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Monthly Archives: April 2021

Our Adoption in Christ

Our Adoption in Christ

In my last post we talked about the authority that our spirit can have over our flesh. We were continuing through Paul’s letter to the Romans. I explained how praying in the spirit brings about a change in the way we live. Indeed, both miracles and the walk of righteousness come from spending time in the spirit.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

In the last post, I was only looking at the concept of righteousness. It was the context that Paul started us with.

Now, I want to move on to the next verse which brings us deeper into this truth. As a matter of fact, I may take a few extra posts to deal with these verses, because they contain so much truth that we need to understand fully.

…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 8:14

The Word of God is clear. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons. Understand this – if you’re saved, then the Holy Spirit is leading you. As a matter of fact, the Spirit of God is leading even if you’re not following. He’s gently waiting for you to catch up with Him. Why is this?

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Now, reading this, I find it interesting that Paul tells us that we’re of the seed of Abraham, and not Moses. Abraham followed God in a walk of faith that worked righteousness in him. He allowed himself to be led by God. So Abraham operated as a son of God. This is because “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:15-17

The word, sonship, in this verse, actually means adoption – the placing as a son. This tells me that in Christ, I’ve been placed in the position of a son of God with all the rights and privileges that goes with it.

This is an incredible truth. Sonship is how we explain the relationship of “ever increasing glory”. Because the Holy Spirit is working in us, leading us from glory to glory, we are seen to be sons of God.

Please understand that even though we are adopted as sons of God, Jesus Christ is THE only begotten Son of the Father. We are not equal in position or authority to Him. He is the Head of the Church. That needs to be made clear.

However, even in our position as adopted children, Sonship is a position of power. This is because the Holy Spirit Himself testifies that we are sons. He does this as He bestows the power of God upon us. As the Spirit does His work in us, we have the likeness of Christ ever-increasing in us.

Question: How is the relationship of Sonship different than that of a slave?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2021 in Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Spirit Over Flesh

Spirit Over Flesh

As we’ve been going through the book of Romans, we’ve seen that the Holy Spirit is responsible for accomplishing the change that’s needed in our lives. Having this access to God, through the Holy Spirit, is a very powerful thing. It affects our lives in a number of ways if we’re willing to walk in it.

According to the Apostle Paul, this knowledge should have an effect on us.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.

Romans 8:12

This verse literally says that we don’t owe anything to the flesh. We’re under no obligation to keep it happy and comfortable. To have the best life, I must cultivate my spirit.

I talk a lot about the need to pray in the spirit. When I pray in the gift, I build up my most holy faith (Jude 1:20). This is the faith that’s resident in my spirit. It’s a faith that goes beyond what I know about the Scripture or the situation I’m in.

There are times when there may not even be a Biblical verse that covers my situation. What do I do then? I pray in the Spirit. This helps me to trust God when there seems to be no earthly reason to put my faith in Him. It’s a faith that goes beyond what my mind can understand.

This is the kind of faith that’s needed to allow the changes to take place in me.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

This is a very interesting verse. If you just skim through it you’ll miss what it says. We need to remember what Paul has taught us thus far.

We understand, according to the Scripture, that we’re dead to sin and alive to God. Elsewhere in Romans we’re told to count ourselves dead.

This is based upon the truth that we were crucified with Christ, and this death separates us from the dominion of sin. That’s NOT what the above verse is telling us about. This verse is very different because it contains the word, “if”. This verse is telling us something we either could do or we could choose to ignore.

There’s a battle that rages in my being. Even though I’m saved, my flesh is still subject to its sin nature. I find that even though I’m dead to sin in Christ, I continue to fall to the temptations that come before me. Paul wrote about this struggle that we all face. How do I overcome this dilemma?

Many people try differing methods to bring about the victory. Some try to live right in their own strength. I’ve found that if I live trying to use my flesh to overcome my flesh, by shear will power, I’ll fail miserably. The above verse tells us that if I use my flesh, then death will reign in me. The problem is, to use a computer term, there’s a virus in the software.

The good news is that I can use the power of God’s network. I can use my spirit to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh. This is a truth that we’ve missed in the modern church. You can use your spirit to change your flesh.

In simple terms, you can download God’s anti-virus program and it will change the way you live. This is a powerful change because you’re allowing God to change you from the inside out.

We have to come to the understanding that I can take authority over the flesh by the power of the spirit. This is the key to a whole new level of living.

Question: How has prayer in the spirit changed the way you live?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Holy Spirit – Life Giver

The Holy Spirit – Life Giver

In my last post, I talked about what it takes to please God. That should be our number one desire.

We saw from Paul’s writings in Romans, that the flesh can never please God. The apostle continues with this thought. However, even though I normally use the NIV, for this verse I believe that the NKJV is the more accurate translation.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Romans 8:9, NKJV

This verse simply states that everyone can access the Spirit of Christ if they’re saved. It’s not a special level of achievement only attained by a few highly spiritual people..

If you are His, then you have the Spirit of Christ.

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Romans 8:10

Here’s a statement of fact. There are two results of having the Spirit of Christ within you. The first is that if Christ is in you, then your body is dead through sin. Secondly, if Christ is in you, then your spirit is alive through righteousness.

What does Paul mean by saying that your spirit is alive? Furthermore, what does it mean to be spiritually dead? This is a concept that many people have no understanding of.

Remember back to the Garden of Eden. When God created Adam, He said that if you eat of this tree, you will surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17) Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, yet their bodies didn’t stop working at that point.

That’s because in God’s terminology, death is the loss of fellowship with Him. Because of sin, communication ceases between Adam and the Lord. Humanity lost the relationship that they were created for.

The fact is, I’m going to live eternally somewhere, so death doesn’t mean my body stops working. A good picture of this truth is found in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

The younger of two sons took his inheritance and left home. Father and son were no longer able to have fellowship. When the son came to his senses, he returned home. Look at the response of the father.

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Luke 15:32

His return was a change from death to life. That’s the same with us when we’re saved.

Your flesh cannot fellowship with God. Your spirit, because you’re now in Christ, can live in relationship with God.

Even though your spirit existed before salvation, it couldn’t commune with God. That’s why believers now need to learn to communicate with God.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Romans 8:11

Every Christian has the Spirit of Christ living in them. Because of that fact, communication and fellowship with God is now possible. This means that the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead in you, and He will give life to your body that submits to death.

What did the Spirit do for Christ? He awakened Christ from the dead. What does He do for us? He will give life to our dying flesh.

That’s the bottom line. It’s the Spirit that works on our flesh, not the mind.

Question: Why is it better to rely on the Holy Spirit rather than will-power?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Pleasing to God

Pleasing to God

As we continue on in the book of Romans, Paul shows us the clear choice that we’re faced with.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Romans 8:6-8

The choice laid before us is death vs. life and peace. It’s clear from Scripture that this has always been the choice throughout history.

We need to understand that peace is the total blessing of God. In opposition to that, the mind focused on the flesh is hostile toward God. Therefore, it cannot submit to God’s law because it doesn’t have the power to submit.

It’s a simple fact that a mind focused on the things pertaining to the flesh cannot please God. That’s because God isn’t impressed by our rules, feelings, logic, or will-power.

What exactly does the Bible say about pleasing God?

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

This verse makes it clear. The only way to please God is through the condition of our heart. If that’s the case, than what does it take to have a heart that’s pleasing to the Lord?

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…

Colossians 1:9-10

It takes spiritual wisdom and understanding in order to please God. On top of that, we must bear fruit. I assume he’s talking about the fruit of the spirit. These are not things that can be accomplished by our mind or our flesh.

This was evident in the life of Christ.

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

John 8:28-29

This is the foundation of how Jesus pleased the Father. He spoke as He was taught by the Father. That means His wisdom and understanding came from a spiritual source. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit the same way He wants us to walk.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

1 John 3:21-22

When John says that we obey His commands; what’s he talking about? Is it the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on Mount? No, it’s the spiritual instructions we receive as we spend time in the presence of God.

That’s what pleases the Lord. It’s all about our spirit-walk. According to the verse in Romans, above, without my spiritual walk, I do not have the power to please God. Don’t neglect the most important part of your relationship with God. Spend some intimate time with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What has the Holy Spirit impressed you to do lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Testimony of God’s Work

A Testimony of God’s Work

As we continue through the book of Romans, I’ve been talking about the spiritual walk. As we pray in the spirit, we’re affecting the natural. We looked at a few verses that tell us that it’s through the spirit that we overcome the flesh.

There are those who spend their entire lifetime trying to master the fruit of the spirit by their own strength and will power. I’ve found that those who are able to do this are easy to spot. The older they get, the deeper the frown etched on their faces.

They’re quick to tell you how hard it is to stay committed to the Lord. Doing this work on your own is very detrimental to your joy and I don’t recommend it for long periods of time.

Another observation actually had me upset at God for a long time until I understood what was really going on in the spiritual realm. The problem is that sometimes we have an experience in God and try to explain it based upon our observances instead of searching the Word. I’m thinking specifically about my grandparents, who were the first in our family to receive Christ.

Back when they first immigrated to America from Italy, they were rough, unlearned people. At that point, an evangelist came from Chicago to Boston to bring the Gospel to the Italian community. That’s when my grandparents heard the Good News and submitted their hearts to Christ. The church I grew up in was the Italian Pentecostal Church that grew from that evangelist’s work.

Growing up, I heard all the stories of how God moved in those days. I heard about the power, the healings, and the miracles. I learned all about the righteous lives that these “old folks” lived. Their conversion became legendary.

“If we would only live like they did…”

This is why I was upset at God. I was told that when they were saved, they were really saved. Their lives were changed instantly. There was suddenly no more profanity, stealing, or fits of rage. They began walking in love, joy, peace and the rest of the gifts.

I knew my grandparents well enough to know that what was said about their lifestyle was true. They lived close to God. They loved like Jesus did. They evangelized everyone they met.

That’s what upset me. I felt that I had been short changed in my salvation experience. I wanted to know why I was still wrestling with my sin. Why did their lives change so radically, and mine seemed to be a never ending process?

What I was taught about this did little to help me. I was told that God just works differently in different people. Some people He cleans up in an instant and in others the Lord takes His time. I just resigned myself to the belief that I was one of those that would take a long time to see the changes occur in my life. All this, because we based our theology on observation rather than the Word of God.

Here’s what actually happened to my grandparents, based on what we’ve just learned from the Scripture. When they heard the Good News of the Savior, they submitted to His Lordship in faith. They were saved and immediately baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of their prayer language.

Then they began to attend meetings on almost every day of the week. Some of these were services and some were prayer meetings. Here’s the key. No matter what kind of meeting it was, they always spent hours praying in the spirit.

I know from watching her, that my grandmother prayed hours a day. By observation, people saw that when someone was saved and baptized in the Spirit, their life changed. It seemed to be instantaneous.

But looking back, I can see through the filter of the Scriptures, what really changed their lives was that they spent hours a week praying in the Holy Spirit. There was not one particular work of holiness – it was the ongoing process of putting to death the misdeeds of the body through prayer in the spirit.

Then, over the course of time, the prayer meetings stopped being attended by the next generation. Instead of using the power of the Spirit, they learned to serve God using will power alone. Holiness became a thing of the past, “the stuff of legends”.

We just looked back and said, “Those old Italians knew how to serve God.” What they learned was that power was only accessed in that secret place of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. This is how we must receive the power as well. To the extent that we worship God in His language, at His level, we will experience His power.

At one point the Lord impressed us to start having a prayer meeting only for prayer in the spirit. We met for one hour a week to pray in our heavenly language. During that time I observed that people who spent even moderate amounts of time praying in the spirit started to change at an incredible rate.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…
Romans 8:6

The good news is that you don’t have to know how it works for it to affect you. But, you do have to walk in it for the effects to be realized. Don’t just use the gift of the heavenly language as a once in a while plaything. It’s the access key to the release of the power of God in your life. You should use this gift daily. If you choose to do this, your life will never be the same.

Question: How have you seen the effects of praying in the spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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In Step with the Spirit

In Step with the Spirit

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Roman church, I’ve been talking, in detail, about the mind controlled by the spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:5

In my last post, I ended by talking about how the fruit of the spirit are a result of the seed planted in our spirit. This is accomplished through prayer in the spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

It just seems obvious to me that to get fruit, you must sow seed. Scripture is clear that you reap what you sow. So we must sow to the spirit.

This means that we stop sowing to the flesh, which is trying to follow the law in our own power. We also need to spend more time sowing to the spirit through prayer in the spirit.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:24-25

This verse literally tells us that to live by the spirit, we need to march in rank with the spirit. Please understand, Paul had a rich spiritual prayer life. He was mature in the Lord. If we want his results, then we need to follow his pattern. It’s this prayer life that crosses us over into maturity.

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:3

When Paul wrote this, there were those who pushed an outward practice of self-righteousness. They mandated circumcision for believers. In the apostle’s teaching, he totally denied this practice. The “we” in this verse refers to those who have been taught and trained by Paul.

Paul says that we are the truly set apart to God. We are the ones who have had the sin removed by a circumcision of the heart. But, most importantly, we worship by the Spirit of God.

It’s not about whose flesh worships God. And, it’s not those whose mind chooses to worship God. It’s those who worship by the spirit. They are the ones who have had the influence of the flesh removed.

The Greek word Paul used for confidence means to be convinced by argument, to pacify, conciliate, consent to, or rely on. That’s our biggest problem and weakness from the flesh. It’s only removed through the spirit.

Some people want to know why I push prayer in the spirit so much? I believe it’s the key to our freedom. Life lived in the spirit sets us free from the constant mind battles.

We need to lay hold of our freedom in Christ. To do this we must follow the same pattern as the early church. That means quality time praying in the spirit.

In my next post, I’ll give a testimony of what I’ve experienced in setting out on this path.

Question: How often, if ever, do you pray in the spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Planting in the Spirit

Planting in the Spirit

I’ve been taking a few posts to talk about setting our minds on the things of the spirit. Paul told us that was the key to overcoming the desires of the flesh.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:5

I ended the last post by showing that our New Covenant ministry brings life and righteousness. That is, if we minister this life-giving covenant correctly. How exactly does it bring bring about God’s righteousness in us?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

It comes by spending intimate time with the Holy Spirit. It’s by the Spirit that we’re transformed. That’s the point I’ve been consistently trying to make. Our strength and will-power have nothing to do with it.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

Galatians 5:16-18

Don’t turn this around like so many self-righteous believers do.

“If you can stop gratifying the flesh, you will be walking in the spirit.”

Absolutely not!!! The Pharisees were not anywhere near walking in the spirit. Yet, they had an almost perfect track record in regards to outward sin.

Legalism is not the answer. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount don’t change you. It’s living by the spirit that brings righteousness.

According to this verse, if you “spirit-walk” you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. What is this spirit-walk? Obviously it doesn’t involve my flesh or my mind.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

1 Corinthians 14:14

Do you really hear what this verse says? When my spirit prays, my mind bears no fruit. And, for sure, my flesh bears no fruit.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7-8

The Bible is clear; you reap what you sow. Actually, the original Greek does not have the words, please, in it. It tells us that if you sow to your flesh, you reap destruction from your flesh.

If, on the other hand, you sow to your spirit, you reap eternal, perpetual life.

How do I reap perpetual life? By sowing into my spirit. I believe that’s talking about prayer in the spirit. It’s my spirit praying and bringing me into God’s presence. That’s how I sow into my spirit.

This is made abundantly clear if you read Galatians 5:19-23. In that passage you can clearly see the difference between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. I believe that prayer in the spirit is the key to seeing this fruit in our lives.

Question: How much of the Fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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What Do You Serve?

What Do You Serve?

In my last post, we talked about the role of our mind in winning the war against the flesh. Here’s the verse we looked at.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:5

Setting your mind on the desires of the spirit is the hurdle that must be crossed. It’s how we transition to the walk of maturity. But, getting the mind under control is not an easy task.

Look at the disciples.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Matthew 16:23

How many times can this be said of us. So often we think like normal human beings with no thought of the spiritual realm. What is it that classifies our thought process as human thinking?

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

Philippians 3:17-19

We have to stop putting our mind on earthly things. That’s what bogs down our spiritual growth. It causes us to fall victim to the same problems that the world faces.

Paul says that he gives us a pattern in his teachings. If we can find the pattern, we can cross over to a walk of maturity. That is, if we actually follow the pattern.

If we can do what Paul says, then we can find victory over the flesh. We’ll be walking in a whole new level of faith. But, we have to do it God’s way.

How does it start?

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13

The salvation process involves our sanctification. That means a cleaning up procedure. How is that accomplished. According to this Scripture, it’s a work of the Holy Spirit.

But, it also involves my participation. I have to exhibit belief in the truth. My part is to trust the Holy Spirit’s ability to change me. I participate by faith, but the work is God’s.

That’s why maturity can never be attained by following a set of rules. That’s the fast track to frustration.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6

We must trust that the Holy Spirit is a life-giving Spirit. It’s His life that will change me. Paul goes on to clarify this.

If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!

2 Corinthians 3:9

We need to understand that the religious word, ministry, actually means servanthood. This verse tells me that I can either serve condemnation or righteousness. It’s our choice.

Question: How do we change our thought process to gratify the spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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