It’s that time of year again. My annual Thanksgiving sale to say thank you to all of you who buy my books. I appreciate you so very much
ALL books are 50% off today through December 2nd.
It’s that time of year again. My annual Thanksgiving sale to say thank you to all of you who buy my books. I appreciate you so very much
ALL books are 50% off today through December 2nd.
This is the third and final post on the Romans 7 man…
Paul’s gospel didn’t focus on sin; instead, it focused on identity. It focused on who we are in Christ. But our westernized gospel that we preach is a sin conscious gospel, focusing on a distorted identity—teaching that all of humankind are sinners rather than sons. And because of an inherent sin nature, we are separated from God, who is too holy to look on sin. And therefore, unless we repent and ask for forgiveness, we are subject to His wrath and judgment. But this concept of separation from God is NOT what Paul taught, and it’s not what Jesus revealed to us about the nature of our Father.
And without a correct understanding of God’s nature, we will have a misunderstanding of what Paul preached.
This misunderstanding of Paul’s message will cause us to ask questions like, “But what about the Romans 7 man? Didn’t Paul continue to struggle with sin his entire life? Didn’t he say, the good I want to do I don’t and the good I don’t want to do I do?” Early church fathers taught that Paul was describing a man under the law before Christ in chapter 7.
We’ve been taught to read Romans 7 as Paul describing his personal struggle with sin and, therefore, the struggle that all of us must face. We read those verses and think, “Hey, that’s my story; that’s my experience. I struggle with wanting to do good but always blowing it!” And then we rationalize that if the Apostle Paul had to struggle, it only makes sense that I will have to struggle too. But we aren’t to interpret Scripture based on our experiences!
Paul was NOT a wretched man struggling in sin!
And NEITHER are you!
We were supposed to Romans chapter 7 and realize Paul couldn’t possibly be talking to us. Why? Because ALL humanity born after the cross (both Jew and Gentile) were NEVER under the law. But the problem is that a large portion of the body of Christ thinks they are still under the law. Oh, not 613 commandments like the Old Testament Jews were. Most believe we are under the 10 Commandments and the moral laws in the Mosaic law.
Paul calls the 10 Commandments a ministry of death (2 Corinthians 3:7).
But Jesus nailed ALL the law to the cross (10 Commandments included) and ended 1500 years of slavery to the law for the Jews! And we, born after the cross, however, were NEVER under law… not even the 10 Commandments.
In Romans 6, the Jews asked, “How will we stay sinless with the law?” Paul tells them the key is understanding their identity in Christ. What is their association with the law? IT IS FINISHED! And what is our association with the “moral part” of the law and the 10 Commandments? Paul’s response was IT IS FINISHED! We don’t need the “moral part” of the law or the 10 Commandments to regulate our behavior. The law is not our moral guidelines. We’re not the future bride of Christ who is spot cleaning her wedding dress until He comes. We’re bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh – ONE with Him NOW, in this life. We are absolutely 100% sin-free, spotless, and glorious NOW. So if the law isn’t our moral compass, what is?
Like the Jews that Paul was talking to, sometimes we in the body of Christ don’t know what it looks like not to have the law as our moral compass, keeping us free from sin. BUT we are not under law but under grace. And grace is our moral compass!
Titus 2:11-12 (ESV) says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
There is no such thing as a grace-based law. It’s one or the other: grace OR law. You can’t have both. In Galatians 2:20, Paul said he lived his new life in Christ, here on earth, by the faith OF the Son of God… not by using the law as a moral compass.
Remember, there are no chapters and verses in the original letters. You have to read the letters in context.
Romans 7:13-25 (the present tense verses) all hinge on verses 5 and 6 in chapter 7! Romans 7:5 is describing the experience of life under the law for the Jews before the cross. Those bound to the Mosaic law. And Paul continues to describe this type of life in detail in verses 7 through 25. He used such things as present historical verb tense and the personal pronoun “I” to draw his readers into seeing the futility of this life under the law. And then Romans 7:6 describes life after the cross lived in the newness of spirit. He describes this new life in Romans 8:1-39. Romans 8 is not a separate “chapter.” It is a continuation, flowing out of what he is saying in “chapter” 7.
Romans 7 is not any different from anything else Paul taught in the New Testament. We’ve just misunderstood it. To understand what he taught, we’re going to look at a lot of Scripture. That will help us see that Paul was consistent in his teaching regarding sin and our identity in Christ. And to read Romans 7 according to some of our Bible subheadings is to misunderstand Paul’s teachings. These subheadings tell us that we have a dual nature and an internal conflict or a war with sin and flesh. But is that what Paul taught? Let’s look at 3 Scriptures.
