"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." (Rev. 13:1).
As the millennium creeps ever closer to us, we are being forced to confront what we think we know about God, and then adjust our lives and our theology accordingly. There are those who still believe that all the terrible apparitions described in the book of Revelation will be unleashed upon the earth as the year 2,000 dawns. According to their script, Jesus will come forth, riding on a white horse to judge and make war, and He and the armies of heaven will wage war on the beast and the powers of darkness. In this dramatic battle against the kings of the earth and their armies, He will tread out the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, (Rev. 19:11-21) in a duel to the death between good and evil. Christ will triumph against all odds, and in the final scene, the beast and all his followers will be cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone, and evil will be defeated for a time, as Satan is bound for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:2). Now, I want you to know that I had no intention of writing about eschatological events, but after I finished my first draft of this journal, the words of Rev. 13:1, came to me, in which John relates his horrific vision of the 7 headed beast coming up out of the sea. I realized at once that the Apostle was describing my topic today. In scriptural symbology, the sea represents mankind. John himself tells us what the number of the beast means. "It is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six ." (Rev. 13:18). It seems very clear to me that the term, "beast" may be translated as man's carnal nature, his humanity or fallen nature which has taken him far away from God. Notice that the beast and his followers will be cast ALIVE into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Rev. 20:29). This lake has probably caused more terror than any other image in the Bible, but here's the Good News about that: Jesus came to baptize us with the Holy Ghost and WITH FIRE. (Matt. 3:11; Lk. 3:16). Fire is the cleansing agent which will burn off the dross, the hay, wood, and stubble that too many of us have built our spiritual houses upon, rather than upon the foundation of Christ. (I Cor. 3:11-15). This is the meaning of the beast and his followers being cast alive into the lake of fire. We didn't have to die to get baptized in water and the Holy Ghost, and we don't have to die to experience the fire either. It's happening now in this life. When it has done its purifying work, our faith will be "more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire." (I Pet. 1:7; Zeph. 13:9; Mal 3: 2-3).
I confess to having passed through a period of my life when these images in the final book in the Bible scared me to pieces. I was afraid because of what men, who were looking at it with their natural minds, told me it means, rather than hearing by the Spirit of God the glorious truths contained therein. Now, I thrill when I read the description of the one on the white horse, the one called "Faithful and True," the one whose name is "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." (Rev. 19:11,16). John the Revelator (i.e. the one whose book is said to be the REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST) assures me and you that God is going to take final victory over the world, the flesh and the devil, i.e. the carnal nature that dwells in each one of us, by baptizing us into Himself, "a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:29). That infamous Battle of Armageddon, (Rev. 16:16) the one used to scare sinners to the front of the church, is actually being fought and won daily in the lives of men and women who are gaining the victory of the New Creation brought about by the shed blood of the Lamb. Hallelujah and Glory to God! Our God reigns!
Having said all that, now I can get to the topic of this journal, the Y2K "bug." This little beastie has caused anxiety and even panic for unbelievers, the way the beast and its cohorts have terrorized so many Christians over the centuries. Yet I suggest to you today, that it's not the "bug" in your computer which will crash your hard drive's operating system, and turn your world upside down, but rather, it's "the beast" residing in your soul which can cause you to "crash and burn" as the millennium approaches in less than 80 days. I'm being led today to write about that well kept secret in Christian circles: fear! Since I have battled with this ancient enemy of God's people for many, many years, I am eager to see what flows forth here and to share how God has helped me overcome the enemy in this arena. Back in January, when the experts began to warn us about Y2K, the media jumped on the bandwagon with their usual feeding frenzy over the next thing they can use to scare the American public, all in the interest of increased sales of goods and services designed to ward off impending doom. I'm really into computers, and I do resonate to the old saw that, "To err is human, but to do it up right, you need a computer." Thus, I don't doubt that there can be many problems lurking in the future as we depend more and more on a machine to do our work, plan our schedules, and sometimes even think for us. Computers can cause a lot of constipation, even without bugs in them. In the unlikely event that there is anyone alive in American today who is not aware of the problem, I'll short form it here and quote from the MSNBC.com website:
"The Y2K problem is the result of a decision by early computer programmers to save memory by representing the year with only the last two digits. As a result, the year 2000 and 2001 would read "00" and "01." Computer programs using this method could mistake these dates for 1900 and 1901.
