THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: THE REMOVAL OF SIN (3)

“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:7]

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RETURNING TO GOD

The innocence of early childhood can be regained. Our sin can be removed. We can become completely spiritually cleansed. This is what the Lord’s perfect sacrifice achieved if one chooses to apply it. He not only provided a free ticket to heaven but allowed for the complete removal or remission of our sins. The weight of years of sin can be absolutely removed from a person freeing one not only of the incessant conviction of one’s conscience but the actual extraction of the sin content stuck fast in one’s being. The Lord Jesus provided the only means to do this. There is no other way. And He did it not only to free any who may be willing but primarily to restore relationship with Him.

This is the Ministry of Reconciliation that the apostle Paul refers to in his second letter to the Corinthian believers. He explains it as the ultimate reaching out from God to us. It is why God had to become one of us. It is why He had to live a sinless life. And it is why He had to sacrifice His perfect life on our behalf. He had to defeat death. The only way to do that was to die without sin. It was the greatest act of love possible and illustrates perfectly the degree to which God was willing to go to ransom our souls and restore us to the original intention He had for each of us. He never wanted anyone to be burdened with sin and separation from Him.

FREEDOM AND SIN

God created human beings as free individuals allowed to make choices. If one does not possess the freedom to choose then one has no freedom. True freedom means one can choose anything. One might not have the means but retains any number of possibilities within reasonable parameters. Most people have limited and often severely limited means. Their possibilities are woefully finite. Others have greater means. Regardless, each choice one makes has its own ramifications, either good or bad.  

Everyone will eventually choose wrong to varying degrees and incur bad results. It may be that we do not understand the seriousness of bad choices when we make them and the impact they will have upon our lives. It is often the case that the results stretch far into the future. Thus, there is not only the ever growing cumulative weight of sin to deal with in the life of the sinner but the personal time bombs waiting down the road that will surely go off on schedule. Sometimes a single sin choice can have a devastating effect on one’s future and affect many people. Sometimes people make such choices willingly with an apathetic attitude. Sometimes people are entirely selfish and simply do not care what happens to others as a result of their bad choices.

Whatever the case may be one always has the choice of making the one choice that makes all the difference for the better. When people get convicted of crimes that involve fines or jail time they understand they must pay the cost of their crimes by paying the fines and going to jail for however long it may be to fulfill the requirements of their sentencing. They will not be free of these obligations until the requirements are fulfilled. Imagine then, the blessing of having someone else pay one’s fines and serve their jail time for them. Imagine if one is convicted of a crime requiring the death penalty but someone else dies in one’s place. To those who simply refuse to attempt an understanding of sin and eternal life this will make no sense and they will not consider the possibility.

Others, however, have a gnawing sense of sin in their lives. They have a working conscience that convicts them. They may try to silence their conscience through inebriating substances or simply remain functionally inebriated so they will not have to deal with the subject of sin. Again, sin is very powerful and if not dealt with properly through spiritual means it will have to be dealt with through physical means that have no effect on the soul but only deaden the feelings of the body and mind toward it.

People have also been taught to deaden one’s feelings through religion. If they simply go through their religious rites and rotes it will give them a feeling that all is well. This is, of course, bewitching. It is a false feeling. It is highly deceptive and damaging. The process may indeed keep them in somewhat better mental shape than not having such an outlet but will have no actual effect upon one’s sin. Right standing with God demands that we get rid of sin. Unless we do it His way—the only way—the only way that actually works—we will remain in our sins though we may have been convinced or convinced ourselves otherwise.

The devil is a liar. Human nature is often quite despicable. This world is a fake sensory illusion for the most part that deceives and defrauds. There are those who want to use you, control you, scare the hell out of you, and enrich themselves through you. But the best of those at such things are those who are excellent at appearing as the very opposite of what they actually are in order to gain your trust. They insist that all is above board and everything they ask one to submit to will be wholly beneficial. It obviously helps that an unthinking majority buys into such fakery which makes the participants thereof more comfortable and secure.

The best among such manipulative entities are those in the realm of religion. The very best of them are those within fake forms of Christianity, together of which as an overall entity I refer to as Unreal Christianity. The leaders within this realm are highly proficient at the presentation of illusion as something real. They are actors. They are actually only surface-oriented though suggest spiritual depth. They make much use of symbolism. Their efforts have an ultimate purpose which is to keep people from spiritual reality and use them instead for their own means. As the Lord called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, one may refer to the entities that make up Unreal Christianity, regardless of size, as whitewashed cults.

THE REAL AND THE UNREAL

Real Christianity is that in which the Lord Jesus has total control and authority. Unreal Christianity is any entity in which the Lord Jesus does not have total control and authority.

