What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

Justification! It is a big word, and very often people miss its true meaning. What is it to be justified? It is to be cleared of all blame, to be freed from every charge. It is the sentence of the court in favor of the prisoner. The prisoner stands there, charged with certain things; the evidence is all heard, and the jury brings in a verdict of “Not guilty.” The man is justified.

Notice a most remarkable thing in these two verses. We have two things here, which God does for the believing sinner that no man could do for anyone else. You could not both forgive a man and justify him at the same time. If you forgive him, he cannot be justified. He must be guilty, and therefore, there is something to forgive. On the other hand, if you justify him, then you do not need to forgive him. Suppose, for instance, one had been charged with a certain crime, and after everything had been heard, the jury says, “Not guilty,” and the judge pronounces him free. As that man comes out of the courtroom, a friend says to him, “It was kind of the judge to forgive you, wasn’t it?”

The man replies, “He did not forgive me; I did not require his forgiveness. I was justified; I was proven not guilty and did not need to be forgiven.”

OUR RIGHTEOUS GOD IS INCAPABLE OF ERROR

Of course, human judges may sometimes make a mistake. You have heard the story of the man who was arrested, charged with stealing a gold watch and chain. After all the evidence of the complaining witness had been heard, the judge looked down at the prisoner and announced, “The sentence of this court is acquittal.”

The man leaned forward and said, “What was that you said, judge?”

“I said, the sentence of the court is acquittal.”

The man looked puzzled and said to the judge, “Judge, I just don’t understand what that means.”

“Well,” the judge explained, “I mean you are acquitted.”

“Well, judge, does that mean I gotta give the watch back?”

You see, the man was guilty, and the judge himself had been deceived.

But God will never be deceived. Nobody can ever put anything over on Him. He knows every sin that you and I have ever been guilty of—sins in thought, sins in word, and sins in deed; and then in addition to all of these, failure to do the things we know we ought to do can be just as truly sin as to commit overt acts of evil. And God knows all about it, and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

But God undertakes both to forgive the sin and to justify the sinner—to clear him of every charge when he puts his trust in His blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. You could not do that for anyone, but God can, and He does it because the Lord Jesus Christ in infinite grace condescended to take our place, to bear the judgment that our sins deserved, so that when we come to God, confessing our sins, over against all that sin and over against all that wickedness stands the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And on the basis of that, God says, “I forgive this man and accept him before My presence as though he had never sinned at all. I count him as righteous and justify him fully and completely.” That is the meaning of justification.

JUSTIFICATION OFFERS A NEW STANDING

You who have just recently come to trust the Savior, I wonder if you have entered into that. I wonder if you realize that the moment you trusted the Savior, that instant God gave you a new standing before Him. You stand before Him now as if you had never sinned at all. You say, “Well, I can’t forget my sins. They come up before me when I lie down at night; they come before me when I kneel to pray; and they are before me even in the daytime. There are so many things that I wish had never happened, and I sometimes wonder, since they come crowding in upon my mind as they do, whether they are really forgiven.”

Let me assure you, if you have really trusted Christ, they are not only forgiven, but forgotten. God says, “Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” and if God has forgotten them, then you and I may well say, “I too will seek to forget, and say with Paul, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’” (Philippians 3:13-14).

God Himself is the author of our justification. We read in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 8, and really in one sense I am beginning at the wrong end; I am beginning where God leaves off here in the Epistle to the Romans, but I am beginning where I think you and I as sinners need to begin. In Romans 8, we read that it is God Himself who justifies. Take verse 33:

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

We are justified by God, the source of it. It is He who has taken up this question, who has gone into it fully and completely, and He says, “Now I am satisfied to acknowledge as righteous the man who trusts My blessed Son.”

A TRULY WICKED AND VILE SINNER

Some years ago a friend of mine was preaching in a certain place, and somebody came to him one day and said, “Could you come and see a woman who is very sick? We are afraid she is dying. She is troubled about her soul and doesn’t seem to understand the way.” Of course he gladly went as any of us would under such circumstances. As he entered the room and sat down beside the bed, the woman said, “Tell me what is necessary in order that my soul may be saved and my sins forgiven.” He told her the old, old story, the story of the Cross. He told her how “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He told her how, hanging on that cross in those awful hours of darkness, our blessed Lord Jesus, as the substitute for sinners, drank the cup of wrath that we deserved and made full satisfaction for iniquity; and now God can justify everyone who believes in Him, whom He raised from the dead.

When he finished, she said, “Oh yes, I know, I understand all that, but I don’t see how I can know that my sins are forgiven.” So again, very patiently, he went over the same story, but tried to present it in a little different light. He told her that the Lord Jesus was the one great sacrifice for sin, that He offered Himself for our sins, that He was made sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. And when he finished, she said, “Yes, I understand that, but is that all that is required?”

The evangelist sprang from his seat. He was a very fiery man by nature, and sometimes the fire came out even after he became a Christian. He said in a tone that shook the room, “You wicked woman!”

And she, lying there so sick, was almost terrified and said to him, “Oh, sir, why do you talk to me like that?”

