The Alternating Conscience

conscienceWe get a glimpse of how the conscience works in Paul’s letter to the Romans, in chapter 2:14-15.

But Paul uses a progressive argument all the way through to chapter 8, so everything he says up to that point, has to be considered as “not the end of the story”. At the end of chapter 8, he concludes that section with the real point that he wants to make, and we might as well look at that now, just so we know where we’re going:

If God is for us, who is against us? (verse 31)
He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?

Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? (verse 33)
God is the One who justifies.

Who is the one who condemns? (verse 34)
Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ? (verse 35)
Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:37–39)

So that’s the point of Romans, up to chapter 8. God does not condemn, he justifies. Jesus was the one who died and was raised – He took our own condemnation on himself. Now he intercedes for us, on our behalf.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, no anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness (shame) or even those who want to kill us for our faith.
Jesus is our victory. It is through his love for us that we are victorious. It’s worth noting that there is a tie-in here also with Romans 7. The careful reader will see that when Paul says “Who is the one who condemns?” that he’s pointing back to his own struggle in doing what he doesn’t want to do.

I remember having a moment of epiphany several years ago – I realized I am not my own victory, Jesus is! Now I am free to have unbroken union with the Father.

But there’s this little problem – the conscience – and it’s important to see something here, to learn a little about how it works, so we can be wise to its ways inside our heads.

In explaining why both Jews and Gentiles are accountable to God, Paul shows that it is the contract of keeping commands for righteousness that is what brings everyone under condemnation. Trying to be right with God based on what we do! This was the promise the Israelites made to God in their part of the legal contract of Moses – “tell us what to do, we will do it all, and we will do it all diligently, and it (our doing) will be our righteousness” (my paraphrase of Deuteronomy 6:25 and Deuteronomy, chapter 28)

But what about the Gentiles? They were never given the law of Moses. Paul’s argument is that they show the same work of the law (condemnation) written in their hearts because their conscience alternately accuses or excuses them. Because Gentiles have a conscience, they’re in the same boat with those who have the law — condemned. All the world is accountable to God.

Here’s the section I’m talking about, in Romans 2:14-15

So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them (Romans 2:14–15, HCSB)”

This idea of alternating accusing and excusing struck me as odd one day. I realized that’s what other people do, when I heard them in conversations. I’m a little dense sometimes, so it took a little while for me to make the connection that I do the same thing! Funny, everyone else does something, but I don’t always think of myself as “like those other people”. Excuse-making!

Watch this in other people, then once you see it, reflect on yourself too, and see what I mean. Here’s what to watch — listen to people, hear people talk, and watch what happens when you see an *accusation* come someone’s way, perhaps from their friend, co-worker or a relative. It’s an almost fail-safe guarantee that what you will see immediately after the accusation is some form of excuse. Sometimes it’s an automatic response. Sometimes you won’t hear the excuse until the accuser leaves the area. When you hear it, it might sound something like one of these phrases:

I can’t help it;

I was born that way;

I was raised that way;

Everybody else does it;

It’s no big deal;

Who are you to judge me?;

Those people are hypocrites;

I don’t care.

I say to watch others for the simple fact that it’s often easier to have a higher degree of objectivity with other people. We all tend to think of ourselves in our own guarded ways … subjectively. But when we see things in other people, if we’re honest, we’ll admit that if everyone else has this problem, then we must have it too. Then we’re able to have an honest conversation with ourselves.

After looking at others, ask yourself, “What do I do when I am accused by someone of something?” But go a little deeper and ask, “What do I do when I accuse myself of something?” What does my inner dialogue sound like when my conscience does the “work of the law” inside me. Do I make an excuse, or do I accept the charge?

Here’s the thing — we are all self-righteously programmed to do the same thing the Israelites did with Moses. Tell me what to do, I will do it, and it will be my righteousness. If we have a problem with the doing, we have two options;

1) resist the standard by lowering the bar of acceptability, or

2) make an excuse.

In reality, both options are a form of excuse-making, since the first option is really just making the excuse that there is no higher standard for us other than the one we can keep; We can be kind to Trump, but Hillary deserves all our scorn. Hillary is the blessed Virgin Mary, but Donald is evil incarnate. What about “treating everyone like we’d want to be treated” (even our enemies).

