Tag Archives: religious guilt

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 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!


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?

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!

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)

Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

In scripture, when something is repeated two or three times, that means we need to pay attention. It is important. Take heed. Ponder.

Jesus repeated three actions TWO times concerning the woman caught in adultery as she had to stand before her accusers.

  • stooped down
  • wrote on the ground
  • raised Himself up

Looks like we need to pay attention!

There is HUGE meaning and significance to His, what I call, prophetic actions. Out of all my pondering, these past few weeks over His actions in this story with the adulterous woman, I was amazed to discover truths about our true identity and the Good News.

You know, if we begin to realize how much He is for us, how He came to show us who we really are, that He has never changed His mind about us, and get free from the ‘traditions of the elders’ (AKA religious tradition) – then we will begin to see this wondrous pattern of unconditional eternal love.

Click here for the video to see and hear for yourself what Jesus was saying by His actions. You will be wowed!

Dig In

  • Jesus knows the times when we were brought low. Please realize, He will get even lower than us, because He came to lift us up. We were always made to be lifted up and highly valued.
  • Jesus has nothing but terms of endearment about us, even in the midst of our blowing it. Open your heart to the truth of who you really are.
  • Don’t let accusers define you. Only God’s evaluation of you counts. Come into the revelation of His elation over you! Certainty of this is part of fullness.

P.S. The next post will explain what Jesus truly meant when He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”

What Does It Mean to Abide In The Vine? Part Two – False Vine Is Possible!

I ended my previous post with –  Next post we will find out what God had in mind about abiding! You just might be surprised!

In light of some fresh insights that happened yesterday, about Jesus’ passage of ‘abiding’, I need to postpone the surprise of what it really means to abide. I think these additional nuggets will wow you, like they did me.

So hang on for a series of good stuff about John 15:1-12!

The previous post, Part One, talked about things we do that enable us to abide in the vine. In and of themselves they can be part of growing in our relationship with God, but they are not what Jesus was specifically talking about when it comes to abiding.

This post, Part Two, exposes the false vine possibility!

Jesus said, “I am the TRUE vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” (Jn 15:1, Emphasis added.)

This implies there can be a false vine and even a false vinedresser!

The Father would not tend to a false vine, right? He’d be wasting His time and not being true to Himself. Thus, if we are abiding in a false vine, then that means we could have someone (or a thing) tending to us that is not a true vinedresser/husbandman/worker of the soil. Hey, this could also mean the possibility of  false fruit!Abiding In A False Vine or the True Vine

Gosh, what could a false vine possibly be?

  • a particular denomination/non-denomination/house church
  • a pastor (certain personality and teaching style)
  • doctrines
  • rituals
  • the Bible
  • ministry
  • other believers (AKA fellowship)

Am I saying these are bad? No. But, they can be if they are substitutes for the real deal. Taken to extreme, they could even be idols! That is when they are really ‘bad’ for us. Those things cannot produce fullness or fruitfulness, even though they might ‘feel’ or look like they do.

How to know if these things are not false vines:

  • they are not your identity or even make up part of your identity
  • they do not consume your time and energy
  • they do not lure or sway your thoughts and emotions
  • they do not control you (e.g. through guilt, fear, condemnation, manipulation)
  • they point you to Jesus
  • they help unfold the wonder of Jesus
  • they help you fall more in love with Jesus
  • they increase your love for all the ‘branches’

Obviously Jesus made it clear we are to abide in Him, and Him only. But that can seem nebulous, confusing, or difficult. How do you abide in something you can’t see? Then He talked about pruning, casting out branches, and fire stuff. Yikes!

So maybe this abiding in Him doesn’t look so good in light of ‘judgment’ that seems to be part of His telling us to abide?

Maybe, those substitutes aren’t so bad after all? They can seem to have an appearance of abiding, so isn’t that good enough? Then I don’t have to think about those verses of being cut off and thrown into the fire.

