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The Word of God and the New Covenant – Part 3

Kenneth E. Hagin seems to have helped to popularise the use of faith for finances and faith for healing.  But he often adds, as a side note, that faith can be applied for anything else the Bible says we can have, such as the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  I suppose Hagin and others have focused on finances and healing, because they had those needs in their lives.  But there’s something significant about finances and healing: they are physical, tangible blessings that can easily be identified and verified.  I suppose the problem with applying faith for spiritual things, is that they are largely invisible and intangible.  Although, the effects of spiritual blessings will manifest themselves in one way or another in the physical.

The problem with spiritual things is that Christians often mentally assent to possessing them – without actually having faith; then when they don’t experience them, they pretend that they have them.  There seems to be a fear that if you admit to not having various spiritual blessings operating in your life, then you’re a spiritual failure: you’re not praying enough, you don’t have faith or there’s sin in your life, you’re not serving God, you lack sincerity, etc.

I think lack of understanding of spiritual things also plays a part in this.  We all know what a thousand dollars would look like; we know what to expect when someone is healed from a life threatening illness.  But many people don’t really know what the baptism in the Holy Spirit looks and feels like.  So I suppose some people would go around acting like, and proclaiming, that they’re baptised in the Holy Spirit, when they are not.

The charismatic church sets itself apart from other Christian movements, by emphasising the fact that they are more passionate about God, they earnestly seek to know Him and are keen to make a positive difference in this world.  But much of this exuberance is nothing more than religious zeal.  I can’t help but think that this religious zeal is often fuelled by sheer desperation.  It seems to me that the charismatic movement attracts a lot of people with issues.  I can’t help but think that there’s a fine line between spirituality and madness, sometimes – there’s this focus on things that are intangible and invisible.  Faith often becomes another thing for the charismatic church to obsess over – without actually possessing it and applying it.

I’m keen to return to Word of Faith, but whereas I feel that spiritual blessings were something of a side note with the likes of Kenneth Hagin – I want to bring those things to centre stage.  Perhaps its unfair of me to make such a statement, as I believe Hagin did teach a lot on what the Bible says about spiritual things.  I also admire Hagin and am grateful to him for presenting to the world the notion that faith can actually be applied practically to a person’s life to fulfil a tangible purpose.  Before Hagin came on the scene with his fresh perspective on faith – faith was nothing more than a religious ideal – just a religious term that was bandied about in church, but had no real power to achieve practically anything.   But I do feel that Word of Faith does tend to be too heavily oriented towards finances and healing.

Hagin suggested that believers find all the verses that tell us who we are in Christ. Such verses will include words such as "In Him", "In whom", "through Him", etc. Most of these verses are found in the Pauline Epistles.  Then, read those verses and confess them as belonging to you. Every believer can apply such promises to their lives - this is a firm foundation, because it is not only the Word of God - it is also the New Covenant. Hagin actually wrote a mini-book called In Him which was a collection of such verses.

The Word of God and the New Covenant – Part 2

When it comes to the Word of God, I believe we should look to Christ, who is the Living Word. Using the formula of the Bible being the Word of God and we can have anything it says – a believer could use Exodus 31:1-5 to obtain the craftsmanship skills of Bezalel or Daniel 1:17 to attain wisdom and understanding of visions and dreams, becoming ten times better than the people around you. If indeed a person was strongly led to become a craftsman, for instance, perhaps they could look believe in Exodus 31:1-5 and make it their own. But are they available to every believer?  Typically, a person would only seek after those things they feel strongly led towards – it’s their destiny.  But I feel that things like this could also become something to seek on a baseless whim.

I don’t think we can always just take a Bible text relating to another’s blessing and try to make it work for us. Notice how the Bible doesn’t say that Daniel or Bezalel made an effort to seek those blessings?  Perhaps there’s a clue here?  It seems likely that God simply chose to bless those people in that way, without them having to seek it.  Whereas, in the Bible we do read of men and women of God seeking God for something: such as Hannah for a child and Solomon for wisdom. The Bible does tell us what we ought to seek, in verses such as Matthew 6:33 and 1 Timothy 6:11.


