Friday, August 27, 2010

Commentary: What’s filling you?

What's filling you?

How is your freedom related with whom fills you?  To answer that question the teacher's comments of this week's lesson recommended reviewing the following story from last quarter's teacher's comments:

Wind: Wake up, puppet head. You look like a pile of rags.
Puppet: I am a pile of rags, and I can't get up. The only way I can stand up is if someone wears me on his or her hand. Otherwise I'm just what you see right now—a flop.
Wind: So?
Puppet: Well, I really don't want that grubby brat's hand to wear me again. I feel violated. He's always dirty and germy—never washes his hands. I'm already so filthy inside that I can't stand it.
Wind: Can't stand up either?
Puppet: It's horrible, and you don't have to rub it in. No, I can't stand it, and I can't stand. The only way I ever get up is when he's in control. Some choice: Whenever I get up and get noticed, it means he's in charge of my every move. It's nice hearing kids laugh, but deep inside I know I'm just getting dirty. Otherwise I live like this, a total flop.
Wind: You don't have to.
Puppet: Oh, I used to think so. I used to think there was a way out. I saw another puppet, and he was free as a bird. He didn't need the help of a hand to stand up, and he moved through the air with the greatest of ease. He looked He looked so happy and free.
Wind: And?
Puppet: It was all an illusion. When I got closer I could see it. There was no grubby hand helping him stand, but he was all tied up. There were strings attached everywhere—mouth, hands, feet. I had such high hopes. I just crumbled back to the ground—shattered. There was no freedom after all.
Wind: But there is!
Puppet: Lies!
Wind: No, I mean it. My family business is setting puppets free to soar.
Puppet: (skeptically) Really? I can't even see you.
Wind: A little faith, how about it? What do you expect from the wind?
Puppet: Make your pitch.
Wind: A family member paid the price for all puppets to live . . . even while you were still flops. Now you can go anywhere you want.
Puppet: And how much does this cost?
Wind: Oh, it cost a ton! More than you could ever afford . . .
Puppet: Figures!
Wind: . . . but it's free to you. A grant from the family foundation took care of it.
Puppet: No! Really?
Wind: Really. And all you have to do is let me live inside you, and I'll clean out all of Grubby's dirty germs. . . . Don't worry, we only use nonchlorine bleach, since it's gentler.
Puppet: Really? Oh, I'll try anything. Do it! . . . Now! . . . Oh . . . I don't believe it . . . I didn't mean that—I really do . . . I'm filling up . . . I'm soaring . . . I'm free!

The puppet never had control, really.  But, he did not like for dirty hands to control him.  He also did not want strings attached to him.  In order to be free from the grubby hands and be cleansed from the dirt the hands left inside he had to let the wind fill him up and let the wind help him fly.  This meant that the puppet yielded its will to the wind.  The wind was in control now, which meant the puppet served the wind.

Clearly, the Puppet represents us.  The puppet handlers could be said to be either Sin or the Devil.  The Wind clearly represents the Holy Spirit (John 3: 5 - 8).  The Family is the Godhead. The other family member is Christ.  The money of the family foundation is the blood of Jesus.  

Before the Holy Spirit comes along we are just as the puppet, controlled (enslaved) by Sin.  As the puppet, we can neither cleanse ourselves nor free ourselves from Sin.  Our lesson asks, what frees a person from slavery to sin? Then asks us to read, Romans 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

Our lesson correctly answers that "The law of the Spirit of life" in this verse means Christ's plan for saving humanity, in contrast with "the law of sin and death," which was described in chapter 7 as the law by which sin ruled, the end of which was death. Christ's law instead brings life and freedom. So what does Christ's fill us with so that this "law of the Spirit of Life" can take effect in us?   It is evident that it is the Holy Spirit.  This is whom Christ sent to us to give a testimony of Him and convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 15:26; 16:8).  It is this Spirit, our Comforter, who dwells in us to cleanse us from Sin and free us from the serving the Law of Sin and death.  

Paul elaborates on this concept in Romans 8,

Romans 8: 4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8: 5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8: 6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8: 7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Romans 8: 8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8: 9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8: 10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Notice that in verses 9 and 10 Paul makes the indwelling of Christ and the Indwelling of the Spirit the same thing.  So, to be free from the slavery of Sin we must be filled with whom can free us from Sin, The Holy Spirit.  However, just as the puppet had to let the wind fill it, we must allow the Holy Spirit fill us.  Are you letting Him?  Is He filling you?

