Monthly Archives: June 2017
Understanding the Divine Spiritual Laws and Court System of Heaven
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 1 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the revealed subject of God’s Divine Spiritual Laws, Systems and Legal Proceedings. Are there spiritual laws found in heaven? Is there a heavenly courtroom? Are there trials that have taken place in this heavenly realm? If yes, who is the judge? Who is the one that brings charges and against who are the charges addressed at? There are so many things to learn from the Bible that we will not abe able to answer every question in one Bible study. To attempt to do so would do each answer an injustice.
It has always been my priority to teach what God has given to me for free and give it to others without any charge. If you knew my heart you would understand that I don’t only want to teach you what God has given to me, but I also desire to teach you a better way to study and learn from His glorious Word. Hopefully, the LORD has used me to teach you how to fish for yourself and not just for me to feed you a fish for a single day.
Like many other lessons that I believe the Lord has given to me, today’s Bible lesson should be viewed as a very advanced spiritual topic intended for Christ followers that are fully committed to grow to become a spiritually mature student of God’s Word able to partake of spiritual meat. Please judge if you meet this requirement before continuing to read this lesson further. It is one of my greatest heart’s desires to not offend or cause any newborn or spiritually immature Christian to stumble or fall causing them to depart from the LORD. I believe that the Apostle Paul wrote with this same quality when he said I would have liked to feed you meat but you were unable to receive it and therefore I could only give you milk. Ok that was my paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:2. But, I believe the hidden heart of Paul’s message contained in that verse is that of one of his greatest desires for his students to grow up spiritually. I believe Paul desired people to grow up so that they were able to receive a much stronger spiritual message of truth. Then I believe Paul wanted for each of them to go and spread his message from the word of God to others with the same love for people. Please judge for yourself before you continue.
We in the United States have three branches of Government. These three are a Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch and a Judicial Branch. This was the idea framed by our founding fathers of our nation and they were mostly Christians that I believe modeled their government beliefs on God’s Bible principles. I believe this was not by chance or accident but rather by divine design. I believe God placed His hand on their efforts and blessed them to know things way beyond their natural ability.
In this lesson we are going to focus upon God’s Judicial Branch found in heaven and how the earthly U.S. court system is a pattern of that which God originally designed. Maybe you did not realize that God’s heavenly spiritual government (Kingdom) had a Judicial Branch? If you have read the Bible, I am really not sure how this fact has escaped you but if you search for it you will find that it is very true from Genesis to Revelation. For example, in the Bible the LORD God reveals Himself as the Most High Righteous Judge in so many verses. A named existence of a Heavenly Superior Divine Judge implies very strongly that there also must be found present laws, a courtroom, some legal proceedings and rules, lawsuits, trials, a plaintiff or a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney and a defendant. I will prove to you using the Bible that these all exist in a form or pattern using the Bible. I will also teach you that there are innumerable court cases that are taking place every day including today right this moment while you are reading about them. Wow, that should at least peak your interest a little bit to desire to learn more about God’s revealed truth.
If you have read very much of the Bible you should already know who the Heavenly Judge is and that is certainly the LORD God and Jesus Christ according to Genesis 18:25, Acts 10:42 and Hebrews 12:23 to list just three of many confirming witnesses of truth. But, there are also so many new implied questions that need to be answered. Who is the plaintiff or prosecuting attorney bringing the charges and cases against someone in God’s Court System? I’ll tell you right now it is Satan and I will prove this later in the lesson. Who is the defendant being charged or sued? I’ll tell you up front again that you are the one being charged by Satan and I will prove this with scriptures also. We will also begin to learn about the charges being made to God by Satan. This should interest you because we will learn that it is our human wrong actions here on the earth that open the door for Satan to bring a lawsuit against us.
Is there a defense attorney in this trial? If so, who is the defense lawyer in the case? I’ll tell you right now we have access to a legal defense team ever since the LORD Jesus Christ died and was resurrected from the dead. You can be introduced to this part of the message by reading an older Bible lesson that I wrote called “Understanding How to Make Jesus Your Legal Advocate Right Now”.
I’m sure you must be asking “How can there ever be a spiritual case of law being brought into a heavenly trial to be heard by God for a Christian if Jesus has truly paid for every sin that we have ever committed or could ever commit in the future?” Many would say “I thought we were not under law but under grace therefore can there really be a spiritual trial now before we die?” Others ask the question “I thought the only judgment was after we die according to Hebrews 9:27?” We know from reading the end of Revelation that there will be a Great White throne Judgment but I believe that there are also other named judgments that will occur after death and even now before death. If there is a judgment that can take place before we die, “What could be the charge brought against a forgiven saved Christian?” These are complex deep questions to answer and God gives us the revelations in the Bible if we dig for them and find them. Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you and ask and it will be answered (Mat 7:7).
