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Pulling Down Strongholds

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but might through God for the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). Do you know what strongholds are? They are excuses and reasonings that people use to support their beliefs and ideologies. We do not change mindsets through matching the prowess of people in the world. We defeat wrong mindsets through abiding in Christ and trusting God with the next step. We might not know what the next step is, but as we abide in peace and love, we will be guided step-by-step.

We think that we have to compete with the world on their terms so that we can witness to them. This is a subtle way of allowing our own selfish wants to seek fulfilment. These wants are security, significance and self-worth. We delude ourselves into believing that we are "serving God", when a lot of the time, we are serving our own lower natures.

What I have come to understand it that everyone in the world wants to be happy. But we try to make ourselves happy by attaining those things that we believe will satisfy our lustful cravings. Then, when we have satisfied those wants, and then we will be happy. Why not just go straight for happiness? When we allow God to have His way in our lives, we experience love, peace and joy - regardless of whether we are rich or poor.

Favour with others is not attained through the pursuit of people, power or possessions. In fact, the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:22 what we should pursue: righteousness, faith, love, peace. Favour with others is a spiritual thing that is attained through the manifestation of the light of life.

Why do we forsake the things of the spirit, which is life and peace, for the things of the world, which is heavy and cumbersome? (See Romans 8:6). Have you ever met a person and just found you truly loving them and wanting to do something kind for them - for seemingly no reason at all? Did that person have to perform in order to attain your favour? What did it feel like on the inside when you yielded to that love? Now, in contrast, what does it feel like when someone is clearly attempting to gain your approval through logical reasoning or performance? Don't you feel used, intimidated, frustrated and irritable?

I believe that we bring on the intimidation of others when we try to compete with them on their own terms. By doing this, we are just like David when he tried to strap-on Saul’s heavy armour in 1 Sam. 17:38-39, which can be likened to the self-defensiveness that people in the world use. Such efforts deny the favour that only the light of life can bring. Self-justification, I believe, not only includes our efforts to be right with God, but also our efforts to find a sense of purpose, self-esteem, identity and fulfilment. Such efforts bring us under the curse of the law.

Intimidation in the Battle between David and Goliath

In his book, Breaking Intimidation, John Bevere quotes the epic battle between David and Goliath: the way in which Goliath (and David’s own kinsmen and family) intimidated David.

I have my own thoughts about intimidation in relation to David and Goliath – some of which, I suppose, is based on John Bevere’s take on the story.

David did not repeat faith affirmations that God would make him a ten-foot giant and a skilled swordsman. No, David simply trusted God and stepped out in faith. I'll bet David did not even know what would happen next - he didn't even have a plan. All that David knew was that he would have the victory because God was with him. Also, did you notice where the intimidation was coming from? Not just from the enemy: David was also intimidated by those on his own side - even his soldier brothers! Doesn't that sound familiar to those who are believers of the message of pure grace?

Sometimes we come to God with our plans and expect Him to bless them. We think of the most logical course of action, which is often a plan that sees us looking good in front of others, saving face, settling old scores, getting one over on the other person or making up for past mistakes and embarrassments. But a lot of the time we don't have that luxury.

God anoints us in our weakness so that His glory might be known (2 Cor. 12:9). If David was able to square up to Goliath and fight him on his own terms - David could have claimed the glory - but it wasn't the case. We ought to consider what we would be like if God answered our prayers and gave us the power and the “victory” that we often demand from Him. Is it possible that we would be just as competitive, demanding, intimidating, proud and obnoxious as those we are trying to compete with and impress?

Have you ever noticed that most of the time that Christians want to be blessed in the typical ways that the world impresses upon us? Then, we think about the spectacular miracles that we get told about in church and treat them like some sort of lottery ticket. We have the idea that if we hear about the way in which God blesses some people in unconventional ways, and if we read the right books and make the right faith confessions, our "numbers might come-up". But until that day comes - we look to God to empower us to fulfil certain criteria so that we qualify to be blessed in the conventional ways of the world. This manner of thinking creates intimidation and a sense of rejection when we don't meet those requirements – requirements that are foisted upon us by the world.

There is a balance to be struck here: on the whole, I believe we should look to God to bless us in ways that should be considered "natural". I suppose the key to this is having an open mind and not trying to fulfil certain criteria as a means to being blessed and favoured of God. See my blog entry on The Everyday Supernatural:

Just consider how long it would have taken for David to train in the military, to become big and strong, so that he could fight a physical fight with the giant. God took David, as he was, young, ruddy and good-looking, as the Bible puts it (1 Sam. 17:42).

God anointed a shepherd boy's sling and turned it into a might weapon that could defeat the strongest of foes. David did not struggle too long with Saul's armour: as soon as he could see it was not going to work - he put it aside and trusted God for his protection (1 Sam. 17:38-39). Why is it that we use faith formulas to try and strap-on the armour of the world? The armour of the world is heavy and cumbersome. Our armour is spiritual and consists of salvation, righteousness, peace, faith and truth (see Eph. 6:13-17). There is nothing more powerful than that.

Intimidation in My Own Life

In my own life, I feel intimidated a lot of the time. What annoys me a lot of the time are people who seem to "have it all together", people who are non-believers but appear to have the hallmarks of the abundant life that the Bible seems to only promise believers. I really wouldn't mind, I'm sure, if I was blessed - but I'm not (at least I don’t feel as if I am).

What makes me feel even more intimidated is when these people take it upon themselves to say, "Paul, this religious stuff is really not helping you...” They are of course referring to my Christian beliefs. But I think that they have a point: the religious, legalistic aspects of my belief system, ingrained in me over the years, really has not helped me one bit! I suppose this corresponds with the Psalms when the Psalmist is venting frustration to God about the ungodly being blessed.

In his book, Breaking Intimidation, John Bevere does touch upon what he believes to be the root cause of intimidation: loving your life (selfishness) (see Rev. 12:11 and John 12:25).

