Transition

I know it’s been awhile since I last posted, and I wanted to leave a message for those who’ve been following my blog. Over the last few months I’ve been writing what has turned into a booklet on spiritual adoption. It was my pastor’s idea to turn what I showed him into a booklet and that is where I’ve been spending my time. I don’t know when the booklet will be produced, but I’ll leave a post on the blog when it is available. I encourage those who casually follow the blog to subscribe if you’re interested in being notified about the booklet.

There are other things the Lord is laying on my heart to write as well and they simply take time to develop. So, I’m transitioning away from blogging to focus on this new direction. I don’t know what doors the Lord will open, but I will be obedient and see what the Lord has in store.

Your Brother in Christ,

Barron

Missions Report

I’ve recently returned from a mission trip to Mali, Africa. I went on the trip with my Senior Pastor Dr. Jon Engstrom and Missionary Bruce MacDonald. We were invited by the Malian Pastor who oversees the Pentecostal churches in the country to lead a 5 day crusade and teach discipleship classes. The Malian Pastor (names are intentionally withheld) asked us to hold the crusade to reestablish a church in a city where the previous Pastor allowed the church to virtually disappear.

Mali is a Muslim country but it is not under Sharia Law. The government is open because it is aligned with the French government. This allows Christian churches to exist, but the extreme Muslim groups have taken over the northern part of Mali. The French army prevented the extremists from taking over the southern part of the country and is stationed in the north to prevent the extremists from sweeping south.

God is doing an awesome work in the city where we held the crusade. The newly installed Pastor has a deep love of the Lord and a warrior’s mentality to reach his city. Each night Dr. Jon Engstrom and Bruce MacDonald alternated between preaching salvation and preaching healing, and each night there was a positive response. I don’t have an exact number, but there were around 200 people who gave their life to Jesus each night over a five-day period. While those aren’t Billy Graham numbers, considering we were preaching in a primarily Muslim country, in a city of around 10,000 people, we are grateful to Jesus for the response.

There were healings each night and in the morning discipleship courses as well. There were testimonies of healed knees, arms, chronic headaches, and various other body pains and issues. Keep in mind we are in a foreign country with a different language and understanding. They don’t have a scientific diagnosis of all the things that ail them. They simply know pain and discomfort. I personally was encouraged by the people I laid hands on and shared testimonies of their healings. One was a child who could not hold his food down and always threw up when he ate. After prayer, he was able to eat right away. There was another woman who had a terrible toothache and was instantly healed. There were other people who raised their hands when asked if they received an instant healing, but we didn’t have the time to have everyone share.

I was the primary teacher for the discipleship classes and really enjoyed the opportunity. The interpreter did a phenomenal job and the classes were jam packed each day. What was also important to me was how I earned the respect and trust of both Bruce MacDonald and the Malian Pastor who oversees the Pentecostal churches in Mali. When the crusade ended, the main Malian Pastor asked all three of us to speak at three different churches simultaneously. This was an honor and also my first taste as a true missionary because I was completely on my own in a different country. I was put in a car with people I had met the moment I entered the car and was driven 40 minutes away from Pastor Jon and Bruce. I enjoyed the service, and as the main speaker I had not one but two translators – one to French and another into Mali’s native language.

Prior to leaving for the airport Sunday morning, my wife told me the Lord spoke to her heart that we would have an obstacle on Thursday, but we would overcome it and God would be glorified. Well, on Thursday both Pastor Jon and I became sick but I was violently ill. On the same day, the Lord gave me a prophetic word to share with the church and told me to deliver it despite how I felt. I had no strength and was extremely noxious, but when it came time to stand and teach the grace of God was there. I was not weak or noxious the entire time I taught and was able to teach my lesson and deliver a prophetic word for the church and the lead pastor. After the class I became very tired and violently threw up at the hotel. I was miserable the rest of the day, but I remembered that my wife said the obstacle was Thursday. So, I believed I would be healed by Friday and told Pastor Jon this. He offered me medicine, but I knew God’s word was clear. By the next morning it was as if I was never sick the day before, and I was able to testify before the class and when I preached at the Malian church. Both testimonies reinforced the lesson/message I was delivering and inspired faith in the God who heals. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Praise the God who keeps His word and heals us of our diseases.

Overall, it was a great experience and I look forward to the opportunities and doors God will open up for me to teach over seas in the future.

Belt of Truth

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My first tag line for this blog was “Proclaiming the Truth that sets people free.” I still like that tag line, but the Lord spoke to my heart that simplicity is needed for the season we are in; because, Jesus Christ is the Truth that sets people free.

One of my first posts on this blog was, “What is Truth?” I encourage those who are newer to my blog to check it out because it gives a biblical perspective on truth. It helps one understand how truth is established. I’m focusing this post on the revelation the Lord gave me about the belt of truth. This revelation provided the foundation for the post mentioned above.

