What does it really mean to be BORN AGAIN – Positions of Salvation

I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of what  the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living.  At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ,  they need to realize that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but when the new believer exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word inis a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this book, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.  Here is a list of things from the Bible that show conditions that existed in the left circle and what they are changed to in the right circle:

BEING SAVED – MOVING FROM ONE WORLD TO THE OTHER

Unsaved/Selfish Saved/Benevolence
Owned by me Genesis 3:1-6 Owned by God I Corinthians 6:19,20
Self the lord Psalm 49:18; 81:12; Proverbs 14:12; Zechariah 7:6; Matthew 19:21; II Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 2:21; II Timothy 3:2-4 Christ the Lord Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalms 2:6; 24:8; Isaiah 6:1; 11:10 33:17; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9,10; Matthew 2:2,6; Matthew 12:6; 19:28; 21:5; 26:64; 28:18; Luke 2:11; 10:22; 23:42; John 1:49; 3:31; 12:13; 18:36,37; Acts 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Romans 5:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:19-22; Philippians 2:9-11; I Timothy 6:15,16; II Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 2:7,8; I Peter 3:22
In the World Ephesians 2:12; II Peter 1:4; I John 2:15,16; 4:3-5; 5:4,5; 5:19; In Christ Jesus Romans 3:24; 8:1,2; 8:39; I Corinthians 1:30; 3:11; 4:15; 15:22; II Corinthians 2:14; 5:17; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 3:28; 6:15; Ephesians 1:1-3,10; 2:6; 2:8-10; 2:13; 3:11; Philippians 2:5; 3:3; 3:9; 3:14; Colossians 1:28; 2:6; I Thessalonians 4:16; 5:18; I Timothy 1:14; II Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; 3:12; 3:15; Phileman 1:6; I John 5:20.
Servant of sin Romans 6:17,20 Servant of Righteousness Romans 6:18
Walk in the flesh Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 6:8 Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16,25
Lost Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:4-9,24; 19:10; John 17:12; II Corinthians 4:3,4 Saved Matthew 10:22; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30,31; Romans 5:9,10; 8:24; 10:9,10,13; I Corinthians 1:18; 3:15; 5:5; 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:5-10; II Thessalonians 2:10; I Timothy 2:4; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20,21; I Peter 4:18;
Dead in Sin Ephesians 2:1,5; Dead to Sin I Peter 2:24: Romans 6; Galatians 2:20
Love the World I John 2:15 Love the Lord Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 30:6,10; Psalms 97:10; 116:1; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27
Sin is the Master Jeremiah 17:1-3; Ezekiel 3:20,21; John 8:34; 9:41; Romans 3:9; Romans 6:12,16,17,20; 7:17; I Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 2:17; II Peter 2:14; I John 3:8,9 Christ is the Master Matthew 10:24,25; 23:8-10; Mark 13:35; Luke 13:25; 14:21; John 13:13,14; Romans 14:4; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; II Timothy 2:21
Yoke of sin Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 10:27; 58:6-9; Ezekiel 34:27; Hosea 11:4; Galatians 5:1; Christ’s Yoke is Easy Matthew 11:28-30
Eternal death Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; I John 3:15; Eternal Life Daniel 12:2; Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18-23,30; John 3:15,16,36,; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22,23; Galatians 6:8; I Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2, 3:7; I John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13; 5:20; Jude 1:21.
Reject Christ Mark 7:9 Accept Christ John 1:11,12
Hell the home Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:15; Matthew 5:22,29,20; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; II Peter 2:4; 20:13,14; 21:8 Heaven the home Psalms 14:2; Matthew 4:17; 5:3,10,12,16,18,19,20,48; 6:20; 7:21; 10:7,32,33; 18:3,4,10,14,18; 19:14,21,23; 28:18; I Corinthians 15:47; II Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 2:10; 3:20; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16,17; 9:24; 10:34; I Peter 1:4; 3:22; I John 5:7; Revelation 3:12; 4:1,2; 5:13; 11:19; 15:5; 21:1,2,3,10.
Spiritual death Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 4:18; James 1:15; James 5:20; Revelation 21:8 Spiritual Life Matthew 7:14; Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26; 19:17; John 1:4; 3:15,16,36; 5:24,26,29,39,40; 6:27; 6:35,48; 6:63,68; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25; 12:25; 17:3; 20:31; Acts 5:20; 11:18; Romans 5:10; 5:18; 6:4; 8:2,6,10; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:6; 4:10,11,12; 5:4; Galatians 2:20; 3:21; 6:8; Colossians 3:3; II Timothy 1:1,10; James 1:12; II Peter 1:3; I John 1:1,2; 3:14; 5:12;
Spirit is dead Ephesians 2:1-10 Spirit is alive by the Holy Spirit Romans 8:10; Ephesians 2:1-10
No Holy Spirit Jude 1:19 Holy Spirit indwells believer II Timothy 1:14; James 4:5;
Physical birth only John 1:13; 3:6 Born Again of the Spirit of God John 1:13; 3:3; 3:5,-8
Doing their own works Matthew 7:22,23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4,5 Hebrews 4:10 Enter into HIS REST Exodus 33:14; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-9
Self the motive Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 Christ and others the motive Matthew 22:27-40; Philippians 1:21,23-24
Selfishness the mind set Proverbs 12:15; 20:6; Jeremiah 2:35; II Corinthians 10:12 Agape love the mind set Matthew 22:27-40; John 13:35; 15:9,12,13; 21:15-17; I Corinthians 13; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22
Works of the flesh Galatians 5:19-23 Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-18,25
Man’s will is sovereign John 1:13; II Peter 1:21 God’s will is sovereign Psalms 40:8; 143:10; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 6:6
Spiritually blind John 9:41 Spiritual sight II Kings 6:17; Job 42:5; Matthew 5:8; John 14:19; 16:14,15; Hebrews 2:9; 11:27;
Unbelief Deuteronomy 32:20; Romans 3:3; Faith and belief foundation Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 8:10; 9:2,22,29; 15:29; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 5:34; 10:52; 11:22; Acts 3:16; 6:7; 14:9,22,27; 20:21; 26:18; Romans 1:5,8,17; 3:22,25,27-31; 4:5; 5:1,2; 10:6-13,17; I Corinthians 2:5; 15:1-17; 16:13; II Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 3:11,24,25,26; 5:5,6,22,23; Ephesians 2:8,9; 3:12,17,18; 6:16; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:23; 2:12; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:2; 10:22,23,28; 11:1ff;
Draw back to perdition Hebrews 10:38,39 Commitment to Christ Psalms 37:3,5; 118:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 26:4; 50:10; II Timothy 1:12;
Believe in the mind James 2:19,20 Believe in the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10
End and scope of life is self Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 End and scope of life is God Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13
Does not seek God with whole heart Ezekiel 33:9; Luke 14:18; Acts 24:25; 28:27; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25 Seeks after God with whole heart Psalms 119:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12
Sin unto death Romans 6:16 Obedience unto righteousness Romans 6:16
Love self Luke 12:19,20; 18:10-14 Love God with all the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; I Corinthians 8:3; I John 4:20,21; 5:2,3;
Hate or compete with neighbor Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 13:10 Love neighbor as self Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:29; 25:34-40; Mark 12:31,33; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 12:20; 13:9,10; 15:1; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
Hold truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18ff Hold truth in Word of God Psalms 119:72,127,162; Proverbs 23:23; John 1:1-3,14; 14:6; 18:37; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14
Will chooses selfish goals Proverbs 18:2; Romans 3:23 Will chooses glory of God John 11:40; Acts 7:55; Romans 5:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; Philippians 2:9-11,
Continue in sin Romans 6:1-7 Dead unto sin Romans 6:1-7
Old man is alive and well I Peter 4:2-6; II Peter 1:9,10 Old man is crucified Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; II Timothy 2:11
Free from righteousness Romans 6:20 Free from sin Romans 6:18,22
Life of habitual sin I John 3:8 Cannot habitually sin I John 3:9
Living in continuous sin I John 3:8 Occasional sin I John 2:1
Save their life now but lose it at endMatthew 16:25,26 Lose life now but save it in eternity Matthew 16:25,26
Regret when they sin Luke 16:30-31; II Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:17 Repent from their sin Matthew 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; II Peter 3:9
Sorrow of the world (being caught) II Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow (see sin as God sees it) II Corinthians 7:10
Reject Christ as Lord & Savior Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Hebrews 10:38 Accept Christ in ALL THAT HE IS! Romans 10:13; I Corinthians 1:30,31
Selfish love (lust) James 1:13-15 Agape sacrificial love I Corinthians 13
Gain the world Matthew 16:26 Lose the World Matthew 16:26
Lose their soul Matthew 16:26 Save the Soul Matthew 16:26

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EARLY RISING

Scripture Reading: S.S. 7:12; Psa. 57:8-9; 63:1; 78:34; 90:14; 108:2-3; Exo. 16:21

Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. (Song of Solomon 7:12)

Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.  (Psalms 57:8-9)

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;  (Psalms 63:1)

When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.  (Psalms 78:34)

O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  (Psalms 90:14)

Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. (Psalms 108:2-3)

And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted. (Exodus 16:21)

 

 

I. EARLY MORNING BEING THE BEST TIME OF THE DAY

What time should believers rise up every day?

A sister once put it well when she said, “How much a person loves the Lord can be judged primarily by the way he chooses between his bed and the Lord. Do you love your bed or the Lord more? If you love your bed more, you sleep a little longer. If you love the Lord more, you rise up a little earlier.” She spoke these words more than thirty years ago. Yet they are still fresh to us today. A man must choose between his love for his bed and his love for the Lord. The more he loves the Lord, the more he will rise up early.