“You wicked woman, you vile woman! You ask me what is necessary in order that you may be saved. I tell you how God has bankrupted Heaven to save your guilty soul. I tell you how He has sent His own blessed Son to give His life for you. I tell you how He was forsaken of God upon that Tree, and you have the insolence to look up into the very face of God and say, ‘Is that all?’ What more would you want? It is all that God Himself could do.”

She burst into tears and exclaimed, “Oh, sir, I understand. I did not realize what I was saying. Oh, I thank God for what He has done. It is enough! If it is enough for God, it surely is enough for me!”

EVEN THE WICKED MAY BE JUSTIFIED

Oh, that is it! The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself. He loved me, and gave Himself for me.

God sent Him. God saw you and me in our deep, deep need, and He sent Him to die for us, and now it is God who justifies the ungodly. God justifies the godly, the good, the pure, the true, and the noble! No, God justifies poor, lost, guilty sinners when they “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). It is our faith in the Word of God and the work of Christ that is counted for righteousness. Read Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The basis of it all is given in Romans 5:9, where we read, beginning with verse 8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

We who believe are now justified. It is not that we may, as some people put it, have a good hope of salvation, that we may hope that we shall be justified at last, that we may hope that in the day of judgment everything will be all right; but we are now justified—every believer in Christ.

Oh, so many of our hymns were written by people who hadn’t full assurance of salvation, and they express so often the desire that they may be cleansed and justified. How many real believers sing, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!” And yet everyone who has truly trusted the Lord Jesus Christ is already washed, made white by the blood of the Lord Jesus, justified by God.

WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR JUSTIFICATION?

His blood! It is because of what He did. It is because of the blood He shed—the shedding of His precious blood; it is the giving up of His life. It is His life for ours—His holy, spotless life over against our sinful, wicked lives. The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me.

Somebody might say, “Well, I just do not understand what you mean. You talk about being justified by blood. In what sense could one be justified or cleansed by blood?” Let me give you an illustration. Out in the state of Washington, at the time of the first World War, four or five convicts in some way or another got over the wall of the penitentiary and escaped. After several weeks, they were all captured except one who was never located, at least not until the circumstances which I am going to mention.

He was able to get away, and eventually under an assumed name he joined the Army. After a period of training, he was sent across to France. One day, however, some other soldiers were added to the number, and one of them looked at this man and said, “I remember him. I knew him back in the state of Washington years ago. That’s so-and-so. He is not going by his right name. I remember when he was condemned to the penitentiary for burglary.”

He went to the officer in charge and told him what he knew about the man. The officer in turn wrote to the War department and asked, “What am I to do with this man? He is an escaped convict.” Washington sent word back to arrest him and return him to America as a prisoner. But in the meantime something had happened which made that impossible.

THE VALUE OF A MAN’S BLOOD

One night a number of men were wanted for a very, very dangerous duty, and the Captain said, “I am not going to ask any man to do the thing that I am going to tell you about, but I hope some of you will volunteer. I want some men to crawl out in the dark across No Man’s Land and find out what the foe is planning to do. It is a very dangerous undertaking—you may not get back—so I am not going to appoint anyone, but will ask for volunteers.”

Four men stepped right out, and among them was this convict. Under cover of darkness, they crawled out over No Man’s Land. There were shells falling all around them, but three of them got through safely. The fourth man, the convict, apparently had got clear through to the enemy and secured the information and was coming back, when a shell fell and burst so near him that he was killed. They brought his mangled body in, and when the officer received the word from Washington to return that man a prisoner to this country, the officer wrote back, “He has washed out his crimes in his own blood.” He had given himself, he had given his life, and the giving of his life had washed out his crime against the government, though of course this did not touch the question of his sin against God.

JUSTIFICATION IS FREELY GIVEN
The Lord Jesus Christ was absolutely without offense. He was the holy Son of God, but He looked upon us poor sinners in our deep need, and He took our place in judgment. He went to the Cross, and He bore what our sins deserved. He poured out His life in the shedding of His precious blood, and when we receive Him, we can say that He has washed out our sins in His precious blood. He had no sins of His own for which to die. He was there for our sins.

Oh, why was He there as the Bearer of sin,
If on Jesus thy guilt was not laid?
Oh, why from His side flowed the sin-cleansing blood,
If His dying thy debt has not paid?

He took your place. Have you trusted Him? Do you believe God’s sure promise? If you have, you are justified by His blood.

“Well,” you say, “on what principle does God thus justify? The Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3 and verse 24, tells us:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

God justifies men by grace, not because of merit. You and I had no merit. Everything was against us. Demerit was ours, and no merit did we have to plead. But now God says in grace, “I am ready to take up that man and save him, if he will but receive and confess My Son as his Lord.” It is so hard for people to understand this. Men always seem to get the idea that they must do something in order to merit God’s favor. It would not be grace if it were merited. Grace is unmerited favor, and it is favor to those who have merited the very opposite. That is grace.

