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Romans 1.26

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For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

For exchanging God’s glory for the glory of creation, God lets go of you and unclean desires and motives come into your life. (vv. 23-24)

Then you exchange truth for a lie, and God lets go of you further and then vile affections start to take hold of your life. (vv. 25-26)

This is the next huge step in the spiral downwards for a nation or community or individual.

Let’s look at this phrase vile affections and find out exactly what it is. The Greek word for vile is atimia which means literally “without honour”. It means to be completely ignored, to be without any reputation or regard, or to have no value whatsoever.

The Greek word for affections is pathos. This word means a desire or a passion for something. It is a neutral word in classical Greek, but in the New Testament is only ever used for negative passions: sexual lust. It means the desire for what is forbidden.

As we said when discussing Romans 1.25, this spiral is a gradual path. It goes from clean to unclean, then unclean to forbidden.

In the context of the rest of Romans 1.26 (and verses 27 as we shall see), this is referring in particular to homosexual and lesbian behaviour.

Whenever an individual or a community or a nation is involved in and is condoning or promoting homosexual behaviour, then you know that they are spiralling away from God at a furious speed. In the United Kingdom, it is at the stage where people are interviewed by the police just by saying that it is their opinion that homosexuality is a sin! Our nation is spiralling away from God.

The first step (and this can be historically proven for the UK and any other nation or community or individual) is to be sexually immoral. Sex stops being for marriage and marriage stops being for life. Divorce is more common and more commonplace, and is condoned and even celebrated. Sex before marriage becomes normal, not strange. Just watch evening television to know this has happened.

Then at some point, the nation or community (or individual) makes a jump from immorality to vile passions. Immorality is the correct passion out of control. It is correct for a man to desire a woman – it just needs to be kept in control. Vile passions is incorrect desires – a man desiring a man, a woman desiring a oman.

Notice that the Bible says here very plainly that homosexuality is against nature. The word for nature in the Greek is physis. This means nature or it can mean the state you are born in.

It is not natural to be homosexual – and it is NOT THE STATE YOU ARE BORN IN! There is no homosexual gene, there is no-one who is homosexual from birth.

The sexual desire is one of the easiest to manipulate. Advertising people know this and make their adverts accordingly. Studies done in the 1980s showed that if you take a teenage boy and show him pornography with woman wearing a particular brand of trainers, it only takes 20 minutes of fixating on this pornography for this boy to become aroused whenever he sees those trainers for the rest of his life.

That is why people become homosexual: they have homosexual experiences and are manipulated into it – just like the young men with the trainers. It is that simple. But mentally those people have to first stop thanking God, stop glorifying God and exchange truth for a lie. This has happened on a national scale in the UK and is increasing.

Now, do not get confused. Our nation is not under God’s judgment (and neither is your nation – wherever in the world you are reading this!). God has already placed all judgment and wrath on Jesus Christ. We are redeemed from the curse and God has given us the message of reconciliation to preach to the world, not the message of judgment!

All that happens is this: we wrestle with God to get away from Him, He loves us so much He lets go. And we end up unable to tell the difference between truth and lie, and we end up in sexual immorality. Then something happens: we reap what we sow. We chose a nation without God and we have it. But He still loves us and cares for us and adores us and the moment a single individual chooses to follow Him and thank Him and glorify Him and worship Him, that individual is delivered from the death spiral and filled with Him and His goodness.

If you are reading this and you have been involved in homosexuality, the Lord loves you. But your vile passions are proof that you are not right with God, not grateful to your own Creator and Maker, not giving Him the glory He deserves, and not listening to His voice and His Word. So repent and change your attitude, start to be grateful to God, start to worship Him and start to praise Him and your life will be changed. Forever.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

What is Sacrifice? (Robb Thompson)

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Sacrifice Is The Road Traveled By Those Who Choose The
"Higher Life."


			
		

Glory of the Latter House (Benny Hinn)

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Glory of the Latter House

Proph PicBy Benny Hinn

I began my walk with the wonderful Lord Jesus on December 7, 1974. And I have discovered during the years since then, not only does God anoint you as you are faithful to Him, but as less of you remains, He begins to fill you more and more with His power and glory.

None of us can obey the Lord in total surrender without the help of the Holy Spirit. And I believe God is calling every believer into a deeper, more committed walk with Him.

The reason the Lord asks us to yield more of ourselves is so He can do more with us as He pours out His Almighty power through us!

That time quickly approaches. I believe with all my being that we are on the verge of the most awesome move of God in history, a move so great that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

I believe the coming move of God will be greater than what we read about in the book of Acts! The Bible clearly states, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:9).

Yes, we have seen mighty demonstrations of power during past years and months, but we can only imagine the awesome things that are in store for us that we have not yet seen. Now, God wants do so much more with this ministry than He has ever done before. Grant it, Lord Jesus!

In this coming move, multiplied millions will be saved. Miracles will sweep the church in an unprecedented manner. And the blessings of God will overflow in the body of Christ, so much so that, as the psalmist David exclaimed, “My cup runneth over” (Psalm 23:5)!

When the Shekinah Glory filled the Temple with awesome power, the priests couldn’t even enter (2 Chronicles 7:1-2). And that day is coming again! The Lord is speaking through me prophetically as I tell you that the very glory of God is going to descend upon His church as never before.

It will be as Isaiah declared, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee…and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1, 3). Get ready!

How privileged we are to be called His people, and how privileged we also are to take His Gospel to the nations during these historic times.

We are facing a dangerous hour in this world, an hour of intense attacks against the work of God worldwide. Yet, at the same time, we are facing the most glorious hour in church history when we can win more souls for His name than ever before. And we know the outcome will be glorious victory, for the victory was won on the cross!

Prophecy about Prayer (Kenneth E. Hagin)

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Prophecy about Prayer

By Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin

Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin delivered the following prophecy on April 28, 1983 where the Holy Ghost talks about prayer being fuel:

But here’s what the Holy Ghost—do you want to know what the Holy Ghost is saying? I’ll tell you what the Holy Ghost is saying.

