But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
— Romans 10:8-10
What we believe is a result of our thinking. If we think wrong, we will believe wrong.
If our believing is wrong, our confession will be wrong. In other words, what we say will be wrong. It all hinges on our thinking!
But the Word of God has been given to us to straighten out our thinking!
Jesus said in Mark 11:23, "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. "
Ordinarily, we talk quite a bit about the believing part, but we do not talk too much about the saying part. Of course, we will not be able to make the right confession until our thinking is right. Our thinking must be in line with the Word of God, because we cannot believe beyond the actual knowledge we have of the Word of God.
People who have been involved in the past with metaphysical, mind-science religions often get this teaching about right and wrong thinking confused with those religious teachings, because they still think that man is just a mental and a physical being. But man is far more
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than that: He is also a spiritual being!
Advocates of metaphysics have taught so much about the mind that Full Gospel people are almost afraid to say a word about it — yet the Bible has a great deal to say about the mind.
For example, the Bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own UNDERSTANDING [mind]" (Prov. 3:5). The Bible says, "Casting down IMAGINATIONS [reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every THOUGHT [thinking] to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). The Bible also says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, andperfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2).
We renew our minds by studying the Word of God. The Bible teaches us to have "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). The only way we can have the mind of Christ is to study His Word, believe it in our heart, and act upon it.
The Word of God also teaches us to think on whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, or whatever has virtue or praise (Phil. 4:8). So the Word of God does have much to say about the mind!
However, we need to realize that thoughts can come into our minds from two different sources. In other words, the thoughts that come into our minds do not always originate in our minds. The devil puts many thoughts into our minds from outside ourselves. That's one source. Then, of course, thoughts from God come from within us. They come through our spirits into our minds.
As you stay in close fellowship with the Lord through prayer, meditation, and study of His Word, you will learn to distinguish the source of your thoughts. Naturally, evil thoughts are from the devil. God is love, on the other hand,
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and love thinks no evil, hears no evil, and sees no evil. Those kinds of thoughts come from God.
I have found that Scriptures referring to the mind confuse many people. However, in Scriptures referring to believing, many think they do believe. (And they do believe in their minds, but not in their hearts.)
In Scriptures referring to thinking, about all many Christians can understand is the negative side of the subject (for there are both negative and positive sides, and the positive side is the more important).
For example, if one talks about "confession," most people think of confessing sin, weakness, or failure. The Bible says, "// we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). But the Word of God has much more to say about the positive side of confession than the negative side. If people could understand that, it would make a great difference in their lives and thinking. But they have only heard one side of confession preached — the negative side. Therefore, they have only exercised the negative side: The "thou-shalt-not" side.
Yet Paul says in Romans 10:9, "... ifthou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus...." This does not refer to confession of sin, nor is it a confession of weakness. Instead, it is a confession of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This passage continues, "... and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
This is not a negative confession; it is a positive confession! In fact, Christianity is called "the Great Confession." Hebrews 3:1 says that we should consider the Apostle and High Priest of our "profession" (a marginal note in some Bibles says "confession").
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At this point, it would be helpful for us to define the word "confession." First, it is affirming something we believe. Second, it is testifying to something we know. Third, it is witnessing to a truth that we have embraced.
It is necessary that we do as Hebrews 4:14 admonishes, and "... hold fast our profession [confession]." It is also necessary that there be a continual confession of redemption from Satan's dominion and a confession of the fact that he no longer rules us with condemnation, fear, or disease. We are to "hold fast" to our confession because our confession is Satan's defeat. Jesus defeated the devil nearly two thousand years ago. But what Jesus did for us legally must become a vital, living reality in our lives. The experiential side of redemption is the vital side. We never shall thoroughly understand the Word of God until we can clearly see the two different sides of our redemption — the legal side and the experiential side.
An example of the legal side of redemption is this: We often pray, "God save this man," or "God, heal that woman." However, in the mind of God, He has already healed these people and saved them. In other words, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Jesus doesn't have to die again to save anybody. He already died once, didn't He? He doesn't need to shed His blood anymore. Legally, God has already done everything He needs to do to provide our redemption!
If one just deals with the legal side of redemption and preaches it exclusively, people will not actually experience anything in their lives. And that is the great problem with many churches. What is being preached is legally true, but the believers have become cold, dead, and formal because they have heard just one side of redemption preached — the legal side — and so redemption hasn't become a living reality in their lives.
