Wednesday, 21 April 2010


“From now on" says Paul,"we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2Co 5:16-17).

What does the resurrection mean for us today?

Paul says, “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” Phil. 3:10. This is part of Paul’s testimony, is it yours? It's not only a past experience but an ongoing one.

Do we know? Do you? Do you know the saving power of Christ?

Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians(1:15-23)for the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him .. that you may know ..”

The question is, do we know what we should know?

Back to our verse, in the New Living Translation it puts it this way, “So we have stopped evaluating ourselves from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person ...” 2 Corinthians 5:16, 17.

What does Paul mean, “according to the flesh” or human point of view”?

The Bible speaks of two groups of people, those in Adam, those in Christ.

• In Adam, ‘according to the flesh’ – all are condemned. Romans 8:5-8.

• In Christ, ‘according to the Spirit’ – all are justified. Romans 8:5-9.

• To think of ourselves ‘according to the flesh’ as Paul puts it is to think prior to the cross and outside of Christ. The reign of sin and death.

• To think ‘according to the flesh’ regarding Christ is to think of him from a human point of view, and prior to his cross-work for us.

You see the resurrection changes everything, world history (BC to AD - Before Christ - In the Year of the/Our Lord) and our history!

That is my question to you? Are you thinking according to the flesh? Has the enemy gotten you off redemption ground onto the old ground ....?

A question that comes up all too often is, am I good enough? Have I done enough?

I came across a very good illustration the other day. Imagine you are on a long journey, and suddenly you get to a ravine and the only way to cross is via a bridge. Well you don’t stop and examine yourself, you examine the bridge! Has it been constructed well? Has it stood the test of time? Is it falling apart in any way? Does it look sure and stedfast?

The answer to the question then is not found in examining ourselves .. are we good enough ... done enough .. but is our Saviour good enough, has he done enough, is he strong enough. We look away from ourselves unto Jesus.

We move from thinking according to the flesh, from a human point of view, and we think according to his resurrection!

Living in the Power of his Resurrection:

1. A justified life – acquitted. No case against us! Declared in the right. Romans 3:21-26; 4:5, 25; 5:1, 15-18.

2. A reconciled life – 2 Cor. 5:18; Romans 5:10, 11; Col.1:21,22.

3. A sanctified life – made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11; Hebrews 10:10

4. An empowered life – Spirit empowered. Romans 6:4; 7:6; 8:1-4.

5. An overcoming life – victory over Satan, sin, our past, circumstances is possible. Romans 5:17; 6:1-14; 8:1-17, 26, 37 ; 1 John 4:4.

“If I am truly in Christ by faith, my good works can't get me to heaven and my sins can't send me to hell.” Bob Kauflin.

The main question is do you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord?
Do you believe in Him?
If you are a Christian, where are you living? Are thinking according to the old way – outside of Christ and his cross-work – according to the flesh?
Are you allowing the enemy to knock you down?
Do you know what you should know?
Do you know what it means to live in the 5 points listed above?
Do you experience more defeat than victory? Why?
Do you preach to yourself?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

No Condemnation - New Life


8:1 So, the conclusion of it all is this: that there is now (and neither can there ever be), absolutely no condemnation (no condemning judgment) whatsoever for those who are in union with Christ Jesus.

2 For, the law of the Spirit of life which is in and through Christ Jesus has liberated you from the law of sin that always leads to failure, defeat and death.

3 For what the law could never do - that is enable us to be right with God and live righteously because of our sinful flesh - God has done Himself, and He did this by sending His own Son in the very likeness of our sinful flesh, and for sin itself. He then past judgment on sin in the realm of this flesh, and condemned it once and for all, thereby destroying it’s power,

4 So that now, the righteous requirements of the law might be accomplished in us who walk no longer in the realm of the Flesh (the realm of life that is disconnected from God and lived without reference to him – a life characterised by the thoughts, values, attitudes and practices of this fallen world; a world that is judged and passing away); but now walk in the realm of the Spirit (lives lived in reference to God – the thoughts, values, attitudes and practices of the age that is coming).

5 For, those who live their lives according to the realm of the Flesh, their thoughts and affections, in fact their whole perspective, is shaped by, and set on the things of ‘the Flesh,’ but those who live their lives according to the realm of the Spirit, their thoughts and affections, indeed their whole perspective is now shaped by and set on the things of ‘the Spirit.’

6 For, the whole inclination and outlook of the realm of the Flesh, is death, but the whole inclination and outlook of the realm of the Spirit, is life and peace.

7 And the reason is this: the inclination and outlook of the realm of the Flesh is always hostile to God, for it is not subject to the law of God, and never will be. 8 So then, those who live in the realm of the Flesh can never please God.

9 But, as for you, you are no longer in the realm of the Flesh and under its power, but in the realm of the Spirit, managed and energised by Him, since the Spirit of God now inhabits you. Now if someone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they cannot possibly belong to Him (and are still in the realm of the Flesh).

10 Now since Christ resides in you, that means the body is dead because of sin, and yet you have life by the Spirit because of righteousness.

11 Moreover since the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead resides in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to these mortal bodies because of His Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, we have an obligation - but it is certainly not to theFlesh, to live in keeping with the Flesh.

13 For if you live in keeping with the realm of the Flesh, you are obviously still in the Flesh, unchanged, fleshly, and you will die (unChristian); but, if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body (say no to sin, do not give in to it), you will live. 14 For those who so live are being led by the Spirit of God and show themselves to be true sons of God.

15 For you have not received the spirit of slavery that leads again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of full sonship that enables you to call out with confidence “Abba, Father.”

16 For the Spirit Himself testifies to our spirit that we are children of God.

A paraphrase based on the reading of several translations, comparison with the Greek, understanding of the context, different commentators and commentaries.