“In this move, in this move, in this move that is about to come and even you’re in the edge of it right now. It will not be altogether something new that you’ve never seen. I’ll be a combination of everything you’ve seen put together and then plus a little bit more. This, in this move of God that is just about to spring upon you, there will be a manifestation of casting out demons that you haven’t seen yet. Now some have drawn back from casting out demons. And the Spirit of God said, ‘I began a move along that line a few years ago and men aborted the move, they mixed some of their own thinking in on it and they tried to control it, and do it according to pattern. And according to this way that we think it ought to be done.’ But you haven’t seen anything yet of what you’re going to see in dealing with demons. For demons are let loose upon the earth, they’re going about as never before. Because they know their time is short! And so in this multiplication, this advance of demon activity there will be the activity of the Holy Ghost. Demons that have harassed men, demons that have held ministries in check [hallelujah] will leave. And you have not seen yet what you will see in the area of dealing with demons, casting out demons; exercising authority over demons, and we’re about to step into it. Like you’d step through a door into another room.”

“And secondly,” saith the Spirit of God, “You have not seen the revival of divine healing that you’re about to see.” Oh yes, you saw those that I raised up. You’ve seen men and women, mightily used of My Spirit. I sent them forth as a pilot program to try to train you. But many just looked at them and lifted them up, and some of them were lifted up in pride and the anointing left them. And some became money minded and lost the anointing. But there will arise a group in this day that’s a brand new breed. They’ll not be greedy of filthy lucre. They’ll not be wanting to attract attention unto themselves. They would care less whether God uses me. They’d rather God would use you. And God’ll not just use ministers, He’ll use laymen. And there’ll be a revival of divine healing such as you have not seen in your life time, or read about, or heard about,” saith the Lord!

“And a revival of the supernatural, not only the supernatural in casting out devils. Not only the supernatural in healing the sick. Not only the supernatural in speaking with other tongues. But the supernatural in the realm of the seen realm. Men will see the glory of God; a cloud will hang over certain congregations, even the church building for days at a time. And everybody that passes by, sinner and saint alike will say, ‘Well what in the world is that? I’ve never seen any thing like that.'” Ha, ha, ha.

“And there will be in other places, there will be in other places fire of the Spirit that will actually become literal. Oh yes, in the spirit realm some of us have seen it. In the spirit realm we’ve been conscious of the fire of God. But the fire will actually come into manifestation. And there’ll be people sinners as well as saints that will see fire all over the heads of the people. There’ll be people driving down the street or down the highway and they’ll see fire on top of the buildings. And they’ll come and say, ‘What does all this mean?’ But you see the Lord will use signs of His presence to bring people in the last days, into the fullness of His Spirit, and into full salvation.”

“And signs, signs! What kinds of signs? Miraculous things in the realm of the spirit! And then they’ll be manifested in the realm of the physical. And the glory of God will fall. And the power of God will be in manifestation. And men will—and women too. Will even be transported like Philip was and found in another place. And great! GREAT! GREAT! Shall be the reward thereof. For the Lord God is the same God today as He was yesterday. His power has not diminished. And His Name is still the same. Today He can make the iron axe-head to float. Today He can divide the river just for two men to cross over on the other side. Today He can feed five thousand with a little boy’s lunch. He is the miracle Working God.”

“Brag on Him! Lift Him up! Draw attention unto Him! Tell about how great He is. Get up in faith and tell what great things He’s going to do. And He’ll move and keep His Word with you! And many shall be astonished. But the greatest miracle of all is that there’ll be so many fish caught in the net that the nets can’t hold them. There won’t be church houses enough to hold the people. Amen, Amen. For the purpose of it all is that you may be fishers of men. Hallelujah! Quit fishing, Hallelujah! Quit fishing in your bathtub. There’s not any fish in your own bathtub. Go out where the fishes are and throw out the net. Not the hook, the NET! And pull it in. Hallelujah. And bring them in. And the glory of the Lord shall shine. And the end time shall come. And you’ll stand in the place, yes many of you that stand here including myself, will stand in the place of ministry that you’ve not stood in before. And will stand in the place that’s been ordained for you from the foundation of the earth!” Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

And if it were to be—if it could…if it could… if it could be told you. If we were able to tell you in human language that which will transpire in some of your lives, and some of our lives who are here just now. Your mind would not be able to comprehend it. As you say speaking in the human vernacular, it would almost blow your mind. But you’ll see it! You’ll rejoice in it! You’ll be glad of it! It’s just out there a little ways in front of you. Be faithful, be joyous, and rejoice in the Lord always. And He’ll bring it to pass.

That’s what the Spirit of God is saying. That’s what the Spirit of God is saying. Let’s stand up everybody. Lift your right hand and close your eyes and say it in faith: I’m in agreement with you. I may not understand it with my mind. Even if it was told me I might not be able to comprehend it. But I believe it! I believe it! I commit myself to be one that will be used of God. I go on record tonight. I’ll pay the price. I’ll make the sacrifice. I’ll deny the flesh. I’ll walk in the spirit. I’ll be one who’ll walk in the flow of God and do the will of God. And the work of God. I will give myself to prayer. I will give myself to the Spirit of God. If He calls on me in the nighttime, I’ll be on my knees praying. If I’m never seen of man and am always just behind the scenes, I’ll be faithful. The will of God will be done. The work of God shall be accomplished.

Many shall go and tell the story, and His great glory show. The power of God in manifestation shall be the gifts of the Spirit, the manifestation of His Spirit. Into full potential shall come the ministry gifts, the apostle and prophet, the evangelist, and pastor and teacher too. Shall flow as one, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. And we as one, one body, in one spirit, hallelujah, shall go forth to conquer and to do His deeds. And great shall be the reward thereof. Now put your other hand up and thank Him. Glory to God.

Now let me give you a further word of wisdom and advice.

Being conscious of a mighty move in your spirit, wanting and desiring to do the will of God. But don’t try to do it yourself. Just learn to relax and to flow with the Spirit. Don’t try to figure out in your head, ‘What does He want me to do?’ Just learn to relax and flow with the Spirit, it’ll take care of itself you don’t have to worry. ‘I just wonder, I know there’s something, I know there is something He wants me to do.’ Fine, just keep on praying. And just flow with the Spirit. You’ll not come into the full potential of what God has for you tomorrow. You’ll not come into the full potential of what God has for you next week. You’ll not come into the full potential of what God has for you next month. Some will not even come into the full potential of what God has for you next year. Some will not for quite a period of time. But, as you’re faithful, and as you’re trained, and as you learn to yield, you’ll move eventually into that place, hallelujah that He had for you all along. Glory to God. Glory to God. Did you hear me? Did you hear me? Praise His holy Name.

