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“If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”

The above verse is First John 3:21.
The secrets of our hearts, or our deep beliefs, are judged by gospel truth (Rom 2:16). Jesus says we should forsake and repent of all other beliefs other than the gospel (Mark 1:15). Nothing else besides divinely declared gospel reality should have any place in us. Then, “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep his commandments and do these things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22). While it is not specifically labeled a command, Mark 1:15 is one, and it was the FIRST command out our Lord’s mouth. I call it ‘the lost command of Jesus.’
Gospel belief empowers us to love the way God intends (I John 3:23). It produces love. Galatians 5:6 speaks of ‘faith working through love.’ If we truly know God’s love experientially, because he first loves us, this produces in us a desire to believe whatever he says (in the New Testament this is Christ’s gospel). If we do, this enables and empowers us to love others the way God wants. The gospel is ‘THE’ power of God (Rom 1:16).
It is synergistic and centrifugal in our lives in so many ways. If our hearts are saturated with gospel truth they don’t condemn us. This gives us total confidence before God, and even “boldness in the day of judgment” (I John 4:17). Plus, it causes us to fall in love with our loving Father more than we could ever imagine.


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Roger Himes, Lawyer / Counselor

5 Final Reasons the Gospel Is So Hard for Us to Grasp

My intent is to keep these posts short.
To consider the first five, click here:   http://wp.me/p1cSU4-Hi

(6) We are SKEPTICAL minded. This is rightly so, in many ways. We have so much advertising, and so many philosophies, opinions and persuasions thrown at us (especially in an election year like now), that we become ultra-cautious. After all, we have more church denominations than Wikipedia can even count.
(7) We are RECOGNITION minded. All arrows point to us.We want rewards for what we do and say (even in heaven). We are tuned into radio station WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?” We all have MMFI printed on our forehead: “Make me feel important.” We view things more in a personal rights type of thinking than the common good.
(8) We are LEGAL minded. The USA is the most litigious culture in the world. We are trained to think LAW about everything. The gospel doesn’t fit the legal human thinking we’ve been conditioned to think. The gospel is God’s way of thinking, which Isaiah says is far above our way of thinking.
(9) We are CRITICAL minded. Any degree of legal thinking makes us critical minded and judgmental. Legal thinking creates a type of ‘measuring rod’ where everyone of us comes up short. This is not a ‘gospel of grace’ way of thinking and living.
(10) We are RESPONSIBILITY minded. We are self-driven. We think in terms of us being ‘self made.’ Earlier people were much more sovereign minded than we are. They were much more God-driven than self-driven. We tend to think in terms of human adequacy and sufficiency, which are totally anti-gospel. The gospel is based on the finished work of the cross of Jesus.


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Roger Himes, Lawyer / Counselor

Why the Gospel of Grace is So Hard For Many of Us to Believe and Accept

Why is the gospel of grace so hard for so many of us to grasp? It’s because we don’t think grace. We don’t live in peace. There are 10 things that tend to block a gospel of grace mindset, and we all suffer from these to some degree in our modern world.
(1) We are RATIONAL minded in the western modern world. We are head driven more than heart driven. Earlier people were more relational minded and heart driven then we often tend to be. We often use our minds as a buffer to protect our hearts from being hurt, and from other influences.
(2) We are DEDUCTIVE minded, analytical, and we conclude most things on our life experience. Former people were more inductive and collective in thought, not so self focused and individualistic. Psychology sometimes calls us narcissistic. We arbitrarily adopt positions if they benefit us. Earlier people were more flexible and humble and receptive than we often are.
(3) We are MATERIAL minded: our materialistic society is talked about very often. Former people were more intuitive and mystical minded than we are today.
(4) We are REACTIVE minded. Our attitude is ‘sue the bastards,’ as the saying goes. Former people were more forgiving and tolerant. Today we hear about ‘road rage.’ We’d rather confront others than consider a change in ourselves.
(5) We are DOGMATIC minded. We think we’re right. 1 plus 1 must be 2. Or it can be 3 if we believe it. Our thoughts are structured. If anyone disagrees with us, we experience anger and conflict. We don’t want to be told what we must believe, even by God. We view the gospel as only one choice of many choices we have to make. We often concoct our own theologies.

 

To keep these posts short, I’ve divided these into 2 parts.
To consider numbers 6-10:  http://wp.me/p1cSU4-ZD

 


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Roger Himes, Lawyer / Counselor