A Free Gift
Amazingly, the gift of holy spirit, the Christ in us, eternal life, our spiritual life, is a free gift which anyone can receive and enjoy.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Whosoever means whosoever. As we were all born without spirit, and there was nothing we could do to redeem ourselves from the power of death, God came up with a plan to rescue us. Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of that plan, and now anyone can freely receive eternal life as a gift from God.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Why is it free? Nothing is free. A gift may be free to you, but never underestimate its cost to someone else. We were all born dead into this world. We may have had body and soul, but we had no supernatural life. Since the day of Pentecost, because of the work Jesus Christ accomplished, supernatural life is freely available. Jesus Christ paid the full legal price to free us from the power of death.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Despite what your church or religion teaches, being good will not get you anything from God. Neither will counting beads, lighting candles, kneeling at alters, burning incense, blowing yourself up, chanting, going to church, bowing, holding up holy hands, repeating mindless prayers, giving all your money away, hanging crosses around your neck, becoming a nun, capitalising pronouns referring to God or smiling inanely at everyone. There is nothing you or I or anyone else can do in the body and soul categories of life to make ourselves righteous before God. God made us righteous, we didn't. Being a nice person has nothing to do with this. How many times do you think the word nice is used in the bible anyway? I've looked, and I can't find it, not once, not anywhere in the entire bible. Forget about trying to earn your own righteousness. This is about accepting God's righteousness despite how terrible we've been.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved [sōtēria - rescued].
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
When Paul wrote this, folks didn't understand the depth of the new birth. These religious Israelites had no idea what Jesus Christ had accomplished for them. They were still zealous for law and were trying to establish their own righteousness. No one can be righteous by their own works, it is impossible. There is nothing a dead body can do to raise itself from the dead. God can do it, and it's freely available, but it is something HE does, it isn't something WE do. The righteousness of God comes with the new birth. We receive that righteousness when we are born again, born from above and receive the gift of holy spirit, the Christ in us.
You don't agree? You think the price God paid was not high enough for you? You think the price Jesus Christ paid for your redemption is not good enough for you? You want to do it yourself? Wake up dude.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
What does it mean when it says Christ is the end of the law? Exactly what it says. The old testament law is over with. It's done. It is no longer relevant. It is not something we have to observe and keep and do anymore. The Law Administration is over.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith [pistis - believing].
No man, means no man. No one. No one is justified by the law. No man can justify himself by his own works. Not even the pope, he's just as dead as everyone else. No human being can do anything to make himself justified. Why? Because we were all born dead into this world, without life, and there is nothing a corpse can do to raise itself from death.
Before moving on, it's time to handle the word faith. Without understanding what it is, its meaning is easily manipulated. Take the phrase blind faith for example, which cannot be found anywhere in the bible. It is an entirely fictitious myth used by ignorant church leaders who have no answers. Blind faith is simply a device that fools people into accepting religious horseshit that makes no sense. There is no such thing as blind faith. If your church teaches you blind faith, you are being led by the blind. God does not want us ignorant and certainly does not expect us to take anything by blind faith. God even states this fact seven times in the epistles, and he states it in the negative to emphasise the greatness of this truth. He does not want us ignorant.
God does not want us ignorant of the benefits of the gift ministries (Romans 1:13), the mystery (Romans 11:25), the consequences of unbelief and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:1-11), manifestations of holy spirit and the gift ministries (1 Corinthians 12:1), how he delivers us in times of pressure (2 Corinthians 1:8), satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), and our hope, when Christ comes back for us (1 Thessalonians 4:13). I think that just about covers everything. So where does blind faith come into it? It doesn't. God does not want us stupid and ignorant. Anyone who teaches blind faith is just that, blind, and those who follow them are going to fall into the ditch with them.
So why do churches and religions keep their people stupid and ignorant? People, you need to get out of the world's churches and religions. God does not dwell in temples made with hands and neither should you.
So what is faith? It's translated from the word pistis which means to believe. To have faith simply means to believe, as that's what pistis means, to believe. Anyone can believe, indeed, everyone does believe something, whether they are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ or not. By the way, a follower of the way is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the way, it is someone who walks by the spirit with Christ as his head, not some follower of a church constructed by men which calls itself the way.
Everything in life comes by believing, whether positive or negative, regardless of political or religious persuasions. There is even a record in Luke where Jesus Christ declared a Roman centurion, a gentile, to have had greater believing than anyone he had ever encountered in Israel among God's people.
When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [pistis - believing], no, not in Israel.