But you see moving into that place of ministry or whatever it is, whether it’s full time ministry, or pulpit ministry, or personal ministry, or whatever your place is in the Body of Christ. Moving into that place is fueled by prayer, fired by the Spirit and ignited with His glory. Hallelujah to Jesus. Glory to God. I said, “Glory to God.” Glory to God. Glory to God. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, praise God.

But you see if there’s no fuel there, there’s nothing to ignite. Notice the Spirit said [I never thought of that, it came out of the inside of me] fueled by prayer, fired by the Spirit, ignited with His glory. You have to stop and analyze that, there’s a difference between firing, igniting. Yes, you see it’s like the furnace, you see? There’s a pilot light there that fires the thing. And then when the whole thing has become ignited then the heat flows out. Ha, ha, ha, can you see what He’s saying? Fueled by prayer, fired by the Spirit, ignited with His glory. Hallelujah. I never though of that. I mean it just flowed up out of my Spirit. But you see if there’s no fuel there, there’s nothing to fire. If there’s no fuel, there’s nothing to fire. Fueled by prayer. Hallelujah, hallelujah.

What will the glory covering the earth look like? No more pain, no more sickness, no more child abuse, no more barbed wire fences, no more animal abuse. The financial realm and the beauty will be there. No more prisons, no more children crying in the night, no more walls, no more racial issues when the glory is poured out. Can you see it? God can bring us to a place to see it in the realms of prayer.

When God shows us the beauty of His perfection it gives us more desire to pray for it.

(Taken by permission from RHEMA Bible Church , aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries , Tulsa , OK , USA.  www.rhema.org )

A Response to a video about terminal cancer.

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I was on a Christian forum today when someone posted a link to a video of the testimony to a girl dying of cancer.  The girl thinks that it is God’s will she dies of cancer, and that the cancer will bring about much good.

The poster posting the link I assume agrees with this line of thinking.  I watched most of the video and decided to give a Biblical response to it.  I wanted to share what I said as I have covered most of the main objections to the truth that God will heal anyone at anytime if they would just receive it.  I do not recommend that anyone watches the video as it is not founded on the Word of God and will not build your faith.  However I have left the link for completeness’ sake.

May the Lord open this young lady’s eyes to the truth that she is already healed due to the redemptive work of Christ.  Amen!
Blessings,

Benjamin


This fellow sister in Christ has terminal cancer. Watch the video and think about (and possibly even respond) to the questions:

Death is Not Dying Event Video

(1) Does she lack faith?

Well it was obvious to anyone watching the video that she does not believe at all that Jesus Christ bore her sicknesses and carried her diseases, that He heals all our diseases, that you can have anything you ask in prayer, that by His stripes she was healed, that God’s Word is health to all her flesh, that she is completely redeemed from the curse of the law.

So if your question about faith is about the faith that Jesus asked the blind men if they had when He said “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”, the faith that when Jesus healed the blind men said “According to your faith be it done unto you” (Matthew 9), then the answer is no.

She said so clearly in the video that she does NOT believe that God would heal her, and that to believe that God would heal her would be sin to her.  So to then say she clearly has faith for healing would be to contradict her testimony.  She has traditions that make the Word of God to no effect which is why she is not healed.

(2) Has she done something wrong that brought this cancer on her?

No.  Well I guess not, I don’t know about her diet or whether she was a chain smoker or drug user.  I don’t know if the thing that she greatly feared came upon her because I don’t know the thoughts and intents of her heart.  I am giving her the benefit of the doubt – most people get sick because we live in a sin-cursed world.

Unless of course you count the fact that she failed to fellowship with a group of people who would have taught her that Jesus Christ is the LORD our Healer, and that we can receive the healing that He purchased for us with His stripes freely by faith in His Word something wrong.  I would call it ignorant, I wouldn’t call it something wrong in a moral sense.

(3) Is God using her terminal cancer to teach her and others

Absolutely not.  God uses His Word to teach people.  He uses the five fold ministry to teach people.  God does NOT use sickness to teach people.

There is no recording of Jesus teaching people with sickness in the Bible.  As we have talked about Matthew 9, let’s keep talking about it.  Jesus asked the men if they had faith, they said yes, and He said they were healed because of their faith.

Now Jesus didn’t ask if they were born again, if they spoke in tongues, if they were nice people.  He didn’t even ask if they have faith in Him as Messiah, if they believed in the Trinity, if they believed in substitionary penal atonement.  No – He asked: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  The girl in this video has faith that Jesus is Lord, faith that the Trinity is correct, faith in a lot of things.

Does she believe that Jesus can heal her completely and totally because of His love and mercy?  Not at all.  Jesus is saying the same thing to her that He said to the blind men: “According to your faith, be it done unto you.”  Her faith that God will comfort her in her last days means that she will be comforted.  If at any point she changes her faith to believe that He heals all our diseases, then she can walk in divine health.

Jesus did not put the cancer on her.  God is NOT the source of cancer and cancer is not educative.  People do not learn from cancer.  It is not an instructor it is a destroyer. Jesus never said to the blind men: hey, God wants you blind, and come here let me put some cancer on you as well there is still stuff you need to know.  If you believe cancer is an instructor, go and strap some plutoninium to your chest, go and start smoking 60 a day, stop eating green leaf vegetables.  If you believe blindness is didactic, go and gouge your eyes out with a spoon.

Or get with the programme, and believe and receive your healing!

Goodness – don’t you know God is LOVE.  Love does not give someone cancer to teach them a lesson.  It patiently instructs people.  God is our Father, not some maniacal despot who wants everything His own way or He wipes people out to get His own way.  God is a loving Father. If His son asks for bread, He will never give them a stone.  If we ask for healing, He will never give us cancer.

(4) Have people been strengthened in their faith because of this illness?

