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Unbelieving, Disbelieving Believers

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            We’re going to look at why Jesus came and what God said He would do.  For the most part, Christians don’t believe it, and as long as you don’t believe, you won’t act on what you’ve been given.

          Luke 1:67-75  “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”

          The reason we can serve God in holiness and righteousness w/o fear of our enemies (referring to demon powers, because our battle is not with flesh and blood but spiritual forces of darkness) is because their power over us has been removed or destroyed by the forgiveness of our sins.  This is a prophecy telling us why Jesus came - to save us from our enemies: from those that hate us, that we might serve Him.  His salvation comes in the fullest and ultimate sense.  “Horn” means strength or might.  The strength of God’s salvation is in the cross of Jesus Christ, the promised redeemer and Messiah.  His provision for our redemption is full and complete in every way.  Jesus provided for complete release from our past sins and the judgment and consequences of those sins, as well as for the guilt, condemnation and conscientiousness of sin.  We are given a new start, a clean slate, cleared of our past, and made as if we had never sinned.  That’s the reality and beauty of God’s salvation.

          Revelation 5:9-10  “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

This book - Rev. - is the revelation of the glorified Christ.  A book that could not have been written without the cross.  This is a Revelation of where God exalted Christ because He went to the cross.  All through the book, men and angels are praising Him - because of who He is and what He did.  We see here the reason why Christ came and redeemed us.  That we might be a kingdom of priests who reign on the earth.  Whom are we to reign over?  Over our enemies - the powers of hell.

          The devils version - his perversion of the gospel, that says we will reign over things - possessions, land, Cadillac’s, politics - is known as “the Kingdom Message”.  There is a true Kingdom Message or there couldn’t be a fake one - which is a deception to pull people away from the truth.  So we need to know what God called us to reign over.  Most say this passage of scripture has to do with a future Millennial reign of Christ, in which the saints reign with Him on the earth over physical things.  But that would have no meaning, not only for all the saints who have already died since Christ for the past 2000 years, but what comfort or application does that interpretation provide for us today to help us to live godly lives and overcome sin and temptation that we might live lives that are pleasing to God.  [Can you say and believe - “I have been delivered and set free from sin. I have been liberated.  My chains have been broken and I have been made free in Christ.”?]

          Romans 5:12-17  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

          Twice (in V.14 & V.17) the Word tells us that until Christ died for us - death reigned over man.  Death reigns where there is sin - where sin is accounted to you.  V.14 tells us, that death, as the result of sin reigned over even those who did not sin in the manner Adam did - but all men came under sin and the penalty of sin and sin was accounted to all men - as David said - Ps.51:5 “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my Mother conceive me.”  But, just as before Christ, death reigned over us, now through Christ, because we have received the grace of God in salvation and the gift of righteousness so that now righteousness is accounted to us instead of sin, and we shall reign in life by Jesus Christ.  That sounds like (Revelation 5:9).

          Christ has given us His life that we might reign in life - now, not in some future millenium, on the earth, not of ourselves; but by depending upon Jesus Christ, who has raised us up to sit with Him in Heavenly places and reign as a kingdom of priests.

          There’s another false doctrine that says the power of sin won’t be broken until Jesus comes back and sets up His millennial reign, then the power of sin will be broken.  Jesus broke the power of sin and the resulting death that reigned over us because of sin and God’s grace comes to us thru His death and resurrection.  Jesus spoiled (or disarmed) all demon powers and triumphed over them for us and now we can enter into His victory that has already been accomplished and receive the benefits thereof (Colossians 2:15).  Jesus has broken the power of our enemy over us as prophesied in Lk.1:71-75.  It was accomplished at Calvary, so we can reign with Him now!  Here!  Not later in the millennium.  (If Christ actually did set up a physical millennial kingdom on the earth, then He would become guilty of all that the Pharisees and scribes falsely accused Him of).  But Christ said My kingdom is not of this realm, not of this world.  That’s why we have no fight against men - Christ said - if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight (John 18:36).  Christ’s kingdom is a spiritual one.  Our reign is over sin, and over demon powers, and temptation - now in this life, and not in some future time period when there will be no temptor to temp us.  Then their would be no overcoming.  But the promise of eternal life is to those who overcome.  It is they who will inherit all things from God (Revelation 21:7-8).  Those that overcome receive the inheritance of sons, and the reality of the father-child relationship coming to pass.  That’s the same as Matt.10:22b “but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”  We are an enduring, overcoming people.  The reward is for remaining faithful and enduring.  James 1:12; “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

          Please realize this - you are not reigning over sin, if you are presently walking and living in sin.  If there is present unconfessed sin in your life, then that sin is reigning over you, and not you over sin.  But Romans 8:2 says “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  That sums up what we read in (Rom.5:14-17).  Death reigned over us because of sin, until Christ delivered us by His grace and made us righteous.

          Ephesians 2:8 says “for by grace are ye saved through faith.”  Faith involves a knowledge of the truth, the gospel (Rom.10:17).  We are saved because we believe that God’s Word concerning Christ and His propitiatory death on the Cross for us is true.  We believe that He died for our sins and was raised for our justification, and thereby are saved.

          Romans 5:17  “They which receive abundance of grace”: it is the same, the grace by which we were saved, “and of the gift of righteousness” - when we put our faith in what Christ accomplished for us on Calvary, that the righteousness of Christ was imputed to us by God, just as sin had been imputed to us before.  But, for those who still have sin in their lives, then death still reigns over them, for they are still the servants of sin according to Romans 6:16,20-22. Every man is the servant of the master to whose commands he yields himself; whether it be the old sinful inclinations or tendency’s of his heart, in actions which lead to spiritual death, or the new spiritual obedience unto the Word of God implanted in his heart by the regeneration, leading to eternal life.  What benefit did you derive form being a servant of sin?  Romans 6:23 told us, “the wages of sin is death.”  It is the deserved payment that sinners work for.

          Those in the body of Christ who profess to be saved and continue to walk in sin are the unbelieving, disbelieving believers.   Revelation 5:9-10 spoke of those redeemed by the blood; cleansed, delivered by the blood and made to be -by Christ- a Kingdom of priests.  1John 1:7 says “if we walk in the light ... the blood of Jesus Christ His Son (continually) cleanses us from all sin.”

          Have you received the abundance of God’s grace resulting in your salvation?  Then you were called and made to be a king and a priest, unto God, to reign in this life over the sin and the enemy of your soul and to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God (1Peter 2:5).

          Revelation 5:11-14And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” All through Revelation  - all of creation is giving glory and honor and praise to Christ because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, redeemer and Savior to His people, now, not some time in the future.  It is by Him - by His workmanship that we are what He has made us to be.

          Romans 5:21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Notice: “sin hath reigned unto death.”  It’s past tense, because God changed things when we received Him and were born again, and now sin no longer reigns over us.  Now - “Grace - the grace of God - reigns (in our lives) through righteousness!  How does righteousness work?  1John3:7 says “He that doeth (practices) righteousness is righteous.” 

