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MADE NEW Become the Best Version of You by Intimacy with God Through Forgiveness A study from Psalm 51 The greatest achievement in life is to walk with God in newness of life. Forgiveness is a divine work of God in the heart of man that brings about transformation and newness of life. God will set you free from your past so that you can live a new life in unity with Him to face the future.

By Jess Garcia


MADE NEW

Become the Best Version of You by

Intimacy with God Through Forgiveness A study from Psalm 51

All of us need is a return to God. Psalm 51 tells us how.

by Jess Garcia

Copyright Š 2013


There is the person that you are now. You know your personal faults, worries, and shortcomings. And there is the person you can become; that is, a person filled with joy, hope, and love because of a personal transformation that comes from living a new and different life.

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There will be different times when you will be confronted with the things of life in a profound way that will lead you to search the depths of your heart to evaluate, cope, understand, and come to grips with what is happening in your life. You will come to realize that life is greater than you as a person and that all of us are so vulnerable to circumstances, pain, personal failure, worry, tragedy, loss, etc. It is in these times that we are to turn to God for comfort, hope, and the answers we need to go on in life

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Know that man is created to know and love God. We fail God in not realizing this. When man fails God, he fails himself. God uses the circumstances of life to bring us to Him. What God provides is a new start through setting us free from the mistakes of the past and offers a new life in union with Him to face the future.

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God will make you new on the inside so that you can overcome life on the outside. God will give you a new outlook and new feelings that will overpower any negative thoughts or feelings that are contrary to your personal wellbeing. That is the power of new life at work.

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Working things out with God through forgiveness is the best therapy in life because it is intimacy with God that dispels the emptiness in our lives and brings about a state of wholeness that leads to happiness. All of us need God to do a good work in our lives. Psalm 51 tells us how.

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

The Story of Little Nate I have a niece who had a husband and three very young children. She became addicted to drugs and abandoned her family. Her husband was left with raising the three children. The youngest was little Nate. He was about two years old when all this happened. When he became six years old, one could see the effects his mother’s abandonment had on him. He was a difficult child. He was very rebellious at school and often was sent home. The teachers could not cope with him. He did not respond well in a school situation where there are rules to be followed. My wife felt compassion for these children and was enormously burdened concerning them. So, we took them on vacation with us. I hooked up a screen in our SUV so that the kids could be entertained with children’s movies, cartoons, and music as we traveled. We drove from the Los Angeles area to Monterey, California stopping along the way at different cities and sites. I told my wife to focus on caring for the two older children who were more orderly, and that I would concentrate on little Nate, The Aquarium who was a handful, so to speak. I took him by the hand, and we went to so many different places. I had everything planned out of what we were going to do each day. We visited the Aquarium in Monterey, enjoyed the beach in Santa Cruz, went hiking in beautiful Point Lobos, etc. (photos on right side). It was all fun and good times. All of us had a great time together. I gave Nate Santa Cruz Beach my full attention, and all his needs were met. He felt love, care, and enjoyed new experiences that were good for him. The amazing thing was that Nate behaved so well. You should have seen him in an elegant restaurant behaving like a well-mannered gentleman reading over his menu and picking out Point Lobos, Monterey County something to eat. He didn’t rebel or “act out.” He was having a great time. Many times we get locked into a pattern of living that is not good for us and need someone to walk us through a new way of living. That is what this book seeks to do. It will take your mind to places it needs to go. It will walk you through things that you must understand about new life and how it works. It will broaden your understanding to comprehend that you are not alone and that you can’t discount God and His work in your life. You will learn that you can experience God’s helping hand walking you through things that will change your life. You will be able to become a new person (that is, the best version of yourself as God has designed you to be) free from a life that was not working for you. Imagine coming to a place of living out God’s ideal of what you should be as a person. See yourself enjoying a life filled with the good things of God that will make you whole and complete. You will enjoy His presence and come to see everything in a different way. Know that it is new thinking that dispels the old, just as it is new living that rids us of our old way of life. Have you ever had a new friend come into your life, and things changed for the better because he or she cared for you? That is what coming to God is like, but even more. Life is not about going back and reliving the past. It is about going forward and building a new future between you and God. That is what this book offers and will help you to accomplish. There is nothing invented that can stop you from beginning a new life with God.

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A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR Are you at a place where you desire a better life for yourself? You may have tried to live a better and perfect life but have failed. Then you tried again and failed again. At this point, you will begin to doubt that change for the better is possible, or that you will ever reach personal fulfillment. But still you think it may be possible because you have seen other people change for the better but somehow it doesn’t work for you—that is—it seems that you always fall short of reaching true happiness. There may be things in your life at present that are difficult to overcome. It may be that you are suffering from disappointment, guilt, addiction, past trauma, grief, a constant temptation to do what you know is wrong for you, etc. Or, it may be that you are experiencing an emptiness inside that is constant and yearns to be filled, but nothing works—that is—the emptiness doesn’t go away. At this point, you may feel helpless and forgotten of God. Ever wonder why people fail to overcome the things from their past in trying to live a new and better life? Or, why people fail to achieve personal fulfillment despite all efforts? Understand that change is not about effort. Overcoming the circumstances in our lives is not about selfdetermination. It is about the power of God. It is about having God doing a work in your life that will empower you to overcome the things in life that are working against you. Also, understand that a person needs more than change to achieve true happiness. The very crux of the matter is that a person needs intimacy with God. It is intimacy with God that fills the heart and restores the soul. It is what dispels the emptiness of our lives and brings about personal change. It is when you live in nearness to God that you become transformed into His likeness and find your fulfillment in Him. This written work is dedicated to helping people leave an old life that was not benefitting them and bringing them to enjoy a new life of intimacy with God that does. There are many contemporary books and “men of God” that fail to tell the Biblical truth of how to live a rich and fulfilling life in fellowship (close communion) with God. So, know that we need not fail to achieve happiness in our lives. Happiness can be attained. Be assured that there is a rich fulfilling life within your grasp. Know that there is something far better and greater for which to live. It is knowing God and walking with Him. This is the purpose of life for all mankind. God has made provision for all of us to walk in newness of life from this day forward unto eternity. The life God offers is a good life of living in union with Him and enjoying the benefits of His Kingdom. Psalm 51 will have a life-changing effect on those that read it and take it to heart. It teaches us that there is a happy end to life for anyone who turns to God. When a person turns to God, positive things are set in motion that cannot be reversed. Learn that what people need most is intimacy with God, a knowledge that He will never leave or give up on them, and the confidence of knowing that God will cause all things to work together for good in their lives in spite of their circumstances or personal shortcomings.

In Love and Honor

Jess Garcia

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HOW TO READ THIS BOOK This written work is not a sermon. It is not a devotional writing. It is not about religion. It is about reality. It is about the truth concerning God and man that is revealed in Psalm 51. It is written for anyone that wants a better life. In this work, there are three distinct interrelated subjects that make up the whole theme, which is, divine forgiveness that leads to intimacy with God, which brings about wholeness and fulfillment, presented in three parts. You can read each part separately as a stand-alone subject or sequentially as a whole. Part 1 gives a general understanding about the things of man and the things of God. It gives an

overview of man’s situation in relation to God and his need for the kingdom of God. It answers the question of how a good man like King David can come to such a great fall. It reveals that God has left an open door to man and discloses how to draw near to God for love, comfort, and newness of life. It explains the reason we all fall short in our lives; a lack of intimacy with God. Part 2 explains how intimacy with God works. Man has been created for God and is unsatisfied

until he achieves intimacy with God and finds his fulfillment in Him. Many of us have never been taught how to achieve intimacy with God, or how to continually live in His presence. This is essential because it is intimacy with God that renews us in God’s likeness and makes us a better person. It is in living in the reality of God’s presence day by day that nearness to God is manifested in a deep, personal way. Knowing God changes us. Intimacy with God brings fulfillment. It is having a right relationship with God that makes us normal. This is the key to understanding human nature and what is wrong with mankind; that is, that man needs fellowship with God and suffers from not having it. This is the reason why we fall short in our lives. In the height of Psalm 51 David cries out, Do not cast me out from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. LITV 1 He cries from the depths of his heart because he longs for God’s presence and to enjoy the benefits of a spiritual relationship with Him. King David knew what living close to God was like and yearned to be near Him again for love and communion that made him feel whole and complete. Know that all of us, like David, need a return to God. Part 3 gives a general commentary on each verse of this healing psalm that reveals the path to

having a right relationship with God; which is through confession, cleansing, and restoration. Here are redemption, resolution, and forgiveness laid out for us to understand and apply. David’s way back to God is our way back to Him also; that is, David has left a pattern for us to follow. When David prays, Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit within me LITV, it is for all of us to ask God for the same thing; that is, for a pure heart and the ability to walk with God in newness of life . Psalm 51 deals with the issue of going to God in spite of what a person has done or what he or

she may feel inside. In this psalm, the Spirit of God works through David, a man torn apart by moral failure, to have him write the greatest work ever written on the forgiveness of God. It reveals to us how a person can turn to God from the ashes his or her life to having a right relationship with Him that brings about newness of life, radical change, intimacy with God, and fullness of joy.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

PART ONE: THE THINGS OF GOD AND THE THINGS OF MAN

INTRODUCTION: The Big Picture………………...………………….…….…………......….pg. 1

CHAPTER ONE: The Things of Man…………..…..………...…..………..…….….….….…..pg. 3

CHAPTER TWO: The Things of God……….………..…..……..…..…….…..…….………..pg. 25

PART TWO: UNDERSTANDING INTIMACY WITH GOD…….....…..…………………….pg. 49

PART THREE: STARTING A NEW LIFE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51………………......….....….pg. 69

CHAPTER ONE: Going to God…....………...……………………..……..………..………….pg. 71

CHAPTER TWO: What to Acknowledge Before God……..……….....….……….……….pg. 79

CHAPTER THREE: What to Ask of God…….………….………………………..………….pg. 83

CHAPTER FOUR: Realizing God’s Forgiveness………...…....………………...……..….pg. 91

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PART ONE THE THINGS OF MAN AND THE THINGS OF GOD

Everyone’s life is in a state of flux until one walks with God and lives out His righteousness.


INTRODUCTION

THE BIG PICTURE What is considered by many to be the greatest film ever made (Citizen Kane) is about a man who seeks to return to the innocent happy state of his simple childhood but is diverted to a life of self-indulgence and narcissistic pursuits that lead him to a life of failure and disappointment. This brings him to his one last dying word “Rosebud,� a childhood name probably given to him by the rich benefactor who had bequeathed all his riches to him. The idea behind his name was that given the opportunity his life was to rise upward from his humble beginnings and flourish to a glorious, beautiful state like the rose flower. This is the stature that Kane failed to achieve. Ever wonder what your last dying word may be? Will it be one of satisfaction or of regret? All of us start out wanting what is good in life. So, how does a person become derailed from achieving meaning and purpose? All of us know of people that have come to a tragic end. Why is it so difficult for us to arrive at true happiness and come to an accurate understanding of the world around us? Is the ideal to be better than other people, pursue riches, and outlive everyone else? Or is it about trying to go back when you were happy as a child; that is, when life was uncomplicated and other people made decisions for you? But the reality is that one can never go back in life, only forward. So, in going forward, what is the best pursuit in life? For what purpose does man live? Who is the person that does achieve meaning, happiness, and fulfillment? Either the whole grand scheme of things is moving toward something and life has meaning; or, there is no grand scheme of anything, and everything is moving toward nothing. The best thing man can do is to turn to God who created him to resolve the issues of his life. Psalm 51 is about a man, King David, who came from humble beginnings and was chosen by God to be the King of Israel, a place of honor and dignity. But David deviated from the right path of life, which led him to lust, adultery, murder, and cover up, but in the in the final outcome of his conflict he turned to God. Man may have his pursuits, which can lead to his downfall, but God has His own, which seek to help, restore, and bring people to a saving knowledge of His grace that will lead them to find their fulfillment in Him. When man seeks the attainment of his dreams on earth, there is sensuality, greed, manipulation of others, and every kind of evil work. When he seeks to attain them in God, he will find love, intimacy, purpose, and an anticipation of an eternal future of living in the fullness of joy that stems from communion with Him. The fact of the matter is that the highest pursuit in life is the pursuit of God, and heaven is the ultimate consummation of man’s dreams.

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Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden of Eden

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PART 1: THE THINGS OF MAN AND THE THINGS OF GOD MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION 0F YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

Man is in need of the kingdom of God

The greatest failure in life is man’s failure to live in nearness to God. In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was created to know and love God. He was designed to be holy as God is holy (that is, to manifest the beauty of God’s character) and to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. So, man lived in the Garden of Eden and enjoyed God’s presence. There was a tremendous bond between man and God. His life with God was “very good.” Man lived in union with God, and God had a world to share with him. Man was capable of great things. God gave man things to do. He had purpose. Man was given authority over his life and the whole earth. Man was living under God’s care and was governed by his love for God. Man enjoyed fellowship with God and vice versa. There was no disruption of order or tears of sorrow. Man’s character was like God’s. He was good and pure. His life was a life of blessing. Man was to have control over the world and manifest the holiness of God in it. Man was to fill the earth with sons and daughters who would know and love God. They were to reflect God’s image; that is, reveal the beauty of God’s holy character in their thoughts, words, and deeds. This has been God’s predetermined intent and man’s place in life. But there was evil present in the world. Satan (Lucifer) had been cast out of heaven along with his angelic hosts. There was the unseen kingdom of darkness in defiance of God seeking to dethrone God, subvert man’s relationship with Him, and gain dominion over the earth. Now there was conflict. In this conflict how would man fare? Which kingdom would he follow and therefore belong? Every war is about possession. This war was about devouring the kingdom of God, taking possession of mankind, and seizing authority over the earth. Man was not to allow

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this to happen in the world that God had placed him. Man had been given an intimate knowledge of God (spiritual life), the power of choice (free will), and a sense right and wrong (morality). Man’s test was to face evil, turn away from it as God would turn away from it, and therefore defeat it. God had given the command for man to be fruitful and multiply but how would man’s decision affect his children to be? Satan was after the heart of man. The future of the world and mankind was weighing in the balance as to what man would do. So, man was tempted, rebelled, and departed from God. Then, death occurred; that is, a death of mankind to God. The heart of man was changed. That is what sin does. Man’s greatest immorality is the immorality of turning away from God. So, the earth became cursed. Intimacy with God was lost. Mankind became a fallen race. In the depths of man’s being (that is, in his essence) he has been designed to be holy as God is holy and to live in communion with God, but in his nature and practice he fails to accomplish this. Instead, he lives alone apart from God. The children of Adam (human race) are born without knowing God and live independent of Him. Mankind is drawn to sin rather than to God. Man apart from God cannot achieve his potential as a person. This means that man is a failure according to his design. He chooses to be a god unto himself. He seeks the things of himself in contradistinction to the things of God. Without God, man lives to promote his own glory and establish his own righteousness; that is, he lives for himself and does what is right in his own eyes. Man was never designed to live independent of God and is lost without Him. Darkness has entered his life. He is no longer the same. Man was at his best when he was living in God’s presence, manifesting God’s holiness, and performing His will. It would take God to reach out man and reveal Himself so that he could know His love, forgiveness, and intimate companionship again. Man’s greatest need today is to return to God and live out a life of close communion with Him that he once had; that is, he is to come to God in simple faith, embrace His forgiveness, and begin a new life intimacy with Him, thus fulfilling his original design of enjoying God and manifesting the beauty of God’s character.

Man is born unto trouble. Many things happen in life. A person may become ill, visit a doctor, and find out that he or she has a terminal disease. What can that person do? How can he or she go on in life? How does one face death? A young person starting out in life may feel lost and wonder what life is truly about. How does that young person resolve his or her dilemma; that is, how does one face life? A man may be enslaved to a pattern of living that he cannot control. He tries to overcome what has him in bondage but fails. How does he take back control of his life? Another may be going through grief or may have suffered a great loss. To whom can that person turn? In times of tragedy how can a person be helped? You may be going through something that is overwhelming and not be able to understand what is happening to you, or why you feel so powerless. The Book of Job (5:7) tells us that, people are born to trouble, as surely as the sparks fly upward. NET2 Barnes explains, The sense is, that as certainly as man is born, so sure is it that he will have trouble. It follows from the condition of our being, as certainly as that unconscious objects will follow the laws of their nature - that sparks will ascend.3 Know that man is in darkness. In his darkness, he lives in a world without God that he does not fully understand. Man may follow his heart’s pursuits, but God has created him for something greater. For this reason, man will always be challenged to be a better person.

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Man is fighting evil (from an unseen satanic world system). There was a detective who was doing his job of fighting crime. After an arduous pursuit of a serial killer that lasted several years in which he delved deeper and learned more about the darkness of this world than he wanted to know. He believed in God and came to understand that what he was fighting was greater than just one man. It was evil itself. Man cannot define his life and circumstances without the divine truth that comes from God. It is God that sheds light concerning our lives and the situations we find ourselves. Man in general does not realize that he is in the midst of a satanic world system that contends with God every day. Nor is he aware that the evil in the world around him is like a black hole pulling everything into itself. There are powerful beings at work in the unseen world surrounding mankind who seek to pull man away from God and propel him into the black hole of evil that Satan has created. People get drawn in by their own sinful nature through the allurement of immoral sex, the ecstasy of drugs, the opiate of power, the deceitfulness of riches, personal pursuits that are not of God, etc. Satan’s throne is not in hell as some suppose but is on earth. Christ tells the believers in Pergamum (Rev. 2:13), I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. ESV 4 Satan does not only dwell on the earth but is also a powerful being in authority over the earth from where he runs his operations as a king runs his kingdom. He has marred mankind and fuels the world with evil. He empowers man to go against God through having him to seek his innate passions and dreams fulfilled in a world system saturated with darkness. He is called the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), the prince of this world (Jn. 12:31), or the ruler of the kingdom of the air, and the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2).

Satan is cast out of heaven

Satan is over the earth where mankind lives

Satan rules the unseen world of darkness

Regarding Satan’s throne, Vincent comments: “The word is used in the New Testament of a kingly throne … of one who exercises authority, so, in the plural, of angels (Col. 1:16), thrones belonging to the highest grade of angelic beings whose place is in the immediate presence of God.” 5

Satan’s present intent is to recreate a world without God, which will pave the way for him to have ultimate control over mankind. His goal is to make God irrelevant in our lives. Satan’s work is to blind the mind of man concerning the things of God in order to carry out his plan. Just look at the world around you and see how much he has accomplished. He has touched everyone’s life just as evil has come upon everyone. Man is the servant of sin under the powers of darkness that hold people captive and blind their mind to the things of God. I Peter 5:8, states, Be sober and alert. Your enemy [adversary] the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. The word used for devour in Greek is katapino, which means, to swallow up, destroy 6. This means that man has an unseen enemy that seeks his downfall. Satan seeks to destroy people through unrighteousness. He gets people to think that the improper things

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they are doing are not wrong; that is, they become blind to the unrighteousness of their actions. Acts 5:3, states, But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land?’ Notice how Satan fills the heart and energizes people to go against God. This is how he works his kingdom. He fills the heart and mind of man with thoughts and desires that are contrary to the kingdom of God. Barnes explains, A man’s ‘heart’ or ‘mind’ is ‘full’ of a thing when he is ‘intent on it’; when he is strongly ‘impelled to it’; or when he is fully occupied with it. The expression here means that he was ‘strongly impelled’ or ‘excited’ by Satan to this crime.3 Satan entices people to sin with the offer of pleasure and fulfillment to bring them to moral failure and condemnation. Satan empowers man to seek the things of himself in opposition to seeking the things of God. But contrary to this, the Holy Spirit is at work to convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment that come from living apart from God (Jn. 16:8). We lie to ourselves and to the Spirit of God when we choose to do what is contrary to the will of God by putting our will over His no matter how we may justify our actions, rationalize our behavior, or claim a personal right to do whatever we choose. Satan knows that man by his fallen nature is drawn to sin. He creates an environment of temptation and uses the sinful nature of man to bring him to a fall. There are enticements, afflictions, and stressors in life that make the allurement to immoral pleasure so desirable. Because man lacks fellowship with God this is a stressor in his life from which he seeks relief. If he does not find satisfaction in God he will be drawn to find it in what is not of God. James 1:14, states, But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. ESV The word used for desire is epithumia in Greek. It means craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust.6 So, what choice does man have? How can anyone overcome such a great adversary who offers such pleasure, relief, and false fulfillment that speaks to the hearts of men and women? In the depths of a person’s heart is desire that is brought about by a sense of emptiness that seeks to be fulfilled. Seeking to fill this emptiness is what drives all mankind. Man tries to find ways to fill this emptiness in the world in which he lives, but it does not effectually fill it. What God offers man is to find his fulfillment in Him. Know that everyone is given a choice each day of either yielding to the satanic spirit of this age that works to bring people to succumb to its influence; or, of yielding to the divine Spirit of God that works to bring people to the kingdom of God that is a place of refuge, intimacy, and joy. God’s offer of new life is for everyone. This means that every person has a way out of living a life apart from God even though he or she may not take it. God has always been waiting for anyone who will turn to Him for help. Know that the Lord will take you in, bring relief, and fill your life with good things; such as, a love that is real, a joy that is deep, a peace that overcomes personal turmoil, etc.

Think on these things: Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Galatians 5:17-23,

For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

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The blindness of man to the things of God. Man lives in a controlled environment that denies the reality of God. This affects man’s perception of life and God. Every person in their thinking creates their own version of God according to how they understand Him to be, but without truly knowing Him in a personal way. People also form their own idea of how to achieve fulfillment in the world in which they live without fully understanding that there is an unseen world of evil that surrounds them. So, man by himself fails to know God experientially and does not fully grasp that he is helpless in the conflict of good and evil in the world around him. There is a veil of blindness over the eyes of his heart that does not allow him to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Corinthians 4:4, states, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. Concerning the meaning of the word blinded, used in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Thayer states, in the NT metaphorically to blunt the mental discernment, darken the mind.6 This blindness leads man to dismiss the things of God, which produces a hardness of heart toward Him. For instance, a disbelief in God may promote the belief that man is able to resolve the issues of life apart from Him, which is the philosophy of humanism that dominates our present age. Or, man may create his own religion (belief system) that is not consistent with whom God is. Disbelief in God reinforces a pattern of living without God. Barnes states, A hard heart is that where the conscience is seared and insensible; where truth makes no impression.3 The darkness in man goes to his very core. All of mankind is being affected by it. We learn from the Word of God that man is morally destitute in need of God. According to Romans 3:10, There is no one righteous, not even one. Because man is morally destitute, he cannot see his own condition. He has to come to the reflective mirror of the Word of God that will uncover the truth concerning himself and his desperate state before God so that he would turn from his old life to a new and better one with God. James 1:23-24, states, For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. ESV The people that hear the Word of God and walk away from it do so because they do not desire true change. They choose to live in unbelief. They quickly forget what the Word of God tells them to escape the conviction that it brings. Then, there are those that accept the Word of God and try to do what it says but fail. The Apostle Paul makes a statement about himself, and about all fallen humanity when he says (Rom. 7:15), For I don't understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want — instead, I do what I hate. So, man is conflicted. Man struggles within himself, wrestles with satanic forces in his environment, and fights against God. Every person must face what he or she has done in life. Every person must acknowledge that he or she falls short, and the judgment that his or her actions bring. Realize that God will always align Himself with righteousness and against sin. Man’s greatest failure in life is his failure to walk with God and live out His righteousness. This is because of man’s darkened understanding that resists the truth about himself and God. Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:17 ). The only way for man to know the truth of God is for God to reveal it to him. This is why God is at work in the world to open the eyes of mankind through illumination, which is the act of God bringing light into the darkened mind of man. It is God that reaches out to man before man reaches out to God. Learn that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, mentioned in 2 Cor. 4:4, is the revelation that God has not forgotten mankind but in grace

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has provided the sacrificial death of Christ for sin (that separates man from God) so that man may live in nearness to Him. This means that God will help those that come to Him for forgiveness and accept His offer of a new and better life. He will cause all things to work out for good in their lives despite what they may have done or the difficult situations they may have caused. They will experience a living relationship with God and have the personal knowledge that He will never leave or give up on them. God will lead them to the place of wholeness and of having the ultimate consummation of their dreams fulfilled in Him. This is the knowledge of God that man lacks because the god of this age (Satan) has blinded the mind of man to the truth concerning the living and true God. Christ explains how Satan operates in the parable of the sower and the seeds. This parable illustrates how Satan works against people to keep them from entering the kingdom of God.