No.  Jim suggests that people who are not strengthened in faith don’t have ears to hear.  I would like to mention the Scripture at this point: faith comes by hearing and hearing the testimony of someone dying of cancer.

Or maybe it doesn’t say that.  Maybe it says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD. My faith is strengthened as I hear the Word of God, not by testimonies.  Your faith isn’t even strengthened by hearing testimonies of people healed of cancer – you cannot get healing faith from a testimony but from the Word of God.

Her testimony might give people goose bumps, it might make them decide to struggle on, it might make them decide to be a bit more grateful for their health but it will never, ever, ever produce faith.  Anyone who thinks this strengthens faith simply does not know what faith is.

(5) Does her suffering bring good?

No.  It is not the kind of suffering mentioned in the Bible that brings good.  Suffering in the New Covenant is about being persecuted for bringing and teaching the Word of the living God.  Being stoned, being beat with sticks, being mercilesses persecuted wherever you go preaching the Word.

Sickness does not bring about good.  The Word of God is clear on this: Jesus went about doing good healing the sick (Acts 10.38).  Healing is good, sickness is bad.  Look at Deuteronomy 28, sickness is a curse, healing is a blessing.

Sickness steals, kills and destroys.   It does not bring life in abundance (see John 10.10).  That and that alone should tell any serious student of the Word the source of sickness.  Sickness is satanic, sickness is a curse, sickness is captivity – when God healed Job, the Bible says God turned his captivity.  Sickness is a bondage.  Sickness is bad.  Healing is good.

Jesus Christ took every sickness on the cross so that by His stripes we were healed (Matthew 8.16-17, 1 Peter 2.24).

(6) Is God being glorified through her illness?

No, not in the slightest.  God is in His fullness of glory in heaven.  We are taught to pray “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  There is no sickness in heaven, therefore it is obvious the will of God is healing.  If sickness brings God glory why is there no sickness in heaven?  Why was Adam not created with cancer: seen as you think cancer is so intructive, maybe a bit of cancer would have helped Adam make the right choice in the garden.

Maybe God should have ripped Adam’s arms off and stopped him eating the forbidden fruit.  I mean if God is going to give someone cancer to teach them a lesson, why not?  One of the reasons Eve sinned according to 1 John is that she SAW the fruit was good to eat.  Why didn’t God create her blind?  Would that not have brought Him glory?

Of course not.  God teaches through His Word.  When Adam and Eve lost paradise and perfect health due to their sin and rebellion, Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for the healing of every human on the planet.  He died our death, He bore our sins and He bore our diseases.  So that we could be alive, righteous and healthy.

If sickness brings God’s glory, are there angels with broken wings and angels full of cancer?

You know the answer is no.  You know that man was created healthy.  You know that in heaven there is no more sickness and you know that God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven.  God is glorified in healing the sick and changing lives, not letting a satanic thief cut down and destroy someone’s life prematurely.

(7) Will she be physically healed?

The choice is hers.  God said that He sets before us life and death.  Jesus said “According to your faith, it will be done to you.”

If she stops believing the traditional lies that have kept the church powerless for years and believes the simple truth that By His Stripes She Was Healed, then I can guarantee she will shake that cancer off and live a long and productive and fruitful life, with a testimony that will glorify God and a ministry that will bring faith as she teaches people the Word of God and how she found out that it brings healing and health to all her flesh.

If she continues to believe that God is not there to heal her and that God cannot be relied upon, then I do not foresee her healing manifesting.

Blessings,
Benjamin

Wonderful News Healing Crusade

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It is my absolute pleasure to announce that Tree of Life Church is going to hold a “Wonderful News” Healing Crusade in Ilford, Essex from August 11-14th 2009 (Tuesday – Friday).  We are believing God for the same miracles we see whenever we preach the Word of God with boldness and confidence and we have no doubt we will see healings, miracles and salvations throughout the crusade because we know our God.

We will need a number of things to ensure this crusade is effective and will make a list in the next few days and publish it here.  Right now, your prayers for success and the growth of the kingdom to develop and expand.
Blessings,

Benjamin

I am now on Twitter – does that make me a twit?!

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http://twitter.com/holytwiglets

Please come and follow our Holy Twiglet’s twitter site.

Blessings,
Ben

Does Sickness Glorify God (Troy J. Edwards)

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Does Sickness Glorify God? By Troy J. Edwards

Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. -John 11:3, 4

Taken out of it’s contextual setting, this Scripture would appear to teach that God gets glory out of the sickness of others. So many have used this passage irresponsibly. However, a careful study of this passage proves that it is not so much the sickness that brought Jesus the glory, but it was what Jesus did concerning the sickness that glorified Him. Of course someone may believe that I am incorrect in my assumption. They may say, “But Troy, the passage plainly says that this sickness is for the glory of God that He may be glorified. It does not say anything about the end result.” It also says (if we keep it in context), “This sickness is not unto death…” Yet, several passages later, Jesus tells His disciples, ” Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:14). If He had done this in our day, the Lord would be accused of being a liar and a false prophet. He would be denounced on many of the present day “apologists'” radio shows and internet webpages.

What did Jesus mean here? He simply meant that Lazarus was saved and was not dead as in eternally separate from God. Jesus said that Lazarus was asleep (John 11:11). This is the same description given of every believer whose spirit has left their physical body to be with Jesus (1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6; 1 Thess. 4:13, 14). Therefore, we know that He did not lie. Yet, today’s critics would not bother to take the time to see exactly what Jesus is saying. On the contrary they would have attempted to destroy His public ministry.

Even in Jesus’ day, He had His fair share of critics, “And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (John 11:37) Aaaah the critics. Jesus had to deal with them even in His day. Should not His present day followers expect the same treatment? Surely the servant is not above His master. Therefore, I believe that I am quite justified in saying that the context of this passage proves that the end result of the sickness, or how Jesus demonstrated His authority even over death, is what brought God the glory. The fact that Lazarus was sick is not what brought God glory. It was what Jesus had done about it the sickness that glorified Him as we read the context of this passage. In case anyone thinks otherwise please read John 11:37 again and see that the dead Lazarus was bringing Jesus criticism rather than glory.

