Day 5: Know what you believe and why
In everything you were [exceedingly] enriched in Him, in all speech [empowered by the spiritual gifts] and in all knowledge [with insight into the faith]. In this way our testimony about Christ was confirmed and established in you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift. 1 Corinthians 1:5-7
For the Anointed One has sent me on a mission, not to see how many I could baptize, but to proclaim the good news. And I declare this message stripped of all philosophical arguments that empty the cross of its true power. For I trust in the all-sufficient cross of Christ alone. 1 Corinthians 1:17
If we want to know what we believe and why, we need to become very familiar with Paul’s writings.
It’s important to study the life of Jesus, of course.
And the disciples.
And the Book of Acts, yes.
But we cannot miss the fact that Paul received the revelation of Jesus from Jesus himself.
He received the message of the resurrected Christ, the New Creation reality, and the revelation of Jesus reconciling ALL THINGS to himself and to their original, intended glory first-hand. No other disciples or messengers had that advantage.
In three days with Jesus, Paul received the New Covenant revelation. Think about that.
“Another point that I found intriguing was how influential Paul was on the whole of the New Testament. I have read about Paul and his conversion, but it never really sunk in that everything he knew, experienced and wrote was the result of a personal revelation of Jesus. I guess that was muddied in my thinking! This instilled in me a better understanding and appreciation for the value importance and power of his writings.” (Essay on Mystical Union by John Crowder, Sue Brage)
To truly know what we believe and what is accurate and what Jesus established, we need to know what Paul knew. And not just bits and pieces, and well-worn scriptures we’ve heard on specific topics, often taken out of context! We need to know confidently what we believe and why, not just what our pastor or favorite teacher spouts as truth.
According to 1 Corinthians 1: 5, we have been enriched with all knowledge and insight into our faith. In John, Jesus tells us the the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. And Paul himself teaches that Holy Spirit will always reveal what is true about Jesus.
So, with Holy Spirit help, we can learn to discern what we believe is Gospel truth, what feels good, right and true to us and what we are basing our beliefs on.
It’s not enough to ride on the coat-tails of the men in our lives (or the teachers). We are responsible before God to accurately handle the word of truth. We are responsible to Jesus to know what he actually taught, believes and died for. He’s not going to ask us about anyone else, and he’s not going to ask anyone else about us.
I don’t know if anyone has ever told you that before. Or if you have dismissed your need to understand theology and doctrine for whatever reason.
I challenge you to change that. Today.
Realize that your need to know, your responsiblity to discern and divide and teach matters to Jesus. As dispensers of the Gospel and establishers of the Kingdom, we ALL need the revelation, insight and ability to proclaim the good news. Confidently. Accurately. With compassion, revelation and all wisdom.
Jesus, help us to grasp the true gospel and align our beliefs with the truth of who you are, who we are in you and the reality of the Finished Work of the Cross. Thank you that we can fully discern truth and know when your character and kingdom are being misrepresented. Give us wisdom to know when and how to share our faith, and how to respond to others with grace and insight. Holy Spirit lead us into all truth about Jesus and the kingdom, that we may be assured of what we believe and responsible for our own faith. Forgive us for times we have been unthinking or unconcerned with what we believe or unknowingly been led astray. Give us fresh revelation, insight and understanding into your word, your kingdom and your truth, amen.
Action Step: Learn to think, reason and decide for yourself based on your knowledge of the Word and God’s character.
- Translations Matter.
- Read Paul’s epistles in a fresh, modern translation. Or several. I highly recommend The Passion Translation and The Mirror. The Voice is also a great one.
- Read about the translators of each version, so you get where they are coming from and what inspired them to research and write the translations they did.
- Read the following articles on Bible Translations: https://margmowczko.com/category/bible-translation-and-interpretation/
- Your Statement of Beliefs.
- Research your church’s Statement of Beliefs. Do you agree and understand each one? If not, do some reasearch. Ask some questions.
- What authors or pastors do you most resonate with? Review their sites for Statements of Beliefs and do the same thing.
- Write your own Statement of Beliefs based on what YOU believe.
Describe how you want to show up online when it comes to sharing your faith. Are you living that out currently? Why or why not?
The Theology of Perfection
Perfected in Christ.
That’s actually how he sees you, friend. You are the work of his hands, and you are amazing, glorious and perfect.
What does it mean to be perfect?
To be perfect means to be excellent and beyond improvement and to be conforming absolutely to the ideal. It also means to be flawless, faultless and I would add, wanting for nothing, complete, whole with nothing missing.
In our culture, you may think of perfection as that airbrushed quality we see on social media or the dreaded Christmas letter from your husband’s cousin bragging, er, I mean sharing about all her latest accomplishments at work, her education, awards and amazing, perfect family. But that is not the quality of perfection you have, my flawless diamond.
You are a brilliant representation of the glory of God revealed at Creation and re-revealed at the Resurrection.
While you will do brag-worthy works on earth, your perfection has nothing to do with any of that. I will say it again, your glorious perfection has nothing to do with your performance, your achievements, your knowledge of the Bible or even your spiritual maturity. Because God is not judging you on any of it.
This is a relatively new revelation in my life, too. I mean, I understood Jesus loved me no matter what. That he accepted me, even. But did he see me as perfect? Umm, that was a hard no.
And yet, once you grasp this truth, you begin to see it all throughout scripture. In fact, once we are finished with this chapter, you won’t be able to go back to the old way of thinking and seeing yourself as anything but the amazing, glorious work of perfection you actually are.
Paul had this revelation and it influenced most of the New Testament. Think about this, Paul had the truest revelation of who Jesus was–the Glorified, Risen Jesus–and he had never met him in the flesh. I still can’t quite get my head around that. I mean, Paul wrote most of the New Testament out of the intimate spiritual encounter he had with Christ.
This encounter birthed a new paradigm, a fresh theology of the work of the Cross and what it actually means for every believer.
No longer were humans subject to tedious laws and works of the flesh to obtain God’s favor. No longer was there a need for acts of atonement or flagulation to implore the Father’s mercy. Jesus destroyed the theology of works or what we might call performance-based religion for good. And any belief that implies we must earn our father’s good graces is completely mistaken.
While theology is not really my area; we cannot lay a foundation for your awesomeness without considering why this might be hard to accept or believe. We must examine any theology that tells us we are anything less that perfect and pleasing to our heavenly Father.
Listen to some of Paul’s paradigm-shifting statements:
- So also one man’s obedience opened the door for many to be made perfectly right with God and acceptable to him. Romans 5:19
- It’s true that some of you once lived in those lifestyles, but now you have been purified from sin, made holy, and given a perfect standing before God—all because of the power of the name of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and through our union with the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
- He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! Ephesians 2:6 TPT
- And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness. Ephesians 4:24 TPT
- Now is the time for us to progress beyond the basic message of Christ and advance into perfection. The foundation has already been laid for us to build upon: turning away from our dead works to embrace faith in God. Hebrews 6:1
- And by his one perfect sacrifice he made us perfectly holy and complete for all time! Hebrews 10:14
- But now God has invited us to live in something better than what they had—faith’s fullness! This is so that they could be brought to finished perfection alongside of us. Hebrews 11:40
That’s why Jesus said, “It is finished.”
You are finished, friend! You are a work of perfection, glorious, powerful, complete.
To think otherwise is to diminish the work of the Cross and all Jesus died for.
One final scripture:
So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. And those who possess his perfect righteousness he co-glorified with his Son! (Romans 8:1)