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” (1 Corinthians 1:23, KJV)
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, ESV)
“But I make my life neither near nor of any account to myself, so as to finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify FULLY the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, Berean Literal Bible – emphasis mine)
Paul consistently preached the FINISHED work of Christ and freedom from sin. He NEVER teaches that we have a battle with sin and live a defeated life warring between the flesh and the spirit. There is no battle between flesh and spirit! But what about Galatians 5:17, where Paul says the flesh is in contrast to the spirit and they are at war? He is talking about the law (flesh) and grace (spirit). Again, don’t forget, he is NOT talking to us! He’s talking to these Galatians who have been bewitched into the bondage of the law! They started in the spirit. And now they are trying to be made perfect in the flesh, or by the law (Gal. 3:3). In other words, they had fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4 – them NOT us).
We have misunderstood Scripture because of our false assumption that we have a battle between the flesh and the spirit.
But Paul never preached that. He only taught the FINISHED work of Jesus and freedom from sin and death. In fact, in Romans 6:11, he told these same Jews that he is talking to in chapter 7, “Reckon yourselves dead to (the) sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” But a misinterpretation of Romans 7:13-25 leaves us thinking we still have an inward battle with sin, just like Paul did. And that is, of course, wrong! It’s a false doctrine.
So, what did Paul teach about sin?
In Romans 6:2 (NLT), he says, “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?”
And in Romans 6:6 (NKJV), he says, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
And in verse 14 of the same chapter, he tells us that sin shall NOT have dominion over us because we are under grace, NOT law.
And he didn’t stop there! You can look at Romans 6:17-18, Romans 6:22, Romans 8:2, 1 Corinthians 15:56, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Hebrews 9:26 and see that he repeats himself regarding being free from sin. And in 1 Corinthians 15:34, he said, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” That has been misinterpreted and taught as “don’t sin!” We’ve made it a verse about our behavior! But the Greek says awake to righteousness, NOT sin. In other words, have a righteousness consciousness, not a sin consciousness. Paul didn’t preach about behavior per se; he taught about consciousness! About awakening to who we are in Christ and that we have NO association with SIN and death any longer! I love an acronym I read once for SIN…. See It Nailed!
Any time Paul preached about behavior, it is always AFTER having established to them who they now are IN Christ.
Notice most of these verses above are in Romans BEFORE chapter seven, where he says he is a wretched man enslaved to sin! Was he confused? Is he contradicting EVERYTHING he said in chapters five and six? I don’t believe so! I think we’ve been taught the wrong information.
But what about you? What do you think?
You have to know that you know that you know what Paul taught about sin and identity. And you have to understand Romans 7 in the context of chapters five and six. I don’t want to present a great argument and win for the sake of winning! I don’t want to convert you to believe what I believe! I want you fully persuaded by truth! We have lived too long under the wrong teaching of Romans 7, and it has affected our experiences in this life. Because we’ve thought we had to struggle with sin and the flesh “like Paul did!!”
We’ve been stuck there and unable to move forward in ALL that Paul teaches about our identity… about our wholeness in every area of life!
Unable to move forward in our freedom from sin and death and its consequences (dying, sickness, disease, poverty, lack, fear, etc.)
IT IS FINISHED!!
On yesterday’s post we looked at the fact that Romans 7 was addressed to those who know the Law. In other words the Romans 7 man, were the Jews prior to the cross who were enslaved to the Mosaic Law. This chapter didn’t apply to Gentiles, and it doesn’t apply to anyone born after the cross. Paul is talking to a specific group of people, a specific generation, helping them transition from Moses to Christ in understanding their identity.
And so, in chapter 5, he told them their inclusion (their co-death and co-resurrection) in Christ severed their association with sin! And now, here in chapter 7, he begins by telling them that their inclusion (their co-death and co-resurrection) IN Christ ALSO severed their association with the law! He is telling them here in Romans that it’s a done deal! A FINISHED act! They had nothing to do with it! Christ did it all, and they now have NEW lives. New lives that have ZERO association with SIN (chapter 5) AND ZERO association with the Mosaic law (chapter 7)!
So, if their lives have completely changed in Christ, if it’s past tense, FINISHED tense, then WHY does Paul switch from past tense to present tense verbs in the rest of this chapter?
Greek verb tenses are different from English tenses. Primarily context determines the Greek tenses. In English, we think of a verb’s tense as denoting the time of the action (when it takes place). But time is not the primary significance of Greek tenses. Greek verbs involve two elements: aspect and time. Aspect is the central focus, and time the secondary.
And in Greek, there is a present-tense context called the historical present.
Its use is to help the listener see what was happening; it transports them into the past. It intensifies the verb and makes the reader feel as if they were there when it happened.
An example of another present tense Scripture that doesn’t describe Paul’s current state is Philippians 3. Here in Philippians, he refers to himself as having confidence in the flesh, a Pharisee of Pharisees that is persecuting the church – all in the present tense. But we know that he couldn’t possibly be talking about his current state. He definitely wasn’t a Pharisee any longer. And we know from other Scriptures that he didn’t put his confidence in his flesh. And he absolutely was not persecuting the church; in fact, he was the one now persecuted. So, we have to conclude that he is talking about himself as Saul of Tarsus before awakening to Christ in him; BEFORE he became Apostle Paul.