This Bible lesson is a response to a question raised by a good reader doing their homework. They asked the question concerning a message being taught within certain churches that appear to conflict with what is taught in other areas of the Bible. The controversy comes from a modern extreme Grace teaching that is being taught that since Jesus paid for all of our sins, past, present and future there are no longer any consequences for committing any sin or any need to ask for any future forgiveness of a sin. In other words sin is presented to be harmless without any negative penalties. In fact at least one very popular grace preacher teaches we do not even need to ask for forgiveness for any sin and they explain away 1 John 1:9 using illogical natural human reasoning to be written to only unbelievers. But this is certainly not what the Lord has taught me about a better way of Bible interpretation and more specifically sin. This Bible study series will address this topic using several ignored scriptures that must be balanced with the doctrine being misrepresented by some extreme unnamed grace teachers.
You see I do certainly believe that Jesus died once for all sin that has ever been committed, is being perpetrated today and will occur tomorrow. We know this truth from verses like Romans 6:10, 2 Corinthians 5:14 and Hebrews 10:10 to name a few foundational truths on this subject of the comprehensive power of the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. I will say it again for emphasis, I am a very firm believer that there was one sacrifice for every human sin and no further sacrifice was or is necessary. However, we cannot ignore other verses that declare very plainly that the sin of even Christians can still have some major potential consequences. Please do not misunderstand what I am teaching. I am not saying every little sin we commit can cause something significantly bad to occur nor am I teaching that a Christian can lose their salvation by committing a sin. But, I am definitely teaching that Satan is looking at each of our lives very closely to gain an access and entry into our lives to kill, steal or destroy us (John 10:10). That is exactly what we will learn next.
SATAN IS SEARCHING FOR A LEGAL WAY IN
There is another part of the extreme Grace message that must be addressed immediately. While it is true that Satan was defeated by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it does not mean that he is not presently trying everything in his power (and he is still very powerful) to get you to fall away from Jesus or not produce any savable fruit to be harvested by Jesus. We need to study the parable of the sower and I wrote about this awhile back so I will not repeat it all here again. Just understand that every soil type in the parable “heard” the word of God and only one group produced any harvestable fruit. Satan successfully destroyed the harvest in every other soil type. Satan desires access into our lives after we hear the Gospel and are saved by believing, accepting and confessing Jesus as our LORD (Romans 10:9-10). There must be some insight given by God that shows us what grants Satan access to be victorious over some and not over others. We could talk about this a long time but we need to get to one of the foundational verses for the lesson:
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We are starting with a verse that was written directly to “saved born-again” Christians. I take this verse personally as an inspired word of warning written to me and so should you. It is so very clear to me that Satan desires to devour every Christian but can’t. What is it that allows Satan access to attack some Christians and not others? If you do not believe you can do anything to grant or permit the devil access into your life to devour, you have definitely been deceived by an extreme grace teacher. It would be very stupid for the LORD God to inspire Bible writers to warn us about something that could not occur and God is not stupid!
I am now going to begin to introduce you to God’s heavenly court system. There are four main participants in every court case. Those that are the accused can also be known as a defendant, the defense attorney may be present, the prosecutor also known as the plaintiff and then the Judge. Many know of these truths better than others. But, these are the basic main participants of every trial in this natural world and these are all parallel truths for the divine heavenly court cases going on today also.
Notice what I just said. I said this is happening everyday of your life here on the earth. I say this because I believe that every day Satan is looking (seeking, searching and plotting to gain access) using a legal charge to accuse and condemn us with. I want to go back to 1 Peter 5:8 and give you one of the key words that will help us verify one of the key principles that I am teaching. The primary word is “adversary”. This Greek word is G476 and it literally means “your opponent in a court trial”. According to this verse Satan is bringing a legal lawsuit before God on a daily basis in order to gain access to someone (even a Christian) to devour them. What this verse implies is that God must judge the “access demand” to be just in order for Satan’s entry to be legal. Wow, that does not sit well with a lot of modern extreme grace teachers. But, I’m sorry it is what the Bible says, not me.
This Greek word G476 translated as “adversary” occurs in the New Testament only in four verses and it is always applicable to a legal battle between two opponents in a court of law. You may look up these verses to verify these truths by reading verses in Matthew 5:25, Luke 12:58 and Luke 18:3. In every case there is a stated defendant, an adversary and a judge. While there is no legal counsel it may be assumed or implied based upon our knowledge of how natural court cases transpire. We will look deeper to verify the identities of the spiritual participants in God’s heavenly court cases very shortly. But, please understand that God’s word selection of G476 establishes a direct word and subject association to a court trial case that must also be occurring in 1 Peter 5:8 and this is a very critical lesson to learn and apply in a better way of Bible interpretation. See how a word selected by God is used in other verses and it will help to establish the definition in the verse in question.
Based upon 1 Peter 5:8 we can learn by implied reference who the defendant is and who the plaintiff is. Since the verse was a written warning to us in the church, that makes Christians the direct implied defendant being charged. We then can certainly see very plainly that since the devil is stated to be our “adversary” we know clearly that he is the one bringing the case before the Judge. Therefore, the case is being brought up before the implied Judge (God) by Satan in order to accuse us and gain access to attack us.