"The report by the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem says that it is neither a hoax, as some skeptics claim, nor a national disaster, as Y2K survivalists argue. The committee found that Y2K awareness is growing, with many companies and public institutions taking action to fix their old computer systems.
"The committee also says it is difficult to accurately predict the impact of the Y2K problem because most companies don't want to disclose the steps they are taking because of the fear of lawsuits. The report says that some experts are projecting a huge wave of litigation, with a cost approaching $1 trillion, as a result of Y2K computer system failures."
Scam preys on Y2K fears
by Sonya Pfeiffer
"CYBERSPACE: One of the biggest fears about Y2K is that somehow we're going to lose track of our financial records, i.e., that our banks will go on the fritz and we'll lose our money. An old scam now preys on that modern fear.
Karen Sparks says her cousin was targeted. She got a disturbing phone call, supposedly from her local bank. "They needed to get her banking info so they could transfer the money into another account at the time of Y2K," Sparks explains.
Worries about Y2K are new. But the deception has a familiar ring at the Better Business Bureau. "It's just a new little spin on an old con," says the BBB's Marzia Puccioni-Jones. If there's any information they [financial institutions] want to share with you, they'll do it by mail and they'll alert all their depositors," Puccioni-Jones says. "They're not going to call you and say, 'Hey, move your money.' I mean, think of the logic of it. And fear does play into that so some people don't stop to think."
Well, there you have it, one man's fear is another man's ticket to riches. And lawyers, God love 'em, are going to prosper no matter what happens. The scams that have appeared to save people from this "end of the world" disaster when all computers crash and burn, have generated millions, probably billions of dollars. The saddest part of all this to me is that many Christians are jumping on this "feed the fear and get rich quick" band wagon. Having been around the mountain a few times in my 58 years, I saw immediately that the potential for disaster here is not in the actual event, but in the stress and terror experienced by people fearing it. I lived through the 70's and saw people stock piling food, water, drugs, guns and even gold because Hal Lindsey predicted the end of the world in his very compelling, though erroneous book, entitled, The Late, Great Planet Earth. When I asked the Lord about the Y2K disaster, He said, "Don't Worry. I have it all under control." He gave me this title early last winter, and I thought I would be writing about it then. In fact, I even mentioned this journal by name to a few, but He said, "Not yet." So, I waited, and waited, and began to think I'd heard wrong about it and that I was never going to be released to write it.
This week, however, He gave me the "green light" to proceed, as I observed again in various situations, how anxiety about an upcoming incident is really often worse than the event itself. Fear is indeed the beastly bug that causes the soul's operating system to crash, leaving us without power to bring order out of the chaos we find ourselves in. The world has many problems, with self proclaimed experts finding some new disaster every few days that they predict will do us in. You have only to turn on the evening news, or the other news programs to find out more things that can harm you than you ever knew existed, but today, the group of people on my heart are God's people. The apostle Peter wrote, "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (I Pet. 4:17). Before I proceed further, let me share that judgment has gotten a really bad rap from the churches across the land. When I was a kid, we all lived in fear of the "judgment day." Thank God, I no longer fear it because He has opened my eyes to see that since Christ already paid the price for my sins, God's judgment of me can only work good in my life. In fact, all judgment in my life and yours has been entrusted by the Father to the son. (Jn. 5:22). By virtue of Christ's sacrifice, I do not ever need to fear judgment again. Jesus promised, "Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (Jn. 5:24, RSV). That verse tells me that I no longer have to fear judgment for my sins. In some people's minds, the Y2K disaster and others are coming upon the world as God's judgment because of our sins, but this lie fades quickly when we read what John the Beloved told us, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (I John 1:7). We do not need to fear God's wrath anymore because the blood of the Lamb was shed for us, and not just for us alone, but also "for the sins of the whole world." (I Jn. 2:2).
