The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince: reflection 3

"The power of right believing" by Joseph Prince

"The power of right believing" by Joseph Prince

This book is deceptively simple, but the truths are gospel truths and potent. Part three of Joseph Prince’s book is titled “Receive God’s Complete Forgiveness”. Part one was “Believe in God’s love for you” and Part two was “Learn to see what God sees”. These are the ABC’s of the greatest news in the world. Does not seem like anything difficult for anyone to wrap their minds around. However I suspect many find it difficult to believe all these powerful declarations. Human propensity is to achieve God’s forgiveness, acceptance and love by one’s own goodness and effort, not to receive them by faith. Believing and receiving God’s forgiveness and acceptance without any human payment for the debt of sin is too difficult for the rational and self-sufficient person to accept. However, these are truths that the world and even the baptized needs to hear over and over again.

Let me first summarize the chapters in part three:

Receive His forgiveness and reign (chapter 7): Prince underlines the importance of believing in God’s unconditional love and accepting his full forgiveness. He also explains how these coupled with the knowledge of God’s gift of righteousness are able to transform and set free those who feel guilty, condemned, trapped in habits and addictions. It also issues forth in works of love not obligation.

Fresh grace for every failing (chapter 8): Prince opens his life and shares how irritable he can get on occasion. He shows that many problems arise out of a person not dealing with a sense of guilt or condemnation in his life. He points out that grace is not merely empowerment as some claim it to be. Grace is God’s unmerited favour and forgiveness for every failing and it is this confidence in continually receiving God’s forgiveness that enables our lives to be transformed and freed from every addiction, sinful habits and anxieties.

Experience freedom from condemnation (chapter 9): Prince uses the woman caught in adultery as the main passage to demonstrate how God does not condemn us for our sins but rather extends his forgiveness for us all. Jesus was the only one qualified to throw the first stone but instead he forgave the woman. And just as release from condemnation would give the adulterous woman the power to “go and sin no more” so it would be with us. Not only freedom from sin but also the healing of our sicknesses.

Reading this book is similar to reading the first epistle to John. There is a constant repetition and use of spiral to weave the truths into your being. There is constant overlapping of truths and applications and a clear outline may not be easily discernible at times. Do not get riled up, used as we are to western logical deductive thought and order with points and sub-points format.

I like one of his fresh insights on Jesus writing on the ground. What is the most common interpretation of what Jesus wrote on the ground in front of all the religious folks who wanted the adulterous woman stoned? Jesus was writing down the specific sins of the angry mob. Some say with their names too! Well Prince saw an interesting twist. He said Jesus wrote on the stony ground, stood up and stooped down to write again. What was he writing? He wrote on the stone ground the 10 commandments. What does this remind you of? Of God, who wrote the 10 commandments on the stone tablets twice – the second time after Moses broke the first set in anger at the sins of the people. Jesus was in effect saying to those with eyes to see, I am the Word made flesh.

Joseph Prince believes that “the root cause of many sinful habits, fears and addictions can be traced to condemnation. I want to talk to you today about going after condemnation as the root to help you receive god’s forgiveness in those areas so that you can break out of your cycle of defeat and step into a new cycle of victory”(Prince, 106). There have been others root causes put up by other Bible teachers. Those in deliverance work will point to rejection as the root cause. Those in inner healing would point to the dysfunctional relationship to the father. Without wanting to split hairs, it seems to me that theologically the root cause should be unbelief. Condemnation is one of the consequences of our unbelief. Our ancestors Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan to believe wrongly that God did not intend good for them when He forbade them from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The whole process of redemption on the human side would then require the power of right believing. That’s why the cardinal essential for salvation and transformation and effective ministry has to be: by grace through faith (Ephesians 2: 8). However the disagreement here is major.

I hope some people are taking the opportunity to read the book along with me and to enter into conversation about it. I apologize for any delays in the approval of your comments on my blog, and also for not replying or conversing with readers. During the Israel pilgrimage the access to internet was intermittent and weak at times. I anticipate that I will be pretty busy during this period with functions and catching up on work that has piled up. Also I have just returned from Israel and I have seen God work his wonders and learned much from the pilgrimage but I need to edit the photos before I blog about that.

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6 Comments »

 
  • Non-Pentecostal says:

    QUOTE: “Prince uses the woman caught in adultery as the main passage to demonstrate how God does not condemn us for our sins but rather extends his forgiveness for us all. Jesus was the only one qualified to throw the first stone but instead he forgave the woman. And just as release from condemnation would give the adulterous woman the power to “go and sin no more” so it would be with us. Not only freedom from sin but also the healing of our sicknesses.”
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    IMO,…….

