My Repentance (Part III)
These short essays (Part I, Part II) are all titled "Repentance" because they all are about my own perception of deepening my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "repent" carries negative, "churchy" associations for many of us. Times of spiritual growth are very often preceded by an abrupt awareness that we have done something very wrong in thought, word, or deed. We need to seek God's forgiveness at once. Repentance from major sins is a big deal. If you find you need this level of help from God please know you are not alone, and God is merciful and compassionate. One mark of a true Christian is that we are all repentant sinners, "...unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3) I believe we all need to repent all the time. Once we get practicing repentance we'll experience wonderful relief right away. I have come to believe that we ought to be repenting every day, that is, if one thinks of repentance as "course-correction"—changing one's choices and decisions in life. The idea is for each of us to maintain an intimate walk with Jesus and to always be ready to be useful to God—not sullying his name and character in any way. God cannot change but we can, the onus to change is on us. Jesus is our model of how we should be living.
Jesus as a Friend
What I want to communicate most of all is my belief that knowing Jesus Christ (as a living Person) is the most amazing and most life-changing experience anyone can have. I believe Jesus is the key to all reality. Jesus is a man, fully human in every way, so He understands our emotions, our personal history—and our seedy track record in life. I have found that He gladly meets us where we are, at any time. He never "talks down" to us, does not belittle us, does not snow us with highbrow language or lofty theology. In my experience, walking with Jesus every day is not at all the same thing as passive church membership or a nominal consent to a church's Statement of Faith. Furthermore, intimacy with Jesus is also the key to intimacy with everyone else: spouse, friends, family.
Knowing Jesus has so radically changed me that I can't imagine being a Christian in name only. I agree with those who know me and say, "he needs change more than any of the rest of us ever will."
Right now I believe we are seeing the impending collapse of our once great nation. It is all our fault and not God's. I am very concerned that many of our fellow Christians seem to be so detached, apathetic, unconcerned about our nation. I believe something unusual needs to come from the true Christians in our nation right now. I don't want to suggest we try harder, organize committees, or stress-out more. God is the only real help we have, but He works with us on His own terms. I keep asking myself why have so many Americans have come right up to the door to knowing Jesus but stopped there, remaining self-deceived and very lost. Why do so many believe that Christianity is a spectator sport which comes complete with free tickets?
God and SELF-examination
Lately I have been looking more carefully at the background or context of the "bible truth" I have been assimilating, for decades, but have never fully appropriated. I have been well-versed in Bible doctrine for decades, but lately Jesus has been personally confirming and magnifying in my heart truth what was previously mostly in my mind. Here is Jesus talking to one of his fellow Jews. When He was on earth talking to His fellow countrymen a man asked him if only a few would be saved. How can we continue to deny the many illustrations Jesus gave us that emphasize the importance of our knowing Him:
"And Jesus went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ “then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. “And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)
The strong language of Jesus clearly divides and separates the real followers of Jesus from the majority of bystanders. The setting is complex, worthy of our discussion, our prayer, our action.
When I can, I like to help people know Jesus in an individual, personal way. I believe that knowing Jesus is what we all were all created for. To know Jesus is to be connected to Life itself. "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him," says Paul, (1Cor. 6:17) To not know Jesus is to remain lost. It is black and white simple! Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 18:10). But He cannot save those of us who remain indifferent to Him. Any relationship, especially a relationship of love, requires that both parties assent to the relationship, God offers love and forgiveness as a gift. He picks up the tab. That offer is of no value at all unless we accept what the Giver offers. What an insult it is to pay lip service to Jesus once, or a few minutes on Sunday, but to ignore Him the rest of the week. The relationship between Jesus and His people is likened in the Bible to the life-long intimacy of Bride and Bridegroom, not to a brief handshake or a perfunctory nod of the head.
The Bible says that if anyone is "in Christ" he is "a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) The big changes I value most about knowing Jesus have to do with freedom from condemnation, guilt, shame, rejection, fear of failure, death and the hereafter. Eternal life starts here and now and it a far different kind and quality of life than the "natural" life we received from our parents. Jesus begins by dispelling our fears and answering our most important questions from the moment we allow Him to rule and reign from within us.
