CHAPTER ONE OF “THE WIDE ROAD”

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                                                                   The Cross Roads

Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. Hebrews 3:7, 8

Joel stood at the crossroads of life. His dark shaggy hair fell over his youthful brow, shadowing the piercing of his deep grey eyes that were staring intently into the valley that loomed before him. A fierce inner struggle was taking place in the young man’s heart so that he groaned from deep within. “Which way should I choose?” he cried.

The Good Shepherd watched the young man who stood halting between two opinions and like the soft gentle rain falling from heaven, he began to speak softly into Joel’s heart. “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

After contemplating the narrow way, Joel found that he just could not bear the thought of carrying that heavy cross through the gate of life and down the narrow road. Being quite aware of the story told to all travellers of how narrow was the way of the righteous, he cringed at the very thought of it. Joel knew that the narrow way led to persecutions and tribulations for the word’s sake and he sure did not want to be burdened with that.

Looking into the Narrow way, Joel realized that he would never be able to walk down such a narrow path and still be encumbered with the cares of this life. To his dismay he saw that cross at the door of Hope and there was just no way of getting around it. “You don’t want to take that narrow road do you?” Joel’s carnal nature balked as Joel pondered the narrow way. “Come on give me a break! That way is for losers, the simple-minded who need a crutch to get through life!

Joel’s moral conscience that wanted to obey the written law rather than the Spirit of life, also cried out at Joel’s peering into the narrow way. “Don’t take that road! You won’t be able to obey the law for righteousness!”

Considering the voice of his moral conscience which tried to persuade him to walk in self-righteousness and his carnal nature which pulled him towards vice and vanity, Joel turned aside from the way of life and began his journey down the wide road.

Filled with his own ways, Joel was enticed by his carnal nature, to pursue after the pleasures of this life. With delight he traveled the wide road experiencing the most tempting sensations that he could possibly imagine. Revealed before him in all their arrangement of wonderful and tantalising fare were the pleasures of this life conceived from the inordinate desires of the hearts of men.

By choosing his own way, the traveler of the wide road at once began to pursue the passions of his wayward heart.  Having resisted the gentle wind of conviction that blew over him at the cross roads of life, Joel’s heart soon became hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. By rejecting the way of truth, he was soon filled with the error of his own ways and it was not long before his journey down the wide road led him through the deceitful weeds of wicked intentions. In Joel’s ignorance, he began to pursue with rigorous fervour, worldly endeavours and being tempted by the dark powers of this present world who ruled the wide road, he soon became entangled with the affairs of this life.

The Good Shepherd who seeks out those who are lost and without hope on the wide road, continued to watch over the young man on his journey with great compassion. For Joel was a chosen vessel called by God for his eternal purposes and even though he would go through a time of great darkness, the Father who knows the beginning from the end would draw Joel and call him out of darkness into his glorious light.

Traveling through the weeds of wicked intentions that lead through the thorny spikes of worldly sorrows, Joel in stubborn determination continued in his own way until he came to the entrance of the land of Self-seeking.  At the entrance to the city he saw a sinister looking man sitting in a booth by the wayside. Dressed in black attire and wearing a devilish grin upon his face the man motioned for Joel to come towards him. As he did, Joel saw a sign hanging over the booth where the man was sitting, that read; “Welcome to the Wide Road. All travelers required to exert self will and worldly ambition. Have a pleasant journey.”

The man at the booth, who was eyeing the traveler of the wide road rather impertinently with an all-knowing look upon his face, caused Joel to become rather annoyed. With an impudence of his own, he decided to confront the man head on. “What seems to be your problem?” Joel asked not bothering to cover up his quite blatant aggravation. The man at the booth just ignored him and with a mischievous grin sighed, as if to say, “I have been here so many times before and you are just another number of the many who are going their own way down the wide road. ”

Holding out a pair of dark glasses for Joel to take, the man at the booth began twisting his thin moustache, and said with a smirk on his face. “Here, friend, you will need to wear these if you want to continue in your own way down the Wide Road.”