If, on the other hand, only the vital side of redemption
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is preached — the experiential side — wild fire, fanaticism, and extremism result. Also, if a minister preaches only the experiential side of redemption, some people will seek for experiences apart from the Word of God. (A balance must be achieved between the two so that one can enjoy everything God has legally provided in redemption.)
That which the Lord has legally purchased, wrought, and provided for us becomes ours, experientially, when we believe the Word of God in our heart and confess with our mouths that it is true and that it is ours.
For example, we can see this legal and vital side of redemption in Paul's writings to the Christians at Rome. In Romans 10:8, Paul said, ". . . the word of faith, which we preach." Such an expression is not seen in the Old Testament, because the people in those times did not have the redemption experience available to them as we have. They did not even clearly understand what it was they had prophesied about regarding the coming Messiah! And in the four Gospels we do not see redemption outlined either, because the redemption Jesus came to bring was not actually available to the people while He was on earth. Jesus did forgive sins, but we have more than forgiveness of sins in redemption — we are made "new creatures"!
Redemption did not become available to us until after Jesus was crucified, was raised from the dead, and was seated at the right hand of the Father. In other words, the New Covenant was not in force until the High Priesthood of the New Covenant (or New Testament) was in effect. Jesus is the High Priest of the New Testament!
It is difficult for some people to understand this, because they think redemption was in force while Jesus was here on earth. But redemption was not yet in force. Some men on earth did have their sins forgiven then — but under the New Covenant we have much more than just forgiveness of sins. We have the New Birth, and we have become new
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creatures in Christ Jesus.
If a person sins after he has been born again, he does not need to be born again time after time. A person can only be born again once — but he can be forgiven of his sins many, many times, thank God. The promise to believers who sin is, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins ..." (1 John 1:9).
As we have seen, Romans 10:9,10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness...." When sinners hear the Word of God preached it straightens out their thinking. The Word shows them that they are lost, that they are sinners, that they cannot save themselves, and that they cannot make themselves righteous or redeem themselves.
The sinner simply needs to say to God, "Dear God, I am a sinner. I cannot save myself. I know according to your Word that I cannot make myself righteous, but I thank You because You love me, and You sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for me. And through His righteousness, redemption is made available to me. I believe that Jesus died for my sins according to the Scripture. I believe that He was raised from the dead and is my justification. I confess Jesus now, and I take Him as my Savior."
This is thinking in line with the Word and believing what the Bible says. Confessing it creates a reality of salvation in the human spirit.
It makes a great deal of difference as to how the sinner is brought into salvation. For example, if a sinner's thinking is straightened out to begin with, and his believing and his confession are made right, then it will be much easier for him to not waver in his Christian walk. On the other hand, if he is not given sufficient instruction, then the devil will take advantage of what he doesn't know. He will be
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defeated and robbed of that which God has already done for him. Because if he doesn't know the Word of God, and doesn't know how to hold fast to his confession of faith, the devil will camouflage the situation and try to make him feel he is not even saved. And when the new convert makes little mistakes, the devil will try to tell him, "Well, you're done for, so you might as well give up and quit!"
The same thing is true when it comes to healing. Remember that confession is Satan's defeat. Hebrews 4:14 says, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our profession" (or saying the same thing). What does that mean? We have a great High Priest who is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God. He is there representing us to the Father. Jesus is saying: "I died for them. I took their sins. I redeemed them. I became sin for their sin, that they might become the righteousness of God in me. I took their infirmities and bore their sicknesses. I delivered them from the authority of darkness. 1 created them anew, making them new creatures." That is what Jesus is saying in His Word. The Greek translations of this verse say, "Let us hold fast to saying the same thing." So that is to be our confession! Our confession will either imprison us or set us free. Our confession is the result of our believing, and our believing is the result of our right or wrong thinking.
First, it is necessary that we know what God has wrought for us in Christ, and that we believe it and confess it. It is our confession of it that creates the reality, and then it becomes real in our lives.
Second, it is necessary for us to know what God through the Word and through the Holy Spirit has wrought in us.
Third, it is necessary for us to know what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing for us now in His present-day ministry at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.
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Fourth, it is necessary for us to know what the Wordof God will do for us through our lips, or what God can do through us. Philippians 2:13 says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." God works in us. God works through us. God does not work apart from us. God gave the Church the authority and the commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
God's plan is to operate through us. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. The Holy Spirit, however, does not do the work for us. This is another place where our thinking has been wrong. "Let the Holy Spirit do it" has been the cry of many. But the Holy Spirit was not sent to do it! The American Revised Version says, "I will not leave you helpless. I will come to you. I will send you another Helper." The Greek word paraclete that is translated "Comforter" means "One called alongside to help."