I believe that my intimidation is more than likely to be caused by my trying to prove myself by my works. I have been trying to compete with the world so that I can prove that I'm better than them; so that I can fulfil the religious demands put upon me by the legalistic church; so I can put demands on other people that they can't attain; so that I can justify to myself and others; so I can deserve blessings and favour from God and tell other people why I deserve to live an abundant life and they don't. I suppose I've been no better than other, intimidating people.

Breaking Intimidation

A little while ago, I read a book called Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere. This was quite a good book that highlights something that happens in the lives of many Christians. But what I didn't like about the book was that it was rather legalistic, something that the Christian "must do", rather than what Christ has already done.

Most of the anecdotes from this book were focused on people in full-time ministry. This is something that really does my head in, because I feel that it fails to address everyday, "real-life" issues. I honestly thought at one stage that I had to be in full-time ministry to be an effective Christian, because all the testimonies of victory were centred on full time ministry.

John Bevere's anecdotes were pretty much the same throughout the book: a pastor of a church would be intimidated by Christians who had wrong ideas and were living in sin. Bevere would goad the pastor to confront these intimidators. It seems to me as if John Bevere was being almost as intimidating as the people in his stories!

Speak to the Mountain…Oh Really?

We are encouraged to “speak to the mountain”. But sometimes, that mountain is meant to stay-put and we are to navigate our way around it, or over it, according to the will of God. This is why patience and longsuffering are aspects of love and fruit of the born-again spirit.

Bearing Ill Treatment

There are times when we want to call down fire from heaven to consume our “enemies”. But during those times, it is more likely that God wants us to bear the ill treatment they are giving us and to walk in love towards them. Jesus told us that we were to love our enemies, go the extra mile and turn the other cheek. How are we to win souls for Christ if we want God to smite those people who seem to oppose us?

The Tale of Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was not given the VIP treatment when she was to give birth to the Saviour. There were no chariots of fire; there was no fanfare from an angelic host. Mary was thrown on the back of a donkey whilst heavily pregnant and had to travel quite some distance for a census. When Mary reached her destination, she was not treated to a five-star hotel; there was no supernatural provision of money that would enable Mary to give birth to the Son of Man in a place of dignity and comfort. No, Mary had little choice but to give birth to the Saviour in a lowly cattle shed.

If Mary was a modern-day Christian, I think she would be on a serious guilt-trip: did she pray enough? Did she miss going to church for a while? Did she miss going to the latest conference? Perhaps she did not read the right Christian books and apply the “principles” and formulas that they provide? Mary might have checked herself for hidden sin or considered increasing her offerings to the church. For goodness sake – they didn’t even have church buildings in those days – let alone pastors touting for your hard-earned cash!

Is There Scope for Speaking to the Mountain?

There is scope for speaking to the mountain, which is an opposing thing – but it is an expression of faith. We cannot force an expression of faith; faith is something which expresses itself spontaneously. The irony of teaching that encourages practices such as speaking to the mountain is that it makes such things into a formula or principle that a believer must make an effort of the will to do in order to be blessed by God - such formulas do not work.

I am of the belief that teaching on speaking to the mountain is not required, because if you had that kind of faith, then that faith would simply express itself, regardless of whether you read a book about it or not.

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Jesus did not say, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you should say to this mountain…” A lot of Christians would say that there is little or no difference – but I believe that there is. I believe that Jesus is telling us that if we have faith it will just express itself naturally. Just consider all the books on faith that tell us the kind of things that faith does – more than how to actually get faith.

Exercising Faith or Forcing Our Own Way?

One of my biggest misgivings about Word of Faith teaching is that it seems to give the impression that God will endorse any sensible, Biblical plan, which seems to benefit both the prayer warrior and those around him. We apply our logical reasoning to a situation and come-up with a plan that will bring about what we see as being the best result.

Oftentimes, we are looking to something that will make us look good in the natural realm, whilst somehow forgetting the fact that favour is a supernatural thing that transcends the physical, according to what we do or what we have. Many of these ideas that we have, do not come from God, and therefore, are born out of selfish ambition rather than love.

The “Divine Lottery Ticket” and Insecurity

I believe that many insecure Christians want to “believe God” for a large, lump sum of money, perhaps a lottery win or something similar. Despite being a great exercise in faith, this often betrays a sense of distrusting God for day-to-day provision. Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

The Parable of the Rich Fool

We are often like the man in the Parable of the Rich Fool which Jesus told in Luke 12:13-21. We want to break down our barns so that we can build bigger ones. Then, we will put our feet up and enjoy life: the man in this parable wanted an easy life – and so do we, a lot of the time. But this was the same man to whom God said, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’” (Luke 12:20). This does not mean that we cannot, as Christians, enjoy abundant provision, even wealth, what is important is our beliefs, attitudes and motives.

“His Yoke is Easy” in Relation to Paul

Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. But I believe that Jesus was speaking about a spiritual lightness, rather than a physical lightness. The Apostle Paul was beaten, shipwrecked and thrown into prison. Yet he did not doubt his salvation, examine himself for hidden sin, or read the latest Christian books to give him the right faith formulas and prayer advice to overcome the situation by making circumstances easier for him.

Paul experienced such a sense of God’s peace, lightness in the spirit, that he was able to fulfil God’s plan for his life without doubting himself and without feeling condemned by God. I would much rather walk in spiritual lightness than physical lightness. Without love, peace, joy and faith - even the simplest of tasks can become frustrating, difficult, burdensome, confusing and tedious.

Our Plans and Conformity with the World

The plans we formulate, which are not of God, are often impressed upon us by other people: family, friends, work-colleagues and well-meaning church people. In our efforts to conform to the world around us in which we are brought-up and to ensure that we don’t “rock the boat”, we come to God expecting Him to have the same ideas that we have.

We assume that because God is love, His plans for us will be in perfect harmony with those around us. This is the same Lord that said that He came to bring a sword, rather than to bring peace (Matthew 10:34). This is the same Lord that told a man to drop everything and follow Him – even though it meant leaving his family without saying goodbye (Luke 9:61-62). The compulsions that we have about such plans, are not love, but are nothing more than the instinct to belong and conform, which is so natural to us all.

