THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Becoming a Vessel for God’s Use

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Ti. 2:21)

We see by the Word of God that Jesus rejected the blessings which He obtained by fulfilling the Law. How can we be sure that God accepted this offer to transfer His obedience for our disobedience? How can we be sure of the place with God wherein we stand?

Because the new covenant has already been established.

“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:”  (Heb. 8:8)

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”  (Heb. 12:24)

Since the new covenant has been established, then the old covenant has passed away. And if the old covenant has passed away, then it had to have been fulfilled.

Part of that fulfillment was the issuing of the blessings. If the blessings that Jesus obtained have been issued, where are they now?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”  (Eph. 1:3)

They have been issued and placed into our account to be drawn upon by faith.

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  (Mark 11:24)

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”  (1John 5:14)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”  (James 1:6)

When we become a believer in Jesus Christ, receive Him into our heart, commit our life unto Him, and are born again, God bestows His grace (unmerited favor, acceptance) upon us and places us in the position of grace.

He then gives the power of His grace within us to begin to empower change in our life. As we yield to the power of this grace and allow our lives to be transformed by His power, we begin to become the vessels through which God can touch the lives of others.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  (2Tim. 2:19)

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.”  (2Tim. 2:20)

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”  (2Tim. 2:21)

God has already placed you in the position of His grace. He has already placed within you the power of His grace. Now by believing that this has all been done because of what Jesus Christ purchased for you at Calvary, you can walk in the grace of God, sufficient in all things, dependent on His power, unto every good work.


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: The Atonement

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom. 5:11)

To those of us who have accepted Christ and been born again, God has bestowed upon us His unmerited favor and put us in the position of grace because of the blood of Jesus Christ.

And because we are in this position of grace, God wants to manifest the power of grace so that we can abound to every good work.

He wants to give “grace for grace”.

This is helped by our understanding and having faith in the “atonement”.

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”  (Rom. 5:11)

In the Greek, the word translated “atonement” in the King James Version actually means “the exchange”. This “atonement” or “exchange” happened at Calvary.

The Bible teaches us that before a new covenant can be established, the old covenant has to be fulfilled. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the old covenant which was the Law of Moses.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”  (Mat. 5:17)

The Bible says that sin is “the transgression of the law”, but that Jesus committed no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, Jesus fulfilled the law in all points.

The Law of Moses promised that there would be certain blessings bestowed upon anyone who kept or fulfilled the law and did not transgress it.

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.”  (Deu. 28:2)

Among the blessings that would be given to those who fulfilled the law were long life, prosperity, health, and righteousness.

The law could not be fulfilled and blotted out of the way in order that a new covenant could take its place until these promises were bestowed. God says, “If you do this, then I will do this.” This is what constitutes a “covenant” or “contract”.

And yet we see Jesus, who rightfully earned these blessings by fulfilling the law, but not receiving them.

The law promised long life, yet Jesus gave His life at the young age of 33. The law promised prosperity, but Jesus said that “the son of man hath nowhere to lay his head.”

The law promised health and sickness removed from their midst, yet Jesus “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses”.

Jesus earned these blessings but did not receive them. Why?

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  (2Cor. 5:21)

Because all of mankind had transgressed the law, man deserved the curses of disobedience. By being the only man to fulfill the law, Jesus deserved the blessings.

Jesus willingly rejected the blessings contained in the law and accepted the curses, so that He could transfer the blessings of His fulfillment to those of us who have believed on Him through the cross.

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”  (Gal. 3:10)

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”  (Gal. 3:11-12)

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”  (Gal. 3:13)

This is the atonement, the “exchange”.

This is where faith for grace lies.

I am not blessed because I was faithful to pay my tithe or give an offering. I can expect to be blessed because Jesus fulfilled the law for blessings but rejected the reward for that fulfillment in order to pass it to those who believe.

I cannot expect to be healed because I have been faithful to work for God and now He owes it to me. I can expect to be healed because Jesus earned it by fulfilling the law and rejected it so that I can receive it.

I am not righteous because of my holy lifestyle, but I am righteous in the sight of God because Jesus became cursed so that I could have His righteousness. 

What freedom from all self- dependency! This answers all of my questions:

Why does God love me?

Why would God hear me?

Why would God answer my prayers?

How could God use me?

The answer is because of the atonement, because of the exchange done through Calvary.

As the Apostle Paul said,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  (Gal. 2:20)

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (Php. 4:13)


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Through the Blood

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:18)

The faith to believe in God’s grace lies in understanding and believing in how God sees you.

In yesterday’s blog post, we mentioned the story of the Israelites’ forty year trek through the wilderness. The Bible says in First Corinthians that these things were examples to us:

“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.”  (1Cor. 10:5-6)

The Bible teaches us that these things we read of in the Old Testament were not only examples for us to learn by, but they are also shadows of better things to come.

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”  (Heb. 8:5)

The Bible tells us that as the Israelites travelled in the wilderness; they were led by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud that covered them by day.

