1 John 1:7 ESV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
We must keep in mind the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain for us. As long as we are moving along in this thing we call life, the blood of Jesus keeps covering us. We remain righteous and holy in God’s sight.
What some principles about the New Covenant that we need to understand?
First of all, we must be clear that the new covenant does not permit our continuing in a lifestyle of sin. There are numerous statements of this fact in the New Testament.
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, (21) envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 John 3:5-6 ESV You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. (6) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
“Those who live in a lifestyle of continual sin will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
“No one who lives in Christ Jesus keeps on sinning.”
If we say we are in Christ we do not keep on sinning. It is as simple as this. Sometimes I ask people, “Can Jesus Christ deliver someone from lying?” Usually they affirm He can. “Can Jesus Christ deliver someone from stealing?” Usually the answer will be, “Yes, He can.” Then I ask, “What sin is too great for Christ to overcome?” Usually the answer is, “There is no sin too great for Christ to overcome.”
How come we know this to be true in theory, yet not in practice and in reality? Have we allowed Satan and the world to convince us that our sin is not so bad, or that we have sinned so much it is useless to start overcoming our sins one at a time? God calls us overcomers for a reason.
Hebrews 10:11 ESV And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
The reason Christians are not delivered from their daily sins is they don't know that they have the promise in the New Testament that they can be a distinct feature of the new covenant.
I know there have been the holiness preachers and teachers who have taught instantaneous sanctification. From what I have seen by experience, this doesn’t work. Others have said that sanctification is a progressive process, and this seems more practical. However, with those who teach progressive sanctification there does not appear to be a clear statement that our salvation includes deliverance from sin or a workable program for overcoming the stronghold of sin. In other words once we are saved we seem to be trapped in some of the same junk and behavior as when we were lost. This ought not be the case.
Before we can attempt to overcome our sinful nature we must know for a certainty that the Bible teaches that believers do not have to continue to walk in sin. Therefore let's state some facts from the New Testament.
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
From 1 John 1:9 we have a couple key truths. First, this verse is not to be used as a soul winning verse for the lost. The Holy Spirit is speaking through John here to Christians. So as Christians, we can confess our sins and be forgiven. However many stop there. The rest of the verse says that Jesus would cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That means to remove the sin.
Traits of the NEW COVENANT:
The new covenant does not permit continuing in sinful behavior.
The new covenant includes deliverance from sinful behavior.
The new covenant includes a workable plan for deliverance from sinful behavior.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
We do not gain full victory over stronghold sins until we learn that such victory is possible and is promise within in the Word of God. Then we have faith to pursue victory over the sins of the flesh until we obtain it.
1 John 3:4-5 ESV Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (5) You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
Victory! Think about it. Victory over behaviors, such as lust, anger, lying, gossip, slander, selfishness, hatred, unforgiveness, spite, backbiting, sexual perversion, drunkenness, the use of drugs, and other demonic chains that destroy Christians.
Does the new covenant include victory over these? You bet it does.
Galatians 5:16 ESV But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Typically mankind endeavors to work their way into a right-standing with God, but God’s way is through faith by grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s righteousness is a free gift. We cannot work our way into the right standing with God, therefore we have no bases for boasting about the position. The Righteousness of God cannot be obtained through what we have done or what family we were born into.
OUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS IS LIKE FILTHY RAGS:
Isaiah 64:6 ESV We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Luke 18:9-14 ESV He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: (10) "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. (11) The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' (13) But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' (14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
However, we as believers have been robed with the righteousness of Christ.
Titus 3:5 ESV he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Philippians 3:9-11 ESV and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Ephesians 4:24 ESV and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The conscience of man is defined as an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior. The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action. To have a seared conscience means that the person can do whatever wrong or immoral act thinkable and feel no remorse or sense of wrong or guilt.
A person who is not saved, (born again), has a conscience that is corrupted and separated from God and the things of God. The lost mans' conscience is formed by culture, society, parental influence, peer pressure, education, and religious influence. All of these things together make up the moral standards or the lack of moral standards of a lost person.
Two brothers in the same family could have completely different “moral standards” based on the different influences within their lives, such as having different friends, reading different types of books, or different media input. How many times have you heard about someone who is on drugs or in trouble with the law state that they got into the “wrong crowd”?
But mankind did not start out with a moral conscience. When God created Adam and Eve they had a righteous conscience or God-conscience. What is the difference? A righteous conscience is typified by having “GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS” and is “SELFLESS”. But a moral conscience is typified by having a “SELF CONSCIOUSNESS” and is “SELFISH”.