When Do We Know We Have Enough Faith?

I often wondered how I would know when I have enough faith for something. I assumed that I would know I have enough faith when the thing that I was believing God for, came into being. But this does not seem to correlate with what we read in Romans 4:16-22, when we read about what Paul has to say about God declaring to Abraham that he would have a son in his old age.

In Romans 4:20 we read that Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. Therefore, even though Abraham was strong in faith – he did not see the promise of God fulfilled in his life for several years.

When the Bible talks about faith it is talking about maintaining a God connection by focusing on what Jesus has already done for us on the cross and who we are in Him. This kind of faith should be everything we need in order to maintain love, peace and joy in every moment.

In his book, Classic Christianity, Bob George likens this kind of faith to the clutch on a car: the power in the engine, which represents God; our faith is what connects us to the power of the engine; but the clutch does not deliver power in itself.

I personally believe that the way in which we know we have enough faith is when we experience peace in the moment. If we experience peace, then we have faith – it’s as simple as that. When a thought comes to us that disturb our peace, we can look to what the Bible says in order to build our faith and restore our peace.

When we try to gauge our level of faith according to what we have or do, we are in danger of moving into self-justification and assumption. We don’t know what life may bring us next because we don’t know the plans that God has for us.

Christians should move away from the pressure that the church often puts on them to perform works. You should do what you feel is right for you and do it because you want to in your heart, because of love. As soon as we do things because we want people or God to approve of us – we have moved away from love and into fear, guilt, lust or pride.

If a person thinks that if he had faith, he would do this or that, or would have this or that – that person might find that he never has faith according to that criterion.

Faith in Christ Alone

When the Bible talks about faith it is talking about being convinced in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and who we are in Him as a result. Kenneth E. Hagin would often admonish believers to make sure they don’t try to believe God for something outside of His Word. That is why we can look to God for healing, because it is written in the Bible (1 Peter 2:24).

Nowhere in the Bible does it way that we can believe God for something – such as a house or a car. Most of the time the assurances of the Bible are rather vague or broad based. We have the assurance in Philippians 4:19 that God will meet our needs through Christ. We also have the promise of Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:33 that all the things we need will be added to us.

But we don’t have scripture that tells us that we can believe God for a specific thing. In fact, Jesus told His disciples that they should not seek after “these things” (what you should eat and what you should wear). Notice how Jesus just speaks about the basics – He does not even mention luxuries of any kind.

I believe that where we miss it with faith is when we get too specific and we set ourselves and God goals to attain, such as ‘X’ amount of pounds or dollars. A lot of the time Christians just want to build “great faith” by believing God for something extravagant. The reason for this is because they want to feel loved by God, as if they are special; perhaps they want to prove themselves to other people as well. If a person has a legitimate need, then that is fine – but we can still only put our faith in what Christ has done for us.

Faith for Specific Goals

What seems to have happened because of Word of Faith teaching, is that Christians have been encouraged to set specific goals in order to test their faith or in order to build their faith.

Christians have been encouraged by way-out testimonies as written in Kenneth E. Hagin’s books. This has led people to believe that they too can experience the same kind of awesome miracles as Hagin did. I don’t want to sound as if I am weak in faith, but I cannot help but feel that such testimonies have had the effect of creating a distraction and an unrealistic expectation. Most Christians are called to just have an effective and abundant, family life – not to have a church the size of an Olympic stadium and to raise people from the dead!

The Word of Faith movement has put an emphasis on the accumulation of wealth and the attainment of extravagant goals. Christians can convince themselves and others that they are “believing God” for such things, because they want to further His kingdom. But in actual fact, I reckon that many Christians are actually more intent on boosting their sense of security, significance and self-worth.

The Sinner’s Prayer

If you decide today that you want to become a Christian – all you have to do is to make a declaration which is known as the Sinner’s Prayer. There are many variations of this prayer and the exact wording is not important. All that is important is that you declare your need for Christ as your Saviour and that you are willing to trust in Him and make Him Lord of your life and you mean what you say from the heart.

Here is an example of the Sinner’s Prayer which you can pray now if you want to become a Christian today:

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

This version of the Sinner’s Prayer was taken from this website:

Security versus Insecurity

I made a note of a chart that was displayed during a sermon at Hillsong London, which compared attributes of security with that of insecurity.



At rest & at peace

Driven & anxious

Accepting of self, confident of one's value to God

Striving to get acclaim, to prove one's value

Content with one's lot in life

Constantly comparing, envying, coveting

Able to bless, affirm and serve others

Jealous, controlling, manipulative & demanding of others

A More Accurate Definition of Repentance

I still believe in the concept of repentance. I know that might shock some people, but I believe there is a difference between confession of sin and repentance. The Bible actually uses different words to describe these different concepts (see 1 John 1:9 and Luke 13:3).

According to Strong's Dictionary of Greek Words, this Greek word metanoeō (G3340) translated repent in the King James Version, means:

From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): - repent.

According to Thayer's Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:

1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent

2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

These Greek dictionaries say nothing about repentance having anything to do with confession of sins! These dictionaries both assert the fact that repentance is a change of mindset.

Repentance through the Grace Message

I believe that this change of mindset comes through revelation of truth – this can come through studying the Word of God with the right perspective: the right perspective is that God is love, God is good and the Gospel is the good news.

The latest Christian message of no-condemnation, the moving away from keeping rules, is known as the message of grace. The revelation and agreement with, the message of grace is the repentance, the change of mindset that we need.

Grace means unmerited favour; but the grace message emphasises the power of God working in the heart of man, as opposed to believers having to keep rules and principles in order to merit God’s favour and blessing. We need to move away from believing that we need to do, in order to become.

The emphasis with the message of grace is all about what Jesus has already done for us on the cross. Grace is all about who we are in Christ right now – rather than the efforts that we need to make, the principles we need to follow and the formulas we need to use, in order to become who we are meant to be.

