Category Archives: Relationship with God

Believing for a “Good Report”

report-card1

This is a phrase which is far more pervasive in Word of Faith circles than in others, but regardless of who uses it, this statement is at its core misleading and sometimes very dangerous.

The idea behind the phrase as I have been exposed to it is this…

If in your life you find yourself in the midst of some uncertainty, you might say, “Well, I’m just believing for a good report”. Meaning that, you are believing that whatever is uncertain will turn out for good. Now this is where things get somewhat subjective. What do we mean by “good”?

Let me offer an example…

You have a work review coming up and it is during these reviews when people are either promoted, corrected or let go. So as a Christian determined not to be anxious about anything, you say, “Well, I’m just believing for a good report”.

What does that mean?

If we mean that God will work whatever the report is out for our good, then we are on good ground so long as you are God’s child and are actively walking in love with Him, but that is going to happen regardless of your “belief”.

 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” ~ Rom 8:28

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Is the Law fulfilled FOR us or IN us? (The Believer’s relationship to the Law)

Justice

This is a topic which has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Paul addresses the relationship between the believer and the Law throughout his writings and yet may are still confused about where the New Testament comes down on the subject.

It is a fact, that most people do not take the time to study the Bible but instead tend to gravitate towards things they have heard someone else say is in the Word. This inevitably leads to partial or total misquotations. In addition to this, many develop a theology based upon subjective experiences, rationalizations developed from partial information and favorite teachers. All of this creates a bias through which we understand and interpret the Word. A good way to discern if you fall into this category is this….

When someone can show you something plainly in God’s Word (and in context), which your heart refuses to accept but begins to look for a way around it.

If this is the case then your theology is based upon something you want to be true, believe MUST be true, but very likely isn’t true! Such is the case for many with this topic.

Many today treat Romans 8:4 as though it says,

“What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished FOR us.”

Continue reading Is the Law fulfilled FOR us or IN us? (The Believer’s relationship to the Law)

Faith: Tool or Relationship

Faith – Buzzword of Christianesse

Other than Grace, Faith is perhaps the most misused and misunderstood word in the Christian vernacular.

faithtoolIn its common usage throughout scripture, and especially the New Testament, it simply means full, relational trust in someone.

Though “relational” is not technically part of the definition, it is part of the process!

Trust is a relational term at its core, but when it is used in the realm of the “religious” it often becomes a work and is therefore NOT relational. AS such it becomes a merit badge rather than a proof of intimacy. This is especially true when the concept of trust is represented by the word – “FAITH”.

In my life and in my preaching, I virtually never use the word faith anymore. This is because it comes with so much baggage and so many misconceptions that I feel the need to define it every time I use it. To avoid this I simply say ‘relational trust’. These words say more without further definition than does the word Faith. Furthermore, it avoids the largest obstacle to genuine trust in Christ, namely, the stigma that the word ‘Faith’ has received over the years due to Christian abuse of the word.

Relational trust (faith) comes as the result of having the character of a person revealed to you through relationship with them.

This is the tone and meaning of the word Faith as it is used in the scriptures in regards to Jesus in the heart and lives of true believers. Which is why, the relational trust we have in Him MUST come from Christ being reveal to us…

“And this proves that faith comes from a Message heard, and that the Message comes through its having been spoken by Christ.”  ~ Rom. 10:17

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The Truth about 1 John 1:9

The belief I am addressing concerns whether or not I John 1:9 has any bearing upon a Christian’s life, or whether these verses were intended for an entirely secular audience.

Considering I John 1:9

Now there are many different takes on 1 John 1:9, the following are the most prevalent:

  1. 1 Jn. 1:9 was not written to Christians but to Gnostics.
  2. 1Jn. 1:9 was written to Christians who were being influenced with a Gnostic distortion of the gospel.
  3. 1 Jn. 1:9 was written to Christians.

Now to be fair, there is in fact a “sub-group” of those who believe it  was only intended for the specific Christians John was writing and therefore has no bearing on the rest of the Christian church worldwide – throughout time.

This of course begs the question – “Then why did God see to it that it was included it in the canon of Scripture?”

In my experience this later view is not well known and has even worse credentials for supporting it than any of the others above, so we will not address that view directly.

Now, that John was here writing to a group of Christians who were being seduced into false doctrines seems most likely to me. Almost without question, it was the doctrine of Docetism that he was confronting.

[I know they are big words, and I can already sense a number of people are checking out mentally and in all honesty I don’t blame you. Nevertheless, I beg you PLEASE, stick it out and you will find it was well worth your while to press through the theological mumbo-jumbo (Yes that’s a real word).]

Believe it or not, Docetism (and Gnosticisim) are still very much alive today and variations of these doctrines are taught from pulpits and TV media. Oprah Winfrey’s points of view are largely a new form of Gnosticism (or Neo-Gnostic teaching). Furthermore, this very view that I John 1:9 was only written to a particular flavor of Christian as mentioned last above, is in part a Gnostic approach to interpreting this verse.

So, let’s explain some pivotal truths first, and then we will proceed with our study.

Continue reading The Truth about 1 John 1:9