Let’s get another verse to help us verify this truth. After all God instructs us to use the mouth of two or three witnesses to establish every truth which is another best practice to correctly interpret the Bible. Again this truth must be occurring in a judicial spiritual courtroom before God the Spiritual Judge. I believe that God will always require at least two witnesses to establish every case truth. Please turn in your Bibles and read the following verse found in the Book of Revelation:
Rev 12:10 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.
Wow, this verse is of such great significance to our Bible subject that I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. I would like to begin by stating the fact that this verse is a future prophecy that has not yet occurred. We know this by the fact that God tells the author John in Revelation 4:1 to come up to heaven in order to be shown things that will occur in the future. I am a firm believer that everything in Revelation 4 to the end of the book is future prophetic statements that have not yet occurred. I also believe that they are written in Chronological order of occurrence. Therefore, since Revelation 4 through 11 has not occurred Revelation 12 has also not occurred.
What does this verse say? We must really read the context in order to discover the true identity of one of the central figures being named and discussed in this verse. We can read back a few verses in Revelation 12: 7 to begin to learn that Satan is also called the ancient serpent and the great dragon as figuratively speaking titles. Satan has also just been cast down out of heaven after a significant spiritual war. Let’s read these verses to verify where Satan will be cast out of. Turn in your Bible and begin reading with verse 7 to get the more complete revelation of what is going to occur very soon:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 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.
Here are the future prophesied facts given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. First, a spiritual war will occur. It is definitely a spiritual battle and not a natural conflict. Second, the participants of the war are spiritual beings. There is Michael and his angels defending heaven against the dragon (Satan) and his angels attacking heaven. Third, Satan and his angels lose the battle. Fourth, God states that Satan has ONLY NOW lost his place (right and ability) to enter back into heaven ever again in verse 8. What does this teach us? Verses 7 and 8 are teaching us by implied truth that before this event occurs Satan HAD FULL ACCESS and the ability to come and go from and to heaven any time that he wanted. Why do you think this was granted? I personally believe it is because of two main factors. The first factor is that God is just and that God must honor His Word. I believe we are about to learn more by a deeper study that the access granted was for the purpose of putting God’s people aka. Christians on trial.
We now should know that Satan had access into heaven very clearly from the statements found in verses 7 through 10. Now, look at what Satan is called in verse 10. Satan is referred directly by the Word of God to be the “accuser”. In fact the name Satan literally means “adversary”. Remember that “adversary” means “your legal opponent in a law case” and this firmly connects us back to 1 Peter 5:8. The Greek word translated as “accuser” is a very synonymous legal title to “adversary”. An accuser (Greek word G2725) is literally defined by Strong’s as someone that brings a compliant of law before a judge to gain an advantage over an opponent. I added the last part of that definition simply because that is what is being implied by the definition. Why would Satan come up to heaven before the LORD GOD’s court to accuse a “brother” in Christ? It would be extremely wise to give that question a lot of thought before answering quickly.
I believe God is telling us from verse 10 of Revelation 12 that Satan came up to heaven before Him both night and day to bring up complaints and charges against the people of God. We learn this truth by applying the key word “Brethren” to make it personal to Christians in the family of Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated as “brethren” is found over 300 times in the N.T. It can be used for natural or spiritual brothers. But, we use the context to understand that it must be “spiritual brothers” because everything else in the chapter appears to use natural symbols to point us to spiritual truths. I can see this and I pray you can also. You can search your Bible for G80 to learn how Paul and other N.T. writers applied this term “brethren” to the church family members.
Brethren here in this verse 10 must also be interpreted as those that are still living here on the earth since Satan was just thrown down form the spiritual realm of heaven back to the earth in a great fury of rage to wage war against those still not in heaven. I understand that there will be a lot of people that call themselves Christians that will not agree with what the Lord is teaching us here today. But, I’m not responsible to make anyone believe the Bible. All that any teacher can do is to present the facts given and then let the reader decide what they wish to believe for themselves.
While we are on verse 10 of Revelation 12 we must see and learn the second legal word term being mentioned. This term is the Greek word G2723 that was translated as “accused”. Let me review the part of the verse statement that I wish to emphasize. God says here “which accused them before God day and night”. Wow, this is critical to understand. This Greek word G2723 literally means “to be a plaintiff” in a court case. This word plainly means to bring a charge of offence/crime against a defendant. This is clearly describing spiritual court cases that were taking place 24 hours a day where God was the stated judge, Christians were the stated defendants and Satan was the stated plaintiff bringing the charges. All of this legal activity stops after Revelation 12. According to Revelation 12 these spiritual court cases do not cease until half of the tribulation’s seven years have gone by. That literally verifies to us that they are happening right now as you are reading this lesson believe it or not.
BIBLE EXAMPLES OF SPIRITUAL TRIALS
I will end this lesson today with three examples of spiritual trials that have taken place. The first one is a trial that occurred before Jesus was ever born on the earth. I am talking about a trial that is found in the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job. The story of Job probably occurred way over 4000 years ago. My best guess would be sometime after Noah and before Abraham.
I am not going to go through every verse that I could, but I would recommend that you go and reread Job chapter 1 using the information we have learned in this lesson so far to verify that this is an example of a literal court case being waged against Job a righteous man. In fact it would be good to read the entire book of Job looking at it from a legal court perspective.
