Author Archives: rspinos

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

How God’s leaders can lose their own family in the victory of ministry

Continuing from the previous post about demonic retaliation and Jephthah’s unhealthy promotion as a leader over Gilead I would like to suggest a deeper analysis in order to unmask the spiritual situation to which Jephthah submitted himself. I would like to mention just two relevant points regarding the spiritual situation lived out by Jephthah.

Israel’s moral inconsistencies

We can characterize the spiritual environment caused by Israel’s leaders as spiritually fickle with a lack of zeal for God. A true leadership crisis had developed in this spiritually unhealthy environment. Jephthah entered battle without any spiritual covering. The very way that the nation established his leadership position revealed how it had no spiritual ceiling.

Discerning the real enemy: the Ammonites

snatching defeat from the jaws of victoryThe Ammonites were one of Israel’s worst enemies. The knowledge of one’s enemy can make the difference between victory and defeat. When you identify your enemies, not only can you discern the type of methods they use but also the strategies and subtleties of their attacks.

We can identify the demonic principalities that dominated the territory of the Ammonites by examining the spiritual roots of the nation.

Ammon and Moab were Lot’s sons conceived through incest with his own daughters. (Genesis 19:24-38) They were bastard sons, the fruit of incest. They became the people who represented the opposition to God’s salvation: “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever” (Deuteronomy 23:3)

We can identify the demonic principality of Ammon as sexual perversion. Such were the stigmatic characteristics that persecuted Jephthah’s life. He was also a bastard child, the son of prostitution and adultery. Both transgressions involve the sins of immorality and perversion. By considering his tragic inheritance, we unmask Jephthah’s vulnerability relative to the enemy that he had to face. He was fighting a lost battle, the enemy having already infiltrating his life.

Sexual perversion is never an isolated sin but involves many other iniquities such as drunkenness, dishonor of mother and father, immorality, seduction as well as complexes of complicity, inferiority, shame, rejection and loneliness.

Lot, the father of the Ammonites had lost everything having reaped the bad fruit of his covetousness. While he was with Abraham, he lived in wealth and prosperity, but his covetousness for the plains of Jordan and the fertile valley of Sodom overcame him. Now he had nothing left. He was betrayed by his eyes and overcome by his own covetousness, which brought affliction and destruction to his family in the process. “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house.” (Proverbs 15:27)

The Spirit of Sodom contaminated his family subjecting it to God’s judgment. His wife became a pillar of salt (perhaps she was petrified by falling lava for having left her heart in Sodom). Her death became an emblem of apostasy. Her and Lot’s children were on the same path: they lost their house, their city, their possessions, their mother, and now they lost their morals and respect for their father.

Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” (Genesis 19:32)

Lot’s daughters, like all wives in Israel, couldn’t bear the shame of not having children. Just this circumstance alone represents the great misery and destruction suffered by Lot’s family. Such was the heritage left by Ammon and Moab. Illuminated by this knowledge, we can spiritually define and better understand who the Ammonites were.

It is worth questioning the possibility of whether what happened to the daughters of Lot has anything to do with what happened to Jephthah’s daughter. The truth is that the same spirit that destroyed Lot’s daughters also destroyed the daughter of Jephthah. Lot and Jephthah represent an evil paradox of two heroes of faith who lost their families. Milcom (Molech), the abomination and demonic entity of the Ammonites, destroyed the daughters of these two men through sexual perversion.

Immorality is a relentless enemy that draws near to us to the degree that we stray from the Lord. God himself made an interesting statement when he said, “Moab is my washpot” (Psalm 60:8) Solomon understood this powerful truth about God’s judgment, “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5), and thus confessed:

And I find more bitter than death The woman whose heart is snares and nets, Whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her, But the sinner shall be trapped by her. (Ecclesiastes 7:26)

When someone, especially a spiritual leader falls into the grip of immorality, it is because they have been displeasing God for a long time, “Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; those who worship and swear oaths by the Lord, But who also swear by Milcom. Those who have turned back from following the Lord, and have not sought the Lord, nor inquired of Him.” Be silent in the presence of the Lord God; For the day of the Lord is at hand, For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests. “And it shall be, in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, That I will punish the princes and the king’s children, And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.” (Zephaniah 1:5-8)

By analyzing the profile of the enemy and Jephthah’s internal conflict, we can understand the trap in which he fell when he accepted the challenge of defeating the Ammonites in exchange for the reward of becoming the leader of Gilead: “Come and be our commander that we may fight against the people of Ammon.” This invitation was the perfect bait for the type of spiritual breach in his life. Jephthah and his family were spiritually compelled and dominated by the territorial principality of the Ammonites.

The retaliation was sure to come. In a foolish vow “to God”, he committed himself to destroy the life of his only son as a burnt offering to God. In this manner, Milcom perverts the knowledge of God and blurs spiritual discernment. Jephthah became the leader of the city but destroyed his family lineage in the process. In his emotional revenge, he ended up becoming the person who suffered the most.

We must understand that under the principle of human responsibility, God uses only what we give him. He is great enough to use flawed men for his purposes but if his leaders refuse to abide by his principles, they will suffer adverse consequences at the hands of the enemy independently of how much God uses them for good.

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Demonic retaliation

The principle of demonic retaliation

demonic retaliationSpiritual pitfalls and chains of demonic retaliation lurk in the shadows of internal spiritual fortresses. The Bible calls these spiritual fortresses strongholds or footholds. When people nurse open wounds in their souls they needlessly facilitate the destructive operations of the enemy in their lives and histories. Soul wounds weaken people making them easy prey to the enemy’s devices and schemes. The right attack at the right point, at the most strategic moment, can easily lead a person into a fatal trap.

Any opportunity that causes us to ignore unresolved conflicts is potentially dangerous. On one hand, the person has an unending source of inspiration and motivation based on the emotional pain they feel. On the other hand, the enemy’s hook is already in their mouth.