GRACE TO THE UNDESERVING
Suppose, just to use a very hackneyed illustration, that my sons were still school boys and there is a rowdy, regular bully in the neighborhood, and he falls upon one or the other of them and knocks him down and steals his books and his lunch basket, and then when I go out to talk to him, this bully turns on me and strikes me and stones my house, breaking my best plate-glass window. I have every reason to be thoroughly provoked with him. I would have a perfect right, you know, to go to the police and have him arrested and charged with assault and battery, and one thing or another. But suppose, instead of that, I wait, and on some cold winter day, I happen to see that young rowdy, and, as I am watching, I see him fall in the snow, and I run out after him. I learn that he has had no one to care for him. He is an orphan and has no father or mother to look after him, and I find he staggered and fell because of lack of food, he was so weak. When he sees me coming, he staggers to his feet and tries to run away. But he cannot get away because I have hold of his arm. He looks up at me and pleads, “I’ll never do it again, if you will let me go.”

But I say, “You won’t get away.” I bring him into my own home, warm him up, feed him, and give him a suit of clothes belonging to one of my sons. I take care of him and show him every kindness. He can’t understand it, but his heart is won. This is grace. He merited the very opposite, did he not?

Grace is favor shown to the undeserving. If people deserved it, it would not be favor; and so you cannot deserve God’s salvation. Often when I say to somebody, “I hope you are on your way to Heaven,” I receive the reply, “Well, I am doing my best to get there.” It is not a question of doing your best. It is a question of receiving the grace of God as manifested in Christ Jesus.

HOW DO YOU MAKE IT YOUR OWN?
In what way is salvation applied to you individually? We read in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justified by faith!

Faith is believing God and asking no questions. It is taking God at His Word. God says, “I am satisfied with the work which My Son has done. Because of that work, I raised Him from the dead and now offer to justify any poor sinner who comes to Me in My Son’s name and trusts in Him.” If you have come, you have a right to say: “Being justified by faith, I have peace with God [everything settled between me and God] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have you said it? If not, say it now. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8).

The resurrection of Christ, you know, is the declaration, the seal of it all. In the previous verses, at the end of the fourth chapter of Romans, we read, beginning with verse 22: “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” That is, when Abraham believed God, it [his faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. And then we read:

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)

That is justification by His resurrection. Why? Because His resurrection tells of God’s satisfaction in the work that His Son has done. When He hung upon that Cross, He was bearing our sins, He was taking our place, dying there in the sinner’s stead. Now, if He had never come out of that tomb, it would show that redemption was never accomplished. If that tomb remained sealed and the body of Jesus remained in it, then it would show that it was all a farce, and I would not dare to trust Him as my Savior at all. But see, it is the third day, and His resurrection is the divine declaration that all who believe on Him and rely on Him are justified from all things.

ISN’T THERE ANOTHER SIDE OF ALL THIS?
But I know that some of you have been saying in your hearts, or thinking subconsciously at least, “Yes, but there is another side to it. Doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that faith without works is dead?” Yes, it does, for we read, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

“Well,” someone asks, “does not that contradict what you have been telling us?”

Not at all. You need to see exactly what it is that various writers of the Epistles are dwelling on. The apostle Paul (and practically all of our references have been from his writings), is telling how poor sinners may be justified before God. But now we turn over to the Epistle of James to find out how we who have professed to believe in Christ may be justified before men.

Suppose I say to my companions in the world, “I have just come to Christ, and I am justified from all things.” They have a right to look at me, at my life, to see for themselves whether there is any change in my life. You see, in order to be justified before them, in order to be justified before men, I have to manifest by my good works the fact that I have received a new and a divine nature. Let me read it to you.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (James 2:14)

That is, what kind of faith? A faith that has no works? Where there is real faith in Christ, one’s work will be different. His life will never again be what it used to be. Everything will be changed.

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:15-17)

REAL FAITH IS MANIFESTED BY YOUR WORKS

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18)

I cannot show my faith without works, but I can show my faith by my works. If I put my faith in Christ and have trusted Him as my Savior, I have been justified before God, justified freely, justified for nothing, justified without cost, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Now as I live for the One who has justified me, as I devote my redeemed life to the glory of the One who has saved me, my confession is justified before men. Men who get to know me will say, “That man is real; that man is genuine; he lives what he professes.” Do they say that of you? Does your life testify to the reality of the faith that you profess? If you have trusted Christ, you are complete in Him, you are justified freely by His grace. Now by a life devoted to His interests, you are to prove to those around you the reality of that faith of which you speak. ~ by Harry Ironside

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In the last year I have come across a growing number of people bearing the name Christian and at the same time accepting active freemasonry within the same breath. My hope with this blog is to provide the reader with intelligent, organized, and biblical information in order to measure the teachings of freemasonry against the […]

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What Does it Mean To Be Justified by God?

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39) Justification! It is a big word, and very often […]

When what you're reading in your Bible and what is coming from the pulpits aren't aligning.

When what you're reading in your Bible and what is coming from the pulpits aren't aligning.

