The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince: reflection 4

"The power of right believing" by Joseph Prince

"The power of right believing" by Joseph Prince

The last reflection was on 23 Dec 2013. That was about two months ago. I have been rather occupied and there were other event-related blog posts I wanted done more urgently. However, I still want to finish the reflections on this book that I started off with. In Part 4, Joseph Prince writes about a topic that has helped many of his hearers. He has received much feedback on messages related to these chapters. The title of Part 4 is “Win the Battle for your Mind”. Let me highlight some of the main points as it appears to me and give you my reflections:

Win the battle for your mind (chapter 10): The battle of the mind has to do with replacing wrong beliefs with right beliefs. The devil wants negativity, lies, condemnation to occupy believers’ minds. These deeply embedded wrong beliefs are strongholds that affect their emotions and feelings and even their health. Thus negative emotions like fear, worry, guilt and anger find their source in people’s thought patterns and beliefs about God and the world and people. Thus the battle of the mind is won by establishing the truth of Jesus and what he has accomplished on the cross. It is won by believers knowing who they are and what they have in Christ. It is won by bringing every thought into captivity, which means to focus on the obedience of Jesus in the place of believers, the perfect righteousness of God granted to all believers by faith.

Prince shows insight into how the devil works in planting wrong thoughts in the believer’s mind: he uses the first person pronoun “I“, instead of “You” to deceive believers into thinking the bad thoughts were theirs, instead of an external evil source. Instead of “You are such a lousy Christian” he will insert “I am such a lousy Christian.” This alerts us to the devil’s tactics.

Victory over the enemy’s mind games (chapter 11): The unpardonable sin is dealt with in this chapter. Joseph Prince shares his experience of condemnation. “I was really worried that I had already committed the unpardonable sin and was on a one-way ticket to hell. The more I tried not to, the more I would have all kinds of blasphemous thoughts about the Holy Spirit when I prayed and even when I was earnestly worshiping God. It was a harrowing experience, with the devil relentlessly oppressing and attacking my mind with all kinds of evil thoughts.”(Prince, 170). The mental oppression lasted a year for Prince. He won the battle by ignoring the enemy. “When the devil suggests things to your mind, just ignore him. Spiritual warfare doesn’t have to be combative. It can be restful, peaceful, simple, and easy. It’s all about seeing Jesus’ finished work”(Prince, 173). I liked the way he interpreted the “unpardonable sin” as “simply the sin of an unbeliever continually rejecting Jesus as his or her Savior,” something any true believer simply cannot have committed.

Prince quoted an excerpt from John Bunyan’s autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, in which Bunyan was delivered from his despondency by a revelation of God’s gift of righteousness. “I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness……………..I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, ‘the same yesterday, and today, and forever’.”

We also get Prince’s idea of repentance. It is “metanoia”, a Greek word from the original text which literally means “a change of mind”. He debunks the caricature associated with repentance as grovelling, tears, self-condemnation and feeling bad enough for long enough so that God’s forgiveness can be earned. For Prince it is changing your mind to align it to what God thinks and has said about believers. Let right beliefs based on God’s word replace all the falsehoods planted by the devil in the believers’ minds. “It is right believing that brings about true repentance (change of mind) and hence genuine transformation”(Prince, 176).

Beware the roaring lion (chapter 12): Prince dealt with one of the greatest struggles of believers: the persistent thought that God does not approve of them. He is not happy with them. In fact, he is angry with them. He debunks this and shows that God is not mad at us but mad about us. He shows that the armor of God needs to be put on and the armor shows all the ways the devil will attack our minds. The belt of truth shows Satan will attack us with lies. The breastplate of righteousness shows that the devil will attack us with accusation and condemnation. The shield of faith is to protect us from fears and doubts. The shoe of the gospel is the peace that protects our joy from being stolen. And so on. His main idea: the armor of God has to do with what you believe in Christ. When you believe right, there is nothing the devil can do with you.

I prefer the way Arthur Wallis put it in his book, “Into Battle”. He demonstrated how Jesus fulfilled all the pieces of the Christian’s armor. He is truth. He is righteousness. He is our peace. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is our salvation. And He is the Word. When we continually believe in Him, we have in effect put on Christ and therefore the whole armor of God, and are fully protected in Him.

However I was not comfortable with his interpretation of Proverbs 19:12 “The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.” The best interpretation is the obvious sense. The wise writer of Proverbs has simply made a wise observation that it is scary when the king is angry with you for your life is in his hands, but if he likes you, the blessings will nourish and prosper you. Prince has spiritualised the text. The king is the Lord Jesus, and when Jesus is angry it is the disease, the injustice, and what sin is doing to you that he is angry with. “But the devil comes to you all dressed up as a lion, impersonating the King. He wants to give you the impression that God is angry with you, even though He isn’t…..The devil is going about as a roaring lion because he is pretending to be Jesus and trying to intimidate you through the impression that God is angry with you. The devil is an imposter! He wants to make you feel alienated and cut off from Jesus. He wants you to think Jesus is saying, “I am not pleased with you. I am really disappointed in you. How could you make such a mistake?” His description of the devil’s tactic is spot-on but the usage of the Proverb betrays a slant for spiritualizing, when a plain reading of it has nothing to do with the devil or spiritual warfare. However other scriptures about the “accuser of the brethren” more plainly expose this aspect of the devil’s tactics.

Overall, Part 4 is very practical and useful, as our minds are a spiritual battleground in which we need to enforce the victory that Christ has already given us. The chapters give us practical handles for winning the battle of the mind.

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62 Comments »

 
  • Ben says:

    Regarding Proverbs 19:12, personally I don’t think it’s far fetched to also interpret the “king” as God Himself. After all, one of His titles is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and as far as I can tell there isn’t a context there to frame the interpretation one way or the other. Of course, it can also refer to a human king. The verse still makes perfect sense for both interpretations so maybe both are equally valid.

    • blogpastor says:

      Hi Ben,
      Thanks Ben for your comment. To me it is a convoluted analogy to use. It opens the support for the main point to probing and suspicion. There are other scriptures that does the same function of exposing the devil’s tactic of accusing the brethren more plainly and clearly and efficiently.

      The best sense of scripture is its plain sense. This text belongs to the genre of wisdom literature. It seeks to impart practical wisdom for living. We do not have to moonwalk around scripture. If we let scripture have the floor, it will dance to His song.

      • Ben says:

        Hi. I completely agree with you that we shouldn’t stretch Scripture to fit our views, but I honestly cannot see the conflict with allowing the interpretation of the word “king” to be someone else other than a literal human king.

        As you said, it “seeks to impart practical wisdom for living”. However if we only allow ourselves to interpret the word “king” to be strictly a literal human king, then how is this practical wisdom for us today? Does this also mean that only literal kings are to be respected? Especially since we don’t have a monarchy to apply to this to in Singapore? Am I making sense?

        Maybe it was the author’s intent in the first place to convey that meaning in the first place, and used the word “king” to also mean a powerful authority figure. Not just a literal king (or queen).

  • lyn says:

    The Problem of Prince
    **********************

    I think that the unfortunate thing is that Pastor Prince was on the right track in his early days as a believer. He was so eager to be on the right track with God that he would often doubt his salvation. I think the Lord has not left us bereft in this area as well. Amongst many others, the Lord said this..

    John 14:27
    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    Ephesians 2:8
    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
    9 not by works so that no one can boast.

    The basis to fight any spiritual attack is of course scripture itself. It is NOT to come up with a new teaching.. :)

    John 14:15-21
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

    15 “If you love me, obey[a] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[b] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.[c] 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 THOSE WHO ACCEPT MY COMMANDMENTS AND OBEY THEM ARE THE ONES WHO LOVE ME. And BECAUSE THEY LOVE ME, MY FATHER WILL LOVE THEM. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.

