One of the most devastating phrases in Christianity

30 10 2017

Survey the crossThere is a phrase I keep hearing these days among Christians that I find grievous. It is usually used to excuse some form of failure or sin on the part of a believer. In trying to make what is assumed to be the appropriate spiritual answer the response is, “Well, I am just a sinner saved by grace”. Is this the truth?

While it is true that all men were born into sin, the label of being a perpetual sinner dramatically changed forever in the cross of Christ. First of all, God says that we have been “justified freely by His grace”(Rom. 3:25). That means that we are no longer held accountable for our sins. The blood shed at the cross wiped away the debt of our sins and we are now ok with God (5:8).

Secondly, grace doesn’t just do away with the debt of our sins it also changed the nature of our being a sinner. God says that we died with Christ to sin. Our sin nature or “old man” was crucified with Him. We are no longer bound to something that we are dead to (Rom. 6:6). He says that we were changed from being “by nature children of wrath” to now “being made alive together with Christ..created in Christ Jesus for good works..” (Eph. 2:1-10). He says that we have now become “vessels of mercy” rather than “vessels of wrath” (Rom. 9:23). We have been given a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17), a new self-created like Christ (Col. 3:10). We are no longer sinners but saints. To claim you are still a sinner is to call God a liar.

But, the question always comes up, “What about when a believer sins? Doesn’t that show that he is still a sinner?”. God answers that by describing us as slaves (Rom.6:15-20). A slave is always a slave, following his master’s orders. But what happens when the master is not around? Will the slave do other things than what his master orders? Occasionally, yes. But that doesn’t change his nature. He is still a slave. As slaves of God, His saints, we still make mistakes, that some may call sins, but we are still saints. Are we in trouble with God? No, because we are under grace and grace teaches us through our failings who we really are, sons of God, filled with the nature and life of Christ (Titus 2:12, Gal.2:20).

Unfortunately, Christians too easily adopt ideas and phrases that have no basis in Scripture. Because of that we still live frustrated lives thinking we are just not capable of behaving as God intended. We need to stop calling ourselves something that God doesn’t and start living as we really are, sons of God, being filled with His fullness (Eph.3:19).

Be Jesus





Who are you?

29 03 2016

Who are you?

v1.bjsxMDQ2OTQ2O2o7MTY5NTM7MjA0ODs1NzYwOzM4NDAIn the recent feature film “Young Messiah” a befuddled Roman centurion asks the young boy Jesus, “Who are you?” The centurion is on a mission to find the child born to be the Messiah.

Have you ever had someone ask you that question? Likely not since this is customarily not how we greet or address each other. We normally ask “How are you?” rather than “Who are you?”.

But, what would you say if someone were to ask you this question? Read the rest of this entry »





Why is it a mystery?

25 02 2016

RisenWhat is so “mysterious” about the fact that Christ lives in believing people? What is so hard to understand about this seemingly simple truth? Doesn’t every believing Christian understand this?

Read the rest of this entry »





Failed Resolutions or Fulfilled Replacement?

18 01 2016

pic-beach-arms-raised1By now many Christian men are disappointed that the resolutions they had made for the new year have already been broken. Hopes for a better prayer life, quitting porn, reading the Bible more or not getting angry with the kids and wife have all been given up. Only a few have had the steely resolve to make good on promises but the effort has not been cheap. They may have made some gains but there still remains the fear that at any moment they may slip back into old ways.

It’s for this reason that most men have given up on making promises to God, themselves or others. They don’t want any further shame from the reminder that they don’t have what it takes to become a better person. Even more shaming is the message from his church or men’s program that he could change if he joins the right “steps” group or was just more committed. But many have done that and have still not seen the expected results.

Read the rest of this entry »





I’m thankful for the freedom – from myself!

26 11 2015

THANK YOU

Of the many things that I am thankful for – family, health, friends – freedom from the bondage of trying to be someone or do something is high on my list. My thoughts have always been, “I hope someday to become a better ….. I would like to become more godly, more loving. If only I could be more like Christ.” Or,  they have also run along these lines, ”I don’t want to be that way or do that thing.”

