Transforming Power of the Gospel

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

It is obvious to most Christians that the gospel is important, and so it is. God declares that the Earth Gospelpower to be saved is in His righteousness, and the righteousness of God is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And all is predicated on faith (Rom.3:22,25). But the Bible says that if we don't do righteousness we are not of God and are not His children (1 John 3:10). It is then crucial that we know what the 'good news' of the gospel really is about and how we get the righteousness of God.

Psalm 24:5 ...'He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.'

Job 33:26 ...'He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.'

It's not surprising that righteousness can only come from God. But it is surprising that many Christians have missed the point when it comes to understanding what righteousness really is. When asked what is righteousness, the standard reply is "right doing." Unfortunately for us, all our right doing is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). What many fail to recognize is that righteousness is not a what, but a Who. In fact, all the gifts of God are not 'things' to be grasped, but actually a person - a very specific Person. The Bible states:

Jesus Christ IS our Righteousness (1Cor 1:30)
Jesus Christ IS our Sanctification (1Cor 1:30)
Jesus Christ IS our Redemption (1Cor 1:30)
Jesus Christ IS our Power (1Cor 1:24)
Jesus Christ IS our Wisdom (1Cor 1:24)
Jesus Christ IS our Way to the Father (John 14:6)
Jesus Christ IS the Truth (John 14:6)
Jesus Christ IS our Life (John 14:6; 11:25; Col 3:4)
Jesus Christ IS our Light (John 8:12; 9:5)
Jesus Christ IS our Word of truth (John 1:14)
Jesus Christ IS our Peace (Eph 2:14)
Jesus Christ IS our Healing (Isa. 53:5; Mal. 4:2)
Jesus Christ IS our Eternal Life (1John 5:12)
Jesus Christ IS the Door to the Father (John 10:7, 9)
Jesus Christ IS our living Bread of Life (John 6:48, 51)
Jesus Christ IS our Faith (Rev. 14:12)

When were these gifts made available to us? Two thousand years ago. The reason the Son of God became the Son of Man was to become everything we need, but couldn't provide for ourselves. Every blessing we seek has been available since the Son of God walked among men, lived righteously, made His grave with the wicked, and was raised up triumphant over sin and death (Isaiah 53:1-12). God does not need to create a remedy for each problem we face today. Our remedy is the same today as it was in the days of the apostles.

What exactly does this mean? As an example, Jesus said, 'Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.' (John 15:4). The remedy has not changed. If Christ truly abides in us, then we have eternal life already, because He has eternal life in Him. Which is why Jesus said in Luke 17:21 that 'the kingdom of God is within us'. Likewise, if Jesus is the Truth, then our search for truth is for Christ Himself; and studying doctrines will only have real meaning once we have first found the truth in Christ Himself.

It then follows that if Christ is our Righteousness, as stated in 1 Corinthians 1:30, then righteousness is not about our own right doing; it is about living and abiding in Christ, because wherever Jesus is, there is righteousness and healing. And what this understanding does is change how we perceive our part in our own salvation. Our work then becomes not in our own doing, but in the abiding. That is, if we focus on abiding in Christ, He will work out the right doing through us. But please understand this, it doesn't mean we don't do any works. It means Christ is the one doing the good works in us.

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

John 14:12 ...'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.'

However, when we continue to believe righteousness is our own right doing, then our focus becomes right doing vs. wrong doing, like the Jews of old. We measure this against the law, for the law tells us right works from wrong works (Romans 7:7). We end up thinking our problem with sin is because we're not choosing to do right and instead choosing to do wrong. Our relationship with God then becomes a relationship with the law and, whether we think so or not, our salvation becomes a matter of the works of the law (Galatians 2:16). We miss the boat in terms of recognizing that our real problem is our nature. Our doings, our works, our acts of sin, are only a manifestation of what's inside, for Jesus said:

Mark 7:20-23 ...'That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.'