As I was reading Isaiah, I came across a verse that mentioned spiritual armor I’ve seen many times in Ephesians 6 but for some reason had never seen while reading Isaiah:

For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities: Transgressing and denying the LORD, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. (Isa 59:12-17 NASB)

Paul’s oft-quoted passage in Ephesians 6 was simply repeating what the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah. Paul made a New Testament application based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Lord spoke to my heart how the breastplate and helmet are the primary pieces and God the Father provides them through Jesus Christ. Where He began speaking to me something fresh and new was along the lines of the belt of truth. Many times I have heard teaching saying this either refers to our need to memorize scripture or us walking in integrity, but the way it was taught never completely settled in my heart. While both applications are accurate when referencing truth, the Lord brought me clarity after reading Isaiah. I believe scripture is the best interpreter of itself, and looking at the writings of an author in other contexts helps us understand his/her intent. In Romans it says:

“By no means! Let God be found true though every human being is false and a liar, as it is written, That You may be justified and shown to be upright in what You say, and prevail when You are judged [by sinful men]. [Ps. 51:4.]” (Rom 3:4 AMP).

The Apostle Paul ties truth to the character of God and lies to the fallen heart of men as it is written. Where is it written? It’s written in Isaiah 59. So the truth Paul refers to in the belt of truth is not our integrity but God’s integrity. Because of God’s integrity, the truth behind God’s word should trump everything we hear contrary to it. Now I’m sure some people reading this blog are going, “Well, duh” but there is a difference between head knowledge and personal revelation. Head knowledge allows someone to repeat what’s in their head even if their life doesn’t reflect it, while revelation produces a radical life change that transforms an individual.

This is why Paul used the belt to describe truth; because, it is the foundation upon which a Roman Centurion’s armor rests. Likewise, understanding truth is the foundation upon which our Christian walk rests. Truth is every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and we are to put our complete trust in it—even with our lives. When we have a revelation of God’s character we also have a revelation of truth that transforms our lives; because, God’s promises become real to us and give us peace no matter what circumstance we face.

As we learn in the book of Numbers, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19 NLT), and in Psalm 89, “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips” (Psalm 89:34 NKJV).

God proved His character through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians:

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV).

When we read the gospels we see the character of God described in the Old Testament in every word and deed of Jesus Christ. Every time we read about Jesus Christ and meditate on His ministry we are reminded that we can believe God. When we read about the people Jesus healed, we are reminded that God the Father is our Healer. When we read about Jesus feeding the 5000, we are reminded that God the Father is our provider. When we read about Peter walking on the water or Jesus changing the water to wine, we are reminded that God is a miracle working God who will part our figurative Red Seas to bring to pass His divine plan for our lives.

As we look upon Jesus and see the love and character of God, our confidence grows in Him and the Lord becomes bigger than our circumstances. We become like the writer of Psalm 91 and say to others, “His truth shall be your shield and our buckler” (Psalm 91:4 NKJV), and we can confidently put on the rest of our spiritual armor now that our belt is attached.

Because of confidence in God’s character and His promises, a believer puts on the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation. Believers who don’t have a revelation of God’s truth will struggle with the breastplate and helmet. Instead, they look at themselves or their circumstances and don’t trust what God says. They constantly tell you they’re not good enough or wonder if they are really saved, but every follower of Christ can put on their armor because of God’s promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ. No one is good enough. That’s why Jesus came to the earth. We put on Christ’s righteousness not our own.

Because of confidence in God’s character and His promises: a believer puts on shoes of readiness to share the good news with anyone who will listen; a believer picks up their shield of faith to block the devil’s fiery darts and the sword of the Spirit to go on the attack. A believer confidently declares, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV) in the midst of dire circumstances. A believer submits to God’s promises and resists the devil knowing the devil must flee. A believer believes every word that God says is true and walks in victory.

But the key is looking upon Jesus Christ. As long as we look to Christ and trust in God’s character our armor remains on. As soon as we look away, our armor is removed and we become vulnerable.

This revelation brought Psalm 1:1-3 into perspective. When it teaches blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the path of sinners or sit at the seat of scoffers. Instead he loves the instructions of the Lord and meditates on those day and night. This results in having the right spiritual fruit in its season and everything he does prospers.

This revelation motivated me to replace all the advice I had received outside of godly influences, even if it was good advice, with scripture. I was at a crossroads in my job situation. I was passed over for promotion and learned I wasn’t qualified to change careers. I was seeing how the “good advice” I received from others was not producing the promised fruit.

The Lord spoke to my heart about truth and turned knowledge into revelation. I stopped following the advice of others and did what Psalm 37:3 instructed me to do: to trust God, do good, dwell in the land and feed on God’s faithfulness. I closed all the doors I had opened to find another job and put God’s word to the test. Three weeks later wheels were put into motion that radically changed my work circumstances. Over time I was promoted, my income increased by 16%, and I’m about to start a new position this fall—all without my manipulating my circumstances. I simply was faithful in my current position, did good as instructed, and trusted God to fulfill the rest of the promise in Psalm 37:3-5:

“Trust in the LORD and do good; [d]well in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, [a]nd He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, [t]rust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:3-5 NKJV).

Put on the belt of truth and you will find the rest of God’s armor just slides into place.