What a relief to be free from that tyranny. What freedom it is to know that I don’t have to change myself, I don’t have to improve myself or I don’t have to try to “stop” doing something. Why? Because the truth is, I can’t! (Rom. 7:18)

Read the rest of this entry »





What is the truth about me?

16 11 2015
jump-for-joy-150x150What is the truth about who you really are? Many of us struggle to find this basic fact about ourselves. We think we know and we play games with ourselves and others trying to live out those ideas. We soon find dead ends, deep emptiness in our hearts, fractured and unauthentic relationships and damaging behaviors that trap us in never ending cycles. We keep searching yet never really finding who we are supposed to be until one day we are awakened to the reality of the truth, it’s Jesus!! He is who we are supposed to be. He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. He is everything that we were predestined to become (Rom 8:29).

Read the rest of this entry »





The Seven Needs of Man No. 6

4 10 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in andoutside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men.

Seven Needs of a Man #6 – Men need a “Cheers”.  v. 5

CheersOne of the most popular, long running TV sitcoms of the late 80’s and early 90’s was called “Cheers”. It’s setting was a local pub in the heart of Boston and each week it’s cast of characters entertained the audience with dialogues on life, relationships and current issues of the day in a comedic fashion. But more than the hilarity what captured viewers was the show’s portrayal of what real acceptance and trusted community can be like. It’s theme song expressed it well in the phrase, “I just want to go where everyone knows my name.”

Because of shame, guilt and an uncertain identity many men today live with a mask of self protection, not wanting to experience any additional condemnation. They long to be accepted for who they really are. As a result, they are drawn to environments where they think they can find that acceptance such as a local “Cheers”. They want a “place” that they feel is safe, welcoming, and encouraging. Read the rest of this entry »





Seven Needs of a Man #5

13 08 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men.
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Men need a “rod” to count on. v. 4.

As a shepherd, David counted on his rod or staff to protect himself and his sheep from harmful  predators. He saw God’s protection in the same way. He learned that when he was journeying through dangerous life zones he could count on God’s rod and staff to be his safety.

21st century men still need the protective power of God. Men still need comfort and protection not only physically but in the dark valleys of depression, temptation, moral failure, discouragement, etc. Where do men go to overcome the fear and shame of condemnation that lurks in their souls? Read the rest of this entry »





The Seven Needs of Men #4

19 07 2015

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men. (see previous posts, Category: Men Today)

No. 4 – Men need to know the right life. Ps. 23:3b

Jesus-Discipleship

When the Psalmist wrote that “He leads me in the paths of righteousness..” he was affirming that God would guide him to always be on the right path. As long as he stayed on that path God would be pleased. That was the pattern for those who lived under the “old covenant” (Old Testament). Being right with God meant obedience to the right way (the Law).

Thankfully, that old way of trying to be right has been superseded with God’s better plan, the “new covenant” (New Testament). Read the rest of this entry »





The Seven Needs of A Man – Number 3

28 06 2015

Image-1

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most commonly recited Biblical passage by people in and outside of the Christian community. It is a comforting picture of the providence of God, but it is also a description of man’s essential needs. Here are those needs expressed in the context of ministering to men. (see previous posts, Category: Men Today, Ministry to Men)

3. Men Need frequent Renewal. v. 2b.

No doubt King David, the author of this Psalm, had come to realize that God would give him the physical strength to do extraordinary feats such as killing bears and lions, bringing down Goliath, or running from King Saul. But, he also realized that he could not sustain that kind of strength unless he remained strong deep within his inner man. As illustrated in other passages he needed to recall who he was according to God. The knowledge and reminder of who he really was in God’s view was the key to renewing his strength. (Ps. 22:19-26, 27:1-3, 42:5-11)

Believing men tend to forget who they really are and their confidence has to be renewed almost daily. The Bible makes it very clear Read the rest of this entry »








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