This case is being brought before God by Satan who is bringing charges up against him to the Judge. We learn by reading Job 1:6 that the trial definitely takes place in heaven as we have learned he had access to heaven from reading Revelation 12. Satan appears before God and the omniscient Judge asks him two questions. The first question in verse 7 is where have you come from? You know God knows the answer but he asks the question for our benefit to connect us directly with vital information found in 1 Peter 5:8. Remember what this verse said? Satan answers the question truthfully and states he has just come from going to and fro in the earth. Do you now see the direct connection to 1 Peter 5:8? Your adversary the devil (Satan) goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. God is giving us direct connected insight into Job’s court case by connecting us with a verse that helps us to understand the legal procedure taking place in heaven.
The second question asked by God to Satan was “Have you considered my servant Job”. Omniscient God understands that Job was why Satan came up to heaven to start this court case. Satan then asks God a question “Does Job fear God for nothing?” This is the beginning of Satan’s introductory opening statement for his case against Job. Any way I am not going to go through this all in depth in this lesson . But, please understand and apply what we have learned from 1 Peter 5;8 and Revelation 12. “Your adversary the devil goes about the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” and “Satan accused them before God night and day”.
We also learn from reading and studying Job that God informs Satan that he has access to devour Job (all that he has is in your power Job 1:12) and this is what proves that Satan won that court case. Satan obviously has found someone that is able to be devoured.
Satan then goes about Job’s life and kills, steals and destroys a great portion of his family and possessions. It was a very clear victorious court case won by the devil over a righteous man on the earth.
But, what won the case for Satan? I will let you into a couple of significant clues to why the court case was easily won by Satan. There are at least two major things that Job did to open the door in the hedge of protection that God had placed around him. First, it says in Job 3:25 that Job said “the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me”. This verse informs us of the presence of “fear” in Job’s heart and it was this spirit of fear that helps open the door for Satan to win a case against him. Fear is the opposite spiritual force of faith and without faith it is absolutely impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Therefore, fear is not a connecting force to God but it must be considered an attracting force of Satan.
The second mistake Job made was pride. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace unto the humble (James 4:6). If you read the book of Job you will find that Job was found guilty of judging God and judging others (his friends) without sufficient knowledge to do either. We should be able to understand that judging others and God is a clear sign of pride. Job spoke many things that he was later rebuke by God for saying.
We learn these truths by reading the rest of the book of Job where he is speaking to his friends and later when God speaks to him. Notice in Job 38:2 that God asks Job a question “Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?” Here is a very good verse that informs us of another legal term. A “Counselor” can be applied to a person of law or legal advice in a courtroom trial. Perhaps you have seen this before. What I am trying to say here is that words spoken in judgment of others without full knowledge can be an access point for Satan to win a judgment against you.
I have said enough about Job to get you started. Now, let’s go read another example court case that transpired only about 2000 years ago.
The second spiritual trial that I want to point out from the Bible occurs while Jesus walked the face of the earth in the flesh with His 12 disciples about 2000 years ago. We will begin reading in Luke 22 and verse 31:
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Reading only the English language translation we miss so very much of the stated truth. Jesus is talking directly to Peter and calls him by name twice to emphasize the critical importance of the next statement to follow. Satan as we learned from Revelation 12 and 1 Peter 5 was the direct adversary seeking access by legal complaint against the human Peter in this case. Therefore, we understand that Satan is the plaintiff in this statement of Jesus. The key word that must be examined with deeper understanding is the Greek word G1809 and it is incorrectly translated as “desired” in this verse. While it is true that Satan desires to get to us all but that is not what the Greek word that was selected and written was intended to have been spoken by Jesus. This Greek word literally means “to demand for trial”. Jesus is warning Peter that he has done something that Satan believes gives him access to sift him like wheat. Perhaps you should do a little research about how wheat is sifted. Sifting of wheat is definitely not a nonviolent or peaceful act. Anyone sifting wheat represents someone using their power, ability and force over the wheat being sifted to remove some good from the bad. It would be good to learn more about this but that is not my primary subject. I just want us to focus on the legal issues that must have occurred to give Satan the right to “demand” by a trial to have access to Peter’s life. But, we later learn after this verse that Jesus (Peter’s implied attorney) prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. This does not mean that the sifting would not take place it only means Jesus asked the Father to help Peter come through the trial’s verdict being rendered. It would be great to go and study more about what Peter may have done to be sifted but I don’t really have the time in this lesson.
A MODERN DAY TRIAL
I am not able to go into every sin that a person can commit in order to be bought into spiritual court by Satan the accuser but I will end this part of the lesson with a third true life firsthand experience of this reality that I experienced a few years ago. This testimony concerns the life of my father. I learned of it by living it and hearing from others about it and I trust the testimony of those witnesses that have shared it with me. My father was a pastor for several years. I grew up attending his churches and hearing him preach his sermons.
