Tag Archive: holiness


Expel The Immoral Brother

We are to reach out to those who have turned away from the truth and have gone back to sin:

‘Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.’ (James 5:19-20)

‘And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.’ (Jude 1:23)

But we must NOT tolerate, in our midst, those who take the name of God in vain . . . those who profess to be Christians, but deny Him by their deeds:

‘I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, IF ANY MAN THAT IS CALLED A BROTHER be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore PUT AWAY FROM AMONG YOURSELVES THAT WICKED PERSON.’ (1 Cor. 5:9-13)

‘Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves FROM EVERY BROTHER that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.’ (2 Thess. 3:6)

In fact, those who claim to be Christians, but persist in their blatant sin, unable or unwilling to come to a place of humble repentance, we must ‘deliver to Satan’ (in prayer together, ‘wash our hands of them’) in the hope that through the torments of Satan, they may come to a place of humility and repentance.

‘It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, [concerning] him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, TO DELIVER SUCH AN ONE UNTO SATAN for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ (1 Cor. 5:1-5)

Such are difficult situations for everyone involved. It is hard to turn your back on someone you love. But true humility and repentance requires brokenness, and sometimes it is only the brokenness that comes from rejection, loneliness, and despair that drives one to their knees. Let your grief and love drive you to your knees for that person, in the prayer that they will humbly repent. Hope for the day when you can welcome back that prodigal with open arms.

It is also important that The Church be pure. Making concessions for those who love their sin and will not depart from it only allows that ‘leaven’ to spread. Once the high standard of holiness is dropped for one, many others will adopt the lower standard as well. The bar has been set high, by God. Make no mistake, the standard is not ours to alter. We are plainly told that without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).

Churches today are acting contrary to Scripture when they try to be all-inclusive and reach out to all ‘whom the churches have hurt’. It just may be that the church that hurt them was doing the will of God and rejecting them in their ongoing, unrepentant sin. Contrary to the desire of sinful humans, The Church is not a social club where all are welcome. The Church is exclusive–only REPENTANT sinners may join.

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‘How shall we, that are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer therein?’ (Rom. 6:2)

‘I AM CRUCIFIED with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ (Galatians 2:20)

‘For he that is DEAD is freed from sin.’ (Romans 6:7)

‘ . . . reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. LET NOT sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. NEITHER YIELD ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but YIELD yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.’ (Romans 6:11-13)

‘Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? ‘ (Romans 6:16)

‘For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God*, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Romans 6:20-23)

*There are two parts to this:

1. We have been made free from sin, through our repentance and faith in Christ, by His grace.
2. We have yielded ourselves as servants unto God.

You don’t get the final product (holiness and everlasting life) unless you combine both parts.

Every day we choose–do we walk in the flesh, or do we walk in obedience to the Spirit? This is not a once-and-done thing . . . that we merely say a ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ and from henceforth are ‘in the Spirit’. No, that is not how it works. Every day, multiple times a day, we are confronted with the choice of whether to walk according to our own will, desires, and instincts . . . or to walk, perhaps contrary to them, by acting in obedience to God’s word and following the leading of His Spirit.

How do we ‘walk in the Spirit’? Just what does that entail?

‘If ye then be risen with Christ, SEEK those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. SET your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

MORTIFY therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

But now ye also PUT OFF all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:’ (Col. 3:1-10)

‘PUT ON therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.’ (Col. 3:12-17)

There is effort involved here! Christianity is not a train ride where you take your seat and enjoy the scenery as you are transported to your desired destination. Christianity is a WALK . . . on a narrow path. It demands your time, your concentration, and your sincere effort. But you never walk alone!

What drives a person to persist in sin, although they profess to love God?  I can think of several possible reasons.  There may be more.

  1. They do not understand that God requires holiness of His children.
  2. They have not truly repented.
  3. They are mocking God–attempting to gain the reward of eternal life, without making the sacrifice of ‘dying to self’.
  4. They love the pleasures of sin more than they love God.
  5. They do not have true faith in Jesus.
  6. They are in bondage to demonic spirits.
  7. They do not know HOW to fight sin.