The New Contract – Final Benefit

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At last we come to the final benefit in the New Contract:

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)

The last benefit of the New Contract is pretty special. The Lord’s promise, to be merciful to our unrighteousness and to choose not to remember our offenses against Him, is awesome. The instant we receive Jesus we are immediately clothed with Christ’s righteousness (right standing with God) and given a new slate (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). As newly adopted children in God’s family, we no longer look the same in the spirit. Physically, yes we look the same, but spiritually we are different (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

So how does understanding this part of the New Contract help you with your overall walk with God? By knowing that as long as you believe in Christ and choose to follow Him in your heart your righteousness is eternal. The only thing that can remove your right standing with God would be the choice to renounce Christ and permanently live for yourself, the world, and the devil.

Does that mean it’s okay for Christians to sin? Of course it doesn’t. Every time a believer sins it hardens their heart toward God (see Hebrews 3:12-15). Sin is like cholesterol that builds plaque around a believer’s new spiritual heart. It’s not noticed at first, but over time it hardens a believer’s heart and can lead to the rejection of Christ and God the Father—if left untreated. Repentance is the cure for our sinful plaque and instantly heals our spiritual heart.

Once we are adopted into the family it’s not God who separates Himself from us, but us who choose to separate ourselves from Him when we sin. The Lord’s promise to never leave or forsake us is true (see Hebrews 13:5 & Psalm 91:14 AMP). Once we become a part of God’s family his attitude towards us changes as promised in Isaiah:

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:9-10 NKJV).

One can look to the parable of the prodigal son to see how we choose to separate ourselves from our Heavenly Father, but He longingly looks out for our return. When we do, He lovingly cleans us up and treats us like we never left (see Luke 15:11-24). Likewise, when the Holy Spirit prompts us to come to our senses after sinning, we choose to leave our sins behind and return to our Heavenly Father who is faithful and just to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1:9). This is a benefit of the blood of Jesus Christ; because, as long as we walk in Christ’s light, we have fellowship with one another and His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness (see 1 John 1:7).

Individual sins do not remove us from God’s family. Only the rejection of Jesus Christ as our Savior removes us. It’s similar to marriage, which is a legally binding relationship. One might do something morally wrong to their spouse, like cheating on them, but that does not legally terminate the marriage relationship. Instead, it creates a division between the couple, and if that division cannot be removed, the animosity hardens the hearts of the couple. This hardness leads to the legal separation through divorce. The immoral act didn’t legally end the relationship, but was the reason for the divorce. Likewise, sin doesn’t legally end our relationship with God. Whenever we sin, we are the immoral spouses, but God’s loving grace keeps Him in relationship with us because of Jesus Christ. He will not end the relationship with us as promised in Isaiah 54:9-10. Instead, it’s us who choose to end the relationship with Him by doing the spiritual equivalent of divorce—renouncing Jesus Christ and choosing to permanently live for self, the world, and the devil.

God made a way for us to live a life pleasing to Him (choosing to Love God and love others) through Christ and the New Contract (see First Terms of the New Contract). The Lord also made a way to continually cleanse us from all sin by His loving mercy, grace, and kindness—even when we act like unfaithful spouses. That is unconditional love.

This is the beauty of the final benefit. Once our right standing is restored it’s difficult to lose, and not only does He forgive our sins at salvation, but He makes a way to continually cleanse them as we learn how to live a life pleasing to Him.

The New Contract – Second Benefit

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The next benefit of the New Contract is our ability to “know” God:

None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Heb. 8:11 NKJV).

I’m going to focus on what it means to “Know” the Lord as part of the New Contract. First off, it’s important to understand that knowing God is part of the promise of the New Contract. The prophet Jeremiah gives us a good explanation:

 Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV).

The Bible is the best interpreter of itself, and the verse from Jeremiah explains knowing God in Hebrews 8:11. The Hebrew word for “know” in Jeremiah 24:7 is yada. The word is used throughout scripture with over 800 uses, but one of its primary uses means to know relationally and experientially (per The Complete WordStudy Dictionary). So per the New Contract, God has given us a new heart that allows us to know him on a personal level.

But the verse in Jeremiah gives us a key condition before God supernaturally changes our hearts. We must return to Him with our whole heart. This is what repentance is all about and why we must repent in order to receive salvation. Repentance is a heart attitude not a specific prayer. One can simply say, “Jesus please come into my heart,” and if the individual intends to turn from rebelling against God, living for themselves, and follow the leadership of Christ, they will receive God’s gift of forgiveness (It’s assumed they believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God). On the flip side, someone can pray, “Lord I repent from my sins,” but has no intention of turning from living for themself and not be saved.

The Bible contrasts real repentance (metanoia) with false repentance (metamellomai). Metanoia is the Greek word commonly translated repentance and means regret and forsaking the evil done by a change of heart. In contrast, metamellomai is a Greek word also translated repentance. It expresses the desire that what has been done may be undone accompanied with regrets or even remorse, but with no effective change in heart (per The Complete WordStudy Dictionary). Forgiveness is promised for metanoia but not metamellomai. An example of false repentance (metamellomai) in scripture is found with Judas:

“When Judas, His betrayer, saw that [Jesus] was condemned, [Judas was afflicted in mind and troubled for his former folly; and] with remorse [with little more than a selfish dread of the consequences] he brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” (Matthew 27:3 AMP).