          This verse is telling us by the grace of God, the power of God takes over in our lives: God’s grace is His power, His presence, His anointing, and His deliverance in our lives…  His Power takes over in our lives and watches over us and protects and provides for us, as long as we turn from all sin and wickedness.  God’s grace reigns in our lives as we walk in obedience to His Word.  When we walk in disobedience, His grace is removed.  Romans 5:21 tells us that it is the grace of God reigning in our lives, by Christ, through righteousness, that brings us unto eternal live.

          1John 3:5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” Those who are not of the remnant, the elect that will be saved, continue in sin with no true repentance and turning from sinful lives  A righteous life is an identifying mark of those who have passed from death unto life.  Christ came in the flesh, from heaven to earth, to destroy sin and everything Satan has accomplished in our lives, and to deal with our sin problem and destroy the power of sin over us; and He is qualified to deal with our sin problem, for in Christ, there is no power of sin. 

(V.6) “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” It’s talking about a person who continues in sin, willfully.  We are all tempted to sin, but we have been freed from its power over our lives and we don’t have to sin.  This is one who chooses to sin anyway. The one that continues to live in sin doesn’t have a revelation of Jesus and what He has provided.  The lifestyle of a true believer is that he will keep God’s commandments and not continue walking in sin and rebellion.  The sinful lifestyle of the unbeliever shows that he does not know God, no matter what he says with his mouth.  But I need to add this.  Verse six does not mean that a Christian, who loves God, will never sin.  This verse does not teach that a Christian can or will attain to sinless perfection and never commit an act of sin.  The key is the tenses of the verbs.  The tense in the Greek is the present tense which indicates continual action.  “Abideth & sinneth not” means that you abide in Him, in His Word and therefore will not continue to habitually sin.  It indicates the breaking of the perpetual hold that sin had over the life of the true believer.  It could be translated this way for clarity: "Whoever abides in Him does not continually and habitually sin."

(V.7) “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” Not the one who talks about it, learns about it, professes it and says “I’m the righteousness of God in Christ”, but the one who does righteousness. 

(V.8) “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Again the present tense in the word “committeth” meaning one who perpetually or habitually practices sin.  Sin in a part of his lifestyle.  He that practices sin is of the devil, for the devil has always been characterized by his sin and rebellion against God.  In other words, they are under the power, influence and control of the devil.  But Christ came to destroy the works of the devil in our lives. 

(V.9) “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The word “remaineth” means to abide.  The seed is the Word of God and it represents the new life which results from spiritual regeneration.  The written word becomes a living and abiding word within us and thereby begins to affect our life and daily decisions and lifestyle. This life of God removes us from the dominion of Satan.  Simply, whosoever is born of God does not practice sin because the Word of God abides in him.  Our lifestyle or daily actions indicate our character.  If we have the divine nature imparted to us and living within us, then it will keep us from habitual sinning.  Remember, Jesus is the Living Word of God and the only way to abide in Him is to spend time in the Word and to ask God to make it a living reality in your life.  If we only abide in the written Word, and not in Christ, then His Word is of no effect to us ... .

(V.10) “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” It’s obvious.  A person who refuses to do what is right is not of God.  The love of God imparted to us, to true believers, will result in concrete acts that will prove or show that we have truly been converted.

          John 8:34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Whosoever - anyone & everyone - who practices sin is a slave of sin!  How does God treat such slaves? 

(V.35) “And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.” Notice the mercy of God.  For a season He will let you walk in your sins, but the slave of sin will not abide or remain in the presence of God forever.  Either you will get your act together or you will get kicked out!  But the son abideth in God’s presence forever.  Only those who abide in Him, who practice righteousness abide in the Father’s house forever. 

(V.36) “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” The freedom that is given by Christ is the only true freedom.  When believers are delivered from the shackles and the bondage of sin, they can do what they ought to do, and are no longer bound to the evil desires of their fallen nature and the power of sin that was dwelling in him.  Did Christ make you free from things you were once in bondage to before you came to Him when you heard the gospel?  Then why did you not believe it and keep walking by faith instead of your walking by your feelings and circumstances and trials sent by the enemy?  It’s time to start walking in faith in the finished work of Calvary.  And remember, outside the blood of Christ, there is no faith.

          John 5:38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.” God said His Word doesn’t abide in those who do not believe it.  Jesus said “I came to set the captives free and open the prison doors and give sight to the blind” (Lk.4:18).  Jesus said He came to destroy the works of the devil in our lives; yet look at the next 2 verses in John 5. 

          John 5:39-40Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” It actually says - you search the scriptures - It was a statement of fact, which we know the Pharisees did, they were experts, doctors of the law, but they missed out, because they trusted in their knowledge of the Word alone and would not come to Christ; of whom all scripture reveals and testifies of, that they might have life - that the Word of God might become a living reality in their lives.  The Jews knew that the way of eternal life was revealed to them in the Scriptures, but came to believing they had eternal life because they had the scriptures and read them even though they did not apply them to their lives.  They, like many today, only studied the scriptures to use for their own personal gain and glory rather than that they might please and obey God.  They had and knew the Word of God, but were total strangers to the God of the Word which they had; for the Word had no power in their lives, because they lived for the lusts of their evil hearts.

          True believers are God’s workmanship?  That is because we are allowing Him to work in our lives according to His will and purposes.  If you are not going before God and saying “Lord, this is your Word, and this part is not in me; then God is not working in your life and you will become a person filled with Bible knowledge, without the reality of who Jesus is, whom all the scriptures point to.  You will come to a “form of godliness” without the power thereof, without the power of the Holy Spirit working and dwelling in you.

          1Peter 1:14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:” If you are obedient children, your life isn’t conformed to the former lusts of when you were ignorant of the things of God. ‘Former’ indicates something that is past and no longer existing.  It sounds like we’re supposed to have a new lifestyle.  ‘In your ignorance’ - The scripture says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:” (Hosea 4:6

          If you don’t know that Christ has destroyed the power of sin, not mentally, but in your spirit, so that you believe it and have faith in what He has done for you, you have a spiritual problem.  A problem of sin.  You’re waiting for God to do something else for you when He has already done everything.  Jesus said “it is finished” before He died.  Redemption, our deliverance, our victory, was provided for, accomplished on Calvary.  But because you are waiting for God to do something else He hasn’t done, you don’t obey Him and take the land of your heart and reign over the enemy who is against you.  You are making the very same mistake the children of Israel made in the wilderness:  they didn’t believe God’s report either, and didn’t enter the land of Canaan - which is a type of salvation.  The Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes didn’t believe God’s report either and they likewise ended up in hell.  If you truly believe God’s Word, you will act upon it in faith and that is what brings the change in your life and lifestyle.  “Not fashioning yourselves” is the same Greek as Romans 12:2, where it is translated “be not conformed” (Romans 12:2).  Don’t be in the image and likeness of the world and those in it.  Don’t act like and walk in the same nature and character as you had when you were a part of the world.  Faith, believing God’s Word about salvation and what was accomplished for us at Calvary will change our attitudes and actions.  But if we do not truly believe God’s Word, then we will not act on it, and it will not be real for us.  It will be but a dead letter, rather than a living Word; with the power to change our life.