“What are they for?” Joel asked as he held up the dark glasses to the sun and peered curiously through them.

They are your blinders,” the man grinned again mischievously. “All our travelers must wear them, you know, they keep out the light.

“How will I ever be able to see with these things on?” Joel asked the smirking man in bewilderment.

These blinders will not obstruct your vision in any way, traveler, but serve only to keep the messengers of the gospel from penetrating your understanding. You do not want to lose your own way do you?” The man grinned with a look of glee.

“Why, of course not,” Joel balked. “who are these messengers of the gospel anyway?”

Bothersome creatures and quite fanatic I’m afraid.” The man at the booth sighed with resignation. “They try to hinder your journey down the wide road and will even stop it if they can, by preaching that foolish gospel which claims only one way to salvation. You don’t believe that stuff do you?”

Joel shook his head quite vehemently. “No, I do not!”

I didn’t think so or you wouldn’t be here.” The man at the booth laughed uproariously. “Who could believe such a tale? Did you know that those goody two-shoes are always trying to keep our travelers from enjoying the pleasures of this life?”

Wrinkling his nose with displeasure as he fastened the dark glasses on his face, Joel declared with pride, “I intend on enjoying the pleasures of this life and no pesky light creature is going to take off my blinders of that you can be sure!”

The man at the booth twirled his handle bar moustache and grinned even more at Joel’s wilfulness. “Well so long. I guess I’ll be on my way now.” Joel said as he turned around to continue his journey down the wide road. “I’m off to search for the pleasures of this life.”

The man at the booth then yelled after Joel, “Remember; don’t let those messengers of the gospel take off your blinders. You could get saved from the pleasures of this life and change over to the other side if you are not careful.”

“I’ll be careful.” Joel yelled back.

The wide road which at first was filled with ease and comfort gradually became cumbersome for the traveler and very unpredictable. Joel soon found himself being led down one dead-end and then another. Finally, after going down many bends and curves, the traveler of the wide road became quiet exhausted and he fell down into a crumbled heap on the cold and stony ground.

Just when Joel was drifting off into a deep slumber, from out of nowhere sprung up from the cracks of the hard cold ground, vines, which began ever so craftily to wind themselves about the traveler of the wide road’s feet. Clinging to his weak flesh the vines of vanity held on to Joel tenaciously, keeping him firmly fixed to the cares of this life.

Awaking with a start, the traveler of the wide road found to his dismay, that he could not in his own power break free from the intense grip that the vines of vanity had upon him. Creeping up his pant legs the vines of vanity had found their way to the traveler of the wide road’s heart, where with a death like grip they squeezed on tightly to his high-minded imagination that was being nourished, and fed upon the wisdom of this world.

At the point of absolute despair, Joel cried out, to God or a god, whoever would listen and come to his aid during times of trouble. To his surprise, once again Joel heard the familiar still small voice calling him to the narrow way.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Struggling with his carnal human nature that desired after that which perishes with the using, the traveler of the wide road found himself becoming more and more bound up in the vines of vanity. The more that Joel tried to get free from the ensnarement of the cares of this life, the more entangled he became. It was not until Joel completely reached the end of his own self-exertion that he finally began to be able to bend his leg inward just enough to straighten out his own way and get part of himself free. At the sound of the Good Shepherd’s voice whose mercy spread over Joel like the wings of an eagle, the vines of vanity eventually began to loosen their grip.

It was just enough for the traveler of the wide road to find a way of escape. Then with all his might Joel forced his way out from the vines of vanity which had grown in abundance on the hard cold ground. But like an ox going to the slaughter, the traveler of the wide road once again returned to the pathway of wicked intentions that he hoped would lead him eventually to the pleasures of this life.

Winding and winding, the way of self- seeking seemed to be getting Joel nowhere, until just before he was about to give up on ever finding his own way, he saw before him a lush valley spread out in the not too far distance. It was a wonderful discovery for the traveler of the wide road to be able to finally find a place to satisfy the longing of his empty heart and rest his weary troubled soul from the trials of life that he had just experienced.