Luke 8:11-12, states, “’Now the parable means this: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”

First of all, realize that the only way to escape the pattern of unbelief (that leads to disobedience) and the satanic environment (that is designed to keep people ignorant about the things of God) is to yield to the truth that comes from the Word of God. Secondly, notice what this passage says about Satan’s work in our lives to keep us from the saving knowledge of the Word of God. It says, the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Satan does this by discrediting the Word of God when man hears it. The whole satanic world system is based on discrediting God so that every person of the world would continue to live in unbelief. This means that each person must open his or her heart to God to escape the blindness in which he or she finds him or herself. All of us must ask ourselves if we are denying ourselves of knowing God because we have hardened our heart toward Him. All Satan’s work can be brought to nothing by one simple prayer to God for God to reveal the truth concerning Himself and the world in which we live. When this happens the person that prayed is to listen for God’s voice and prepare his or her heart to accept the truth of God’s word. Luke 8:15, further explains, But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word [of God], cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance. Notice that it says that the “good soil” are the ones that hear the Word of God and cling to it. Know that God can also fill the heart and mind of man. He fills the hearts of those that do not resist the truth of His Word with the good things of His kingdom. These are the people that are called the good soil. It is they that endure in the application of the Word of God and become successful in life; that is, they become spiritually fruitful in the things of God and enjoy the benefits of His kingdom. They do this because they accept the Word of God for what it is, the Word of God, and they value it. Their heart and mind become filled with hope, light, faith, love, and the desire to enjoy an intimate relationship with God that involves living in the reality of His presence and enjoying the manifestations of His love in a deep, personal way.

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The Lord is at work in the world. Despite man’s hardness of heart God’s Spirit is at work in the world convicting men of personal sin, the righteousness of God, and of His offer of forgiveness, so that man would hear the truth and have the opportunity to respond to it, partake of God’s forgiveness, and look forward to the future He has planned for those that believe in Him. This is the essence of the gospel. Christ states (Matt. 28:18), All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Mark 16:19 tells us that, After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. All of us are to recognize Christ’s position and power. This means that Christ has the ability to heal us from any sin, addiction, past trauma, or anything we are going through. In Matthew 16:18, He states, … I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ESV This is why we can come to Him with any problem we may have. Every person is responsible to seek the face of God in Jesus Christ because there is something inside of him or her that tells him or her to do so. This is the drawing power of Christ from heaven after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the place of authority and ultimate power. Christ stated, in John 12:32, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This means that the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven has always been personally working in our lives to come to Him. Know that man is drawn to the Lord by His divine love that seeks those that are lost to be found in Him. Christ’s present office in heaven is that of high priest. Hebrews 8:1, states, … We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. The basic function of a priest is to bring people to God and intercede for them. Hebrews 2:17, states, Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. As Christ intercedes in heaven (Heb. 7:25) the Holy Spirit is at work on earth in the hearts of people to reveal the things of God and to set them free from sin (that is, from failing God and themselves). Concerning those that come to God, His Spirit will guide them into all truth (John 16:13) and will set them free, from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). The work of the Spirit of God is to bring consolation and comfort to mankind. It is the man that yields to the Holy Spirit’s work in his life, admits his own unrighteousness, and turns to God that comes to the knowledge of the truth that leads him to High Priest in the Holy of Holies find a fulfilling life in union with God. It is only God that can help man out of sin, remove the judgment against him, and restore him to Himself. It is when man is joined to God that he can face the uncertainty of life and live for the higher purpose of performing the will of God. It is God that holds the key to what man truly needs as a person; which is, having intimacy with Him. A hardened heart that is set against the truth of God keeps man from living out his purpose of enjoying communion with God and performing His will.

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God has left an open door for man. Man may have turned away from God, but God has not turned away from man. He has left an open door and invites man to return to Him. Know that there is something we can do about our life and circumstances. God makes the truth plain and simple. The Bible states (James 4:8), Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. It bears repeating that if you draw near to God that He will draw near to you. It is a decision each individual is to make. Know that God desires for every person to live in nearness to Him and to enjoy the benefits of His kingdom. The attitude of God’s heart is revealed in the book of Malachi when He states, Return to me, and I will return to you (Mal. 3:7). In returning to God, man is enabled to live out his original design as a person; which is, to live a rich fulfilling life with God that brings about personal change, where one is made whole and manifests the beauty of God’s holy character.

God

Draw near to God He will draw near to you

Man’s return to God is based on forgiveness. Forgiveness is a divine work of God in the heart of man that brings about transformation and newness of life. It takes place when a person realizes his or her sinful state before God and chooses to be with God rather than to live alone, apart from Him, by accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as atonement for his or her sins.

Isaiah 1:18, states, “Come, let’s consider your options,” says the LORD. “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool.”

Look at what it says, no matter what you have done, you can become white like snow. Realize that you have an opportunity to become a new person, free from failing God. In Christ, man is given a clean slate to begin a new life and to continue it unto eternity. You may wonder how this is possible. Yet, it is possible because, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them (II Cor. 5:19). The heart of God is filled with a desire for people to enjoy a personal relationship with Him. The word for reconciling is katallassō in Greek. It means to return to favor with 6. God would have us live in His good favor. Vincent

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states, God was engaged in reconciling the world from the very beginning, and that in Christ. 5 In forgiveness oneness with God becomes a reality. Man is released from the power, penalty, and guilt of sin through the blood of Christ as an atonement for sin. The word “atonement” is a theological term that is generally not a part of our everyday vocabulary. Many people do not know of its meaning, or how it is to have a place in their lives. You may think of it this way. In putting things down on paper it is very common for everyone to make mistakes. When this happens what do people do, that is, how can they unmake their mistakes? So, what they do is that they use products such as “White Out,” or “Liquid Paper” to color over their mistakes on paper with a white solution and write over their errors. All of us make mistakes in life but what can do we about them? There are moral judgments that we have made that were wrong, and we know that they cannot be undone. So, how can those issues be resolved? Know that the shed blood of Christ is the “White Out” of God that cleanses man from sin and makes him white like snow. Man’s claim to the blood of Christ for the cleansing from sin is what God accepts. Imagine the sins of your life being written down on a piece of paper. There they are in black and white for everyone to see. Then imagine “White Out” being poured over all your past sins that were penned, and new, good things being written over where the sins of your past once were. Malachi 3:16, states, Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. ESV It is because of the sacrifice of Christ we can live a new life before God. God will take note and write about the good things you do. God no longer sees the red stains of one’s sins but the color red of the blood of Christ that makes one white as snow. Ephesians 2:13 states, But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. These are beautiful words for any person that has failed God and fallen short to hear. This is how we can live a new life of intimate fellowship with God. It is the blood of Christ that brings the acceptance of God, who is perfect and holy. Satan paints a picture that the God of the Bible is cold, judgmental, and harsh. But this is so far from the truth because God would give His Son to suffer and die on a cross for mankind. Satan uses men that promote religion rather than a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Yet, God is at work in the world to reveal the truth concerning Himself and His offer of salvation from the diminishing kingdom of Satan. People may harden their heart [set their heart against the truth] as they hear about the things of God or they may choose to yield to the truth of God that brings about a change from unbelief to belief. Romans 10:9, states, because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Wuest comments, “To confess the Lord Jesus means therefore to be in agreement with all that Scripture says about Him ... Robertson translates, ‘Confess Jesus as Lord.” 7 It is when people accept the Lord Jesus as their personal savior and make Him the Lord of their lives that they are set free from sin, moral failure, and are in a position to enjoy a new life with God.

Think on these things: Isaiah 53:6 joined with Isaiah 55:7,

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him [Christ] the iniquity of us all. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. KJV 8

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Understanding the purpose of righteousness. Man has been designed for good. God is manifested in the righteous acts of man. This is the purpose of righteousness in people. The problem man has is that this is where he fails. The truth of the Gospel is that Christ made the ultimate sacrifice so that man could die to sin (that is, not be ruled by sin) and live to manifest the righteousness of God.

I Peter 2:24, states, “He himself bore [anaphero, to take upon oneself 6] our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” ESV

Notice what the latter part of I Peter 2:24 says. It says that believers have been healed from sin (that is, healed from failing God and themselves). Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the cause, and the healing from sin is the effect. Also notice the word righteousness, used in I Peter 2:24. It is dikaiosuvna in Greek. It means, integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting.6 So, Christ gave His life so that man would be healed from the malady of sin and live a life of integrity, rightness, virtue, and purity with correctness of thought, feeling, and behavior. These are the things that bring us to a happy state of living. Imagine having pure thoughts, correct feeling, and the confidence of performing right actions that are pleasing to God. Clarke comments, That righteousness should be our master now, as sin was before.9 That is, as sin took possession of man’s thinking, feeling, and activity so should now righteousness take possession of these things. Realize that righteousness brings about new feeling; that is, a change of feeling. Often, we are told to have faith and feeling will follow but what we learn here is that it is righteousness that produces new feeling. Righteousness will give you a correct feeling for God and the things of God. In Christ, man has been given a new heart in contradistinction to a heart of stone (that is, a heart stubbornly against God and holy living). It is the new heart that is to have dominion over the old sinful nature. We see an example of this in the Old Testament (Ezek. 11:19) in God’s relationship with the people of Israel in which He prophetically states, I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them; I will remove the hearts of stone from their bodies and I will give them tender hearts. It is only through the blood of Christ that man is redeemed. It is by the power of the living resurrected Christ in heaven that the new regenerate person is to live life on earth. It is God’s desire that righteousness should flow from one’s innermost being and move outwardly. It is righteousness that produces wholeness (health).

Righteousness = Wholeness (health)

The creation of a new heart that brings about personal transformation is a work of God that only He can perform. Know that God is at work in our lives to remove the sinful heart of stone that is set against Him and to put a tender heart that is righteous and seeks to live in communion with Him. You must ask God to give you a new heart. Tell Him that you don’t want to live the old

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life anymore, but that you want to live a new life that is pleasing to Him. With the new heart comes a new conscience to think in terms of God’s righteousness. The way this works is that righteousness becomes the guiding principle in a person’s life and relationships. The new heart produces a sound mind, and new feelings that are good and holy. It is the new mind that overcomes the old sinful unwholesome thoughts. It is the new feelings that God produces in the heart that overpower past negative feelings that may surface, etc. It is the new pattern of living that displaces the old way of life. In manifesting the righteousness of God a person operates from a feeling of love, compassion, joy, mercy, etc. It is the new person that ministers to the people around him or her because he or she is touched by what others face in life. A better life is what God wants for mankind. A new life is what man struggles to live but cannot. Man cannot live a new life apart from God. This is why Christ states (in John 15:5), apart from me you can accomplish nothing. This means that as people live in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s righteousness is revealed through their actions that are found pleasing to Him. This will never be brought up in secular counseling that denies the reality of new life from God. This is the truth that everyone tries to get around because of the darkness of their understanding. In getting rid of what is sinful and being nourished by the purity of the Word of God a person can come to the place of personal wholeness and healing from the effects of sin. Righteousness results in being healed from sin through the blood of Christ. Notice the Greek word for healed used in I Peter 2:24, (when it says, By his wounds you have been healed) is iaomai. Thayer defines it, to cure, heal, to make whole, to free from errors and sins, to bring about (one’s) salvation.6 The internal healing man has in general does not go far enough. The true healing man needs does not come from a therapist or a twelve-step program even though helpful as they may be. The healing that man needs comes from God. This what makes a person whole and complete. True healing comes from God

When something is healed it is brought back to its original designed state. For instance, a man may break his arm. When the broken bone is set straight and put into a cast, it becomes healed and returns to its original state of functioning properly. It does not become infected and gangrenous. It receives its vitality from the bloodstream and becomes whole. But if the broken arm is neglected, infection will set in that will lead to death. Know that it is in believing the gospel of God that a person’s life is set straight and healed from sin. It is the habitual manner of living in obedience to God that works like a cast in helping to set straight a person’s life. Faith in Christ saves man from eternal death and leads him to life. It brings him to return to his original designed state of receiving his vitality from God and being made whole, which enables him to properly reflect the glory of God. Righteousness produces a new love for God that causes a person to put away the old personality that seeks only to please itself and put on the new person that seeks to please God. As sin was the driving principle in the old personality so now righteousness becomes the new. But if a person continues to resist the truth of the gospel, he or she will not experience the salvation or intimate love of God even though given the opportunity to do so. Know that continued unbelief (hardness of heart) will set in that will lead to eternal death as man cuts himself off from God. This is the harshest reality of being unyielding to the Spirit of God’s work in one’s life and refusing God’s offer of salvation from sin.

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Consider what Hebrews 3:13 says, when it states, But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ that none of you may become hardened by sin's deception. Sin causes hardness of heart toward God. Clarke comments, “Sin is always deceitful. It promises more than it performs. It assures us of pleasure which it never imparts. It leads us on beyond what was supposed when we began to indulge in it. The man who commits sin is always under a delusion; and sin, if he indulges it, will lead him on from one step to another until the heart becomes entirely hardened.” 9 Satan has filled our world with deceit and falsehoods. Pray that you would not fall into sin’s deceit or the lies of the world but to live in nearness God and manifest His righteousness. In 1 Peter (chapter 1) the point is made that believers have been given a new life by the blood of Christ.

I Peter 1:18-19, states, “knowing that not with corruptible things, silver or gold, were you redeemed from your worthless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot,” LITV

Notice what God says about man’s way of life. It is worthless. But this is so contrary to what man thinks of himself. This is because man does not see himself accurately as God sees him. But despite man’s worthless way of life God offers man a better life with Him through the precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter puts forth the reality of what this means in everyday living. It means that righteousness should take possession of a believer’s thinking and behavior. We learn that righteousness takes root and springs forth when a person lives in obedience to the gospel. Just as God told Pharaoh (Ex. 9:1), that held his people captive, Let my people go, that they may serve me, God releases His people today from the power of the god of this world (that holds mankind captive to unrighteousness), so that they may serve Him in holiness. By embracing the gospel of God, people that are enslaved to drugs become free. People suffering from unhappiness, guilt, anxiety disorders, worry, trauma, etc., become new and transformed. In God there is no prolonged therapy that brings about gradual change! There is only the radical transformation that is brought about by new life in spiritual believers. This means that in God’s kingdom there are no gradual Christians (even though the world is filled with them). The Bible defines people as natural, spiritual, and carnal (1Cor. 2:14 -15, & 3:1) but not as gradual. The natural man does not believe in God. The carnal man believes in God but does not walk with Him. The spiritual man is the believer that walks with God and lives in communion with Him. The redemption man has in Christ is powerful, and its application is to take place day by day as one walks by faith. This is the process of sanctification. It is being set apart from sin to God.

Righteousness involves personal repentance and a devotion to the Word of God. As a person turns to God and repents from sin, he or she is given a new life and a new passion for the Word of God that enables him or her to live out the righteousness of God. This frees a person from reliving a past life without God to live a new life of nearness to Him.

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I Peter further explains how nearness to God is to be maintained.

I Peter 2:1-3, states, “So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. And yearn [ἐπιποθέω, epipotheō: intensely crave] like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation, if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness.”

There are two key thoughts in I Peter 2:1-3. The first key thought is to get rid of all evil (that is, to put away from oneself as a once and for all act everything that is contrary to the gospel), and the second is to yearn for the nurturing purity of the Word of God. This is built on the premise of having experienced the Lord’s kindness. Barnes explains, “since they had had an experimental acquaintance with the grace of God, they should desire to increase more and more in the knowledge and love of him.” 3 Psalm 34:8, states, Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! ESV Notice that a positive experience, such as tasting something good, promotes the positive behavior of having more. A good experience with God encourages us to have a continued experience of having more of Him. This is the satisfying effect of knowing God. The word translated, good, means good, pleasant, agreeable.10 We are challenged to taste and see that the Lord is good, pleasant, and agreeable only to find with certainty that He is those things. In living in nearness to God we are given a positive attitude that life is good. Understand that every day we need to be fed upon God’s Word in our inner spirit.

God plus personal experience = desire for more of God

So, in order to continue to experience the positive things of life with God, one must repent of all sin (that is, all the areas where you are failing God), and have a personal devotion to the Word of God, because the new birth and newness of life stem from these things. Each person is to take stock of his or her life, and put away all sinfulness. Peter says to, get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander; which in other words, means that we are to rid ourselves of all the bad things that are filling up our lives, so as to make room for all the good things God has for us. In Psalm 139:24, David prays, And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. KJV This should be the prayer our lips and the attitude of our heart. Barnes comments that, the prayer is that there might be nothing found in his heart which tended to alienate him from God.3 We deplete ourselves of the fullness of God in allowing sin in our lives. Sin makes us weak in the things of God and begins to destroy what is good in us. As we allow sin in our lives, it takes root and gains dominion over us. Satan gains a foothold that becomes a stronghold. This is why there is to be no wickedness of any kind present in a person’s life. But if you find it difficult to come to God and put away all sinfulness because your attitude is not right toward God (that is, because sin has made you callous toward Him), then humble yourself, seek the Lord with your whole heart, and pray for Him to forgive your sins and reveal Himself to you, and it shall be done. Jeremiah 29:13-14, states, And you shall seek and find Me when you

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search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you, says Jehovah [the LORD]. And I will turn away your captivity … LITV Do not let your sins and the hardness of your heart keep you from enjoying the things of God. Know that God still cares for you. In attaining communion with God, a change of heart takes place and a reversal of consequences. This is important because Romans 10:10, states, For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. LITV It is true repentance that produces a sincere desire for God. This desire is expressed in an intense craving for the Word of God and a longing to live in nearness to Him for fellowship, comfort, and love. The Spirit of God not only convicts people of sin, but He leads them out of it by giving them a passion for the Word of God; which in turn, enlightens the mind and brings about a newness of heart. This gives man a correct understanding of himself, life, and God. An intense desire for the Word of God is a natural impulse to the regenerate [those God has given new life]11. The craving is to be like that of a newborn child that craves for what it truly needs for survival and growth. An infant desires its mother’s milk and touch because of an empty stomach and a yearning for affection until it is filled. It is normal for an infant to be held, nourished, and loved in order for that child to grow up properly. It is normal for believers to desire the love of God, live in nearness to Him, and be fed upon His Word that will nurture them to spiritual maturity, so that they would become strong and confident in the knowledge of God. Clarke comments on the meaning of the Greek word, adolon translated “sincere,” or “pure,” in which he states, The Greek word here (αδολος, adolon) means, properly, that which is without guile or falsehood; then unadulterated, pure, genuine.9 We naturally crave what is impure through deceitful lusts (that is, evil passions that deceive us in thinking that they are good for us but in reality enslave us) but are admonished to crave the purity of the Word of God that contains the vital sustenance we need in ourselves to set us free from the power of sin, and to bring about a knowledge and enjoyment of God. On this matter the Expositor’s Bible 13 comments, “the translation might be expanded to ‘crave the unadulterated spiritual milk of the word.’ The continuous nourishment from the “milk” causes the newborn to “grow up in salvation.” Wuest translates I Peter 2:3, ... intensely yearn for the unadulterated spiritual milk in order that by it you may be nourished and make progress in salvation. 14

Concerning the sincere milk of the word, mentioned in I Peter 2:3, John Gill states: “by ‘the sincere milk of the word’ is meant the Gospel, even the whole of it, and not, as elsewhere, the more plain and easy truths of it; which is compared to milk for its purity in itself, for every word of God is pure and for its purifying nature, as used by the Spirit of God; and for its sweetness and agreeable taste to a regenerate [renewed] man;”12

The Book of James (1:21) tells us, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. ESV The Word of God is food for the inward spirit of man through which God gives an intimate knowledge of Himself, the power to break away from the kingdom of Satan, and the ability of gain dominion over the flesh (one’s inclinations to do what is contrary to God).

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Prayerful meditation on the Word of God and the manifestation of God go hand in hand. It is through the Word of God that the eyes of one’s heart are opened to God, in which the gospel is revealed that makes salvation from sin and the presence of God an experiential reality. The writer of the Book of Acts (16:14) records that as he, Paul, and others were giving out the Word of God in Philippi, A woman named Lydia … listened to us. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying. It is God that opens the heart of man to listen to His Word, but it is up to us to respond by applying it to our lives. Satan knows how to excite the senses through lust but God knows how to open wide the human heart to those that desire Him. It is the person that seeks to know the things of God to whom God will reveal them. He will help those that don’t know to know if their heart is right with Him with an attitude of yieldness to what He has to say.

According to F. B. Meyer 15, 1) We need God, to replace the perpetual [ongoing] waste of our spiritual forces because we are subject to a perpetual wearing down, and consumption of spiritual energy. 2) We need God for warmth, that is, the comfort of the Comforter, the renewal of love and faith and hope. 3) We need God for growth. As the young child must have milk that it may grow thereby, that is, our spiritual growth depends on how much of God we can take into our being.

Accepting the gospel message releases the power of God. Know that the Holy Scriptures explain the Gospel of God from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation.