 

Lets address these reasons:

1.  They do not understand that God requires holiness of His children.

God’s children MUST strive to live a holy life.

‘Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD’  (Heb. 12:14)

‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

[Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, WHAT MANNER [of persons] OUGHT YE TO BE IN [all] HOLY CONVERSATION AND GODLINESS, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, BE DILIGENT that ye may be found of him in peace, WITHOUT SPOT, AND BLAMELESS.’  (2 Peter 3:10-14)

 
2. They have not truly repented.

True repentance is sorrow over having grieved God and broken His holy law.  True repentance is a wholehearted commitment to STOP breaking God’s Commandments.

True repentance leads us to purge out of our lives all that offends God.  True repentance says ‘goodbye’ to sinful friends.  True repentance cleans house, then builds a bonfire and destroys all the implements of sin from one’s old life–porn magazines and videos, New Age and occult books, music CDs, drugs, alcohol, etc., etc., etc.  True repentance purchases filtering software that blocks access to porn sites.  True repentance stops going to parties, bars, and concerts.

True repentance makes pleasing God and walking in holiness the NUMBER ONE priority in our life–even, at times, placing it before food (fasting) and sleep (travailing in prayer).

 

3. They are mocking God–attempting to gain the reward of eternal life, without making the sacrifice of  ‘dying to self’. 

Contrary to what today’s false gospel teaches, we do not become Christians simply by believing in Jesus and saying a ‘Sinners’ Prayer’.  Nor is salvation a once-and-done deal, at the time we decide to ‘accept Christ’.

No–salvation is the DESTINATION we seek.  Repentance and ‘accepting Christ’ by faith is the GATE we enter in at.  But we have a NARROW PATH to WALK, for the rest of our life, to reach our destination of salvation.

We do not say a ‘Sinner’s Prayer’, make a profession of faith in Christ, go on living a sinful life, wait on GOD to change us, and believe we are in a safe capsule that will be delivered to our final destination with no effort on our part.

Very few will attain to eternal life.  Most miss the gate.  Others won’t walk the narrow path until the end.  We are to STRIVE to enter in . . . and we must STRIVE to keep our focus and our faith, to the end.

God is not mocked.  He sees beyond our actions, to our true motives.

‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’  (Gal. 6:7-8)

‘To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil . . .’  (Romans 2:7-9)

 
4. They love the pleasures of sin more than they love God.

‘Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is ENMITY with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the ENEMY of God.’  (James 4:4)

‘Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. IF ANY MAN LOVE THE WORLD, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM.  For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.’  (1 John 2:15-17)

If you love the world, you do NOT love God, because God HATES the sins and system of this world.  If you love the world, you are positioning yourself as an ENEMY of God, and you will be destroyed along with it.

5. They do not have true faith in Jesus.

Saving faith in Jesus recognizes His true character:  loving, joyful, peace-loving, longsuffering, gentle, good, faithful, meek, self-controlled, gracious, truthful, just, having a deep hatred for sin, and an absolute zeal for holiness and purity.

Because He is just, God does not call us to do something without also equipping us to do it.  We are called to holiness and told we will suffer the fires of eternal damnation if we walk in sin.  We are likewise told:

‘According as his divine power hath given unto us ALL THINGS that [pertain] unto LIFE AND GODLINESS, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these YE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, HAVING ESCAPED THE CORRUPTION THAT IS IN THE WORLD THROUGH LUST.’  (2 Peter 1:3-4)

Through reading God’s word we are instructed in righteousness, and we are spiritually transformed  IF WE TAKE HEED TO DO what is written in His word!  Hearing only profits us if we base our actions upon what we have heard!

Even more than this, we are given the Holy Spirit, which comes to dwell INSIDE of our mortal body, both guiding us and EMPOWERING us to live in victory over sin.

Although our ETERNAL salvation is not yet secured, our salvation from the bondage of sin certainly is!  Jesus death has saved us from the bondage to sin, and the Law of Sin and Death.  We are now born of the Spirit–the INCORRUPTIBLE Spirit of God.  Rejoice!  God has given you a new spirit that cannot be corrupted!

