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Christian Judgementalism

Jesus Himself identified the issue of judgementalism and warned people to avoid it.

1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Matthew 7:1-5

It is quite alarming that the Body of Christ seeks to judge people according to their behaviour and lifestyle, and yet Jesus Himself told believers not to judge. Only Jesus is qualified to judge people and He will judge people at the end of time.

What often defeats us with sin is that we mistakenly believe that we are always consciously aware of our sin and that we always have the power to be able to overcome it with an effort of the will. The unredeemed nature can be terribly deceiving to the point whereby we are judging people according to what they do or don’t do, yet we are just as guilty as them concerning our own conduct. If a person lives in denial of his own faults and failings, he is more likely to seek to demonise the sinful practices of another person.

What the Pharisees did was that they were diligent with their religious, ceremonial practices – yet they did not think twice of murdering someone because they disagreed with them.

A person’s holiness can be nothing more than denial and repression. We think that if we are able to ignore and repress wrong thoughts, desires and feelings – then we are making a conscious choice to be virtuous and acceptable to God. But repression will just make more problems. A person is still guilty of sin if he harbours ill-will towards his neighbour. We often criticize and ostracize those people who express their sinful nature – yet we are just as wicked as they are if we have the same wrong nature but seek to repress the expression of it.

Colossians 2:18-23 has something to say about people who live their lives according to a set of rules and making taboos out of things.

18 Don't let anyone declare you lost when you refuse to worship angels, as they say you must. They have seen a vision, they say, and know you should. These proud men (though they claim to be so humble) have a very clever imagination. 19 But they are not connected to Christ, the Head to which all of us who are his body are joined; for we are joined together by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. 20 Since you died, as it were, with Christ and this has set you free from following the world's ideas of how to be saved--by doing good and obeying various rules--why do you keep right on following them anyway, still bound by such rules as 21 not eating, tasting, or even touching certain foods? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings, for food was made to be eaten and used up. 23 These rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thoughts and desires. They only make him proud.

Colossians 2:18-23 TLB

Christianity and Defense Mechanisms

8 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: "Love others as you love yourself." 9 But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. 10 You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others. 11 The same God who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." If you don't commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you're a murderer, period.

James 2:8-11 MSG

If you live a life comparing and contrasting your holiness against other people, then you are going to start making your own top-ten list of what sin is worse than another. This means that as a way of making ourselves more acceptable to God and other people, we selectively choose what sins we believe are more wicked than others. Christians, just like the Pharisees, can end-up making a subset of the law, something that seems doable, and sticking with that. But the Bible tells us that if a person is to be justified by the law – they need to keep all of the commandments, without ever breaking one. This is impossible.

This approach operates by making taboos out of things. Church leaders then seek to reinforce those taboos by stressing how bad certain practices are. It is very easy to become deluded through taboos to the point whereby you spend a great deal of time demonising certain practices and the people who do them, to the point that you become unaware of just how awful your own sinful practices are.

Ego Defense Mechanisms

Basically, living according to the law causes a person to utilise what is known in Psychology, as defense mechanisms. We will look at some of the more common ones below:

Denial is when a person consciously denies the truth of something, to the point whereby they are hardly aware that they are doing something wrong. Denial is a refusal to accept reality as it is.

Displacement is when a person struggles to deal with their own issues effectively. As a result, they then direct their wrong desires and wrong emotions towards something or someone else. This is what causes vandalism: people become angry at feeling helpless in a society that they cannot cope with, a society that does not seem to understand them, is hostile to them and seeks to control them; so they seek to hit back against society by smashing-up a bus shelter or something. In this case, the poor old bus shelter or the council that own it, has nothing to do with the person being unable to find contentment and get their needs met.

Projection is a combination of denial and displacement. Projection is when a person blames another person for something that they themselves are guilty of. This means that the wrong desires and motives of a person become projected towards another. A selfish person will blame another person for being selfish. In reality, the other person might not be selfish at all, it just means that the accuser is instinctively seeking to cover-up his own faults by laying the blame on someone else for what they do or don’t do. The projectionist will often seek to demonise certain faults in other people, because they themselves are seeking to divert the attention from the same kind of desires that they are struggling with.

Denial, displacement and projection are all born out of repression. Repression is when a thought or feeling is deemed to be unacceptable, and therefore, an attempt is made to push it out of consciousness. This does nothing to deal with the issue and the unacceptable thoughts and feelings become repressed into the subconscious mind.

Submission to God is the Key

If the Holy Spirit truly directs and inspires your life then you will not fall into the same category as the Pharisees. The key to a successful life is in submitting every aspect of your life to God so that He is the One who is living His life through you. This means that the life that you used to live ceases to be. That means that the degree of control you once had over your own life, is now relinquished.

If you are still in control of your own life, the Holy Spirit is denied access to a great extent. When this is the case, God will show you in a variety of different ways, that living life on your own terms simply do not add up. You may find that you are now suffering, because there were important choices that you should have made somewhere down the line, but you were never alerted as to their importance at the time. When this happens you are likely to get mad at yourself, God and other people; you will take on guilt as you blame yourself for not praying enough or not serving in the church enough or for just being too bad.

But it is not about what you do or don’t do, as such, it has a lot more to do with how much of your being you surrender to the control of God. It all sounds very simple and straightforward, but it depends on how fairly life has treated you so far. If life has dealt you a good hand, you are much more likely to accept God unconditionally - on His terms. But if life seems to have been unfair to you, perhaps even cruel, then there will be a part of your innermost being that will not let go without a fight.

The Assurance of Righteousness

Ultimately, it all comes down to righteousness - according to belief. Righteousness is the assurance that you are alright the way that you are. Righteousness is the assurance that you are loved and accepted. If you do not believe that you are accepted the way that you are at the moment – you will try to attain a sense of righteousness. People try to attain a sense of righteousness according to their behaviour, their works, with an aim to gain the approval of God and/or other people.

Little do people realise that it is their very efforts to be righteous, to be acceptable, that causes their sin-nature to thrive:

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Romans 7:7-13 nkjv

The Message Bible puts it this way:

8 Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless,

Romans 7:8 msg

Only the assurance of God’s righteousness, His love and acceptance for us who believe, can subdue the flesh (which the Bible says died with Christ). When the flesh-nature is dead within us – we enter into rest as the peace of God pervades our soul and brings us into intimacy with Him.

