Tag Archive: Jesus Christ


Romans (#1)

I didn’t sleep too well last night, because what I studied in Romans yesterday was starting to come together.  It began with a short dream–a dream where I was indulging my flesh, and enjoying pleasant feelings.  From there, the Holy Spirit lead me on a trail of understanding, bringing different scriptures to my remembrance.  Here is how it went.

Our physical bodies are under ‘the Law of Sin and Death’  (Romans 8:2).  What this law is, is not clearly defined in Scripture.  However, from what the Bible teaches, I think it can be summarized thus:  we are born with a ‘sin nature’ or ‘sin tendency’ in our physical body.  If we allow ourselves to decide how we will behave based on what our BODY tells us would be best (through its cravings, passions, and desires), it will automatically lead us into sin.  This sin brings forth death.  Our bodies are programmed to sin and die.  (This is a result of Adam’s willful sin.)

From the time of Adam and Eve, people have sinned.  But sin was not laid to people’s account until The Law was instituted.  The Law is holy and right, and instructs us as to what is pleasing and acceptable to God, and what is not.  The Law makes us aware of our sinfulness, and the need to ask forgiveness of God and choose to walk on the right path.  However, the Law also has another effect: it increases sin (Rom. 5:20, 7:8; 1 Cor. 15:56)  For some reason, when the Law is present, sin is empowered.  (I don’t understand this completely yet.  It may be because sin is rooted in rebellion.)

However, where sin abounded grace did much more abound.  God Himself (Jesus) came, in sin-prone human flesh, to defeat sin and set us free from the Law of Sin and Death (Romans 8:2-3).  Because of His acceptable sacrifice, the Father has pardoned our past sins.  Because of His death, He REDEEMED us–bought us–from our master (sin), that we might now become HIS servants.

Man is not born a sinner–but he IS born a POTENTIAL sinner . . . a human being in a fleshly body that operates under the Law of Sin and Death.  And all of us have inherited bodies that die–this as the result of Adam’s sin.  When WE sin, we die spiritually.  When WE sin, we become slaves to sin, and sin becomes our master.  When WE sin, we are cut off from our spiritual inheritance in the Kingdom of God.  In this condition, there is NO WAY that we can ever rise above, or master sin.  Being spiritually dead, it follows that the only life in us is our CARNAL, fleshly life.  We have no other choice in that condition, than to follow the desires of our flesh, which produces rotten fruit and ends in death.

But out of this hopeless situation, God offers us hope through Jesus Christ.  Through REPENTANCE and FAITH in Christ, we are able to be born spiritually of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23).  Through a commitment to die to our old nature . . . to no longer submit to the desires of our flesh . . . and through faith in Jesus Christ . . . we can be born again, a new and better creation that is not subject to the Law of Sin and Death.  We can indeed then rise above and master sin.

What teaching is being neglected today, for the most part, is that we now have CHOICE.  Every day, in every situation, we must choose which part of us will lead–our living spirit man, led by the Holy Spirit, or the passions and lusts of our physical body.  If our repentance was true, the choice has already been made.

‘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)

If you yield yourself to obey the flesh, you become a servant again to sin, and put yourself back under the Law of Sin and Death.  You will surely die.  What a waste, to have been born again and obtained a new nature, and then to choose to sell yourself as a servant to sin again!

We must now choose to live by the Spirit (in obedience to God’s Commandments and His word).  We  must RECKON (count) ourselves as dead to sin (Rom. 6:11) . . . we must MORTIFY the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13, Col. 3:5).  We must set our affections on things above, not things on the Earth (Col. 3:2) . . . and count ourselves alive unto God (Rom. 6:11).  We must make choices that honor God and nourish our spirit man.  There will always be a struggle, as long as our new spirit man is bound inside a fleshly body (as Romans 7:7-25 explains).  But God has given us ALL things necessary for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and has placed His Spirit inside us, to teach us and empower us to have mastery over our flesh.

