Freedom In Christ

By Dr Charles Stanley

Throughout [the day on July 4th], Americans everywhere will celebrate freedom, as well they should. It’s one of the defining principles of their nation. Yet one might ask, Of those celebrating freedom, how many are truly experiencing it?

Certainly, many men and women are living what has been called the “American dream”: They enjoy well-paying careers, wonderful homes, and interesting hobbies. But meanwhile, their “pursuit of happiness” has yet to be satisfied. The reason is that lots of people remain prisoners internally, despite their apparent success. They are bound to anxiety and depression, or a fear of losing what they’ve worked hard to possess. However liberating circumstances may seem externally, we eventually learn that freedom must be realized within. But how?

The answer is Jesus Christ. Isaiah 61:1 prophesied a key aspect of Jesus’ ministry, which continues to this day: He has come to heal the brokenhearted and set captives free. When we trust Him as Savior, the chains holding us back from joy are broken. We are liberated from lies that have been programmed in our minds from an early age, and we begin to see things from God’s point of view. Then we discover that our needs, desires, and overall well-being rest securely in the arms of a loving heavenly Father.

Are you feeling the weight of anxiety or anger? Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). And remember the promise of 2 Corinthians 6:2: “Now is the day of salvation” . The day you trust in Christ is the day He delivers you from fear and bondage.

Foolish

“O foolish Galatians! Who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth,
before whose eyes Jesus Christ was hath been evidently set forth, crucified amoung you?”
(Galatians 3:1, KJV)

Have God and Paul abandoned all tact? This is strong medicine and, unless we have learned to enjoy being corrected by God’s Word, not too tasty. One wonders how the Galatians felt upon hearing this read for the first time when Paul wrote it to them in the first century. How do we feel upon reading it now in our time? For, while it is Paul’s message to the Galatians in the early days of the church it is also God’s message to the Body of Christ throughout our earthly history.

The word “foolish” is the Greek word for “unthinking”. It does not imply mental incapacity…the inability to think, but mental laziness…the unwillingness to think. Phillips paraphrases “O you dear idiots of Galatia.” The Galatians were not idiots – they were simply acting like idiots. Idiotic behavior, unfortunately, is not the sole province of imbeciles. It afflicts all of us some of the time and some of us most of the time. They had been “bewitched” – mesmerized…hypnotized. They had stopped thinking on their own. The major influence on their minds was the influence of others.

Bible teachers from “headquarters”… “experts”, if you will, had cast a spell over them. Once thoughtful, objective people they were now thoughtless and subjective. Like most believers since, they had scrapped thinking for feeling. As the Pharisees had done before them, they had abandoned truth for tradition. How many Christians do we find today whose authority is a church or denomination and not the Word of God? I met a man once who shrank back from everything that he was shown that was plainly taught in Scripture. “Is that in the creeds?” he kept asking. He could trust the creeds drawn up by strangers in a now forgotten time, but he would not trust the clear message of God’s Word. He insisted on viewing the Bible through the creeds rather than viewing the creeds through the light from God’s Word.

Something happened in Galatia early in Paul’s ministry that has been happening ever since, and that is why this book and this particular text are so important to you and me today. The Galatian believers had been “hypnotized” into mixing Law with Grace. We have even come to call this error “Galatianism,” not because it was peculiar to the churches of that area, but because the heresy was so predominant there that it called forth a letter from God to correct it. What we call “Galatianism” and God calls “idiocy” men today call gospel. This attempt to minimize grace by mixing in law has taken the day. It has swept the field. It has conquered all. It is so widely taught and so unquestioningly accepted that the pure Grace Message of the risen, glorified Christ sounds to the average Christian like a dangerous heresy.

But it is this attempted admixture of Law with Grace which seems so plausible and sounds so logical that is the dangerous heresy. It is not some minor nuance of interpretation. God says that it makes Christ of no effect to the believer. God says that it “sets aside the grace of God”. Anything that causes believers to reject His grace in favor of something else is serious error!