The True Definition of Confession

According to Strong's Dictionary of Greek Words, this Greek word homologeō (G3670) translated confess in the King James Version, means:

From a compound of the base of G3674 and G3056; to assent, that is, covenant, acknowledge: - con- (pro-) fess, confession is made, give thanks, promise.

According to Thayer's Greek Definitions, this Greek word means:

1) to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent

2) to concede

2a) not to refuse, to promise

2b) not to deny

2b1) to confess

2b2) declare

2b3) to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of

3) to profess

3a) to declare openly, speak out freely

3b) to profess one’s self the worshipper of one

4) to praise, celebrate

The confess means to say that same as – in other words, to agree with what the Bible says is true. Joseph Thayer even says that confession includes praise and celebration. Hebrews 13:15 even renders this Greek word as thanks. 1 Timothy 6:12 uses this Greek word in relation to fighting the good fight of faith, and therefore, boldly declaring who you are in Christ.

How to Apply Confession of Sin in the Life of the Christian

So how, as Christians, do we apply confession of sin to our lives? Simple, we say what the Bible says from a perspective of Jesus already having dealt with our sins on the cross. We do not come to God with a heavy heart, burdened with guilt, with fear that we will be punished.

No, we confess what the Bible says about our sin. We come to God with a grateful heart in praise and celebration of what He has done for us. We do not approach God as if we are unworthy of His forgiveness, but with boldness (see Hebrews 10:19). We thank God that He sent Jesus to die for us on the cross and that through His sacrifice, our sins are taken away, we are made right with God and we live in unbroken fellowship with Him. If God no longer sees our sins according to Hebrews 10:17 – why should we remind ourselves and God of our sins?

Confession of sin is for our benefit; we confess the Word so we can rid ourselves of a guilty conscience and see ourselves as God sees us. Confession of sin is not for the purpose of re-establishing our relationship with God – because our relationship with Him is not broken because of anything that we do.

Overcoming the Slanderer

The Bible uses various different names to describe God, although, many of these appear only in the original Hebrew or Greek. For instance, “Elohim” means “God of power and might”. These various titles tells us about the different aspects of God’s character.

Similarly, the name “devil” is a title that refers to the way in which the enemy slanders God to man and man to God. The blood of Christ is the source of our redemption and righteousness. We apply the power of the blood to our lives by confessing who we are in Christ to ourselves, God and the devil.

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Revelation 12:10-11 nkjv

Should Believers Confess Their Sins?

The word “repentance” has become a dirty word in the grace Christianity community. It is very easy to see why this is the case. For many years Christians have been told that they have to confess all of their sins to God in order to be saved. But of course, nobody could ever confess every sin they have ever committed – it would be just too much.

1 John 1:9 and Confession of Sin

There has been a great deal of debate about 1 John 1:9 and whether it was written to Christians or non-believers. The crux of this argument is to establish whether or not Christians are supposed to confess their sins every time they do something wrong.

Traditional Christianity has taught that a believer comes out of fellowship with God whenever he sins and that in order to restore fellowship with God, he must confess his sin. This is a viewpoint that is even supported by Kenneth E. Hagin, who is known amongst many Christians as the “father of faith”.

It is only grace preachers such as Joseph Prince, Bob George, Steve McVey and Bertie Brits who refute this teaching on confession of sin. These grace preachers all seem to agree that 1 John 1:9 was written to unbelievers.

Jesus Has Already Taken Away Our Sins

The Bible tells us that Jesus has already taken away our sins (1 John 3:5, Romans 11:27). Hebrews 10 tells us about how the Levitical priest would make a sacrifice every year on behalf of the sins of Israel. Each year there would be a reminder of those sins (Heb. 10:3). These sacrifices could never make the people perfect – they only covered sin but did not take them away (Heb. 10:1).

If these sacrifices could take away sin, then no more offerings would be required and the people would forget all about sin (Heb. 10:2). Thankfully, Jesus Christ has made a single offering, once and for all on our behalf as both High Priest and sacrificial Lamb; by His blood, Christ has obtained for us eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). The Bible tells us that when there is remission of sin, there is no longer a need to make offerings for sin (Heb. 10:18).

Christians somehow have the idea that when they sin, they come out of fellowship with God. The Bible says that Jesus lives forever in unbroken fellowship with God. The Bible also says that as He is, so are we in this world.

10 He died once for all to end sin's power, but now he lives forever in unbroken fellowship with God.

Romans 6:10 TLB

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

1 John 4:17 nkjv

When a Christian confesses his sin to God, it is as if he is sacrificing an animal in order to cover his sin and to get back into fellowship with God. When this happens, there is an expression of a guilty conscience. The Bible tells us that our conscience has been sprinkled with Christ’s blood, and therefore, we no longer need to be mindful of sin (Heb. 10:22, Heb. 9:14). As far as the Bible is concerned: there is no longer any sin for God to forgive. If God no longer sees our sins and reminds us of them – why should we?

14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," 17 then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:14-18 nkjv

For more information about confession of sin in relation to 1 John 1:9, check out the following link:

Sin as a State of Being

It is enlightening to realise that in the New Testament, the verb form of the word “sin” only appears 19 percent of the time. The other 81 percent is the noun form of the word “sin”. This means that the majority of the time, the New Testament is referring to sin as a state of being, rather than something that a person does.

Romans 6:6 says that the body of sin has been done away with. The Message translation uses the term “our old way of life”, which is says was nailed to the cross with Christ. Therefore, we are no longer at sin's every beck and call! The Living Bible puts it this way:

6 Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with him; that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and fatally wounded, so that your sin-loving body is no longer under sin's control, no longer needs to be a slave to sin;

Romans 6:6 TLB

Vincent’s Word Studies includes the following explanation of this verse in relation to the phrase “body of sin”:

The phrase body of sin denotes the body belonging to, or ruled by, the power of sin, in which the members are instruments of unrighteousness (Romans 6:13).