The Problem with Living According to Rules

The trouble with making a set of rules to order your life and the lives of others by is that they are often open to interpretation. We often seek to subtly twist and manipulate the interpretation of the rules so that they work for us and make us look good and acceptable to other people.

When the mind is operating in a state of self-defence, it is amazing how cunning and deceitful it can be. When the mind is vying for the acceptance of others, it has no qualms about comparing your life with other people, putting other people down, blaming other people and even laying traps to make other people appear wicked than you.

The Pharisees

These are the tactics that we read about concerning the Pharisees. The Pharisees are included in the New Testament so that we have an example of what we ought to avoid.

We must remind ourselves that it is not very difficult to adopt the same attitude as the Pharisees. The Pharisees lived according to what came natural to them; according to what came natural to their own corrupt flesh nature. We seem to think that we are exempt from all of this because we gave our life to the Lord.

But even though we can call ourselves Christians, we still have the flesh nature to deal with. The flesh nature will seek to draw us away from Christ and into a life similar to that of the Pharisees. A person could call himself a Christian, go to church every Sunday, serve the community – yet he could be every bit a Pharisee.

In Galatians 5, just as Paul has finished talking about the fruit of the re-created spirit, he says that we should walk in the Spirit so that we do not become conceited, provoking one another.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:22-26


An aspect of the leaven of the Pharisee is that if some rules are hard on the body, then you equate it with sacrifice. Practices such as fasting then become rather noble and dignifying. What was designed to be edifying for the spiritual life of a person then becomes a means of showing off to other people.

16 "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV

16 "When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don't make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won't make you a saint. 17 If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. 18 God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; he'll reward you well. A Life of God-Worship

Matthew 6:16-18 MSG

Even Christians tend to think that there is something virtuous in denying yourself the things you need in life. I suppose that is why something like fasting strikes a chord with such people. They think that if they can give something up for a while, something that they need for their comfort and sustenance, then God will be pleased with them. This can become just another tool in the toolkit of religion.

If you have been born-again and Spirit-filled, you do not need to emphasise rituals so much; you do not need to concentrate on rules and regulations. Instead, you can focus most of your attention on what the death, burial and resurrection of Christ means to you and how it affects your life on a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level.

Sin is a Spiritual Condition

Sin is a spiritual condition, not what a person does. As such, sin will seek to express itself in various different ways. It is the sin nature in us that is unacceptable to God, much more than the way it chooses to manifest itself to the outside world.

Trying to cover our wrong nature by committing to certain rituals whilst doing those things which are unacceptable to God, is like putting a plaster on a festering sore. We need the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and then we do not need rituals to make us appear acceptable.

We do not need to rate one sin against another in an attempt to appear more sinless or more holy than the next person. God not only sees what we do – He also sees what we think and what we desire. God even sees those thoughts and feelings that we suppress and deny ourselves conscious awareness of.

Measuring Our Moral Muscle

In order to deal with the problem of sinful conduct, we need to deal with the problem of sin-nature. If we do not do this, we end-up, as The Message Bible puts it, measuring our own moral muscle but never exercising it.

1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. 2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. 3 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. 4 And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. 5 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them - living and breathing God! 6 Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. 7 Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. 8 And God isn't pleased at being ignored. 9 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. 10 But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God's terms. 11 It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's! 12 So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. 13 There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. 14 God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! 15 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" 16 God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. 17 And we know we are going to get what's coming to us - an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Romans 8:1-17 MSG

The Modern Gang Culture and the Pharisees

The modern gang culture is all about a group of people who cannot handle the pressures of life. They feel pressured and unable to confirm to a culture that they cannot understand, relate to and adhere to. They have unmet needs that they seek to meet in whatever way suits them personally. They get sick and tired of being told what to do and to conform to a set of rules that they find are unnatural for them to adopt.

So these people club together and encourage one another. In this group, they will then tell each other what is acceptable and what is not, so that they can attempt to make the system fit their nature, rather than making their nature fit the system. They then make enemies of those people who do not accept them: what they believe and what they do. They will tell each other that it is acceptable to carry weapons and hurt other people how are not part of their group. They will tell each other that it is alright to harm someone else who is not part of their group, in the effort to get their needs met and to prove themselves to the rest of the group.

The Pharisees

This is exactly what the Pharisees did as well; they were the religious gangsters of Jesus’ day. They basically hijacked religion for their own selfish purposes. This meant that they could go around with their sinful nature intact, and yet appear acceptable, holy and important to other people – without actually changing who they were on the inside. This meant that they did some pretty nasty things in order to protect their way of life. The Pharisees made an enemy out of Christianity, because it directly attacked their way of life. They were willing to stone a woman to death because she was caught in the act of adultery – they even used this incident to test Jesus. As a Rabbi, Jesus could of, and perhaps, should have (purely in His capacity of Rabbi), agreed with the Pharisees that she should be stoned. But Jesus showed the woman mercy and told the woman that He did not condemn her.

One Sin Is Not Greater Than Another

Something that self-righteous people do is to make a taboo out of certain sinful practices. These practices will be things that we ourselves do not indulge in and things that do not appeal to us whatsoever. If something appears to be repugnant to us then we can pour derision on it in order to divert our own attention away from the faults that mar our own character. This character trait is a form of a defence mechanism known in Psychology as projection.

Projection is when a person is disgusted and ashamed of a negative pattern of thought, feeling or behaviour. So in order to divert attention away from it, they seek to find some fault in another person and express their disgust towards it. Through this mechanism, a person denies their own failings by picking out other people’s faults and pouring derision upon them.

I learned to understand that one sin is not necessarily worse than another. In the sight of God, what we would classify as being trivial could actually warrant a person being sentenced to an eternity in hell. We cannot become more righteous by deciding that one sin is worse than another and then seek to avoid those sins that we feel are the worst. We only become righteous by accepting the righteousness that God imputes to us as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ.

A person could look at the Ten Commandments and decide that murder is a worse sin than dishonouring parents. So he argues that he is not that bad because he has not murdered someone. But the Word of God says some things that refute this argument.

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

James 2:8-11 NKJV

8 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: "Love others as you love yourself." 9 But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. 10 You can't pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God's law and ignoring others. 11 The same God who said, "Don't commit adultery," also said, "Don't murder." If you don't commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you're a murderer, period.