A Christian should rise up early because the early morning is the best time to meet the Lord. Except for those who are sick, all the brothers and sisters should rise up early. Actually, many sicknesses are not sicknesses at all. They become sicknesses because men love themselves too much. Other than those who are advised to rest by doctors, everyone should rise early. We do not want to go to extremes; we advise sick brothers and sisters to sleep more. However, the healthy ones should get up as early as possible. The best time to meet the Lord, to contact Him, and to fellowship with Him is early in the morning. Manna is gathered before the sun rises (Exo. 16:14-21, “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.”). Anyone who wants to eat God’s food should rise up early. When the sun waxes hot, manna melts and is gone. If we want to receive spiritual nourishment and spiritual edification, and if we want to have spiritual fellowship and spiritual supply, we need to rise up early. If we rise up late, the manna will be gone. The early morning is the very time when God dispenses His spiritual food and holy fellowship to His children. Whoever is late will not gather anything. Many children of God lead a sick life, not because they have spiritual problems, but because they rise up too late. Many children of God have no lack in consecration, zeal, or love, but they cannot live a normal Christian life because they rise up too late. Do not think that this is a small matter. Do not think that this has nothing to do with spirituality; it has much to do with spirituality. Many people are not spiritual because they rise up too late. Many people have been Christians for years, yet they fail to live a proper Christian life because they rise up too late. We do not know of anyone who knows how to pray, yet rises up late. Nor do we know of anyone who has intimate fellowship with God, yet rises up late. All those who know God rise up early. They rise up early as a rule to fellowship with Him.

Proverbs 26:14 says, “As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.” Here it says that a slothful person in bed is like a door that turns upon its hinges. The slothful keeps turning upon his bed; he cannot leave it. He turns to one side on his bed. Then he turns to the other side on his bed. Whichever way he turns, he is still on the bed. Many people cannot part with their bed. They love their bed as they turn from one side to the other. When they turn left, they are on their bed. When they turn right, they are still on their bed. They love to sleep and cannot part with their bed. Many people just want to sleep a little longer; they cannot get out of their bed. If one wants to learn to serve God and be a good Christian, he has to rise up early in the morning every day.

Those who rise up early in the morning reap much spiritual benefit. Their prayers at other times of the day cannot be compared with their prayers in the early morning. Their Bible reading at other times of the day cannot be compared with their reading in the early morning. Their fellowship with the Lord at other times cannot be compared with their fellowship in the early morning. The early morning is the best time of the day. We should spend the best time of the day—the early morning—before the Lord, rather than in other things. Some Christians spend the whole day on other matters and kneel down to read the Bible and pray only at night when they are about to go to sleep. No wonder they are ineffective in their Bible reading, their prayer, and their fellowship with the Lord. They wake up too late in the morning. The moment we believe in the Lord, we should set apart the early morning for fellowshipping with God and for contacting Him.

II. EXAMPLES OF EARLY RISING

In the Bible we find God’s servants rising up early in the morning. Let us consider their examples:

  1. Abraham—Gen. 19:27; 21:14; 22:3
  2. Jacob—Gen. 28:18
  3. Moses—Exo. 8:20; 9:13; 24:4; 34:4
  4. Joshua—Josh. 3:1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10
  5. Gideon—Judg. 6:38
  6. Hannah—1 Sam. 1:19
  7. Samuel—1 Sam. 15:12
  8. David—1 Sam. 17:20
  9. Job—Job 1:5
  10. Mary—Luke 24:22; Mark 16:9; John 20:1
  11. The apostles—Acts 5:21

These many verses tell us that God’s servants had the habit of dealing with God early in the morning. Every one of them had the habit of waking early in the morning and fellowshipping with God early in the morning. They rose up early in the morning to do many things related to God’s business. They also rose up early in the morning to consecrate themselves. Although there is no commandment in the Bible that tells us to get up early, there are sufficient examples in the Bible to show us that all faithful servants of God rise up early. Even the Lord Jesus Himself rose up early. He rose up very early in the morning, while it was still night, and went away to a deserted place to pray (Mark 1:35). When He wanted to appoint the twelve apostles, He called them to Himself early in the morning (Luke 6:13). If the Lord had to rise up early to do these things, how much more do we need to rise up early?

Any brother or sister who wants to follow the Lord must never think that there is little difference in rising up an hour early. You must realize that your Bible reading becomes ineffective if you rise up an hour late. Likewise, your prayer becomes ineffective if you rise up an hour late. Although one may spend the same amount of time in reading the Bible, an hour’s difference will produce very different results. Early rising brings in great blessing. We hope that you will not miss the blessing of early rising at the start of your Christian life. One brother was asked at least fifty times during his first three years as a Christian, “What time did you get up this morning?” Early rising is a great blessing. Those who have learned to rise up early know the significance of it. If you do not rise up early in the morning, you will live in spiritual poverty. Late rising brings in much loss. Many spiritual things are lost through late rising.

We have seen many examples from the Bible. How about the servants of God who are not mentioned in the Bible, like George Müller, John Wesley, and many other famous servants of God? They also rose up early in the morning. We can say that almost all the ones we know of or have read about from books, who are of any use in God’s hands, pay attention to the matter of rising early. They call this early rising “morning watch.” All servants of God emphasize morning watch. The term morning watch itself tells us that it is done early in the morning. Have you heard of anyone who keeps watch when the sun is already up? Never! One keeps morning watch early in the morning. This is a good habit, and we Christians should cultivate this habit. God’s children should not be sloppy people. The church has been practicing this for years. We should maintain this good habit of meeting God early in the morning. The term morning watch is not found in the Bible. We can give it another name, but no matter what name we give to it, meeting God early in the morning is a very crucial matter.

III. WHAT TO DO IN THE EARLY MORNING

We do not merely rise up early. There must be spiritual exercise and spiritual content to what we do. Here are a few things to do early in the morning:

A. Fellowship with God

Song of Songs 7:12 shows us that the early morning is the best time to fellowship with the Lord. To fellowship means to open up our spirit and our mind to God and allow Him to enlighten us, speak to us, impress us, and touch us (Psa. 119:105, 147). During this time our hearts are drawn near to God, and we allow God to draw near to our hearts. We should rise up early in the morning to tarry before the Lord, to meditate, to receive leading and impressions from God, to learn to touch Him, and to give Him an opportunity to speak to us.

B. Praise and Sing

There must be the sound of praise and singing in the early morning. The early morning is the best time to sing praises to God. When we offer our highest praise to God, our spirit rises to the highest peak.

C. Read the Bible

The early morning is the time for us to gather the manna (which is Christ). What does it mean to eat the manna? It means to enjoy Christ, to enjoy God’s Word, and to enjoy His truth early in the morning every day. After we eat the manna, we have the strength to journey in the wilderness. The early morning is the time to gather the manna. One will not be fed spiritually or be satisfied if he spends his early morning on other things.

We have mentioned already that we should have two Bibles, one with marks and notes in it to use in the afternoon and the other with nothing in it for “eating manna” early in the morning. In the early morning, do not read too much and do not take many portions of the Word. Instead, read a single portion of the Bible carefully, always mingling your reading with unceasing communion with God and singing. This does not mean that you should fellowship with God first, praise second, and then read the Bible last. You have to blend all these things together. At the same time you should also pray. Come to God’s presence and open His Word. As you read, you may be convicted to confess your sins. As you read certain portions, you may be touched by His grace to offer up thanksgiving. You can also pray to God concerning what you have read in the Word. You can say, “Lord, this is truly what I need. This portion, this verse, this word, truly exposes my lack. Lord, fill up this lack of mine.” When you find a promise, you can say, “Lord, I believe in this promise.” When you find grace, you can say, “Lord, I take this grace.” You can also intercede. While you are reading, you may remember the condition of those who fall short of what this portion says. You should not accuse or criticize them. Instead, you should pray, “God, fulfill this word in me. Fulfill this word also in my brother and sister.” You can confess your sins and the sins of others. You can pray for yourself and for others. You can believe for yourself and for others. You can give thanks for yourself and for others. Your Bible reading in the morning should not be too long; it should not cover too much. Two, three, four, or five verses are sufficient. You can dwell on them for an hour. As you read these verses word by word, pray over them, and commune with God through them, you will be filled.

Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, there were people who fellowshipped with God this way. They knew God and communed with God. Their fellowship with God became part of their lives.

In Psalms David interchanged the pronouns you and He freely. At one moment he would be speaking to man, and at the next moment he would be praying to God. In the same psalm, he would say a few sentences to man and then say something to God. On the one hand, David spoke to man. On the other hand, he spoke to God. The Psalms show us that David was a person who was in constant fellowship with God.

While Nehemiah was working, he would speak a few words and then offer a short prayer. When the king asked him something, he would speak to the king first and then to the Lord. He mingled his work and prayer together. He did not separate his work from his prayer.

Paul wrote the book of Romans to those in Rome. However, more than once he turned his speaking to the Lord. A few times he seemed to have forgotten the fact that he was writing to the Romans. It seemed as if he were talking to God. We can find frequent examples like this in Paul’s Epistles. In an instant he could turn around and speak to God.

Those who have read the autobiography of Madame Guyon will notice one characteristic of hers. Most autobiographies are written for man. But in Madame Guyon’s autobiography, she spoke to man in one instant and to God in the next instant. In one moment she would be speaking to LaCombe (who asked her to write her autobiography), and at the next moment she would be speaking to God. This is fellowship. One does not know where fellowship with God begins and where it ends. Fellowship does not mean to set aside other affairs to pray. Nor does it mean to pray first and then deal with the affairs. It is to do both simultaneously.

Hence, during this early morning hour of gathering manna, you should learn to mingle prayer with God’s Word. You should learn to mingle praise and fellowship with God’s Word. One moment you may be on earth, but the next moment you are in the heavens. One moment you may be in yourself, but the next moment you are in God. If you maintain this practice before God every morning, you will be filled after some time, and God’s word will dwell in you richly. Such reading of God’s Word, such gathering of manna, is indispensable to us. Many brothers and sisters are weak and unable to take the wilderness journey. We need to ask them, “Have you eaten anything?” They cannot walk because they have not eaten enough. Manna is gathered in the early morning. This is why we need to rise up a little earlier. We will not have any manna if we are late. We have to rise up early in the morning to labor in God’s Word.