Thayer defines the meaning of the word “gospel” (euaggelion in Greek) as: “The glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God.” 6

The Apostle Paul states (Rom. 1:16), For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes. The Greek word for power used is dunamis. It is where the English word dynamite originates. The gospel is effective because it is the putting forth of the divine power of

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God in the lives of people. The Bible is filled with a plethora of insights and illustrations of how God’s divine power works in people to bring about transformation and change. It is the Word of God that explains the gospel message of what God is doing in the world around us and tells us of the future He has in store for those that walk with Him. Its doctrine articulates the things of God so that people can understand and live out the salvation that comes from Him, which produces a good and happy life. This was the subject of the Sermon on the Mount in which Christ states (Matt. 5:6), Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. When God opens our eyes as to our spiritual condition, we become tormented concerning our wickedness. It is when we recognize our sinful state that we hunger and thirst after righteousness. In other words, it is when we see ourselves clothed in wicked unrighteousness that we should yearn to be clothed with the righteousness of God which will bring us to a happy state of being. The word “blessed” means being in a positive state of happiness. This is what the righteousness that comes from God produces in our lives. Righteousness equals happiness. This is why the Bible is filled lessons and instructions on how to live. Pray that God would open your heart to respond to His Word; that is, to understand it and to apply it to your life and circumstances, so that you would live a full and happy life.

Righteousness = Happiness

Know that God will meet man at repentance. He will meet him at His Word. He will meet him in the battlefield of life. It is sin that separates man from God. Man can never take a rest from God while living in a satanic world system and in a sinful body. It is living out the holiness of God that keeps man near to God (Heb. 12:14). A man or woman can feed on the pleasures of sin but will become more depleted in what he or she truly needs as a person, which is to live out the righteousness of God that results from having communion with Him. A man may visit an adulteress for love but there is no true love there. A woman may look to the pleasure of having things only to continually feel unsatisfied with what she has, which leads her to become desirous of having more. There is no quenching of the desire to have more. It is like the man who is lost at sea craving for a drink of water. In drinking the ocean water to quench his thirst he only becomes even thirstier than he was before, which eventually will lead to his death through dehydration. A person may turn to drugs to satisfy his or her craving, but only to find that the craving becomes more intense and never ends. This is how people become trapped in a sinful pattern of living, and the cycle of addiction. The more a person seeks the pleasures of sin the more sin gains control over that person; so, the higher the pleasure, the higher the control. It is the Word of God that exposes this pattern of living in our lives, helps us out of sin, and presents us with what we really need as a person, which is communion with God. Spiritual communion gives a person more of God. That is what we need—more of God—that is, to hear more of His voice with words of love and encouragement that fills our hearts with the good things He has to say to us in our spirit, and more of His touch in our lives in order for us to see His hand involved in the world around us so that we do not feel that we are alone. Communion with God strengthens our inner spirit in order for us to fight against what is contrary to Him in our lives. The manifestation of God is more overpowering than any addictive behavior, sinful lifestyle, or demonic activity. The secret of the Apostle Paul’s dynamic life with God is

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explained when he says, My aim is to know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, (Phil. 3:10). The Greek word for “know” used in this verse that means, to know by experience 7. It is Paul’s desire to know Christ personally and his resurrection power experientially. Jesus Christ is the most powerful person that man will ever come to know because Jesus Christ is God Himself. Even Thomas, the apostle who doubted Christ, would come to say (Jn. 20:28), My Lord and my God! Apostle John states (Jn.1:14) that Christ, became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ESV It is He that wants more of us. It is He that has all the resources we need to make up happy and fulfilled, no matter what circumstances, hardships, or challenges we may face.

Finding rest and strength. Concerning righteousness, every person has a battle in life to face. Life brings weariness of heart, enormous challenges to face, and a feeling of being loaded down with its burdens where one struggles to go on. Every person tries to live out some form of righteousness but fails to live out his or her own ideal. In facing each day a man may have to deal with how he is going to make it that day. Parents may feel helpless in seeing their children’s lives go awry and may wonder what they can do. Another may have to contend with trying to change the circumstances in his or her life for the better but only to experience failure. All of us struggle in life. You may be laboring to live a better life but the fight has been relentless, and you are weary as the hope for a better life dims. There are problems, demands, and things that you must accomplish but you tire and may be even crushed by the weight of them. Every person has the moral challenge of how to do what is right in light of his or her circumstances. Every person needs faith to live and courage to go on. The reason why people do not enjoy the benefits of God’s kingdom is because they allow the worries, riches, and pleasures of life to overtake them. These are the thorns of life that get a stranglehold on people so that they do not enjoy the blessings of a spiritually fruitful life. Instead, they become enslaved to anxiety, the pursuit of riches, and the want of pleasure. They never endure in practicing the Word of God to see its completed effect. Luke 8:14 states, As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who hear [the Word of God], but as they go on their way Thorns found in Jerusalem they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. By not trusting God to care for them, people become entrenched with the cares, worries, and anxieties of this life. They either become despondent by not putting their faith in God to care for them, or they are lured away by the pursuit of riches and pleasures to escape their cares. So, Christ invites us to come to Him with our burdens of sin and worries of life in order to recover and collect our strength from Him. This frees us from the stranglehold that the worries, unwholesome pleasures, and desire for things may have on us. In Matthew 11:28, Christ states, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Know that Christ provides rest, intimacy, and the inner strength we need to carry on. The word for “rest” used in this passage is anapauo, which Thayer defines, “to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength.” 6 Anapauo comes from ana, which means, again, back, and pauo, which means, to cease or give rest. Here it is used in the active voice, which signifies to give intermission from labor and to refresh. We are to cease what we are doing and go to the Lord Jesus as is necessary for rest and recreation (in the purest

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sense of the word, that is, for Christ to re-create us as a person). When we pray, it is recreational. When we practice faith, it is recreational for us as believers because in these things we find our rest in Christ. It is when we rest in Christ that healing takes place. The abiding presence of God is able to sustain us in life, especially in times of difficulty. It is part of the normal Christian life. Andrew Murray states, This is the true secret of the Christian life.16 Concerning this matter, what Robertson says about Christ is that, He towers above all men as he challenges us. ‘I will refresh you’ … far more than mere rest, rejuvenation.17

Christ Going to Christ

finding rest and strength

with the burdens of our lives

to go on with our lives with sense of newness

So, man is given the opportunity to go to Christ in good faith, cast off his cares, and become revitalized to face life with renewed strength. The People’s New Testament commentary states, “The offer is not that of a man, but of the Divine Savior.” 11 I Peter 5:7, adds that the Lord will lift you up to the place of dignity, honor and happiness, By casting all your cares [merimna, anxiety] on him because he cares for you. The word for casting is epirrhipto, which means, to throw upon.6 It is a once for all act (aorist participle 5) in which one throws all the cares and anxieties of one’s life upon Christ. When it says, because he cares for you, Vincent ascertains, Meaning the watchful care of interest and affection.5 This means the whole matter of our sins and the whole matter of our worries are to be brought to Christ and cast upon His shoulders to bear, because he cares for you, or as the LITV 1 states, because it matters to him concerning you. The Greek word for care is melo, which means, to be of interest to, that is, to concern. Wuest’s Expanded Translation reads, for it is a care to Him concerning you.14 What this means is that God is not against you but has your best interests in mind because He loves and cares for you as a person. He has made provision for you and waits for you to come to Him. Realize that God is greater that all your worries, sins, and inability to live a better life. Then, enjoy His love and care.

Living in newness of life. We are to live in newness of life that comes from God in contradistinction to living the old life with all its baggage. When we worry and doubt that all things will work together for good it is because we are walking in the flesh; that is, living by a principle that takes God out of the picture. We are living by the old heart of stone that is obstinate and denies the reality that God will take care of us. The old heart never goes away (in this life) but can only be displaced by the new heart that God gives us as we walk in faith. We must remind ourselves that God has given us a new heart to believe in Him. We must put our faith in God, believe in His Word, and realize the fact that we are not alone and have been given new life to draw upon. This means that we are not destitute without God in our lives. We may have sinned, but God has cleansed us from sin and will continue to cleanse us for as long as we need it. Either God cares for us, or He does not.

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We cannot pick and choose that one day He cares for us while another day He does not. He is not like man who changes. He is God that does not change. Numbers 23:19, states, God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should change his mind. Yes, we deserve judgment and wrath and not His love and mercy, but the latter is what He feels toward us. Yes, we may let Him down but God will not let us down. We may feel terrible about our trespasses, but God provides relief and comfort. We may feel alone, but God provides His presence to dispel our aloneness. Know that His steadfast devotion goes far beyond our faithfulness or unfaithfulness. In Hosea 2:19, God tells His people, I will commit myself to you forever; I will commit myself to you in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love and tender compassion. This verse resembles the vow that a groom makes to his bride on their wedding day. He pledges His love and devotion to those that believe in Him. This is the way God feels toward His people every day. There is no greater relationship than the relationship between God and His people. What husband has died to make his wife righteous? What person is there that can forgive any sin against him or her without limitation? There’s no one who compares to God and the love He has for His people. As we turn to Christ to be actively involved in our lives, it is then that we can go forward free of our sins and the weight of our cares because Jesus cleanses us from sin and takes on our burdens in life in order for us to enjoy an abundant life with Him. Christ states (John 10:10), I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. Christ is righteous and has correct feeling for man; that is, He has compassion for fallen mankind. Christ came to give man back a better quality of life. The word for “abundantly” means “beyond measure.” Wuest translates, that they might be possessing life … in superabundance.14 Barnes states, “The word denotes that which is not absolutely essential to life, but which is superadded to make life happy.”3 This is what the world offers but cannot fulfill. In Christ, there is a life of abundant happiness and care rather than a life of never having enough and struggling to get by. God knows that man is depleted of righteousness, joy, and eternal life. God desires the most excellent life for people. Philippians 4:19, states, But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. God knows our every need better than we. God knows our physical and spiritual needs. We must come to a place of understanding that our greatest personal need is to commune with God, be made whole, and live in His care. All else is secondary. This is the point of Matthew 6:33, in which Christ states, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. KJV Be like the bride in the Song of Songs that has others in amazement to express (Song. 8:5), Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved? LITV The wilderness is a place of testing and hardship, but leaning on Christ is how we transcend it. Seeing a believer not overcome by the trials and hardships of life, but is instead, living in nearness to Christ full of joy and praise as a result, is an awesome sight because it reveals the beauty of God in a person that has defied the satanic worldly environment that is set on having people turn away from God. Living in nearness to God. God has made the redemption of people possible through Christ. Every person makes his or her choice about accepting Jesus Christ, and returning to God. Every believer is to rise up each

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morning, seek the face of God, and maintain continual fellowship with Him until the next morning, and so forth. When a person takes up God’s offer of salvation and walks with Him, it is then, that he or she will experience the fullness of God, and enjoy the superabundance of His provision. This in turn, will make a positive impact on the people around that person, because people can learn about God from those that know and walk with Him. It is they that can tell of God’s love and grace at work in their lives. Barnes explains further what walking with God means. He states, Walking with God implies community with him in thought, word, and deed, and is opposed in Scripture to walking contrary to him.3 Communion with God gives man the confidence to go through life knowing that God is at his side. Is that how you feel today, that is, that God is at your side? God remembers the precious times when His people have walked with Him. God told the prophet Jeremiah to tell His people that He remembered their love for Him when they walked with Him and followed Him out of Egypt and through the desert in good faith.

Jeremiah 2:2, states, “Go and declare in the hearing of the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘I have fond memories of you, how devoted you were to me in your early years. I remember how you loved me like a new bride; you followed me through the wilderness, through a land that had never been planted.’”

The children of Israel leave the slavery of Egypt and follow Jehovah God through Moses His leader to the Promised Land.

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The LORD led His people by day with a cloud to protect them from the harsh sun and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light in the darkness.

The people of God didn’t exactly know where God was taking them, but they knew that they were following Him by the cloud of protection by day, which provided shade from the harsh desert sun, and the pillar of fire by night, that brought light and warmth from the darkness and cold. They were His people and He was their God. Is that not what you need in your life? That is, to make God the center of your life, live in the shade of His protection from the harshness of life, and experience the warmth of His care to keep you from the darkness and cold of this world. People may have treasured memories of God and how He has touched their lives but God also has precious memories of how people have touched His life. Here, in this passage, He treasures the memory of His people that were a bride to Him even though He was experiencing the pain of what a loving husband feels when the wife of his youth leaves him for another. Malachi 1:2, states, ‘I have shown love to you,’ says the Lord, but you say, ‘How have you shown love to us?’… How callous His people had become. When we fail God, we do not realize that it has an impact on Him. Even though He is God, He becomes hurt from the ways we treat Him. How many times do we count other things more precious than God, fail to see His work in our lives, and do not appreciate His goodness toward us? We must search our hearts to rid ourselves of any coldness toward God. Know that God is a living being that is moved, stirred, and affected by what we do in relation to Him. Everything we do matters to God. He is not isolated from us but is actively involved in our lives. It is not by chance we are born and live. It is by design. It is the Designer’s message for us to come to Him and be a part of His kingdom; that is, to leave the old life with its masters and begin a new one with Him as your Lord who is good. Psalm 105:4-5, states, Seek the Lord and the strength he gives! Seek his presence continually! Recall the miraculous deeds he performed, his mighty acts and the judgments he decreed. Remember His love and contemplate what He has done for you. Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief on our behalf. The Book of Hebrews (12:2) tells us that, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Realize that He went to the cross for you to be with Him. So, create new fond memories for God to have about you. When you are away from Him He misses you. Each day is an opportunity to know

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and serve Him out of love and devotion. The time of rejoicing in His presence will come when we see Him face to face. But for now, live and endure life for His honor and glory. He may be taking you through the wilderness at present, and life may seem difficult but know that in being faithful to God in the midst of it is what is most precious and meaningful to Him. Imagine someone doing something unselfish for you even though it may have been inconvenient or even caused pain for him or her. Now imagine how God feels when people walk with Him in faith no matter what they are going through in their personal life.

God proves character. God has always been proving man (that is, testing man for the purpose of approval). God tests character and rewards faith.

I Peter 1:6-7, states, “… you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold — gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away — and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

The greatest reward will come at the return of Jesus Christ for His people. But until then God provides inner strength, hope, and His approval upon those that walk with Him in faith. I Thessalonians 5:23, states, Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t this what you desire; that is, for you to be completely kept pure until you meet Christ face to face? On that day, all your dreams will be fulfilled and the heart of the Lord will be filled with gladness at the sight of you with all His people.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command…and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. I Thess. 4:16-17

The Believer in Jesus Christ waits patiently with expectation for the coming of the Lord and is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

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If we don’t meet the Lord in the air in life, we will meet Him in the air after death because the dead in Christ will rise first to be with the Lord in the air.


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John sees the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven in the Book of Revelation.

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PART 1: THE THINGS OF MAN AND THE THINGS OF GOD MADE NEW, BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

God is is creating a new kingdom without sin. sin God creating a new kingdom without

The new kingdom of God is built on Jesus Christ. God is doing away with the chaos of this sinful world by recreating mankind and building a new kingdom without evil. This is the message of the Bible. The Bible is basically about three things: the King, the Kingdom, and kingdom living. All of us are to live in the reality of the new kingdom that God has been building. Jesus is the perfected man; that is, He came and perfected mankind. Christ would take up man’s challenge to defeat evil and glorify God. He would succeed where the first man (Adam) failed. He would face temptation, turn from it, and keep His devotion to God His Father. The communion between Christ and God would not be broken as in the case of Adam, His predecessor. The new kingdom is built on Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone upon which each stone is built (Eph. 2:20). God is building a spiritual house made up of people (referred to as living stones, according to I Pet. 2:5).

Hebrews 5:8-9, states, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”

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Notice that in this passage, it says that Christ, learned obedience through the things he suffered. We are not good, but the Lord Jesus Christ is good. He is the first man who ever lived on the earth that did not sin. Nor did he rebel against His Father, God, even to the point of death. Because of Christ’s perfection, only He could be sacrificed as a perfect lamb without blemish for the sins of mankind. Because of this, Christ became the causing effect of eternal salvation. In Christ, mankind has a way back to God. It is He that effects our salvation in life and in death by His act of love and compassion for mankind. There is now a tremendous bond between God and man through Jesus Christ. All believers are united with Christ, and He with them. It is a bond of love. Marriage is designed after this great bond. The Apostle Paul states (Eph. 5:32), This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. This great union is expressed by the bride in the Song of Songs when she says, My beloved is mine, and I am his, KJV (Song 2:16). The bride has taken full possession of her beloved and rejoices in their love and union together. Can you say that about your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Realize that, it is Christ that truly loves and cares for us. Concerning Christ, Revelation 1:5 states that He, loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood. Look again at what it says. It says that Christ, loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood. Love was the motive and sacrifice was the act.

Ephesians 1:4-6, states, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love… according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” KJV

Concerning Christ’s love and care, it is for us to come to Christ and take full possession of Him because He has the healing ointments we need in our lives. He purges us from what is foul and wicked in us, and gives us the right reason for which to live. Christ takes us in despite anything we have done, cleanses us from sin, consoles us from the hurts and pains in life, provides eyewash to help us see, and presents us to God in a holy and acceptable state. He makes us fit to walk in righteousness and makes our lives a sweet scent that is pleasing to His Father. Ephesians 5:2, states, and live [live: peripateo, to regulate one’s life 6] in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. He did this because there was no other way for us to be together in heaven with Him. There was no other way to clear us from the judgment of God, and the personal anxiety that the guilt of sin brings. The scars He wears, the ones He showed doubting Thomas, are good scars that reveal His love for man and His supremacy over death through the power of resurrection life. It proves that God would stop at nothing to destroy evil and save mankind. All of God’s blessings come through Him. Even though Adam fell (taking all mankind with him) and the earth became cursed God provided a son of Adam would come and destroy the kingdom of Satan (I Jn. 3:8), the curse of sin, and offer a new life of blessing. John 1:9, says of Jesus Christ that, He was the true Light; He enlightens every man coming into the world. LITV Christ states (John 8:12), The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. It is God that brings light to our

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dark world. Instead of placing our thoughts on the dark things of life that weaken us we can live in the light that comes from God that brings joy and a positive outlook. When a man or woman comes to Christ and walks with Him, who can stop his or her progress in the Christian life? Who can go against the power of God in his or her heart? Ans. No one.

The new kingdom involves being united with Christ . The unity between the believer and Christ goes to the depths of one’s being. To understand this tremendous bond Colossians 2:12, states, Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead. Notice the phrase, with him. Here it means two things. The first thing it means, is that believers are united with Christ in His death. The second thing, is that believers are united with Christ in His resurrection. In being united with Christ it means that there is a profound mystical union between believers and Him. Jesus states (John 14:23), If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. Thayer defines the Greek word mone translated “residence” as, “metaphorically of the God the Holy Spirit indwelling believers.” 6 Barnes explains, “This is a figurative expression implying that God and Christ would manifest themselves in no temporary way, but that it would be the privilege of Christians to enjoy their presence continually. They would take up their residence in the heart as their dwelling-place, as a temple fit for their abode." 3 This means that our life is in heaven even though we are on the earth.

The blood of Christ = ransom payment for sin

What Christ has accomplished He has accomplished for Himself and for His people. In John 10:28, Jesus further states, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. Think of being justly charged with a crime in a courtroom. Then someone stands up, speaks to the judge, and is found guilty in place of you. Matthew 20:28, states, Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. KJV The way Christ ministers to us is by paying the ransom for our sins by His sacrifice on the cross. Robertson tells us the meaning for the word for “ransom” is, the price paid for a slave who is then set free by the one who bought him.17 Every person is held to ransom by God’s enemy to the kingdom of darkness until he or she claims that his or her debt of sin has been paid by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Barnes further explains, “The word ‘ransom means’ literally a price paid for the redemption of captives. In war, when prisoners are taken by an enemy, the money demanded for their release is called a ransom; that is, it is the means by which they are set at liberty. So anything that releases anyone from a state of punishment, or suffering, or sin, is called a ransom.”3

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Ephesians 1:7, states, In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Hodge states, “We are redeemed neither by power, nor truth, but by blood; that is, by the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus. A sacrifice is a ransom, as to its effect. It delivers those for whom it is offered and accepted.” 18 Concerning the phrase, In him we have redemption, Wuest states, “The verb is present in tense, and durative in action, thus, ‘in whom we are having redemption.’ The redemption is an abiding fact from the past, through the present, and into the future.” 13 We are continually experiencing our redemption because of Him. Christ saw our helpless state and came to set us free. Now we can come to Him for salvation, intimacy, and rest from the cares of life. He is forever bound to those come to Him. It is His desire for us to enjoy eternal life (resurrection life) that comes from Him.

In the new kingdom the old life and self are buried with Christ (so that the New Man would arise in believers and displace the old man).

When, in Colossians 2:12, it states, having been buried with him, it means that something has died. Sin brings failure, enslavement, and condemnation. That is the curse of sin. We cannot break from sin because someone has to come on our behalf, pay our debt of sin, and release us from the bondage of it. This happens when we accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross who as our sin-bearer who died in our place. It is not only Christ that died on the cross but it is also the power of sin that has held mankind completely captive that died.

Romans 6:6, states, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved [enslaved: Gr. douleuō, δουλεύω, to be a slave, serve, do service 6] to sin.” ESV

Christ not only came to do die for us but he came to set us free from sin so that we could live a new life unto God. Christ has broken the power sin for all that believe in Him. When it (Rom. 6:6) says, that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, it means that the body that operates from the sin nature would stop running our lives. Man no longer has to live alone apart from God and do what sin makes him do. He no longer has to be a failure in the things of God. This means that a man that is in bondage to an addiction is set free. It means that those in apathy now live in hope, those that live in fear and anxiety now live in freedom from those things, and that we no longer have to do what sin was driving us to do.

Isaiah 53:5, states, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed [Heb. rapha, to heal, to mend, cure, make healthful].” KJV

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In Christ, a person is healed; that is, made well (from sin) and made whole before God. Hebrews 9:22, states, Indeed … without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. ESV The shedding of Christ’s blood began at His scourging and ended at the cross. He suffered internal and external bleeding. On Him was the chastisement (reproof) for our sins. Because of Christ, we can now have peace with God and entrance into His kingdom. Galatians 3:13 states, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’). This comes from Deuteronomy 21:22, which states, If a person commits a sin punishable by death and is executed, and you hang the corpse on a tree. A curse is a pronounced judgment against anyone who transgresses the ways of God. It is the punishment due to sin. The problem is that all of us are guilty of sin before God. In contradistinction to a curse, a blessing is when God is working for you and not against you; that is, He is at your side working things out in your life for the good because of repentance (that is, turning to Him for salvation with all of one’s heart). The curse has been lifted from those that believe in Christ because they are redeemed from the curse of the law. Christ took the sins of His people upon Himself. Then, He took them to the cross and left them there. Colossians 2:14, states, He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. There is not a judgment of condemnation against anyone who has turned to Christ in repentance. Putting Roman’s 5:6 & 5:13 together it reads, For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. It was one perfect life that was sacrificed for many imperfect lives. The result is that mankind is changed forever in Jesus Christ (but not all mankind). You may wonder if this is true, then why isn’t everyone changed and why doesn’t everyone come to Christ. We are told, in John 3:19, that it is because, people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. People love sin and refuse to leave it for God. Their love of sin is greater than their love for God. Sin has its own attracting power. But God is at work in the world and His offer of salvation is still open to those that oppose Him, His kingdom, and His way of life.