The position of leadership without genuine authority and the corresponding position coming from higher up entail the dynamic of a dream that has become a nightmare. The unresolved conflict today becomes the crisis of tomorrow.

Jephthah was suddenly promoted to the position of leader over his city. Who was behind this promotion: God or the devil? Perhaps it could even be both. In any case, Jephthah’s promotion posed a very dangerous risk. A wounded outcast became the leader of the city from one moment to the next. Jephthah’s example is a reminder of many cases in which pastors suffer emotional beatings in the ministry and then soon after leaving receive an invitation to take over the leadership of another church. Too often, the sins committed against them are not resolved responsibly and the wounds that they have sustained are not properly diagnosed much less treated. Diverse injustices are committed in the name of “love” in favor of the potential and the charisma of the person.

To assume a position of leadership without receiving sufficient healing is one of the most terrible pitfalls in which a leader can fall. In light of this, the Bible affirms that the fear of man brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25). This flattery passed off as love, which ignores moral integrity, and true brokenness of the person is an authentic snare. These situations tend to repeat themselves, each time with increasingly profound consequences.

The elders of Gilead needed a hardheaded leader, and Jephthah wanted to be head over all those who had previously rejected him. He was ready to negotiate anything for an opportunity like this one. This was his opportunity to compensate his inferiority complex within his family and city where he had previously left with his tail between his legs.

Inspired by the pain of his reputation as a renegade, he led the army of Israel to war. However the fact is, that he was much more vulnerable than anyone imagined.

So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord will be a witness between us, if we do not do according to your words.” (Judges 11:9-10)

Jephthah couldn’t believe how the tables had turned. He fostered such a need for self-affirmation before those who had rejected him that he made a deal with God to the point of exposing his own family. This opportunity looked like a dream come true. He could not bear to pass it up.

The greatest danger of a leader inspired by emotional wounds is that regardless of how low his spiritual state is, many times things seem to work out for the good. The only problem is that these seemingly favorable circumstances will only last for a while.

Frequently leaders who are living in critical situations involving serious sins receive spiritual counsel, but they refused to repent. They try to justify their errors by the results they are experiencing in ministry. In the process, such leaders convince themselves that God is using them. Strange as it seems, many times God does truly using them but simultaneously Satan is preparing them for a mortal blow. Many scandals regarding great leaders have occurred in this manner.

The most traumatic part of the whole story of Jephthah is that in spite of having exposed his daughter to death in exchange for emotional revenge against his family for rejecting him, the Lord gave him victory. Seemingly, the story would have been so much better if everything had gone wrong and his only child would have been spared.

In the same manner, we may often strike a damaging blow to the enemy, but in the process, he exacts much more damage in a manner much more on target against us that we manage to exact against him. This disproportionate damage defines the principle of demonic retaliation. Jephthah destroyed his household and cut off his family lineage forever. What a depressing price to pay. No victory can ever compensate for the destruction of our family yet similar exchanges between ministers of the Gospel and satanic forces occur among us daily. Let us heed the Apostle Peter’s warning:

You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17, 18)

 

Church attendance and illegitimate birth

SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES OF SEX OUTSIDE OF MARRIAGE

church attendanceAll sexual relationships outside of marriage establish blood covenants with spirits of immorality. The people involved in such relationships become spiritually bound to each other through demonic bonds.

Many women who were sexually active before marriage even though they have since married and have children, confess that they still feel a strong emotional dependence to their former “boyfriend” to whom they lost their virginity long before. Some even confess that they have had affairs with their “old flame” or “first love”. This demonstrates the power of sinful bonds between souls through sex. Sex spiritually establishes spiritual and emotional wounds and “demonic bridges” that the enemy uses to torment his victims.

Through adultery, demonic entities that block the matrimonial relationship invade the marriage bed thus bringing satanic oppression into the family. The children become morally unprotected and susceptible to sexually abusive relationships. The worst consequence of illicit sex however occurs when a child is conceived through the act.

The spiritual consequences of conceiving an illegitimate child

One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord (Deuteronomy 23:2)

I believe that this text describes one of the greatest wounds of society. We can see the dramatic spiritual consequences of children conceived outside of the marriage covenant, through fornication, adultery, incest, prostitution and rape.

What does this verse really mean by “shall not enter the assembly of the Lord“? First, it is important to state that this verse doesn’t mean that God rejects people who are imprisoned in sins of sexual immorality. God is a father to the orphans. This passage simply reveals that because of extra-marital sex of any type, malignant, spiritual resistance will block and even impede those who practice it from enjoying success in the ministerial and conjugal realm. Families and churches have a strong tendency to marginalize illegitimate children.

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:5-8)

This passage also reinforces the fundamental characteristic of illegitimate children who often express their frustration with respect to their questionable origins through an aversion to parental and even divine correction and discipline.

Emotional, sexual and homosexual affliction

Every conception of a child involves a sexual relationship, and every sexual relationship involves a blood covenant. A spiritually illegal sexual relationship always implies that the participants place the blood of this covenant on the altar of spirits of immorality. The child conceived in this manner becomes the fruit of a blood covenant established with these entities through their immoral acts. In this way, the child becomes the victim of demonic “persecution” at conception, literally an “intrauterine demonic possession”. This may seem harsh and even strange but the resulting symptoms affirm its truth.

This spiritual persecution has three basic aspects: emotional, sexual and often homosexual. Almost all children born outside of a marriage covenant suffer some type of sexual or homosexual abuse or molestation during their infancy.

Many women experience serious problems in menstruation and childbirth. Another symptom of the curse of an illegitimate child is that early on, these children demonstrate advanced and perverted sexual appetites.

When parents begin to understand what happens to their children born out-of-wedlock they learn to make sense out of their children’s strange and deviant behavior. I have heard of a mother who shared that her three years old child frequently masturbated to the point of becoming totally drenched in sweat. She frequently tried to correct her child, but never saw any results. Obviously, this type of behavior is very abnormal for a child of that age. Such behavior confirms extreme demonic oppression in the child’s life. Many other cases of children practicing lesbianism and manifesting homosexual traits confirm the same scheme of demonic persecution.