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Corinthians 11:4

As unsettling changes take place in your Christian environment, you might find yourself in this scenario:

  1. In my Christian reading, I get a gritty feeling about a phrase here or a teaching there. Then . . .
  2. I sense that new meanings are being applied to established Christian terms. Then . . .
  3. I find outright heresy in books and/or sermons.
  4. I notice certain names repeated in those sermons or in the endnotes of books.
  5. I voice concern to my minister, but he’s dismissive: “Now, now, we can’t all agree on everything.”
  6. I see acceptance of practices that I’ve discovered are misleading: Eastern wellness techniques . . .
  7. and contemplative prayer . . .
  8. and interspirituality.
  9. But I also wonder if I’m missing out, if I’m not as spiritual as others who are having “experiences.”
  10. I come to realize that I can’t blindly follow authorities; they may be losing their grasp of the Scriptures. I’ll get into the Word for myself, stay connected to the church [the body of Christ] and to the real Jesus.

That gritty feeling

A phrase or idea sounds “off” in a seemingly solid book: “the Christ-thing which has no name.” (John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted); “Our souls are those sacred centers where all is one.” (Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey); “There is nothing wrong . . . with eroticism in worship.” (Tony Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point)

Same vocabulary, different dictionary

Terms that have traditionally been associated with the church have been infused with new meaning, like: Christ, God, atonement, kingdom, silence, spirituality, meditation, incarnational . . .

Outright false teaching on foundational doctrines

Rob Bell on the virgin birth, Jesus’ deity, truth of Scripture: If “Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time,” Bell says, we wouldn’t lose any significant part of our faith, since it’s more about how we live. (Velvet Elvis, p. 26)

Brian McLaren on salvation: “I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts.” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 260)

Alan Jones on the atonement: “The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end . . . [because of] . . . the vindictive God behind it.” (Reimagining Christianity, p. 68.)

Foster, Willard, Peterson, Brueggeman reject the messianic passages in Isaiah, calling them “poetic imagination.” (Renovare Study Bible notes)

Sue Monk Kidd, on goddess worship: “My soul is my own. It is all right for women to follow the wisdom in their souls, to name their truth, to embrace the Sacred Feminine. . . . She is in us.” (www.christianitytoday.com/ct/article_print.html?id=45557)

Endnotes

Among those who promote mysticism (some inadvertently) is a pattern in the sources being quoted. Learn to check the endnotes in popular books. Some key names: Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, Desert Fathers, John of the Cross, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, Madame Guyon . . .

Dismissive leaders in the local church

The response to your concerns/research: “Well, I haven’t heard about this, so you must be wrong.” Or “That’s a brilliant scholar you’re criticizing!”

Eastern wellness techniques

Yoga (union with the divine), reiki (spirit energy), and mindfulness are brought into our culture from paganism, often somewhat sanitized and/or billed as non-religious. Compare manifestations of kundalini (coiled) yoga and the Toronto Blessing/IHOP movement. Catholic writer Philip St. Romain equates kundalini serpent power to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Contemplative prayer

An integral part of “spiritual formation” disciplines, contemplative prayer (aka centering prayer, abiding prayer, breath prayer, prayer of the heart, Jesus prayer) is described by Richard Foster as: wordless (no content), not for the novice (exclusive), unmediated, and dangerous. Thomas Merton gives the dangers: you could lose your faith, contact a demon, be led into false belief by your own imagination, feel a dread sense that God has abandoned you, or have a mental breakdown. No Scripture prescribes the following ritual to achieve union with the divine: sit quietly, use measured breathing, repeat a phrase over and over for 20 minutes until your mind is empty. Is this altered mental state really the one way to achieve union with God, as mystics claim? . . . Aren’t Christians already covered with the blood of Jesus and indwelled with the Holy Spirit?

One Christian blogger expressed what thousands of proclaiming Christians are coming to believe about meditation: “The ridiculous theological squabblings between adherents of different faiths disappear when the thoughts that produce all that dissension are stilled. Call it centering prayer; call it mantra meditation. The practice is the same, and it brings mystics together under the sheltering tent of wordless reality.”

Interspirituality/Interfaith dialogue

Do these terms mean “doing benevolent work with people of other faiths” or “blending religions”? We’re hearing about Chrislam, Christian Zen, Buddhist Catholics, and demon-invoking ceremonies in churches. Also adopted from paganism and moving into the church are labyrinths, rosaries, monks and monasteries, enforced celibacy, extreme asceticism, visualization, consulting the dead, channeling, and goddess worship.

Missing out on something?

You may begin to question your own faith. Others are having spiritual experiences—seeing lights or spiritual beings, visualizing Jesus for a personal message, feeling an ecstatic unity with all mankind and the universe—all of which can subtly begin to take precedence over the authority of God’s Word and the Lord Jesus.

Naïve acceptance

Perhaps you haven’t felt the need to question Christian study materials until recently. But how are destructive heresies secretly introduced? Why are doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-3) associated with asceticism, and how is the church exposed to them? How could demonic doctrines be so clever that the elect [the whosoevers] could be deceived?

Who is “the Christ-thing which has no name”? Would God refer to his Son in that way? What are the implications of “eroticism in worship”? When confronted with several wrongly translated texts in The Message Bible, someone from the publisher dismissed the problem by asking, “Does anyone really know what any of the Bible really means anyway?”