33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:11

Notice how these texts point towards the spiritual rather than the material?  I believe herein lies the clue.  We also have the Words of Jesus giving substance to this notion.


19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

Here is another verse along these lines, for good measure.


If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:1-2

Ephesians 1:3 says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  So it would be good to get a degree of comprehension as to what every spiritual blessing is.  It’s also worth pointing out that many issues we experience in this world have their root a spiritual, or at least mental and emotional, cause.  So it’s important to seek spiritual blessings and promises, by faith.

I’ve already mentioned what I call The Four R’s: remission of sin, redemption, reconciliation and righteousness.  1 Timothy 6:11 tells us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.  I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that laying hold of eternal life is mentioned after fighting the fight of faith: it seems to me that maintaining eternal life, the life of God, is a vital aspect of our application of faith. We also have James in James 1:5-8 telling us to ask God for wisdom, by faith, when we need it.  I believe there’s a key here: being honest with yourself and acknowledging before God those things that you know you need – but lack; having an attitude of faith, that you already receive it, knowing that God’s Word promises the provision of it.

The Word of God and the New Covenant – Part 1

I believe there is something viable about Word of Faith, which I believe is adherence and trust in the Bible as God's Word, but I do seek truth and balance.

I believe it could be important to tell the difference between the Word of God and the New Covenant.  The Bible includes various books of the Bible, which include prophesies, The Torah (The Old Covenant), historical accounts and The Gospel (The New Covenant).  We see various genealogies in the Bible, such as Matthew 1:2.


1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

Matthew 1:2 KJV

The Word of God spells out to Noah the dimensions of the ark: 300 cubits by 50 by 30. The Word of God tells us that Solomon was made the wisest and richest man that ever lived. The Word of God says that a woman caught in the act of adultery, should be stoned to death.

But I don’t believe that these are promises or rules that apply to all who believe in the New Covenant: such promises would include remission of sin, redemption, reconciliation and righteousness (I call these “The Four R’s”); when 2 Peter 2:4 says “great and precious promises” – you can be sure it includes these.

We can also look at some Old Testament verses as applying to the believer in Christ: such as “by His stripes we were healed” (Isaiah 5:5). The Old Covenant is a foreshadow of the new and better covenant, which fulfils the old.  This is why many Christians have testified to being healed when believing and confessing this statement from Isaiah 5:5 – its talking about Jesus’ sacrifice.

There’s a tendency amongst Charismatic Christians to endlessly create analogies concerning popular Bible verses and many believers can be very “creative” when it comes to the Bible.  For instance, Deuteronomy 28:5 says, “Blessed shall be your basket and your store (kneading trough).” At first glance this appears to be a promise that Israel would have enough to eat. But charismatic preachers will tell you that this is an analogy that God will make you rich, or some such thing. Met needs - yes; lavish wealth - I'm not so sure.

I suppose there is something analogous about Deuteronomy 28:5 – I do believe God is for us and wants His children to have their needs met and do well in life.  But I suppose we all have different ideas about what constitutes “abundance”.  It has a lot to do with a person’s socio-economic upbringing and situation, which is what determines their expectations.  Typically, the average person living in the U.S.A. will have a different perspective on the concept of abundance than something living in, say, Bangladesh.  Despite the Bible indicating that we should not seek wealth, it doesn’t stop some people from making it very clear to God, the very things they want – just in case God’s idea of abundance doesn’t quite match our expectations.  The concept of what constitutes a “need” also needs to be considered: some people hold fast to certain things being needs that desperately need to be fulfilled, when in actual fact, they are not needs at all, but simply things desired.