Romans 8:1-13 outlines the choice . . . what are the consequences of living according to the flesh, and what are the consequences of living according to the Spirit.  We must understand: ANYONE (regardless of whether or not they profess faith in Jesus Christ) who lives by the flesh is under the Law of Sin and Death.  But we, who are dead to sin and alive in Christ, must not live in sin any longer.  Romans 6 explains this more fully.

I hope this note has been helpful, and that you will take the time to read Romans chapters 6-8 and, hopefully, have a clearer understanding of what Paul is saying.

‘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.’  (Col. 3:1-3)

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Many preTrib Rapture teachers have TERRIFIED Christians with horrible descriptions of what they believe things will be like during the Tribulation. They paint a picture of a desolate, hopeless existence where God has withdrawn His Spirit from the Earth and any who come to Him are pretty much left to fend for themselves.

Nothing could be further from the truth! God is a loving Father and He will not abandon us in our hour of greatest need.

‘ . . . lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Jesus, Matt. 28:20)

‘The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.’ (Psalms 34:22)

‘But the salvation of the righteous [is] of the LORD: [he is] their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.’ (Psalms 37:39-40)

‘And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the PEOPLE THAT DO KNOW THEIR GOD shall be strong, and do [exploits].’ (Daniel 11:32)

‘The LORD [is] good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.’ (Nahum 1:7)

Most of those that preach a (false) preTrib Rapture do not understand the wickedness they do. Not only do they create false hope in an escape from tribulation, which is contrary to God’s will . . .

‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (Jesus, John 16:33)

‘I pray NOT THAT THOU SHOULDEST TAKE THEM OUT OF THE WORLD, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.’ (Jesus, John 17:15)

. . . but these false teachers create terror and a certainty of being abandoned by God, for those who find themselves still here during the Tribulation. Because of their false teachings, MANY will despair and fall away from the faith.

Please understand their teachings are false, and take heart:

‘ . . . and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.’ (Proverbs 18:24)

‘ . . . for he hath said, I WILL NEVER LEAVE THEE, NOR FORSAKE THEE.’ (Hebrews 13:15)

The Gift Of Eternal Life

To be a Christian is to acknowledge that there is ONE supreme God, who is the Creator of all things. It is to choose to submit to HIS rules, and learn HIS ways. As we learn about His rules, we come to see that we have broken them. Because we have broken them, we cannot have a part in His Kingdom. BUT . . . a way has been made, for those who are sincere about following in His ways.

‘Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead*.’ (Acts 17:22-31)

* This is speaking about Jesus Christ

This supreme God, sent His ONLY begotten son, into the world. When Jesus came, He taught us to uphold God’s laws, and that love is the spirit behind all of God’s laws. If we will truly love God more than anything, and love our neighbor as ourselves, we will be living in harmony with his Law.

However, there is still the problem of our past sins. Once you began to sin, you broke your connection to God. There is only ONE way to renew the connection to God that was broken when you first broke His Law. And here is the way He made . . . Jesus Christ, being both man (by His mother) and God (by His Father [God]), lived a PERFECT life. Because He was perfect, He was able to pay the penalty for OUR sins, so that we could be reconciled to the Father God.

The Bible tells us EVERYONE sins that is not born again of God. Therefore, telling you that you are a sinner is not me making a judgment against you. It is simply stating a fact.  EVERYONE eventually sins. Sin is breaking God’s Law.

God’s Law says that we must not lie. Have you EVER, even once, told a lie–even a small one?

God’s Law says we must not steal. Have you EVER stolen anything (even a pencil)?

God’s Law says we must have no other gods before Him . . . and that we must never make or worship an idol, or other god. Have you EVER done that?

God’s Law says we must not desire things that belong to someone else. Have you EVER done that?

God’s Law says to honor your mother and father. Have you ALWAYS done that? ALWAYS been respectful? ALWAYS obeyed them?

