Posted by: bellissimanh | November 10, 2007

Forgetting What is Behind

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13). 

“The people of the world focus on what they are overcoming. Christians focus on what they are becoming.” (Henry Blackaby)

A big hearty AMEN to this!

There is a current philosophy out there – a “technique” I guess you could call it – that says you have to go digging through your past to move on with the future. “Theophostic Prayer Ministry”, by its own admission,  “…is focused on people’s identifying the lies they believe that are causing painful emotions and replacing these lies with the Lord’s truth” (quote taken directly from their website). This “ministry” is dangerous, because it while it appears to be cloaked in Scripture, its principles are contradictory to the Word. Let me share with you a few quotes from its founder, Ed Smith, and I think you’ll see what I mean (quotes are in blue).

This ministry claims to operate from “lie-based theology”, rather than sin-based theology…

I have come to believe that there is a fundamental misconception about the root of sinful behavior (in the true Christian) and the reasons that many people struggle with sin throughout their Christian lives.  The fundamental misconception I am describing is what I call sin-based theology.  Sin based theology believes that the root of my problem is sin.  It says, ‘Because I have sinned I suffer and am in pain.  To be free of my pain I must repent of my sin, confess it to God, and choose to obey and apply the truth of God’s Word.  By this I can walk in victory.” 

Hello? Doesn’t the Bible say that the root of my problem IS sin?

Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 26:27-28 “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

John 8:34-36 “Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

It seems pretty clear to me that SIN is our problem, not some lie we believed in our past. Jesus’ primary reason for coming was to deal with our sin. The reason He died on the cross was to deal with our sin. What is it He came to set us free from? Not believing lies… but our SIN.

“True repentance is the inner mental change which occurs when God intercedes on our behalf in the darkness of our false thinking.  When we are able to receive truth in our innermost parts (subconscious mind), this truth will transfer and translate into our conscious awareness and outward behavior.  When we know the truth experientially we can walk in true victory.”

Ok. This is important. The truth we are to live by is truth with a capital T… the Truth. The Word of God. Period. A fundamental rule of interpretation is that our experience must always be measured against God’s Word; never is God’s Word to be measured against our experience.

“Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)

The bottom line for me, is this:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Our problem is not that we have believed lies in our past. It’s that we are liars. Jesus didn’t come to deliver us from believing lies, He came to deliver us from being liars. The people who came to be baptized by John at the river Jordon were not confessing that they had been raped, or abused by the Romans, or unloved by their parents… they were confessing their SIN. Our problem is not that we are victims, it’s that we are perpetrators. Paul says in Philippians that we are to FORGET the past, and press on, in Christ Jesus. Now the good… awesome… breathtaking news… is that not only did Jesus save us from our sin, but “…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:3). Hallelujah!

The cross is not a technique; it is a gift of love and a miracle. No human psychotherapy, even “Christian” psychotherapy, can do what our Savior did for us on the cross. It can’t bring the healing that the Great Physician can (Psalm 103:1-5). It can’t bring the life that the Word can (Psalm 119:50). It can’t bring the freedom from sin that Christ can (Romans 8:1-2). May I just encourage you today to put your trust in the Rock? In the One who has all the answers? In the Truth? He knows you better than anyone else… your past, present, and even your future. My heart this morning echoes Paul’s prayer to the Colossians… for each of us, myself included…

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:2-10).

Did you catch this?

 “…in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

I just love that! Don’t you?

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Responses

  1. You seem to be a very intelligent person. Please don’t be angry, but why do you believe all this stuff?

  2. Not even going there with Kip’s comment.

    Yes, I do love it!! Thanks for such a thoughtful post, Heather. As usual, you are making me put on my thinking cap!!

  3. Great post Heather! We have to be so careful to guard against false teachers who present such clear danger to our faith. So many people who are uninformed or still babes in Chirst are easily led astray by this sort of nonesense.