Conclusion

Ironically, a couple of insightful Western Buddhists seem to see the problem better than we do, probably because they understand pagan doctrine. From a Buddhist’s review (2008) of Rob Bell’s popular book: “Velvet Elvis contains enough inconsistencies of logic and violations of orthodox Christian theology to raise the hairs on the back of any well-read and deep-thinking Christian’s neck.” And from a Buddhist blogger to his student on how to convert Christians to Buddhism: “If this information [Merton’s teachings, for example] could be taught in the Seminaries it might start to impact the various preachers 10 or 20 years down the road. This is the angle I’m working. If the preachers are inwardly ‘Buddhists’ in their hearts, then you don’t need to beat your head against the wall dealing with ignorant congregants.”

Take heed that no one deceives you.


This article is from Lynn Lusby Pratt’s blog. Used with permission. Click here to see the source page and also if you want to download the above article and an expanded version of it. Lynn is the author of two Lighthouse Trails booklets.


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Things satan has said and continues to say: “Has God indeed said…” Genesis 3:1 “You will be like God…” Genesis 3:5 “I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:14 The above are just a few scriptures of what satan has said from the beginning. After all, if you can be a god, and […]

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a spiritual Ebola virus.

In Deuteronomy 18:10-11 we read: There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. We can read similar warnings […]

There is no fear of the Lord…..

Here are some facts about crucifixion. The person would support his weight by pushing up from the legs while simultaneously pulling up from the wrists. As the leg muscles would tire, he would have to allow his body to hang limp while struggling to breathe. This process continued until the leg muscles gave out, forcing […]

Once indoctrinated ….. but now free.

Religious indoctrination, the original sense of indoctrination, refers to a process of imparting doctrine in an authoritative way, as in catechism.  I am certain my parents were doing what they thought was best, doing what their parents taught them, and what their parents, parents taught them and so on and so on, handing down a set of cultural and […]

The Shack is theology wrapped in a story.

I personally know many ‘pastors’ and ‘leaders’ who have embraced this book (movie) The Shack and actually continue to promote it to their congregations. I hope this authors newer work will open peoples eyes who have been seduced by The Shack and it’s universalist author Paul Young. Especially the leaders who should be protecting the […]

The masks we wear and the outward condition.

The masks we wear and the outward condition.

While we all have a different journey (and story) to the Lord there is only one way to be reconciled back to God. My outward condition was open for all to see clearly that I needed help and my inward condition was equally corrupt I was decaying from the inside out.  I was reaching the end of myself and I would end up on my knees crying out to this Jesus I had heard of so many times.

I knew I just couldn’t keep working my way through life anymore. I was exhausted, hungry, and lost. This time, the exhaustion, hunger, and wandering wasn’t physical.  I had tried everything I knew to “get better” and nothing worked.  This time, I called out to Him for real, meaning it and desiring Him to save me from this life I had lived.  Knowing that He alone a gift of grace from God, received by faith and faith alone to be justified by Jesus Christ and be reconciled back to my Creator, my Heavenly Father, a gift none of us deserve. I would eventually come to respond to Jesus Christ but my journey to Him was still a long road to travel.  It wasn’t God who was distant from me; I kept my distance from Him. He is not hard to find. He is a very present help in times of trouble. I just thought I could figure this all out on my own.

We think we can try hard enough, and have enough “fortitude” and “push through” in our own strength.  I would come to know and understand, apart from Him, I can do nothing. Apart from Him I would continue to find myself in valleys and going around mountains of destruction over and over again. Everything man and the world had to offer had failed to “change” me. All the psychology, psychiatrists, mental tests, and human science modalities had proven over and over again to bear no fruitfulness in my life.  If there had been any change it was very temporary never able to sustain real transformation.  To date, these same modalities would not be what finally did bring about a true everlasting change.

To realize that I can do nothing to earn, keep, or work for salvation is both a relief and humbling at the same time. To recognize that I was (we all are) born spiritually dead and in sin and the only way to God is to be spiritually reborn (John 3:3).  Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Many people struggle through religion, rituals, tradition, self-atonement, works of the Law, and none of those things will reconcile a person back to God.  Jesus Christ had many things to say regarding the “Law keepers” of His day.  Jesus says Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead peoples bones and all uncleanliness.” I knew I needed help the only help that can truly change a person is found in Jesus Christ alone and his finished work on the cross. Sadly, many people and religion have a form of holiness, morality, and altruism, but none of it has the power to save a soul.

What is the Gospel?


Trusting God Through It All

“But I’m a good person”…are you, am I, according to whom?

“But I’m a good person”…are you, am I, according to whom?

I often ponder why we do not think about our only two choices once we leave this earthly vessel.

  • Is it we are too busy?
  • We just don’t care?
  • Is it too frightening?
  • We simply think I live a “good” life surely that counts for something? 

I can only speak for myself as to why I never thought of my eternal destination and it was because I was “living my best life now” and didn’t care about what would happen once I died.  I would just figure it out when I got closer to it all. Or perhaps I would just implode into “nothing” and that is a very comforting delusion to tell ourselves, as is the delusion of some place in between for a second chance or “working” it off before heaven somehow. I can say now, as I continue on this pilgrimage through the world, that God is much less concerned about us “living our best life now, or being the best versions of ourselves” things I hear both from the secular world and those saying such in the Name of Christ, or under the guise of Christianity.