If you have any judgment notions about ‘abiding in the vine’ then please know religion’s ‘fallen man gospel’ has duped you. You are being deceived by false teaching that nullifies the Word of God.
(Mark 7:1-13)

Okay, enough of that religious mindset of hell fire, better watch out, naughty or nice junk! This kind of twisted and confused thinking has propped up our notion that God can be mean, even if He is joyful.

This false teaching actually promotes a false vine and leads to continued uncertainty in one’s relationship with God.

As true abiding unfolds in up coming posts you will see the tenderness, supply, nurturing, fullness, and joy of it all!

Stay tuned. You will never look at abiding as an uncertain and scary dynamic of Christian living again.

Dig In

  • There is an ease and a rest in abiding in the true vine. If you get uptight about abiding then just figure you have heard false teaching. Truth is on the way to bring you pure abiding.
  •  Scary prospects come with the traditional religious gospel message. The true Gospel has nothing but certainty, clarity, paradoxical and illogical grace, compassion, love that never fails, faithfulness that covers our unfaithfulness. Abide in truth, ditch the false uncertain junk.
  • Enjoy and receive from those ‘things’ that make Jesus even more real and nourishing. They can be an asset towards abiding in Him, and in Him alone. But remember true abiding is empowered by the Spirit of God. (1Jn 4:13)

Does Religious Christian Evangelism Present The Wrong Gospel Part 2

In Part 1 the main focus of the traditional gospel message was explained – the gospel revolves around man’s sin/Adam’s fall. I call it the ‘Fallen Man Gospel’. The traditional gospel sets up many believers for negative consequences.

I see five harmful consequences that come out of the sin focused gospel. Today I will cover three of them.

1. Guilt and Fear Rule

Since the traditional gospel emphasizes you are a sinner and in need of a Savior, this sure stirs the internal pot of guilt, condemnation, and shame. Then fear is Guilt and Fear Ridden Sinner/Believerstirred up because of the prospect of going to hell, if you don’t ask God for forgiveness and ask Jesus to be your Savior. For some fear can continue to hang around with thoughts of, “What if I blow it big time with God?”

The word says His perfect love casts out fear (1Jn 4:18), yet so many Christians still struggle with fear – fear of God Himself, fear of failure, fear of disappointing God, fear of rejection. Could it be the Fallen Man Gospel gives a distorted message of His love?

Even though the traditional gospel message preaches how much God loves you, there will be this sense that ‘you are less than’ until you get cleaned up. And if you ever get ‘dirty’ again, then you are back to being ‘less than’.

This is not to say that some will experience a wonderful sense of ‘cleansing’ when encountering Jesus for the first time. Unfortunately, despite this cleansing, a not quite measuring up will linger or resurface in many a Christian’s life. This should not be if we truly understood the fullness of the Good News.

2. Sin Consciousness Encourages Judging and Favoritism

The traditional evangelistic gospel encourages judging and favoritism by other believers. The sin focus sets us up to itemize and determine which are the worst sins or failures. This helps believers to judge each other by their behavior/sin and determine their relationship with God by it. This kind of judging can also set up favoritism among the brethren.

Then there is judgment on unbelievers. The sin conscious gospel helps some believers to conclude that those who do the ‘worse sins’ will not be saved. Since we tend to side with the used and abused victims, the perpetrators get little or no compassion. In fact, some believers think that those who do horrendous violence or harm to others, surely go to hell. Then there are those sinners who squander their lives in wantonness and selfishness – shaky ground for them. And of course those who never repent of their sins definitely do not go to heaven. So goes the judging and favoritism that unfolds for those who adhere to the Fallen Man Gospel.

But you know what?! Those who do this kind of judging and partiality cannot be judged either! We must remember they are ignorant of the truth of the pure gospel. They are simply deceived and swallowed up in traditional doctrine and its negative consequences. They are consequently set up to judge others and even themselves. Satan loves it, but God is faithful to set them free.

