Monthly Archives: August 2016

That the heart be established with grace; not with meats

Hebrews 13:9-13 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Peter makes a statement at the Jerusalem council which also contained two of the same words in the above verses, grace and heart.

Acts 15:9-11 KJVS
[9] And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. [10] Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? [11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Notice that Peter said, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, and part of the process of being saved is having the heart purified. Much of the whole focus of the New Testament regarding salvation, is involved with two words. Grace and the heart. Let’s look at another verse. Just about every Christian, young or old, can rattle this one off the top of their heads. But the 64,000 dollar question is, do they truly understand it?

Ephesians 2:8 KJVS
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Most all Christians will agree that grace is the driving force behind God’s salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ, Ro 2:24. But in what manner does grace save us? That is what I intend to show you, using scripture. Apostle Paul wrote a very important verse that shows the fundamental problem mankind has with obeying the law of God. Remember Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, Mt 5:17. So let us look at what Paul had to say about the law.

Romans 8:3 KJVS
[3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The flesh of man is too weak to obey the law, and understanding this fact is absolutely necessary when contrasting justification through the law or through grace. Man, by his own efforts, is incapable, too weak, of following the law. Largely because out the heart of man, emerges the varied lusts of the flesh that overwhelm a man, Ro 7:17. Jesus during his ministry, made a statement that sheds some light in this regard.

Matthew 15:19-20 KJVS
[19] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: [20] These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Paul expands on this in great detail in the 5th chapter of Galatians. You would do well to read the chapter sometime, but for now I cherry picked two verses out of that chapter to make a point.

Galatians 5:13,16 KJVS
[13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Then, following this statement Paul outlines some of the lusts of the flesh and lists the fruit or fruits of the Spirit. The primary fruit of the Spirit is love. Paul describes love as the means by which we can be obedient to the law of God in the book of Romans.

Romans 13:9-10 KJVS
[9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [10] Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Simply put, the heart of man needs to be brought to the point, by God, to love in this way. Paul in another epistle, states that brotherly love is taught to us by God.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJVS
[9] But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Being taught by God is a function of grace and a verse written in another epistle by Paul expands on this theme.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The Greek word translated into the English word teaching is G3811. It is used three times in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, two of which are in the following verses.

Hebrews 12:6,10-11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say about fruit of righteousness.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness – That which righteousness in the heart produces. The fruits, or results, will be seen in the life; and those fruits are – honesty, truth, charity, kindness, meekness, goodness. The wish of the apostle is, that they might show abundantly by their lives that they were truly righteous. He does not refer to liberality merely, but to everything which true piety in the heart is fitted to produce in the life.”

Barnes states it quite well. It would seem to be counter intuitive that the fruit of righteousness would be grown in man by God chastening them. But there is another aspect to grace that offsets being chastised, and is directly responsible for changing a man’s heart, which the following verses makes clear.

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I can attest that this is true and see it working in my own life. I have suffered pain and weakness due to a spinal cord injury since 1984. The last twenty years have been difficult. The last ten years exceedingly so, largely due to a increase of low back pain. The only thing that has kept my heart right before God, has been the frequent washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. I have been chastised by God more than a few times. Chastisement, for me, has involved a large degree of mental suffering cause by the frustration wrestling with sin that dwells in me, Ro 7:20. The 31 years of suffering due a car accident, in which I severely damaged myself due to recklessness and irresponsibility, is at times hard to understand in the context of salvation. This whole trial by fire has been quite difficult for me but suffering is another aspect of the salvation process overlooked by many.

1 Peter 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Paul puts it this way.

Philippians 3:9-10 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Weeks before the car accident that so drastically changed my life, a scripture verse kept running through my head often times when I daydreamed. I was boning hams at a local meat packing plant working 2nd shift. It is line work. By that I mean you stand next to a moving conveyor belt, in the same place for eight hours, cutting the bones out of a pig’s lower hip and thigh. Plenty of time to daydream. At odd times this one bible verse kept running through my mind, over and over for about a three week period before the accident.

Colossians 1:24 KJVS
[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

I did not know what it meant then, I only knew it was important. I know what it means now. Our hearts are purified through faith, Acts 15:9. So it stands to reason that the trial of faith, 1 Pe 1:7, is aimed towards the purification of our hearts. Suffering in its many forms plays a big role in this process.

1 Peter 4:1-2 KJVS
[1] Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; [2] That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

We suffer when God chastises and sometimes God uses evils in life to chastise us in order to instill the fruit of righteousness. I cannot honestly claim that the fruit of the Spirit and fruit of righteousness are one in the same, but think they are. There is also trials and afflictions ordained for us to endure, 1Thess 3:3. God’s ways are often not readily discerned. When God tries you, he is putting to the proof, that in which He is painstakingly instilling in you. The suffering, difficulties, afflictions and persecutions in life is also the fire of the sin sacrifice altar, outside the camp that burns up the flesh, He 12:11&13. We know Jesus was the lamb of God that was a sin sacrifice. His body is the church.

Ephesians 5:23 KJVS
[23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Jesus was without sin, but he became us in his role as a sin offering, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him, 2 Co 5:21. I think the failure of today’s theology is it does not understand that the body of Christ is one with the altar mentioned in He 13:10. Sacrifice and altars of sacrifice were a common part of life for Jew, Christian and pagan alike.

1 Corinthians 10:16-18 KJVS
[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? [17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. [18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Jesus at one point made a statement that was responsible for turning away many of his disciples.

John 6:53-56 KJVS
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

This was pretty powerful language and those Jews who were listening knew it was against the law of Moses to drink blood or to eat off of the body of the sin sacrifice, plus what he said would smack of cannibalism. But the point Jesus was making, was that unless you received the Spirit of adoption and became a part of his body, and then have your flesh burned up and destroyed on the sin sacrifice altar, you would not rule and reign with him during the millennial kingdom. The phrase eternal life is a poor translation. Young’s literal translation properly translates eternal life this way.

Jn:54 he who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, hath life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day;

Another set of verses that point to this sin sacrifice altar is in Romans.

Ro 6:5 For if we have become planted together in the likeness of His death, nevertheless we shall be of the resurrection also,
6 knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin,
7 for one who dies has been justified from Sin. CLV

I like this particular translation rather than the King James Version because of how the 7th verse is translated. The verb tense does not seem right in context with the tail end of the previous verse. One who dies has been “justified” is a more literal translation. The King James uses the word “freed” rather than justified in the seventh verse but the Greek word used, and its definition and usage follows.

Strong’s Number
Original Word
Transliterated Word
Phonetic Spelling
Parts of Speech
Strong’s Definition
From G1342; to render (that is show or regard as) just or innocent: – free justify (-ier) be righteous.
Thayer’s Definition
to render righteous or such he ought to be
to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be
Usage by Word
justified (26), justify (4), justifieth (2), shall (2), was (2), being (1), by (1), freed (1), he (1), i (1), is (1), justifier (1), righteous (1)

As you can see, this Greek word has been translated most often into the English word justified in the New Testament. Being dead in Christ, Ro 6:5, is not the same as having our old man of sin nullified or destroyed. That takes place due to the offering of the body Jesus Christ, on the sin sacrifice altar, once for all.

Hebrews 10:10 KJVS
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .

There are a couple aspects involved with being a member of the corporate body of Christ. First we are members of his body, his flesh and bones, Eph 5:30. There is also the aspect of being a part of the corporate body of sinful flesh, that we, the body of Christ possess, that needs to be destroyed, Ro 6:6. It is very hard to separate justification from sanctification because sin is only truly eradicate in our lives when the sin nature, the sin that dwells in us, Ro 7:17, is completely burned away on the sin sacrifice altar. And yet in He 13:9-13, which is a clear allusion to the sin sacrifice altar, starts out by stating it is good thing for the heart to be established by grace and not by meats. In essence our efforts, our works have little to do with our salvation. The heart is the problem, and the driving force behind sin.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJVS
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it? [10] I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

I think the problem in understanding justification and sanctification in relationship to each other, lies in viewing these concepts separately and in light of the types and shadows cast by the law and its various sacrifices and offerings. That is only true in a very broad sense.

Hebrews 10:1 KJVS
[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The first part of the tenth chapter of Hebrews is about sanctification. About our inclusion in the body of Christ as a offering for sin. In short perfection is attained only through the nullification of the power of the flesh over us, Ro 6:6. Insight can be gained by reading the definition of the Greek word translated into the English word “destroyed” in Ro 6:6.

Thayer’s Definition
to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
to deprive of force, influence, power
to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish
to cease, to pass away, be done away
to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
to terminate all

The flesh is not necessarily destroyed but it’s power over us is nullified, or rendered idle. This involves the heart being purified by or through a lifetime of faith, Acts 15:9. This may not seem obvious at first, but if we truly love God, we would be like Jesus, and always do that which would please the father, Jn 8:29. Paul touched on this in the seventh chapter of Romans.

Romans 6:17-19 KJVS
[17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

So, to me, the line gets blurred between justification and sanctification due to the heart being the prime motivator of sin. And in order for sin to be rendered idle in our lives, our heart needs to be purified/justified. Another reason the line between justification and sanctification is blurred is because Jesus is in us, and God is in him.

John 17:17,23 KJVS
[17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Justification in my mind is usually associated with God justifying and purifying the heart, Acts 15:9, wherein sanctification involves Christ being in us and we in him, and our communion in the offering of the body of Christ on the sin sacrifice altar. Since Jesus is in us, and God in him, the line of distinguishing between being justified and sanctified is blurred to the point of not being able to differentiate between them. Both God and Jesus Christ are involved in the salvation process which includes being justified and sanctified pretty much simultaneously, 1 Co 6:11. Both God and Jesus Christ in their own way bring us to the place where we are made perfect/mature in love.

Colossians 3:14 KJVS
[14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.