Tag Archive: Holy Spirit


Why Are So Many Deceived?

The widespread deception we see in ‘Christianity’ today, is NOT because a bunch of born-again Christians are reading the Bible on their own, prayerfully trusting the Holy Spirit to lead them, and then coming up with crazy ideas. NO!

(And yet, that is what organized ‘Christianity’ leads you to believe will happen if you don’t regularly attend ‘church’ and put yourself under the (supposed, but unscriptural) ‘spiritual covering’ they claim to provide.)

‘But I would have you know, that the head of every man is CHRIST . . . ‘ (1 Cor. 11:3)

The widespread deception is because people have set aside the Scriptures that tells us that the former example is PRECISELY how we are supposed to learn!

‘But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ (John 14:26)

‘But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.’ (1 John 2:27)

Likewise, it has never been God’s intention for one man to rule over any group of people, whether it be a local church, or a nation. And yet, there again, we see that most ‘churches’ today have a pyramid shaped design with the ‘lay people’ at the bottom and a pastor at the very top.

The mainstream Christian ‘churches’ are now revealing the poison fruit of their disobedience and unscriptural practices. There are hundreds (thousands?) of denominations, all in various degrees of apostasy and doctrinal error.

Meanwhile, those people who have rejected this system and ARE prayerfully reading their Bibles, leaning on the Holy Spirit to teach them, are finding a remarkable unity in understanding.

Disobedience to God’s design will not bring God’s blessing. And in this case, it will put you in extreme danger of being caught up in deception. I hope that you will heed the instructions in God’s word, and that you will pray about the best way that YOU can be in obedience to God’s design. It could be a matter of spiritual life or death for you and your family.

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You do not need to cater the gospel message to appeal to the unsaved. All those who are being drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit will receive the truth when you preach it.

‘We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.’ (1 John 4:6)

(Don’t be surprised to find that a lot of people who claim to be CHRISTIANS will reject the true gospel message. They thereby reveal themselves to be under a spirit of error, and not of God.)

‘No man can come to me, except THE FATHER which hath sent me DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day.’ (John 6:44)

Will the Father not work in concert with the TRUTH to draw them? Do we really need to help God?

‘And THE LORD ADDED to the church daily such as should be saved.’ (Acts 2:47)

Numbers aren’t everything–especially when the ‘converts’ have not really been converted to the truth! Lets stop hindering God by trying to improve on his model.

God still speaks to His children. His voice is not loud and demanding. He does not clamor for our attention. He does not flatter or manipulate us. If you want to learn to ‘hear’ His voice, you need to shut off all the other voices that are determined to drown out His.

I’m not talking about shutting off the TV and radio for awhile and doing some kind of meditation or ‘contemplative prayer’. Not at all. I’m talking about no longer giving audience to the voices of the adversary . . . no longer giving them a place of influence in your life. What I’m talking about is shutting off the TV and radio pretty much permanently, and learning to live in stillness. Then, if your heart is attuned to the Holy Spirit, you won’t miss it when He speaks to you.

You reap what you sow. How much are you willing to set aside to deepen your relationship with God?

‘But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you . . . ‘ (1 Peter 4:13-14)

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, when I’ve read this I’ve thought: ‘he’s crazy’. I’m definitely not yet at the place where Peter was when he wrote this. It makes no sense to my carnal mind.

But I believe the Lord has given me insight into this passage.

We best know the ‘peace of God which passeth all understanding’ when we are in the midst of trials and tribulations, don’t we? That peace is part of the strength and comfort He gives us. (And let us never forget that the Holy Spirit is called ‘The Comforter’–and He is well able to comfort us, no matter WHAT we may be going through.)

Likewise, I believe that when we ‘partake of Christ’s sufferings’, the Holy Spirit will pour upon us even more abundant comfort and strength, and that the peace of God will overflow within us until we are full of the JOY of the Lord!

This happiness, gladness, and joy that Peter speaks of is clearly not a reaction of our flesh to persecution and suffering. It HAS to be the provision of God as we walk in the Spirit. Whatever we have need of friends, His grace is sufficient to provide it for us.

‘ . . . for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8:10)

Those who are using 2 Thessalonians 2:7 to ‘prove’ the (false) doctrine of a preTrib Rapture have no foundation to stand on. They say that The Church (or the Holy Spirit IN The Church) is restraining evil in the world, that the Holy Spirit/Church will be removed (‘Rapture’), and then The Tribulation will begin.  But the verse they use to support this belief does not say what we’ve been taught.