Jesus leads us to the Father
I grew up with a father who was somewhat stoic and remote. He was not given to long conversations and seemed unable to let anyone share his feelings or insights about daily life. Thus, when I first heard that God was "a loving Heavenly Father" I was quite uneasy and skeptical. Before long I realized what a "mediator" was supposed to do. "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all..." (1 Timothy 2:5) We all had to come to God the Father through the man Christ Jesus. Even if the Father were a grouchy, angry pagan deity who was no longer involved in human affairs, it seemed to me that Jesus was the best possible go-between I needed to get acquainted with God the Father. At the very least Jesus would make a perfect "elder Brother." To go further and meet God the Father all I had to do was to focus on knowing Jesus. Sure enough, "opening up" to Jesus opened for me the very doors of heaven. Right now I am "at home" with God as a loving Father. I suppose the problem of "missing fathers" is one of the most common issues my male friends talk to me about. I now have answers! Family breakdown is, I believe, the most serious social problem of our day. I know the solution. (see God our Father,http://ldolphin.org/Father.html).
God is a Person we can Know
We know God by talking to Him in prayer and meditation. We know Him more fully through His Word, the Bible. I am very grateful that someone got me into reading the Bible night and day when I was a new Christian. Dr. Ralph Kraft, the wonderful pastor who led me to the Lord, insisted that he and I spend one hour a week together in Paul's letter to Romans. I finally consented, under protest, (a rebellious brand new Christian), not believing this study would be of any lasting value. How wrong I was! My advice now to everyone is to study Romans whatever you do! Major Point: We know the Bible through the Bible. It is a supernatural book, taking root in the heart and bringing forth a whole new life.
Without trying, I gradually built a list of my own Bible "memory verses." Today I have many verses stored that I can bring to mind quickly as needed. But, memory verses, especially when taken out of context, only help us so far. In my later years, I find I often have not paid enough attention to the context of "my" set of memory verses. Here’s an example: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
"Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain." (Philippians 2:12-16) What I had missed here, was the next verse on not complaining or disputing. Ultimately we should know the whole Bible through and through. As Chuck Missler says, "It is an integrated message system."
God gives us a Correct World View
This is a big and crucial subject. Developing a Biblical world view is the only way we can see where we came from, what is wrong with us and the world we live in, and what our Sovereign God is doing in history to repair the horrific damage His universe and His people have suffered because of sin. Jesus is the Creator of the universe (visible and invisible things). Jesus is the Owner of the universe and all that is in it. Jesus is the Landlord who will be returning any day now to reclaim His property, to restore Justice, and to take over world government. Our help is welcome in this, but those who don't like God's plan and program may leave and go elsewhere. To cite one example only: There are today no history books in print that give us an anywhere accurate history of where we came from or where we are headed with God right now.
Really amazing to me is how time spent one-on-one with God completely changes one's perception of reality, in science, concerning nature, how our own mind and psyche works. Since we were born we all have been brainwashed by the priests of the false religions of today's higher education systems and science so-called. What we learned in history class only makes contact with real history at a few points. Soaked and steeped in a flood of lies and deceptive teaching from kindergarten up, we are likely to end up thinking and acting in harmony with a false, warped view of things—a fabrication about our origin, our nature, our history and our destiny.
The Bible gives us True Truth, which can be checked out in experience. Jesus Christ is Truth incarnate—He said so Himself. In his SciFi Trilogy, C.S. Lewis described Earth as "The Dark Planet" ruled over by a "Bent Lord." Travelling via space ship from the earth to Mars, a passenger leaving earth is soon aware of how bright and fresh and full of life even "empty" space seems once one has travelled a short distance from our world. Paul the Apostle amplified the words of Jesus who said, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6) Paul said that Christians are "being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." (Colossians 2:2-10)
The Issue of Sin
I have been noticing that the secular press and media do not talk anymore about human evil except in subdued language and with careful discretion. There is plenty of evil in the world—but of course none of it can be coming from me. (False) We all know that God is a "good God" and we feel certain that "all" (or most) of us will go to heaven when we die. (False). Man has faults but evolutionary processes are weeding them out one by one. (False)
The most wonderful aspect of knowing Jesus is that He has taken all of my sins (and yours) into His own body (sins past, present, and future). Then, on the Cross, Jesus was sacrificed for me, cut off from the Father, sent outside of time while remaining in time. You and I deserve full punishment for thousands of sins—Jesus was punished in our place. The same is true for everyone else on the planet as well. Jesus Christ died for everyone. Any and all sin down through history has been paid for in full by Jesus, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:14-17)
The Infinite Standard
I believe that the Law of Moses with its 613+ commandments and statutes tells us what God is like as a Person. Those standards require perfection in every detail. If we hope to know God long-term we must find out in experience how to change. God does not need to change, but we most certainly do.