We all have looked upon the face of natural and man made disasters through the lens of TV cameras. We saw the despair and hopelessness of the men, women and children whom Hurricane Floyd made homeless in a few hours. We heard their cries and felt their pain. Yet, in the midst of that horror, we also heard stories of faith and hope. When a deranged man gunned down many innocent children and adults in his demonic attack on the Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, TX, recently, we heard the preacher proclaim the thrilling words that God was not absent that day. He was not asleep. He was in charge, as always, and out of this debacle of blood and bitter tears for the dead, He glorified His name on national TV. "Let God arise and his enemies be scattered." (Ps. 68:1). If Hurricane Floyd and the gunman in Ft. Worth are part of God's judgments on this country, then let His name be glorified, for Isaiah proclaimed, "My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9).
Did you hear that? God's judgments teach us righteousness, or right relatedness. They are NOT meant to destroy us or confuse us, but are sent by God so that we can learn righteousness. Therefore, when our eyes are opened to see this, we will "count it all joy" when troubles come because the end of it all will be glory for God and we will be "perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4). But how does this work, we wonder? Solomon said, "For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." (Eccl. 12:14). I conclude from scripture, confirmed by my own life experiences, that all of these events in our lives which cause us to fall on our knees in fear and trembling, are the means by which the Father exposes the areas in us which need cleansing and redemption. Judgments are like X-rays. When you look in your mouth at your teeth, often, you can't discern whether there are cavities or not. It takes a dental X-ray to bring the decay to light. So it is in our lives. We may think we're doing fine spiritually. We go to church, pray, read the Bible, tithe, or whatever the "powers that be" tell us is the right thing to do, but when something like this Y2K threat looms across our landscape, if we tremble in fear, doubt God's provision for us, think we have to rush out and buy supplies, save money, and hoard provisions in order to save ourselves because God is incapable, then He is showing us the decay lurking in our souls.
The Y2K "bug" is merely an icon, looming large and ugly, which stands for all the other fears that trouble us. In our family, we're all snake phobic, for example. It's pretty embarrassing, actually. Once, about 30 years ago now, I was visiting at a friend's home in Thousand Oaks, CA, when her rascally 14 year old nephew came into the room carrying a large rubber snake. The thing was twisting and writhing in his hands, for all the world like a real live reptile. Well, I went berserk, screamed, cried, and carried on like a terrorist was mowing people down with an AK-47. Why? It was a learned response. I had learned to fear reptiles as a child, and they became the symbol, the representation of everything else I was afraid of. Listen to this passage in Psalm 91: "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 'Because he loves me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name'." (Ps. 91:11-14). Gradually, over time, the Lord has made this verse true in my life. He has GREATLY reduced my fear of snakes, for example, by showing me that He is in charge of everything and snakes just represented to me the other things I was afraid of. (Honesty compels me to tell you that I still don't want to "kiss them on the lips," but neither do I shriek and carry on like a fool now, when one happens to slither across my path.) By giving me victory in my daily life over all my fears, and displaying for me the power to overcome the great traumas that we have experienced, He has shown me that He is worthy of trust. My fear level has gone way down in every area of my life. (I have learned never to say that I've reached the absolute pinnacle of spiritual growth in God because He has a way of finding just the tiniest bit more than I have to over come.)