God’s Law says that we are to worship God on the seventh day of the week, and do no unnecessary work that day. Have you kept this law of the ‘Sabbath’?

(There are other laws too . . . to not murder, to not commit adultery, to not take His name in vain.)

The Father has determined that Jesus is the ONLY way that we can be reconciled to Him, because Jesus is the only one who has ever been worthy to pay the price for our sins.  You can never be connected to God again, unless you come to Him in humility and repentance, through belief in Jesus Christ. Otherwise, you are eternally separated from Him by your sins.

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. . . Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. . . I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved . . . ‘ (Jesus, John 10:1,7,9)

‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (Jesus, John 14:6)

‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12)

In order for His payment to cover your sins, you have to come to God, in humility, asking forgiveness for your sins (times you’ve broken His Law). You must believe that Jesus paid the price for your sins, having died for them. Then you must commit yourself to live according to HIS ways . . . to have communion with Him through prayer . . . to be transformed to become like Him, through reading His Word (the Bible) . . . and not to be a ‘hearer’ only, but a ‘doer’ of His Word.

You must understand, that if you later turn away from doing His way, then it was all in vain.  If you stumble, He will pick you up and forgive you if you repent, but you must not turn back to a life of sin. The commitment to walk in His ways must be a lifelong commitment, because it is not until we have ‘endured to the end’ that we can say ‘I am saved’.

As someone recently told me: ‘I know many devoted Christian people who preach about God and try to convert everyone, yet they sin so much it’s unbelievable.  I bet they ask Jesus to forgive them for their sins daily just because Jesus said he will. They are the ones that happen to do drugs, gossip, lie, etc.  I know many of them and it’s pathetic really, because they stand there and preach as if they are so holy.’

This is something I CONSTANTLY address. These people may THINK they are Christians, but they aren’t, because they’ve apparently never repented. Without repentance, you (anyone) can’t become a Christian. And we aren’t to use (abuse) the grace (and forgiveness) of God, as a license for sin.

‘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)

‘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)

‘If ye love me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.’ (Jesus, John 14:15)

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

This may sound really difficult, but if you are sincere in the commitment you make to God, you will receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will give you the power to live a holy life.  The Holy Spirit will teach you, and guide you into righteousness.  As long as you will submit to the inner leading of the Holy Spirit, you’ll do fine.  If you stumble, the Holy Spirit will show you, and lead you to repent.  The difficult part, truth be told, is having the will to turn away from sin.  But if you have truly experienced a godly sorrow over your sins, and sincerely repented . . . if you understand how close you were to eternal punishment . . . if you realize the tremendous gift that Jesus Christ has given you, and what it cost Him . . . if you can comprehend the awesomeness of having a second chance . . . you WILL have the will to turn away from sin.  You will hate sin and realize it is your mortal enemy.  You will want nothing more to do with it.

As someone else recently said:  ‘[Becoming a Christian] doesn’t instantly make someone perfect. It takes a lot of work on God’s part to refine you and convict you of sin, so it doesn’t go away instantly. That is a common misconception.’

I agree, but only in part.  And let me explain why:  I believe IF preachers would tell the truth, then church goers would realize that they need to turn AWAY from sin when they become Christians. If they realized that, some would decide not to become Christians. And those who did would turn from sin.

It takes a lot of work on God’s part, because He works on them all week long, then when they meet on Sundays, they’re told rubbish like ‘we all sin every day’ and other lies that make it sound like it’s not our responsibility to stop sinning . . . like somehow, someday, God is magically going to do the work for us! And, without reading their own Bibles many of them believe this, because it’s what they want to hear. Then when someone comes along and tells them the truth, and uses the Bible to show them, they get angry!!

But that’s ok.  It just helps us to sort out the true Christians from the pseudo Christians who haven’t ever been truly converted.  True Christians seek to know what pleases God, so that they can live that way.  They are meek and humble when corrected.  They have the gentle temperament of sheep.

