Black + Red = White

Marnes Nel of Abundant Grace Ministries once said that the blood of Jesus is better than Omo. Omo, for those readers living outside of South Africa, is our country’s most well-known laundry detergent.

When your clothing gets soiled Omo does a great job of cleaning it. But…after the next use it needs to go back into the wash to be cleaned all over again! This cycle repeats itself all the time – there is never a point where you can sit back and know that your garment is permanently clean.

“The blood of Jesus is better than Omo.” If we believe in the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross all our sins are cleared and we become white as snow (Is 1:18). The world needs to know that this cleansing of our sins through His blood is a permanent wash. It is not an action that needs to be repeated over and over again. The Word says His blood cleanses us and keeps us cleansed. We don’t have to struggle with condemnation, we can just turn to God knowing He did a completely perfect job.

“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” 1 John 1:9

“For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy.” Heb 10:14

No part of our salvation is left for us to clean. He wiped away every trace of darkness and sin. His single offering was enough to forever cleanse every part of our sinful nature. We are perfected in Him.

5 MINUTE FRIDAY: PERSPECTIVE

Time to tune in to 5 Minute Friday, with The Gypsy Mama. Every Friday readers write for 5 minutes about a chosen topic, but they are not allowed to edit their work, back track or over think it. Today’s topic is Perspective, so here is my 5 unedited minutes:

PERSPECTIVE

Go:

His vantage point is different from mine. When I look at me I see brokenness, fragility and sin. I see everything that should keep me away from His presence, and all that should exclude me from His grace.

What He sees is a completely different picture. When He looks in my direction, He sees a body that has been made whole by His Son’s death. He sees a strong woman, holy and unblemished. Instead of the faults that cloud my vision, He looks into the face of Jesus – and all He can see is my righteousness. No effort is required from my side other than to believe in His sacrifice. This washes me once, forever and perfectly.

Stop.

Adam vs. Jesus

I wonder who has more power? This is a silly question – yet so many Christians believe that the effect of Adam’s sin was more powerful than the effect of Jesus’ death on the cross.

The moment Adam sinned, death spread to all men. Death includes suffering, pain, disease, destruction – every kind of negativity and evil you can think of. Romans 5:12 also tells us when sin entered the world, death followed in its footsteps.

Jesus, on the other hand, brought life and restoration to all men.  His death on the cross accomplished God’s plan to bring mankind back into the place he was before Adam fell into temptation. He uttered the words: “It is finished” with His last breath (John 19:30).  Who are we to think that He did not really succeed? How can we believe that Adam’s actions had more power than the actions of the Son of God?

“But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many. Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man’s] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification (an act of righteousness). For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.”  Rom 5:15 – 18

We can believe (with total confidence) that the effect of Adam’s sin has been removed for all who believe in the sacrifice of Jesus. We don’t have to live in a mentality of suffering due to the fall of man – we can live in a mentality of victory and abundance, reigning as kings in life.

The joy that motivated Jesus

“For God so loved the world…” 

We have heard the above mentioned statement so many times – but do we truly realize what it means? After the fall of man, God made a plan to restore mankind to Himself. He valued our relationship with Him so much that He had to do this. He was motivated out of love!

When we think about Jesus, and what He had to endure on the cross, we usually only see an image of suffering. Don’t get me wrong – the punishment He took upon Himself was the greatest sacrifice anyone could ever make – but the mindset from which He did it was joy.

“He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2

The joy of reconciling the world to Himself was what motivated Jesus. He did not do it reluctantly – He was aware of the fact that His sacrifice would completely cleanse and perfect all those who believe in Him, forever. This made the sacrifice worthwhile.

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” John 3:16

Flawless and perfect

As born-again Christians we become part of the bride of Christ. We step into an unconditional love that cannot be separated from us through any human interaction or event.

The book Songs of Solomon is a representation of the love that Christ feels for His bride. There are specific verses that you need to take to heart in order to comprehend how He sees you. Contrary to what many of us think of ourselves – He thinks we are perfectly unique, without any glitch or flaw.

“[He exclaimed] O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you!” Song of Songs 4:7

We are really wasting time when we complain about our flaws and shortcomings, because nothing we can say or do will ever change His mind about us. He is ever ready to believe the best of us (see post: The characteristics of Love).

“So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].” Ephesians 5:26-27

We have already been washed clean and forever perfected through his sacrifice. We are now perfectly faultless and without spot or wrinkle. There is no flaw in us! If only we could always remember this…

Make it personal!

The Gospel is something we need to experience with conviction deep in the depths of our hearts. It is not something that can be acquired with ‘head knowledge’ – it needs to touch your soul. In order to experience this you need to understand how personal the Gospel (the good news of Jesus) really is.

It is easy for us to imagine that Christ died for the whole world – but do you understand that He would have done it even if you were the ONLY person on earth? You need to realize that the salvation of the cross was meant for YOU. This mindset is not selfish – on the contrary. It will make your heart overflow with thankfulness and worship. It will convince you of God’s love for you and His character, and this in turn will make you love those around you (see post: He first loved US).

So, take a moment to realize that the full redemptive story of the cross was directed at you, specifically because God cannot contain His love for you. Realize it is infinitely more personal and close to you than you can imagine!

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray and gets lost, will he not leave the ninety- nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost? And if it should be that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety- nine that did not get lost.” Matthew 18:12-13

He first loved US

Many believers are told to make a purposeful decision to love God, and stick with it – no matter how they feel. This kind of message is not consistent with what we are told in 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:

“And so faith, hope, love abide [… love – true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]… In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins… We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:7,10,19

According to these verses we should first get an understanding of the love that God has for us. Only then will we be able to love Him and those around us.

Love for God and our fellowmen will grow (naturally and effortlessly) from understanding God’s love for us. True love will only spring forth from our hearts if we get to know the true, overwhelmingly good character of God . The focus of the church should always be on how much God first loved us.

Once you understand this, love will flow effortlessly from your inner man.