The (rough) translation would go something like this:

to gar musthrion (for the mystery) hdh (even now) energeitai (works) thV anomiaV (the lawlessness) monon (but) o katecwn (it is kept/held fast/restrained) arti (for now) ewV (until) ek (out of/from) mesou (the middle) genhtai (arises/happens).

There is no ‘he’ or ‘who’ in this verse, so the whole argument about who/what ‘the restrainer’ is is moot.

By itself, this translation might not seem to make sense–and it certainly doesn’t say what we were told. But if you read it in context of the verses before and after, it makes sense. It flows with them, and repeats what they say, but it doesn’t contain any big revelation by itself.

‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.’

**For the mystery even now works the lawlessness, but it is kept/held fast/restrained for now until out of/from the middle arises/happens.

‘And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.’ (2 Thess. 2:3-10)

If you don’t believe what I’ve said, go to this link and click the Strong’s number following each word, and look at the definitions.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?criteria=who+letteth&sstr=1&t=KJV

Here you can see the same passage in the Greek. Each word is hyperlinked to its Strong’s definition.:

http://www.htmlbible.com/sacrednamebiblecom/kjvstrongs/B53C002.htm

Related post:  https://dontbefooled666.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/falling-away-or-catching-away-apostasy-or-rapture/

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!!

Examine Your Foundation

I can’t impress upon you enough, how important it is to be sure you have a strong foundation!! Let me explain this foundation, and then I’ll tell you why.

  1. Be sure that you are born again–not just through faith, but also through REPENTANCE and confession.
  2. Be sure that you walk in OBEDIENCE.
  3. With the help of the Holy Spirit (that you CANNOT have until you complete step #1), study the word!!
  4. Discern false teachers and don’t waste your time.  Some say to ‘chew the meat and spit out the bones’.  I say: don’t waste your time!–you may CHOKE on a bone!  Instead, study the 100% pure, trustworthy word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Shut out the other voices so that you can hear HIS voice.
  5. Check EVERYTHING against the word of God.  When you hear a new idea, do NOT accept it until you have checked it out thoroughly.  Erosion is a powerful force.  One drop of water at a time is all it takes.  So it is with the deceptions that are now coming at us from every side.  They chew away at the foundations of your faith like little termites.  One core belief after another will be challenged, and stripped away if you allow it.

One other thing about false teaching: they play on your FEARS and on your PRIDE.  Two things they will use:

  1. ‘if you don’t believe THIS, you’ll end up in hell’ (fear)
  2. ‘the road is narrow and we/I have found it’ (pride).

Strong, hurricane force winds of false doctrine are beginning to blow.  Thoughts and doubts assail us, seemingly from within our own minds (but are actually ‘thought darts’ sent to us by the evil one).  Others are giving voice to these false teachings . . . even well reasoned arguments sometimes.  For those who have entertained the ‘thought darts’ in their own minds for awhile, hearing the same false doctrine from someone else is enough to convince them.

I am convinced that this is the work of hordes of demonic, seducing, lying spirits that have gone forth.  My (unfounded, unproven) OPINION, is that when people adopt these false doctrines, demons are attached.  I believe these demons then inspire and empower much of what the person says AND go forth and try to influence other people around them (through sending them ‘thought darts’).  I have wrangled with enough of these folks to recognize the demonic spirit that rises up, and becomes very ugly, when it is met with resistance or confronted with the word of God.

I am AMAZED at the things that are being said, by people who presumably once heard and accepted the truth!

Some now believe that Jesus is not God!  Others believe that if we don’t use some specific Hebrew name for God and Jesus, God will not listen to our prayers or humble repentance!

Others have even gone so far as to say that Jesus is a demonic, territorial spirit that has higher authority than others, and for that reason demons can be cast out in His name.  THIS is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  They may not realize that is what they are doing, but if they have not already consigned themselves to the pit of hell for saying such things, then they are dangling over the edge with a slippery rope! (This is tantamount to the Pharisees of accusing Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub  (Matt. 12:22-32).)

‘Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come.’  (Matt. 12:31-32)

After sitting under false teachings and/or entertaining these implanted thoughts for long enough, these horrendous lies now make sense to their rational mind.  But they are completely wrong!!  I can only suspect, since they PROFESS to be searching for truth, that they do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them.  This may very well be a result of spending years in a modern, American church listening to the false ‘all you have to do is believe’ (so-called) gospel that leaves out repentance.  I will say it again:  without repentance, you may be a ‘believer’, but you are not yet born again!

Please, be SURE your foundation is in order!  You absolutely MUST have the indwelling Holy Spirit in order to properly understand the word of God

‘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).

The only way you are going to have the Holy Spirit, is if you come to God humbly, in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

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)