And then in Acts 22:3-4 and Galatians 1:13, he gives that same description of himself (as in Philippians 3). But here, he uses the verbs in the past tense – talking about who he once was as Saul. So, could he be using the present tense here in Romans 7 as he did in Philippians 3, as a historical present to draw the listener in? I think so!
But why would he feel the need to draw the listener into his own experience?
He’s told them they had been severed from the law, and in chapter eight, he is going to describe this beautiful life of freedom in the Spirit! BUT before he can get there, he senses a question on everyone’s heart! In chapter five, he had just told them that they are severed from sin, and in chapter six, that they are dead to sin. Now, here in chapter 7, he says they are also severed from the law.
The natural connection they would make would be, “Does that mean the law is sin?”
After all, the law had been given to them by God. It was the central focus of their lives; EVERYTHING revolved around it! Six hundred thirteen commandments directed their lives! In their eyes, it kept them safe. And it safeguarded them and set them apart, making them not “sinners” like the Gentiles. And NOW Paul is saying they have been released from it. So, Paul needs to show them the futility of living life bound or enslaved to the law.
So he uses his own experience and does it in a present tense (or historical present) manner to draw them in and cause them to realize that what they had revered had actually held them in bondage just like sin had!
What Paul has told them so far concerning the law in this letter has probably shocked them. He’s told them that the law couldn’t justify them (Romans 3:20-21), the promise doesn’t come through the law (Romans 4:13-14), and the law came in so that transgression would increase (Romans 5:20). And he’s told them that it’s because of grace they are not under law (Romans 6:14). They are now dead to the law (Romans 7:4), and the law is what arouses sin and links up with sin to bring death (Romans 7:5). And finally, the law is what hinders life in the Spirit (Romans 7:6).
To these Jews, it sounds like Paul thinks the law is sin! But he tells them no, the law is not sin; it reveals sin.
And in verse 14, he tells them that it’s spiritual! One meaning of spiritual is to reveal Christ. Galatians 3:24 tells us that the law was their tutor to bring them to Christ so that they might be justified by faith (speaking of Jesus’ faith, NOT their own). They were NOW justified by faith (Jesus’ faith, not their own)! They are NOW released (or severed) from the law, AND they are free to serve in the newness of spirit.
They are FREE, and now they NEVER again have to serve in the old way of the law!
How did they serve in the old way of the law? By doing works to become righteous and yet always failing. And NOW, Paul is telling them that they are simply free to BE who they were created to be IN Christ. I can imagine they are wondering, “What does that even look like? We have always lived our lives by doing what the law told us to do.”
Don’t forget while you’re reading these verses that we’re still in chapter 7, meaning Paul is talking to them, NOT us!
He’s talking to those who were bound by the law! He’s telling them that those who lived their life subject to the Mosaic law (himself included) are NOW released from the law AND freed from sin! He is not writing this TO us.
But what we are to grasp from reading this is that EVERYONE born after the cross was born FREE from sin AND law!
We were never enslaved to sin! And we were never bound to the law (or self-righteous works of any kind)!
Tomorrow we’ll do our final blog post on the Romans 7 man.
I love teaching on Romans 7. And I’ll probably make this post into two or three parts just so that it’s easier to read.
Romans 7:13-25 is one of the most controversial and debated passages in Scripture. Most get hung up on his use of the present tense in these verses. Believing that Paul is talking about the struggle we continue to have in life even after “accepting” Christ. But that interpretation is out of the context of chapters five, six, and eight.
Our lack of understanding of Romans 5 and 6 causes a MAJOR misinterpretation of chapter 7.
As long as we see ourselves as the Romans 7 man we will “feel” “Biblical” pressure to put our flesh under, to modify our behavior, and beat this thing called SIN. Causing us to settle into a mindset of works and self-effort. Because after all, we’ve been taught that Paul is the Romans 7 man; that he has to struggle between his spirit and flesh continually. And that he is never free from that internal war! And if the Apostle Paul had to struggle what about us? And then we get to chapter 8 and read about the beautiful freedom of life in the Spirit. BUT we read chapter 8 through the lens that we’ve understood chapter 7, or rather misunderstood! And then we miss the fullness of what Paul is telling us in chapter 8!
Our current popular teachings that we are the Romans 7 man reflect NOTHING Paul has taught so far in Romans. Or in any of his other epistles, for that matter! He has already made it abundantly clear in Romans that the cross changed everything!
Not only do we NOT have a “sin nature,” but we also do NOT have a struggle with sin because we died to it (Romans 6:11).
