Midnight Cry: A Message To All Churches
The Imminent Fall of America
What did Paul mean?
Countless believers have been deceived about it!
Errors of belief and practice are the blemishes upon the face of the Bride at this time. Jesus wants a Bride who is:
Kenneth Hagin used to say that you receive what you believe. He wrote a piece on it entitled You Have What You Say. If you are negative and believe that you will end up with cancer because your mother or father died of it, your grandfather died of it, and you have other relations who have it, then you will have it too. You have what you say. And it is true Ė up to a point.
Unfortunately, he took it too far by suggesting that the power of faith could unblock any blockages, reverse any negative flow, and pull back the tide of darkness so that everything will be just OK Ė and, he said, it is all achieved by faith, by what you believe. Just believe that it will happen, and it will.
I donít subscribe to that extreme teaching. It is in error, because it fails to take into account Godís purpose behind the negative things that He allows to come against us Ė for us to resist, stand against, and build godly character, chief among which is humility. But it certainly contains a strong valid point in the area of negative belief!
False concepts in the Church are also negative beliefs. And they claim victims, many of them!
Sadly, people think they are liberated Ė free Ė by Christís blood, from the moral duty outlined in the Bible which began in the Old Testament. We see from Genesis through Malachi, a progressive revelation of Godís righteousness disclosed to man.
In the Garden, God gave simple commands to guide the first man and woman in life. Not all of them are explained, merely hinted at, and covered by the overarching command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ďlest you die!Ē (Gen 3:3.)
Godís commands were protective. They still are protective. Heís trying to protect us from harm.
To Noah, about 1650 years later, He extended His commands (Gen 6) through a divine promise, or covenant (Gen 9:1-12).
Then, about 427 years after that, God tested Abram through a specific command (Gen 12). Abram believed God and that was accounted to him as righteousness (Rom 4:3). He DID what God asked.
Belief and obedience are hand in glove. You canít have one without the other (Jas 2:14-26).
Abraham was willing to obey to the point of losing all, even his own most precious son, in order to obey whatever God said (Gen 22:1-18; 26:12). Godís commands to him were more important than anything else in life. And so he became the father of the faithful (Rom 4:1; Gal 3:9).
Approximately 430 years after Abraham (his name was changed in recognition of his obedience), God took to Himself a people out of Egypt. They were Abrahamís descendants, given the privilege of becoming Godís model nation on earth Ė IF they would obey Him in all things.
You know the end of the story Ė they failed. They fell because of disobedience, and so the Covenant that He had made with them at Sinai was made void. They disqualified themselves by rebellion or self-will. But the righteous standards which He revealed to them at that time were more than to their forebears. They were codified at Sinai (Ex 20) and reiterated on entry into the Promised Land (Deut 5).
Then, we come from BC to AD. Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, born of a virgin, lived sinlessly all His life, and died a horrible death at the hands of barbaric Romans, to usher in a new way for us whom He has called to have righteous standing with God.
The Old Covenant required that Israel should obey all Godís commandments without fault. You were considered righteous by God by virtue of what you did in obeying the moral code God had laid down.
Of course, with the benefit of hindsight you can see the trap that this became. For Ďthe righteousí, it engendered self-righteousness, not Godís righteousness of humility, and exposed us all as disobedient. But it was an episode in history that had to be lived out, from which we can all learn, because all people are not much different in character from Israelites.
Paul reminded us that no one truly seeks God (Rom 3) or cares about His righteousness in the way He does. We have all sinned (Rom 3:23).
Jesus introduced a new basis of righteousness. And thatís what Paul expounded in his letters that are recorded for us in the New Testament.
Writing to the believers at Rome, he expounded the latest of Godís progressive revelation at that time. No longer are we considered righteous by what WE do, but because of what Jesus has done for us by paying the penalty on the cross in our stead, AND granting us His Spirit. It is faith Ė trust and belief Ė in Him, which enables us to benefit from what He has provided, not our works. Our works are the outflow of what He has worked in us through faith in Him.
So, Christ is the centre or focus, not humanity.
If you read Romans carefully, you see that the holy requirement has not changed (Rom 8:4). We still have to obey all Godís commandments, because the law is not sin (Rom 7:7), rather the contrary.
Now, however, there is a GREATER OBLIGATION upon each of us whom He has called (Rom 8:14; Matt 19:17; Matt 5:17-20).
You are under a greater obligation now under Godís grace. He has forgiven you for past sins, so you must cease sinning, otherwise you crucify Jesus afresh!
And the base line of sin is quite simply breaking Godís commandments (1 Jn 3:4, see KJV).
Under Jesusí grace, forgiveness requires a heart that seeks His purity. No longer is it good enough to desist from the physical act of sin. We are obligated to resist the temptation or thought, that, if entertained in the mind, can lead to the wrongdoing (Matt 5:21-30). No longer are we to treat with levity the holiness of God (Matt 5:33-36), or with deceit (5:37; 6:1-6). The same mind that is Godís should now begin to transform ours (5:38-48) by His Spirit.
It is those last three words that contain the further revelation of Godís righteousness for this era. All Paulís letters pivoted on the essence that now separates a true believer from all others Ė the Spirit.
When Paul wrote to the Roman believers, he was not watering down the requirement of obedience to Godís commandments. He was emphasising the central place of the Spirit of Jesus in our obedience.
A lot of Christians think we are saved by Jesusí blood. Weíre not. Before you think Iím spouting heresy, first read carefully what Paul wrote:
Notice two things:
1) we are not saved by Jesusí blood; we are justified Ė made righteous or Ďjustí, having our past sins pardoned, and
2) the future tense to do with the promise of salvation Ė ďwe shall be saved...Ē
You see, He has reconciled us to God. We can now enjoy contact with the Father, through what Jesus has done. But, what are we to do with that blessing? Sit on it and do little? Just believe that we will inherit eternal life and do nothing else? NO!
Notice Paulís emphasis:
Most Christians read right over those words, thinking they mean that Jesus has done it all for us. His death and life bought us salvation, so we donít have to do much except believe in Him.
No, NO, NO!
Many of those Ďbelieversí just donít have the Spirit of Christ living in them!
Because they have believed a massive lie, they are not converted; they are not His. If a personís heart is evil, this heresy has great appeal and shuts the person out from receiving Godís Spirit! Demon spirits take Jesusí place.
What Paul meant Ė ďwe shall be saved by His lifeĒ Ė is this. When you receive forgiveness of sins by Jesusí blood, and you want to obey Him, He comes to live in you by His Spirit. You surrender your life to Him, and He gives you faith, love and desire to obey the commandments that previously you just couldnít or wouldnít obey:
And how does the Spirit find a home in you? If you, like Abraham, are willing to do ALL God says.
Do you see now what Paul meant by:
You cannot achieve righteousness by obeying the law [Godís law outlined under the Old Covenant], no matter how legalistic and strict your effort. Jesus makes it possible through faith, as you submit to Him, by His Spirit living in you. He has put an end to the Old Covenant system of achieving righteous standing before God by human effort alone.
Malcolm B Heap
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