Those who insist that Jesus taught that the sickness was to the glory of God must also keep it in context by saying that the sickness was not unto death. Using this method of interpretation then a person would be accused of calling Christ a liar since Lazarus actually died. Yet, we know that if we read the whole chapter and other Bible passages, our Lord is vindicated from this horrendous accusation. The fact that Lazarus was raised from the dead is what gave glory to God and not the sickness itself can be confirmed as we read further:

Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. – John 11:40-45

Jesus asked, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Believe what? Believe what He said about Himself being the resurrection and the life? Jesus did not want them to see this as just some future event but He wanted them to take note that resurrection and life was available NOW!!! By placing their faith in this they would see the glory of God. In verse 45 we are told that the Jews believed on Jesus. What caused the Jews to believe on Jesus? Was it the sickness and/or the death itself? No. The the fact that the sickness was not healed caused some to criticize the Lord (John 11:37). It caused Martha to limit the power of God when she said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:32). It caused the Jews to weep and cry instead of rejoicing that their Savior was there in the midst of them. This caused the Lord Himself to groan (John 11:33). I do not believe that the sickness and subsequent death brought Jesus any glory. Nevertheless, the sickness was for the glory of God in this manner: it was an opportunity to demonstrate the power of God over sickness, disease and death itself. The sickness and death brought doubt, sadness, criticism, and grieving. Yet, when Jesus demonstrated resurrection power, this in turn caused many of the Jews to believe on Him. The demonstration of the power of God brought Jesus glory.

This same resurrection power is still available to give life to your mortal body: But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. – Rom. 8:11

Your healing is what brings glory to God. Resurrection power is available to you by faith to give life to your mortal body. What Jesus asked the sisters of Lazarus, He asks every sick person today, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” His resurrection power, that same power that raise Lazarus from the dead, that same power the raised our Lord from His grave, is available to those who will simply believe. Martha did have enough faith to know that the Lord always received that which He prayed for, “But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” (John 11:22).

It was the answer to Jesus prayer for Lazarus resurrection that gave God the glory due to Him. Answered prayer glorifies God: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. -John 14:13-14 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. – John 15:7-8

The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest translates John 15:7-8 this way: “If you maintain a living communion with me and my words are at home in you, I command you to ask, at once, something for yourself, whatever your heart desires, and it will become yours. In this my Father is glorified, namely that you are bearing much fruit.” You see, if we are having communion with God and His words are in us we will not ask for something that does not bring God any glory. Certain prayer requests for ourselves are not considered by God to be selfish and self centered.

On the contrary, answered prayer brings glory to God. The Word of God has enough promises that gives us the surety that it is always God’s will to heal our bodies as well as our spirit and soul. To ask for healing and receive it brings glory to the Lord. God gets glory as we pray in line with His Word and His promises. Not once has God ever denied a request that was presented to Him in conjunction with His revealed will. He says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Cor. 1:20). It would not bring God glory to deny a request when there is a clear promise for it in His Word.

Do not let unbelieving critics and Christian skeptics cheat you out of the blessings that God has clearly promised you. Healing is a promise from God. The Bible tells us “And the prayer offered in faith shall make the sick person well, and the Lord shall raise him up.” (James 5:15; The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest). There is no spiritualizing this passage. It is a clear cut promise of healing when conditions are met. The Blind Man In John 9 John 9:1-3 is also used by some to teach that God gets glory out of our sicknesses. They also use this to teach that sickness is not necessarily the cause of sin. I agree with them wholeheartedly on the latter while disagreeing with them strongly on the former.

Thank God for passages such as this one and the book of Job which teaches us that the rotten things in life that may come upon a Christian does not necessarily mean that he or she has sinned. Yet, I cannot agree with my brethren that this passage teaches us that God sovereignly chooses some to suffer sickness for His glory. Let us read this passage: And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. -John 9:1-4 It is unfortunate but true that so many stop reading right there.

This along with John 11:3-4 are the proof texts used by some to teach that God gets glory from the person’s sickness. Just as we have shown the reader that John 11 does not teach this false doctrine, but in fact, teaches that God received the glory from Lazarus’s resurrection, the same truth applies here. God did not sovereignly choose this man to be sick. So many have interpreted this passage to teach that the man was born blind as a result of “divine providence.” Due to the “period” placed after verse three in John chapter 9, this passage may seem to make a wonderful proof text to those who advocate sickness as a blessing from God.

However, every Bible student knows that the New Testament was not originally written in the English language. The English language was not in existence during the period that the New Testament was being written as the Spirit of God inspired the men who wrote it. The controversial Open View Theologian, Pastor Gregory Boyd gives some wonderful insights into this passage: the verse should not be interpreted as suggesting that God’s will is behind this man’s blindness in the first place, and this is my third point. The original verse does not say that “he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed.” The Greek simply has hina with the aorist subjunctive passive of phaneroo (“to manifest”) and can readily be translated as, “But let the works of God be manifested.” As is certainly the case in Mark 5:23, Ephesians 5:33,2 Corinthians 8:7; as is likely the case in Mark 2:10, 5:12, 10:51 and a host of other passages; and as is frequently the case in the Septuagint and later postapostolic writings, the hina here should be taken as forming an imperative, not a purposive, clause.

In this light, Jesus is simply saying that, in contrast to the misguided moralistic speculations of the disciples, the only thing that matters concerning this man’s blindness is that God can overcome it and thus be glorified through it. In the satanically ruled world in which he and his disciples ministered, and in which we ourselves still live, there is no discernible particular reason why this man was born blind. The disciples’ questions, like the many assertions of Job’s “friends,” were based on the false assumption that God is behind all things, and thus that there must be a good reason for such things as blindness and the demonic torturing of a little girl-punishing sin, building character or glorifying God, for example. In this reading, however, Jesus is simply refuting (not modifying) this assumption. He is, in effect, saying that the only response to this man’s sorry condition is, “Let the works of God be manifested!” This obviously has monumental theological implications. [1]

To further drive his point home, Dr. Boyd references another scholar of the Greek languages named Nigel Turner. Turner’s remarks are well worth quoting here: The hypothesis of the imperatival hina … releases the text from the fatalism which had obsessed it, and dissolves the picture which had become familiar through all our English versions, a man destined from birth to suffer for the sole purpose of glorifying God when he was healed.[2]

