Two Natures? Are you sure?

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Last visit we focused on Romans 6, citing 10 verses that ALL pointed to our OLD nature being dead, and the NEW man, our new nature, being alive to God – Hallelujah!

Unfortunately, sin doesn’t like having you dead to it, and hammers so many of us, deceiving to get us believing that the old man is still alive! And Romans 7 seems to say it’s true. Is it?

In Ro 7:4-6 Paul declares we were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ. We have been joined to Jesus – not ‘going to be’ but JOINED in UNION when we believed.

The sinful passions in us were aroused by the Law, but WE HAVE DIED to the Law to serve in newness of the Spirit. The Law was good, because it revealed, in fact inflamed, the sin that was within us. The Law said ‘this is the way to life’ – but was a fault finder; we were never good enough. In fact, Paul declares that the Law was a real killer – because of the sin that was within us.

Beginning with verse 14, Paul employs an ANALEPSIS – today we would say FLASHBACK – to a time when he was trying to obey the Law. Many commentators and preachers forget all about Romans 6 when they read 7, the truth that in Christ Jesus we ARE dead to sin, dead to the Law, and alive to God. They forget Paul just said we are IN UNION with Jesus–that means as righteous as He is righteous, and they make incorrect statements, like the Old Man Sin Nature is still there in us, fighting for top dog status.

Not true! Paul is simply explaining what it was like for him as old Paul the sinner, not as New Creation Paul. He found that even when he knew what “good” was, and even when he tried to do it, that he kept failing. There is no hope in the Law, friends. Trying your best to do what is right and good is never good enough!

But if you turn to Christ: BOOM! Along comes Romans 8 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death”

You do NOT have old and new natures duking it out within you. You are not a wretched person but a righteous new creation. Now is the time to renew that old man mind of yours into new man righteous thinking — and Come Alive!

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Wanted: Dead AND Alive

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It’s written: Jesus Christ died for the ungodly – Ro 5:6
While we were sinners He died for us – Ro 5:8
And, we died there, too.

2 Timothy 2:11 “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him.” This is a foundation stone for our new life in Jesus. See your OLD NATURE crucified on that cross with Jesus! DEAD.

That old man in you HAS died. Your ‘ugly past’ ended at Calvary. The person you are now began at Calvary. Do not let the ghost of who you used to be come into your present life. If the devil throws your past in your face, remind him that is someone else’s past, not yours.

If you don’t understand this, you will keep trying to die, practice dying to self, dying daily, crucifying the flesh and so on. That is NOT the GOSPEL! That is man-made religion. AND IT DOES NOT WORK! You will be more SIN CONSCIOUS than ever!

In support of what I’ve just said, consider these quick quotes from Romans 6
6:2 – we have died to sin
6:3 – we have been baptized into His death
6:5 – we are united with Him in the likeness of His death
6:6 – our old self was crucified with Him
6
:8 – we have died with Christ
6:10&11 – He died to sin, once for all, so consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God

Face the facts, friend: if you are a Christian, you ARE dead in Christ for you have been crucified with Him. Dead in Christ means dead to sin and this world’s desires. It’s the Gospel truth. It’s THE GOSPEL.

So stop trying to die to self, my friend, but realize you are DEAD in Christ to sin and ALIVE in Christ to God. 

That’s right! Reckon yourself DEAD, and you will have Come Alive!

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Better: Sons by Faith, not by Works!

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We’ve been stating that mixing covenants, Old and New, is commonplace — and will rob you of the blessings of God. Not being blessed? Might be what you are believing! And we might add another mixed metaphor or two, for we’ll be dealing with the rubber meeting the road, and instead of biting the bullet on these issues, we’ll just want to punt.  LOL

Gen 15:6 states that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as Righteousness. Righteousness—God’s stamp of approval, not for what he had done, but for what He BELIEVED. And what was that? That God promised him countless children and that God would deliver on that promise, regardless of Abraham’s circumstances or performance.

And God DID deliver! Children, by promise, not performance.