    This story at JOHN.8 does not really demonstrate how God does not condemn us for our sins(=evil deeds, eg the act of adultery).

    If this ‘convicted’ Jewish adulteress had lived in Israel during the time of Moses(=3,500BC), she would hv been stoned to death under Moses Law. Or if she is living today in Saudi Arabia, she will be stoned to death under Sharia Law. Cf; presently in Uganda, homosexuality is a crime; in Singapore, carnal/anal sex is a crime; but not in USA.

    Luckily, she lived during the time of Jesus and under Roman occupation(=around 30AD) when adultery was not a crime or an offense under Roman Law.
    …….If she had lived b4 the time of Jesus, she might hv been stoned to death and then ended up in hell, like the rich Jewish man who had intentionally broken the law of Moses at DEUT.15:11, died early(=cursed by God) and went to hell.(LUKE.16:19-31)

    In this case, she did not die for her sin of adultery, but had the opportunity to repent(=”go and sin no more”) and go to heaven by believing in Jesus Christ. Did she hv peace in her life after committing adultery.? The Word of God says no.(DEUT.28:15 & ROM.6:23)

    Under Roman Law and rule, the Jewish religious authorities did not hv the authority to impose Moses Law, eg stone Jews to death for adultery or blasphemy.
    …….If Jesus had told the Jews to stone the Jewish adulteress to death, the Pharisees would hv then reported Him to the Roman army for rioting and ‘murdering’ a Jewish woman.
    …….If Jesus had told the Jews to let her go scot-free, the Pharisees would hv condemned Him as a false teacher who had condoned the sin of adultery.
    …….Hence, Jesus wisely gave an ambiguous answer and pushed back the question to the Pharisees, who had intended to test and trap Him.

    Anyway, I think Jesus had no authority to condemn the Jewish adulteress by stoning to death, under Roman Law bc He had stated at MATT.22:21 to …”Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and render unto God what belongs to God”, eg the Jews should pay taxes to their Roman rulers.

    B4 Christ, to go to heaven and hv a good n long life on earth, the Jews should keep Moses Law, eg avoid committing adultery, stealing, bear false witness, murder, dishonor/neglect old parents, etc.
    …….After Christ, to go to heaven, the Jews needed to believe in JC. The keeping of Moses Law was not enough to bring them to heaven.
    …….Hence, Grace vs Law, ie Christians should be aware that the keeping of the laws/Word of God will not qualify them for heaven. The Law could only give them a good and long life on earth, generally speaking.

    The blood of Jesus mainly atones for people’s inherited Adam’s original sin that all humans are born with. Faith in Jesus qualifies them for eternal life/salvation/the kingdom of heaven.(ROM.5:12) The blood of Jesus definitely does not bring forgiveness for most intentional sins/evil-deeds, eg convicted Christian murderers will most probably face execution, but they may be saved from hell after their execution.(LUKE.23:43) Repentance may not avail much.
    …….Like the blood of sacrificed animals, the blood of Jesus may bring forgiveness/pardon for unintentional sins/evil-deeds, ie such sinners won’t be cursed/punished by God.(LEV.4:2) Repentance is required.

    Like the President and State Governors of USA, God, thru Jesus, may forgive/pardon intentional sinners/evildoers and set them free from their imprisonment/suffering/affliction/sickness. But such pardons or acts of clemency are rare exceptions. God/Jesus is the King of Kings.
    …….Hence, such forgiveness/pardons that brought forth miraculous healings and deliverances happened mostly during the twin epochs of Moses and Jesus, ie when God gave His people and the world His Law and His salvation.

    Christians should not be misguided by Prince’s Radical Grace teaching and confidently go and commit intentional sins/evil-deeds(eg adultery) and then expect no curse will befall them or God/Jesus will miraculously heal/deliver them when curses/punishments befall them, eg sicknesses; or expect God/Jesus to give out pardons/clemency like giving out monthly salaries.

    There is a big difference between involuntarily sinning-in-thoughts and voluntarily sinning-in-deeds.
    …….Christians should not feel condemned when they involuntarily sin-in-thoughts, eg hv hate, anger, immoral lust, jealousy, envy, greed, selfishness, covetousness, etc in their minds and hearts bc they hv Jesus.
    …….Christians should feel condemned, guilty and fearful when they voluntarily and intentionally sin-in-deeds, eg commit adultery bc even the blood of Jesus and the Spirit of grace could not save them from the earthly curses of God.(HEB.10:26-31). Hopefully, they may still be saved from hell in the day of the Lord Jesus.(1COR.5:5)

    Peace.