          1Peter 1:15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” “Be ye holy” means to be set apart from sin to God.  Since no man is holy, we are only considered holy by God because we partake of His holiness.  When we were brought into a relationship with God through the purifying and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, called the regeneration, God called us holy.  But it’s not our own, just like no man is righteous, and it is only because of our faith in the finished work of Calvary, and resulting obedience to God’s Word, that His righteousness is imputed to us.  It is a righteousness which is not by our own good works, but by faith in Christ.  Such is our holiness.  But then when God’s righteousness and holiness are imputed to us, they come with stringent demands that we product the fruit of His righteousness and holiness.  No, it isn’t our own fruit, but His, it is what He does in and through us, as we humble ourselves and give ourselves to Him to be His workmanship and to be used by Him as He sees fit.  

(V.16-17) “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:”  Some might sees the two titles of Father and Judge as not compatible, but they are a perfect blend of the one who is not only a loving Father, but a just judge.  It is because of sin that men want to see God as either a father, who because of his love does not judge his people, or as a harsh judge who has no mercy.  But He is merciful in His judgments.  God judges the sin of His children with mercy, because His purpose of judgment is not destruction, but correction and restoration.  David gave us some good insight in this matter, as the result of his sin and subsequent chastisement by God.  

Psa.119:67, 75; “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word… I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

1Peter 1:18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;” Romans 5 told us that because sin entered into the world thru Adam, we all inherited the nature to sin and death was passed on to us and reigned over us.  Now, we learn through a revelation of Jesus Christ that He redeemed us from that futile life that was inherited from our forefathers.

          You have been redeemed from the old nature, the old man Adam - inherited from Adam.  We have to believe God’s Word and confess it until it becomes a reality in our life and we are totally freed; delivered from the old nature, that empty, meaningless and sinful life which we inherited from Adam.  It can only happen by realizing that Christ has redeemed us and set us free from the power of sin by the power of His blood. 

(V.19-23) “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The Word of God is living and abiding in us if we are in Christ.  In John 5 we learned, unless we abide in the Word, we have no life in us.  That’s because there is only one giver of life: Jesus.  As we go to Him, He imparts His life to us.  As we take His Word back to Him and ask Him to make it a reality in our lives, He touches our lives with His Word, to bring our lives into conformity to His Word.  Notice, verse 23 says that the result or fruit of obedience to the Word will produce a pure, unhypocritical love for the brethren and a desire for spiritual growth.  If a believer is stagnant in their growth and walk with the Lord, then it is because they are not being obedient to the Word that has been given them.  They are not walking in the light of that truth.

          Today men want a new gospel that they say is relevant for the present century.  But the Word of God is incorruptible, and transcends time.  It is sure and eternal and the only thing that can transform a person and save their soul from sure destruction.  The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to cleanse and sanctify our lives and transform our character and way of living to conform us to the character of Christ.  Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse us from all sin, past and present, providing salvation to the one cleansed by faith in His shed blood.  But that doesn’t change our lifestyle and manner of living which much be purified by obedience to the Word.  To obey it, we must first hear, know and believe it.  Those who obey the Word are those who believe it.  Those who refuse to obey, obviously do not truly believe it.  Then, as we submit ourselves to the Word and obey it, it will cleanse our lifestyle and walk, and cause us to walk in love toward the brethren, which is a sign and proof that we have been redeemed and cleansed by the blood and purified by the Word. 

The Jews thought they were purified by religious ceremonial cleansing.  Today some think they are saved by baptism.  By making baptism a pre-requisite for salvation, and salvation dependant upon even how you are baptized, then they are doing away with the power and work of the blood to redeem us.  It’s back to salvation by some works which they do.  Baptismal regeneration is a heresy and the fact that those who believe in this or any other doctrine of salvation by works rather than by faith through grace separate themselves from other believers who do not agree with them, proves they have not been purified by the Word and are not walking in obedience to it, because they do not have a pure love for the brethren.  1John told us; If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.  If they separate from other believers and refuse to have fellowship with them because of their single most important doctrine, then you can see the fruit thereof and know the truth of their salvation.  The only Biblical reasons for separating from fellowship with others, is if they walk not according to the truth of the gospel, the truth of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, of what was accomplished at Calvary, which is salvation by grace through faith or because they claim to be a believer and walk in obvious and unconfessed sin (1Cor.5:11).

          Philippians 3:20-21For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Our conversation, our lifestyle, the way we live, act and walk in this life, is not of this world and it’s ways, but is of and from heaven.  We are to walk as if we are in heaven, and our eyes are on Jesus, in whom is our hope of salvation, that He will come and give us a new glorified body like His, that we can dwell with Him.

When we ask Jesus to make us like His Word, He is able, by His power, to bring us under subjection to His Word and change our lives.  But He can’t do it if we’re not asking Him to - like Jesus.       If you have no desire to pray and seek the Lord, it’s because you have no revelation of who He is and why He came.

          Every time God brings us to truth in His Word; it is a call and opportunity to come out from that which binds us and holds us prisoner.  You have the opportunity to come out and be freed to the liberty of Christ or stay in bondage.  It’s up to you, all the truth of God’s Word; has the inherent power of God to liberate us and set us free from whatever our captivity or bondage.  But you have to believe that truth and stand on it, asking God to make it a living reality in your life.

          Hebrews 9:18-28Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Christ came to destroy the power of sin in your life by His blood.  We are not awaiting Christ’s return for Him to destroy the power of sin  - He already completed the work of salvation and sanctification - to provide them for all who will believe and apply His Word to their lives.  When Christ returns, it will be without reference to sin, He’s not coming back to deal with sin in our lives, He’s already done it: He is coming back to judge and unless we let His Word deal with our sin and cleanse us, we will remain in it for all eternity according to Revelation 22:11. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

Hebrews 9:26; “Once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  Christ’s once for all time atonement conquered sin, the power of sin and the punishment for sin.  It been done, like He testified on the cross’ “It is finished.”  Salvation and redemption for man has been fully accomplished and will be realized or consummated at His return, when we will receive new glorious bodies like His.  Christ cannot and will not come back to die again.  His sacrifice is not like that of bulls and goats, and His blood, unlike that of animals that were sacrificed, had power to cleanse us from our sin forever (Hebrews 10:14).