© R. Burgess 2001, revised 2010

Monday, 12 April 2010

How Beautiful/Proclaiming Good News

How Beautiful/Proclaiming Good News
Based on Isaiah 52:7-10.
©Richard Burgess, 2010.

In a prayer meeting a couple of weeks ago we read this scripture and as I began thinking about it a melody started to formulate in my mind. I drove home with it going over and increasing, then spent a week or so developing it ... sorry I can't put the tune here, I'll try to use some other media.

How beautiful, how beautiful
Are the feet of those
Who proclaim the good news
Wherever they may go.
News, news, good news,
News of peace and joy,
News of salvation,
Good News that our God reigns!

The watchman shout and sing with joy
For before their eyes
They see the Lord returning now
To Jerusalem.

News, news, good news ...

The waste places of Jerusalem
Break out in joyful song!
For the Lord has comforted
Redeemed Jerusalem

News, news, good news ...

The Lord has bared his holy arm
Before the eyes of all
All the earth shall now see
The saving power of God!

News, news, good news ...

HOW? How the Saviour Saves - the how on our part

The How (if you can call it that) on Our Part

Romans 3:21-26

Notice the repetition here:

“Through faith, in Jesus Christ” 3:22.

“Justified by his grace as a gift,” 3:24

“Received by faith,” 3:25

“The one who has faith in Jesus,” 3:26

“Justified by faith,” 3:28

No wonder this IS good news ... The work is done ... the call is to recognise our need of a Saviour and turn from our sin putting our faith/trust in Christ alone.

John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.”

Do you believe? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved - forgiven, cleansed, made new, reconciled ...

Are you doubting then read and take in the words of this old hymn and allow the Holy Spirit to drive away the doubts and fears:

From where this fear and unbelief?
Did You, O Father, put to grief
Your spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was laid on Thee?

If You have my release secured,
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath Divine;
Payment God cannot twice demand
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.

Complete atonement You have made,
And to the utmost penny paid,
All that Your people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Your righteousness,
And sprinkled with Your blood?

Turn, then, my soul, unto your rest,
The merits of your great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty.
Trust then in His effective blood,
Nor fear your banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for me.

Augustus Toplady (light revision R. Burgess)

HOW? How the Saviour Saves

The How on God’s Part

John Calvin says that God in his generous mercy dealt with our sin in Christ so that “there might be no obstruction to his love.” What a thought, God wants no obstruction to his love - Hallelujah!!

1. The Plan
"Purpose," Eph. 1:3-14 To “redeem ... a ... people,” Titus 2:14, “bringing many sons to glory,” Hebrews 2:10; John 17.

2. The Incarnation
Illustration: drowning person. A drowning person needs someone stronger than themselves to save them.
As Gregory said,the “unassumed is the unredeemed.” So God must come and take on human flesh, flesh just like our own – Jesus is both very God, and very man. Romans 1:3,4; 8:1-4.

3. The Life he Lived
He lived in flesh just like our own. In order to save us every facet of our existence (mind, will, emotions) had to be united with God so that God can overcome the sin that permeates our entire existence. So we read that Jesus Christ was born of a woman, made under the law, in the likeness of sinful flesh.

And in that flesh he was tempted in all points as we are.

Every temptation Jesus experienced was for real, but throughout his life he said ‘yes’ to God, and through dependency on his Father beat back the forces of darkness, and overcame every temptation so that he never ever once sinned. As such he was now able to offer himself on our behalf – to bear our sin and its consequences.

4. The Death he Died
John Owen, “the prince of Puritan divines,” described the death of Christ as “the Death of death in the death of Christ” – in other words this was the death that we all deserved, but through his death our death as those who believe in him would now be completely different!

Owen lists four essential elements in any propitiation – all of which we can find in Romans:

1. An offence to be taken away. Romans 1:18.
2. A person offended who needs to be pacified. Romans 1:18.
3. An offending person; one guilty of the offence. Romans 1:18; 3:1-18, 23.
4. A sacrifice or some other means of making atonement for the offence. Romans 3:21-26.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law.” Romans 3:27. Note 1:18.

It is righteousness that comes through faith, 3:22.

The practical outworking? A sacrifice of atonement 3:25.

Different translations use different words here, sacrifice of atonement, expiation, propitiation.

• Expiation – has to do with humanity. Deals with the problem. E.g. removing the stain from a shirt by bleaching it. Cleansing which removes the problem sin/stain. BUT It’s only half the job done. It just deals with us and we could get dirty again. Doesn’t deal with the relationship.

• Propitiation – has to do with God. Deals with the persons/relationship. E.g. you do something which you know will stain your shirt and your wife is rightly extremely angry with you for doing so, so you go and buy her some flowers to make up for it and she forgives you. Wrath averted. The relationship is restored. Both parties reconciled.
In expiation we have the removal of guilt through a payment of the penalty, while propitiation emphasizes the appeasement or averting of God's wrath and justice. The result is at-one-ment.

Isaiah 53:10, 11 or as the hymn writer put it, “His soul was once an offering made for every soul of man.” Charles Wesley

• Justification – the result. Romans 3:24, 26. He was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” 4:25.

Not just cleansed and forgiven but acquitted! Declared righteous!

Some think that the cross, the necessity of such a bloody sacrifice, is nothing but gratuitous violence, not so, this is warranted violence, a violence that prevents God’s love from sinking into mere sentimentality and romanticism. As Niebuhr puts it, “Only a tragic and suffering love can be an adequate symbol of what we believe to be at the heart of reality itself.”

In the words of the songwriter, "What kind of love is this ...." Now with no obstruction!