Note: Today is a new day and it gives me great joy to once again be writing and posting articles. In doing so, I decided to begin afresh with a new website I call One Liberty Place. You will find the site to be very responsive, which means it functions well on mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc. There are several reasons for the move, but the short of it is that after the awakening in 2005 and renaissance that followed, Liberty in Christ is more and more the Place where I am.
For most of my life I was in bondage to the traditional teachings of Christianity. I grew up believing that we are born sinners and are destined to suffer eternal torture by an all-loving God if we don’t do certain things and not do certain other things.
I also believed that there was a literal devil, a “person”, an entity such a fallen angel who existed outside and separate from me who was always causing me to sin and creating all sorts of other problems in my life. So I really had two superpowers out to get me. God was going to either fry me or obliterate me if I didn’t adhere to His commands, and Satan was there to deceive me and make sure I didn’t obey God.
So woe was me! With that kind of an underlying mindset is it any wonder I was never really free from fear and anxiety and guilt? No matter what I did to “please God” I still had feelings of unworthiness, even as a sinner who was unable to keep from “sinning”.
One thing is for sure from a marketing perspective… fear and bad news sell. Just turn on the evening news and see for yourself. Or course there’s nothing scarier than the threat of eternal damnation, which is what many churches down through the ages have used to keep their pews filled to the front. The irony is that churches claim to preach the gospel, which is good news, but they nevertheless perpetuate that underlying fear of judgment day and doubt about one’s “eternal salvation”. Yet even nature itself teaches us that once a butterfly is set at liberty from the cocoon, you know she’s not coming back.
As a “good Christian”, I always tried to do the “things of the church”, which I now see as placing myself under “the law”. Now I am not saying that I didn’t have any love in my heart at all and just did those works to avoid the bad news, the penalty of a wrathful God of judgment, a heavenly Father who would toast His children in Dante’s Inferno for all eternity if they didn’t do as He commands. But I can tell you with certitude that fear, however subtle, resided at the root of my religious life.
By the way, later in life I changed doctrine and started believing that God was slightly more compassionate than someone who would torture His “evil” children for all eternity. I learned from a Biblical scholar I studied under at that time, that God will just obliterate His evil children from existence… like the fat of lamb dripping onto hot coals. Poof!
Wow! I look back now and ask, “How’s that for unconditional Love?”
Now I know I am not alone in my quest to please God in order to feel more worthy and acceptable. Many of us have tried desperately at times to achieve or maintain a “good standing” with God. As for me, there were times when I abstained from certain foods and meats. There were times I observed Holy Days and Sabbath Days. There were times I observed Christmas and Easter and other times I shunned them as pagan holidays. Many of these things I did just to conform to the practices of whatever church I happened to go to at the time.
Even so, I have prayed the woe-is-me sinner’s prayer and at times literally pleaded for forgiveness. I studied the scriptures in order to achieve great depths of knowledge. I went to church and tithed faithfully. I then became the pastor of a church with a large following and taught the Bible chapter by chapter and line by line. I did all those things and more… but I was still in captivity and not free!
Jesus said the following “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32)”. Since I wasn’t free of guilt and fear, etc., then the truth I thought I possessed must not have been the kind of “truth” that sets one free, wouldn’t you agree?
I have always believed, but now by the grace (love) of God have come to “know”, that ALL things really do work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28). Therefore the bondage that we suffer is actually a good thing. It serves a purpose in bringing to maturity the sons of God. How can you come into the Light if you are not first in darkness? And though you may yet not “know” it by revelation, one day you will come to know that you indeed are the son of God.
1 Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
So no matter in what place you may find yourself at this present time, even if your life is a living hell or you have fears and worries because of health issues or lack of money, or worse, you are there, at that place, “according to his purpose”. When we begin to “change the way we think” (which is what repent means) we start to believe all the good news and sooner rather than later we start to “see” all the good that is produced from our present trials and sufferings.
Now here’s another thing concerning liberty: “One cannot be set at liberty unless one is first in bondage.”