EXAMPLE: Adam was unclothed before he was naked. When he walked in the righteous God-conscience he was unclothed and was selfless in his thinking. When he sinned his unclothed state became nakedness and he moved into self-consciousness which is selfishness. How do we know this to be true. Read Genesis 3 and you will find that Adam and Eve who were husband and wife hid from one another when they sinned and lost righteousness or God-consciousness.
A “God-Consciousness” among men is a Theocracy or the rule of God over everything. This is where man is consumed with the praise and worship of God the Father. A “Self Consciousness” among men is a democracy (or other forms of man’s political rule), which is the rule of man over everything. In this man is consumed with the worship of himself, (or humanism).
God, though our Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the cross, desires to bring us back to the state of God consciousness by robing us in His righteousness.
WHAT IS RSIM?
Raising The Standards International Ministries is not a social club. It is a ministry dedicated in calling believers to get back to what the Bible says. It is a call to forsake what is mentally and emotionally desirable in exchange for a pure uncompromising walk with the Lord.
As a young Pastor, I would preach the value of people having the courage of their convictions, if those convictions lined up with Scriptures. The problem is that too many church members who are filled with convictions that needed to be abandoned because they were not Biblical convictions.
I have spent years pointing out the Biblical principles that we should be separated from the world and dedicate our life, our gifts, our time, and our talents for God's use. But the response I get from some believers either by statement or lifestyle is, "I don't know what the Bible says, but I know what I believe."
That statement ends the conversation. Here I was, thinking that the issue at hand was about what the Bible teaches. But in reality it is what the individual wanted to believe emotionally and mentally and had nothing to do with the Scriptures. There is nothing a pastor can do with that mindset, because it stems from an unteachable heart.
Many times I have tried to move the discussion with certain believers to solid Biblical principles and disciplines. But I usually get stunned by the statement, "But we have our own convictions and we disagree with you!"
I try to remind believers that the Father did not send us to preach our convictions, but the Word of God. When I give the Word of God in multiple Scriptures it is not me they disagree with, it is the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.
Convictions are not the same as truth. They may be, of course, and ideally should be, if they are grounded in the Word of God. But we should never make the mistake of giving our convictions an equal place with God's Word. I think it's safe to say that Hitler and Stalin had their convictions. The Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on our doors have theirs. The Mormons have theirs, the Catholics theirs, and yes, I have mine.
We who are charged with preaching the whole counsel of God must be careful about blending into doctrinal truth our own pet convictions and personal beliefs. That is why I try to back up everything I teach with an incredible amount of Biblical proof and give people an opportunity to respond if they have questions or know of differing Scriptures. It is also why I have always chosen the Word of God over the teachings of any denominational organization.
1. Some convictions are little more than superstitions or pagan beliefs. (Like: Knock on wood). (Yes I can include the sacred cows of Christmas and Easter in this. For those who want to know the truth here there is enough web evidence available).
2. Some convictions are convenient excuses to indulge our egos, allowing us to stand out in the crowd, or to entertain people in some fashion. (Pastors are not the only ones who are called out in the Scriptures to be shepherds and not hirelings). To many believers have "sold out" to the world.
3. Some convictions are merely our refusal to accept something new and different to us although it is an old teaching from God's Word.
4. Some convictions are merely negative, things we hate or oppose, rather than what we should believe from God's Word.
5. Some convictions are the result of ignorance. (This is not being stupid. It is being unlearned. Once taught the truth and it is rejected, now that is stupid and foolish).
6. Some convictions are the result of the opinions of the majority. "They must be right because everyone agrees." I have seen many believers taking "polls" until they get enough people to agree with them about what they are doing or what to do.
So, why does RSIM exist? To be a voice from the Father and say what He says, when the norm is desiring an echo from the world and repeating the same wrong thinking enough that it becomes true in our minds.
Father God, give us the discernment to distinguish YOUR revelation truth from our personal beliefs. God give us the grace to conform our beliefs to YOUR revelation as quickly as we begin to comprehend and internalize it.
Matthew 6:33 ESV But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
I don't have to say this because it seems evident but I will go ahead for those who are living in the clouds. There seems to be a large group of believers in the fast lane of seeking to be entertained over seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Our churches are filled today with smoke and whistles, noise and lights. Some churches are like going to a pep rally, boarding on entertaining the masses like a three-ring circus.