For us, on this side of Calvary, the promise is fulfilled. How? Well, WE are the children of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise. We receive the promise by faith in Jesus Christ. Not only are we heirs according to the promise, but we receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

All this can sound confusing, so we’ll move ahead by ironing out the remaining bottlenecks. LOL

When we called upon the Lord, He stretched out His hand and rescued us (thank you Calvary!). He took our sins away. He paid our sin debt, taking the punishment we deserved. He took our sin nature away and gave us His own. Righteousness, right-standing with God, is ours by grace.

Not stopping there, He blessed us with all spiritual blessings by adopting us as sons – sons of Abraham, states Galatians, for we believe as Abraham did, but we are also God’s sons, genuine heirs of GOD HIMSELF! And He has given us the Holy Spirit. Sealing us in the Holy Spirit. He has made us partakers of the divine nature – 2 Pe 1:4.

So, stop looking to your performance, mixing covenants, but CHOOSE to walk in the Spirit today with your eyes on Jesus — and Come Alive!

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Better: Mixed = Lukewarm – get outta there!

Welcome to Hank’s Place

I’ve been speaking about mixing metaphors and mixing covenants. Mixing metaphors can be humorous, but mixing covenants will rob you of the blessings Jesus died to give you, blessings that are YOURS BY INHERITANCE. You can not work for an inheritance, you simply receive it.

Scripture says we are heirs of God. Receive your gift! Where does Jesus warn us about mixing covenants? Consider the warning to the church of Laodicea in Rev 3. They felt they were in good shape, but Jesus stated He would spit them out of His mouth for they were lukewarm. COLD was good: truly follow the Law and you will be led to Christ. It is our tutor. HOT is good: finding salvation in Jesus. Mixed together: LUKEWARM—satisfied with doing the best you can with self-effort to fulfill the commandments. I call it “Checkbox Religion” Morning prayers? Check. Bible reading? Check. Praise song? Check. Church Sunday and Wed? Check? Catch the unholy drift, my friend? It’s not rocket surgery!

Since a rolling stone is worth two in the bush, listen to this Ro 8:2 – says the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. The 10 Commandments are a prime example, a ministry of DEATH according to 2 Cor 3:7, because they told you WHAT to do, but gave you no power by which to do them, and our strength is simply not up to it.

How much better to walk by faith, as a child of God, an heir by grace. Why trade that wonderful relationship as a son or daughter of God, an heir, for a set of do’s and don’ts as a mere servant of the fear inducing hidden God of Mt Sinai? You don’t want to go back there!

Don’t come one brick short of the whole nine yards—consider what I’ve said, and Come Alive!

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Better: Mixed Covenants – worse than mixed metaphors!

Welcome to Hank’s Place

Previously I shared about the danger of mixing metaphors and mixing covenants. While mixing metaphors can be humorous, mixing covenants is serious!

Let’s get all our ducks together on the same page about this!

The WORLD works the same way the Old Covenant worked: top performance gets the biggest rewards. Do poorly and be a loser. Consider the Olympics or professional sports – or high school football! There are some winners, a few also rans, and lots and lots of — losers. You have no doubt heard there is a price to pay for success. Sacrifice of training, diet, cost, 110% effort at all times.

Now, and the fan is gonna hit the roof on this one, isn’t this is how most churches work? Think about it. Inside, you will find sincere, God loving, super-hard working pastors and leaders – proclaiming a MIXTURE of the Old and New although they do not realize it. James tells us the double-minded man does not receive from God. No wonder they have to work so hard – no wonder they burn out so often! No one wants to be a loser.

How about you? Are you constantly struggling to present good works to Jesus? Hoping for some blessings? Afraid you are not good enough? Trying harder but not making progress? Oh, and if you want to be successful in ministry you must pay the price, make the sacrifices, take the journey. Right?

YOU pay the price? Get that mixed covenant thinking out of your head!

There IS a price, yes, and JESUS paid it. We couldn’t pay it. JESUS paid it ALL, then sat down at the right hand of the Father. His work was done. It allows us who believe in Him to SIT DOWN also with Him – see Eph 2. Our work is done. Our success does not depend on our sacrifices. Stop being double minded – receive your inheritance: by faith.

The work has been done, the price has been paid and JESUS did it all. And gave it all to us. Friends, it takes FAITH to stop performing – just receive what Jesus has purchased for us. If you have been working for your inheritance, STOP IT before I call you an oxymoron—and Come Alive!