It's easy to see in others the thing that God has delivered you from, which is why we are advised to get the beam out of our own eye in order to see better to help our brother get the speck out of his. (Matt. 7:4-5; Lk. 6:42). I know that God will overcome all obstacles in our path to maturity, but still it grieves me to observe the effects of this dirty little secret hidden in many Christian hearts today, one which is robbing believers of peace and joy, keeping them up nights, elevating their blood pressure, manifesting itself in eczema and indigestion, joint pain and emotional pain, depression and anxiety, migraines and allergies, to name but a few physical symptoms. This vile cancer of the soul is the only sin worth mentioning, it seems to me. It's not "sex, drugs and rock and roll" which keep us from the Father's peace today. For most of us, it is fear. This is the beast lurking beneath the surface of the deep, which rises up from our sea (unconscious mind) with many heads, (doubt, fear, worry, pride, idolatry, selfish ambition, hatred) spewing blasphemy from its mouth. It suggests that God may not be able to handle this problem without my help. Perhaps His arm is shortened after all and He cannot save me this time. (Is. 50:2). Maybe He fell asleep at the switch. What if He dozed off for a second? Well, you know, my prayers don't get higher than the ceiling. Why, sometimes it seems like there's an "Out To Lunch" sign on the Throne Room door when I pray, which just proves that He is not listening to me, and on and on the sacrilege goes.
As one who suffered from fear for many years, and who now enjoys a major victory over it, I have to say that I see it as the primary sin in most of our lives. People who wouldn't dream of stealing, or murder, or adultery or even missing church, will admit that they are worried and fearful about this or that pressing problem in their lives. They wring their hands and justify their particular fear by saying, "Well, it's in the paper everyday. It's happening everywhere you look." Clearly, they fear that Satan may win this round in their lives. The antidote to this poison is to ask God for His Holy Ghost eye drops. When applied by the Great Physician, they remove the scales from our eyes so that we can see the might and power of almighty God and His determination to save us from every sin that plagues us. Now, I grant you that a part of this healing process is God's apparent disappearance from our lives at times. Sometimes, no matter how hard we feel around for Him, we can't seem to find Him, but listen to this reassurance uttered by the prophet Isaiah: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little while I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with EVERLASTING KINDNESS will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." (Is. 54:7-8). This mighty man of God also refers to God as the God who hides Himself. (Is. 45:15). Yet, all that is for our ultimate good and His glory as we seek His face in everything in our lives.
This ministry that God has brought Lenny and me into is dedicated to God's reconciliation of all men. That is the passion of our lives, the energy supply for our words and actions. Yet, somehow, I think the concept of God's glorious reconciliation has been tucked away on a top shelf labeled, "After we die." Nothing can be further from the truth. A.P. Adams talks about this in his article "Probation," (End Note A). Having stated that the common idea is that man's "probation is a brief chance in this life to escape hell and secure heaven," he remarks, "According to this view, this life, if we make the best use of it possible, is simply a race from hell to heaven. What an utterly hideous conception of life! A constant struggle to keep out of perdition, this the sole concern, the single care, and yet very many Christians have no higher conception of the purpose of our present existence, than the above. Their highest idea of salvation is salvation from the consequences of sin, and endless hell." End Quote.
I commented in the last journal, (End Note B) how I feel about the fact that many churches only deal with man's need for salvation. A steady diet of that message makes for a mal nourished Christian, one who has been fed milk when he needs to eat meat. As a result of this poor diet, he is not equipped to face the problems he encounters in this life. People today have really serious needs, pressing wants, horrible life-threatening dilemmas to deal with, none of which are resolved until they come face to face with the one who saved them from their sin and who now lives His life through them. One of the problems that I see is the ever present concept of sin that so many Christians carry with them like an albatross around their necks. Sin consciousness is the fuel that drives their fears. It feeds the beast within! I want to share an e-mail dialogue on this subject that Lenny and I had recently with a woman I'll call Alice (not her real name).
She wrote, "I've got a question I'd like to throw before you and see what you think. It's the old sin question. I'm wanting to know why, if I love the Lord, and I do, then why do I continue to sin, to do the same things over and over again? It's driving me crazy!!!!! I respect you and your husband as being real in the Lord. Please reply, and thanks for the note of prayer you sent when I was in such a depression. God Bless you, Alice."
I answered her this way:
Alice, Thanks for writing. I was thinking about you yesterday and hoping that you were out of your depression. I'm happy to comment on your question about sin. As I recall, you grew up in a strict fundamentalist church, the kind we're surrounded by here in Missouri. They believe in sin. They obsess constantly about iniquity and its horrors and so I understand where you're coming from.