If we are struggling with sin, then it’s because we’re ignorant of what Jesus did in His FINISHED work. In other words, we don’t know what Jesus FINISHED. And in fact, those are Paul’s words. He starts chapter 7 with the words, are you ignorant brethren? Ignorance of the FINISHED work will keep us empowering what Jesus already defeated 2000 years ago. Jesus said to SIN and death – IT IS FINISHED!
He wrote this letter (Romans) to a mixed audience consisting of believing Jews AND believing Gentiles. In chapter 11 and verse 3, he says that he is speaking to you Gentiles.
And here in Romans 7:1, he says that he is speaking to those knowing the law.
He is addressing ONLY those Jews who had been under the Mosaic law. Because the law was never for us, and honestly, this chapter should’ve started with the subheading – ALL non-Jewish people (and actually ALL people born after the cross) skip ahead to chapter eight!
Perhaps if we were to read chapters five, six, and then skip ahead to chapter eight, we might understand that we have ZERO association with sin and death!
In verse 4, Paul says to these Jews (not to you!),
Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)
He tells his Jewish brothers, ALL OF YOU HAVE DIED TO THE LAW! The word died is an aorist, indicative, passive verb tense. Meaning, it’s past tense, a FINISHED act that happened to them ALL. How did they die to the law? They died to it through the body of Christ. I love the word through! It is dia in Greek and means completely, successfully through. It means thoroughly!! Literally, it means to be SUCCESSFULLY across to the other side!
In other words, they didn’t just partially die to it. Jesus didn’t start the process, and now it’s up to them to finish dying to it. Jesus didn’t get take them part of the way. NO!! He got them SUCCESSFULLY across to the other side. They completely, successfully died to the law! And it was completely, successfully through Jesus’ death!
And then in verse 6, he tells them that we (again, he’s talking to THEM not us!) HAVE BEEN released (or severed) from the law. Again, it’s an aorist indicative passive. A past tense, FINISHED act that happened to them! They were now severed from that which they were bound. The word bound is an imperfect verb tense meaning an action that occurred in the past that was continual, repeated, or constant. They were continually bound to the law in the past; it possessed them! But Paul makes it very clear in these first few verses in Romans 7 that their lives have changed in Christ, that they are no longer slaves to the Mosaic law. In verse 4, he said they now belong to another. In the Greek, it says that they have BECOME another, having been resurrected from the dead! In other words, they died with Christ and resurrected with Christ; NOW they are no longer the same person!
EVERYTHING changed! They have become another – HIM who raised from the dead! It is HIS life IN them!!
In chapter 5, he told them their inclusion (their co-death and co-resurrection) in Christ severed their association with sin! And now, here in chapter 7, he begins by telling them that their inclusion (their co-death and co-resurrection) IN Christ ALSO severed their association with the law! The Mirror Bible paraphrases verse 6 exceptionally well.
“But NOW we are FULLY released from any further association with a life directed by the rule of the law, we are dead to that which once held us captive, free to be slaves to the newness of spirit spontaneity rather than age-old religious rituals, imitating the mere face value of the written code.” (Romans 7:6, Mirror Bible)
Paul has not minced words with them! He is telling them it’s a done deal! A FINISHED act! They had nothing to do with it! Christ did it all, and they now have NEW lives. New lives that have ZERO association with SIN (chapter 5) AND ZERO association with the Mosaic law (chapter 7)!
So, if their lives have completely changed in Christ, if it’s past tense, FINISHED tense, then WHY does Paul switch from past tense to present tense verbs in the rest of this chapter? That we’ll talk about in the next post!
Yesterday I posted on Facebook about using the Scriptures to support student loan forgiveness (SLF). To say it caused a stir is an understatement. Some comments were quite ugly and ungracious by people proclaiming grace! Name-calling and accusations were flying. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating. No need to go to my posts and read them; I deleted them. Why? Because they were mean, and I don’t like meanness on my FB posts. I don’t mind honest conversation, but it seems that if something is political, it brings out bad manners and rude behavior. What I find ironic is that most who are for SLF and using Scripture and Jesus to defend it were against using the Bible or Jesus for anything not too long ago.
My post wasn’t really about the politics of it. While personally, I don’t politically agree with SLF, that wasn’t the reason for my post. My post had to do with Scripture being misused to prove a political decision made by our current administration. It’s not that I disagree with debt cancelation or forgiveness. I actually think it’s a good idea to benefit someone who is genuinely burdened financially and facing the hardship of things like poverty, joblessness, homelessness, etc. However, I believe it’s the creditor’s job to forgive the debt. For instance, if someone owes me money and cannot pay because of financial hardship, I can CHOOSE to extend mercy and release them from their debt. No one else incurs that debt. I merely choose not to be paid back. Likewise, if student debt creates a financial hardship for someone, then the University or College (the creditor) can CHOOSE to release them from that debt. I believe the choice to release debt is personal and belongs to the creditor only…. not the government.