  4. Thank God for those who are steadfast in pointing the way to the only WAY to life – Jesus Christ! God is so real, when you have experienced His deep love, unearthly peace, and passionate freedom from a mundane life of sin with no hope after death; there’s just nothing that compares!

    I am thankful that you are so diligent in presenting the truth as it truly is – without twisting the Scriptures, but really pulling out the sincere milk of the Word and putting it into today’s context. We do have to be very careful to always “try” everything we hear to see what manner of spirit they are of.

  5. I agree with the fact that Jesus came to save us from our sins. And I don’t like their wording.

    But, I do think that sin begins with lies we believe.

    Eve sinned because she believed Satan’s lies over the truth of God’s word, over commitment to obedience. She was deceived by lies.

    People believe things about themselves and their situations that aren’t even true so many times, and they sin to true to change themselves or their situation.

    We are sinners by nature. But we also have corrupt thinking that needs to be changed, taking EVERY THOUGHT (every lie), captive to the knowledge of Christ.

    Our spiritual warfare, is, in effect, in large part, training the mind.

    These are great thoughts to sift…for sure! Thanks for the well-thought out, thought-provoking post. I hope these thoughts aren’t confusing.

  6. Heather,
    Awesome post. Isn’t it interesting that being just a “little” off, is still OFF.

    Blessings,
    Sue

  7. Heather,
    wow. You know what never ceases to amaze me? We dont have to add anything, (but im so glad you did!) the scriptures say it all! Whenever I am in doubt, I go to the scriptures. Whenever something isnt making sense, go back to the Word. You had this blog salt and peppered with scripture and it was great.

    “Our problem is not that we have believed lies in our past. It’s that we are liars. Jesus didn’t come to deliver us from believing lies, He came to deliver us from being liars. The people who came to be baptized by John at the river Jordon were not confessing that they had been raped, or abused by the Romans, or unloved by their parents… they were confessing their SIN. Our problem is not that we are victims, it’s that we are perpetrators.”

    A-M-E-N!

    I LOVE when we get down to the meat of it. Thats it. Words that come to mind.. Own it.. Realize..Repent..Filthy Rags…Sent Help…Redeem..Save.. When we miss the first step, we kind of have it all a little warped. Like someone said in the comment, a little off is still off. This is so important, that doctrine being preached IS dangerous.

    love, S

  8. Thank you Heather!

  9. Thanks for posting this. It is such a trap to believe something is biblical because they quote scripture. The only real truth is the Bible.

  10. I don’t know if this was what my friend was into or not, but I knew someone once, a few years ago, who tried to convince me of something very like it. She basically wanted to just skip the process of sanctification altogether because in her logic, it would waste valuable time that would be better spent living rightly in obedience. So, of COURSE God would give instant freedom, why wouldn’t He?

    Why, indeed, and if only. At the time I recognized a lie, but she was a strong personality. The best I could do was warn her that it didn’t seem right, promise to think on it, then I didn’t meet her to observe her little thing she was doing. I think she wanted to work on me, too, but… no doin’. I did a lot of studying, wondered if I should call her and confront her on it, then decided no, it was best left alone. Haven’t heard from her since. I’ve often wondered if she eventually received the disappointment that I knew would ultimately come – and how, I wondered, would she deal with that?

    It’s sad, isn’t it? We fall for the same lies again and again. We still want to be like God. We want the power to forgive sin and overcome it on our own. We desire control more than Him. We want to work and earn approval, not rest and know Him better. This woman’s phone call came at a time in my life when I was particularly vulnerable and feeling spiritually frustrated with my own lack of progress. At the time she said I was in a “double bind.” Now I wonder… I’ve learned since that sometimes God just takes His time with me, and HE is not the One getting so impatient. 😉

    Satan is subtle. One of the biggest ways to spot him, though, is to consider how much of what is being said actually suits my taste, and does it scratch my itchin’ ears? Hmmm…

    Thanks for the wise warning.

  11. You really missed the point.


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