    So, in revealing half truths to his people, the risk of stumbling them is greater than great. I might be sound a little like NP right now but it has to be said. Many church goers has not had the luxury of experiencing what the pastor themselves had gone through. Many pastors had gone through school after school of theology or themselves being pastored by strict pastors who demanded perfect obedience. They then have the knowledge that in their eagerness to live uprightly, the evil one would play havoc with their thinking. But in Prince’s own journey, he may not have yet fully discovered that the answers are contained in the scriptures itself. Whenever fear comes, pull out relevant scriptures. Wasn’t that what Jesus Himself did when He was tempted?

    For the new believers that come straight from the world into Christianity or even the old Christian who would rather be enjoying a carnal lifestyle, they would take Prince’s teaching to town. Nothing to do, no commandments to follow, only grace, abundant grace. What is the difference between the world and the Christians then? We are called to much much more.

    The answer does not at all lie in editing the word of God.

    That is why pastors and teachers are held to a higher standard

    James 3:1
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

    How then can we teach people half truths? It is not our heaven to grant.

    Even Jesus in His day gave two sets of rules. To the Pharisees who were over eager to keep God’s laws in order to save themselves, He brought them to nothing with His words, so that they would come to rely on His righteousness. To everyone, He commanded to obey His commandments.

    The mental oppression that many believers on the right track faces *may* have been faced by Paul himself when he found that he had a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to torment him. He says that it is to keep him from becoming conceited, a messenger of satan was given to torment him.

    2 Corinthians 12:6
    6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    I myself, find that when I allowed my mind to go free with sinful thoughts, I was never tormented by satan. Why should he? I was doing his job very well on my own. However, when I was finally on the right track with God, I’m tormented in my mind with involuntary thoughts. I asked the Lord to help me but it remained. I then ask for forgiveness from God and use scriptures to comfort myself. Another method that helps tremendously is to pray in tongues. Ignoring this problem would only make it worse. The answer to everything certainly does not lie ONLY in letting everything go and just believe in seeing Jesus’ finished work. Because our will in every matter is still very much intact and alive.

    For example, in Beijing, many websites are banned. (God bless the Chinese Government). We are restricted from YouTube even. Praise God I have access to blogpastor.net. :) . I use VPN Express to get connected. So, when I was in Singapore this time, a screen popped up on my YouTube a rather explicit video. I’m rubbish at maneuvering the laptop. I tried to get it cancelled out but had so much trouble doing it. I click at every button imaginable but to no avail. Then I clicked at a button that brought me even further in! I was really really distressed and desperate by now. I started crying out to the Lord in my desperation “Lord help me, please” and started crying. I came out again and then click at a button (or whatever you call it) that I HAD CLICKED AT TWICE BEFORE and NOW I successfully got rid of it. The first two times I did the same thing, it didn’t go away until I called on the Lord.. I wanted to know why and the Lord showed me

    Matthew 5:6
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

    This is the true spirit of righteousness. We will be filled when we hunger and thirst for it.

    • Journeyman says:

      @lyn
      Think the problem is about the people who listen without discernment or seeking other perspectives – most times have found God changes my perspective but not the actual situation like Jacob struggling with God and then submitting fears of a prospective meeting with – he tot Esau wud kill him in revenge for his previous deceit….. His surrender allowed him to be borne again as Israel and the kicker for me was finding out Jacob=he who lies and Israel=he who struggles with God. This was a rhema moment for me and my small group

      • lyn says:

        Problem of Prince: 2
        *********************

        Oh no, it has become a series.. :)

        Jm, I think that this is no surprise. I will not dwell too much into this as I think there are many people out there, yourself included, who’d know more about Israel’s history more than I do. We are all saved by Grace and Grace alone. That’s why God chose Jacob to be Israel. If He had chosen one of His righteous prophets to represent the chosen nation, it would again confuse the issue. The Jewish people are unable to accept their Messiah and they are still relying on their own righteousness to save them. I think that Jacob is a good candidate for God to use to represent His nation because he was not a righteous man by any standard and this goes to point out their extreme need for a Saviour. His struggles with God represents what the Israel nation is facing all the time. They go through hardship after hardship and unrest till today as they are face threats from their neighbors. So the equation is Jacob=he who lies and Israel=he who struggles with God=not a fun position to be in.

        God demonstrated His Grace again by using Paul, the one who persecuted the Christians to write a big bulk of the New Testament. As Saul, he wanted to destroy the church and going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison, the Bible says in Acts 8:3 :) After his encounter with God, however, apart from his being blinded for a time, he was also transformed to be God’s number 1 ‘yes’ man. And so should all of us be when He’s done with us.

        Problem number 2 is the preaching God alongside prosperity and success. This should never be done in any church.

        God is more than enough. He is wonderful and mysterious. There are not enough wonderful words to describe our God . David certainly tried but even then it sounds so lame compared to His Majesty. There are so many topics to explore where God is concerned. When we have Him, we already have prosperity and success although this might not be the kind of prosperity and success that we have in mind.

        God belongs on a pedestal ON HIS OWN. We don’t need to embellish Him with any of these cheap things we call success or money or prosperity. Just to string His Wonderful Name along with any other human ideas we might have about Him week after week is a travesty in itself, I feel. It might be a not so wonderful example but it’s like taking a very beautiful woman and dressing her up in cheap jewelries everyday. It just spoils the whole thing.

        I think that prosperity and success can be taught in one sermon or two sermons. It is true that when we have Him we might have them. But God is so much more. Much much more. I feel totally inadequate to write about Him at all.

        So I’ll give an example… I read a book about Heidi Baker’s efforts in Mozambique. She takes in as many abandoned kids as she could find. So, these people are soo poor, yet they feel God so near. They depend on Him to send them daily meals and Christmas gifts. Everything and everything is dependent upon God just like baby birds waiting to be fed by it’s mother. Then they see miracles after miracles from Him. Now, I envy that. I long and thirst for that. More than I’d like to live in a SGD50 million house in Singapore. The volunteers who went there for a time longed to go back because they wanted God and that’s where they FEEL He is.

        This is also His Grace in action. When we have health, money, prosperity and success, we are not dependent on Him so much as we would otherwise. We would feel, need and desire Him less. But when we lack, we feel Him near because of our need. The right attitude in us then should be to pray for poverty in some way so that we can have Him near all the time. It should not be this way, I know, but this is just human nature or at least my nature.

        As His children whom He love, it is often the case that God Himself would CREATE in us a LACK in one or more areas of our lives for Him to occupy. So, we should learn to see Him there and thank Him because that place of lack is where His Glory can be manifested. (Of course this is figuratively speaking because His Spirit is in us all the time).

        So, with God, nothing is the way it seems to be. We should cherish Him for who He is and there is so much to Him. Every facet of His Being should be explored as found in the Bible. Ultimately His nearness is what we want. That feeling, that AWE.. cannot be bought. His GLORY is what we need. No matter what circumstances we are in, we should be asking for more of Him, more of His glory. He is enough. Much more than enough.

        • Journeyman says:

          Yr view that in good times one has less need for God – me thinks that if one is believer one has a intimacy with God – one is blessed regardless of ones physical situation – like Jacob the challenges remain but the changed perspective enables a circumstance.

          For somebody to be blessed with gifts there has to be a willing and capable giver – it makes a lot of sense….. It is more blessed to give (than to receive?)

        • Non-Pentecostal. says:

          @ lyn

          QUOTE: ” Ultimately His nearness is what we want. That feeling, that AWE.. cannot be bought. His GLORY is what we need. No matter what circumstances we are in, we should be asking for more of Him, more of His glory. He is enough. Much more than enough. ”

          Imo,……. this kind of desire or wish is unscriptural and is the main thing that is ailing most of the Pentecostals/Charismatics, eg the chaotic Brownsville Revival of 1995 at Pensacola, Florida, which petered out in 2000, …leaving the Brownsville AOG Church in US$11million of mortgage debt and the Senior Pastor leaving that Church in 2003 and then building his $3million home in nearby Alabama.