I can tell you that God sovereignly delivered both of us from this terrible sin consciousness place when He showed us the way out of this treadmill of doing what you hate and not doing what you should, described in Romans 7. The answer to the dilemma is found in the very next chapter, Romans 8:1. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." What does that really mean for us? It's so simple, but only the Spirit can make it real in our lives. We died with Christ. We who were buried with Him in baptism, were baptized into His death. "Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:3-4). Lenny has a writing on the web, entitled, "The Funeral Celebration," (End Note C) and I have one called, "Sin and the Seed," (End Note D) should you want to take a look at them.
The bottom line is this: we are dead in Christ, and dead men don't sin! (Rom. 6:7). As Gary Sigler puts it, the old man, the carnal nature is in the coffin, buried with Christ. When we try to fix him up and get him right with God, it's like taking a corpse out of the casket and putting make up on him, his best suit, and his good shoes. He's well dressed, but he still stinks because he's dead meat. The answer is NOT to look at our flesh, our carnal nature, our old man, but rather, to see ourselves as God does. He only relates to the New Creation. "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Cor. 5:17). We have been re-created in holiness after the image of Christ Jesus, our risen Lord. When God sees us, He does not see the pitiful mess our lives may look like now, when viewed from the outside, but rather, He sees Jesus. "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (Eph. 1:4 ).
You will never quit sinning by concentrating on the sin, struggling with the sin or denying the sin. You will only get victory by asking God to open your spiritual eyes to see that the sin issue was finished on the cross. It no longer can keep us from the presence of God. When we enter into the Holy of holies by the blood of our High Priest, (Heb. 4:16) we are in the presence of the Most High, where no sin, sorrow, depression, illness or death can dwell. Only the life giving Spirit is there, and He will flow through us and lift our feet and our self images onto higher ground.
Wringing your hands in worry about sin is a habit, just like smoking or drinking, overeating or cussing or anything else you care to name. And in fact, worry is just as wrong as anything else you were taught to consider sinful. Why? Because it cheapens the blood of Jesus and casts doubt on the efficacy of His sacrifice. (Is. 1:18; I Cor. 5:19; I Jn. 1:17; 2:2). The devil uses your false ideas about your sin to beat you up, because after all, HE is the accuser of the brethren. (Rev. 12:10-11). I got victory over him by meditating on the scriptures which tell me that Jesus defeated him at the cross. (Eph. 6:11-13; Col. 1:13-14; 2:13-15; I Jn. 3:8; 4:4; Rev. 12:11). I wrote those scriptures and others in my Bible over 25 years ago now, and I learned that no matter how I may feel about my sinful nature, the Bible is true and if I have to choose between what it says about my victory in Christ over sin, death, and the devil, or my own feelings, I will take my stand on what is written by the power and authority of the Holy Ghost. I believe this is what Paul meant in Eph. 6:13, when he said, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND." Alice, the only one who is interested in your sin today is the devil, and Jesus defeated him and destroyed his works at the cross. When thoughts of your sinfulness come upon you, take authority over them in the name of Jesus. "Get thee behind me Satan," (Matt. 16:23; Mk. 8:33) is a good phrase to remember at such times. (I am assuming here, of course, that you have already repented of these sins and are just being plagued by the memory of them.) I hope this helps. I love you and pray that God will open the eyes of your understanding to see that whom the son sets free is free indeed. (Jn. 8:36).
Love and hugs, Jan and Lenny
Her reply blessed us. She wrote,
"Jan, Once again thank you for your Spirit led words; surely He gave you the words you wrote. I am so very glad that He opened my eyes to His truth. I can actually see purpose in what has taken place in my life. I read up on all the scriptures you gave and was blown away with them, with the spiritual meaning in them. Now I know that to walk in the Spirit is simply to trust in and on Him and what He accomplished at the Cross, and to know that all accusation, fear and doubt are of the adversary. I've always wondered what it meant to put on the mind of Christ, to take up the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the spirit, and now I see it. I am to look at Him and what He has already done. He is all about peace, love, mercy and reconciliation, and the New Covenant, not the old, which could never accomplish anything but failure. And that was the purpose of it after all, wasn't it? To show that only through Him can it be done? Oh what a load has been lifted from me!!!!! I suspect that until completion, I will sin, and do all that stuff in my fleshly body. Until He is all in all. I also read "Sin and the Seed" this morning and was given even more joy through it and read the scriptures you used in it also. Truly wonderful and such relief. Love and blessings to you both, Alice."
