new glasses

Posted: November 23rd, 2009 | Filed under: God, life | 14 Comments »

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. -Ephesians 1:4-5

God planned for Jesus to die for our sins before He created the world. If the scripture is true, then that means God planned to save us from sin before the first sin was committed. If he planned for our rescue before the object of rescue breathed the first breath, then He knew about our sin before He created us. Not only did He know about it, He wrote it down.

Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do. -Psalm 139:16

If He wrote our stories out, then He wrote about our failures, too.

One of the biggest mistakes we make when trying to understand the mysteries of God and the way He works is when we don’t look at the information with Jesus as our vantage point. We tend to look at things from the view point of sin. When sin is your filter, then you ask the wrong questions.

The difference between asking, ‘Did God, then, plan for sin?’ and ‘Did God plan for Jesus?’ is perspective. Nothing makes sense when you are using sin as your glasses. You have to start with Jesus and let the rest fall in line behind Him. Jesus falls behind no one and no thing.

Jesus was not an afterthought.

God does not respond to what we do. God does not learn, if He did, then who is He learning from and why are we not worshipping that entity?

God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. -Romans 3:28

We have to study the scripture for ourselves. We like to listen to others teach and then decide whether or not we agree based on our existing beliefs. We go to church, read the Bible, have religious conversations with what we want to hear already in mind. We’re so busy defending our beliefs that we don’t leave room for learning.

If God planned for Jesus, then He did plan for sin: Jesus. It starts with the Son, the rest follows behind. If you can’t grasp that, then you can’t grasp what Ephesians 1 says next. It’s a  collision of finite understanding colliding with infinite wisdom. We cannot understand the supernatural with natural reasoning. It’s a mistrust of scripture that leaves you like an incomplete puzzle.

…we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! -Ephesians 1:7

If God planned for Jesus, then the truth goes so much deeper than Him knowing about your failure before you fell. It goes beyond your birth, the birth of your parents or your parents’ parents. The truth about who you are to Him goes beyond you and there is nothing you can do about it. He chose you long before he formed the dirt under your feet. The truth of Jesus deflates the pretentious power of sin completely.

With this in mind, how can you not be free? Sin doesn’t have a say because it’s not new or unknown. When you find out that you have been ‘chosen from the foundation of the Earth’ to be ‘adopted’ through Jesus, then how can you think that what you do and don’t do plays any role whatsoever? If the decision was made before DNA was created, then how do you think you can change a bit of that?

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. -Ephesians 1:11

Creation does not move the hand of the Creator. We do not ‘look back at the fingers that mold us‘ and question Him (Rom9:20). You cannot understand the truth if you are trying to understand through sin.

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. -Romans 6:11

When you or another sins, do not base your decision for action on the sin.

Base your response on Jesus. It’s all about Him and we get to live in that gift.

What happens inside of you when you hear the truth? If you believe it, then you experience crazy freedom. The truth setting you free….

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. -Ephesians 1:13


14 Comments on “new glasses”

  1. 1 Kathleen said at 7:40 am on November 23rd, 2009:

    Serena, this is SO GOOD! A large part of our pursuit of holiness is extending the grace available to us in Christ to ourselves as well as to others. This is a great reminder of what forgiveness and freedom are; neither we nor anyone else are defined by our sin, so we must manage ourselves and our reactions according to Christ and our freedom in Him. And when we are free, NOTHING can steal our joy! Thank you so much for sharing His Word today!

  2. 2 Jason said at 7:50 am on November 23rd, 2009:




  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 8:20 am on November 23rd, 2009:

    Thanks, guys!

  4. 4 April said at 10:41 am on November 23rd, 2009:

    here's to crazy freedom! 🙂 wow…. love it.

  5. 5 Danny Bixby said at 11:21 am on November 23rd, 2009:

    Great post 🙂

  6. 6 Serena Woods said at 12:49 pm on November 23rd, 2009:

    Thanks, Danny and April!

  7. 7 uberVU - social comments said at 4:53 pm on November 23rd, 2009:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by SerenaWoods: New blog is up: ‘new glasses’. It’s about what came first: sin or Jesus…

  8. 8 Andrew said at 5:51 pm on November 23rd, 2009:

    I'm having a hard time with the predestination stuff– after all, doesn't that just make us puppets?

    God had Adam name the animals, correct? Genesis says he "waited to see what he would name them." Did God not "learn" what Adam would name them?

    Also, Psalm 139:16 is translated differently in the KJV- saying all body parts were planned before hand. Regaurdless, the passage is a poem, and I doubt its meaning is to expand on any metaphysical truths regarding foreknowledge, etc.

