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Follow Me

Repentance means to turn away from something. It is making a u-turn, going the opposite direction from where you were going. Repenting from sin is turning away from the sin. Biblical repentance not only requires us to turn from sin, it calls us to turn to Jesus. Repeatedly throughout the gospels Jesus says, “Follow Me.”

Biblical faith in Jesus isn’t simply believing facts about Jesus, it is also following Him.  James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Although Satan probably won’t admit it, he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was there. He saw it. Too many people today have a Christmas and Easter type of faith. They believe the facts of Christ but have never committed their lives to following Him. I am a huge Mustang fan. For this reason I know all kinds of facts about men who influenced Mustangs like, Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Steve Saleen. Yet, I have never met any of them. I have never had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Clearly we need to believe the facts about Jesus. God did raise Him from the dead and that should be our foundation of faith. However, that alone isn’t good enough. Along with our foundation of faith we are to confess Jesus as Lord. This is our statement of faith. If Jesus is Lord over our lives we follow Him every day in every way.

In the tenth chapter of Mark we find one who obviously had great respect for Jesus. He came to Jesus knelt before Him and called Him “good teacher.”  He inquired of Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to keep the law. The young man quickly responded to Jesus that he has kept the law since his youth. Jesus then told him to go sell everything you own, give it to the poor, and follow me. Jesus was showing him that he hasn’t really kept the law. Although he had respect for Jesus, he was unwilling to obey Jesus and unwilling to follow Him. Many people in our world today have great respect for Jesus, yet they too are unwilling to obey Him and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” Notice that He said “you must.” The requirement for following Jesus is denying yourself and taking up your cross. We need to remember that the cross was an instrument of death. It was the form of execution for the day. In other words, just as we talked about in being born again, Jesus is saying if we are going to follow Him we must die to self and follow Him. We need to have more than just respect for Jesus. We must have total surrender; a surrender that leads to denying ourselves and obedient service of Him. Jesus said we must.

While sharing the gospel with the lost we must make it abundantly clear that if they choose to accept Christ as their savior and Lord they are entering into a lifetime commitment. We need to make it clear that this walk should impact and influence every area of their lives. We have way too many Sunday-go-to-meetin Christians in our society who don’t mind going to church on Sunday morning but won’t allow Jesus to impact their daily lives.

We need to clearly communicate the fact that entering into a relationship with Jesus is a onetime decision. It is a death to self and life in Christ decision. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” At the same time we need to clearly communicate the fact that following Jesus is a commitment that is renewed daily. Paul also said in I Corinthians 15:31, “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Praying for a Great Awakening in America

My heart is to see revival in our churches leading to a great awakening in our nation. God has stirred in my heart to call on all Christians to pray and fast for 40 days seeking God for revival in our churches and a great awakening in our land. The prayer and fast will begin on February 18th and go through March 29th, Easter Sunday. I am asking Christians to pray for 30 minutes a day during an agreed upon time. My hope is to have intersession being lifted up to the throne of God 24 hours a day for 40 days. During that time I will email those who commit to this challenge a daily prayer guide along with a daily devotion that will coincide with the prayer guide. America is in desperate need of revival and revival will not happen unless we humbly seek the face of God and pray. (II Chronicles 7:14). There is power in numbers. So, will you join us? If you feel God calling you to participate in this email me at reclaimingtheland@ilovejesus.net and write prayer in the subject box. If your heart is for revival share this information with everyone you know.

In the name above all names, Jesus

Rusty Kuhn

For more information about the heart of Reclaiming the Land Ministry visit: www.reclaimingtheland.com

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Repentance Required

            After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation.  Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?”  When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught.  Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter, “What shall we do?” They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we choose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake, people who refuse to repent refuse relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepentant sin, we are liars.  However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepentant and living in sin.  He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepentant individual only gives them a false since of salvation.  If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter, he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything will not be saved? Of course not.  Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of.      Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not.  Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. However, since they have a relationship with God, they will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy it.