The new kingdom involves being raised with Christ. Are there things in your past life that you like to change? Are there things you would do differently? Know that God wants to make you new in your innermost being every day of your life. God is in the process of making all things new. He begins now by working in the hearts of people that come to Him for salvation, and in the future He will make everything new.

Revelation 21:5-6, states, “And the one seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new!’… To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life.”

Notice how the fountain spring of the water of life is related to newness. In the future, man will enjoy the fullness of God’s kingdom and glory in lavish abundance but at present man must by

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faith drink from the fountain of life to be saved from sin and to walk in newness of life. On this matter Barnes comments, Of the fountain of the water of life - An image often used in the Scriptures to represent salvation. It is compared with a fountain that flows in abundance, where all may freely slake [quench] their thirst. 3 As you drink from the fountain of salvation your thirst for what you need as a person is quenched. Then, you are empowered to overcome the opposing circumstances of your life in light of God’s righteousness and power. In Christ, we are given a new start at life; that is, a new beginning. In being raised with him, (Col. 2:12) it means that in Christ, man has been given a new spiritual resurrection; that is, what had been dead in man comes to life. Because of the sin of Adam, something died in man in his relationship with God. As a result, all of mankind is born without having a living relationship with God. Man’s spirit is dead to its purpose of communing with God. But, in Christ, all of that is past. In Christ, death is reversed. Man’s spirit is made alive to God so that he is born spiritually to a new living relationship with God. We often think in terms of life and death. God thinks in terms of death and life. Every person is dead in relation to Him but has the opportunity of being brought to life through taking God’s offer of eternal life. Christ revealed to Nicodemus that entrance into the kingdom of God was contingent upon spiritual birth that would bring about a new life with God. John 3:3-5, states, Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above … he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ This means the believer has a new living union with God. His birth not only comes from above but the ability to maintain his relationship with God also comes from above. This is why the Apostle Peter rejoices (I Peter 1:3), Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As believers pray, God hears. They can now live knowing that He is at their side. Life from heaven can be lived on earth. Christ prayed that His Father’s kingdom would be lived on earth. He prayed (Matt. 6:10), may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Christ is the head of His people, and all spiritual life emanates from Him. This means that people who come to Christ are bonded to Him and share in resurrection life. As Christ was given life so are those that believe in Him. I John 5:11, states, And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. This is accomplished, according to Colossians 2:12, through faith in the powerful working of God. Concerning, faith, Vincent comments, “Not the faith which God works, but your faith in God's working: faith in God's energy as displayed in Christ's resurrection.” The phrase powerful working 5 is translated from the word energeia in Greek from which is derived the English word energy. Here it means, the putting forth of the power of God to raise Christ from the dead and to give spiritual life to those that believe in Him. All believers in Christ experience resurrection life and are energized by God to live a new spiritual life. This spiritual life has a power of its own. It is eternal and practical. For example, there are different types of power in the world we live in. There is the power of electricity that is used in hospitals to bring people back to life that have flatlined, that is, they show no vital signs of life. They are considered medically dead and are brought back to life through jolts of electricity. In chemotherapy, there is the power of radiation that is used to kill cancer that is destroying people. In God there is the power of life that destroys the power of death and the cancer of sin. It changes people forever. This means that God can bring you to a new state of living, that is, a new quality of life. He can bring light, holiness, forgiveness, and the power to live a new life that is well pleasing to Him. Think of biblical light (radiance), holiness, resurrection energy, and intimacy with God as positive things in one’s life that brings about a

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personal transformation; that is, it is these things that bring about change that builds a person up. Then, think of the forces of evil, such as, spiritual darkness, demonic activity, bondage to sin, and, separation from God as negative things in a person’s life that bring a person down. As we believe in Christ’s resurrection, we believe in our own. We are raised from our old life into a new one in union with God. Ephesians 2:5-6, states, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Being made alive means that we were dead to God and are now made alive to Him. Not only are we made alive but also have triumph over sin in our lives. Ephesians 4:8, states, Therefore it says, ‘When he ascended on high he captured captives; he gave gifts to men. Christ ascended into heaven as a victor that captivated (that is, took possession of) the captivity of sin that has held man in bondage, and thus destroying the power of the kingdom of Satan. Vincent comments, The captives, led captive by Christ, are sin, the curse of the law, and death. 5

Concerning Ephesians 4:8, John Gill comments: “which is, expressive of Christ's conquests and triumph over sin, Satan, the world, death, and the grave; and indeed, every spiritual enemy of his and his people, especially the devil, who leads men captive at his will, and is therefore called captivity, and his principalities and powers, whom Christ has spoiled and triumphed over; the allusion is to the public triumphs of the Romans, in which captives were led in chains, and exposed to open view.” 9

There may be people and things that tempt us to sin but we have a greater power over sin. The Bible (I John 4:4) tells us that, greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. This means that we need not to be driven by sin anymore; that is, to do what sin drives us to do. We are set free. Romans 8:2, states, For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Now we are motivated by a new principle of life, which is the divine working of God. It is spiritual life that is greater than secular life. This means that bad people or bad circumstances do not have to drive us to do bad things. We have to power to resist sin and be renewed to do God’s will.

The new kingdom is a place of communion with God. Our lives are not be overshadowed by sin, but by God who reveals Himself to those that come to Him in humility. John 7:37-38, states, On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, From within him will flow rivers of living water.' John adds in the next verse (7:39), Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive. Jesus is the wellspring of spiritual life. The drinking of water is used metaphorically to speak of spiritual communion that is made possible because of salvation, which takes place between the believer and God. The Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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states, There are two principles of our salvation: the one is to be thoroughly touched with a true feeling of our extreme poverty: the other to seek in Christ only (whom we catch hold of by faith) the abundance of all good things.19 Know that man thirsts from the depths of his heart for what he truly needs as a person, which is intimacy with God. A person may feel an acute emptiness and may not identify what it is. Yet, he or she is prompted by the need to have it filled every day of his or her life because “nature abhors a vacuum.” The satisfaction of man’s inner longings is what God brings to the table for those that want a life nearness to Him. Communion with God is what dispels the emptiness in our lives and brings about the experience of fullness. There are two principles of our salvation 1) to be thoroughly touched with a true feeling of our extreme poverty, 2) to seek in Christ only the abundance of all good things. - Geneva Bible Translation Notes, Published in 1599

Communion with God is the greatest experience in life. Its reality makes an impact on the human soul. It brightens our day and outlook toward life. It is what makes us normal, according to God’s design. It brings about a knowledge and feeling that you are loved, whole, and that your life has tremendous meaning. It gives one the desire to live life for a higher purpose; that is, to reciprocate (in mutual affection) God’s love through every thought, word, and deed. It is simply knowing God and responding to Him through doing His will (because you realize of the greatness of His Person). This is why I John 5:3, states, For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down. Instead, they bring us up. There is never grief in following God. There is never shame in doing what is right in His eyes. It is communion with God that gives us the strength and power we need to overcome life instead of being overcome by it. Communion is what a bride needs from her husband. It is what a child needs from his or her parent. It is what makes people friends. It is what man needs from God. Communion is having a living relationship with someone where there is acceptance, mutual interaction, and love is exchanged. In communion between people, there is a sharing of intimate thoughts, emotions, and dreams that bring about a deep understanding of each other. Man’s need for spiritual communion with God is reflected in the Psalms

Psalm 42:1-2,

As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God! I thirst for God, for the living God. I say, “When will I be able to go and appear in God’s presence?” Psalm 27:4-5, One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock [rock: Heb. ‫רּוצ‬, tsur, figuratively, a refuge 20]. ESV

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In living every day it is easy to become distracted from God and lose that sense of communion with Him. Problems may come and overtake us. God may seem so far away and the demands of life so urgent. But God is not so distant. In John 14:16, Christ stated, And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. All believers have, the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, (Eph. 1:13) when they come to Christ for salvation. Notice that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are called comforter. It is parakletos in Greek, which means, one called alongside to help. Jesus as High Priest prays for us in heaven and the Holy Spirit ministers to us on earth. This means that there is forever comfort in Christ; that is, because of the blood of Christ a believer has access to God, and a new vital presence and strength in his or her heart through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:2, states, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand ... As a person is made alive to God, he or she, therefore, has a means of approaching God; that is, intimacy with God is made possible despite living in a satanic world system and in a body that is inclined toward sin in opposition of God. In communion with God, one finds love, forgiveness, and unity with Him. Because of spiritual communion, you no longer have to live life alone apart from God; that is, you no longer have to lift yourself up by the bootstraps, and draw from your own wits and strength to face life. God is ever present to help you in your walk with Him. Without communion with God, we can never achieve wholeness as a person; that is, we are doomed to live life out of our fallen nature that is contrary to God, which will end in failure and disaster. The “old man” (that is, the old personality in us, in contradistinction to the “new man” that is implanted in believers when they come to faith in Christ) is not whole, nor well, or holy. There are personality types that are not capable of love. There are personality types that feel no empathy for others. There are people that are cruel and harsh, and there are people that are frail and easily overcome by the things in life. These are the effects of unrighteousness. People suffer many disorders because of a failed relationship with God. New disorders in people are being discovered every day as man becomes more aware of his depravity. In not having communion with God man cannot come to a normal state as God has designed man to be. Apart from God man’s perception of life is flawed, which leads him to continually seek what will not bring him fulfillment. We see an example of this in the Book of Jeremiah (see below).

Jeremiah 2:13, states, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns [containers for holding water], broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” KJV

What the people of God had done in this passage of Scripture is that they turned away from God, who is a fountain of life-giving water. They did not turn to Him as the true fountain of life, whom is able to satisfy their inner thirst for what one truly needs as a person. Instead, they used cisterns that were broken and leaking; that is, they turned to things in life that could not bring them satisfaction or meaning. They were always longing but never being satisfied because it is only God that can satisfy the heart of man.

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In contrast to this, Ephesians 3:17-19, states, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith … that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ESV The indwelling Spirit of God is the enabler who will guide you in all truth and bring you to a sense of completeness. I John 4:13, states, By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit. Know that God is working in our lives to bring us to a state of maturity. Ephesians 4:13, states, Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect [whole, complete, mature] man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. KJV This means we are able to change from the old personality who is imperfect to the likeness of God that is perfect. The word “perfect” means whole, complete, and mature. Maturity is simply living out the holiness of God in a continuous manner that stems from intimacy with Him. Communion with God is what satisfies the human heart. Maturity is not about our outward success in life but of God’s inward accomplishment of having us manifest the holiness of His Person moment-by-moment, and day-by-day.

Resurrection life is part of the new kingdom. The purpose of the spirit in man is to commune with God. In being, raised with him, (Col. 2:12) our spirit is made alive. It is alive to God in heaven even though our body is physically on earth. Salvation for a believer involves his spirit, soul, and body; that is, a believer’s spirit (spiritual nature) is saved in time past when he comes to believe (justification), his soul (that is, the personality, the person that he is) is being saved day by day in the present as he departs from sin and walks by faith (sanctification), and his body will be saved in the future after death in a bodily resurrection (glorification). 1 Thessalonians 5:23, states, Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, man has been given the tremendous privilege of communion with God. When you open your eyes you see the physical world around you—that is physical reality. But when you close your eyes in prayer, you are in the presence of God before His throne in heaven—that is spiritual reality. This means that a man may be in a cell in prison and live a full life on earth before God. A person may be living in the most difficult time of his or her life and ascend from it through the fullness of the Spirit because he or she lives by communion with the Living God; that is, he or she lives by enjoying God’s presence, hearing God’s voice, knowing His love, and experiencing the power to do the things that are pleasing in His sight. Colossians 2:10 states, And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. KJV The word complete is pleroo in Greek. It means, to make full, to fill up … to fill to the full. 6 Paul tells the Philippian believers (Phil. 4:19), And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. This means, as a sense of need arises, then we must take that need to God to be filled. As you feel hurt, so the need of comfort is present. As you may have worries, so the need of resolving those worries comes forth. When temptation is present, the need for inner strength to overcome that temptation takes place. The point is that God is there for you to help you in your time of need. The psalmist (Ps. 121:1-2), says, I look up toward the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Creator of heaven and earth!

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It is God that fulfills the physical and spiritual needs of our lives. These are the things man loses when he is in sin and under the power of the satanic world system. In sin, man operates from another principle of motivation; that is, he does what sin tells him. Sin has a voice that is deeply embedded in the old personality, and it may tell a person to pursue riches, lust, praise of men, etc. All of mankind without God is in pursuit of what sin tells it to pursue. It may tell a man to seek a false serenity in a mountaintop. Or, it may tell an artist that they must paint the perfect painting that cannot be painted, which will lead him to madness. It may convince a woman that she must be thin to the point of anorexia. It may tell another that they must murder and still tell another to be good without God. This is the work of the demonic kingdom spreading the spirit of destruction and of independent pride in people. Basically, it tells people to seek happiness in life apart from God, and at any rate. But there is another way to live. The highest calling in life is the call to arise and walk with God. This is made possible by Jesus Christ. It is to walk out of our old life into a new one with God. Ephesians 5:14, states, for this reason it says: ‘Awake, O sleeper! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!’ Thayer defines the phrase, Christ will shine on you, as Christ will pour upon you the divine truth as the sun gives light to men aroused from sleep. 6 Know that Christ calls us out of our old life that is dead to a new one of being made alive in resurrection life with Him. In Christ, everything is changed. In Scripture, there is the recurring theme of God being portrayed as the husband of His people. The Song of Songs especially illustrates this. Notice what the Beloved says to the Bride in the Song of Songs 2:10-12.

The Beloved’s call to the Bride to arise and walk with him in the Song of Songs

Song of Songs 2:10-12,

My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. ESV

According to Scripture it is Christ that is our Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6, states, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has … blessed us in the Beloved. Resurrection life is about being brought to life to partake in an eternal springtime with Christ, where a person enjoys in an endless love relationship that is pure, excitingly joyous, and satisfying. In Christ, the cold winter of our previous life without Him is past. The time of celebrating new life has come. Facing the rains of difficulty and the hardships of life alone is over and gone. The Lord Jesus calls us to live in resurrection life through communion with Him, which like spring is full of beauty and growth. In John 15:9, Christ states, As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. He prayed in John 17:24, Father, I desire that they … may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me. What is a bride without her groom? What is the love of God without the love of His people in return? Jude (1:21) admonishes us to, maintain yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life.

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The new kingdom is made up of people that are of a new race of mankind. It is possible to become so entrenched with the things of life that you can forget the things of God and your standing in Jesus Christ. But God has a voice that speaks to our hearts. God says that you as a believer are different than other people; that is, that you possess newness of life in your innermost being that is to flow outward, overpower the old personality, and be manifested in the person that everyone sees. This means that you are empowered by holiness which overcomes the flaws in your personality that stems from one’s sin nature. It is spiritual life that overpowers secular life. On this matter 1 Corinthians 15:45, states, So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. The first Adam (with Eve) had the power to give physical life. The human population stems from him. Christ, the second Adam, has the power to give spiritual life. The heavenly population comes from Him. Christ said, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, (Jn. 10:28). I Corinthians 15:47, states, The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. When Christ arose from the dead, a new race of man arose with Him. A new type of mankind was created. Christ has restored man to God and the pure image of God to mankind. I Corinthians 4:49, states, Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. ESV To bear the image of something is to reflect its likeness. In Jesus Christ there is a return of man to God. Man can be like God again; that is, man can be pure, kind, loving, etc., as God is these things. This is a divine act of mercy on the part of God. In Jesus Christ, you have been delivered, purified, and made new before God.

The empty tomb of Christ

Christ’s resurrection produced a new race of mankind

The new kingdom involves walking in newness of life. Every day is a new day before God with all His strength and power to overcome anything that is contrary to Him. Man’s proper place in life is to manifest the glory of God. The purpose of why you have been buried and raised with Christ is that you would live a transformed life that would bring glory to God. Clarke states that, We should rise with Christ to a new life.9

Romans 6:4, states, “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.” KJ V

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Bringing glory to God means manifesting the beauty and splendor of God’s character. It is living out His likeness. This is what walking with God in newness of life accomplishes. It is not our achievements that bring glory to God. It is walking in newness of life that fulfills God’s purpose of manifesting His glory. The word for newness means: new in quality, different. It is when something is changed. In Jesus Christ, man is changed. God has made new life possible for mankind. It begins in this life with a spiritual birth, in which God gives man an enlivened spirit and a new heart; then, a physical resurrection after death. Because of this the Bible states, in Romans 6:11, So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. The phrase, dead to sin does not mean that man is presently sinless because we are tempted to sin every day. What it means is that when something is dead, it is rendered powerless. For example, a dead battery is powerless to start the engine of a car. If you take that dead battery to be recharged it will have the strength to start the engine of the car. Sin is rendered powerless in light of new life (it is also called resurrection life, or eternal life) residing in the believer. As you live by faith, you are alive to God and manifest the beauty of His person. Sin will not have the power it once had over you. As communion with God takes place, He becomes the center of your life, and sin does not; that is, sin becomes displaced by the manifestation of God. This means that you will think and act in terms of not pleasing yourself but in terms of pleasing God. In newness of life, man’s depravity becomes reversed, that is, bad people become good. What is dead in people comes to life, which means that the person in bondage to sin becomes set free; that is, prostitutes become pure, cowards become men of courage, alcoholics become sober and upright, those that are weary become strong and take on the burdens of others, people that are habitual complainers come to a state of continually praising God, etc. But if a believer returns to sin, the sin nature that has been rendered powerless becomes re-energized, and the desire to sin is rekindled. Sin then gains dominion over that person again, that is, he or she will become enslaved again. This is why even though a person is a believer he or she may return drugs, fear, anxiety, eating disorders, etc. It is only through confession, cleansing, and restoration that God enables the believer to walk in newness of life again. Understand that forgiveness is the start of a new life but walking with God is how it continues. This is where many fail, but that does not have to be the case. There is no reason for us not to walk in communion with God. If there is sin, God has provided forgiveness. If there is a lack of attitude, God will give you a new one. If there is unbelief, God will give you faith. If you think yourself as a failure, God will provide you with all the success you need. God has made provision against any hindrance that keeps us from enjoying new life from Him.

The new kingdom is a kingdom of choice. Know that God will give you over as to how you choose to live. Every person has the power to live a life of triumph over sin, or to reject the gospel and live a life that is contrary to God. It is living by the Spirit that promotes living by the Spirit and living by the flesh perpetuates living by the flesh. Living by the

Living by the

S PIR IT

FLESH

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Romans 8:5-6, states, “For those who are habitually dominated by the sinful nature put their minds on the things of the sinful nature, but those who are habitually dominated by the Spirit put their minds on the things of the Spirit.” WET 14

What we learn from this passage is that there are two powers at work in the lives of people, and that people have a choice of which power is to have dominion over their lives. If a man chooses to continue his life in sin, God will give him over to that life and will allow sin to have dominion over him. Concerning this, Rom. 1:24, states, Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. But if that man chooses a life of holiness in nearness to God, God will help him and empower him to do so. On this matter Galatians 5:16-24, states, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh … they that are Christ's have crucified [put to death] the flesh with the affections and lusts. KJV We must cut through the things of life to live out the things of God. Every day, we must come to God for cleansing from sin and to attain communion with Him. Consider Colossians, 3:1-12, which states, If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God … Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, hu mility, meekness, and patience. ESV Notice that walking with God produces good things in the heart of man (such as; compassion, kindness, and humility) in contradistinction to living a life apart from God, where one is enslaved to passions of impurity (such as, sexual immorality, idolatry, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, etc. See Gal. 5:19-21). Each person makes the choice of whether his or her life is to be lived unto oneself or unto God. Realize that you are in a spiritual warfare that is not reported in the news. It is the kingdom of God against the kingdom of Satan. When there is a “shoot out” in the news it is more than man against man. It is man against God. It is a result of man’s rebellion against God’s authority. It is vice against virtue. Know that spiritual warfare is about possession. It is about being under the possession of the sin nature that is in us and the satanic forces around us, or of being under the power of the new nature that which is manifested in living a life of yieldness to God, which produces holiness, spiritual fullness, and blessing. God gives you strength on the inside so that you can live a proper life on the outside. It is because you live by God’s grace that you can be kind in an unkind world. You can respond in love to hate. You can pray for the people that oppose you. Every time a believer chooses not to sin but instead turns to God it is a slap in the face to the kingdom of Satan; that is, it diminishes the value and power of the satanic kingdom and brings value and glory to God’s. So, in making the choice of having new life with God, a believer is given the divine ability to overpower any sinful behavior no matter how deep it is embedded in one’s personality because the enablement of God is greater than the power of sin. God has tremendous mercy for those that come to Him. Nehemiah 13:22, states, Remember me, O my God … and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy. Know that the mercy of God transcends the sinfulness of man. Psalm 57:10, states, For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Spurgeon makes this comment in The Treasury of David 21, “For thy mercy is great unto the heavens. Right up from man's lowliness to heaven's loftiness mercy reaches. Imagination fails to guess the height of heaven, and even thus the riches of mercy exceed our highest thoughts .”

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We learn from Ephesians 3:16 that through prayer God grants, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. The sin nature is rendered powerless in the believer who is empowered by God and walks with Him. It is like when a man straps on a jetpack and takes off into the air. Gravity that has held him down all his life is rendered powerless against the dynamic force of the jetpack to which he has attached himself. Philippians 2:13, states, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ESV When it says for it is God who works in you, it literally means, for it is God who energizes you. God is at work in the heart of man who believes in Him to overcome sin in his life and manifest His holy character. God will overpower any sinful disorder, phobia, addiction, or lack of communion with Him. This means that man does not have to live under sin’s dominion anymore. God strengthens us to overcome self, Satan, and the secular world. Pray for God’s power to be at work in your life. Then, enjoy finding relief and being set free.