The above very popular clichés are just that, clichés, they still focus on self, (me, me, me, me) which is the very antithesis of the message of the Cross of Jesus.  In Luke 9:23 Jesus says “If anyone desires to follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

This putting off coming to the Lord is not unique to me.  Jesus spoke of this very issue explicitly and quite clearly in The Gospel of Matthew chapter 8-9 (including many other places and examples in the Word of God). In Matthew chapter 8 we see our human condition of wanting what we want, how we want it, and at the same time wanting the “benefits” of heaven.  In this chapter and leading up to it Jesus had already healed people and people were marveled at His teaching and the multitudes followed Him. 

Only a handful were actually following Him in THE Way He is to be followed. Most were simply following Him for “what they could get out of it” versus truly understanding their spiritual condition and the need to know Him. Jesus says something in Matthew 8:22 that seems so cruel at first glance. (But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”) Jesus responded to a man who seemed to want to follow Him, BUT…the man had things to do first.  We all make excuses, plan our lives and when we are ready then we might choose Him. 

Most of the time, we choose a version of “jesus” that fits our life, our way, our traditions, our culture, a version that is comfortable. “A jesus” on our own terms, in which we can still control how we do things; but these different versions of Jesus Christ sadly will not save your soul.  The Scriptures tell us this very thing that we will (and do) happily accept another jesus, another spirit and another gospel. 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” If a false christ, a false gospel were not possible, scripture wouldn’t warn over and over and over again that it is in fact so. Jesus wouldn’t emphatically warn to take care you are not deceived if deception were not so.

As a nurse working in an emergency room I see people die every day. At one time I would find some odd coping mechanism to deal with seeing death on a regular basis. Now, when I see a dead body rolling to the hospital morgue I am overwhelmed with utter despair and grief.  That despair and grief is not for the family of the loved one they just lost, rather for the one that is dead, and I ruminate and cry to the Lord in tears with only one cry…Lord did they KNOW You? Did they know Jesus Christ of Nazareth or did they follow another jesus, another spirit, another gospel? 

That question that takes my breath away in my spirit is overwhelming. It is overwhelming because of the reality of such a question. We will spend more time picking out what we are going to wear for the day, what meal we are going to cook one evening, what things need to be done around the house, or when we need our hair done next than we do our very real eternities.

“But I am a good person”

Are you?

Am I?

According to whom?

Perhaps you think that God is good, and will therefore overlook your sins. But it is His goodness, that will make sure that murderers, rapists, adulterers, thieves, blasphemers, liars, etc. receive justice. He would be a corrupt Judge if He turned a blind eye to injustice.

If a convicted murderer were standing in a courtroom before a judge, and the judge just simply let him go free, no jail time, no probation, no fines…. just free, we would have a meltdown because “justice wasn’t served”  ….The reality is… we are all murderers, rapists, thieves, adulterers, liars, blasphemers etc. Nothing but Christs sacrifice can acquit us of our guilty verdict before a holy God.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our lives are but a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away.

Romans 5:19-21

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 3

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–So we are made right (justified) with God through faith and not by obeying the law. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.

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How many gods do you actually believe in?

How many gods do you actually believe in?

Whether it’s 330 (33 million, or ’just’ 33 depending on the hindu source) million ‘gods’ in hinduism or the 10,000 in rome — the point is that polytheism is polytheism.

Although if you were to ask a hindu if they were polytheistic, they would likely respond with a ‘no’, as would most people who follow the teachings of rome. Neither party would ‘consider’ themselves polytheistic — but they are, in actions.

Prayer is defined in its most basic form as an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.

In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity (a god). When praying to a ‘god’ (‘saints’, ‘dead relatives’, ’spirits’ etc) other than GOD the Creator of all that is: the person (consciously or subconsciously) is assigning Gods attributes (omnipresent, omniscience, omnipotence) to that object of affection: so by default making that object an idol or a god.

Whether the person calls the object (s) of worship/adoration an idol or god or not, they’ve made that object (s) a god by their deeds, despite a conflicting verbal refutation of the former.

  • You shall have NO other gods before Me.”
  • “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God……”Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Acts 17:29
  • “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
  • “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

There is no fear of the Lord…..

Here are some facts about crucifixion.


The person would support his weight by pushing up from the legs while simultaneously pulling up from the wrists. As the leg muscles would tire, he would have to allow his body to hang limp while struggling to breathe. This process continued until the leg muscles gave out, forcing the condemned to hang and suffocate.


In some circumstances, an executioner needed to end the crucifixion. To do so, the soldiers would break the persons legs by smashing the femur bones with a large, heavy mallet. This prevented the person from being able to push up from the feet to reposition the diaphragm for breathing, thus forcing him to suffocate.