I am certainly not against abundance, or even what could be called “lavish wealth”.  We see in the Bible that people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were exceedingly blessed with material things.  I think when it comes to abundance and provision, we should, by faith, trust in God that He meets our needs – without getting too specific about it and without worrying.  I think the degree to which God blesses a person with wealth has a lot to do with His will for their lives: some people are meant to have a large ministry, whilst others might be entrepreneurs, with a multinational enterprise.  Other than that, abundance has a lot to do with the actual person: their capacity for things such as faith and wisdom.

The Bible – Part 3

I suppose church leaders want to establish the Bible as some kind of formula to help mitigate against the neurosis, confusion, selfishness, fraudulence and naivety. "Just follow the Word", they say; sounds plausible at first - but it’s not as effective as some people think.  There’s a need to know God and His Word for yourself.  But even hearing a revelation won’t always make it automatically active in your life – it needs to be applied by faith.  Its one thing to know a Biblical truth in your head and another to know it in your heart.  Even if you agree with the Bible when it says you should or should not do a certain thing; that knowledge is unlikely to equip you with the heart-felt belief, attitude, desires, motives and patterns of thinking, that are needed to act according to that knowledge.

Quite often we find gullible, desperate and confused people flocking to churches in need of some kind of rescue.  These people just believe everything their pastor tells them is true.  Then they try and act spiritual – not wanting others to discover their charade.  I believe this is what Jesus meant when He contrasted sheep and goats and that His sheep would hear His voice.  Jesus often spoke in parables, saying, “He who has ears to hear – let him hear.”  It not good enough to “hear” a revelation of scripture – you also have to “know” it for yourself.

We often assume that parables are “binary” – either you understand them or you don’t.  But it’s likely they can be understood on various different levels.  For instance, “The leaven of the Pharisee”, means different things to different Christians and churches: according to how religious and law-oriented they are – they’ll always apply that term to Christians they deem to be more overtly and unnecessarily law-oriented than they are.  Some will say, “We’re not the leaven of the Pharisee”, when in fact they are.

I believe that people, who did not play a role in writing the Bible, can also hear from God – just as well as any of the disciples.  Many of the Bible’s authors were not perfect – King David committed adultery, Jonah refused to prophesy when God commanded him to do so.  Simon Peter would often fail to understand the spiritual things that Jesus told him.  I believe there are some fantastic Christian teaching materials available by modern authors.  Then again, there are some poor ones.  But you’ll only get out of it, and apply to your life, what you are able to understand and put into action yourself.

I think that Christian teaching is evolving – just look at the grace message – its been centuries since we had a revelation of righteousness like that which Joseph Prince has given.  It’s likely that different Christian teaching is applicable to certain people at a certain stage in their spiritual development.  Just like the different levels of teaching material that you used in school when learning to read – you move on to the next level when you’re ready for it.  It wasn’t that the “Blue Book” was less right than the “Red Book” – they’re just different levels for different people at different times.  I believe there’s often something to learn from all your experiences – even if it’s to just reinforce the need to never think that way again.

The Bible – Part 2

I think Christians often make more of the Bible than they really ought.  It’s meant to be a collection of spiritual writings relating to the Gospel in an important way.  But its status has been elevated to that of God Himself – we call it the Word of God.  When God says “My Word” in the Bible – does it relate to the Bible itself?  It does in way: when God speaks through someone or they are given genuine revelation from Him.  Other than that, well…I don’t know.  I believe the Word of God is the truth of God.  We read in Genesis that God spoke and said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.  So God’s Word could also be God commissioning something – His power being sent forth into the world.  I also know that the Bible describes Jesus as “The Living Word”.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  It’s interesting to note that when King David wrote this Psalm, the only books of the Bible that were in existence were the Pentateuch.  The Pentateuch is the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  All the other books of the Bible that we consider to be the Word of God, were being written or yet to be written.  So it’s unlikely that David is referring to what we now know as the Bible, when he says, “Your word…”

So I see the need for the Bible being used to prevent fraudsters and otherwise deluded individuals coming along and saying they’ve heard from God and what He supposedly told them.  But the Bible as we know it is a medieval English translation of ancient Middle Eastern texts, written in Hebrew or Greek. Much of these writings were written to specific people at a specific time.