My father was going to his second Bible school to learn and expand his knowledge of God and the Bible by attending good classes with great teachers. In his second year of this Bible school attendance in the first semester, he was sitting and taking notes when suddenly the man of God giving the lesson stopped and looked right at my father. God was giving the instructor a vision of a great dark cloud resting above the head of my father. The instructor knew from experience what this meant. He knew it was a death cloud that was warning my father that he would die soon. The Bible instructor called my father to the front of the class before all the other students. He put his hand on him and rebuked death and prayed for him. But, the instructor then asked my father to come see him privately so that he could share what else the LORD had given to him in his warning. I was not present when all of this occurred but my mother was in the class and she is one of the primary witnesses to the story and my mother was not a liar. She recounted this testimony after my father died.
I guess you already know that my father did not ever go and see the Bible teacher in private to hear the rest of the warning message from the LORD. A couple of months later my father had a stroke and was carried unconscious in an ambulance to a local hospital. My brother was home when all of this happened and he can testify to the truth of this part of the story. My father died a few days later after being transported. He never regained consciousness. He died like the Bible teacher warned he would.
The Bible teacher performed the funeral for my father and after the funeral my mother learned the rest of the message directly from the teacher that prayed for him. The Bible teacher informed my mother that God had told him to warn my father about his love walk with people. I should rather say that it was a lack of his love that concerned him more. Jesus gave us in the church a new commandment of LOVE and this is one way that Satan gained access into killing my father through his disobedience. I believe very firmly that because my father was not walking in love towards others that Satan brought him up on trial. I believe very firmly based upon spiritual laws that God tried to warn my father by even giving someone a vision of what was about to happen even before it happened. Like the prophet that warned the king in the Old Testament to get his house in order for you shall surely die, the same occurred for my father. However, the king in the Old Testament repented and prayed and he was granted more years on the earth. I believe this was what was happening with my father also. If he had repented and changed he might have lived a much longer life.
But, my father did not cooperate or may not have believed the warning or may have even wanted to go ahead and die. We don’t know the reason why he did nothing to prevent Satan’s attack. But that is what happened to him. The thief came into his life and killed my father just as John 10:10 states.
There was also another door that my parents opened to allow Satan access into their lives in this spiritual court case. After they were first married and before I was born, they went to a fair where they were just having fun. They ran across a fortune teller/palm reader tent and went in to play Satan’s deceptive game in ignorance. The fortune teller informed my mother that she had a long life line and would live a long time on the earth, but when she looked at my father’s hand she told him he would die young. I believe this foolish act set spiritual laws into motion and gave Satan a plot and a plan to bring up before God in my father’s trial. Had my father not gone into the fortune teller based upon his knowledge of God’s word this may have changed his life significantly. Had he rebuked the words spoken over him this may have also changed his life significantly. But doing nothing is certainly the worst option that anyone can choose. My mother informed me of all this after my father had died.
My father was barely 44 years old when he died. My mother lived to the age of 80 and the palm reader’s words both came true. Become aware of the things that can open the door for Satan before it is too late. Dabbling in the occult, fortune tellers, Ouija boards and the like, I believe opens the door for Satan to bring you before God’s court system. Spiritual laws are put into motion by words spoken by us, over us or about us. I believe that if we do not renounce them and rebuke them they will become seeds that grow and produce thorns and thistles in our lives.
Psa 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
This was only a basic overview and introduction of a much deeper subject. There are many other things to learn on this subject of God’s divine justice system. I do appreciate your time in reading and studying the Bible on this website. There are many other lessons that can be freely accessed by searching or clicking on topics and dates. May God bless and keep you until the return of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may click here for “Part 2“.
Lessons of Love and Forgiveness from a Testimony
(Ver 1.1) Today I believe that I am led to share a testimony from a friend. I personally believe the Bible very strongly. I believe the Bible is the inspired spoken word of an Almighty God that has been written down by human men for our spiritual benefit to learn and grow from it. God’s word says in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun. This verse informs me very clearly that history repeats itself. What has been will be again. And this lesson also teaches us that if we do not learn what has happened to others we can very easily fall into the same trap of Satan our self. I believe that any one of us should say “if not for the grace of God there go I” when reading about what others have done or not done. I ask you to read this testimony with an open mind but also with a heart of love, mercy and forgiveness. I know there will be some that will feel superior and self-righteous while reading this like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 that prayed and said “I thank you God that I am not as other men” and named sins that others were guilty of like a true hypocrite would. However, this self-righteous Pharisee was condemned by Jesus for his attitude and his words and I believe that it would be very wise for us all to not to choose to do the same. Please allow me to give you the foundational Bible verse for this short lesson:
2Co 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
In verse 11 is found the primary focused warning written to Christians concerning for us to not be ignorant of Satan’s traps, plans and pursuits. But, the context of this statement is clearly about our forgiveness and more specifically about us forgiving other men for what they have done. According to the inspired word of God in Mark 11:25, if we do not forgive what others have done, God will not forgive us either of our sins. I believe this teaches us that there is a divine spiritual law of reciprocal activity. I believe that how we treat others will be how God will treat us and this is His divine reciprocal choice. Therefore, if we forgive others we will be forgiven and if we do not forgive others we are in serious trouble. Please learn to forgive others, it is an absolute necessity.
