Archive for April, 2013


What Must We Do To Be Saved?

‘As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall PREPARE THY WAY BEFORE THEE. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’  (Mark 1:2-3)

Did you ever wonder why God sent John the Baptist before Jesus?  Here is my belief:  it was a pattern to be understood and continued.

How did John the Baptist prepare the way before Jesus?  What did John preach and do?

John did baptize in the wilderness, and PREACH THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE for the REMISSION OF SINS. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.’  (Mark 1:4-5)

According to Mark 1:4, the remission of sins came after repentance, confession, and baptism by faith in the Messiah.

John prepared the hearts of the people for Jesus’ ministry.  What was John’s ministry?  To call the people to repent, confess their sins, and be baptized for the remission of sins, through faith in the coming Messiah.  John’s ministry was to bring the people to salvation.  Jesus’ primary ministry was to turn these converts into disciples.

Those who were baptized BEFORE Jesus’ death did not receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come.  Thus, FOR THOSE WHO WERE SAVED BEFORE JESUS’ DEATH, a separate impartation of the Holy Spirit was necessary.

‘And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, JOHN VERILY BAPTIZED WITH THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE, SAYING UNTO THE PEOPLE, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE ON HIM WHICH SHOULD COME AFTER HIM, that is, on Christ Jesus.

When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them*, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.’  (Acts 19:3-6)

(*I do not believe this refers to the popular practice of ‘laying on of hands’, it simply means that when Paul laid his hands upon them TO BAPTIZE THEM in Jesus’ name, they received the Holy Spirit.)

Acts 2:37-39 confirms this salvation pattern has not changed.  But now we are baptized in JESUS’ NAME (because now we know who our Messiah is) and now we receive the Holy Spirit:

‘Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of you in the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

FOR THE PROMISE IS UNTO YOU, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.’  (Acts 2:37-39)

Today, ALL who follow the salvation model outlined here, DO receive the Holy Spirit (not necessarily evidenced by speaking in tongues.)

‘Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts’  (2 Cor. 1:22)

The remission of sins came after repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  It did not come by professing BELIEF in Jesus Christ, saying a ‘Sinners’ Prayer’, and asking Him to come into one’s heart and be their personal savior.  Today’s gospel is NOT the same.  Do you see the difference?

repentance + confession + baptism in Jesus’ name
vs.
confession of belief + ‘Sinners’ Prayer’ + invite Jesus into one’s heart

After John came Jesus.  What was Jesus’ ministry?  Jesus built on, and surpassed, John’s ministry.  He called sinners to repentance, healed the sick, confirmed The Covenant, and paid the price for the sins of mankind, triumphing over Satan.  He also began by preaching repentance, but the bulk of His ministry was spent showing people how to properly follow God’s Commandments, out of a heart of love.

‘Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’  (Jesus, Matthew 22:36-40)

 

‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’  (John 13:34)

 

‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’  (John 14:15)

 

‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.’  (John 15:10)

(Loving God doesn’t mean we will AUTOMATICALLY keep His Commandments.  But if we love God we will CHOOSE to keep His Commandments.)

I believe this sets the pattern for the true gospel:

Repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  Then continuing obedience, out of a heart of love.

(The reason people today aren’t receiving the Holy Spirit when they ‘get saved’ is because they are no longer following the Biblical model of repentance, confession, and baptism in Jesus’ name.  Not having the Holy Spirit is why they are not having victory over sin or understanding the Bible.)

We all need to be very careful that we are preaching the true, Biblical gospel.

‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’ (Gal. 1:8-9)

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Semigospel

For several decades a partial gospel has been preached . . . and the results have been terrible and tremendous.  A partial gospel does not save!  The fruit of this semigospel is a HUGE crop of people who have faith that Jesus died for their sins, a small degree of Bible understanding, a huge amount of false doctrine, a lifestyle of ‘do as thou wilt’, and the mistaken assurance that they are saved eternally and without exception.

This has led to two gigantic problems.  I’ll tackle the most critical one first.