In this deceptive valley on the wide road grew many trees, worldly and wise. Hanging from their branches were passionate fruit that was soft and juicy and blossoming among the enlightened of this age were flowers adorned with vain beauty; tempting tulips in a variety of colors, Chrysanthemums adorned with pompous pompons, peonies tall and tantalizing, roses with spiky thorns, daffodils trumpeting clusters of hearsay as well as many other kinds of wild flowers growing wild and wondrous.

The traveler of the wide road, with pleasure partook of the forbidden fruit of worldly desire as he frolicked among the wild flowers whose fragrance intoxicated him with euphoric pleasure, so much so that Joel soon became completely over taken by the love of this present world. Eventually, even the air in which Joel breathed became so enticing that he could scarce keep awake and alert to moral danger. Having his mind controlled by the sensual lure which had captivated his heart and dulled his perceptively, Joel was aroused exceedingly to the cares of this life.

Having his heart filled with the intoxicating aroma of worldly passions and the wisdom of this world, Joel closed his eyes and fell into a deep slumber, at the base of a huge willow tree that was filled with the strength and might of the gods of this age. He slept in self-confidence and snored aloud in his apathetic slumber.

Flooding the traveler of the wide road’s dreams were fanciful feasts of delicious dainties and delightful passions that tantalized his imagination. This caused him to sleep on and on without feeling any immediate consequence for his selfish motives and wilful deeds in which he pursued life.

When Joel finally awoke from his sensual dreaming his head was groggy from the heady aroma of the bouquets that surrounded him in the deceptive valley. Stumbling to his feet, with the worldly wisdom still lingering on his soul, the traveler of the wide road began to move ever so slowly through the valley and into a very crooked path which overflowed with the love of this present world.

Making his own way down the crooked path, Joel, was not quite able to shake the conviction of having resisted the still small voice. With concerted willfulness he hardened his heart and set his will once more towards traveling down the wide road in search of the pleasures of this life.

Like the sound of many waters, whose waves flowed back into the ocean, the still small voice became only an echo in his memory, with the words, “Come follow Me.” whispering ever so quietly into his heart.

By following the crooked path, Joel was led to many more crooked paths with each of these having their own particular bend. Some were muddy and cumbersome, while others were dusty and dry. Still others were lined with hewn stones formed by the ways of man having a hard path which reflected the hearts of all travelers who sought after their own way. “They have made for themselves crooked paths,” the Good Shepherd sighed as he watched Joel journey in his own way, down the wide road, “Whoever goes in that way shall not know peace.”

The crooked path led the traveler of the wide road towards all things askew and horribly deformed. The right way was maligned and evil spoken of and the narrow path mocked with contempt. After stumbling over many stumbling stones, Joel decided to rest in a grassy field on a crooked path, misleading in its delusive deviation from the truth.

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Jesus Christ is the Fulfillment of the Law of God

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Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Law of God | The Gospel of Grace Ministries

The New Covenant of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant promises. Jesus fulfills the moral law and its demands, which cannot be done by sinful man. Jesus in his sinless life, lived God’s laws, and by his death, he took the wrath of God and the laws demands of justice. The resurrection of Jesus Christ brought a new and better way, for Jesus Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, the Bible tell us. Jesus Christ is now the way to eternal life and not by trying to keep the law.

The Old Testament contained types and shadows, which reveal and lead to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the righteous requirements of the law. Jesus has come not to abolish. kataluô- “destroy,” “demolish,” “dismantle” but to Fulfill and complete the promise of God, to send the Messiah, that would take away sins.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.Romans 10:3,4

During Jesus Christ’s life, the sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem, were still valid. The law (Torah) was also still valid at that time. But after the death and resurrection  of Jesus Christ, the sacrificial system became obsolete.Jesus, has now became the Christians’ righteousness, without the deeds of the law. Jesus Christ’s righteousness became our salvation, for his righteousness was imputed (accredited on our behalf) to us, by faith in Christ. Not by any good deeds or moral lifestyles on our part. (Which if we have any, simply are not good enough, for the law demands absolute perfection) Once for all Jesus became the sacrifice for sins.