Many homosexuals ignoring the history of their conception and other aspects of spiritual heritage believe that they were born gay and that their condition is just something that happens to certain people thus their family, church and society as a whole should be more understanding and accept their condition as a normal yet not very common part of life. The truth is that they can bear a demonic homosexual persecution, which fortunately can be broken by the liberating power of the cross of Christ.

By ignoring the spiritual character of their situation these victims of the enemy end up conforming to the perverted nature of these entities accustoming themselves to live in moral passivity, low self-esteem, inferiority, insecurity, self-hatred, rejection and segregation.

Rejection and isolation

The curse of the illegitimate child can also be expressed as a syndrome of rejection and isolation. The illegitimate child feels alone in the midst of a multitude, regardless of the environment.

Let’s examine the situation from another point of view. When an “unmarried” woman discovers that she is pregnant, is this good or bad news? With few exceptions, we know that this news is tragic and distressful.

Children born outside of the marriage covenant are rarely planned, and for this reason, they end up being strongly rejected in various ways by various people. Their parents conceive them in lust rather than in love. In truth, these innocent children become bad news, the worst problem in their parent’s lives. Instead of treating them as blessings from God, many parents see their illegitimate children as problems, little people who came to bring difficulty and inconvenience into their lives. Many see such children as punishment from God and a shame to the family.

Attempts to hide a pregnancy, thoughts and attempts of abortion, misunderstanding between couples who conceive children outside of marriage, paternal abandonment, rejection by the grandparents, curses spoken over the situation and undesired children – all such traumatic situations invoke a “spirit” of self-rejection and segregation that haunts these people all through their lives, acting like a parasite that sucks the life out of their self-esteem.

Such children grow up with a profound sense of inadequacy. Persecuted by these evil spirits, these children become irritated and rebellious, no longer feeling part of the family. They experience tremendous difficulty in fitting in at the local church and frequently become outsiders at their school. Such children see themselves as inferior and rejected. Insecurity and lack of affection become the center of their emotional life. They feel constant difficulty in adjusting to any environment.

This is where we come to understand the complicated syndrome of street kids and the problems that many parents of adopted children experience. In spite of the fact that many adoptive parents raise their children with love and discipline, many unexplainably present an attitude of rebellion and isolation. They remain under the legacy of their biological parents who, many times, were involved in prostitution, abandonment, abortion attempts, poverty, illegitimate children, rape, etc. Ignoring these hereditary components leads many adoptive parents to a dead-end.

The Bible also mentions the consequences of the hereditary nature of illegitimate children. Therefore people who have children outside of the marriage covenant are often themselves, children of single mothers and simply reproduce their own condition.

Biblically, the legacy of the illegitimate child is capable of extending up to 10 generations (Deuteronomy 23:2) which is the number of generations that this iniquity must be confessed with respect to our lineage. Generational reconciliation between fathers and children either personally or intercessory is the master-key to break this curse.

Chronic difficulty in developing relationships, faithfulness in church attendance and fruitfulness in the church are directly consequences of the curse of the illegitimate child. Certainly, this is the main thing that keeps people from baptism into the body of Christ and the paternal heart of God.

Usually people who demonstrate difficulty with faithful church attendance have a history of someone in the bloodline born out-of-wedlock. When such curses are completely broken through profound reconciliation within the family, the person begins to recover the ability to fit in and begins to feel like a part of the church family.

The significance of blood covenants

Significance of blood in spiritual covenants

blood covenantCovenants have the power of gathering, protecting and blessing people in all circumstances of life. On the other hand, any assault against the principle of covenant disperses people and drives them away from the environment where God intended them to be raised and protected. Situations of blessings and curses are intimately tied to the principle of covenant. Consider the following important points concerning this subject:

1. Spiritual covenants are initiated through the shedding of blood.

“Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.” (Hebrews 9:18).

We cannot even begin to speak of covenant without speaking about altars, the places of sacrifice. Therefore, we cannot speak of spiritual covenants without speaking of blood. Every spiritual covenant is enacted through the shedding of blood. A covenant is greater than a partnership. The difference between covenants and partnerships is that covenants involve blood thus the Bible calls them “blood covenants”. The covenants of the Old Testament were sealed with the blood of circumcision (Acts 7:8) and the sacrifices of animals, and in the New Testament, by the blood of the God’s Son (Hebrews 9:11-14).

2. The blood connects the physical and spiritual world as well as the temporal and eternal world

Blood is a highly important spiritual element. Through blood, one establishes a connection between the spiritual and physical worlds. Blood transforms physical things into spiritual things, and temporal things into eternal things (Hebrews 13:20). The blood of Jesus establishes us in a spiritual and eternal relationship with the Father.

Satan also knows the power of a covenant and thus tries to establish packs with people involved in illicit sexual relationships, occult blood sacrifices, abortions, suicides, homicides, etc. in this manner people “unite” with Satan through blood covenants and therefore compromise their descendants.

This is one of the spiritual principles to open “doorways” or “chakras” establishing channels to the spiritual world predominately inhabited by demons. Occultism defines the intention to acquire knowledge, pleasure and power from a source other than God.

3. Two biblical blood covenants every believer must make

Blood covenant with God

Every human being has the opportunity to be reconciled to God through a blood covenant with the body of Christ, the Savior who died for us. The blood of Jesus personifies the covenant of salvation: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.”

Blood covenant with spouses

In marriage, the blood covenant is initiated through the breaking of the woman’s hymen on the couples honeymoon night. The hymen takes the form of a ring pierced by the man during intercourse. When this blood is shed through sexual intercourse, a spiritual connection is established between the two, causing the couple to become one flesh and one soul. Only death can undo this connection. Through this we recognize that immorality and divorce represent invocations of the spirit of death.