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” (Exo. 13:21)

Often we read that when the Israelites would sin, God would see their transgressions and the punishment of the Lord would issue forth from the pillar of fire (Num 11:1).

And yet, when Balaam prophesied concerning Israel he stated:

“He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.”  (Num. 23:21)

The pre-incarnate Christ was the “king” that was among them. He was in the cloud and in the fire, beholding the sin of Israel and dealing with it on the earth.

Yet God in heaven was looking down upon Israel, and looking through the cloud (through Christ), He beheld no iniquity.

This was the type and shadow of our relationship with God today. The Bible teaches us that in this world, there is a result of sin:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  (Gal. 6:7-8)

If a Christian commits a crime, he could go to prison. If a Christian smokes, he might get cancer. If a Christian makes foolish financial judgments, he might go bankrupt.

In this life, there are results for the decisions we make, both good and bad. However, when we repent of our sins and are cleansed by the blood of Christ, God looking from heaven looks through the blood and:

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”  (Isa. 1:18)

I had often thought that if sin had a color, that it should be black. I could not understand why God referred to sin as red.

Then one day, as I was preparing to preach as a visiting evangelist, I had gone early into the Church Sanctuary to study before service. This particular Church had red stained glass windows.

As I sat next to the window and opened my Bible to the New Testament, I noticed that the words of Christ in red had disappeared and there was a white blank where they should be. The sunlight shining through the red glass had cancelled out the red words printed in my Bible. Red cancels out red.

In the Old Testament, God looking through the cloud beheld no iniquity in Israel. In the New Testament, God looking down through the red blood of Jesus that covers your red sin beholds no sin or iniquity in you.

This is the position of grace.

It is the unmerited favor of God, earned by Christ through the shedding of His blood. It has nothing to do with how many times you have succeeded or how many times you have failed.

This is the same grace for all who have accepted Christ and are walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  (Rom. 8:1)

But God will give “grace for grace”.


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Understanding Grace

He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” (Num. 23:21)

This post and the next few will provide Biblical answers to many questions that begin with the words “Why” or “How”.

Why does God love me? Why would God love me, considering the things that I have done? Why should I believe that God hears and answers my prayers? Why would God want to bless me, as many times as I have failed Him? How could God ever use me?

The Bible tells us of the time when the children of Israel, after being under bondage for 400 years, were delivered out of Egypt by the mighty outstretched hand of God. He divided the Red Sea, the Israelites went through on dry ground, and then God caused the waters to return and drown the armies of Egypt.

When they hungered, God gave them manna from heaven to eat, and when they thirsted, He gave them water out of the rock to drink. He led them through the wilderness to a land flowing with milk and honey, but they would not go in and take it because of their unbelief.

Due to their sin and disobedience, God ordained that the nation of Israel would wander in the wilderness for forty years until those who had refused to go into the Promised Land had died. 

For forty years the people of Israel continued to sin and rebel against God in the wilderness to the point that God wanted to destroy them all, but Moses intervened.

Yet when the forty years had expired and the Lord was ready to let them enter the land of promise, Balaam prophesied of Israel and said, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” (Num. 23:21)

How could God say this of Israel after all of their disobedience? The answer has everything to do with you, how God looks at you, and why God will bless you and use you in spite of your failings.

GRACE.

In the Old Testament Hebrew it means kindness, favor, or acceptance. In the New Testament Greek it means the divine influence upon the heart and it’s reflection in the life. Many have also translated it to mean unmerited favor.

The grace of God is what causes God to look upon us and not see our failures and shortcomings, but instead causes Him to smile and His “face to shine upon us.” It is what makes us “the apple of His eye.”

But it is more than just God’s attitude towards us, more than just unmerited or undeserved favor.

It is that divine flow from God that washes over our heart and changes our nature. The prophet Ezekiel prophesied:

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”  (Eze. 36:26)

Grace is that divine unction which comes into our heart and mind, changes our will to conform to God’s will, and then empowers us to enact God’s will.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  (Php. 2:13)

It causes our desires to change and become God’s desires, so that He can then enable us to perform His desire for our life.

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  (Psalm 37:4)

The degree of the provision and supply of our needs is in direct proportion to the degree of God’s grace.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2Cor. 9:8)

In writing to the church, the Apostle Paul says that “God is able”, making us to know that this particular degree of grace he is talking about is not already established.

Also, the Apostle Paul talks about “all grace”, whereby we see that we can have a portion of grace or we can have all grace.

Lastly, we see that “all sufficiency” and “abounding” is dependent upon our having “all grace”, not just a portion of grace.

“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”  (John 1:16)

We read here in John that “his fullness” of grace is related to us having “grace for grace”. What does the Bible mean by “grace for grace”?

We see then that there are actually two types of grace. God gives the grace of unmerited favor. This is His attitude towards us.

Unmerited, because we did not earn His favor, but we obtain it because someone else has earned it for us. This unmerited favor then puts us in a position of grace.

Because of this position of grace, God then empowers us with His divine influence upon our heart and its reflection in our life.