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says the following in relation to “body of sin” pertaining to this verse:

That the body of sin - This expression doubtless means the same as that which he had just used, “our old man,” But why the term “body” is used, has been a subject in which interpreters have not been agreed. Some say that it is a Hebraism, denoting mere intensity or emphasis. Some that it means the same as flesh, that is, denoting our sinful propensities and lusts. Grotius thinks that the term “body” is elegantly attributed to sin, because the body of man is made up of many members joined together compactly, and sin also consists of numerous vices and evil propensities joined compactly, as it were, in one body. But the expression is evidently merely another form of conveying the idea contained in the phrase “our old man” - a personification of sin as if it had a living form, and as if it had been put to death on a cross. It refers to the moral destruction of the power of sin in the heart by the gospel, and not to any physical change in the nature or faculties of the soul; compare Col. 2:11.

I believe that we can look at Romans 6:6 as meaning that the corrupt, sinful nature of man in its entirety has been nailed to the cross, and therefore, no longer finds its place in the heart of the believer. This inner transformation was prophesied by Ezekiel 11:19-20.

Restoring the Sinful Believer – Part 3

Another text in scripture which makes me think about church discipline is 1 Corinthians 5:1-6.

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named* among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

1 Corinthians 5:1-6 nkjv

Leaven in the Bible represents pride. It is pride that causes man to believe that he can keep all of God’s commandments in his own effort. Paul wrote in Romans 7:9 that he was alive (spiritually) without the law, but when the commandment was given, he died (spiritually). It was only when the law code was defined and written down that man realised that he did not have what it takes to fulfil God’s rules.

Leaven does not represent sinful arrogance, as such, as proclaimed by legalistic churches. There are many believers who think that it is pride for a believer to sin and believe that he can “get away with it”. Pride in the church is not a believer’s willingness to sin and his insensitivity and lack of respect for others and for God. Pride in the church is the mistaken belief that you can keep the Ten Commandments.

The Pharisees believed that they could keep the law, but look at what they were like. The Pharisees were great at observing religious traditions and rituals, but they were not so good when it came to what really mattered: justice and mercy and faith (Matt. 23:23).

The Pharisees who were considered the religious elite, were willing to stone a woman to death because she was apparently caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-5). Jesus could have agreed with the Pharisees according to Jewish law, but instead, He showed compassion on the woman and did not condemn her (John 8:11).

In my experience, most Christians who sin do so because they cannot help it, not because they want to or because they want to put God’s grace to the test (Rom. 5:20, Rom. 6:1-3).

If people do sin, it is because they have wrong beliefs regarding who they are in Christ. If a believer feels condemned according to what he does, or has done, then his flesh nature will flare-up and take command of his soul. That is why it is so important for believers to be given the message of God’s grace in them, the divine nature, and righteousness by faith and no-condemnation in Christ. The preaching of do’s and don’ts, right and wrong, will simply put people into condemnation when they realise that they cant live according to those standards.

Leaven is a lump of yeast that puffs-up the dough. In a similar manner to leaven, religious pride puffs us up when we believe that we can be justified by our own works. Leaven therefore represents religious pride, or legalism, as seen in the Pharisees.

In order to further qualify this argument, let us take a look at the statement that Paul makes about leaven in Galatians 5:9, in relation to the preceding verses.

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,* and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Galatians 5:1-9 nkjv

Paul is talking about a “yoke of bondage” in Galatians 5:1 and that Christ has set us free. Is Paul talking about some awful sin such as sexual immorality? Perhaps it is not a “physical” sin, but something involving thoughts and desires, such as covetousness perhaps? No, Paul is talking about circumcision.

The reason why Paul puts circumcision in such a bad light is that he refers to it in order to represent the Jewish laws and customs as observed in the Old Covenant. Therefore, Paul is warning the Galatians to get back into the New Covenant by looking to faith in Christ as our righteousness, rather than our own efforts.

Paul refers to circumcision in relation to the Jewish customs, throughout the New Testament. For instance: 1 Cor. 7:19, Gal. 5:6, Gal. 6:15, Phil. 3:3, Col. 2:11, Rom. 2:25.

What leads a person to sin is the pride, the false notion, that he can be right with God according to his own efforts. Therefore, it is important that leaven, representing religious pride and legalism, be removed from the church.

If a believer sins, he is to be restored back to the church with compassion. This restoration is to be done through telling that believer who he is in Christ, he is still right with God and that there is no now condemnation (Rom. 8:1). A believer who sins is not to be condemned and ostracized.

I believe that a believer’s private affairs are his own personal matter and not the business of others. If a believer commits adultery, it is between himself, God and the parties involved and immediately affected. If someone commits a crime, such as theft of church funds, then that is another matter entirely. We are all subject to the law of the land and the welfare of the church must be protected.

When I read 1 Corinthians 5:1-6, it looks to me like these people were proud of their religious conduct and behaviour (just like the Pharisees) and Paul says that they are to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus" means that they had to take this person out of the church so that they may see God's grace and repent (change one's mind). Can you imagine what it would be like to be inn a church full of Pharisees? Yet this is what many Christians experience every Sunday!

This site explains a little more about this subject:

Restoring the Sinful Believer – Part 2

In Galatians 6:1, Paul writes about restoring the sinner.

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Galatians 6:1 nkjv

1 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out.

Galatians 6:1 msg

The word “restore” in Galatians 6:1 is translated from the Greek word katartizō (G2675). According to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary, this Greek word means:

From G2596 and a derivative of G739; to complete thoroughly, that is, repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust: - fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore.

Vincent’s Word Studies says the following about the word “restore” in Galatians 6:1.

Restore (καταρτίζετε)

See on Mat. 4:21; see on Mat. 21:16; see on Luk. 6:40; see on 1 Pet. 5:10. The word is used of reconciling factions, as Hdt. v. 28; of setting bones; of mending nets, Mark 1:19; of equipping or preparing, Rom. 9:22, Heb. 10:5; Heb. 11:3; of manning a fleet, or supplying an army with provisions. Usually by Paul metaphorically as here. The idea of amendment is prominent: set him to rights: bring him into line. Comp. 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Cor. 1:10.