And therefore it was imputed to him (Abraham) for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Romans 4:22-25

During the Lord’s life time on earth when he spoke through the gospels to the JEWS, the law was still valid, but at the cross, Jesus said…”It is finished” (completed…done…fulfilled.) From that time on there was a transition from the Old Covenant, to the New Covenant, and those who are in Jesus Christ are in his righteousness. They are now declared holy, for he has chosen them, out of the world to be his own.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a BETTER hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. Hebrews 7:14-22

Jesus has fulfilled the entire Old Testament. Jesus Christ now supersedes the Old Testament law. All the promises of God, are in Christ ,for he is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The Old Testament laws remain for one purpose, and that is to convict people of sin, and lead them to faith in Jesus Christ.

On the cross Jesus said It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30

After the resurrection: For Christ is the END OF THE LAW for righteousness to everyone who believes.” ROMANS 10:4

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10

Resist Steadfast in the Faith

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The Bible tells us that Satan is our adversary, accuser, and enemy. According to Zec. 3:1, Satan stood before God’s throne to accuse God’s people and Joshua the high priest under the old covenant was being resisted by him. Why is Satan standing at the right hand? Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the devil had authority to resist and accuse God’s people, before the throne of God on a daily basis.

Today, the devil still accuses, however he has no authority because Jesus took away his authority over God’s people because of his victory at the cross. Jesus now has ALL authority in heaven and in earth and he delegate’s authority in certain areas to whom he pleases.

Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18-20

The Bible makes it clear that God has given the devil authority to make war with the saints and over the unsaved as well. Satan has no authority other than what has been delegated to him by God.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Rev.17:7-10

However, God gives his people spiritual weapons to battle the devil with. God’s people are given authority over the works of the devil BUT they must use that authority. I have talked about different weapons in my prior blogs but today I want to talk about resisting the devil.

To resist means to oppose and withstand. In order to resist we must first be in submission to God. This means that we must yield to God’s wisdom, advice, and control. We can find all these things in his word. If we are in disobedience to the word of God then we have given the devil authority to attack us. For example, if we watch bad moves, read bad books, go to the devil’s dens, partake in the devil’s activities, then we open the door for demons to attack us.

Resisting the devil is to take a stand against him, by refusing to participate in the devil’s activities. Instead of doing the devil’s activities; do things useful. Go to church, prayer meetings, read good wholesome material, do outdoor activities, family events, ect.

The world is getting a lot eviler and we must be sober in all things. That is we must be awake, alert, to the evil about us. Be wise concerning evil but ignorant concerning participating in evil.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 1 Peter 5: 9

Today recommit yourself to be sober and watchful. Ask forgiveness for participating in any evil activities and tell the devil to take a hike. If we do not learn to resist then we will be destroyed because the devil is in a war with God’s people. Jesus died to give us authority and resisting the devil’s evil is one of our weapons! Ask for strength to say no to playing around with the devil’s tempting diversions and God will give you his power! Be diligent and never let your guard down! Be in constant prayer with the Father in Jesus name and he will give you the victory!

Faith alone (sola fide)

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It is God who is the author (originator) of salvation. The Bibles says that Christians are justified by faith alone apart from the deeds of the law.

We are not justified by works of any kind. Salvation is a Gift which means that it is not earned by merit but simply bestowed upon the individual by Grace. Which means, by God’s undeserving mercy, because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice at the cross we are saved.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Galatians 3:11

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9

The Galatians law keepers rejects “faith alone” (sola fide), misinterpreting James 2:2 4,3 by saying that a person is not justified by faith alone. Their argument is that Paul does not mean faith without works. These law keepers or Pharisees. see good works of charity, as essential to justification. What James was saying is, that if a man is saved by faith alone, he will perform good deeds based on a change of nature, through the born again miracle,and not as a means of justification.

By blending faith and works as a means of salvation the law keepers put themselves under the law to be judged by the law. They will never be able to live up to God’s standard of perfection. For Jesus said to think a bad thought is sin. To hate is to kill and to lust is to commit adultery. Thinking is the same as doing according to Jesus Christ.

