September, 2004 - Can We Get Away With Sin After We Are Saved?
By Billie Marie Zal
The "popular Gospel" that is preached today is not "Paul's Gospel." And in God's Word, Paul himself states, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.(Galatians l:8)
And, "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians l:9)
In this book which is one of Paul's letters to the converts, he also reprimands them when he says, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel, which is not another; but there are some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians l:6-7).
How can this man so boldly state that anyone who preaches contrary to what he preaches can be and should be "accursed"? Because not long after the Lord Jesus left this earth, and sent down His Holy Spirit to convince us all of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, the people who had followed Him began to see that to obey His Word meant isolation and often times separation from loved ones and friends. The world would indeed hate them! Jesus said so. And the Apostle Paul fulfilled that Word when he was treated with contempt and persecution most of his life.
People do not want anyone to hate them. We have a soft society, a society of individuals who know nothing of sacrifice, of living a holy life in an unholy world.
We should be ready from the moment we are born again by revelation from God Almighty to be treated exactly like Jesus Christ was treated when He walked this earth in human form. The Jewish nation had their own religion and a system that made certain individuals within their religious world less than the "higher up" ones--the Pharisees. They were the ones who hated Jesus most because His life threatened their own importance and pride. They didn't want to lose "the system."
Even after His resurrection from the dead, and after appearing before upwards of 500 brethren, the Jews still rejected Him.
But they had one last chance. There was a man named Saul, a "Hebrew of the Hebrews," as the Bible tells us, who hated those who had turned to the Lord Jesus Christ. He believed them to be blasphemers, and helped in having them executed. In fact, Saul was a consenting witness at the execution of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stephen had been brought before a council to be accused or charged with speaking "against this holy place and the law". If you want to see this for yourself, read the book of the Acts of the Apostles. It's in the Book!!!
Saul, upon hearing Stephen's answer to this charge, of saying that his countrymen always opposed God, believed that God could actually live in a Temple, and betrayed and killed the Messiah, made Saul so filled with hatred that he was "consenting unto Stephen's death and held the clothing of those who stoned Stephen until he died.
We can't really fault Saul; he knew nothing of this "new group of people" who gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel. To him, everything that he held dear--the Law, the Temple, the traditions of his people--were at risk so he set about to help wipe them out. How, he thought, could a man who had been hanged on a cross (where even the Scriptures say that, "a hanged man is accursed by God,") be thought of as Messiah?
Paul later wrote, "I persecuted the Church of God violently and tried to destroy it" (l:l3).
But look what happens, and see how God works! Saul, no matter what he thought, or felt, or believed was elected by God to receive the Mystery of the Church, something that had never before been revealed to any man. And Saul, a man who had persecuted the Church of Jesus Christ, now became Paul, after the Glorified, Risen Christ appeared to him on the Damascus Road, blinded him with His marvelous Light, and gave him the new birth.
Paul did not go immediately to any man. Instead, he went to the desert where he remained, some say, for up to seven years, receiving the doctrine of the "heavenly Church" from God Himself by spiritual revelation.
When he did finally come back and visit with the Apostles who had been with Jesus in the flesh, he knew something that they had never known, for they belonged to the "Hebrew Church," God's elected people throughout the ages.
So Paul was faced with the reality that he could never "belong" to that company, except to love them as brothers in Christ. He was a chosen man for a chosen generation from that time on. And we are part of that chosen generation.
We try to follow the "law" whether we realize it or not. We find it difficult to really believe that Jesus Christ BECAME sin on our behalf, then went to the grave after shedding His blood as the perfect sacrifice for the Father's acceptance of all of us, and then arose and we arose IN Him. We are a new Body, and Christ is our Head in heaven where He ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father's Throne, ever living to make intercession for us.
If all of this is too difficult to comprehend, ask God's Spirit to open the reality of it, and give you that joy which accompanies the revelation of being already IN Christ, in Glory.
This revelation makes us "outsiders." We don't belong to this world, only to the next. We suffer ridicule, poverty (often times because other Christians do not understand us or what we are doing), and it would be so easy to compromise God's Truth and join the crowd. It's lonely out here.
But this is where Christians who are born again often stumble and never regain that joy that is theirs at the moment of salvation or the new birth.
I had that joy and believed that it would never go away. But as the weeks went by, I realized that I had a battle on my hands.
Something unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I did not WANT to live in sin again, ever. But what I did not realize was, that SELF is still very much alive because while our spirits have come alive, our bodies are ruled by the "soul" and we must--by faith--refuse to accept the "old things of the flesh" and look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
We are "new borns" and we need help and nurturing. I wanted so much to live a holy life, so I went to everyone I knew who professed Christ as Savior. One pastor told me that the people who say that we can live "above sin" are fanatics. Another pastor told me I was crazy to believe that I could make God my Father the Source of my daily needs. One woman who was a church counselor told all of us that to love a married man was all right, love is love, and comes from God. Of course I did not buy that one.