Lenny felt that I should add the following for her:
Hi Alice, I'm so thankful to God that the words I wrote helped you. Remember that being "in Christ" wherein we have victory, is a PROCESS carried out in our lives by the Spirit of God. It is not a one time awareness on our part, but an ongoing, continuing reinforcement by the Spirit. He is opening the eyes of our understanding to see that He is living His life through us. We are in Him. Lenny says the New Testament refers to our being "in Christ," "in Jesus," and "in God," over 120 times. This shows the importance of seeing our positional reference to the Father. We actually have all the benefits, blessings and "perks" that Jesus enjoyed because we are "in Him." I suspect that the reason we have not done the greater things that He did, which He promised we would do, (Jn. 14:12-17) is because He has not fully opened our eyes to see where we are in Him. That day will come, never fear, and the sons of God will be manifested on the planet to speak peace to the heathen. (Zech. 9:10). Glory to God in the highest and peace upon earth toward men. (Lk. 2:14). And don't be surprised by the way, to find that the heathen are within us!
Lenny wants me to add that when you really see that you are "in Him," then you realize you can only be what He is. When this occurs, the sin issue fades away totally for there is no sin in Christ, and no sin in the presence of the Father. This is what the Apostle John meant when he wrote, "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself and that wicked one toucheth him not." (I Jn. 5:18).
God bless you as you walk in the New Creation prepared for the children of God from before the foundations of the world. (I Tim. 1:9-10).
Love and Hugs, Jan and Lenny
Alice wrote back on the subject once more with some excellent questions. She asks:
"Jan, Hi. You never fail to give me something to think on and study on. I came to realize also during this time that it is all a gradual process. It doesn't happen all at once, but a bit at a time. So does this mean eventually that I won't sin at all? Is this what it means when it says that "when we see Him, we shall become like Him?" (I Jn. 3:2). Has anyone, as of yet, stopped sinning completely? This is my question: because I'm still sinning, does this mean that I haven't yet "seen" Him? Does this mean literally or Spiritually? To Lenny, when I see Him and realize I can only be what He is, does this mean that I won't sin anymore? (I Jn. 5:18). God bless you both, Alice."
We both participated in the answer.
Alice, Lenny said to tell you that you are still seeing yourself as a sinner, and therefore keep sinning because you are living in the law which condemns you. Remember that Paul said, "For he that is dead is freed from sin." (Rom. 6:7). Have you read Lenny's little writing called "Dead To The Law?" (End note E). If not, it might help you. If we try to live by law, rather than by the grace of God, we become spiritual adulterers. We are trying to be married to the law and to Christ at the same time, when Paul wrote that we are, in fact, dead to the law! (Rom. 7:1-4). It is so difficult for those of us coming out of fundamentalist backgrounds to kick the mindset that we are sinners. We look at ourselves, and what do we see? A sinner. Then we act it out. Sin has ceased to be a problem for Lenny and me for a long time now. I will not tell you that we never sin, but we know when we do, that He has already forgiven us: "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (I John 2:1-2). What has helped us both get victory over sin and fear is to see that spiritually, and positionally, we are IN CHRIST, and the New Creation is where we live! This awareness is also a process. Old habits die hard. It's tough to quit smoking, eating and drinking to excess, cursing, worrying, or whatever the unhealthy habit may be, but, no one will ever overcome his sin by battling with it. We will only get victory over it by seeing that Christ already overcame it by his resurrection from the dead. You must get this straight: God is not interested in your sin. He doesn't see it. He doesn't punish you for it. He doesn't hold it against you. The church has taught you a lie, that every sin you commit keeps you from God and may even send you to hell. That's right from the pit, my dear, because it suggests that God's work is still not finished, when the Hebrew writer declares, "And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world." (Heb. 4:3). On the cross, Jesus proclaimed that "It is finished." (Jn. 19:20). Therefore, it is blasphemous and pathetic for us to suggest that there is something we need to do to finish God's work for Him. Sin is a non-issue for God, because Jesus already paid the price for it. To charge you with it then, would be double jeopardy.