Saving faith is not mental assent to the gospel but rather a change of heart by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN TO SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD! In other words, God must regenerate the dead in sins spirit of man and bring it to life , reconnecting it to God,as was originally intended, like Adam before the fall. 

Law keeping is the old sinful nature trying in a self righteous attitude to obey God but being born of God is the new creature serving God from a new heart –a miraculously changed nature.

Acts 16:14 says that Lydia, like those from Philippi and Ephesus, was a person “whose heart the Lord opened” to the Gospel. The heart (spirit) must be made new by God to be saved. The devil believes in Jesus but he is not saved.

The reason that salvation is by faith alone, is because Jesus Christ is enough and God’s grace is sufficient. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;” Romans 4:16

Saving faith is a gift of God. One cannot drum up faith through his own recognizance. GRACE is the means of salvation and faith is the imputation (ascribing an attribution to another) of God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Sola Scriptura.

Maranatha brethren!

The Joy of the Lord is your Strength !

Having joy is not synonymous with happiness or wealth or getting everything that we want. Joy sometimes comes at great cost and the blessing derived may bring contentment but may also bring suffering and persecution.

The definition of joy in the English dictionary is: a source of great happiness, success in doing, finding, or getting something. The Old English word for happiness was equated with having luck or being fortunate. Today it means feeling or showing pleasure or contentment, being fortunate and convenient.

The English word for Joy does not really define the right meaning in which the Hebrew and Greek words for joy are defined. For example, joy is some OT verses use the word simchah –mirth gladness ps.15:23 or Ranan-to overcome, to cry out for joy psalm 5:11 psalm 35: 27 or Samach- to rejoice, be glad psalm 21:1 psalm 51:8 or Rinnah-entreaty, supplication, proclamation, joy, praise, in proclamation, joy, praise ps. 30:5 ps.35:27 ps.126:5 or sasown- exultation, joy ps.35:27

The Greek word for joy is chara- meaning gladness, to be pleased; delighted, Mirth- (amusement, especially as expressed in laughter) grace, favor Matt. 28:8 Luke 1:14John 15:11John 16:24Romans 14:17 Gal.5:22

None of these words for Joy are defined in the Bible as being fortunate, convenient, happy, satisfaction enjoyment, or a state of happiness.

Biblical joy is equated with overcoming, praise, exaltation, or salutation (blessing), singing, shouting dancing, having grace and favor.

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

In conclusion, Biblical joy is not the same as the English word for happy but rather is equated with praising and having God’s favor which brings victory which of course then brings absolute delight and laughter. Even in times of trouble we can have the joy of the Lord because we as Christians know that Jesus is the victor!

Maranatha brethren !

Many Shall Be Made Righteous : The Gospel of Grace with Kim Balogh

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Salvation is a gift of grace that is undeserved mercy, which is granted by a holy God to a sinful (disobedient to the law) people. The sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ the Messiah, for his people, which are the called, the chosen, the elect of God, has appeased the wrath of God for sin and has obtained for the people of God reconciliation through his shed blood because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ to his people. Having said that, why do you suppose it is that so called Christians are still working to earn their salvation? Why do they think that anything no matter how noble one does in one’s own ability can appease God, give them kudos or even help them to secure their salvation so they don’t lose it?

To add works of any kind to salvation is to fall from grace and be under law and thus judged by that law. If we cannot earn our salvation why do Christians think that they can work to keep it? What scriptures actually say concerning works is that God created us anew, crucified us with Christ, given us HIS new nature, when we become born again of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are created to perform good works because we have the divine nature imparted to us at salvation. Now, if anyone is working in their own power to keep rules, regulations, laws, a moral code; then they are not saved, bottom line. Scriptures clearly tell us that those in Christ have put on Christ. In other words, those born of God do not live like the devil, nor do they work to keep the law to be made righteous. (morally upright)