But I was miserable. My thinking was, if this is all that a new life gives me--misery because I cannot do the things I used to do, and don't want to, yet I feel unable to overcome them....if this was all, then what WAS Christianity?
Thank God He never gave up on me, He knew all along that I would find that victory, and I did. I have mentioned it over and over as I write of the Holy Spirit's power to convince us of sin, of righteousness (the righteousness we now have in Christ) and of judgment. Whether we are "saved" or not, we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ where all of the things we have done will be "tried by fire" to test as to their worth, depending upon our motives. That's why the Scriptures tell us that sometimes a man can do many good, note worthy things, even to the giving up of all of his goods but if he does not have Love which means if he is not POSSESSED by God's eternal Love, then those works will be burned. It's a serious thing, and few believers ever think about it.
I found that peace, rest, and victory over daily sin when I received the spiritual revelation that I truly AM crucified with Christ. I live by His faith, not mine (Galatians 2:20). Then I received the spiritual revelation that I had actually received the power to become the daughter of God....the God who made heaven and earth and all there is therein. (John l:l2). I could keep my own identity and ignore God's demands upon my life but if this happened I would never have the fellowship of His Holy Spirit and realize the power that comes from belonging to Him.
And then I saw, by revelation, that IF I "confessed my sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sings, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John l:9).
The problem with my new life was simple. I went to people who told me that I could go on sinning after I was born again. They said that my sins had been forgiven in Christ today, yesterday, and forever.
I had not bought that, thank goodness. It would be so tacky to take that great grace of God, receive His forgiveness and cleansing, and be ruled by SELF rather than by my spirit, in subjection to His Holy Spirit within me.
The plain truth is, we cannot go on sinning after we are born again and be new creatures. A tree is known by its fruit, Jesus said, and if the tree does not bear fruit, it's of no value. It is usually cut down and burned. We must bear fruit, but again Christians today have been deceived into believing that "the fruit we bear involves how many souls we have reached and led to Christ."
This is a deception and whether we save souls or not, the fruit in our lives is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
If you have been deceived about the Mystery of the Church, and have been told that you can sin, and "it's already forgiven" you can be sure that you will fall. God's Word makes this very clear when we read, ""This, I say then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
"But if ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, factions, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and the like; of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self control; against such there is no law; and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.(Gal.5: l6-24)."
If you never believe anything else in this world, BELIEVE that God's Word concerning wilful, deliberate sin is firm. If we continue in sin then we do not really know the Christ whom we claim is our Savior. We can exercise our wills, aided by the Holy Spirit, and we will do the right thing in whatever situation we might find ourselves.
It is a hard life. A battle, really. Satan, God's eternal enemy, will do anything to cause an individual to disgrace God and become of no value to the warfare that is waged upon the Body of Christ without let up.
It is an uncomfortable life. We are "the King's kids," true, as so many evangelists tell us. But the King is not crowned yet, in His Kingdom, and until then we are pilgrims and sojourners in this world where flesh dominates mankind.
But it is a glorious life, well worth any sacrifice we might make for love of Christ. We can live with ourselves without the demonic spirits of doubt invading our thoughts and making us less than what God grants us His unmerited favor to be.
It is a life that marks us as "different," and people really don't know why. To try to explain to them would only make things worse. Once I found the Scripture, "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me" . . . (Job 9:20).
That settled the issue for me. Even if I tried to explain to others why I live in a certain way, unless that person is in fellowship with God's Spirit, there would be nothing accomplished. And I don't expect people in general to understand. Jesus says even today, "If the world hated me, it will hate you." So that is that.
The Apostle Paul was accused of many things, even by those who should have had spiritual discernment of God's great work in his life. He was accused of arrogance. Why not? Who ever before had the audacity to say that if any man obeyed not his Gospel, let him be accursed. But Paul knew who he was and what God had done in his life. He knew that there was a Mystery, and God explained to him what that Mystery was. And so, of necessity, Paul could not live by the law, by rituals, by the "usual methods" of those who worshiped in this way. And he suffered for his message and for his love for the Lord Jesus Christ. He was executed, yet on the very eve of that execution he was writing to his beloved converts, urging them to be strong, to keep the faith.
The issue then, is settled. No, we cannot go on sinning after we are born of God, and get away with it.
Do we become spiritually perfect? No. Not until these "vile bodies" as the Word calls our mortal bodies, are glorified.
But we can fight the good fight of faith, refuse to give in to seducing spirits, study the Word of God so faithfully that at any given time, that Word will see us through and give us an answer.
