Grace and Goodness of God

The first verse in the Bible that I memorized after becoming a Christian was 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV)

I was not only saved from eternal damnation, I was a new creation! I had been Born-Again! If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you too are a totally new creation through the creative act of God!

Funny thing is with scripture memorization is that we tend to pick and choose individual verses out of a passage of the Bible and “leave the rest”; sometimes missing the whole point of the total passage.

For example, it took me a few years to read the next verses in 2 Corinthians 5 (v18-20) in which the apostle Paul wrote that we are not only new creations but we have been given (v.18) “the ministry of reconciliation, (v. 19) “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” We are now God’s ambassadors to this world (v.20) “as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God”.(NKJV)

Sadly, it took me many years; perhaps decades, to come to the next verse in 2 Corinthians 5 which is perhaps one of the greatest verses in the whole Bible that talk about the grace and goodness of God:

(v.21) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (NKJV)

The Amplified Bible puts it this way; “For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with him, by His goodness].

In my own words: “For He (the Heavenly Father) made Him (Jesus Christ)who knew no sin (to miss the mark) to be sin for us (to miss the mark and so not share in the prize, that is, (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) tosin: – for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.) that we might become the righteousness (innocent, holy; absolutely or relatively; just, meeting the some total requirements) of God in Him (Jesus Christ).”

My first question in reading this verse is “Did the Father make Jesus take on the sins of the world?” The answer is “yes” when He died on the cross for us.

My second question in reading this verse is; “If that is true, then what does that make us?” The answer is “We are declared righteous in the eyes of this Holy God- in Jesus Christ”. IN HIM “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV). Say that out loud, “I am the righteousness of God IN Christ!” Do you believe that; you should! Glory to God!

You see, God didn’t over look our sins, Jesus paid for our sins by His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus died that we might live; and He did it BEFORE we knew about; while we were still sinners.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8 NKJV); and“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV)

All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and put their complete faith and trust in Him and His complete work on the cross are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by simply trying to completely obey the law, or by a person’s own merit, or by any other condition other than faith in Jesus Christ.

The person who trusts in Jesus Christ becomes “the righteousness of God in Him”; and becomes in Jesus Christ all that God requires a man to be, all that he could never be in himself. That is the grace and goodness of God!

The Apostle Paul goes on in his second letter to the Corinthians telling us to not take this grace for granted because TODAY is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:1);  “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says:  “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (NKJV)

The Apostle Paul is saying that you too; like I did, can become a new creation. If you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior (accept His payment for your sin) and Lord (submit to His will for your life) you too will become a totally new creation through the creative act of God! You too will be brought into right relationship with God!

Today is the day of salvation; don’t put it off for one more moment.

Romans 10:8-11 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (NKJV)

New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson
Amplified Version © 1987 The Zondervan Corporation


Game Film Day in the Life of a Believer

It is a common practice among coaches to review films from games their team just played with their players in order to learn how they can improve individually and as a team. They also review films from other teams’ games in order to learn more about their opponent. I would imagine that this is either a very humbling or an honorable moment depending on how you played in the game that is being watched. All of the talk about how great you were will be proven as you get your moment to shine as a superstar on your team, as well as those moments when you forgot that the camera was rolling and you now can be seen in some of the game’s most embarrassing moments.

It is during that time that an athlete must remind him or herself that the purpose is to learn from the mistakes and stop, and go another direction in the next game; for their good as well as the rest of the team.

One day, each of us will give an account before God as we “watch the game film” from our life. The Bible speaks of the great Day when “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2Corinthinas 5:10). The Bible also tells us that “…no creature is hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Here on earth the Holy Spirit comes to each of us to show us “game films” when we sin. His goal is to show us our sin so that we can learn from the mistakes and stop, and go another direction in the next “game”. John 16:13 tells us “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…”

God comes to us and shows us in His Word how we have missed the mark. Hebrews 4:12- 13 tells us that “the word of God is Living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account

The Holy Spirit’s job as our “coach” is to lead and guide us into all truth, to show us how there was another way that we could have “run the play.” 1Corithians 10:13 tells us that “No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” He shows the “game films,” and at times we want to crawl away and hide as He brings to our minds those moments that we forgot that the camera was rolling and we now can see our selves in some of the “games” most embarrassing moments.

The devil also comes to show us the “game films”, but his purpose is to lead us into condemnation. Revelation 12:10 calls him “…the accuser of our brethren…” The devil wants to show us the “low-lights” from our “game film.” He comes not to show us how to do it right, but to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10a). His goal is to drive us into despair and away from God’s mercy and forgiveness. He wants to drive us into a life that is forever entrapped by sin.

The weight of the conviction is very different from the weight of condemnation the devil brings. It feels just as strong and the pictures can seem to be just as vivid as we watch the replays of our past sin. Conviction from the Holy Spirit is there to lead us to repentance, not destruction. Jesus said that He “has come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b). This life can only be experienced as we turn from all that brings us death. And, to teach us, the Holy Spirit takes us through the “game films” to show us where we have blown it (sinned).

