Personal vs. Biblical Conviction - Part 1

There is unity between the testaments. God demands His people live separated and follow His word then and He still does today.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments (word), which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:

That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently  [to prick or pierce; to implant by repeated statement or admonition: teach repeatedly]  unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.


1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
 
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church:who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence
. [to be first in rank or influence; hold the first place]
 

Blessings

Deuteronomy 6:10-25

10 And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12 Then beware lest thou forget [how can we His people forget His deliverance?] the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

16 Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.

19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.

20 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?

21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:

22 And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:

23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.

25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.


Before we get started, I understand that some of the things I will discuss are going to seem foreign to many people's minds. After we start walking with God, there is a time-frame, where God renews our minds to His way of thinking. Before that, most of our thinking is tainted by the world and its lies.
 
I want to address the concepts of Biblical vs. personal convictions. When discussing this concept, there are many times that people want a specific verse in order to determine whether something is really a biblical conviction; they want to determine whether something is OK for them to do because they want to do it. But what we have to understand is that when we learn the overall counsel of the word of God, it begins to change the way our minds process our surroundings; in other words, we receive a renewed mind.
 
To be more specific, I want to point out that I'm beginning to realize that many times what we (leadership & laity alike) view as personal convictions and suggest that we shouldn't put those convictions on others are in reality issues that don't promote God, and in some ways work against our desires to help our families embrace Jesus.
 
The first concepts I want to discuss are Easter and Christmas. I don’t want you to be confused into thinking that I’m having a problem with the celebration of Jesus’ birth or His death and resurrection; instead, the problem I’m having is how these holidays are engaged by the society that we live in and how it has affected our perception on these important remembrances to our faith.

 

My wife and I made a decision early on that we weren't going to teach our kids to believe that Santa or the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy were real. There were several reasons for that decision:
 
(1) The main reasoning was because of the above passage. God doesn't want His people involved in magic or witchcraft. You can say man you're crazy, you're taking things too far. And that's your opinion, but I believe that God doesn't want His people messing with magic; furthermore, He desires truth not lies:

 

Psalms 51:6  Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
 

(2)Sister Toot, our pastor, back when pastor's took a stand whether people liked it or not, told us not to.
 
(3) Danielle read a secular article that made the point that children have a hard time discerning between fantasy and reality; therefore, we felt that, as Christian parents it was our responsibility to make every effort to teach our children the ways of God, and remove every hindrance to that purpose.
 
(4) I was much less spiritual than my wife when we were first married, but I was all for it because I could still remember vividly the day I found out Santa Clause wasn't real. I was heart- broken. Let me make this clear, "It wasn't Santa I was disturbed about." I can remember thinking, my parents lied to me about this. And it made me wonder if anything else could be untrue?
 
You can think my story is dramatic if you want. But it's my story, and it's what I honestly felt. I can also tell you that there have been countless testimonies of people who were later saved who, when first approached about Jesus, thought within their self, another Santa? I have personally witnessed to people and they've made comments about Jesus, Santa, and the Easter Bunny, lumping them altogether.
 
It seems to me that we are being influenced by 2 sources: the world, under the influence of the spirit of antichrist and the church. Sadly, under the church there are two sources of influence to contend with: (1) the traditions of men and (2) the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so over the next two weeks I want to consider where we are receiving our convictions from: world or church, more specifically (Holy Spirit or men).
 
I'm sure people will disagree with much of this, but that doesn't mean it's not the truth. You will have to figure it out for yourself.
 
I would just ask that you listen and pray that God would show you whether what I say is right or wrong.
 
I believe that God expects the people He has called to preach the gospel to also care for the flock and warn them about danger.
 
He calls His preachers to rightly divide the word and present it in such a way that God's people would: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8
 

When the word of God is rightly divided, the only conclusion we can come to is that the forces of evil are real, spreading lies, and blinding the eyes of God's people,

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
 
 As I researched for my book Occult Exposure, I learned a very disturbing fact: the forces of evil have acquainted themselves with the teachings of the Bible better than the nominal, pew warming Christian; unfortunately, most Christians, including myself for most of my walk, have been oblivious to the deceptive workings of Satan upon this earth.

