June 6, 2014
Ever have the Lord spring surprises on you? Ever have Him provide unusual favor in circumstances where it might not be likely? Well, sometimes it's just really cool to see God perform quickly and in unusual ways to our requests. That's not to take away from the fact that we should automatically come boldly before the Throne of God and expect Him to respond with love, with favor and as our Father.
Still, there is no question that He has a sense of exquisite timing! Our grandson, P.J., participated in some school trips provided through a grant program to qualifying high school students for the purpose of teaching them marketing skills. Part of the qualification, apart from maintaining a high grade level, was to earn the expense money for the trip through the selling of various things -- mostly door-to-door.
For his first trip, P.J. got out and really hustled, easily generating a sufficient amount of money for that event. Unfortunately the amount of time between trips 1 and 2 didn't permit him to generate enough funds for the second trip. Although he was able to raise a portion of the funds, it was clear that he wasn't going to have enough so I called the administrator of the program to see if there was some grant money that could be used to make up the difference. The administrator said that, in view of P.J.'s efforts, his good grades, etc., they would provide the needed funds.
P.J. came back from that trip on a real high feeling that it had been extremely profitable from every standpoint. You can imagine his shock a few weeks later when the administrator presented him with a bill for $580, telling him that he would not get his grades released for the year until the bill was paid. All of a sudden he felt like he'd been betrayed. It put him into a tailspin that resulted in a lack of incentive and subsequent failing grades for much of this past quarter.
Della and I brought P.J. to Sunnyside at the request of his mother and enrolled him in Sunnyside High. To make a long story short, I sent a letter to the administrator of the program after discovering that the former administrator was a temporary fill-in for the actual administrator, and that she had acted in violation of the program's strict policies. Yesterday, I received a reply in which the actual administrator acknowledged the blunder and erased the debt against P.J. For P.J., this was nothing short of a miracle and it was a demonstration of Father's love and favor.
For Della and me, it was almost humorous in watching God move so quickly for P.J. By the way, in the five weeks that P.J. has been here, we've seen a massive turnaround in his attitude, his efforts, his mindset, and his grades! Praise God!
One of the issues I've addressed repeatedly throughout the years is the issue of passivity on the part of many "believers." This passivity is a disease that has infected the body of Christ for generations. With the exception of a precious few until perhaps the last two decades (when we have seen an awakening taking place) believers have pretty much accepted a perverse doctrine of unworthiness, believing that they need to approach the Throne of God gingerly. It is a doctrine rooted in the Fear of Evil.
Somewhere along the line, Paul's admonition to the body of Christ in his general letter to the Hebrews has gotten lost.
"Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast (krateo) our confession (homologia) [of faith in Him].
"For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.
"Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]." (Hebrews 4:14-16, Amplified Bible)
I've underlined two critical portions of this instruction. The first part in verse 14 is illustrated in the word, confession. (The KJV uses the word, profession.) This word comes from the Greek, homologeo (or homologia), and it means: to say the same thing as, to agree with. Beyond the literal translation from the Greek word(s) this comes from a legal concept which is predicated in both the Greek and Hebrew Law. Homologeo is somewhat akin to testifying in a court of law under oath, with legal consequences for testifying falsely.
Before we continue on to the next example, let's re-amplify this verse from the Greek:
"Inasmuch then as we have a great and mighty High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us seize and retain our place of public and outspoken agreement with Him. (Hebrews 4:14, RAC Amplification)
Now, look at verse 16 with some slightly different amplification:
"Accordingly, let us boldly, frankly and bluntly with complete assurance approach the throne of favor and liberality, that we may receive His justice [and setting things in proper order] and find compassion to help in a timely manner for every need." (RAC Amplification)
The pictures that Paul draws here are nothing short of spectacular. Nothing -- and I do mean, NOTHING! -- in what He writes suggests or implies in any way that we need to come in fear and trembling before the Lord in our time of necessity. Everything he writes frames our position before Father God as family.
