Wednesday, September 4, 2013


There is an old saying in this country, and maybe in others, which says that a nation gets the government it deserves.  The words, as I understand the story,comes from people who believe that our great God is sovereign over the affairs of the nations, and has an interest in what kind of government a nation elects.

Recently, on a government funded, national T.V. station, on, what is purported to be a serious public affairs program, our current serving, recently re-appointed, Prime Minister, who is standing for re-election this coming Saturday, grossly caricatured the Bible.  

This man is a self-professed Christian, often using church attendance as an opportunity for media attention. On the program mentioned a pastor challenged the P.M.'s very recent change of mind on same-sex marriage, noting that towards the end of 2012, as a member of parliament, he had voted against the matter. 

A pastor questioned this change of mind on the issue quoting the Scriptures. The following is a quote from the article reporting the matter on web site of The Briefing

 “A man shall leave his father and mother and be married”—summarising Matthew 19:4-6—and asked why someone calling himself a Christian does not believe the words of Jesus in the Bible.
The PM replied,
Well if I was going to have that view, the Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition.”

This received the most enormous applause of the night, which incidentally seems to indicate both the depth of biblical illiteracy and the hostility to Christian morality."

The P.M. then showed his ignorance of Scripture, or his willingness to sell his soul to the highest bidder for political gain, which he clearly portrays in his reply.

I wonder? "a nation gets the government it deserves" ?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I have not contributed for some time as my health has not allowed it. I still read and comment when I am able.

A must read article which deserves a much wider audience is to be found on the Istoria Ministries Blog of Wade Burleson.

Do yourself a service and read it!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Apostle Paul acknowledges the words of Isa 64:8, when he says ,”But who are you,O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder,”Why have you made me like this?”

Maybe I will receive some rebuke for taking this Scripture out of context, which I freely admit it is.

There is a principle here which is applicable to many situations we are facing in the midst of those who claim to belong to “the church”. All,I trust, would claim to be in the hands of a Sovereign Lord, One who Isaiah, and Paul, acknowledge as the Potter who knows His business, and therefore the eventual use of the vessel He is making. He begins His task knowing what the vessel He is carefully making is to be used for.

Have you ever noticed that a master craftsman leaves an indelible something about his/her work which identifies it to those who care to look with a non-prejudiced eye? It's almost as if the potter is IN the vessel, or, at least something of his person, his spirit, is revealed in it's design, color, finish,etc.

We can be certain of one thing, the vessel is what the potter had in mind.

That brings me to a Christian woman my family knew. An exceptional lady, a gentle woman, whom I knew for some twenty five years. Her husband was a deacon in a congregation where my wife and I, and our five children attended.

Her name was Winifred. We knew her as Win. We knew her as a loving, caring,serving, Christ glorifying member of the Family of God.

Time passed during which time my, wife, family and I moved a long way from that congregation. I had been invited to serve as pastor in another congregation of the same denomination.

Six years on we accepted an invitation to minister to another denominational congregation. 

Twenty minutes away a small group of believers became a congregation in that denomination.

Imagine our delight when we found that Win and her husband were amongst this new group.

The new church developed in size, and Win and her husband continued on in the same manner as we had known all those years previously.

Some years passed and Win, so appreciated by the members of this church, was approached to stand as a deacon. After all, as both men and women acknowleged, she had for years, exhibited much more of the marks of the handiwork of the Master Potter, than most of the male deacons they had known.

I'm not going to detail the work of ugly fundamentalism that ensued. Those who read this will well know. A campaign was launched, much harm was caused by those four people in a congregation of forty. I was asked to talk to these four. Not one could give sound Scriptural reason for their opposition!

They were happy to let Win continue on doing the servant work of deacon, but to bestow on her “the office” of deacon was equal to blasphemy.

Some people never grow to maturity! So sad!

Win didn't start a fight. She didn't become secular and start a movement. She didn't change in the slightest. She was like the Potter who made her, she just got on with the task that she had done for all those years, and then she went to be with the One who had crafted her so lovingly, She received the only recognition she deserved; the only recognition any true servant of God deserves, and covets: “Well done,good and faithful servant”.