When we share our faith with sinners, we must preach repentance.  A gospel proclaimed without repentance is no gospel at all. We are setting the hearer up for failure if we do not proclaim the need to repent. Not preaching repentance is as foolish as a patient going to see a doctor for a chronic cough. The doctor not wanting to pry into the patient’s personal life by telling him he needs to stop smoking simply gives him cough syrup instead. Smoking is clearly the root of his problem, just as sin is the root of our separation from God.

When preaching repentance we must do so with the love and compassion of Christ.  While preaching repentance we must have a heart of love desiring the sinner to turn from his sin and trust in Jesus. God will not bless the efforts of the self righteous who simply want to condemn the sinner for his sin. We must get the log out of our eye before we can get the spec out of others. Remember, such were some of us. We once were sinners in need of salvation. Who are we to condemn others for their sins? We repented and received grace. This too should be our heart. It most certainly is Gods.  For this reason out of an act of love and compassion knowing the destructive power of sin, we preach repentance.

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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Faith Alone

            The Word of God is extraordinarily clear that we are saved simply by placing our faith in the person and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” By faith we believe that the blood Jesus shed cleanses us from all unrighteousness, freeing us from the power of sin and death, and gives us everlasting life. By faith we enter into relationship with God denying ourselves in pursuit of His will and His way as Lord of our lives. We walk by faith and not by site faithfully following Jesus on this earth knowing we are here but a short while awaiting eternal joy and bliss with Him and through Him.

There have been some since the beginning of Christianity that have tried to add works to the grace of God. Paul told both Timothy and Titus to speak out boldly against such false teachers. Paul also told the church of Galatia in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Anyone who adds anything to grace as a requirement for salvation falls under the category of being accrued. God takes tampering with His gospel very seriously.

Even deeds of righteousness are not sufficient to save us. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” If anyone adds any requirement for salvation above and beyond faith in Christ they are a false prophet. Even if it’s righteous deeds such as baptism, using spiritual gifts, church membership, or anything of the like. Yes, these are righteous deeds of God. However, they are intended for those who are saved; not a means to Salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

Salvation by faith alone through grace alone is a fundamental truth for biblical salvation. It is what makes Christianity, Christianity. Every other religion in the world is rooted in works where people have to make their own path to God through their good works. However, the bible says that no one is good, not even one. For this reason Jesus came down to this earth to pay the price for us and lead us to the Father. He and He alone is our salvation. He is our way. Only by faith in Him are we saved.

When sharing the gospel we need to make this abundantly clear. If we are not carful we can lead people astray into a works based mindset by telling them that they need to go to church, read their bibles, and pray, but never share the fact that they need to believe in Jesus for salvation. Yes, we tell people of the importance of going to church, of reading their bibles, and of praying. We should even encourage it. However, we need to let them know that those things are not a means to salvation and that only faith in Christ saves us.

I have seen and heard many well meaning Christians lead people astray. They come across people who are hurting and searching for a way out of the mess that their lives have become. The Christian will then says something like, “You need to start going to church,” without ever communicating the gospel. Sure, they need to come to church. However, going to church will not save them. Yes, they can get saved at church. They can also sit in church for years without accepting Christ as their Savior thinking their works of church attendance is sufficient. After all, that’s all they were told they needed to do.  I believe this is the very reason many of our churches are full of unsaved people who are committed to church attendance but are not committed to Jesus.

I have also seen and heard well meaning Christians lead people astray that desire to be delivered from sin. The Christian will give the advice to the sinner that they need to read their bible more or pray harder. I have even heard Christians tell sinners that they need to think positive thoughts when they are being tempted. The bible is clear, only the blood of Jesus can deliver us from our sin. One needs to simply believe.

We are saved by faith alone. As Christians we do Christian acts, such as going to church, reading our bibles, and praying. We don’t do those things for salvation, but as a result of our salvation. Anything contrary will lead people into a false doctrine that is dangerous and deadly. We are saved by faith alone, through grace alone-period.

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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Not Everyone Who Say’s to Me Lord, Lord

Now that we have a better understanding of the gospel we need to be clear on what true biblical Christianity is. There are two extremes in our world today. We first see the one who believes his good works can get him to heaven then we find the unrepentant using Jesus as a ticket to heaven although they truly do not love Him nor have any desire to live for Him.