  • lyn says:

    Happy New Year everyone,

    Thank you, Pilgrim, Justhinking..God bless you..

    As I have said in my earlier letter, different people react differently under the same ministry. God’s word in totality would be great to touch every heart and every life. I am a living proof that this ‘right believing’ formula had an adverse effect on. I would sin first and belakang kira (count later, when you go to a local coffeeshop, eat first and when you’re done, just tell them to kira or count the total) later. That was my thinking..no guilt, nothing.

    God and Jesus when He was on earth had no one fixed method to approach all that He did. Even when He performed the miracles of healing, no formula, sometimes this works, sometimes that works .

    Sin is dangerous and it destroy lives. We might be saved but who wants to live like that? God’s discipline is painful. Growth in the kingdom of God is beautiful and helps us to overcome our personal problems and enables us to achieve greater things for His kingdom’s sake.

    Since there are so many types of people who attend church, God’s every word is also relevant for our sanctification. Saved or not is not for teachers or pastors to be concerned with. What is important is that His word is truth and to be believed. If everything is as clear as we wanted it to be, Paul and the rest of the writers of the New Testament would not even mentioned those things that might cause confusion which formed the basis of many of discussions here on blogpastor.

    The problems which arose during the time of Paul are still the same problems the modern churches are facing today. We cannot earn salvation. After we are saved, we have a journey to embark upon that would turn us to be like our Saviour. So all His thoughts on the matter are to be given careful consideration (Be ready, He said). We cannot take one or two chapters here and there and make it the basis of our teaching because this is what people want to hear. For example..

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    New International Version (NIV)
    9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    I’ve always been fascinated by the word ‘idolater’ sandwiched in between all the other sinners. A huge example of this is the Roman Catholics. When I was really little and was taught how to be a Catholic, I was taught on all the rituals of the church. I was taught mainly the ‘Hail Marys’. I prayed to the various saints for specific needs and lighted candles for them and I told them ‘I love you, St.Anne’ etc. They prayed to Jesus some but I didn’t really identified Jesus as Saviour. I thought Mother Mary is my saviour! I prayed mainly to Mary, the sympathetic one who would deliver my needs to Jesus who would then deliver my requests to God. I had many statues to ‘remind’ me that they exist and would often kiss them after my prayers. However, they recite the Lord’s Prayer, I think maybe one to every 10 Hail Marys..I forgot the details.

    This is a very good example of Christians embarking on the territory of idolatry. They do believe Jesus as Saviour and Lord in mind, but hard to say..

    There are other types of idolatry but this is just one example..

    But when it comes to the other sins, we are willing to make a concession, probably because we ourselves are involve in it.

    What we can do is to pray and pursue what the apostles had before us

    Galatians 5:16-17
    New International Version (NIV)
    16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.

    This is a real spiritual state that we can arrive at if we pursue it. Not by our own power but by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a bliss when the concepts of righteousness and holiness that I usually struggled with come into materialization. Then when we pray and our prayers are strong enough to affect the weather around us. The Grace of God embrace us and covers us like thick, warm blanket of Love.

    God’s word on repentance in heart and mind, obedience and confession of sins are to be taken seriously. This does not at all affect our ’saved’ status but it helps us to grow spiritually. It ensures progress in our walk with God when we humble ourselves before Him.

    Service to God and obedience to God are not ‘works’. These are very important. There is some sort of a ‘reward’ system in heaven depending on our service to Him. Please don’t miss out on this. In Beijing where I live, people are trying to outdo each other in doing good. :) Also, in Beijing there are soo much to do. Praise God for sending me here. Motive is irrelevant. First and foremost, we are heads over heels in love with our God and that fuels our service.

    It’s pleasing to God. I enjoy working for Him very much. It’s not a burden. When it does become a burden, it’s time for me to spend more time with God.

    Prayers are so important and should be much, much more than “Lord, bless and give me and my family Your favour, grace and love today because of what You have done on the cross”. I went to a Methodist Church in Orchard Road in Singapore over the Christmas (for the first time) season and the pastor prayed for everyone in the start of the service. Wow! I felt so happy! From the sick, to the caretaker of the sick, to the old, to the Philippines people etc.