Good servants don't need earthly recognition, they simply get on with the task. Win's whole life was a sermon. She didn't need a platform. Win's whole life reflected the Potter. She didn't need an “office”. SHE JUST GOT ON WITH THE TASK!

She had ALL she needed! We have too, male or female, if we would wake up and see!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


My apologies for not being able to acknowledge where the following came from, or, who wrote it.

I've had it for some time and came across it this morning and felt the many messages it gives are too important to keep to myself.

I saw him in the church building for the first time on Wednesday.

He was in his mid-70′s, with thinning silver hair and a neat brown suit.
Many times in the past I had invited him to come to church.
Several other Christian friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the good news with him.

He was a well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian should have,

but he had never accepted Christ, nor entered the doors of the church.

Have you ever been to a church service in your life?” I had asked him a few years ago.

We had just finished a pleasant day of visiting and talking.He hesitated. Then with a bitter smile he told me of his childhood experience some fifty years ago.

He was one of many children in a large impoverished family.
His parents had struggled to provide food, with little left for housing and clothing.
When he was about ten, some neighbors invited him to worship with them.

The Sunday School class had been very exciting!He had never heard such songs and stories before!

He had never heard anyone read from the Bible!

After class was over, the teacher took him aside and said,
“Son, please don’t come again dressed as you are now.
We want to look our best when we come into God’s house.

He stood in his ragged, unpatched overalls.

Then looking at his dirty bare feet, he answered softly, “No, ma’am, I won’t-ever.”
“And I never did,” he said, abruptly ending our conversation.

There must have been other factors to have hardened him so,

but this experience formed a significant part of the bitterness in his heart.

I ‘m sure that Sunday School teacher meant well.

But did she really understand the love of Christ?
Had she studied and accepted the teachings found in the second chapter of James?
What if she had put her arms around the dirty, ragged little boy and said,
“Son, I am so glad you are here, and I hope you will come back every chance you get to hear more about Jesus.”

I reflected on the awesome responsibility a teacher or

pastor or a parent has to welcome little ones in His name.
How far-reaching her influence was! I prayed that I might be ever open
to the tenderness of a child’s heart, and that I might never fail to see
beyond the appearance and behavior of a child to the eternal possibilities within.

Yes, I saw him in the church house for the first time on Wednesday.

As I looked at that immaculately dressed old gentleman
lying in his casket, I thought of the little boy of long ago.
I could almost hear him say, “No, ma’am, I won’t-ever.”

And I wept.

Friday, May 3, 2013


The title is not mine. It was written by a fellow believer, who like me has been given the grace to pass the three score  years and ten, much of it in pastoral ministry.

What strikes me when I read what he writes are the adjectives which come to mind, such as spiritually mature, Scripturally wise, but even more, he brings to mind a man who has been in God's slow, patient mill which has shaped, and is still shaping his heart and mind, along the lines of Paul in 1 Cor.2:6.

Coincidentally, His name is also Paul. 

Paul Burleson is well worth reading at his blog. Just click on his name.

He writes: 

I knew from the very beginning that I was "saved by grace." With my history and personal background it was a given that I needed grace. All I was capable of doing were things no one in their right mind would call good and certainly not pure. It didn't take being a rocket scientist to figure out that I needed God's help. So, Grace as shown in the Person and Work of Christ became real to me. I became a believer. My message was one of grace from the outset. It's called the gospel.

But, that said, It took me some years to realize that the same grace that saved me was the grace by which I was to live. So I began a walk according to the law. Oh it wasn't the law of Moses, although I did somewhat embrace the 10 commandments as the foundation of the way I was suppose to live, it was the law of logic for me.

My logic went this way. Knowing no one could ever repay Jesus completely for what He did for them, I believed I did need to spend the rest of my life trying to. So a pay back journey began. Back then that sounded spiritual, at least to me, but it wasn't. It was works. I was, indeed, saved by grace but  was trying to live by the works of the law. [My law of logic.] 

You may be asking, "What does that law of logic look like?"  The answer is it looks like what I heard one person call, "An ash tray full of buts." [Thus the picture with apologies to cigarette butts.]  I knew I was saved by grace, "but!......" [There it is.] There was ALWAYS an "I know it is all of grace.... "but."