          # JOHN.20:28-31 (NKJV) = 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

          29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

          That You May Believe

          30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

          # LUKE.16:27-31 = 27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’

          29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’

          30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

          31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

          # ROM.3:4 = 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:
          “That You may be justified in Your words,
          And may overcome when You are judged.”[Psa.51:4]
          #
          #

          The Holy Scripture states that belief unto salvation for His people does not require the seeing or experiencing the powerful signs and wonders of God-in-action or the presence of God/Jesus.
          …….Desiring for such experiences and feelings of AWE from God is akin to a Singaporean citizen wanting to personally see the PM often or to observe at close range how the PM uses his authority or power to implement his policies/will.

          But this does not mean that God will never touch believers’s life with His awesome presence or miraculous signs and gifts. It’s God’s will.
          …….It’s the difference between a person desiring or demanding for a gift and being accepting of whatever is given or not. Spoiled and rotten children are always demanding for gifts and attention from their father.

          There is a saying, “Be careful what u wish for”, or “You are what u believe”.
          …….If ignorant Christians wish or desire for stones that look like diamonds and God will give them fake diamonds.
          …….Wise Christians only wish or desire for bread and God will give them the bread of life.(LUKE.11:11, MATT.4:4, JOHN.6:48)

          # EZE.14:4 = 4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them,
          ‘Thus says the Lord God:

          “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”’

          # JER.17:9-10 = 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
          And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

          10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

          # MATT.6:23 = 23 ” But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

          # ISA.29:9-10 = The Blindness of Disobedience

          9 Pause and wonder!
          Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.

          10 For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers.

          # ISA.19:14 = 14 The Lord has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst;
          And they have caused Egypt to err in all her work,
          As a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
          #
          #

          Peace.

          • Non-Pentecostal. says:

            @ lyn …….I would like to add,…

            ….remember what did God do when the Jews foolishly declined or refused to hear the heavenly voice of God at EXO.20:19.? God had acquiesce to their foolish wish.

            So, the 1st Ten Commandments of God were given to the Jews by God directly from heaven. The remaining few hundred commandments/laws of God were given to the Jews by God, indirectly, ie via the prophet, Moses.

            I believe, things would hv ended up better for the Jews if they had not refused to hear directly from God, ie the later generations of Jews would not hv forgotten about God and His commandments/laws, and killed most of His later prophets.
            …….Imagine, today, the Jews are still able to directly, hear the audible heavenly voice of God, …accompanied by thunder, lightning, the angelic sound of trumpets and erupting volcanoes.

            This scenario of hearing the heavenly voice of God(=at EXO.20 and elsewhere) is vastly different from the Pentecostal and Charismatic experiences of “hearing” from God.
            _ _ _ _ _ _ _

            Also, what did God do when the Jews rejected His prophets/judges(=Samuel and his sons) and wanted kings to rule over them, at 1SAM.8:7.?
            …….Ie the Jews rejected God’s theocracy, thru His prophets, and wished for a monarchy, like the neighboring kingdoms.
            …….Again, God had acquiesced to their foolish wish and gave them kings to rule over them, who eventually led the Jews into committing even more sins = colonized by other kingdoms = cursed/punished by God.
            _ _ _ _ _ _ _

            So, in matters with regards to the spiritual interactions with God, …”be very careful what u wish for.”

            This is similar to letting grown adults to do as they wish but they will hv to face the consequences themselves, be it good or bad/evil. If they wish to do evil, no one can stop them, and vice versa if they wish to do good.

            Many Pentecostal and Charismatics(=P&C) wish for a God who is more like Santa Claus(or like the Chinese’ God of Prosperity) who fulfills all their hearts’ desires or can be manipulated to fulfill their every wish = very unlike the God of the Bible, ie the Abba Father(eg DEUT.28 or HEB.10:26-31).

            “Hearing” from God thru the Bible and a normal non-supernatural religious life are not enough for the P&C. They want direct messages(=like prophets) and supernatural experiences from God, …like what the apostles had experienced during the Pentecost of ACTS.2.

            Their desire/wish is similar to the grave mistake of the Jews in wanting God to give Israel back to them(=their kingdom of earth). Their carnal or fleshly desire/wish caused the Jews to reject Jesus as their Christ/Messiah/Savior.
            …….The foolish wish of the P&C may cause them a similar Jewish ending.

            Peace.
            .
            .
            .

            P S – Some people may say that Old Testament stories do not apply for today. Then, remember the New Testament stories of Judas Iscariot, Simon the magician(ACTS.8:18) and the Word of God at 1COR.10:6.

    • Non-Pentecostal. says:

      @ lyn …….Are u trying to “copy” me or “plagiarize” my non-Pentecostal or unCharismatic opinions.? …jk…

    • Non-Pentecostal. says:

      @ lyn

      About apostle Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ or ‘a messenger of Satan’ at 2COR.12:6, …imo, I think it had something to do with his horrible sins done ignorantly against Christians b4 he was converted by Jesus Christ and born-again. PHIL.3:5 says that Paul was a blameless and zealous Pharisee. A Pharisee was like a professor of Moses Law. He had pursued, arrested and sent to execution some Jewish Christians.

      I think God still held Paul accountable for those horrible sins of bloodletting and God cursed/punished him with that ‘thorn in the flesh’ and later did not forgive/pardon him by removing the curse, even though Paul became the great apostle and evangelist of the Gentiles.
      …….Eventually, Paul was himself martyred in Rome = “A taste of yr own medicine”. Still, when Paul was alive, he was very grateful to God, esp for saving him from hell thru faith in Christ, ie compared to, if he had remained as a Pharisee without Christ.
      …….ACTS.9:16 stated that JC told His disciple Ananias that He had commissioned Paul as a suffering apostle of the Gentiles. I think JC spoke this in a stern tone. Thereafter, as instructed by JC, Ananias healed Paul’s blindness and Paul was relieved of his deep depression.

      Paul, like most people who hv committed grave sins, tended to not accept the consequences of his earlier sins(though he acknowledged them) and seek from God to be relieved of his ‘thorn in the flesh’. Most people will also tend to seek to escape from martyrdom or terminal sicknesses(eg cancer) or early death.

      God would be an unjust God in the eyes of the whole world(=Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, etc) if He had let Paul off for his sins, ie pardoned him and released him from the curse/punishment of the ‘thorn in the flesh’.
      …….It would be like the President of Singapore pardoning a convicted Muslim terrorist bomber or a pedophile Catholic priest or a serial murderer …who had exhibited some years of good behavior in prison. Bear in mind that while in prison, it is quite natural that these convicts could no longer continue to commit bombings, pedophilia or murders = good behavior.

      So, I think apostle Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ being not relieved by God, had nothing to do with mental oppression by Satan or being in spiritual battles. It was just his wages for sin.

      Some Christians, esp Pentecostals/Charismatics, believe that God will not hold them accountable for all their sins, past, present and future, even horrible intentional sins(=evil-deeds), eg thru the misguided teaching of Radical Grace or the license-to-sin. Even if God did hold them accountable for their sins and sent ‘messengers of Satan’ as a curse/punishment, bc of their faith in Christ, God will still be “forced” to heal or exorcise them.

      Remember, …faith in Christ and the Cross is strictly about the atonement/forgiveness of Adam’s original sin, which has been inherited by all humans; and this atonement is solely for the purpose of salvation into the afterlife of the kingdom of heaven.
      …….Unintentional and intentional sins committed on earth is a different matter and is mostly covered by Moses Law. Eg repentant King David was forgiven by God for intentionally murdering the husband of beautiful, sexy and voluptuous Bathsheba, bc he desired to marry her. King Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. But most of David’s descendants had to bear the evil consequences of this dastard sin of his(=EXO.20:5).