The Greek word katartizō (G2675) also appears in 1 Corinthians 1:10 as “perfectly joined together” and is used in relation to the church coming into agreement, as one mind, so that there are no divisions amongst the people.

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:10 nkjv

The Greek word katartizō (G2675) also appears in Hebrews 13:21, together with another Greek word which means “you”, to form “make you perfect”. Therefore, this Greek word also means “make perfect”. In the New King James Version this appears as “make you complete”.

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21 nkjv

Geneva Bible Translation Notes says the following about Galatians 6:1. (I have underlined certain parts of this text for emphasis.)

Brethren, (1) if a man be (a) overtaken in a fault, ye which are (b) spiritual, (c) restore such an one in the (d) spirit of meekness; (2) considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

(1) He condemns persistent and pressing harshness, because brotherly reprehensions ought to be moderated and tempered by the spirit of meekness.

(a) Through the malice of the flesh and the devil.

(b) Who are upheld by the power of God's Spirit.

(c) Labour to fill up that which is lacking in him.

(d) This is a metaphor which the Hebrews use, showing by this that all good gifts come from God.

(2) He touches the problem, for they are commonly the most severe judges who forget their own weaknesses.

According to the Bible, we have already been given every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3). We have already been given the divine nature, the very nature of God Himself (2 Peter 1:4). Therefore, the only thing that is lacking in a believer who sins – is revelation knowledge.

We must bear in mind that Galatians 6:1 is written directly after Paul’s contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit in chapter 5. This contrast between the flesh nature and the divine nature serves to inform the believer that the very nature of God is already in him. Therefore, if we labour to fill that which is lacking in a believer who sins – we tell him all about the nature of God that is in him; rather than to give him rules to obey – as if he is able to obey God in his own effort.

It comes down to giving a believer the message of grace. If a believer is focusing on his sins, and therefore feeling condemned, more than on God’s grace – he will be stuck in sin. When we realise just how much God loves us, even when we fail, our flesh nature will be subdued and His nature will manifest itself in us.

So when it comes to correcting people, I believe it is important to ensure that we are doing so out of love, which can be harsh at times, but just, compassionate, true and God-guided. We must never correct people out of our own pride, jealousy or anger.

Most of the time, we will correct believers by correcting their distorted views of the message of grace, helping to dispel their own pride (self-reliance). Following the law will always lead to pride, anger, and competitiveness. If we see other people as God sees them through Christ - we will not be provoked to anger or pride; other people's foibles and bad habits will no longer bother us.  I believe the foundation of love is unconditional acceptance of "what is"; accepting people just as they are.

Restoring the Sinful Believer – Part 1

I recall reading a book called Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere. He provided anecdotes of how he witnessed intimidation in some churches, towards himself and/or others, and that it was only overcome when the Pastor confronted the intimidator.

In one such anecdote, Bevere recounted that he felt intimidated by the worship team in a church. It transpired that there was sin in the lives of some of these people (adultery being one of them). Only when these people were confronted, did the intimidation stop. Some of these people were restored to the church, some left.

I like the book Breaking Intimidation, it provided me with a lot of insight into the subject, but I could not help but feel that it emphasised confrontation as something that the believer should or must do. For me, that gets us back into the law, rather than grace, because it is all about coaxing someone to do something in their own effort. Remember, His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). To be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). The Holy Spirit should lead us who believe, in a way that is clear, yet peaceful and gentle.

The analogy that the Bible uses in regards to being led by the Spirit is that of a Father leading His child (Rom. 8:14). What father would lead his child by dragging him along, kicking and screaming? Either a father who has no ability to love and care for that child or a father who is aggressive and violent. Perhaps if the father is normally gentle and kind but the child is unruly – then the father has to be aggressive with the child. This reminds me of the analogy of the horse or mule in Psalm 32:9. But surely, the focus should be on learning how we can surrender our souls to God so that He can lead us as a child, without having to resort to all the rough stuff?

Another thing that I disliked about the book, something which is often a common theme amongst Christian books, is that the anecdotes were all from the perspective of someone who is in full-time ministry. I suppose it is often a difficult thing to avoid, but I think it would serve the Body of Christ a lot more if Christian books were written from the perspective of everyday life situations.

This theme of confrontation seems like a common-sense principle and it seems that this could be done out of love. But is it really our business to do so? Perhaps, as a pastor, it is his business to safeguard the flock from the wolves?

How does this figure in the message of grace I wonder? Seems rather Draconian to me. All I know is that when I don't accept other people, just as they are (including me) – it hurts on the inside.

The Emotions That War Within – Part 3

Apostle Paul describes his person struggle with sin in Romans 7.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 7:18-23

Basically, we could be using one set of negative emotions to deal with another: we can end up accepting guilt, fear or pride as a means of offsetting lust. What can also happen is that we can compare ourselves with other people who sin, through pride, as a means of offloading the guilt that we have about our own sinfulness. This leads us to the “I’m a sinner, but I’m not as bad as him” syndrome. This comparison with others is nothing more than self-delusion and is a guaranteed way of warding off the mercy and grace of God. (See the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14).

James 4:1-3 talks about the lusts that war within our souls. This text uses the term “war” because it denotes an internal struggle that is going on with our mind, will and emotions.

1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

James 4:1-3

Other versions of the Bible help to bring out the meaning of verse 1.

1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn't it because there is a whole army of evil desires within you?

James 4:1 TLB

1 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves..

James 4:1 MSG

1 What causes wars and contentions among you? Is it not the cravings which are ever at war within you for various pleasures?

James 4:1 Weymouth

1 What is the cause of wars and fighting among you? is it not in your desires which are at war in your bodies?

James 4:1 BBE

Vincent’s Word Studies describes what is meant by the figurative description of members warring against each other in James 4:1.

Lusts (ἡδονῶν)

Lit., pleasures, as Rev. Properly, sensual pleasures. The sinful pleasures are the outgrowths of the lusts, James 4:2.