The new kingdom is about putting on the “new man.” The new person in Christ can live in newness of life every single day. It is the new person in Christ that has the power over the old personality with its sinful aspirations and habits. Ephesians 4:24 states, And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. KJV The new man is put on by faith, prayer, and communion with God. 1) Concerning faith: Christ said (Mark 11:22), Have faith in God. This faith is based upon a belief in the living and true God; in other words, the God that is there. It is living by the conviction that having a personal relationship with God brings. But how does one learn of God? How does one find Him? Know that God has left us His written Word to learn of Him and His Spirit to speak to us so that we would know and experience His presence in our lives. Faith is acting upon the knowledge of God that is confirmed by His Spirit in one’s heart. It is the Word of God and the Spirit of God that give man a personal knowledge of God. Putting faith in the written Word of God is synonymous with putting faith in God Himself. God stands by His word. It expresses who He is. Paul tells young Timothy (II Tim. 3:15), And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. KJV The Word of God will make you wise unto eternal salvation and unto the present deliverance from sin. Proverbs 30:5, states, Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Know that God has placed you in the world to conquer worry, loneliness, frustration, etc. Lamentations 3:26, states, It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. We do not put our trust in what we see because the world is filled with deceit. Instead, we put our trust in God that we do not see but know through intimate fellowship; that is, by hearing His voice, having the conscious awareness of His presence, and being led by His Spirit. So when things become difficult in our lives, we are to believe God’s Word that tells us that all things will work out for our good (Rom. 8:28) and that God will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Faith is meaningless without the practice of it. If the lights are out, and you are in a dark room, it is the lighted

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room as you remember it in your mind’s eye that will guide through the darkness. You will walk in faith by what your mind sees and not by what your eyes that are in darkness cannot see. If you are in dark circumstances of life, the light of God’s Word will guide you through them. If there is uncertainty, then realize the certainty of God’s care that the Word of God declares. The Word of God is the operating truth we work from. Putting an operating truth into practice is faith. If a man is going to build a bridge, the set of blueprints is the operating truth from which he acts. He has faith in the blueprints to accomplish his goal. In order to live the Christian life, the Word of God is the operating truth we work from. The Scriptures is the premise (like a blueprint) from which we build our lives. In going forward in our lives we put our faith in the Word of God because it is putting our faith in what is true (that is, God affirms that the truth in the Scriptures is congruent with reality). We do not put faith in faith itself. We put faith in the truth of the Word of God as confirmed by God’s Spirit. 2) Concerning prayer: Christ said that people should always pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1). Robertson says the meaning of the phrase, “not lose heart,” or “not to faint,” (as translated in the King James Bible) is Literally, not to give in to evil (en, kakeō, from kakos, bad or evil), to turn coward, lose heart, behave badly.17 So, prayer gives us the strength we need to overcome sin and failure in our lives. Think about what is the prayer you need to make today. Prayer involves bringing our needs, desires, and holy aspirations to God in which He hears and responds, so that you would not lose heart or fall apart as a person. There is prayer and there is PRAYER! We learn from James 5:16, that, The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. KJV Elijah saw the idolatry among the people of God. In response, he prayed for it not to rain as a sign to them of the loss of God’s blessing in their lives and it did not rain. What happens in heaven has an effect on earth; that is, God runs the world from His throne to which believers have access. Decisions made in heaven affect things on earth. Believers can make things happen in the world around them because of prayer. Hebrews 4:16, states, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Notice that God’s throne is called a “throne of grace.” Vincent explains, Throne of grace expresses grace as the gift of divine power.5 It is filled with mercy so that the needy, the troubled, and the forgotten can come to God who is accessible. There is not a true prayer from a pure motive that God does not hear. God redeems people’s lives from destruction, and gives them strength to go on and overcome the unwelcomed circumstances that come into their lives.

God hears the prayer of those that call out to Him

Lamentations 3:55-58,

I have called on your name, O Lord, from the deepest pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief!” You came near on the day I called to you; you said, “Do not fear!” Psalm 138:3,

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. KJV

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3) Regarding Communion with God: communion with God is coming to a place of attaining intimacy with Him in which you are changed. It is when you sense His presence and feel His touch. It is not enough to read and pray; because we can read the Bible and not get it, that is, not be changed by it. We can pray to God and not be heard. One must achieve fellowship with God by seeking His face, which means putting everything aside to make time to be alone with Him. It is putting away sin and putting God first (that is, putting Him above everything else) because you recognize His place in your life. Psalm 46:10, states, Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! This means to depart from the restlessness of the flesh that does not believe in God by putting faith in Him by the inner spirit that does. It is the flesh in man that is opposed to God and it is the spirit in man that communes with Him. It is the spirit that prompts us to go to Him. John 17:3, states, Now this is eternal life — that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. Eternal life is knowing God; that is, having a daily experience with God. We are not fulfilled until we experience the presence of God and have the confidence that comes from meeting with Him to face life. The difference between success and failure in spiritual things is having intimacy with God. Notice how the bride rejoices in having intimacy with her beloved in the Song of Songs (1:4) in which she states, the king hath brought me into his chamber, we will be glad and rejoice in thee. KJV The bride is so excited about being alone with her beloved and king. There is so much to do and say to each other. Is that the way you feel about the time you spend alone with your Beloved and King? Do you share your thoughts, dreams, and aspirations with the Lord Jesus? Do you exchange your love for each other? What is characteristic of eternal life is having a love-relationship with God.

Psalm 84:1-3, states, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.”

In doing these things (practicing faith, prayer, and communion with God), the new man is

manifested and breaks the bondage of any addiction or sinful behavior. This is why a believer may be tempted to sin, go into a bar, order a drink of liquor, and not drink it and leave. It is the power of new life at work in his heart. This is why a man of faith that is provoked by someone will be ready to strike back in anger but then will have the divine ability to refrain from striking and walk away. This is why a broken heart will become unbroken; that is, the heaviness in one’s heart will turn from being distraught to a state of joy by the power of knowing God. Understand that Satan accomplishes his purposes through the old man (that is, the old person in you before Christ) in us. God accomplishes His purposes through the new man (that is, the new person you became when Christ entered your life). So, remember to practice faith, prayer, and communion each day of your new life in Christ. This is how the Christian life works.

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The new kingdom is a place of renewal. The new kingdom affects its people in a positive way. Know that people fail to change because either they give in to their sin nature that is opposed to God, or they try to change it without God’s help. The old personality (old man) cannot change in light of God’s holiness. You may need a new pair of shoes because the old ones are worn out. Shining the old pair on the outside does not make them new again, nor fit to walk in. Think of a man that has two pairs of shoes, that is, one old, and one new. Every day he has a choice of which pair to wear. The old pair of shoes is well worn and would take him to places that were not good for him. He would visit bars, frequent gambling joints, etc. In wearing the old shoes he would become a lecher, lush, prideful, obstinate, etc. In wearing the new pair he had to ability to walk further away from the places the old pair of shoes would take him. He would go to places that are good for him. He would go to church, help the poor, visit the sick, etc. He would do good things while he was wearing the new pair of shoes. That is the choice we have every day, that is, to live out the old life apart from God or to walk newness of life in fellowship with God. The secular man thinks that if he changes the things outside of himself that he will be changed. A man may change his wife, job, or the color his hair in pursuit of happiness only to find out that outward change does not work. A woman may seek change in herself and have surgery to change the way her body looks only to find that she still has the same struggles about herself that she had before. Change must come from the heart; that is, the center of one’s being. This is because what the heart needs is new life from God. What we are told in Ephesians 4:22 is that the old man is the old personality, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and is to be put away from oneself. The old person is deeply embedded in one’s personality and is only put off when the new man is put on. It is like when the old pair of shoes is put off by the new pair being put on. As the inward man is made new by God day by day (through prayer, confession of sin, and meditation on the Word of God) the old man which is the sinful personality is displaced. This brings about a steadfast spirit that does not give in to the sinful nature or the ways of the world through the demanding circumstances of life. On this matter, 2 Cor. 4:16, states, For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. KJV The “outward man” may be perishing by age or corruption day by day but the inward man is made new continually by God in those that faithfully come to God each day for fellowship. The phrase, we faint not (or, we do not despair, as the ESV translates it) means, not to be to be wearied out, exhausted. Because of the principle of renewal (being made new by God on a continual basis) the new man never gives in to sin, or gives up concerning the things of God. As a result, believers do not become discouraged. They walk in newness of life by the power of God day by day. Things in life may knock you down, but God will always give you the strength and ability to get back up and overpower your fall. It is new life that is greater than the old life without God. That is what every believer in Jesus Christ has the power to do. This is what threatens the satanic kingdom’s control over one’s life. One need not be held back by any sin, trauma, “birth order,” personal loss, anxiety disorder, etc. It is forgiveness and the power of new life that makes us fit and whole to live before God. Notice how different the apostles behaved after the resurrection of Christ; that is, after the Holy Spirit fell upon them. They were new men who took on the world and turned it upside down. They accomplished great things for God. Down through history men have stood in defiance to what is wrong in society because the new man in Christ does not conform to the world but

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exposes it. It is the new man who overpowers the old man. It was by faith that young Stephen mentioned in the Book of Acts having the “face of an angel” stood up against the Sanhedrin, which was the Great Council of the Jewish nation in Jerusalem, and spoke the truth about Jesus Christ. He told them that they betrayed and killed God’s messiah. So they stopped their ears, took him outside of the city, and stoned him to death. Young Stephen became the first Christian martyr (Acts 7). It was the men that believed in the Lord Jesus Christ in England that could no longer tolerate the evil of slavery that stood up and abolished it in their country. This is because the believer in Jesus Christ experiences an ongoing transformation that gives him or her the conviction to fight evil.

Romans 12:2 states, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The word transformed is metamorphoo in Greek. It is where the English word metamorphosis is derived. It is used to describe an amazing transformation. Believers in Jesus Christ experience an ongoing metamorphosis in their lives. The transformation is from within. God provides a divine ability to live a transformed life which causes a radical change from a previous life without Him. The Bible is written from a place of strength, and believers are to operate from a place of possessing a divine power that comes directly from God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, states, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. ESV When a person walks with God, he or she chooses not to habitually sin nor does he or she become consumed by the satanic world system around him or her because of being constantly renewed by God through obedience, prayer, and meditation on the Holy Scriptures. This is a believer’s asbestos suit through fiery trials of life. We learn from Ephesians 4:22-24, that the spiritual nature in man (by the power of the Holy Spirit) renews the mind and gives the believer the power to put on the new self, which is created after the likeness of God.

Ephesians 4:22-24, states, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

God’s Spirit works through the rational mind. When the mind has been corrupted by sin it is to be renewed by the Word of God. Man’s intellect is to operate from his spirit that is made alive by God. This will cause him to take God into account in all his estimations and rational decisions. Proverbs 3:5 & 6, states, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. KJV It is the spirit in man that operates by faith, and the mind is made to function from rational good sense of what is best for the individual. This means that a person is to put faith in God, and then

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do what his or her rational mind tells him or her to do according to that faith. The Book of Proverbs is filled with practical truths of how to live life out of good sense. You may tell a person to stop sinning, but that does not help him or her to stop. The mind must hear the good news of Jesus Christ as to why He came, what He accomplished for man at the cross, and how He waits for those that believe in Him to be with Him in heaven. As an individual allows the Holy Spirit to confirm God’s truth in his or her heart, he or she will be saved and live a new life unto God.

There are two alternatives in life. In regard to the new kingdom God is building the Bible says, Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor has it risen up into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love Him. (I Cor. 2:9). Christ is at work preparing for the future of mankind. At present, Christ is filling the universe with Himself. We learn from Ephesians 4:10 that, He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. He is dispelling His light against the satanic darkness. He is spreading His kingdom to include the world we live. He is filling the hearts and minds of men and women. This work of God encompasses the past, present, and future. Know that God invites everyone to be a part of His new kingdom and race. I Timothy 2:4, states, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. God’s kingdom is a kingdom filled with His presence, light, and holiness. God is asking people to embrace the Kingdom of His Son. The darkness of this world blinds the mind of man to the kingdom of God. God in opposition to Satan’s kingdom will bring light to those that want to leave the darkness of this world, for God is light. He will help those that want a better life with Him. I Corinthians 2:12, states, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. There are only two alternatives in life. One alternative is to continue to be a part of the satanic world system that runs contrary to the will of God and thus walk in the flesh (the sinful nature opposed to God). The second choice is to become part of the kingdom of God through forgiveness and walk in obedience to Him. What God asks, is for the dark kingdom of this world to be forsaken for the righteous kingdom of His Son. In doing so, one exchanges the values of this world for those of God. What God desires for those that are outside of the His kingdom that do not know Him is explained to the Apostle Paul in a special post-resurrection appearance by Christ. Christ tells Paul what the ministry of God is about.

Acts 26:18, states, “I am sending you to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me .” ESV

Realize that the world is in transition. What will emerge is the Kingdom of Christ. Daniel 7:14, states, To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and

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language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. This has been the message of God down through the ages; that is, that a man would rise up and break the head of the serpent, the creator of evil, thus destroying the power of his kingdom (Gen. 3:15). Satan is now under the foot of every believer; that is, he has no power over those that are in Christ. It is Jesus Christ that rose up against the kingdom of Satan and destroyed it by perfecting mankind from sin. As a believer you are “translated” (Greek, metestēsen, means: to transpose, transfer, remove from one place to another 6) from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. Even though you are physically on earth your spirit (innermost being) is in heaven with God.

Galatians 1:4, “who [Christ] gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,”

Colossians 1:1, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” KJV

Your roots are not on earth but in heaven. You are no longer the same. You longer are enslaved to the old life apart from God. You are part of His new kingdom that is built on Jesus Christ. You are new. You are different. There are crowns waiting in heaven for you. You are esteemed and loved by God. Everything is changed. You are to bring heaven to earth and live a new life out of your innermost being until the day of redemption when you are fully redeemed (in spirit, soul, and body) and be completely with God forever.

(Spiritual resurrection)

The believer is transferred from the

Kingdom of Darkness

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred [to remove from one place to another] us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, ESV Col. 1:13

Even though the believer is physically on earth his spirit (innermost being) is in heaven with God. This is the accessible heaven where God is. This is because there has been a spiritual birth (that is, a spiritual resurrection from death in which the spirit has been brought to life). It is later that a bodily resurrection will follow.

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PART TWO UNDERSTANDING INTIMACY WITH GOD

The most positive reality of being human is felt in the richness of true intimacy with God.

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Christ giving the Sermon on the Mount.

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PART 2: UNDERSTANDING INTIMACY WITH GOD MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

Ma n

Intimacy Forgiveness

G od

The greatest thing in life The greatest achievement in life is having an intimate relationship with God. There is the indescribable loveliness of God that brings about a lightness of being where one’s burdens are lifted off and cast aside that comes from having intimacy with Him. Life with God is a life of friendship in which God shares His life with you. He opens your eyes to the His Word, His kingdom, and His will for your life. He gives you a special function in life that is essential to His kingdom. Christ said (John 15:15), I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. ESV Intimacy with Christ is the integral part of the kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus is forever joined to His people and desires intimacy with them. The very best part of man is that part that is rooted in God. Man was created in the image of God and achieves fulfillment when he is living out God’s likeness, enjoying communion, and serving Him. Sin interrupts close communion with God and keeps man from living out his purpose; which is, reflecting the loveliness of the Person of God. This means that when man fails God, he fails himself. It is holiness that keeps man close to God. It is sin that tears away at the very fabric of our true humanity. It brings bondage, guilt, judgment, hardness of heart, and separation from God. In other words, sin causes bad things in our lives. Because of it you feel detached from the love of God and the power His Spirit. All of us must face the truth that we are sinful and unable to change; that is, imperfection can never reach perfection in this life in the human soul apart from God. In realizing one’s depravity, it may seem that there is no

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escape from it, for we cannot change ourselves. People may reinvent themselves, but they can’t recreate themselves in the image of God. The Bible asks the question (Jer. 13:23), Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard remove its spots? We cannot make ourselves holy like God or make ourselves pure, nor can we achieve nearness to God. So, what can be done to live in nearness to God and enjoy a better quality of life? Jesus said (Luke 18:27), The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. KJV Man does not have to live life with having no hope and without God in the world. 22 God has provided a better life for us to live. It comes through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the His divine power to grant us newness of life. It is when we take our sins to God that cleansing and transformation take place. After that, we can begin to live out our intended design, which is reflecting the beauty of God’s holy character throughout our lives. There may be obstacles to overcome in coming to a place of complete repentance. It may be the obstacle of pride; that is, thinking that one if fine without God. It may be the obstacle of addiction, where the addiction controls a person’s life to the point where that person feels helpless to overcome his or her enslavement. It may be the obstacle of tremendous guilt where one feels unworthy of God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration. Or, it may be the obstacle of avoiding God. We often put everything and everyone else on our schedule but God. None of us are worthy, but all of us are offered forgiveness and newness of life in fellowship with God. Know that anyone can come to God in any state and a greater enlightenment and transformation will follow; that is, salvation will come to that person. It is important to understand that Psalm 51 is about man, God, and the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. It is written by King David, who was chosen by God to be the king of Israel and to minister to His people, but David fell into sin. Know that life is about man’s relationship with God. Life is not about our personal aspirations. It is about our personal aspirations in relation to God. Life is not about our bills we have to pay. It is about the bills we have to pay in relation to God. Life is not about you and your spouse. It is about you and your spouse in relation to God. Psalm 51 is about man’s return to God after a great departure from Him. In David returning to God and God having him write in scroll his experience by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, all of us learn how to return to God. But know that the principles of forgiveness have been set down by God since the beginning of mankind. Forgiveness involves confession and cleansing by the blood of Christ. Christ is the promised Messiah that would be God’s servant and king. He would lay down His life to set others free from the penalty, guilt, and bondage of sin. There is no forgiveness apart from Him and there is complete forgiveness in Him. He would also return as king to rule the world with an eternal reign. His government would transcend of all other kingdoms and rulerships of the earth.

God changes people through intimacy with Him

Only God can change people through intimacy with Him that comes from forgiveness. It is by divine power that transformation takes place. The change God makes in people goes down to the very core of their makeup. Psalm 51 is about turning to God from the bondage of sin to enjoy a life of intimacy with Him. Life has its traps that may take you away from God but in bringing

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your sins to God communion is restored, a deeper unity with God is experienced, and an enjoyment of a life of blessing begins to take place. Ask yourself if this is what you truly want, that is, to live a positive life in nearness to God? Or, a life of spiritual failure that leads to guilt and judgment? I Corinthians 11:31, states, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. KJV In other words, you control your destiny through the decisions and choices you make. If you consider what God wants and make the appropriate choices, then God will not have to make judgments against you but will bring blessings on your behalf. The choice is yours.

Intimacy with God & faith The highest calling in life. The highest calling a person has in life is to enjoy a personal relationship with God; which includes experiencing the joy of His presence, knowing His will and direction, and being given internal ongoing faith, hope, and love. For a believer intimacy with God is everything. Being in touch with the reality of God is what makes a person function properly. Intimacy is recreational to a child of God because it recreates the believer as a person. It is the catalyst to spiritual life because it is through intimacy with God that the Holy Spirit instills a conviction of the things of God that cannot be refuted by anyone or anything. This conviction is called faith. The Greek word for faith in the Bible is pistis, which means a conviction of the truth of anything.6 Biblical truth helps man to operate from reality, that is, to live according to the way things are. God brings conviction of the truth of our sinful state and of the hope that is in Christ. No one can stop God from working in your life. No one can stop Him from speaking to you with words of hope and an offer of a better life with Him. Nor can anyone stop you from turning to Him for love, acceptance, and the joys of communion. Know that even Satan is powerless when a believer is in prayer before God. If you have the conviction of sin in your life, then have the conviction being forgiven of it. So, come to God, be set free, and enjoy the benefits of Hi s kingdom. Know that the Savior waits for you with open arms of acceptance, love, and forgiveness that brings about newness of life. The truth of Christ’s first coming is that He came to give us a better quality of life that is built on God. It is a new life beyond measure. John 8:12, states, Then Jesus spoke out again, ‘I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ God draws us away from the world and to Himself. God gives faith to those that turn to Him. A person may be told that they are a hopeless case and that they will never change, or they may even say it to themselves, but this is not what God believes. Every person matters to God and there is not one person that comes in Him in simple faith that He cannot change. Know that God has given people the power to say, I am changed because I am made new in Christ! The Holy Spirit confirms this truth and empowers the believer to walk in newness of resurrection life. For example, a woman may be told by her doctor that she is with child. A change has taken place in her body. She may not feel different, but the fact remains that there is new life within her. The reality of it will be manifested day by day. So it is with the believer in Christ. Every day that a believer walks with God he or she experiences the reality of new life with Him.

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God gives faith. Faith is the conviction in the heart of man of the truth about God. This is why man is to live by faith. Without this conviction, man is lost and nothing means anything in life. The only correct response of living a life apart from God is desperation; or, believing the lies of the deceit of this world that leads to following a false god. All of us need to come to a place of knowing the truth about life, God, and our sinful state. The Holy Spirit is at work in the world bringing people to the saving knowledge of God. In coming to God in sincerity and in reading the Holy Scriptures in search of Him faith is takes root and grows. Romans 10:17, states, Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ. ESV Faith comes from hearing the divine message of the gospel of God. The most effective counseling in life comes from God. Proverbs 2:6, states, For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. The Word of God has survived centuries with an unchanging message of grace. God offers the promise of having close intimacy with Him which means that He will never leave nor forsake anyone that turns to Him. In taking God’s offer of new life, faith is given that enables a person to face anything in life. You may be facing guilt from your past life. God will wipe it away. You may have sadness. God has joy. Perhaps, you are depressed. It is God that uplifts. You have worries. God has praises for you to sing. You have failures. God has victories. You may be presently facing a tremendous Goliath challenge in your life, but God will be there to help you overcome it, as He was there for David. You may feel lost and empty inside but know that God’s presence will fill up the vacuum in your life. Realize that you are no longer are alone. God will be at your side. God is a God of comfort. In walking with God (that is, living in close communion with Him) you choose to do God’s will because you realize that there is something much greater and far more beneficial for which to live. It is the “new man” (the new person that God transforms you into) that walks by faith for the old man cannot. Our human nature repels faith, but our spiritual nature enables it. It is our responsibility then to walk (that is, live life) by our spiritual nature that has been made alive by God through the sacrificial shed blood of Christ for our sins and by His resurrection through which we have new life.

Think on these things: John 5:24,

"I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has c rossed over from death to life.” Isaiah 55:3,

“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant [pact] with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

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Walking with God releases us from sin The real struggle in life. The real struggle in life is not leaving sin but walking with God who releases us from sin. A walk is a habitual manner of living; that is, an ordered manner of behavior. God is looking for men and women to walk with Him; that is, people that will share their lives with Him and enjoy an intimate knowledge of what He is truly like. In walking with God one must have a right attitude toward God. In the Old Testament way of speaking having a right attitude toward God was called having a fear of God. What it means is esteeming God more than one’s personal life. You may Jacob wrestles with God. He would not let Him go until the Lord blesses him. think how can this be true? But in knowing the love of God and experiencing the reality of His presence, you are brought to a place of caring for Him more than for oneself. The great thing God has done for man is to reveal Himself to him. The unveiling of God to the heart of man makes an impact that affects everything he does. The fear of God is the Old Testament way of speaking of the worship of God. It is expressed in Psalm 33:8, which states, let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Having the fear (awe) of God is living life from a true apprehension of God. When a man walks with God, he fears nothing else. Knowing God empowers him.

Isaiah 41:10, states, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand .” ESV

Notice that God says, I will strengthen … I will help … I will uphold you. So, wholeness in life is achieved by walking with God and enjoying His divine presence. For example, after leaving Egypt, a place of sin, suffering, and slavery, and upon entering the Promised Land, God told His people what they needed to know to enjoy life with Him. They were given a new life, a new land, and a new responsibility to serve God. They were to love Him with all their heart. Their lives were to be active and emotive toward God.