There can be only one God and I am not He. How do I live so as to come into conformity with the nature of this holy God? Romans tells me that the Law is there to show all of us how guilty we all are in our thoughts, words and deeds. Jesus kept the whole Law and living our lives "in Christ" allows us to enjoy life in harmony with our Creator. But our attempts to keep the Law and both feeble and futile. Only Jesus kept the Law. I can make the grade by allowing Jesus to fulfill the Law in me.
"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." (Romans 3:19-31)
Dealing with the Past
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross took place outside of time (see Six Hours of Eternity on the Cross, http://ldolphin.org/sixhours.html). The moment any of us receives Jesus as Lord, surrendering what we know of ourselves to Jesus, all of our sins are taken away by Jesus. Now, our heavenly Father looks at us and relates to us as if we had never sinned. We are already justified and sanctified from God's point of view. We can now set forth to follow God's instruction to us:
"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain." (Philippians 2:12c-16)
Jesus was present every time in the past when we have sinned. We were unaware of that at the time, or we ignored it. This is true when we were still non-believers - "dead in trespasses and sins," (Ephesians 2). (This was our state before we became Christians.) That is, we cannot ever hide from God. What needs to happen now, for our fuller liberation, is for us to ask Jesus to walk with us back into the past. Have we first accepted the full forgiveness Jesus has made available to us for past sins? Are we free from shame and guilt? Do we see the effects of our past sins on others? What present day behaviors we allow in our lives is traceable to the powerful sins of our past? Allowing Jesus to clean out those old closets of the mind and to wash memories of past events helps us move forward on the path to holiness.
Even after we have cleaned out our hearts from sin as best we can (with God's help), sanctification can be like peeling an onion. The world system, presently under the devil's rule, is a deceitful, defiling place. Christians are often tempted and many who once professed to know Jesus fall away. There is a fierce war going on all around us and those on Christ's side are a few percent of the world population.
"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ “And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)
In my own experience the layers and layers of sin in me continue to be exposed as I bring old events in my life into the Light of Jesus and ask for Him to evaluate my motives, my self-deceit, and the incredible evil in my heart. Ask anyone on the street if man is sinful and few will disagree. The majority will go on to say that Jesus Christ died for all of us sinners. Yet, dealing with one's sin face-to-face with Jesus is another matter. That is often the point many prefer to turn away and to occupy themselves with other matters. When we are following Jesus, every day will be unique and new. We will learn more about ourselves, more about creation, and more about Jesus. We will see things as they really are because we are walking in the Light.
"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (1 John 1:5-10)
Called to be Holy
The Apostle Paul considered himself to be called by God to make sure that everyone alive should be fully informed as to who Jesus is. He taught everywhere concerning the program of Jesus—building a new humanity in place of the old. "...the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." (Colossians 1:27-29)
Paul writes to his young protégé Timothy, "I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen." (1 Timothy 6:13-16)
Holiness is not an Option
Holiness is about "wholeness" It is very important for every Christian to press on and pursue Biblical holiness. When we have caught up on our homework for the moment and can sit back and really enjoy knowing God, it is good to know that worship is the chief pursuit of heaven. Leviticus, third book of the Old Testament is a good place to learn about holiness. But be sure to use a good commentary! For example: http://raystedman.org/leviticus.