This is where the gospel comes in to meet our conscience head-on. This is the whole point of why some of our friends are Jesus-Freaks and we just don’t get it. The Good News is that we don’t have to lower the bar, the standard of righteousness, anymore. We are now free to be really, truly, for the first time, honest with ourselves! We can accept the charge from friends, foes, and our own conscience that there’s something wrong with us without making an excuse. Now, our conscience can bring a charge against us and we are 100% free to agree with it! Why? How? Because now our righteousness is no longer self-righteousness, it is Christ’s righteousness!

“…through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men” Romans 5:18b

“…through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19b

“The Law (or ‘conscience’ for the Gentile) came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Romans 5:20

“so that, as sin reigned in death, even so __grace would reign through righteousness__ to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2nd Corinthians 5:21

Now that Jesus’ righteousness is our righteousness, we are free from condemnation. We are free from the death of our own conscience. There’s no need to excuse ourselves any longer. And we are free from the accusations of others — because we accept the charges as legitimate. We can do this even when another person’s accusation isn’t legitimate, because who cares! They accuse, but God makes us righteous in Christ. Sometimes other people make accusations against us as part of their own excuse-making, but so what! We are free from the death of their accusation because we have died to self-righteousness. We are free to do so, because our righteousness is not our own! We don’t need others to think highly of us – God thinks highly of us!

The rest of Romans, up to chapter 8, deals with the faithfulness of Christ, how our faith connects us to his faithfulness, and how grace doesn’t cause us to live like the devil, because those who are united with Christ are united with him in both his death and his resurrection. But even so, there are real struggles. Our spirits are new and we have a new mindset, a new attitude, a new paradigm. We filter things differently. We think differently, but our bodies are old and not yet redeemed. In our new, holy attitude, we desire to do what is right, but don’t always find ourselves doing it. What’s the answer? Make another excuse? No, the answer is “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, i.e., those joined with him in his death, a death to the old way of thinking and doing, death to self-righteousness, ignorance of truth, hardhearted, callous selfishness. We learn with Paul that there is, for lack of a better word, an agent living in us, within our unredeemed bodies that opposes our will. But that’s the thing — we have a new will. Though we live in this old body and will still sin, we have a new mindset of the Spirit. We sin, but it is against the will of our mind. And it is this new mindset that proves we are children of God, not the ability to live sin-free.

And in this truth – we GROW. We don’t enter into the kingdom knowing everything with years of wisdom behind us. We enter as babes, and in the grand scheme of eternity, everyone of us is a babe – a newbie. God’s development of us takes time.

The experience of Israel is a lesson to us, when God said to them (about their enemies), “I will not drive them out ahead of you in a single year; otherwise, the land would become desolate, and wild animals would multiply against you. I will drive them out little by little ahead of you until you have become numerous and take possession of the land.” (Exodus 23:29–30). That’s a type for us. Israel didn’t just walk up to the Holy Land one day and walk right in. It took time. And Moses, the representative of the Law (and by extension, the conscience) couldn’t even go into the Promised Land. Why? Because he goofed up one time. The Jews didn’t go into the Promise until they stepped into the Jordan by faith with Moses’ successor, Joshua, whose Hebrew name happens to be same as our Savior’s – Jesus. It is Jesus who takes us into the Promise, and we follow with him in faith – dependent trust. The condemnation of the law, or the conscience, we leave behind us on the wilderness side of the Jordan.

Goodbye Lord Putrid!

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In our house, we have a trash container that we keep in the garage. It’s on loan to us from the local trash service. I have a problem with this trash container though — it stinks!

Here is what happens, we cut up meats when we’re cooking and throw away the trimmings… raw chicken skin, bones and fat, beef parts, fish, etc. And over the course of a week, that stuff starts to put off a really disgusting smell. Add on top of that the fact that we have two animals, a cat and dog. In our community, it’s expected of us that we pick up the dog doo and dispose of it ourselves.

So we have this trash container that smells like rotten kitchen scraps and dog crap. And it’s conveniently situated inside our garage. How nice. Hail Lord Putrid.

What am I really writing about? Something boring – the old Greek word: skybalon.

Skybalon means “kitchen scraps, garbage, refuse, excrement, manure, crap”. It’s a rotten word — full of stink. Skybalon is the kind of stuff that stinks so much it makes you turn away as you feel your stomach heave uncontrollably. Skybalon makes you heave…. upchuck… earl… blow chunks… puke.

Nice topic, I know.