D. Pray

In the early morning we should fellowship, praise, and gather the manna. We must also pray to the Lord. Psalms 63:1 [KJV] and 78:34 [KJV] both say that we should seek the Lord early. The prayer spoken of in the previous paragraph is a kind of blending prayer. But the prayer we are talking about here is more specific. After one fellowships, praises, and eats manna, he has strength and can present everything in prayer before God. Prayer surely requires much strength. One must first draw near to God early in the morning and be fed. Then he can set aside about half an hour or a quarter of an hour to pray for a few urgent things. He can pray for himself, for the church, or for the world. Of course, he can pray also in the afternoon or at night. But if he takes advantage of the fresh power he has gained, the power acquired in the early morning through fellowshipping with God and eating manna, he will receive greater support.

Every believer should do these four things conscientiously before the Lord early in the morning: fellowship with Him, praise Him, read the Bible, and pray to Him. Whether or not a person has done these four things in the morning is manifested in his walk during the day. George Müller confessed that the degree to which he was fed by the Lord in the morning determined his spiritual condition throughout the whole day. His spiritual condition for the day depended on his feeding before the Lord in the morning. Many Christians find themselves weak during the day because their mornings are ill spent. Of course, there are those who are so far ahead in their spiritual journey that they can experience the total separation of the spirit from the soul. Their outward man is broken, and they are not that easily shaken by anything. However, this is another matter altogether. New believers should learn to rise up early. Once they become loose in this, they become loose in everything, and everything will go wrong. There is a great difference between being nourished and not being nourished in the morning.

A very famous musician once said, “If I skip practicing for one day, I will notice it. If I skip practicing for two days, my friends will notice it. If I skip practicing for three days, my audience will notice it.” If this is true for practicing music, it is even more true for the spiritual lesson of rising up early. If we fail to have a good morning watch before God, we will know it. Those who are experienced in the Lord also will know it when they come into contact with us. They will know that we have not touched the spiritual source. From the very first day, new believers should strictly discipline themselves. Every morning they should rise up early to exercise this way before the Lord.

IV. THE PRACTICE OF EARLY RISING

Finally, we should speak a little about actual ways to implement this practice. How can we rise up early? We need to pay attention to a few things.

All early risers must have the habit of going to bed early. No one can stay up late and rise up early. This is like burning a candle at both ends.

Do not set too high a standard for rising. Some people want to rise up at three or four o’clock in the morning. When they find out that they cannot make it, they quit after a few days. It is better to take a moderate course. Five or six o’clock is a suitable time to get up. Get up when the sun is about to rise or has just risen. Always get up around sunrise. If one tries to get up too early, his practice may not last long. An unreasonably high standard will only result in a condemned conscience. Some people have set too high a standard for themselves. They get into problems with their family or their work. When they take hospitality at the homes of others, they get into problems with their hosts. This is not a profitable thing to do. Our standard should be reasonable. We do not advocate extremes. Do not set too high a standard for yourself. Before the Lord you should consider carefully the proper time for you to rise up. You should take into consideration your physical limitations as well as the environment. Set your standard accordingly and keep it.

You may face a little difficulty at the beginning. It is always easy the first and second day. But the third day is difficult. You will find it easy for the first few days. But after a few days, you will love the bed so much that you will not want to get up at all. This is especially true in winter. It takes a long time for us to build up a new habit. Perhaps you are used to getting up late, and your mind has been used to getting up late. But if you rise up early a few times, your mind will gradually adjust to getting up early. After you do this for a few days, you will not want to go back to sleep even if your mind is telling you to do so. In the beginning you will need to force yourself a little in order to rise up early. Before a habit is built up, you need to ask God for grace. Continue to ask until this habit is built up. Try to do this again and again. Give up your bed daily to rise up early. In the end you will rise up early spontaneously. You must build up this habit before God. You must not miss the grace of fellowship early in the morning.

A healthy person does not need more than eight hours of sleep. Do not think that you are an exception. Do not worry that early rising will affect your health. It may be your anxiety which is affecting your health. Many people love themselves too much and worry themselves to sickness. You may need ten or twelve hours of sleep if the doctor says that you are ill. But six to eight hours of sleep are sufficient for a normal person. However, do not go to the extreme. Maintain at least six to eight hours of sleep. We do not expect those who are sick to rise up early. If you are sick, it is all right for you to lie on your bed in the morning and read your Bible there. However, those who are not advised by doctors to stay in bed and who are not really sick should rise up early in the morning.

We hope those who are mature and weighty in the Lord will uphold this practice. The church should push the sluggard ones to go forward. They should be shaken up a little. We should usher the new believers into this great blessing. You should take every chance to ask the new ones, “What time do you get up every day?” After a few days, you have to ask them again, “What time did you get up this morning?” This kind of reminding should go on for at least a year into a person’s initial Christian life. After a year, you may still need to ask, “Brother, what time do you rise up now?” Ask the new believers whenever you see them. You need to go to them and render them some help in this matter. However, if we have not learned the lesson well before the Lord, it will be hard for us to do this to others. This is why we must first learn this lesson well ourselves.

Early rising should be a believer’s first habit among all habits. Giving thanks before meals is a habit. Meeting together on the Lord’s Day is also a habit. Rising up early is even more an essential habit. A new believer needs to build up this habit. It is unfortunate that some have been Christians for years and yet have never enjoyed the blessing of early rising. They have never enjoyed the grace of early rising. If we want to experience this grace, we have to learn this lesson well. If more brothers and sisters will come together to learn this lesson, and if everyone will rise up early in the morning, the church will grow. When one brother receives more light, the whole church will receive more shining. When everyone receives a little more light each day, the church as a whole will become richer. The church is poor today because too few people are receiving their supply from the Head. If everyone receives something from the Head, however little it may seem to be, the culmination of all the little portions will make the whole very rich.

We do not wish to see only a minority of people working in the church. We hope to see all the members rising up before the Lord. We hope to see the whole church rising up to receive God’s riches and grace. What one member receives from the Head becomes the profit of the whole Body. If every brother and sister takes this way, there will be many containers before God, and we will be richer and richer as the days go by. We hope that you will not consider early rising as a small matter. If we all learn to rise up early, and if we all maintain this habit, we will have a bright spiritual future ahead of us.

Over 30 years ago I read these lessons and put them to practice in my life.  This lesson was special to me.  I would go to work at 5:00AM and while waiting for the construction crew to arrive, I had my “morning watch” praying and singing unto the Lord.  It was a few years later when I was praying early in the morning that I was inspired to write this poem which became a song:

IN THE MORNING

In the morning, that’s when I meet my Savior

And then I His wondrous presence know.

In the morning I tell Him all my problems.

That’s when I to God’s own throne room go.

 

In the morning I bring my friends and loved ones

And each need I always leave Him there.

In the morning He answers through the Bible

As I spend this time with Him in prayer.

 

In the morning He shows me all His mercy

And forgives my sins from day to day.

In the morning He understands my heartaches

As I seek to walk with Him each day.

 

In the morning I bring my friends and loved ones

And each need I always leave Him there.

In the morning He answers through the Bible

As I spend this time with Him in prayer.

 

In the morning He fills my cup with blessings

And His love melts all my fears away.

In the morning we walk and talk together

As he listens to all that I say.

 

In the morning I bring my friends and loved ones

And each need I always leave Him there.

In the morning He answers through the Bible

As I spend this time with Him in prayer.

 

In the morning I sing to Him His praises

That have caused this sad heart now to sing.

In the morning my heart is broken often

As I   think how few lost souls I bring.

 

In the morning I bring my friends and loved ones

And each need I always leave Him there.

In the morning He answers through the Bible

As I spend this time with Him in prayer.

 

In the morning I hear Him whisper gently

That in time He’ll show me all His will.

In the morning that’s when He shows me simply

How “that day” His will I can fulfill.

 

In the morning I bring my friends and loved ones

And each need I always leave Him there.

In the morning He answers through the Bible

As I spend this time with Him in prayer.

 

In the morning He opens wide my vision

Of a world that’s dying now in sin.

In the morning He makes me want to tell them

How that they can have real peace in Him.

 

In the morning I bring my friends and loved ones

And each need I always leave Him there.

In the morning He answers through the Bible

As I spend this time with Him in prayer.  (Hear this song on the front page)

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

PRAYER

Scripture Reading: John 16:24; James 4:2-3; Luke 11:9-10; Psa. 66:18; Mark 11:24; Luke 18:1-8

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.  (John 16:24)

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  (James 4:2-3)

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:  (Psalms 66:18)

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.  (Mark 11:24)

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:1-8)

 

I. PRAYER BEING A BASIC CHRISTIAN RIGHT

Christians have a basic right while living on earth today, the right to receive answers to prayers. The moment a person is regenerated, God gives him the basic right to ask of Him and to be heard by Him. John 16 says that God answers when we ask in the name of the Lord so that our joy may be made full. If we pray without ceasing, we will live a Christian life that is full of joy on earth today.

If we unceasingly pray, yet God does not unceasingly answer our prayer, or if we have been a Christian for years and God hardly or never listens to our prayers, there must be something seriously wrong. If we have been a Christian for three to five years without receiving one answer to prayer, we are ineffectual Christians. We are not just a little ineffectual, but very ineffectual. We are children of God, yet our prayers are never answered! This should never be. Every Christian should experience God answering his prayers. Every Christian should have frequent experiences of prayers being answered. This is a basic experience. If God has not answered our prayers for a long time, it means that there is surely something wrong with us. There is no way to deceive ourselves in the matter of answers to prayer. If it is answered, it is answered. If it is not answered, it is not answered. If it is effectual, it is effectual. If it is ineffectual, it is ineffectual.