James 2:8-11 MSG

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:14

Basically, there is nowhere to hide for those self-righteousness people who try to substantiate their righteousness according to what they do or don’t do. Even people, who have not killed a person, are guilty of murder if they have harboured hatred for another. We like to dilute this statement by arguing that some people deserve to be hated.

Did Jesus tell people to hate those people who do wrong? Jesus said we were to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). To love someone does not mean that you have to like them or condone their behaviour. It just means that you accept them as they are, without trying to change them yourself and without modifying your behaviour in response to them. It means that you willingly lower the defences of your flesh nature, taking down the fences of fear, anger and hatred towards them.

If we try to choose what is more acceptable than another thing then people will continue to club together with likeminded people and selfishly use their own judgements to determine what is acceptable and what is not.

It opens the door to abuse and to extremes. If a person can argue that a set of Holy Scriptures advocates a certain practice or that it denounces a certain practice, then they can hide behind that belief, knowing that no one will refute it because it is a command written by the hand of God. I believe that people should believe the Word of God to the letter and accept it as the absolute truth. But I am talking about the abuses of religion as well as taking scripture out of context.

Boasting in our Weakness by Watchman Nee

9 'He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.' Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ may tabernacle over me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

It is one thing to say that we cannot make it, and it is another thing to give up trying to make it altogether. Can we see that these are two things? The first condition to victory is to realize that we cannot make it, and the second is to give up trying to make it. If we will admit that we cannot make it and give up trying to make it, we will overcome.

What does it mean to try to make it? Let me take temper as an example. Suppose you are a quick-tempered person, and you cannot control your temper. The more you try, the more you fail. You admit that you can do nothing about your temper. What should you do? You know with certainty that there is no way to control your temper, yet you still try to control it. Then what do you do? You try to be more careful when you speak with others. You try to avoid those with whom you cannot get along well, and you try to talk to those with whom you can get along well. You avoid fellowship with those who agitate you and run away from their face. Every time you are about to lose your temper, you try your best to suppress it. You try to suppress it with more prayers. What is this? This is being unable, yet at the same time trying to be able.

Brothers and sisters, please remember that the condition of victory is acknowledging that we are unable, and the greatest barrier to victory is trying to be able. Victory is from Christ; it is Christ who is living on our behalf. The overcoming life requires that we take a stand and declare, ''I cannot make it and I do not intend to make it. Please make it for me. I will not fabricate my own victory.'' I have heard a few sisters remark to me, ''Brother Nee, it would be wonderful if my temper could improve a little.'' I always tell them, ''You have to thank the Lord for your quick temper.''

Weakness is not something that one should lament over or weep about. Weakness is something that one should boast in. You may have said, ''Thank and praise the Lord He has made me overcome,'' but have you ever said, ''Thank and praise the Lord, He has made me fail miserably''? You thank and praise the Lord for giving you patience, but have you thanked and praised the Lord for your impossible temper? Have you thanked and praised Him for your pride? Have you thanked and praised Him for your jealousy? Have you thanked and praised Him for your unclean thoughts within and for your sin? Brothers and sisters, do you have a sin which you cannot even confess? What are you going to do? Are you going to be sorrowful? It is a glorious thing for a man to realize that he is helpless. Once the Lord shows you that you cannot make it, He will immediately show you that God can make it. Your Lord does not show you your inability to discourage you, but for you to believe that He has an excellent opportunity to work in you. In the past you may have grieved over your weakness or wept over your sins. But today you can boast and praise! ''Lord I thank You because I cannot make it. I thank you because I have no way to overcome. I am not able. I rejoice because I am not able. I rejoice because I cannot do anything. Only You can do everything.'' If you do this, you will overcome.

Righteousness by Faith

Our righteousness is according to faith. The Bible tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Our righteousness is according to faith: this means that we are expected to believe we are accepted by God even when we cannot see anything to support this belief according to our five senses. It is easy to believe that we are right with God when we are actively serving in church, we are praying every night and everything seems to be going well for us. But what about when things aren’t going so well and we are struggling to maintain the “good little Christian” routine? Righteousness by faith is not always as easy as we would like to think it is.

Kenneth E. Hagin is thought of as being the pioneer of the Word of Faith movement. Hagin would typically focus on faith for healing and faith for finances. Hagin would also say that faith could be applied to any other legitimate need, such as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Hagin would state emphatically that the believer needs to believe that his need is met regardless of what his senses tell him: if a Christian is believing God for healing – he should not look to the lying symptoms of his physical body. I believe it is the same with faith for righteousness: we should believe that we are accepted by God – regardless of our conduct and behaviour.

The first term used by Thayer’s Greek Definitions to describe the Greek word dikaiosunē (G1343) is: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God. The state we ought to be in is that we are children of the Most High God. The state that we ought not to be is eager-beaver little Christians anxiously running around church trying to please God with our pathetic efforts to be just like Jesus according to our own efforts.  The emphasis should be on God’s unconditional love for us and what He has done for us through Christ – not on what we can do for God through our works.

It is assumed that as we resume fellowship with God through Christ (right-standing with God) the good works should follow from there. The state that we ought to be is that God lives His life through us. The question is – if God lives His life through us, why do we need to make such stringent efforts to vet every mode of behaviour and decision that we make? As if we need some sort of safety net just in case the Holy Spirit decides to “test” us to make sure we know our right from our wrong and our good from our bad.

Righteousness is all about focus: do we focus on our proud attempts to do what we believe is right? Do we focus on those things other people say we ought to do – but find we cannot do? Or do we focus on the fact that God accepts us apart from our works so that we can enjoy intimate fellowship with Him through Christ; thus allowing Holy Spirit to take control over our lives?

Grace produces good works. Grace is also righteousness conscious. Sin-consciousness produces more sin, as it creates a cycle in one's life to sin. The Bible says that the strength of the law is sin (1 Cor. 15:56). Paul said that he died, spiritually speaking, when the law came and sin revived in him (Romans 7:9).

Focusing on right living only brings one to sin, I believe, and focusing on Jesus and His love for us and that we are righteous by His blood, leads to right living.

Righteousness According to Christ’s Efforts

If our righteousness is primarily positional righteousness – we can all breathe a sigh of relief. This means that our right-standing with God has everything to do with the good works of Jesus and not our own works.

The Bible says in Romans 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfiled in us. I like the way The Message translation puts it: And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. Our righteousness is all about ceasing from our own efforts to discern what is right, wrong, good or bad and then trying to live according to that knowledge. Our righteousness is simply embracing what God is doing in us.