We can further add to the scholarship previously referenced that the Greek texts contain no punctuation so translators had to place them where they felt would be the proper place in the sentences. George Ricker Berry, in his introduction in the The Interlinear KJV Bible says this: There is no authority anywhere for the punctuation. There are few or no points in the ancient copies, and editors naturally differ in their system of pointing. We have been obliged to punctuate for ourselves as we judged best.[3]

A.S. Worrell makes a similar observation in his translation of the New Testament: It should be understood by the reader that the division of the different books of the New Testament into chapters and verses was the work of men; and it must be confessed, with deep regret, that the work, as a whole, was very poorly done; a chapter sometimes ending where perhaps a semicolon or even a comma should have been used; and a verse often ending where the slightest division was required. Such errors tend to obscure the sense.[4]

Though, I personally appreciate the division of the Bible into chapters and verse for the fact that it is easier to reference, Dr. Worrell has made an interesting observation that can be applied to John 9:3 and 4. If we removed the period from the end of verse three, and replaced it with a comma or semicolon, and if we had not divided these two verses, we would have a better understanding of this text that is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Gordon Lindsay, founder of the Christ For The Nations Bible Institute made this statement in volume 3 of his series of books, The Life And Teachings of Christ: There is no punctuation in the original Greek and the sentence could be punctuated as follows: “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.”[5]

Further in his book, Gordon Lindsay makes it clear that he does not claim to have the correct punctuation. Nevertheless, he does present another alternative that the majority of English translations do not provide. One of the few that do offer this alternative is Robert Young’s Literal translation of the Bible: Jesus answered, `Neither did this one sin nor his parents, but that the works of God may be manifested in him; it behoveth me to be working the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night doth come, when no one is able to work: — when I am in the world, I am a light of the world.’ -John 9:3-5; Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible

Notice that Young places a semicolon where most other translations use a period. According to the Webster’s dictionary, a semicolon is used to indicate, “a degree of separation greater than that marked by the comma and less than that marked by the period.” It is also used “…to separate closely related clauses.”[6]

It seems to me that Dr. Young did not not see the man’s blindness as the “providence of God” or “for the Glory of God.” We should not read this man’s blindness as “divine providence” but rather as DIVINE OPPORTUNITY!!! If we read the passage carefully in the KJV, we will see that Jesus was not saying that God ensured that this man was born blind so that God could later heal him. What he was saying was that because this man was born blind, this provides a great opportunity to work the works of God. The Contemporary English version makes this distinction clearer: As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been born blind since birth. Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?” “No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him. As long as it is day, we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:1-5; Contemporary English Version)

A controversial paraphrase of the New Testament by Eugene Peterson called “The Message” also brings the thought of divine opportunity rather than divine providence in this case: Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.” (John 9:1-5; The Message by Eugene Peterson)

Lawrence O. Richards in his Bible Background Commentary illustrates this point well in differentiating between “divine providence” and “divine opportunity:” What is important here is not the answer Jesus gave – that the blindness was not a punishment for sin at all, but would serve as an occasion to glorify God. What is important is that when the disciples saw suffering – their curiosity rather than their compassion was aroused. The light that Jesus brings, and in which we are to walk, must radically change our priorities. Solving theological puzzles, and even being “right” in our interpretations of Scripture, should be less important to us than displaying the compassion and concern for others that Jesus’ own actions constantly reveal.[7]

It is tempting to quote more scholarship on this but I believe that this will suffice in making our point. Nevertheless, there are several other teachers and commentators who convey the same thought that I am presenting, which we have placed in our footnotes for further study[8].

As we read further along in the chapter we will see again that it was the healing that brought glory to God, not this man’s sickness. The sickness was an opportunity for the power of God to be demonstrated. Verse 4 in most translations outside of the King James uses the personal pronoun “we” instead of “I” showing us that Jesus wants us to cooperate with Him in this work. We must do the works of Jesus and even greater than these (John 14:11-13; Mark 16:15-20). We are not to look at others with disdain, concerning ourselves with the cause of their sin. If sin be the cause of their predicament, let us minister God’s forgiveness as well as healing (James 5:14-16). However, let’s not condemn them. If we truly want God to be glorified, we must do the same works that Jesus did and healing the sick is one of them (Matt. 10:1-8; Luke 9:1-3).

However, in our ministering, it is equally wrong to say that God is punishing someone for their sins by sickness as well as to tell someone that God has placed sickness on them to glorify His name. This has a tendency to cause some to become bitter with God. We must simply proclaim the promises of God concerning restoration and deliverance from sin and sickness. Scriptural Proof That Healing Glorifies God I want to present to the reader several Scriptures that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is divine healing, not sickness itself, that brings glory to God. I will not expound very much on these passages since I have already done so in my book, Divine Healing Guaranteed[9]

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. -Luke 5:24-26 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. -Luke 13:12-17

And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. -Luke 18:35-43

 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. -Acts 4:21-22

So far we have seen that the passages used by some to teach that God derives glory from our sicknesses can be refuted when we read the passages within their context and see what they are truly teaching. We have seen that the above passages are clear that the healings wrought in the ministry of Jesus caused the people to glorify God. Finis Dakes made this statement in his study Bible: Miracles will always bring glory to God; but failure, sickness, and disease will not. It is held today that sickness glorifies God because one has opportunity to witness to souls, but why not look at it in this light – could not the same witnessing be carried on better in a well body? Is it not better, therefore, to think this – that God gets glory in spite of our sicknesses, not because of it? Would God have received the glory for all the healings recorded in the blind, the sick, and the lame had not been healed and the demons cast out? Would He have received glory if Lazarus had remained dead?