What about jubilee? I’m hearing and reading a lot of opinions about releasing debt being part of jubilee. Are we going back to the Mosaic Law now? What happened to we are not under Law but under grace? Also, the year of Jubilee was explicitly for the Jews living in Israel and part of their Mosaic Law (i.e., the OLD Covenant Law). It was not for anyone who was not a Jew, AND it was not for anyone living outside of Israel. So, a few problems are associated with us as part of the New Covenant observing jubilee.
What was the year of jubilee in the Old Testament…
Contained in the Mosaic Laws (which was for the Jews only living from the time of Mt. Sinai to the cross!) were the LAWS for the sabbatical (shmita) and jubilee (yovel) years. Yes, they were celebrations, but they were also LAWS meaning ALL of it must be followed COMPLETELY. You couldn’t pick and choose which part you wanted to follow or even when you wanted to follow it. And again, it was EXCLUSIVE to Israel. AND the laws of the Sabbath included the blessings AND the curses. The Law of Sabbath requires a release of ALL debts and a rest for the land. Notice it’s REQUIRED (not optional) and includes ALL debts (not some debts or only for some people). The Law of Jubilee was the emancipation of all enslaved people and the return of land to its original owners. Some of the benefits of the jubilee were…
What about the forgiveness of debt?
That didn’t happen in the year of Jubilee. That was observed during the Sabbath year. The Law of the Sabbath year canceled debts at the end of the Sabbath year – Deuteronomy 15:1: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts” (Deuteronomy 15:1). The Law of Jubilee released land and enslaved people at the beginning of the year when the trumpet sounded. And when the trumpet sounded, whatever you lost since the last Jubilee was restored back to you. If you lost your ancestral land in the Year of Jubilee, you would return to claim it back. EVERYTHING forbidden during the Sabbath was also forbidden in the Jubilee year. And if the shofar was NOT blown at the beginning of a jubilee year, then it is not a jubilee, and if the fields are not returned to the original owners, then it is not a jubilee year. Again, you can’t declare it a jubilee year and only practice a few of its benefits. It was ALL or nothing. If we say that the forgiveness of student loans is part of the jubilee that we need to practice, then ALL lands and homes should be returned to their original owners. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue? Remember, it’s a LAW!
The purpose of the Jubilee was to return everything to its original state. What would that look like today if we insist on following this LAW of Jubilee and include debt release (although that wasn’t part of jubilee)? What would back to the original state mean for SLF? No degree. It would mean an absolute return to the original state BEFORE obtaining the degree. I’m not being mean or heartless; THIS IS HOW THE MOSAIC LAW WORKED! You didn’t get to pick and choose which parts of the Law you wanted to observe if you were a Jew. This is why you can’t follow the Law…. You have to follow it explicitly! It’s ALL or nothing. You can’t pull out biblical principles from it because it sounds good, noble, or fair! It was a LAW! To choose jubilee means that you also choose ALL of the Mosaic Law to live by, including (but not limited to) animal sacrifice, curses, punishment for disobedience, no work on the Sabbath, Temple worship and feast pilgrimages to Jerusalem, etc, etc.! It’s bondage!
So, when is the next year of Jubilee?
That’s actually a Christian question. Because the Jews today don’t even observe Jubilee. It hasn’t been observed for 2k years!! Why? Because Leviticus specifically says it was for “all its inhabitants,” and the rabbis understand that to mean it is to be observed ONLY when ALL the 12 tribes of Israel live in Israel. It is estimated that the last time it was observed was 150 years BEFORE the destruction of the first temple! And with the destruction of the Second Temple and the disbandment of the Sanhedrin (supreme rabbinical court), they ceased to mark the Jubilee year in any form. Again, it was only meant to be observed by Old Testament Jews and only in Israel. Today it is neither designated nor observed.
And yet, Christians still insist on observing these things that existed ONLY under the Mosaic Law. They continue to calculate when the next jubilee is. So, for the sake of argument, the last Jubilee (that the Jews don’t observe!) on our calendar was 2017/18. And according to that, the next one would be in 50 years, which would be 2067/68. We are only in 2022. Remember, it is a Law; you can’t just decide to have a jubilee year anytime you want. For the Jews, the next Jubilee will be when the entire nation returns to Israel (including the 10 “lost” tribes), and THEY can observe it once again.
I don’t believe that the OLD Testament practice of Jubilee is to be observed by Christians or Jews today or by our governments! It was a prophetic picture of the FINISHED work of Jesus. He is our Jubilee. Let’s get back to grace!
We don’t have a Greater Power in us trying to overcome lesser powers that come against us. BUT as long as we think that we have enemies to war against, we stay in cycles of victory and defeat, with a wrong perception of God and ourselves, not experiencing our FULL redemption now.