The Wuest translation of Romans 8:4 puts it this way: that the righteous requirement of the law may be brought to completion in us who, not as dominated by the sinful nature are ordering our behavior but as dominated by the Spirit. It is simply a matter of whom, or what, is in control: the nature of man or the nature of God. We attempt to order our behaviour when we seek to establish the difference between right and wrong (typically by asking someone else) and then trying to live according to that knowledge in our own effort.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,* who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:1-5 nkjv

We can either read this text as an obligation or a promise. We could read this text as a warning to ensure that as Christians we don’t live according to the flesh. We tend to think of the word “flesh” as denoting sexual sin more than anything. Other than that, we often think of carnal behaviour, sinful behaviour, in relation to “the flesh”.

Notice how Paul doesn’t reel-off a list of rules that need to be kept. Paul does not say, “Jesus died on the cross so that you must be forgiven. Now you must make an effort to keep the rules – here are the rules…” There is no mention of specific rules because righteousness is a state of being. Paul often contrasts two states of being in the Bible: believer and unbeliever; sinful nature and divine nature; love and fear; flesh and spirit. Walking according to the spirit is therefore a promise – not an obligation.

When you believe you are the righteousness of God in Christ – there is no need for you to discern the difference between good and evil. The Bible says that if you believe you are right with God through Christ – the Holy Spirit orders your steps. As a child of God you are led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). If you are led by the Holy Spirit – you are not under law (Galatians 5:18). I like the way The Living Bible renders Galatians 5:18 - When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you need no longer force yourself to obey Jewish laws.

I am inclined to use the word readiness to describe righteousness in Christ. The reason for this is that when a believer has been made righteous before God, he is then in a condition whereby God is ready move in his life.

We will continue this study in the next blog entry entitled: Righteousness by Faith.

Righteousness According to Works

Jesus Himself said that we were to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness in Matthew 6:31-33. If this righteousness is the ability to live right – we are simply brought into the law as we seek to fulfil the admonishments of Jesus by trying to keep rules.

If the requirement to be righteous rests solely on our ability to live according to a high moral standard, then we need to know what that standard is. Seeking righteousness through moral conduct inevitably leads to the introduction of a moral code. The emphasis on the church then becomes the necessity of adhering to that strict moral code. If must be a strict moral code otherwise we are simply not taking righteousness seriously enough. How can we be assured of our right-standing according to our works if we keep one rule, but not another? (See James 2:10).

It is at this point that Christians begin to buckle under the pressure of rule-keeping. The question is then asked, “Should Christians keep the Ten Commandments?” Anxious and insecure Christians often ask their pastor if a certain thing or mode of behaviour is permissible. Christian discussion boards are full of posts from Christians who are interested in knowing whether they are allowed to wear certain articles or clothes or have tattoos or whatever. Christian bookshops also assist these confused believers by offering bookshelves full of books which tell Christians what is acceptable and what is not.

This system of righteousness is never effective because it always leads to uncertainly regarding the “grey areas”: those areas which are not quite black or white in terms of certainty. A lot of pulpit preaching is focused on “helping” confused believers to know what is right and what is wrong. However, how are we to know whether the pastor is preaching according to divine revelation or from his own opinions?

Even if you are sure what is right and what is wrong – how can you be certain you will be able to live according to those rules one-hundred percent of the time? This is when the concept of post-crucifixion forgiveness of sins comes into play as believers are given the option to “get right” with God when they do sin.

We will continue this study in the next blog entry entitled: Righteousness According to Christ’s Efforts.

Confusion over the Word “Righteousness”

The words righteousness and righteous, from a Biblical perspective, carry incredible power of restoration and reconciliation. However, these words have been bandied about so much in the church in such a way that they have almost become devoid of power for many people.


Sometimes, I am tempted to use a different word when it comes to right-standing with God and the re-created nature of man; I am sometimes tempted to use a word such as rightness instead to convey this wonderful promise of God.

Rightness is a word that Joseph Thayer uses in Thayer’s Greek Definitions to describe the Greek word translated righteousness in the Bible. Words can carry great power, and yet, it is not the words themselves that carry power, it has much more to do with the meaning attributed to those words.

This is what Thayer’s Greek Definitions says about the Greek word dikaiosunē (G1343), which is translated righteousness:

1) in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

1a) the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God

1b) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting

2) in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due

Right Standing or Right Living?

I believe there have been a lot of debate and much confusion as to whether Biblical righteousness is simply a title bestowed upon sinful man by God, as a result of believing in Christ; or whether it actually includes the ability to live right.

Joseph Prince says that the church often talks about positional righteousness and experiential righteousness, when the Bible makes no such demarcation: the Bible simply refers to righteousness without splitting it up into different categories.

We will continue this exposition in the next blog entries which focus on Righteousness According to Works, Righteousness According to Christ’s Efforts and Righteousness by Faith.

Searching For Grace Interview

I recently participated in an interview with Mick Mooney who is the author of the hilarious Searching for Grace cartoons.

About Searching for Grace

Searching for grace is a comic strip that revolves around the conversations of a Christian named John and his Pastor.

John attends a small 200 member Pentecostal church. He loves the good news of God’s grace. He also loves and respects his Pastor, but unfortunately never hears the gospel from him.  He continually tries, with little success, to convince his pastor to bring the finished work of Jesus back to the centre of his messages. His greatest challenge is trying to help his Pastor see the  importance of not mixing the Old Covenant mentality of Law with the New Covenant reality of Grace.

John’s Pastor is Pastor Moses, who is consumed with his own religious ideas and driven by the possibility of being a mega-church Pastor one day! He loves reading ‘church growth’ and ‘Christian leadership’ books, and is convinced if he can just follow these keys, laws and principles he can fulfil his dream of building a big church one day.

John is searching for grace. Pastor Moses is searching for people to help him build his church service. It’s a recipe for disaster – but millions of fellow Christians around the world are cheering John on!

Maybe, just maybe John will succeed one day in helping his Pastor see the light.

Now for the Interview...

Every week, I interview a fellow believer of the gospel of God's grace to find out what they think of the comic, the gospel, the church and their own 'searching for grace' life experience.

Today's interview is with Paul Spencer, A gifted writer and communicator from England.