You are dead in Christ, Alice. Dead men and women don't lust, don't indulge their addictions, don't steal, don't murder. They are dead and that's the reality about you. You are holy, unreprovable, seated in the heavenlies with Him. (Eph. 2:6; Col. 1:22). That is the only place where you can rest. So, repent of your unbelief in His power and ability to perfect you, (Eph. 5:27; Jude 24) which keeps you from His peace, and strive to enter into His rest, as the Hebrew writer puts it. (Heb. 4:5-12).
We love you, Jan and Lenny
In inputting this dialogue, I realized that I didn't answer one of her questions, which turns out to the key to the whole issue. As you recall, she asks, "Because I'm still sinning, does this mean that I haven't yet seen Him?" The scriptural answer just leapt out at me when I was studying for this writing. I Jn. 3:4-6 reads, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known Him." (I John 3:4-6, KJ). The entire epistle of First John is about knowing the Father and the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ in our lives, as given to children, young men, and fathers. (See I Jn. 2:12-14). Notice in the passage quoted above, he states that sin is the transgression of the law. Remember also, that Paul said we are dead to the law by the body of Christ. (Rom. 7:4). He also states that "He that is dead is freed from sin." (Rom. 6: 7). To me, the conclusion is inescapable. If we are continually sinning, it indicates that we are still trying to live by law; we're still trying to get our carnal nature to behave; we're still depending on our own strength to fight sin, when He has already won that battle. If we are living "IN Christ," then we ourselves are free from sin because John states "in him is no sin." That means that the sin issue is resolved for all time here. The question has never been, "Do we ever sin?" The Apostle John answers that one for us, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (I Jn. 1:8). The question always is, what do we do about it? How do we view it? How does it affect our relationship with God? The answer to all these questions is that sin is nothing to fret and wring our hands over. Why? Because, it's all been taken care of. We who are led by the spirit, are not under law, (Gal. 5:8) and "He that is dead is freed from sin." (Rom. 6:7). Do you hear that good news? We are free from sin! It's power over us is broken. It can never keep us from the Throne Room, ever again! The Apostle John continues, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins and not for our own only, but ALSO FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD." (I Jn. 2:1-2). These thoughts are so elementary, so basic, and in actuality, they are the very foundational bedrock of our Christian faith. Therefore, the fact that we still concern ourselves with them shows how malnourished we are as a result of only receiving teachings about salvation and repentance and obedience of the rules. It's time for the church to wake up and see these starving ones in the pews crying out to be fed, needing strong meat for spiritual growth, rather than milk fed to babes in Christ. It's time for the elders and pastors, preachers and deacons to heed Jesus' request to "feed my sheep." (Jn. 21:17).
If you find yourself in this dilemma of continuously losing the battle to sin, fear, depression, and lack of faith in His power to save you from these very human adversaries, I urge you to run to God, for help with your spiritual growth. The Apostle James counsels, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:5-8). God is our Father, and like any good father, He will not give us a stone when we ask for bread, nor a serpent, when we ask for fish. (Matt. 7:9-10). I am, of course, not a father, but I am a mother and a grandmother, and I would never withhold any good thing that my children and grandchildren ask of me if I had the wherewithal to provide it. Our heavenly Father is limitless in His ability to provide for the needs of His children. (Phil. 4:19).