          [Can you believe and say this? The power of sin has been destroyed in my life.  I am free from sin.]  If you don’t believe that the power of sin over your life has been destroyed, you remain an unbeliever, even though you profess to be a believer.  If you don’t believe it has been done by the blood of Christ, you are in effect renouncing the finished work of the cross; without knowing that you are doing it.  Let me explain:  Do you think the Pharisees, who devoted their lives to the Word of God, willfully chose and desired to go to hell?  But that’s where they went, even though as Christ said - they trusted in the scriptures for eternal life. - The problem was, they rejected the living Word: they wouldn’t let the Word change their lives.  They trusted in their knowledge of the Word, but wouldn’t let the Word live and abide in them.  That’s what is happening today with all our manmade doctrines, like “once saved, always saved” and the kingdom message and the prosperity message.  Like the Pharisees, by our traditions- teachings of men, we make the Word of God of no effect - useless - in our lives - to change us and give us eternal life.  Yet millions of confessing Christians quote their manmade doctrines as the Word of God and put their faith in them rather than the Word, and thereby their lives are untouched, unchanged, and the Word of God is of no benefit to them.  Millions today are awaiting for the time when Christ will come and set up His kingdom and deliver them, but they have made the same mistake of the Pharisees, who waiting for Christ to come set up a physical worldly kingdom, and they too are missing His spiritual kingdom - His present rule and reign from the Father’s right hand. 

John 12:25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” As an application of the grain-of-wheat analogy in verse 24, Jesus employs the paradox of the man who, because of the love of his temporal, physical life, looses his eternal life. The man whose priorities are right, who puts the things of God first, as we are instructed to do in Matt.6:33; (“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”) and Lk.12:15, 22, will keep his life eternally.  Following Christ means we share in both His suffering and His glory.  Notice how this is written as if it all happened when Christ was crucified.

John 12:23-26And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” The means by which Christ would be glorified was by way of the cross.  Jesus said “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”  The full revelation of the power and glory of the Father and Christ would come through His resurrection from the dead. 

          Revelation 12:11 says “they overcame by the blood of the lamb” and we know Christ has bought us, redeemed us by His blood and “they loved not their lives unto the death.”  They  hated the old carnal sinful nature.  That’s what Jesus is saying - they that hate the life they had in this world, shall keep their life. 

John 12:26-27If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” Notice the battle within Christ.  Our sin, that Christ was about to take upon Himself, is what troubled His soul, which was pure and innocent of sin.  He thereby made His soul an offering for our sin that would please and satisfy the Father’s requirement for our redemption (Isaiah 53:11).  Christ, as a man, prayed to be saved from the suffering He was to face, showing His true humanity, and that He did have a human will, but Christ then humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross, being willing to suffer for us that He might bring us to God (1Peter 3:18). 

(V.28) “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Is this your attitude in times of trial and difficulty “Father glorify thy name.”  It goes along with “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.”  That is the attitude and heart of a true disciple.  Many do not understand that at times God allows trials, difficulties, and even sickness in the lives of believers, that He might show His power and presence to us and that we would draw closer to Him and glorify Him in our lives, which we entrust to Him as one who is faithful.

John 12:29-31The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Notice: The prince of this world shall be cast out - when? Now!  When is now?  The hour in which He was crucified!!  He was cast out of heaven.  His power destroyed.  Christ put His foot on Satan’s head, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 and Hosea 13:14, stripping him of his power and authority over believers, and destroying his power over death, hell and the grave - that’s why Paradise could be moved from the center of the earth to the Presence of God the Father in Heaven.  Revelation 1:18 says Christ has “the keys of hell and of death”. 

1Corinthians 15:55-57. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When Jesus destroyed the power of sin over us, He destroyed the power of death over us.  For those who will believe and receive the Word of God - Satan’s power and rule is broken.  The only power Satan has is deception:  what he can get you to give to him by being deceived, just as with Eve, and what power you willingly turn over to him and give him in your life like Adam. 

John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” The cross is the condemnation of and judgment upon all who reject it and is the basis of our ultimate victory over Satan.

          John12:32-33And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” “Lifted up” speaking of His death on the cross.  It’s only through the cross that all men are brought to Christ.  Christ excluded no one from His salvation.  The scripture not only tells us that it is not the Father’s will than any should perish, but that all should come to a saving knowledge of Christ (2Peter 3:9), and that He died for all men (2Corinthians 5:14-15), and that He bare our sins in His body on the cross (1Peter 2:24), but also that “Whosoever will” may come to Him for salvation (John 3:16; Revelation 22:17).   Romans 5:4 said “to him that … believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  Jesus said He didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, because the whole don’t need a physician, but the sick (Mark 2:17).  So, if you are righteous, then you can’t be saved, but if you are wicked and ungodly, then you can be saved by the shed blood of Jesus.  Jesus said: “If I be crucified, I will draw all men unto me.”  Preaching of the cross, is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone who believes. That’s 1Corinthians 1:18 & Romans 1:16

          How do we not believe as believers?  How do we become unbelieving believers?  John 16:8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” This is speaking of the H.S. - The Holy Spirit could only be sent to believers after Christ’s death, resurrection, and exhaltation.  The H.S. has a three fold work of conviction.  To convict us of our sins which we committed, of our failure to keep God’s holy standard, of God’s righteousness, because man forfeited his righteousness at the fall, and Jesus, who was righteous and overcame in all things, having conquered sin and death has gone back to the Father, and of the judgment to come at Christ’s return, because the prince of this world has been judged at Calvary.  All this, the work of the H.S. has to do with Christ’s death.  Now it is through the preaching of the truth of the gospel, that the H.S. is able to cause the clear light of the gospel to shine into the hearts of men, that they can intelligently consider it and be convicted of it’s truthfulness and their sinfulness before God.  The light that the H.S. brings, breaks through the indifference of the sinner who has had no conviction for his sin and has had no regard for righteousness and has paid no heed to warnings of judgment, that he might clearly see and then make a choice of whether to accept or reject the gospel, by his response to it in either surrendering his life to Christ or rejecting His salvation.  But either way, he will clearly know and understand the choice he is making, whether to surrender to the Lordship of Christ, or rebel to continue walking in his own ways which are contrary to God. 

John 16:9Of sin, because they believe not on me;” The H.S. will convict of sin and the righteousness requirements of God.  The basic sin is not believing God’s Word concerning Christ, which brings judgment. 