 You can purchase a copy of Occult Exposure at:  https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625103598

You can purchase a copy of Occult Exposure at:

https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625103598


In order for a person to be sober and vigilant, he must have his spiritual eyes open and want to see what God wants him to see. He must have the heart of His Lord in Gethsemenee, "Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done."
 
I bring all this up because I want to discuss for a moment the concept of Easter and Santa Clause. I want to discuss a little bit about their origins and whether we should view these situations on whether people choose to play along with this or not is really a personal or a biblical conviction?
 
Is it possible that teaching our children to believe in these "magical," fantasies can hinder us from teaching our most precious possessions the most important thing in this life-- Jesus?
 
Genesis 18:17-19 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
 

God says that His purpose in calling and knowing Abraham is so that Abraham can teach his descendants after him about the ways of God, so that God will be able to bring about the promises He gave to Abraham. God's promises surround the salvation of man, "Through you all nations will be blessed." Genesis 12. Jesus came from Abraham.
 
1 Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
 


Easter: personal vs biblical conviction?


 
1 Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
 
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church:who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

 

"Then look at Easter. What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar. The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, "the priests of the groves."
 
Astarte was also adored by our ancestors (British) and that from Astarte, whose name in Nineveh was Ishtar, the religious solemnities of April, as now practiced, are called by the name of Easter--that month, among our Pagan ancestors, having been called Easter-monath. The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. It was called Pasch, or the Passover, and though not of Apostolic institution, * was very early observed by many professing Christians, in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ" (Hislop Two Babylons).
 

Eggs
 
...The origin of the Pasch eggs is just as clear. The ancient Druids bore an egg, as the sacred emblem of their order. In the Dionysiaca, or mysteries of Bacchus, as celebrated in Athens, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. The Hindoo fables celebrate their mundane egg as of a golden color. The people of Japan make their sacred egg to have been brazen. In China, at this hour, dyed or painted eggs are used on sacred festivals, even as in this country. In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples. From Egypt these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians; and thus its tale is told by Hyginus, the Egyptian, the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus, who was skilled in all the wisdom of his native country: "An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess"--that is, Astarte. Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter; and accordingly, in Cyprus, one of the chosen seats of the worship of Venus, or Astarte, the egg of wondrous size was represented on a grand scale."
 

http://philologos.org/__eb-ttb/sect32.htm-- this is the link to the document about Easter
 
I can tell you that there are many well meaning Pastors who truly desire to teach their congregation to love Jesus; furthermore, they attempt to find innovative ways to teach the children Jesus; however, they would never seem to think in a million years that the embracing of pagan practices, no matter how innocent the intent may be, could have negative effects on really putting Jesus in their children's hearts.
 
People want to pretend that what they're doing isn't that big of a deal, but the truth is that they spend numerous dollars and energy convincing their children that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are real. But they spend very little, if any, teaching them about Jesus and the Bible.
 
Now, to worsen matters, many churches are beginning to embrace the practice of Easter festivities, where the focus for the children is Easter eggs. Yes, there may be a lesson on the resurrection, but the illustrative sermon is ending up as an Easter egg hunt. I'm just curious, "Why wouldn't we want to teach our children about the Passover and Resurrection instead?" Isn't the church's job to contradict the world's ways and embrace and teach Jesus?
 
Does the Bible even say anything about Easter? YES IT DOES!
 
Jeremiah 7:17-19 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord:do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?
 
Jeremiah 44:15-18 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem:for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.

 
The Queen of Heaven is Ishtar also known as Astarte where we get the Easter.
 


Santa Clause: personal vs biblical conviction?
 


1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
 
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church:who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

 

In a similar fashion, Santa Clause is something we've called a personal conviction also, but is it really a personal conviction, or does the teaching of Santa Clause in a young child's mind draw both the child and the Christian parent away from properly sanctifying Jesus in the heart, and properly teaching the child the importance of Jesus.
 
I know that many people will have a problem with this, but has anyone tried to raise a godly child in this wicked society? Well I have, and let me tell you that with all the work, effort, and grace of God, the spirit of antichrist still pulls and tugs on the heart of my children, so don't tell me a little lie isn't going to hurt them. I don't have time for a little lie. I don't have time to take chance with any lies. I need to give them truth every chance I get.
 