Let us be clear, not everyone who calls himself a Christian is truly a Christian.  One of the most freighting statements that Jesus ever made is found in Matthew 7:21-23 where He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

First Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.” These are people who are calling Jesus Lord. Then Jesus said that they are doing works in His name. Why would these people not be saved? Jesus gave us a better understanding of why these people are not truly disciples of His when He quoted the prophet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8, “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.”

Much like the Pharisees who honored God with their lips they don’t truly know God or follow Him with their heart. They are too consumed in the accomplishment of self to serve God. They are more interested in the rules and rituals of religion than they are with seeking a relationship with the Lord. They are more concerned with the pat on the back than they are with the praise of the Lord. They are more in love with the idea of heaven than they are with the King of Glory and are more interested in building their kingdom than His. Their actions point to self rather than the Savior, therefore, they honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus said that they “practice lawlessness.”

Jesus said that He will say to these people on the day of judgment, “I never knew you.”  Not that He once knew them and they slipped away but, He never knew them, therefore, they never truly knew Him. Since their heart was set on serving self rather than the savior they never knew Jesus nor served Him. They never had a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Another frightening statement that Jesus made in this scripture was, “many will say to me Lord, Lord,” Many, He said!  Just before Jesus made this statement He said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mathew 7:13-14.) According to Jesus, only a few are saved, while many reject Him and are lost.

It is abundantly clear that the people out in the world who live lives in absolute rebellion against God are not saved.  However, Jesus is now telling us that there are many who are serving in ministries that are not saved; teachers, deacons, pastors, and the faithful who sit in the pew week after week; yes, even tithers.  They look Christian, they act Christian, they talk Christian, they do Christian acts, but Jesus said their walk is not genuine. There is no doubt that they think their walk is genuine. However, they fall under the category of people who believed in vain. (I Corinthians 15:1.)

Let me give a strong warning here. It is not our job to sit on the judgment seat and try to figure out who these folks are. Remember, they look and act Christian and because they are trying to be saved by their works and religion rather than a genuine relationship with Jesus they may act more Christian than some of the genuine Christians sitting in the pews. If God would open our eyes to the spiritual realm and allowed us to see who is saved and who isn’t we would more than likely be astounded.

Our job is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember the seed sewer? We are to be like him sewing seed everywhere we go. This is one of the reasons the gospel should regularly be preached in the church. Along with our seed sewing we pray for the power of God to draw people unto salvation. God knows their heart. We don’t. I pray for every service that God would not allow one lost soul to leave without knowing Him. If we do our part, God will be faithful to do His part.

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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Walking in the Newness of Life

Prior to being born again our lives were carnally minded. Our hearts, minds, dreams, goals, desires, wants, and what we thought were needs were all fleshly and carnally focused. Ephesians 2.3 says, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” When one indulges in the desires of the flesh and mind they walk in the flesh and are greatly displeasing to God. Romans 5:8 tells us, “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

However, when we become born again we die to the flesh and come alive through the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us the ways of God and rebukes us when we walk in the ways of the flesh. Apart from the Spirit of God teaching and guiding us we cannot live for the Lord. Yet, when we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord the Holy Spirit comes to live in us giving us new life. Christ is in us and we are in Him. We are alive.

The carnal man cannot live for the Lord, nor will he want to. However, the spiritual man who possesses the Holy Spirit can live for the Lord, far the Lord is with him, leading and guiding him. Romans 6:4 says, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” When we became born again we were buried with Christ in the likeness of His death, not physically but spiritually. Just as we were buried with Christ we were, past tense, raised from the dead. Again this is a spiritual act, not a physical one.

The bible clearly teaches that those who are in Christ will one day be given a resurrected body. However, the bible also clearly teaches that the moment you accept Christ as Savior and Lord you die to self and come alive to God. Prior to being born again you were dead in your transgressions and sins. Once you became born again you are alive to Him and dead to sin.

A Christian is dead to sin. Therefore, he cannot live in it. “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2.) Living in sin means that sin is your lifestyle; it defines who you are. Living in Christ is also a lifestyle that defines who you are therefore the bible tells us to walk in the newness of life. One cannot live in sin and Christ. It is a spiritual, physical, and philosophical impossibility.