But here’s what I’m really, really talking about: The apostle Paul used this word in his letter to the Philippians (see quote below). In paraphrase, he said, “There are people who go around talking about how good they are, about how they follow all the rules perfectly, but I do that too! In fact I’m better than all those people”. Then he goes on to explain how he’s better, by his conformance to the laws of Moses, his nationality, his tribe, his sect, his zeal and finally, his righteousness under the old covenant Mosaic system: he was blameless!

Then he dropped the Skybalon bomb.

Referring back to his righteousness (blamelessness) under the law. He said, “Ya know, whatever good those things did for me, I consider it as not belonging to me anymore”. Then he continued, “Ya know, I’ll even go a step farther and say ‘Not only does it not belong to me anymore, but I consider that stuff as Skybalon in comparison so that I may gain Christ.

In other words, Paul said that stuff made him want to puke. He said it was all crap.

Goodbye Lord Putrid!

But what was it that Paul gained in knowing Christ Jesus as Lord? He continued, “that I am found in Him not having a righteousness of my own derived from Law but that which is through faith in Christ. He even repeats that last clause, “the righteousness (remember, this means ‘blamelessness before God’) that comes from God on the basis of faith”. And then he goes on, “that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, being conformed to his death, so that I may get to the resurrection.

Paul was in dire circumstances and he believed his life was nearing its end, that he would soon be martyred for his faith. He was ready for this and welcomed it because death meant only one thing for him — resurrection! He could not get to the resurrection through obedience to legal commands. He could only get to it via a foreign, alien righteousness that didn’t come from himself… he needed God’s gift of righteousness that is given in faith to those who are united with the Father in Christ – to those who know Jesus.

Not religion. But knowing our Savior. Religion is skybalon.

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Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish (skybalon) so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:2–11, NASB95)

The End Game

In Greek, the word telos is sometimes translated as ‘goal’ and sometimes as ‘end’.  It’s the point of it all, perhaps.

The whole goal of God for me in learning of His free grace is this:

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12–14, NASB95)

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5, NASB95)

Love is the point of it all. Love is the End Game.

To love others, I have to first love God, and the two are in no way mutually exclusive – to love God IS to love others. But I can’t love God unless he loves me first (1 John 4:10). And He does love me, so that’s not the problem – the problem is my reception of His love. I choose to live by my conscience – either in the condemnation of the knowledge of evil or in the pride of the knowledge of good.

The pillars of grace instruction, complete forgiveness of all sins, past, present, and future, complete sanctification -knowing I am already 100% holy, living in rest – ceasing from my own works to please God, and knowing who I am in Christ – my identity – I am a child of God… these pillars serve me to ‘clear the channel’ so that the Love of God can flow freely to me. These pillars allow me to receive what is already there. Then, once I have received, only then am I FREE to let it flow out.

Love can’t flow out unless it stirs within.

The Grace of God is for me… <and> it is for my brother and my neighbor too.

Otherwise, I’m just clangin’ around, beatin’ on drums without rhythm, striking power chords on the guitar without melody and singin’ in the wrong register.

The Zero Percenters

A new friend of mine mentioned that our identity in Christ is something that can’t be taught to people – they need a crisis and then the Holy Spirit can open their eyes.

With the term identity, he means grace, free grace, or the reality that it’s all about Christ.

I don’t know if I agree 100% with my friend, but I see his point. Sometimes it seems this message could be broadcast 24/7 in the churches and those who came for moralism, friendship, networking, community, charismatic gifts, et al – will stare off into deep space with glassy eyes.  They walk away disappointed that they weren’t told how to be more positive like Zig Ziglar, how to do better next time they fail, how to try harder, how to depend on their friends for support, and how to impact the world.

Crisis or not, when a believer sees it finally, then it POPS. He feels “born again – again“. He wonders if someone gave him a new bible – one with verses in it that weren’t in it before. He reads, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20a) and no longer sees the pain of death, but union with Christ. He wakes up to the fact that, as Christ died ONCE, he in the same way has died once to the world in his union with Christ. We are united with Christ in His death, but not for no reason. We are united with Him in His death so that we may be united with Him in His life.

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20b).

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus, the Christ.

I wonder if that only has value to us when we truly acknowledge in our own hearts exactly how far we’ve missed the mark with God. It’s easy to think of ourselves as good people, when we are, in fact, not.