Deuteronomy 10:12, states, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” ESV

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Man is to return the love by which he is loved. Know that God is on the side of those that have a right attitude toward Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9, states, For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him … KJV Enjoy a love relationship with God so that God will enjoy a love relationship with you. Allow God the joy of having you live in nearness to Him. Respond to God’s encouragement to arise and walk with Him. We are told in I Thess. 4:1 that, you must live and please God (as you are in fact living) that you do so more and more. The idea is not just to please, as to appease, but to give pleasure; that is, to bring about positive feelings in another person. We as believers have the power to affect the emotions of God. Know that you have the ability to make God excited about you! You simply not only please God when you walk with Him but you give Him pleasure. Concerning this, we are told (I Thess. 4:1) that we should do so more and more. It is believers who bring delight to God in contrast to those who do not. Proverbs 15:8, states, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.KJV Notice how God feels towards those come to Him in prayer.

Think on these things: Jeremiah 9:23-24

"‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight [châphêts, to delight in, take pleasure in 10], declares the LORD.’"

Walking with God brings completeness.

Jehovah is the personal name of God to man. It is the Lord Jehovah, the self-existent one, that shares His divine presence and reveals Himself to man. It is the covenant name of God in the Old Testament. It is Jehovah that appeared to Abraham and told him (Gen. 17:1), I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. KJV The word used for “perfect” in Hebrew is tamıym. It means: complete, whole, entire, sound 9. It is God that makes a person whole, complete, and brings soundness to a person’s life. It is knowing God that overcomes our deficiencies and brings about wellness of being. The holiness of God is dispelled (from God) in knowing Him. Abraham was changed because he knew God. We do not change because we are good or try to be good. We change because God is good and knowing God transforms us. Man is to develop a relationship with God whom is not seen and yet reveals Himself to those that seek Him as Abraham did. For example, you may close your eyes but that does not mean that everything around you does not exist because it is not visible. Because God is not visible does not mean that God does not exist. God can make His presence known, His voice heard, and His power felt. As a man walks with God, he becomes like Him. That is the transforming effect

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God has on people. This is why God condemns physical idols. It is not a dead thing that meets the needs of our lives and renews His image in us. Idol worship is like giving a bride a picture of her husband to satisfy her longing for him. What the spirit in man longs for is intimacy with God. In knowing God a person will learn of His greatness and give up his or her aspirations and dreams for God’s. It is a living relationship with God that causes you (I Peter 2:9) to proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.ESV Your values change in knowing God. You will exchange old desires for new ones founded in God. Psalm 34:7 states, Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ESV Your future changes because you want to be with Him. You become like Asaph who wrote (Psalm 73:25), Whom do I have in heaven but you? I desire no one but you on earth. Are you there yet? Is your life so wrapped in a relationship with God that you long to be with Him above all else? Love always longs for the object of its affection. This is how a person is not overcome by the circumstance life. Because of God’s personal revelation, a person learns to put his or her complete trust in God. We learn from the Book of Hebrews (11:27) that Moses, By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.ESV That is what knowing God does to a person. It gives him or her the desire to forsake their old life and the courage to live a new one in nearness to Him in spite of the oppression or antagonism of others. Notice that Moses lived as seeing him who is invisible. He saw by faith because the conviction of his heart was so strong. He could not deny God.

Light is the radiance of God that changes people. Radiance is the dispelling of the light of God that makes an impact in people. As people become

involved with evil it changes them. It begins to change who they are. The same principle is true about people become involved with God (who is light); they become lightened. Walking with God is about living in the radiant light of God. This light enlivens the spirit (innermost being), which affects the mind, heart, and will. David wrote in Psalm 34:5, They looked to Him and were filled with light; and their faces were not ashamed. LITV This was a time in David’s life that he was downhearted and the people that came to him were also (I Sam. 22:1-2), but then they looked to God for help and were “filled with light.” Their spirits brightened up. The word for filled with light (LITV), or lightened (KJV), in Hebrew is nahar, which means to beam, be radiant 9. The ESV translates the same verse, Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. ESV David later came to be called the light of Israel.23 After being with God, Moses went to the people to speak to them but they noticed a change in him. Exodus 34:30, states, When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to approach him. Moses physically reflected the glory of God. We reflect it from our spirit; that is, from our innermost being that flows outwardly. This is because Christ is the light of the world 24. When His light is dispelled change takes place. We need the light of God to dispel the darkness of our lives. If our mind goes to a dark place you will feel low and depressed. But if our mind becomes filled with the light of God we go to a place of joy and lightness of being.

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I John 1:7-9, states, “But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin… But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.”

The point of this passage (I Jn. 17:7-9) is not so much about the forgiveness as it is about enjoying a walk with Christ. The closer we walk with the Lord Jesus the greater effect the light that comes from Him will have on us. Train your mind to live in the light of God’s Word and truth. It is the light of God that dispels the dark feelings that a person may experience. When dark feelings of hurt or gloom come over you for whatever reason, go to the place of God’s radiant light; that is, the place of having God’s face to shine upon you through His comfort and enjoyment of His presence. It is God’s presence that insulates us from the attacks of others and discouragements of life. As stated before, God’s presence is revealed to those live holy lives. Holy living comes from walking in faith, prayer, and communion with God.

We all need continual cleansing from sin. A walk with God involves living a holy life set apart from sin and set apart to God. Then, fellowship with the Lord Jesus is made possible. This continual walk with God is contingent on a continuous cleansing by the blood Christ and the work of God to enable new life by faith despite how many times a person sins. We must come to God with our sins and for the renewing of spiritual life. We may find it difficult to keep constantly admitting our failures and lapses of holiness because becoming aware of our depravity hurts the good image we have ourselves and diminishes our pride. So we often turn to self-deceit; which is to say, we deny, justify, or rationalize our sins and fail to repent of them. Then, there is the person that hates himself and feels that he is beyond God’s help. The truth for all of us is that our human nature is in darkness opposed to God. No one is beyond God’s help. No one is beyond the grace of God. But all of us do need cleansing from sin.

Romans 3:10-12, states, “just as it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.’"

What we learn from Romans 3:10-12 is that: 1) Our flesh (human nature) is not righteous. It does not understand or want to submit to the things of God. It does not seek after God. It is the flesh that spurns God, but it is the

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spirit in man who thirsts for Him. Because of this, a person must go against his or her old nature and live out of the new nature God has given to those that believe in Him. 2) Our flesh does not understand God, but God wants us to understand Him. God wants us to understand our need for Him. He wants us to understand and experience the happiness of walking with Him in newness of life. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:23, states, Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. It is when we turn our life around to do what God desires, that we will enjoy the outpouring of His Spirit in a powerful way and a personal knowledge of Him (that is not given to the world). 3) Our flesh does not seek God but God desires for us to seek after Him. Sin has blinded us from God but not to those that set their heart to find Him. He will not hide Himself from a true seeker. Christ said, Seek and you shall find, in talking about the things of God and the happiness of life. 4) Our flesh makes us become worthless before God, but God wants us to enjoy a sense of purpose. You may be good at doing many things but imagine being good in doing the will of God and hearing those words from God Himself saying, Well done, you good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Through confession walking with God is made possible. Those who are deeply experienced in Divine things converse with God, and God with them. - Adam Clark 9

Think on these things: Philippian’s 3:13-14,

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal‌ of God in Christ Jesus. ESV

The traps of this life. The first man, Adam, failed to walk with God despite his circumstances. The circumstances being the deceit of Satan pitting him between what he wanted in his heart (Eve) and what God wanted in His (obedience). Know that Satan pits us between the things we want and the things that God wants. Satan uses the world and the flesh (human nature) to have us to pursue the things of this life over the things of God. The problem with that line of pursuit is that the seeker of worldly things will not experience the fullness that a close relationship with God can bring. A life of pleasure does not achieve meaning. It only leads to slavery; that is, it leads to more

and more pleasure seeking. Then because of the law of diminishing returns a person will need

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higher doses of pleasure to achieve that same effect. That is the trap of putting a priority on pleasure. It is also true that many people that seek pleasure to overcome personal pain in their lives. When pleasure is present, the pain is not felt. What they feel is a temporal blanket of warmth to help them cope for the immediate. This is the trap of addiction. As the pain is present so is the felt need for drugs, sexual affairs, gambling, overeating, etc., to take the pain away. A life of busy-ness cannot bring intimacy with God. Often, people feel important when they

are busy working hard on a project. It just makes one more pre-occupied with the things of this life that keeps one from focusing on the things of God that brings fullness and joy. Going after riches does not satisfy man’s inner hunger for knowing God. The desire for

riches promotes the idea that one can achieve fulfillment without God. The pursuit of riches overshadows the pursuit of God. God never becomes a priority. Instead, the seeker of money will become sick over the anxiety of losing the riches he or she has attained because of the uncertainty of the fluctuating financial world. It is the seeker of God that is blessed with the riches of God such as, intimacy, inner strength, and a solid hope for the future.

The abiding presence of God Experiencing the reality of God’s presence. Because of sin, Adam was cast out of the presence of God. He failed to live as God’s son should live. Regaining fellowship with God was contingent upon a blood sacrifice of an animal. God placed animal skins upon Adam and Eve. There had to be the shedding of blood from the appropriate sacrifice for the remission of sins. John the Baptist said of Christ, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 25 When we sin, we lose the sense of God’s presence but when we apply by faith the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, it is regained. A man can only achieve his potential as a person by living a renewed life that brings glory to God. Know that man has been designed to reflect His image and to do His will on this earth as His representative. What God desires is for people to walk in obedience and abide in His presence despite their circumstances. Every day, a believer is responsible to live out who he or she is in Christ. A believer must look to God the Father each day and pray to be experiencing God’s presence and power to in order to live a life of holiness that day. The reality of God’s presence and the manifestations of His love is what keeps us drawing life from Him. Be as the bride in the Song of Songs who longs for her beloved and says (1:2), Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. KJV Truly, the love of God is better than any wine our world has to offer, and His intimate touch is greater than anything felt in our innermost being. Many believers overlook this aspect of their Christian life. They think that a belief in God and the doctrines of the Bible are enough but fail to abide in God as a moment-to-moment experience throughout their lives. What results is that they become believers with secular beliefs and practices. They are out of touch with God and bear so little spiritual fruit. They forget true fellowship and intimacy with the Lord. The truth of the matter is that a believer does not have to be doomed to a mediocre Christian life but may experience a vibrant living relationship with God.

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Experiencing the reality of God’s presence makes all the difference in life. Many times in the Old Testament believers were told not to forget the Lord their God. When you live in the reality of God’s presence, it is the reverse of forgetting God, because you sense that He is always there with you. For example, when Moses had passed away, and it was up to Joshua to take over his position and perform the tremendous task of leading several million people into the Promised Land. God told Joshua (Josh. 24:16), There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee ... for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. KJV Isn’t that what we need to do? That is, to live a holy life and stand against the world. It was the presence of God (the divine nearness of God) that gave Joshua all the strength and courage he needed to go forward in life. Know that the Christian life is about going forward and not looking back. There is the poignant story of lot’s wife whose life was ended in looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah. She looked back because she desired her old life of sin rather than to go forward without it. She was walking away from Sodom and Gomorrah with her feet but not with her heart. So many times we may be tempted to look back at a former life of pleasure, but that will lead to our downfall and keep us from enjoying new life with God. Or, you may look back at the hurt and pain in your past but know that it will have an effect on your present life. Bad feelings promote more bad feelings and thus a cycle of depression is created that is contrary to God. Sin will have you look back, and God will have you look forward. As a believer looks back, it is the beginning of his or her downfall. But as a believer looks forward, it there is a joy that is felt that makes him or her long for God, their true home, and the shedding of this life. Know that you have to completely shed the old life to fully enjoy the new one God has for you. There may be suffering but there will be comfort. There may be a sense of loss at first; but then, there will be an overwhelming sense of gain and resoluteness that comes from abiding in God’s presence.

Walking with God keeps us in His presence. The psalmist in Psalm 15 asks the question, LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? KJV Then he answers, He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. KJV Walking with God and living a holy life is what keeps us living in God’s presence. It is often our deeds that take us away from God. It is so easy for us to sin. Everything we do affects our relationship with God. We are always judged by our deeds. In the Book of Revelation, we learn that people will be judged not by what they thought or intended to do but by what they actually did. Revelation 20:12, states, And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened … and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Notice that it says that people will be judged, according to their works. But how can we make our deeds (works) perfect before God? Answer. It is by drawing life and strength from Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul states (Phil. 4:23), I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me. Robertson 17 tells us that the verb endunamoo, which is translated strengthens is a causative verb that means, to empower, to pour power into one. Vincent 5 says of the phrase, strengthens me, that it means more literally,

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infuses strength into me. Robertson adds, Paul has such strength so long as Jesus keeps on putting power (dunamis) into him.17 All of us need the empowerment of God every day of our lives. It is the outliving of the indwelling Christ that gives us the power to live transformed lives. God is only manifested in the person that puts their faith and trust in Him in contradistinction to putting one’s faith in trust outside of God. Holiness is not an outward thing that we do. It is an inward thing flowing outward from the innermost being of the believer who lives in communion with God. It is a divine work of God in the heart of the man. Abiding in Christ is the answer to living a holy life because intimacy with God precedes godly behavior. Often, we think that it is our personal works that brings about intimacy with God. No. They do not. It is confession and cleansing that brings us to the threshold of divine communion and it is the Lord that brings you into it from there. If you fail to attain intimacy with God, then you are a failure in life and to God. In other words, there is a chain reaction that occurs in failing to commune with God. This is reflected over and over again in the Word of God. Our everyday sanctification depends on abiding in the Lord Jesus. The basis of our Christian life is the living out of our union with Christ.

John 15:4-5 states, “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. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” KJ V

Abiding in Christ means to draw from Him, just like a branch draws its vitality from the trunk of the vine. We are to live our lives in total faith and reliance in Jesus Christ to give us the spiritual vitality we need to live the Christian life. In order to abide in Him, you must learn of Him, and experience Him. As you realize the greatness of His person, then you can put your faith and trust in Him. The problem people have in general is that they lack intimacy with God. Because of this, they feel that God is not great enough to overcome the circumstances of their lives. They fall short in experiencing the spiritual vitality He imparts in those that come to Him. This lack of spiritual vitality causes people to be overtaken by their worries, problems, ambitions, pride, and lust. They don’t know enough of the greatness of God and the intimacy of His Person. But God is not a mystery to those seek Him. He attends all that call upon Him. Be not overcome by life, circumstances, failure, etc., but be overwhelmed by knowing God who is greater than those things. Come to rejoice in Christ like that bride in the Song of Songs who is excited about her beloved when she says (Song. 7:10), I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. The word “desire” in Hebrew means, desire, longing, craving.10 Can you comprehend the purity of love that can be experienced in a believer’s heart that attains intimacy with Christ? Now, go beyond imagination to the actual experience. This is what God grants us in life; intimacy with Him.

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Supernatural living. New Testament constantly stresses that a believer is “in Christ.” The New Testament epistles generally begin with the statement that the believer is in Christ, and then they reveal what the living out of that union means under the circumstances of everyday life, in which believers find themselves. Ephesians 1:4, states, According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Then, it goes on in the epistle to state what that means. Being in Christ is supernatural, that is, it provides a divine enablement that gives a person the power to live a totally different life. In supernatural living a person lives beyond his or her personal depravity to serve God in newness of life. It is going against our sinful human nature (that is, the regular pattern of living of all people that live apart from God) to serve God in the new nature. Being in Christ means that we are bonded to Christ and that our life emanates from Him. He is the foundation of our faith and the source of our spirituality. Colossians 2:1 states, And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. KJV Christ rules from on high and from the heart of the faithful believer. In other words, He is life and breath to us. It is by communion with the Lord Jesus that we are able to live out the Christian life. But the benefits of that union may not be realized until we spend time with Him in fellowship and prayer. This is what brings us to achieve communion with God. Know that genuine communion must take place in order to achieve genuine change. King David knew the inner pain of wanting something more out of life. He would go to God early in the morning and commune with God before the cares of life would take over and cause him to lose his focus on the things of God. Psalm 63:1, states, A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. ESV Understand that the soul needs to be fed through communion with God. Communion is built on a desire for God and a cleansing of sin. We cannot pridefully rush into God’s presence but are to enter in a state of humility through reflection, confession, and cleansing from sin. It is when these things do not take place that a departure from God begins. Pray that God would give you a spirit of repentance in order to truly be cleansed from sin. Bring your longings to God and seek His face. Then know (that is, experience) His affections that He has for you. Know that if the soul is not fed upon Him, it will feed upon the world with all its allurements that take a people from God and bring them to personal bondage. All of us need a place of refuge and rest. Intimacy with God is that place. Know that it is God’s desire for us to seek an experience with Him, live in His presence, and abide in His joy. David, in seeking God’s face in the midst of many troubles and setbacks, writes about his excitement of having an encounter with God. In Psalm 34:1-3, he writes, I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. All of us desire good things. Know that experiencing the reality of God’s presence brings pleasure and fulfillment. There are times when you feel that God is far away and temptation to sin so near. It is in these times that you must seek God with a complete heart. There is a promised blessing in seeking God. You are to search for God as you would for something of great value. It is then you will find the reality of His presence and enjoy the manifestations of His love.

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Christ Leaving the Praetorium by Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883)

Christ is the only Messiah All of God’s blessings come through Jesus Christ. The gospel message is that there is only one savior in life. There is only one person that can help us in our shortcomings with God. There is only one person that can bring about intimacy with God. It is Jesus Christ. He is the only Messiah (Anointed Savior) of the world. King David, the writer of Psalm 51, was a man of God that fell into sin. The future of David’s life depended on his relationship with God that is contingent on Christ’s messiahship, which brings forgiveness, transformation, and a promise of a better life. The blessings of God in life come through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:3, states, Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ. John 3:17, states, … God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. The Bible is not only for the people at the time it was written, but it is also for the people that would come after. Psalm 51 is about resurrecting from the bondage of sin by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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God has a divine plan Everything is moving toward Jesus Christ. Know that life has meaning because we are here by God’s design. God has designed us to walk with Him just like the first man, Adam. There are many men and women who have walked with God. They have left a pattern for us to follow. Know that God has designed man for Himself. God has a divine plan that involves the salvation of believers and the condemnation of those that refute His kingdom and refuse to turn from evil. Know that all history is moving toward Jesus Christ. According to Eph. 1:10, at the right time God is going to, head up all things in Christ — the things in heaven and the things on earth. The believers of Thessalonica embraced this truth.

Adam

Abraham

Israel

Moses

Prophets

Church Age

Christ’s Return

The Thessalonian believers turned from serving what was false in their lives to serving the true God. Then, they looked forward to the Lord’s coming for them. They were not afraid of God but lived a confident life with God. They simply listened to God’s message, believed in it, began to serve Him, and lived in anticipation of Christ’s coming. Their lives had focus and meaning. They were told God’s truth, their expectations were raised, and their lives were changed.

Think on these things: I Thessalonians 1:2-3,

We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ I Thessalonians 1:9-10,

For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.

Notice Paul’s beautiful memory of the Thessalonian believers. He says that the Christian life for them was a work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of the hope of Christ’s coming.

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Failing to walk with God Filling the void in our lives. Know that failing to walk with God creates a void that is like a vacuum that seeks to be filled. This void makes us take in the world with its aspirations and pleasures to accomplish some form of a happy state. In contradistinction, faith in God brings about an enjoyment of life. The man that does not practice faith in the living God is never content. Ask yourself if you are content. You may be suffering. You may be going through uncertainty, stress, or hardship. Bring your problems to God and put your faith in His resolve. When we fail to walk with God unbelief sets in and sin is inevitable; that is, we will sin. When a person sins, things are set in motion, such as God’s judgment, bondage to sin, guilt, denial, cover up, and avoiding God, which brings about a departure from Him that must be resolved. In our present society, there are many people that are suffering from an addiction that stems from their attempt to fill a void in their life, but the psalmist in contrast says to God (Ps. 16:11), You will make Me know the way of life. In Your presence is fullness of joys; at Your right hand are pleasures forever. LITV

Singleness of heart vs. the double minded man (person). The problems we have in our lives must be resolved. James 1:8, states, A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. KJ V This is the man who tries to live in two worlds, but he cannot. He is torn between God and his secular life. He wants the pleasures of God and the pleasures of sin. He loves and hates himself. Christ said (Matt. 6:22), The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” KJV In other words, it is best for us to have the single motive in life of being right with God. That is to be our main focus. James 1:21, states, “On account of this, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of evil, in meekness receive the implanted Word being able to save your souls. LITV Either we resolve our problems with God or He will resolve them for us through making judgments in our lives to bring us to repentance. Life is about turning to God to resolve the issues we face. Realize that positive things happen to those that turn to Him. When a person turns to God life is changed. A change reaction of good takes place. Psalm 51 is for those that have fallen away and seek a return to God despite their failure to live a holy life. It is for those that are struggling to overcome sin in their lives. This psalm reveals the insight we need to become cleansed and achieve intimacy with God through forgiveness.

Act 2:45 states, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”

Jeremiah 29:39 states, “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:” KJV

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There is no room for hopelessness in God’s kingdom. The perfect Christian life has only been lived by one man, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is our standard. God judges all men by Him. But we fail every day to live out His standard. We are not Jesus Christ. So, concerning those that fail God, know that there is no sin or departure from Him that He cannot forgive. God does not feel that it is arrogant for people to come to Him with their sins.

Psalm 103:2-5, states, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.” KJV

This means that there is hope for the helpless sinner, the person struggling to overcome an addiction, and the person overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. You may be brought to the point of realizing that life without God is hopeless. Think about what that means. That means that life with God is filled with hope. What the word “hope” means, is being in a state of good expectation. It is experiencing the truth that life with God is a positive experience. First, totally repent from your past life. Then, prayerfully meditate on the Scriptures that give you the ability to live out the righteousness of God by His divine power found in the new life that comes from Him.

The message of Psalm 51 The mercy of God transcends the ruin of sin and personal failure. Psalm 51 gives us an insight into heartfelt repentance that produces a return to God and godly living. This psalm is for those who want a closer relationship with God. It is for those that fail to live in nearness to God. It may be that they have committed no great sin as David but God still seems far away because a lukewarm faith. It is also for those that are under the heavy weight of conviction because they know that they have fallen short in their lives before God. They are trapped because they know they are guilty. So what can they do? This is the predicament of King David, who penned Psalm 51 and of all believers who have turned against God. God’s judgment against all sin is a fact. We all are condemned because of sin but the message of Psalm 51 is that there is help out of sin and hope to be made right with God. There is healing and restoration for all that come to God. In Psalm 51 David, the king of Israel, turns to God and

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by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes the deep truth of how to return to God from the mire of sin. David appeals to God’s mercy that transcends the ruin of sin and personal failure. Learn that there is a way back to God from sin. It is built on the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross. David believes in the blood sacrifice as the atonement for sin for he speaks of offering bullocks on God’s altar (Ps. 51:19). The concept of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins runs throughout the whole Bible which points to the shed blood of Christ at the cross. The martyrs in the Book of Revelation illustrate this truth. Revelation 12:11 states, And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. What we learn from this verse is that God uses the blood of Christ to restore people to Himself. The cross of Christ has always been the only remedy for sin. David knew that a belief in a blood sacrifice is meaningless without a right attitude toward God. David is broken before God and admits that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Ps. 51:17).KJV Humility is realizing our sinful state before God. Dear believer, bring the truth of your depravity in a spirit of repentance to the Lord and you will be accepted. You will be healed. You will be made whole.