Let us, therefore, study to show ourselves approve unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed. And let us love Him as He so deserves to be loved: with all of our hearts, souls, strength, and minds....AND our neighbor as ourselves.
It's a tall order, but God provides the grace to do it.
- Originally published in the January, 2001 Wingspread
Prayer Requests for September, 2004
Karen Griffin, Atoka, Oklahoma needs prayer for her health. She is having another operation. She has been diagnosed with cancer. Karen is Bobby Rossí sister.
Pray for Michael Smallís son, Derek, that he will come back to the Church and to Christ. Michael is as Menard, Illinois.
Robert Heffernanís heart..........He still is experiencing chest pains .............
For Victor Dillion at OSP, and for his mom who is in the hospital.
Anthony Grayson of Fallsburg, New York asks that we pray for his brother, James, who just got out of prison, and continue to pray about Anthonyís legal efforts.
Marcos Zavala - Lubbock, Texas..........hip and leg pain.
Ronnie Chaney, at Brickeys, Arkansas, asks that we pray for his sister and that heíll get transferred to a Vo-Tech program.
Pray for the health of Tony Collierís sister, Sherry. Tony is at Pontiac, Illinois.
Continue to pray that Willie Clark will be transferred from the Robertson Unit at Abilene, Texas, to somewhere closer to Houston so that he can be near his children.
Pray for Ponnel Buchanan, Galesburg, Illinois, who is facing a lot of temptations right now.
Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock need your continued prayer. Also Sister Ann has told me that they need new young women called by God to help them with the work there.
For our neighbor, Cheryl, who is receiving radiation for a non-malignant cancer.
Pray for Judy Oakley (Prairie Grove) who still battles Leukemia and other complications. She is better and home again, but keep praying.
Brianís sister-in-law Sharon in Florida continues to improve from her diagnosed lung cancer. Donít let up now.
Pray for Mr. Hurst and his daughter, Sandra. They live in Dequeen, Arkansas, and Sandra has stomach cancer. Mr. Hurst has moved down there to help her.
Pray for our brothers on death row;
And pray for Wingspread.
News Notes: Thursday - September 2, 2004
My computer crashed a couple of weeks ago and Iím STILL trying to replace lost data. It could have been worse, but thankfully I did have most of the information backed-up. But with everything else thatís been going on (and thereís always a lot to do here when things are ďnormal, Ē even), but lately weíve been playing ďcatch-up.Ē So if I owe you a letter, you now know why.
The roofers started yesterday and itís turned into a three or four day job. A lot of decking has to be replaced, new guttering all around the house, a new front porch roof installed, and the wall in the breakfast room where it leaked has to be torn out and replaced. One of the guys working yesterday had sworn up and down that it was going to rain (we wonít have this roof shingled until Saturday), and in fact most of the crew agreed with him. I told them to tear the thing off.....God is not going to let it rain on this roof until itís fixed. This morning I had at least two believers confessing that God just might pull this off. Never pass up an opportunity to show off what GOD CAN DO.
Thereís been a lot of maintenance done this year. Jay and another young man who has been working around here this summer have been trimming tree limbs, cleaning out brush, and helping me with yard work. They even went up to the pond (near where Rosie is buried) and have cleared out a big area there. Weíre trying to fix the pond so that it holds water better, but in the process weíve got a lot of cleaning up done. The next thing is to put in an old plastic pond so that theyíll be plenty of water for the wildlife. Iím afraid the roofing and all is going to cost us so much that weíll have to stop on the improvements for a while and do what is necessary to maintain things until we get caught up again. That is something that you all could pray for - that we donít get smashed with another unexpected disaster of some type.
And speaking of prayer, we thank all of you for your prayers regarding our health. Jay checked out fine; Margaret did, also; and Iíve already told most of you that my heart check-up went great. Ed and Shirley, and Brian and Gail are doing fine, too. Before I forget, Gail wanted to deliver a message of thanks to all of you who remembered her on her birthday. She received many cards and birthday wishes and she appreciates it.
The dogs are all doing pretty well. Sassy, the little Dauschand who lives with her sister Whiskey, had to have another surgery to remove three more tumors from her stomach. Sheís recovered great and we donít expect to see any more tumors. Munchy is walking better than this time last year. The injections are working and heís happy. I personally asked a lot of you guys to pray for him, and you did, and your prayers were heard, I believe.
The weather here this summer has been nothing short of awesome! I donít believe the temperature has gotten above 88 or 90 here on the mountain. And all thruout July and most of August we typically had days with highs in the upper 70's and lows in the upper 50's, with JUST enough rain to keep everything green. Talk about a blessing from God. I donít think Iíve ever spent a summer anywhere when it was this nice in July and August. We may heat up yet in September, but something tells me weíre headed for an early fall.
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