What makes a person good? 100% purity in deed and thought. Not 98%. Not 99%. Not 99.9999999%. Nope. Holiness is purity. And purity works like this:

100% = kosher
99.99% = 0%

All in or all out. No ‘tweeners’ allowed. Two options:     Yes / No.     Circle one.

Jesus said, ““You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment.” (Matt 5:21)

and then he kicked it up a notch to show how things really work:

“But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” (Matt 5:22)

Why did Jesus say this? To make it absolutely clear that you, friend – (yes, YOU) can’t do it.

100% Obedience to God’s way of doing things – in both actions and thoughts. No excuses allowed. No I was born this way, I was raised this way, and no My mama took me off the booby too early.

and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal 2:20c).

When we go about our day, it’s not about our ability to keep the rules. This is beautiful news – to the Zero Percenters. The ‘LIFE-ing‘ that I do is not my LIFE-ing. It’s Christ’s. I no longer live. GOOD NEWS: It’s not up to you, friend. You don’t live. You don’t do the LIFE-ing. The Son of God does it in you!

Dead people can’t do a bad job keeping the rules. Why? Because they can’t do a good job either. They’re incapable of living.

You, dear believer, if you really are in Christ… you are dead to you and alive to Christ.

who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20d).

It’s not about rule-keeping. Jesus didn’t die for you because He was keeping the rules, and He didn’t die for you so that you could be religious. He died for you because “he loved you”.

It’s about LOVE. Religion sucks, so

Don’t keep the rules to love, just let God’s love rule – His love, in Christ, for you.

Now go find Galatians 2:21 to see whether or not the Son died for you so that you could become acceptable to God by keeping the rules.

* (Remember, “righteousness” = “absence of wrong-doing from God’s perspective”, as defined in Romans 4).

** (Galatians was written to Christians about their walk after having been united with Christ.  In other words, we live with Christ the same way that we came to know him – there is no “one way for salvation but another way for walking in Him”)

Note to Self – Today’s Resurrection Life

Note to self:
Trust God for today’s resurrection life. My Father in heaven is a God who makes promises and fulfills them. He demonstrated His power for life by raising Christ from the grave. He gave me that promise of forever-life and proved that He is able to fulfill that promise. My hope is a sure thing – a done deal.
I live in a new heavenly age that belongs to God – one that is superimposed over and on top of an evil age – one that is coming, and already is.
I live out my resurrected-forever-life *now* – today. I live it now, by faith, trusting Him to do the living in me.
My life – looks like His life, because it is His life – full of selfless love, mercy, compassion, kindness, gentleness, self-control, purity and holiness.
His Life – my Life – gives glory to the Father… it displays His splendor, for it belongs to Him. It comes from Him in power and goes back to Him in glory.
My life – His Life – is housed in a weak container – but hey, my Life is about Jesus and His power, not about me and my own power …
—-
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. — Galatians 2:20
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For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. — 2 Cor 4:11
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For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, — Romans 8:6
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If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. — Romans 8:10

Where is your boast?

I was _____.
Jesus is _____.

I am _____.
Jesus is _____.

I will be _____.
Jesus is _____.

To boast is to brag, to take pride in oneself, to glory in oneself.

Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:26;  2 Corinthians 10:17;  Jeremiah 9:23-24

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.  (NASB)

The Anchor in the Ocean

In the first century, an inscription at the temple in Jerusalem, written in Latin and Greek, read as follows:

“No foreigner is to go beyond the balustrade and the plaza of the temple zone. Whoever is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his death which will follow.”

To those who have placed their dependence on Christ for His faithfulness to the Father:

You can go forward – into God’s throne room. When Christ died, the veil that hid the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn from top to bottom. This is a sign, a shadow of the reality that Christ entered the real throne room of God in heaven and cleared the way for you to come in too. He took an anchor, attached to the boat that is the church, which is you, and set it down in God’s throne room – even when you drift in the ocean of life, you are forever connected to Holiest place in the heavens because of the blood of Christ. You live in the presence of the Father because that’s where Christ Jesus lives!
He himself is the anchor, and we hope, not in ourselves, but only in Him.

Don’t you ever forget it! And don’t let anyone rob you of that!

“We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever.”  Hebrews 6:19-20 HCSB

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 6:19-20 NASB

His Tree or Your Tree?

Friends, what makes us acceptable before God, our conscience or the righteousness of Christ?

Let’s consider the types in the Old Testament.  There are many, and many of them point to Jesus. Here are two types – see if you can recognize which one is your conscience and which one is Christ:

When the first man ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the other Tree was hidden. The other Tree is the Tree of Life. Adam was forced out – away from the presence of the Tree of Life.

Many years later, when the Second Man hung on a tree, reconciling us to God and rising in power, he defeated the enemy, who enslaved us to the tree of knowledge of good and evil (our conscience).  So now the cross of Jesus Christ is our Tree of Life which takes away our slavery to the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  When we eat the fruit from this Tree, we are taken away from the presence of the other tree.

Jesus is our Tree of Life.

The old tree has more than one gnarly branch.  It is the knowing of both Good and Evil.  Some of us think highly of ourselves, and some of us think lowly of ourselves – either way, it’s “good and evil” knowledge. In both, we cover ourselves with our works, like Adam did when he and Eve covered themselves with the works of the garden – the fig leaves. Adam was placed in the garden to work the garden.  He used his works to cover his shame.  But God’s plan is not like our plan – He won’t accept our works as a covering for our shame. What is His way? – blood and new skin.

Approaching God with our good works is like wearing fig leaves.

Sometimes we think too highly of ourselves, and we can’t grasp the significance of grace and mercy – we are willfully ignorant of our shame. Our fig leaves seemingly work well for us.  Sometimes we think so lowly of ourselves that we refuse to grab hold of grace and mercy by faith. Both approaches to God or away from God are conscience-driven. Both are from the wrong tree.

So friends, what will you depend on today in your prayers and thoughts and reception of blessing before and from God?  How will you cover your shame? Will it be with your good behavior?

I don’t know about you, but …

My aim today is to claim Blood and to wear New Skin.

How to Experience God Fully (without missing anything)

I was looking for a formula for getting a FULL EXPERIENCE of GOD today.

Some people say there are no formulas, but I found it in the Bible (go figure):

Here it is, but first be warned – this is really complex stuff, and you may not fully understand it until you go through four years of bible college, followed by an M.Div in Theology.

Now that you’ve been properly warned, and without further ado, here is the formula:

  1. Start with Faith in Christ, then
  2. … Be Rooted in LOVE
  3. … Be firmly established in LOVE
  4. … Comprehend God’s LOVE
  5. … Know the Messiah’s LOVE, (the knowing that surpasses head-knowledge), then you will be
  6. FILLED with ALL the FULLNESS of GOD.

Okay – take a deep breath.  I know that was a lot of doctrine to take in all at once!

Seriously, I get the feeling that knowing, being, and showing love is the key to my experience as a Christian.

I could be wrong, but I deduce from this, that if I’m not showing love, it’s because I’m not being love, and if I’m not being love, it’s because I’m not knowing The Love of God.

Try this out in a few translations
Ephesians 3:17-19

HCSB – and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

CEB – I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers.  I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.

NASB – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

So what do you think it means to comprehend with all the saints, or to grasp together with all the believers – to know the love which surpasses knowledge?  Does this mean that God wants us to know this in the same way that all believers know this? Or, that He wants us to learn it just like He wants everyone in the church to learn it? Or does it perhaps mean that we grasp it when we practice it when we’re together with all the believers?

Is there anything that’s blocking you, dear Christian? Is there a reason you aren’t experiencing the fullness of God?  Do others experience you as a loving Christian?

Could it be that your block has to do with knowing the love of God. The apostle John says that we love, because He first loved us (1 Jn 3:10, and 3:19).  If that’s the problem, what are you depending on – what is the basis for your reception, in faith, of God’s love?

Quickbits – (not) Pursuing God

Zeal is defined, “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective“.

But according to the Apostle Paul, trying to follow God and/or being a good person is not what spiritual life is about.
Knowing the righteousness of God, in place of your own, and depending on that is where it’s at.

This is dependence on Jesus as The Good Person.

It’s not about self-righteousness;
it’s about Christ-Righteousness.

Romans 10:1-4
NCV (New Century Version)
Brothers and sisters, the thing I want most is for all [of them] to be saved. That is my prayer to God. I can say this about them: They really try to follow God, but they do not know the right way. Because they did not know the way that God makes people right with him, they tried to make themselves right in their own way. So they did not accept God’s way of making people right. Christ ended the law so that everyone who believes in him may be right with God.

(NRSV)
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.