Raul Diaz

Friday, August 20, 2010

Commentary: She needs a Savior

She needs a Savior


After a shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean, a survivor is stranded in the waters.  She has no food and no potable water.  She also does not know where she is.  Imagine her in the vastness of the ocean how small and insignificant she must feel.  She can swim but she would not know where.  No amount of swimming could save her.  The nearest land is who knows where.  A distress signal was sent before the ship sank.  Her only hope is that it was heard so she can be rescued.  She knows that without being rescued her only fate is death.  When she no longer has the energy to swim she will drown.  Of course, the fact that she is immersed in salty water and exposed to the sun does not help her chances of survival.  Staying in one place can be dangerous, but swimming away may lessen her chance to be discovered by the rescuers.  It is indeed a dilemma.  (By the way, fighting against the water will sink her; she must yield to the water.)


Now, let us say that the rescuers do find her (before she dies) she still has to consent to be saved.  When the rescuers come she must do as they say.  Ignoring them or fighting against them will not help them save her.  The mere presence of the rescuer will not save her. 


The woman in the beginning of Romans 7 is in a similar situation.  As long as she is married to her current husband she will die.  Let us read this passage,


Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

Romans 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

Romans 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.


The woman may be willing to stay in her current situation until she meets a new man.  

There is something about the new man that makes her see the reality of her current condition.  She realizes that if she remains in her current marriage she will end up dying eternally.  She needs to be rescued.  The only way she can escape eternal death is to be with the new man.  But, how can she do this without breaking the law?  That is her dilemma.


The woman is bound to her husband until he dies.  So, to be free and continue to live he must die.  So, now she wants to leave her current husband but cannot do it legally.   Divorce is out of the question, because that would be adultery.  Killing the current husband is also not an option, because that would be murder.  The new man gives her a third solution.  She goes in Him, He dies, and she dies with Him since she is inside Him.  He will be resurrected and since she is in Him she will be resurrected with Him.  This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 6: 3 – 7,


Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.


When they die they are freed from Sin.  Therefore, when they are resurrected the Law can no longer bind them to the "old man" or "body of Sin."  They are now under grace, not under the law.  They can now be married legally.  How does this relate to us?  We are the woman in need of rescuing.  The issue is we cannot rescue ourselves.  It does not matter how much we try we cannot do it.  Jesus is our rescuer.  Only He can save us.  He already saved us in Himself.  But, for this salvation to become a reality in us we must consent to be saved by Him.  Ignoring Him or fighting against him will not help Him save you.  The mere presence of Christ will not save you. 

Raul Diaz

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"The Man of Romans 7"

 "The Man of Romans 7"

Many people are confused about just exactly what Paul is speaking of in Romans chapter seven. Some believe that the "first husband" is our pre-conversion condition, and that Paul is speaking specifically of his own personal experience. Others claim that the "first husband" is the moral law which is "contrary to us" and needs to be gotten out of the way because it condemns us. The first theory leaves us in despair of ever overcoming sin; the second condemns the law of God as being the root of the problem. But there's a third option which offers better "good news" than these two ideas. Does Paul here have a larger perspective in mind?

Professor A. B. Bruce says that he does: "We miss the didactic significance of this passage if we take it as merely biographical, instead of viewing it as typical and representative. That it is meant to be typical is manifest from the abstract manner in which the flesh is spoken of. It is not St. Paul's flesh that is at fault, it is the flesh, the flesh which all men wear, the flesh in which dwells sin." [1]

The discussion in Romans chapter 7 is not about whether or not Paul (or any individual) is converted or unconverted. The apostle is speaking about the broader concept of the sinning nature in contrast to the righteous law of God. He is addressing the universal problem of our fallen and condemned condition, and the remedy for it. The carnal mind (Rom. 8:7), old man (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22), and the character that is bent toward sin are synonymous concepts in Paul's theological presentation of the concept of sin in his letter to the Romans.