1. What was your first impression of the ‘Searching for grace’ comic?
I was struck by how uncannily similar the cartoon’s stories were to my actual experiences in my own search for grace. I felt the use of a comic to convey these truths was creative, to-the-point and refreshing.

2. God’s grace is incredible. When did you really start to grasp the reality of God’s grace and the power of his finished work?
It had to be the baptism in the Holy Spirit in October 1998 – I could actually feel God’s presence and experience His love for me in a tangible way. After that point it was a matter of getting to know God more. It took me nearly ten years of Word of Faith principles and formulas, selfish ambition, insecurity, frustration and confusion - to realise that all I really wanted, needed and could have – was the divine nature abiding in me.

3. How would you define ‘the gospel’?
Well, I used to think it was Jesus’ rules. But now I see the Gospel as being Jesus rules – in our hearts and minds, that is. The message of grace has moved me away from 'dos' and 'don’ts' into the means by which God can live His life through me.

4. What do you see happening within Christianity over the next 20 years?
I’ve been part of the charismatic movement since 1997. I’ve seen and experienced a great deal of Christian fads and extremes during those times. Thankfully, I’ve also witnessed a moving away from these things. I envisage a transition from a complex system of principles, formulas and obligations – towards a more simple Christian life that focuses on resting in the finished work of the cross. This resting must include an unwavering acceptance of life, self and other people.

5. How are you currently ministering the gospel of God’s grace?
I hardly ever witness to people I meet personally. I’ve always felt guilty for that in the past. But ever since about 2005 I’ve had a passion for Christian writing. This was a solitary pursuit until the start of this year when I’ve been able to publish some of my notes in my blog. Also, I’ve been encouraging people in their transition to grace by actively participating on grace discussion boards and on Facebook, whilst learning from others and growing in the process.

6. How would you define ‘church’?
My definition of what constitutes the church has radically changed in the past couple of years or so. Most of my life, I thought the church was just a building. Then it became the people who met in a building. But now, I see the church as being just the people. With the onset of blogs, discussion boards and social networking sites such as Facebook – people can “do church” wherever they are. The knowledge of this brings people a great deal of freedom.

7. Why do you think many preachers are still mixing the Old Covenant of law with the New Covenant of grace?
It is difficult to give a definitive answer to that dilemma. But I would say it must have something to do with a combination of selfishness, ignorance, lack of knowledge, uncertainty, tradition and the desire to control.

8. What is your favourite ‘Searching for grace’ comic so far and why?
It has to be
Religious Obligations. It reminds me of my previous church, in particular where they would always say that they weren’t religious – but you had to do this and you had to do that…This is something that is still going on in most churches around the world today, of course.

9. The comic’s main character is John. If you could give him one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take responsibility for your own spiritual development: don’t just allow yourself to be spoon-fed from the pulpit.

10. Finally, if you could give Pastor Moses one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be open-minded: listen to what other people have to say and don’t insist that you are right all the time – even if you are a pastor!

Thanks for the interview Paul!

If you would like to find out more about Paul Spencer, you can check out his website:

Paul is also on facebook!
Become Paul's friend on facebook

You can also join Paul's facebook group grace explosion
Blue skies,


The Danger of Teaching “Principles”

For the past couple of months or so my house group was working through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud, entitled: 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life: A Psychologist Learns from His Patients What Really Works and What Doesn't. I think it's actually a self-help book more than a Christian book.

I recall this guy on a few of Joyce Meyer's podcasts. Basically, this book and the podcast messages featuring these two people, focus on principles. Principles are compelling because it gives us the feeling of control over our lives, according to something that appears to be "doable" on the surface. However, it is a subtle form of getting you into the law. Bertie Brits defines "the law" as "by my efforts I will become".

I downloaded a total of 318 Joyce Meyer podcasts from 27/09/07 to 24/04/09 (U.K. date notation). I found myself resonating with Joyce Meyer's podcasts. I found that Joyce would say some really powerful things. Sometimes, though rarely, Joyce would deliver a pure grace message, focusing on our right-standing through Christ; as message that did not focus on rules and self-effort at all. But then the next time, she would say something along the lines of, "It's up to you, you've got to make an effort."

Sometimes, Joyce would be really patronizing and basically just mock people (in general, not specific people as such. Here is a link to a video in which she does her famous "What About Me" robot move (which I find rather patronising). You can see a video clip of this robot move here.

Even though I've been into the message of grace for several years now, I kept on downloading the Joyce Meyer MP3s. But this kind of preaching just subtly brings people into legalism. I wonder why I listened to it for so long. Sure, you can pick-up some nuggets of wisdom: Joyce preaches some great truths. But with such an availability of pure grace teaching - why bother with anything else? I wonder why I continued to listen to that mixture of law and grace teaching for as long as I did.

John Bevere is the same: he teaches some really good concepts such as the need to respect authority. But there is such an emphasis on what the believer must do, that the good news of the finished work is drowned-out. The end result is just frustration and guilt. Bevere teaches that there are many people he has known who have suffered hardship because they failed to respect authority.

This concept sounds rather plausible, but I wonder if there are further implications to this: perhaps the ability to respect authority was the result of not having a heart of love, which in turn was the result of not knowing they were loved by God, which all boils down to not truly believing that they are right with God through Christ. Making a rule out of respecting authority, backed-up by some horror stories, is not an effective way of eliciting respect of authority, as far as I’m concerned.

Conscious Awareness of Negative Mindsets

I’m still growing in the grace message and I don’t have it all figured out yet. I tend to vacillate between believing that it is good to make yourself consciously aware of negative mindsets, and not. The notes I have made in the past as a result of my own Bible studies tend to focus a lot on exposing negative mindsets - with a hint of basic Psychology. It is one thing, I suppose, to make yourself consciously aware of past mistakes and missed opportunities – it is another to make yourself aware of wrong, negative patterns of thinking.

But the Bible does mention the concept of our conscience being purged of sin in Hebrews 9:14, 10:22. Hebrews 10:1-4 relates how animal scarifies in the Old Covenant created a reminder of sin ever year, because the blood of animals covered sin, but could not take it away.

I believe it is important to highlight some of the common misnomers we tend to pick-up in church. But to a great extent, just the conscious awareness of something is insufficient in bringing about peace and a change of behaviour. The Ten Commandments were supposed to bring about a change of behaviour by making people consciously aware of what was right and wrong – but it in fact it had the opposite effect.

