The Gospel of Freedom

The Gospel of Freedom

“For ye know what commandments
we gave you by the Lord Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 4:2

Freedom of self is but a path to bondage and depravity. The Gospel of God offers an entirely new and radical freedom; freedom from self. To hold the words of God in the intellect only, without allowing them to bring us under His Lordship, is the bane of religion. The full salvation of God lies in Him becoming our life in order for us to reveal His.

The “gospel” of today often ignores the fact that God has given us “commandments”. It tends to focus on our freedom rather than His. We receive forgiveness to deal with our guilt, yet our essential self remains unchanged. This is not the full salvation for wherever “self” remains so too does the rebellion, the disobedience and the carnal tendencies which contaminate and refute His Lordship in our lives.

“For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God”
Romans 8:6-8

Paul writing to the Church at Thessalonica declared that he had given them commandments concerning their walk and growth in the Lord. If commandments are spoken of today many are offended; they label it “legalism” and cover their ears from the truth. We must stop and ask ourselves where these commandments came from. They came “by the Lord Jesus”.

“For ye know what commandments
we gave you by the Lord Jesus
1 Thessalonians 4:2

What is the spirit and purpose in which they are given to us?

“For this is the will of God,
even your sanctification…”
1 Thessalonians 4:3

A gospel which presents only the truth of justification without the need of becoming vessels which are sanctified, is not able to impart the power and the wonder of His Salvation. Jesus came to save us from our sins, not to offer a salvation to enable us to remain in our sins.

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid”
Romans 6:15

Paul prefaced this powerful truth by declaring emphatically:

“For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law,
but under grace…”
Romans 6:14

If we in truth hold to this powerful word, we must conclude that IF we are under grace sin shall NOT have dominion over us. It is the grace of God that breaks the chains of sin. Grace is not a sentiment; it is the power of God to free us from the dominion of sin. Freedom from sin is a revelation of the measure that our lives are lived under His grace! Grace frees us from the penalty of the Law because it causes us to live above the dictates of the law by the power of the Law of His life in us (read Romans 8:3-4*). That is the true freedom of a life in Christ. The commandments are spiritual and because of that we must walk in the Spirit to fulfill them. Only a spiritual man can fulfill a spiritual law.

The carnal man bristles at the very mention of the word “commandments” for it strikes at the heart of rebellion. One may speak the words of the redeemed yet live and walk under the dominion of the carnal mind. God’s word speaks to all who walk in the flesh.

“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God”
Romans 8:8

We may quote scriptures and be involved with a church or some Christian sect, but if we walk in the flesh we “cannot please God”! Those who are truly spiritual fulfill the Law of God for they are partakers of the ONE who came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it!

“Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill”
Matthew 5:17

Thanks be unto God who has brought a true and powerful salvation to all who by faith enter into a Grace which makes us free from the Law of Sin and Death.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
John 8:36

The Gospel of Christ is not in Word only; it is revealed in the power to break the dominion of sin and free us from the works of the flesh. The deliverance of God is seen here in our past, in our present, and in a living hope for our deliverance in the future.

“…who delivered (past) us out of so great a death, and does deliver (present); on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us (future)  italics mine
2 Corinthians 1:10

Ω

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
Romans 8:2

Brian Troxel

The Basis of our Salvation

Nothing but the Blood

“…when I see the blood,
I will pass over you”
Exodus 12:13

A great misconception in much of the Gospel today is that the forgiveness of our sins is based upon compassion rather than the sacrifice of our Savior. His justice demanded that our sins be paid for. God’s love dictated that His Only Begotten Son offer Himself upon the Cross to pay the penalty for our rebellion, sin and shame. If we fail in understanding the nature of our God, we will fail to understand the nature and wonder of our salvation. This failure leads to lukewarm living and carelessness in the hearts of many.

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”

It was because of Love that God sent His Son to die in our stead. Forgiveness was based on the Blood of Jesus, not on the sentimentality of love. The Love of God never violates His righteousness. His Love is pure and holy and those who dwell in Love, walk in righteousness. It is humanistic reasoning that presents a salvation based upon anything less than the Sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. This infusion of humanism into the mixture of the Truth of God robs us of the conviction of sin; of the horror that it actually is. We get the idea that God simply “winks” at our sin because He is Love. It is because of this deadly supposition that many in Christ live at ease with sin and are robbed of touching the power and glory of God in their lives.

Whenever sin is regarded lightly, the knowledge of God is superficial. God hides Himself from such. It is in His Holy Presence that the true nature of sin becomes known and our repentance is real.

The Holy Love of God
required Sacrifice to procure our Forgiveness.