Rather, the child of God, born again and Spirit filled, walks in the Holy Spirit’s power and does not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Can a Christians still sin? Yes, because the sinful body is not yet redeemed BUT the true Christian cannot, cannot, cannot live in habitual sin because God lives in him. (As the books of John attest.) The true Christian abhors sin and seeks God continually for transformation into the image of his Son. This constant awareness of the weakness of the flesh will make the Christian reliant on the Holy Spirit and he/she will never put any confidence in the flesh. If you love your sin still, I really would question whether you are a child of God. It is not enough to say, “Lord, Lord” and participate in religious activities, even charismatic ones. It is not enough to “believe” for even the devils believe in Jesus Christ and his atonement, and resurrection.

The true Christian may at times walk in the sinful flesh but because God lives in him/her so he/she will not be very comfortable, in fact will be most miserable. Thus he/she cannot live comfortably in sin. Once washed and made clean from the mire, sin has no more appeal for the child of God! So, my next point is thus, if a Christian still sins then how can he/she be so perfect as to be justified by law to keep his/her salvation? The child of God cannot ever be justified by works of the law at any time! Before or after salvation! Why is this? Because the child of God is now clothed not in his/her own righteousness but rather in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and this is a constant imputation! Never removed! If as scriptures, say, Christians are MADE RIGHTEOUS, how are Christians unmade from being righteous?
IMPUTATION means accredited to another’s account. JESUS CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS IS ACCREDITED TO THE CHRISTIAN’S ACCOUNT.

Let’s now take a look at scriptures concerning this matter and if you are still enjoying sin or trying to attain righteousness by the law then you really need to pray to be born again because only by being made into the new creature in Jesus Christ can you be saved, and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise until the day of the redemption of the body when we shall see death put under JESUS’S feet forever!

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Isaiah 53:11 – He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Philippians 3:9 – And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

1 Peter 2:24 – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Galatians 2:16 – Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Romans 5:1 – Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 4:3 – For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

1 Corinthians 1:30 – But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Romans 5:17 – For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 1:17 – For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Jeremiah 23:6 – In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

Ephesians 2:8,9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Romans 4:24 – But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Romans 4:8 – Blessed [is] the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Romans 1:16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Acts 16:31 – And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

1 John 3:7 – Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 5:18 – Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

Romans 4:5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 3:26 – To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:25 – Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Romans 3:22 – Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:21 – But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

1 John 2:29 – If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

1 Peter 2:9 – But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Galatians 2:21 – I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Romans 11:6 – And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

God’s Transforming Power is By the Holy Spirit.

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If we are relying on our own efforts to be transformed into the image of Christ we are in false doctrine. Turning over a new leaf is not sanctification. Rather sanctification is both a now experience as in we are made perfect in Christ because of the work of our Lord in the atoning sacrifice of his body and shed blood and also an ongoing transformation experience. Some Christians today are following new age self help principles and adding the name of Jesus to these humanistic self efforts.

The historic protestant reformation not only opposed the abuse of power in the church and idolatry but also the works orientated gospel. It is very important to understand that if you are trying to win God’s approval by behavior that is self exalting, self abasing, and self initiated then you have fallen from grace and are not going to be included in the elect who have been given eternal life. Let us take a look at what the bible says about being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. (growing in his character)

Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 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. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God THROUGH JESUS CHRIST THE LORD. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:13-25

First of all we need to acknowledge our inability to perform. When we do this then God will come on the scene and assist us with HIS POWER and not our own ability to live a life that pleases God. For all human endeavors have self orientated motives and are not acceptable to God. In fact they are what scriptures call DEAD WORKS! Dead works, then, are works of the flesh (man made)but godly works are wrought by the Holy Spirit through yielded vessels.

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. (See: 2 Corinthians 12:9).

Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

So then transformation in A WORK OF GOD wrought by his (dumanis)power if we really belong to Jesus. Those going about in the flesh trying to subdue the flesh are false brethren who operate in a false spirit and preach a false humanist gospel.

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” But from these he repented when he turned from self to Christ, and, casting away all confidence in legal righteousness, he could exclaim: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.Philippians 3:4-6