So faith in most cases should be translated believing. Regular normal human believing is not a spiritual thing, it is very much a part of our human abilities. To help illustrate this, how many times do you think the word faith is used in the old testament from Genesis to Malachi? Have a guess. Hundreds? Thousands? Nope, just two times, and in both cases it is a wrong translation from words meaning established, trusty, firmness, and moral fidelity. The word faith is not used anywhere in the old testament, not once. Don't believe me? Go and look. Switch off your tellavision and go search the scriptures, see if these things are so.
Although pistis could always be translated as believing, in order to differentiate between Jesus Christ's believing, which was perfect, and our believing, which is far from perfect, his believing is referred to as faith. We can think of the faith of Jesus Christ simply as the perfect believing of Jesus Christ. The more we renew our minds and replace our old worldly thoughts with the thoughts of God's word, the more we can believe like Jesus Christ did. The more of the word we hold in our minds and apply, the more our believing grows. We renew our minds, but it is the word we put into our minds that does the job.
So then faith [pistis - believing] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Believing is something anyone can do. Renewing the mind is something everyone can do. However, if you spend all your time watching television you won't have much in the way of godly believing manifesting itself in your life. If you want spiritual power, get your head into the bible and read. God will do his part if you do yours.
When I first asked God for his help I was aboard a cargo ship steaming up a moonlit Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. I was a teenager and my life was a mess. I was a drunk, took drugs, was violent, and had become suicidal. When I'd left home to join that ship, I'd grabbed a bible from a shelf inside the front door and shoved it in my suitcase. I hadn't read it, but there it was, sitting on a small shelf under the porthole in my cabin.
And there I was, staring into a mirror, digging my nails into my cheeks until the blood was running down my face, and pulling my hair out by the roots in handfuls. I saw moonlight reflecting on the surface of the Red Sea and I knew it was time to end it. As I got to my feet, I asked God for his help. I needed to know if there was any point to life because I just couldn't go on. At that moment, the ship hit what must have been a freak wave, for the ship juddered violently. The bible fell off the porthole, bounced on my bunk and fell open just as a tiny shaft of light slanted in the porthole and lit up a short passage of scripture on one of the pages. God talked to me, and his words were like fire in me as I read.
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
God saved my life that night, and since then I've studied my ass off. I inclined my ear to wisdom, my heart to understanding, and I have found the knowledge of God. God has taught me and now I am teaching you. Incidentally, I learned recently that when God talked to me that moonlit night in the Gulf of Aqaba, we were at the very place where God parted the Red Sea for Moses. If you want to find the knowledge of God, you are going to have to do some work. I'll teach you, but you're going to have to study the word for yourself and make it your own.
Regarding this faith of Jesus Christ, the perfect believing of Jesus Christ, there is much we can learn. There is a verse in Galatians that uses pistis twice, once in the context of the perfect believing of Jesus Christ and once as regular human believing.
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ [pistis - believing of Jesus Christ] might be given to them that believe [pisteuō - verb form - believing in action].
Although man is born dead, without spirit, the promise of eternal life which came by way of the faith of Jesus Christ, the perfect believing of Jesus Christ, is given as a gift to those who believe according to the instructions given in Romans 10:9. Anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and who believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead receives the gift of holy spirit which was made available by the perfect believing of Jesus Christ. See how simple it is to understand this?
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
There was a time when there was no faith, no perfect believing of Jesus Christ, a time when man could not be born again of God's spirit. Therefore, this faith talked about in Galatians 3:23 cannot be referring to regular human believing, because that's been available since Genesis. Therefore, it must be referring to the faith of Jesus Christ, the perfect believing of Jesus Christ. See how this all fits so beautifully and simply?
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith [pistis - believing].
Here is an excellent example of italicised words that were added to the text by the translators being absolutely wrong. This verse states with the italicised words included that law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Churches use this to teach that we must keep the law or we cannot get to Christ. This is obviously a forgery because it contradicts other scriptures on the same subject, such as Romans 10:4.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Remove the italicised words, and the word fits.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster
to bring usunto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The law was our schoolmaster unto, until Christ. Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. Until Christ came, God's people were kept under the law, but after he accomplished man's redemption, the law was done away with, and that's exactly what the next verse tells us.
But after that faith is come [the faith of Jesus Christ], we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
For ye are all the children of God by faith [pistis - believing] in Christ Jesus.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith [pistis - believing].
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Now that the perfect believing of Jesus Christ is here, we are freed from the law, the yoke of bondage. If you want freedom from religious horseshit and want to learn how to believe, it's here.
Chapter 36 - God-Given Rights