In spite of the homework we all need to do in following Jesus, my experience has already brought with it a wonderful, exciting view of history, and of the future Jesus and His Father have already laid out for their people. Even on rough times and in painful situations, the resurrection life of Jesus is quietly there bringing new life out of death around the world. Jesus asks His followers to lose their lives in order to save them. It is Jesus who saves! It is Jesus who rules—
"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 2:14-13:6)
Comments from a Friend:
Knowing Jesus Brings Forgiveness of Sins and Repentance
He [John the Baptist] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:3
Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9
The Spirit teaches us through the written Word (and through other brothers and sisters in Christ) and reveals to God’s children who our triune God is, who we are apart from Him, and who we are in Christ. We need not be amazed at the world situation or wonder how God works, because we learn from the Spirit that He is sovereign and in control, compassionate, and merciful. What we can do instead of wondering about God, is to know Jesus NOT just know about Him! This bespeaks of an intimate relationship, a Spiritual union, a state of rest from our fleshly works—all entered into by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is all about the grace of God the Father, brought to us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Paul’s first recorded sermon to both Jews and God-fearing Gentiles in Acts 13, he reviewed Jewish history, explained prophecies, testified about Jesus’ life and focused repeatedly on how God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. What does this mean to us? Simply yet profoundly, by grace through faith we can share in the resurrected life of Jesus—His eternal life—through our real Spiritual union with Him.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:19-20
As we know Jesus better and better, God gives us the blessing and peace of knowing the triune Reality (Father, Son, Spirit) behind our triune reality of time, space, and matter (Gen 1:1). We begin to experience or know “the exchanged Life” more and more.
Rejection or Ignorance
In Acts 13 Paul then gives a warning using what God directly said in Habakkuk 1:5 to teach how mocking, prideful people will perish apart from belief or faith in Jesus Christ after He is presented clearly to them. Do you wonder who the Son of God is, or, do you know Him? Rejection of His resurrection life (His gift) at the cost of dying to ourselves (reckoning our sinful nature crucified with Him - Gal 2:20) will result in eternal separation from the presence of God to be all alone, forever, a hellish immortal experience of gnashing teeth in utter darkness in painful regret of a decision not made.
Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’” Acts 13:40-41
In addition to prideful rejection of believing in the Gospel of Jesus, living in blissful ignorance is also quite dangerous, because God gives us “today,” but does not promise us tomorrow. The author of Hebrews uses Psalm 95 to emphasize the time for belief is now (today) and Paul exhorts us also:
Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb. 3:12-13
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 2Cor 6:2b
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to HAVE FORGIVEN [Greek Aorist Tense] our sins..." (1John 1:9) We confess, not to GET forgiven, but because we believe we ARE forgiven. Spirit-filled believers HAVE BEEN cleansed by the blood of Jesus! We do not need to ask God for forgiveness—when we do—we don’t believe that God has already FINISHED forgiving us by Christ’s atoning death on the cross.
When we first begin to know the love and grace of our Lord God, we sense His holiness and our sinfulness. This awareness inevitably brings the need for our repentance to the forefront—we desire to seek God’s forgiveness and then discover or re-experience the forgiveness we already have because of the blood of Christ. Repentance becomes the wonderful act of turning back to the Lord, facing Him, asking Him to help us trust and obey, and thanking Him that our sins are forgiven. As we are back face-to-face with the Lord we realize anew there is nothing he does not know about us, and all the more the freedom to obey and love Him fills us.
But like the nation of Israel, we tend to turn away again to go our own way. Because of the fall of our fleshly lineage (Adam and Eve), we live in a fallen world, with fallen souls, in fallen bodies as sinners (Psalm 63:1). Satan as the ruler of this world is temporarily working through the world and our flesh to corrupt the righteousness and holiness he also fell from. Is not daily repentance essential to availing the righteousness and holiness of the triune God who dwells within us despite our unavoidable inheritance? All human beings are also triune beings consisting of body, soul, and spirit (1Th 5:23). Let us not forget that we are new creations in Christ with our spirits now made alive and in intimate union or oneness with the living Spirit of Christ (see Romans 8:9-11). The hope of our glory rests in and with Jesus Christ. Oh Lord, how thankful we are when we turn back to you.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:25-27
From Romans 5-6, we can readily understand how a believer is free from the Penalty of sin and free from the Power of sin in their lives. Christ paid the price for our sins, past, present, and future—he saved us from God’s wrath. We are no longer slaves to sin, but rather slaves to righteousness—we are freed from the powerful bondage of sin—no longer under the law, but under grace. Romans 8 bespeaks of no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (who is holy—free/separate from sin), and one day our freedom from the Presence of sin (cf. 1John 3:1-6). But, in Romans 7 we have to be careful to realize the freedom from the Preoccupation of sin in our wretched past. Who will rescue us from this preoccupation of what we did and didn’t do? The answer of course is focusing on Jesus in the present by knowing, loving, and obeying Him, and letting Him speak and act through us so He can have all the glory! And being joyfully thankful when we can daily seek His face and talk with Him about His future for us. (In the 10 verses of Romans 7:15-24, Paul uses I, me, or my 35 times, I believe, showing us an example of being preoccupied with sin and focused on self—finally, he focuses on Who will rescue him from this preoccupation with self and sin.)
