(By: Norm Rasmussen)  

It is becoming more and more difficult for many to know what true Christianity really is supposed to be. A demonic - deluding - mental fog is settling heavier and heavier over humanity and what I'm about to share is getting fuzzier and fuzzier to way too many, though God warned us it was going to happen in the Bible as we move ever closer to the return of Jesus Christ.

Case in point. Do you consider yourself to be liberal Christian, a conservative Christian, or an independent Christian? If you answer one of the three, Satan's fog has penetrated your brain much deeper than what you may realize. Wise military commanders know the wisdom of "conquering by dividing", and Satan understands this tactic far more than any mere human military commander. From God's perspective, which is the only perspective that really matters, there are only two categories of people on planet earth. Those who truly belong to Him, and those who don't. If you want to maximize your odds of falling into the category of "belonging to Him", you had better be extremely diligent in figuring out where and how spiritual deception is deceiving people, and just how much has already effected YOU without your even realizing it, because the deluding fog is only going to continue to grow thicker. The key of staying out of Satan's fog is your daily thirst and hunger to be aware of, with your willingness to obey spiritual Truth. God's written Word (the Holy Bible) is Truth, but more and more "Christians" don't want to obey ALL of it. Picking and choosing what they want to believe and obey from God's Word is becoming more and more of an option. That is Satan's deceiving fog working on his behalf. (Here's a video the Lord laid on my heart to do that tries to help explain what I'm saying here: BORN A HOMOSEXUAL OR BORN WITH A SIN NATURE?)

True Christianity can be reduced down to essentially three letters in which to build a solid spiritual foundation that God endorses: RSD

Each letter stands for something very important in our foundation. Let's find out what it is.

The letter R stands for righteousness. Of the three letters, R is the most important to God. Once righteousness is clearly understood, the S and D is much easier to understand, for the wise anyway.  

Righteousness is best understood by saying it simply this way: Righteousness is right-relationship with God.

You cannot truly please your spouse unless you are in right relationship with him or her. A person cannot please God unless they are in right relationship with Him. True Christianity provides the solution to be in right relationship with God. The death, burial and resurrection of God is/was that solution. Thus God provided the solution for humanity to be able to be in right relationship with Him. I don't know about you, but I've grown to LOVE a God who doesn't just describe a problem, but also provides the SOLUTION to fixing the problem!  

Jesus Christ fixed the problem, became the solution to the problem - for humanity to be in right relationship with God. Upon Jesus Christ fulfilling the plan of God the Father to fix humanity's problem of being separated from the Father because of their disobedience against Him (sin), the Father dispatched the Holy Spirit to be fully poured out on planet earth on both Jew AND Gentiles (all people) to seek out those that would end up spending eternity with God, and to equip them to walk the rest of their lives on earth to walk into obedience to Him in a pleasing manner. Or In other words, to walk in right relationship with Him.  

As you read this, be honest with yourself. Are you in right relationship with God this very moment? If you aren't sure, maybe this will help:

God wants followers - disciples of Jesus Christ - understanding two very important aspects of righteousness:   

1) First and most importantly: No person will ever be able to obtain a state of righteousness on their own abilities to please God enough to spend eternity with Him. This shocks many people when they hear it, but it's the truth of the matter. If it WAS possible for a human to obtain a state of righteousness pleasing enough to God by their own efforts so they could be in right relationship with Him, then it would never have been necessary for God to come down from heaven, take on the form of a man, spend 33 years on this planet and never sinning, which subsequently qualified Him to be the one and only sacrifice God the Father would accept to pay ransom payment for our wrongs committed against Him. Thus Jesus Christ purposely suffered for each of our sins ' our acts of unrighteousness (disobedience) against God and others, so we would be forgiven by God for them and not be judged for them on the great Judgment Day, when we all will stand before God and give an account of our actions while on earth so we can be rewarded for them, or punished for them.

Saying in another way: BECAUSE God full well knew none of us could ever obtain a state of righteousness pleasing enough to Him to be forgiven for our sins, He decided in Himself to provide the SOLUTION, which was: 'No problem. I'll give them MY righteousness! That will immediately satisfy My demands that they be holy enough, righteousness enough, to spend eternity with Me.'

