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To the believer:
Are you are a believer who has fallen from the life of faith into a system of law and legal works? Do you have sin in your life that you still have problems overcoming? If this is you, you probably have fallen in bondage to the law and legal efforts. You have been attempting to live the life of faith in your own effort and energy. You have set aside grace and faith and struggle to be holy using doctrines and principles by your own abilities.
Gal. 3:1-7 "O YOU poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom--right before your very eyes--Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh? Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing (to no purpose)--if it really is to no purpose and in vain? Then does He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard? Thus Abraham believed in and adhered to and trusted in and relied on God, and it was reckoned and placed to his account and credited as righteousness (as conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action). Know and understand that it is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham." (Amplified Bible)
Gal.3:10-29 "And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them. Now it is evident that no person is justified (declared righteous and brought into right standing with God) through the Law, for the Scripture says, The man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live. But the Law does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith], for it itself says, He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith]. 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); 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. To speak in terms of human relations, brethren, [if] even a man makes a last will and testament (a merely human covenant), no one sets it aside or makes it void or adds to it when once it has been drawn up and signed (ratified, confirmed). Now the promises (covenants, agreements) were decreed and made to Abraham and his Seed (his Offspring, his Heir). He [God] does not say, And to seeds (descendants, heirs), as if referring to many persons, but, And to your Seed (your Descendant, your Heir), obviously referring to one individual, Who is [none other than] Christ (the Messiah). This is my argument: The Law, which began 430 years after the covenant [concerning the coming Messiah], does not and cannot annul the covenant previously established (ratified) by God, so as to abolish the promise and make it void. For if the inheritance [of the promise depends on observing] the Law [as these false teachers would like you to believe], it no longer [depends] on the promise; however, God gave it to Abraham [as a free gift solely] by virtue of His promise. What then was the purpose of the Law? It was added [later on, after the promise, to disclose and expose to men their guilt] because of transgressions and [to make men more conscious of the sinfulness] of sin; and it was intended to be in effect until the Seed (the Descendant, the Heir) should come, to and concerning Whom the promise had been made. And it [the Law] was arranged and ordained and appointed through the instrumentality of angels [and was given] by the hand (in the person) of a go-between [Moses, an intermediary person between God and man]. Now a go-between (intermediary) has to do with and implies more than one party [there can be no mediator with just one person]. Yet God is [only] one Person [and He was the sole party in giving that promise to Abraham. But the Law was a contract between two, God and Israel; its validity was dependent on both]. Is the Law then contrary and opposed to the promises of God? Of course not! For if a Law had been given which could confer [spiritual] life, then righteousness and right standing with God would certainly have come by Law. But the Scriptures [picture all mankind as sinners] shut up and imprisoned by sin, so that [the inheritance, blessing] which was promised through faith in Jesus Christ (the Messiah) might be given (released, delivered, and committed) to [all] those who believe [who adhere to and trust in and rely on Him]. Now before the faith came, we were perpetually guarded under the Law, kept in custody in preparation for the faith that was destined to be revealed (unveiled, disclosed), So that the Law served [to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith. But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood). For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ. There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham's Seed], then you are Abraham's offspring and [spiritual] heirs according to promise." (Amplified Bible)
Col. 2:6-7 "As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving." (Amplified Bible)
Whenever someone asks, "What shall I do to be saved?" he resolves, as a first duty, to break off from his sins, but this is in unbelief. Of course his reformation is only outward, he determines to do better. He tries to reform in this, that, and the other thing, and thus prepare himself to be converted. He does not expect to be saved without grace and faith, but he attempts to get grace by works of law.
This is true of multitudes of anxious Christians, who are asking what they shall do to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. They overlook the fact that "this is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith," that it is with "the shield of faith" that they are "to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." They ask, why am I overcome by sin? Why can I not get above its power? Why am I thus the slave of my appetites and passions, and the sport of the devil? They search about for the cause of all this spiritual wretchedness and death. At one time they think they have discovered it in the neglect of one duty; and at another time, in the neglect of another. Sometimes they imagine they have found the cause to lie in yielding to one sin, and sometimes in yielding to another. They put forth efforts in this direction, and in that direction, and patch up their righteousness on one side, while they make a tear in the other. Thus they spend years in running around in a circle, and making dams of sand across the current of their own corruptions. Instead of at once purifying their hearts by faith, they are engaged in trying to arrest the overflowing of its bitter waters. Why do I sin? they inquire; and looking about for the cause, they come to the wise conclusion, it is because I neglect such a duty, i.e. because I do sin. But how shall I get rid of sin? Answer: by doing my duty, i.e. by ceasing from sin. Now the real inquiry is, why do they neglect their duty? Why do they commit sin at all? Where is the foundation of all this mischief? Will it be replied, the foundation of all this wickedness is in the corruption of our nature--in the wickedness of the heart--in the strength of our evil propensities and habits? But all this only brings us back to the real inquiry, again: How are this corrupt nature, this wickedness, and these sinful habits to be overcome? I ANSWER, BY FAITH ALONE. No works of law have the least tendency to overcome our sins; but rather confirm the soul in self-righteousness and unbelief.
