Conversations with God

I’m going to attempt to share something personal and possibly offensive, but on the flip side could be very encouraging and life-giving. I believe God speaks to us today, and I have decided to share one of my conversations with him to the public. This puts me in a very humble place. Who am I to say what God is saying?

But I ask you to weight and test the things I announce as coming from God. Basically I sit down at my computer, ask God a question, and type almost whatever I hear. This means some of the thoughts may be my own. I try to use discernment and much of the time I do hear God’s voice. On occasion however, I can mishear something. So use discernment and give me grace to have heard incorrectly. Otherwise, be encouraged! O! And be gentle in the comments please, I am in a humble position.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil

Lower Falls at Yellow Stone National Forest

Lower Falls at Yellow Stone National Forest

Lord, you’ve spoken a lot to me about this subject, but how would you speak to someone who’s never heard this message?

“I would tell them that the knowledge of good and evil is not good for man to eat. They would ask, what is the knowledge of good and evil. And I would tell them this. It is the awareness of your sin, the message of shame. It is the law in all its convicting power.”

What does that look like practically? How do I know if I’m listening to the knowledge of good and evil or you?

“The spirit will guide you into all truth. But the message of the law and prophets is according to that knowledge. The message of the wrath of God poured out on sinners is that message. The message of shame is that message. The message of pain and suffering is that message. If it subtracts from the righteousness of Christ, then it is the message of shame. You will know it by its fruit. It takes my children’s confidence and turns their hearts to lead. They cannot serve me under that knowledge. They are doing themselves ill. The message of shame is the message of death and condemnation.”

“If it subtracts from the righteousness of Christ, then it is the message of shame.”

God, how do we live without that knowledge?

“Very simply, in the love and provision of your Father, no longer in the awareness of your sin.”

Then how do you correct your children without the awareness of sin?

“Love keeps no record of wrongs. A sinful behavior may be changed, but it is not credited to your account. If you want to live perfect, then be merciful as your heavenly father is merciful.”

“If you want to live perfect, then be merciful as your heavenly father is merciful.”

Help me to see the difference between correction and the knowledge of good and evil.

“Correction must be mixed with the grace of God. If you try to live righteously under the law, your efforts will fail. The law does not make anyone righteous but holds everyone accountable to God.”

“Correction must be mixed with the grace of God.”

What happens when a believer is trying to become more righteous?

“I suppose you’re meaning in his actions? Holy Living? In grace he will succeed every time. But apart from Me he can do nothing.”

So then how do we approach becoming better people?

“Your heart must be established in the grace of God. Do not think I was joking when I said apart from Me you can do nothing. Man’s efforts to redeem himself always backfire. Maturity can not come from the will and effort of man. If they could be achieved, Christ died for nothing.”

You say man’s efforts cannot succeed? Are you suggesting we should give up on our efforts to live holy?

“Who makes you holy?”

You do.

“If you are trusting in my efforts then you will lay aside your efforts. Your conscience feels comfortable and secure if you are taking effort to fix yourself, but my grace is established in rest, not in striving.”

“Your conscience feels comfortable and secure if you are taking effort to fix yourself, but my grace is established in rest, not in striving.”

So we should just rest and let you fix us?

“Let my goodness lead you to repentance. When you are sick where do you go?”

To the hospital!

“Sin is like a sickness, and only my love can cure it. Your conscience and all its guilt cannot cure that sickness. No matter how hard you will, you cannot will away that sickness. Sickness is taken away with the proper care and treatment. Unless you rest, your body will not recover.”

So we really should rest… and look to you and your love for us.

“It is not until you receive the gift of no condemnation that you will be able to walk free of your sin. I am not advocating sin. This is not a license to practice immorality, it is a license to be loved unconditionally. And my love will take all roots of sin out of your life.”

“It is not until you receive the gift of no condemnation that you will be able to walk free of your sin. This is not a license to practice immorality, it is a license to be loved unconditionally.”

So what shall I do when I find a sinful habit in my life?

“Where do sinful habits come from?”

I have no idea…

“Identity theft.”

Huh?

“You have been made forever righteousness by the work of my son, when you know that, it stops the power of sin in your life.”

So your saying those patterns emerge from me not believing that you made me righteousness.

“As long as you think you’ve earned your righteousness, you will also think you can loose it. So when you find patterns of sin in your life, instead of falling into terror and worrying about the next time you will commit the sin, let your mind be renewed in the grace of God, letting him convict you of righteousness and bring out that fruit in your life.”

“As long as you think you’ve earned your righteousness, you will also think you can loose it.”

So I should be convicted of righteousness while I’m sinning? That seems backwards!