Jesus Christs legs (bones) were not broken as was prophesied Exodus 12:46 also echoed prophetically in Psalms 34:20


It has been said that a broken femur is one of the most painful things a person can experience. The initial physical pain of having both femurs shattered at the same time would be devastating. Furthermore, the psychological torture of feeling death approaching would be mentally unbearable. Even though the condemned may want to die because of the intense suffering of hanging on the cross for so long, the simple fact is that the human brain and body are designed for survival. Pushing up on the legs to breathe is painful, but it satisfies that innate survival instinct.
The nails driven into the wrists would pierce the main nerve running through the arm. When the victim pushed up to breathe, the wrists rotated against the nail, which would irritate the nerves and cause intense pain in the arms. The direct exposure of the nerve to the thick slab of metal produced a constant, recurring pain that had to be endured every time the crucified person pulled up to breathe.


This would be like someone having an arm cut off and then having a piece of bone pressed into the open wound and twisted into the nerve.
Crucifixion involved more than just nailing someone to a cross. It was proceeded by a beating with a nine-tailed whip that had metal tips and bone clippings on the end of every strap.The executioner strapped the person to a block of wood while soldiers beat the shard tips of the whip into the back, buttocks, and legs of the condemned. The bones would tear into the flesh and then rip both skin and muscle away when retracted.
This was known as flogging and would sometimes last for extended periods of time. The purpose was to mar the victim beyond recognition up to, but not through, the point of death. Oftentimes, the tails of the whips reached over the back and clung into the front of the shoulders and the chest. The torturers also repeatedly lashed the skull, face, and neck. This tearing away of the human flesh put the victim into an immediate state of shock. Major blood loss ensued.


This continued after being nailed up. Every time the condemned shifted weight from the feet to the arms then back to the feet, his back rubbed against the splintered wood, causing a constant stabbing into the open flesh. Some of the wooden shreds remained lodged in the muscles and exposed nerve endings. Others simply tore the wounds even further open and then continued to streak the back with gore as the person shifted.
The initial beating alone was enough to induce the onset of hypovolemic shock. This occurs when a person loses 20 percent or more of the body’s blood supply. The blood loss depletes the body of oxygen and prevents the heart from pumping more blood, which results in even less reaching the cells. The cycle is vicious and can continue until the person dies from the condition.


The symptoms of hypovolemic shock include nausea, profuse sweating, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Victims would frequently vomit, which, in some cases, hastened the speed of suffocation as bodily fluids choked and gagged victims who were already struggling to breathe.
This happens at the onset of the crucifixion. The vertical beam is already in the ground. The victim carries the horizontal beam, and then the executioner nails him to it while on the ground. With the person’s wrists nailed into the horizontal beam, the executioner lifts and then hammers it into the vertical beam.


When this happens, the persons feet still aren’t nailed into the vertical beam. Therefore he has nothing to push up with, and the weight of the hanging body, once raised, pulls the shoulders out of their sockets. The body then sinks lower, dislocates the wrists.


The result is that the arms are extended at least 15 centimeters (6 in) beyond their normal span of reach. This causes the body to hang in an extended, slumped position, which forces the chest cavity to protrude outward. The extended chest cavity allows for inhalation but makes exhaling nearly impossible. The effect from this is that carbon dioxide is not released from the body as is done through proper exhalation during the natural process of breathing.


Since the body doesn’t get enough oxygen while hanging on the cross, the natural physiological response is to hyperventilate. Not being able to do so, however, the heart pumps harder, trying to overcompensate for the lack of oxygen. The heart then goes into cardiac stress, which can even cause it to rupture inside the chest cavity.


Symptoms of hyperventilation include fever and anxiety. Fever produces aches in the muscles. Since the muscles are already cramping and in spasm, this adds more complication to the severity of the pain. Given the fact that the victim is literally dying in (and from) pain, he is already exceedingly nervous and anxious. Coupling this with the body’s physiological responses makes for a sense of nervousness and central nervous system shock that most people today will never experience in their lifetime. When a victim his hung on the cross, the knees are bent at a 45-degree angle. This forces the person to sustain the weight of the body with the thigh muscles. It is painful to bend the knees and support one’s weight with the thighs alone for even five minutes. Doing this for hours, even days, is unimaginable.
The natural way for our vital organs to receive oxygen is through the flow of blood. Proper movement of the body’s exterior limbs (arms and legs) and their interaction with gravity facilitate this process. The cross interferes. The stationary arms and legs, combined with gravity’s work of pulling the blood downward, prevents the vital organs from receiving the proper flow of oxygen.


The organs respond. The body’s natural tool for communication when something is wrong is pain. So, the vital organs signal to the brain that something is not right. They do this through the nerves that lead to the pain centers of the brain. Thus, along with all the other excruciating tortures on the cross, the oxygen-deprived organs scream unimaginable pain signals to the brain.


Aside from the ten facts above, it is important to remember two things: First, these do not happen in one nice sequence, with one occurring and then the victim having time to prepare for the next. They all happen at the same time. The combined effect is immense physical pain and torture. Second, the process of crucifixion lasted a long time. This list covers what happens, but reading it takes ten minutes. In some cases, crucifixion has lasted as long as ten days.


Crucifixion was more painful than just feeling three nails.
It was an excruciating way to suffer and to die.

Multiple sources cited

The above screenshot is from a “pastor” …..