This is in contrast to the way real repentance (metanoia) is described:

“And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Act 2:38 AMP).

Salvation is not a get out of hell free card. It’s the restoration of a relationship, and if an individual only wants salvation to avoid hell while choosing to live it on earth they are mistaken. Too many times well-intentioned Christians are more focused on a certain prayer when it is the choice in one’s heart that matters. Yes with the mouth confession is made, but that confession must come from understanding. If someone says words without understanding what they’re saying, how could they possibly mean it? Most unbelievers don’t know what the word “repentance” means, so why are we focused on having them repeat the word as if just saying it is like saying, “abracadabra?”

When explaining salvation to people I don’t focus on the word “repent.” Instead, I paraphrase the meaning of repentance so an individual can understand. I tell them they need to turn from rebelling against God and running their own lives and choose to follow the leadership and instructions of Jesus Christ. These are terms anyone can understand and subsequently choose to follow or reject Jesus Christ. It’s one thing to believe Jesus died for our sins so we can be forgiven, and it’s another to choose to follow Him in response to this free gift. Both are required for salvation. Unfortunately, that message is not communicated in a lot of gospel presentations.

Since God will not force us to follow him against our will, we must truly return to Him with our whole heart before He does the supernatural heart surgery. The surgery is performed the instant we make the choice. That’s the beauty of God’s grace. It’s already a finished work in Christ, and all God is waiting for is the permission to change the heart of any person. It’s not based on our works but our choice, and that’s all God needs. He is waiting on the edge of His seat to transform the hearts of all people. Our Lord, who does not change, made His heart for repentance and restoration clear in Deuteronomy:

AND WHEN all these things have come upon you, the blessings and the curses which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, And shall return to the Lord your God and obey His voice according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your [mind and] heart and with all your being, Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion upon you and will gather you again from all the nations where He has scattered you. Even if any of your dispersed are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and from there will He bring you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do you good and multiply you above your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with all your being, that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:1-6 AMP)

Notice how the same themes are in Deuteronomy as in Jeremiah 24:7—returning to the Lord (repentance) followed by God doing a supernatural restoration and spiritual surgery (circumcision) of the heart. Once the spiritual surgery is complete, we have what we need to intimately commune with God and to know Him. It’s always good to remember that as a promise of the New Contract this surgery is both guaranteed and instantaneous. Learning how to live the life with a new heart is a process but not receiving the heart.

Now we will look at the specific “knows” in the New Contract. Although the word “know” is used twice in Hebrews 8:11, they are not the same Greek word. The first “Know” is ginosko in the Greek and means: to know, in a beginning sense, that is, to come to know, to gain or receive a knowledge of (per The Complete WordStudy Dictionary). The second “know” is eido in the Greek, which means: to see; to perceive with the eyes; to perceive by any of the senses; to perceive, notice, discern, discover; to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything (per Thayer’s Greek Definitions).

To truly understand what these “knows” are saying we need to really think through what happens before salvation and after. Prior to receiving Christ, we are separated from God (see Isaiah 59:2) and cannot perceive Him because of hard hearts (see Hebrews 3:12-13). So God’s solution was to physically manifest Himself to mankind through Jesus Christ. We can perceive what Jesus Christ did for us because He came as a man on earth. Jesus Christ and His death on a cross are historical facts, and we can know about Him in the same way we can know about President George Washington. We can read about the life of Jesus Christ and the faith aspect only revolves around His resurrection and the belief He is the Son of God. This is one of the reasons Jesus came to earth. Mankind could not perceive God because of our rebellion against him (sin) and needed to see a physical manifestation of God to be motivated to turn from our sin. When we hear the gospel we perceive Christ, the Holy Spirit convicts our heart, we choose to receive God’s gift of forgiveness, turn from our rebellion and to follow Jesus Christ. Instantly the veil is removed and we can “know” (ginosko) God as we begin to sense Him for the first time. We then have the ability to see (eido) God in the world around us.

This distinction is why the people you want to see saved don’t see what you see or understand what you do. They can’t because they are separated from God. We need to present Jesus to them so they can receive Him; which, in turn, allows them to finally “know” God. Knowing God is a part of the New Contract and only for those who enter into the contract, but it is an awesome benefit that should never be taken for granted.

The New Contract – First Benefits

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I wanted to thank the new people who have joined the blog since its inception. While the following is not large, your presence is appreciated. I also wanted to let everyone know that if you have a comment to share please feel free. I’ll respond when I get an opportunity. Okay, now to the blog post.

Now that we’ve established the first terms of the new contract we can move on to the first stated benefits:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Heb 8:10).

The Lord promises that as part of His New Contract He will be our God and we shall be His people. This isn’t a master/servant relationship but a Father/child relationship. This relationship begins when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord:

“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name–[Isa. 56:5.]” (Joh 1:12 AMP).

