Hey guys! I am posting a YouTube video here that I made detailing my journey from death to life, and then from legalism to grace. I hope that it brings glory to God and that people can see how amazing He is — He can save anyone! Finally, the title credit goes to John Bunyan for his fantastic book “Pilgrim’s Progress” which I think is pretty great.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17, NASB)
I’ve been texting with a friend, a sister in the Lord, about what it means to live by faith. We are both learning what it means to trust in God and to wrestle with Him; we are learning how to live by faith through the hard times of life, through the difficulties, the pain, the struggles, and the circumstances that tempt us to trust in the world or to trust in religion. Through all of this, through the storms of life, we are learning to remain steadfast and to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for our strength. . .when we are obviously so weak.
I have been walking down this new path of freedom for 12 years, and my friend has been walking it for just a few, yet we are both learning the same thing . . . because the learning never ends. And in 20 or 40 years, I will still be learning to trust in the Lord – because He is infinite and I am depraved. While I remain on this cursed earth, I will grow to trust Him more and more as I experience the difficulties of life .
My friend and I began this texting discussion after both listening to a radio program by Aaron Budjen on “Living by Faith.” In his message, Aaron talks about Romans 1:17 and the quote from Habakkuk that says that the righteous man will live by faith.
“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habbakkuk 2:4)
Although I was saved 28 years ago, I spent 14 or 15 years not trusting in the Lord, even though I was born again and had a relationship with Him. I spent those years trusting in religion and trusting in my church. I was trusting in the acceptance of other people, in the attempt to earn their acceptance through working so hard doing ministry work.
I looked to and trusted in religion which is really just an aspect of the knowledge of good and evil. (The Lord God said not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we did, so the tree is a part of this world that we live in, it’s a part of this fallen world.) Although I was not necessarily doing evil, I actually was, because Jesus said there is only One who is good. He alone, God, is the only One who is good. Other than Him, there is none good.
So even though we try to live according to the knowledge of what is good, it ends up being a life of evil, because our motives are wrong. Our “good deeds” are often attempts to earn the acceptance of others, to earn the acceptance of God. We try to remain in a relationship with God by doing good works, repenting of our sin, asking God to forgive us, and then being firmly devoted to living a life of obedience . . . but all of that is a life of vanity and emptiness.
Being set free from such a life by discovering that I am a forgiven person, started me down a path that will never end. As long as I am in the flesh, I will always be discovering and anticipating and growing. Learning every day what it means to live by faith.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father.” (John 14:6, CEV)
Jesus is “the truth,” and we can grow in our knowledge of the truth by growing to know the Lord Jesus.
This life of faith begins when God calls us. When we were lost and dead in our sins, He called out to us and revealed to us the gospel. (Romans 5:10). If we respond to the gospel message with faith, if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we can begin this brand-new life where God leads us “from faith to faith.” (Romans 1:17)
And like the Israelites who were set free from slavery only to wander around in circles in the wilderness for years and years, we too will have our years of wandering in the wilderness. For me, it was 15 years of being deluded by lies and false teaching, wandering in circles, passing my days as if I were stuck in a cage.
As Bob George used to say, “Truth sets you free. Error binds you.”
This captivity is alluded to in Isaiah 14, when Isaiah prophesied about Satan’s future by saying:
Those who see you will stare; they will ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made the kingdoms tremble, who turned the world into a desert and destroyed its cities, who refused to let the captives return to their homes?” (Isaiah 14:16-17, BSB)
He refused to let the captives return home! Satan is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He uses lies and falsehood to destroy us, to turn Christians into captives. And he refuses to let his captives return home.
But JESUS the MESSIAH is the mighty warrior who sets us free from our cages! Who fights on our behalf using the TRUTH to set us free. In other words, HE sets us free because He IS THE TRUTH.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32, KJV)
After 15 years of being a captive, Jesus, the truth, set me free by leading me to discover my complete forgiveness (thank you, Bob George & Classic Christianity), and soon afterwards had me learning how to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (thank you, Aaron Budjen). We are forgiven people, and understanding this will totally transform your Christian life.
Since being set free, I have drawn close to Jesus; I have grown to know His peace and His rest . . . Even in the midst of life’s pains and problems — His peace which passes understanding remains with me.
I want others to know this joy that exists in the midst of suffering. This new life of freedom is so exciting! And it’s so real and true, that to me, it’s comparable to a Near Death Experience. It has been that life-changing for me. Just complete night and day.
So, my life today is about the freedom He’s given me. It’s not a freedom to sin, but a freedom to grow to know Him and His love for me. A freedom to receive all spiritual blessings, and to grow every day in the knowledge of His will: His glorious ‘last will and testament.’ It is a freedom to relax in the Promised Land of REST, freely enjoying His wonders, His beauty, His grace and His peace. Nothing can separate me from the love of God! And nothing can remove me from this land of peace.
Meanwhile, it hurts when I see my brothers and sisters living in cages. I write this blog today while somewhat heavy in heart; a good friend and sister in the Lord is being lured into a cage through the false doctrine of dispensationalism: the teaching that paints God as a schizophrenic madman who is mercurial and inconsistent. A God that is impossible to know. . . But I must let her go and let her stumble and learn; my friend is on her own journey of faith.
I can’t change anyone’s mind, but what I can do is write these words today and declare that there is a strong and mighty Lion who is fighting for us – the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is fighting to set the captive free. He is the truth who can set you free.
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)