It’s as easy as falling off a piece of cake!

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Better: Don’t Mix Metaphors or Covenants!

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Mixing metaphors — the results can be confusing.
“Stick these examples in your pipe and chew them over:”
“Wake up and smell the coffee on the wall.”
“Let’s burn that bridge when we come to it.”

Sure, the result can be funny but there is uncertainty and confusion about what’s really being said.

Now mix the Old and New Covenants: two good things, but when mixed they result in uncertainty doubt confusion: unbelief. We don’t know what’s true!

The OLD has the Law – which is not of faith (Gal 3:11-12). Because it relies on our abilities, it shows a person to see their need for a Savior and there is only one: JESUS.

Jesus is the end of the Law for Righteousness (Ro 10:4). The NEW covenant, in His blood, declares JESUS has done it all. We exercise our faith and call upon the Lord and receive the gift of salvation.

Mixed together you lose the power of either. Worse, you become that double minded man in James: expect to receive nothing from God. It’s that serious folks!

Are you a MIXER? You are if you think the blessings of God are conditional.

Examples: The Lord is my Helper – IF I’ve done the right things. The Lord is my Healer – IF I am prayed up. The Lord is my Deliverer – IF I have done my bible reading. The Lord will bless me – IF I’ve tithed.

Nonsense! Everything under the OLD WAS conditional

Everything under the NEW is our INHERITANCE, by FAITH.

Through Jesus Christ we are an heir of God. We HAVE been given an inheritance – by faith —  so receive it, stop trying to work for it!

In closing, don’t labor under mixed covenant thinking or you’ll be burning the midnight oil at both ends — but by faith rest in the NEW — and Come Alive!

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Better: Grace Like Rain

Welcome to Hank’s Place.

A decade or so ago Todd Agnew had an awesome revelation of God’s amazing grace and wrote the song, “Grace Like Rain.”

Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:
And I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see so clearly

And Hallelujah, grace like rain
Falls down on me
And Hallelujah and all my stains
Are washed away, they’re washed away

Do you see that holy rain? Well, read John’s first chapter: we find the Word became flesh, lived among us and we saw His glory, full of GRACE and TRUTH.

Of His fullness we have all received, and GRACE upon GRACE. You may wonder what God is like—well, look at JESUS! JESUS is God revealed! And He is GRACE upon GRACE!

GRACE: when the free favors of God profusely abound. In the Jubilee Year of the Old Covenant, every 50 years Israel got to cease from their labors and enter God’s rest. But we are living in the New Covenant, where God’s GRACE is falling like rain continuously! Not in times, seasons, or portions like before, but continuously! It is a NEW DAY in the NEW Covenant.

No condemnation—ever!
Sins washed away—eternally!
God’s GRACE falling like rain—continuously!

There is never a Dry Day in Jesus—
Believe this GRACE is for you, dear friend.
It is time for you to come out of the desert of your own efforts.
It is time for you to come out of the desert of judgement and condemnation.

Receive His GRACE—it’s as easy as stepping out into the rain, and Come Alive!

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Better: In Covenant to do us GOOD

Welcome to Hank’s Place.

Where the Gospel is simple. If it’s not simple, it is probably NOT the Gospel!

We’ve been rejoicing over the New Covenant, SO much better than the Old! What God requires, He provides through His riches in GRACE in Christ Jesus.

I’ve already spoken to you from Jeremiah 31:31-35, where God told Jeremiah that He would make a New covenant with His people – to write His laws upon our minds so we would KNOW exactly what He desired of us, and write His laws upon our hearts, so we would DESIRE to DO what He desired of us! Awesome!

And it went on to say He would forgive our iniquities and our sin He would remember NO MORE! Friend, God is not going to bring up your sins when you meet Him face to face on that day—He does not remember them—so stop your fretting about past sins, stop your navel gazing, and look up to Jesus!

Right now, let’s look at Jeremiah 32:38-41. Also Awesome! There God states, referring to the New Covenant, that we shall be His people, and He will be our God. We will be given a heart to fear Him always, and He will make an everlasting covenant with us, NEVER to turn away from us, but ALWAYS to do us good. And He will rejoice over us to do us GOOD, doing us GOOD with ALL His heart and soul. 