To continue to walk in sin, therefore, is to disobey and grieve the Holy Spirit that God has placed inside you to guide you.  It is to reject the power He has made available to you.  It is to CHOOSE to walk in the flesh . . . to willingly submit yourself again to the Law of Sin and Death . . . to allow sin to again become your master . . . and to forfeit your hope of salvation.

No man can serve two masters.  Either you serve God or you serve sin.

‘ . . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.’  (Jesus, John 8:34)

‘Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?’  (Romans 6:16)

To continue in sin is to deny Christ:

‘They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him] . . . ‘  (Titus 1:16)

‘But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.’  (Matt. 10:33)

To profess Jesus, but to live a life contrary to His teachings, is to take the name of God in vain.

‘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)

6. They are in bondage to demonic spirits.

We must not give the devil a foothold in our lives.  Most of us though, while we were yet sinners, DID give Satan open doorways into our lives.  True repentance . . . housecleaning and destruction of all our belongings that we used in the practice of sin . . . will set us free from many demons.  However, there will still be some that will persist.

We must understand that there is an ongoing war for our souls.  When we become Christians, we change sides in that war.  The forces of evil are going to, at first, reach out and try to seduce us to come back.  They will play upon our weaknesses and try to get us to turn back to sin.  We must RESIST the enemy!

‘ . . . Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’  (James 4:7)

In the midst of your temptation: pray!!  Sing spiritual songs.  Quote Scripture and rebuke the devil, in Jesus’ name.  Get mad at what he’s trying to do in your life, and start fighting back.  Resist the devil and he will (eventually) flee from you.  Why would you willingly submit yourself to the enemy of your soul?  Submit yourself instead, to God!

7.  They do not know HOW to fight sin.

We must cry out to God for help in this battle.  We must pray until we have peace, yet not yield ourselves to sin while we wait upon His strength.

‘Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy*?  But he giveth more grace.

Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

CLEANSE [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and PURIFY [your] hearts, [ye] double minded. BE AFFLICTED, AND MOURN, AND WEEP: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and [your] joy to heaviness. HUMBLE YOURSELVES in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.’  (James 4:5-10)

*Our flesh lusts not only to envy, but to adultery, to idolatry, to murder, etc., etc.  But God gives us more grace!!  By His grace He gives us enough power to overcome sin.  He does not call us to holiness, then leave us alone to flounder and fail, because He KNOWS that we still live in fleshly bodies that lust to sin!  Remember–God is faithful and just.

But notice:  He gives grace to the HUMBLE.  We access His grace and power in our lives, not through fleshly pride and believing we are strong enough to overcome sin ourselves–but by humbly pleading for His help, and acknowledging that we are weak, because we are encased in sinful flesh.

‘And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. . . ‘ (2 Cor. 12:9)

The Holy Spirit in us guides us with a still, small voice that shows us which way to go.  When we encounter situations that are beyond our strength, we can pray and tap into His power.  He is right there with us.  But although His Spirit lives in us, He will not violate our free will.  Nor will the Spirit live THROUGH us, without our explicit invitation for Him to do so, and then only for a time.

You may not see the evidence of God moving in your life, to deliver you from certain sins, until you are completely undone . . . until you HATE that sin . . . until you MOURN and WEEP at your inability to fight it on your own.  Although Jesus has already set you free from sin, it is your love for that sin that draws you back to it.  Throughout the Bible, God gave people over to what they lusted for.  You will not walk in the freedom He purchased for you, until you come to HATE your sin.  You want to over come sin?  Learn to hate it.

When you LOVE your sin, you will not listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as He attempts to lead you away from sin.  Instead, you listen to the clamoring voice of your fleshly lusts, and the voice of the Spirit gets drowned out.  It is not that He abandons you in your weakness–it is that you do not attune yourself to Him, or obey Him.

Learn from the example of Peter: when he tried to walk on water . . . as long as he kept his focus on Jesus he was able to rise above the limitations of his fleshly body . . . but when he took his focus off Jesus, he lost connection with the divine power that was enabling him to do the miraculous, and he sank into the waves.

But if Peter had LOVED swimming, would he have even had the WILL to walk on water?  Instead, given the opportunity, he would have dived in and started reveling in swimming.  Walking on water or focusing on Jesus would have been the last thing on his mind.