All Christian organizations are composed of people. Each person makes a choice to join and participate. Each person has his or her reasons for doing such. Each person submits to the authority thereof. He or she willfully surrenders to the dictates and beliefs of the religious organization. This is in essence a contract in which the individual consents to the terms of those who author the contract. There is obviously no negotiation of terms.

It is generally the same when one becomes a real Christian. The main difference, of course, is that one submits to the actual Founder and not mere pretenders and hirelings. One voluntarily chooses to surrender wholeheartedly to the Lord Jesus. The Lord then gains control and authority over one by his or her individual submission to Him. By the terms of the covenant one is bought with a price. Real Christians owe Him their lives. He ransomed them from the enemy. He saved them from the debilitating effects of sin. He did this freely of His own will. He demonstrated the greatest love possible. He absolutely proves His love in this way.

Thus, the terms of the Lord’s covenant are clear: There must be 100% submission. Our trust in Him must be 100%. Our faith must be 100%. Our obedience must be 100%. We must have a personal spiritual genesis. Anything less than this will never work. He gave everything He had in His life including making a supreme sacrifice to pay for our sins and remove them forever. He initiated a blood covenant. The only way this covenant can work is if we also make a 100% commitment to Him as He did for each of us. Our blood must be figuratively shed in repentance as a type of blood sacrifice in which we destroy our old lives in order to bring forth the new.

“Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose (destroy) it, and whoever loses (destroys) his life will preserve it. [Luke 17:32-33]   

It is why He said we MUST be born again. Receiving the complete remission of our sins demands a new birth. Receiving His salvation demands a new birth. Being fully reconciled to the Lord Jesus demands a new birth. It is the only possible way the covenant can work. Without a new birth there is no covenant. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught. All of His teachings reflect this. The entire New Testament reflects this. Written throughout the New Covenant Scriptures is the central theme of an entirely new birth that must take place for each individual if the covenant is to be ratified. The Lord has already fulfilled His part of the covenant 100%. He awaits each of us to fulfill our part. We must never settle for anything less because if we do, regardless of how we may think or feel, we will come up short of the full requirements which He initiated and expects us to fulfill. Without fulfilling the requirements we will never receive the spiritual benefits of the covenant. We will remain in our sins.

His teachings on this are not secret but fully transparent. Whoever reads and studies the written Word of God will discover them. We are blessed to have this record of His full curriculum and one can be certain that the Lord has made this record available so all will have the opportunity to know. His teachings reveal the new birth, the new covenant, and the new and living way. His teachings reveal the reality and necessity of the cross through which we can be reconciled to God.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. [Hebrews 12:1-3] [1]

© 2021 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued] 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: RESTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD (1)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: WORD STUDY AND APPLICABLE VERSES (2)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (4)

Posted on March 17, 2021, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Wonderful grace of Jesus! To know that one’s sin does not, cannot have endless power over us! That we can be made in right standing with God, that we do not have to struggle with the guilt and shame of previous sin; and most of all, that we can grow in wisdom and holiness, making right choices more often as the years go by!

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    • Thanks Linda. And that’s what this relatively short life is all about. It is a time to meet the Lord, be cleansed of sin, be born again, and serve Him to the best of our ability. We get better as time goes on, as long as we continue to strive to do His will and honor Him. We repent along the way. As you said, “we can grow in wisdom and holiness, making right choices more often as the years go by!” We spend our lives working for Him and also preparing for eternity. If He had never created the provision by His own perfect sacrifice to cleanse us of our personal sins by His shed blood we would obviously have no chance. We would fail the test. We would come up short. At the Judgment we would be pronounced guilty. Our sin record would remain very much intact.

      For those who reject the Lord, though one without the Lord may improve over time, what is to be done about their past sinful failures? And what is to be done about current sinful failures, though they may be less? One’s personal righteousness can never do anything about past or present sinfulness. It is only His righteousness which He gives as a gift to those who give themselves to Him that makes one righteous. Only He can remove our sin and give us a clean record.

      Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great, convicting post. I find it sad when so many condemn others for going against God’s Word when they consistently sin themselves – failing to see their own. Even further, society has blended sin into the culture and it’s accpted as simply evolving “life” changes nowadays. God doesn’t change – neither does sin. Blessings back,

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    • Thank you Ellie. I appreciate your kind words. There are two ways for a Christian to handle sin. They can deal with it the right way according to The Lord’s directives or they can choose any other way. Sin must be seen for what it is, the worst of all deadly diseases. There is no “cure” for it in the conventional sense but only its complete removal and eradication. This is impossible without the Lord. It is therefore the Lord Jesus whom a person must seek first and put first above all else in order to have one’s sins removed. It is an all or nothing proposition.