God’s heart is to restore things back to the way they were in the garden prior to Adam and Eve’s fall. Before Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and follow the lie of the devil. So, after we turn from our rebellion and choose to follow Jesus and His teachings, He cleans us up (remember Ezekiel 11:19-20), gives us the power to overcome sin moving forward, and reestablishes our relationship with Him. All of this is encompassed in the first terms stated in the New Contract, and alluded to by Jesus Christ:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (Joh 14:12-17 NASB).

Notice, Jesus emphasizes that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. Too often this verse is taught that we must keep Christ’s commandments to love Him, but that is not what Jesus is saying here. He’s saying that if we love Him relationally we will choose to keep His commandments. It’s not about our works but His works, and our belief in His works as evidenced by our response to His instructions (aka commandments).

When we truly understand the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us at the cross of Calvary, it gives us an appreciation of how much He loves us. We then are able to love Him in return in grateful appreciation of the love He first showed us. This love is demonstrated by our personal choice to go all in with Jesus and follow his teachings and instructions.

It is the choice to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow Him that makes us God’s people. We are God’s people because we are in Christ, and anyone in Christ is the same as Christ in God’s eyes. This choice gives us the same status with God as Adam and Eve had prior to the fall. It also opens up all the benefits Adam and Eve enjoyed prior to the fall (in the Garden of Eden there was no sickness or disease and all their needs were provided for). Through the finished work of Jesus Christ, all these benefits are available and part of the New Contract.

When we enter in to the New Contract God provides for us; because, He promised that He would be our God and we would be His people. The same goes for healing as well—spiritual, physical, and emotional healing. Our faith is in His character and in understanding He will keep every part of the contract He’s agreed to. It’s through the lens of the New Contract that we can better grasp what Jesus is teaching when he says:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Mat 7:7-11)

The vault of heaven is open to all of God’s children and the Lord will keep His promises because He is our God and we are His people. The Bible teaches us that if we ask anything according to God’s will He hears us and we can know we have the requests we ask of Him (1 Jo 5:14-15). It is God’s will that we be in good health (3 Jo 1:2) and that our needs are taken care of (Ps 23:1-2 & Matt 6:31-33). I can have confidence before God, because my heart no longer condemns me. I can know whatever I ask I receive from Him because I’ve made the choice to follow Jesus and His commandments (1 Jo 3:21-23), and His Holy Spirit will guide me in righteousness (Ps 23:3). We can approach God as Adam and Eve did prior to the fall and ask for healing or provision knowing He’ll give it to us. What an awesome promise! All because He is our God and we are His people.

Bringing Balance

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I believe it’s important to balance what I taught in my last post; because, someone could read what I wrote and think I’m diminishing the importance of scripture. I personally love the Bible and study it regularly. I don’t normally tell people how often I read through scripture, but, so I can emphasize how important it is to me, I’ll do so in this post. I’ve been a Christian for 20 years and I’ve read through the Bible 15 out of those 20 years. As my friends know, reading through the Bible is like brushing my teeth. It’s something that comes automatically to me. In addition to reading through the Bible, I’ve done multiple topical studies, word studies, book studies, and taught a class on basic Bible research for the lay minister. So when I say I love the Word of God, my walk backs up my talk. In fact, when I preach a sermon I don’t have your typical speaking notes with topics followed by points. I just have scripture, allowing one verse to flow into the next, and preach directly from each scripture. I believe the Bible can preach itself and it is the best interpreter of itself. I also believe that the Holy Spirit never contradicts the written scripture and that it’s important to know and understand scripture so one can confidently follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Both the Holy Spirit and the Bible equally represent the voice of God.

With that said I stand by what I said in my last post, it is the Spirit that leads us into obeying God’s commandments and not our ability to recall scripture. What I’m contrasting is the reliance on our works versus the power of the Holy Spirit. So, I want to spend some time in this post explaining the balance between following the Spirit and learning scripture.

Jesus Christ is the Foundation Stone upon which all of Christianity is built. Jesus is the One who has the power to overcome temptation, sin, the devil, and all corruption in the world. After Jesus rose from the grave and ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to represent Him on the earth. So, it is the Holy Spirit that now has the power to overcome temptation, sin, the devil, and all corruption in the world. When we receive the Holy Spirit it is the same as having Jesus Christ walk beside us every moment of every day. For Jesus Himself said, But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you” (Jo 14:26 AMP). So listening to the Holy Spirit is the exact same as when the disciples listened to Jesus Christ when He physically walked on the earth.

Following the direction of the Holy Spirit is the foundation that carries believers through all circumstances because it is the same as listening to the voice of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that knowing the right thing to do and not doing it (James 4:17) is just as sinful as lying or committing adultery. So, if the Lord is directing us through the Holy Spirit to go in a certain direction or to stop a habit (good or bad), He expects us to do as He instructs. This is why the Apostle Paul said to the Galatians, But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)” (Gal 5:16 AMP). The Lord is expecting us to trust in Him with all our heart and lean not unto our own understanding. We are to look to Him for guidance in all that we do and trust Him to lead us in the right direction (Pro 3:5-6).