You see, in my mind, there were things I needed to do to keep grace from being cheap. I owed Him my all and I wanted to show up for the parade of working to pay Him back. [Remember, I'm not talking about salvation here.] Little did I know that what cheapens grace is to think you can add anything to it, even in your walk. Thus, my walk became "do this," "do that," "or do the other," instead of realizing what "had already been done" and walking in that reality.

This, inevitably and subtly, shifted my focus from Him and His work, to me and my work. It will ALWAYS do that. Instead of learning to be impressed by what He had done, I was trying to impress Him with what I was doing so He'd know I really loved Him for what He had done. Make sense? It did to me.

So, as you can see,  my first "but" mixed with grace was, "But I owe Him my all and had better show Him by doing all I can".  [The ash tray will be full of "buts" before we're finished.] 

Another "but" mixed with grace in my life was, I knew that Jesus had saved me, "but" if I didn't study the bible and understand doctrine I would never be able to know what to do. I had to know "bible truth" so I could have a game plan of performance. As you can see, I wound up not reading the scriptures to see Jesus at all. (Lk 24:27) My purpose was to learn, what I ought to do? Does this remind you of what Jesus said to the Pharisees at all?  [John 5:39]

I developed a little knowledge of this doctrine, a little knowledge of that doctrine, and became doctrinally correct in many ways. But, sadly, I ended up thinking all scripture was profitable for me to know ONLY as it showed me how to live. That's far from having my "eye on Jesus alone." 

I failed to filter what I read through the finished work of the cross, I read someone say it this way, "I unwittingly poisoned myself about the Christian life." I was mixing the death-dealing words of my own "law of shoulds" with the life-giving "words of grace." Although I thought I was zealous for the Lord, I was really only zealous for my own law.  I wound up with a STRONGER CONNECTION to the WRITTEN WORD than I had with the LIVING WORD.  Another "but" in my ashtray of useless things on my journey because my time in the Word was about ME and not HIM

There is yet another "but" that I mixed with grace. It was..."But"__ I need more from God so I can live the Christian life.  Now this is REALLY subtle. I kept looking for something to help me live the Christian life to it's fullest. But I was searching for the very things that He had already provided IN CHRIST. I would ask for more faith instead of living by the faith of the Son of God (Ga 2:20). I would ask for more peace without knowing He was my peace. [Ephesians 2:14] I would ask for more victory without realizing He had already won the victory and my victory was trusting that fact. [1 John 5:4]

I was always asking for something more.  I read books on "How To_____," went to conferences to learn "how to____," and you can fill in the blanks. On and on to find ways to help me do my"shoulds."Never satisfied with Christ alone.  [The ashtray was full and was dirty and stank.]

I didn’t realize that I had already been blessed with every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST, and that I was deeply loved, and highly favored, IN CHRIST. [Ephesians 1:3]  So in my ignorance I wasted a whole lot of time asking for things that were already mine. This "but" had brought me to thinking I was being spiritual and faithful when in reality I was fleshly and faithless.     

The tragedy of all this is simple. You just do not mix anything with real grace. In true grace you sit in it, you walk in it, you stand in it. [Taken from Watchman Nee's book on Ephesians entitled, Sit_Walk_Stand.]  But in subtle ways I preferred rules to relationship and what I really craved were clear Biblical guidelines for living. I thought I was choosing good, but then so did Adam. Adam and I both had an independent spirit that led us to eat from the wrong tree and the result was nothing more than dead works.

It was when I discovered that as a believer I was called upon in the New Covenant to repent of dead works that I was finally shaken.

Dead works are the things religious people do thinking that by doing those things they are gaining something from God. If I pray because I think it will make me better with God, it's a dead work. if I read my bible thinking it will make me better with God, it's a dead work. If I go to church.....
You get the idea.