Before we read the testimony I would like us to learn another very important truth from this verse 11. This verse plainly states that if we do not forgive others it will open the door for our enemy Satan to come in and attack us. This truth is very similar to what occurred in the life of Job but Job’s sin was different than what is being spoken of here in Verse 11. Here in verse 11 God informs us that Satan is able to take advantage over any Christian if we allow Him to do so by our wrong actions of implied un-forgiveness. Perhaps soon the Lord will lead me to write a more complete Study on the subject of how we open the door for the enemy but that is really not the main subject today.
Let’s read the testimony and learn what the enemy did to one of our dear brothers in Christ. Try to think about what is said from his perspective and not your own personal viewpoint like a Pharisee.
LOST & FOUND
This is my testimony:
“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch, like me.
Through many dangers toils and snares, I have already come.
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.”
(lyrics, from the song, Amazing Grace)
In the safe recesses of my memory is that time so many years ago cuddling on my mother’s lap while she read to me the classic children story, “The Little Engine that Could,” by Watty Piper. I would have her read it every night if my way prevailed, and sometimes mom would read it two times in one sitting: “Again, again,” my young voice pled. It was such a monumental struggle for that little engine to pull those cars full of toys up that mountain for delivery to the children on the other side. That captivating thought flooded my mind: “I think I can, I think I can.” Despite its size, the little engine triumphantly pulls the train up that mountain. Would it? Could it? The image was real and I sensed even then that life at times could be a challenge and a true struggle. As a mere child of four, I began to grasp this lesson that life may at times be a struggle reaching the other side to that place of joy and victory.
Two decades later, in my early twenties, I found myself singing in a Christian band. Often we sang this somewhat country classic, “Life is Like a Mountain Railway.” In this song the lyrics warn, “…we must make the run successful from the cradle to the grave. Watch the curves that fill the tunnel, never falter never fail; keep your hands upon the throttle and your eyes upon the rail. Blessed Savior there to guide us, Till we reach that blissful shore, And the angels there to join us, In God’s grace…, forevermore…” I see a thread and theme from early life. Many years from those moments that single message of struggle I have surely known. Yet, the Savior of my soul has never left or forsaken me, though at times I had strayed, wandered, and taken my eyes off the rails, He has always kept His eyes upon me.
I learned early the fallacy of believing that once you confess Jesus as your personal Lord, and personally accept His sacrificial crucifixion, that life will be an effortless and pain-free endeavor. No, it has not been that. I learned a phrase when acquiring my pilot license. This phrase was a seasoned pilot’s definition of flying: “Flying,” he said, “are hours of boredom, broken up by moments of sheer terror!” Christian life might be like that too.
Another analogy which helps explains how I experience life as a Christian is to recall the two years spent in a war zone. A variation to the old pilots’ thoughts was an enemy strategy of deliberately leading us into a state of lethargy. Days would go by, weeks, and maybe a month and his presence seemed to vanish. There would be little or no confrontations. The enemy would lay low, hide, retreat, allowing the thought to develop in us that he was either beaten or uninterested. Slipping into relative peacefulness you never saw hell dropping on top of you. In the middle of a fitful sleep, the sky would explode with light and fire, concussions of rockets knocking you from your bunk. Noises of confusion as people ran yelling orders, weapons rattling as everyone scrambled for orientation, the smell of sulfurs and fears all combined in that dark. For days following such attacks, we would again become hyper vigilant to movement, sounds, and imaginations. You had to realize that the enemy was unpredictable and ruthless. No matter the seeming peaceful state you enjoyed, in a war zone you had to always remain prepared.
Clearly, a harsh reality was to know that though many people loved you at home, there were well-armed people very close by who hated you for simply being you. This was a hard concept to embrace emotionally – that another living person actually would kill you without any regret or regard. Over the two years in that place I had to be reminded on many occasions this was a war zone and blood could be spilt at any moment. Today I am reminded that Christians may struggle with the idea someone hates them and labors to harm them. We mostly tend to see ourselves as lovable, kind, sensitive, and peaceable; why would anyone hate you or desire your ruin?
I became a Christian one year after I was discharge from the U.S. Army. Although I’d never known the true Gospel or the acceptance of Jesus’ personal gift to me, memories of childhood are full of a consciousness of God’s existence and even His presence. I believed in God, I simply didn’t know His Word or just how deep and profound was my need for His righteousness and acceptance. By His plan I was led to hear the Gospel of Jesus preached, and my heart opened to ‘hear’ the Truth. With a faith, only gained as a gift, I was willing and able to call out and ask for forgiveness and acceptance, embracing Jesus’ sacrifice and the provision of His eternal life indwelling me daily. At twenty-one, my feet and heart were set on a new course. The Word of God was coming alive in me, a passion and gratefulness washed over me. I was free from guilt, free from wandering in the darkness of life and given a purpose and qualification to pursue my Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. I began to run.