Besides the question of the hymen, sexual intercourse also constitutes a blood covenant due to the microscopic rupturing of blood vessels. This is why blood disease are sexually transmitted from one partner to the other. This sharing of blood creates a special spiritual connection between souls.

The atmosphere of unity, covenant and intimacy in marriage creates an emotional and spiritual environment adequate for the formation of a family that should never be broken. Family and children are of such significant value that they can only be conceived through the blood covenant.

Therefore, God has reserved his covenant blessings for the body of Christ and the family and not necessarily for denominations or spiritual leaderships. The covenant flows through a healthy and protective atmosphere conducive to potential fertility. Everything that is conceived in the context of covenant is blessed and bound to prosper. Whatever is conceived outside of covenant becomes unprotected and is susceptible to a series of misfortunes or curses. This is the basic principle of the law of covenants.

4. Spiritual covenants need renewal

Spiritually speaking, believers must come together to share the Lord’s supper, repent, confess their sins, reconcile relationships, etc., in this way renewing their covenant with God. The principle of covenant renewal produces purification, restoration, protection and intimacy with God and the body of Christ. When a believer abandons the congregation or takes the Lord’s Supper without living in accordance with its meaning, they most certainly are living a corrupt and compromised spiritual life.

“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against wise judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1) “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30) In the same way, a healthy and regular sexual relationship in a marriage ascertains the emotional affinity and spiritual harmony of the couple. One very precise way to diagnose spiritual problems in the life of a couple is by their sex life. When the sexual relationship of a couple is interrupted, it is a sign that personal sins or spiritual heritages need to be taken seriously. Cases of sexual impotence and sexual frigidity with no clear medical diagnosis or relationship problems involving “separate beds”, etc., confirm that the marital relationship is under demonic oppression.

Our sex life is connected to our spiritual life.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3, 7)

Emotional trauma in leadership

Jephthah’s trauma vs. Gideon’s victory

emotional traumaIn this contrast between Jephthah and Gideon, I would like to demonstrate the great difference that a redeemed family can make in the results reaped through spiritual warfare. The story of Jephthah speaks of a man who lived in the famous region of the healing balm of Gilead, yet who was never healed himself.

This was the tragedy of Jephthah; the danger of a leader who failed to receive God’s healing and ended up having neither descendent nor successor. He single-handedly destroyed his own posterity. He brought death to his own house. The price of entering into certain levels of spiritual warfare without receiving sufficient healing first can be very costly. In Jephthah’s case, the price was extremely high; it cost him the life of his own child. His story confirms that the main point of the enemy’s attack is against our families.

Gideon on the other hand, understood all aspects involved in his call to spiritual battle. He had completed the healing and restoration process thus was able to restore his own family and safely triumph over the enemy in great victory.

Jephthah’s post victory failure

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If you will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hands. (Judges 11:30)

This was Jephthah’s famous vow to God. What would cause a person to make such a vow? The declaration “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me” implies that in some way, Jephthah had exposed his own family. He opened the door of his house to the spirit of death. I seriously doubt that Jephthah ever imagined that the price of victory would be the life of his daughter. How could anyone, knowingly and willingly sacrifice his own daughter for personal success? What could cause a father to do this? To discover the answer, we need to enter Jephthah’s soul and allow the Scriptures to give us insight and illumination concerning the real situation.

Unbalanced personality

Looking back to the beginning of Jephthah’s story, we can follow a series of dramatic events that promoted dangerous alterations in his personality.

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. (Judges 11:1)

On one hand, we have:

  • Jephthah was from Gilead, the blessed land of balm and prosperity (Jeremiah 50:19). The city of Gilead was famous for its citizen’s dexterity, power and health.
  • He was a courageously great and valiant warrior.
  • He had excellent leadership potential. In every situation, his leadership stood out.
  • He was a valiant man of his word, serious about serving God, to the point of keeping his vow to sacrifice his only daughter.

Many times, God’s balm is present in the churches we attend and we experience tremendous blessing. We have the desire and the courage to serve God and we possess great leadership potential. We are sincere and we seek to walk uprightly before the Lord, just as Jephthah did.

But, on the other hand: Jephthah was the son of a prostitute.

This great “but” in his life is the factor that disrupted all his potential. This became the mark of his identity with his family and consequently with society as a whole. The weight of such a legacy can easily arrest or distort the psychological development of an individual and compromise his destiny.

Jephthah was under a terrible cursed legacy of immorality and rejection and suffered discrimination as a consequence of his sordid past. As a bastard son of adultery, he was literally the living expression of his father’s sin and shame.

This shameful legacy was tearing him up inside as he constantly suffered the blows of rejection to his soul. Time after time Satan would goad him with the memory of this painful reality so that he couldn’t live for one moment without forgetting that he was inferior and impure; the son of a prostitute. These factors pulled him emotionally lower and lower causing him to withdraw within himself in an existential prison.

Satan’s most vicious attack is rejection. Rejection lodges itself so deeply in the mind that it produces orphanhood and sterility. Every generational and family curse is propagated primarily through rejection. A history of unresolved orphanhood produces a future of sterility or loss of children. We can easily understand how an unresolved situation can weigh against us when we choose to go to the front lines. In this breach of rejection, Satan inserted his demonic wedge and began to hammer away at Jephthah’s self-identity. Strong, calculated blows ended up estranging Jephthah from his family.

Rejected by his brothers

His brothers openly called him “son of another woman”. Because of the identity which he gained (Son of a prostitute), he immediately found himself without an inheritance. When his identity was damaged, his relationships became threatened and his future inheritance was stolen.

Gilead’s wife bore sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him, “You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” (Judges 11:2)

His family disinherited him and threw him out of this house without any rights to an inheritance. He was also rejected by and thrown out of his community.

So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” (Judges 11:7)

This statement of rejection nurtured a huge wound in Jephthah’s life.

