This months guest blog is from Pastor Steve Long. Steve and wife Sandra are the senior leaders of Catch the Fire Toronto, previously know as Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Over the last 20 years some 4-5 million people visited the church to experience more of God. Catch the Fire is a church planting and equipping ministry with churches and training schools in Europe, Australia, North America, Africa and Brazil.
What happened at the cross?
Lots of talk these days on grace. Have folks gone overboard? Are we coming into a new understanding?
Well let me provoke you with a few thoughts about what I know that happened on the cross.
1. Your body did not get saved the moment we gave your life to Jesus.
If that were true, you’d never get sick, have diseases or die. Our bodies are slowly taking us towards the time when we pass on. I believe that we are to be living pain free and disease free all our lives. This happens not because of the cross, but because of the torture that happened to Jesus prior to the cross. “By His stripes” we are healed according to Matthew 9. So our bodies are still in process and need the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.
2. Our souls did not get saved the moment we confessed our sins and were born again.
Our soul has three parts: mind, will and emotions.
Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2 that our minds need to be renewed. He is writing to followers of Jesus. If our minds got born again, then they wouldn’t need to be reprogramed. So our minds are still in process and need the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.
The verse states that when we are thinking right, then we will know the will of God better. I clearly don’t always choose God’s will, nor do you. There is still a lot of selfishness in me that needs to go. So, our will are still in process and need the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.
Many of us have great things happen when we got born again. But my experience was that I still had anger issues, felt rejection, struggled with lust issues, etc. My emotions didn’t reflect the character of Jesus always. Those things didn’t get automatically changed. So our emotions are still in process and need the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.
3. What did get saved was my spirit!
Every person born has eternity in them from the moment they are conceived. We will all live forever even after we die on this earth. The God part of me took a new direction when I gave my life to Jesus. Instead of being an enemy of God and destined for eternal separation from God; my spirit got born again! Now as a friend of God I am heading to an eternity with God!
I think the confusion that we have is because we haven’t figured out the difference between the power of sin and penalty of sin.
My understanding of the teaching in the Bible from Jesus, Paul, Peter and others is this. When I gave my life to Jesus, the penalty of my sin (eternity in hell, separated from God) was paid for. Jesus paid for my sins while on the cross. He suffered so that I wouldn’t need to. If I don’t give my life to Jesus, I pay for my sins eternally. I don’t want that!
Now as a follower of Jesus I need to rely on His Holy Spirit to help me to deal with the power of sin. Sin is always crouching at my side. Because my soul wasn’t transformed, I think wrong thoughts from time to time. I do wrong things from time to time. My emotions are all over the place and usually in the wrong places.
The New Testament writers have lists of things to put off and list of things to put on. I am to be partnering with the Holy Spirit to actively welcome a transformation. This is called sanctification.
I’m working on a book on this topic right now. I’ve looked at all the lists that we as followers of Jesus are to get power over. Many of us have these things holding us; we call them strongholds. There are 99 negative things in the New Testament that followers of Jesus are go get rid of! 99!!
Clearly I need help in becoming like Jesus!
How does this sanctification happen? I simply welcome the agenda that the Holy Spirit has for me. It is His role to bring change into my life. My sins that were taking me on a journey away from God have been paid for. Now I am in process to becoming like Christ. I partner with the Holy Spirit.
It is an exciting journey from Glory to Glory (2 Corinthians 3). Join me in this journey!
You can read more from Catch The Fire on their website http://www.ctftoronto.com/