Hohenwald Christian Research: The Free Gift of God by Grace
Hohenwald Christian Research is a data base of topics to address specific interests of people in Hohenwald and Lewis County. It is important that salvation doesn't just relate to having a "ticket to heaven." On the contrary, we live a long time on this earth faced with a host of powers in high places whose only job is to create a sense of panic and insecurity in people. That doesn't end at song time or sermon time on Sunday. Unless songs can create a sense of spiritual anxiety in you you will not get the physical stimulation to create the endorphins to make you feel good -- the worship leaders call it "spiritual."
The preacher loses his job unless he can create spiritual anxiety to manipulate you into repentance, prayer requests, tithing or digging up the back lawn.
Jesus came to give spiritual rest beside still waters and to fire those who "laded" burdens upon people like a merchant loads pack animals. The word Jesus used means "spiritual anxiety created by religious ceremony."
The merchants will not be happy unless you are so insecure that you must buy a new car each year of the neighbors will think you poor. In short, Jesus provided a way for mankind to be cleansed of the sins of life and given the assurance that nothing in this life is important.
How The Gospel is The Secret to The Gift of God
The gospel of "farming" is that God has created a long list of animal and plant materials which carry the God-given power to keep you alive. One free gift is ice cream if you know the secret of turning green grass into God's Gift. However, you might starve to death unless someone comes by and "preaches" the gospel or good news. The "gospel" of gardening is the good news about God's free gift, but you must apply that God-given power or you have not received it or given heed to the good news.
At the same time, not a bit of your sweat and blood can make a tiny seed turn into a sweet watermelon.
Christ has told you how to let our old body die like a seed and sprout into Jack's beanstalk reaching right into heaven.
Notice that the gift of God is His power to allow us to do impossible things:
And also that every man should eat and drink, and
enjoy the good of all his labour,
it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13
Now, we know that labor which comes from us cannot make us spiritual so that we have God's Spirit, the Mind of Christ and think like God. We cannot add to or subtract from God Who causes plants to grow and even us being planted like Jesus and rising to be a new, spiritual person:
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever:nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it:and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:14
You see, getting food is the gift of God and you cannot take from that gift and you cannot add to that gift. You can plant and water all you want, but you cannot contribute one bit to the miracle of life. Would you say, therefore, that to plant and water is wrong and "I ain't gonna do it?"
If a huge rock is in the middle of the road and the ambulance cannot get through to someone I love, and if I have a stick of dynamite, I have power to move the rock which I cannot move by my own efforts. However, the rock will not moved and my loved one may die if I don't use the power in the dynamite.
But by now you understand that the gift of God, which no person can add to, must be tapped into and used according to the plan ordained by the Planner. If you do not "accept the will of God for your life" your "spiritual carrots" will never grow and you will die spiritually.
When tomatoes grow, the whole transaction is produced totally by God's power Paul understood that when your body is "washed in pure water" you are asking God or Spirit to "baptize" or enfold you into His body. Christ is baptizing you into His Body as you are baptized into water. In the same way, God's free gift of tomatoes is received by working in harmony with spiritual principles by "burying" the seed in the ground.
Solomon was wise and said:
Behold that which I have seen:it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him:for it is his portion. Ecclesiastes 5:18
Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and
to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19
Because I did not help God create the universe and its laws, it is clear that everything which I receive is a free gift of God.
The concept is so fragile. The gap between legalism and becomming a dead stone in the hands of God is not easily grasped after it has been muddied by tromping feet. But, isn't it basic common sense that God prepared a body for our spirit so that we can participate with Him in His Work. If our body does not move as He instructs us then perhaps He is not in our hearts at all and our spirits are without power.
Jesus and the "Gospel" did not change this Divine plan to give supernatural power to mortals even though they can do nothing on their own:
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. John 4:10
You see, Jesus didn't pour spiritual water down the throat of the woman. She had to ask for it and she had to drink of it. He wasn't speaking of literal water but His Word. Is this demand of Jesus any less unreasonable than telling us to be baptized?
The water of life is the gift of God which is the Word of Christ which He put into human words which can give Spirit and Life (John 6:63). A fundamental part of the good news or gospel is that God's people will be "sprung from the prison" of "anxiety created by religious ritual" under a religion like the nations which brought Israel nothing but warfare and captivity:
COMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Isaiah 40:1
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned:for she hath received of the Lords hand double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:2
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low:and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:Isaiah 40:4
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 40:5
The gift of God is supercharged into His physical and Spiritual world. For instance, the gift of carrots is bound up in a tiny seed. And His Spirit is bound up in His Word as Spiritual or mental seed.
Paul, in Romans 1:16, says that the gospel is God's power (dynamite) required to be saved.
And John said the same thing:
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. John 1:11
But as many as received him, to them gave he power (ecousia = authority, capacity, freedom) to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe (entrust themselves to) on his name: John 1:12
To believe or entrust in the name of Jesus as fully God gives one the power to become the sons of God. However, one does not become a child until they have exercised that Power. We should not think of God as less logical than ourselves: He wants us to exercise the power.
In a simple sense, the gospel is simply the news that a herald (evangelist) cries out as he rides by. For instance, "The Ice Cream Man Cometh!" is good news. However, the announcement has been made and the riding "evangelist" is not sent to buy the goodies. However, the announcement opens up almost magical power for you to prepare yourselves.
However, God always found two classes of people: one who honored Him even if they could give Him no name, and those who had "cornered the market" and sold worship as a product:
First, those who were in tune with natural and revealed religion expected God to visit His people beginning in the form of a child. They saw "service" in a cup of cold water. The star-gazers in the eastern pastures were watching for a special star as the first sign that "a little Child" had been born in a manger. Both the Jews and God-fearers who had right living and justice toward others in their hearts were looking for Him -- and still look.
The Gentiles found God specifically because they were not seeking Him in all of the pagan places and practices.
Second, contrary to common sense, the professional religionists who performed great worship rituals for the little people rejected God Incarnate because He prayed in private and warned against their superstitious belief that they had "God in a house" and if you wanted to worship you had better go there -- and go past the money changers on the way or God might not listen.
Because all who belong to God are the spiritual grandchildren of the first parents with an empty spirit (mind) needing a Redeemer to restore an intimate walk with Him (in the garden, not in the temple), all religious people long for that reconciliation even if they live in a remote jungle. No one can "preach" this longing into the human heart.
Under the Law of Moses, the people were kept physically safe only by keeping 613 elements of a law code. None of the rituals of washings, music, sacrifices or festivals could "wash" the spirit and make it able to again -- as individuals -- to come boldly before the throne of Grace without a priest or Levite to stand between you and God.
Now, you will respond if you know that God has come in the flesh as the long-awaited Messiah as full Deity (Colossians 2:9) made visible before your eyes. His name is not Father, or Son or Spirit: His name is Jesus or Jehovah-Saves right there in the open lands, far, far removed from the temple.
Next, Jesus sent out evangelists; if they tell you that God has come in the flesh as the good news of the gospel, and tells you how to "tear down" the old bondage to religious rituals and how to enliven the spirit within, then you have the power to leap-frog thousands of years of body-rituals and return, in a spiritual sense, to the Garden of Eden.
- Kenneth Sublett,
- The Free Gift of God By Faith
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