Pseudo Christians, on the other hand, argue, rationalize, and justify.  They aren’t interested in doing God’s will.  They stubbornly cling to their ‘right’ to do their own will.  They spend more time in the Word looking for verses that seem to provide loopholes, than reading it to be transformed.  Pseudo Christians have the contrary temperament of goats.

‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 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 3:1-10)

Here is a question for ALL of us:

Did you go through an experience of godly sorrow and repentance when you accepted Jesus Christ?

A false ‘gospel’ is being preached these days that omits this vital step, so MANY people would honestly have to answer ‘no’ to that question. But without repentance, there is no forgiveness. Without repentance and forgiveness, a person is not a converted Christian yet. A new heart, and the Holy Spirit are only given to CONVERTED (penitent) Christians.

WITH the Holy Spirit, this promise is yours:

‘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)

But if you have never gone through the process of repentance, you will not have the Holy Spirit yet . . . you will still be a ‘natural man’, not yet born of the Spirit . . . and this verse will be true of you:

‘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 Corinthian 2:14)

So, attempting to discuss Scripture or doctrine with someone who had not been completely converted would be a waste of time. Urging such a person to pray for insight into the Scriptures would also be a waste of time. Thus my question to you:

Did you go through an experience of godly sorrow and repentance when you accepted Jesus Christ?

‘Also on the tenth [day] of this seventh month [there shall be] a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict* your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.  And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it [is] a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

For whatsoever soul [it be] that shall not be afflicted* in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

And whatsoever soul [it be] that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

Ye shall do no manner of work: [it shall be] a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  It [shall be] unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict* your souls: in the ninth [day] of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.’

(Leviticus 23:27-32)

*afflict oneself = to humble oneself

In the midst of the description of the Lord’s feasts, is the description of the Day of Atonement.  Interestingly, this day carried warnings that the other feast days didn’t:

‘For whatsoever soul [it be] that shall not be afflicted* in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

And whatsoever soul [it be] that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.’  (Lev. 23:29-30)

This ties in with Paul taught:

‘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)

The Day of Atonement foreshadows the salvation that comes to us, by Jesus Christ. As this passage shows, we are to come to God on bended knee–not proudly, with our head held high.  We do not come to God by being ‘good enough’.  Our own works could never save us. We have no right to come to Him, believing in our own goodness.  It is only when we are afflicted . . . humbled by the weight of our sins . . . that we are able to come to Him with the right attitude.

The idea that all we have to do is believe in Jesus and we’re saved, is missing the most important things:  humility and repentance!

The predominant theme among ‘Christian’ evangelism today: that we are good, and God was lonely and made us for companionship, and that He’s totally accepting of us just the way we are, is baloney!  God loves us, not because of any goodness we have, but because His goodness surpasses understanding.  Nevertheless, He requires that we approach Him with the right attitude.

As these verses foreshadow, all those who do not approach Him in humility and repentance will be cut off.  Likewise, he who trusts in his own works to justify him with God, will find himself cut off.

Some say that we don’t need to worry about things, because God is in control.  Is that true?  Ultimately . . . and universally . . . and EVENTUALLY here on Earth, yes.  But not presently.  The Bible itself tells us:

“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)

Also

“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.”  (Luke 4:5-6)

In the beginning, God gave dominion over all the Earth to Adam and Eve. (Genesis 1:26) But when they sinned, they forfeited that dominion to Satan.

It changes everything, when you understand that Satan has legal  dominion.  He has the legal authority to do as he wishes with the Earth, and everything and everyone in it . . . EXCEPT those who belong to God.  He can do no more with us, than what God allows.  God has created special rules and boundaries for us, to ensure our protection and provision, while we are ‘in enemy territory’ (on this Earth).

People blame God when bad things happen.  No!  Blame the god of this world, because it is under his dominion.