His father’s indifference

Gilead had apparently done nothing to deal with the situation, which he created and was, therefore, the most responsible for it. Well just suffered the consequences, Gilead remained feeling guilty, but kept quiet and did nothing about it.

When his brothers disinherited him, his father did nothing. When time after time he was mortally attacked for being the son of a prostitute, his father did nothing. When the elders of the city kicked him out of his own house, his father continued to do nothing. I assume that this only wanted to Jaffa more deeply.

Jeff does biggest problem wasn’t the open right rejection of his brothers, but the passive rejection of his father. He lived a painful life of an abandoned child who was totally unprotected by his father. It is clear that Jeff that was a child who was disregarded by his father.

His mother shame

His mother was a prostitute, a vile woman despised by society. Imagine how many times Jephthah saw his own mother with other men each time driving the embarrassing wound deeper and deeper as chronic shame progressively built up in his life.

I recall hearing a story of a dear Christian brother who came from the underworld of crime. As a little child, he lived in a small shack in one of the most drug-infested slums of Rio de Janeiro. The shack was so small that he slept underneath his older brother’s bed. Many times, from under the bed, he would witness his mother bringing in men. Those sexual relationships tormented him, but he knew it was the only source of income for his family. He has no doubt that the feeling of powerlessness and moral shame that he suffered during those tender years ended up transforming him into one of the most dangerous criminals of the “barrio”.

Such was also the shameful nightmare that Jephthah suffered, having to carry the burden of his mother’s shame on his shoulders as well as on his face. Wherever he went, this shame would torment him.

Abandoning his home

Then Jephthah fled from his brothers … (Judges 11:3)

This was the point where Jephthah responded to the rejection he had received by choosing to rebel. He could no longer take the impact of emotional pain, leaving home in retaliation and disgust. Because of these years of emotional lynching, Jephthah ran away from home. However, even though he left this terrible situation behind, the situation obviously didn’t leave him. He took the great pain and heavy burden of all the beatings he suffered with him. He carried an emotional wound that remained open to the possibility of emotional revenge as the rejection he suffered continued to perforate his soul. This became his reason for living, transforming him into an endangered and potentially dangerous man.

Outcast by society: the curse of the bastard son

… and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him. (Judges 11:3)

Feeling hurt and spiritually unprotected, Jephthah chose to become an outcast, segregating himself from society, which only further validated his feelings of rejection. He believed in rejection. “The land of Tob” is the spiritual environment of orphanhood where we disown our family and feel disowned by its members.

This is the place of many traumas and wounds. Tob is the “road” so many take by running away from their home when they perceive it as a place of feeling threatened. Unfortunately, the “road of Tob” isn’t an external geographical location but an inner emotional one.

Familiar Spirits

How to deal with familiar spirits

Familiar SpiritsAnd when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19)

Familiar or “family” spirits are demonic entities that have lodged themselves in a family tree taking on the identity of a deceased relative. Communication with these spirits forms the basis for most indigenous religions around the world. Contact with these spirits can occur through occult practices or imperceptibly through spiritual inheritance or the passing down of behaviors, dramatic episodes, sicknesses, accidents, etc.

Even though these familiar spirits are real, they are also lying spirits, through these deceiving spirits the devil has established one of his most successful tools of deceit. He has created an entire religious system based on the consultation of ancestors.

TWO FUNDAMENTAL LAWS

Concerning familiar spirits, the Bible suggests two fundamental laws or principles: the law of inheritance and the law of responsibility. The law of inheritance says:

“For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me” . . . (Exodus 20:5)

The law of responsibility says:

“The person who sins will die. The sun will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

You can see that these passages present two very distinct laws. Is there a contradiction between them? Which one is right: inheritance or responsibility? I suggest that such a question is not helpful. If we pit one scripture passage against another, we may develop a fallacious, unbalanced vision of spiritual warfare that will result in serious spiritual and emotional damage in families when we should be leading them to freedom and healing. Taking sides on this matter creates an imbalance in which we exalt one principle to the detriment of the other. This is how we lose the battle.

Unfortunately, today we see these two laws polarizing the body of Christ into two opposing camps of extreme positions. On one hand, we have those on the law of inheritance team. These “spiritual zealots” often see demons behind every bush, spiritualizing the natural, embracing spiritual terrorism, giving demons credit for things they didn’t do and often disregarding the lifestyle of the person in question. This is actually the type of propaganda that the devil wants to make in respect to the ministry of deliverance. We need to break this curse that is over the breaking of curses.

We also have those on the team of the law of responsibility. Usually these people have never ministered deliverance and have never proved their ability through practical experience in deliverance, which is fundamental in ministry. Unfortunately, the winner in this theological debate, which usually demonstrates the lack of wisdom in the church, is the spirit of division and pride.

The two laws appear to contradict one another, but actually, they work hand-in-hand. God is not incoherent. We cannot attack one spiritual principle with another. Whenever we follow one principle to the detriment of the other or attack one principle with the other, we show a lack of wisdom.

The Bible expresses a spiritual inheritance as an influence or a “visitation”, passed down through succeeding generations. Responsibility is a choice that is above any influence. Therefore no influence can ever become a moral obligation. We can never use our spiritual inheritance as an excuse for our moral irresponsibility. Ezekiel addressed this error of Israel in chapter 18.

The Bible never teaches that the law of inheritance implies that we bear the guilt of our parent’s sins, but that we suffer the consequences of them. One person may have been born to a father who wasted his livelihood gambling, thus was born into poverty to no fault of his own. Another person may have been born to a billionaire due to no choice of his own. This is the law of inheritance. The law of spiritual inheritance seems like a strange concept of righteousness without merit. If there is such a thing as physical inheritance there most certainly is also such a thing as spiritual heritage.

God always deals with his people through the perspective of generations. The promises and covenants that God made to Abraham, David and others, referred to these men’s descendants and future generations. All of these promises had conditions that would determine whether God would fulfill them or not. All covenants have terms and sanctions which have benefits if they are fulfilled, and penalties or curses if they aren’t. This is how the law of hereditary harmonizes with the law of responsibility and establishes a legacy that spans generations.