The outward manifestation of the sins of the flesh starts in the heart. Paul explained his life before conversion this way:

Romans 7:14-23 ...'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.'

The problem of mankind is not merely what we do, or choose to do, but who we are. We are carnal by nature. Therefore, what comes out of us is carnal at the root and is contrary to the will of God. The Apostle Paul couldn't choose his own way out of sin, as sin is part of our fallen nature. So why do we think we can? Fighting against nature, we can only will our way so far, then sooner or later we will fail. We cannot change who we are any more than water can choose to run uphill. It is just a law of nature. This is where the understanding of the two Adams may help.

The Two Adams

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them with the inbuilt ability to procreate. Every time a child is born, God doesn't recreate life; life comes through inheritance from Adam through reproduction. That inheritance also includes nature. We are humans by nature because we've inherited Adam's human nature.

Romans 5:12 ...'Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.'

Because of the fall of Adam, his nature became corrupted and through inheritance the whole human race became corrupted. We're still humans (physically), but we're no longer righteous (spiritually) because Adam lost his connection to God. As such, we are now carnal humans.

Romans 8:6-8 ...'For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.'

Every child of Adam is born at enmity with God by nature, a nature that is self-serving, self-destructive, and programmed to sin. A carnal nature bent toward death because it is alienated from the only Source of life (Romans 8:13, 1 John 5:12). It is impossible for the carnal mind to keep a holy law (Romans 8:7, 1 Cor.2:14). Doing 'right' of ourselves is only a facade and temporary because the law of nature overrides choice. Real, permanent change can only come by changing who we are in our innermost being. This requires a miracle that only Christ Himself can perform (John 15:5).

Romans 5:21 ...'That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.'

THE LAW OF INHERITANCE: The law of inheritance is true both physically and spiritually. As the first Adam is the source of our physical life and nature, so the last (or second) Adam, Christ, has become the source of our eternal life and spiritual nature.

1 Corinthians 15:45 ...'And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.'

Because of the sin of Adam, we are all, through inheritance, born into a sinful nature. That's why we must be 'born again' (John 3:7). Jesus Christ, as the second Adam, also produces life through inheritance. In the new birth experience, our carnal nature, inherited from the first Adam, dies and is buried with Christ. We are raised up as a new creation in His resurrection, through the life of Christ, the second Adam (2 Cor.5:17).

Romans 6:3-8 ...'Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.'

1 Corinthians 15:22 ...'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'

It is through the new birth and the Spirit of the risen, glorified Savior, that we inherit Christ's divine nature with all His traits and characteristics, including His love of righteousness, freeing us from the bondage of sin!

2 Peter 1:4 ...'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.'

Hebrews 1:8-9 ...'But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.'

John 8:36 ...'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.'

Through the Spirit, Jesus Christ Himself personally comes to live His perfect life in us and sets us free. After all, are we not the temple of the living God? (2 Cor.6:16). And in order to be 'in' Christ we must be born again.

Romans 8:1-2 ...'There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.'

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.'

It is in the new birth that we 'put on' Jesus Christ, and by this 'putting on' of Christ, His righteousness becomes our righteousness in such a way that we are 'made the righteousness of God.' At the same time we are dead to sin, because our sinful nature is dead and we have been re-created to perform the good works that please God.

Ephesians 4:23-24 ...'And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.'

Romans 8:10 ...'And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.'

Ephesians 2:8-10 ...'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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.'

An important point to recognize is that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is not just a 'force' or 'power,' it is the very life, the very Person of Christ Himself. And because the Father is in Jesus and Jesus in us, then the Father Himself comes to live in us, through His own Son.

John 14:23 ...'Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.'

What a thought! What love! The Sovereign of the universe condescending to live in puny man!! What freedom to know that God never intended man to choose his own way out of sin! And because Christ Jesus is free from sin, we too can be free from sin in Him.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 ...'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.'

