Today I am on my way home after many wonderful days in Portugal. I was able to video record two more courses for use with Portuguese speaking communities in many countries. The project is moving forward! Now I am excited to get home and see my family and be with my local church community again. God is good!
I am writing in regard to being free by the simplicity of Christ in us, the hope of glory. We have been made free in Christ, but we can embrace something less and end up with a deception in our lives.
2 Corinthians 11:1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
In these verses Paul was concerned that believers in the church could be deceived as Eve was deceived. Deception involves a different means of salvation, a different spirit, and a different good news. If something other than a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit becomes a source of salvation, a motivation of our hearts, and a testimony of good news to our lives – it will result in deception.
An example could be one of choosing law over a love relationship with Holy Spirit and the power of His grace in our lives. If we see the law as better than Jesus, we believe that obedience to the law is salvation, it then carries with it a spirit of legalism which is a different Spirit than Jesus. Without realizing it, we have made obedience to the law our good news. Our confession is, ‘give me Law that makes me legal.” If this happens, we may well put up with it. It is a different spirit. It is a demonic spirit. It is a religious spirit. Can we as Christians have a demon? Only if we want one.
Here is some good news. We are the eternal Eve of Christ. We are in relationship with Jesus. We can be deceived at times, but our Adam never bit the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and His love will cover a multitude of sins. He doesn’t want us to have a lifestyle of drifting from here to there. Paul was writing to help believers stay in a relationship of simplicity in Christ, not to be going after foolish things. Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and of judgment. Whether it be the legalism of law, the condemnation of shame, the self-fulfilling desires of the flesh, or whatever else becomes a substitute for the simplicity of the good news in Christ – we may end up having to put up with something God did not intend to be in our lives.
Let’s use the condemnation of shame for a moment. I am saved by Jesus, but I am constantly wrestling with shame. I don’t realize it, but I have actually fallen in love with shame. I have created a world that I would be lonely if shame didn’t show up today. When I look in the mirror I look for reasons to see shame and to be ashamed. I have a lover called shame and I look in the mirror to see if shame is still there. I look in the mirror to see if shame sees me today. This is a stronghold of deception and it is earthly, becomes sensual, and can even be demonically inspired. Holy Spirit is intimate with us showing us that shame has been judged so when I look in the mirror I realize that shame doesn’t live here anymore because the ruler of this world has been judged. The more intimate I am with Holy Spirit the more I realize my ex-lovers have been judged. When I look in the mirror, how do I see myself? It could be unforgiveness. It could be when I look at others.
God wants to free us from judgment to show us that the ruler of the world has already been judged. Do we see ourselves as loved? Do we see ourselves as forgiven? If we look in the mirror and we see the places where I cannot be forgiven it is because we have a lover. Unforgiveness is a lover in our lives and God wants to free us. He wants to convict us to know that unforgiveness has been defeated for the ruler of the world has been judged.
Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Even as believers, sometimes we sin. Holy Spirit convicts people in the world. He doesn’t condemn, He convicts. He is drawing us and calling us into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The more we choose to indulge in the Holy Spirit, the more we embrace grace. Grace is the manifest presence of Holy Spirit in our lives. He convicts us when we look for love in the wrong place. He convicts our hearts to turn toward God. He convicts us of righteousness, a right relationship with God. He doesn’t shame us or condemn us. He calls us to move near to God and not move away. He convicts of judgment because the rule of the world is judged. He reveals that the things that are against us that seek to destroy us have already been judged. He frees us from the strongholds of the past. He frees us from the power of the enemy. This is not just in the moment we came to Jesus, but continually and increasingly in our lives. We are embracing the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. God likes us, He loves us, and He wants to be in our lives. Holy Spirit is the Spirit that causes our hearts to cry out Abba Father. God is our Father! We love you God! Holy Spirit causes our spirits to confess our desire for God in our lives.
Ted J. Hanson