No, God did not send the Holy Spirit to us for Him to do the job; God sent the Holy Spirit to us to help us do the job. Too much of the time the Holy Spirit is left to do it all. But if the Holy Spirit did it all, there would be no need for us to send missionaries.
We pray many times, "God, convict this friend of his sins. Bring real conviction on him!" But conviction will never come upon him until someone gives him the Word of God. Without hearing the Word of God, he will not be convicted. Paul said in Romans 10:13,14, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" The Bible says that God ordained that men should be saved through the preaching of the Word.
We certainly believe in signs and wonders, but signs and wonders do not save anyone. They attract people's
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attention. Once signs and wonders happen, people can be told how to be saved.
If our thinking is not right along these lines, our believing will be wrong. Then our talking will be wrong, and we will be confused and defeated. We need to realize what the Word of God can do through our lips because, as we have seen, the Holy Spirit is sent to help us.
Too much of the time we just want to get blessed in church. And so we pray, "Lord, send the people in," and, "Lord, You just get out and save the people." The truth of the matter is that this is our responsibility. We have the Holy Spirit to help us get the people into church, to help us get people saved, and to help us to do the work of God. But unless we are willing to do the work, we are wasting our time with long hours of prayer that the Holy Spirit will do the work for us.
A woman in Dallas asked me to pray for her. She had fasted and prayed for three days and nights, seeking God's will for her life. When I asked her what the Lord had shown her, she replied that God wanted her to visit people, hand out tracts, and do personal work. I told her that I could have saved her three days of fasting had she asked me, because that's what the Word of God teaches, and that's what God expects of all His children.
I once suggested to a group of people in one church that every believer needs to prepare a Bible lesson of their own. Then, if they are ever called upon to speak to some assembly, they would have more material than they would ever be able to use, and they could help and bless the group. I proposed that believers read through the New Testament — and particularly the Epistles, because they are full of such expressions as, "in Christ," "in him," and "in whom." The expression is either used or inferred approximately 134 times in the New Testament. In every instance, the phrase is talking about the individual — about what he has, or
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what he can have in Christ.
It is not only what you personally know about the Lord Jesus Christ that counts; it is what the Word of God says you are already "in Christ" that counts. Many Christians come to me and say, "Brother Hagin, I read thus and so in the Bible. I know that the Bible says this is true concerning Christians. I know I am saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but the promise does not seem real to me."
I ask them, "Have you ever acted as if it were real? Have you ever told anyone that it is real? Have you ever confessed it to be so?"
They have answered, "Oh, no! I wanted to wait and be sure first."
I have replied, "Why? Do you think the Bible lied? The Bible says that it is so. Is the Bible a lie?"
"Oh, no, but I want it to become a reality within me first. Then I will say it."
But "... with the mouth confession is made unto...." A promise from God's Word must be confessed as a reality before it ever becomes so. According to the Word, it is already so. But to be made real in your life, you must confess it to be so.
I remember a woman who had attended Bible school for three years. She was not a minister, nor did she claim to be. She had gone to Bible school to get training. Her pastor told me she was the most outstanding laymember of this large church. She was a Sunday School teacher, and she took part in all the church activities. She said to me once, after I had preached at a fellowship meeting nearby, "Brother Hagin, I did what you said. I have not covered the 134 Scriptures you mentioned yet. However, I have read twenty-five of them with thoughtful meditation. I have been saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and have done the best I could for the Lord in all things for many years. But, you know, I feel as though I have just now been saved. These
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Scriptures are so real, it seems I have just now been born again!"
I told her the truth of the matter was that she had been born again many years before, but she had never walked in the light of her experience. All of this had been hers all along; it had belonged to her, but because she had never dared to confess and claim it, she had never walked in what had rightfully belonged to her.
When you confess what you are in Christ, claim it, and walk in it, you are appropriating the reality of what is legally yours. Unfortunately, many will never realize this, and will remain baby Christians. They will never be able to enjoy the fullness of what they really are in Christ.
You see, a Christian is not renovated like an old mattress. An old mattress is just made over. But the New Birth is not a reformation or a renovation. A born-again Christian is a brand-new creature; a new creation. One translation of Second Corinthians 5:17 reads, "He is a new species." This new creature is simply something that never existed before!
