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Dear Partner,

Have you ever felt like you let the Lord down? I have. There have been times in my life when I had really good intentions, but when it came right down to it I wound up not living up to the high expectations I had for myself. When we fail like that discouragement sets in immediately and we wonder if any of our prayers will ever be answered again.

Let us examine the scriptures concerning somebody who seriously failed the Lord. Remember, there was no punctuation in the original Greek language from which the New Testament was translated. The original manuscripts did not come with chapter headings and verse numbers. All of that was added at the discretion of the men who translated the Greek manuscripts into the English bible. I am going to quote some really familiar verses, but I am going to do it without inserting the chapter heading that normally divides them. Leaving the verses in their original context, look at the depth of revelation knowledge revealed in them:

John 13:36-14:3   Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Peter loved Jesus. His heart was filled with good intentions. He was completely serious when he told Jesus he was willing to lay down his life for Him. But Jesus looked into Peter's heart and saw that, despite Peter's good intentions, he did not yet have the character development to follow through with his actions. Jesus basically informed him, "Not only will you not yet lay down your life for Me, but this very night you will deny that you even know Me three times!"

And the very next words out of Jesus' mouth are, "Let not your heart be troubled." How could Jesus expect Peter not to allow his heart be troubled by this information? If anybody EVER had the right to feel discouraged by their own shortcomings, it would have been Peter at that very moment. You talk about failing the Lord. Not many believers fail the Lord to the level that Peter did that night, yet Jesus does not seem to be concerned. Why not?

The answer to that question is what disqualifies all other forms of religion from being true. Only Christianity solves Peter's dilemma. Only Christianity solves the same dilemma for every believer. All of us have failed God. Every human on planet earth is born with a sin nature. If we have to approach God based on our own good works, our own righteousness, we are hopelessly lost and undone. Only Christ was qualified to take upon Himself our sins and suffer the full penalty of death for us. In that wonderful exchange Jesus took upon Himself our sin and He gave unto us His perfect righteousness.

2 Cor 5:21   For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That's why Jesus could confidently tell Peter not to be troubled. He was saying, "Peter, when My work is finished you will be able to approach the Father in the power of My righteousness, not your own righteousness. I am going to prepare a place for you in My Father's House." That "place" is not a physical "mansion" in heaven. The Greek word translated "mansions" in that verse simply means many "permanent dwelling places." That "place" is the "standing of righteous sonship" Jesus provided for us by completing His perfect work upon the cross. You could think about it this way, only perfectly righteous sons of God have permanent rooms in the Father's house. And only believers in Christ have that perfectly righteous standing.

When we approach the Father in prayer, we don't approach Him based on our own works good or bad. He doesn't answer our prayers based on our righteousness. He answers our prayers based on the righteous standing we have been given in Christ. Notice carefully how Jesus instructs His disciples about answered prayer later on in this same teaching:

John 16:26-27   At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

How do we approach the Father in prayer? In "the name of Jesus!" We make our petitions based on the standing that Christ has given us with the Father. Why should the Father answer our prayers? Because we have the standing of righteous sons of God. What makes us righteous? The finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen! No wonder we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace.

Heb 4:16   Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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