It is called a departure from God the Father in chapter one, verse six. The same verse, in the original Greek, conveys the idea of leaving God to enter into a “gospel” that is dissimilar to Paul’s. Gentile believers were not to place themselves under the legal requirements of Peter’s Kingdom gospel, but to remain free under the liberty of Paul’s Grace gospel. The preaching of any other message than Paul’s, whether true or false, to these Galatians incurred God’s curse. These first century believers, while continuing to love and minister to the judaizers, were to treat them in their teaching role as “accursed.” In other words, Grace believers – then and now – were to treat these legalistic Bible teachers the way a good orthodox Jew would treat a pork chop. Or, better yet, a stinking, rotten corpse. They were to give legalistic teachers a wide birth, and so are we. Yet how many today sit under the regular preaching of men whose message God has cursed, involve themselves in the ministries of legalistic churches, financially support wrong message, and forsake the grace message, the grace pastor, and the grace assembly for a lifetime!

God’s message abandoned by God’s people – who can understand it? And when God’s message is abandoned God’s will goes undone! These people were disobeying the truth! God speaks to us for the express purpose of our heeding what He says. These Gentiles who never had been under the Law were desiring to stand on Law ground where no Jew had ever attained righteousness. They had been declared righteous by faith and now were attempting to approach God on a different principle that had never brought right standing to anyone. They had begun in the Spirit and were switching to the flesh to be “made complete.” They were not only deserting Grace, which alone can save the sinner and make the believer complete, they were deserting God Who poured forth grace to them at Calvary.

Actually, by adding Law to Grace, they were denying the all-sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross. And this is why God and Paul wrote Galatians. God sent His Son to be the Savior of the world, and His people were saying “That isn’t enough!” Just the other day a young person told me that the principal of his Christian school told the students not to pay attention to people who say that all one needs to do to be saved is believe. The principal believes that one must “make a commitment of his life to Christ” in order to be saved…a far cry from what Paul told the Philippian Jailor! A week or two ago I heard the world’s most famous evangelist tell his audience that there are four things one must do to be saved. He said, “You must change your life.” This is Galatianism. It sounds good to man, but it is the message that God has cursed. God only saves men one way – by grace! This means that God performs the action of the verb, not man. God does all the saving. Man does only all the being saved.

That Christ died the sinner’s death on Calvary is gospel. That this was not enough to save is heresy. From Calvary the Son of God shouted “Tetelestai”…finished …completed…paid in full! Galatians is God’s vindication of that cry!

kjv Devotions

Friday Funnies

Marriage Counseling

A husband and wife were at a party chatting with some friends when the subject of marriage counseling came up.

“Oh, we’ll never need that.  My husband and I have a great relationship,” the wife explained. “He was a communications major in college and I majored in theater arts.”

“He communicates real well and I just act like I’m listening.”

How the Fight Started

I rear ended a car this morning. So there we are along the road and slowly the driver gets out of his car—and you know how you just-get-sooo-stressed and life-stuff seems to get funny? Yeah, well, I could NOT believe it—he was a dwarf!!

He storms over to my car, looks up at me and says, “I AM NOT HAPPY!”

So I looked down at him and said, “Well then, which one ARE you?”

And that’s when the fight started.

 

Bible Study

Law and Grace John 1:17

The most obvious and striking division of the Word of truth is that between law and grace. Indeed, these contrasting principles characterize the two most important dispensations: the Jewish and Christian. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

It is not, of course, meant that there was no law before Moses, any more than that there was no grace and truth before Jesus Christ. The forbidding to Adam of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17) was law, and surely grace was most sweetly manifested in the Lord God seeking His sinning creatures and in His clothing them with coats of skins (Gen. 3:21)-a beautiful type of Christ who “is made unto us . . . righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30). Law, in the sense of some revelation of God’s will, and grace, in the sense of some revelation of God’s goodness, have always existed, and to this Scripture abundantly testifies. But “the law” most frequently mentioned in Scripture was given by Moses, and from Sinai to Calvary, dominates, characterizes, the time; just as grace dominates or gives its peculiar character to the dispensation which begins at Calvary and has its predicted termination in the rapture of the church.