3. Perpetuates the System and Expectations

The traditional Fallen Man Gospel keeps the religious church system going. When the emphasis is on  neediness and shortcomings, then saved sinners (or yet to be saved attendees) need to hear messages (AKA sermons) on to how to continue to clean up their lives, become more effective Christians, and of course please God. Along with these messages will be many activities that believers should do. These help keep them involved in the system, but never coming into their true identity in Christ.

Isn’t it interesting that most believers, in spite of good preaching and hearing the ‘Good News’, will at some point in their lives experience – striving, doubt, confusion, times of dryness, apathy, depression, disappointment, weariness, frustration, burnout, failure, and of course fear and guilt in their relationship with God. Been there, done all that!

Horror of horrors, if they were ever to leave the system because of any of the above, then their very salvation could be at risk, so goes the inference from Churchianity.

In addition, the religious system releases a gnawing guilt that will hound those who leave the structure. Hmm, is there a ‘pre-guilt’ and ‘post-guilt’ at work among the brethren who receive the traditional good news?

Do you realize there is no guilt in grace, but there is guilt involved in law? “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”(James 2:10)

So, if you struggle with guilt, just know you are living under the law. Don’t be that guy! If guilt is directed your way by others or by the system, just know they are bound up in law and deceived. Don’t accept it!

What It Is Not and What It Is

In Christ Jesus there is no guilt, no fear, no judgment, no favoritism, no expectations, no sin, no works, no laws.

In Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is unconditional acceptance, utter delight over you, unspeakable joy, union, unconditional love, assurance, security, certainty, peace beyond understanding, free to love and be loved, free to know and be known, free to give and receive, free to be who He really made you to be. Now we’re getting to the truth! Oh the glories of the pure Good News!

Dig In

  • The Fallen Man Gospel is not really good news. It’s message does not allow you to be who you really are.
  • If you have succumbed to any of the above negative consequences please know there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. You don’t have to be stuck or caught up in them. Remember, He came to set you free!
  • God knows who we really are, and His Good News shouts that out.

Part 3 will look at two other negative consequences of the Fallen Man Gospel.

If Repentance Is Not Scriptural Where Did It Come From

Recently, in a gathering, as we were discussing that repenting of our sins to God was not part of the New Covenant, someone blurted out, “But, repenting of my sins is what I was taught all my 60+ years of life going to church! What am I to do with that?!” I could relate.

What a quandary – stay stuck in tradition or move into truth that sets you free?!

Have you ever considered how powerful religious traditions are? Jesus sure blasted all ‘the traditions of the elders and the things they received in order to observe’. He summed up His rejection of all their religious observations by stating “you are invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many such things as that.” (Mk 7:1-13) Yikes, Jesus is basically saying, ‘you are invalidating Me by your traditions’!

How many Christian traditions have been handed down to you as a child, with no questions asked? Into adulthood many continue to believe and obey what has been received, unmindful of Jesus’ incredible words: “It is finished.” That sure was my story!

The religious system and those caught up in it say, “No, it is NOT totally finished. We still have to do, we should do, we ought to do…”. Have you ever thought about how many of those handed down traditions place the emphasis on you doing something?

That dynamic of ‘doing’ is at the crux of the religious doctrine of repentance, which basically means we need to repent of our sins in order to get saved and continue to repent in order to maintain a right relationship with God. We have to work at our salvation!