After becoming ‘saved’ my resume,’ so to speak, began to grow and included a number of wonderful activities and accomplishments. I’d become the president of the Christian Fellowship in college, and the co-founder of a contemporary Christian band and theatrical ministry travelling much of New England proclaiming the good news on college campuses, coffee houses, park concerts and churches. Out of that ministry came a radio ministry which I hosted for five years. Eventually I was trained and prepared to launch out on a new church ministry. The church began with approximately twelve dedicated people as we began ministering in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Over the following fifteen years our family at home increased, and the church too grew in new members and growing outreaches. In some ways it all seemed quite successful, with lots of effective outreaches, joys, and progress – perhaps as men judge progress. Though it was understood struggles could and did come, most things were manageable and the enemy seemed at bay and easily contained. In hindsight, and with further spiritual growth, I think too much of our methods for handling conflict were undertaken in fleshly and carnal ways, depending on our human capabilities and gifting. I had thought I was prepared and equipped for a prosperous Christian life and ministry, I don’t believe I ever would have imagined the viciousness and true spiritual battles yet to be faced in life. Though I’d studied ‘spiritual warfare’ through reading books, hearing sermons, and of course studying the Bible, the battles to come would compound beyond my imagination.
Certainly in those years simple and relatively ineffective skirmishes had to be faced. However, the first and most devastating battle and conflict came when my wife and I endured the still birth of our full term baby son, Jedidiah. The agony of losing him was unimaginable. The enemy made a move, he had a foothold. Between guilt, anger, uncertainty, hurt, loss, and unending questions living in my mind, this attack wounded deeply. In further hindsight, it was a harbinger of intense battles yet to be waged.
The toll of poor choices, such as putting other interests before our marital union, including but not limited to inattention, alienation of affections, over commitments to many so-called important activities, including ‘Christian work,’ led to the degeneration and finally dissolution of marriage. While the marriage was failing the church suffered greatly. Eventually, as people began to leave, the ministry came to a close. Not only had the battle raged externally, the inward condition was too troubled to continue reaching out to others. This seemed total devastation, and life began a further downward spiral. I sincerely began to doubt if “I could.” One might wonder if the battles were over.
No, it was far from over. Doubts flooded my soul; how could God let these things happen? How far away from God’s will had I been? Could I ever really hear God’s will and know how to follow? Had I been so unfaithful God simply did not desire my fellowship any longer? I was in a wilderness, it was hard to hear, hard to feel, sometimes hard to care. I questioned my prayer, honestly thinking perhaps I had committed an unpardonable sin (I realize today how this sounds, yet then it was overwhelming). Feeling and believing myself unworthy, with a strong sense of failure, satan was relentless. He knew I was one struggling to stay off the mat, like a fighter pummeled. Perhaps I was heading for the final knock-out. Surely it appeared faith to believe God loved me was being knocked out of me under a relentless flurry of strikes. Not only was I not able to love myself, surely God no longer cared either. Satanic influence was overwhelming. A sad consequence was running from God’s Word. What I began to see in Scripture was condemnation and judgment of so many failures. My mind was being blinded, my eyes shutting under the force of so many punches.
My behaviors reflected this loss. I became reclusive. I was afraid to speak the truth – even to myself. Little did I know, but an incident which occurred a year after the marriage ended, would soon be used as a complete knock-out punch. Not only had I been rejected by a wife, I surely must be rejected by God. Desperate for companionship and acceptance I was now susceptible to even more poor choices. What began as an innocent moment of consolation with a vulnerable woman, lapsed into inappropriate intimacy. This was but a momentary mutual action, and one which did not consummate in other than brief petting, however, it would be more than enough for Satan to throw the haymaker and accuse me of behavior which never took place. Seven years later the story had escalated and false accusations were brought against me. I was accused and convicted of an indecent assault.
The day I heard the judge pronounce a prison sentence, I certainly knew my life was finally and perhaps mercifully over. I was so alone and afraid. Clearly God must now despise me. I must have been cast out. I had some defect which I may have been unaware and which meant God could not love me. Did I bring this on myself? Nothing was clear. Would clarity ever come to me?
Within the first twenty-four hours of prison, perhaps that which I feared most seemed to face me. I was being confronted by a large African man in a prison cell block, accompanied by a Spanish speaking Porte Rican. The previous twenty-four hours found me plunging into a deep abyss of darkness, fear, anxiety, and despair believing that I would never know God’s love or care again. This seemed the ultimate abandonment, the bottom, a profound loss of hope and self abhorrence; it was a dreadful aloneness. What would become of me? What would my grandchildren think? What about my children, how could they manage this horror?
And there he was, towering over me, a huge man, speaking to me in such a thick African accent I could barely understand. His question, “Are you okay?” “Are you okay?” over and over he asked. He was blocking me and I couldn’t see anything but this giant and threatening looking man. Finally I said, “No, I am not okay!” And then as he looked at me, with what I now know were deeply compassionate eyes, the most amazing sounds came from him. He began to minister wonderful, loving words to me, expressing that God knows where I am, and that He is here with me, that He has never left me or forsaken me. He began to share that through all of this, God had a big plan for me, and He was going to use this to shape me anew….
