“And God, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Acts 15:8-11.
How were their hearts purified? Was it by doing “their part?” In a sense yes but “their part” was faith. The modern church feels that faith in Jesus and His finished work isn’t enough to purify the heart so they add their programs, routines, rituals and ceremonies to make the followers feel like they are doing something…doing their part. These works hinder the grace of God. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21. These practices hinder God’s grace because if He did in fact move on one’s behalf while they are doing their part (anything other than faith) it would not be Him that is glorified but the person or the method. We must never believe that God’s blessings are condoning our disobedience or unbelief. The Lord continued to bless the Israelites in the wilderness in hopes to bring them to the saving knowledge of Him, yet an entire generation perished.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:16-18.
For some reason many get twisted when they think about the Apostle Paul having a sin nature. The only One Who was born without a sin nature was Jesus Christ and Him alone. We are all born with a sin nature due to Adam’s fall. In Romans Chapter 6, 7 & 8, Paul talks of his warring with his sin nature, as all Saints will do from time to time, and most importantly the Apostle speaks of how to overcome our sin nature through our faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary’s Cross.
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 6:23-24. Many stumble when the mention of the Apostle Paul’s warring against the law in his mind and the law in his members is mentioned and they miss the “how” he overcame this war. This is not speaking disparagingly of the Apostle Paul by any means but of how the Holy Spirit, through Paul, shows us how to have victory over our sin nature. Don’t stumble when someone talks about the Apostle Paul warring with his flesh because you will miss how he also obtained victory in that war…faith in Jesus and what HE did, not by doing “his part”.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2.
The Holy Spirit shows us “how” Paul obtained victory by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” . The law of the Spirit requires faith in Jesus and His finished work to free us from the law of sin and death. The law of the Spirit does NOT require us to do “our part” – our part hinders our freedom from the law of sin and death. “Our part” will in fact keep us busy in religious works. We become so bound by those religious works that we blindly find ourselves in the worst kind of bondage – religion!
Another offense I have found by those who reject this message is the thought that sin is condoned…absolutely and by all means no! Our sin nature is a fact. We are all born with a sin nature because of Adam’s fall. However, when we are born again and baptized with Jesus into our Saviour’s death, we are now dead to our sin nature and alive unto God. Our sin nature is not dead but we are dead to it.
“ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection:” Romans 6:3-5.
It is our faith in what Jesus accomplished on the Cross that allows us to walk in the newness of life. We don’t celebrate Christ’s death we celebrate what His death accomplished for whosoever will accept Him as their Lord and Saviour. Praise God, when we know WHO Jesus is and what He accomplished there on Calvary’s Cross, we also know His Resurrection was a given…there was never any doubt of our Lord’s Resurrection!
Once we are buried in the likeness of His death through our faith in what He accomplished there on the Cross, we are raised up by the glory of the Father…not by doing our part. We are no longer spiritually dead in sin and trespasses but alive unto God. Before our Salvation we were unable to yield to God, we were spiritually dead. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:11-12.
Our sin nature is still alive but we are now alive unto God and not alive unto our sin nature. However, when our faith gets misdirected to another source for victory over our sin nature (religious works, methods, 40 days, psychology, etc.) through all of these doctrines sweeping through the churches, we begin once more to become alive unto our sin nature. Does this mean we are no longer born again? No! This means our Sanctification and spiritual growth are stumped until our faith is redirected back to Jesus and His finished work. Is there a danger of losing our Salvation? Yes, if our Sanctification becomes stagnant and our faith begins to fail in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are in grave danger. Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail him (Luke 22:32). The Lord knew Peter would fail but he prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail. Our faith in Jesus Christ and Him Crucified is satan’s bullseye. The devil knows if he can misdirect our faith, our faith is in danger of failing us because it is in the wrong object (“our part”, works, religion, denominations, etc.). As long as our faith is placed solely and exclusively on what Jesus has done, no one can pluck us out of the Lord’s hand. When we start following every scheme of man coming through the religious circles, we will follow them right in to a ditch….I’m speaking to you as well Hebraics Roots Movement!
How is our heart purified? “And God, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Acts 15:8-9. Our hearts are purified by faith…faith in Jesus Christ. A purified heart will want to be obedient to the Word of God. A purified heart will produce good works. A purified heart is what will change the world…one heart at a time.
-Donna Clark Warren