There are customs and rituals in the Bible which might not apply to us in modern, western civilisations.  An example of this is when Paul told the church at Corinth, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches.”  It’s commonly accepted amongst Christians that this was not intended as a blanket rule to all believers in all churches.  However, there’s always some over-zealous Christian who will retort by quoting 2 Timothy 3:16.


16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

2 Timothy 3:16


It’s more likely that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, was addressing a specific situation at the time.  Commonsense and experience needs to be applied in all areas of life – including the Bible.  Some Bible verses defy earthly logic, such as the miracles of Jesus, so we have to bear that in mind too.  We also need to bear in mind the history, lifestyle and customs of the time, as well as the specific people being addressed by the author.  We should always try to look to more than one Bible verse to help corroborate a particular Biblical truth.

The Bible – Part 1

Some believe that it’s likely that the collection of writings we call the Bible – weren’t intended to be published and made available to the masses.  Paul’s letters to the churches, for example, were meant to be just that.  I’m inclined to agree, to some extent.

However, I’m not sure there would be a Christian religion, not as we know it at least, if it wasn’t for these writings.  We need those prophecies during Old Covenant times, to know about the law, and the curse of the law, that we are set free from.  We need the writings of the disciples to tell us about Jesus’ earthly ministry and His sacrificial death on the cross.  Lastly, and most importantly, we need the revelation of the Gospel found in Paul’s Epistles.  No-one else on this planet received a revelation of the Gospel, the New and better Covenant, like Paul did.  So I’m more inclined to say the Bible is essential.  I sometimes wonder if all of the books of the Bible are essential, such as Lamentations or Song of Solomon.  I’m certain that most Christians would be shocked to hear such as statement.  But it does make me wonder.

Most Bible verses cannot be taken literally and they need to be interpreted, filtered and processed.  Unfortunately, it’s this stage when the mind of imperfect man, when it can all go wrong.  So much of our understanding is geared towards justifying the role of the institutional church.  So a verse such as “bring the tithe into the storehouse” is read as meaning, “Bring ten percent of your income in money to the church you attend regularly.”  The original verse, I believe, referred to livestock brought to a local storehouse.  I seriously doubt the relevance of this verse, Malachi 3:10, in today’s society.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”.  This was a message from Paul to a particular church, a group of people, advising them to get together from time to time.  But we’ve now taken that verse and made a rule out of it: Christians must meet together every Sunday in a building designated for that purpose.  Curiously, that’s the only verse in scripture which appears to support the notion of the modern church building and organisation.

Where would we be without the Bible?  I suppose the Gospel would have been conveyed by word of mouth.  After all, the printing press had not yet been invented in Biblical times – scripture would have been written on one or a limited number of scrolls.  Would it have been better or worse if the Bible was not published to the masses?  With or without the Bible – the Gospel still needs to be communicated to others by word of mouth.  I’m not absolutely sure if it would have been better or worse.  But without many of the key revelations we see in the Bible – I don’t think it would be good.

There seems to be a need to safeguard against anyone coming along and claiming they’ve heard from God and writing about it – when they haven’t.  Take the Apocrypha for example – is any of that true?  Again, I’m not sure and have not studied it much.  Apparently, there’s a “Book of Judas” now in print – can we really trust what’s written in that?

The Grace Message I Believe Now - Part 2

Its no surprise really that many of the Christians I began this grace message with on Facebook, are now silent when it comes to discussions about grace – or they’ve even deleted their account.  The Gospel should be something that you do eventually “get”, without the need to constantly learn and debate with other people.  The church has kept people bound in a religious vortex from which they are unable to escape.