Born-again Christians are not just forgiven sinners. We are not poor, weak, staggering, barely-getting-along church members. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus! I don't know about you, but this has been my testimony and my confession since 1933.
I saw these truths about redemption as I lay bedfast, studying the Word of God. And I promised God two things before I ever read the Bible: (1)1 would believe and accept whatever God said in His Word; and (2) I would put into practice what God said in His Word. Much later I found books that contained these same revelations I had received while studying the Word as a bedfast teenager.
Much of the time, we see ourselves as just being saved from sin. We think that about all we can do in this world is just stagger along, continuing to live on "Barely-Get-
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Along Street," in the last house at the end of the block, down by "Grumble Alley."
But Ephesians 1:7,8 says, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence." Notice it says, "In whom we have [our] redemption." It is in Christ that we are redeemed. In Him we have our redemption. From what are we redeemed? Some will answer, "Sin." That is partially true. In reality, however, we are redeemed from spiritual death — the thing that made us sinners in the first place!
We can also say that we are redeemed from the curse of the law, because Galatians 3:13 states, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. " When we look at the law of Moses, we see that the punishment for breaking God's laws was threefold: poverty, sickness, and death — spiritual death.
Jesus came to redeem us because we were sold into sin and spiritual death, and Satan was dominating us. But now that we have redemption in Christ, Satan's dominion over us has been broken! That means Satan lost his dominion over our lives the minute we were born again — the minute we became new creatures in Christ Jesus. It means we have received a new Lord and Master to reign over us — Jesus Christ. Before, Satan was our lord and master. He dominated us. But now that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, Jesus is our Lord. As Romans 6:14 points out, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
If anything lords it over you, it has dominion over you. Sin and Satan are synonymous. In other words, they are alike, or nearly alike in meaning or significance. So one could interpret this verse to mean, "Satan shall not have
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dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace."
Christ has redeemed us. He is our Head. He is the Head of the Church. If Christ is the Head of the Church, and if we are members of the Body of Christ — the Church — then Christ is our Head. Does Satan have any authority to rule over the Body of Christ? No! We are Christ's, and we are therefore to be dominated only by Christ. Satan cannot rule us, because if he were ruling us, he would be ruling the Body of Christ, which is the Church. But we know that Jesus is the Head of the Church.
Therefore, because we are no longer dominated by Satan, disease and sickness can no longer lord it over us either. Old habits can no longer lord it over us. Why? Because we are new creatures in Christ Jesus!
We need to believe that! Then we will begin to talk about it. Then it will become a reality in our spirits, and we will become overcomers, living a victorious life in Christ. As Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...."
You can always locate a person spiritually by what he says. The majority of Christians quote the Scriptures about our redemption and pray that they will become real in their lives — not realizing that if they are born again in Christ, the Word is already true in their lives. All they have to do is claim these promises by reaching out and taking them; appropriating them for themselves.
Many will ask, "If it is so easily obtained, why don't I have it?" Well, if you had ten thousand dollars in the bank in your name, but you did not know it, you would not be any better off, either, even though the money was yours. And you would be a liar if you said the money was not yours. The same holds true with regard to spiritual things. If you don't know about the spiritual things that are
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already yours, they will not do you any good. You have to make them yours — not from a legal standpoint, but from an experiential standpoint.
A favorite Scripture of mine that has helped me through the years is found in Isaiah 41:10. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. " This Scripture was written to Israel, but it is true concerning us today.
Even before I joined the ranks of Full Gospel people, I did not cry and beg God to help me. I opened my Bible to Scriptures such as Isaiah 41:10, fell down on my knees before God, and prayed. "Dear God, I am so thankful that You are with me. that You are my God, that You strengthen me always and uphold me with the right hand of your righteousness, and that I do not have to be afraid.''
When some Christians feel they are under a cloud of gloom, they cry out, "O God, help us!" God does help, because He is a merciful God, and He will come down to our level. But it is much better for us to go up to His level for our blessings! We can feed our cloud of gloom by the wrong thinking, wrong confessions, and wrong believing. Or we can cause the cloud of gloom to lift by right thinking, right confessions, and right believing based on the Word of God.
We should all become God-minded — and the only way we can achieve this is to think God's thoughts after Him. In other words, think on what God says in His Word, and confess that it is true!