The illustration in Romans 7:1-3 is intended to clarify what Paul has been talking about in chapter 6 about "the old man," slavery to sin, and freedom from sin through the death of Christ as our sacrificial Lamb. In 6:6 Paul tells us that "our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (cf. Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15). This idea is paralleled by chapter seven's marriage metaphor and the necessity of the first husband's death. There are four elements in chapter seven's illustration--the law, the woman, and the first and second husbands (see Waggoner on Romans, pp. 118-121).

Some have defined the first husband as the Ten Commandment law of God, basing their opinion on verses 1 through 3 in which Paul states "the law has dominion over a man" (vs. 1), and then shifts to "the woman" (vs. 2) and that the woman must be "loosed from the law of her husband," that "if her husband be dead, she is free from the law" (vs. 3). Superficially, these verses seem to correlate the law and the husband as one element of the story. However, from Paul's own declaration, we cannot charge the law with being the faulty husband, because Paul states that "the law is holy" (vs. 12). There is no fault to be found in any aspect of the law, which is a transcript of God's holy character.

Paul defines what he means by the law in verse 7 showing that he is referring to the Ten Commandments of God in which lust and covetousness are condemned. The righteous law of God is impersonal, detached, high and lifted up, condemning our "marriage" to [the] first husband. The moral law has no grace, no mercy, and no power to forgive. By itself, it can not justify or "make right" our crooked character; it can only condemn that which is in opposition to it. But this does not make the law evil or necessitate its removal or change.

Let's examine the remaining three elements. It is understood that we (corporately speaking) are the woman involved in the bad marriage. The second husband (the "good husband") is obviously Christ, as Paul indicates in verse 4 ("even to Him who is raised from the dead"). Paul makes it clear that we cannot marry the second husband so long as the first husband is living; to attempt to do so is adultery. All through the Bible God has declared that He will not participate in a meretricious relationship (cf. Jer. 3:9; 13:27; Eze. 16:17; 33; etc.).

But, who is the first husband? Contextual evidence indicates that Paul is drawing his imagery in chapter 7 from what he previously said about slavery to sin in chapter 6. The force of sin is metaphorically called the "law in my members" (vs. 23). It is the "old man" spoken of in chapter 6 working through the sinful nature (that every person is born with), seeking to express itself through acts of rebellion against God (see James 4:1-4). He has identified "the old man" as that which needs to die. It is the old man, the sinning nature which remains continually in rebellion against God, that keeps us in bondage to sin and death.

From this morbid discussion in chapter 6, Paul quickly moves on to proclaim the glorious news that the old man, our "body of sin," should not have dominion over us (Rom. 6:14). We have been set free from bondage to sin, and by faith in Christ, we will serve Him in righteousness (vs. 22). From this declaration of our freedom from sin's power--through death to sin--and to come at the same point from a different angle, Paul then transitions into his illustration using marriage as his metaphor.

In chapter 7 Paul says the first husband needs to die so that the "woman" can be released from a marriage which produces bondage (vs. 3). Since both the old man and the first husband bring bondage, and both must die, the first husband and the "old man" emerge as parallel concepts in Paul's thinking. What the first husband represents in this metaphor is indicated in verse 5: "for when we were in the flesh [i.e., yielding to the clamors of the sinful nature; these words do not imply that there is ever a deliverance from the sinful nature prior to the second coming of Christ as in the "holy flesh" idea], the motions of sins [sinful passions which produce sinful acts], which were by the law [i.e., defined by the Ten Commandments; see vss. 7-8], did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." It is our succumbing to the demands of the flesh (i.e., sinning nature) that brings forth the "fruit" of the second death (James 1:14-15).

The Biblical concept of marriage is that the two parties should become one flesh (Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:8). To be bound in such a manner (and for it to be a happy union) means that the two are of one mind. If they are to walk together peaceably, they must be in agreement about how life should be lived (Amos 3:3). This is precisely the condition Paul speaks of between the woman and the first husband. We are born in sinful flesh with inclinations and propensities toward sin and rebellion against God. Indulgence of these inclinations and propensities ripens into a sinning nature as habits of sin are developed and our character is deranged. We become married to the sinning nature, enjoying the "pleasures of sin" that come from this carnal union.
There is no hint in verses 1-3 that the woman is unhappily married to her first husband It is Paul's outside observation that such a marriage is an illicit one and should be dissolved, though he admits that this dissolution can only come about through the death of the parties involved. The plot thickens when Paul reveals that there is a second Man who wishes to marry the woman, but He cannot while the first husband lives (introduced here, Paul expounds this idea in chapter 8).