Let's dwell on this issue so you fully grasp its importance.  It is so critical that every person understand this sobering yet amazing truth. No person trying to please God can possibly walk in enough obedience to attain a degree of self-righteousness that will motivate God to forgive them of all their sins. Their sins were too offensive to Him. Too painful to Him. Their sins demanded justice be served! As a cold blooded murder of your child or spouse deserves maximum punishment for taking the life of your child or spouse,and that being the death penalty, God the Judge has decreed in His Law Book (the Bible) the very same punishment regarding our sin against Him: Eternal death. Eternal damnation. Eternal suffering for our wrongdoing, the pain we caused Him and most likely others.     

Yet in God the Judge's love and mercy and grace for cold blooded sinners like you and I, He expressed His Godly attributes by granting us a 'Get Out Of Jail FREE' card. But on that card it reads: Jesus Christ Is BOTH Your Get Out Of Jail FREE card Because Of Your Spiritual Criminal Acts Of Disobedience Of Breaking God's Laws and He's also your Righteousness Card. 

Jesus Christ not only took full punishment for all of your sins and my sins by taking our rightful place on the Cross as the starting place for our deserved eternal punishment, He also was the legal means whereby God the Father could execute the greatest miracle of any miracles He ever has done ' or ever WILL do. He became our sin incarnate so we could have imputed to us the very righteous character of God incarnate! The very holiness of God grafted into us!

Proof? Here is Truth: For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

It was the Apostle Paul God used to share this incredible truth to us in God's Word. It was Paul who also penned these words:

But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, [trying to keep God's laws, in other words] but that which is though faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith [by make a choice to believe it, in other words]. (Philippians 3:8-9)

What God is saying in the above scripture passage is that Paul came to the full realization that no matter how hard he worked at trying to please God by keeping God's Old Covenant Laws, that would never be good enough to please God's righteous demands upon him or you or I to walk in sufficient holiness, sufficient obedience to Him, sufficient right-relationship with Him - that would be pleasing enough to Him to allow us to be in His full presence for eternity. BUT, obtaining that degree of righteousness WAS and IS possible, and it WAS and IS possible by faith. Faith in what? Believing what God said. Believing that for those who have been baptized themselves into Jesus Christ, it is the righteousness of Christ IN them that satisfies God's demands upon us to be as righteous as He is righteous.

In other words, for true Christians, when God the Father now looks at them, He sees the righteousness of Christ engrafted into them. That's why, when scripture decrees: It is Christ in us, our hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), it is so important to realize that in and of ourselves, there never will be enough of our own self-righteousness that the Father wants with Him in eternity, and unless we have engrafted into us the very imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, we'll never be able to fully be freed up to meet His heart's desire that we daily pursue to try to be as holy (obedient) as He is holy (obedient to His righteous laws - His righteous commandments).

[A little sidebar here. We think when Jesus walked on the water that was quite some amazing miracle. A miracle of far greater magnitude was executed by Jesus when you got baptized into Jesus Christ UNDER the water. He stepped right into your heart and decreed:  'PEACE my child; be STILL. Because you have NOW chosen to let me be your Savior and Lord ' I will be EVERYTHING you will ever need to both walk right with My Father and Your Father, and to calm every storm your adversary the devil will attempt to drown you with from this moment forth, but you must keep trusting Me to be your all in all, especially when you're tempted not to.' ]

The righteousness of God now in us ' freely given to us by Him because we've allowed Him to take up residency inside us, is TRULY our ONLY real and eternally lasting hope of glory!   

2) And now for the second aspect or understanding of righteousness: BECAUSE we are positionally, in Christ - as righteous as we can possibly be in God's sight,by His doing at the Cross, not ours - God now expects us to start demonstrating it. He now wants us to demonstrate to Him and others our sincere appreciation for the free gift of righteousness we were granted by making His Son Jesus our Savior and Lord. Walking out, or demonstrating our righteousness, our righteous acts of obedience to Him in other words in alignment with rightly divided, wisely applied Truth, is not what gets us saved or keeps us saved so don't get confused about that. Christ's (GOD'S) imputed righteousness to us FREELY GIVEN is what saves us from our sins and keeps us saved from our sins, but walking in self righteousness is what PROVES who truly belongs to Jesus Christ and who doesn't, who TRULY means business with Jesus Christ and those who don't. (You shall know them by their fruits).

And get this. It is OUR righteousness, our obedience to God's wishes, that God's wants us walking out so OTHERS can receive it's full benefits which then translates into advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. God's imputed righteousness to us is what gets us into heaven, but it is our righteousness (right relationship with God) after we become Christians that helps OTHERS get what God wants us to freely impart to others.  

Saying it another way: God has imparted to us freely His Kingdom benefits inside us so we can now be used to help impart His Kingdom benefits to OTHERS who will receive it.