We would like to ask every Christian: Have you learned to pray? Has God answered your prayer? It is wrong for prayers to be left unanswered, because prayers are not just a speaking into the air. Prayers are meant to be answered. Unanswered prayers are vain prayers. Christians must learn to have answered prayers. Since you have believed in God, your prayers should be answered by God. Your prayers are useless if God does not answer them. You must pray until your prayers are answered. Prayer is not only for spiritual cultivation but even more for receiving answers from God.

Prayer is not that easy a lesson to learn. A person may be a Christian for thirty or even fifty years and yet not learn to pray well. On the one hand, prayer is not a simple thing. On the other hand, prayer is so easy that a person can pray as soon as he believes in the Lord. Prayer can be considered the most profound as well as the simplest subject. It is so profound that some still cannot pray well despite learning about it all their lives. Many children of God feel that they do not know how to pray even up to the time they die. However, prayer is so simple that the moment a person believes in the Lord, he can start praying and have his prayers answered. If you begin your Christian life in a good way, you will always receive answers to your prayers. If you do not have a good start, you may not have an answer to prayer for three or even five years. If you do not have a proper foundation, you will need much effort to correct it later. Therefore, once a person believes in the Lord, he must learn to receive answers from God for his prayers. We hope that every believer will pay attention to this matter.

II. CONDITIONS FOR PRAYERS BEING ANSWERED

In the Bible we can see many conditions for having prayers answered, but only a few of them are basic. We believe that if we meet these few conditions, our prayers will be answered. These few conditions are equally applicable to those who have prayed for many years. These are very basic conditions, and we should pay attention to them.

A. Asking

All prayers should be genuine petitions before God. After a brother was saved, he prayed every day. One day a sister asked him, “Has God ever listened to your prayer?” He was surprised. To him prayer was just prayer; why did anyone have to bother about whether or not they were answered? From that time on, whenever he prayed, he asked God to answer his prayer. He began to consider how many of his prayers were answered. He discovered that his prayers were quite vague and capricious. It did not matter whether God answered them, and it did not matter whether God ignored them. They were like prayers to God for the sun to rise the next day; the sun would rise whether or not he prayed. He had been a Christian for a year, yet none of his prayers were answered. All that time he had been just kneeling and muttering words. He could not pinpoint what he had asked for. This amounted to not having asked for anything at all.

The Lord says, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7). If what you are knocking on is just the wall, the Lord will not open the wall to you. But if you indeed are knocking on the door, the Lord will surely open the door to you. If you ask to go in as well, the Lord will surely let you in. The Lord said, “Seek and ye shall find” (v. 7). Suppose that there are many things here. Which one do you want? You must ask for at least one thing. You cannot say that anything will do. God wants to know what you specifically want and what you specifically are asking for. Only then can He give it to you. Hence, to ask means to demand something specific. We have to ask. This is what it means to seek and to knock. Suppose you want something from your father today. You have to ask for the specific thing you want. If you go to a pharmacy for medicine, you must say exactly what medicine you want. If you go to a market to purchase vegetables, you must say what vegetables you want. It is strange that people can come to the Lord without saying what they want. This is why the Lord says that we need to ask and ask specifically. The problem with us is that we do not ask. The hindrance is on our side. In our prayers we need to speak what we need and what we want. Do not pray an all-inclusive prayer in a frivolous way, caring little whether or not it is answered.

A new believer needs to learn to pray. He needs to pray with a specific goal in mind. “…ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). Many people go through the motion of prayer without asking for anything. It is useless to spend an hour or two hours or even eight or ten days before the Lord without asking for anything. You need to learn to ask for something; you need to knock, really knock hard, at a door. Once you clearly identify the entrance and seek to go in, knock hard at the door. When you seek something specific, you will not be satisfied with just anything; you want that particular thing. Do not be like some brothers and sisters who stand up in the meeting to pray for twenty minutes or half an hour without knowing what they want. It is strange that many people have long prayers that do not ask for anything.

You must learn to be specific with your prayer. You should know when God has answered your prayers and when He has not answered your prayers. If it makes no difference to you whether or not God answers your prayers, it will be hard for you to effectively pray to Him if you come across a difficulty in the future. Empty prayers will not be effectual in times of need. If prayers are empty when needs are specific, one cannot expect any solution for the problem. Only specific prayers can deal with specific problems.

B. Not Asking Amiss

We should ask, but there is a second condition to prayer; we should not ask amiss. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3). We should ask God out of necessity. We should not ask mindlessly, unreasonably, or wildly. We should never ask carelessly or amiss for any unnecessary things according to our lust or our flesh. If we do, our prayers will be in vain. While God often gives us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), asking amiss is a different matter.

Asking amiss means asking beyond one’s capacity or real need. If you have a need, you can ask God. But you should only ask God to take care of your need. Asking beyond what you need is asking amiss. If you have a great need, it is not wrong to ask God to satisfy such a need. But if you do not have a great need, and you ask for it, you are asking amiss. You can only ask according to your capacity and need. You should never ask foolishly for this and that. Asking carelessly is to ask amiss, and such asking will not receive any answer from God. Asking amiss before God is like a four-year-old child asking his father for the moon in the sky. God is not pleased with evil asking. Every Christian should learn to confine his prayers within the proper scope. Do not open your mouth rashly and ask for more than you actually need.

C. Dealing with Sins

Some do not ask amiss, but God does not answer their prayers. This is because there is a basic barrier between them and God—sin. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66:18). If a person has obvious and known sins in his heart, yet is unwilling to drop or part with them, the Lord will not answer his prayer. (Note the words in my heart.) The Lord cannot answer a person’s prayer when there is such a great hindrance.

What does it mean to “regard iniquity in my heart”? It means to keep a sin in one’s heart, being unwilling to part with it. Such a person knows something is a sin, yet he continues to cherish it. It is not only a weakness in conduct or appearance but also a craving in the heart. This is different from the person spoken of in Romans 7. Although the person in Romans 7 has failed, he hates what he is doing. The person here, however, regards iniquity in his heart. This means he keeps the iniquity to himself and is unwilling and reluctant to let go of it. The sin remains not only in his conduct but also in his heart. The Lord will not hear such a one when he prays. So long as there is one sin, it will hinder God from answering our prayer. We should not keep any favorite sin in our heart. We should acknowledge all sins as sins and should put them under the blood. The Lord can sympathize with our weakness, but the Lord will not allow us to regard iniquity in our hearts. Our prayers will not prevail if we have removed all the sins outwardly but still regard them in our heart and are unwilling and reluctant to part with them. The moment we begin our Christian life, we have to ask for the Lord’s grace to keep us from falling and to sanctify us in our conduct. At the same time, we must thoroughly reject all sins in our heart. We should not retain or regard any sin in our heart. Our prayer will be useless if sin remains in our heart. The Lord will not listen to such a prayer.

Proverbs 28:13 says, ” He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” You must confess your sins. You must tell the Lord, “I have regarded a sin in my heart. I cannot give it up. I ask You to forgive me. I want to forsake this sin. Please deliver me from this sin. Do not let this sin remain in me. I do not want it. I want to reject it.” If you confess to the Lord this way, the Lord will forgive; you will receive forgiveness. Then, your prayer will be heard. You must never be loose in this matter. You will not receive anything if you do not ask. You also will not receive anything if you ask amiss. Even if you do not ask amiss, the Lord will not answer your prayer as long as you keep back a favorite sin and regard it in your heart.

(To help you with confession of sins, I am putting this download link that I call the SIN AND REPENTANCE CONFESSION LIST.)

D. Believing

A condition on the positive side for having prayer answered is faith. Faith is indispensable. Without faith, prayer is ineffectual. The story in Mark 11 speaks loudly of the need for faith in prayer. The Lord Jesus said, ” What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (v. 24). We must believe when we pray. If we believe that we have received what we are praying for, we will have them. We hope that as soon as a person has received the Lord, even a week after his conversion, he will know what faith is. The Lord said, ” believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” He did not say, “Believe that you will receive them” but, “Believe that you have received them.” We should believe that we have received what we asked for, and we will have them. The believing that the Lord speaks of here is followed by its predicate you have received. What is faith? Faith is believing that we have received what we have asked for.

Christians often make the mistake of separating believe from its predicate you have received. They place it before the expression you will have them. They pray to the Lord thinking that it is a matter of great faith to “believe…and you will have them.” They pray to the Lord that the mountain be taken up and cast into the sea, and they believe that it will be so. They think that this kind of faith is great faith. However, this is to move believe away from you have received and to place it before you will have them. The Bible says that we should believe that we have received, not that we will receive. The two are definitely not the same. Not only do new believers need to learn this, but even those who have been believers for many years need to learn this.

What is faith? Faith is the assurance that God has answered our prayer. It is not the conviction that God will answer our prayer. Faith is when we kneel down to pray and say in an instant, “Thank God! He has answered my prayer. Thank God! This matter is settled.” This is to believe that we have received. A person may kneel down and pray and may rise and say, “I believe that God will definitely hear my prayer.” The expression will definitely hear is wrong. No matter how hard he tries to “believe” in this way, he will not see any result. Suppose you pray for a sick person and he says, “Thank God! I am healed.” His temperature may still be high; there may be no change in his symptoms at all. But his problem is over because he is clear within himself that he is healed. However, if he says, “I believe the Lord will surely heal my sickness,” he will probably need to try harder to “believe.” The Lord Jesus said, “Believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” He did not say that you will receive if you believe that you will receive. If you turn this around, it does not work. Brothers and sisters, have you seen the key? Genuine faith lies in the phrase It is finished. Genuine faith is thanking God for having already answered your prayers.