The understanding of the Holiness of God is clearly lacking worldwide, as is reverence for Him.

Are we now calling sin a “hang up?” Really? No, seriously really?

Let’s soften sin a bit more, as not to offend anyone… and while we’re at it … also let’s just forget God is Holy, and He will not be mocked.

Yes He is Love, He is merciful, He is long suffering…. but do not forget HE is Holy.

He didn’t come as a man, Jesus Christ to “get hung up!”

Jesus Christ laid HIS life down willingly … no one took it from Him. And He did so while we were still sinners.  Romans 5:8

This screenshot (and posts/sermons) and many like it come from “leaders” and “pastors”… this is a complete insult to the word of God, a mockery of Jesus Christ’s atonement and an ignorance of our sin against a Holy God. And the “congregations” love it!

They “Amen” this junk and say preach more smooth sugary words to us! We love it! Scratch our itching ears … we love it! Preach it preacha’ and make us feeeeel goooood!

2 Tim 4:3
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Let’s get back to how God defines and sees things …

Here’s the biblical truth:

We are ALL guilty before a Holy God! Every human being born stands guilty before God. Romans 3:10-12

Every single person born has transgressed Gods law. If you’ve lied just one time in your life – you’ve transgressed Gods whole Law. And you’re a liar. If you’ve so much as stolen a paper clip from work – you’re a thief and stand guilty before God. Romans 3:23

God does not “compartmentalize” sin as we like to justify ourselves as in “well it was just a paper clip it’s not like it was armed robbery”…. no … you’re a thief, as am I.

The ONLY (John 14:6) way to escape the wrath of God is to realize you (me) are guilty before a Holy God, and understand (believe by faith in Christ alone)  that Jesus Christ didn’t “get hung up” …HE LAID HIS life down and paid the penalty for our guilt to satisfy the debt WE OWE!

We all deserve an eternity in hell, despite what the emerging church will tell you that there is no such place or another comforting delusion that you can atone for yourself after death… Hell is just as real as Heaven. And not one person deserves Heaven. Romans 6:23

Christ’s work on that cross paid our debt in full .. once and only once and for “whosoever should call upon the name of the Lord!” Acts 4:12

The Shack is theology wrapped in a story.

THE SHACK
Photo credit The Shack of Lies from Good Fight Ministries

I personally know many ‘pastors’ and ‘leaders’ who have embraced this book (movie) The Shack and actually continue to promote it to their congregations. I hope this authors newer work will open peoples eyes who have been seduced by The Shack and it’s universalist author Paul Young. Especially the leaders who should be protecting the sheep and not leaving the gates of the pastures open to wolves. How beautiful is the truth that even this blasphemy against Christ Himself, Christ says one can still be forgiven and have eternal life in Him…. that is mercy, that is love! (Matthew 12:30-32)

The Shack and its’ deceptive message:

When People Say, “But The Shack is Just a Novel!”

THESHACK

“Shack Author: Now Jesus is Pregnant with Adam Paul Young, author of The Shack, Eve, and The Lies We Believe About God, is pulling many away from the Savior and the Word of God. His Mother Goddess is only one of many theological problems he presents via his books and appearances.] [Following the release of Paul Young book Eve], Don Veinot of Midwest Christian Outreach intervewed James B. DeYoung, the author of Burning Down The Shack and The Lies Paul Young Believes About God. DeYoung was friends with The Shack author Paul Young, and was one of the first to learn that Paul Young had rejected the biblical God. He is a semi-retired seminary professor. The interview segment below is transcribed from the video…It lasts two minutes or so. Here DeYoung speaks of Paul Young’s book, Eve. Please note how Young, once again misinterpreting the meaning of El Shaddai, spews forth a mutated version of Christ. Here is the brief, transcribed portion of the video. Professor James B. DeYoung is speaking, starting at 31 minutes and 32 seconds: 31:32 Eve is Paul Young’s novel dealing with rewriting Genesis chapters one, two, and three, the story of Creation, and then the making of Adam and Eve. And the way that in Paul Young’s view that Adam and Eve came into being is that the Earth Man, who is Jesus Christ becomes pregnant with Adam, and after nine months gives birth to Adam, and then after Adam becomes pregnant with Eve, Adam gives birth to her after nine months… …and both of these infants at that time, immediately after birth, nurse at Jesus’ breasts. That to me is almost shameful for me to say that kind of thing, but I relate that because I think that Paul Young is imbibing at the drink of pagan mythology, myths that were in vogue in the Canaanite…” Read more here: http://ow.ly/KZpy50vaFje

Art Designer of  “The Shack” Book Cover Says He Regrets His Involvement: 

 

“I look back and see how little discernment I had. And I regret and apologize also for waiting this long to publicly share this,” he writes. 

He says the problem is that the book advocated for universal reconciliation or universal salvation, a doctrine that claims that since Jesus died for all, then all are saved, whether they believe it and receive Him personally or not.

Aldrich says this is a grave distortion of John 3:16. 

He goes on to say that John 3:18 makes Jesus’ purpose clear:

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

THE SHACK.JPGThe Shack Designer regrets involvement