In the book of Judges, we see people who went through cycles of victory and defeat. Judges 6:1a says, And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. In Hebrew, it says they did “THE evil” in the sight of the LORD. They weren’t just doing any kind of evil, but something specific. What was the specific evil they were doing? Idolatry or serving other gods.
Idolatry represents false ideas and concepts about God. In 1 John 5:21, it says, Keep yourself from idols. The word idols is eidólon in Greek, meaning an image or false god. The word’s root is eidó, which means to see or perceive; it’s a seeing that becomes a knowing. Our perceptions are so important – our perceptions create our beliefs (it becomes our knowings), which create our experiences and reality. Israel was worshiping idols because they didn’t intimately know the true nature of the ONE God — they had lost the awareness of their FACE-TO-FACE relationship with Him. John says that the reason we are to keep ourselves from idols is that NOW we know the true Father and that we are IN Him by being IN His Son (1 John 5:20)!
The rest of Judges 6:1 says that the LORD delivered them into the Midianites’ hands because of idolatry. By now we know that God doesn’t deliver us to the enemy. We understand that a good Father doesn’t do that! And Abba is a VERY GOOD Father. We must learn to read the Old Testament in light of what Jesus revealed about the Father’s nature. It’s time to stop reading these verses with the wrong understanding that God is saying something like, “OK, if you can’t serve only Me, I am going to turn you over to your enemies to be punished. THEN you will learn your lesson.” That’s NOT the Father who is Love!
But because THEY (Israel) worshiped idols, because THEY had a false concept of God – THEY were taken captive by the Midianites. AND even in their captivity, God was WITH them. He didn’t abandon them or separate Himself from them because of their sin of idolatry. But in their wrong thinking that sin separates them from God, they THOUGHT God had delivered them into the enemy’s hands as a form of punishment for worshiping idols.
And verse 6 in Judges 6 tells us that Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites. So they cried out to the LORD for deliverance.
So what are WE to get out of that verse? Because what we don’t want to get out of this verse is that sin will cause God to hand you over to your enemies for punishment so that you will learn your lesson! Or that sin separates us from God because He is too holy to look on sin!
We are to see that the same is true of believers today. We have allowed defeated enemies to keep us warring and striving for victory. Not realizing we already have 100% victory because the Victorious One lives IN us. And as a result, our thinking and understanding of God and ourselves have been greatly impoverished. It has been weak and feeble because we have been looking at circumstances around us rather than looking at Him IN us. And we have continually cried out for the Lord to do what He has already done. Asking Him to do what He has already FINISHED for us and as us. He has ALREADY delivered us, healed us, prospered us, saved us, etcetera.
In verses 7-9 of chapter 6 in Judges, we see God’s response to Israel’s crying out to Him for deliverance. And it came to pass when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites, (8) that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; (9) and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.
God is telling them to REMEMBER SOMETHING – He brought them out of Egypt and delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. This is the same message He’s speaking to the church today —REMEMBER SOMETHING! It’s essential to understand this in light of typology language –
So what are WE to remember? That He COMPLETELY brought us or raised us out of sin (Egypt) and out of the bondage of death (Egyptians). The word raised in the Hebrew ancient root is to yoke. Jesus became sin. He destroyed its yoke! And we were co-raised (yoked IN HIM) WITH Him and delivered from the bondage to sin and death!! Remember this is typology language. He told THEM (Israel) to remember when they were brought out of Egypt and Egyptian bondage. And He is telling us to remember that we were co-crucified and co-resurrected with Him… and that we are NOW dead to sin and alive to God. He reminded them of victory so they would no longer give power to the Midianites, Amalekites, and children from the east. And He is reminding us of our COMPLETE victory so that we will no longer give power to sin and death.
Sin and death were FULLY, COMPLETELY conquered! ALL the effects of it: bondage, fear, sickness, disease, poverty, lack, etcetera, were also COMPLETELY destroyed!
And just like in Exodus 14:30, the Lord redeemed us from sin, and ALL of the effects of death (sickness, disease, lack, etc.) are DEAD ON THE SEASHORE. And like the Israelites, WE WILL SEE THEM NO MORE FOREVER! But until we awaken to that revelation, we will stay impoverished in our thinking, serving false idols (having a false image or perception of God and ourselves). And we will think we need to do spiritual warfare against a defeated enemy. We will believe that we need to “appease” God through our doing and obedience so that we will be blessed – healed, prospered, delivered, etcetera. And we will continually go through cycles of victory and defeat until we realize and rest in the truth and reality that sin and death were FINISHED at the cross. Grasping that IN HIM is no death, sickness, disease, or lack… there is only WHOLENESS.
So, how do we begin to experience WHOLENESS as our ONLY experience in life?