True repentance gives us a new heart–a heart that hates sin.  If you still love sin, your repentance is not complete.  Repentance is not only a change of mind, but a change of heart and will.  If you still love sin, pray diligently for God to give you a godly sorrow over that sin, and to bring you to true repentance.

Focus on the voice of the Holy Spirit, and obey Him.  He will show you how to stand strong and not sin . . . or how to escape the situation, if it is too much for you to bear.  Tune out the clamoring voices of your fleshly lusts, and of the demons that are trying to tug on you.  LISTEN and OBEY the Holy Spirit.

‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].’  (1 Cor. 10:13)

Learn to call on God IN THE MIDST of your temptation and sin.  He is with you there anyhow.  In our shame, we sometimes feel unworthy to call on Him, as though if we don’t call out to Him He won’t see where we are, or what we are doing.

‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?’  (1 Cor. 6:19)

God is with you all the time, and in your temptation is the time you need Him the most.  He is right there with His arm outstretched, hoping that you will allow Him to help and deliver you.  Don’t turn your back on Him in shame.  Don’t focus on the lust or the demonic voices that are tempting you.  Don’t worry about your dirty and tattered garments, and skinned knees.  RUN TO HIM!!

Saved by Faith, or by Works?

‘Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 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 13:23-24)

Notice Jesus doesn’t just say ‘many won’t enter in’.  Instead, He says ‘many will SEEK to enter in but won’t be able’.  These are not just worldly, indifferent people–they are people who WANT to enter into Heaven.  What is the difference between those who seek to enter in but can’t, and those who strive to enter in and are able?

‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY*.’  (Matthew 7:21-23)

According to Strong’s, those who ‘work iniquity’ are those who do ‘anomia’

iniquity = anomia (G458)

1) the condition of without law

..a) because ignorant of it

..b) because of violating it

2) contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness

 

This passage separates between those who DO the will of the Father, and those who don’t–and further clarifies it as those who live by His law vs. those who don’t.

Now, we know that as Christians we are not bound to the Mosaic Law.  But we ARE expected to follow the Ten Commandments (and the four restrictions in Acts 15:20).

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

According to Matt. 7:21-23, the difference between eternal life and damnation is whether or not you follow God’s Commandments.  NO, we do not OBTAIN salvation by following the Commandments, or any other thing that we might do.  There is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  But when we become Christians we enter into a blood covenant with God, and our part is to do His will.  If we aren’t doing His Will, then we aren’t ‘abiding’ in Him.  If we aren’t doing His will, then we are walking in the flesh.  Christianity today is misrepresented as a free bus ticket: we say a ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ and then get a free ride.  But that’s never what God intended.  His will is to have

‘ . . .  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)

When God made the first covenant (the ‘Old’ covenant) with the people of Israel, Moses gave the people The Law

‘And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.’  (Exodus 24:3)

Then a blood sacrifice was made, to seal the covenant.

We are heirs to a better covenant.

‘But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.’  (Jer. 31:33)

Not only does He write His law in our hearts, He gives us His Holy Spirit, to will and to perform it.  This covenant was sealed by the blood of Jesus.

In return for being redeemed from the bondage of sin and judgment, we are to yield ourselves as living sacrifices to Him.

‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’  (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.’  (Romans 12:1)

To simplify it,

‘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.’  (Matt. 22:37-40)

And how do we find the love to fulfill these two commandments?  We walk in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. The Holy Spirit is the love of God, living in us, and flowing through us. The Holy Spirit will work in our heart to desire to do, and to perform the will of God.  The Holy Spirit will not lead us into sin.  The Holy Spirit will keep us on the path.

‘Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;’  (Titus 2:12)

The Holy Spirit works in conjunction with the Word of God, to change us from the inside out.

‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’  (Romans 12:2)

‘ . . . Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’  (Ephesians 5:26-27)

How do we walk in the Spirit? We say ‘no’ to worldly lusts and ungodly temptations, thereby ‘crucifying the flesh’–because if we are walking in the flesh, we are not walking in the Spirit.  And we pray and read the Word of God . . . and then we live what we learn.