The Gospel Message is a Short Message

The more I soak in pure grace teaching, especially that of Bertie Brits, the more I come to realise that perhaps the only message that we really need to hear is that of our right-standing with God through Christ. Everything else, I believe, or to a great extent at least, flows from there. It amazes me all the junk and excesses the church has been through, including persecution and manipulation during the time of the early church and Middle Ages, right the way through to the excesses of the charismatic movement during the nineties.

To a great extent I believe that the only message that we need to hear is about what Jesus has already done for us on the cross and who we are in Him. I like what Bertie Brits says in that the Gospel message is a short message. Over the years, the church has made the Gospel message into something rather complicated by adding to it principles, formulas and outlandish, supernatural testimonies.

Bible Teaching Which is too Specific

I have found that as soon as Bible teaching focuses on specific circumstances and people – it can cause people to go off on a tangent (myself included). This is what happened to me when I read Kenneth E. Hagin’s books from 1997 to about 2005.  Hagin’s teaching has often been compared to that of E.W. Kenyon. In fact, some people have even accused Hagin of plagiarism (you can see an example of that here and here).

I have been exposed to Bible teachers I previously never heard of, on my journey into the grace message, such as Norman Grubb, Major Ian W. Thomas and so on. The concept of union with Christ has been reinforced in me as I have read or listened to their teaching.

I cannot help but think that the writing of such people is akin to that of E.W. Kenyon, who focuses on a revelation of the Pauline Epistles and who we are in Christ. Kenyon focuses on the power of Christ living in us, rather than principles and formulas that we can exploit in order to get God to bless us in some way – something that I see in Kenneth E. Hagin’s teaching. Therefore, as I have gradually moved out of Word of Faith teaching and into Grace teaching – I have found myself moving away from Hagin’s teaching and back to Kenyon.

Bible Teaching I Listen to Now

Just this year I decided to get rid of my large collection of Christian books, because they just did me no good whatsoever. I used to love books but now I find they just take up space. I noticed just how much my books weighed as well when I last moved house.

Now, I only listen to pure grace teaching that I download from the internet. Check out my Grace Preachers List for some great websites were you can download pure grace messages, often for free. I now tend to keep away from even a hint of law.

A couple of weeks ago I sent an email to the host of my church home group to say that I would no longer be attending and I told her why - in a pleasant, but assertive way, of course.

Measuring Love by Works

Love cannot always be measured in terms of works and doing nice things. I have found that Christians often want to be identified as being nice and loving people by faking friendliness and doing works so that they will be noticed. Even if a person goes on a mission trip to Africa, it does not necessarily mean that he has a heart of love. When someone has a heart of love, they are motivated to do the things that God has called them to do. Just because a Christian does not go on a mission trip to Africa, it does not mean that he does not have a heart of love. He might express that love in other areas of his life.

It all depends on what God has called people to do. A person who is called to write Christian books might have a desire to preach, but without that anointing, he will not be able to do it effectively. He might desire to teach with his mind, but if his heart is not in it, then he will find that he simply cannot do it. That does not mean that this person has failed to minister to, and help, other people, it just means that he must minister to people in the way that God has chosen for him to do so.

You can tell when you are trying to do something that you are not meant to do: you feel heaviness and dryness in your spirit which makes it difficult, or even impossible, to do that thing.

If you are not careful though, you can find yourself going on a guilt-trip because someone else is trying to persuade you to do something that you simply cannot do and are not meant to do.

We must understand that each member of the Body of Christ has a separate and individual function: a toe cannot behave like a hand, whilst an eye cannot behave like an ear. So it is in the church: some people in ministry are called to be teachers, but not pastors; some are called to be evangelists, but not prophets (Ephesians 4:11). Likewise, those Christians who are not called to full-time ministry, also have their own function: some are called to write books or blogs, whilst others are called to go on local outreaches or missions abroad.

Oftentimes, the pastor of a church will try to persuade the congregation that everyone should get involved in the next church project, perhaps an outreach to a certain area. But we must learn to be spiritually discerning and only do those things that we are motivated by the Holy Spirit to do.

If Christians ignore that peace within themselves then they are likely to experience frustration and a general lack of peace. Everything that the Holy Spirit leads us to do is wrapped in love, peace, joy and wisdom.

4 If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don't ever trust yourself. 6 In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.

Proverbs 3:4, 6 TLB

Light and Frothy People Part 4

3164228039_9062399a6d So what is it that makes a person light and frothy? It has to be that the life of God does not live in them. The word “life” to me speaks of charisma, joy, motivation and energy. The word “love” speaks to me of sincerity, kindness, compassion – not simply acts of charity or “works” as the Bible calls it.

The Bible is rather clear in that it contrasts two states of being: black and white, rather than in-betweens and “grey-areas”. The Bible contrasts God and devil, Heaven and hell, flesh and spirit (or love), belief and unbelief, light and dark, hot and cold, righteousness and sin, good and evil.

Therefore, if you are a Christ then you have died to sin and have been given the life of God in you. There should no longer be a need for you to suppress your emotions and put on a façade to the outside world. There is no need for people to adopt behaviour modification techniques. You can now be the genuine article, free to be yourself, as God lives His life through you. The Message translation says that we should live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

We Have a New Nature

If a person becomes a believer in Christ then he is given a new nature and made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); he is made a partaker of the divine nature by faith. (2 Peter 1:4). Paul said that he was crucified with Christ, that is, his old nature was cancelled-out at the cross. I like the way in which The Living Bible puts it:

4 Your old sin-loving nature was buried with him by baptism when he died; and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought him back to life again, you were given his wonderful new life to enjoy. 5 For you have become a part of him, and so you died with him, so to speak, when he died; and now you share his new life and shall rise as he did.

Romans 6:4-5 TLB

We were given this wonderful new life to enjoy: the very presence of God abiding in us through Christ.

Foolish Galatians: Christians Reverting to the Law

The Apostle Paul admonished the church at Galatia which he had established, that they would cease from reverting back to the Jewish laws (the Ten Commandments and other Jewish customs). Paul told the Galatian church that having been born into grace, they should continue in grace.

This message is the same for us today: we should cease from rule-keeping, trying to be good in our own effort, so that we can allow God to live His life through us as we realise that we have access to the Father through Christ.