Thomas F. Torrance (Scottish Protestant Theologian, 1913-2007), in his book ‘The Doctrine of Grace in the Early Church Fathers’ explains this ‘do’ mindset – “In the Apostolic Fathers grace lost its radical character. They developed a doctrine of salvation by works of righteousness… A Christian ethic was codified, and the charismatic life under the constraining love of Christ [was] reduced to rules and precepts. The centre of gravity was shifted from the mainspring of the Christian life in the person of Christ Himself to the periphery of outward conformity and daily behaviour.” (emphasis mine)

Before the Reformation, these were some of man’s traditional mindsets about sin and repentance:

  • Only sins prior to baptism were forgiven thus emphasizing the importance of baptism (not the finished work of the cross).
  • Upon baptism the new believer started with a clean slate, but any future sins were not forgiven.
  • Then early church leaders solved the issue of future sins after conversion/baptism by developing the action of ‘doing penance’, later called ‘repentance’ (totally ignoring that the New Covenant confirms He forgave all our sins – once for all)
  • Penance was made difficult to do, because the early church fathers did not want the masses to abuse ‘doing penance’ thinking once they did it they were free to sin again, repeat the cycle and all is well.
  • Thus a complicated doctrine about sin and repentance was developed – those in charge decided which sins were forgivable, how many times you could be forgiven, how much you would have to ‘pay’ for each type of sin, even the sincerity of your repentance and depth of regret were considered. The early church fathers thought this would discourage people from sinning. It did not!

When scriptures were translated into Latin by Jerome (382AD), these doctrines St Jerome Writing Vulgate of penance/repentance were so ingrained that they influenced the translation of the actual text. Thus the Greek word metanoia (lit. to change one’s mind) became purposely mistranslated as ‘acts of penance’ and later as ‘repentance’ (a repetition of penance). They had to make a way for the continuance of their complicated format dealing with sin that brought in much money and kept the masses beholden to them!

Augustine, who greatly influenced western Christianity, used the Vulgate as his preferred translation. His doctrine of repentance was based on Jerome’s erroneous translation of metanoia.

Throughout early church history, this mistranslation of metanoia in the Latin Vulgate, has been pointed out numerous times. One example, in 1430, theologian Lorenzo Valla, decried this error. But the traditional doctrine of penance/repentance was so deeply rooted in religious Christianity that his corrections were overruled. Isn’t that something?!

Now you can see why we are so steeped in this religious traditional mindset of repenting of our sins. What a travesty, as it totally negates the scriptures that proclaim the absolute forgiveness of sin and the removal of all sin. (Col 2:13  Rom 11:27  Heb 10:17)

Our total forgiveness is part of the Good News but there is even more to this stunning Gospel. However, as long as we cling to the tradition of repentance we will be blind to the liberating truth.

No wonder Paul prayed that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Eph 1:18)  Open our eyes Lord that we may truly see! Oh my goodness, You have so much FULLNESS for us!

Dig In

  • If it is offensive to hear, ”You don’t have to repent of your sins, all of them are already forgiven!”, then you might consider that tradition is influencing your life, not God.
  • Religious tradition permeates us in many ways – to keep us confined, controlled, hindered, shallow, deceived, guilt laden, fearful, striving, busy, tired, uptight, rigid…
  • If you experience any of the above in your walk with God, then realize that is not His kind of walk for you! Ask Him for the real deal. He will show you! You will never be the same again.

Why Do We Repent What Is True Repentance

What does repentance mean to most Christians?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

metanoia means literally

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, how good is your God anyway?

Dig In

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

Are You Certain About God’s Forgiveness

I am realizing there is a lack of revelation of God’s forgiveness. This misunderstanding sure contributes to a rampant Christian identity crisis and a twisted view of who God really is. In fact, our confusion about our own forgiveness affects how we view others. I sure had no idea of the magnitude of His forgiveness.  But by golly I am starting to see the enormity and simplicity of the Good News! I have been searching the scriptures to see if this is so, and sure enough this ‘too good to be true’ Gospel is so!

Let’s jump into this area of God’s forgiveness – you just might be surprised, challenged, stretched, even resistant or offended.