“Where does sin come from?”

Does it really come from identity theft? Couldn’t it come from me just not trying hard enough or me living in rebellion?

“Trying is not succeeding. And rebellion is not covered in this lesson. Yes Jon Paul, sin really does come from identity theft. As long as you let the enemy tell you who you are, you behave in that same manner.”

So our living comes out of our identity?

“The righteous shall live by faith.”

So we fail because we’ve forgotten that we are righteous.

“Remember Lion King? Simba was falsely accused and believed the lie. That stole his identity from him and he lived as an outsider though he was really the king. In the same way, when one of my children gives into the liar and forgets his place in my kingdom, righteousness becomes unworthy of him (in his mind). When his mind is renewed to the truth or his kingship or position in my kingdom, he takes back the ground he lost! Focusing on the sin is not the root of the problem, and it only makes things worse. When identify is restored, his actions will follow.”

Why are actions tied to identity?

“Identity is the description of how you function. The knowledge of sin brings a false identity to believers.”

Do you think its good to be convicted of sin?

“When you convict a person of sin, you stop the growth of righteousness in their life. It produces the exact opposite fruit of what was intended. That is the nature of the law. It brings wrath, not salvation. When you convict a believer of sin, you are destroying their confidence and faith in God, that he justifies the ungodly. You must realize that God will by no means remember or recall their sins.”

Then how do we train others to behave appropriately?

“In identity, in faith, in grace. In patience and hope. Don’t give up on your redeemer.”

The scripture confirms that. It says, ‘If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! …I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Its saying that if we find sin in our lives, we should not revert back to the law to fix it, but hold faithfully to grace!

“That’s very good! Who taught you that?”

Your spirit did!

“I give you the credit for accepting it. I am very proud of you! Take that and apply it to areas of weakness in your life. When you sin, do you revert back to judgement and condemnation to fix those things, or do you still consider yourself righteous and forgiven because of what Christ has done?”

I believe that’s true, but it seems arrogant. Who am I to believe I am righteous after I sin?

“Who are you not to? Your sin does not make you righteous, my work does. When you believe you are righteous you are honoring me, when you revert to the law you are honoring yourself and worshiping your sin. If you want sin to loose dominion over you, you must revert to grace and not the law for edification. The strength of sin is the law. It is not a trick verse. Sin becomes powerful in your life when you are under condemnation. Reject it, standing firm in the grace of God, and do not let a man nor anything created tell you otherwise. It is my grace that justifies not your efforts.”

“If you want sin to loose dominion over you, you must revert to grace and not the law for edification. Sin becomes powerful in your life when you are under condemnation.”

My conscience doesn’t always agree with that.

“Your conscience is part of your mind and can be renewed. I feel like this topic is appropriately addressed.”

“Your conscience is part of your mind and can be renewed.”

Me too. Thanks God! You’re awesome! I love you so much!

“My grace to you! Be happy loved one! You are highly favored in the Beloved.”

Why do you have all these conversations with me?

“The same reason why you have them with Me.”

Conversations with God – The Knowledge of Good and Evil

Greetings! My name is Jon Paul. I’m glad you stopped by to say hello. I’ve been a Christian all my life and have a wonderful relationship with my God. Out of that I have a lot on my heart to share about and I hope you stick around to enjoy my thoughts. A couple years ago I began listening to Joseph Prince, a pastor of a church in Singapore, and became ecstatic to learn and share the good news of God’s kindness and grace. I love to talk about God’s grace. Shortly into my teenage years, the Lord gave me a passion for encouraging, strengthening, and building people up. Over the years, as I’ve encouraged people I found that some of the people I would encourage one day would be right back in their misery the next. I realized that religion within christianity was holding these people back from life. That combined with my own experiences with religious systems lead me to understand that the greatest encouragement and life comes when the heart and mind have been renewed from a religious, systematic way of approaching God and living in a personal, life-giving relationship with Him. That’s why I’m writing this blog. Everything I write is with the purpose to encourage and bring enjoyment to life with God. Sometimes my thoughts may be offensive since much of the time I do confront religious systems. Please understand that when you read my posts. It is not my goal to be offensive, and my words are not always perfect. I want to encourage you to have an open mind and consider the things I say when you read and if you don’t agree, don’t worry about it, I don’t take offense. But, if you are encouraged by what you read, come back for more!

Welcome to My Blog

The Final Judgement

Revelation 11:18 “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

1 Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of the Messiah, so that each of us may receive what he deserves for what he has done in his body, whether good or worthless. ”

 

There are several scriptures in the new testament that speak of a final judgement by God for all the earth. I am no expert in the subject but I know many people who struggle with these verses, so in defense of God’s grace I will share the best of what I know.