Picture life as a fast car. There are those who are ready to jump into the passenger seat for a ride not really caring about the destination. They only want the thrill of the ride.
I heard this story about a woman named Goldie who was known for her love of activity. Anyone who invites her out usually gets an enthusiastic "Yes!"
One day her husband, John, went outside and got in the car. "Wait!" Goldie yelled as she rounded up the kids. She quickly ran a brush through her daughter's hair and changed her son's shirt. Then, grabbing her purse, she raced through the door. As her husband waited wordlessly, she buckled the kids in the back seat and collapsed in the front. "Okay," she beamed at him. "Let's go!" John took the car out of park and drove into the garage.
You should always know where the driver is headed otherwise you might end up taking a ride to nowhere. Do you know where your life is headed with the Father? Do you know where the Father is desiring to take you?
Do you join the "church of what's happening now" for the excitement of the ride? Are you so excited about taking a ride that you forget to judge who is driving and where you might end up? We should ask the Father daily for His leadership in our life lest we find ourselves the worldly passenger of a car going nowhere?
See the Father and His righteousness FIRST.
There are certain attributes of God which we will call MORAL ATTRIBUTES, because they are shared to a limited degree with redeemed man, and pertain to character, and conduct.
The Moral Attributes of God speak of the GOODNESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS of God. And to think, all of this dwells in us and is now our character as believers.
For more study read these Scriptures: (Leviticus 11:44-45; Isaiah 6:1-7; 1:1-20; Romans 1:7; 6:19-22; 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:7; Titus 2:3; Hebrews 12:10-14; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Peter 3:11)
Leviticus 11:44-45 ESV For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. (45) For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy."
God is a Holy God and He requires holiness of His people. But what exactly is Holiness?
Holiness: “Dedicated to religious use, belonging to or coming from God, consecrated, sacred, spiritually perfect or pure, untainted by evil or sin, sinless, and saintly.”
Holy: The Hebrew word is “quadosh:” and means "Those things which in any way pertain to God, or His worship. Things declared sacred, free from defilement of vice, idolatry, worldly compromise, and other impure and profane things."
Holy: The Greek word is “hagios:” and means "Those things such as our lives, talents, gifts and resources, which are dedicated to God, holy, sacred, reserved for God and His service, pure, perfect, worthy of God, and consecrated.”
The basic idea of Holiness, as applied to God, is that of separation and exaltation, absolute perfection of character.
Far more mention is made in Scripture of God's Holiness than of His Power, Wisdom and Omnipresence combined. The Scriptures establish the Holiness of God long before they picture His Love.
Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers repeatedly portray the God of Holiness. It is not until we come to Deuteronomy 4:37 that we find an outright declaration of His Love, and that is given in a context of awe-inspiring Holiness.
Deuteronomy 4:37 ESV And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power,
As applied to men or things, the primary meaning of holiness is dedication and consecration, the quality of being separated to God. Things are holy that are DEDICATED EXCLUSIVELY to God or His worship and service. Anything is holy which wholly belongs to God, as His temple with its utensils and furnishings.
God's Justice is as holy as His love and His righteousness.
The world and the church have corrupted a lot of truths when it comes to the Scriptures and the character of God, but none greater than His love and His justice. Because of His character God must love us. He is compelled to do so because God is love and he cannot operate outside of His character.
The same is true about His justice. As much as God loves us, He hates sin equally and must judge it. Just because He must judge sin and the sinners does not mean that His love stops. Remember that He tells us to love our enemies. This has two truths tied to it.
#1 is that we will have enemies. Our enemies are not those whom we have a falling out with or someone who did us wrongly. The Biblical enemies God is speaking about is anyone who is lost. Lost people are attackers of the cross and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore enemies to the cross and enemies to God. Therefore, they are our enemies. But we are to love them.
Genesis 18:25-26 ESV Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" (26) And the LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."
Closely related to the Holiness of God are His RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE. To simplify, it might be said that:
God's Righteousness is His Holiness in action.
God’s Justice is His Righteousness in rule and government.
God is a Righteous God, because He acts at all times in complete conformity with His Holy Nature and Will.
God's Righteousness is Immutable, He is a Rock. God is referred to as a Rock five times in Deut.32. His Righteousness never changes, His Justice is unfailing; He is faithful in dealing with His people according to His Nature and His revealed Law and Covenants.