‘For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.’  (Matt. 11:30)

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light–but we must CHOOSE to walk on the narrow path.  We must STRIVE to enter in.  That striving is not a ‘work’ . . . it is our flesh and our will we strive with.  But if we say no to the flesh and yield ourselves to Him, His Spirit will lead us into all righteousness.

‘Teach me to do thy will; for thou [art] my God: thy spirit [is] good; lead me into the land of uprightness.’  (Psalm 143:10)

There is much confusion about ‘works’, but  here’s what the Bible says, in a nutshell:

‘For BY GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.’  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.’  (Galatians 2:16)

But

‘What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone . . . I will shew thee my faith by my works.’  (James 2:14, 17, 18)

‘But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.‘  (James 2:20-24)

Saving faith produces ‘works’ in keeping with that faith–and that is God’s will for us.

‘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)

‘And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’  (Hebrews 10:24)

‘That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.’  (2 Timothy 3:17)

‘[This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.’  (Titus 3:8)

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.’  (Ephesians 2:10)

Who are the ‘saints’?

‘ . . . they that keep the commandments of God, AND the faith of Jesus.’  (Rev. 14:12)

There really is no contradiction at all, except in the minds of those who don’t consider the full counsel of the Word of God.

Naked Christians

‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and [my] fatlings [are] killed, and all things [are] ready: come unto the marriage.  But they made light of [it], and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated [them] spitefully, and slew [them].  But when the king heard [thereof], he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.’   (Matthew 22:2-7)

This is a quick summary of the history of Israel, through AD 70.

 

‘Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.’  (Matthew 22:8-10)

This summarizes taking the gospel to all the world.

 

‘And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man WHICH HAD NOT ON A WEDDING GARMENT: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast [him] into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For many are called, but few [are] chosen.‘  (Matthew 22:11-14)

 

This is a warning for today.  It is not enough just to answer the gospel invitation.  We must be clothed in a proper wedding garment!  And what is that garment?

 

‘ . . . as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might SANCTIFY and CLEANSE it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, or any such thing; but that it should be HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH.’  (Ephesians 5:25-27)

 

‘For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after RIGHTEOUSNESS, GODLINESS, FAITH, LOVE, PATIENCE, MEEKNESS.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called . . . That thou keep [this] commandment WITHOUT SPOT, UNREBUKEABLE, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:’  (1 Timothy 6:10-14)

 

‘ . . . be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, WITHOUT SPOT, and BLAMELESS.’  (2 Peter 3:14)

(If it depended only on Jesus Christ’s righteousness, we would not be told to BE DILIGENT.)

 

Our wedding garment is the spiritual fruit we bear, the faith we live by, and the holiness of our lifestyle.

‘ . . . that they should repent and turn to God, and DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE.’  (Acts 26:20)

 

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have CRUCIFIED THE FLESH WITH THE AFFECTIONS AND LUSTS.’  (Galatians 5:22-24)

 

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.’  (Ephesians 2:10)

 

‘By FAITH Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that HE PLEASED GOD.’  (Hebrews 11:5)

 

‘And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; FOR THEE HAVE I SEEN RIGHTEOUS before me in this generation.’  (Genesis 7:1)

 

‘Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us CLEANSE OURSELVES from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the FEAR OF GOD.’  (2 Corinthians 7:1)

 

‘ . . . for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now YIELD YOUR MEMBERS servants to RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO HOLINESS . . . But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, YE HAVE YOUR FRUIT UNTO HOLINESS, and the end everlasting life.’  (Romans 6:19, 22)

 

In verse thirteen, we saw what happened to the guest who had come to the wedding feast without a garment:

‘Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and TAKE HIM AWAY, and CAST [HIM] INTO OUTER DARKNESS; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

Jesus repeats this teaching again . . .

‘Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles TO BURN THEM: but gather the wheat into my barn.’

(Matthew 13:30)

 

And again . . .

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit HE TAKETH AWAY: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.   Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is CAST FORTH as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and CAST [THEM] INTO THE FIRE, and they are burned.’  (John 15:1-6)

 

Paul teaches with this same spiritual understanding:

‘For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  But that which beareth thorns and briers [is] REJECTED, and [is] nigh unto cursing; WHOSE END [IS] TO BE BURNED.