That war (στρατευομένων)

The thought of wars and rightings is carried into the figurative description of the sensuality which arrays its forces and carries on its campaign in the members. The verb does not imply mere fighting, but all that is included in military service. A remarkable parallel occurs in Plato, “Phaedo,” 66: “For whence come wars and rightings and factions? Whence but from the body and the lusts of the body?” Compare 1 Peter 2:11; Romans 7:23.

The net effect of this approach is that we end-up surrounding a thought with emotion in an attempt to deal with it in a way that is seen to be acceptable to God. What would be better is if we were to simply take away the emotional content of a thought so that it appears to be no longer attractive or repelling to us.

It seems as if the soul is constantly warring against itself, employing the emotion of lust in order to become attracted to those things it believes will bring fulfilment, whilst also maintaining an unhealthy mixture of guilt, anger, fear and pride in order to sustain an aversion to the thing lusted after.

A fact remains a fact and we cannot do anything about that: if someone said something about us or abused us five years ago then that remains a fact. But we can identify the emotions that the soul uses to accompany a thought and then release on the emotions individually; or we can simply let go of the attraction and the aversion towards that thought.  When we do this, we strip a thought of its power over us so that it no longer hurts us and no longer causes us to fear.  This enables us to live a life that is not controlled by our emotions. When we get rid of our own limiting emotions in this way, we allow God’s higher power to work in our lives.

The Emotions That War Within – Part 2

The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions. Therefore, in response to a sermon that encourages believers to avoid sin, the soul has three options: it can will itself to avoid sin, it can use thoughts and it can use emotions to avoid sin.

Emotions can be seen as the power behind thoughts because thoughts often have little relevance to us until they become charged with emotion. The thought of something that someone says to us, for instance, only causes us to take offence when it becomes charged with anger and a sense of hurt.

It is emotions, therefore, that we need to be mindful of. If we find that we are becoming emotional regarding a subject then it would be wise for us to take a closer look at what is going on in our soul to see if we are attempting to deal with an issue that only God’s grace is able to handle.

A great deal of a person’s sinful thoughts and behaviour will be fuelled by lust as the soul asserts that a certain thing will meet its needs. This lust can be likened to the helium in a balloon of thought that rises up out of the subconscious mind into the conscious mind.

With a Christian’s religious teaching, he may find that he is shocked by that thought which he then proceeds to deal with in the only ways that he knows how. In the absence of teaching on grace by faith, he tries to use the resources of his own soul to deal with the lust.

Straightaway, we have conflict because on the one hand the soul thinks that something will meet its needs or at least pacify its cravings for a time, but the soul also believes that if it yields to that lust then God will punish him and he will lose his blessing.

So in response to the balloon of thought powered by lust, it seeks to weigh it down with other emotions which can be likened to ballast: guilt, anger, pride and hatred. This could have the effect of suppressing the thought but it does not go away entirely. The thought resisted in such a manner becomes repressed into the subconscious where it still exerts influence and is waiting for an adequate channel of expression.

This is why it seems as if there is such a struggle going on when we try to overcome temptation in our own effort. It can feel as if there is a war going on in our soul, and in actual fact, there is. Our own character, our own good intentions can be resisted by our own negative emotions. Our own thoughts and our will can wage war against our emotions: there is a war within our own souls!

It seems that as soon as a person decides to maintain what he believes to be a good character, it seems that there is a part of him that resists the notion. And so it is with the new Christian or the Christian who rededicates himself: he chooses to shun what is sinful and decides to conduct himself in the way that the Bible says he ought – only to find that his own lusts are fighting against his good intentions.

The Emotions That War Within – Part 1

The traditional approach to instilling holiness in people in the church has been to preach with an emphasis on how bad certain things are. There has been an implication within such preaching that God will be reproachful towards people who sin. This attitude has struck fear in the hearts of many believers who have been led to believe that the wrath of God will be directed towards them if they do something wrong.

Insecure and anxiety ridden believers, desperate to get their needs met, have been induced into a state of fear regarding sin because they think that if they do anything wrong, wilfully or otherwise, then God will not meet their needs.

Law preaching has also had the effect of evoking a response of pride in some believers who, due to their own insecurity, low self-esteem and fear – have adopted an attitude of self righteous indignation in order to somehow make their sins look less bad in comparison with other people.

This was an approach adopted by the Pharisees who would pay their tithes and observe all the rules, but they would be quick to judge other people. In the Gospels we read about a woman caught in the act of adultery that the Pharisees brought to Jesus with the express intention of stoning her to death. When they did this Jesus did not side with them, although He arbores sin, Jesus was merciful to the woman and told her to go sin no more – after He gave her the message of no-condemnation. There is a vital clue to be learned here when it comes to living free from sin. (See John 8:11).

The only way to deal effectively with sin is to preach about Jesus from the perspective of what His sacrificial death and resurrection has already done for those who believe in Him. Only God’s grace can effectively deal with the sin problem; it is pride to assume that man has within his own power, the ability to be able to deal with sin.

In the absence of proper teaching on the subject of God’s grace, believers are left with no other option that to use the resources of their own soul in order to tackle the sin problem. But the problem is that if we allow the soul to try to deal with sin by itself then we risk thwarting the efforts of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live a holy life.

Aversion Preaching

Preachers often ham-it-up with the “fire and brimstone” message in a desperate bid to keep people from sinning. But what they fail to understand is that not everyone is like them. Different people have different callings, upbringings as well as differing levels of grace and mercy afforded to them. Sure, we as believers in Christ have all been made to drink into the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). But we are all on different levels in our love walk.

Some people are not as “holy” as others because of what they have become. If we made an effort to understand this more, we would be more compassionate and sympathetic towards those who do fall into the trap of habitual sin.

I think that what causes believers to burn with self-righteousness indignation is that they hate the thought of some believers who want to “have their cake and eat it”. This attitude of zero-tolerance towards the sin of others seems to be noble, but it is not love: love is kind and compassionate and is longsuffering towards others.