As we begin to know in truth that our salvation is only because of His Sacrifice we are able to respond to Him sacrificially. Anything less desensitizes us to the incredible cost of our redemption and produces lukewarm hearts, tepid prayers and impotent living.

“But to whom little is forgiven,
the same loves little.”
Luke 7:47

When we estimate our salvation based on a sentiment rather than the sacrifice of God’s Son, the corresponding heart response is artificial, lacking the fire and intensity of all that He is worthy of.

“It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied”.
Oswald Chambers

Σ

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
By Robert Lowry

Brian Troxel

Have This Mind – Part One

Have This Mind

Part One

“Have this in your mind,
which was also in Christ Jesus,”
Philippians 2:5

“We would see Jesus”

Truth became incarnate in Jesus Christ. We are told many times in the scriptures that Truth is a person; He is the embodiment of the heart and character of God Himself. Jesus boldly declared to His disciples “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”. Things buried within the Gospel of John are significant and to the human intellect often cryptic and obscure. Only by the gracious illumination of the Holy Spirit do we begin to see the veiled wonders of God. At this particular juncture Jesus chose the words “he that hath seen me” while in other places Jesus would declare “they who are of the truth, hear my voice”. On this occasion the aspect of “seeing” was the vital truth Jesus sought to convey to His disciples.

The life of Christ was lived before His disciples to an extent that others were not privy to. They beheld Him in His private moments, and they knew that He spent time alone with His Father. They witnessed the power of God flow into the lives of countless multitudes in healings, in deliverances and in the demonstration of God’s character such as in the case of the woman taken in adultery. Their exposure to Him in all facets of His life was a comprehensive revelation of the Father.

The response of Jesus to Philip’s seemingly innocent request (John 14:8) was/is heart rending and filled with a piercing truth for us as well; Truth is more than a teaching; more than something learned by the accumulation of knowledge. It is beyond the reach of human thought!

“He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father”
John 14:9

This powerful truth ought to revolutionize our seeking of Him. Truth cannot be contained or held within the precepts of men, for truth must be seen by the same Spirit which initiated His very conception in Mary. Truth is a person. To see Him correctly we must walk, live and abide in that same Spirit who alone can make Him known to us.

He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father.

In other words, Philip, when you beheld me feeding the five thousand by the power of compassion, when you heard me confronting the blindness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, when you saw the lepers healed, the gift of sight given to the blind, me washing the disciple’s feet, and the demonstration of power when I rebuked the storm, all of these things were the revelation of my Father. Truth is more than words; it is expressed in character and works. It is shown in our ability to minister Him to our children, it is revealed in the concourse of everyday life. It is not only the Sunday sermon; it is the Life Christ Himself shining through the medium of our humanity in our every day life. In His life as a man, within the frailty and the humanness of Christ, the glory of God was evident to such an extent that Jesus declared unequivocally: “he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”.

“It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher,
and the servant like his lord”
Mathew 10:25

The Call of God is much more than becoming familiar with His Word, more than the formation of correct doctrines and promises believed. His call to His disciples is to bear His likeness, His character, and His heart in this world!

“But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit”
2 Corinthians 3:18

It is in our “seeing” of Him that transformation occurs. While it is good to read the promises of God, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to cause us to WALK in the promises of God. The contrast between these two is as vast as the gulf between life and death. May we allow the power of the Testimony of Jesus to impact us to the core of our beings with the enormity of His Call.

He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father

Where there is no beholding of Him there can be no change.

Let us consider the words of faithful Job:

“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but NOW mine eye seeth Thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes”
Job 42:5-6

Repentance is the fruit of seeing Him. Only in the seeing of Him are we freed from the limitations and confines of our fallen natures to experience the power of His Resurrection Life within.

May our hearts echo the desire of those who came to Philip:

“Sir, we would see Jesus”
John 12:21

Ω

Hearing Him brings us to obedience
Seeing Him brings us to His Likeness

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – The Foundation of the Lord

The Foundation of the Lord

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”  (Mat 7:24-27)

 

The Simplicity of Life – Part Two

The Simplicity of Life

Part Two

“Let your garments be always white.
Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)

The free and precious gift of God in Christ is revealed in the garments of joy and salvation; unspeakable mercies of the One who died that we may live. Not only did He take upon Himself the shame, the filth and the degradation of all humanity, but he “became sin”. He who knew no sin “became sin” in order to condemn it thereby enabling us to become the very righteousness of God Himself. His intent was that by the deep operations of His Spirit upon willing hearts there would be a manifestation of His righteousness as He subdues our hearts unto Himself.

“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”
Romans 8:3

To what end was the pure manifestation of the Grace and Glory of God?