      P S – This post is not trying to condemn or discredit apostle Paul for his intentional sins, done ignorantly. Some of us may also hv ignorantly or foolishly committed similar or lesser intentional sins and may also hv to carry a similar ‘thorn in the flesh’ for the rest of our lives.

      Like they say, “Prevention is better than cure”; ie it is always better to prevent oneself from or avoid sinning intentionally or ignorantly, rather than foolishly doing so = getting a ‘thorn in the flesh’ and then desperately searching everywhere for a cure, which may not come or which may come from demonic sources.
      …….This can be done by studying deeper into the Law and the Prophets and the NT. Eg it may be a sin to buy insurance(=not trusting in God for a good, healthy and long life on earth), unless mandated by the govt(=Caesar);
      it may be a sin to buy shares, lottery tickets or gambling(=a form of stealing thru a game of chance and investment risk);
      it is definitely a sin to believe in the horoscope, feng shui, fortune-telling, tarot-cards,(=DEUT.18:9-14), etc.

      Peace.

  • Non-Pentecostal. says:

    About PROV.19:12, the “roaring lion”, let’s cross-reference to 1PET.5 (NKJV) =

    1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

    Submit to God, Resist the Devil

    5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

    “God resists the proud,
    But gives grace to the humble.”[PROV.3:34]

    6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

    8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

    10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    This passage is quite self-explanatory when put in its proper context. This passage by apostle Peter is mainly directed at pastors, elders, deacons or priests(=His shepherds over His flock) who are exhorted to conduct themselves humbly in their dealings/interactions with their ordinary Church members bc God is watching them.

    Otherwise, the pastors will be sinning intentionally(eg by behaving arrogantly like an evil lord/slave-driver/ruler/boss or by taking advantage of members’ ignorance and foolishness for dishonest gain) and opening themselves to be devoured by Satan when God removes His protective shield over them.(JOB.1:10, PSA.23 & 91)

    , , , , , , ,

    At MATT.22:37-40, Jesus Christ states that all the Law and the Prophets(=OT) hang on or are summarized as the 2 great commandments, “Love God with all yr might and love yr neighbor(=friend or brother n sister in-Christ) as yrself”.
    …….Hence, any deed resulting from a mental thought or idea that seeks to offend/harm others, self or God, goes against these great commandments = breaking the law. In paraphrasing, ROM.7:7 defines the death-resulting sin as any deed that is against the Law(=Moses Law).

    Holding onto this basic foundational law/commandment/Word of God at MATT.22:37-40 will spiritually help or empower most new born-again Gentile Christians to begin their walk in-Christ or in-the-Spirit or in-God’s-Spirit, righteously or morally.

    A new GC needs to delve deeper into the Laws and the Prophets and the NT, in order to be able to walk effortlessly in-Christ or in-the-Spirit bc Satan also walks about the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour – eg by getting new GC’s to ignore all the Law and ignorantly commit sins.
    …….This is similar to an earnest professional worker needing to complete specialized/streamed college or uni education after having passed the basic foundational primary and secondary education. An imposter/fake engineer without a college degree will most probably hv a lot of trouble doing his/her work and in his/her walk of life.

    When JC stated at MATT.11:30 that “His yoke is easy and His burden is light”, it was directed at His law-abiding apostles(=Jews) who later became the first Jewish Christians and evangelists.
    …….It would be a misinterpretation of the Holy Scripture to apply this verse to new GC’s bc they will hv the misconception that their new born-again Spirit’ual life in-Christ will be a piece of cake, like for the apostles. Such a misconception will easily make these new GC’s sitting ducks for Joseph Prince’s easy Radical Grace misguided teachings.

    The apostle Paul could quote most of the Law and the Prophets from memory when he was converted and born-again. I doubt any new GC could do so when he/she was born-again. Most new GC’s do not even know the story of Creation in GENESIS. Jesus’s yoke and burden for Paul were easy bc he was a mostly law-abiding Jew and not a Gentile who was prone to law-breaking from childhood and thru ancestry.

    At REV.2 & 3, JC gave stern warnings to a few 1st century AD Church which had mostly Gentile Christians as members. …Why.? …Bc it is very easy for Gentile Christians to fall into error and sins, eg the Corinthian Church.

    Peace.

    • Journeyman says:

      Just wondered what this verse means….

      Revelation 22:18 NIV
      I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.

      • Non-Pentecostal. says:

        @ Jm

        Let’s put this verse(=REV.22:18) which u hv quoted, in its proper context.

        # REV.22:18-19 (NIV) = 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.
        19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
        #

        The apostle John wrote the words of REVELATION on papyrus or leather, ie after being visited by his Lord Jesus Christ.

        This passage by apostle John, put in its proper context, warns against anyone who try to add words to or subtract words from John’s scroll of prophecy about the last days(REV.4:1 onwards). In other words, no words should be added to or subtracted from the words found in John’s scroll(=written on leather or papyrus). In other other words, no alteration should be made to John’s scroll/book of REV.

        Luckily for us, there is in existence many ancient copies of the New Testament(eg at the London Museum), ie many papyri/leather copies dating back to the 2nd century AD and hundreds of parchment(=ancient paper) copies dating back to the 4th century AD.
        …….These ancient copies of the NT has borne witness to the fact that the book of REVELATION that we read today has not been altered by anyone, ie it is the exact copy of what John had wrote.

        The Canon of the Bible was fully established by the 4th century AD by the many Councils of Bishops thru the early Church years = the books of the Bible were recognized as authentic.

        Maybe, some ancient fellow during the early century AD tried to alter John’s REVELATION. If they did, then REV.22:18-19 would hv definitely applied to them, ie the plagues of REV were added to their earthly lives or their names were subtracted from the Book of Life of REV(.20:12).
        …….Even if they did, it was in futility bc the early Church fathers had kept many authentic copies of John’s REVELATION.

        When people give commentaries about passages in REV or in the Bible, they are not adding words to or subtracting words from the Word of God/Bible.
        …….Even when Satan quoted the Bible and twist its meaning out of context, he was not altering the Bible.

        So, rest assured that REV.22:18 does not apply to those who like to quote the Bible out of context. But other not-so-good Bible verses may still apply to those who like to quote the Bible out of context.

        Peace.

  • lyn says:

    NP, you said…

    Eg repentant King David was forgiven by God for intentionally murdering the husband of beautiful, sexy and voluptuous Bathsheba, bc he desired to marry her.

    How did you know that Bathsheba was beautiful, sexy AND voluptuous? NP ahh..

  • Suzanne says:

    Why you critics don’t publish a book on the flawed teaching of Joseph Prince? Who know it might be a best seller and drawn the more than 30,000 members to attend your church. By then, you might not have the luxury of killing your precious time over here.

    • blogpastor says:

      Take the discussions in your stride. The Spirit will lead us into all truth and along the way hopefully we are learning truths we never knew before. Size is never the test of truth – the Moonies were huge.

  • Justthinking says:

    Reading a great book by Dr Michael Brown – Hyper Grace – which basically exposes the dangers of the modern grace message . It’s an issue during Dietrich Bonhoeffer time and now in US as well. It’s not really something new . Again it’s sold food ! Go get it.

    • blogpastor says:

      Hi Justthinking, What is Dr Michael Brown’s definition of Hyper-grace? Could you outline the main characteristics of hyper-grace for us?

  • lyn says:

    The Holy Spirit-led Life
    ***********************
    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8: 14)

    I’m often bombarded by the question “how do I listen to the Holy Spirit leading?” or ‘how do i know it is my own thoughts I’m listening to or the Holy Spirit leading me?”