He will punish in awful judgment as well as reward bountifully, but always according to His promises and covenants. He is completely above any unjust or deceitful treatment, all His ways are "upright."
Our Righteous and Holy God is also a God of Mercy and Forbearance, but He will not act inconsistent with His Holiness.
In His Righteousness He made a way to justify the sinner, by sending His Infinite Son to be, once for all, the Perfect Sacrifice for sin.
Since the last Adam, (Jesus Christ), lived in perfect obedience to the Holy will of the Father, God could bestow upon the believer Christ's Righteousness without Him ceasing to be Righteous in judgment. The believing sinner becomes righteous in Christ, at the same time God's Righteousness has not been compromised.
In the area of JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS we see the two most important concepts of God's character in operation.
Righteousness starts with the vertical relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ which gives us the right to stand unashamed before a Holy God. It is a "right standing" before God. This is only done if we are walking in the atonement of Christ's sacrifice for our sins and in God's Truth and Spirit.
Among men we have the horizontal relationship of righteousness. It is the quality of life demonstrated by those who live up to the established norms in a relationship. In other words, they seek to do right by another person.
Justice starts with the vertical relationship whereby God must punish sin. God determined who was right in the court case of holiness and found only the Lord Jesus Christ to be innocent. All those who are "in Christ" have been declared "justified" because Christ took their sin and punishment upon Himself. Those outside of Christ have been declared guilty and already under God's condemnation. In the horizontal we see the judicial process of determining who is right in a case of law. The justice system of the court was established to determine and free the innocent and punish the guilty.
In human trafficking and human slavery we find that the one guilty of trafficking is unrighteous both before God and before man. They cannot stand unashamed before a Holy God and they are not doing right by another person's life.
The trafficker is guilty of injustice before God and before man. In the court case before God they are found to be outside of Christ and His commands, and outside the character and Word of God. Before man the trafficker is guilty of injustice in the fact that between them and the victim they violated the case of humanity, dignity, and self-will. Therefore, injustice is done and must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
A MORAL COMPASS:
Which way is north? Whether you're lost in the woods or you're trying to install a sundial in your yard, you're bound to want to find true north from time to time, and chances are when you need it you won't have a compass.
1. Place a stick upright in the ground so that you can see its shadow. Alternatively, you can use the shadow of a fixed object. Nearly any object will work, but the TALLER the object is, the easier it will be to see the movement of its shadow, and the NARROWER the tip of the object is, the more accurate the reading will be. However, keep in mind that the taller the object is, the fuzzier the shadow gets. Make sure the shadow is cast on a level, brush-free spot.
2. Mark the tip of the shadow with a small object, such as a pebble, or a distinct scratch in the ground. Try to make the mark as small as possible so as to pinpoint the shadow's tip, but make sure you can identify the mark later.
3. Wait 10-15 minutes. The shadow tip will move mostly from west to east in a curved line.
4. Mark the new position of the shadow's tip with another small object or scratch. It will likely move only a short distance.
5. Draw a straight line in the ground between the two marks. This is an approximate east-west line.
6. Stand with the first mark (west) on your left, and the other (east) on your right. You are now facing mostly toward true north, regardless of where you are in the world.
What about finding our way morally and spiritually when we are lost? For the most part, many people are without a moral compass. Even if they had a moral compass, their compass does not line up with a true point of reference.
Many will echo the cries of the masses but few ever become a voice for justice, morality, and righteousness. Instead of being a voice for justice the masses act out in a moral climate of injustice by both their words and deeds. This is why we, as a nation vote in politicians that kill our unborn, outlaw prayer, and promote laws that directly go against the Word and character of God. The politicians are just a voice of the majority that placed them into power.
There are examples however in the Old and New Testament of those who stood steadfast for justice and railed fiercely against injustice. There are those who were not afraid to drive a stick in the ground and display a moral compass.
The prophet Amos is one example of a man who faced injustice as fiercely as a mother bear protecting her cubs when sensing they are endangered. Unlike many believers of today, Amos was incorruptible. We need an Army of believers to rise up that are incorruptible, who will fight for injustice, morality, and righteousness.
What does that mean? Amos was a Prophet who could not be bought with bribes, popularity, lust, desire, power, and fortune. There was no place of compromise found in his actions, his conversation, or his thoughts. Amos spoke to God and he spoke for God, and his attacks on injustice were rooted in the absolute justice of the law of God. He was a moral compass pointed to a true north.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.