
    2. pray faithfully
    3. worship (in church and privately)
    4. give tithes and offerings
    5. read the Bible and go to Bible studies
    6. be part of a small group at church (for fellowship and growth)
    7. repent when you sin and get forgiven some more
    8. tell others about Jesus so they can get saved too

Traditional Gospel Focus

The Gospel, traditionally preached, focuses on sinful ‘fallen man’, separation, and distance (from God).

The religious gospel summary says that even though Jesus died for sin, mankind is still sinful – whether you are saved or not. Hmm, looks like an unending disappointing cycle of never quite being right with God. Does that mean Jesus wasn’t enough to deal with our sin problem? Does He need us to help Him out or finish completing something that He started?

The “Fallen Man Gospel” (as I now call it) has been my understanding of the gospel for six decades! Sure I knew that Jesus loved me, but there were a few subtle thoughts over the years that challenged that surety. For example – ‘God will love me more if I…’,  ‘what if I really blow it…’, ‘there must be something I can do for God…’, ‘what can I do to get more of God so that…’

Because the traditional gospel is sin focused it compounds and enhances uncertainty in life and in one’s relationship with God. With us living in such a world of uncertainty, you would think ‘good news’ Christians would be the most certain people around. Not so much.

The Accuser of the Brethren

Since traditional evangelism points out sin in order to get God’s love across, and since Satan loves to point out faults and shortcomings, is it possible that the Accuser Church/religious Christianity is unknowingly in cahoots with the accuser of the brethren? Why I never!? Who do you think you are aligning Christian evangelism with Satan?!

Let’s remember the enemy hates us because we are made in God’s image. He does everything he can to put us down and keep us from knowing who we really are. Sadly, the sin focused gospel message uses a negative emphasis (sin) to get to a positive outcome (God’s love), and yet continues the negative part continues to be part of the ‘walk’.

Anything negative about man is accusatory. God would NEVER be negative or accusatory about mankind, because He knows who we really are. He really likes what He made in His image. Actually, His wonderful complete conclusion of us began before the foundation of the world!  God has never changed His opinion of us, even in spite of sin. We will explore this truth of who we really are in upcoming posts.

It is out of ignorance that those who preach the fallen man evangelistic message are helping the enemy to continue to deceive mankind. By the way, the enemy loves ignorance and takes advantage of it in us! But God does not condemn ignorance. (Pr 24:12  1Tim 1:13)

The Power of Tradition

Obviously those who preach the traditional evangelistic gospel really care about people and want to see them saved. They are simply saying what has been handed down to them, and in turn passing this tradition on. However, this traditional gospel ties in with that traditions stuff that Jesus came against. (Mk 7:1-13)

Status Quo versus God’s Fullness

I never would have seen these things if not for God’s divine set up with certain people, books, and teachings. Then there was searching the scripture to see if this is true, much pondering, many questions, and then the wonderful quickening of the Holy Spirit. It resulted in many a “Oh my goodness!”, and overflowing gratitude. Why I have never heard this before in all my years of church is astounding to me, because the pure Good News is incredible good news! And yet I see why -hence Part One and Two (next post).

I hope you will seriously consider this challenge and exposure of the status quo gospel which falls so short of declaring the fullness we have all received. (Jn 1:16)

Dig In

  • If the gospel you heard ever results in requirements, insecurity of your salvation, feeling  distance from God, resurfacing guilt or fear – then you have not heard the real Good News.
  • Tradition has such a powerful influence on our lives. It is based on assumption that whatever has been passed down ‘is so’. Caution.
  • The fallen man gospel proclaims you are a sinner saved by grace. Do you know that is not even New Covenant?

In Part 2 I will share what I believe are negative consequences of a sin based/ fallen man focused gospel.