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. . . And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. . . And so, after [Abraham] had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.’  (Hebrews 6:7-15)

 

Salvation does not come at our profession of faith.  We receive salvation if we endure to the end and produce the spiritual fruit that comes from a life of holiness and sanctification.

‘And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth TO THE END shall be saved.’  (Matthew 10:22)

 

‘But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF WE HOLD FAST the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope FIRM UNTO THE END.’  (Hebrews 3:6)

 

The key to bearing spiritual fruit is to abide in Jesus.

‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT: for without me ye can do nothing.’  (John 15:4-5)

 

Hear two final warnings, for our generation:

** ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and KEEPETH HIS GARMENTS, LEST HE WALK NAKED, and they see his shame.’  (Revelation 16:15)

 

**’ And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art LUKEWARM, and neither cold nor hot, I WILL SPUE THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH.

BECAUSE THOU SAYEST, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and KNOWEST NOT THAT THOU ART WRETCHED, and MISERABLE, and POOR, and BLIND, and NAKED: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and WHITE RAIMENT, THAT THOU MAYEST BE CLOTHED, and [that] the SHAME OF THY NAKEDNESS do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, THAT THOU MAYEST SEE.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: BE ZEALOUS therefore, and REPENT.’  (Revelation 3:14-19)

Those who teach that any effort on the part of a Christian is ‘works’, and that ‘works’ void our salvation, are misleading people. Here are some passages from Scripture that should demonstrate that self-will and effort ARE required, on our part:

‘ . . . that they should repent and turn to God, and DO WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE.’ (Acts 26:20)

‘ . . . BE DILIGENT that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.’ (2 Peter 3:14)

‘Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God.’ (2 Corinthians 7:1)

‘ . . . WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ (Philippians 2:12)

‘ . . . for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now YIELD YOUR MEMBERS servants to righteousness unto holiness.’ (Romans 6:19)

‘ . . . PUT OFF concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And BE RENEWED in the spirit of your mind; And that ye PUT ON the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.’ (Ephesians 4:22-24–and more in verses 25-32)

‘[This] I say then, WALK in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.’ (Galatians 5:16)

‘But thou, O man of God, FLEE these things; and FOLLOW AFTER righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. FIGHT the good fight of faith, LAY HOLD ON eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.’ (1 Timothy 6:11-12)

A correct interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-9 . . .

‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.’

. . . is that none of us can stand before God as righteous, based on our works. Yet, in the VERY NEXT VERSE (!) we are told that:

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.’ (Ephesians 2:10)

Testing And Purging

God’s overall plan is to eliminate evil.  We all have within us the capacity to choose evil or good.  But because Adam & Eve chose evil, we actually have a seed of evil within us.  We can either choose to let evil permeate us, or we can struggle against it.  Unfortunately, even those who fight to overcome it cannot set themselves free.  But, if they choose, they can ask God to remove it from them.

There is a process involved in removing the evil within us

  • First, the soul must understand the difference between good and evil.
  • Then, one must long for righteousness.
  • When they realize they cannot overcome it on their own, they may come to God, in repentance for their sins and ask His forgiveness.  His forgiveness was paid for by the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who died in our place.
  • Once forgiven, we are baptized in water.  This signifies our cleansing by repentance and obedience to the Word of God.  Water is the first means that God used to separate the righteous from the evil, when He washed the world with a flood, and spared the only eight righteous souls that He found.
  • Then He fills us with the Holy Spirit.  This is the seal of God and the constant indwelling of His presence.  Once within us, the Holy Spirit begins the work of purifying & refining us.  We must continue to walk in righteousness, but God allows us to be tested and tried by the forces of evil.   The testing reveals where we are vulnerable to evil, or where it remains inside us.  He works in us, to purge the evil and strengthen us in those areas.  If we stumble when we are tested, His Holy Spirit picks us up and leads us to repent.
  • This continual process of purging/refining us is the ‘baptism with fire’.  We live in the portion of time where God portrays himself as fire:  Moses and the burning bush; God leading the Children of Israel through the wilderness, His constant presence with them manifesting as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire in the darkness of night, etc.  (Our world today is dark with the presence of evil, but God’s children [Christians] are the flames that shine forth from the darkness.) Fire is also the final means that God will use to purge evil from His Creation.
  • Before He takes us to Himself, we have a final test, to make sure no remnant of sin remains in us.