Christianity is all about relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ. It is not about a destination. So, in the ideal situation, we would receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord based on our grateful appreciation of what He did for us (see Real Truth). We choose to turn from our old life and follow Jesus Christ and His teachings. With this heart attitude, the new spirit in us (based on the New Contract) is responsive to the Holy Spirit as He begins to make changes in our life. Over time, God reveals to each believer the areas in their lives that need to change. He will do that both through scripture and through direct instruction from the Holy Spirit.

The reason a believer should study scripture is to grow in relationship with the loving God who cares for them and wants an intimate relationship with His creation. As believers, submitted to the Holy Spirit, we learn what pleases God and what displeases Him, and we begin to make choices to please Him out of relationship not obligation. Studying scripture allows us to see how, throughout history, mankind made choices to either please or displease God and how God responded.

We can see in scripture the positive promises God made for obedience and the negative consequences He promised for disobedience. This helps us be grateful that Jesus Christ fulfilled all requirements to receive the positive promises and received all the consequences for disobedience:

“For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God” (2Co 1:20 AMP).

“Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified); [Deut. 21:23.] To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit” (Gal 3:13-14 AMP).

As believers we can rejoice that, as we remain in Christ, all the positive promises are ours through His finished work on the cross. We can also rejoice that because of Jesus’ sacrifice we’ve escaped the wrath of God:

“But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God” (Rom 5:8-9 AMP).

That is the balance between following the Holy Spirit and learning scripture. A new believer starts by following the leading of the Holy Spirit and asking a Pastor or Elder for guidance and corroboration that what they’re hearing is correct. Over time, believers read and meditate on more and more scripture, which allows us to stand on our own confidently following the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Having the Bible is an amazing luxury that all believers should take advantage of. But it is the Holy Spirit that leads us into holiness. The Holy Spirit begins with the laws written on our hearts based on the new contract, and then He supplements this by bringing back to remembrance the scriptures we learn over time.

The New Contract – First Terms Cont.

I know it’s been a little while since my last post, but I needed to meditate on what the Spirit was speaking to my heart. After I finished my last post, the Holy Spirit led me to the following verse:

“For it is not merely hearing the Law [read] that makes one righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be held guiltless and acquitted and justified. When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law. They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]” (Rom. 2:13-15).

Of course, I was really encouraged after reading this because the passage confirmed what I had wrote, but then the Holy Spirit told me to read it again. Not because I was wrong on the confirmation, but because it said something that blew away a lot of old teaching that was still within me. Paul points out that the 1st century Gentile believers did not have the Law yet lived their lives as if they did because the essential requirements (to love God, to love others) were written on their hearts, and it was the “do not have the Law” part that stopped me in my tracks. They didn’t have any scriptures but lived their lives as if they had.

If the Gentile believers didn’t spend time learning and memorizing scriptures, how could they live a life pleasing to God? The answer is found in Ezekiel which compliments Hebrews 8:10:

“And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God], [Ezek. 18:31; 36:26; II Cor. 3:3.] That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezek. 11:19-20).

I was blown away because I realized the key to walking in God’s commandments wasn’t the memorization of scripture but trusting in the Holy Spirit and following His direction. In my past I would try to meditate on certain scriptures and other techniques when faced with a temptation, but I would still struggle with sin. Many people believe being led by the Spirit means moving out in ministry opportunities or to follow a specific leading or direction. This is true, but it also means being led by the Spirit to overcome sin and temptation. Many believers have a tendency to rely more on their spiritual discipline than the Spirit to overcome sin and temptation, which is why many of us fail. If we rely on the Spirit He won’t let us fail, but if we trust in our own spiritual discipline (our own strength) we will fail.

If the 1st century Gentile believers didn’t have scriptures, then the Holy Spirit is what gave them the testimony Paul mentions in Romans 2:13-15. The same Spirit promised to us in Ezekiel. I, in turn, needed to stop relying on my ability to recall scripture and just rest in the Holy Spirit. This revolutionized my thought process. All of a sudden I was free from the pressure to do it on my own and my focus shifted to Jesus.

Let me explain further. When a temptation came I would turn toward it and try to resist it through a from of spiritual discipline. The problem was I was focused on the temptation and my own strength. Now that I’m trusting in the Spirit, when the temptation comes I don’t face it any more because the Spirit puts my attention on Jesus Christ and what He’s already done for me. Since I’m not focused on the temptation, it loses it’s grip over me and I overcome it through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am now walking in greater victory and my focus is sharper than ever. I do not need to rely on my scripture recall to walk victoriously—I simply respond to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes when a temptation comes the Holy Spirit will bring a scripture to mind and use that to lead me in the right path, but most times He doesn’t, A bad thought may come to mind and the Holy Spirit will say, “You don’t need to think about that” and, like a Jedi mind trick, I say, “Yeah you’re right” and move on. Or a sarcastic comment might come to mind and the Holy Spirit says, “You don’t need to say that” and once again I say, “Yeah you’re right” and move on. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will remind me of a specific blessing or promise Jesus did in my life, and after I’ve spent the next few minutes praising Jesus the devil just leaves. It’s powerful and so much easier than what I was doing in the past. I’m not perfected yet, but I’ve left the building and am pressing toward the goal to win the prize. The Holy Spirit knows the Law and if I’m listening to Him He’ll instruct me in the ways of righteousness.