The thing about watching a “game film” is that you don’t know what the “camera photographed”, and what will be brought to our attention, or how of ten the “coach” wants to review it with you. Just when you thought the “game film” was analyzed enough, the Holy Spirit brings it up again; but this time “from another angle or view.” Once again we see the “broken play,” and feel the weight of our failure. Once again tears flow as we watch in horror the “replay.” Once again the Holy Spirit takes us deeper in an understanding of the depth of our sin; we see how our sin affected the “rest of the team”; i.e., those around us. The weight of the full repentance that the Holy Spirit brings us through at times can seem overwhelming. At times the full realization can bring such anguish as we realize we have “broken the play and run another route.” When we feel the weight that is from the conviction that only the Holy Spirit can bring to us, we need to remind ourselves that it is out of His great love for us that He is disciplining us. The writer of Hebrews tell us is Hebrews 12:6; “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

Romans 8 verse1 reminds us “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Verses 28- 31 tells us “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God desires to take us through the process, not just part way, but fully to a place of restoration. He is going to take us through the “game films” so that we can truly be repented; turned away from our sins rather than returning to our old ways. 2Peter 2:22 tells us, “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb; ‘a dog returns to his own vomit’, and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’

Our Heavenly Father wants to bring us through a complete restoration that leaves us in right relationship with Him and those around us. A place where we, by God’s grace, are able to walk a life that turns its’ back on the flesh and sows to the things of the Spirit. A place where we can run the race that is set before us and win at the “game of life” that is set before us; a place where the “game film” from our individual lives bring praise and glory to His Name.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us; looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

All scripture from New King James Version © 1984 Thomas Nelson


Come Out of Your Stronghold!

INHERITANCE is the common term for property or any possession that comes to an heir. It is something that is or may be inherited; property passing at the owner’s death to the heir or those entitled to succeed; legacy; portion; birthright; heritage.

Sometimes when we think of “inheritance”, we think of it negatively; such as the genetic characters transmitted from parent to offspring, taken collectively. We think of it as the “bad flaws” that we receive from those who have gone before us; not just the size of our nose but attitudes, beliefs, “secret sins” that follow down family lines from one generation to another such as abuse, pornography or alcoholism.

Sometimes we think that we have to stay; we have no choice to leave and go somewhere else. We think that we are who we are because of our heritage; words spoken over us, habits, bondages, past sins, views of ourselves.

But I want to tell you that just because you are where you are at today because of what you “inherited”, you don’t need to stay where you are at. In fact I would go as far as to say that as a child of God, you have an absolute right of possession of another land!

The Bible tells us “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

The Bible tells us “In Him (Jesus) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

Because of Jesus Christ, we don’t need to stay in the strongholds in our lives! Because of Jesus Christ, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).

1 Samuel 22:5a in the Bible, we can read about a time when King David found himself in a land he didn’t want to dwell in. God sent the prophet Gad to him to tell him to get out of there: “Now the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah“.

Let me break that down for you in the Hebrew: (from “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance“)

do not stay” [‘abide not’] =

A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settletomarry: – (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.


From H4685; net, or (abstractly) capture; also a fastness: – castle, defense,  fort (-ress), (strong) hold, be huntednet, snare, strong place. H4685 = From H6679; net (for capturing animals or fishes); also (by interchange for H4679) a fastness or (besieging) tower: –bulwark, hold, munition, net, snare.


Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively): – (all) along, apace, behave (self), come, (on) continually, be conversant, depart, + be eased, enter, exercise (self), + follow, forth, forward, get, go (about, abroad, along, away, forward, on, out, up and down), + greater, grow, be wont to haunt, lead, march, X more and more, move (self), needs, on, pass (away), be at the point, quite, run (along), + send, speedily, spread, still, surely, + tale-bearer, + travel (-ler), walk (abroad, on, to and fro, up and down, to places), wander, wax, [way-] faring man, X be weak, whirl.

Judah“= From H3034; celebratedJehudah (or Judah), the name of five Israelites; also of the tribe descended from the first, and of its territory: – Judah.

H3034 = A primitive root; used only as denominative from H3027; literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively to bemoan (by wringing the hands): – cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving).

Here is my interpretation of 1 Samuel 22:5a = “Do not continue to remain in the castle of capture; caught in the net; married to and making your home in your snares; RUN! SPEEDILY! To the place of worship, celebration, and thanksgiving”

Because of Jesus Christ, we don’t need to stay in the strongholds in our lives!

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:19-23)

Because of Jesus Christ, we can throw off the things that drag us down and run to another place!