The Spirit of God

God, in His omnipotent power, is able to join His Spirit with the Spirit of His Son Jesus (John 3:34, John 14:10). And when we accept the gift of salvation and the new birth experience, the Father through Christ, joins with our spirit in such a way that it makes one spirit (Eph.4:4, 1 Cor.12:13). The Father in Christ, and Christ and the Father in us.

1 Corinthians 6:17 ...'But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.'

John 17:23 ...'I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.'

Jesus brings the power of God into our hearts and minds to make us perfect because He is perfect. This is why it is so crucial to understand WHO the Holy Spirit is, and who it is not, and why the Trinity lie is so destructive to our salvation. The so called 'God the Holy Spirit' does not have a victorious divine-human experience to give to us. Jesus does (1 Cor.15:57). The so called 'God the Holy Spirit' was not tempted in all points like we are. Jesus was (Heb.4:15). The so called 'God the Holy Spirit' cannot succour (help) those that are tempted. Jesus can because Jesus was tempted like we are (Heb.2:18). We cannot die with 'God the Holy Spirit,' nor be buried in the death of 'God the Holy Spirit,' and we cannot be raised up with 'God the Holy Spirit' into new life, because this so called 'God the Holy Spirit' did not die, was not buried, and was not raised up in triumphant glory. We can only experience this in Christ Jesus, because He is the truly begotten Son of God. Divine in Spirit and human in fallen flesh, Jesus experienced on our behalf victory over the flesh and the sin nature and now imparts that perfected Spirit to us through the indwelling of His own life.

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.'

This is why it is unfounded to baptize in the name(s) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and why none of the disciples performed such a baptism. They baptized only in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48) because baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Not even God the Father experienced that.

All Jesus' victories, His love of righteousness, His power and wisdom, His sanctification and redemption, His peace - all perfected in human flesh - everything we need for salvation, we receive through the inheritance of adoption by receiving Him (Eph.1:3).

Romans 8:15 ...'For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.'

Galatians 4:4-6 ...'But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.'

Philippians 1:19 ...'For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.'

John 1:12 ...'But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.'

And because Christ possesses everything we need, we lack nothing ... 'And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.' (Colossians 2:10)

The bottom line is, Jesus doesn't just 'give' us righteousness, He doesn't just 'cover' us in righteousness, He IS our righteousness. Out of the heart, doing right from the inside out - it is Christ IN you, living His own righteous life IN you.

Colossians 1:27-29 ...'To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.'

The battle over sin was finished 2000 years ago, and everything that it took to accomplish that victory is given to us as a gift. Everything we need is already available. All we have to do is claim it, and to experience this life and victory, we must believe it as God promised it. Faith, then, is pivotal in opening the floodgates of heaven to receiving all the blessings that God has already provided in His precious Son.

Hebrews 11:6 ...'But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.'

Hebrews 10:38 ...'Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.'

Do we believe?

Mark 16:17-18 ...'And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.'

The Gospel of the Kingdom

In these closing hours of earth's history, God is revealing a clearer understanding of Christ as our Righteousness, the concept of the two Adams, and the laws of heredity. And now He is opening a better understanding of the 'gospel of the kingdom'.

Matthew 3:1-2 ...'In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

From the time of John the Baptist, the message was preached that the 'kingdom of heaven' was at hand. The kingdom of heaven is mentioned 32 times in the book of Matthew alone, plus other references to the kingdom of God. John preached it. Jesus preached it. The disciples were instructed to preach it (Matt 4:17,23; 9:35; 10:5-7). And Jesus spoke many parables expounding on the kingdom of heaven (Matt 13:24,31,33,44,45,47).

Matthew 24:14 ...'And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.'

It is this gospel, this 'good news' of the kingdom that we are to preach unto all the world before the end can come. Many believe the kingdom of God and Christ is where we go after we've been redeemed from the earth. But there's just one hitch to that.

Luke 17:21 ...'Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.'