1.  The ‘Carnal Christian’

When repentance is left out of the equation, true conversion has not yet taken place.  Until true conversion happens, the believer does NOT YET have the Holy Spirit inside them to empower them.  Without the Holy Spirit, the believer cannot ‘walk in the Spirit’.  Without the Holy Spirit, the believer does not have the power within them to overcome sin.  This dilemma breeds two different groups of people:

a.  The religious/self-righteous
b.  The ‘Carnal Christian’

The religious/self-righteous type are most likely the sincere seekers who really wish to please God.  But without the Holy Spirit, they must rely on their own efforts to conform themselves to the image of God.  They do all that they know is right, and they work very hard at it.  In the meantime, they become proud and self-righteous, because of all the good things they do and how hard they are working.  But on the inside they are often exhausted, resentful, and disappointed.

Those who are considered ‘Carnal Christians’ are often those who didn’t have a sincere willingness to die to their own desires in the first place.  The semigospel is perfectly suited to this type, because it tells them what they want to hear, and promises to give them something for nothing.

However, a ‘Carnal Christian’ can be the result of a religious type who has succumbed to burnout.  We have grown accustomed to believing that the zeal we felt when we first accepted Christ is something temporary that normally disappears in time.  But more typically this is the result–the burnout–that happens when sincere but unconverted (unrepentant) sinners get exhausted from trying to live the Christian life in their own strength.

As it became obvious to these people (who were PROMISED, and ASSURED that they were Christians, and were forever secure) . . . as it became obvious to them that they could NOT overcome sin or live in obedience, they began to devise a means of explaining this.  Rather than go back and re-examine the foundations–because they were adamantly ASSURED that they were saved–they began to reinterpret the Scriptures.

Soon the idea of the ‘Carnal Christian’ emerged.  They explained that the process of sanctification was something that GOD must do TO a person, and He would do it in HIS own timing.  Thus, until God miraculously removed their sinful desires from them, they would just be stuck with them, and the loving thing for the rest of us to do was just to be tolerant and accepting.  After all, if God hadn’t chosen to deliver them from their sins, who were WE to judge GOD?

But this flies in the face of SO many Scriptures–Scriptures that tell us that:

–A Christian does NOT continue in sin

 ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.’  (1 John 3:9)

–A Christian is obedient

‘And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.’  (1 John 2:3)

–A Christian lives righteously

‘In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.’  (1 John 3:10)

–Christians love one another

‘By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’  (John 13:35)

–We must be holy to see God

‘Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:’  (Hebrews 12:14)

–WE must be the ones to fight our flesh and bring it into subjection

‘For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.’  (Romans 8:13, also Col. 3:5-10, and 1 Peter 2:11)

–God desires a people that walk in holiness

‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you’  (2 Cor. 6:17)

Are all of these things automatic?  To some degree yes, but there is also choice involved.  We often have to CHOOSE to behave the right way, while feeling tempted to do otherwise.  The difference is: truly converted Christians DO choose to obey God (because they LOVE Him, not in order to OBTAIN salvation).  If we make the wrong choice, the Holy Spirit quickly convicts us and we repent.

If these things aren’t true of you, I’m not saying this to CONDEMN you.  I’m showing you there’s a good possibility you’ve never been completely converted.  Please don’t become angry and defensive.  Examine yourself.

The idea of the ‘Carnal Christian’ simply isn’t scriptural!  Yet many sincere believers, who struggle hopelessly with sin, use their own EXPERIENCE to confirm this doctrine.  But we are not told to compare things to our own experience to see if they be true–we are told to compare them to the SCRIPTURES: the only objective source of truth.  And, we are told to examine OURSELVES, to see whether we truly are converted.

‘ . . . now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: . . . Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?’  (2 Cor. 13:2,5)

Paul wrote to those in Corinth, after repeatedly addressing sin issues in their congregation, that he was going to be very stern with them if he returned and found the situation continuing.  He commanded all of them who had been involved in the sin there, to examine themselves, as to whether or not they were truly converted.  The same goes today, for those who call themselves Christians yet are constantly struggling with sin and/or living in disobedience to God’s Commandments.

2.  Doctrines of Devils

When repentance is left out of the equation, true conversion has not yet taken place.  Until true conversion happens, the believer does NOT YET have the Holy Spirit in them to open their spiritual understanding of God’s word.