Jeremiah 1:10 says, “See, THIS DAY I have….” The church has seen full redemption (especially full redemption of the physical body) as a day coming – believing in a someday redemption – once we die, THEN we will experience a complete resurrection, and our bodies will be redeemed. We need to hear the word of the LORD like Jeremiah did and have a THIS DAY or NOW understanding. John 5:25 says that the hour is coming and NOW IS!
What makes the hour that is coming, the NOW IS?
Simply walking in the understanding of ALL being FINISHED! How do we know that we have FULL redemption IN us? – Because we know Christ dwells completely, fully IN us…. and He is Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). WHOLE MAN REDEMPTION is the understanding that we can’t “find” sickness, disease, poverty, lack, addiction, fear, etcetera. They can’t be found because they aren’t there — they are ALL dead on the seashore (the cross)!!! IT IS FINISHED!
Hi all!! I realized that I haven’t written a blog post since the end of June! I haven’t disappeared, life has just gotten so busy. My writing & publishing workshop that I am teaching just started and I am excited for the books that will come out of it…. you all will love them!! I’m also using this workshop time to write a new book. This time a historical fiction with a hidden gospel message (like an allegory).
Another thing I’ve been doing is writing a series of workbooks for IT IS FINISHED. I have finished the first five of them and they are available on Amazon. I’ve also designed and created two journal/notebooks and they are also on Amazon.
And lastly, I’m creating curriculum for online courses that I am beginning to offer. They will be available here on my website soon.
So my days have been full. But I wanted to reach out to all of you and give you a life update. I’ll get back to writing blog posts again soon.
We just finished our study group of my book I AM HEALED. I love these study groups. We grow so much together as a group! Healings happen… physical and spiritual. Hearts are healed, emotions are healed, and minds are set free!
We are starting a new study group in a couple of weeks on IT IS FINISHED. We have two time slots during the week: Monday 5pm PST and Tuesday 10am PST. If you’re interested message me and we’ll add you to the zoom link
Here is the zoom from our final class on chapter 20 – PRAISE SILENCES THE ENEMY.
My heart has been so heavy for the past two days. It’s been tough to shake. And so what do I do? How do I process all that my heart is feeling? By writing and pouring out my heart on paper or actually on my MacBook. I try not to think too much and just write what my heart feels. And maybe it’s how some of you feel, and it will also help you. Fair warning, though, if you’re reading this… I am unapologetically 100% pro-life.
Most of the time, I live in my own world, and my world is quite different than the one we see on a daily basis. I can get so caught up in my writing and studying that my entire world perception is FINISHED!! And VERY GOOD!! And often, I spend hours every day doing that. But every once in a while, I come up for air and take a look around. And I don’t recognize the world that I see. That is what happened two days ago, and I logged on to Facebook in the morning and saw the most beautiful, glorious post I’ve read in a while….. Roe vs. Wade overturned!!! WOW!! Fifty years later, it’s overturned! What an unforgettable, historic moment for our country! It’s a time to celebrate! So, of course, I post that our nation chose life today!! And another that said life won!! But I wasn’t prepared for the negative comments that came from some. Or for the posts I read throughout the day that were negative about Roe being overturned. Now I do realize that some would be upset about it. Those who do not know God, sons and daughters who haven’t awakened to who they are IN Christ. But I was unprepared for the negative responses from believers. I was blown away by how many profess to love God and be believers but are pro-choice! Naive on my part? Probably.
The problem is an identity crisis. We are lacking absolutes and grabbing for anything. A man can become a woman and vice versa; you can choose which pronoun defines you (he, she, it, they, etc.), you can be homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, non-gender, transgender, asexual, etc., etc., etc. And when I come up for air from my creative bubble, from my world perspective of VERY GOOD!! My first response can sometimes be, “what is wrong with this world!?” The truth is, nothing is wrong with this world. We don’t live in a fallen world!
However, we live in a society marked by an identity crisis. And it’s not just people who don’t know God. Some in the radical grace circles are just as confused about who they are and who God is. They have “deconstructed” to the point where they no longer have absolutes, and they reach out to grab anything that sounds UNRELIGIOUS! But without understanding who God is, we can’t know who we are.
So what are we to do? Are we to agree with most that anything goes in life and you can just be anyone or anything you want, or do whatever feels good for you? No, I don’t think so. I love that my dad raised me to think about others. He told me that we are not islands unto ourselves and that EVERYTHING we do affects someone else. I do believe we need to be brave and speak life. These identity crisis issues of gender and sexuality often stem from trauma. That’s not freedom. It’s bondage. And we need to be free from our own identity crises’ if we are going to help others experience freedom. Abortion isn’t freedom; it’s a bondage that results in trauma for the mother and those around her. And it stole a life God had created for a purpose here on earth. But what about extenuating circumstances, like rape, incest, or the endangering of the mother’s life? I don’t know. But places like Planned Parenthood make their money convincing women that they have no other options… that’s bondage! There’s always an option. God always makes a way when there seems to be no way.