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom 7:24-25a
The power of believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is discovering and knowing what the death and resurrection of Jesus does to the children of God, namely:
I. The cross of Christ convicts of sin and brings forgiveness of sin as well as freedom from sin (our sinful nature was crucified with Jesus).
II. The resurrection of Christ brings the power of deliverance from sin and newness of life.
Finally, it behooves us to learn and remember that, it's not about trying to be like Jesus by our doing good and not doing bad; it's about personally knowing and loving Him, because the more we love and spend time with Him, the more we will be like Him. Our service to others will be His ministry through us. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (1Th 5:24) In our Christian walk—our life, repentance is a continuing aspect until the day we see Him in person, which could be tomorrow!
Notes on Repentance, http://ldolphin.org/repent.html
Stumbling Blocks on the Road to Wholeness, http://ldolphin.org/stumbling.html
Sexuality and Wholeness, by Ray C. Stedman, http://ldolphin.org/sexrcs.html
Finding the Will of God, by Ray C. Stedman, http://ldolphin.org/will.html
Jesus is our Sabbath Rest, http://ldolphin.org/sabbathrest.html
Leviticus, The Way to Wholeness, by Ray C. Stedman, http://www.raystedman.org/old-testament/leviticus
If you are able to invest in my ministry, I'd be most grateful. My last paying job with a regular monthly paycheck was actually back in the Fall of 1988. In many amazing ways God has provided ever since, with perfect fidelity. I have Social Security Income, and a small retirement fund check. Basic expenses living in Silicon Valley, California have always been extra high. The cost of living has climbed much higher the past few weeks. I still owe a sizeable balance on last year's income tax. My annual medical insurance premium and Property Taxes are due next month. Overall, my income the past three months has been down by nearly $2000 per month! You may send contributions directly to my PayPal account, which are tax free to me, though not to you.
Change: The Blue Letter Bible ministry has graciously provided me a better channel for tax-deductible donations. If you would like a tax receipt, send your check to Blue Letter Bible ATTN: Lambert Dolphin Ministries (LDM), 29 Rancho Circle, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (Please make your check out to "Blue Letter Bible" and mark "LDM" in the memo field of your check). Thank you very much! I am very, very grateful for caring friends. I try to align my attitude about income versus expenses with the words of the Apostle Paul,
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:6-12)
Though I was very, very ill just a year ago, our great God has been restoring my health a lot this year. Eating healthy foods and a vigorous exercise program have made a big difference. I am actually very thankful for the times of reduced health a year ago—they helped me to focus more on the Lord Jesus than ever. I told several friends that I have learned more about God in the last two years than in the previous 47.
I believe the Rapture, the return of our Lord for His church, is very, very near! "Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, For the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God Before He causes darkness, And before your feet stumble On the dark mountains, And while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death And makes it dense darkness." (Jeremiah 13:15-16) My colleague Ron Graf and I hope you will obtain copies of our brand new book on Bible Prophecy, Connecting the Dots... http://bible-prophecy.com/connecting
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://ldolphin.org; Apologetics and Q&A: http://paracleteforum.org; Previous newsletters: http://ldolphin.org/news. While I try to answer all my email, I am not very good at returning phone calls. Everything I have written ends up on my web site. Please visit there often and write to me when you see something of interest.
October 30, 2011