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

1 Peter 1:3-5 says:  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

All Scriptures from New King James Version
© 1984 Thomas Nelson


Breaking Up the Fallow Ground -An Outline For Repentance

By Charles. G. Finney
Edited and Paraphrased by Keith & Melody Green
This article is for Christians who have had trouble finding the true peace that is promised with conversion. For those who are frustrated because they are constantly struggling with weakness and sin, this could well be the very help they’ve been praying for. Charles Finney saw countless tens of thousands of true conversions and all before the days of radio, TV, or mass publications. We thank God for continuing to anoint and use his writings. Many thousands have been helped by this article to break through to God’s precious forgiveness. Remember one thing as you read this – God loves you so much, and is waiting for you to be thoroughly cleansed by His grace through repentance.
“Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you… ” Hosea 10:12
The Jews were a nation of farmers, and it is therefore a common thing for God to refer, in the Scriptures, to scenes from their daily lives as illustrations. Hosea addresses them as a nation of backsliders, but uses words that farmers and shepherds are familiar with. He rebukes them for their idolatry and sharply warns them of the impending judgments of God.
Fallow ground is ground which has once been tilled, but has gotten hard and now lies waste. It needs to be broken up and made soft again, before it is ready to receive seed. If you mean to break up the fallow ground of your heart, you must begin by looking at your heart – examine carefully the state of your mind and see where you are. Many people never even seem to think about doing this. They pay no attention to their own hearts, and never know whether they are doing well in their walk with the Lord or not – whether they are bearing fruit or are totally barren. Now you must draw off your attention from all other things and look into this right now! Make a business of it, do not be in a hurry.
Self-examination consists of looking at your life, considering your motives and actions. . . calling up your past and seeing its true character. Look back over your past history.
Take up your individual sins one by one, and look at them. This doesn’t mean that you just take a casual glance at your past life, see that it has been full of sin, and then go to God and make a sort of general confession, asking forgiveness. General confessions of sin are not good enough. Your sins were committed one by one; and as much as you are able, they ought to be reviewed and repented of one by one. It’s a good idea to take a pen and some paper as you go over them, and write them down as they come to mind.
Go over them as carefully as a businessman goes over his books; and as often as a sin comes to your memory, write it down! Now begin, and start with what are usually, but improperly, called sins of omission (i.e. things you didn’t do that you should have!).
1) Ingratitude (Unthankfulness). Take this sin, for example, and write down under this heading all the times you can remember where you have received great blessings and favors from God for which you have never given thanks. How many cases can you remember? Some remarkable protection where your life was spared, some wonderful turn of events that saved you from ruin. Write down the instances of God’s goodness to you when you were still in sin, before your conversion, for which you have never been half-thankful enough – and the uncountable mercies you have received since. How long the list of times where your ingratitude has been so black that you are forced to hide your face in shame! Get on your knees and confess them one by one to God, and ask Him to forgive you.
As you’re confessing these, they will immediately remind you of others . . . write them down too. Go over them three or four times in this way, and see what an incredible number of times God has given you mercy for which you have never thanked Him!
2) Lack of Love for God. Think how grieved and alarmed you’d be, if you suddenly realized a great lack of affection for you in your wife, husband, or children – if you saw that someone else had captured their hearts, thoughts, and time. Perhaps in such a case you would almost die with a just and holy jealousy. Now, God calls Himself a jealous God. Have you not given your heart to other loves and infinitely offended Him?
3) Neglect of the Bible. Put down the cases where for perhaps weeks or longer, God’s Word was not a pleasure to you. Some people, indeed, read over whole chapters in such a way that afterwards they could not tell you what they had been reading. If that is so with you, no wonder your life has no direction, and your relationship with God is in such a miserable state.
4) Unbelief. Recall the instances in which you have virtually charged the God of truth with lying, by your unbelief of His express promises and declarations. If you have not believed or expected to receive the blessings which God has clearly promised, you have called Him a liar.
5) Lack of Prayer. Think of all the times you have neglected private prayer, family prayer, and group prayer meetings; or you’ve prayed in such a way as to grieve and offend God more than if you hadn’t prayed at all.
6) Neglect of Fellowship. When you have allowed yourself to make small and foolish excuses that have prevented you from attending meetings. When you have neglected and poured contempt upon the gathering of the saints merely because you “didn’t like church”!
7) The Manner In which You have Performed Spiritual Duties. Think of all the times when you have spoken about God with such a lack of feeling and faith, in such a worldly frame of mind, that your words were nothing more than the mere chattering of a wretch who didn’t deserve that God should listen to him at all. When you have fallen down upon your knees and “said your prayers” in such an unfeeling and careless way that if you had been put under oath five minutes later, you could not say what you had been praying for.
8.) Lack of Love for Souls. Look around at all your friends and relatives, and think of how little compassion you have felt for them. You have stood by and seen them going straight to hell, and it seems as though you didn’t even care! How many days have there been when you have failed to make their wretched condition the subject of even one single fervent prayer, or to prove any real desire for their salvation?
9) Lack of Care for the Poor and Lost in Foreign Lands. Perhaps you have not cared enough about them to even attempt to learn of their condition. Do you avoid missions magazines? How much do you really know or care about the unconverted masses of the world? Measure your desire for their salvation by the self-denial you practice in giving from your substance to send them the Gospel.
Do you deny yourself even the hurtful excesses of life, such as tobacco or alcohol? Do you defend your standard of living? Will you not suffer yourself any inconvenience to save them? Do you daily pray for them in private? Are you setting aside funds to put into the treasury of the Lord when you go up to pray? (As in the story of the widow’s mite – Mark 12:41-44.) If your soul is not agonized for the poor and lost of this world, then why are you such a hypocrite as to pretend to be a Christian? (See Matt. 25:31-46.)
10) Neglect of Family Duties. Think of how you have lived before your family, how you have prayed, what an example you have set before them. What direct efforts do you habitually make for their spiritual welfare?
11) Lack of Watchfulness Over Your Witness. How many times have you failed to take your words and actions seriously? How often have you entirely neglected to watch your conduct and speech, and having been off your guard, you have sinned before the world, the church, and before God!
12) Neglect to Watch Over Your Brethren. How often have you broken your covenant that you would watch over them in the Lord? How little do you know or care about the state of their souls? And yet you are under a solemn duty to watch over them. What have you done to get to know them better? How many times have you seen them falling into sin, and you let them go on? And you pretend to love them? Would you watch your wife or child going into disgrace, or falling into a fire, and hold your peace?