(V.10-11) “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan, the ruler of this world was judged!  When? At the cross.  It does not mean that all sin and its destructive power in this earth was stopped, but that sins’ power - Satan’s power - to hold God’s people - or any man that desires to be free - has been broken.  All that’s required is for us to call on Him.  There’s a new ruler in the earth.  Satan has been dethroned!  Christ has all power and authority - all dominion - in  heaven and in earth.  Those who are waiting for another time, for the millenium at a future date, don’t have the benefit of Christ’s rule and reign now, and they are not reigning with Him over the power of sin and demons in this world.  Satan’s lie to the new age and those who follow him outright, is that one day Satan will ascend to his rightful place on the throne of the universe.  His followers, like the angels that fell with him and were thrown out of heaven, believe that he will conquer in the end because almost everyone is with him.  But numbers won’t help him and mean nothing.  The angels that fell know the outcome and whose the victory is.  But they work to deceive men and take as man as they can with them.  But know this: even though Satan may rule the lives of most of mankind and the actions of the people and rulers of this world, he is not in control of the world or man’s destiny.  History is only playing out what God already declared in His Word, nothing more or less.  Jesus is Lord of all, and over all.  The death and resurrection of Christ provided the full and complete defeat of Satan and his purposes on this earth.  And with Satan’s defeat came his eternal judgment, and not only against him, but all those who follow him.

          Psalms 110  is when Jesus ascended the throne.  (V.1-2) “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” This is not about the supposed coming millennial reign of Christ on the earth.  Jesus is ruling now- He’s on the throne, now.  And His power and authority (His Rod) is sent out of Zion to His people, us - that we might rule and reign with Christ, over the power of our enemies, now, on the earth!

          Whenever the Lord gives us a command, He means for us to do it.  When He told the children of Israel - “go up and take the land” - He meant for them to do it.  He had already provided for their victory.  The test was - they had to get beyond what they felt and saw - the power of the flesh in their lives, and they failed the test because they walked by sight and not by faith in God’s Word and promise to them.  If they had begun to do what God commanded they would have had the power and authority in God to do what He told them to do.  Because they did not believe the promise of God and obey the command of God in faith, they became unbelievers and perished in the wilderness and went to hell.  The same applies to us today and God’s commandments to us.  God has told us to take our land, to possess our bodies in sanctification, to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him, to rule over the power of sin and demons, to walk in holiness and in victory over the power of sin and Satan.  If we will act in faith; believing God is able to perform that which He has promised and complete that good work that He has begun in our lives, then God will give us the strength and ability to be over-comers and possess our land and His presence and anointing will be with us as we obey and follow His Word. 

(V.3) “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” Who?  God’s people - they shall volunteer freely- they will give themselves to obey V.2 and rule and be victorious over their enemies, in the day of Christ’s power!  Is Christ sitting on the throne at the right hand of the Father?  Notice how, not only here, but in verse after verse concerning salvation, it’s spoken of as a single day.  The entire time of God’s grace to man thru Jesus Christ, the entire time from when Christ was exalted to the throne (in Philippians 1:8-11 & Daniel 7:13-14) till He returns and this dispensation of grace is over - is referred to as 1 day! Not only in the O.T., but all thru the N.T.

          Remember 2Peter 3:8 tells us “one day is as a thousand years. With the Lord, and 1,000 years as 1 day.”  And most believers are waiting for Christ to set up His kingdom and reign 1,000 years, sometime in the future, and they’ve missed the fact that His reign is now!”

          Psalms 110:3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” God’s people will volunteer freely - in the beauty of holiness.  The only thing that makes us holy is being washed in the blood of the lamb and the presence of His Spirit in us. 

Galatians 4:1Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;” What is a child?  A babe in Christ, one who is immature and ignorant of all God has provided at Calvary, though he is an heir, this immature Christian is no different than a servant, a slave.  A servant of what?  Of sin.  It’s telling us there is a difference, a contrast between the mature and immature believer.  There’s only two kinds of servants according To Romans 6:16 - the servants of sin or of righteousness. Verses 2 & 3 further makes this comparison clear and shows us that as children - as immature Christians, we put up with sin in our lives, because we were ignorant and hadn’t learned the things of God. 

Galatians 4:2-3But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:” The “elements of the world” is either the bondage of the legalistic practice of Judaism or the bondage of heathenism, for Gentiles.  We were heirs of God, as babes in Christ; drinking milk and being unskillful in the Word of God according to Hebrews 5:13; and just like slaves to sin, though we be heirs, owners, of all that God possesses!  What all?  All things that pertain to life and godliness (2Peter 1:3).

          Galatians 4:4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” “Made of a woman” tell us that that Christ was human, and “made under the law” tells us that He was raised in conformity to the Mosaic law. 

(V.5) “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Christ's redemption brings freedom to all who are under the bondage of religious law.  But this is telling us something more important.  As long as you are under sin, you are under the law and not a son.  God wants to bring you to sonship! 

Galatians 4:6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” "Abba" is the intimate Aramaic word for "father," Jesus taught the disciples to begin their prayers with the words “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9). The Spirit, whom God has given His children, teaches us to pray Abba, Father, as Jesus' taught in John 14:26.  First, we are assured of the Father's love and protection, and sealed by the Spirit (Eph.1:13-14).  Second, the Spirit reveals to us the deep things of God (1Corinthians 2:9-10). Third, the Spirit cultivates worship and prayer within the believer.  The phrase "Spirit of his Son'' appears nowhere else in scripture.  The Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Spirit of God in other scriptures because He is given only to those who have faith in Christ and because He always works to remind us of Christ and His Word.  Also, the Spirit maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:25-27). 

(V.7) “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” As sinners purchased back from slavery to sin, by God, we deserve only to be His slaves without any personal freedom.  But in grace, He has made us His adopted sons with full rights of inheritance and full freedom and liberty in the Spirit.  The Spirit leads us to know God as our "father'' as well as the Father (Romans 8:15,23).  God wants us to come to the place where we realize we don’t have to put up with sin and live in bondage to sin any longer.  That’s coming to spiritual maturity.  It’s then that we are called a Son; by God, and no longer a slave.  This passage, from verse one, is also dealing with another issue, that of those who wanted to bring new Gentile believers under the legalism of the Mosaic law, which they did not fully understand.  The law tied the people to burdensome rites and observances and was a type of bondage that kept them like a child under tutors and governors.  We have been privileged to come to Christ under the dispensation of grace, and not of the law.  Paul was telling them that the law had it’s purpose, but was not an end in itself, nor the end of God’s revelation of Himself to man, but was only to point men to Christ, God’s true means of salvation. 

(V.8) “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” Remember, idolatry is a thing of the heart, not just something physical.  It’s what we worship and devote ourselves too.  To some it is still connected with physical idols today, as the Hindu’s.  But most are just spiritual idolaters, the object thereof being things that are both tangible and intangible, as jobs, money, possessions, people, but also pleasures and lusts.  But whatever it is that you love most and put in front of God, is your god.  Most worship a God of their own making, whether one made of wood and stone with their hands, or one that is but an illusion or of the imaginations of their evil hearts. 

Galatians 4:9But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” God is saying - I’ve delivered you from the power of sin, and all other masters to Christ, now stay free and don’t go back to sin and bondage.  In other words, Paul was telling them that they were not acting like heirs of God in going back to anything they were in bondage to before Christ, including the law of Moses.

          Let’s look at what God did when He drew us to Himself.  Ephesians 1:5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” The word predestined here - simply means purposed.  God didn’t pre-determine and predestine some men to go to heaven and others to do to hell.  It’s not God’s will that any should perish.  Instead, God has determined or purposed beforehand that those who believe in Christ would be adopted into His family and conformed to His Son (Romans 8:29). 

(V.6) “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” “The praise of the glory of His grace.” God's glorious grace is cause for praising Him.  He lavishes upon us the riches of His grace through His beloved Son.  We have everything we can ever need, here and in eternity, in the One whom the Father loves (1Corinthians 1:30).  We are acceptable to the Father when we are in the beloved - that word beloved is the Greek word agapao.  Agape, the noun form; and agapao, the verb form, are used in the N.T. to describe the attitude of God toward His Son and the human race.  Here it’s referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, the beloved;  it’s the same as used in John 17:26 where Jesus speaks of the Father’s love for Him.  “The love wherewith thou hast loved me.”  (V.7) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” “In whom” - In the beloved - Jesus - we have redemption -the forgiveness of our sins.  It’s been fully accomplished.  Three ideas are involved in the doctrine of redemption: First: Paying the ransom for sin with the precious blood of Christ. 

1Corinthians 6:20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” How do you “glorify” God in your body, by showing His nature and character in the life you live.  

Revelation 5:9And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” The song the elders are singing here is their own song of redemption, either in the first or third person.  The Second idea of redemption is:  Removal from the curse of the law (Galatians  3:13; 4:5).  The Third part of redemption is: The release from the bondage of sin into the freedom of grace (here and in 1Peter 1:18). Redemption is always through his blood; through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:14).  

Ephesians 1:8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;” God’s grace is not an emotional act separated from His intelligence and purpose.  God is all wise as He measures out or gives His grace to us.  He clearly is accomplishing a predetermined plan as He reaches out to us in His saving love, having mercy on whom He will have mercy. 

(V.9) “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” Everything about God is a total mystery to man, who can find out and know nothing of God by his own means, efforts and intelligence.  God is totally beyond man, and we can only know of Him that which He chooses to reveal of Himself to us.  God has shown us the mystery of His will for us in redemption, both here and in eternity, according to the His good pleasure of His will.  These things would have forever been unknown to us had not God chosen to reveal them to us, and they will forever remain a mystery to those to whom God does not reveal Himself.  He leads us by His Spirit to see the glorious truths of scripture, while others are left to blaspheme that which they know and understand nothing of.  Such is God’s mercy and grace to us, that we should become partakers of the inheritance of the saints, through a true knowledge of Him, made known to us through Christ. 

(V.10) “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” This is the time - the day of salvation - the time when the Father is gathering all things together in Christ.  It’s what God is doing now, not what He’s going to do at the rapture or in a future millenium kingdom.  Christ’s reign is now, and so is ours.  Some equate the “dispensation of the fullness of times” with the purported future millenium reign of Christ on the earth.  However, the “fullness of times” is now, after the cross, the time of God’s grace and salvation being freely offered to all men.  It is now that God is gathering all things in Christ.  When Christ returns, it will be for the final ingathering of His body, the Church unto Himself, to present His glorious overcoming bride to the Father.  All the purposes of God are brought to their intended goal and centered in Christ, which is that all creation, from angelic beings to redeemed mankind, will be summed up and realized in Christ when He returns.  Please note that in this verse, it does not mention things under the earth, as in Philippians 2:10; which is speaking of His authority and Lordship“ over all creation: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”  Devils and unbelievers are not gathered together in Christ.

          Mark 1:14-15Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Jesus is saying - this is the gospel - repent and believe it - the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  It means it’s so close you can almost reach out and touch it.  Yet today most believers are waiting for Jesus to come and set up His kingdom.

          1Timothy 2:3-4For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” “Who will have all men to be saved” is not God’s decree, but wish, but all will not be saved because they will not believe and obey the gospel.

(V.5) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” “One mediator” excludes all other would be mediators, priests any Mary as the Mediatrix.  There is only one go-between God and man who can reach both, and who can provide the propitiation for our sins, that satisfies the Father’s requirement that man can be forgiven for his sins.

(V.6) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” “Ransom” means redemptive price and is the price paid in order that a condemned man or a slave may go free.  The frequently debated question concerning the party to whom the ransom was paid is not necessary.  The emphasis here is upon the extent and costliness of the ransom paid and that it was a substitutionary ransom.  Christ has paid the price not only for us but for all, to redeem all, to set all men free, that price being His precious blood and it’s benefits are available to all now - in the day of Christ’s reign; but most men don’t believe it and won’t accept it.  Christ isn’t going to redeem and deliver us at some time in the future.  Either we will accept His provision now, during His day of grace and salvation; or be lost for all eternity.

          Luke 4:15And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Notice how Jesus ministry began - everyone praised Him.  But then He began to proclaim that which was contrary to their belief and doctrines and then end result was they wanted to kill Him. 

(V.16-19) “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Notice the place Jesus picked to deliver this message of God’s deliverance to those who were captives of sin and demon powers, and who were spiritually blind.  Nazareth.  The very place He’s most likely to be rejected and not believed.  But this is the gospel - the kingdom of God has come to bring deliverance to those who are bound by sin that they can be freed. 

Also note that in quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus stopped reading in the middle of verse 2. These verses describe the character and office of the Messiah. The reason Jesus did not quote “The day of vengeance of our God;” is because it refers to the time of His second coming when Christ will judge the world.  Now He was come that the world, through Him might be saved (John 3:17). The acceptable year of the Lord referred to His first coming and the blessing of His earthly ministry, which Christ brought into the present with His words in verse 21 whereby He applied the words of Isaiah to Himself, and the references to “Liberty” and "opening of the prison allude to the Old Testament Year of Jubilee, during which all debts and obligations were erased (Leviticus 25:8-10).  You might find it interesting to note that the words "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" is inscribed upon the original Liberty Bell of the United States

Isaiah 61:3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” The expression "beauty for ashes" is quite meaningful.  Jewish mourning included wearing of sackcloth,  coarse and drab clothing, and the spreading of dust and ashes upon one's head.  On the other hand, a happy occasion called forth splendid and colorful garments and the pouring of expensive and fragrant ointment upon one's head.  God tells us that our "Mourning" can be replaced with "joy," and "the spirit of heaviness" can be cast aside for an eternal "garment of praise."

          Luke 4:20-22And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?” They wondered, they stared at Him in unbelief.  Yet, most today don’t believe this message any more than they did.  As then, most await another time, a different kingdom - refusing the present reign of Christ and His kingdom.   Unbelief stops the flow of God’s power in miracles.  In John 11:40, Jesus told Martha if she would believe, she would see the glory or power of God.  Psalm 78:41 said they “limited the Holy one of Israel ” by their unbelief.  