‘But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.’  (1 Cor. 2:14)

Two serious issues have arisen because of this:

a.  A plethora of corrupted Bible translations
b.  ‘Doctrines of demons’ in mainstream Christianity

The Bible is a book full of spiritual understanding, that is sealed from the understanding of men.  It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can understand it.  When a person is not yet converted, the Holy Spirit will open their understanding to the basic principles of obedience, sin, and repentance, in order that the person can grasp their sinful condition, and failure to be obedient to God, and turn to Him in repentance.  But that is about as far as the unsealing goes.  (If we harden our hearts and reject truth, even what little we have understood will be lost.  When people repeatedly reject truth, God finally abandons them to their own delusions.)

Because unconverted believers cannot understand the word of God, great lengths have been gone to, to dumb down the Bible so that they can understand.  But those who have so little reverence for God’s word, and so little fear of altering it, are likely not converted Christians.  Thus we have the blind leading the blind.

Truly converted believers CAN understand the KJV, with the help of the Holy Spirit (without which NONE of us can understand God’s word).  But those who are not truly converted, will find themselves constantly grappling with the word, trying to understand it.  Paraphrased versions, versions based on manuscripts translated by Catholic monks, and versions made ‘relevant’ to our culture and times, will not get them closer to the truth.

As a result of not understanding God’s word (and sometimes as a result of rejecting truth when it IS understood) believers are wide open to the influence of seducing spirits, and the demonic doctrines they bring.  Every so often a new wind of doctrine sweeps through mainstream ‘Christianity’, and these tired and parched souls desperately take hold of it, in hopes it will bring them comfort and end their confusion.  These doctrines always tickle the ears of believers, telling them what they want to hear and want to believe.  They provide a soothing alternative to the truth, and lull believers back into complacency regarding their own spiritual condition.

Believers–who don’t have the faith or strength that the indwelling Holy Spirit provides to TRUE CONVERTS–do not have the strength of faith to believe in God’s provision for them during the Tribulation.  And most do not have the endurance to stay true to their beliefs during persecution (thus so many cling desperately to the false preTrib Rapture doctrine).  They don’t have the inner urge to go against the flow and swim upstream, while everyone around them is swimming downstream to destruction.  Despite their false assurance and strong declarations to the contrary, they are still horribly lost.  What greater tragedy is there than to be ALMOST saved, yet convinced that you already are?

Conclusion

I urge everyone who reads this to examine themselves.  Jesus said we will be known by our fruit.  Are you producing GOOD spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-24)?  Has your heart been transformed?  Have your desires been transformed?  Do you genuinely love God and His people?  Do you love truth?  Do you seek to live obediently, out of love for God?

(If you won’t answer these questions honestly, you’ll only be cheating yourself.  If you find you ARE lacking, pray and ask God to show you why.)

The core issue this post is addressing, is a gospel that no longer preaches repentance.  All of the problems I’ve addressed are the fruit that hangs from this poison tree.  We can see and complain about this fruit all day long, but we need to go beyond that.  When we smell the rancid smell of this poison fruit, we can be pretty sure we’re near a ‘semigospel tree’.  When you see that the ‘Christians’ around you are where the smell is coming from, you can be pretty sure that they were birthed from a false gospel.  The challenge is to help THEM see that–to help them realize that without repentance (true confession, godly sorrow, and turning from sin) there is no true conversion.  Without true conversion there is no indwelling, empowering Holy Spirit.  Without true conversion, there is no salvation.

‘John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.’  (Mark 1:4-5)

Christians don’t knowingly, willfully, choose to sin if we love God. We love God more than we love the pleasure of sin, so we do everything in our strength (including praying and fasting) to not sin. When we are born again, we receive a new heart–one that hates sin. Our will is changed. We will still war against our flesh (which does not change when we are born again), until we bring it under subjection to our will. But if we love God, we WILL choose righteousness. Here’s how it looks:

New heart + new will + Holy Spirit <–> lusts/habits + demons

There is no question: what is on the LEFT side of this equation is stronger than what is on the right side. YES, there will be a struggle. This will be a tug of war for awhile (weeks? months? years?) Demons have to be resisted–demons YOU have given place to in your life. Lusts and habits (lusts and habits YOU have nourished and strengthened) have to be resisted and denied until your flesh learns to submit to your new will.

But I guarantee, you WILL overcome, IF you will persist. There is no way that your lusts and demons can overpower the Holy Spirit. The ONLY way you will lose in this tug of war, is if you give up. And if you give up, you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. So–you’d better not give up.