18 If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan. 19 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. 20 Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Galatians 2:18-21 MSG

Reverting to rule-keeping is bad because the Bible tells us that it is the law which causes sin to revive. Romans 7:9 says, I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. The Bible says that the law, which is good and was meant to being life, actually brought death (Romans 7:10). When the Bible refers to “death” it often means separation from God’s manifest presence. This deadness of spirit manifests itself as depression, anxiety, confusion, frustration, apathy, lethargy and the like. It takes a substantial effort of the will to mask an absence of divine life.

I like the way that The Living Bible renders Romans 7 – it makes it easier to understand:

5 When your old nature was still active, sinful desires were at work within you, making you want to do whatever God said not to and producing sinful deeds, the rotting fruit of death. 6 But now you need no longer worry about the Jewish laws and customs because you "died" while in their captivity, and now you can really serve God; not in the old way, mechanically obeying a set of rules, but in the new way, (with all of your hearts and minds). 7 Well then, am I suggesting that these laws of God are evil? Of course not! No, the law is not sinful, but it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known the sin in my heart--the evil desires that are hidden there--if the law had not said, "You must not have evil desires in your heart." 8 But sin used this law against evil desires by reminding me that such desires are wrong, and arousing all kinds of forbidden desires within me! Only if there were no laws to break would there be no sinning. 9 That is why I felt fine so long as I did not understand what the law really demanded. But when I learned the truth, I realized that I had broken the law and was a sinner, doomed to die. 10 So as far as I was concerned, the good law which was supposed to show me the way of life resulted instead in my being given the death penalty. 11 Sin fooled me by taking the good laws of God and using them to make me guilty of death. 12 But still, you see, the law itself was wholly right and good. 13 But how can that be? Didn't the law cause my doom? How then can it be good? No, it was sin, devilish stuff that it is, that used what was good to bring about my condemnation. So you can see how cunning and deadly and damnable it is. For it uses God's good laws for its own evil purposes. 14 The law is good, then, and the trouble is not there but with me because I am sold into slavery with Sin as my owner.

Romans 7:5-14 TLB

Living According to the Divine Nature

The attributes of the divine nature grow in our lives like fruit as we learn to acknowledge Christ and surrender to His life in us. The Bible calls this the fruit of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:2-26

When we come to understand that the divine nature has been made available to us now, apart from our efforts, we allow God to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in us effortlessly.

Light and Frothy People Part 3

Froth I know that when you love someone, it does not matter how dull or contrary they may appear to be, you still love them all the same. Also, even if someone does have genuine charisma and warmth of personality, it does not always guarantee that they will find favour everywhere they go.

I am talking more about likelihoods than absolute facts. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the quality of a person’s relationship will be determined by the degree of love, life and wisdom that flows through the spirit and soul of those people.

Light and frothy people are usually harmless enough and often quite friendly. The very fact that they are trying to be friendly does indicate their desire to be friendly. You might even find that there is a degree of pleasantness about their character, they have personality traits and foibles that are actually quite charming; there are times when you do genuinely enjoy talking to such people.

But this does not take away the fact that they seem to be inconsistent with everything in their lives, including their personality. They might be seemingly happy one day then down the next. Excitable and chatty one day - quiet as a mouse the next. In fact, you often do not know what to expect next with such people. You do not really know how to approach them sometimes. It is so much better when someone is consistent with their character. If someone is known to be rude, arrogant and obnoxious – then at least you know what to expect when you meet them. But with some people, you do not know what they are going to be like from one day to the next, and therefore, you do not always know how to approach them.

It is so much better when someone is warm, friendly, fun and inviting all of the time. With these people, you know what to expect and it becomes a delight to talk to them. When someone has a genuine nature of love they seem to attract respect, trust, favour, friendliness, generosity from other people. In fact, it is difficult to not like people who have love in their heart. The Bible says that we reap what we sow and this applies to people’s character. If a person has a heart of love, then that love will naturally attract the favour of others, as they express that love towards others.

Light and Frothy People Part 2

16722697_42e6128d67 You can tell when someone has a genuine warmth and depth of character. You find yourself naturally attracted to them. You do not have to approach them and talk to them just because it is expected of you, which is something that seems to go on quite a lot in church.

When you see someone you know who is genuinely charismatic, you find that you cannot help but approach them and establish contact with them. You find that a sense of peace and joy comes upon you and you cannot help but express it through your mannerisms, facial expressions and spoken words. You will often find that the words just seem to tumble out of your mouth of their own accord. There is no faking your joy at seeing them because it is real joy that you experience when you see that person.

When, on the other hand, you see someone you know who does not have genuine charisma that sense of joy does not always seem to manifest itself. This person might give the appearance of being friendly and happy, but it just does not seem to be genuine. When you talk to such a person you can usually establish this persona relatively quickly.

When a light and frothy person speaks to you, you cannot help but get the feeling sometimes that they are just trying to force themselves to be jolly just for the sake of it. Sometimes, such people do not know when to stop smiling and when to stop laughing. They just seem to have a never-ending nervous and giddy excitement about their character.

You can tell how much life and warmth is in someone’s personality by the way they make you feel on the inside. A person who has genuine charisma and depth of personality will usually light you up on the inside of you. It is as if that person becomes the catalyst which ignites a flame within your spirit, so that you can respond to that person with a friendliness that is real.

If someone does not light-up your spirit when they talk to you, then you cannot help but feel bored and somewhat irritated by that person. When this happens, you might find that you start thinking to yourself that the person is boring and that you wished that they would just shut-up! Sometimes, when this happens, you cannot help but express these thoughts with your spoken words.

Some people speak about other people behind their back and say unpleasant things. I have found that this happens mostly to people who lack charisma and friendliness. There is definitely a link between personality and favour with others. People that have a heart of love and life in their spirit are less likely to become the topic of idle gossip in the workplace or in the church. A lack of favour due to a dull personality can be the very thing that causes other people to mock you to your face.

Light and Frothy People Part 1


We have all met them at some point in our lives, almost everywhere you go they are there, every town and city has them and every church has more than its fair share of them – what am I referring to? Light and frothy people.

These are the people in life who seem to give the outward appearance of being friendly and jovial, but there seems to be something not quite right about them. Their mannerisms seem to be false, as if they are just putting on a show. You can tell that these people’s expressions and mannerisms have simply been learned from other people – from people who have genuine charisma. Therefore, these people are trying their best in their own strength to be something that they are not, because they cannot draw upon something that they do not have. They put on a mask, a façade which obscures their true feelings and personality.