Pro-Life is not popular in the world today. It is viewed as religious and controlling and anti-women’s rights. I am pro-life. But I am neither religious, controlling, nor anti-women’s rights. I am for LIFE and FREEDOM for all people. I am pro-life for not only the baby but also for women! Liberty is not doing whatever we feel like doing in life with no thought for anyone else. Abundant life and freedom is not our “right” to every thought, feeling, desire, and emotion at the cost of others. Life and freedom are only defined by HIM, who is Life and Freedom. I hear people saying, “All we need is love.” And while it’s true that we definitely need love, if we don’t know the One who is Love, we won’t know what love looks like. And then we won’t know how to minister Love and Life to a hurting world who have no idea who they are or who God is.
I hope you heard my heart in this post. There is zero judgment for anyone struggling in their identity, who have had abortions, who are pro-choice, etc. I have nothing but love for them and see them as complete, whole, and fully embraced by Abba!!
First of all, Happy Father’s Day to anyone reading this post who is a father; you are all amazing men!
But I really wanted to write this post to all the young women (or even not so young) reading it who aren’t married yet but would love to meet the right man and be married. Today is Father’s Day, and I spent the day with my husband. I fixed him a fantastic lunch, and we just spent time together, talking about our life, our children, our dreams, etc. All 4 of our children are grown, and they all called him to say Happy Father’s Day, but they don’t live with us anymore. And he doesn’t have a dad to call anymore since he passed away seven years ago. I call my dad and take a gift over, but I’ve found the last few years (since he’s lost both parents) that Father’s Day has become about spending time loving on this man who is the amazing father of our children. Ladies, find a good man, a godly man, a man who puts others before himself. At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money he has or how handsome or charming he is. You want a man who can confidently say, “I’ve got this!” What is ‘this?’ Anything that life throws at you. My husband, the father of our four children, is this man, and I am so thankful for him. I know no matter what comes in life, he’s got it.
This picture on this blog is one of my favorites. It’s the day of our daughter’s wedding, and he accidentally ran into her while she was taking pictures, which is why he is in a rain jacket, board shorts, and boots. He was working hard to make her day special for her. And when he saw her, he was utterly overcome with emotion and in tears… she was an absolute vision of beauty. But, what you can’t see in the picture is that he was dirty from working in the mud and was afraid to touch her because he didn’t want to mess up her dress.
We had every detail of the wedding worked out. But sometimes, life throws curve balls. One week before the wedding, his mom died. But we had a wedding to throw and didn’t have time to grieve. And then the morning of the wedding, we woke up to a forecast of 100% rain… not sprinkles, or occasional showers (like it had predicted!) BUT buckets and buckets of rain! Since we had only planned for an outdoor wedding under a canopy of beautiful fairy lights (which, by the way, the wind completely tore apart the night before!), we had to make a major adjustment fast. So, at 4:30 in the morning, my husband, who had barely slept all night, told me that we would have to have the reception in the house! My question… whose house!?! OURS! Can we even fit 80-90 people inside my house!?! Originally the count had been close to 200, but covid happened, and we had cancelation after cancelation that week. Steve told me we could move out all the furniture and have the reception in the house, and it would be great. Really!?! But then again, he’s always able to say with absolute confidence, “I’ve got this!”
So, we moved all of the furniture out of the main rooms of our house… and when I say all, I mean ALL (even the drapes needed to come down)! Steve, our sons, all of the bridesmaids, and my two day-of-coordinators moved it all to our bedrooms! Then everyone moved all of the reception things into our house!! We had to scratch all of our plans and literally wing it the rest of the night! BUT amid all the chaos, this wedding was, as I said, the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to! The buckets of rain held just long enough to have the ceremony in the orchard just like my daughter wanted. And all of the raindrops and umbrellas made for stunning pictures.
My husband truly is amazing! He selflessly poured his heart into making this a beautiful day for Nicole & Zach! For him, this day was all about making her dreams come true. He was working outside, getting things ready even while guests were arriving. In fact, he took a shower 20 minutes before she was due to walk down the aisle. Every precious minute before that was spent not only telling his girl, “I’ve got this!” but being a living, tangible picture of “I’ve got this!” The wedding was stunning, the food excellent, and the love from everyone for us and our daughter and new son (❤) was overwhelming!! Nothing went according to plan at this wedding. And yet, everything went so much better than planned. Love and joy were contagious and felt by everyone there. And really, when you strip away all the outer packaging of the wedding that we planned…the decor, the food, the drinks, etc….that was all we truly wanted!!
Steve loves his family so well! We are all better versions of ourselves because of his selfless love. So ladies, find a selfless man. A man who will say, “I’ve got this,” and will focus on making your dreams come true. He’s a rare man for sure! I do realize how blessed I am. I know men like him don’t come along every day. But honestly, he’s worth the wait. My love and admiration for this man continues to grow and grow.