TWO ERRORS

The law of heredity in detriment to the law of responsibility

When we emphasize spiritual inheritance and ignore personal responsibility, we are being fatalistic. In other words, we act as if we are predestined to a specific karma. The fault or rather, the excuse is that we have certain characteristics that we have inherited from our ancestors and we have no any way to change the situation. This is the basis for occultism.

In this attempt to escape God’s judgment, we become victims of Satan’s terrible deception as well as God’s swift judgment. John the Baptist confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees with the law of responsibility when they attempted to flee their spiritual responsibilities saying they were children of Abraham.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father. ‘For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:7-10)

If we fatalistically accept a curse or number of curses, we tragically oppose our own intrinsic ability to choose and take responsibility to choose. The law of responsibility is above the law of inheritance seeing that spiritual inheritance is simply an influence. The law of responsibility teaches that our choices determine our character and our destiny. We have the power and the duty to make right choices independently of any outside influences that come at us.

The law of responsibility in detriment to the law of heredity

If we emphasize our responsibility while ignoring our spiritual heritage, we may experience unnecessary suffering and misfortune. However, this disregard of our spiritual heritage will not compromise our salvation. We can live with curses in our inner life, whether we are saved or not. In such situations, we simply become victims of our own ignorance. But to ignore a curse is a serious mistake.

In practice, what usually happens is that people who go to this extreme, even though they have an austere moral life, when they go through a moment of weakness they are easily overcome by family curses and, in the end, repeat the sins that their parents failed to deal with.

More than 80% of the most serious problems people experience are repetitions of the same problems that their parents and ancestors also experienced. If we ignore the influential power of the family legacy, in more than a few cases, we will certainly continue living without the experience of satisfactory results. As we value spiritual inheritance as well as personal responsibility, we move towards the position of spiritual victory. As we responsibly deal with the consequences of our choices and deal with the demonic influences we have inherited, we give evidence of our sincere repentance.

Summary:

Law of inheritance Law of responsibility
Emphasizes spiritual visitation or influence in the form of punishment of successive generations.“Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.” Exodus 32:34 Emphasizes our moral duty and our individual responsibility for our choices.“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20
Curses passed down from past generations represent visitations that have “legal” rights over us due to the iniquities of our ancestors. A devastated past interferes with the present.“Oh Lord, according to all your righteousness, I pray, let your anger and your fury be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are a reproach to all those around us.” Daniel 9:16 Curses due to our present situation emphasize God’s judgment as consequence of our own sin and hardness of heart.“For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.” 1 Samuel 3:13
The individual suffers the consequences. Emphasizes the consequences of sins which have not yet been confessed or dealt with.“Prepare slaughter for his children because of the iniquity of their fathers.” Isaiah 14:21 The individual bears the guilt.Emphasizes the righteousness or guilt of personal choices regarding sin.“The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20b
The law of inheritance is collective exercising influence over all descendants. The consequence of a curse and the breaking of a curse affect all those under the person who unleashed the legacy through their actions.“But any of your men whom I do not cut off from my altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flowering of their age.” 1 Samuel 2:33 The law of responsibility is personal. God makes us intrinsically responsible for our actions. Even if we are influenced by a family legacy of a curse, the Bible does not exempt us from making right decisions. God is personal and relates to us on a personal level. We are accountable to God for all the decisions we make.

The effects of the spiritual covering of our parents

A family legacy represents the consequences of our parent’s choices that directly affect the successive generations relative to three fundamental areas of life:

Identity

The family covering can build up or tear down a person’s healthy self-esteem and sense of protection. The type of spiritual covering left by the parents directly influences the child’s ability to assimilate properly the truth about God.

Relationships

The family covering may build up or destroy a person’s confidence, trust and intimacy. Trust and trustworthiness are fruit of emotional investment and, above all, the spiritual protection provided by the parents.

Heritage

The ability to materialize ideas, to be fruitful and live according to the purpose for which God created us can either be cultivated or aborted, depending on our family covering. Gifts and vocations can either be locked up or released.

We receive these three interdependent values: identity, relationships and heritage directly from our family. We have either all of them or none of them. We cannot sacrifice one to keep the others. We are a product, or sometimes unfortunately, a byproduct, of our family and of the type of relationship we choose to adopt with respect to it, primarily in relation to our parents. Heritage and responsibility are two laws that walk hand in hand.

“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

This blessing shows the connection between the ability to relate and the ability to know and enjoy our own identity. The practice of peace endorses the ability to relate as and to be called a child of God, indicating the possession of a true identity.

Therefore, the revelation of our identity depends on the state of reconciliation of our family. If you are a peacemaker, then you are a child and you know who you are in God. If you are a destroyer of relationships, then your identity will be obscured by a cloak of orphan hood.

Consequently, when a person abandons his identity as a son and sacrifices sonship because of wounds that he has suffered, his heritage is also plundered. You cannot cease to be a child and still be an heir. This was the conclusion of the prodigal son:

“I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” (Luke 15:18-19)

He realized that in rebelling against his father he became unworthy to be considered his son; he lost his identity and thus lost his inheritance.

Legacies due to family curses produce wounds. Wounds from our parents which have not been dealt with interfere in the formation of our own family. Because of these roots, many Christians lose God’s blessing over their homes, which is the seal of approval for ministry, as I will demonstrate in later articles.

Usefulness of hereditary mapping

Use of hereditary mapping in deliverance

hereditary mappingAn understanding of hereditary mapping is fundamental if we are to put ourselves in the gap/breach adequately for our family through prophetic intercession and repentance through identification. The intercessor that restores the places desolated by past generations needs to investigate the family history.