It seems all people, both christians and non-christians will be judged by God, however for the christian this judgement is guaranteed to be favorable, not a day of punishment but a day in which we receive “eternal life” and “praise from God.”

Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

1 John 4:17 “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.”

2 Timothy 4:8 “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Romans 8:33-34 “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Destruction of the Temple vs Final Judgement

It’s important to note there are two judgements spoken of in the new testament. There is a final judgement when God redeems all of creation and another judgement culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. When you see language saying it is coming “soon”, “at the door”, or the “time is near” they are referring to the destruction of Jerusalem that the disciples were waiting for. A day when God would avenge his people, the romans and jews especially who had been persecuting God’s children and who had killed Jesus would be repaid. The generation in which Jesus said all the sins from the time of Adam would be punished in this generation. That deserves a study in and of itself.

However I want to focus on the final judgement and what it means for believers.

The final judgement, a day of praise for believers

There are a couple beliefs about the final day of judgement that attempts to reconcile with justification by faith, one that you are not condemned or punished in the day of judgement but are rewarded for those deeds that the Holy Spirit produced in you. The other is that your deeds serve as evidence that you really believed and had the Holy Spirit transform your heart.

In the first interpretation, it’s not clear what these rewards would be for christians. In many scriptures the reward is simply “eternal life”, our inheritance of a redeemed creation.

Romans 2:6-10 “who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation

Gold, stones, straw, and sticks

However 1 Corinthians 4:5 describes it as “praise from God,” and John 12:26 “honor.” In that case it’s not our wrongdoing that is being judged but rather the quality of our work. In hebrews the author describes that the old covenant rituals were worthless to God and would be burned but acts of love inspired by the holy spirit would receive praise from God. In the contexts of Paul’s writings such as when we calls believers to respect each other’s differences in opinions about what was acceptable and unacceptable to God he tells us to withhold judgement because God will judge. In this sense it seems like to God there are some deeds such as following the jewish diets, celebrating jewish feasts, performing cleansing rituals and such that will ultimately be useless to God. And there are other works which are useful to him and receive more praise. We want to avoid putting to much effort into things which ultimately won’t matter.

2 Corinthians 5:10

A point to note in 2 Corinthians 5:10 where he mentions receiving for what was done whether good or bad: that word for bad in the greek is phaulos which is not the normal greek word for evil or morally wicked. Rather a primary meaning of phaulos is “worthless, slight, ordinary, or no account.” This definition makes more sense in the context of Paul’s exposition about works of gold or straw earlier in the letter and that he’s encouraging the believers to stay strong amidst persecution. Also worth noting is the imagery he’s using for the judgement seat is not the word used for a law courtroom but rather an olympic podium after a race. One in which the racers receive medals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. The greek word “bema” brings up this imagery and shows it’s not a place for delving out punishment but rather receiving honor for a well run race.

What kinds of rewards do we receive?

The scripture is not clear about what kind of rewards other than “eternal life”, an “inheritance”, and “praise from God.” I would doubt that the reward is a nicer car or more gold or something material of that nature. In heaven there is no jealousy or envy. We will already own everything and have every blessing. The streets are made of gold. I can’t imagine a scene in which one person has more wealth than someone else for all of eternity.

Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

Even the idea of some believers earning a higher status and ruling over other believers is suspicious. It’s hard to say for sure, since revelation is an apocalyptic book, but it seems even the reward of ruling with Christ is a blessing given to all believers. The verse is written in poetic language and is not meant to always be taken at face value.

Some people think there are multiple types of crowns that God gives for different accomplishments and I don’t think that’s what’s intended by those verses. It is poetic language and it is one crown that has many levels of meaning.

However,  I would think the reward has more to do with “praise from God” and “honor.” When we are all living with God the “cool” thing won’t be how much wealth we have but rather God’s opinion of us. Whenever God speaks of you with the people he’s hanging out with and he tells that story about how you were out of money and still managed to feed that kid who was hungry on the street. Whenever God speaks of you he does it with a sense of pride. When we are saved by God’s grace it puts a passion in us to please God and God will honor and praise us for the resulting effort.

The Holy Spirit produces the good works

It’s worth noting that when you become saved and God gives you his spirit, it changes your heart and puts you on the course to life. This means your works are not from your effort alone but also by God’s spirit in you. This is also a reason why the last judgement will be favorable for you, not just because you believed but because you are set on the course of life, no matter how imperfect the journey.

I do my best to understand the scripture and I haven’t gotten to an understanding on this topic I’m not fully happy with, but I hope my discoveries helps your journey.