Definitely not, so what is the source of God’s glory – to remain sick or be healed?[10]

In conclusion, I do not want to seem insensitive to those who are suffering a physical handicap or a sickness of any kind. It is not my intention to hurt anyone or to make them feel that they are any less of a child of God or that they are in sin. The purpose of this essay is to refute and destroy traditional ideas concerning sickness and God’s glory. It is my desire that God’s children always seek the provision that Christ has purchased for the healing of their bodies. Nevertheless, I do not think any less of anyone who, for one reason or another, has not received this provision or do not sense the necessity to do so. My main objective is to teach the plain truth of God’s Word in these areas, not to belittle others who do not have the same understanding of the Scriptures that I have in these areas. Nevertheless, if one believes that sickness originates from God and is used to glorify Him, one must have something other than out of context Scripture passages and traditional interpretations. Our beliefs must have a solid grounding in the plain truth of Scripture. As Andrew Murray once said, “Although many sick people may have glorified God by their patience in suffering. He can still be glorified by a health which He has sanctified.”[11]

 

Notes

1. Boyd, Gregory A. God At War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1997), p. 233

2. Turner, Nigel Grammatical Insights into the New Testament (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1965), p. 145. As quoted in Boyd, God At War, pp. 233, 234

3. Berry, George Ricker The Interlinear KJV: Parallel New Testament In Greek And English (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) p. ii

4. Worrell, A.S. The Worrell New Testament (Springfield, MS: Gospel Publishing House, 1980), p. v

5. Lindsay, Gordon The Life & Teachings Of Christ Vol. 3 (Dallas, TX: Christ For The Nations, 1987), p. 46

6. Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary (Macmillan, U.S.A., 1999)

7. Richards, Lawrence O. The Victor Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1994), p. 241

8. I did not want to put all of the quotes in the body of this essay nor did I not want to exclude them altogether. I believe that the below quotes will benfit those who desire further research and insight into how others see John 9:1-3: 1. Simpson, A.B. The Christ In The Bible Commentary Vol. 4 (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), On page 454 Simpson says, “What a blessing it would be if we would ever feel that our troubles have been permitted, not that we should sink under them, but that God might have an occasion to show what He can do in our deliverance. He definitely implies that his blindness was not the work of God, but of another hand. The works of God were to be manifested in his healing.” 2. Dake, Finis Jennings Dakes Annotated Reference Bible (Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Bible Sales, Inc.), p. 105, note n: “This was not the cause of his blindness but a simple declaration that the works of God were to be manifest regardless of the cause. Jesus answered their question as to whether the man or his parents had sinned. He did not state the cause, but it is certain that God was not the cause. God was the healer and Satan was back of the cause (Mt. 12:22; Acts 10:38; Jn. 10:10; 1 Jn 3:8).” 3. Guthrie, D.; Motyer, J.A.; Stibbs, A.M.; Wisemen, D.J. The New Bible Commentary: Revised (Carmel, NY: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970), p. 949, “But that the works of God might be made manifest in him. This was a possibility which was given little consideration in our Lord’s day. That suffering could be used for God’s glory was a difficult to believe, although it is inherent in the Christian approach to the problem. This miracle, however, is not concerned with the problem. It is aimed to show the illuminating power of Christ, not only in the physical but in the spiritual sphere. Restored sight led to a developing faith.” 4. May, Herbert G and Metzger, Bruce M. The Oxford Annotated Bible (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 1298, notes on 9.1-41, “Suffering was attributed to sin, either of the parents or of the man prenatally. Jesus denies this and shifts attention from cause to purpose; this is an opportunity for God to act.” 5. Meeks, Wayne A. The Harper Collins Study Bible (New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993), p. 2031, “He was born blind. These words are not actually in the Greek text of Jesus reply. The point seems to be not to find a cause or a purpose for the man’s blindness but to present it as an occasion for doing God’s works of healing (see 4.34; 5.17-21, 36; 10.32-38; 14. 10-12; 17.4)” 6. Brown, Raymond E. The Jerome Biblical Commentary (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968), p. 443. Although the commentators believe that the sickness was the divine providence of God, they further state that Jesus, “…does not say that this is the entire explanation, but he does deny that human sinfulness is that explanation.

9. Edwards, Troy J. Divine Healing: Guaranteed (Providence, RI: Victory Through The Word Ministries). In chapter 7, I expound more on the practical principles found in the Scriptures that show that God is glorified as His healing power is displayed in sick bodies. This book is now free and can be downloaded from the internet.

10. Dakes, p. 82, note i 11. Murray, Andrew Divine Healing (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1982), p. 74

Kenneth Hagin Prophecy from 1983

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 “In this move that is about to come and even you’re in the edge of it right now. It will not be altogether something new that you’ve never seen. I’ll be a combination of everything you’re seen put together and then a little bit more…And a revival of the supernatural…in the realm of the seen realm. Men will see the glory of God, a cloud will hang over certain congregations, even the church building for days at a time. And everybody that passes by, sinner and saint alike will say, “Well what in the world is that? I’ve never seen anything like that. Ha ha…

And there will be in other places, in other places the fire of the Spirit that will actually become literal…But the fire will actually come into manifestation. And there will be people, sinners as well as saints that will see fire over the heads of the people.

There’ll be people driving down the street or down the highway and they’ll see fire on top of the buildings, and they’ll come and say, “What does this means?” But you see the Lord will use signs of His presence to bring people in the last days, into the fullness of his Spirit, and into full salvation.” Excerpt from Word of Knowledge of What the Holy Ghost is saying, Kenneth Hagin Prayer seminar 4/28/1983

Run Through Romans (3.22-31)

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So far Paul has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that every human being has the same basic problem: our actions have made us guilty before God. This guilt is called unrighteousness. It means that when we die, we shall be judged by God, found guilty and be sentenced to hell. It also means we shall endure hell on earth as we have life without a relationship with the living God.

It has not been the most positive experience reading and studying Romans up until this point.  This is why many Christians can quote Romans 5 and Romans 8 a great deal, but they simply do not understand the context.  The context is this: Paul shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that you cannot be righteous yourself either by a good life or by religious rituals.

So when Paul now introduces a new way of becoming righteous –  a new way of becoming accepted by God and declared not guilty; a way of going to heaven when you die and enjoying heaven on earth –  when Paul introduces this new way of being righteous we jump at it.

The only way we will jump at righteousness by faith is if someone takes the time to explain and prove to us that we cannot be righteous by works.

Ray Comfort explains this by using the analogy of an aeroplane.  If you give someone on a plane a parachute and make him wear it for the journey, he probably will not because it will be uncomfortable and make the journey more difficult.  If however you take the time to explain to the person that the plane is about to crash and is completely unreliable, he will put the parachute on and be glad to wear it.