It is a divine power that transforms our will to become His will and then empowers us to perform that will.

This is “grace for grace”.

If the degree of our provision and ability is contingent upon the degree of grace, how can we cause this grace to grow to be that abundant grace, so that we can have “all sufficiency in all things” in order to “abound unto every good work”?

The answer is in understanding what God’s grace is, thereby believing in it and causing it to grow according to faith.


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: The Simplicity of Faith

FAITH COMES

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom 10:17)

FAITH BELIEVES

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:6)

FAITH IS

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1)

FAITH OVERCOMES

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1Jn 5:4)


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Misplaced Faith

“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25)

On that stormy night so long ago, Jesus addressed His disciples on three issues concerning faith. He addressed the problem of “no faith”, He addressed the problem of “little faith”, and now He addresses them concerning what may be the greatest problem of all: “Where is your faith?”

The same question could be asked of Christians today. Where is your faith?

There are those who mistakenly have faith in themselves. They have been told by well-meaning but errant advisors, “God helps those who help themselves.”

They spend their lives dependent upon their own abilities, or wisdom, or knowledge expecting that God will stand by as a faithful servant to bless all of their endeavors whether it be His will or not.

“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)

Although they may enjoy temporal success in this world, and may on occasion be able to deliver themselves out of precarious circumstances by their own devices, one who is dependent upon himself is headed for spiritual bankruptcy.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)

Then there are those who put their faith in others. It may be due to the fact that a certain individual possesses great knowledge, or apparent wisdom, power, or even anointing. They lift him or her up more highly than they ought and bestow their faith in a human being.

No matter how well intentioned, that individual will ultimately stumble, and those who have put their faith in that person will fail.

If we have no faith, the adversary of our soul has us in his grasp. If we have little faith, he is not concerned about us because we have no power.

If our faith begins to grow, then he attempts to distract us by causing us to misplace our faith by putting it in a person, whether that person be ourselves or another.

This was the condition of the disciples in the boat, for they said of Jesus, “What manner of man is this?” They had their faith in Jesus for the wrong reason.

Some followed Him for the miracles, some followed Him for the provisions, and some even followed Him hoping that He would restore the glory of Israel.

For whatever reason, by their own statement of “What manner of man is this?” they revealed that they still believed they were following just a man. In their own hearts, they had put their faith in a man.

A very special man. A very anointed man. But still just a man.

It wasn’t until after the resurrection that they came to believe in who He really is.

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

The last misdirection for faith is the most insidious, for it impersonates itself as the true spiritual direction for faith. This is where much of the church today has been deceived.

This is when we take the faith that God has given us, this ability to believe and not doubt, and we put that faith in our faith.

The world calls it the power of positive thinking. The church spiritualizes it and calls it the power of faith or the power of prayer.

It is believing that by praying hard enough or long enough, it is the prayer itself that changes the situation. Or similarly, it is the idea that believing strong enough for something to happen will cause it to come to pass.

We even have phrases to describe this that sound very spiritual. “Prayer changes things” and “Faith changes things” sound good, but they miss the mark. They may just slightly miss the mark, but they are a miss nonetheless.

We ought to be saying, “God changes things.”

There is only one direction for faith:

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)

“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23)

The mountain will be removed when spoken to, the prayer will be answered and the things desired received, but the foundation that must be established before any of this can happen is to have faith in God.

There can be no other direction for faith.

This ability to believe and not doubt, to have this God kind of faith, is a gift given by God for the sole purpose of returning it to Him: to believe and not doubt in Him, to believe and not doubt in His power and ability, to believe and not doubt in His nature, His love, and His faithfulness.

“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Mat. 28:18)

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalm 139:1-4)

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psalm 139:17-18)

Before Moses came, God revealed Himself to men as the Almighty God. When Moses came, He revealed Himself to the nation of Israel as the Lord. When Jesus came, He revealed God to each individual as the Father.

God is your Heavenly Father. He knows your innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing can separate you from the love that He has for you through Christ Jesus. His thoughts about you are so many that they cannot be numbered.

And when Jesus died on Calvary, the veil that separated God from man was torn by God from the top to the bottom, so that there is nothing that separates you from God. You can get as close to God as you want to.

Nothing can stop you from being as intimate with your Heavenly Father as you want to be, to know Him, and His faith, and the power of His resurrection.

Innumerable books and sermons have been written upon the subject of faith. Faith has been dissected, taken apart, examined, and put back together in every way that can be imagined.

But I fear as the Apostle Paul did:

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2Cor. 11:3)

The sum of the matter and the simplicity of the matter is this:

God has given to every believer “the measure of faith.” Every believer has been given the same amount of faith. It is God’s faith, not your own.

It is like a mustard seed and needs to grow. Hearing from God is the only thing that will activate it and make it grow.

Hearing and recognizing the voice of God can only come by the Word of God. By spending time with God in reading, studying, and meditating upon His Word.

By getting to know and understand God intimately, you will hear His voice and know His will in every situation and will be able to take this God kind of faith, this ability to believe and never doubt, and redeposit it back in God and see God manifest His power and perform His will in all His glory.