It is, however, of the most vital moment to observe that Scripture never, in any dispensation, mingles these two principles. Law always has a place and work distinct and wholly diverse from that of grace. Law is God prohibiting and requiring; grace is God beseeching and bestowing. Law is a ministry of condemnation; grace, of forgiveness. Law curses; grace redeems from that curse. Law kills; grace makes alive. Law shuts every mouth before God; grace opens every mouth to praise Him. Law puts a great and guilty distance between man and God; grace makes guilty man nigh to God. Law says, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”; grace says, “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Law says, “Hate thine enemy”; grace says, “Love your enemies, bless them that despitefully use you.” Law says, do and live; grace says, believe and live. Law never had a missionary; grace is to be preached to every creature. Law utterly condemns the best man; grace freely justifies the worst (Luke 23:43; Rom. 5:8; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Law is a system of probation; grace, of favor. Law stones an adulteress; grace says, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Under law the sheep dies for the shepherd: under grace the Shepherd dies for the sheep. 

Everywhere the Scriptures present law and grace in sharply contrasted spheres. The mingling of them in much of the current teaching of the day spoils both, for law is robbed of its terror, and grace of its freeness.

Three errors have troubled the church concerning the right relation of law to grace: 

1. Antinomianism- the denial of all rule over the lives of believers; the affirmation that men are not required to live holy lives because they are saved by God’s free grace, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1: 16). 

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude verse 4). 

2. Ceremonialism- the demand that believers should observe the levitical ordinances. The modern form of this error is the teaching that Christian ordinances are essential to salvation. 

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). 

3. Galatianism – the mingling of law and grace; the teaching that justification is partly by grace, partly by law, or, that grace is given to enable an otherwise helpless sinner to keep the law. Against this error, the most wide-spread of all, the solemn warnings, the. unanswerable logic, the emphatic declarations of the Epistle to the Galatians are God’s conclusive answer. 

“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:2- 3). 

“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 [there could not be another gospel]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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” (Gal. 1:6-8). 

The following may be helpful as an outline of Scripture teaching on this important subject. The moral law only is referred to in the passages cited.

WHAT THE LAW IS

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12), 

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). 

“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22). 

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” (I Tim. 1:8). 

“And the law is not of faith” (Gal. 3:12).

THE LAWFUL USE OF THE LAW

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7; see also verse 13). 

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). 

“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because Of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19). 

“Now we know, that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). Law has but one language: “what things soever.” It speaks only to condemn. 

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3: 10). 

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). 

WHAT THE LAW CANNOT DO

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). 

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). 

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). 

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith” (Gal. 3: 11). 

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). 

ark 16:And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Wade’s Wednesday

The Book that 
Changed the World

Published in 1611 A.D., The King James Bible celebrated it’s 400th anniversary in 2011.

The King James Bible Trust. . . describes the KJ Bible as the “book that changed the world”. “British sailors took the Bible on voyages around the globe. Through the work of the East India Company it was taken to India and to the colonies in Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This is one reason why English is now a world language,” according to www.kingjamesbibletrust.org.

The King James Bible was translated from Hebrew and Greek manuscripts by six groups of scholars. It is a book that continues to change lives because God’s inspired words teach eternal Truth. 

Many familiar phrases that we hear today, (such as “turn the other cheek”; “salt of the earth”, “eye for and eye”) come from the KJV Bible. 

In 1777, congress voted to import 20,000 copies of the Bible from Scotland because shipments from England were cut off during the Revolutionary War. The Bible was the basis for religion, education, and colonial government.

Our sixth president John Quincy Adams once said, “The first and almost the only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible.” President Calvin Coolidge has written, “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom 1999-2009, wrote, “The King James Bible is a cornerstone of our culture and language. . . Whatever our faith. . . we have to recognize . . .its power to fuse history with poetry.”

In 2011 special events were held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the best selling book of all time, the book that “changed the world.” 

From Everyday Faith for Daily Life ©2020 by Jan White

Tuesday With Karen

Thanking God for wonderful grace! KI

Thank God For Grace
Thank God for grace He gives new each day,
Directing our steps, showing the right way;
He watches over us with compassion & love,
Caring for His own from His throne above!

Thank God for grace He pours into our life,
Helping everything seem to go more right;
He knows our feet will stumble and fail,
 His strength & grace will always prevail!

Thank God for grace He gives in all things,
It gives our heart many reasons to sing;
God never leaves us deserted or alone,
In the darkness, His Light guides us on!