    John 10:4-5
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

    I know that the NPs of this world do not believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I, however, was led by God to be baptized in the Holy Spirit after my baptism of repentance.

    Acts 11:16, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

    I did not even know about all these things at that time. Some time after getting baptized, I had a severe backache and had to go get traction from a small clinic in Seremban. When I was there, a lady I did not know just approached me and asked me whether I wanted to get baptised in the Holy Spirit. I knew nothing then and I said ’sure, why not?’ She then baptised me and ask me to pray in tongues but I could not until years later.

    So, I do think this is a valid step to enabled the gifts of the Spirit to a greater height.

    When listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit, I do believe that the Lord speaks to me in a voice audible to me, by thoughts that flashes across my mind, a conviction in my heart about something He wants me to do and through dreams.

    1. All the things He leads me to is in the spirit of

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5
    New International Version (NIV)
    3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it OBEDIENT TO CHRIST.

    2. To check and see whether the voice is the Holy Spirit leading or not, one must be able to verify that the leading of the Holy Spirit would lead to the FRUIT of the Spirit..

    This would definitely help us to differentiate between the voice of the Holy Spirit as opposed to the voice of our own desires and the voice of the evil spirit.

    Galatians 5:22-23
    New International Version (NIV)
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

    So would that act lead to love, or peace or joy or patience or kindness or goodness or faithfulness or gentleness or self control or more than one of the above. If so, this is Holy Spirit leading.

    3. Big prayers usually leads to big, clear leading. It is also necessary to wait for the Lord to answer.

    I have written here before with regard to my daughter Esther. The voice leading me to ask her to pray and to ask her to thank the Lord was a loud voice within me and spoken through directives ‘Ask her to pray to me’ and ‘ask her to thank me’.

    Sometimes the Lord’s leading was just to flash thoughts across my mind like when He reminded what the pastor said that morning.

    He gives wisdom with regard to big things and small things. When in Singapore the last time I had over shopped and found that my things filled up all three big bags. I had with me a small flimsy travel bag. I was afraid that it would tear and my things would all spill out in the plane. I asked the Lord whether I should I get a new bag. He answered immediately and a thought flashed across my mind that I should pack all my clothes in a big plastic bag and tie it up before putting the plastic bag into the flimsy bag. I did not think of that idea at all as I was contemplating on buying a new bag.

    Early in my life, when contemplating whether to get married, the Lord gave me a very clear dream that I should marry. It’s not the most successful of marriages but I am where I am now because of it :)

    4. The words of the Bible should be a clear guide

    But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

    Knowing good from evil will make it easier to know the voice of the Spirit. He’ll never give peace to what the Bible disallows. However, where we fail, just ask for forgiveness from God and repent.

    5. When in doubt, please consult a spiritually mature person especially about big decisions.

    6. When the Holy Spirit leads, it is to train us to be Godly and to be righteous. Obedience is a major factor that God’s leading will become clearer. If God put it upon our hearts to bless a brother or a sister with some financial assistance and we categorised the voice as evil, most probably we will not hear anymore. :)

    7. When we worship, it is a good idea to quiet our minds and hearts before the Lord and then ask Him
    our questions and then try to listen. Any new thoughts and ideas that comes to our minds might be from the Lord. It is a good idea to write them down.

    8. I usually do my asking in the night and when I’m suddenly awaken early in the morning He speaks to me clearly what He wants me to do.

    Isaiah 50:4-5
    New International Version (NIV)
    4 The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
    He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
    5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.

    9. Also, there are some circumstances whereby He put me where He wants me and I’ll meet people or encounter things that speaks to me.

    Just like the example I gave earlier about the lady who baptised me in the Holy Spirit.

    I had also, in my past, met a lady who told me to wake up early in the morning and just worship. I take this as an instruction from the Lord. I mostly fail in this area due to laziness but I know this is one area that He has not let me off the hook because no matter how late I go to sleep at night He wakes me up around 5 every morning.. :) Thank You, Lord.

  • Justthinking says:

    There are wonderful grace truths taught by the “modern grace preachers” and that’s why he did not name it “counterfeit grace” but the message goes beyond true grace , hence the word “hyper ” in the sense of the word . Basically the book looks at the major teachings put forth by the many adherents of the “grace reformation” and prayerfully compares those teachings with the Word of God, answering questions such as : How do sins affect our relationship with God, What is the relevance of the OT to our faith ? What does Jesus actually have to say about grace ? Without watering down the bible ’s true message of grace, Michael Brown gives you the facts, demostrating the dangers of this seductive message and showing you how yo keep from being taken in . ( taken from the back of the book) . Defintely worth reading. Mike Bickle – …. He rightly divides the Scriptures to shed light on the errors of the distorted grace teachings and brings us back to a place of balance and true liberty.”

    • blogpastor says:

      Thank you for elaborating. The pendulum is swinging. Its happening again. We saw it with the charismatic movement and its emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit. Each truth restored that came to prominence faced refinement through correctives, clarification and enrichment from various theological perspectives, whether done prayerfully or otherwise. In the end we trust the Spirit though this process to lead God’s people into all truth.

  • Journeyman says:

    BP maybe you can elucidate how one can relate to a God of constancy (same yesterday, today and tomorrow) and perfection whilst the believer is essentially fickle, transient (existential reality) and the paragon of mistakes.

    • blogpastor says:

      Hi Journeyman, we will always live with this tension of “now here” and “not yet”. The kingdom is already here but its full realization or manifestation is not yet. The righteousness of God is already mine in Christ but not fully manifest to the eyes of the world in consistent Christ like behavior. The God of constancy affords me an anchor when I am tossed to and fro; a God of constancy gives me a foundation for my faith – someone whom I can trust completely in – for my pastor and even my friends or family may fail or disappoint me, but those who trust in the Lord will not be disappointed.

  • Justthinking says:

    Agree blog pastor. Urge you to read it too and share your thoughts if you have the time and opportunity. Thanks

  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi blog pastor and Just thinking, you can check out Dr Michael Brown’s take on Hyper-Grace on youtube. I reserve my comments but must say that he does have some very good points regarding the Hyper-Grace Movement.

  • Justthinking says:

    Yes Pilgrim, the book is even better as it shows the errors found in some of the “grace preachers” books and its clearer since it is in black and white .

  • Ben says:

    I accept that there are passages in the bible, that if read superficially, are apparently contradictory. For example, James 5:14-15 implies that asking for forgiveness is still required even after you’ve been saved by Jesus Christ. But then there are also many other passages which make it so clear that once we are cleansed by the blood, we are clean indeed.

    But I think our interpretation of the Bible are fundamentally colored by our own experiences one way or the other, and just quoting bible to one another isn’t going to change our minds so easily.

    My own experience is this: A son will forever be a son, in spite of any wrong doing, in the eyes of a good father. Even on this earth. A son may seek forgiveness from his father – not out of a fear of being disowned, but for the sake of repairing a loving relationship.

    In the same way, I believe we will forever be sons of God. Once a son, always a son. But we seek forgiveness from God to mend our relationship, for own own mutual good and enjoyment, and not because we are afraid of being disowned and of eternal judgment.

    I hope on this at least, we can agree.

    • blogpastor says:

      Ben, your experience and interpretation is the conventional view of evangelical Christians, not the standard new creation view. Could you kindly explain this?

      • Ben says:

        Honestly, if this is the conventional view of Christians, then this definitely wasn’t what I was brought up to follow for nearly all my life. Isn’t it the common view that Christians have to continually confess our sins to get right with God, otherwise we’d be accruing divine punishments whether in this life or in the one to come? Isn’t it a requirement to be right with God in order to get blessings rather than curses from Him?

        Notice that I’m not talking about loving correction and discipline from God, or about the consequences of putting your hand in the fire. I’m talking about our standing before God, which is holy and blameless.