Living for Jesus is a choice. God can but won’t force us to live for Him. Jesus called the rich young ruler to follow Him and the rich young rule said no. If he said no to Jesus, we too can say no. Yet, when we make the choice to live for Jesus we are not alone. We have been empowered by the blood and led by the Spirit. Wow! What a powerful combination. Therefore, we choose to walk in faith.

I have had people over the years tell me that they cannot repent of their sins because their sins have too much power over their lives. That is a lie straight out of Satan’s mouth that directly contradicts the Word of God. I John 4:4 says, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” As a former drug addict trust me when I say that I know the power of sin. As a delivered drug addict I also know the power of God. God’s power is much greater. Again, we have a choice. It is a choice of who to believe. I chose to believe God.

If I chose to believe God I will then walk in the newness of life, repenting from my fleshly life, staying focused on things above rather than the things below, focused on life rather than death, and focused on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of my faith. Will I do this perfectly? No. Neither will you nor anyone else. However, we should do this consistently as it is the identifying mark of being a Christian.

Not if, but, when I lose focus I will repent and ask Jesus to forgive me. I then will ask Him in faith to deliver me from whatever areas I have failed Him in and continue to walk in the newness of life. This process will be repeated many times in a Christian’s life. God isn’t interested in the amount of times you have slipped. He is longing for you to get back up and pursue Him again. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect. But, you should be consistent. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection purchased for you a new life. Therefore, we should walk in it.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Born Again

In the third chapter of the book of John we see a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night seeking answers as to who He was. Nicodemus recognized Jesus was from God but wanted to know more. Jesus then startled Nicodemus with a statement he had difficulty understanding. Jesus said in John 3:3 to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus not understanding Jesus statement asked in the next verse, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus then answered in verses five and six, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

At first Jesus said unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Then Jesus said, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. I believe Jesus was basically making the same statement, but rewording it a little for Nicodemus to better understand.

If we are alive today we were delivered from the water from the flesh as flesh. In other words we were conceived and formed into flesh in our mother’s womb and thus we were born. If we are born again we have been born of the Spirit of God. If we are not born of the Spirit of God we cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God.

The question that is now before us is, “How do we become born again?” The simple answer is, we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior by believing in who He is and the works He has done on the cross to purchase redemption. By grace we are saved by faith and not by works. (Ephesians 2:9-10).

Paul said in Romans 5:20, “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” In other words, regardless of how much sin we have had in our lives, God has more grace. Therefore, all our sins, regardless of how much, will be washed away if we place our faith in Jesus.

Paul then asks in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Since God has more grace than we have sin should we just keep on sinning so God’s grace can increase? If we ever see yelling in writing we see it in Romans 6:2 when Paul said, “May it never be!” He then goes on to explain through the remainder of this chapter that those who are in Christ are dead to sin. They have died and have been buried with Christ.

For one to be born again he must first die; not physically but spiritually. One must die to his flesh, his hopes, his dreams, his goals, his ways, his ideas, his thoughts, and basically everything that has made him, him. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Jesus said that the requirement of following Him was denying yourself and taking up your cross. Remember that the cross is an instrument of death.

Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Paul’s hopes, dreams, goals, ways, ideas, thoughts, and everything that made Paul, Paul was no longer about him, for he denied himself, it was about Jesus. He was born again. He died to Paul and came alive to Jesus. How did he do this? He explained how in the second part of Galatians 2:20 where he wrote, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Far too many people have a fire insurance type of faith. They don’t want to go to hell but they don’t want to live for Jesus either. They are unwilling to turn from their sinful, fleshly, self-centered, and self-serving ways to truly live for Jesus. Remember, Jesus said, unless you are born again you cannot see, nor enter, the kingdom of Heaven.

To be born again we must die to the flesh and come alive to Jesus. Paul saw the love that Jesus had for him and the actions of the cross that demonstrated His love. With this in mind Paul said in Colossians 3:8, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” Paul realized that he, Paul, was not worthy to live for, but Christ was more than worthy.

Have you been born again? Jesus died for you to give you life. He gave up all so you could have all; all that matters anyway. Have you died to you and come alive to Jesus, or do you simply have a fire insurance policy? Romans 8:12-13 says, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

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Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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