And HOW do we tangibly go about helping others receive His Kingdom benefits that He has freely given you and I? By DOING 'S' and 'D', the last two letters of RSD.

S - stands for soul winning.  

D - stands for discipleship.  It's very important to have a clear understanding of what they both mean.  

S - Soul winning means to be used of God to help another lost soul separated from God - because of their sins - to be reconciled back to Him in good standing. To help another get Saved from their sins, in other words. No human can save another from punishment for their sins. Only God can do that. But God uses people like you and I to point others to the salvation of Jesus Christ. God uses people like you and I to plant spiritual truth and water spiritual truth regarding eternal salvation in the lives of others by many different means. To date, God has called my wife, Kathleen, and I to do that primarily through the written word and video: Two very useful ways to God to help advance the Kingdom of God in the lives of others. However, ministering the words of truth regarding eternal salvation in the prison setting as well as one on one also are ways God uses us. Supporting other ministries financially doing the same is another way. Praying for others is another way.  Handing out testimony books and other spiritual seed has been another. 

D - Once a person makes a true commitment to Jesus Christ to let Him be both their Savior and Lord, then that person needs a lot of help to both learn how to rightly apply the Word of Truth and keep striving to obey it, and survive the trials that Satan launches against them to try to keep them ineffective in advancing the Kingdom of God in the lives of others. D stands for discipleship. You have no disciple of Jesus Christ until a person first enters into Salvation. But then once Salvation occurs in another, now that person needs to be discipled (helped out) in walking out his or her right relationship with God, and to walk into the fullness of God's calling for that person to again have an end goal: To help OTHERS receive the benefits of the Kingdom of God.  

We need to comprehend this. Once we are saved from our sins (received forgiveness for our sins), we immediately become ministers of God. ALL of US. EACH of us. We don't need to be on any church payroll nor do we need 'Reverend' or 'Pastor' or 'Priest' or 'Bishop' nor 'Elder' nor 'Deacon' nor 'Prophet' nor 'Prophetess' to be added to our name to be official ministers of God, nor do we need to go to any bible college and get a degree. All that is needed is our availability to the Holy Spirit and our determination to be used of Him to somehow help birth the Kingdom of God in others right where we ARE. 'Nobody' people like you and I are just as valuable to God as any other person who has allowed Jesus Christ to take up residency in their heart. How can that be? Because God will put you and I in places to impart Kingdom truths to people that others can't do that with. God can use me and my wife to help brothers and sisters grow in their relationship with God in prison, but most of the unsaved in that prison God isn't going to use us to impart Kingdom truths to if they don't come to hear us minister God's spiritual truth and encouragement. Who then CAN God use to do that? Fellow prisoners. Fellow prisoners they eat with, exercise with, share frustrations with. Every prisoner who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is every bit as valuable to God as any missionary is in a foreign country. How so? Because that missionary in a foreign country is not in a position to minister to a lost bunk-mate locked up in prison. Only another bunk-mate can, providing they are equipped by the Holy Spirit to do so. What equips them? Receiving Jesus Christ first as their personal Lord and Savior.  

So much can be said about 'RSD', but let's bring this writing to a close. When a true Christian is not working diligently to walk FIRST in ongoing right relationship with Jesus Christ, their desire to be used of Him to be engaged in S and D falls along the wayside. But the more determined they are to excel in R, the natural overflow will be their determination to be used of God to be useful vessels to Him to be engaged in S and D.  

A Christian who grows careless, apathetic - in RSD has hardly a clue what God is talking about by the following admonition of Jesus Christ:

'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.' (Matthew 6:19-20)

The souls you were used of God to qualify for heaven once they die will be commissioned by God to be blessings back to you throughout eternity that your and my mind cannot possibly comprehend right now. Truly, he who wins souls (spiritually nurtures in truth) is VERY wise. (See: Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3)

Discouragement is NOT the same as carelessness and apathy. Discouragement is a normal thought process we all experience during our life. But if discouragement is allowed to go unchecked, allowed to continue to fester and grow for very long -- it will sprout carelessness and apathy, and carelessness and apathy are dangerous enemies that can quench the fire of the Holy Spirit in us, much to our detriment on reward day.  

Disk up your hardened spiritual ground and nurture the spiritual soil in your heart on a daily basis, so the Holy Spirit will have a rich field to reproduce Himself in (harvest life, and life more abundantly). It will pay both earthy dividends and for certain eternal dividends, mighty minister/spiritual farmer of God.

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.