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:4

God in Christ crucified the weakness of our sinful flesh in order to “fulfill the righteousness of the Law” in people who walk and live in His Spirit. The precious blood of the Lamb has made a new and living way whereby we have access to the Throne of Grace. In Him alone is the power to live and grow into His likeness!

How long will we linger in the throes of unbelief; thinking His righteousness is in word only with no actual power by which we may overcome all sin? How long will we declare that the disobedience of Adam has greater authority than the perfect obedience of our Living Christ! We are here to overcome by Grace. We are here to reveal His Power by our growth into His Righteousness, not by trying to live up to the dictates of the law in the power of our own flesh. Rather as we yield our lives to Him, we will naturally walk and live by the Law of His Life within.

Growth and development into this wonder requires the tenacity of a life ever learning how to Live within the sphere of His enabling grace so “that as He IS so ARE WE in this world”. (1 John 4:17) Let us take a holy Selah here and let the wonder and the power of this glorious Word of God enter our hearts with the enormity of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height”. (Ephesians 3:18)

Such a walk is not entered into lightly nor is it known by the confessions of the heart or the aptitude of our minds. It is entered into by faith; a living faith, which will not let us rest, compromise or settle for religious platitudes or doctrinal statements. True faith will press a heart ever onward, ever upward and will not rest until our hearts are in full submission unto Him. True faith embraces and rejoices in Christ as our Saviour, in Christ our Justifier, but its passion is to know Him as our Lord and Master.

“Why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Luke 6:46

How is it that we are content with a salvation compromised with sin and failure? How do we settle for forgiveness of our sin without growing in the power of His Life to be free from its power and dominion? Why is it we sympathize with sin rather than contend with it? It is no wonder the world mocks the sad state of much of the church today. It is time to turn again unto Him who is able to present us faultless before His unutterable glory!

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…”
Jude 1:24

Wherever the heartbeat of a living faith resides there is a quest for victory, a pursuit for the righteousness of Christ. This can only be known by those who live under His Lordship. Where He reigns, sin flees.

As we take our place as humble disciples in the school of Christ He will direct and teach us to live by His resources, free from our internal struggles and bitterness. It is in this school that we learn His way to keep our garments white even while we walk amidst the corruptions of this world. We learn through failure and repentance. We walk on, trusting and giving heed to the Living Word which cuts and heals, breaks and mends, until we live free in Christ.

Sadly, many would rather live a “declared righteousness” and see little need to keep their garments clean. They are content with compromise, sporadic and inconsistent living, and a faith lacking in the wonder of Him.

“Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy”
Revelation 3:4 (ESV)

God Himself laments that there were only a few who kept their garments white. It is to such that overcome God gives the promise of walking with Him in the whiteness of His Spirit. May we hear His call to keep our garments clean, looking “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame”
Revelation 16:15

Brian Troxel

Letters to the Church – The Call

Letters to the Church – The Call

“And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
Matthew 10:38

It is important for us to reacquaint ourselves often with the words of Jesus during his earthly walk. Let those words reverberate within our hearts and pierce through the rhetoric. There is something so uncompromising about His Call. May we meditate upon these words of His and allow them the full and undivided attention of our hearts. The solemnity of His Call to us is not to a mere forgiveness of sins (as overwhelming and precious as that is). His Call is to Himself. Our redemption is for His glory and the following of Him. His whole design is to bring forth a people who are no longer their own, but rather “As He is, so ARE WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).

Look at the depth of His conversations with those who heard His Call:

“He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”
Luk 9:59

Jesus responds:

“But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.”
Luke 9:60

Again:

“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house”
Luke 9:61

Jesus responds:

“And Jesus said unto him, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
Luke 9:62

There is power in the Call of Christ that defies logic. There is a stark contrast between then and now; between the perception of Jesus in our day and the Jesus presented to us in the Gospels. The Call of Christ is to the “whole” of us, not just a portion. Our response is not to be a casual one where we fit His Call into our daily life as if it were a part-time occupation. The Call is to Him; to sacrifice and to a determined relinquishment of all that we are.

Paul reiterates this in his plea to the Church at Rome.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
Romans 12:1

There is a pleading in the ministration of the Call of God that this becomes an experiential truth. The things we allow in ourselves, and in the lives of those who claim to know Him, reveal our ignorance of His claim upon us. Sin no longer disturbs the majority. We look lightly upon the issues of others because we look lightly upon the issues within our own hearts. Lethargy is contagious; as contagious as any pandemic with eternal implications far beyond the loss of life here on earth.

Paul left no doubt with the Church at Colosse as to the purpose of the true ministry of God.

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus
Colossians 1:28

What did this intensity of heart look like?

“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

The mighty working of Christ within is revealed in a life of labour without; it is the exposé of His claim upon us. There is no place for the lethargy and indifference men and women display to the Call of God.