(V.23-27) “And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” The mention of God’s favor being shown to the Gentiles in the past when His judgment was upon Israel, and the implication that He might do it again, infuriated the people, because they were hypocrites.  Christ’s message of the purpose of His coming, of His kingdom, was rejected because it didn’t fit what they believed; their doctrines, and what they desired.  They were going by sight, looking for a physical kingdom and missed the spiritual one that we come to by faith. 

Luke 4:28-29And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” The Jews were racist and hated the Gentiles.  The rage of the people resulted from the obvious teaching that the Jews did not occupy an exclusive place in the blessings of God, but that God's help comes to those who have faith, irrespective of class or race.  Therefore they desired to kill Jesus, showing the wickedness of their hearts. 

Luke 4:43And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.” What is the message of the kingdom of God that Jesus went to preach?  Luke 4 18-19The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” You can be free!  Do you believe it?

          Colossians 1:12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:” “Meet” means to qualify or make fit.  We are giving thanks for making us qualified to partake of the inheritance, we are thanking Him for what He has already done, what we’ve already received from Him.  What all have we received? 

(V.13) “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” First, He has delivered us from Satan’s power of deception, which we were under when we were part of the kingdom of darkness.  Our soul, our life, our heart, our mind were in darkness, and we did not know where we were headed.  We could not see or understand the consequences of our lives and didn’t know where we were headed because of the blindness of our hearts and minds.  But if God is working in your life to bring further sanctification; then He will continue to show you areas of darkness, areas He desires to change so we will be continually made more and more like Jesus.  It’s a lifetime process; yet each time the Lord points at an area in your life, He’s dealing with you in an area where you fall short, so you can stand on His Word, His provision and ask Him to make it a living reality in your life.  Part of our suffering with Christ is to stand against the flesh and not give in - to fulfill it’s lusts, asking for God to deliver us from it.  Verse 13 says He has “delivered us from the power (the authority) of darkness and translated us from the kingdom of darkness; that is, from it’s authority and power to rule in your life.  Matt.20:25  Your now in the kingdom of light, of truth, of God’s revelation to you, of what He’s provided for you.  Sin has no more power to force you to obey it, that it can rule in your life.

          Do you believe what God is saying?  That He’s already done it!  Or what men say He’s going to do some day!  No matter how much you are presently in bondage, no matter what your bondage, if you will believer God’s report and start thinking Him in faith, for the victory, His power will come and begin to bring deliverance in your life.

          Colossians 1:14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”  Second, He has redeemed us from our sins.  It’s already done, but God is just waiting for us to believe it and receive it and decide to walk in what’s been already provided.  Christ redeemed us by paying the price for our sins in full.  Jesus said “It is finished.”  He fulfilled His mission to provide salvation for His people.

Colossians 2:8-9Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” In Christ is all the power and authority of God. Paul is dealing with false teachings and heresies of that time which affected the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ.  “Rudiments of the world” refers to the host of unseen evil angelic beings thought to control the universe in pagan beliefs of the day. These spirits were believed to be associated with wind, cold, heat, and all natural phenomena.  The Colossian heresy’s were characterized by Paul as being very persuasive and alluring to men (2:4), and as being based upon human tradition rather than divine revelation (2:8). It was legalistic, defining religion in terms of laws governing food and drink.  The observance of special days, times, festivals, New Moons, and Sabbaths is thought essential to holiness (2:16). It involved the worship of angels.  It was mystic, claiming visions and revelations, leading to the formation of a spiritual aristocracy (2:18).  And it was ascetic, calling for self-abasement and severity to the body (2:23). 

All this seems to point to a early form of Gnosticism.  Gnosticism derives its name from the Greek word gnosis, meaning "knowledge."  It identifies an intellectual group which stressed wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge. (1:9)  Paul answers the Gnostics' false claim to superior knowledge (gnosis), by saying that all or "full" knowledge (epignosis) is discovered in God's revealed will. The false teachers are making great boasts of possessing superior wisdom and sharing secret mysteries and revelations.  Paul counters that God's truth is available to all who would sincerely seek Him.  Gnosticism attempts to combine Oriental theosophy (belief about God) and Greek philosophy with Christian doctrines. The essential errors of Gnosticism are found in its teachings relative to matter and the origin of the world. It holds that spirit is good and matter in itself is evil; therefore, the world could not have been created by God.  In its effort to reconcile the holiness of God with the creation of evil matter, Gnosticism imposes a series of emanations (lesser spirits called aeons, spirits, and angels) between God and matter. 

These emanations place matter in a position so remote from God that God cannot be contaminated by creations of evil matter; yet He is close enough to have the power to create matter. The aeon closest to God possesses a measure of the holiness and power of God, but each descending aeon contains less and less until, finally, there is one (the demiourgos) that possesses just enough of God to create, but too little of God to remain uncontaminated by evil.  When Gnosticism confronts Christianity, it faces the problem of fitting Christ into this elaborate system.  It identifies Him as an aeon or emanation somewhere between God and the evil universe. As a result, He is not regarded as God, but as a demigod.

This leads to a grave error concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ which takes two forms.  The first denies the humanity of Jesus.  In this case, Christ is regarded as having only a phantom body and as being wholly aeon or angel.  He took upon Himself an apparent human form, but His body was only an illusion.  The other form denies the identity of Jesus as the Christ.  This speculation holds that Jesus had a natural human life, and the aeon (spirit) came upon Him at His baptism and left Him on the cross. 

The Gnostic philosophy gives rise to extremes of both asceticism and license.  In the one view, evil is to be avoided altogether and the body abused as being evil in itself.  In the other view, evil is everywhere and cannot be avoided; so there is no need to struggle with it.  This results in the wildest license.  Both of these concepts regarding evil run counter to the true teachings regarding God's dealings with evil.  The chief fault of this false doctrine (or of any cult or false religion) lies in its failure to do justice to the divinity and the atoning work of Christ.  Paul answers the Gnostics with a true interpretation of the Person of Christ, that in Christ is all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (2:9). This verse is an affirmation of the deity as well as humanity of Jesus Christ, that He possessed in human body all the unbounded powers and attributes of God.

Colossians 2:10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” There’s nothing lacking in Christ’s reign.  There’s no additional authority or dominion for Him to conquer or receive, nothing more for Him to provide or accomplish.  You are now complete in Him, if you will believe it. 

(V.11) “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” “Putting off the body of the sins of the flesh” is referring to the old nature, which is corrupt in its unregenerate state of rebellion against God.  It is illustrated in the rite of circumcision and the ordinance of baptism but is only accomplished by a spiritual circumcision and Holy Spirit baptism. 