There seems to be a lot of expectations that people attribute to God, the Bible and the Christian life in general.  The Charismatic movement during the nineties and the Word of Faith message, created a prosperity and believing-God-for-something attitude that still persists to this day.  Even grace believers have been told, by the likes of Joseph Prince, that they can “just rest in the finished work of the cross”, as a means to prosperity and “victorious Christian living”.  I do believe in this, to an extent, but it does seem to foster a great deal of fantasy and unrealistic expectation.  I wonder if this is the reason why so many grace Christians, who were so active on forums and social networking media, have suddenly become so silent.

I believe in goal setting, but in the institutional church – it was always over-the-top, with the miraculous sprinkled in somehow.  Whilst I believe in miracles, they are, by definition – rare.  I’ve been running now for 2 years and have competed in about 4 10k races (6.2 miles).  A realistic goal for me would be to run a half-marathon (13 miles).  What would be unrealistic would be for me to consider running a 50 mile ultra-marathon – at this stage, at least.

The more you progress and mature in the grace message, the more you realise that it has a lot to do with permission to be yourself.  The church portrayed the Christian life as a continuous striving to be, do or have something you don’t already experience.  Hence, the fantasy aspect to Christianity: trying to be someone you’re not, whilst anxiously striving to attain unrealistic standards – standards of behaviour and lifestyle.  In fact, you might find that as you embrace this grace message – you become less and less of what you were told a Christian should look and act like.  Ironically, the Gospel seems to be, to a great extent, an anti-religion message.

It’s comforting to know that God is in my life, although I know that I can’t use clever formulas and principles to control my life circumstances.  I know I can’t make God do what I want, when I want; and I know that I can’t always avoid those things I consider to be bad and negative.

Although I’ve matured and improved as a person over the years, I still struggle somewhat with anxiety.  It was anxiety and its many varied toxic side effects that originally draw me to Christ.  In fact, I’d say that many, if not most, Christians come to Christ through some sort of issues.  Whilst the grace message has done a lot to help me deal with anxiety, particularly those induced through abusive religious beliefs and practices, I’m still left to deal with the anxieties of everyday life.  I would say that the Gospel only goes so far in dealing with this.

What I’ve personally found to be more useful in bringing peace of mind is a practice called The Work of Byron Katie, also known as Inquiry.  This practice is based on four simple questions and what is known as a “turnaround”.  Byron Katie asserts no set, institutional, centralised beliefs, as such.  But when people are invited to do The Work for themselves, a kind of focus and consensus of beliefs and attitudes comes to the fore and a kind of philosophy and approach arises out of that.  This approach has a lot to do with accepting “what is” and not arguing with reality.  This does not mean we should not be passionate, have opinions and take bold action – it just means freedom from stressing over things we cannot change.  The Work can, at times, seem rather extreme and controversial: there’s no way a religious Christian could adopt this approach.  But the grace message makes it possible for Christians to do this.  You might think that The Gospel and The Work don’t quite mix well – but I believe that they do.

I suppose you could say that my spiritual beliefs are rather unique now.  If I could summarise what I believe now, I suppose I’d say a foundation of Biblical, faith-righteousness, as popularised by Joseph Prince and Bertie Brits; with the core being a fusion of The Free Believers Network and The Work of Byron Katie.

I’ve invested a lot of time and effort (and frustration) in the pursuit of my spiritual beliefs.  I still don’t feel I’ve arrived and as much as I’m excited and enthusiastic about it all – I’m still inclined to be frustrated, confused and inclined to give it all up, at times.  Many have been the time that I’d pursue a concept with a passion – only for it to lead me to a dead-end.  It’s for this reason why I’m not so inclined these days to push my beliefs on to other people.  But I’m passionate about being totally honest and expressing my beliefs and opinions from genuine experience – rather than just simply quoting someone else.  I could be wrong with my current beliefs – but it seems to be working rather well and making sense, so far.

The Divine Nature | TNB