We need to say a few words more about faith. Consider the matter of healing. We can find some solid examples of faith in Mark’s Gospel. There are three sentences in the Gospel of Mark which bear special significance to prayer. The first relates to the Lord’s power, the second to the Lord’s will, and the third to the Lord’s act.

1. The Lord’s Power—God Can

Let us look at Mark 9:21-23, which says, “And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. ” The father said to the Lord Jesus, “If You can do anything…help us.” The Lord Jesus repeated his word and said, “If You can.” The Lord’s “if You can” is a quotation of the father’s “if You can.” The Lord Jesus was repeating what the father said. The father said, “If You can do anything…help us.” The Lord Jesus said, “If You can. All things are possible to him who believes.” It was not a question of “if You can,” but a question of whether or not he could believe.

When man finds himself in difficulty, he is usually full of doubt; he cannot believe in the power of God. This is the first thing we need to deal with. It may seem at times that the power of the obstacle is greater than the power of God. The Lord Jesus rebuked the father for doubting the power of God. In the Bible we seldom find the Lord interrupting a person as He did in this case. It seems that the Lord was angry when He said, “If You can.” The Lord rebuked the father when the father said, “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” What the Lord meant was, “How can you say, `If You can’? What is this? All things are possible to him who believes. This is not a matter of `if I can,’ but a matter of whether or not you believe. How dare you ask if I can!” When God’s children pray, they should learn to lift up their eyes and say, “Lord! You can.”

Mark 2 records the incident of the Lord healing a paralytic. The Lord said to the paralytic, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” (v. 5). Some scribes reasoned in their hearts, saying, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (v. 7). In their hearts they thought that only God could forgive sins and that Jesus could not. They regarded forgiveness of sins as a great thing. But the Lord said to them, ” Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” (vv. 8-9). The Lord was showing them that to man it was a question of whether or not one could do it, but to God it was a question of which was easier. For man, it is impossible for anyone to forgive sins or to ask the paralytic to stand up and walk. However, the Lord showed them that He could forgive sins as well as make the paralytic rise up and walk. Both forgiving and making the paralytic rise up and walk were easy for the Lord. The Lord was showing them that “God can.” In our prayer we need to know that “God can” and that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.

2. The Lord’s Will—God is Willing

It is true that God can do everything, but how do I know that He is willing to heal me? I do not know His will. Perhaps the Lord is not willing to heal me. What should I do? Let us look at another story. Mark 1:41 says, “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.” Whether or not God can do something is not the question here; rather, it is a question of whether or not God is willing. No matter how great His power is, what does it matter if He is unwilling to heal? If God does not want to heal us, the greatness of His power will be of no consequence to us. The first question that has to be settled is whether or not God can, but the second question that also has to be settled is whether or not God will. The Lord said to the leper, “I am willing.” The Old Testament tells us that leprosy is a very filthy disease (Lev. 13—14). Whoever contacted a leper was defiled. However, the Lord’s love was so great that He said, “I am willing.” The Lord Jesus stretched out His hand and touched and cleansed the leper! The leper entreated the Lord, and the Lord was willing to cleanse him. Can it be that the Lord will not heal our illness? Can it be that the Lord will not answer our prayers? We can all say, “God can” and “God is willing.”

3. The Lord’s Act—God Has Done

It is not enough for us to know that God can and God will. We need to know one more thing—God has done. We need to go back to Mark 11:24, which we quoted earlier: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This tells us that God has done something already.

What is faith? Faith is not just believing that God can and will do something but also believing that God has done something already. God has accomplished it. If you believe that you have received it, you will have it. If you believe and are confident that God can and will do a certain thing because He has given you a word concerning it, you should thank Him, saying, “God has done it!” Many people’s prayers are not answered because they are not clear about this point; they still hope that they will receive something. However, to hope means to expect something in the future, whereas to believe means to consider something as being done. Genuine faith says, “Thank God, He has healed me! Thank God, I have received it! Thank God, I am cleansed! Thank God, I have recovered!” When faith is perfect, it will not only say “God can” and “God wills,” but also “God has done.”

God has listened to our prayers! God has accomplished everything! If we believe that we have received it, we will receive it. Very often, our faith is a faith that believes in what we will receive. As a result, we never receive anything. We should have the faith that we have already received. Faith is always a matter of “having been done” rather than of “will be done.”

Consider a simple illustration. A person has just heard the gospel. If you ask him, “Have you believed in the Lord Jesus?”, he may answer, “I have.” You may then ask, “Are you saved?” If he says, “I will be saved,” you know that he is not saved. Suppose you ask him again, “Do you really believe that you are saved?” If he says, “I will surely be saved,” you know that he is still not saved. You may want to ask him again, “Are you really sure that you will be saved?” If he answers, “I think I will,” his words do not sound like someone who is saved. If one says, “I will be saved,” “I will surely be saved,” or “I think I will surely be saved,” there is no guarantee that he is saved. If the person says, “I am saved,” he has the right tone. Once a man believes, he is saved. Any faith, if it is faith at all, believes in what has been accomplished. For example, once a person possesses faith at the time of his salvation, he immediately says, “Thank God, I have received.” Let us lay hold of these three things—God can, God wills, and God has done.

Faith is not a psychological exercise. Faith is receiving God’s word and believing with much assurance that God can, God wills, and God has done. If you have not received His word, do not take the spiritual risk of trying to tempt God. The exercise of psychology is not faith. Take illness as an example: All who are healed through genuine faith are not afraid of a medical checkup (Mark 1:44). The result of a medical checkup for those who have experienced a genuine divine healing will prove that it was a genuine healing rather than something psychological.

When new believers learn to pray, they should pray in two stages. In the first stage they should pray until they receive a promise. They should pray until they receive God’s word. All prayers begin by asking God for something. Such prayers can continue for a period of time, sometimes lasting for three to five years. One needs to keep asking. Some prayers are answered quickly, while other prayers continue to go unanswered for years. This is the period of time when one needs to continue to ask. The second stage begins from the time one receives a promise and extends to the time the promise is realized. It begins from the time one receives God’s word and extends to the time His word is fulfilled. This stage is not for praying, but for praising. In the first stage one prays, but in the second stage one praises. In the first stage he prays until he receives a word. In the second stage he praises the Lord continuously until the word is fulfilled. This is the secret to prayer.

Some people only know two points about prayer: First, they pray on their knees for what they do not have, and second, they have it; God has given it to them. Suppose I ask for a watch from the Lord, and after a few days the Lord gives me a watch. There are only two events: being without something and having something. Some do not realize that there is another event in between these two—the event of faith. Suppose I pray for a watch and one day say, “Thank God, He has already heard my prayer.” Although my hands are still empty, I am clear within that I already have the watch. Indeed, after a few days the watch arrives. We cannot be concerned with just two events: not having and then having. We must be concerned with a third event—an additional event between not having and having, in which God gives us a promise, and then we believe and rejoice over it. Perhaps we have to wait three days before we actually receive the watch. But in our spirit, we received it three days ago already. A Christian should experience this kind of receiving in the spirit. If a person never experiences this kind of receiving in the spirit, he does not have faith.

We hope that new believers will know what faith is, and we hope that they will learn to pray. Perhaps, you have prayed continually for three or five days, a month, or even a year, and still your hands are empty. But deep in your heart, you have a little assurance that the matter will eventually be accomplished. At that time you should begin to praise God. You should continue praising Him until you have received the thing in your hand. Simply put, the first stage is to pray from nothing to having faith, and the second stage is to praise from having faith to actually receiving.

Why should we divide our prayers into these two stages? Suppose a person prays from having nothing to having faith. If he continues to pray, he may lose his faith. Once a person has acquired faith, he should begin praising. If he continues to pray, he may pray away his faith and not receive anything in the end. “You will have it” is an actual having in the hands, while “you have received it” is a having in the spirit. If the faith is already there, but the things have not materialized, one has to remind God with praise; he should not try to remind Him with prayer. If God has said that He will give us something, what else do we need to say? If we have the inward assurance that “we have received it,” what more do we need to pray for? Many Christians have the experience that as soon as their prayer strikes faith, they can no longer continue to pray. They can only say, “Lord! I praise You.” They have to keep their faith and praise, “Lord! I praise You. You have heard my prayer. I praise You because You answered my prayer a month ago.” If you do this, you will receive. Unfortunately, some people do not have the knowledge. God has already promised them something, yet they still pray. In the end their prayer drives away their faith. This is a great loss.

The word in Mark 11:24 is too precious. In the whole New Testament, we cannot find another passage that explains faith as clearly as this one. “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” If a person sees this, he will know what prayer really is, and prayer will be a powerful tool in his hands.

E. Persevering in Asking

Another point about prayer which requires attention is that we must persevere in prayer and never stop praying. Luke 18:1 says, “… men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Some prayers require perseverance. One has to pray to such an extent that the prayer seems to wear out the Lord and force Him to answer. This is another kind of faith. The Lord said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (v. 8). This faith is different from the faith spoken of earlier, but they are not contradictory. Mark 11 says that we must pray until we have faith. Luke 18 says that we must ask again and again. We must have the faith to pray to the Lord persistently until one day He is compelled to answer our prayer. We should not care whether or not there is a promise. We should just pray until God is compelled to answer.

Many prayers are inconsistent prayers. A person can pray for one or two days. But after three months, he completely forgets it. Some people can pray about something only once. They cannot even pray a second time for it. Such ones care little whether they receive what they ask for. Please count how many of your prayers have been offered for the second time, the third time, the fifth time, or the tenth time. If you have forgotten your prayers, how can you expect God to remember them? If you do not have a heart to pray, how can you expect God to have a heart to listen? If you have forgotten your prayer, how can you expect God to remember it? Actually, you have never wanted what you asked for. A person will pray persistently only if he has a real need. One prays persistently only when he is pressed in the environment and driven by needs. In such cases he may persist for decades and still not give up praying, “Lord! If You do not answer me, I will not stop asking.”