But if I pray or read my bible or witness or go to a gathered church meeting because I know the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST is mine and I AM ACCEPTED BY PAPA and I know THAT HE LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY, instead of all those things making me better with Him, I find the power to live already present in my life. His name is Jesus. [That's shouting ground.]
Now don't get me wrong here, which some might be prone to do. I'm not saying you don't do certain things. Of course you do. Perhaps everything I've mentioned in this post, in fact. But you don't focus on them or keep track of them so you can measure yourself by them because they are not for measuring anything about you. They are simply your response of love to His great acts of grace in Christ that have already made you acceptable. It is simply you learn to live as a son instead of a slave.
So, my mixed bag was discarded. The "buts" were thrown out and the ashtray was emptied, gone, removed. The stench of dead works was also removed and the sweet aroma of grace is now the atmosphere of life itself. His name is Jesus.

Paul B. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I have often mention an aphorism, which may have come from somewhere else, but until I know otherwise, I claim it as mine: 


Among the several articles,blogs, etc I have seen commenting on the sadness the Warren family are now enduring, two or three stand out because of evident grace.
Alan Knox has written two articles, both worth your time. The first one "The church is talking about mental illness,but are we listening?", the most recent," Some are listening to their brothers and sisters in Christ who have mental illness"
Another blogging brother, Paul Burleson, in his response to my comment, mentioned Rick Warren and his family had suffered the tragic loss of their son Matthew, the first I'd heard of it Down-Under. Soon after, reading some other articles, I  read some of the most ungracious, unintelligent, and nonsensical responses to the Warren family's sad loss.

To cap that off, as I read the newspapers, which were were full of similar cowardly, puerile, foul comments regarding the death of ex Prime Minister of Great Britain, Maggie Thatcher.

Just what IS the easily discernible difference between a genuine Christian and those who are not?

GRACE! Grace received is GRACE revealed!

Those who haven't been there ought to reserve their comments until they can use their minds intelligently, but more importantly, if they truly are what they claim to be, GRACIOUSLY!

During my lifetime in the Body of Christ, I was many times called upon to deal with folk with organic illnesses of many different kinds,physical and mental, I trust that I was a reflection of  that grace which drew me to follow Christ.  

The gift of saving grace is the act of amazing divine graciousness.

So, why is it that those who claim to belong to the Family of God (church) find it in themselves to be gracious and loving towards those with physical illness, but revert to worldly values when it comes to mental illness?

Some of the comments regarding the Warren tragedy can only be described as from the sludge of fleshly worldliness, and that from professed Christians. 

Am I missing something here?

After many years in ministry I, my wife and family were put through the wringer of false accusations, which drove me into two years of deep depression. By God's grace, and the patience of my dear wife, I came out of that pit!

I've mentioned previously, my dearest friend, a much sought after pastor, went through the same false accusations, which destroyed his life, literally!

In both situations the "Christians" who were nearest , couldn't be found for the dust of their rapid departure.  

Literally dozens of "Christians" were no where to be found until their comments came to light; comments very similar to the graceless, churlish comments being published regarding the first mentioned hurting families.

It seems to me that I must have missed the commandment," one another as I have loved you, BUT ONLY IF THEY AGREE WITH YOUR THEOLOGY, AND PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY."

And a world of spiritually needy people look on and ask, "What's the difference, between these Christians, and everyone else?"   

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


As Galatians 1 shows Paul testifies to God's working during his conversion, that God revealed Jesus for whom He is in the Apostle? We need to ask ourselves whether our “conversion experience” can be recorded similarly.
Why should our conversion, our “born again” experience be any different to that of Paul?

Quite obviously it made a world of difference in the way Paul lived his life, and the way he was perceived by those around him, as radically changed from a murderous Roman military man to a representative of the King of Kings, writing words such as, So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

It appears that the change to Paul was marked, not by his theological expertise, his preaching ability,the number of letters he had after his name, nor his authority over others, or, any other quality other than his willingness to obey the One who was revealed to him on the Damascus road, who had chosen him to make disciples of the Gentiles.

It's rather interesting that the very same charge is given to all who have been truly converted, and become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in he name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

That charge is given to all followers of Christ. Such people are, by definition “disciples”, which causes me to think of something that Theodore Austin-Sparks wrote in, The Centrality and Supremacy of Christ, ch.1:
The church has no existence in the thought of God apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ, and it is judged according to the measure in which Christ the Son of God’s love is in evidence by its existence. ”

If those, who, claiming to be “Christian”, belong to an entity calling itself “church”, are not, in every aspect of life, calling the worlds attention to the evidence of Christ the Son of God’s love, they are using the name “Christian”, and “church” illegitimately. Look at Jesus' words in Luke 8:16,
No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.