The majority of Christians would say that God forgives us of our sins, but they believe it is an ongoing forgiveness. After all, we traditionally think of ourselves as just “sinners saved by grace”, so we expect to sin, Just A Sinner Save By Graceand hence we will keep asking God for forgiveness. That would have been my understanding for decades in my Christian walk, and that is what I did – kept asking forgiveness when I sinned, and feeling so disappointed, guilty, and ashamed when I blew it. “Oh God, I’m so sorry, please have mercy on me!”, would be the cry of my heart. “Lord, I will try harder next time. I really love You, I want to please You, I want to be more like Jesus, I want to worship You more, I want to serve You, I want to help advance Your kingdom, I want to love You more…” – on and on it went. Gosh, just writing out those ‘want tos’ wore me out! Hey, anyone else out there with that litany of apologies with a do it better next time religious pattern?

The Christian religious system teaches – we have to acknowledge we are sinners, repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us of our sins, ask Jesus to be our Savior, and then we will be saved. But after that we will still have to ask Him for forgiveness when we sin. Hmmm, does this mean He didn’t have enough power to totally forgive us and cleanse us? Could this suggest Jesus was kind of an impotent Savior?!

By continuing to see ourselves as sinners who must continue to ask for mercy and forgiveness, then it appears this is how He will finish the good work He started. He really needs our help? (Phil 1:6  1Thes 5:24)

Does He need our will power to help make us more holy – our will power to pray more, worship more, study the Bible, save the lost, give more? Then when our will power fails, we need to once again ask forgiveness? Consequently, we are plagued with disappointment with ourselves and believing we have also disappointed God. Good news, huh?

Religious tradition also teaches we have to chose Him to be our Savior. We have to want to be forgiven and ask to be forgiven. If we don’t, then we go to hell. Gulp. So our salvation is up to us!? Hey, doesn’t God seem mean with that kind of teaching? But, Jesus said, “I chose you, you didn’t choose me…” – where does that fit in?

Wow, lots of work to do if you want to be a Christian – hey, kind of like a lot of other religions!  Could the Gospel possibly be better than the traditional Christian religious system has been telling us? I shout, “Yes! It’s incredible GOOD NEWS and most of us have never heard it!” I sure hadn’t.

Have you ever heard of or seen these scriptures (below) that speak to how much God forgave us? If you are familiar with them, do you apply them only to believers and perhaps to those who decide to believe? Do you realize these words are for ALL mankind?  Please give these passages serious consideration, look beyond tradition, and let Holy Spirit speak to you.  (Note – all emphasis with capital letters are mine)

  • When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL our transgressions.  Col 2:13
  • But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Eph 2:4-6
  • “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”  Heb 8:12
  • “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.  Heb 10:17,18
  • Little children, your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.  1Jn 2:12
  • You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin.  1Jn 3:5
  • For the love of Christ compels us, having concluded this, that one died for ALL, therefore ALL died; and He died for ALL, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him…  2Cor 5:14,15
  • God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…  2Cor 5:19
  • He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him  2Cor 5:21 (note: ‘might’ is not in original text. ‘become’ is Greek ginomai – to come into being, to birth)
  • You were in Christ when He died which means that His death represents your true circumcision. Sin’s authority in the human body was stripped off you in Him dying your death. Col 2:11 (MIR)
  • John the Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY the sin of the world!”  Jn 1:29
  • Jesus Christ…the firstborn from the dead. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood…  Rev 1:5

Sure looks like He took away ALL sin for ALL people (past, present, future).  Gasp! Is that possible?! This has huge ramifications on how we see God and how we see ourselves, let alone others. May He give you ears to hear and eyes to see truth that will indeed set you free!

Dig In

  • When God made man in His image He said it is very good – and He has never changed His mind!
  • We have believed a lie about what really happened at the cross and in turn we believe a lie about our true identity.
  • Here’s the kicker. Romans 4:25 – He was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification (our righteousness, our innocence). His resurrection reveals and confirms our righteousness, our innocence, our justification! If we were still guilty and sinners after Jesus died, then His resurrection would not have happened! Oh my goodness! How big is this fullness in Jesus?!