David broken before God

The resolve of Psalm 51 A believer’s relationship with God. It is a relationship with God that is stronger and more powerful than any bondage to sin, or departure from Him. God’s call to repentance goes deep into the heart of a believer. David sinned but chose not to continue in sin. He chose instead to go on in life with God. This is the real theme of this psalm. God’s claim over a believer outweighs any attachment to any sinful behavior. This reflects the greatness the Person of God and His impact on the lives of those that come to Him. There is no sin greater than God. Every day, we are to present our lives to God and enjoy a new life of intimacy with God through forgiveness. Learn the truths of Psalm 51 and apply them to your life. Take the journey that the following chapters will take you through and come out a changed confident believer bursting with new spiritual life and praising God.

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PART THREE STARTING A NEW LIFE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS

Live not in bondage to your past mistakes by creating a new future without them.

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King David: the Psalmist of Israel

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PART 3: STARTING A NEW LIFE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

Intimacy

Ma n

Forgiveness

G od

The theme of a person’s life. What is the theme of a person’s life? David’s relationship with God was the theme of his. The greatest thing that can be said of David, even though he fell short in many areas of his life, is that David went to God. He went to God with all his problems, setbacks, and even his sins. There are many times we can be helped before things get worse in our lives if we can just go to God first. In the Book of Judges this truth is made very evident. The people of God would turn away from God and to sin. An oppressor would come; they would call out to God, and God would raise up a savior who would come and deliver them. Then the cycle would repeat. The problem that they had later on was that they wouldn’t call out to God anymore. They would pretend that everything was all right. David also did not call out to God immediately after he had sinned. Guilt, anguish, and silence from God began to set in, which he could not bear. Finally, in his torment, he went to God. Learn from David about going to God by faith. Psalm 51 is more than a theological work. It is a prayer to God. It is a sincere call for help from a severely troubled man. Theology can be taught but having a right attitude and contrite heart before God cannot. That is between the individual and God. It is prayer that brings about God’s help from a person that wants to make things right. In prayer, one is to give God recognition and honor. We must learn how to pray. We must take the time to pray. Hurried prayer will not achieve the righteousness of God. It must be true-to-the-heart prayer. This is the prayer that God hears. God honors the person that turns to Him because he or she can no longer live in torment and guilt. God is moved by such a prayer and the believer, like David, is helped because forgiveness comes from the heart of God, as does new life. Life with God is not mechanical. We cannot take the Bible and use it like a secular book about how to fix things. Life with God is very personal, and the blessings of God come from His heart that feels and cares for people.

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Go to God for help and begin a new life free from Sin (sin means failure to reflect the glorious character of God in your life). Psalm 51:1

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. KJV Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness, according to the multitude of Your tender mercies; blot out my transgressions. LITV

The mercy of God. David was a king of Israel. The ministry of a king of Israel was to live a righteous exemplary life that would be a model to the surrounding nations. David was the king but in his case, there was lust, adultery, premeditation, murder, guilt, anxiety, and grief. He was no longer able to be a spiritual man, only a secular one. He no longer had the confidence that comes from having intimacy with God. He could no longer do the work of God. He felt no joy that comes from God. He no longer had any faith in himself to follow God. Then, he could no longer live in denial of his sin. So, David cries out to God, blot out my transgressions, for it is only God who can remove the blot, guilt, and bondage of sin. Apart from God, there is no human release from the power of sin and the stain it leaves on the human heart. This psalm tells us how sins are removed and King David how the heart is restored to God. This is a work of God that only He can do. It is the Divine surgeon that must rid us of sin and bring us back to a place of holiness. Understand that much of life is about the holiness of God. It cannot be ignored. From it comes blessing or judgment. God is a fountain of compassion and seeks for people to live sin free lives. God knows that His ways are difficult for our human nature as it is presently. Psalm 51 is written after a great fall of a man of God. This psalm is a tremendous psalm because it reveals the loving, redeeming power and grace of God to receive and restore a believer, even though it may have been a terrible thing that brought it about. God is a personal caring being that lives to manifest His love and glory. Think of God as not being there to condemn you when you fall, but as being there as a help in order to lift you up and out of sin. God is a great God, and our sins can’t ever overshadow who He is. There is no transgression greater than the mercy of God. The psalmist says (Ps. 136:1), O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. KJV Know that it is for us turn to God in true repentance, and it is for God to attentively respond with forgiveness and restoration. Helping David in his time of depravity and need is consistent with who God is: a holy, loving God that seeks to care for people. God brings light that dispels the darkness of our lives. The light of God is personal, regenerating, and pervasive. It is the instilling of His nature into ours that brings about a lasting transformation and peace.

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The kindness of God. A person that has fallen short cannot come to God who is perfect, unless there is mercy, that is, unless the kindness of Gods exists. The kindness of God is always there waiting for us. But without the Spirit of God bringing light into our understanding we are unable to comprehend why God should take us in and be good to us. Know the Lord has compassion for sinners. He desires for people to be free from sin, walk in faith, and look forward to the future that He has designed for them. If this were not true, why would He give His son to die on a cross? In the midst of David’s desperate state, God’s Spirit draws David to Him. David has no defense before God. He sees the sins of his life and longs for a right standing before God again, if only God will have him. God will listen to a sinner’s plea for mercy because there is mercy in the cross of Christ. Man’s relationship with God has always depended on the shedding of Christ’s blood for the remission of sins. God’s forgiveness for all the Old Testament believers came through a blood sacrifice for sin until the fulfillment of the symbol came in Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:21, states, And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. KJV Know that the mercy of God and the salvation that comes from the blood of Christ are synonymous. We are not allowed to wallow in our sin, for we will sin, but we are to have the courage to take our sins to God. We have to face the shame before God. Then God will apply the blood of His Son, and the fallen believer by atonement will be cleansed and restored. It is not a simple thing for God to forgive for it cost Him the life of His Son but know that God will forgive seventy times seven because of the shed blood of Christ. The world may never forget our sins but know that God will blot them out and forget them forever.

Think on these things: Proverbs 28:13,

The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy. Psalm 86:5,

Certainly O Lord, you are kind and forgiving, and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.

God uplifts the fallen. So, what will it take for God to lift David up? What will it take for God to lift us up when we fall? David’s remedy is our remedy, as there is hope for him there is hope for us. Know that God will have us realize our personal depravity in order for us to come to Him to transcend it. In life we are either giving into our sinful nature, or going against it by the power of God. It is the nature of man to fall into sin. It is in the nature of God to forgive the people that come to Him with their sins and to help them walk in newness of life. Blessings abound in living in close

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communion with God, but there is only anguish, guilt, and bondage in living in apart from Him. It is true repentance that finds its way to God that comes from a personal awareness of one’s helplessness to live a righteous life. Conviction of sin is for our good. It means God is at work in our heart and cares enough of about us to prick our conscience in order to make us aware of sin in our lives. God will always give us enough faith to repent. All of us must face up to what sins we have committed against God, and respond in mourning and heaviness because of our moral failure. Breaking free from one’s depravity. Why do good men fall into sin? How did King David get to such a lowly state? How does any believer come to a great fall? It is not hard for us to find the answer. We need not look beyond ourselves. It is our nature that motivates us to sin. Jeremiah 17:9, states, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it. KJV The truth about walking with God is that there will be days when you will wake up and feel close to God, and there be other days that you will get up and feel sin taking possession of you. Know that our sinful nature looks for opportunities to sin. There is a sinner in all of us dying to get out. To use a contemporary phrase, every believer is in a state of recovery; that is, all believers are recovering sinners. This is why you put off prayer and communion with God in the morning. There is a part of you that desires sin instead of the things of God, and this why we must seek the Lord first every morning before the flesh takes us over. Galatians 5:17, states, For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want. It is our depravity that works against us. Our sinful nature can make us display foolish bravery or fearful cowardice. It can make us a full of false humility or become a condemning hypocrite. We will fall if we underestimate the power of our sinful nature. It has a strong passion to oppose God. David fell under its influence. He would go through horrible consequences before he would find the reality of God’s loving-kindness again. The key is not to live out the wickedness of the old nature but to walk by (i.e., to live by the power of) the new, divine nature.

Think on these things: Psalm 103:8, The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. Hosea 6:1,

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. KJ V

Sin changes people. The longer we keep from coming to God the more entrenched in sin we become, as David did. Know that sin and evil are so strong that only God can overcome them. The sinning person

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cannot say, I am pure and hate evil; for he cannot take away the overwhelming effects of sin. Sin has found a home in his heart. He cannot take away what has now become a part of himself, for this can only be done by the hand of God. The deceit of sin is that a person thinks that he or she can control it, when in fact it will control that person. When we sin, we give it power over us. Then we are powerless to practice God’s righteousness as David was. We become sin’s prisoner from which only God can set us free. Know that sin changes people. Look at David and how it changed him. He was no longer acting like a man of God. As we judge David, we must judge that no one is immune from sin. The truth of the matter is that everyone falls. Yes, sin changes people, but God can change people, too. Only God can restore a fallen believer from a great fall to a holy state. Only He can heal people from sin and bind up their wounds that their sins have caused. What can we do about sin in our lives? If left unchecked sin eventually takes over a person’s personality. It becomes intertwined into whom that person becomes. Our personality defines us but as sin becomes more a part of who we are it begins to define us. A person will become known as a drug addict, liar, narcissist, domineering, etc. When a man sins he has two choices. One choice is to deny that he has sinned. The other choice is to agree with God and admit his transgressions. The working of sin can be stopped in a person’s life at any time. No matter what anyone has done nearness to God is possible because there is atonement for sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. There was forgiveness and redemption for David and it is there for you. Bring your sins to God, know His redeeming love, and be set free. Colossians 1:14 states, In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. It is Jesus Christ that has the power to redeem you from sin. 1 John 3:8, states, For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. If you feel you lack faith know that God will give you enough faith to repent.

James 4:9c-10, states, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” KJV

The word “humble” means: to make low, devoid of all haughtiness.6 Barnes states, “That is, be willing to take your appropriate place in the dust on account of your transgressions.”3 Notice the word used for “lift.” It is hupsoo in Greek, which means, to raise to dignity, honor and happiness.6 It is the work of God to bring people up from the dust to a place of dignity, honor, and happiness. Do you have a sinful past, or a sinful manner of living that you want to break from? Come to God to redeem you from it and to destroy its work in your life. Have God wipe away your sin and the wrong attitude that brought it about. The phrase blot out used in Psalm 51:1 is translated from the word “machah” in Hebrew, which means, to wipe away 10, that is, to erase.20 It means to take away what was once there. Put your faith in the blood of Christ. Say, My Lord, destroy sin’s work in my life. Remove my sins by the blood of your Son and help me to walk in newness of life by your divine resurrection power, and it shall be done. Praise be to God.

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Go to God for a thorough cleansing. Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. KJV

Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

LITV

The stain of sin goes deep. There must be a complete cleansing to remove the sin that is so deep-rooted into our personality. The word used for wash in this psalm is not that of a superficial cleansing but of a deep washing. The word for thoroughly, used in Psalm 51:2, means to multiply. The idea is that of washing a garment over and over until all stains are completely removed. The cleansing is to be complete in order to live a victorious Christian life. There are to be no remnants of sin in our lives. Adam Clark states, Wash me again and again, -cause my washings to be multiplied. My stain is deep; ordinary purgation will not be sufficient.9 What is your sin?     

    

An ungodly mouth Lying Cowardice Constant complaining Addiction to drugs

Sexual addiction Uncontrolled anger A bitter attitude No passion for God Selfishness, etc.

As you begin a cleansed walk, you create a new way of living that dispels the old. You will create a new pattern of living that you will habitually follow. It may be that have been overcome by personal pain or grief. Or, it may be that you lack faith to know the overwhelming joy of the Lord. Know that walking close to God perpetuates that very thing—walking close to God, which in turn, brings about a life of blessing and a new, clean conscience. Sin changes the chemistry of the brain. Realize that behavior changes you. Patterns of living are created by

Behavior affects che mistry in the brain.

what you choose to do every day. Neural pathways are created within the brain that become reinforced through everyday living. As we struggle with sin every day, sinful patterns of living become reinforced in the brain and become part of who we are. James 1:14-15, states, But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full

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grown, it gives birth to death [death to the things of God, such as, spiritual communion, walking with God, hearing His voice, etc.]. Something good in us dies when we give in to sin. Sin brings pleasure. It “wires” the brain to experience pleasure in high doses in a wrong way. Having sinful pleasure in high doses causes addiction. Then, when you deny the addiction craving sets in. The craving will seem unbearable which will lead you back to sin. Because of craving, a person will return to the sin that has brought him or her so much delight. Craving may be working in a subtle manner that may not even be detected by the person about to sin or, it may be outright passion. Sin brings death (James 1:15) to the things of God so that one is rendered powerless. Each person is to desire God more than craving sin. All of us in the depths of our souls have desires. Desire is a good thing if it is used for its designed purpose. If you repent of sin and turn to God, your desire for God will grow. A new pattern of following God will begin.

Walking with God also changes the chemistry of the brain but in a positive way. As patterns of living change so does the brain also change.

A “walk” is a habitual manner of living. As you begin a new walk with God neural pathways are created within the brain that become reinforced through everyday living, so that living a holy life becomes more normal and the sinful life becomes more abnormal. This means that walking with God changes the chemistry in the brain in a positive way. Living close to God will not harm you but instead will help you. It will bring pleasure and Repentance begins changes in the brain that continue in walking with God. New life enjoyment that are proper and uplifting because you will be living has an effect on how the brain operates. under God’s blessing and not in sin’s bondage. So, in departing from sin and living close to God, happiness will come to you. But if you do fall into sin, ask God to cleanse you, and to remove the craving that attaches itself with sinful behavior. The Book of Romans (6:14) tells us, For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace [the help of God]. KJV Do not repeat the sin that has brought you into bondage. This is crucial! Not returning to the sin that has had you in bondage will bring about the confidence and power that you need to live a new life free from sin. Many times we are driven back to sin because we lose our awareness that God is near, ready to help us. So, let not your heart be troubled, set your heart to find your solace in God. Seek Him with all your heart because He waits for you with His reward of forgiveness, newness of life, and personal communion. Hebrews 11:6, states, 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. KJV

Think on these things: Job 22:23,

If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; if you remove wicked behavior far from your tent [place of dwelling], Galatians 5:1,

Then stand firm in the freedom with which Christ made us free and do not be held again with a yoke of slavery [bondage]. KJ V

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PART 3: STARTING A NEW LIFE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

Acknowledge your sins before God. Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. KJV

For I know my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. LITV

Admitting your depravity. David admits his depravity to God. It is an easy thing to minimize sin in our lives. But it is a harder thing to admit it to yourself, then go and admit it to God. We fight the personal knowledge of our depravity. We point to someone else more wicked and say that we are not like them, but sin says that we are. Note that it is also wrong to feel that you are so wicked that God cannot care for you. There is no wickedness that is greater than the Person of God. Nothing is greater than God, and no one is beyond His help. Know that Christ has conquered sin, and that there is forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration available to those that bring themselves to God. You can leave a life of sin at any time, and begin a new life with God. The Word of God is filled with examples of people that God has helped despite what they have done. God demands radical change because He provides powerful help. The key is having His divine power work in you by coming to Him in humility and admitting your poor state. You can’t fix you. Only God can fix you. Only He can make you new again. New again, think about how wonderful that is.

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Acknowledge God as the rightful judge of your life. Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:

that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. KJV Against You, You only, I have sinned, and done evil in Your eyes; that You might be justified in Your speaking and be clear when You judge. LITV

All sins are against God. All of us are accountable to God. God sees the sins of our lives and must make judgments. God is the only judge who truly loves the people He must judge. When a man sins, he denies God as the sovereign of his life. He discredits the work of God in his life and aligns himself with the wicked one. He puts himself against God. Sin begins as a fallen act, but it will lead to treachery against God. Do not the sin and keep yourself from a world of iniquity and judgment. God is the greatest Person to know and to live for. It is righteous living that encourages faith in God. Sin diminishes intimacy with God, which grieves Him (Eph. 4:30). God is righteous and demands holiness from everyone in the world He created. There are moral laws to be obeyed. He created a holy world without sin. Satan brought evil and provides sinful pleasure for people to partake. God judges sin and people that sin. For example look at God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. God is against sin. The gratification of sin is not what we live for. God provides us a divine nature to keep us from sin and judgment. 2 Peter 1:4, states, 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. KJV God has not chosen us to fail Him but to live a fruitful, confidant, and holy life. Live by the promise of new life that God has given you. Do not given in to the old life of sin that calls you, but listen for God’s voice of comfort and encouragement through daily communion with Him.

Think on these things: Genesis 6:5-6,

But the LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind … The LORD regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended. Jonah 3:10,

When God saw their actions — they turned from their evil way of living! God relented concerning the judgment he had threatened them with and he did not destroy them.

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Acknowledge to God that you have a problem with sin. Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive

me. KJV Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. LITV

The root of sin is in the depths of our very makeup. We are born with sin. Our depravity is in the depths of our makeup. It is like gravity that is always pulling us down. Our depravity pulls us away from God. Know that sin has a power all of its own. It has driven us all our lives. Sin is that motivating ungodly passion that seeks satisfaction in what is not of God. Sin has a voice and lies to us. It tells us, Partake. Enjoy. There are no consequences. It is always there seeking to have dominion over us. Christ said, For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts … (Matt. 15:19). No one has made us wicked. The wickedness was always Man’s rebellion against God there. It can only be overcome by the power of God. It is only God that can break the stranglehold sin has over our lives to bring us to the place of manifesting His holiness from our innermost being. As David becomes aware of his depravity, he turns to God, and says (Psalm 139:23-24), Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. KJV This is the most humble and honest prayer a believer can make. David realizes the jeopardy he is in; that is, he knows the danger that a person can be overtaken in a fault and deny God at any moment. He asks God to reveal what is wrong in his life, and for Him to lead him out of it.

Failure precedes success. Failure often comes in the Christian life before you experience success. Failure helps us to know the areas in which we are deficient. Then, we can allow God to do His best work in those areas of our lives. God will give you dominion in the areas that you are weak. If there are pressures, problems, and confusion, have God work in those areas to bring relief, answers, and clarity. The thing is not to lose heart and remain a failure. You may see people give up on God but you will never see God give up on any believer. The mercy of God is new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23, states, It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. KJV The faithfulness of God is greater than the unfaithfulness of man. Do not rely on yourself to be perfect but rely on God’s faithfulness to make you a better person. God knew who you were before He took you in, and He will not leave you. Know that God’s plans for you are greater that any sin in your life. Find your fulfillment in Him. Apart from Him there is no true satisfaction.

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Acknowledge that only God can change the depths of your heart. Psalm 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden

part [inner man of the heart] thou shalt make me to know wisdom. KJV Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden parts [inner man of the heart] You teach me wisdom. LITV

Re-imprinting the Word of God. God desires trueness, that is, trueness of character stemming from a pure heart. Because the mind has been polluted by sin, it needs to be renewed by the Spirit of God re-imprinting the Word of God into it because there is power in the Word of God. There are things to be straightened out in our understanding that has become corrupted by sin. Bad thinking is to be replaced of by good thoughts that come from God’s Word. Meditation on the Word of God causes the mind to be conformed to the mind of God. It fills the mind with wisdom from God for godly living, and positive hope for the future. The psalmist states (Ps. 119:11), Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. KJV We are to read the Word of God and meditate on it. This is how the Lord that can reach our innermost being and write His law in our heart again. The Word of God feeds the inner man of the heart. It is the inward part of our heart that affects the outer person. Psalm 19:7, states, The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple [foolish, destitute of wisdom]. KJV The word used for “converting” is shûb (‫ )ׁשּוב‬in Hebrew, which means to turn back 20. It is in reading and yielding to the Word of God that your heart turns you back to God.

Think on these things: Psalm 119:17-19,

Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. ESV Joshua 1:8,

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. ESV

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PART 3: STARTING A NEW LIFE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

The things of God are available to us just by the asking. God is a great giver of the things we need in our lives. A man that is broken may ask to be set straight. A person that is suffering from the consequences of sin may ask for relief. In this psalm we learn what a person can ask of God in order to return to the joy of new life that comes from Him. God gives us prayer as a tool to benefit us. Use it for His honor and glory. Have Him answer your requests that come from the depths of your heart for a new and better life that is holy and righteous.

Ask God to purge you from sin. Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be

whiter than snow. KJV Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. LITV

The purging of sin. Purging is a system that God has put in place to cleanse people from sin. The purification of sin by God will make a person clean and welcomed in His presence along with His people. 1) Hyssop was an aromatic shrub that was used by the Israelites the night before they left Egypt. They were leaving the old life of bondage to begin a life with God. They used hyssop with blood to wipe on their doorposts so that the destroying angel and the judgment of God would pass over them (Exod. 12:22).

Hyssop

2) The Levitical priest would put hyssop on the person suffering from leprosy for healing and purification from the disease (Lev. 14:4).

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3) The hyssop of God is a symbol in the Old Testament of applying the blood of Christ as cleansing from sin. We are to come to God to purge us from sin, so that the destroying angel may pass over us, bondage to the old life may be destroyed, and that we like the man healed from leprosy we may be healed from the effects of sin. Then, we would be made holy, and will enjoy a new life with God. The person that has fallen must say in sincere faith, Purge me from my wickedness by the blood of your Son and I shall be clean, wash me in it and I will be whiter than snow. It is the blood of Christ that can make a person clean and whole. The first part of the verse is the prayer of faith and the latter is the result. Only the truly penitent person can make the prayer of faith that will result in being made whiter than snow. That is something God gives us. The spirit of this world may be driving us to temptation, but the Spirit of God gives us the faith to repent, and motivates us to please God. This means that anyone can truly repent. You may wonder how this is possible. Yet, God makes it possible by the work of His Son on the cross. An innocent, perfect man had to be sacrificed for the sins of others. Christ is the complete sacrifice for sin. We must respect the giving of God’s Son at the cross. In Christ being the atonement for sin God the Father is completely satisfied. The satisfaction is not in us but in Christ. We cannot add to His sacrifice. No one can. As God forgives, He releases us from the power, penalty, and guilt of sin. So, confess completely and be released completely. I John 1:9, states, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. KJV Tell God that your attitude was wrong, your actions were wrong, your motives wrong, and that everything you did was wrong, especially going against Him and causing Him pain (Eph. 4:30). Steak your claim on the blood of Christ and have the courage to ask God for His abiding presence. Recognize that God is greater than your sins. Then, you can have nearness to God by His grace and not shy away because of guilt. In Christ, we are given the ability to live in resurrection life. Resurrection life is the supernatural ability to live a holy life by the power of God despite living in an ungodly world. God displayed His power in raising His Son from the dead. Know that the resurrection power of God is made available to you. You realize (that is, make real) God’s resurrection power by reliance on Him, that is, you trust Him for it. It is an act of faith on your part. Say to God that you believe in His Son, and that you trust in Him to give you resurrection power to walk out sin, and into holy living. Christ told the crippled man to get up and walk, and he did. Christ told the man with the withered hand to stretch his hand forth (what in himself he could not do), and he did it. He told the adulterous woman to sin no more. He just told her to stop, and she did. God asks us to walk out of sin and live in resurrection power, and we can. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, are bonded to His death and to His resurrection. This bond is greater than any sin in a believer’s life. Faith in the blood of Christ brings us to being cleansed from our past life. Faith in the power of the resurrection is the conviction that one can walk in newness of life in nearness to God.