…For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me… (Exodus 20:5)

I want to emphasize that the primary source of spiritual mapping is God. God often reveals things about our family that we do not understand, or when we understand, we do not know what to do about these revelations. Hereditary mapping is one of the primary keys to the deliverance of the family. It is the objective of intercessory confession. This is how vital strongholds concealed by the demons entrenched in the family line are brought to light.

I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. (Isaiah 45:3)

Through God’s revelation and our research, intercessory confessions break the curses, touching the chronically ignored root causes.

When the Bible says that God visits the sins of the fathers to the sons up to the third and fourth generations, it is tracing the limit of how far back we have to go in mapping out our family line. This makes spiritual mapping very practical. If we had to go all the way back to Adam, we would be facing a humanly impossible task. Since family curses have strong symptoms, we only have to research within the past three or four generations because the symptoms of these curses will be very evident.

This is a fundamental principle of deliverance, which will help us to identify un-confessed iniquities and sins. Based on this spiritual mapping we can elaborate intelligent confession and effective intercession powerful enough to transform the situation.

Depression is one example. Depression never has a single origin. It is related to a lifestyle marked by extremes of anxiety or laziness, repressed guilt, sexual abuse, disillusionment, suicide attempts, abortion, sins of death, family heritage, etc. all of these things can get tangled up in such a big knot that it is difficult to even find the end of the rope to start untangling.

If someone to whom we minister complaints of depression, we may try to find something in their personal life without any success unless we ask about the person’s family including their parents and grandparents. Usually after a while sure signs of the family curse begin to appear. For example, if someone comments that several members of their family have committed suicide that would be a clear indication of a family or generational curse and the issue should be further investigated. This could be the point of a demonic exploitation. Suicide and suicide attempts are the greatest confirmation of weakness that a person can manifest. Suicide produces a legacy of depression in their descendants.

People with several cases of suicide in their family and various attempts at suicide among relatives need to discover what caused the people to try to commit suicide. The motive for the suicide is just as relevant as the suicide itself. For instance suppose that there was suicide in the family because of marital betrayal and emotional disillusion.

Suppose the person’s grandmother was betrayed by her husband so she poisoned herself. Then later the same person’s mother was also betrayed by her husband and tried to kill herself in the same way. Now this person may continually have thoughts of suicide because of torment in his emotional life. There was a transfer of behavior that migrated from one generation to the next.

In such cases, the person can assume the position of family intercessor placing him or herself in the gap and pray a prayer of corporate repentance, asking for forgiveness for the suicides, renouncing respective causes, bringing up specific details by the direction of the Holy Spirit, forgiving the marital betrayal and casting the curses upon the cross of Christ.

Spiritual mapping allows us to deal with the causes of problems. In this way, it is possible to fight the good fight, not a lame or inferior one. Strategies such as this in spiritual warfare make the difference between hitting and missing the enemy.

Generational curses and hereditary mapping

Discovering generational curses through hereditary mapping

generational curses…For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me… (Exodus 20:5)

An understanding of hereditary mapping is fundamental if we are to put ourselves in the gap/breach adequately for our family through prophetic intercession and repentance through identification. The intercessor that restores the places desolated by past generations needs to investigate the family history.

I want to emphasize that the primary source of spiritual mapping is God. God often reveals things about our family that we do not understand, or when we understand, we do not know what to do about these revelations. Hereditary mapping is one of the primary keys to the deliverance of the family. It is the objective of intercessory confession. This is how vital strongholds concealed by the demons entrenched in the family line are brought to light.

I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. (Isaiah 45:3)

Through God’s revelation and our research, intercessory confessions break generational curses, touching the chronically ignored root causes.

When the Bible says that the sins of the ancestors visit the sons up to the third and fourth generations, it is tracing the limit of how far back we have to go in mapping out our family line. This makes spiritual mapping very practical. If we had to go all the way back to Adam, we would be facing a humanly impossible task. Since generational family curses have strong symptoms, we only have to research within the past three or four generations because the symptoms of these generational curses will be very evident.

This is a fundamental principle of deliverance, which will help us to identify un-confessed iniquities and sins. Based on this spiritual mapping we can elaborate intelligent confession and effective intercession powerful enough to transform the situation.

Depression is one example. Depression never has a single origin. It is related to a lifestyle marked by extremes of anxiety or laziness, repressed guilt, sexual abuse, disillusionment, suicide attempts, abortion, sins of death, family heritage, etc. all of these things can get tangled up in such a big not that it is difficult to even find the end of the rope to start untangling.

If someone to whom we minister complaints of depression, we may try to find something in their personal life without any success unless we ask about the person’s family including their parents and grandparents. Usually after a while sure signs of the family curse begin to appear. For example, if someone comments that several members of their family have committed suicide, that is a clear indication of a family or generational curse and should be investigated. This could be the point of a demonic exploitation. Suicide and suicide attempts are the greatest confirmation of weakness that a person can manifest. Suicide produces a legacy of depression in their descendants.

People with several cases of suicide in their family and various attempts at suicide among relatives need to discover what caused the people to try to commit suicide. The motive for the suicide is just as relevant as the suicide itself. For instance suppose that there was suicide in the family because of marital betrayal and emotional disillusion.

Suppose the person’s grandmother was betrayed by her husband so she poisoned herself. Then later the same person’s mother was also betrayed by her husband and tried to kill herself in the same way. Now this person may continually have thoughts of suicide because of torment in his emotional life. There was a transfer of behavior that migrated from one generation to the next.

In such cases, the person can assume the position of family intercessor placing him or herself in the gap and pray a prayer of corporate repentance, asking for forgiveness for the suicides, renouncing respective causes, bringing up specific details by the direction of the Holy Spirit, forgiving the marital betrayal and casting the generational curses upon the cross of Christ.

Spiritual mapping allows us to deal with the causes of problems. In this way it is possible to fight the good fight, not the bad one. Strategies such as this in spiritual warfare make the difference between hitting or missing the enemy.

The heresy of instantaneous sanctification

heresy of instantaneous salvationNot all things become new!