Thank God for grace, making us so blessed,
It gives strength amidst all trials & tests;
Whatever we’re given in this life to face,
Thank God for sufficient, marvelous grace!

PRAISE

 “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”   Psalms 34:1

 Sometimes in our walk with the Lord we encounter burdens, trials and circumstances that don’t seem to belong in our lives and we find ourselves wondering why?  I will be the first to encourage you not to dwell on why…it doesn’t matter and you will never figure out the answer anyway so why waste your time?  The best advice I can offer you is to remember because God gives us everything, we owe Him all our praise.

When Israel went into battle, the tribe of Judah always led the way.  The name Judah means “Praise the Lord.

When we march into battle and encounter obstacles, if we will go with His praises on our lips then God will go before us and give us the victory!

This is clearly the prayer-and-praise strategy that brought down the walls of Jericho for Joshua, and Jehoshaphat’s enemies to destroy each other before the battle even began.  (2 Chron 20) 

 All of us need to make a commitment to praise God every time we face an impossible situation:  that simply means for us to focus on Him rather than the problem  (Psa. 34:1).

At the moment, it may seem to you like I am in an impossible situation because of health problems; but I know better; I AM NOT!   You may feel like you are in dealing with some impossible situation…but you are not.  

We are not worthy, but He is!  You may not be able, but He is!  Rely on God’s promises to you (Isa 43:26) because He will never fail you.

Nothing moves God like the sight of His children on the battlefield, praising His name and continuing to declare His promises.  Jesus said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatsoever thou salt loose on earth shalt be loosed in heaven“.  (Matt 16:19)  Praise is the key that opens the door to God’s presence. 

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all of the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25-26).

Pray, sing and praise God and He will lift the load of your burdens.          

EASTER

So thankful to be serving a risen, living Lord!! Karen Icenhour
Death Didn’t Hold Him
The Lord died on the cross to pay for our sin,
Providing the Way for us to come to Him;
It was all a part of God’s perfect plan,
With more love than we can understand!
It was a time of great sorrow and gloom,
As His beaten body was placed in the tomb;
Satan thought he won, & God’s Son was dead,
In a short time, circumstances turn his head!
Death didn’t hold Him more than three days,
After this time, the tombstone rolled away;
There was no question, whether or not,
For within the tomb was the Son of God!
He’s the King of Kings, still living today,
The tomb is empty, where our Saviour laid;
He’s the only One to watch that stone move,
Astounding Satan by what God’s power can do!
4-3-17
**Easter 2017

 

The Spot

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.” – Luke 23:33

Jesus carried our all our sins to the cross. The spot where that happened was Calvary, also called Golgotha—the same spot known as Mt. Moriah where in Genesis Abraham offered Isaac to God. Mt. Moriah, the temple mount, and Calvary are all on the same limestone ridge—all the same mountain.

Centuries before Christ was born, God told Abraham, the brightest star in the Hebrew heaven, “Abraham, I want you to take your son, your only son, the son that you love, the son of promise, to a place I will show you. Not just any place—a certain place. And there you are to offer your son.” That spot is the very spot where one day, centuries later, Jesus Christ would be crucified.

For Abraham and Isaac, a ram caught in a thicket provided the substitute. There was no such substitute for Jesus Christ—for He was our Substitute.

Meditate today on what it cost God the Father to sacrifice His only Son on Calvary’s mountain and what it cost the Lord Jesus to be that “ram caught in the thicket” for us. Let what God the Father provided—and what His Son did for you—sink into the deepest part of your heart. “I will praise Him, Praise the lamb for sinners slain. Give Him glory, all ye people, for His blood can wash away each stain.”

Friday Funnies

The Truth About Santa

I figured that at age seven it was inevitable for my son to begin having doubts about Santa Claus. Sure enough, one day he said, “Mom, I know something about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.”

Taking a deep breath, I asked him, “What is that?” He replied, “They’re all nocturnal.”

TRADE

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.

Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking at everything she saw, studying every little detail. Then she noticed a white bag on the seat next to Sally.

“What’s in the bag?” asked the old woman.

Sally looked down at the bag and, smiling, said, “It’s a box of chocolates. I got it for my husband.”

The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said: “Good trade.”