To that end, liberty needs to be understood and defined in relation to her antagonist or adversary, the enemy who relentlessly seeks to devour freedom and liberty, take captives and make them subjects by placing them in bondage. Not only are both secular and Biblical histories replete with this scenario, but it is easily visible in both the worlds of politics and religion today. It’s not quite as easy to see this happening spiritually within each and every one of us. Of course that which we see taking place in the world is but a manifestation of, a projection of, that which has already taken place in the spiritual realm. (Rom 1:20)
Who then is the adversary of our liberty?
1Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Some of you may be old enough (I certainly am) to remember the Flip Wilson Show in the early 70’s. He portrayed a character called Reverend Leroy who was the minister of the Church of What’s Happening Now! New members were always wary of attending his church because Reverend Leroy seemed like such a con artist. (If you’ve never heard of or seen Flip Wilson play Reverend Leroy, just turn on your TV and start watching various preachers and ministers and you will soon find that his character’s spirit lives on.) Anyway, why all this came to mind is that Flip Wilson majorly popularized the catchphrase “The devil made me do it!”
This catchphrase actually satirizes the belief of many of us who have been traditionally taught by our parents and religious leaders that the devil walks about or roams the earth like Casper the unfriendly ghost. It is he they say who is responsible for all the evil in the world.
I have come to “see” that the “truth that sets you free” from bondage is not something you learn from Bible study. As I said, I tried that and it didn’t work. Truth isn’t correct doctrine no matter how scholarly it may be. Truth isn’t something that can be taught to you by man or his religions. Truth is not a learned belief in this or that. The truth that sets you at liberty is a “spiritual” matter. It is a “knowing” that comes from the revelation of Jesus Christ, the revelation of God’s son, his very sonship, in you.
Of course for something to be revealed to us it must by definition be veiled, as in hidden from our view. That means until the time of revelation, until it is given unto us to know at our appointed time (to every man in his own order), it remains a mystery to us. So what is this mystery? It is Christ in YOU!
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The hidden thing, the mystery, is “knowing” who you really are in Christ and Christ in you… as you. Some people have a hard time with that because they still have a mental picture, an image in their mind, of who/what Christ is. They still see an image of a man and just like the example of Peter, no man, be he preacher or scholar, can teach them who Christ really is… it comes only by revelation!
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
The point is, Christ isn’t some miniature little man who sits in your heart. Christ is the anointing of God. Christ is the Spirit, the power of truth and wisdom that dwells in you and becomes you… and THAT is the hope glory.
1 Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
And when the Spirit of the Lord, that Spirit of Truth and Wisdom, dwells in you… then there is Liberty.
2 Co 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
So what is it that keeps us in bondage and prevents us from entering into that kingdom of peace, that place of liberty? What is it that prevents and hinders the taking away of the veil that covers our heart… wherein the mystery is hidden? What is it that stifles the revelation of Jesus Christ who dwells in your heart? Is it not the adversary… ah yes, the great dragon, that old serpent we call the devil and Satan?
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Now I know that most preachers and pastors see this as some literal event taking place in the future. I taught that for many, many years. So have thousands upon thousands of other pastors and ministers and preachers for the last 2000 years. Yet it still remains a mystery to most. That’s because the Book of Revelation is about YOU individually, the revealing of Christ in you, the awakening and coming alive of the son of God… who you are. It is the personal revelation (the uncovering, the unveiling) of Christ in each and every one of us… to every man in his own order. (You are included in the “every man”.)
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
In Adam, the carnal man, the first man who we believe we are, we all suffer death, which is ignorance that brings fear and pain and suffering. In Christ, the second man, the spiritual man from above who we really are, we are all made alive, filled with love, filled with the power and wisdom which brings joy and peace and liberty. It shall happen to every man… in his own order.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Now that old serpent of Rev 12:9, who we first see in Genesis, has been in your garden from the beginning. (You are the garden of God.) And yes, he is your adversary, he is your accuser, and he is your enemy. He is the carnal mind, the adam (we are all adam), the ego who you believe yourself to be… until that little devil is cast down from the throne of your heart (God’s temple), until that man of sin (who opposes God) be taken out of the way, destroyed by the Brightness of Christ being revealed in you.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind (our serpentine brain) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So in Adam, our carnality, we all die (suffer in ignorance), but in Christ we are all made alive (and are at peace, liberty). Let’s back up a verse.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
So if you are in the flesh (carnally minded), try as you may, and Lord knows I, along with many of you, have tried, you cannot please God.