“And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:15-17)

I would like to bring up a very touchy subject, but one that concerns me deeply. I know that it is not easy to change a doctrinal point of view knowing that I myself once had to do so and it was a difficult experience.

The truth is it would be very foolish to make a doctrine centered on verse 17 of this passage in relation to curses by saying that all things have already passed away and that all of our past has been taken care of because we accepted the plan of salvation.

It is not wise to create a doctrine upon a verse which has been isolated from its context. In this situation, Paul exhorts that Christ died for all, and for this we must not relate to other people based on their appearance or previous reputation. He emphasized the importance of breaking down barriers and avoiding any prejudice against new Christians. In other words, he told his readers not to evaluate people through the flesh or through a natural prism, but through the perspective of their new birth.

The context surrounding this verse is Paul’s explanation that Christ died for all, and that is why believers should not treat new believers differently because of their appearance or past reputation. Paul emphasized the need to break down barriers and avoid acting on bias against new believers, not looking at them according to the flesh but according to their new birth as new creatures.

An example of this would be if a punk rocker with long shaggy hair, tattoos, piercings, and accompanying attire were to receive salvation and start attending your church. How would you treat him? Would you treat him with open arms and hospitality just like any other believer?

Deliverance is a step in the process of regeneration of the soul that makes sanctification and fruitfulness a possibility. This doesn’t occur automatically with the new birth. The new birth doesn’t automatically cancel or exempt us from curses, diseases, sicknesses, temptations, debts, etc.

The danger therefore, is to use this verse as if the new birth does everything for you. To tell someone who just got saved that everything in their life is now in order, would be to deceive them. This would cause them to gloss over situations that are much more serious. This ends up becoming a pretext for the irresponsibility of many and leads to apathy and lack of spiritual growth. This type of teaching turns many churches into spiritual prisons. No matter how much people try to maintain their spirituality, many still continue to battle serious sins, conflicts of conscience, spiritual and emotional disturbances, depression, crisis in relationships, and so many other symptoms that point to concentrated demonic influence. If we teach that salvation causes everything in life to line up as it should making everything all right, many Christians will lose hope and become spiritually frustrated after perceiving that their behavior has not changed as promised. This is why so many remain unfruitful and even backslidden within the church, and many even abandon the faith.

We must receive each benefit of Jesus’ sacrifice personally as well as specifically, corresponding to and through the appropriate principles. Suppose that before getting saved you had a large financial debt. Would the fact that you received the new birth cancel the debt? Of course not! But one could argue “Isn’t it true that God’s Word says that old things have passed away and all things have become new?” In the same way we need to deal with the worthless inheritance curses passed down to us from our parents and with respective consequences of our own sins.

Nothing is automatic in the spiritual kingdom. Every action of God is always endorsed by human attitude. Jesus died so that we can all receive salvation, healing, deliverance and sanctification. Are all saved? No, not yet! Only those who repent are saved. Have all who have been saved been healed? No. Only those who have had or have received faith for this are healed. Have all been delivered? Have all been sanctified by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire? If this were so, the whole world would be evangelized by now.

Salvation is, in fact, a definite instantaneous experience. When we make a covenant with God through the sacrifice of Jesus, our spirit is re-created and we receive the new birth. The soul, however, demands a daily conquest that involves humility, restitution, brokenness, self-denial, discipline, revelation, discernment, intercession, obedience, perseverance, etc. This is the path God takes us down towards higher spiritual consequences.

The bible likens the conquest of the soul to that of the conquest of Canaan. Canaan symbolizes the promises of abundant life in Christ. For this, many enemy chains and fortresses need to be overcome. The land needs deliverance. Joshua as a type of the Holy Spirit needs to tread on every area of our soul. Everything that we submit to the Holy Spirit is under the power of the Redeemer Jesus Christ. Everything that we fail to submit to the Holy Spirit continues to be vulnerable to evil influences.

New Birth vs. Conversion

The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

new-birth-vs.-conversionMost Christians believe that the new birth and conversion mean the same thing. Confusion regarding the difference in these terms can generate mistaken theological paradigms.

The Bible says it is necessary to be born again. It is logical that new birth includes the initial aspect of conversion. What is new birth? It is the new birth of the human spirit. The Holy Spirit re-creates the spirit and begins to live in it. It is a regeneration of the spiritual life. We call it salvation. The spirit is born again instantaneously. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and make a decision to follow him. This faith comes supernaturally from repentance through the message of the gospel. It is easy to be born again.

But there is another word: conversion. Conversion has a completely different meaning. Conversion is the continual process of regeneration of the soul. This takes time and it has its costs.

Therefore, being born again is an instantaneous regeneration of the spirit, and conversion is a continual process of deliverance and regeneration of the soul. Salvation is free, but to become a disciple costs everything.

You can be saved and not be converted. Why is this? The answer is because conversion takes place in the soul and salvation takes place in the spirit. You can be saved, have the Holy Spirit within you, live in God’s presence, be a new creature in Christ and still not be converted in your soul; your thinking, feelings and will.

What is your soul? You are a triune being: a body, soul and spirit. Your spirit is you; the real you that God created. Your soul is basically your mind, your will and your emotions. Your body is your house. Jesus can save your spirit in an instant, but your soul requires much more time to be converted.

Nothing is more dangerous than one who has been saved but not converted. You know that you are born again but you still think with your old mind, your old habits still dominate you, and many of your old opinions, sins, desires and ways of life continue to be struggles for you. All negative convictions still remain. Evil thoughts still frequent your mind. Corruption, bitterness, and hate continue to remain in you. You still fight with some uncontrollable desires. But you are saved. You may not know how long the Holy Spirit will contend with your fleshly attitudes, but you must know that you have been born again and thus you are God’s child and your spirit is eternally saved. Now it is up to you to cooperate with God so that your soul (mind, will and emotion) may be converted and this involves the lifelong process that we call “sanctification”.