And then his voice seemed to slip away and I no longer actually heard his continued speaking or the terrible sounds of the cell block. Rather, I seemed to leave that cell block and went someplace in my spirit that was quite, safe and peaceful. There I faced the Holy Spirit One on one. Though my questions were not directly addressed, I knew He was aware, and what He did was fill me with peace, with confidence, and with the assurance of His love and clearly His acceptance and compassionate comfort. Though I realized the answers I needed so desperately wouldn’t happen then, I knew an assurance of His control coming alive in me again. I actually knew the reality was that “all things work together for those who love Him…” Though burdened with guilt, doubts, and a sense of abandonment, and feeling profoundly lost during this season of battle, I now knew He was not going to let me go! I knew more and more would be revealed as I trusted in Him once again, fully and without apprehension or insecurity.
The suffering did not end completely that night, but the awareness I was really no longer in chains, no longer a prisoner to what I could only imagine to be failure, guilt, shame, and to letting my Lord down, began to flood my life, and has continued to this very day. And then, as if awakening from a dream, the awareness of my terrible surroundings came in to focus again and I spoke once more to this man, his name I learned was Adam. I simply said, “I am okay now!” Though still facing many unknowns, there was within a new courage, a sure hope and that certain assurance He was with me through it all.
Is it biblical as a Christian to be touched a second time, a third time, again and again? This is a question you may ask yourself. When we speak of salvation is it a one-time event, or is this an ongoing saving? Though I’ve walked through a deep and dark valley, I have found the battle is won and our Lord’s grace is sufficient for me. What I have found is that “Greater is He which is in me than he that is in the world.” What I have found is that “What (satan) intends for evil, God intends for good.” What I have found is that “When I am truly weak, He is truly strong.” What I have found is that when others forsake and bare false witness, with harsh judgment, He embraces and accepts and walks with you. What I have found is that He has a balm of healing and restoration in which He brings double, triple, and unknown levels of restoration, hope, confidence and love. All of these testify that when He saves you it is an everlasting salvation and one which Satan cannot snatch, though he may expend wicked energies and efforts to destroy us at any opportunity.
I have found we really do live in a world of spiritual battles, and unless we stand prepared to engage, with God’s Word, with unwavering faith and without doubt, anyone can stumble, anyone can fall. And there are many biblical warnings that we should never stand proud in ourselves believing we could never fall or let the Lord down. I have found the evil one is paying close attention and he is crouched at the door. But, I have found that though a child of God fall, our Father will not walk past and look elsewhere. He will stoop to our lowest place and with the heart of the Good Samaritan, He will bind our wounds, He will bring us to a safe place, and He will pay whatever the price to see we are rewarded our place with Him in His everlasting Kingdom of love and peace. And finally, for now, I have found that the Callings of God are without repentance (without a change of His heart), and that “what He began in us He is faithful to bring to pass.”
We all have failed and come short of the Glory of God. If you have never failed then you are free to cast the first stone at my friend. But for me I will not be picking up any stones. Love will always restore a brother and help a brother that is turned around and is making the effort to do what is right. There was only one sinless man on the earth and His name was Jesus Christ. He did not come into the world to condemn the world and this was the main lesson from John 8:11 and John 3:17.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
We could spend days on this verse alone. We all too often look at another man’s faults while ignoring our own. The problem with this verse is that it is extremely conditional. Only a few people that I have seen in my life qualify to ever be called truly “spiritual”. It would take me more time to explain this truth than I also have today. I will simply inform you that I do not yet feel that I qualify to be at this level of this category. I am human as well as my friend. I have made mistakes and have been in the flesh sometime too often. It is my heart’s desire to become more spiritual and I pray that it will be yours as well.
My main point from Galatians 6:1 is that we should be on a pathway that helps to restore people back into the fellowship with Christ. If anyone that calls themselves a Christian and is not trying to build up a brother that has fallen then I believe that they are either extremely carnal Christians or I doubt seriously that they are a Christian at all.
I would like to end this mini lesson with the warning that is given to us in Galatians 6:1. Here we find a similar bit of wise counsel that we read first in 2 Corinthians 2:11. Remember when Paul said Satan could get an advantage over us? That is the similar advice being transferred to us in this statement “lest we also be tempted”. The implied words not being directly related to us is that if we don’t forgive someone for what they have done and then pursue (make an effort) to restore them back to the LORD, we our self could be carried away by the same trap of deception. I find that very powerful and more than just a suggestion to follow after.
I pray that this testimony has been an encouragement to someone. Perhaps you have fallen in a similar way. It is not too late for you to turn your life around as my friend did.
If you have a comment about this lesson, you are free to share it. However, if you are going to be mean spirited and unforgiving, I will warn you that I will probably not publish your comment. Also, if you have a good testimony like my friend about how God has worked and changed you, I would love for you to share that.
My friend that wrote his testimony is doing well. God has helped him tremendously and blessed him. He reads his Bible, and studies it. He goes to church. He prays for me and others. He has been a great encouragement to me. I believe that the Spirit of God led my new friend to contact me and get to know me. I am very happy to call him my friend and I praise God for a new brother in Christ that I will hopefully meet here or in heaven soon.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me on this website. I am always amazed at the love and grace of God that permits me to do this for Him. May God bless you and keep you.