That’s today’s takeaway, dear believing friend: He is our God. We are His! His covenant with us is EVERLASTING. If we fail, if we sin, He DOES NOT TURN AWAY from us; but ALWAYS DOES US GOOD. And He rejoices while He does it!

It may sound too good to be true, but it’s the Good News. If you don’t believe it, change your un-believing into believing today—and Come Alive!

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Better: God requires and God provides!

Welcome to Hank’s Place!

Remember, the Gospel is SIMPLE – if it is not simple, it’s probably NOT the GOSPEL.

At Hank’s Place we emphasize the New Covenant – it’s BETTER than the Old. “So what,” you say? “I don’t go around sacrificing bulls and goats and taking trips to Jerusalem. What’s it matter to me?”

My dear friend, do you try to keep the 10 Commandments? Then, your head, like so many other heads, especially most preacher’s heads, is filled with a mixture of the Old and the New. Sure, the 10 were God given and holy, but they were a ministry of DEATH (2 Cor 3:7). They were killers because they presented what God demanded, but without the POWER to keep or fulfill them! God required, and you tried your best—and failed.

In 70 AD the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. This presented a huge problem for the Jews: now they couldn’t even attempt to fulfill God’s commandments about feasts and sacrifices in Jerusalem. So the leaders got together and came up with modern Jewish theology, rewriting God’s Old Covenant words to fit their situation; basically saying, “Try your best and God will reward you.”

Hey, you DO NOT go about rewriting God’s words! It WILL NOT WORK!

In the New Covenant, what the Lord requires, He PROVIDES for you, according to the riches of His GRACE in Christ Jesus!

God gave His best in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus gave His perfect life for our redemption. Make your home in the New Covenant, my friend.

Believe it. Receive it. Rest from ‘trying harder.’ It’s time for you to  Come Alive!

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Better: Precious Stones

You are at Hank’s Place – in Medicine Park, OK, the nation’s only “Cobblestone Community”

The cobblestones are granite, mostly round, and everywhere. They are used throughout the town. Shops, homes, walls, walkways, even pavement.

But if you remove even a single stone, the community will fine you $500. Because these common stones are PRECIOUS to them!

Simon was given the title “Peter” meaning ‘small stone’ by Jesus. He understood he was not the only stone in town, for in 1 Peter 2 he writes of Jesus the Living Stone, the Capstone, the Cornerstone, and that we believers are also living stones, and are being built up as a spiritual house with Jesus as the Corner and Cap stone.

Peter indicates we are being fitted tightly together as God’s house, His holy habitation—each of us PRECIOUS in His sight!

My friend, YOU matter to God! YOU ARE PRECIOUS to Him. Don’t let the world or the devil try to tell you otherwise. Let the Holy Spirit complete His task of fitting you in His Body—and Come Alive!

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Better! Receive the Living Water!

Mary and I recently visited Medicine Park, OK. Population 400. Having a history dating back hundreds of years, the Plains Native Americans visiting to find refreshment in the waters of Medicine Creek which they believed had healing and life giving powers.

We’ve been sharing about the New Covenant and how much BETTER it is than the Old. Jesus shared with a Samaritan women at Jacob’s well. He offered her Living Water that would quench one’s thirst forever, and for those who partook it would become a well of water springing up to eternal life.

And on the great day (eighth day) of the Feast of Booths, while the priest was pouring out an empty pitcher on dry ground (for the previous 7 days he would have poured out a pitcher filled with water from the pool at Bethesda), Jesus was shouting nearby, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

God never intended for you to live life apart from Him. Since Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit has been ‘poured forth’ to indwell and empower us to live life to the full, in joy, the joy of Jesus. Friend, don’t delay, receive the Holy Spirit today—and Come Alive!

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Better: Time to BELIEVE the Promises

God made promises to Abraham – read it in Genesis chapters 12-22. Abraham BELIEVED that God would keep His word, fulfill those promises, and Abraham was counted as righteous, approved, in God’s eyes. He, and those who follow Abraham in like faith INHERIT the promises, just as Abraham did.

INHERITANCE has nothing to do with performance. You could be serving time in prison and still inherit a fortune from your distant cousin twice removed! INHERITANCE has nothing to do with you, but EVERYTHING to do with who wrote the will and testament and what they have ordered to be done.

This New Covenant is so much better than the Old. The Old stated, “if you do this you will be blessed; if you fail or do that other thing you will be cursed.” It was up to you, friend, to GET IT RIGHT!

The New, as stated in 2 Peter 1:4, says “…He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them we may become partakers of the divine nature….”

Dear dear Christian, thanks to Jesus and Calvary, we have precious promises offered us by God, who cannot lie. To receive them, BELIEVE them, that they are true, and that the one who gave them is TRUE. Because it IS True!

Let go of your performance thinking – it’s not easy – it has pervaded the church – let it go. Then, BELIEVE, and RECEIVE, as a child of God, an heir according to the promises!

Do that, friend and you will find you have Come Alive!

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Better: God’s Will? You WILL call upon the Lord!

A friend recently expressed fear in reading Ps 91. That’s right, F E A R. They read verse 15, “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” And the fear? “What if I don’t call upon Him when I’m in trouble? Will He rescue me? Will I be lost? How can I be sure I will call on Him?”

Friend, the New Covenant is so much BETTER than the Old. God’s will (in this case that you call upon Him in time of trouble) is written upon our minds and our hearts. So in a time of trouble you KNOW to call upon the Lord, your heart WANTS to call upon the Lord, and thus you WILL call upon the Lord! No need to fear!

And it gets BETTER still! For He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weaknesses and infirmities. There is no way you will fail because it’s not about you, it’s all about JESUS! And there is no telling what other GOOD THINGS Jesus will do on our behalf when trouble comes around, dear friend.

In Jesus you are seated in heavenly places: you rule, bro! You rule, sis!

Isn’t it wonderful to Come Alive?

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Better: God’s Will? It’s a piece of cake!

In the previous blog I’d spoken of Jeremiah’s prophecy: a new and much better covenant was coming!

The OLD: full of fleshly conditions to be fulfilled in our own strength.
The NEW: unconditional. God would be OUR God, We would be HIS people. A covenant of mercy and grace. He would remember our sins no more, and forever.

And there’s more GOOD NEWS! It says,
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.”

This is beyond awesome, friends! It answers those questions, “What is the will of God for my life? What am I supposed to be doing?”

Meaning what? Instead of a rulebook to follow to the best of our abilities and subject to various interpretation and application, what He desires is already IN OUR MINDS, perfectly applied to each situation. And even better, our hearts cry out “Yes, Lord! We WANT to do your will!” And even better beyond that, He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to accomplish His will despite the odds or demons or whatever.

I think that’s pretty good, don’t you? Forget trying to keep the Commandments; stop losing sleep over the will of God. Just do what He has written upon you – with GUSTO.

Feels good to Come Alive, doesn’t it?!!!

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Better: Want a BETTER life? Live in the BETTER Covenant!

Most Christians are aware that the new covenant in Jesus’ blood is far superior to the old. The old, aka The LAW, was CONDITIONAL. It depended upon US doing OUR part. Check out Deut 28:1 and 13. IF we did OUR part, God would bless us. IF we FAILED to do our part, we would be cursed.

Plain and simple.

The old covenant, INCLUDING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS, was a ministry of DEATH. Check out 2 Cor 3:7. It inflamed sin, gave sin its power, then condemned us when we sinned. Don’t ever say Christians should follow the 10 Commandments; you are putting a death sentence on those who hear you.

Read on.

After centuries of failure by mankind to ‘get it right,’ the prophet Jeremiah was given a hint of the future: a better covenant was coming!

“Behold, days are coming, says the Lord,
When I will effect a new covenant…
Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers….
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
“And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
“For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
(Heb 8:7-12)

For this blog, catch “I will be their God, and they shall be My people” Do you see? NO CONDITIONS! There are no IF’s. He IS our God; He IS merciful to our iniquities, and He remembers our sins NO MORE. No wonder Paul calls it the Gospel of this grace (Acts 20:24). The Gospel is not about you measuring up to God’s standards; it’s about who He is and His nature, full of grace, mercy, and truth, who came and rescued you and translated you into his kingdom.

Call upon Jesus! He will be your God and you will belong to Him who is merciful to our iniquities and remembers our sins no more!

You are forever free from condemnation: you have Come Alive!

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