When I was very much younger we lived on a farm. The house was built on one side of a large valley. Arising, as we did, at 4.30 a.m. I looked across the valley, which was pitch dark, except for a pinpoint of light, about four miles away on the other side of the valley. The utter darkness of this moonless early morning was no competition for the pinpoint of light I knew came from a farmers house.

I have no doubt this is a sound illustration of Jesus words, to His followers, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden”.

In other words, a genuine follower of Christ will stand out, in the same way as light stands out in darkness,or, as a city on a hill declares itself.

If that is true, then no individual, group, or organization calling itself an assembly, church, fellowship, is justified in its existence, from God's standpoint, except to the degree or extent that Christ is expressed to the world at large by it, as that distant small light stood apart in the blackness of the morning.

You and I have no warrant, to claim to be Christians except in the degree in which Christ is evidenced in us, both individually and corporately; and as the darkness of that night in the valley, mentioned above, all the powers and inventiveness of hell seeks to hide that evidence, and seek to defeat all attempts to do so.

Far too many who call themselves Christian, smugly think that they are safe from any attempts to kindle in them anti-Christian life-style, attitudes, behaviour. They are most decidedly wrong. More than anyone else in this world believers are the targets of deception, the very worst being the idea that they cannot be deceived..

Paul was certainly aware of the problem as he wrote to the believers at Ephesus about their associations, Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)...,” and, as he counselled the followers of Christ at Philippi, Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,...)

Do you ever ask yourself the questions,
Why has God revealed Jesus Christ to me, and caused me to be the recipient of His saving grace? What's the point?”,
"I claim to bear the Name of Christ, so, what am I here for?"
"I believe what the Bible says when it tells me that through His saving grace I'm now a son/daughter in His Family, so, what is the meaning of my being related to the Lord?"

Are we still so infected by the sin of pride that we attach self-centered, selfish meaning to these questions?
Is it not true that we rationalise the answers to these questions?

Most of the modern “Christianity” we know convinces us that comfortable, self-indulgent lives are our legacy through salvation; that we have been given God's grace for our own personal satisfaction, and self-gratification!

The evangelical “Christianity” with which I've been associated for 60 or so years, quietly assumes receiving Christ as Saviour and Lord as the end in itself!

What we have missed is that genuine saving grace is a revelation, much as it was to Paul, but not necessarily as dramatic, and is the revelation, the “seeing” , of Jesus Christ, the awakening to the truth of His centrality and supremacy in all things to do with life.

Some of us, and I was one of these, when we do have this “Eureka” moment as it applies to the aforementioned revelation of Christ, immediately think about how we will apply it to life with the assumption we now need to do some some “thing”, or “work”, or, for some of the more aware, to some independent function upon which we need to focus our lives.

Again our traditions fail us. Becoming a genuine follower of Christ, does not entail our applying our lives to an entity which is called a WORK, which requires our devotion and faithfulness.

The centrality and supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ is the calling of every genuine believer. Christ is the beginning and the end of everything in the believers life, the A to Z, the Alpha and Omega, and all else will flow from that.

"Christ in you, the hope of glory". A fact so many claiming to be Christian have missed, such as a couple my wife and I know, and are so involved in WORK. I asked them why they have no peace and rest from their gut busting efforts.

Their answer? “We are trying to please God!”

During my years in pastoral ministry I heard many an account of people, including pastors, boasting of their dedication to the denomination, or, a para-church organization.

It took me far too long to realise that, since the Apostles, much Christian activity has been the fostering, and promoting of a denomination and its distinctives, or, the spreading of a particular teaching, or doctrinal emphasis, of an institution calling itself “church”.

All of this action, and busy-ness disguises the reality that the Body of Christ, the ekklesia which He is building, has no being or nature apart from the “seeing” of Jesus Christ, and that the ekklesia, the church He is building, is announced to a lost world by the measure in which Christ the Son of God’s love is in evidence by those who claim to belong.