You will pray and believe according to His will, mountains will be removed, things prayed for will be received, and the glory of the Lord will be your rearward.

In other words, God’s glory will remain when everything else is said and done.

And you will know what it is to walk in the faith of God.


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: The Empowerment of Faith

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3)

The Bible teaches that this gift of faith, this God kind of faith, is given only to those born again believers in Christ in whom the Holy Spirit has come to live.

The Bible teaches that when we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our heart that God raised Christ from the dead, then we are saved and become born again. (Romans 10:9)

The Bible says in Romans 8:9 “… Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” When we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells inside of us and with Him comes this measure of faith. It is His fruit. It is, among other things, what He produces. (Galatians 5:22)

Understanding that God through the Holy Spirit is living inside of you right now, and that the Holy Spirit is producing God’s faith inside of you right now, is the beginning of operating in His faith right now.

There are those who say to “release your faith”. This is not Scriptural. God’s faith does not need to be “released”. It is not bottled up inside of you or in prison. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that even our unbelief cannot make the faith of God of none effect. (Romans 3: 3 & 4)

It is God’s faith. It is inside of you. It is right now a miracle working faith. But Jesus compared it to a mustard seed.

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Mat 17:20)

It is the measure of faith. It has miracle working capabilities. But it is like a mustard seed. And as a mustard seed, it needs to grow.

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.”  (Luke 13:19)

The Gospels tell of an occasion when Jesus was with his disciples in a ship upon the sea and a storm arose. As the storm blew, Jesus was asleep inside the ship. When the disciples feared for their lives, they awoke Jesus and he spoke three things concerning their faith.

To those who were still not believers (remember Judas Iscariot) he said, “How is it that you have no faith?” These were the ones who asked Jesus, “Carest thou not that we perish?”

They didn’t believe that the Lord even cared for them, that He was unaware or could care less about their situation or what was happening to them.

Then there were those to whom Jesus said, “Oh ye of little faith.” These were the ones who said to Him “save us, we (including Jesus) perish.” They were believers in Jesus because they had been given faith.

They knew Jesus loved them and cared for them, because He stayed with them during the storm. They knew that He would never leave them even if it meant that He would sink with them. They knew that He could save them, because they asked Him.

However, they were unsure if it was His will to save them. This is the position of many Christians today. They believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been born again and have received the measure of faith.

They know God can do anything and that His power is able to deliver from any situation, but they do not know what His will is concerning that situation.

These are those of little faith. They have the mustard seed of faith, but it needs to grow. They may think they know God’s will, or they may hope that it is His will, but as long as there is any doubt then it cannot be the fully grown God kind of faith that sees something come from nothing.

How does the little mustard seed measure of faith grow to be the mature, fully grown God kind of faith? Just as a seed needs the proper type of ground, water and sunlight to grow, so the mustard seed of faith needs the proper nourishment.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

The Bible says in Romans 4:3,

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3)

Other than Christ, Abraham more than anyone else is to be our example of faith. What is so special about Abraham?

In the book of Genesis, we read of how God chose Abraham and told him to leave his idolatrous home and go to a land that He would show him. Abraham obeyed, and later God told Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars of the heavens for multitude.

In his later years, he and his wife Sarah had a son named Isaac. As Isaac grew into manhood, God told Abraham that in Isaac would his seed be called. In other words, that his descendants through Isaac would be as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Then a strange thing happened. God told Abraham to take Isaac and go to a certain mountain and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.

Most, if not all, believers would not have believed that God spoke this to them and would not have gone. This was contrary to God’s promise. How could Abraham have descendants through Isaac and they be as the stars of heaven if Isaac was dead?

Isaac had not yet married and had any children.

This was also contrary to God’s nature, for God forbade human sacrifice and said that it was an abomination to him. But yet Abraham took Isaac and went anyway. Why?

Over the years Abraham had become so familiar with God that he knew His voice and never doubted. Abraham had walked with God. He had sat in the door of his tent and ate with God.

The more time that Abraham spent with God, the more he knew His voice, His nature, His power, and His plan.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and another they will not follow.” (John 10:27)

Abraham had learned that God always keeps his promise, so he knew that even though it seemed impossible for God’s promise to be fulfilled if he obeyed God, he still knew that somehow God would make his descendants through Isaac as plentiful as the stars of heaven.

Abraham knew that God would never require a human sacrifice, so he knew that something would happen to prevent it. Abraham knew that God’s power was unlimited, so that even if his son suffered death, God was able to raise him up in order to fulfill His word.

And Abraham knew that God does everything by design. He knew that God had a plan, and that everything was for a reason.

So he told his servants, I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and WE shall come again.”

Even when Isaac asked him, “Father, here is the wood and the fire but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

Abraham said, “God himself will provide a lamb for a sacrifice.”

After ascending the mountain, Abraham bound his son with cords, placed him upon the wood, and raised his knife. An angel immediately appeared and called to Abraham.