13) Neglect of Self-Denial. There are many professing Christians who are willing to do almost anything in religion that does not require self-denial. They think they are doing a great deal for God, and doing about as much as He ought to reasonably ask, but they are not willing to deny themselves any comfort or convenience whatsoever for the sake of serving the Lord.
They will not willingly suffer reproach for the name of Christ. Nor will they deny themselves the luxuries of life to save a world from hell. They are so far from realizing that self-denial is a condition of discipleship, that they do not even know what it is! They have never really denied themselves a ribbon or a pin for Christ and the Gospel. Some are giving from their abundance, and giving a lot – and will even complain that others do not give more – when in truth, they are not giving anything that they need, or anything that they would enjoy if they kept it. They only give from their surplus wealth!
Now we turn to sins of commission . . .
14) Love of Things and Possessions. What has been the state of your heart concerning your earthly possessions? Have you looked at them as really yours – as if you had a right to use or dispose of them as your own? If you have, write it down! If you have loved property and sought after it for its own sake, or to gratify ambition, you have sinned and must repent.
15) Vanity. How many times have you spent more time decorating your body to go to church, than you have in preparing your heart and mind for the worship of God? You have cared more about how you appeared outwardly to men than how your soul appeared in the sight of God. You sought to divide the worship of God’s house, to draw off the attention of God’s people, to look at your pretty appearance. And you pretend that you do not care anything about having people look at you? Be honest about it! Would you take all this pain about your looks if every person were blind?
16) Envy. Look at the cases in which you were jealous of those who were in a higher position than you. Or perhaps you have envied those who have been more talented or more useful than yourself. Have you not so envied some, that it has caused you pain to hear them praised? It has pleased you more to dwell upon their faults than upon their virtues… upon their failures rather than their successes. Be honest with yourself, and if you have harbored this spirit of hell, then repent deeply before God.
17) Bitterness. Recall all the instances in which you have harbored a grudge or a bitter spirit toward someone, or have spoken of Christians in a manner completely devoid of charity and love. Love “hopes all things,” but you have given no benefit of doubt, and have suspected the worst.
18) Slander (Gossip). Think of all the times you have spoken behind people’s backs of their faults (real or supposed) unnecessarily and without cause. This is slander. You need not lie to be guilty of slander – to tell the truth with the intent to injure is slander.
19) Levity (A spirit of excessive humor). How often have you joked before God, as you would not have dared in the presence of an earthly dignitary or important official. You have either been an atheist and forgotten that God existed – or you have had less respect for Him and His presence than you would have had for a mere judge on earth.
20) Lying. Now understand what lying is. Any form of designed deception is lying. If you purpose to make an impression other than the naked truth, you lie. Put down all those cases you can recollect. Do not call them by any soft names. God calls them lies and charges you with lying, so you’d better charge yourself correctly! Think of all your words, looks, and actions designed to make an impression on others contrary to the truth, for selfish reasons.
21) Cheating. Set down all the cases where you have dealt with anyone in a way you yourself would not like at all. That is cheating. God has said that we should treat all men in the same manner we would like to be treated. (Matt. 7:12) That is the rule. And if you have not done so you are a cheat! God did not say that you should do what you would expect them to do, for if that were the rule it would allow for all kinds of wickedness in our actions. But it says, do what you would want them to do to you! (Have you cheated the government? i.e., unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps, social security, student loans, etc., gained by fraud?)
22) Hypocrisy. For instance, in your prayers and confessions to God, set down all the times in which you have prayed for things you didn’t really want. How many times have you confessed sins that you never intended to stop doing? Yes, you have confessed sins when you knew in your heart you as much expected to go and repeat them, as you expected to live!
23) Robbing God. Think of all the instances in which you have totally misspent your time, squandering the hours which God gave you to serve Him, and save souls. Precious time wasted in vain amusement or worthless conversation, in reading worldly novels, or even doing nothing; cases where you have misused your talents and ability to think. Think of how you have squandered God’s money on your lusts, or spent it for things which you really didn’t need, which did not contribute to your health, comfort, or usefulness. Think of a professing believer using God’s money to poison himself with tobacco or intoxicating drink!
24) Bad Temper. Perhaps you have abused your wife, or your children, or your family, or employees, or neighbors. Write it all down!
25) Hindering Others From Being Useful. You have not only robbed God of your own talents, but tied the hands of somebody else. What a wicked servant is he who not only is useless himself, but hinders the rest! This is done sometimes by taking their time needlessly. Thus you have played into the hands of Satan, and not only proved yourself to be an idle vagabond, but prevented others from working also.
26) Idols and Other Religions. (I found as I was sitting down to write out my sins, that there were whole categories of sins that are common today, that would never even have been spoken of to the church in Finney’s day. Some of these include fornication and sexual sins, the whole area of false peace induced by drugs, and occult involvement – including astrology, witchcraft, meditation, yoga, and the whole gamut of Eastern religions and philosophies, etc. -Keith)
Some Important Guidelines To Follow
1) If you find you have committed a fault against anyone, and that person is within your reach, go and confess it immediately and get that out of the way. If they are too far away for you to go and see them, sit down and write them a letter (or better yet call them), confessing the injury you have committed against them. If you have defrauded anybody, send the money – the full amount and the interest.
2) As you go over the catalogue of your sins, be sure to resolve upon immediate and entire reformation. Wherever you find anything wrong, commit yourself at once, in the strength of God, to sin no more in that way. It will be of no benefit to examine yourself unless you determine to change, in every aspect, that which you find wrong in heart, temper, or conduct.
3) Go thoroughly to work in all this! Go now! Do not put it off – that will only make matters worse. Confess to God those sins that have been committed against God, and to man those sins that have been committed against man. Do not think about getting off easy by going around the stumbling blocks. Take them up out of the way. In breaking up your fallow ground, you must remove every obstacle. Things may be left that you may think are little things, and you may wonder why you don’t have your peace with God, when the reason is your proud and carnal mind has covered up something which God has required you to confess and remove.
Unless you take up your sins in this way, and consider them in detail, one by one, you can form no idea of the amount or weight of them. You should go over the list as thoroughly and as carefully and as solemnly as if you were preparing yourself for the Judgment! (I Cor. 11:31) (Author: Charles G. Finney)