For most of my long years as a part of this institution, no matter where I look, and despite the showcase activities, the pomp and ceremony, the entity we call “church” has been nothing more than a pathetic caricature of the genuine, of which I share the blame and  shame.


Simply because it is not the genuine article. It became a “thing”, a lifeless object which sees itself in the secular light of a movement, a mission, a teaching, a testimony, a fellowship, which has replaced the Lord Jesus Christ as the mediating, authoritative influence in the world.

The ekklesia Jesus said He is building is meant to be the personification of its Master to a lost world!

Paul understood this reason for being was Christ, But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles.”

Imagine how different things might have been if the Head of the Church, the God who loved to such an extent that He incarnated Himself, and suffered and died as a man, on behalf of man, defeating death as a man, had been outstandingly revealed by those who claimed His name.

 What would have been the outcome if He had remained central and pre-eminent, as Paul sought for Him to be, as he wrote to the Christians in Colossae, And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”?

Could we dare to dream that we could experience the Body of Christ withoutall that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Jn. 2:16), instigating the decaying, decomposing , politicised and institutional jealousies.

If we are honest , we have to confess that our “work” today is more about protecting our turf of being the “right” one, or, the “only true one”, whatever that “one” happens to be.

There can be no argument, the evidence is clear that, and please note that I'm writing in generalities, apart from lip service, Jesus Christ is not the obvious focus of the work of Christians, assemblies, churches, denominations of today.

The reason for this is that the majority have become members of an earthly organisation for a myriad of reasons, of which most are self centred.

Very few can say, as the blind man did in John 9:25, One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see”.

The Apostle Paul explained this so well to the Corinthian brethren, For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”(2 Cor.4:6)

From a lifetime of observation, I believe the traditional assumption of most is that a Christian is a person who carefully does prescribed range of things, and that such Christian does not do another whole range of forbidden things.

As soon as this assumption is made the damage is done! The matter is exacerbated because the leaders of the organisation into which they have come, reinforce this thinking; and again, for self-centred reasons.

A genuine Christian is not governed by the rules and regulations of a religious system imposed as a way of life, which declares, "Do this," and "Do not do that," a genuine Christian is one, who like the blind man above,is able to “see” Jesus Christ for who He is. Such a person has had an experience of something done to them, of which they can say,”My eyes have been opened, and I see Jesus, for whom He really is, the One whom, as a man, has done, and not done, everything legalistic religion expects. Everything, on behalf of all who “see" Him!

We have passed off the dramatic Damascus road experience of Paul as simply the unique experience of this spiritually hardened military man.

When we do that we miss the point. Look away from the drama, and you will see a simple act of God revealing Himself to a sinner like you and I, who found himself confronted by Truth, "Who are you, Lord?".

The answer is simple and uncomplicated. No lists of rules and regulations: "I am Jesus of Nazareth." Paul certainly didn't see the drama as being of any consequence. His testimony to the Galatian believers was simply, "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me."

That is one and the same thing, as the experience of the blind man. “Seeing” inwardly, in heart and mind,
is what causes one to be a Christian, no fanfare, no rumpus, no pomp and ceremony. "God.....has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ(2 Cor. 4:6).

A Christian has “seen” Jesus for whom He is:" But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone”.(Heb.2:9)

The church as we have traditionally known it is fading fast. Why?

I believe it is because we have externalized what it means to be a Christian, relying on legal means, rules and regulations, to maintain the strength of the “work”.

If this is the case, and I think it is, we are like the blind man before he received his sight. We have not “seen” Jesus. Much of the cause for this is that we preachers suffer from the same blindness.

Those who have “seen” Jesus have a passion for Him, but the evidence reveals that we have focused on other things which we have decided are in the best interests of our particular patch.
We have sought the satisfaction of our own desires and for Him, rather than the satisfaction of the Fathers heart, the glorification of His Son.
We, as individuals, must realise that you and I have no warrant to make any claim to be Christians apart from the measure in which Christ is evidenced in you and I.
The powers of darkness are a determined adversary against the revelation of Jesus Christ, and will lead us down a path of human desire and ambition, which our nature is apt to follow.
As the blind man, and Paul reveal, everything begins with this, the revelation of Jesus Christ within, “seeing” Jesus for whom He is, why He took on human form in which He lived and died, and what He really achieved on behalf of all who would trust Him.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Whilst writing this I was reminded of several of Paul's warning regarding false teachers, such as 1 Tim 1:3-7, when Paul said, "Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions."