“And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.” (Gen. 22:11)

“And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”  (Gen. 22:12)

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” (Gen. 22:13)

“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Gen. 22:14)

“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,” (Gen. 22:15)

“And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:” (Gen. 22:16)

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;” (Gen. 22:17)

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:18)

The word “Jehovahjireh” means, “The Lord will provide”, or more literally, “The Lord will see to it.”

Abraham believed God and never doubted because he had come to know the voice of God. He also trusted God. He had come to know the nature of God.

The Bible says, “God is love.” He knew that God would never do anything contradictory to his nature, and so he knew that everything would work out for his good.

Abraham never doubted, even though the circumstances seemed against him. And because he never doubted but had faith and obeyed, God was able through this situation to foreshadow the coming of the Messiah

God was able to portray a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world so that we might go free. Because of his obedience, Abraham received a blessing from God which now the Bible says that we have inherited.

How did Abraham have the faith that never doubted, the God kind of faith? By knowing and hearing the voice of God.

Romans 10:17- “Faith cometh by hearing…”

How could Abraham have been so certain that it was God’s voice that he heard? Because he had come to know God by spending time with Him. God’s voice might be imitated, but never His nature.

Romans 10:17- “…and hearing by the word of God.”

Abraham could sit in his tent door and spend time with God to get to know Him.

God has given us His written word so that we can read it, spend time with Him in it, and get to know Him even more so than Abraham did.

“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalm 40:7)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  (John 1:1)

As you daily read the word of God, you get to know Him and His nature. As you spend time with God in His word you develop spiritual hearing and learn to recognize the voice of God.

Hearing and recognizing God then causes faith to grow from the “measure of faith” to the God kind of never doubting faith.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat. 11:15)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Having the Faith of God

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

Elisha, the servant of the prophet Elijah, had asked one thing of Elijah before he was to be taken up to heaven. He had asked that he could receive a double portion of the anointing that was upon Elijah.

Elijah told his servant that if he saw him taken up, then his request would be granted. From that point on, Elisha was diligent to always stay by the side of Elijah so that he would not miss the sight.

Elisha had heard the promise. He did what was necessary to receive the promise. Therefore, when Elijah was caught up to heaven by a whirlwind and his mantle fell to the ground, Elisha seeing the sight picked up the mantle knowing that the promise was his.

He struck the waters of the river with the mantle of Elijah and said, “Where is the God of Elijah?” and the waters parted so that he could walk across on dry ground.

Elisha was not surprised by what happened. He didn’t jump up and down and act excited about what he had just seen. He simply knew that the promise had been received, the anointing had been given, and that the parting of the waters was to be expected.

In the next few blog posts, we shall examine a revelation of faith which results in a relationship with the Holy Spirit to such a degree, that you will never again be surprised when the waters of your life part, when the need is miraculously met, and when you see that the deliverance has already been provided for in advance.

You will know what it is to walk in the faith and power of God, for He will go before you, His glory will be your rearward, and you will live your life in His presence.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6

FAITH. The Bible says that it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Simply put, it is the ability to believe in something or someone without any evidence of the existence. (Heb. 11:1)

No taste, no sight, no sound, not anything to prove the reality, yet you still believe with all of your being, even to the point of eternity. This is real faith. This is the God kind of faith. This is the faith that never doubts.

Just as there is a God kind of love (agape love), there is a God kind of faith. This is the kind of faith that calls those things which be not as though they were, and then they are. This is the kind of faith by which God framed the worlds.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)

Unwavering, unshakeable, undeniable faith.

There are those who think they don’t need it. That if it can’t be seen, or felt, or touched with the senses then it doesn’t exist. Such is a miserable existence.

There are those who think they have it, or who hope they have it, or who work hard to try to get it. Such is an uncertain existence.

And then there are those few in whom it actually dwells. Those who walk with God. Those who, as it says in the book of Daniel, do exploits for their God. These are those who live and walk in real joy, and peace, and the anointing of God.

There is only one way to obtain it, and that is to receive it. And there is only one you can receive it from, and that is from God.

God is the only one who can create it, and He is the only one who can give it away. God is the source of faith, and it is His gift. This ability to believe and never doubt is a gift from God.

And there are few who have it.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”  (Eph. 2:8)

 “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  (Mat. 7:14)


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Following in the Steps of Jesus

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1Peter 2:21)

The Gospel of Matthew chapter six verses one through four says,

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:”

“That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”  (Matt. 6:1-4)

Jesus is teaching on alms giving. This is one area where many Christians have failed terribly in God’s plan for having a giving life.

The giving of alms, or money for the poor, is very important in the eyes of God.

And once again, there is an apparent meaning and a spiritual meaning. The spiritual meaning reveals the truth in following the example of Christ and entering into “perfectness”.

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”  (Prov. 21:13)

The Lord wants us to seek honor and acclaim in His eyes only.

That is why the Lord says that the giving of alms should be in secret, however the Pharisees and the hypocrites were doing it to seek honor in the eyes of men for various reasons.