"Nicholas' existence is not attested (proven) by any historical document, so nothing certain is known of his life except that he was probably bishop of Myra in the fourth century. . ." ("Nicholas, Saint" Encyclopaedia Britannica 99)

"Nicholas, Saint (lived 4th century), Christian prelate, patron saint of Russia, traditionally associated with Christmas celebrations. The accounts of his life are confused and historically unconfirmed." ("Nicholas, Saint" Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99)

"Unfortunately, very little is known about the real St. Nicholas. Countless legends have grown up around this very popular saint, but very little historical evidence is available." (Del Re, Gerard and Patricia. The Christmas Almanack. New York: Random House, 2004, p. 130)
 
"In 1969, the final nail in the coffin to the feeble fable of St. Nicholas was officially hammered down. Despite the fact, St. Nicholas is among Roman Catholicism’s most popular and venerated "Saints," Pope Paul VI officially decreed the feast of Saint Nicholas removed from the Roman Catholic calendar. UPI Wire Services reported that St. Nicholas and forty other saints were deleted because "of doubt that they ever existed." ("Pope Marches 40 Saints Off Official Church Calendar." UPI Wire Services. <www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=389> )
 
"Because the saint's life is so unreliably documented, Pope Paul VI ordered the feast of Saint Nicholas dropped from the official Roman Catholic calendar in 1969." ("Santa Claus" Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99)
 
"Old Nick: A well-known British name of the Devil. It seems probable that this name is derived from the Dutch Nikken, the devil..." (Shepard, Leslie A. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. New York: Gale Research Inc. 1991, p. 650)

"Nick, the devil." (Skeat, Walter W. Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd, 1993, p. 304)
 
"Devil: Besides the name Satan, he is also called Beelzebub, Lucifer . . . and in popular or rustic speech by many familiar terms as Old Nick . . ." (Oxford English Dictionary)
 
"Nicholas is one of the most common devil’s names in German, a name that remains today when Satan is referred as Old Nick." (Siefker, Phyllis. Santa Claus, Last of the Wild Men: The Origins and Evolution of Saint Nicholas. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1997, p. 69)
 
Santa.
 
"You ever noticed how easy it is to transform "Satan" from "Santa"? Just move the "n" to the end. And presto! "Satan" appears. . ."  Hmmm….
 
An internet Google search on "Satan Claus" [not Santa Claus – but SATAN Claus] found over 1,700 hits! Obviously, there are many that tie the two together.
 
The rearranging of letters (called anagrams) to hide secret names or words has long been practiced in the occult. The Jewish Encyclopedia writes of the Jewish occult book called the Cabala:
 
"The golden age for anagrams began with the Cabala. The Platonists had strange notions as to the influence of anagrammatic virtues, particularly of anagrams evolved from names of persons. It is not surprising, therefore, that the cabalists, like all the Neoplatonists, pretended to discover occult qualities in proper names and in their anagrams." (www.jewishencyclopedia.com)

One of the most well known anagram in the occult world is the name of Sanat Kumara. Sanat is better known as Satan. Constance Cumbey, writes in her best-selling, new-age expose, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, ". . . they [New Agers] freely call Sanat Kumara (Satan) 'God'. And their doctrinal reference books by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Alice Ann Bailey freely cross-reference Sanat Kumara with Venus. In occult writings, Lucifer and Venus are one and the same." (Constance Cumbey, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, p. 138)
 
Texe Marrs writes of 'Sanat' in Dark Secrets of the New Age:
 
". . . the New Age offers a being called Sanat Kumara. 'Sanat' is obviously a thinly veiled reference to Satan; nevertheless, New Age teachers evidently believe that the new spelling will alleviate the concerns of those not yet ready to confess Satan as their Lord and Messiah." (Texe Marrs, Dark Secrets of the New Age, pp. 79-80)

Interesting. . . Where does that put Lord S-A-N-T-A?
 
H.P. Blavatsky, the Satanist and new age teacher writes in The Secret Doctrine:
 
"many a mysterious sacred name. . . conveys to the profane ear no more than some ordinary, and often vulgar [common] word, because it is concealed anagrammatically or otherwise." (H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p. 78)

Like S-A-N-T-A?
 
Blavatsky also writes, the name is not important – but the letters.
 
"The name isn't important. It is the letters." (H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol II, p. 350)

Blavatasky’s anagrams were used to disguise who her true god was. Blavatasky openly taught Satan is mankind’s true redeemer, creator and Saviour.
 
"And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the ‘Lord of Phosphorus’ and Lucifer, or ‘Light Bearer’, is in us; it is our Mind — our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour. . ." (HP Blavatasky, The Secret Doctrine p. 513)

"Satan, the Serpent of Genesis is the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he . . . who opened the eyes of the automaton (Adam) created by Jehovah. . . he still remains in Esoteric Truth the ever loving messenger . . ." (H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol 3, p. 243)
 
Gail Riplinger writes in her excellent book, New Age Versions on the use of anagrams in the occult world:
 
"Lucifer's True Identity as Satan is Revealed as the Anagram, a Transposition of Letters, To Obscure It. "Blinds," as esoterics call them, include scrambling the letters of a name to hide the true meaning of a word from the uninitiated." (Gail Riplinger, New Age Versions, p. 52)

It is interesting Mrs. Riplinger also raises a red flag about the anagram Santa:
 
"Gods of the New Age include Sanatan and Sanatsiyata, . . . New Agers say each name is 'concealed anagrammatically' 'and are aliases,' and are 'an anagram used for Occult purposes. Is Santa, the great usurper of Christ's attention at Christmas, an anagram? "Ole Nick" is listed among the fallen angels or devils in the Dictionary of Fallen Angels. Scholars concur that Christ was born in the fall on the 4th day of the feast of tabernacles. December 25 is actually "the feast in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven, later called Saturnaha by the heathen Romans." (Gail Riplinger, New Age Versions, p. 52)
 
The famous anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss writes in his popular analysis of "Father Christmas":
 
"Father Christmas is dressed in scarlet: he is a king. His white beard, his furs and his boots, the sleigh in which he travels evoke winter. He is called "Father" and he is an old man, thus he incarnates the benevolent form of the authority of the ancients."
 
Revelation 1:14
-- His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow;... [Same hair]

 
Revelation 19:13
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:and his name is called The Word of God. [Same red garment]
 
Daniel 7:9
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool... [once again same appearance]

 
What about Kris Kringle?
 
 And there is the seemingly innocent, friendly, jingle-jangle name of Kris Kringle.
 
By far, the name Kris Kringle is the most blasphemous. With Kris, Satan slowly removes the mask. There is no doubt about the intentions of "Kris Kringle".
 
Believe it or not. . . Kris Kringle is German for "little Christ Child".
 
"Kris Kringle a U.S. name for Santa Claus derived from the German Christkindl (little Christ child)."
(Brewer's Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Phrase and Fable, p. 334)

Santa Claus or Kris Kringle is the counterfeit "Christ Child"!"
 

http://www.av1611.org/othpubls/santa.html-- this is the complete link to the previous discussions about Santa Claus.
 
Once again, my purpose here was to discuss personal vs biblical convictions regarding, whether or not the embracing of these past Pagan practices are harmful to our walk or make it more difficult for us to convince our children about the truth of Jesus.
 
Ultimately, the question to be asked is whether or not the things in our lives, or our perceptions about the things of life are going to help us in our walk with God vs. understanding what the Bible says about these things.
 
Why do we spend all our time trying to be like the world. When we are His peculiar people (purchased possession). We are a chosen generation (Chosen is eklektos Ek= out; lektos= election i.e. chosen out, so we are chosen out, purchased possessions of the Lord); yet, so many times, we find ourselves spending more time getting caught up in what the world around us is doing instead of finding out what God's word says we should do.
 
God's purpose for humanity is that they would choose Him and be His people. He desires that they would live their lives in such a way that they would bring glory to Him.
 
But does God even say anything about this goddess known as Easter?
 
Colossians 2:6-8 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
 
g4492. ριζοω rhizoo; from 4491; to root (figuratively, become stable):— root.
AV (2)- root 2;  to cause to strike root, to strengthen with roots, to render firm, to fix, establish, cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded
 
g2026. εποικοδομεω epoikodomeo; from 1909 to build upon, i. e. (figuratively) to rear up:— build thereon (thereupon, on, upon). AV (8)- build up 3, build thereupon 2, build 2, build thereon 1;
 to build upon, build up- To finish the structure of which the foundation has already been laid, to give constant increase in Christian knowledge and in a life: conformed thereto (Strong's)
 
Here Paul exhorts the church of Collossae to continue their walk with Jesus the same way they received Him. We receive Jesus by faith in Him and what He did for us (the cross); this gives us right standing with God because we have been clothed with the righteousness of Jesus; now, Paul tells us to continue our daily walks that way-- faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the place where man is righteous and declared righteous (justified) by God, which gives the believer access to grace (Romans 5:1,2), which empowers for daily living.
 
As we do this, a root system is being produced, even a foundation for God to build upon, increasing our faith and strengthening our walk. I guess another question to be asked is whether what we just covered helps to build a root system with God for ourselves and our children, or is it even possible that it could work against it?
 

Clothing


The next area I want to cover in relation to "personal" vs Holy Spirit conviction is clothing. To be truthful, I'm really just using this as an opportunity to make a point about New Testament/ New Covenant theology, as opposed to outward religious practices.
 
While some people may question why this even needs to be addressed, I can tell you that if you can think past the exact example I'm using in clothing, there are multiple scenarios where these concepts we will discuss apply. The scenarios I speak of are outward attempts of righteousness, which frustrate grace rather than giving access to grace.
 
I have had multiple conversations with some people who believe that the apparel they wear has something to do with holiness or separation from the world. While this may seem silly to some people, it's a reality to other people's view of righteousness. Now, let me say this, "Clothing may possibly be an outward expression of a change that has taken place in someone's heart as the Holy Spirit has dealt with them; however, the clothing, or anything outward for that matter, has nothing to do with a person's right standing or a true separation of holiness from the world.
 
I purposefully use this as an example because I was recently in a conversation with a family that was raised in an Apostolic Pentecostal denomination. At the time I spoke to them, they weren't living for God, but some of the family was still wearing the classic clothing: long dresses, long hair, no make up, and no jewelry.
 
But let's forget about them. I have seen this scenario played out time after time. I have even seen people living in a life of fornication; yet, talk to me about the clothes they wear and equate it in some way to sanctification. What?
 
I would like to say that a woman who desires to dress modestly, preferring her brother, and hoping to help him not lust is a woman of God with pure motives, so I commend her.
 
But! A woman can wear a long dress that accentuates her body in such a way that it’s just as seductive as a mini skirt.
 
The main point I'm trying to make with all of this is that separation or sanctification isn't something that's outward (unless it’s the overflow of what has happened inward); instead, sanctification, separation, or holiness is something that happens inwardly, it's something that happened spiritually when you placed faith in Jesus and His sacrifice.
 
What we need to understand is that on the day the Christian got saved, he was baptized or immersed into Christ. The sinner born of Adam became one with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. Scholars call this our "vital union" with Him.
 
Just as Israel, the natural born branch was broken off because of unbelief (Romans 11:19-21), you the wild branch were grafted in because of belief. He was pierced in His side on the cross, and you were planted as a graft in Him, through faith. He is that life giving vine, through which the Holy Spirit flows into you, the recipient branch, where fruit is produced. Hallelujah!
 
The point I'm trying to make is that, once again, in the New Covenant, when you were born again, you were translated from the darkness of the world into the light of God. At this time, you were planted into Jesus, your relationship with the sinful nature died (I didn't say that it was removed); I said that the relationship between your "new man" and the sinful nature died, and if you're not careful or aware of how to walk with God, Satan will do CPR on your "old man," and he (old man) will be revived.
 
What happens to the believer through grace is: he is clothed with the righteousness of Jesus (Galatians 3:27); because the believer is now righteous in the eyes of God, he (believer) has access to grace (Romans 5:2), and through grace, God changes the interior of a person, breaking bondages on the inside, revealing the heart of man, then applying the cross (that instrument of death) to the sin in the heart, resulting in resurrection life taking its place.
 
When you get saved, your position is righteous. God sees you and declares you this way. JUSTIFIED! I said...your position is righteous, but what about the condition of the heart?
 
If we're truthful, our condition is below our position. In other words, there are times that we've been told all this before, and we even say in our hearts this makes sense, "Jesus is my righteousness. The 'old man' died, and the 'new man' resurrected! Hallelujah, I'm free!" We get it intellectually, but then we look at what we do; we look at our actions or the conditions of our hearts, and we question what's going on. It's because we begin to look at our condition and not our position.
 
Loren Larson said once, "The fall has produced a mound of debris in our hearts, and similar to the aftermath of 911, there is an insurmountable task of cleanup ahead, but look at the bottom of the screen Christian. You can barely distinguish their movement amidst the rubble, but those are dump trucks. The dump trucks are moving in and moving out; they're slowly carrying away the debris. In a similar fashion, the Holy Spirit is everyday bringing our condition a step closer to our position, and this process will continue until the final consummation. And, 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 
That's going to be a glorious day, and until then we're being made to look more like Him:
 
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
 
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 
How does this tie into all the things I previously spoke of? 

God wants us to sanctify a place in our hearts for Him. He also hates witchcraft and anything else that tries to take the preeminent place in our lives. When a person is taught how the covenant of grace works, which allows the Holy Spirit to reign supreme in their lives, they may not like what they hear at first, but if they're presented the truth, and they're operating the way the New Testament message is supposed to, then they will hear from God and respond appropriately. How does one respond appropriately?
 
We respond appropriately to sin or missing the mark, which is the definition of sin in the Greek, by asking God to remove it once it’s revealed. You can't get rid of the garbage in your life. The Holy Spirit is the dump truck that removes it, but faith in Jesus' sacrifice is the currency that allowed the truck to roll.
 
In addition, when we find ourselves falling under the dominion of external religion, as in the sense of outward apparel resulting in a sanctification or separation from the world, we have resulted to Law and forsaken grace. Furthermore, the woman who attempts to find holiness may still be bound with a spirit of lust herself. I already have given examples of that previously.
 
What about the real problem preacher? You're over here telling a woman she needs to dress differently for victory or sanctification and she's bound with lust? No, sir! You're a liar, and you're keeping the people sitting in your pews shackled in the bondage of religion. Shake off those shackles Christian! Jesus purchased your victory!
 
He who the Son has set free is free indeed, no more chains of slavery.
Truth has triumphed in victory!
He who the Son has set free is free indeed!
 

So she can be bound with lust wearing a long dress and exuding lust into the atmosphere; furthermore, some dude in the church is bound with a spirit of lust, and when he comes across her, do you think for one second that her long dress is going to help anything? Come on man! We don't war against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.
 
I close, once again, with one of my stories from the past.
 
Several years ago, before I finally surrendered to God and was living under the bondage of religion and sin, I was working with an attractive nurse. Unfortunately, my "old man" was trying to regain a heartbeat. I didn't know anything about the gospel, even though I had been sitting in church and reading my Bible for 12 years.
 
Anyway, I was oppressed with a spirit of lust, and in my opinion she was friendly with one (a spirit of lust) too, and familiar spirits know how to find one another. I can assure you that it was never my intention to cheat on my wife, and thank God I didn't, but there is forgiveness for that too.  I knew that was sin, but somehow I was blinded to the fact that what I was doing (flirting with sin) was also sin; furthermore, I had been bound for so long I didn't even know what freedom from lust was.
 
Anyway, one day, we both ended up in the drug closet where they keep the samples of medicine, and I made the big mistake and said, "You look good today." Now, let's clarify something. There are probably appropriate times to tell another woman she looks pretty, but I would imagine that they are very few and far between, and unfortunately my motives were far from pure, but previously everything was just a game. You know, I make a little comment; she makes a little comment; we both kind of laugh, and then that's it. It's over.
 
But this time was different. She turned around and said, "When you get serious, and you're ready call me some weekend." I don't even remember my response, but I do remember how I felt trapped and so close to danger. I thank God I backed out of that deal.
 
The Lord set me free in 2001. Last year I saw her in a public place; she hurriedly walked up to me, and with a big smile asking, "How have you been," while batting her eyes? My response was much different than previously. I said, "Great! I've been living for Jesus!"
 
I can tell you unequivocally that when you let Jesus' cross kill the "old man," so the "new man" can resurrect on the other side, changing the way you think, changing your speech, it will also begin to change the atmosphere around you.

...We will discuss Personal vs. Biblical Convictions Part 2 next week. The emphasis of that teaching will be on music.