Think on these things: 1 Peter 1:18-19,

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: KJ V

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Notice that in I Peter 1:18, it says that you as a believer were redeemed. It is in the past tense. So, because the redemption has taken place, it is to be lived out now in the present. So, it is a believer’s responsibility to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:2, states, For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ESV

Ask God to set your broken life straight and have you come to a place of rejoicing in Him. Psalm 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast

broken may rejoice. KJ V Cause me to hear joy and gladness; the bones You have crushed will rejoice. LITV

David prays for the inner joy that comes from being made right with God. The joy with which David danced with when the ark was brought into Jerusalem is now depleted. Man cannot live without the joy of God in his heart and be fulfilled. There must be a return to joy. It is the manifestation of heavenly happiness. We cannot go forward in life and live for God with a burdened, joyless heart. It will seek to sin again. The heart must be filled with God’s joy again. Know that God wants you to be on heaven’s side of joy. Heaven is a place filled with joy. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit. There is conviction of sin, but there is also the assurance of forgiveness, which is the affirmation that all is well between a believer and God. May your heart lift your feet as you continue in your walk with God because of the King David dances with joy inner joy you possess that no man can take away. Know that when sin enters our lives the joy stops. God’s voice of love and intimacy does not take place. A believer can only endure so long without the joy that a personal relationship with God brings. David longs and prays to have that joy again. God desires His joy for us. He has set His heart to forgive His people. He doesn’t want people to live under the weight of sin day in and day out. So, let the fallen believer rejoice that God has forgiven him. Only the healing hand of God can bring joy unspeakable, full of glory, and remove the remorse and pain of personal sin. Broken bones rejoicing! What is that? It is the miracle of new life from God. Know that God's kingdom of is a place of forgiven people that have found their solace in Him which produces a heart full of praise.

Think on these things: Psalm 71:23,

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. KJV

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Ask God to end what is wrong in your life. Psalm 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities . KJV

Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. LITV

Having the curse of God hiding His face is a hard thing. The burden that one’s sins are constantly before God’s face is unbearable for a child of God that desires to be right with Him. Know that past-confessed sins will never be brought to God again. Because of that we can look upon the face of God and not shrink back in shame or guilt. We are given the ability to lift up holy hands, to hold our head high, and to have a right relationship with God again. Begin again to live the life God has chosen you to live. Take heart in new life that stems from the power of God. We can draw near to God because we have confessed our sins to God. Our conscience is made clean and the evil deeds performed in the body are wiped away. Know that it is not only the repenting sinner that desires to be right with God but it is also God that wants the sinner to be right with Him. Do not hold anyone accountable for your errors in life. Forgive anyone that has harmed you, even yourself. You must forgive yourself as God has forgiven you. Understand that God believes in you, just as Christ believed in the Apostles (despite their past faults) to carry on the work of God, His Father, when He left the earth. Take it to heart that the Lord believes in you, even if no one else does. That is what you need to know, in order to operate from a sense of strength and confidence. All is hidden in God. He knows everything but still forgives and accepts you. To accept someone means to embrace them and that is what God will do concerning you. Oh, dear believer, know the nearness of God and find yourself embraced by Him.

Think on these things: Hebrews 10:22,

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Psalm 27:9,

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. KJV

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Ask God to make you new again, and to renew your walk with Him. Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. KJ V

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a steadfast spirit within me. LITV

The creation of a new heart. David prays for a new heart because the old heart is corrupt. He realizes that the old man cannot live a holy life. After the resurrection of Christ, God has given every believer a new heart. It is part of the new birth. God has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13). Though outwardly we are in the world, inwardly we are in the realm of the Kingdom of God by our enlivened spirit. The new heart doesn’t sin and a steadfast spirit does not give in to temptation. David prays for a right spirit, that is, an erect spirit from a broken one, a strong upright spirit (disposition of the soul) that is literally constant, firm, and not yielding to temptation. We as believers need inner strength that moves to outer strength. Do not return to sin as an unrighteous generation did whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God (Psalm 78:8). The word steadfast in Hebrew is aman. It means, to be established, be faithful, be carried, make firm.10 Concerning this, Barnes comments, That is, they themselves did not maintain a firm trust in God. They yielded readily to every impulse, and every passion, even when it tended to draw them away wholly from him.3 Be not like that evil generation the fell away from God, mentioned in Psalm 78, but be like Daniel who purposed in his heart, that he would not sin against God (Dan. 1:8). Make a new covenant with God and have Him establish you. Is God worth making a new covenant with? Yes. Even though you may have broken promises to God in the past, God will always honor a new commitment. Make a new covenant not to sin and to seek communion with Him every day. Purpose and resolve in your heart to keep it. Allow God to establish Daniel is untouched in the lion’s den you to be faithful, and not to give in to temptation, fear, or the pressure of other people.

Think on these things: 2 Corinthians 5:17,

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. KJV

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Ask God for His abiding presence. Psalm 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit

from me. KJV Do not cast me out from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. LITV

The importance of living in the presence of God. All of us need the outpouring of God’s Spirit in our lives; that is, to be made full and over powered by His Spirit. We need to experience the reality of God’s presence and the blessings that come from a holy walk with Him. The highlight of Psalm 51 is verse 11. In it, David pleads to God not to remove the reality of His presence in his life. For David knows that the enjoyment of God’s presence can be lost at any time because of sin. It will make a person will feel cast out. On the other hand, it is God’s presence that casts away sin’s misery. God tells us that life with Him is a personal relationship that brings fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11). Sin does not tell us of the unhappiness and ruin it will bring. It doesn’t warn us of the terrible rift it will cause between us and God. David’s lament is that he will not experience God’s presence, or hear His voice again. He pleads to be in God’s company, and pines for God’s Holy Spirit to be real in his life as it was before. He knows that life is empty without God. All of us must ask ourselves what we want in life; that is, if it is the pleasures of sin, or the joy of God’s presence. David has made a decision for God and so should you, dear reader. We cannot choose to sin and expect to have the joys that accompany purity. For us to enjoy new life with God, there must gut-wrenching, heartfelt repentance. It may be that it cannot be accomplished in a moment. It may take hours, days, or as in David’s case, it took several months. You will come to feel so hideous and wicked that you will know in the depths of your heart that God should have no part of you. You will agonize as Peter, who fell down at Jesus’ knees, and cried out, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8). You will learn not only what sin is, but also what it does. It will break you, and render you almost hopeless, and helpless. But then, there is God whose desire is to set things that are broken straight. David is broken now, but desires and prays to be set straight.

John Whitfield stated, “Resolve to leave all thy sinful lusts and pleasures; renounce, forsake, and abhor thy old sinful course of life, and serve God in holiness and righteousness all the remaining part of life. If you lament and bewail past sins, and do not forsake them, your repentance is in vain, you are mocking of God, and deceiving your own soul; you must put off the old man with his deeds, before you can put on the new man, Christ Jesus.” 26

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After true repentance, God will set your broken heart straight, as He did with David. Then you can enjoy the benefits of the things of His Spirit. The Word of God tells us to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), and not to quench the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19). Ask God to put a hedge of protection around you as He did with Job. Live for and work toward His glorious coming, so that when He comes, He will find you practicing faith and serving Him.

Ask God for personal restoration and spiritual strength. Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy

free spirit. KJV Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing [generous] spirit. LITV

Personal restoration. It is sin’s misery that brings anxiety and loss. Apart from God, there is no release from sin or the attainment of spiritual joy. But your anxiety need not continue. Know that God builds people up and restores those come to Him for nearness. Psalm 23:3, states, He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. ESV To restore means to return to a previous state, that is, to return to a former condition between you and God. What all of us need is to return to God, and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. A person that has fallen can return to having a right relationship with God again. Have God, through His generous Spirit, overpower you with new strength, knowledge, and acceptance. Return to God and begin again. Begin again with your heart healed and God at your side. Look at people that have returned to God; people like David, Peter, Paul, the demoniac, and the woman caught in adultery. If a murderer, coward, persecutor, demon possessed man, and sexual adulterer can return to God, can you? The answer is yes, of course. God made a way for them and He will make a way for you. It is through the blood of His Son. Know that God has created us to be vessels of joy. So, begin again. It is our normal state and birthright as a child of God to be joyous and living in praise. We are excited because we are forgiven. We are excited because we are living in the blessings of His kindness.

Think on these things: Ezekiel 36:26-27,

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations.

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PART 3: STARTING A NEW LIFE OF INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

Realize the impact of God’s forgiveness. Psalm 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be

converted unto thee. KJV Then I will teach transgressors Your ways; and sinners will turn back to You. LITV

People can learn from the penitent person. We are no good to anyone until we are right with God. We are not fit to live before God, or others until our sins are cleansed. David is now cleansed and desires to teach others of God’s mercy. The word realize means to make real. Forgiveness is a work of God that brings release from the penalty, power, and guilt of sin. Forgiveness resurrects new life in us. New life has positive effects that change everything for a fallen believer. A changed heart speaks volumes of the power of God to redeem, restore, and establish a believer. It is foolish for us to think that we can teach others about God while living in sin. But after repentance, God makes us fit to minister to others on His behalf. David states in Psalm 34:11, states, Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. ESV People can learn from a person that has turned from sin and to God. People can be affected by the manifestation of God in such a person. Many people suffer from guilt, bondage, failure, hopelessness, and a lack of knowledge of God. When they see someone such as they, living a new life of freedom and joy, brings them hope that God can also take them in and do a work in their lives. Know that our lives are to teach others of the goodness of God and His willingness to receive and embrace the fallen. No one is a lost cause. Psalm 40:3, states, He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. KJV May this also be said of you, dear believer.

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Realize a life without guilt for past sins. Psalm 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation

and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. KJV Deliver me from the guilt of shedding blood, O God, O God of my salvation; my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. LITV

Singing aloud of God’s righteousness. David wants to make sure that he can sing again. After true repentance, a believer desires to sing of God as he or she had done before. David wants to make certain that he has a right to sing because God’s enemy is always there to tell him what a failure he is. He asks God to absolve all past sins. After confession all of us need a fresh start with God. David had deliverance from sin, now he prays for deliverance from the effects of sin. The blood of Uriah an innocent man was on his hands. David could never make up for the murder of a good man that he committed, even as we cannot undo the evil we have done. It is only God that can take away the guilt of knowing that we have sinned. It is something God must do because our own conscience cannot clear us from guilt. The curse of the law is that you are guilty and in bondage to having sin perpetuate itself in you continually. A curse is the work of God against sin; that is, it is the divine displeasure against the sinful rebellion of man against God that brings judgment. Christ has released us from the curse of the law, and has broken the power of sin over man, by His sacrifice for sin and His resurrection of a new race of mankind. Offering for sin

Revelations 1:5, states, “and from Jesus Christ — the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood”

Now we can sing aloud of God’s righteousness, because of Jesus Christ. The flesh is under the curse, but you are now to live by the Spirit through God’s grace. With grace comes blessing. Christ spoke of people being in a happy state before God in the Sermon on the Mount. The happiness of the Lord is a work of God in the lives of those that go to Him with their, personal failings, hopes, & dreams. Having the humility to turn to God from sin leads to having a happy life of blessing. The Word of God is written for our happiness. The Apostle John writes by inspiration of God for the purpose of bringing happiness to all believers. He states (I John 1:4), And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. KJV

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Realize the power of praising God. Psalm 51:15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. KJV

O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare Your praise. LITV

The soul’s desire to worship God. Sin has silenced all of us before God, but forgiveness opens us up to praise Him. A true experience of God’s sanctifying work produces a genuine praise of God. Knowing a great merciful God creates a life of endless praise. If life teaches us anything, it is that God is worthy of our praise. The last words of our dying lips should be of praising God. The assembly of believers is a vehicle for us to express our praise of God. Worship stems from our enjoyment of God and the appreciation of His work in our lives. Ask God to open your heart to praise Him again because you realize the salvation you have in Him. You can begin to praise Him because your sins He remembers no more. Then, you can continue to praise Him for giving you the ability to walk in newness of life in communion with Him. Then, praise Him still because He delights in those that come to Him for help in the time of need and pour out their hearts to Him. Know that heaven is a place of endless praise. Allow your heart to be your instrument of praising God. It brings God joy to see you enjoying Him.

Think on these things: Ephesians 5:19,

speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord, Revelation 5:13, Then I heard every creature — in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them — singing: "To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!" Psalm 145:2-3,

Every day I will praise you! I will praise your name continually! The LORD is great and certainly worthy of praise! No one can fathom his greatness!

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Realize what God does not want. Psalm 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not

in burnt offering. KJV For you do not desire sacrifice, or I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. LITV

Our best offering is living a holy life before God. There are things that God wants, and there are things that God does not want. He does not want us to be sacrificed on a cross. God does not want works, for human works justifies no man. That would bring mockery to the death of His Son on the cross. God does not want the outward shell of piety, either. We cannot pay for our sins. We cannot be sorry enough for them. But there is one thing we can do! Accept God’s sacrifice for our sins by faith for that is what God accepts. Say, I accept your Son’s sacrifice on the cross as payment for my sins and I trust you for the power to live a new life unto you, my God.

Realize what God does want. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart,

O God, thou wilt not despise. KJV The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. LITV

What God wants is a right attitude toward sin. Change begins in the heart. A person’s attitude is important to God. If a man has wronged someone who knows what that someone will require of him (Spurgeon 21). But we know what God requires. God does not want the endless outward sacrifices for sin. God wants an inward sacrifice. He would have us realize the seriousness our sin that is expressed in brokenness. By being broken and remorseful on the inside, we come to realize the awfulness of what we have done; that is, turned against God. Oh, may your brokenness lead you to the forgiving arms of God. Then you will find comfort and encouragement to live a new and different life.

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Realize that God is building His kingdom and you are a part of it. Psalm 51:18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of

Jerusalem. KJV Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. LITV

God will use you in building His Kingdom. Zion is the city of God and a holy place. David is ready to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that have been neglected because of sin in his life. He neglected his duty to protect God’s people and city. When the walls of Jerusalem were torn down it was a reproach and shame to its people. But when the walls are built up and strong, this would bring God glory. It reveals that the people care about the things of God. Psalm 14:7, states, Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad. Sin tears down the things that God has built up in our lives. What David did affected many people. David prays for God to build what he had neglected. Be like David and pray that God would build up what the sin in your life has torn down. Have God build a fortress around you to keep from evil and in His will. Reach out to the people you may have hurt. Tell them about the difference God has made in your life. Then, have God use you to be a part of building His kingdom. Share your gifts and talents that will build people up in the Lord.

The Tower of David

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Realize what pleases God most. Psalm 51:19 Then shall you be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with

burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks on your altar. KJV Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar. LITV

What pleases God most is for us to have a right attitude toward Him. God desires that we take what He wants to heart. The external sacrifices were to be performed as atonement for sin for a man who is tormented by knowing that he failed God. He is tormented because He knows that only bad things can come his way because of the curse that sin brings. He is fully aware of the law of cause and effect in the realm of God's universe. He knows that he should die but yet is still alive. But how can he live with this great burden? God is merciful to those who come to Him in this state. Christ was born to atone for the sins of the world. And because of this, any man or woman can be cleansed by God. When a sinner repents the Christian life means something. Everything bad turns to good. The penitent person leaves God satisfied. The satisfaction comes from the shed blood of Christ. God will put no further burden the repentant believer. He is free from sin and free to live a new life with Him in victory. Note that God shall be pleased.

Think on these things: Jude 1:24-25,

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.

Summary. The point of Psalm 51 is that a person’s relationship with God is greater than one’s sins, personal shortcomings, or feelings of despair. God has provided the sacrifice of His Son on the cross as atonement of all of our sins and to bring about our wellness. God did not abandon David, and God will not abandon you. Go to Him despite your failures. Take hold of His forgiveness, walk in newness of life, be made well, and enjoy a personal relationship with Him.

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Review: Forgiveness is the first step. Accepting God’s forgiveness is the first step of living a new life.

It provides a fresh start at enjoying nearness to God but there are further challenges to face. Realize that what comes after a first step is a walk.

Forgiveness

Repentance Sin & Failure

Cycle of repentance, forgiveness, sin, and failure

Walking with God is what comes next. A walk is a habitual manner of living. People need

more than mere forgiveness. They need a personal relationship with God day in and day out. The complexity of life is to walk with God, overcome the satanic environment, and gain dominion over one’s sinful nature (that separates one from God). It is more than mere obedience. It is being empowered by God to live life at a higher standard which involves manifesting His holiness and experiencing His love, that comes from attaining continual communion with Him. God knows that all of us fall short. Yet, He desires fellowship with us despite anything we have done. He has made provision for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. God will always give us enough faith to repent of sin and to walk with Him in newness of life. The lesson of Psalm 51 is that our relationship with God transcends everything. It is intimacy with God that is our greatest need. It is the mercy of God is grander than all our personal failures.

Walking with God

Going to God Life of Blessing

Cycle of blessing.

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A final word. As stated previously, man’s greatest immorality is the immorality of turning away from God. But as a person turns to God and puts Him first, everything changes for good in that person’s life. There is an immediate internal transformation that takes place. In that a person’s life is made straight, and the blessings of God follow. Know that there is more freedom under the sovereignty of God than being under the bondage of sin. Remember that it is all or nothing with God. Realize God’s forgiveness, live the victorious Christian life, and enjoy the blessings of God’s kingdom. Take the principles of Psalm 51 and put them to practice in your personal life. You will be made new and able to walk in newness of life from this day forward unto eternity. May God richly bless all your endeavors.

Know that every day is a new opportunity to rise early and seek the face of God. The fight for the day is fought in the morning. Christ would rise early in the morning, while it was still dark, to pray. Please consider the following prayer (on the next page) to help you begin each day in communion with God.

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A Morning Prayer to Walk with God in Newness of Life Good Morning Father, You are my Father. You have given me new life. I know that I am made new because of your work in my life, and I know that sinful wickedness also dwells in me until the day of redemption. I submit to your authority over my life now before the day takes me over because you are God and I recognize my place before you. Cleanse me (from my past, my sinful nature, the old person in me with its patterns of sinning, and the flesh that compels me to go against you) by your Son’s blood that was shed on the cross for my sins. Keep me and protect me from the sinful environment in which I live with all its enticements, temptations, and negativity that may wear me down or bring me to sin. And help me to walk in newness of life that comes from your Son’s resurrection power that has been passed on to me, as your child. I am grateful and thank you for the power of new life. Help me to be like the leper that was healed and made whole to live a new life by your love and grace; or, to be like the crippled man that was told to get up and walk and he did. Give me that faith today. Manifest your power in my life, my Father, for I cannot walk in newness of life without it. Create in me a clean and new heart, even now, so that I may be able to live a new life that stems from you because the old and sinful heart cannot do new things. Help me to do your will and be not overcome by evil. Deliver me from temptation. Keep me from entering into it. May I be overpowered be by your love and all the good things of your kingdom so that I would empowered to fight against the satanic world system. It is my choice and desire to reflect your holy character in my thoughts, feelings, and behavior this day that you have given me to live for your honor and glory. I can only do this by your grace and kindness that comes from having communion with you. I pray for your fellowship today; that is, that I would hear your voice, feel your presence, and see you work in my life for I am designed to know and walk with you. Set my heart toward you. Only you can make me steadfast today. Help me to walk in newness of life and not in darkness, so that I would not to fail you but do the things that are pleasing in your sight. This means everything to me. Amen.

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ENDNOTES MADE NEW BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOU BY INTIMACY WITH GOD THROUGH FORGIVENESS: A STUDY FROM PSALM 51

1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12.

13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

Literal Translation of the Bible (LITV). "Scripture taken from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible Copyright © 1976 - 2000 By Jay P. Green, Sr. Used by permission of the copyright holder." All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.bible.org All rights reserved. This material is available in its entirety as a free download or online web use at http://www.netbible.org/. The Biblical quotations used in MADE NEW Become the Best Version of You by Intimacy with God Through Forgiveness: A Study from Psalm 51 (Copyright © 2013 by Jess Garcia) are from the NET Bible. Any other Bible quotations are noted as such. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Written by Albert Barnes. Published in 1847-85; public domain. “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” Vincent’s Word Studies. Written by Marvin R. Vincent. Published in 1888; public domain. Thayer’s Greek Definitions. Published in 1886, 1889; public domain. Wuest’s Word Studies Volumes 1&2. Written by Kenneth Wuest. Copyright Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co. 1961. All rights reserved. Used by permission from the publisher under fair use guidelines. King James Version of the Bible. Published in 1769, also known as the Authorized Version; public domain (in the United States). Adam’s Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible. Published in 1810-1826; public domain. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, also known as Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Published in 1906; written by Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs. Public domain. The People’s New Testament the Common and Revised versions with Explanatory Notes - originally published in1891; public domain. John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible. This was originally published in two parts, the 3 volume An Exposition of the New Testament (1746-8), and the 6 volume An Exposition of the Old Testament (1748-63). Public domain. Expositor’s Bible Commentary, New Testament, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor, J.D. Douglas, Associate Editor, Copyright © 1976-92, Zondervan Publishing House. Fair use of copyrighted material. Wuest’s Expanded Translation of the Greek New Testament. Written by Kenneth Wuest Copyright Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co. 1961. All rights reserved. Used by permission from the publisher under fair use guidelines. Christ in Isaiah by F. B. Meyer. Written by F.F. Meyers. Published in 1895; public domain. The words are of F.B. Meyers but they were edited for brevity and numeric sequence was added for clarity. The Holiest of All An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, By The Rev. Andrew Murray. Published in 1894 by Anson d. F. Randolph & Co. – Public domain. The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Written by A.T. Robertson. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932, 33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Fair use. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, by Charles Hodge. Published By Robert Carter & Brothers in 1860; public domain. The Geneva Bible Translation Notes, published in 1599; Public domain. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by Dr. James Strong (1822–1894). First published in 1890. Public domain. Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon. It was first published in weekly installments over a twenty-year span in the London Metropolitan Tabernacle's periodical, The Sword and the Trowel. As each section was completed it was published as a volume until the seventh and final volume was released in 1885. The Treasury of David is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed. Ephesians 2:12. 2 Sam. 21:17. John 8:12. John 1:29. Quotation taken from A Penitent Heart, the Best New Year's Gift, a sermon by George Whitefield (1714-1770). Public domain.

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