(V.12) “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” He’s not talking about water baptism here.  Jesus was baptized in water in LUKE 3; in Luke 12:50 He said “I have a baptism to be baptized with.  In Mark 10:38 Jesus asked the disciples “can ye … be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with” and then told them they would be in V.39.  The greatest display of God's power was in His raising Christ from the dead. That same power raises us to new life in Christ.  We have to be baptized unto His death and resurrection, become dead to this world and sin and the flesh; dead to their power over your life - to die to yourself and your flesh and you may live unto Christ in newness of life.  You will have to suffer in the flesh to die to it.  This death and resurrection is through faith!  Not through water.  You have to believe God and act on faith for this baptism. 

(V.13-15) “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Jesus disarmed - took away the power of the enemy and displayed them openly.  Now we didn’t see it happen and have to accept it by faith, but Paul wrote this from prison in Rome to people who understood what he was saying.

          After Rome went to battle and conquered the enemy, they chained their captives together behind their chariots and paraded through the streets of Rome for all to see who they had conquered.  They could see the power of the enemy was completely vanquished.  This verse is telling us what Jesus did to every demon power when He rose from the grave and what He did for all men who would live from that time until His return.  Because Jesus totally vanquished the enemy (Satan) in His death, burial and resurrection, Satan’s power and control over us has been destroyed and we have been set free.

          Colossians 2:20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,” Paul was telling the Colossians that Christ had freed them from the taboos of asceticism, which can only give a pretense of wisdom, promote a self-made religion, and deal severely with the body, yet cannot succeed in combating the desires of the flesh.  Do you understand what this is saying?  God is saying through Paul that you’re not living as an inhabitant of this world!  You’re to be dead to this world and the powers of this world.  Paul said “I am crucified to the world” (Galatians 6:14); that’s how we are made alive in Christ… God sees you in the spirit as being seated in heaven with Christ Jesus, although you are physically here on earth.  That’s why Jesus prayed to the Father

John 17:14-16. “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” If you are still living in and as a part of this world, you haven’t come to the place that God has provided and called you to; as His sons.

          Colossians 2:21-23(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Ordinances and commandments of men from their false humility and religious spirit do nothing to bring you to holiness or stop you from indulging in sensual gratification’s of the flesh, anymore than all the rules and regulations of the scribes and Pharisees upon the Jews in Christ’s time.  Only a knowledge of God’s Word and putting faith in the finished work of the cross and submitting to the Lordship of Christ will bring us to holiness and purity and keep us from living in the flesh by delivering us from its power.  You can’t legislate and bring freedom and deliverance to the spiritual captives with doctrines of men - only by the power of God working in their lives.

          Colossians 3:1-2If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” The present imperative in “seek those things” means "continue seeking,"  The exhortation of this verse is for us to become in experience what we already are positionally, by God's grace. The Christian is risen with Christ to newness of life; and so he should exhibit that new life.

(V.3)For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Was Paul writing this to men in the grave?  No.  He was writing to believers.   Then what are we dead to?  To sin and Satan’s dominion over us.  We can only come to this place, through faith.  Then Christ became your whole life (Colossians 3:4).  Paul is telling us that Jesus, our ascended Lord is the source of life now and the hope for eternal life and glory when He returns.  Are you living for Christ, or are you still in this world.

          Let’s look at the captives Jesus took when He rose from the dead.  Ephesians 4:8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Christ took all demon powers who held mankind in captivity - captive and led them chained behind Him as conquered foes.  It says “He led captivity captive” - many captives: our enemies.  That’s why no demon power can come against you unless God allows or sends them.  They serve Him.  Secondly, Christ gave gifts to men; He did something for us when He took our enemy captive.

          Psalms 68:6God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” God set free - delivered those who were bound - prisoners- us!  Only the rebellious, those who rebel against God and His provision, dwell in a dry land (speaking of their spiritual condition).

          Isaiah 52:1Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Zion is the place for those who have entered into God’s rest and come to salvation in Christ, spoken of in Hebrews chap.12! “Put on” Clothe yourself in the beauty of holiness.  Revelation 19:8 tells us that the white robes the saints are dressed in is “the righteousness of the saints.” This is symbolic, spiritual. 

(V.2) “Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” This is something you have to do.  God  won’t do it for you, because He has made provision for you to do it!  Jesus paid the price for our deliverance and salvation, now we have to take hold of His provision by faith.  All that with which we have been burdened down and haven laden with, all the bondage’s and fears from our lives of sin, can be given to Jesus and laid at His feet.  (Matt.28:11) God’s rest is not the absence of labor, hardship, or suffering.  God’s rest is the absence of guilt, worry, anxiety, and lack of meaning in life.  Jesus promises purpose, hope, assurance, peace, and joy in our lives, even in the midst of the troubles which we must endure in life.

(V.3) “For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.” “For naught” means for nothing of value.  We sold ourselves to sin with no promise or gain, but for free.  But the good part is that we would be redeemed without our having to pay a ransom.  Jesus paid the price, because we never could.  Isaiah 52:4For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.” In the natural, this was written to the Israelites who had been slaves in Egypt ; Assyria had captured the northern tribes; and had extracted tribute from Judah .  For us, what does it mean?  Even though we are God’s people, we continue to live in the world - Egypt .  And the world oppressed us without cause.  But God’s promise to us is as it was to them, God always delivers His people who turn to Him. 

(V.5) “Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” They that rule over God’s people are shepherds.  Here it was false shepherds that caused God’s people to be taken captive and caused Him to be evil spoken of. 

(V.6-7) “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” These verses announce the good news of the release of Israel from Babylonian captivity.  The deliverance of Jerusalem in the natural, was a picture of God’s redemption by Christ.  While Israel was in captivity, God's earthly sovereignty was not recognized, but when the Jews returned to rebuild their city, His earthly rule was reestablished.  God is telling Zion, His people, - the redeemed - the saved - Thy God reigneth!!  Jesus is King - He is on the throne!  Paul quoted this verse and applied it to the messengers of the gospel, or good news, in Romans 10:15.  God’s good news is that Jesus has come to set the captives free.  Then in the natural, now in the spiritual. 

(V.15) “So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” Do you understand now the mystery of the gospel?  Do you see God’s salvation?

          Psalms 93:1The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.” Christ is King!  He has assumed Kingship.  But if you don’t believe it, you forfeit the benefit of His reign.  You disavow His reign and Lordship in your life now, if you’re waiting for a future move of God or millenium reign in which you expect to receive deliverance.  It’s now, if you believe it.  God said in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”.  The problem with most of God’s people today is as then, seen in the next part of the verse: “because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:”  It’s not that God doesn’t give or make knowledge available to His people, but that they don’t avail themselves of it.

          Isaiah 53:1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (The arm of the Lord is revealed to those who believe.) 

(V.3) “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” This is what we did.  Instead of going before Him to make His Word a reality in our lives, we hid our faces from Him.  We despised Him. 

(V.4-5) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” This is what Christ already did!  Are you ready to believe God’s report?  AND LIVE AS A FREE MAN IN CHRIST? …

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