If you want to ask for something, you should trouble God about it. If you really want it, you must ask persistently until God hears you. You have to ask in such a way that God cannot do anything except answer your prayer. You have to ask until God is forced to answer you.

III. THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER

Every Christian should have a prayer-book, one a year. He should record his prayers as one keeps books in accounting. Each page should be divided into four columns. The first column should record the date he begins to pray for something. The second column should record the prayer item. The third column should record the date the prayer is answered, and the fourth column should record how God answers the prayer. In this way, one will find out how many things he asks God for in a year, how many prayers God answers, and what prayers are still unanswered. New believers should definitely keep such a book. But it is good for those who have been believers for many years to keep a prayer-book also.

The advantage of writing things down in a prayer-book is that it shows us whether or not God is answering our prayers. Once God’s answers stop, something must be wrong. It is good for Christians to be zealous in serving the Lord, but such service is useless if their prayers are not answered. If a man’s way to God is blocked, his way to men is also blocked. If a man has no power before God, he will have no power before men. We must first seek to be a man of power before God before we can be useful before men.

A brother once wrote down the names of one hundred forty persons and prayed for their salvation. Some names were recorded in the morning and the persons were saved in the afternoon. After eighteen months, only two on the list remained unsaved. This is a very good pattern for us. May God gain more Christians who will keep a record of their prayers. I hope you will put this into practice. Write down the items you are praying for one by one and the items that God has answered. Any item that has been recorded in the book, but has not received an answer, should be followed up by persistent prayer. You should only stop if God shows you that a certain prayer is not according to His will. If He has not shown you this, pray persistently until you receive an answer. You should not be careless in any way. You should be strictly trained in this matter from the beginning. You should be this serious before God. Once you pray, do not stop until you receive an answer.

In using the prayer-book, note that some items require daily prayer while others require prayer only once a week. The schedule depends on the number of prayer items you have in your prayer book. If you have little to ask, you can pray daily over every item in the book. If there are many items, you can arrange for certain items to be prayed over on Mondays and others to be prayed over on Tuesdays. Just as men schedule their time to do other things, we should set aside a specific time every day for prayer. If our prayers are not specific, we will not need a prayer-book. If our prayers are specific, we will need a prayer-book. We can place this book in the same place we put our Bible and hymn book. They are to be used daily. After a period of time, count how many prayers have been answered and how many prayers have gone unanswered. It is a blessing to pray in a specific way according to a prayer-book.

As for the prayer that the Lord teaches us in Matthew 6, the prayer of 1 Timothy 2, and prayers for light, life, grace, and gifts for the church, these are general subjects for prayer. They should not be classified under ordinary items for prayer. We should pray for these great things every day.

Prayer has two ends—the person who is praying and the one who is being prayed for. Many times, the one being prayed for will not change unless the praying one is first changed. If the situation on their side remains unchanged, we need to seek after God concerning our side. We should say, “O Lord! What changes do I have to make? What sins have I not dealt with yet? What loves should I forsake? Am I really learning the lesson of faith? Is there anything else I should learn?” If there is a need for change on our side, we must change first. We cannot expect those who are being prayed for to change while there is no change at all on our side.

Once a person believes in the Lord, he must learn to pray earnestly. He must learn the lesson of prayer well before he can have a deeper knowledge of God and a fruitful future for himself.

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration in the first lesson was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

IF ANYONE SINS

Scripture Reading: John 5:14; 8:11; Rom. 6:1-2; Num. 19:1-10, 12-13, 17-19; 1 John 1:7-10;2:1-2

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.  (John 5:14)

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.  (John 8:11)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times: And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever. (Numbers 19:1-10)

He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. (Numbers 19:12-13)

And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. (Numbers 19:17-19)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(1 John 1:7-10)  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

After we are saved, we should sin no more. John 5 records the incident of the Lord Jesus healing one who had been sick for thirty-eight years near the pool in Bethesda. After the man was healed the Lord met him in the temple and said to him, ” Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (v. 14). John 8 speaks of the Lord Jesus forgiving a woman who had committed adultery. He said to her then and there, ” Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more ” (v. 11). Once we are saved, we are charged by the Lord to sin no more! As saved ones, we surely should not continue in sin.

I. SINNING AFTER BEING SAVED

Since a Christian should not sin and should not continue in sins, is it then possible for a Christian not to sin? The answer is yes! It is possible for Christians not to sin because we have God’s life within us. This life does not sin. It cannot tolerate any trace of sin. This life is as holy as God is holy. The life within us makes us very sensitive to sin. If we walk according to the sense of this life and if we live by this life, we will not sin.

However, it is possible for Christians to sin. We are still in the flesh. If we do not walk according to the Spirit and live in life of the flesh, we can sin at any time. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” First John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” It is possible for Christians to be overtaken by sins. There is still the possibility of sinning. First John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Verse 10 says, ” If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar…” Hence, our experience shows us that it is possible for Christians to fall accidentally into sin.

 

Will a saved person who has fallen accidentally into sin still perish? No! The Lord said, ” And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28). In other words, once a person is saved, he is saved forever. “They shall by no means perish forever.” Nothing can be surer than this! First Corinthians 5 speaks of a brother who had committed fornication. Paul said, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (v. 5). Even though the flesh of a believer who sins may be destroyed, his spirit will still be saved.

Does this therefore mean that after a person is saved, it does not matter whether he sins? No! If a person sins after he is saved, there will be two terrible consequences. First, he will suffer in this life. If you sin after you are saved, you will suffer the consequence of your sin. The person in 1 Corinthians 5 was delivered to Satan. This is a great suffering. After a person has repented and confessed to the Lord, God will forgive him and the blood will cleanse him. With some sins, however, there are further consequences that one must face. Although Jehovah removed David’s sin of taking Uriah’s wife, the sword never departed from his house forever (2 Sam. 12:9-13). Brothers and sisters, sin is like a venomous serpent; it is not an amusing plaything. If you are bitten by it, you will suffer.

Second, if a man sins he will be punished in the coming age. If a Christian sins and does not deal with it properly in this age, he will have to deal with it in the coming age. When the Lord comes again, ” For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matt. 16:27). Paul said, ” For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). (Note – this is only speaking about receiving rewards or not receiving rewards.  There is no teaching in the Bible about any kind of punishment for any Christian for any reason other than loss of rewards.)

Besides these two terrible consequences, there is another immediate result of sin—the breaking down of fellowship with God. To a Christian, fellowship with God is a most glorious privilege. Such fellowship is the greatest blessing he can have. However, if he sins, he will immediately lose his fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit within him will grieve for him, and the life in him will feel uncomfortable about his sin. He will lose his joy as well as his fellowship with God. Formerly, when he saw God’s children, he was warmly attracted to them, but now he no longer feels that warmth; there seems to be a barrier between him and them. Formerly, prayer and Bible reading were sweet. But now they have lost their sweetness; he can no longer touch God. Formerly, he treasured the church meetings very much; when he missed one meeting, he felt that he had suffered a great loss. But now the meetings are tasteless to him; it no longer makes a difference whether or not he goes. When he sees God’s children, he wants to run away instead of meeting. them. Everything has changed.

It is a serious thing for a person to sin after he is saved! We must never be loose in our conduct. We must never tolerate sin and must never give ground to it.

But what do we do “if anyone sins”? If a Christian becomes careless and sins by mistake, if he is overtaken by sins, what should he do? How can he come back to the Lord? How can he recover his fellowship with God? This is a very important subject, and we have to study it carefully.

II. THE LORD HAVING BORNE ALL OUR SINS

To take care of this matter, we must first realize that the Lord Jesus has borne all our sins on the cross. All the sins which we have committed, as well as those we are committing and will commit during our whole life, were borne by the Lord on the cross.

However, on the day we believed in the Lord, under God’s light we only saw the sins that we had committed before we had believed. A man can only be conscious of the sins which God shines His light upon; he cannot feel the sins which he has not yet committed. Therefore, the actual sins the Lord Jesus bore on the cross are more than the sins that we see. The Lord Jesus bore all of our sins on the cross, but we see only the sins which we have committed.

You may have been saved at the age of sixteen, or you may have been saved at the age of thirty-two. All the sins you committed before your salvation are absolutely and totally forgiven by the Lord. However, at the time of your forgiveness, the number of sins that you were conscious of was actually much less than the actual number of sins which the Lord bore for you. Your experience of the Lord’s grace went only so far as your personal experience of your sin. But the Lord’s work on our behalf was based on His knowledge of our sins. We must realize that even the sins that we are not conscious of are included in the Lord Jesus’ redemption.

Perhaps you were saved at the age of sixteen. Suppose you had committed a thousand sins during the first sixteen years of your life. You might have said at the time you believed in the Lord, “I thank You. My sins have been forgiven because You have taken away all my sins.” In saying that the Lord had taken your sins away, you meant that the Lord had dealt with your one thousand sins. What would have happened if you had been saved at the age of thirty-two instead? Proportionally, you probably would have committed two thousand sins by the age of thirty-two. You might have said the same thing: “O Lord, You have borne all my sins.” If you were saved at sixty-four years of age, you would have said the same thing: “O Lord, You have borne all my sins.” It is quite clear then that the Lord has dealt with the sins that were committed during the first sixteen years of your life as well as the sins that were committed from age sixteen to age sixty-four. The Lord dealt with all of your sins on the cross. The criminal on the cross did not believe in the Lord until just before he died, but the Lord took away all his sins (Luke 23:39-43). In other words, the Lord took away the sins of our whole life on the cross. Although, when we first believed in the Lord, we only felt the forgiveness of our past sins, in actuality, the Lord took away all our sins, even those we commit after we are saved. We must understand this fact before we can understand how to recover our fellowship with God.

III. THE TYPE OF THE ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER

We have a picture of the Lord’s vicarious death for our sins in the type of the ashes of the red heifer.

Numbers 19 is a very special chapter in the Old Testament. A heifer was used, which speaks of something special. This heifer was used not to meet a need at that moment but to meet a need in the future. This, too, is very significant.

In verse 2 God told Moses and Aaron, ” Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:” A heifer, not a bull, was offered here. In the Bible gender is very meaningful. Male signifies everything related to the testimony of the truth, while female signifies everything related to the experience of life. This is a principle we should be familiar with in reading our Bible. Abraham speaks of justification by faith, while Sarah speaks of obedience. Justification by faith is objective; it has to do with truth and testimony. Obedience is subjective; it has to do with life and experience. Throughout the Bible the church is symbolized by females, because the church is subjective, being related to the Lord’s work in man. A heifer is used here instead of a bull because it represents another aspect of the Lord’s work—His work toward man. The red heifer signifies a work that is subjective rather than objective.

What happened to the heifer? It was slaughtered, and its blood was taken and sprinkled seven times directly in front of the tent of meeting. In other words, the blood was offered to God because the work of the blood is always for God. The heifer’s blood was sprinkled seven times in front of the tent of meeting, signifying that it was for God and for the redemption of sin.

After the red heifer was killed, it was burned. The skin, the flesh, the blood, and the dung were all burned. The whole red heifer was burned. As it was being burned, the priest cast cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet into the midst of the fire. What do cedar wood and hyssop signify? First Kings 4:33 said that Solomon discoursed about trees, from the cedar to the hyssop. Cedar wood and hyssop therefore signify all the trees. In other words, they signify the whole world. What does scarlet signify? This word is also translated scarlet in Isaiah 1:18, which says, “… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;” Scarlet, therefore, signifies our sins. For the cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet to be burned together means that the sins of the whole world were gathered together with the red heifer when it was offered up to God; they were all burned together. Here, we see a picture of the cross. The Lord Jesus offered Himself up to God. He embraced all our sins. The gross sins were there as well as the lesser sins. The sins of the past, the present, and the future were also there. The sins for which man feels the need of forgiveness, as well as the sins for which man does not feel the need of forgiveness, were there. All sins were upon the heifer, and they were all burned with it.

After they were burned, what was done next? Numbers 19:9 says, ” And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.” What does this mean? This is what makes the red heifer so distinct. After the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet were burned with the heifer, the ashes were gathered up and kept in a clean place. Thereafter, if any of the Israelites touched something unclean and became unclean before God, another clean person could mix the water for impurity with the ashes and sprinkle it on the unclean person. This would remove the person’s uncleanness. In other words, the ashes were used to remove uncleanness. They were prepared for the future. They would be used when uncleanness was detected at a later time.

In the Old Testament, sinners needed to offer up sacrifices to the Lord. If a person had offered up a sacrifice and then touched something unclean, he would become unclean again before God and could no longer fellowship with Him. What did he have to do? Another person would take some ashes of the red heifer on this person’s behalf, put them in a vessel, pour in living water, mix it into the water for impurity, and sprinkle it on his body. The man’s uncleanness would then be removed and his sin forgiven. When an Israelite brought a bull or a lamb to the Lord and offered it up as a sin offering, he did it because of some known sin. But the red heifer was related to another matter. The burning of the red heifer was not for known sins which had been committed in the past, but for future uncleanness. The burning of the red heifer was not for past sins but for future transgressions.

This shows us another aspect of the Lord Jesus’ work. One aspect of the Lord’s work is like that of the ashes of the red heifer. The efficacy of redemption is signified by the ashes. The sins of the whole world are in it, and the blood is also in it. Whenever a man becomes unclean or has touched some unclean things, he does not need to kill another red heifer and offer it to God. He only needs to take the ashes of the red heifer that was offered once and mix them with water and sprinkle them on the body. In other words, there is no need for the Lord to do anything a second time. His redemption accomplished everything. He made provision for all of our future uncleanness and future sins. Everything has been fully accomplished by His redemption.

What do the ashes signify? In the Bible, ashes signify something in its final form. Whether a bull or a lamb, its final form after being burned is ashes. Ashes are very stable; they do not corrupt into something else. We cannot corrupt or destroy ashes. Ashes signify something in its final form.

The ashes of the red heifer signify the eternal and unchanging efficacy of the Lord’s redemption. The redemption which our Lord accomplished for us is most stable. Do not think that rocks on mountains are stable. Even rocks can be burned into ashes. Ashes are more stable than rocks. The ashes of the red heifer signify the Lord’s redemption which He has prepared for us. It is forever unchanging and incorruptible. We may apply it any time. If a Christian touches something unclean by accident and there is uncleanness in him, he does not have to ask the Lord to die for him again. He only needs to trust in the eternal and incorruptible efficacy of the ashes and to sprinkle his body with the water of life, and he will be clean. In other words, the ashes of the red heifer tell us that the past work of the cross is applicable for our use today. We also can say that the effectiveness of the cross covers all the needs we will ever have in the future. These ashes are specifically for the future. Only one red heifer needs to be burned, and it only needs to be burned once. Its ashes are enough to cover one’s whole life. Thank the Lord that His redemption is sufficient for our whole life. His death has taken away all our sins.

IV. THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

We have covered the side of the Lord’s work, which is redemption and the removal of our sins. What should we do on our side?

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In this verse the word we refers to believers, not to sinners. When a believer sins, he must confess his sins. Only after he has confessed his sins will he be forgiven. When a believer sins, he should not ignore it or cover it up. Proverbs 28:13 says, ” He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” When a believer sins, he must confess his sin. Do not give sin a nice name. Do not excuse yourself. Lying is a sin. When you lie, you should confess that you have sinned. You should not say, “I have said a little more (or less) than I should have.” You should say, “I have sinned.” You should not explain it away or cover it up. You should confess that you have committed the sin of lying. You must condemn lying as sin.

 

Confession means to stand on God’s side and judge sin as sin. There are three things here: God, ourselves, and sins. God and sins are at the two ends, and we are in the middle. What does it mean to commit a sin? It means that we stand on the side of sin and that we are away from God. Once we sin, we are away from God. Once we join ourselves to sins, we cannot be together with God. As soon as Adam sinned, he hid from God and dared not meet Him (Gen. 3:8, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”). Colossians 1:21 says, ” And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Sin alienates us from God. What does it mean to confess our sins? It means to come back to God’s side and to acknowledge that what we have done is sin. We have come back to God. We are no longer with sin. We are standing opposite of sin and calling sin a sin. This is confession. Only those who walk in the light and who have deep feelings and a repulsion for sin can have genuine confession. Those who are callous to sin, who consider it natural to sin, are not making any confession when they merely acknowledge something with their lips in a heartless way.

Believers are the children of light (Eph. 5:8, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”) and the children of God (1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”). They are no longer outsiders but members of God’s family. In a family one should behave in a way that is worthy of the family. You are a child of God, and you should know about sin. You should have the same attitude towards sin as your Father. The way the Father considers sin should be the way you consider sin. Confession in God’s house comes when His children take the same attitude as their Father towards sin. They condemn sin in the same way that their Father condemns sin. They take the same attitude as their Father with regard to sin. When a child of God sins, he should condemn sin as sin just as the Father does.

If we confess our sins this way, God ” ….. he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)  When we sin and when we know our sin and acknowledge it as sin, God will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God is “faithful,” which means that He must honor and fulfill His own words and promises. He is also “righteous,” which means He must be satisfied with His Son’s redemptive work on the cross and must recognize it. Based on His promise and based on His redemption, He has to forgive us. He is faithful, and He is righteous. He must forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We have to pay attention to the words “every” and “all” in 1 John 1:7 and 9. “Every sin” and “all unrighteousness” are fully forgiven and cleansed. The Lord has done this. When the Lord says “all,” He means all. We should never change it to something else. When He says every sin, He means every sin, not just every sin committed before we believed or every sin committed in the past. He has forgiven us of all sins.  In order to help you confess sins, please click on this link to download the list I have used for 30 years:

Repentance Confession List

V. AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER

First John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” These things refer to the forgiveness and cleansing from our sins through God’s promise and work. John wrote these things to us so that we may not sin. It shows us that the Lord has forgiven our many sins and that, as a result, we do not sin. When we find out that we are forgiven, we do not become free to sin; rather, we will not sin.

Following this it says, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: ” “With the Father”—this is a family affair; it is something that happens after we are saved. We have already believed and have become one of God’s many children. Now we have an Advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ the Righteous; “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” Through the Lord Jesus’ death and by His becoming the propitiation for our sins, He has become our Advocate with the Father. These words are spoken to Christians.

The propitiation spoken of here is the reality of the type of the ashes of the red heifer in Numbers 19. It speaks of God’s forgiveness of our future sins according to the accomplished work of the cross. There is no need to have a new cross. We only need the work of the cross once and it is sufficient. With the eternal redemption of the cross, our sins are forgiven. That sacrifice was not an ordinary sacrifice. It was a sacrifice whose efficacy could be applied at all times. It was ashes; therefore, it was applicable all the time. Based on His blood, the Lord Jesus Christ has become our Advocate. He has accomplished redemption on the cross. Based on His accomplished work, we can be cleansed. If we sin by accident, we should not be disheartened by our sin; we should not wallow in it or remain in it. When we sin, the first thing we should do is confess our sin to the Lord. God says that it is a sin, and we should acknowledge it as a sin. God says that this is wrong, and we also should say that it is wrong. When we ask God to forgive our sin, He forgives our sin, and our fellowship with Him is restored immediately.

In the eyes of God, no brother or sister should sin. However, if anyone sins by accident, the first thing to do is deal with it immediately before God. He or she should take care of the problem of sin immediately. Never delay. Deal with it as soon as possible. You must confess immediately. Tell God, “I have sinned!” Our confession is our judgment of ourselves. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When a child of God sins and does not confess his sin but instead remains in his sin, he loses his fellowship with God. There will be no further fellowship between him and God. There is a leak in his conscience, and he will not be able to stand up before God. He may still have a little fellowship with God, but that fellowship will not be pleasant. Indeed, he will suffer. When a child who has done something wrong comes home, he will feel that something is not right because his father will not speak to him. He cannot have an intimate fellowship with his father. He knows that there is a barrier between him and his father. This is the pain that results from a loss of fellowship.

There is only one way to recovery—it is to go to God and confess our sins. We have to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has become our Advocate and has borne all our sins. We have to confess our failures and shortcomings before God in a humble way. We have to look to Him so that we will no longer be proud or loose when we set out on our journey again. We have to realize that we are no better than anyone else, and that it is possible for us to fall at any time. We have to ask God for mercy and strength to go on step by step. Once we confess this way, we will immediately recover our fellowship with God, and the joy and peace that were lost will come back.

Finally, we should point out once more that Christians should not sin. Sin results in suffering and loss. May God have mercy upon us, keep us, preserve us, and lead us on in the way of unceasing fellowship with Him!

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration in the first lesson was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

 

I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of what  the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living.  At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ,  they need to realize that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but when the new believer exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word inis a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this book, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.  Here is a list of things from the Bible that show conditions that existed in the left circle and what they are changed to in the right circle:

BEING SAVED – MOVING FROM ONE WORLD TO THE OTHER

Unsaved/Selfish Saved/Benevolence
Owned by me Genesis 3:1-6 Owned by God I Corinthians 6:19,20
Self the lord Psalm 49:18; 81:12; Proverbs 14:12; Zechariah 7:6; Matthew 19:21; II Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 2:21; II Timothy 3:2-4 Christ the Lord Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalms 2:6; 24:8; Isaiah 6:1; 11:10 33:17; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9,10; Matthew 2:2,6; Matthew 12:6; 19:28; 21:5; 26:64; 28:18; Luke 2:11; 10:22; 23:42; John 1:49; 3:31; 12:13; 18:36,37; Acts 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Romans 5:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:19-22; Philippians 2:9-11; I Timothy 6:15,16; II Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 2:7,8; I Peter 3:22
In the World Ephesians 2:12; II Peter 1:4; I John 2:15,16; 4:3-5; 5:4,5; 5:19; In Christ Jesus Romans 3:24; 8:1,2; 8:39; I Corinthians 1:30; 3:11; 4:15; 15:22; II Corinthians 2:14; 5:17; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 3:28; 6:15; Ephesians 1:1-3,10; 2:6; 2:8-10; 2:13; 3:11; Philippians 2:5; 3:3; 3:9; 3:14; Colossians 1:28; 2:6; I Thessalonians 4:16; 5:18; I Timothy 1:14; II Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; 3:12; 3:15; Phileman 1:6; I John 5:20.
Servant of sin Romans 6:17,20 Servant of Righteousness Romans 6:18
Walk in the flesh Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 6:8 Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16,25
Lost Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:4-9,24; 19:10; John 17:12; II Corinthians 4:3,4 Saved Matthew 10:22; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30,31; Romans 5:9,10; 8:24; 10:9,10,13; I Corinthians 1:18; 3:15; 5:5; 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:5-10; II Thessalonians 2:10; I Timothy 2:4; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20,21; I Peter 4:18;
Dead in Sin Ephesians 2:1,5; Dead to Sin I Peter 2:24: Romans 6; Galatians 2:20
Love the World I John 2:15 Love the Lord Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 30:6,10; Psalms 97:10; 116:1; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27
Sin is the Master Jeremiah 17:1-3; Ezekiel 3:20,21; John 8:34; 9:41; Romans 3:9; Romans 6:12,16,17,20; 7:17; I Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 2:17; II Peter 2:14; I John 3:8,9 Christ is the Master Matthew 10:24,25; 23:8-10; Mark 13:35; Luke 13:25; 14:21; John 13:13,14; Romans 14:4; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; II Timothy 2:21
Yoke of sin Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 10:27; 58:6-9; Ezekiel 34:27; Hosea 11:4; Galatians 5:1; Christ’s Yoke is Easy Matthew 11:28-30
Eternal death Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; I John 3:15; Eternal Life Daniel 12:2; Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18-23,30; John 3:15,16,36,; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22,23; Galatians 6:8; I Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2, 3:7; I John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13; 5:20; Jude 1:21.
Reject Christ Mark 7:9 Accept Christ John 1:11,12
Hell the home Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:15; Matthew 5:22,29,20; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; II Peter 2:4; 20:13,14; 21:8 Heaven the home Psalms 14:2; Matthew 4:17; 5:3,10,12,16,18,19,20,48; 6:20; 7:21; 10:7,32,33; 18:3,4,10,14,18; 19:14,21,23; 28:18; I Corinthians 15:47; II Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 2:10; 3:20; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16,17; 9:24; 10:34; I Peter 1:4; 3:22; I John 5:7; Revelation 3:12; 4:1,2; 5:13; 11:19; 15:5; 21:1,2,3,10.
Spiritual death Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 4:18; James 1:15; James 5:20; Revelation 21:8 Spiritual Life Matthew 7:14; Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26; 19:17; John 1:4; 3:15,16,36; 5:24,26,29,39,40; 6:27; 6:35,48; 6:63,68; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25; 12:25; 17:3; 20:31; Acts 5:20; 11:18; Romans 5:10; 5:18; 6:4; 8:2,6,10; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:6; 4:10,11,12; 5:4; Galatians 2:20; 3:21; 6:8; Colossians 3:3; II Timothy 1:1,10; James 1:12; II Peter 1:3; I John 1:1,2; 3:14; 5:12;
Spirit is dead Ephesians 2:1-10 Spirit is alive by the Holy Spirit Romans 8:10; Ephesians 2:1-10
No Holy Spirit Jude 1:19 Holy Spirit indwells believer II Timothy 1:14; James 4:5;
Physical birth only John 1:13; 3:6 Born Again of the Spirit of God John 1:13; 3:3; 3:5,-8
Doing their own works Matthew 7:22,23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4,5 Hebrews 4:10 Enter into HIS REST Exodus 33:14; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-9
Self the motive Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 Christ and others the motive Matthew 22:27-40; Philippians 1:21,23-24
Selfishness the mind set Proverbs 12:15; 20:6; Jeremiah 2:35; II Corinthians 10:12 Agape love the mind set Matthew 22:27-40; John 13:35; 15:9,12,13; 21:15-17; I Corinthians 13; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22
Works of the flesh Galatians 5:19-23 Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-18,25
Man’s will is sovereign John 1:13; II Peter 1:21 God’s will is sovereign Psalms 40:8; 143:10; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 6:6
Spiritually blind John 9:41 Spiritual sight II Kings 6:17; Job 42:5; Matthew 5:8; John 14:19; 16:14,15; Hebrews 2:9; 11:27;
Unbelief Deuteronomy 32:20; Romans 3:3; Faith and belief foundation Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 8:10; 9:2,22,29; 15:29; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 5:34; 10:52; 11:22; Acts 3:16; 6:7; 14:9,22,27; 20:21; 26:18; Romans 1:5,8,17; 3:22,25,27-31; 4:5; 5:1,2; 10:6-13,17; I Corinthians 2:5; 15:1-17; 16:13; II Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 3:11,24,25,26; 5:5,6,22,23; Ephesians 2:8,9; 3:12,17,18; 6:16; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:23; 2:12; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:2; 10:22,23,28; 11:1ff;
Draw back to perdition Hebrews 10:38,39 Commitment to Christ Psalms 37:3,5; 118:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 26:4; 50:10; II Timothy 1:12;
Believe in the mind James 2:19,20 Believe in the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10
End and scope of life is self Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 End and scope of life is God Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13
Does not seek God with whole heart Ezekiel 33:9; Luke 14:18; Acts 24:25; 28:27; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25 Seeks after God with whole heart Psalms 119:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12
Sin unto death Romans 6:16 Obedience unto righteousness Romans 6:16
Love self Luke 12:19,20; 18:10-14 Love God with all the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; I Corinthians 8:3; I John 4:20,21; 5:2,3;
Hate or compete with neighbor Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 13:10 Love neighbor as self Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:29; 25:34-40; Mark 12:31,33; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 12:20; 13:9,10; 15:1; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
Hold truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18ff Hold truth in Word of God Psalms 119:72,127,162; Proverbs 23:23; John 1:1-3,14; 14:6; 18:37; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14
Will chooses selfish goals Proverbs 18:2; Romans 3:23 Will chooses glory of God John 11:40; Acts 7:55; Romans 5:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; Philippians 2:9-11,
Continue in sin Romans 6:1-7 Dead unto sin Romans 6:1-7
Old man is alive and well I Peter 4:2-6; II Peter 1:9,10 Old man is crucified Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; II Timothy 2:11
Free from righteousness Romans 6:20 Free from sin Romans 6:18,22
Life of habitual sin I John 3:8 Cannot habitually sin I John 3:9
Living in continuous sin I John 3:8 Occasional sin I John 2:1
Save their life now but lose it at endMatthew 16:25,26 Lose life now but save it in eternity Matthew 16:25,26
Regret when they sin Luke 16:30-31; II Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:17 Repent from their sin Matthew 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; II Peter 3:9
Sorrow of the world (being caught) II Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow (see sin as God sees it) II Corinthians 7:10
Reject Christ as Lord & Savior Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Hebrews 10:38 Accept Christ in ALL THAT HE IS! Romans 10:13; I Corinthians 1:30,31
Selfish love (lust) James 1:13-15 Agape sacrificial love I Corinthians 13
Gain the world Matthew 16:26 Lose the World Matthew 16:26
Lose their soul Matthew 16:26 Save the Soul Matthew 16:26

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