The Pharisees practiced a vain and defiled religion which they had created by adding traditions and misinterpretations to the Law of Moses.

They practiced it to appease their inward wrong attitudes. They really did not believe in God actively engaging in their lives.

That is why they were so startled when individuals were delivered from demons or healed from diseases. That is why they were so offended when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day, even though it was God who did the healing.

They were so intent on the minutia of their tradition they had lost sight of what was important. It didn’t matter to them if it was God who did it or not. They were totally involved in self-satisfaction and gloating over all the religious acts which they observed.

This religious attitude still persists today.

Several years ago, I was leaving a Hospital after visiting a sick individual when I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to hand a Gospel tract to a gentleman who was passing by.

I asked him if he knew that Jesus loved him and he declared that he was a Presbyterian.

I replied, “Great! Have you been born again? Jesus said, ‘except a man be born again he shall not see the Kingdom of God’.”

He replied, “I don’t care what Jesus said. I told you I was a Presbyterian.”

This religious pride is most prevalent in the Church today when it comes to giving.

The emphasis from the pulpit is often upon obedience to the law, the amount of the gift, and honoring the giver regardless of the reason for the giving and the attitude of the heart.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”  (1Sam. 16:7)

 Matthew chapter 25 verses 34 through 40 declares,

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:”

“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?”

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?”

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?”

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  (Matt. 25:34-40)

First Corinthians chapter four and verse five also says,

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”  (1Cor. 4:5)

These Scriptures are talking about when we shall come into the presence of Lord. If we give in secret for God’s eyes only, we shall receive praise from God as we stand before His throne plus He says that He shall reward us openly now.

When we give in secret it is God who receives the glory because there is no one standing in the way to receive the acclaim.

The Bible says that God who sees in secret shall reward openly.

This is a promise of prosperity not only in this life, but praise from God in the life to come. It is hard to imagine being praised by God, but God says He is going to do it.

James chapter 2 verses 15 and 16 says,

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”  (James 2:16)

The answer is it profits nothing.

God’s faith is a practical faith. Jesus met the physical needs of the hungry multitudes as well as meeting their spiritual needs.

Love and charity are practical.

And just as faith without works is dead, love and charity must have works also.

The Bible says that faith works by love.

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”  (Gal. 5:6)

First Corinthians chapter 13 and verse three declares,

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”  (1Cor. 13:3)

There has to be charity, there has to be love involved in the giving, otherwise the giving profits nothing.

Many times people give wrongfully, such as the Pharisees and hypocrites did, because of the pride of self-sacrifice.

There is a certain pride in giving away what we believe we have worked so hard to earn.

There is a pride in believing that since we worked so hard for it then it is a great sacrifice and we should be honored for giving it.

John chapter three and verse 27 says,

“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”  (John 3:27)

And in First Corinthians chapter four and verse seven,

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”  (1Cor. 4:7)

Everything we have is not because we worked for it but we have it by the grace of God.

Therefore, if God has given it unto us then we can freely give it back to Him by giving it to others.

When we have this attitude of stewardship instead of ownership it takes away all pride and God is able to bless our giving.

First Timothy chapter six verses 17 through 19 tells us,

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”

“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  (1Tim. 6:17-19)

The Greek word for communicate literally means “to give to the poor”. The Lord teaches us that giving in love is instrumental in receiving back from him.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  (Luke 6:38)

In conclusion, Jesus Christ is, was, and always shall be the same.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”  (Heb. 13:8)

Jesus Christ and the Father are one.

“I and my Father are one.”  (John 10:30)

Jesus Christ is perfect.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (Mat. 5:48)

We are to follow the example of Christ and strive for perfectness.

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1Peter 2:21)

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”  (Col. 3:14)

We follow in His steps and strive for perfectness through charity, and we achieve charity by following His rules for Kingdom living as Jesus described in His “Sermon on the Mount”.

This can only be done through Christ in us, the hope of Glory, the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost.

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”  (Zech. 4:6)

Only then shall we see the manifestation of God’s power in our lives and receive the blessings of obedience.


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: A New Heart and a New Spirit

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Eze. 36:26)

One of the reasons why God is able to give us the victory and keep us from falling is because He has given us another nature empowered by the Holy Spirit that we can choose to live by.

It is only because of this new man living inside of us that we can determine right from wrong and have the strength to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God.

Matthew chapter five verses 31 and 32 instructs us,

“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”  (Matt. 5:31-32)

These Scriptures give us the parameters concerning divorce. However, as it is with all the words of Jesus, there is the apparent meaning and there is the deeper meaning.

One of the things we must realize concerning the principles of the Kingdom of God is that the Lord is talking about living according to the abilities of a new and righteous heart.

He is talking about always living in peace and forgiveness.

In the Gospel of Mark chapter ten and verse five,

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.”  (Mark 10:5)

We who have been born again and filled with the Holy Ghost have been delivered from a hard heart. The Lord says,

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”  (Ezek. 36:26)

We as Christians have been given a new heart.