Lest you think I just blew off the Y2K situation, let me encourage you to do your own research, but through it all, fear not. Listen to God, rather than men. I'm sure the people in hurricane Floyd's path were glad they took whatever precautions they were led to do. We recently read an excellent book called "Reese Howells, Intercessor," written by Norman Grubb. Brother Howells, who led an extraordinary life of faith and who saw many miracles from the hand of God, believed that man's extremity is God's opportunity. That works for me. My research tells me that, except for scattered episodes here and there in America, the Y2K problem will be rather like that rubber snake which frightened me so much - more apparition than reality. The main problems will come from people's response, not the bug itself.
Here's a recent quote from an informed source, found on the MSNBC.com website:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Friday characterized as virtually nonexistent the threat that the United States will suffer massive computer failures because of the Y2K problem.
THE CONSUMER WILD CARD.
He said an even greater impact on the economy could hinge on "the uncertain response of the American consumer as year end approaches."
While Greenspan said only a small number of Americans are telling pollsters that they plan to build large stockpiles of food, water, fuel and cash as Jan. 1 approaches, the economy could be affected if a larger percentage of Americans start taking such actions because of unwarranted concerns.
On the need to have cash on hand, Greenspan urged Americans that the safest thing Americans can do is leave their money in the bank.
"Consumers should prepare for the century date change as they would for any long weekend. Those people who do cash out a significant part of their deposits only increase the risk that they will become victims of crime or fraud," he said. "In the final analysis, facts are the only antidote for rumors," he said. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report."
Along those same lines, an article about the social security system appeared in this week's local paper. Someone had written to the Social Security office that they were going to cancel the direct deposit of their monthly benefit checks. The Director of Social Security's Public Affairs Bureau, wrote back with the following: "Social Security's benefit-payment computers have been Y2K compliant for a long time and have been tested numerous times. Also, the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Dept. have successfully tested their direct-deposit programs with the banking industry....there will be no problems with Social Security direct deposit on or after January, 2000." From The Joplin Globe, 10/6/99.
The Lord is in charge of ALL THINGS, dear ones, and He would not have us tossed about by every wave of rumor and man's doctrine. You have heard from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a man I consider to be usually on the side of caution and negativity, if not outright fear. Now, I want you to hear the thrilling word of the Lord, found in Psalm 91:
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth as noonday. (Nor from the Y2K). A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at they right hand; but it shall not come night thee." (Ps. 91:1-7).
Choose ye this day, then, whom ye shall believe: the fear mongers, and those greedy ones who would profit from your terror, or the Lord of hosts, the Holy One of Israel. He has big plans for us, His redeemed, plans conceived in the heart of the Father before the foundation of the world. Through Paul's writing, the Spirit lifted the veil and allowed us to see through to God's eternal purpose: "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Even the Y2K bug). He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Yes, this means the economy). And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (Including man made and natural disasters). For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation." (Col. 1:13-22). It is humbling to realize that when Paul wrote this, he was in chains in Rome. (Col. 4:18). With the might, power, and majesty of our heavenly Father behind us, upholding us, defending us, saving us, what do we have to fear? If you will permit it, allow me to be your angel (or messenger) in this matter, sent to you by the Lord, to deliver to your heart God's favorite directive to His children. "Fear not! Do Not Be Afraid!" (This comforting admonition appears 65 times in the Bible.)
"But now, this is what the LORD says, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isa. 43:1-3). As it was written, so be it.
That Beastly Bug
Deliver us from bugs within and bugs without,and bugs that go bump in the night:
those things that crush our souls with doubt,as we cower alone in fright.
Open our eyes, O Lord, that we may see, your love, an old, old story, announced in Christ from eternity, in grace, and power, and glory;
Conquering in the midst of your remnant bold,holding us to your breast,
that we may see your plan unfoldand the entire creation be blessed.
Then every creature shall take its place reconciled, each one, to you, when all things in time and space, will be revealed brand new.
Jan Austin Antonsson, Oct. 1999
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
End Note B: "If All Men Are Going To Be Saved, Why Did Christ die?"
End Note C. "The Funeral Celebration,"
End Note D. "Sin and the Seed,"
End Note E. "Dead To The Law"
The Glory Road,
We would enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web in October, 1999
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last updated on 11/06/08.