Come Meet My Dad

I have a friend who goes through the same ritual each time he visits his dad. First he bounces up the front steps and says “Dad; I’m home!” and gives his dad a hug and a kiss. He immediately goes to refrigerator and gets some cookies and then to the freezer to get some ice cream; because he needs some. Then he gets some dry roasted nuts from the secret spot in the cabinet because he needs some. And then after all his needs are met, he sits down in the living room so his dad can ask; “How are you doing? How is your wife? How are the kids? How are things going at your church? How can I pray for you? What do you need?”

My friend truly believes that this is how God the Father wants us to come to Him; like children into the arms of a Father who wants to feed us and love on us! And, after our needs are met, He wants to ask us about how things are going and how He can help us.

Most of us would love to approach God the Father like that; but we believe that we need to be quiet in His presence, and that He is too busy to meet with us; after all, we should be glad He sent us Jesus. We believe we need to wait until a certain time or season to approach the Father; or that He is waiting for us to jump through some hoop to get His love.

My friend, nothing could be further from the truth! In Hebrews 4:16 we read; “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (NKJV). The Greek word for ‘boldly’ means: frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication assurance: – boldness of speech, confidence, freely, openly, plainly.

The climax and the goal of the New Testament is the revelation of the Father and how much He longs to be with us. If you stop with just knowing Jesus, you’re going to stop short of the revelation and the relationship that Jesus died to bring you into. I believe that If Jesus was standing here with you right now; He would be saying to you personally, “Today, I’d like you to meet my Dad; the Father you’ve not yet known.”


The love need that each of us has is so deep that only the Father can meet it. In Jeremiah 31:3 we read; “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” In other words; you “have-never-not-been-loved.” To go from feeling unloved to the reality that you “have-never-not-been-loved” is revolutionary. The Father chose you in love before the foundation of the world.

Say that to yourself right now, “I have never not been loved.” The phrase may not be grammatically correct, but it is a spiritual reality even if you have not ever experienced it before. Say it again to yourself, “I have never not been loved.”

You and I hear that we are saved by grace, and grace alone. But often we relate to the Heavenly Father based on what we do and don’t do, such as whether we pray enough, or read the Bible enough, or witness enough. We live under condemnation instead of the reality that He loves each of us; individually! You, my friend, are precious to Him! He calls you beloved. Say it again to yourself, “I have never not been loved.”

My friend, Our Heavenly Father’s love isn’t based upon what you or I do; He loves us because He is love. If you read Matthew 3:16, you will see Jesus being baptized. In verse 17, you will read ‘And lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”‘ If you study that passage and the passages before verse 17, you will discover that Jesus had not yet really done anything spectacular; this was before His earthly ministry started. Yet, the Father was well pleased. Why? Because the Father’s eyes your identity comes before your function. Jesus was and is His Son and He was and is well pleased. And that is what your Heavenly Father wants you to hear today: that you are His Beloved child whom He loves.

Let Jesus take you to meet His Dad. Romans 8:17a tells us; “And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” This is not some intellectual concept, but a submitting of yourself to Him so that He can be a Father to you.

You may be thinking; “Yeah, but I’ve blown it, I’ve done such awful things; He would never want to be with me; it can’t be that simple! I must earn my way back to the Father!” Although you may feel that way, it is simply not true. The only thing that you are really required to do is to confess your sins (which means to agree with what God calls sin) and confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from death.

Jesus tells a story in Luke 15 to let us know what that relationship with Father God looks like. The prodigal son leaves his earthly father with his father’s money and wastes it in various ways. At some point, the son comes to his senses and finds his way back home. In Luke 15 v.21, the son has a speech prepared, ready to give to his father. In the speech, we see that the son wanted to be treated not as a son, or even as a slave (both a son and a slave would live under the father’s roof), but as an employee of his father.

However, in verse 22 we read that this gracious father will hear nothing of his son’s speech, but instead the father runs to reestablish the relationship and speaks to the servants: My son is home! Get the robe, the ring, the sandals, and kill the fattened calf.

The ROBE meant restoration of position! The RING meant restoration of authority! The SANDALS meant restoration of dominion! Shoes were exchanged in the cutting of covenants. Shoes also meant that the son was free to walk around his father’s estate. By putting these three items on the son the father was saying; Slave? NEVER! Employee? NEVER! You’re my SON, and everything I have is yours.

Luke 15 verse 23-24 tells us that the fattened calf was prepared as a covenantal dinner to re-establish the father’s relationship to the son. Why had the calf already been fattened? The father had been waiting for his Son to come home.

Today, Jesus wants to take you to His Father. He is waiting for you to say “yes” to come meet His Dad. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). And in John 6:37,“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out”. Say “yes,” won’t you, to Jesus when He says to you today; “Come Meet My Dad.”

“Come Meet My Dad  ” Rev. Tom Oestreich © 1995 River of Hope Ministries. All Rights Reserved

Christmas at Denny’s

Want to hear a sad fact? This Christmas, hundreds of people across the country will be eating at Denny’s Restaurant instead of at the home of a loved one. Don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with the variety of food that they can enjoy at Denny’s. In fact, they can find multiple combinations of food on the menu at any Denny’s Restaurant from coast to coast. And, the refills of coffee are always for free. But one thing they won’t find on the menu is something to cure their loneliness and something to put hope into their heart.

We ask the question; “WWJD?” Personally, I think that Jesus would go to Denny’s over some high faluting party. Jesus spent time with the down and outer; the prostitutes, the social outcasts; the ones who had something bad happen to them and made wrong choices.

Part of our ‘mission’ here on this earth is to let people know the hope of His calling (Ephesians 1:18). People spending Christmas at Denny’s need the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Jesus may be calling some of you to go to Denny’s.

I never come to Christmas without thinking about the thousands of people who are lonely, diseased, and troubled at this time of year.