If you are a partaker of the Divine Nature, your nature is completely changed to be in accord with God. Therefore, if you assimilate the nature of God into your own nature, you change completely. When I say that you change, I mean that there is a change to your beliefs, attitudes, desires and motives. There is a change to all factors which govern behaviour.

In summary, get the Divine Nature in your by faith – and you will not sin. At the least, you will sin at lot less. But on the whole, you will not knowingly commit yourself to a sinful act. Why? Because it is no longer in your nature to sin.

9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

1 John 3:9

If preachers spent more time on what believers really needed to know, instead of condemning them all the time, then believers would grow strong in the Divine Nature and would be able to turn aside from sin.

I personally believe that Christians miss out on many opportunities to get close to and to relate to unbelievers. We can get put off getting close to certain people, because we are scared-off by their indulgent practices. We can fear that if we are not careful, we may become influenced by their behaviour and activities.

This is especially the case when believers themselves have come out of such a background, examples of this are: New Age, drugs, alcohol, crime, fornication, etc. It might not be a specific indulgence such as drugs; it could be just a person’s negative personality that includes a whole range of things that the Bible forbids.

For instance, you might have known someone who seemed to be friendly on the surface, but when you get to know them, they are always criticizing people. This has happened to me and I know how hard it can be when you are struggling not to go along with what they say because of your Christian teaching; but at the same time, something inside of you gets stirred-up and you eventually let yourself go and agree with them and join in with their criticism. I have found that God will pressure believers into identifying with the sin that still exists within them and to get them to let go of it, instead of them holding on to it.

Preaching that seeks to encourage Christians to avoid wrong behaviour has the effect of causing Christians to create aversions to certain practices. The primary means of creating such an aversion is by determining to avoid those people, places and things that might encourage those previous modes of conduct that we are told are unacceptable to God. The idea is that as Christians who have just been delivered out of the darkness, we are to seek and maintain holiness through the avoidance of even the very hint of sin.

But this approach does not tackle the very reasons why some Christians resorted to those modes of behaviour in the first place. This means that they do not address the underlying emotions and drives that led to the wrong behaviour patterns, such as hurt, sadness, fear, insecurity, emptiness and sense of isolation. Then, as a believer cuts his ties with previous associations that indulged in those things that were considered wrong, he then finds himself doing what is wrong with other Christians who have a similar history to him, people who seem to understand him; or, his sinful practices will be driven “underground” so that he indulges in them in isolation, such as internet pornography or alcoholism.

This strategy of holiness by avoidance is not very effective, but it also robs us of potential testimonies. The ideal would be for a person with a certain background to get saved, get themselves free of past behaviours and addictions, and then meet with those people they knew from the past and let them see that there is something different about them. But instead, Christians can be terrified of meeting those people again because they fear being tempted to fall back into previous patterns of behaviour.

The Bible’s answer to this is simple:

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Galatians 5:16-17

The Bible’s answer to the sin issue is not of aversion or avoidance, but of being Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. If the Holy Spirit is living in you then you will not desire to do those things that are wrong - even if those things were so appealing to you in your past.

Establishing Taboos To Tackle Sin

When good teaching on the subject of faith and the believer’s rights and privileges in the New Birth, is not available, they will usually resort to preaching that seeks to establish taboos. I am very much against the kind of preaching which seeks to establish taboos and nothing more. That kind of preaching can put people on real guilt trips and cause them to even doubt their own salvation. Do not get me wrong, I would never condone sin. I am certainly not one of those Christians who seek to be more popular with the world by becoming more complacent with worldly traditions which compromise the Bible in some way.

But the way that I see it is that if you teach on the right subjects, preaching from a positive and encouraging stand-point, then believers should gain the practical understanding that they need to live a good, wholesome and fulfilling life in service to the Lord. If you can establish that, then you would more than likely not even consider sinning.

When you are doing all the right things, you have not got the time or inclination to do those things that are wrong. Nobody is perfect and even the most mature and well-developed Christians get it wrong from time to time. When you get something wrong, you just remind yourself of who you are in Christ, that there is no condemnation for you because you are in Christ (Romans 8:1). When you do this, you know that you are forgiven at that very moment in time. God does not remember your sins anymore, so why should you? (see Hebrews 10:17).

If you find yourself sinning habitually, then it is a sure sign of wrong beliefs and attitudes. Wrong beliefs and attitudes serve to create wrong desires and motives. All of this in turn keeps God locked out and sin, hunger, desperation, guilt, hurt, and so on – locked in.

Grace Preachers List

Here are all of the Bible teachers on the internet that I know of who preach a pure grace Christian message.  Some of these links can be found in the Favourite Websites section of this blog:

1. Peter Youngren (Toronto, Canada)

2. Bob George (Texas, USA)

3. Max Ridgway (Oklahoma, USA)

4. Arthur and Cathy Meintjes (South Africa)

5. Peter Wade (Australia)

6. David Hoke (USA)

7. Paul Anderson Walsh (London, England)

8. Åge M. Åleskjær (Oslo Christian Center) (Oslo, Norway)

9. Paul White Ministries (USA)

10. Bertie Brits (South Africa)

11. Mike Kapler & Joel Brueseke (Growing in Grace) (USA)

12. Andrew Wommack (USA)

13. Joseph Prince (Singapore)

14. Steve McVey (USA)

15. Rob Rufus (Hong Kong)

You can subscribe to a free Podcast if you have iTunes, for numbers 7, 9, 11 and 15.

You can download free MP3 messages for numbers 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15.

With regards to number 6: To access the Sermon section and the Resource section of this site, you must register. It is free, but you must click on the Create a new account, fill it in completely, wait for a confirmation e-mail with a link to activate your registration, click it, and then you will be able to log on using the username and password you selected.

I can't quite work out if free teaching is available or not for number 5. When I attempt to download a message, it just gives me an m3u playlist for Winamp - perhaps it uses streaming?

MP3 messages are available for a price at the following sites: number 1, 8, 13 and 14.

The Divine Nature | TNB