Yes, there is a literal kingdom to come, where we will live for eternity, for those who are saved. But if the kingdom of God is within us, it cannot just be about a destination, but a way of Life. Knowing that Jesus is to live 'within' us, the kingdom of God comes when Christ comes to reign in our hearts by faith through the power of His personal omnipresent Spirit.

ANOTHER KINGDOM: But God is not the only one that has a kingdom. There are two powers at work in this world, the power of Christ and the power of Satan. These powers are also known as kingdoms.

Matthew 12:25-28 ...'And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.'

The great cosmic controversy has pitted the Kingdom of Satan and his form of government against the Kingdom of God the Father and His form of government. And regardless of what anyone prefers to believe, there is no such thing as 'the Kingdom of the Fence': your passport can only be stamped showing citizenship with one of these two kingdoms - not both, and not neither.

Since the Father is the one actually on trial, Jesus Christ represents the Father's government (Isaiah 9:6). Christ's kingdom came in power at Pentecost (Acts 1:8, Matt.16:28), which is why Jesus preached that it was 'at hand.' And now because of Calvary, Satan's government has been exposed for what it is to the inhabitants of heaven and judged accordingly.

John 16:11 ...'Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.'

John 12:31 ...'Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.'

Revelation 12:7-10 ...'And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.'

However, it is taking longer to prove to the inhabitants of earth that the kingdom of Satan is ultimately one of annihilation, whose citizens are miserable and wretched, at best, and bear a striking resemblance to their depraved king who plotted to destroy the beloved Prince of heaven! We know the same holds true for the children of the kingdom of Christ, that is, they bear a striking resemblance to their King. However, these citizens are holy, righteous, and will be full of the fruits of the Spirit. Thus, the kingdom of Satan has been judged and found wanting, and the kingdom of Christ has been judged righteous and worthy of eternity (Daniel 7:9-27).

We are entering a condition upon planet earth where the inhabitants have more than enough evidence to judge the true nature of Satan. The stark contrast between the two kingdoms is becoming unmistakable. Satan has manifested himself violently through his followers throughout history and is bringing his final deception upon the whole world today. Even non-believers realize something is terribly wrong with the world. An ominous foreboding hangs in the air that something strangely awful is about to erupt. But God is also manifesting Himself more openly and powerfully through His children as they come to understand the reality of Christ living His life in them and they start to experience true, lasting victory over sin and self.

Only True Christianity

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ...'(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.'

Of all the religions, and even anti-religions, true Christianity is the only religion that is based upon a miracle - the miracle of the new birth. When a new believer by faith in Jesus is born again, the carnal 'old man of sin' nature dies, and a new man is born. God infuses the Spirit life of Christ with the spirit life of the believer, joining Spirit with spirit. Jesus Christ in reality lives His perfected divine-human life within the believer, who is infused with Christ's own character of righteousness, peace, wisdom, and love, even as He brings captive every thought into obedience to His will. Our relationship with God is as sons and daughters. Our "relationship" with the law is replaced with a relationship with Christ. And the only work of salvation on our part rests in maintaining an attitude of surrender to the workings of Christ in our lives.

Colossians 2:6 ...'As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.'

The gospel of Christ, wherein "is the righteousness of God revealed", is Christ in you. God's love for us is so deep that He has provided everything we need for life and salvation in one package - His own precious Son (1 John 4:9).

To be a true Christian is to live and walk in the Spirit life of Christ. Then the kingdom of God will have come and we will do God's will here on earth just as it is done in heaven ... Matthew 6:9-10 ...'After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.'

1 John 5:20 ...'And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.'

We now have this understanding. This gospel of the kingdom message is the message of the last days. It is the good news of God's Son Jesus Christ coming to live His holy life in and through His people, in power and through His omnipresent Spirit-life, resulting in the saints having their Father's name (character) written in their foreheads (minds), and vindicating the Almighty God of the universe as righteous, holy, just, and good!

Ephesians 1:3 ...'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.'