        As for how my current interpretation is shaped – guess what, I’ll have to credit the teachings from the word preached at NCC. I mentioned this before, but until I attended NCC, I have never heard anything else like this preached. But faith is obviously personal, so I can’t say that everyone at NCC believes the exact same things. However, this is the common message that is always championed every Sunday – that once we are cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are clean forever, and absolutely nothing can ever undo that standing. Least of all, ourselves.

        Even in the Old Covenant, God’s presence would only dwell in the Holy Of Holies which only the High Priest may enter, and even then only once a year, and then only after much ritualistic preparations to cleanse himself so that he won’t drop dead upon entering. In the New Covenant, if our bodies are said to be temples to God Himself, how can we NOT be anything other than completely cleansed? Can God dwell in an unclean person and the person not die?

        If you say that I have the same view as most Christians do, then perhaps we are all arguing and nitpicking about doctrine we ironically agree on, however we package it with our words and vantage point.

        • blogpastor says:

          Ben
          You are right. Your first paragraph is a decent description of how many evangelical understand their relationship with God.
          However the once son always a son thingy, and asking forgiveness to repair fellowship, is something I’ve read in evangelical reformed writings.
          Asking God for forgiveness to repair relationship does not sound like a NCC teaching…please clarify.

          • Ben says:

            I didn’t mean for what I said to be about the forgiveness thing to be interpreted as a particular doctrine, rather it’s just my own humble opinion about why we sometimes (keyword being “sometimes”) ask for forgiveness from God.

            To me, it’s just a relationship thing. Even with fellow humans, we don’t always need to mouth the words “I’m sorry” for the other party to forgive our mistakes, right? How much more the Lord when our sin debt have already been paid through the blood of Christ.

            But sometimes we still say the words because we just want the other party to know that we are remorseful for our actions, and it helps for us to talk it out. Maybe it brings healing to human souls. I suppose then it’s the same thing when we talk to God. But when we do, we must honor the sacrifice that Jesus paid and realize that God has already forgiven us before we ask.

            By the way, I’m not exactly sure what Pastor Prince or the church as a whole thinks about asking for forgiveness from God. Like I said, it’s merely my own humble opinion. Surely though, it’s not emphasized in sermons, and it’s also definitely not a continual requirement for believers to be saved. If I have to guess, it’s probably closer to what I mentioned (ie, a communication or relationship dynamic) rather than a particular doctrine like taking holy communion.

            Hope this helps.

          • Ben says:

            If it helps even more, perhaps the best illustration of the “forgiveness thingy” is the story of the prodigal son.

            Notice that the son wanted to return not because he was remorseful for hurting the father, but because he was hungry and thought that he had better food at home. The son also thought wrongly that to make amends to his father, he had to become a servant and give up his son-ship.

            Then notice how the father freely forgave the son – looking for the son from afar off, sprinting to the son from afar off, embracing him, kissing him, throwing a huge party on his return – before the son could even have the time to say anything, much less ask for forgiveness and give his rehearsed speech. Was the son’s wrong-doings ever an issue with the father? The only thing that mattered to the father, was that the son came home.

            So, if there is broken relationship here when believers fall into sin, it lies squarely within our own minds. God the Father is the one with outstretched arms waiting to embrace while we are the ones either ignoring Him or pushing Him away. Expressing remorse, even with wrong motives, or just restarting communications with God in some way at least allows Him to embrace you.

            • blogpastor says:

              Hi Ben, I like this analogy about the prodigal son. Before he uttered his confession, he was smothered by the Father’s forgiveness. Forgiveness does not depend on the son’s confession but the Father’s compassion. However could it not also be said that it was repentance – a change of mind leading to a change in direction and attitude – that gave the story a good ending? If the son had not changed his thinking about his father, about his “boring life” on the farm, about his actions, wouldn’t he still be in the pig sty? Though it is not the basis of forgiveness, the repentance brought him to a place where he could experience God’s love.

              • Non-Pentecostal. says:

                @ blogpastor …….I concur.

                MATT.4:17 (NKJV) =

                From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,

                “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

              • Ben says:

                Hi blogpastor.

                I’m uncomfortable with the focus being on repentance. The sole focus is in my opinion, the Father’s boundless grace.

                Yes the son repented. But not in the way you said. He did not repent because he really changed his thinking about his father, or because he felt bad for wronging his father in any way. His primary motivation was hunger and he thought that at home even the servants there lived better than he did in the pig sty. If he repented at all, his repentance came from the growling in his stomach and he was simply realizing he had more food at home to eat than in the pig sty. In the context and theme of the passage, it would also not be hard to imagine that if his money had not run out and he still lived well enough, this prodigal son likely wouldn’t have repented.

                I’m recalled to Isaiah 64:6 where it says “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”, where I’m told the word “filthy rags” in Hebrew literally translates to “soiled sanitary napkins” in today’s vernacular.

                Tim Keller said it best when he said that the story of the prodigal son is a misnomer. It should be the story of the Prodigal Father.

                • blogpastor says:

                  Yes it is more accurately a change in thinking soaked in regret and self interest. The wonder is that the Father still accepted him in all his self-centeredness.

    • Non-Pentecostal. says:

      @ Ben …….Pls ponder on these Word of God…

      1JOHN.3:7-18 (NKJV) =

      7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

      8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

      9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

      [The Imperative of Love]

      10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

      11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

      13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

      [The Outworking of Love]

      16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

      18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _

      MATT.5:43 = “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” (cf: LEV.19:18, MATT.22:39)

      DEUT.23:3-8 = 3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

      5 Nevertheless the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. 6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

      7 “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land.

      8 The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord.
      (cf: MATT.25:42)
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _

      I would like to again emphasize the ‘grave’ difference between sinning-in-deeds(eg adultery, theft/CBT, murder, etc = voluntary) and sinning-in-thoughts(eg hate, anger, lust, greed, selfishness, fear/worry, doubt, envy, jealousy, etc = involuntary).

      B4 a person commits the sin of adultery/fornication, he/she has lusted immorally at another/others in his/her heart and mind.

      A sin is only committed when another person or oneself or God has been harmed/offended.

      While still on earth, people are only cursed/punished by God(or His agents) for their sins-in-deeds(DEUT.28:15, ROM.6:23, HEB.10:26-31); and not for their sins-in-thoughts.
      …….People are only cursed/punished by God for their sins-in-thoughts when they die or leave this earth = will be sent to hell. Hence, the need for the curse of this inborn Adamic sin nature to be atoned by the blood of Jesus.(GAL.3:13, ROM.5:12).

      1COR.5:5 states that an unrepentant Christian sinner who has committed incest should be excommunicated, will be destroyed by Satan(=early and horrible death.?) and MAY be saved from hell. There is no guarantee that the sinner shall be saved.
      …….Bear in mind that incest is also against the laws of Singapore; but not adultery.

      Peace.

      • Journeyman says:

        Hi NP
        Sorry but unable to understand Where the contextual relevance of these quotes to a modern Net connected urban society of diverse ethnicities – most seeking material economic prosperity in dynamic cultural rojak?

        • Non-Pentecostal. says:

          @ Jm

          It is OK for all people of every ethnicity to seek material prosperity, but there is the lawful way or the lawless way of doing it = thru sins or evil-deeds, eg CBT, theft, robbery, lying/cheating/fraud, false advertisements, bait-n-switch, profit-gouging(=Apple & Steve Jobs), Ponzi or Pyramid schemes(Bernie Madoff, Genneva Gold, Bitcoin, etc), murder for wealth, forging of will, marry into money(Bai XiaoMao and Muktesh Mukherjee of MH370.?), etc.