We ALWAYS will have to be alert so that the flesh does not rise up again . . . so that we do not open the door to demonic influence in our life again. If we ever realize we have stumbled and sinned, we must get up and repent and start fighting again.

 

”He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.’ (1 John 3:8-10)

Fish ladder Window

Fish ladder Window

 

‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.’  (Proverbs 16:25)

A way?  I wondered, ‘what is this particular way?’  Surely there are MANY ways that seem right, if there is only ONE way that truly IS right.

Now I understand.  It is the way of the crowd, the way of peer pressure, the way of group consensus.  The way of ‘everybody’s doing it’.  It just seems right, because that’s the direction of the flow.  Most times it doesn’t even occur to us to question it.  We go along without thinking, without critical examination.  It’s what we’ve been taught is ‘normal’.

But, while all the world is swimming downstream, God made Christians, like salmon, to swim upstream.  As we study God’s Word, our eyes become opened to what is acceptable behavior for us, in God’s eyes, and what isn’t.  As long as we submit ourselves to walk IN THE SPIRIT, we find ourselves having a constant urge to swim against the flow.

But the current is strong.  If we don’t continue in The Spirit, we will find ourselves swimming with the crowd too.  But again and again, the urge to go against the flow will return.  Yet if we don’t FOCUS our attention on that urge within us–that inner leading of the Holy Spirit–we will find ourselves passing the same scenery again and again.  Upstream, downstream.  We just don’t seem to be making any progress.

WE MUST CHOOSE to submit ourselves to God daily.  We must CHOOSE to put His will before our own.  We must CHOOSE to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  If we do, His Holy Spirit gives us the supernatural strength and motivation to swim against the flow.  And the longer we do it, the stronger and more motivated we become–just like the salmon that find the water purer and more oxygenated the further upstream they go.  Soon they smell the familiar scent of the shoals where they spent their early life: home!

But if we DON’T choose to submit ourselves to God daily . . . if we DON’T choose to put His will before our own, if we DON’T follow His leading, we will simply be carried along with the flow.

There is yet a deeper parallel here: the issue of fish ladders.  Take the case of the Chittenden Locks: here boats are moved between Lake Washington and Puget Sound.  As always, water moves downstream.  However, it is not advantageous for migrating salmon to get caught in the huge locks, because the way they are constructed makes it virtually impossible for them to make their way upstream.  Therefore, a narrow ‘fish ladder’ was constructed on one side of the lock.  (But not every salmon finds it.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_M._Chittenden_Locks#Fish_ladder

Understanding the fish ladder brings new understanding to Jesus’ parable:

‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’  (Matthew 7:13-14)

Although God made us a ‘fish gate’, a way of salvation, we still must STRIVE to enter in.  We still must be the ones to CHOOSE to swim upstream and make the journey.  God has put everything needful in place for us, and will even turbocharge us to reach our destination, but He’s not going to airlift us there.  What is needful, is for us to choose to TURN and SWIM!

‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’  (Luke 13:24)

Be Baptized

If you have repented of your sins and believed on Jesus Christ: be baptized. Jesus and the Apostles commanded it.  Salvation is by faith and repentance.  Baptism in Jesus’ name (not a ‘Sinners’ Prayer’) is the faith part of the equation.

‘And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him [John the Baptist] in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.’  (Mark 1:5)

‘And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.’  (Mark 16:15-16)

‘Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’  (Acts 2:38)

‘But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.’  (Acts 8:12)

‘And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.’  (Acts 19:3-5)

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.’  (Romans 6:3-4)

‘For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.’  (Galatians 3:27)

There is a reason that so many ministries–and so many people who say they are Christians–have abandoned sound doctrine. People have become wise in their own eyes, and they don’t like the restrictions that God’s Word places on their lives, because they prefer to have a little freedom to sin.

‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;’ (2 Tim. 4:3)

God sent the Holy Spirit to teach us, but when we spurn His guidance, something happens. Listen to what Jesus said about those who hear the Word and accept it . . . versus those who hear it and reject it:

‘And he said unto them, Take heed WHAT YE HEAR: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and UNTO YOU THAT HEAR shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.’ (Mark 4:24-25)

If you will HEAR the truth, you will be given more. (And hearing truth means LIVING by it, not just listening and giving mental assent.) But if you reject the truth, you will not even be able to retain the truth you already know. This is how so many professing Christians have gone astray.