Christmas is a reminder from God Himself that we are not alone. Isaiah said, “His Name shall be called ‘Immanuel’ (which means ‘with us (is) God’). God revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus a reconciling love which rescues people from separation and loneliness.

Jesus came on that night that we call Christmas to be born, to live, to be put to death, and to be raised from the dead to save people from their sins. As great as doctors are today, they cannot treat sin. As great as psychiatrists are, they can only treat the symptoms, maybe even help a patient live with their problems, but they can not treat sin.

When the angel appeared the Mary, mother of Jesus, to proclaim His coming birth, Mary was told that she would bring forth a Son and His name would be called Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Heaven and earth rejoiced together because that day a Savior was born, Jesus Christ, the only One who could save them from despair. Christmas is a time of renewed hope; hope that in spite of all of our bungled mistakes, God can bring order out of chaos.

The Christmas message tells us that God’s grace is greater than our sin. The sin issue was settled at the cross on which was hung Jesus Christ. That is the gift that we celebrate on Christmas day. The Christmas message has not changed in over 2000 years; God is still with us. And that is what the people who will be spending their Christmas at Denny’s NEED to hear! And some one has to tell them; perhaps you?

Most of us will be spending the day rejoicing with family and loved ones rather than at Denny’s. But, have you ever noticed that when we spend time with our loved ones who don’t know the Lord, we act like we’ve been preserved in lemon juice?!? My friends, we have been given so much. We need to be grateful for all that God has bestowed upon us. This is a day to rejoice!

If Jesus was going to go to the family gatherings rather than Denny’s, my guess is that He would join in the celebration. Jesus wouldn’t sit around looking like He was drinking lemon juice, He would be rejoicing and sharing love! Jesus knows the Father’s love! Jesus knows the Christmas message! We as Believers also need to love as though we know this message, instead of looking as though we hate being with our families because ‘they aren’t saved’. We need to let our lives show that we know the One who died for all sinners and rejoice and laugh and love those whom we are spending time with (see Romans 12:9-21).

This Christmas is a great time to be ‘mission-centered’ and reach out to those in our world. For some, it will be at Denny’s, for some it will be with our families. We are all called to be ambassadors as though God were pleading through us (2 Corinthians 5:20). My prayer is that God will show each one of us how and to whom He would like us to reach out this Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season.


They got Christmas Muzak® piped in through the ceiling
And the refills of coffee are always for free
And the waitress on graveyard and the surly night manager
Are wishing that all of us losers would leave

There’s a star on the sign at the Texaco® Station
Like the star long ago on that midnight clear
As I look all around at these cold, empty faces
I doubt that you’d find many wise men here

And I’m dreaming about A silent night – Holy Night
When things were alright and I’m dreaming about
How my life could have been if only, if only, if only
But somewhere down the road I gave up that fight
Merry Christmas – It’s Christmas at Denny’s tonight

Once I had a home and a wife and a daughter
Had a company job earning middle-class pay
Then Lisa got killed by a car near the schoolyard
And my wife started drinking just to get through each day
I will never forget that little red wagon
Turning to rust all alone in the rain
One morning I flagged down a truck on the highway
I just couldn’t bear to go back there again


God Has a Big But

Throughout the Bible there is story after story of people facing insurmountable circumstances for which there appeared to be no way out and no possible way for a victory. And yet, if you read the end of each one of the stories, God gives victory to those who walk in His ways.

What I noticed was a common theme throughout these stories’ that they had people who had their backs against the wall and a testimony of how they were victorious. Right in the middle of each one of the stories is a key phrase that made all the difference in the world. It is a phrase that causes the reader to stop, and go another direction.

Simply put the phrase is “But God….”

You can also read interruptions to the stories in the Bible that goes something like; “nevertheless God”, and “however God”, and “moreover God”.

My friend I am writing this to you today to let you know that no matter what circumstance you are facing, you need to know that where you are currently at is not the end of the story because God has a big ‘but’.

The following are verses from the Bible to get you starting to know that God has a big ‘but’.

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.” (Genesis 8:1)

“But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” (Genesis 17:19)

“But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named.” (Genesis 21:12)

“Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:8)

“Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers.” (Genesis 48:21)

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

“Joseph said to his brothers, “ I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” (Genesis 50:24)

“But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day.” (Judges 15:19)

“David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.” (1 Samuel 23:14)

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. Selah.” (Psalm 49:15)

“But God will shoot at them with an arrow; Suddenly they will be wounded.” (Psalm 64:7)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

“But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.” (Psalm 75:7)

“But God
appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.” (Jonah 4:7)

“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” (Acts 2:24)


“But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘ IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL?” (Acts 7:42)

“But God raised Him from the dead;” (Acts 13:30)

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

“For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.” (Galatians 3:18)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4)

“For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.” (Philippians 2:27)

“Nevertheless God”
, the LORD your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you.” (Deuteronomy 23:5)

Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them, For You are a gracious and compassionate God.” (Nehemiah 9:31)

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “ Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

“However God”
“Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times; however, God did not allow him to hurt me.” (Genesis 31:7)

“because they did not meet the sons of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.” (Nehemiah 13:2)

“However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.” (Daniel 2:28)

“Moreover God”
“Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish.” (Deuteronomy 7:20)

Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)

Moreover, I will deliver the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel master, And a mighty king will rule over them,” declares the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isaiah 19:4)

© 2011 River of Hope Ministries. All Rights Reserved


How to Overcome Sin

By Charles G. Finney (Edited and paraphrased by Keith Green)

There are multitudes of anxious Christians who are inquiring what they shall do to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. They overlook the fact that “this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (I John 5:4) that it is with “the shield of faith” that they are to “extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.” (Eph. 6:16)

“Why do I sin?” they inquire; and looking around for the cause, they come to the same conclusion: “It is because I neglect such and such a duty!” “But how shall I get rid of sin?” Usual answer: “By doing my duty that is by ceasing from sin.” Now the real question should be: Why do they neglect their duty? Why do they commit sin at all? Where is the foundation of all this mischief? But all this only brings us back to the real question again: How are we to overcome this corrupt nature, this wickedness, and our sinful habits? I answer, BY FAITH ALONE. No works of law have the least tendency to overcome our sins, but rather they strengthen the soul in self-righteousness and unbelief.