    PS. I would have gone to blogpastor’s church but he was having much fun in Israel :)

    I’m very convinced The Lord would always fall on the side of love for us because He is love, Praise You, O Lord. He is a wonderful God, a beautiful God who loves us abundantly. We should follow Him because His sheep listens to His voice and follow Him.

    Years ago, I bought this little book from amazon.com. It’s ‘Transported by the Lion of Judah’. It’s the story of Anne Elmer who was hospital bound in France was transported all over the world by the Lion of Judah Himself to see the Church from Jesus’ perspective. The Lord made me pick it up again to write here..

    At that time I read but took it lightly but now having witnessed on YouTube the many people whom He appeared to, I know this story is true. She is an unknown servant of God. I’m going to use my horrible typing skill to type out the relevant parts..

    “I saw the common factors in the churches which pleased Him most and where He had freedom to do what He wanted, and to meet the needs of the people. These factors were as follows.

    -They believed the whole of the Bible

    -They arrived at church with no personal agenda, but just intent on worshipping.

    -They came prepared to stay all day, and often expected to stay all day.

    -They often ate together

    -They had extended time of praise and worship.

    -The pastors and the worship leaders were ‘faceless’. They were humble people wanting only to serve the Lord.

    He loves it when we spend time with Him and this would give us the fuel to serve Him as we soar with Him.

    I love You, My Precious Lord Jesus..Thank You..

    Reply

  • Newbies says:

    After 2,000 years, it seemed that Christianity does not seemed to be flourishing as it should. Could there be a problem in the mainstream teaching of the Gospel? In the Books of Act, nearly the whole town came to listen when Paul is preaching.

  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi blog pastor,
    In the context of what was taught in the book in Chapter 7 and 8…
    I would like to find out if there is any mentioned about confessing of sins and repenting from the act of sinning as part of the process of attaining victory over one’s sinful habits?

    Also, is the process the same for a porn addict compared to another person who has a bondage to Fear (e.g. the fear of man)?

    • blogpastor says:

      Pilgrim,

      Thanks for drawing attention to this. I seemed to have missed this as I read those chapters.

      He did recommend a prayer of confession that comes from a heart of trust and faith in God’s willingness to forgive. This is to help people who cannot forgive themselves and those who live in condemnation – “to release built-up guilt and condemnation for whatever mistakes you’ve made over the years to the Lord” (Prince 106,107). Its also a prayer he encourages for “every time you fall short” as the quotation below shows.

      “Would you pray this prayer with me?

      Lord Jesus, I don’t want to live this way anymore. today I release all my failings, sins, and mistakes into Your loving hands. And I receive Your forgiveness right now into my heart. thank You for Your precious blood that washes me whiter than snow. Right now I stand in Your righteousness, favor, joy and peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

      Its a simple but powerful prayer. I encourage you to pray this prayer every time you fail and experience guilt and condemnation in your heart. Stop punishing yourself – your answer is found at the cross of Jesus. I promise you that when you turn to Jesus and remind yourself just how forgiven and righteous you are in Christ every time you fall short, you will start living like the forgiven and righteous person Jeus has made you.” (Prince, 106,107)

      This may require some explanation in the context of previous talk that confession of sins is not necessary. The clue could be in this being a prayer and confession of faith and not a listing or description of sins committed.

      What do you make of it?

  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi blog pastor,

    Thanks for highlighting the part on confession in JP’s book.

    Personally, I believe that when a believer prays in confession for his/her sins and shortcomings, it mean these things:
    1) The prayer is about coming in agreement with God with regards to the sins committed, and also what the finished work of the cross has accomplished for us.
    2) The prayer should be a prayer of faith to layhold of the power of the Cross. Not just mouthing empty words but stemming from a heart of faith that is established on the truth of God’s word.
    3) The prayer is not a prayer to secure salvation but a prayer to restore intimacy.

    Repentence has 2 parts. It starts with a change of mind with regards to 1) how God view sin and 2) what the accomplished work of the Cross means. Repentence is part of right believing, that should eventually result in righteous living. We believe alot of wrong things about ourselves, about God and sin, and this has to start with changing our mind(acting by faith)inlight of God’s Truth. We should produce fruits that stems from our repentence.

    Christians who are stuck in the sin confess, sin confess cycle are in Bondage. Depending on how deep they are in their bondage, I guess it is up to the Inner Healing and Delieverence Counselors to help these ones out. Christians that are in Bondage need additional help to remove the barriers that prevent them to come into repentence and believe in the truth that sets that free.

    I would like to refrain from going into the topic of Healing and Delieverence as these 2 topics are too complex to go into details on this platform.

 

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