The psalmist cries out in Psalms 51 verse ten,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  (Psalm 51:10)

As believers in a Christian marriage, God gives us no excuse to head towards divorce. We do not have a hard heart but we have a softened heart. We are able to work things out.

We can come to the peace that God wants us to come to if we are willing to change and forgive.

However, for unbelievers sometimes such is not the case.

In First Corinthians chapter seven verses ten through 17 we read the Apostle Paul’s instructions concerning marriage as given through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:” (1Cor. 7:10)

“But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”  (1Cor. 7:11)

“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.”  (1Cor. 7:12)

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.”  (1Cor. 7:13)

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”  (1Cor. 7:14)

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”  (1Cor. 7:15)

“For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”  (1Cor. 7:16)

“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.”  (1Cor. 7:17)

In verses ten and 11 the Lord through Paul is talking to husbands and wives who are both believers and married in the Lord. He says to “Let them not depart.”

In verses 12 through 16, the Apostle Paul says “but to the rest speak I, not the Lord”. Here he is referring to believers who find themselves married to unbelieving spouses that are not part of the body of Christ.

In verse 14 the Bible says that the unbeliever is sanctified, meaning set apart, by the believer. They are sanctified unto salvation. In God’s eyes that saved individual’s unbelieving husband, wife, or children are set apart from the rest of the world.

It is true that all individuals have to come to a personal acceptance of Christ for their salvation, but when God says they are sanctified it means that He has set them apart for a concentrated ministration of the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin and bring them to Christ.

By living with a changed, born again individual on a daily basis, 24 hours a day seven days a week, the unsaved spouse or children will witness firsthand the reality of God and His ability to transform a life through the power of a new heart and a new spirit.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (Greek: behavior) of the wives;” (1Peter 3:1)

 God has not only promised to save us but He is has also promised to save our household.

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  (Acts 16:31)

These Scriptures go on to say, “But if the unbelieving depart let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.” (1Cor. 7:15) Not under bondage means they have been set at liberty.

First and foremost, God has called us to peace.

The key for a believer to continue in marriage to a non-believer are the verses which declare “be pleased to dwell”,

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.”

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” (1Cor. 7:14-15)

The unbelieving spouse must accept and be pleased with the changes in the spouse who has become a believer.

In no way does God condone abuse. The Scripture says, “God hath called us to peace.

There are many men and women of God who have been anointed and called to preach, but because of an unbelieving spouse that has chosen to leave and divorce them, certain religious institutions have forbidden and hindered them from fulfilling their place in the body of Christ.

There are religious organizations and leaders who say “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that”, ignoring the fact that it is God who has forgiven and God who has justified, and it is God who calls and anoints.

God says, “A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.”

Rest assured that if a believer has been divorced from an unbelieving spouse God has not withdrawn his call or anointing because of that divorce. The Bible says that the gifts and the calling of God are unchangeable.

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”  (Rom. 11:29)

Matthew chapter five verses 33 through 37 instruct us concerning the assurance of our words,

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:”

“But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:”

“Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.”

“Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.”

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”  (Matt. 5:33-37)

The apparent interpretation of these Scriptures is that God is dealing with swearing and oaths, but the deeper interpretation is that God is dealing with the attitude of pride.

When someone swears an oath such as “I swear on my mother’s grave”, or “I swear to God”, or any other such proclamation, they are really swearing that something “shall be” or “is so” regardless of the circumstances.

By doing such a thing, they are expressing their total dependence upon themselves to make it happen.

This is pride.

We should be saying, “If it is the Lord’s will.”

“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”  (James 4:15)

The Lord says not to swear by anything, but let your words be simply “yes” or “no”.

In other words, there should be no need to convince anyone by swearing that what we are saying is the truth. As a Christian, our character alone should be all that is necessary for someone to know that what we have said is “yea” or “nay”.

James chapter five and verse 12 tells us,

“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”  (James 5:12)

In this verse of Scripture the Apostle James says, “above all things.” This is a tremendous significance to put upon the words that come out of our mouths, especially concerning whether we are “swearing by” something or not.

Why would the Scriptures put such significance on this?

“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  (Matt. 12:37)

The condemnation that is being spoken of here is the condemnation of the devil. We read in First Timothy chapter three and verse six,

“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”  (1Tim. 3:6)

The Bible says that God resists the proud.

Pride brings condemnation upon us before the throne of God.

Boastful words come forth from a prideful heart. A non-repentant prideful heart is not walking after the Spirit. We only escape condemnation when we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  (Rom. 8:1)

Revelation chapter 12 and verse ten says,

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”  (Rev. 12:10)

The devil wants to accuse you. The devil wants to condemn you. The devil wants to hinder your prayers.

When we swear or do anything else to reinforce what we have declared, it is an outward manifestation of the pride of self-determination that is in our hearts.

James chapter four verses 13 through 17 declares,

“Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

“But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  (James 4:13-17)

God is beholding and listening to our conversation, for the Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. 12:34).

The words we speak are an indicator to us and others of what is really in our hearts.

Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter five verses 38 and 39,

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”  (Mat 5:38-39)

In these verses of Scripture, Jesus is not contradicting the law of the land.

The Law of Moses had said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

People who committed injury or crimes against another were to be brought before the proper authorities and punishment was to be issued by the appropriate judges in their judicial system.

However, during the times of Jesus many people had taken it upon themselves to avenge their wrongs and they were using the Word of God to justify it.

This is what the Lord is talking about in these verses.

Jesus here is talking to individuals who would later become Christians. They were going to know God as their Heavenly Father.

He tells them to resist not evil. He says that if someone slaps you on one side of your face, then offer them the other also. In other words, forgive them and give them another chance.

Jesus goes on to say in Matthew chapter five verses 40 through 42,

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”  (Matt. 5:40-42)

Jesus is teaching us that instead of avenging ourselves, we should go out of our way to demonstrate to those who would misuse us that, by the Grace of God, we have been changed from someone who would be angry and resist or retaliate.

 We have been given a new heart and a new spirit made in the image of His heart and His Spirit. As God’s children, we should act as our Heavenly Father would act.

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”  (Rom. 2:4)

In Matthew chapter five verses 43 through 48 Jesus says,

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”  (Matt. 5:43)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”  (Matt. 5:44)

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”  (Matt. 5:45)

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”  (Matt. 5:46)

“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”  (Matt. 5:47)

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (Matt. 5:48)

Verse 43 is one example of what Jesus called the “vain traditions” of the Pharisees.

They had taken two unrelated Scriptures out of the Old Testament and had put them together to form a tradition.

Leviticus chapter 19 and verse18 says,

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”  (Lev. 19:18)

The unrelated verse which they combined to the verse in Leviticus and formed the proverb “Love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy” is found in Deuteronomy chapter 23 and verse six.

“Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days forever.”  (Deut. 23:6)

The Pharisees’ great desire was to appear righteous before men but they had no concern as to how they appeared before God, so they would take Scriptures out of context to vindicate their positions.

Over time these “vindications” became traditions which they lived and taught by. Jesus said that in doing so they made the Word of God of “none effect”.

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  (Mark 7:13)

Another example of this can be found in Matthew chapter 15 verses four through six.

“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”  (Matt. 15:4-6)

The Pharisees had created a tradition that promoted retaliation or hate against their enemies. Retaliation is nothing but fear. It is the attitude of “I have to stop them before they hurt me.” It is an attitude of fear.

However, Jesus said to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”

He went on to say, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  

The Bible says in First John chapter four and verse 18,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  (1John 4:18)

Charity or love is the doorway to perfection, and the “perfect love” that the Scripture is talking about in First John chapter four and verse 18 is the love that many people call the “agape” kind of love.

This is the “God kind of love” which loves someone even when they may be against us. This is what God did when He sent Jesus. This is what God did when He loved us before we loved Him.

“We love him, because he first loved us.”  (1John 4:19)

Colossians chapter three and verses 12 through 14 says,

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”

“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”  (Col. 3:12-14)

As Jesus said in Matthew,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” 

The Bible says that charity is the “joint tie” or bond of perfectness. The Greek words that are translated “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 and “perfectness” in Colossians 3:14 are the words that mean “complete” or “completeness”.

It is only through charity, or “agape” love, by which we can achieve completeness, or full maturity, in Christ.

There are 3 different Greek words which are translated “love” in the New Testament.

The first type of love the Bible talks about is the Greek word “philio”. This love is the type of love that an individual has with his or her spouse or children. This is a familial love or love for family.

 The next Greek word translated “love” in the Bible is “agapao”. This is a moral type of love. This is a general type of love or love for all mankind. This is the type of love that creates a willingness to give. It doesn’t mean that you have given but it means that you have a willingness to give.

This is the love that God had when he “so loved (agapao) the world.”

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)

He loved the world with “agapao” love but then He did something about it.

He gave.

God’s general love for all mankind was transformed into perfect personal love when He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

This is “agape” love.

It is created by and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is manifested in us when we walk in the Spirit and do the works of God, when we give.  

This is perfect love.

The Bible says we are to put on charity. (Col. 3:14)

So many times people pray, “Lord give me agape love. Give me charity.”

God has already given us the love, the willingness, the desire to give, when he gave us a new heart. When we add works birthed out of that love then it is a fruit of the Spirit for all to enjoy.

Faith without works is dead. Love without doing is not charity.

God gave his Son because He loved, and when He did it His love became agape love.

First Corinthians chapter 13 verses four through seven is the definition that the Word of God gives us for charity.

As we read these verses of Scripture we should substitute our name in place of the word “charity” and let it be a gauge to see if we truly are walking in agape love.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”  (1Cor. 13:4-7)

 When we substitute our name in the place of the word charity, is it a true statement? By the time we come to the end of the verses, we can truthfully answer as to whether we walk in charity or not. This is an inward look at our own heart as we come face-to-face with ourselves.

If we have answered truthfully after taking this little test, we can each admit that we all have a lot of work to do in our own lives concerning agape love.


All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices