The Power of God through the Blood of the Cross
This last week we took a brief look at evil, sin as lawlessness and the deception of believing in the goodness of human nature. This way of thinking is dangerous in that it is opposite to the Biblical teaching of the sin nature and our need for a Savior. As believers, these subtle deceptions in our thinking will affect our perception of sin. This wrong perception of sin can cause the sins in our lives to become dulled or worse, not even noticed. Our wrong perception of sin is another tactic the enemy will use to diminish the impact we as Christians are making in the modern world. In spite of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, many believers will continue to put up with sin in their lives, which always leads to what I call “subtle sins." These subtle sins are the fruit of sin, and can manifest themselves in the life of a believer as bondage. For example: fear, depression, drug and alcohol abuse which can lead to continual defeat in the life of a believer.
As His church, we must return to the truth that there is freedom, power, victory, healing and miracles in what Christ has accomplished on the Cross. He has called us to know His Word, know His will and take His message of redemption to a world that is in bondage to the enemy. We are not to receive the world's message of bondage unto ourselves! We are called to be a display of God’s glory and are encouraged to be raised up in His holy power with signs and miracles. His mighty power is something that cannot be ignored or denied by any man! They can reject it, but they can not deny it! Where is the victory in the Christian life today? Why aren’t we showing un-believers that His truths and His ways are worth living for! How will sinners know Him through us if we don’t have real solutions to their real problems? Show me Lord! Start with me! What can I do to help change things in the lives of those around me?
In prayer my answer came. “Connie, you need to start by recognizing the subtle sins in your own heart and let Me create in you a pure heart! When I am free to do this, I will no longer have to hide you from My presence or keep My Holy Spirit from you. I will restore to you the joy of your salvation and it will affect others, they will see Me and believe. I will grant you a willing and steadfast spirit that will continue to sustain you and keep you and give you favor. Only then, will you be able to teach the lost My ways and only then, through the example of a pure heart that is pleasing to Me, will sinners find their way and turn back to Me! Connie, it’s all about the subtle sins you let stay in your life. You claim you belong to Me, so I must make you different from the rest. Where sin dwells in your heart, I can’t be! Where the smallest of sin is practiced in your life, my Spirit is quenched! Where my Spirit is quenched, there is no power in you to draw people unto Myself. You must die so that I may live!” The Lord so gently showed me of the many times I had sinned and not acknowledged it. He also showed me the subtle sin areas of my life that needed to be dealt with immediately. Looking back, it breaks my heart as I have to consider the consequences of those subtle sins and how they may have affected the lives of those around me.
Had I become so preoccupied with major sin that I lost sight of my need to deal with the more subtle sins? That subtle sin of worry or anxiety? That subtle sin of irritability, unthankfulness or of a harsh word, unloving actions or a critical spirit? Oh my goodness Father, I am guilty of them all! When I first gave my heart to the Lord the worst forms of sin in my life were dealt with. But after a few years of serving the Lord, I caught myself here and there giving in to anger, resentment, fear and a few other subtle sins. As I have continued to seek His heart, Gods unfailing love has given me two main perspectives on how He deals with sin and subtle sins depending on their nature and context. On one hand, God cannot tolerate even the smallest trace of sin; yet on the other, He tolerates a lot because He is full of grace and wisdom of which I cannot comprehend. Achan is an example of the first instance in Joshua 7, and so is Moses, who was not able to enter the Promised Land because he "lost his temper" once with the Israelites in Numbers 20:7-12. On the other hand, God does not attempt to root out all sin in our lives, all at once. He most often gives us a chance to repent and turn our heart towards Him such as David did in Psalm 51 after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah. 2 Samuel Chap.11-12. Some forms of sin God calls for immediate confrontation and harsh discipline. Others, He is patient and gentle. I am personally grateful that perfect love is His motivation for both.
Why do we sometimes go on for years continuing in our subtle sins? I believe it goes back to the deception that we don’t consider ourselves to be bad or dishonest people. The problem is, when we continue to practice or on a daily basis live out the smallest of subtle sin in our lives it becomes like a form of clothing. We become so comfortable wearing it, we don’t even notice we have it on. Just like an old pair of sweats, they become our favorite. We will eventually believe they fit us best and therefore we become deceived to the truth about how we really look. This is exactly where Satan wants the children of God, not noticing the smallest of subtle sins in their lives and wearing them casually. This is exactly what will blend us into the world, not set us apart from it.
In 1John 1: 5-8, John lays it out clearly. “This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” This word “deceive” means: to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid or to practice deceit or deception. By not acknowledging our subtle sins and dealing with them, we can become deceived and exchange God’s truth for the lie. If His truth is not in us, because of subtle sins, then what do we have to offer the world that’s different? The opposite of the truth is a lie! I knew I was not living by the truth of God’s Word in allowing subtle sins to remain in my life, so God started the process of sanctification. The wonderful news is, any time we willingly allow “His Light” to shine upon all those places within ourselves that we cannot clearly see, any subtle sin or self deception that exists will be exposed.
One of my favorite authors is Oswald Chambers. This quote from him is precious to me and close to my heart because I have experienced the pain he talks about! “Unless we are experiencing the hurt of facing every deception about ourselves, we have hindered the work of God in our lives. The Word of God inflicts hurt on us more than sin ever could because sins dull our senses. But the Word of God intensifies our sensitivities to the point that the hurt produced by God's Word is the most exquisite pain conceivable. It hurts not only on the natural level but also on the deeper spiritual level to the point that no deception can remain." His quote truly lines up with the Word of God. “For the Word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from Him. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.” (Heb. 4:12-13)
Unfortunately, the importance of the consequences of subtle sin and it’s effects are not something talked about among believers. We don’t want to challenge our friends and family to address their subtle sins and we don’t want them to know about ours. It makes them and us uncomfortable. Satan most assuredly doesn’t want us talking about or recognizing our subtle sins. In many cases we turn our heads to them and direct our conversations to another topic. This is something we desperately need to change. We need to make room for and recognize our need for the Spirit’s power again in our lives. Where subtle sins continue to dwell His Spirit is quenched! Where subtle sins are not recognized and dealt with in the life of a believer, a door of deception can open and it will only lead to a life of bondage and defeat. We must recognize our continual need for our Savior and His precious Blood. Where the Blood of Jesus is not needed in the life of a believer the Holy Spirit cannot be! Where there is no Holy Spirit, there is no conviction of sin! Where there is no Holy Spirit, there is no power to transform lives! You see, the Holy Spirit was not poured out until the Blood of Jesus was poured out! (Acts 2) The two go hand in hand! The Blood and the Spirit work closely together in our life, they cannot be separated. As believers, let’s get those subtle sins covered by the precious Blood of Jesus. Then we can welcome back the power of the Holy Spirit. We can then, in that power, begin to move as a victorious body of Christ. That power is amazing, it’s all consuming, it’s life changing! It is the only way we can be effective, healthy, ready and willing to be used for His glory and His purposes. God has given us the real answer to the real problem.
Well, my subtle sins continue to be exposed on a daily basis as I read the truth of His precious Word. The process of sanctification is lifelong and ongoing and I continue to be desperate for truth and hungry for change in my life. My heart's desire is to reach the lost in His power and His strength and to encourage other believers to do the same. I am thankful that God in His great mercy and His perfect love continues to challenge me daily to recognize and cover those subtle sins that are always ready to invade my heart.
Through the Word
Did the Israelites know God before they sinned in Exodus 32?
What did God ask the Israelites to do because of their sin? Leviticus 26:40-41; 2 Chronicles 12:6-12
What was their response to God regarding their sin? Judges 10:10-16; Nehemiah 9: 1-3; Psalms 106:6; Jeremiah 14:20
What did David do when he realized his sin? Psalms 32:5; 38:18; 51:2-4
In Daniel 9:3-19 how did Daniel pray for the sins of Israel and can you list some of the sins he confessed?
If we find sin in our lives as believers, what should we do? 2 Chronicles 7:14; Proverbs 28:13; Hebrews 10:22-23; 1 John 1:9-10
As Christians what are we to do on a regular basis? 1 Corinthians 11:27-28; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 John 2:1-6
What are our promises as believers if we acknowledge and confess our sin? Exodus 34:5-7; Psalm 86:5; Psalm 103:1-5, 8; Psalms 130:3-8; Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 43:25; John 16:33; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Corinthians 15:56-57; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 John 2:1-2, 12; 1 John 5:4
As believers in Christ how are we to handle the sin of others? Romans 14:1; Galatians 6:1-5; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 John 5:16-17; Luke 17:1-4
What should we now understand about the deception of subtle sin? Romans 13:11-14; Galatians 5:16-17; 1 Peter 2:11-12
What are our lives to look like as believers? Ephesians 1:18 -23; Ephesians 4:22-32; Ephesians 5:1-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; Titus 3:3-7; 1 John 5: 18-21
The warning of Galatians 5:19-21 is very clear:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery,
enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing,
and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Make no mistake, “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” It does not say those who have done these things, but those who “practice” them. If we have given our lives to Christ and we continue to live according to the flesh as described here, the message is just as clear in the other books of the New Testament, such as the Book of Romans, that we will perish.
In 2 Timothy 4, the Apostle Paul warned about the time when a great deception would come upon believers because they would “only want to have their ears tickled” or could only hear positive things. Much of the body of Christ in America has fallen to that state now since they will automatically reject anything they consider to be negative. As both the Lord and His apostles warned, such are heading for a terrible end.
An abundance of teachers and teachings today can make people feel better about themselves, even though their eternal lives are in jeopardy. Such teachings have so watered down the clear teachings of Scripture that they can make people feel comfortable in your sin, but they are deceiving you. Even the most devout can stumble at times; however, they will not rationalize their sin but rather repent. To repent means to both feel remorse and to turn from the sin.
Doctrines are now being promoted that since the New Covenant was established, the Lord no longer judges. The New Testament makes it clear that He not only continues to bring judgment upon sin, but that His judgment begins with His own household (see I Peter 4:17). The New Testament is also clear about the judgment that will come upon those who so dilute His Word as to become stumbling blocks to His people.
I have been stretched far beyond my own reasoning as I have beheld the mercy and grace of God for sinners. That He would love us so much to go to the cross as He did will be a marvel for all of eternity. That we can behold His patience in our own times because He does not want any to perish is a marvel. Even so, as the New Testament also makes clear, there is a limit to His patience, and we are foolish to presume upon it.
We are told Romans 11:22, we must “behold then the kindness and the severity of God.” Those who can only see His kindness without seeing His severity do not see Him as He is. Those who only see His severity without seeing His kindness do not see Him as He is. He is both kind and severe, and those who see Him as He is, see both.
Excerpt from Morning Star Ministries by Rick Joyner
Extra Reading: Jeremiah 7:1-29 Does the Lord God feel any different today than He did back then? How do you think He feels today when we continue in our sin and bring it with us to the House of God?