          Hence, at 2COR.6:14, thru Paul, God has commanded His people to not be unequally yoked with non-believers, ie not to marry them or socialize, be close friends, do business or partnership with them. Christians should not expend their love upon non-believers and unrepentant sinners/evildoers.
          …….This brings us back to the Holy Scripture that I had quoted, ie MATT.5:43, LEV.19:18, MATT.22:39, DEUT.23:3-8, MATT.24:52 & 1JOHN.3:7-18. Christians hv been commanded by God/Jesus to love their brothers and sisters in-Christ – this love for their brethren-in-Christ is an identifying trait of true Christians = born of God = sons/daughters of God.

          In the same way that Christians should only love God and not love(=hate or abhor) idol gods or false Gods, Christians should also only love their brethren-in-Christ and not love(=hate) every Tom, Dick and Harry, esp the evildoers/sinners and non-believers.
          …….In other words, love God and hate/abhor idols; love the brethren-in-Christ and neighbors or friends and hate/abhor/avoid non-believers and enemies.
          …….God is a jealous God. There are Christians who love God and also love idols/paganism/animism or who love Christ and also love the world = religious harlotry, eg Chinese Christians who still practice ancestor worship and/or celebrate Chinese New Year in full tradition/custom.

          There are good and sincere non-believers who may be open and receptive to the gospel. Christians should treat them like a likable guest of the House/Church of God = friendliness or neighborliness. This is different from the Christians’ deeper love for their brethren-in-Christ.

          The House/Church of God is not very different from the houses of most people and their families. Parents love their children the most, then their close relatives and then their close friends.
          …….Would good parents invite murderers, robbers, rapists/womanizers/adulterers, terrorists, strangers or their enemies into their house, ie to love them.?

          It is against human logic for God to accept an unrepentant sinner/evildoer into His heavenly house as His son/daughter bc logically, a good father on earth, would not accept into his house a son/daughter who is an unrepentant sinner/evildoer, murderer, adulterer or thief.

          Christians who may need to suffer religious persecution at the hands of their enemies is a different matter = bless/”love” their enemies.(ROM.12:19-21)

          So, at 1COR.5:5, if that Christian who had committed incest with his father’s wife(=stepmother.?), repents after being excommunicated by the Church and/or having suffered terribly at the hands of Satan(eg like Job), he will still be able to inherit heaven bc he has finally repented and still believes in JC(=like the Prodigal son).

          There are ignorant, foolish(=being deceived) and/or incorrigible sinners/evildoers who are suffering the curses of God, yet are still very self-righteous that they had not sinned(=self-deception or in denial); who won’t ever repent; who will curse God and die(eg Job’s wife)= will be going to hell. …Eg Christians who wrongly(.?) believe that God has given them cancer, in order to test their faith and/or to use them for ministry to the sick.

          Peace.

  • Justthinking says:

    Can Jesus forgive the sins that you have not yet committed ? Just a thought

  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi blogpastor,

    I am interested to know what is this new creation view regarding ‘Forgiveness’ as you have mentioned? Am I right to say that you are asking Ben in the context of ‘Forgiveness’?

    • blogpastor says:

      Yes Pilgrim, as far as I understand asking forgiveness is unnecessary since all sins are already paid for on the cross and forgiveness has been won for us for all sins past, present and future.

      • lyn says:

        Who then should pray the Lord’s prayer, Blogpastor?

        Luke 11:2–4 (ESV)
        And he said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi Blog pastor and Ben, I heard similar explaination on the topic of asking for forgiveness by other grace preachers as well.(Hyper-grace? I don’t know, and I seek further clarification) According to these grace preachers, the reason that a Christian need not ask for forgiveness when they sinned is based on these 3 points:

    1) Christ has forgiven us from all our sins. Past,present and future.(I totally agree)
    2) It will cause the Christian to develope a hyper-vigilant outlook on his daily walk with God and makes walking with God like walking on egg shells everyday. Some kind of Spiritual “OCD” towards confessing of every little bit of sin just to make sure that God does not become angry.
    3) The first chapter of 1 John was in fact addressing the agnostics who were among the congregation instead of true believers. Therefore, the confessing of sin as mentioned in 1 John 1:9 is not for Christians who already have their sins forgiven, but for these agnostics who need to hear the good news.

    Personally, I do believe that we need to confess our sins. However, confessing our sins is different from asking God to forgive us. Confessing means agreeing with God about the sin that we have committed. It means coming out in the open and admitting it before God and telling the truth about the matter. After one’s confession, we should give thanks that the sin has already been atoned for because God has already forgiven on the basis of the finished work of Christ. I also believe that Confession and Repentence are 2 sides of the same coin.

    One can merely confess without repenting. Thats just giving lip service, but true repentence will lead one to truly confess.

    When one sins, we grieve the holy spirit and the HS will convict us of the sin. Since the HS is grieve, I think it is only right to confess and repent of the sin.

    I would be grateful if both of you could give me your insights regarding what I have mentioned. Hope to gain some perspective here.

    • blogpastor says:

      Hi Pilgrim, my humble response is that this deserves a blog post or two in itself. Hope to be able to do it, since it seems to be a matter of considerable consternation, and interest. It however needs a bit more research on what respected brethren and Bible students have said, which time does not allow me to do at present. I do know that scholars have different views about No 1) and I certainly have experienced in my life the condemnation and defeat of No 2) and I have read interpretations of 1 John 1:9 as being written by John the apostle to incipient Gnostics who believe a separation of soul and body and since sin is of the body and immaterial, and temporal, sin does not really matter. However this interpretation is in the minority and debatable.

      I wonder what the Hypergrace (I don’t like this label) author has to say about this topic too.

    • Ben says:

      Hmm, I mostly agree with you, except that if we should confess our sins then how often should we do it? Should we consistently always “confess” whenever we sin? If that is so, I don’t think I personally have much time for anything else.

      Again, from the story of the prodigal son, notice that the father never had to hear an apology or confession of any sorts – it only mattered that the son came home. If the father ever bore a “grudge” or was ever angry, it surely did not come across in the story. Instead from what we see, it’s quite clear that the father simply longed for the son’s return, in spite of any wrong-doing.

      I guess the question now is: What does “coming home” in the context of the story mean for us? I think it simply means, realizing we have much better in God’s house compared to living a pig-sty of a lifestyle apart from God, and going back to God’s house to enjoy life there instead. How often does that happen for believers? Not very often I hope!

      Therefore I maintain that confessing every single sin is not required – we just need to know when/if we are living a pig-sty lifestyle and have the common sense to “come home” and live better in God’s house, for our own good.

      Like Blogpastor mentioned, if there is “repentance” in the story, that is the only one I could find. Again, we might be beating a dead horse here, but the “repentance” is not the typical Christian definition – it was for entirely wrong motives, ie, he just felt he had better food at home. But it mattered not to the father at all for what reason the son came home, as long as he was home.

      • blogpastor says:

        Hi Ben, I agree that our forgiveness does not depend on the thoroughness, specificity, or comprehensiveness of our confession.If this were so, confession of sins have to be a full-time job. Life would be terribly depressing and salvation insecure if unconfessed sins were not cancelled. Our forgiveness depends completely on Christ’s atoning death for us. We have divine gift of right standing with God, and Christ is our Advocate at the right hand of the Father, and He intercedes for us continually – even when we do not confess our sins.
        Some have reacted to the extreme after having suffered the pain and despair and depression of living under condemnation and having to confess every sin to feel secure and forgiven. I used to keep pen and paper at hand so I can record all my sins for thorough confession. So when a person is freed from this dark hole, understandably, he or she does not want to go back to it, or have anyone else suffer from it. They thus make confession of sins a sin of unbelief, or a No No.
        However, the confession of sins can be an expression of faith. It is prayed believing that forgiveness of sins is part of the finished work. It springs from a child confident of the certainty of Father’s forgiveness and the comprehensiveness of Christ’s atonement.It is similar to laying hold of healing: the prayer of faith for healing.Or the prayer for finances. As Lyn wrote, the disciples’ model prayer that Jesus taught us included: “Forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us”. Nothing wrong with praying for forgiveness in child-like trust. However, the book of Acts and the epistles exudes the spirit of an assured people at ease and at rest in the Father’s love.There is no grovelling fear or oppressing guilt nor any model confession of sins in any of Paul’s written prayers or in Acts. None. Zilch. That should tell us something.