Appealing to the General Conference Session of 1891, E. J. Waggoner observed about Romans 7: "We find that we are united with sin and with the body of sin. Then Christ comes to us and He presents Himself as the one altogether lovely. And in reality He is the only one who has any real claim upon us. 'I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.' The apostle is writing to those who know the law and who have left their first love, and what applies to them will also apply in larger measure to those of the world. Christ comes to the door of our hearts and knocks and begs that we will come to Him" [2] On the strength of this statement, Romans 7 is an appeal to the Laodicean Church to awaken from her lethargy of devotion to self-centeredness. This reaches the level of Song of Solomon 5:2, 3 and Revelation 3:20.

In Romans 7:15, 16, the woman is married to ego. It's the old covenant motivation, "I do." "How to perform that which is good I find not" (vs. 18). "I," i.e., the ego, is "sin that dwelleth in me" (vs. 20). Laodicea "delight[s] in the law of God" (vs. 22), but cannot perform it because of "another law in my members" (vs. 23). It's the self-centered motivation of obedience to the law of God which is the hope of reward and avoidance of hell. That which is motivated by self-interest is antinomianism.

The whole of chapter 6 speaks of the necessity of death to an old way that is slavery and misery under bondage to sin (vss. 6, 7, 11-12, 14). As Paul stated in these verses, in order to be free from sin and death, we must reckon ourselves dead to sin. The old man must die. But we must die also. In Galatians 2:20, Paul makes this point emphatically clear when he states, "I am crucified with Christ." When we die to sin, our old man (the sinning nature) also perishes. Thus, by faith in Christ's power over sin, we surrender to Him; we identify with Christ in His death on the cross (Rom. 6:3). Through baptism, which is a public declaration of our willingness to die to sin and self (vs. 4), we are found alive in Christ (vss. 5, 8). We are become His servants in righteousness, and are no longer earning the wages of sin (vss. 22, 23).

Paul admonishes us to "let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5; Rom. 12:2) The carnal (sinning) nature and the mind of Christ are in bitter opposition to one another. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). The battle is for the mind and it is our choice which mind we will possess, the mind of Christ that is in alignment with all the will of God, or the mind of Satan that is at enmity with the will of God.
--Ann Walper
Endnotes:[1] St. Paul's Conception of Christianity, p.139; 1896 ed.
[2] General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 19, 1891, p.172. 

[If you would like to read a more detailed study on Romans 7 by the same author, please go to: view or download the PDF file on Romans 7.]
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Commentary: Even Grace Has Limits

Even Grace Has Limits

In Numbers 21, the people of Israel murmured against God and God sent serpents to bite them. 

 Num21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Num21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Num21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

Num21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Num21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

God had given the people manna, a gift to them from heaven.  This gift they did not appreciate, but despised it.  So the Lord allowed serpents to come in the camp and bite the people.  Of course the people were dying of the serpent bites.  Somehow they made a connection between the serpents and their Sin.  So, they asked Moses to pray to God for delivery.  So, God tells Moses to build a brazen serpent and put it on a pole, those who looked at the serpent on the pole would not die.  

God did not get rid of the serpents, or even stopped the serpents from biting.  God wanted the people to exercise faith.  The issue was: would they believe that in looking at the brazen serpent the poison would not be effective?   If they looked they would live.  (There is no mention of what would happen with the bite marks.  It is possible that the bite marks would remain.) 

The brazen serpent was for all the people in the camp.  But, only those who looked when bitten would be delivered.  Did they deserve it?  No, not one person in the camp deserved to be delivered (Romans 3: 10 – 12).  God did this because He loved the people.  This gesture toward them displayed God's grace.  He gave all of them this gift of life, even when they did not deserve it.  But, just because it was given to all, it did not mean that all would be spared of the effects of the poison in their bodies.  Those who chose not to believe would not look therefore they would die.  In this case God's grace could not deliver those bitten from dying.   There was no remedy for rejecting the remedy.  Suddenly grace has limits.  Those who reject the grace that can save them will find that there is no grace for rejecting the grace.  