    You also cherry-picked Romans 3:28 out of context from The Message paraphrase. Peterson is a brilliant man, but that paraphrase is pretty distant from the original text…

    …I mean, come to think about it, if God created the world fully knowing that it would be sinful, is He not the originator of sin, and thus evil? Is He then not in fact infinitely good, as some part of Him must have been evil in order to bring it about? Was not man set up to fail? It would follow, then, that all the terrible things that happen in this world are not only of God, but *by* God. I find this absolutely ridiculous.

    Your message is good, and I don't mean to discourage or hold up healing, but the substance you use to lay out your case is quite questionable.

  9. 9 Serena Woods said at 8:35 am on November 24th, 2009:

    Andrew: I know every time I write about God's sovereignty it drives you crazy. Yet, you keep coming back. You put a lot of time in your comment and it looks like you got a little worked up toward the end.

    Here are some thoughts about a couple of things you wrote…

    God knows everything (1John3:20)-so there is nothing left unknown. If there is nothing left unknown, then there is nothing to learn. If a person doesn't believe that God is omniscient, then I'm not sure where to go from there because that's a fundamental issue and my area of interest is in the twists after the foundation is secure…

    Psalm 139:16 is another verse that talks about how God knows everything. (one of the points of my post.)

    'Cherry picking' Romans 3:28: I stand by the integrity of Peterson (and keep mine in tact) as I explain why I chose that verse. The point Paul was trying to make in the scripture is that salvation originates with Jesus. If it were not true, we could 'boast' about how we did it. The point of my post was to give testimony that Jesus was on the throne and we are not. The Truth is our 'glasses' and not our finite understanding. So, in truth, 'God does not respond to what we do, we respond to what He does…' (if it were not so, we could 'boast' about how we did it.)

    I put too much time into study and research when I write to be discouraged by challenges to what I write. I use too many scriptures to back up my thoughts that I don't feel alone. I'm not big enough to say some of the stuff I say, so I'm held up (animated) by the scriptures. Your challenges come from refuting the validity of scripture and the integrity of translations. Your hitch is not with me…

  10. 10 Andrew said at 9:47 am on November 24th, 2009:

    Oh, I certainly never meant to communicate a hitch with anyone- I think your blog and book are great and I really appreciate what you're doing.

    That said, I've read extensively on settledness of the future and predestination. After all, if we are all merely predestined to do one thing or another, then it is not us who have sinned, but God. At that point, why try? If God is fully in exhaustive control of everything, then every last mess you see is His doing. Again, I could see it as very difficult for anyone to follow a God who sits scowling on a cloud throwing lightning bolts. No matter, however, because this is merely some manifestation of Greek mythology, not the God of the Bible manifested to us in the New Testament in Jesus.

    Drawing back to the Message paraphrase, John 3:20 states that "God knows more about us than we do ourselves." This by no means states that God knows the future exhaustively. I hold the view that He knows the future partially as an array of possibilities. God is brilliant- he knows our characters, our pasts, our presents. It would not be outside the realm of possibility for God to determine our likely next action.

    Look at Job 1:6- God asks Satan where he's been. Satan answers that he's been all throughout the world. Far from controlling and predestining evil, we see that Satan is responsible for it. Pinning these evils on God is fairly dangerous to one's long-term demeanour, I'd estimate.

    At any rate, I too have seen the horrible reactions that people have had to the church. I too want nothing more than for that to stop. Forgive me if I hold some passion towards that. However- I am certainly not trying to discourage what you're doing here.

    If these things are closed for debate, by all means I will not 'keep coming back.' I would in that case simply hope that your readers are realise that discernment is an individual responsibility.

  11. 11 Serena Woods said at 10:20 am on November 24th, 2009:

    We're all on a path of learning and discovery. We love Jesus, that's the bottom line.

    In response to what you're saying: I'm not saying those things. God doesn't sin or make us sin.

    I do believe that God knows the future exhaustively.

  12. 12 Sisterlisa said at 4:25 pm on November 24th, 2009:

    Now I understand why you wrote the most recent article. I should have come back a post first. I think we all get too caught up in interpretations and forget the most important thing, loving Jesus. We go from loving him, to loving being right about interpretations. God is so multi-facted, there is no way we will ever fully understand all of who He is, or his written word. I am just now coming to understandings about some passages in Psalms. I believe he unveils our eyes to some passages on his own time table, not ours.

  13. 13 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 2:47 am on November 25th, 2009:

    Yes, as a new "Christian" I find that operating on faith first has been helpful to me when it comes to trying to figure out scripture and doctrine that I completely don't understand. Like Sisterlisa said, I focus on loving and trusting Jesus to heal and redeem, and know that he will reveal more and more to me as I grow. That's why scripture is living and breathing, instead of just a book we read from long ago.

  14. 14 kimberly said at 10:26 pm on January 25th, 2010:

    POWERFUL! and freeing