If you convince someone to put their faith in Jesus Christ for righteousness, without first showing them that their righteousness by their works and rituals and self-opinion is utterly worthless then they will eventually backslide right out of a relationship with Christ.

Before you tell a person to accept Christ by faith for righteousness, for entrance into heaven, you first must show them that their righteousness is worthless as Paul has done in Romans 1-3.  Some people are already convinced – they know that nothing good dwells in them.  People like that you simply share the gospel with and encourage them to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.  Other people still think that God owes them a favour or that God will judge their deeds with a giant set of scales and they think that the scales are tipped in their favour.  These people need to hear the message of Romans 1-3.  But once they have realize that they are unrighteous and nothing they could ever do will make them righteous, they will ask just one question – though it might be expressed in different forms: how can I be righteous?  how can I be saved?  how can I know God?

21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

After Romans 1.18-3.20, Paul is convinced that people will have realized that they are unrighteousness, that they are guilty before God.  So now, he explains the good news: there is another way to be righteous.  A way that has nothing to do with obeying the law of Moses.  In fact, in v. 21 Paul claims that this way is actually found in the law and the prophets – the Old Testament – which it is if you read it carefully.  Perhaps after we have run through Romans, I will show where the gospel is found throughout the Old Testament.  It is an interesting study to say the least.

22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

This is the revelation that Paul has being building up to – the crescendo of all the evidence that we are unrighteous and cannot be righteous by works – the fact that we can have the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ.  If we place our faith in Jesus Christ, irrespective of our actions, our sins, our lifestyle, we become righteous.  We can stand before God as if we never sinned, as if we lived a perfect lifestly.  We can stand before God and be declared innocent.  We can go to heaven when we die and enjoy heaven on earth.  And it does not come by working for it, it comes by faith.

23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Nearly every Christian knows Romans 3.23 and knows that our sin, which everyone has committed, mean we fall short of the glory of God.  Very very few Christians know Romans 3.24 which says that we are justified (made righteous) freely by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Our sin cut us off from the glory of God.  Jesus Christ has now made us righteous if we believe in him, and we are now plugged back into the glory of God.

25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

This is some of the much powerful and beautiful truths in the Bible.  The word propitiation means: a sacrifice that deals with wrath.  Can you understand how powerful this is?  Jesus’ sacrifice has completely dealt with the wrath of God.  The wrath of God is the element of the justice of God that demands that every act of unrighteousness must be punished.  Jesus, on the cross, bore the entire wrath of God, the entire punishment for the unrighteousness of every single human being in the entire world.

If you believe in Jesus you are declared completely righteous – no matter whether you have been religious or not, no matter your background, your history or anything.

26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Remember that the word just means the same as the word righteous.  This verse paraphrased is saying: God is righteous and if you believe in Jesus, God will make you righteous too.

This is not a process.  This is an instant event the moment you place your faith in Jesus Christ you become totally righteous.  You become as innocent as God.  You become as right with God as Jesus was, as right with God as someone who has never sinned.  You will go to heaven when you die, and start to enjoy heaven on earth.

27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

People who are self-righteous, the people Romans 2 was aimed at, boast.  They are people Jesus referred to who pray at night “I thank you I am not like…”.  But people who know the truth that they could do nothing to become righteous, but that they have received perfect righteousness by believing in Jesus don’t boast.

28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

This is Paul’s argument and something that every Christian needs to meditate on: you are not right with God because of any deed or action, but only by faith.  Many Christians still feel that God does not love them because they have acted a certain way – rubbish! You are righteous because of Jesus, not because of your actions.

Many Christians are striving to do this and do that to make God love them, hoping that God will receive them.  Waste of time – God loves you and receives you on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus, and only on the sacrifice of Jesus.  You are righteous because of Jesus.  When you lay hands on the sick, don’t think “well, I have done this wrong this week, and lost my temper this week and done this and that, so God won’t come through” – that is nonsense.  Rather think, “I am right with God because of what Jesus has done, I can live in victory because of what Jesus has done, I can ask and receive because of Jesus.”

The devil and your own flesh will accuse you and pressure you.  To be a good Christian, to get your prayers answered you have to live right, you have to do this and that, and not do that and this.  It is all a lie.  The truth of the gospel is that you are loved and accepted by God and declared and made righteous, totally innocent before God, because of Jesus.  There is nothing you can do that will make God love you and accept you less; there is nothing you can do that will make God love you and accept you more.

It has nothing to do with your actions: you are righteous right now if you believe in Jesus.  His shed blood has made propitiation and satisfied God’s wrath.  You cannot and will not be punished in any way for any sin you have committed or will commit.  You are righteous.

29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

This process of being justified – made and declared right and innocent – is available to the Jew and to the Gentiles.  Whether you have been religious and a goody-two-shoes all your life, or whether you have been the most selfish scumbag who ever lived, you need and have access to the grace of God through Jesus Christ that makes you righteous before God.

31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Does this mean the law is now useless?  No – it means the law is in its right place.  It is not there to show you how to live right, it is there to show you that you cannot live right.  It is there to condemn you and show you that you are unrighteous no matter how religious you are.  It is there to shut your mouth and shut up all your bragging about how wonderful you are and to make you realize that you, just like me, just like every human on the planet, need a new way of being righteous.  The way of faith.

Tomorrow we will follow Paul’s argument as he convinces us from one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament that your actions have nothing to do with your right standing with God.  You are righteous due to the work of Jesus Christ.  You are completely righteous the moment you believe in Jesus and that cannot be added to or taken away from by what you do.

If you realize this truth, the truth will make you free.  Free from striving, free from fear, free from condemnation, free from feeling yucky, dirty and defeated.  Free to walk in truth and love.  Free to pray and know your prayer will be answered.  Free to lay hands on the sick and see them recover.  Free to be as bold as a lion.  Free to enjoy your relationship with God.  The price has been paid, the wrath has been satisfied.  You are declared innocent.

You will be in heaven when you die and enjoy heaven on earth.  Not because of anything you have done or ever will do.  But because of what Jesus has done on the cross 2000 years ago.

Praise His name forevermore!

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