The great and fundamental sin which is at the foundation of all other sin is unbelief. The first thing to do is to give that up – to believe the Word of God. There is no breaking away from one sin without this. “Whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23) “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Heb. 11:6) Thus we see that the backslider and convicted Christian, when agonizing to overcome sin, will almost always try to use the works of law to obtain faith. They will fast and pray and read and struggle and outwardly reform, and thus endeavor to obtain grace. But all this is in vain and wrong. Do you ask, “Shall we not fast and pray and read and struggle? Shall we do nothing but sit down in cheap security and inaction?” I answer: You must do all that God commands you to do; but begin where He tells you to begin, and do it in the manner in which He commands you to do it. That is – in the exercise of that faith that works by love. (Gal. 5:6) Purify your hearts by faith. Believe in the Son of God! (I John 5:10)

What Is “Faith”?

A wife without confidence in her husband can do nothing more than outwardly perform her duty to him. Works of law may be performed without faith, that is, we may serve from fear or hope or some selfish motive, but without the confidence that works by love, obedience from the heart is naturally impossible.

By what I’ve already said, I mean that to seek the grace of faith by mere human works is an utter abomination. It is as abominable as to attempt to purchase the Holy Ghost with money. (Acts 8:20) It is to set aside the testimony of God’s Word concerning our utter depravity (helplessness) and attempt to pawn off our unbelieving, heartless works upon an infinitely Holy God. It is an attempt to purchase His favor, instead of accepting grace as His sovereign gift.

To give any other answer to one in unbelief, and to tell him to perform any work with the expectation that by it he shall obtain faith, is to confirm him in self-righteousness, to prolong his rebellion, to lead him to settle down in a self-righteous hope to produce in the end, discouragement and blasphemy.

Because repentance, faith, love, and every other holy exercise both imply and proceed from faith – without confidence in the character and requirements of God, it is impossible to repent. For what is repentance but heartily to justify God and condemn ourselves? So it is equally impossible to exercise a trusting love in God without faith. Submission to God implies the exercise of confidence in God and in His requirements.

Faith is the only exercise that receives Christ with all His powerfully sanctifying influences into the heart. The Bible everywhere represents the sanctified soul as being under the influence of an indwelling Christ. Now the exercise of faith is an opening of the door by which Christ is received to reign in the heart. If this is so, the proper direction plainly is to do that which receives Christ. If this is done, all else will be done. If this is neglected, all else will be neglected, of course!

Some Helpful Remarks

1. You see why the Church is not sanctified. They overlook the office and necessity of faith as that which alone can produce acceptable obedience to God. They are engaged in efforts to obtain faith by works, instead of first exercising that faith which will produce within them a clean heart. And in this way they seek in vain for sanctification. How common it is to see Christians bustling about with outward efforts and works – fasting and praying, giving and doing and struggling – and after all this, they do not have the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23 KJV)

2. You see why the Bible lays so much stress upon faith.

3. You see what the difficulty is for those who are constantly in a complaining state in their walk with the Lord. They seem to know they are wrong, but do not understand what the foundation of their wrong consists of. They sometimes think that a neglect of a certain duty is the grand difficulty, and sometimes their mind fastens upon something else that is the prime difficulty in their case. They set themselves to break off from one sin and another, they practice this self-denial and that duty, and all without that faith that fills the heart with love. Thus they go round and round in a circle and do not see that unbelief is their great, their damning sin, without the removal of which no other sin can be repented of or forgiven. All their efforts are entirely legal, hypocritical, and vain until they exercise faith.

4. If persons without faith, in an unsanctified state, set themselves to obey the commandments of God, their efforts must necessarily be legal, self-righteous, and destructive. To them the directions of the Gospel, as well as the commandments of the law, are a horrible pit of miry clay. And when you cast a man into a horrible pit of miry clay, the more he struggles the deeper he sinks. Every effort at obedience without faith is sin, and as it confirms self-righteousness, is sinking him further and further from God and rational hope. And the more violently he struggles, the more desperate and alarming his case becomes. The clay surrounds him and cleaves to him, suffocates and kills him. Just so the commands of God to an unbelieving heart are a snare and a pit. Without faith, there is ruin and damnation in them.

5. To the careless, unawakened sinner who knows nothing of his lostness, it might be important and proper to direct his attention to the law of God to bring conviction – not with the expectation of promoting holiness in him, but of convicting him of sin. Thus we find Christ requiring the rich young man who is wrapped up in self-righteousness to keep the commandments, bringing out before his mind his supreme love of the world and of things. (Luke 18:18-23)

6. You see how to the Jews and to all unbelievers, the commandments of God are a stumbling block. All outward conformity to them is useless and ruinous. Love without faith is impossible. And consequently, the merciful directions and instructions contained in the dos and don’ts of the Bible are made the food of self-righteousness and the snare of death. But to those whose souls are full of faith and love, the commandments of God are just the instruction which they need when, in their ignorance, they earnestly inquire what they shall do to glorify God. “Do this and avoid that,” and the like, are just the things upon which hearts of love will seize as the needed directions of their Heavenly Father.