      For those Christians who want the “benefits” without the Lord, that is, without a 100% change in their lives, there is a majority of denominations and churches they can join that will give them their heart’s desire and make them feel good about making a deal with sin and not fearing its inevitable long term result. Such places and their wicked leaders are masters at psychologically removing sin conviction from people and deceiving them through teachings in opposition to the Lord’s.

      Those who seek spiritual Truth never allow themselves to fall into such traps. Those who hunger for and seek spiritual Truth eventually discover, by the leading of the Lord, that HE is the Truth they were seeking all along. After the wonderful, filled-with-gratitude initial greetings, the Lord sets to work, through our complete surrender and submission to Him and real repentance on our part, at the washing and freeing of our souls—the removal of all dirt, mud, and chains, and then the hardened encrusted fat surrounding our hearts. This spiritual cleansing and heart circumcision removes all sin and its vestiges and restores one to his or her original intended sinless condition. The Lord’s great sacrifice on our behalf makes all of it possible. His Name means YHWH-Salvation or YHWH sets free. We become absolutely free in Him and no longer in jail to sin.

      We thank Him eternally for His Ministry of Reconciliation and the great blessing of receiving His righteousness and being in spiritual fellowship with Him.

      Thanks again. Blessings to you

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was reading Haggi last evening and instantly thought of the “health and prosperity” gospel as soon as I read Haggai 2: 11-12 . Sarcasm abounds, ha! I’m looking forward to meeting this fiesty, wise prophet in Heaven. 🙂

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    • Prophets are good that way. I love their independent authority from the Lord. You’ve inspired me to read his work again.

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      • Oh I made a huge mistake! It’s Micah 2:11-12 ! (I should wake up before I write) – I’m sure you were shaking your head after that reference. Oh well, I’m practically perfect in every way, sigh , , , 🙂

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        • This is a great passage. Verse 11 fits your original description! Sarcasm does abound. Again, the great thing about real prophets is their independent authority from the Lord and their fearlessness to say what God anoints them to say, even in the face of high authority compromised by sin. As always, we need the real prophetic word in these days.

          I am thankful you brought up the next verse. You’ve inspired a teaching session! Verses 12 and 13 from Micah Chapter 2 answer a great New Testament teaching by the Lord that pretty much all authorities have always gotten wrong. Here is the passage I refer to in the KJV:

          And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. [Matthew 11:12 KJV]

          This translation obviously makes no sense whatsoever but it has never stopped the “experts” from trying to make sense of it and they fail miserably. Here is the Micah passage that explains it (Micah 2:12-13 NASB):

          “I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob,
          I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.
          I will put them together like sheep in the fold;
          Like a flock in the midst of its pasture (pen)
          They will be noisy with men.

          The breaker goes up before them;
          They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
          So their king goes on before them,
          And the Lord at their head.”

          This is the picture of a flock of sheep locked up during the night in a makeshift enclosure for their protection. These were often constructed of rocks and any material at hand. The NASB makes a translation error here. They were not in the outer pasture but in the dober, an obscure Hebrew word used only twice in the OT. The following is an example of Hebrew parallelism in which the same thing is said twice with different words:

          I will put them together like sheep in the fold;
          Like a flock in the midst of its pasture
          (pen)

          The word “fold” identifies the meaning of dober/pen. Fold is from the Hebrew botsrah which means an enclosure (for the sheep). In other words, the shepherd put the sheep up for the night in a makeshift enclosure or crude corral with no actual gate in the conventional sense. When morning begins to break the sheep, having already gotten up from sleep, want to get out of the noisy and crowded makeshift pen and head out to the open pasture for freedom and food. But they must wait for the breaker to come and break open an outlet for them to get out.

          So we see that the translation in Matthew is really bad because it gives an entirely different sense. Here is the same passage in the NASB:

          “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has been treated violently, and violent men take it by force.” [Matthew 11:12]

          This is still a ridiculous translation and makes no sense. The Kingdom of heaven does not have violent men taking it by force. This is actually a picture of God’s people enclosed in a makeshift enclosure all crowded together wanting to get out. They want freedom. They want real spiritual food. But they must wait for the breaker to create a breach so they can escape. The breaker is John the Immerser who prepares the way for the sheep so that the Shepherd can lead them out. The Shepherd can only be the Messiah who the Remnant sheep are waiting for in patience and obedience. Once John creates an opening all the sheep suddenly begin pouring through it to enter the kingdom of God led by the Lord Jesus.

          “I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob,
          I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.
          I will put them together like sheep in the fold;
          Like a flock in the midst of its pasture (pen)
          They will be noisy with men.

          The breaker goes up before them;
          They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
          So their king goes on before them,
          And the Lord at their head.”

          Blessings to you Ellie. You did good.

          Liked by 1 person

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