The great and fundamental sin, which is at the foundation of all other sin, is unbelief. The first thing, is to give up that and start to believe the word of God. There is no breaking off from one sin without this. "Whatever is not faith is sin," "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Thus we see that the backslider and convicted Christian, when agonizing to overcome sin, will, almost always attempt to perform works of law to obtain faith and grace. They will fast, and pray, and read, and struggle, and outwardly reform, and thus endeavor to obtain grace. Now all this is vain and wrong. Do you ask, shall we not fast, and pray, and read, and struggle? I answer, you must do all that God commands you to do; but begin where He tells you to begin, and do it in the manner in which He commands you to do it. You must do it in the exercise of that faith that works by love. Purify your hearts by faith. Believe in the Son of God. The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach.
Are you in darkness, despair and discouraged? It probably is because of your sin of unbelief. You are still seeking sanctification by works of law. You have "stumbled at this stumbling stone." Immediately exercise faith upon the Son of God. It is the first and the only thing you can do to rest your feet upon the rock, and it will immediately put a new song into your mouth. Faith will INSTANTLY make you holy with out any preparation. When you see the duties of the law, be sure to find the promise and grace of God that will enable you to fulfill it. It is IMPOSSIBLE to obey the law without first receiving the promise. Take that promise, and word of God and believe it. BELIEVE GOD NOW! TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD!
Now just consider the simple GOSPEL OF GRACE.
The main purpose of Christ's ministry, life, death, atonement, and resurrection was to bring you into fellowship with God the Father and set you free from your sins.
Christ has already done EVERYTHING that is needed for you to live a godly life. He has made TOTAL provision for your flesh, your old man, and your corrupt sinful, rebellious nature.
This Salvation is a FREE gift offered to you when you are in the sinful state.
This salvation includes a new heart, the divine nature that has the holy temperament, holy desires and holy inclinations within it. This divine nature gives you what the law requires but could never supply.
It must be received by faith fully expecting God to do what He says He will do.
You cannot save yourself or give yourself victory over sin.
When does this happen? When we receive it by faith NOW!! Do not delay. TODAY is the day of salvation.
Ask in faith and then believe and act as if the work is done!! Do not depend on any feeling or evidence that it is done but rest in God's word alone. The work is done the second you ask!!!
Prayer for forgiveness and sanctification.
It becomes a matter of supreme importance to know how we should approach the throne of grace, and with the hand of the prayer of faith actually receive these blessings.
How can a consciously guilty sinner, a rebel against God, approach the Infinite God, who is pure, and hates sin with an infinite hatred, and obtain pardon? On his own merits, and efforts he could not. With such a prayer only he could expect and receive nothing but the wrath and judgment of his outraged God.
Nevertheless, there are some considerations which encourage the vilest sinner to come to God and obtain pardon and salvation. God has revealed in His holy Word. God has revealed Himself as having a father's heart "not willing that any should perish" (2 Pet. 3:9) but "willeth that all men should be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4). God revealed Himself to Moses as "Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Ex. 34:6-7).
In the fulness of time, the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to more perfectly reveal the nature of God to men. It was this Son of God who kindly ate and drank with sinners, and told them He had come to "seek and save the lost." He forgave the deepest dyed sinners, and saved the murderous highwayman, when He himself was enduring the agonies of the cross. Thus Christ revealed what God is.
Notice what God has done. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). God offers to save a race of rebellious sinners.
Notice what God promises. "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). "Ask and it shall be given you" (Luke 11:9). "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (1 John 1:9). That is, He is faithful and just to Himself and His promises to sinners, and just to his beloved Son who died for us, to forgive every sinner who comes in the proper spirit. The sinner needs forgiveness for his own actual sins, and a new heart and sanctification.
(a) He must come with a repentant spirit, forsaking all sin (Isaiah 55:7).
(b) He must have a forgiving spirit toward others. "If ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6:15).
(c) He must pray in faith. "Have faith in God All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for; believe that ye have received them and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:23-25).
That is, every forgiving, repentant sinner, however wicked he has been, is encouraged to come to God in prayer and ask for pardon. Forgiveness is perfectly guaranteed by what God is, by what God has done and Christ has suffered, and by what God's Word has promised, and to believe that he has received what he asked for -- pardon and sonship in Christ. "Ye shall have them." The condition is not how you feel at that moment, but do you trust in the holy God, and rest on His immutable word of promise? That is the sinner's prayer of faith that never fails to acquire pardon and sonship with God. The witness of the Spirit to the blessing will surely come after he has believed.
Consider What God Is -- He is absolutely, infinitely, eternally holy. Sin of any kind, or form, or degree, is most painful and offensive to Him. He could not, therefore, require less than holiness own. So He commands: "Like as he which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, ye shall be holy, for I am holy."
Consider What God Has Done -- He has provided an atonement through His Son, which covers all spiritual needs. God the Son "loved the church and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it. That he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:25-27). "Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb. 13:12).
Consider What The Father and Son Have Said, Prayed For, and Promised -- "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). "For God called us unto sanctification (4:7). "Because God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit whereunto he called you by our gospel." Jesus prayed "Sanctify them" (John 17:17). Paul prayed, "Now the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly."
Now that which is God's will, that which He commands us to have, and chose us for, and calls us to, and Jesus prayed for, and died for, must be a blessing for which we all need to pray.
1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Give yourself and your all to God, for Him to own forever, let him know that from now on you want to be only His servant. Put yourself and all your innocent and precious things upon the altar -- your very son Isaac, the thing dearest your heart. Make it a personal matter Pray for the sanctifying Spirit for yourself NOW. "He gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask him" (Luke 11:13). "Believe that ye have received the sanctifying baptism with the Holy Spirit: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." He will respond to your faith, and "ye shall have" it (Mark 11:24 and 1 John 5:14-15).