Rom 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
(Note: Flesh doesn’t mean your flesh body. It means your flesh mind, your doctrines and beliefs.)
We worship God in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24). “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus (He in us and us in Him), and have no confidence in the flesh (Php 3:3).”
So if you are still trying to do things to please God, so that you feel you are in good standing, then you are in the wrong place and are still in bondage.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Perhaps that will shed some light on 2 Thes, chapter 2, for some of those who used to study with me in years gone by. The carnal ego man, the man of sin, the son of perdition (death, ignorance), must be taken out of the way, cast down from heaven (the inner sanctuary of your heart) before the revelation of God’s sonship, Christ in you, is revealed.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Thessalonians he knew what he was talking about from the personal experience of the revelation of Jesus Christ. He did not get it from personal or group Bible study nor was he taught it by some scholarly teacher!
Gal 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Could he make that any more clear… that it was by the revelation of Jesus Christ?
It all began when Paul was the first man adam, Saul, who became a zealous religious Pharisee and a Biblical scholar. He studied under the great Gamaliel and was taught… “according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day (Acts 22:3).”
Like most very religious people, Saul was extremely judgmental against those who did not subscribe to his brand of theology. He persecuted and placed Christians in “bondage”. In fact, he was “Paul’s” worst enemy and adversary.
Gal 1:13-14 For ye have heard of my conversation (conduct) in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
I hope you can see this is allegorical of how religious leaders place people in bondage with their doctrinal teachings of the “law”, i.e. religious do’s and don’ts and beliefs of this and that. (Did you catch the part where “he greatly profited from it”?) It is also allegorical of the “religious leader in us”, our carnal mind, who is really the one who places us in bondage. We are our own worst adversary (enemy)… because our carnal mind is enmity towards God.
Now check this out:
Gal 1:15-16 But when it pleased God (every man in his own order), who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
So Saul of Tarsus, that no good, low down, profit seeking carnal scoundrel from the Church of What’s Happening Now, received the Revelation of Jesus Christ that John wrote about, that good news of God’s son (sonship) in him.
Here’s how it happened:
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Let’s see… a Light from heaven (Luke 17:21… heaven, the Kingdom of God, is within you). That Light would be the “brightness of His coming (revealing)”. Oh, that means the mystery of the iniquity that’s been covering up the truth is about to be revealed, which means someone is about to be “taken out of the way”. Someone is about to be cast down to the earth. Someone is about to take a great fall.
2Th 2:7-8 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
So in Acts 9:3 there was a bright light from heaven… and what happen to old carnal Saul?
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice (Rev. 12:10 ) saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Saul the persecutor, Saul the accuser, Saul the carnal minded man whose thoughts are enmity against God. That flash of Light from heaven shined brightly and there was a great falling away. That old serpentine mind, called the Devil and Satan… was cast down and fell to the earth. Sound familiar?
Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
That was the Day of the Lord for Saul, the Dawning of a New Day, the Day he was set at liberty and his name (his nature, his entire life) was forever changed by God. From hence forth he would be Paul (which means little). And though that thorn in his flesh (that pain in the a** carnal mindedness) would remain with him, he would from hence forth and forever more grow in wisdom and in grace (the love of God)… which is sufficient for all.
So remember what Paul proclaimed in 2 Cor 3:17… Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty…because that’s what sons of God do. They are bearers of good news, not bad news. They lift up the Spirit because they are “quick (alive) with understanding (wisdom) in fear (reverence, love) of the LORD: and he (they) shall not judge after the sight of his (their) eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his (their) ears.” Isa 11:3.
Here it is from the words of Jesus when he walked into the synagogue and was handed the scroll of Isaiah:
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel (good news, not bad) to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord (the time is at hand).
That is the Spirit that God gives to us. It is Christ in us, the Spirit of Power and Wisdom and Love of God. Any other spirit comes from the carnal mind.
2 Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power (dunamis, of miracle strength), and of love (agape, unconditional, non-judgmental love), and of a sound mind (wisdom).
Thanks for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it.