This phase of God’s plan for mankind is drawing near its end.  The world is steeped in darkness.  It is now that God’s light will shine the brightest.  However, evil is approaching its peak, and the testing of God’s people will be more severe and widespread than ever before.  This will require patience and endurance from His people.  It will also require trusting Him completely.

Even the most righteous among God’s people are more stained and deceived than they realize.  There are very few who, in their hearts, desire complete holiness–and even less that pursue it as a way of life.  In many ways, today’s Christians are just a subset of society–a group that indulges in the same things as society, but to a lesser degree.  Christianity’s light has almost gone out.  Its ability to cleanse and preserve society seems almost a thing of the past.

The Holy Spirit will continue working with each of us (Christians), to bring us to perfection, as long as we will participate.  However, not everyone who says they are a Christian is–and some who are, will fall by the wayside.  Do everything you can to encourage and strengthen each other.  Help those in need.  Gently confront those who have gone astray.  Live your life as an example.

Wickedness is so pervasive, and has affected our ways of thinking and behaving so deeply,  that many of us will require a lot of work to be made pure.  Trust that He will use the hardships and trials you endure to test you, strengthen you, and perfect you.

Many things are going to slam America and American Christians.  It will be one wave of hardship after another.  The Lord has granted us several months to reflect and repent, and to ‘get our house in order’.  Those days are now drawing to a close.

Great suffering is coming to America, Israel, and the ‘Western Nations’–and to Christians.  God has been restraining powerful forces of evil, but He will soon release them, allowing them to help purify and refine His children, and to provoke the ungodly to reveal the sin that lives inside their hearts.

Along with His children (the wheat), the Lord has allowed many wicked men (tares)  to thrive.  If we had been truer to the guidelines that Paul so painstakingly laid out for the church, we would not have so many of them sitting beside us in the pews, or standing behind the pulpits.

As it is, there are many imposters among us.  They have received the same blessings as we have, from our loving Father’s hand.  However, they have corrupted our understanding of God’s Word with their doctrines of demons and men, and their lying prophecies.  A great shaking is about to occur, and many you have listened to and trusted for years are going to be revealed as ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’.  Stand firm.

Their (and our) testing will come as persecution from the ungodly.  Remember, trials do not form character so much as they reveal it.  It is not from pressure and persecution that people fall into sin–trials are God’s way of revealing what is already inside.  Don’t let anyone fool you by claiming that they fell into sin as a result of this pressure.  Those who truly wish to serve God will repent when their sin is revealed–those who place blame elsewhere are deceivers.

For those who truly repent–have the grace to forgive them, but they must not serve as leaders again, until God’s work is completed in them.  If their repentance is sincere, they will be humbled.  But if they remain proud, their repentance is not complete.

When you are beset by trials and tribulations, trust God.  He is working to strengthen and perfect you.  Many of the things that happen in the months and years ahead are going to be too shocking for some Christians to comprehend.  Everything they’ve held to be true will be upended.

If that is you, if you feel like you’re in shock from what is happening, and what you are learning–understand that we have been persuaded by false doctrines and lulled to sleep by false prophets.  We have been lied to–sometimes intentionally, often not.  Hold onto God.  Trust Him to uphold you.  Be pliable in His hands.  Be humble.  Repent where necessary.  Trust Him to finish the work He began in you.  Pray always.  Be encouraged and know that The Day of The Lord is near.

(For those of you who are still playing with sin: you must choose whether you will humble yourself before God and repent, or whether you will continue to consort with the evil that has courted and tempted you–the evil that will soon delight in your shame as it ‘outs’ you to the world!  Will you choose humility, or will you be given humiliation?)

Unconditional Salvation?

We Will Turn The World Upside Down!