7. But someone may inquire, “Do not men learn to exercise faith by what you call legal efforts and an obedience to the legal directions?” No. They only learn by experience that all such directions are vain, and that they are totally depraved and dependent, which they ought to have believed before. They set themselves to pray and read and struggle, expecting at every meeting they attend, with every prayer they make, to obtain grace and faith.

But they never do until they are completely discouraged and despair of obtaining help in this way. And the history of every self-righteous sinner’s conversion and every anxious Christian’s sanctification would develop this truth: that deliverance does not come until their self-righteous efforts are proved by their own experience to be utterly vain, and abandoned as useless – and the whole subject thrown upon the sovereign mercy of God. This submitting a subject to the sovereign mercy of God is that very act of faith which they should have put forth long before, but which they would not exercise until every other means had been tried in vain!

8. But perhaps you will say, “If by this self-righteous struggle they learn their depravity and dependence, and in this matter come to prove by their own experience the truth of God, why not encourage them to make these efforts as at least an indirect way of obtaining faith?” Answer: Blasphemy and drunkenness and any of the most shocking sins may be, and often have been, the means of working conviction which has resulted in conversion. Why not encourage these things to possibly bring about ultimate salvation for some?

The truth is, when a sinner’s attention is awakened and he is convicted and puts forth the inquiry, “What shall I do?” and when a Christian, struggling with his remaining corruption, puts forth this same inquiry, why should they be thrown into the horrible pit of which I have spoken? Why not tell them at once, in the language of the text, “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He has sent”? (John 6:29)

9. Let me say to you who would make the inquiry, “How can I overcome sin?” don’t wait to fast, read, pray, or anything else – don’t expect to break off from any sin in your unbelief! You may break off from the outward commission – you may substitute praying for swearing, reading your Bible for reading magazines, outward employment and honesty for theft and idleness, soberness for drunkenness, and anything you please – but this, without faith, is after all, only exchanging one form of sin for another – it is only varying the mode of your rebellion towards God. For remember that in unbelief, whatever your conduct is, you are still in rebellion against God. Faith would instantly sanctify your heart, sanctify all your doings, and render them in Christ Jesus, acceptable to God.

My dear friend, you inquire whether you shall obtain holiness by reading the Bible, or by prayer, fasting, or by all these together. Now let this sermon answer you and know that by neither nor by all of these, in the absence of faith, are you to grow any better or find any relief. You speak of being in darkness and of being discouraged. No wonder you are so, since you have plainly been seeking sanctification by outward works. You have “stumbled over the stumbling stone.” (Rom. 9:32) You are in that pit of miry clay. Immediately exercise faith upon the Son of God! It is the first, the only thing you can do to rest your feet upon the Rock – and it will immediately put a new song into your mouth!


How to Get Right With God

First of all, in spite of what you’ve heard God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

In the Bible we read;  “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him”(John3:16-17 NIV).

“I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).

But, it seems that most people aren’t experiencing life as described in the Bible verses we just read; WHY IS THAT?

Simply put, it is because people are sinful;

In other words

  • They don’t live as God wants them to live.
  • And because of that, they are distant, or separated from God.
  • And cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for their lives.

In the Bible we read;

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Romans 3:23).

When God made people,

  • He intended FOR EVERYONE to have a loving relationship with Him.

But, because people have free-will,

  • Often they chose to go their own independent ways;
  • Doing what they want.

And a relationship with God is broken.

The Bible calls this sin.

  • Sin is anything that separates us from God;
  • it means to miss the mark.

In the Bible we read;

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

In other words,

  • the price to do whatever we want results in a spiritual separation from God. And life apart from God is death.

But God doesn’t want us to stay separated from Him

  • so He made a way to “bridge the gap” that divides us from Him.
  • This way is through Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin.

Through Jesus (and Jesus alone)

  • You can know
  • And experience God’s love
  • And plan for your life.

Remember that we read in the Bible that “the wages of sin is death?”

Well, In the Bible we also read; that Jesus died in our place

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way to God.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'” (John 14:6).

You might be thinking, “I already know this.”

But, it is not enough just to know this;

  • you must personally and individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior
  • And Lord.
  • After that that, then you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

In the Bible we read;

“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12)


We Receive Christ Through Faith
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

“… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

Just to agree intellectually

  • That Jesus Christ is the Son of God
  • And that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough.
  • Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience.
  • We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

Receiving Christ involves turning our wills and lives to God

  • And trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins
  • And to make us what He wants us to be.

The Bible calls this “repentance”.

  • What that means is to “change the way you think”;
  • In other words go another direction- with our thoughts, words, actions; with how we live our lives.

God will only give eternal life to:

  1. Those who are sorry for their sins.
  2. Those who are willing to turn away from what the Bible calls sin.
  3. Those who put their complete trust (have faith) in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection.

When We Receive Christ, we will experience a “New Birth”

 1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Jn 3:1-8

So, how do you do you get right with God?

  1. Stop trusting in your own efforts to please God and begin to trust in what Jesus Christ has already done.
  2. Ask God to forgive you for your sins.
  3. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
  4. Ask Jesus to take His rightful place as Lord and Savior of your life.
  5. Turn away from whatever the Bible says is sin.
    1. NOTE: This is only possible after you have made Jesus the Lord of your life.

You can do this right now by praying (speaking to God) in your own words like this:






This new life will continue to grow by:

  1. Spending time each day; throughout the day praying and worshipping God.
  2. Spending time reading the Bible which is His Word
  3. Spending time with other Christians at church, Bible studies, and fellowships.
  4. Spending time sharing with others who yet don’t know how they too can get right with God.