We, the people who belong to God, are rebel fighters here. We are here for a reason!  Our kingdom is not of this world!   We are participating in the ultimate coup.  We are rebelling against the rules and structure that Satan is putting in place.  We defy his authority over us.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”  (Matthew 11:12 KJV)

Another translation makes it clearer:

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”

Daniel 7 tells of the destruction of the Antichrist’s kingdom–the pinnacle of Satan’s efforts on Earth–and the initiation of the heavenly kingdom of Jesus Christ, on Earth:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.”  (Daniel 7:13-14)

and again

” . . . And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”  (Daniel 7:26-27)

This is also prophesied, differently, in Daniel 2:44:

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

Also in Revelation 11, at the seventh trumpet:

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God,  Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

(Other translations clarify the tense:

“. . . because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” )

We have been given access to great spiritual weapons and power to use in this fight–but rather than use them, many have sought to blend in . . . to find their place here . . . to hide amongst the natives.  Others attempt to use the power for their own selfish desires.

The hour is late.  It is time for sleeping Christians to wake up, to put on the armor of God, to rise up and defeat the powers of darkness, through obedience to our Lord!

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. ”  (Daniel 12:1-3)

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. ”  (Revelation 12:11)

“[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk NOT after the flesh, but after the SPIRIT.” (Romans 8:1)

” . . . Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his FAITH is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3-5)

“Knowing that a man is not JUSTIFIED by the works of the law, but by the FAITH of Jesus Christ. . . for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

“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.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith BY my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 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. . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith WITHOUT works is dead also.” (from James 2)

If we must work for our salvation, then God would owe it to us if we did a good job. However, we are NOT justified by the works of the LAW, for none of us is capable of perfectly keeping the law!

What hope of salvation have we then? We can be justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

There is a difference between belief and faith. Belief is a declaration that we agree that something is real or true. But faith, genuine living faith, is the guiding force of our life.

All the actions and decisions of our life spring not from what we believe, but what we believe IN (in other words, from our faith)! Our works, the way we live our life, will testify as to our faith. If our life reveals that we had our faith in God, then that faith will justify us.

‘Abraham believed God’ . . . in other words, Abraham lived a life of obedience to God–and not because he feared the LAW, but because he revered and had faith in the character of GOD.

This faith, in the character and promises of God, was counted to Abraham as righteousness . . . in spite of the fact that he, himself, was neither completely righteous nor perfect.

And here is how we can examine our own hearts:

Do we place our faith in the LAW . . . because we believe IT has the power to determine whether we should be condemned or justified? Is it the LAW that we fear and respect? Do we strive to know the LAW and obey IT completely? Is it the requirements of the LAW that we meditate on? Is it the LAW that we hold dear in our hearts? Is it the LAW that we judge ourselves by?

Or, do we place our faith in GOD, because HE is greater than the law? Do we realize that we can never completely, perfectly fulfill the law ? Do we realize that, even after doing all that we can, we still fall short of attaining the perfection that could justify us, under the law? Do we know that it is only the grace of GOD and the sacrifice of JESUS CHRIST that CAN fulfill the righteous requirements of the law? Do we trust in HIM to bridge that gap for us, when we come to the end of our righteousness and still fall short?

Is it JESUS CHRIST whom we place our faith in? Is it GOD whom we fear and respect? Is it GOD we strive to know and obey? Is it the requirements of GOD that we meditate on? Is it GOD whom we hold dear in our hearts?

We all have faith in something. Our faith gives birth to actions (works). Will our works demonstrate a faith that can justify us?

Other people may have a hard time discerning the difference between works done to please the law and works that spring from faith in God, but God knows the difference!

I am posting the comment below (submitted in response to:  ‘Christians, Vampires, and Dragons’) because it summarizes a lot of false beliefs that are popular these days.

Submitted by krakowski@live.com on 2011/03/04 at 10:47 pm

“No mortal man should know the name and will of god. As mortals, we have no right to deem what is suitable for all. Only god will deem each man and woman worthy of heaven.

So many have redone the bible, ripped out sections and tried to adapt it to themselves.