  • Justthinking says:

    All these issues are covered at length biblically by Michael brown. The stand of all the grace preachers are the same. Topics like has God already forgiven our future sins and what it really means , should believers confess their sins and John 1:9 there are many other other verses on forgiveness including our Lord’s Prayer , is spirituality effortless , the Holy Spirit, conviction of sins and repentance, consciousness of sin etc really the usual stuff. One question is what is the evidence, textually, archaeologically , linguistically or theologically that John 1:9 is addressing Gnosticism .? Using one’s theology to fit the Bible rather than letting the bible to mold your theology is always dangerous. One grace preacher even said as a new covenant born again believer to go and ask God for forgiveness after you have sinned is a sin – the sin if unbelief . Great book to understand all the errors.

    • blogpastor says:

      Just thinking, If you could summarize, to save me some time: What are the main arguments about John 1.9 being written to Gnostics in that book by Michael Brown?

  • Pilgrim says:

    Thanks for your humble response. Greatly appreciate your sincere comments!:)

  • Ben says:

    At the end of the day, every Christian scholar and every lay person can say what he wants but all I know is that without the gospel of grace, I most definitely wouldn’t be here talking with you guys in the first place. I probably wouldn’t even have been saved.

    So I take offense when people like Dr Michael Brown, sincere and learned as he is, labels the grace message that transformed me “hyper-grace”, as if the works-based drivel that I heard for the first 25 years of my life ever had any power at all except to drive me further away from God.

    My testimony is also just one of many like that, so let’s all please respect that. The old works-based message had it’s time, so it’s only fair to let this grace-based one run its course. If we are patient we can judge the grace message by its fruits in time.

  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi Ben, a life that is touched by the grace of God will never be the same again. Having read some of your postings on this blog, I am sure that you have been greatly impacted by grace in a large measure that some of us has yet to get a fuller taste of this grace.

    A grace that is so wide and deep that some dare not venture further and deeper. Some have become too cautious, some too careless,some have become all too familiar, and some are just too smart for their own good.:)

    “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace….”Heb 13:9

    Truth will never change but our theology will change in our faith journey.

  • Justthinking says:

    @blogpastor -I think i will do injustice to the book by doing a summary as it contains quite a bit of facts and references not just on 1John 1:9 but many other scriptures that will deal with the concept that christians only need to ask for forgiveness once. Asking for forgiveness when we fall doesn’t mean you are saved one day and unsaved another. Honestly i have never felt this way before but i do empathise if some feel this way .Anyway, the book Hyper grace is now available at SKS bookshop at Tan Boon Liat, so you may want to get one and i am sure you will find it even more meaningful than me because of your theology background. BTW i have also checked with John Rankin on 1 John 1:9, his answer is that it is not written for Gnostics. Actually when you read John 1;1-10 and you look at the we and us being used, it is quite clear. Someone said heresy is making half truth into the entire truth. Food for thought.

    • blogpastor says:

      Thank you. I just love short-cuts and time-savers. :)

      • journeyman says:

        Is there a short cut to heaven/haven and would this be a time saver ;)

        • lyn says:

          Hahaha.

          Thank you, Journeyman, I’m having the time of my life.

          I’m glad that you’ve grown so much too. I’m very glad that David Pawson, the very intelligent Bible teacher, has his background in science and is able to reconcile the science and the Bible for you.

          Anyways, blogpastor, why must God segregate people? Some special people must confess their sins and some need not..hahaha.

  • Non-Pentecostal. says:

    IMO,…….

    1JOHN.5:16 states that there are different degrees of sins(=evil deeds), ie those that lead to death(eg murder, cursing God, witchcraft, etc) and those that do not lead to death(eg theft, rape, causing accidents, etc).
    …….HEB.10:26 and LEV.4:2 state that there are also unintentional sins(eg accidents/mistakes, misunderstanding, negligence, sin of omission, etc) and intentional/willful/purposeful sins. Eg manslaughter is unintentional(=not planned) whereas murder is intentional(=premeditated or thought-out)

    Willful sins, like intentional crimes, can be illustrated by the courts of Law. Different kinds of crimes/sins/evil-deeds hv correspondingly different consequences/sentences/punishments/curses, eg convicted murderers are often executed, but manslaughterer or thieves are usually only imprisoned and/or fined.
    …….Pleading guilty to a crime or the confession of sins does not absolve the criminal/sinner/evildoer from the proscribed sentence/punishment/curse, but the judge(or God the Judge) may be more lenient during the sentencing. Pleading not guilty or the non-confession of sins will usually result in harsher sentencing/punishment/curse by the (J)judge when convicted in the court trial.

    Notwithstanding this fact about crime and punishment in courts, the King or President of a country has the power to give pardon/forgiveness/clemency to suffering convicted criminals – usually to those who hv reformed or repented(=good behaviour).
    …….God/Jesus Christ also has this power/authority to give pardon/forgiveness/clemency to suffering willful sinners/evildoers/law-breakers by giving healing, exorcism, miracles, signs and wonders.
    …….But this power/authority of sovereignty is rarely exercised, ie usually only during exceptional times or cases. How often do we hear about death-row convicts or thieves/robbers being pardoned.?

    Minor unintentional sins of omission, misunderstanding, negligence, accidents/mistakes, forgetfulness, etc are usually forgiven by God after being confessed and repented of.
    …….The blood of Jesus, like the blood of sacrificial animals, is efficacious for most unintentional sins that hv been confessed and repented of. Non-confession and/or non-repentance of unintentional sins will result in minor punishment/curse from God. Hence, the Holy Communion memorial in Church.

    [1COR.11:29-31 (NKJV) = 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
    30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.]

    The blood of Jesus, like the blood of sacrificial animals(=era of Moses Law), does not atone for intentional/willful sins(evil deeds). Hence, 1COR.5:5 says that the willful and unrepentant Christian incest’or would be suffering the destruction of his flesh(eg cancer) at the hands of Satan(=the permissive will of God). If he had remained unrepentant of his sin of incest until the day he died, he would not hv been saved from hell = lost his salvation.(1COR.6:9-11, REV.22:14-15)

    The blood of Jesus mainly atones for Adam’s original sin or the inborn evilness/sinfulness of every progeny of Adam(=inborn Adamic sin nature), thus qualifying believers for eternal life in heaven.(LEV.17:11, ROM.5:12-18)
    …….Hence, if that Christian incest’or had confessed and/or repented of his sin of incest, he would hv been saved from hell in the day of the Lord Jesus(=His 2nd Advent to earth).

    So, Christians should abstain from every kind of sins/evil-deeds bc Jesus Christ is not physically on earth to give out every kind of pardons/forgiveness/clemency or healing, exorcisms, miracles, signs and wonders to suffering sinners/evildoers/law-breakers.(There might be exceptions) That was why JC told these sinners whom He had healed or ’saved’, …”to go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”(JOHN.5:14 & 8:11)
    …….God is not mocked. Like everyone else, Christians will also reap corruption when they sow to their flesh.(GAL.6:7)

    Christians should fear both the earthly and heavenly judgment of God, resulting in the peace of God. The former is about the earthly curses or blessing from God and the latter is about heaven or hell.
    …….JC is the “passport” to heaven, NOT the “license” to sin and to hell.

    Peace.

 

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