We may get the impression from Romans 5:20 to 6:2 that grace covers all sin.  But that is not the case.  Let us read it the passage,

 Rom5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Rom5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Rom6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Those who are of the belief that the more they sin the more grace abounds - if they continue in that path - forget that at some point they will commit the unpardonable Sin.  Jesus talks about this Matthew 12: 31 -32,

 Matthew 12:31-32 (King James Version)

 31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

 32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

This is the point where you have gone beyond repentance.  You no longer will respond the Holy Spirit's invitation for you to open the door to Him.   Christ did not die for that Sin.  And, while the law may expose that Sin, grace will not abound as far.  This Sin is rejecting the grace that can save you.  Put in different words: there is no remedy for rejecting the remedy.

Raul Diaz

Friday, August 06, 2010

Commentary: Sewed from Jesus

Sewed from Jesus 


A woman goes to buy a new dress.  She goes first into a high end store.  She sees a dress she really likes and it fits her very well, but it costs more than what she wants to pay.  So she goes into a store with more affordable prices.  She sees what seems to be the exact dress; in fact it is the same brand.  But it is not quite as attractive nor does it fit as well as the first dress.  How can this be?  Is it all in her mind?


She is puzzled by this so she decides before buying that she will investigate.  She contacts the company.  They tell her that on the label, there is a number; the lower the number the better the quality of the dress.  There were details that went into the production of the lower number dresses that were not considered for the higher number dresses.  Sometimes it was the kind and color of thread used, and the kind of stitch.  Other times it was how they cut the fabric, etc.  Two things that seem identical were not.

I find a similarity in our works. Works by faith and works from your own effort may seem similar. But works of faith are different from works done in our own strength. Let's consider Abraham as an example.

We know Paul opens Romans 5 with this declaration.


Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

The word "therefore" tells us that this statement is referring to what was said before in chapter 4.  Paul says of Abraham in chapter 4 verse 3,

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Paul used the Greek word episteusen, which comes from the word pistis for faith or belief. In essence it is saying that Abraham had faith. We know that faith comes through hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Abraham heard God's Word and believed it. When we replace "believe" with other definitions of faith we get a better feel of what this means. Abraham heard God's word and felt appreciation in his heart. He heard God's word and trusted the word to do what it said it would; he waited and depended on the Word alone. God's word to Abraham was the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. As a result of his belief in God's Word, Abraham was one of the elders that obtained a good report, and he pleased God (Hebrews 11:1, 2, 6).


The second part of Romans 4:3 says that His belief was counted unto him for righteousness. What is righteousness? Ellen White defines it as obedience to the law (1 Selected Messages, p. 367). We replace the word righteousness with the definition Ellen White provides and it reads, "Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for obedience to the law."  In believing God's word, Abraham obeyed the law.  Abraham's righteousness (obedience to the law) came from exercising faith in God's word.

This is the sense that we get from Romans 5:1, where Paul reiterates what he explained in chapter 4.  Translators have interpreted it as "Therefore being justified by faith."  But, the transliterated Greek rendering of Romans 5: 1 seems to say, "Being-justified then out of-belief."  We know that the word justified means made righteous.  So we could interpret it as, "Being made righteous out of faith" -- thus there is a kind of faith that makes us righteous or obedient to the law.  Ellen White expresses the same thought in the following quote,


Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinners account. Christ's righteousness is accepted in place of mans failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son. (Ellen G. White, 1 Selected Messages, p. 367)

The prophet Isaiah tells us that, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteousness falls short of the law's requirement.  We need a righteousness that is perfect since the law requires perfection.  Ellen White states that Christ's righteousness is what we are given to satisfy the laws demand of perfection. We have stated thus far that the only way to get this righteousness is by faith. Can our filthy faith produce a perfect righteousness?  The answer is obviously, "No, it cannot." Therefore we must obtain a faith that is perfect. That faith is the faith of Jesus. When we accept His faith it produces in us His righteousness. This is the faith that characterized Abraham. It is the faith that those who overcome and endure until the end will have (Revelation 14:12).

Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul says that "…whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).  Only works from faith are righteous.  So, just like the difference in the dresses, the works of those who have the faith of Jesus may look similar to those who do not, but there is a difference.  The former is built and sewed from Jesus, the latter from sinful flesh.  Furthermore, the character of those who have the faith of Jesus will be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. The question is which dress do we want to be?

Raul Diaz