In any normal family, when children come to their father with a need or a desire, do they shake and tremble fearfully when they ask him for something, or do they ask matter-of-factly? If my kids (and they are all grown adults, most of them with children of their own) ask me for something, they think nothing of calling me and saying, "Dad, do you have (such and such), and can I get that from you?"
Why don't my children come with fear and timidity to ask something of me? Because they know that I love them, and that if I have it and it is in my power to help, they will have it. The same thing applies in our relationship with Father God. We have a love-relationship with Him! Does Jesus have a problem presenting His needs or desires to Father?
Does He have an qualms about presenting our need for healing, or deliverance, or material needs to Father?
The obvious and almost foolish answer to these questions is a loud and emphatic, NO! He is the only begotten and "firstborn among many sons" (see Hebrews 2:10) among whom we count ourselves! If, therefore, we are also sons of God, heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17), why is it that so many Christians have this issue about coming boldly before Father with our needs and requirements?
I can't think back to a single time in my 72-plus years when anyone has ever described me as "timid." OK! You can laugh, if you like, but there was never a time in my growing-up years when, if I had a need of something, or even a desire for something, that I had a second thought about asking my father or mother for it. When you grow up as a missionary's kid in arctic villages or communities, your needs and desires are somewhat shaped by the environment in which you live, but that didn't mean I didn't dream of having some of the things that I saw in the Sears & Roebuck catalogs or the Montgomery Ward catalogs.
Living in Nome, Alaska for the first nine years of our Alaskan adventures was a very different life than we were about to experience in the much-farther north, but Nome in the 1940's and early 1950's was still pretty much frontier living by any standard of measurement. Seeing a bicycle in the Sears & Roebuck catalog as a youngster became an instant desire. I showed my father a picture of the bicycle I wanted to have and asked him if he would buy it for me.
Naturally, my brother was going to have to get one as well (smile), but because he was younger he could do with a tricycle for the time being!
The bicycle would have to come from Seattle. That meant it would be shipped disassembled and come by air. I would have to wait for it, and I would have to wait until Dad had the money to buy it, but the immediate answer was, "Yes!" Dad did one other thing with me and that was to make certain that I presented my request for a bicycle to the Lord.
After all, Dad didn't have the money at the time, and if he was going to buy me a bicycle, the provision for the money would have to come from the Lord. So we presented the request to the Lord. No begging! No whining! No, "please, please, please can I have this?" Just a simple request presented in the confidence that my request was heard and responded to.
The wait would probably turn into at least a couple of months or more, but from the time I asked and Dad answered, it was settled! Just because the bicycle hadn't shown up yet didn't mean I didn't have it. From the moment I asked and Dad said he would do what he could to get it for me, I had my bicycle.
I could see that bicycle. I could envision myself riding that bicycle (and that would be a trick on the muddy streets of Nome, Alaska in 1949) but it was a settled fact for me from the moment I asked that the bicycle was mine and in my possession. It didn't matter that it might be three months before it was in my hands and I was actually able to ride it, that bike became mine!
Are you seeing the picture? The confidence that my father built in me was one he applied to our relationship with Father God. It was the way I grew up. My relationship with Father God was framed exactly like my relationship with my Dad. As the years have gone by since, it has become more and more clear that this Father-son relationship between a huge number of believers has been missing. The fact that our society has so contaminated the father-son or father-daughter connection with mother-only families in which the father is either absent, or has never been there, that it transitioned into the spiritual relationships of many, many folks when they come to Jesus Christ. There has never been a father-son or father-daughter model in their lives.
There are, of course, many other factors that play into this. Homosexual and lesbian liaisons which have been becoming more and more apparent as this age grows darker and darker worsen things for children who grow up with these perverted pictures.
We could talk about the role that divorce plays in distorting our image of Father God; we could talk about the problems that drugs and alcohol bring; there are a host of other things that interfere with our image of God as a loving Father. The point I'm making is that no matter what contaminated image of a father folks have struggled with, the Word makes abundantly clear who we are in Christ, and what He is in us!
We absolutely MUST overcome any place of timidity, fear, caution or drawing back when we come to Father. This applies all the more when we consider what Jesus paid for on our behalf, why He paid for it all, what His purpose is, the fact that we are His inheritance, and the fact that this term, aphiémi, speaks to our sins, past, present and future, the needs of our physical bodies, healing, as well as deliverance from Satan's holds and attachments to us.
If I haven't hammered it enough in this series or emphasized it enough, then here it is again! Aphiémi is eradication. Aphiémi is the complete wiping out of existence those things which have been held against us. Aphiémi is analogous to getting into a time machine and going back to a time before those things occurred which could be constituted as worthy of condemnation, judgment and execution.
Let's talk for just a minute about the time aspect of this word. First, consider the necessity of this in its more modern concept of "forgiveness" or "remission." Forgiveness and remission are essential for us when it comes to eternity, and that's because of the Law of Sin and Death. Most folks think of the Law within the framework of the Law of Moses, but the Law of Sin and Death came into existence with Adam's partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Law of Moses spelled out some of the details of the Law of Sin and Death, but the apostle Paul describes things like this.
Romans 4:15: "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
Here's my amplification of that statement from the Greek: Therefore, the Law fashions ire and justifiable abhorrence (of actions which violate it): for where there is no law, there can be no violation or act considered to be contrary.
Romans 7:9-11: "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me."
And here is my amplification of the Greek for this passage: In time past, apart from the existence of the Law, I was alive [and knew how to live]: but when [I became aware that] legal injunctions were instituted, offenses were suddenly restored, and I began to die. That same command and injunction, which was the very life and breath of God and designed to bring life [to me], I quickly perceived and found to be to my death. The erroneous acts which I had committed or participated in took advantage of my ignorance of the commands and injunctions of the Law, seduced and deceived me and used the Law to destroy me.
Are you seeing the picture? If there is no law or commandment to apply to you or your actions, then no legal consequence of your actions can be instituted. You cannot be found guilty of breaking a law that doesn't exist.
When Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he brought death into the human genome and he caused mankind to become subject to Satan, along with the Law of Sin and Death, and the curse that accompanied Satan. The Law of Moses codified a set of rules for behavior that, if adhered to and followed, would realign men and women with God, and with each other. However, the Law of Moses did not eradicate the now-defined sin or errors, and it did not eradicate the curse. Neither did it provide for the remission (or total erasure from existence) of sin.
When Jesus shed His blood, died on the Cross taking all sin and the curse with Him and deposited it at Satan's feet in Hell, and then rose from the dead, He provided a corresponding legal basis for our freedom from the Law of Sin and Death, the curse (and all sickness, disease, infirmity and poverty that accompanies the curse), and provided a means for us to go back in time -- legally -- so that no sin with its death consequences could be ascribed to and required of us.
The word Holy Spirit chose from the Greek to describe this legal move by the Lord Jesus Christ is aphiémi! Let's be clear about this, however. This is the legal status ONLY for those who are IN CHRIST JESUS. Once we have accepted, acknowledged and confessed that Jesus Christ IS our Messiah, our Redeemer, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and begin to live and walk in the life to which He has called us, even when we do blow it, sin cannot be ascribed or "imputed" to us with the consequences proscribed by the Law of Sin and Death.
Here's how John puts it in his first general letter to the body of Christ (See I John 2:1-2).
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [one who represents us] with [and before] the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation [coverer and eradicator] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
This 64-dollar word, propitiation, describes one who stands in on our behalf and says to Father, "It's OK, Father!
They're in me, and I'm walking them through this. They're covered and taken care of by the shedding of my blood and the stripes I took on their behalf." And THAT, my friends, is why we can come boldly before the Throne of Grace!
That's not to say we may not have consequences in this life for our actions. There IS a law of sowing and reaping that we may have to deal with, but as far as eternity is concerned, Jesus is our eternal life!
Gotta run. See you next week.
Again, if you are in need of healing -- especially if you have some terminal disease or prognosis of a very short time to live from the doctors -- please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday or Wednesday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#. To get into the queue for prayer, when Randy opens the call up for everyone, hit *6-1 on your keypad. Let us minister to your need for healing!
Blessings on you!
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