People in the world do not want to spend time with people who are miserable and depressed, they are no fun and they just talk about their problems all of the time, they are boring and depressing to listen to. People want to be around lively and dynamic individuals who will inspire them and motivate them. Charismatic people attract others to them, whilst gaining the favour, kindness and respect of others.

There is a saying that goes, “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Some people may be fooled by your façade, whereas other people will be able to tell that your personality is just false. Putting on a façade in order to gain other people’s acceptance can have the opposite effect: on a conscious level you respond to the person’s smile, friendliness and cheerful demeanour. But on a subconscious level, you do not have the sense of trust, comfort, security, peace and joy within yourself that normally formulates your response to such a warm and friendly personality. This can lead to a response of rejection and mistrust as the other person wonders why you have to put on a façade and what it is that you want from them.

There are those people who seem to be so full of life, when you spend time with them, you cannot help but feel uplifted while you speak to these people. Not only that, but you also find that you feel uplifted for a little while after you have been with them, anything from a few hours to a few days. People cannot help but notice these things and it becomes something they want for themselves.

Unfortunately, without being able to discern spiritual things, they equate this favour with what they perceive to be associated factors, such as talking loudly, attractive possessions, certain catch-phrases, certain brands of clothing, particular anecdotes, etc. The neurotic believes that if he can replicate any or all of these identified factors, then he too will be able to create that same degree of attractiveness that will bring him favour with others.

People disguise their feelings of sadness and loneliness because they do not want the world to know their true feelings. These people learn very quickly that in order to fit into society and be accepted by others, you have to adapt to the environment and somehow make an effort to change the way that you are. Happiness draws the right kind of attention, where as, sadness often draws the wrong kind of attention.

Guilt and Responsibility Part 2

Childhood Learning and Polite Refusal

I will provide a further example of the way in which children attempt to learn to be more adult-like and therefore acceptable. In my own life as a child, I struggled to understand the concept of politely refusing something.

When I walked home from junior school, occasionally a man would pass me in the car and ask me if I wanted a lift home. This man lived about six doors down from my house and was a family friend. I never once took up this man’s offer of a lift home, because I was trying to practice the art of polite refusal. I would say something like, “Oh no, it’s alright, I’ll walk the rest of the way.”

Even though this man must have been confused regarding my response, it did not deter him from continuing to offer me a lift home in his car. What I did not realize is that it was no sacrifice for this man to stop and give me a lift home. If the man had to drive a mile or so out of his way to pick me up, then it would be a sacrifice. But this man’s route from his child’s school to his house was the same route as mine. If this man had to make a sacrifice to take me home in his car, then I could have politely refused. But my polite refusal in this case was likely to be more offensive than polite.

Assuming Responsibility - Not Guilt

As Christians we can come before our Heavenly Father knowing that we have done something wrong – without experiencing guilt and condemnation. To assume guilt before God for something that we have done wrong – is entirely unscriptural.

The Bible says that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The Bible also tells us that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13-14). As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). God no longer imputes sin to us; our sins have been remitted once and for all – past, present and future through Christ (Matthew 26:28).

Confession of Sins

Surely we must confess our sins before the Lord? What sins remain for us to confess if our sins are remitted and God does not impute sin to us? God does not condemn us – even when we do something wrong. We condemn ourselves when we do something wrong, which effectively denies the blood of Jesus.

The Bible does say something about Christians holding fast to their confession:

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

The Greek word translated “confession” at the end of verse 14, is the noun homologia (G3671). This noun is derived from the verb homologeō (G3670), which according to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary, means: to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent.

Therefore, we can come boldly to the throne of grace, holding onto our confession of what the Bible says we are in Christ: righteous and holy through faith in Him.

Guilt and Responsibility Part 1

We tend to confuse guilt with taking responsibility. We seem to strongly believe that if we do not feel guilty about something that we did wrong, then we are being a bad person because we are not taking responsibility for something. We then take guilt on board because we do not want to be seen as being an irresponsible person. The reality is that guilt does not help us to become a better person. We can take responsibility for something without taking on guilt as well.

When we do something wrong, or don't do something that we should do, we should look to what the Bible says we are in Christ: we are the righteousness of God through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Even though we know we are forgiven, we have to face the consequences of our actions. This means that we can assume responsibility for what we should now do as a consequence, in accordance with God's will for our lives. However, if we take on guilt at this stage, we can just end-up holding on to pain and a sense of inadequacy, instead of taking positive action.

No good can ever come from punishing ourselves through guilt. Because of Christ's death on the cross, we are no longer deemed guilty in God's sight for the wrong we have done, or ever will do. God has declared us not guilty in His sight so that we can live a happy and productive life by faith in Christ.

Learning to be Guilty during Childhood

A person’s behaviour, mannerisms and actions are governed and directed by his emotional state. If a person feels joy inside him then he will express that joy through smiling, laughing and exhibiting exuberance in his behaviour and positivity in what he says. Likewise, a person who is depressed will express his emotional state through the look on his face, the negativity of his words and so on.

It is the same with guilt. From an early age we are conditioned to take guilt on board as a good thing. Most children genuinely want to behave and do well. Children know that they are more or less powerless when they are small and that they are totally dependant on their parents and other adults for their wellbeing.

Children learn that it is bad for them if they incur the displeasure of those adults who are placed in a position of authority over them. Children do have something of a rather rebellious nature and they cannot always help but express what comes natural to them.

Children are also in a stage of development so they do not always know what is right and what is wrong. When children do something wrong and get told off for it, they know that if they laugh and joke about it in front of an adult when they get found out, it is not going to work out in their favour because they could be punished for doing so.

So in order to escape punishment, they know it is better for them to assume the emotion of guilt. In that way, they can more authentically express the apology that they are forced to give.

There will be times when a child is blamed for something that was not their fault. They will often go through a phase of denying responsibility for something that they did not do. But they soon learn that when an adult is convinced of their guilt concerning something, it does them no good to argue about it. So, they learn to own up to something they did not do, and in so doing, take on guilt.

The problem here is that children have to go through a learning process because they do not know everything they need to know yet. But if a child does not learn the difference between guilt and responsibility, they could end up repeating the same patterns of guilt in adult life. Children can assume responsibility for doing something wrong, whilst also knowing that they are loved by their parents, and therefore, without taking on guilt and a sense of inadequacy.

The Divine Nature | TNB