In modern day Christianity we focus on what we need to do in order to obey the Lord’s commandments, but in Paul’s day they simply focused on what Jesus had already done. They rested in the promise of the new contract and trusted the Lord to keep them as is promised in Jude 1:24-25. A lot of modern day believers look to themselves and focus on how they can’t follow the Lord perfectly, which is true, but the Bible teaches us Christ is the one who can keep us if we simply believe He can.

Before, I was still mixing a little works in with the grace of Jesus Christ, but it’s really all about Him. I thought I needed to do something like Bible study to overcome sin, but that’s focusing on what I need to do instead of realizing it’s already done in Christ. I simply need to respond to Christ’s leading through the Holy Spirit. Do you want to walk in holiness? Look to Jesus and not yourself or your ability to read and memorize scripture. Am I advocating not reading the Bible? Of course I’m not. It is reading the Bible that gives us the confidence to know the Spirit is leading us. But if Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why would He lead the 1st century believers into holiness by the Spirit and then turn around and require modern day believers to memorize a collection of letters, not originally written to them, to walk in holiness? Having the Bible is a luxury, and one we should take full advantage of, but Jesus will lead us the same way He led the 1st century believers—by the Holy Spirit. The key to walking in holiness is to believe Jesus Christ will lead you into holiness day in and day out through the Holy Spirit. We are to believe He will do this regardless of how much scripture we know or have memorized. It’s by His grace and His grace alone that we are able to walk in holiness:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Tit 2:11-12).

We can have the same testimony as 1st century believers if we stop looking at ourselves and our shortcomings and look to God’s promise fulfilled through Jesus Christ and trust in Him. We don’t need to add to the finished work of Christ, just understand what He’s already done. I know this may sound radical to some, but really it isn’t. I’m saying the answer is found in Jesus Christ. Trust in what He has already done for you, His love toward you, and His desire to keep you holy in God’s sight. Then watch how our wonderful Savior will lead, guide, and empower you to walk holier tomorrow than you’ve ever been before.

First Terms of the New Contract

Now it is time to look at the first terms of the new contract God promised to make with the House of Israel. Before I get started, someone reading this blog may begin to wonder if this contract was meant specifically for the Jews alone. But God made a point to emphasize that the Israelites were not the only ones He would bless through the new contract. In Isaiah the Lord said:

Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and who holds fast My covenant [by conscientious obedience]– All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered. (Isa 56:6-8 AMP)

The Lord is all-inclusive when it comes to His new contract. Now, let’s turn to the first terms of the contract, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Heb 8:10 AMP).

The first term of the contract is the promise of God to imprint His laws upon the minds of His followers. The Amplified translation does an excellent job of communicating the original heart prophesied in Jeremiah by saying that they are upon the innermost thoughts and understanding of Christ’s followers. In other words, our spirit is changed when we choose to follow Jesus Christ. The prophet Ezekiel stated it this way, “And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God]…” (Ez. 11:19 AMP).

This is why the Apostle Paul states in Corinthians, “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” (2Co 5:17 AMP). We receive a brand new spirit or inner man, which should become the driving force guiding our choices.

This supernatural work is the first step the Lord does within us so we are actually able to follow the commandments of the Lord (see Ez. 11:20). Christ’s followers are to submit to the leadings and promptings of the new spirit within them. This is why the Apostle Paul says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14 AMP), and the Apostle John said, “But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do]” (1Jn 2:27).

This new spirit is what allows Christ’s disciples to follow His example. Jesus tells His followers to make the choice to turn from their own interests and follow His example (see Matt. 16:24 AMP). To truly follow Jesus Christ one must not follow the leading of their old selves, but choose to follow the leading of the new spirit.

So one might ask, “How can I know I’m following the promptings of the spirit and not my old self?” That is a good question, and that brings us to the second term of the new contract, “…and engrave them (God’s laws) upon their hearts.” The laws or commandments that God writes on our hearts confirm the leading of the spirit. What are these laws? They are the commandments of Jesus Christ. Remember that the old contract ended once the new contract was ratified (see Heb. 8:13), so God is not referring to the laws laid out in that contract. Instead He is focused on the heart behind the commandments communicated in the old covenant. Jesus Christ instructed His followers to follow His commandments and He said specifically, “And [Jesus] replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). [Deut. 6:5.] This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. [Lev. 19:18.] These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Mat 22:37-40).

Jesus made it clear that by following these two commandments one would automatically obey all the laws laid out in the old contract. It is these two laws that God engraves on the hearts of those who enter in to the new contract, and it is these laws that the new spirit uses to guide the followers of Jesus Christ. How can a believer know if their new spirit is leading them? By simply asking does this leading fall under the two laws engraved on my heart—to love God and love others.