We Are Not Our Own

We may declare such things, we may present our claims of following God, but the reality of the life we live may reveal something different. The works of a life reveal the faith of the life. In Revelation God declared unto every location of the Church in that day, “I KNOW THY Works”. God is ever beholding our works for by them He knows our faith.

The validity of our love for Him and the power of Him working within us is readily expressed in our interaction with our brothers and sisters. Paul sums up his expression of the workings of Christ within: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom…”. If mere confessions of faith were sufficient (as is commonly taught today), why did Paul express warnings, admonitions, and exhortations to the people of God? To the church at Ephesus, one of the crown jewels of the early church, Paul declared:

“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The deception and lethargy of a confession-based gospel has produced the slumbering church of our day! It produces a blindness to the magnificence, grandeur, and enormity of His Holiness. We have reduced Him to professions which require nothing more than a mental assent which consequently requires nothing, costs nothing, and correspondingly produces nothing. A confession without sacrifice leaves people without resources to face what lies ahead. Ministries must heed the Call of God to build up His Church and to prepare His people for the storm which is about to engulf our land. He is coming first of all to judge His church to the intent that in righteousness He may then be free to judge the world.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1 Peter 4:17-18

The time IS COME upon us! Let those who have ears to hear tremble and seek Him afresh that we may be found “doing” when our Master returns. Take no comfort in confessions and doctrines which do not produce the Fear of the Lord, that do not bring forth a growing holiness and purity of heart. Forsake the delusion of heart which enjoys hearing the word, discussing the word, while yet refusing to obey the word.

A New Ministration of Mercy

It is a day to seek a new ministration of His Mercy; a mercy which produces sacrificial living and bringing forth of a new worship which is costly, pure and holy.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
Romans 12:1

The true mercy of God enables men and women to give themselves wholly unto God, not to comfort them in their sins and rebellion.

May we as His redeemed rise up to respond wholly to the Call of God in Christ!

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power
2 Thessalonians 1:11

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – The Mystery of Faith

The Mystery of Faith

 

The True Strength

Strength Out of Weakness!

“…for when I am weak, then am I strong”
2 Corinthians 12:10

“To trust in the strength of God in our weakness; to say, “I am weak; so let me be. God is strong”; to seek from Him who is our life, as the natural, simple cure of all that is amiss with us, power to do and be and live, even when we are weary–this is the victory that overcomes the world…

“I am weak,” says the true soul, “but not so weak that I would not be strong, not so sleepy that I would not see the sun rise, not so lame but that I would walk! Thanks be to Him who perfects strength in weakness and gives to His beloved of His very life even while they sleep!”
– George MacDonald

To God Alone Be the Glory!

Brian Troxel

The Full Reward

The Watchman

the full reward

“Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things
which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward
2 John 1:8

As the soldier who stands at the night watch on the field of battle, we dare not slumber and grow careless. The subtleness of the night season is one fraught with many dangers. The enemy is subtle and cunning and walks about as a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. His eyes are attentive and his wrath is cruel; he looks for those who in the wee hours of the morning their eyes are growing dim and the deceptiveness of slumber is infecting. It is in the night watch where the danger lurks and the slumbering ones lose their crowns.

“The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep:
and none of the men of might have found their hands”
Psalm 76:5

Look to yourselves! Shake the slumber and sleep from our eyes for the Day creeps upon us as a “thief in the night”. It is a day of great deception, a deception so deep and filled with such peril whereby we need the ministration of His Spirit unto one another to stand true with our eyes attentive, our hearts awake and that we be clothed in the full armour of God. The true in heart are in pursuit of the full reward. There is a fulness which is promised to all… yet, as revealed in the seven letters to the Church in the Book of Revelation; only the overcomers receive the prize.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all,
but one receiveth the prize?
So run, that ye may obtain
1 Corinthians 9:24

The Word of the Lord for this hour is one to which we need to give heed…

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand
Ephesians 6:13

If there be no doing
there will be no standing!

It is the deceptive religious faith which holds the things of God in the slumber of a faithless inactivity where the enemy will come and the true state of an individual’s heart will be revealed.

“Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things
which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward”
2 John 1:8

Ω

“Looking diligently
lest any man fail of the grace of God”

Hebrews 12:15

Brian Troxel

The Ministry of Reconciliation

Healing and Reconciliation

“And all things are of God…
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”
2 Corinthians 5:18

What is torn can be mended.
What is separated can be blended.
That which is broken can find repair,
And joy can fill the life in despair.
Brian Troxel

To seek reconciliation with others is the revelation of a heart which has and is being reconciled to Christ.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

_____________

“Behold, I make all things new”
Revelation 21:5

Brian Troxel