There’s more to this passage–when Jesus said ‘with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you’, I believe He was also speaking about SHARING the truth with others–because in the verses immediately before these, He said:

‘And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.’ (Mark 4:21-23)

Those of us who HAVE truth, have a responsibility to share it. It is God’s will that EVERYONE be reached with the gospel. (The internet is a perfect platform for this. NONE of us on the internet has an excuse for not sharing God’s truth with others.)

When people reject the truth, they open themselves to deceiving spirits.

‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee . . . ‘ (Hosea 4:6)

‘A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. ‘ (Titus 3:10-11)

‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;’ (1 Tim. 4:1)

‘Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.’ (1 John 4:1)

‘But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.’ (2 Tim. 3:13)

In the end-times, the rejection of God’s truth gets so bad that He finally sends a great delusion upon the people, to ensure those who have rejected the truth will believe THE Lie . . . the lie of The Antichrist.

‘ . . . them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ (2 Thess. 2:10-12)

God is not mocked. We cannot claim to be Christians, yet live a life that defies Him. (This is what it means to ‘take the Lord’s name in vain’ . . . the 3rd Commandment.)

God’s people are to be a HOLY people–a people who have come to Him through repenting of their sins, and who daily walk in the Spirit, quickly repenting if they err. God’s name is blasphemed among the unbelievers, on account of them that claim His name in vain.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 should be a very sober warning to ALL of us who live in the end-times. If we reject truth and pursue sin, we TOO will be caught up in the delusion, and ultimately damned.

There is only one way to get through the days ahead: reject sin and embrace truth! Don’t just hear it: live it and share it!

‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.’ (James 1:22)

‘Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.’ (Exodus 20:7)

‘Taking the Lord’s name in vain’ is not about using God’s name in profanity . . . it is about claiming to be a Christian (or Jew), yet not living in accord with The Covenant you claim to be under.

‘Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They PROFESS THAT THEY KNOW GOD; but IN WORKS THEY DENY [HIM], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.’ (Titus 1:15-16)

Israelites who claimed to be under the ‘Old Covenant’ but didn’t keep it . . . a Christian who claims to be under the ‘New Covenant’ but doesn’t keep it . . . both are guilty of breaking a blood covenant.

Christianity is a BLOOD covenant we entered into, and promised to uphold (this is why Jesus first told us to ‘count the cost’, before making that commitment). There are responsibilities and expectations for both parties to a covenant.

‘But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:’ (1 Peter 2:9)

‘Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ (Titus 2:14)

‘Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:’ (Hebrews 12:14)

We are to be walking in God’s light, living in purity . . . holiness . . . and eagerly doing good works.

Contrast this again with Titus 1:16:

‘They PROFESS THAT THEY KNOW GOD; but IN WORKS THEY DENY [HIM], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.’

If we do not uphold our end of the covenant, we are counting as nothing, the blood that sealed the covenant. In the case of a Christian, it is the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

When a professing Christians lives sinfully

‘Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?’ (Hebrews 10:29)

If you are guilty of taking God’s name in vain: repent!! There is grace for those who, in humility, turn from their sins and plead with God for forgiveness.

But if you do not INTEND or desire to live for Christ, then ask God to release you from the covenant. Don’t go on breaking it and bringing yourself under further condemnation. Don’t continue to cause unbelievers to blaspheme the name of God because of your unholy example. The punishment for those who do so will be much greater.

While it is true that those who have entered into the blood covenant of Christianity are no longer bound to the MOSAIC Law (600+ rules, dietary laws, etc.), there is one thing for sure:

The Ten Commandments are written in stone, by God, for all men, for all time.

‘And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.’ (God, Exodus 24:12)

‘And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.’ (Exodus 31:18)

‘And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, [even] ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.’ (Moses, Deut. 4:13)

‘if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ (Jesus, Matthew 19:17)

  1. I [am] the LORD thy God . . . Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image . . .Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy . . . the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
  10. Thou shalt not covet . . . any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s

‘For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him. . . . ‘ (2 Chronicles 16:9)

 

Please note:  this author in no way recognizes, supports, or condones the Seventh Day Adventists or Hebrew Roots movement.