It's very easy for us to make similar assertions, but unlike Paul's divine source, ours are usually from the unquestioning path we've been treading since we began our Christian journey. As a result anything which doesn't accord with our traditions is categorized as false teaching.

When we become “Christian”, most of us begin to be aware that we have much to learn. I dare say most of us under-estimate that learning process, and limit it to an intellectual aggregation of information coming from those within the tradition into which we've been welcomed. We are deceived if we think that process will be any less than a lifetime.

It usually isn't long before we have inserted into our psyche that it is traitorous, and an offense against God, to consider any other way of thinking than that tradition into which we've been adopted, and that holding private thoughts about ones faith is akin to heresy.

While holding firmly to the Soteriology as revealed during the Great Reformation, I understand myself as neither Reformed (Covenant Theology),nor Dispensationalist; Calvinist, nor Arminian. I am simply a sinner who has been given the graciously bestowed gift and privilege of being adopted into the Family of God, knowing Jesus Christ, and being just one little stone in the Church Jesus is building (1 Pet. 2:5).

Since, by the grace of God,that was made clear, some sixty odd years ago, my education in matters to do with walking this path, has been a long slog through a number of religious swamps, and occasional, majestic mountain tops, revealing the grandeur of the scene below, which I believe is best described by New Covenant Theology, of which I am now thoroughly convinced.

I am a follower of Christ who struggled for years with, what seemed to me, to be clear inconsistencies within what I had been taught since a very young age, most of those inconsistencies had to do with traditional sectarianism. Over a period of time I learned that the discomfort I felt with some of the positions I had inherited, were caused by the Scriptures revealing New Covenant Theology, and answering most of my struggles, some of which I hope will be seen in the following words. I also began to realise I was alone in these struggles.

The aforementioned New Covenant Theology (NCT) reveals God's plan of salvation, beginning with the first man Adam, and finally bearing the fruit of His purpose, and, consummated to His satisfaction, through the person and work of Jesus Christ through His life, death, and resurrection, on behalf of all those who would trust in that reality.

All of this is revealed by Scripture alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, to God's glory alone. Religious traditions do not come into the equation, no matter what it is called!
As Dr. Gary D. Long says:”God's plan of salvation is revealed and administered through the unfolding of biblical covenants in the flow of redemptive history, not through the theologically deduced system of CT's Covenant of Works/Covenant of Grace/Covenant of Redemption schema” (29TH annual Sovereign Grace Doctrinal Conference,Saldo, Texas,October 9, 2004).

It is of most importance to note that the common goal of the Scriptures, from Genesis through The Revelation of John, is to reveal this plan in the person and work of the Lord Jesus as the purpose of our Sovereign God for His creation(Eph. 1:9,10).

The fact of God establishing a New Covenant, is the most important truth of NCT, a New Covenant, mediated by Christ, which fully, and permanently replaces the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:6-13).
When we learn about the making of the Old Covenant, it is clearly a formal agreement made only between two parties, God and the Nation of Israel.

This Old Covenant (Mosaic Covenant, also called the First Covenant) is a legal, conditional covenant, but NOT as some would have it, another administration of the Covenant of Grace.

There is no doubt that God had a gracious purpose for giving the Mosaic Covenant, and that the covenant, itself, has legal force, as well as being designed to reveal to the Israelites their sinful state.

The Ten Commandments or Tablets of Stone (Exodus 34:27-28; Dt. 5:1-3), spell out the terms of the Old Covenant (or first covenant) but did not include of all of God's law.

As we've already noted, the Old Covenant had legal efficacy or force with Israel and demanded perfect obedience to all it spelled out, for those with whom it was made, that they might receive the promised blessings (Ex. 19:3-6).

As the Apostle Paul clearly understood, the Old Covenant was a ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:6-9) and was designed to be a teacher pointing the nation of Israel to God's better way of dealing with sin, the promised Messiah, the Lord,Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:24,25).

Importantly, as the writer of The Letter to the Hebrews was able to record, the New Covenant is both new and better than the Old Covenant, for a sound reason (Heb.8:7).

It is a better covenant because it is administered in a better way. Jesus Christ, as the sinless Son of God was able to fulfil all of the requirements of the Old Covenant as its mediator, and is the One of whom the better promises refer (Heb. 8:6).

The New Covenant people of God consists of those of whom Peter speaks in 1 Pet. 2:4ff., the church which Jesus is building, who receive the complete benefits of His reconciling work (Heb. 8:10-12; Heb. 7:25).
This position of being regenerate (born anew) can only come about through Jesus Christ, who kept the terms of the Old Covenant perfectly, on behalf of, and as the representative of His people, and it was by His sinless life, His death, and resurrection, that He earned all the promised blessings for them as the mediator of the New Covenant. Jesus is the inaugurator of the New Covenant, and the new Lawgiver and Lord of the church (Heb. 1:1-4; Heb.7:12).

Those who can truly claim to be followers of Christ, and members of His Church, are under the authority of the New Covenant which is governed by the New Testament Scriptures (Eph. 2:19,20).

Meanwhile the Old Covenant has been perfectly fulfilled in Christ and done away, with God's righteous standards now contained in the Law of Christ (Gal.6:2; 1 Cor.9:21) which is motivated internally (not by Law) in the believer by His Holy Spirit.

New Covenant Theology is NOT a hybrid version of Covenant Theology and Historic Dispensationalism.
Covenant Theology fails in that it tries to read the Old Covenant as though it were the New Covenant.
Dispensationalism fails in that it reads the Old Covenant without taking into account the New Covenant.
The traditional "Covenant of Works" and "Covenant of Grace" are not found in Scripture.

As already mentioned, there can be no doubt that God had gracious intent by placing the nation of Israel under the law as a covenant, but it is quite a stretch to make the Old Covenant a covenant of grace.
As we said previously, the clear purpose of the Mosaic Law was to remind the nation that they were sinners, with the law being a means of bringing, those under the covenant, into deep conviction of sin to cause them to look away from themselves,and lead them to look to the promise given Abraham (Gen.12:2;22:17;Gal.3:16 ) and the fulfilment of that promise in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:23-25).

New Covenant Theology regards the nation of Israel as a picture (type) of those who were to be the people of God. They were not THE people of God (Heb. 8:7-9; Heb. 10:1).
The nation of Israel, whilst raised up by God, is essentially an unbelieving people who are eventually rebuffed and rejected by God (Matt. 8:5-12).

A remnant of the nation of Israel, such as Abraham and his family, were true believers (Hebrews 11). The Abrahamic Covenant expresses God's plan of salvation through Abraham and his physical descendants. The true seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ and believers are the true children of Abraham, children of faith, not of works.
These are true New Covenant people of God, who by faith,have trusted in the finished work of Jesus, and are purchased under the New Covenant (1 Pet. 2:4-10).

The Ten Commandments apply ONLY as the terms of the Old Covenant with Israel.

Genuine Christians, as a result, are no longer bound by the terms of the Old Covenant, which was made with the nation,Israel. Who, do not recognise Jesus for whom He is, and sadly, are still looking for the Messiah

We might then ask,”What is the objective standard for the New Covenant believer”? The Law of Christ, the essence of all of God's law is found in the 2 great commandments.

One of the Pharisees who prided themselves regarding their obedience to the terms of the Old Covenant, challenged Jesus with a question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Mat. 22:36).  Jesus replied,“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40).

The Law of Christ is the law in the New Covenant era. The situation then, is not whether believers in the New Covenant era are under law, it is simply the question of which law are the believers under since Christ inaugurated the New Covenant.

There is some excellent reading, and sound teaching on the internet through people such as John Reisinger Jon Zens, Randy Seiver, Fred Zaspel, and Gary Long (President of Providence Theological Seminary, Colorado Springs).