So why do so many believers struggle with following the commandments of Jesus Christ if God did this supernatural work in their hearts? We struggle because of a lack of knowledge (of what God has promised in the new contract) and a lack of complete submission.

God has already done the work we just need to believe it and then submit to it. We don’t need to earn it or grow into it. God promised to change our spirit, to write his laws upon our hearts, and that the spirit would guide us into all truth. If God promised it, than it came to pass exactly as He said. Really let the meaning of this sink in. If you have a desire to walk in greater holiness, the key is understanding the first terms of the new contract. God has already done the work for all of Christ’s followers to walk in holiness. This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul who said, “For the grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind. It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world” (Tit 2:11-12 AMP). The Apostle Peter also confirmed this when he said, “For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue)” (2Pe 1:3 AMP).

As followers of Jesus Christ we are to respond to God’s divine grace by believing the first term of the new contract and then submitting to the new spirit. We are to respond according to the appeal of the Apostle Paul, “I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1AMP).

Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and the first term in the new contract, God has done all the work for us. We simply need to believe, receive, and respond. We are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices in grateful appreciation for what the Lord has done for us. We are then to not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see Rom. 12:2) through the study and meditation of God’s Word. If we respond the way we are instructed to, the Lord will clean us up. Because we are submitted to the new spirit, when we are instructed to stop doing something we obey, and when we are instructed to start doing something we obey. Our response is based on our understanding of how much God loves us and all that He has done for us through Jesus Christ.

So one might ask, “Should I be condemned if I sin knowing the promise of the new contract?” Of course, the answer is no. As the Apostle John said, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jn 2:1 NASB). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (see Rom 8:1), so we can come boldly to the throne of grace based on the finished work of Jesus Christ, get cleaned up, and continue on the path God lays before us.

The New Contract

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Have you ever signed a contract? I can remember when my wife and I purchased our home and the stack of papers we signed. I listened as the escrow officer explained what each page meant and signed every one. But if you asked me today what the contract said you would only get a blank stare. I have the contract in my files so I can refer to it when needed—like when we wanted to refinance and needed to know our loan type.

Contracts are legally binding documents obligating the parties involved to honor the terms they agree to. Once ratified, the contract goes into effect and stays in effect until the terms are fulfilled. Understanding how contracts work in the natural will give one a greater understanding of the contracts God has made with mankind. God made a contract with Adam, and, when Adam and Eve disobeyed, God was obligated to fulfill the negative promise of the contract (see Gen. 2:15-17). God made a contract with Abraham (see Gen. 17:1-14), and fulfilled it through Abraham’s descendants.

God made a contract with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and this contract is what we refer to as the Law or Old Covenant (see Ex. 20 & Deut. 5-6). Jesus Christ fulfilled the terms of this contract by living the perfect life it required and paying the penalty required for disobeying God. With the terms of the old contract satisfied, God was able to put into effect the new contract He had already drawn up. God made this contract with Jesus Christ; who, represented all of mankind and ratified it by His death. Neither Israelites or believing Gentiles can mess up this contract by not fulfilling their part (like in the old contract). Jesus did it all. In Hebrews it says:

[Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance–since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement. For where there is a [last] will and testament involved, the death of the one who made it must be established, For a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death, since it has no force or legal power as long as the one who made it is alive (Heb 9:15-17 AMP).

The new contract is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, and this is important because Jesus taught that words are confirmed out of the mouths of 2-3 witnesses (see Matt. 18:16). The prophet Jeremiah prophesied the new contract (see Jer. 31:33-34) and the writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah’s prophecy (Heb. 8:10-12). The prophet Ezekiel, who was a contemporary of Jeremiah, also states the new contract twice (see Ez. 11:19-20 & Ez. 36:26-27). God wanted to make it clear that this was His new contract. To really comprehend the contract, it is best to combine the prophetic utterances of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And it will nevermore be necessary for each one to teach his neighbor and his fellow citizen or each one his brother, saying, Know (perceive, have knowledge of, and get acquainted by experience with) the Lord, for all will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more. [Jer. 31:31-34.] (Heb 8:10-12 AMP)

And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God], [Ezek. 18:31; 36:26; II Cor. 3:3.] That they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God. (Eze 11:19-20 AMP)

Within this contract lay the keys to receiving every promise God has made in scripture. Not just the promise of eternal life, but of provision, health, peace, and prosperity. Think I’m overstating it a little? Just read what the Apostle Peter wrote:

May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). (2Pe 1:2-3)

God has supplied us everything we need for life and godliness through His divine power because of the new contract. As we grow in our knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, we can partake in what God has already given to us.

All Christians know there’s a new contract and may be familiar with it, but if asked what the contract actually says, most would give you the same blank stare I mentioned above. Over my next series of posts I will discuss: the terms laid out in this contract, what the terms mean to those who believe in Jesus, and the conditions of the contract. It is time to take out the contract and learn what it says.