Ted J. Hanson
I have been in Wichita, Kansas for the past several days. We had a great time together and yesterday God was good in our gathering together. I spoke of the different levels of life in our relationship with Christ. I believe some significant things happened in the Spirit and I believe that this is a new season of liberty for the church in Wichita and for the church as a whole.
We are living in a time when the ways of the world are manifesting cultures that are contrary to the ways of God. Is sin getting darker or is true righteousness shining in the hearts and minds of men? True righteousness is not the disciplined external actions of the flesh, but an internal connection with God in our hearts. God wants us to be real. He doesn’t want to control our actions or allow us to hide behind some superficial rule of life, as was the law. The law never changed the hearts and minds of men, it only revealed that something supernatural needed to happen within the heart of man.
Iniquity, transgression, and sin are three different things. Iniquity is not sin. The wage of iniquity is not death. The consequence, or wage, of iniquity is transgression in our hearts. Iniquity makes us vulnerable to transgress in our hearts from the true life that is in Christ. The consequence of transgression is a disconnection from true life that is found in God. We know the word says that “the wages of sin is death”. Let me say that in modern English. If you live a life of sin, disconnection from God, a disconnection from the One who is life, the consequence is you are going to die. You die because you are not planted in life. No God in heaven kills you. The absence of God in your life is what kills you. There is no God in heaven that is looking to dam sinners – to kill sinners. This was never the case, not even in the Old Testament. God never looked to kill people. He would often expose what was killing them. He might say, “that house is on fire don’t go in that house.” If you go in the house that is on fire you can’t blame God for judging you, when you get burnt. He told you the house was on fire. He warned you, you just didn’t listen. What is it that causes people to be disconnected, to sin? There are areas in our hearts that harbor weaknesses, or weak areas called iniquities. It is not sin, it is the possibility of sin. I believe that iniquities are like a gift. These are areas in us that need to find God. We depend upon God because we are weak there. I believe that God allows us to have those weaknesses, so we can find Him. So, we can find who He is.
God gives life. He doesn’t need anything from us, but we have weak areas in us that tend to believe that life is in some other place. When we allow God to come into that area, we find out He is a transformer. He the weak areas within our hearts by the power of His grace. This is His manifest presence within. It could be a weak area of getting angry easily. We can be tempted in the area of being angry. We can be tempted in an area of addiction. We are weak in an area of our hearts and we could fall for the temptation of being unfaithful. We could fall for the temptation of being critical. I believe we are each born with iniquities. This is not sin, but weaknesses. The world has those and says, this is how I am. I have had those all my life since I was born. If we apply law, it doesn’t really change it. It merely restrains it. It is like sweeping a problem under a rug. It is like discipling a child and they can be obedient on the surface to sit down, but inside they are standing up. It could be an action where we do what someone says, but in our hearts, we hate them or despise them in some way. That is a controlled person. God is not interested in controlling anyone. He is interested in changing everyone. Not because He is displeased with who they are, but because He knows He has so much more for them.
When you find God in a weak area in your life you become empowered to help others find God in that place too. Then you take on a little of the nature of God. He doesn’t need anything. He gives life, breath, and all things. If I have to depend upon Him in an area I have an internal flaw, it is there that I can find His presence to be transformed. His presence in the weak areas of my life empowers my desires to change. Now my desire changes and I am not weak there anymore. I know it is not because of disciple of the flesh, but a miracle of His love. Discipline of the flesh is only as strong as you can strengthen a physical muscle. But love is an eternal fire. Love will empower you to give every last breath, whether you are strong or weak.
We have been given these weak areas, so we can know the power of God’s love and we can overcome by the power of His love at work in our lives. This is true in our lives, our communities, and our churches. We have to have an environment where anyone is welcome, and everyone is welcome, because everyone belongs. But we must also create and maintain an environment that testifies of amazing things happening by the power of God’s grace. It is not just some theological truth, but a poetic experience of life in Christ.
Ted J. Hanson
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