Salvation is found in the true belief and love of god, however you choose to find god. True faith is found in the love and acceptance of all people, as jesus christ taught the masses.

To do other is to do evil.

To believe any mortal knows the will of god is arrogance. To pretend to know it is a blasphemy all it’s own. God never speaks or comes through mortal man.

The words of a page are written by man. The words of faith are written by man. Only a true believer will know god, not by written words or coersion. Only true faith will lead each to god.

To have the love of christ, to share it with others, is to not judge–to accept, love and nurture each as who they are. Jesus Christ didn’t demand his followers to be different. He merely helped them be better people. He nurtured, guided and loved.

How can anyone, as followers of Christ, do less?”

 

When a person has too much pride in himself, he will be offended at the nature of God.

  • If a man prides himself on being ‘tolerant’, he will be offended that God appears to be intolerant.
  • If a man prides himself on being nonjudgmental, he will be offended to learn that God judges.
  • If a man prides himself on being kind, he will be offended at actions of God that he deems to be unkind.
  • If a man is exceedingly proud, he will be offended at any indication that God can be humble.

When man is prideful, he will be offended at the nature of God.  Then, he will set about to create a god in his own image–a god that reflects and protects his prejudices and beliefs . . . a god that excuses his weaknesses and justifies his behavior.  The gods that men create are gods that rubber stamp their beliefs and behaviors.

The ‘tolerant’ man will create a tolerant god, the nonjudgmental man will create a god that does not judge, the kind man will create a god who seems to be very kind, the exceedingly prideful man will create a god who is exceedingly arrogant, etc.

The god a man creates is a window into the man’s soul.

It usually turns out, however, that these ‘nonjudgmental’ gods appear to be quite judgmental towards others who don’t believe in them.  These ‘tolerant’ gods are quite intolerant of those who believe in Jehovah-God.  The kind gods are quite hostile towards those who follow the one, true God.

If your god is truly so tolerant, nonjudgmental, and kind . . . then lets see that reflected in your attitude, throughout the course of your life, towards EVERYONE–including those of us who follow Jehovah (because we surely do not serve the same God!)

And that is the crux of the matter–we do not serve the same God!

My God is not ‘tolerant’.  He is not nonjudgmental.  Nor is He always kind (according to the standards of man) in the short term.  He is a God of black and white . . . truth vs. lies . . . light vs. darkness . . . good vs. evil.  In fact, my God is SO judgmental that He will not just judge men by their actions–but by the intent of their heart!

It just happens that Jehovah/God does not fit  with the current picture of what is culturally acceptable!!

What absurd arrogance, to believe that our grand life experience (all of 120 years or less) qualifies us to know what nature God must have to equip him to rule the entire universe through all the ages!  How short sighted man is!

When men creates gods, they are gods that are relevant to their times and prejudices.  But, how will their god hold up when times and conditions change?  How can their god be fair and equitable, truly kind, righteous, and good, if everything and everyone is tolerated, and no one is ever judged?

What does their weak, ineffective god do or say when some pedophile kidnaps their little daughter, then rapes, tortures and kills her?  Is he tolerant of the pedophile?  Surely their tolerant, nonjudgmental god cannot judge him!  And if that pedophile commits suicide to avoid capture–will he be judged in the hereafter?  Who knows?  According to you,

‘As mortals, we have no right to deem what is suitable for all. Only god will deem each man and woman worthy of heaven.’

How great, and good, and just would you now believe your god to be if he decided not to judge that man?  If there was never justice or recompense for loss?

Or, what if he does judge that man?  Then we have to feel sorry for him, in a way, because (according to you)

‘To believe any mortal knows the will of god is arrogance. To pretend to know it is a blasphemy all it’s own. God never speaks or comes through mortal man.’

How could a pedophile, kidnapper, or murderer know that what he was doing was wrong . . . if man cannot know the will of your god?  If your god does not communicate with man?  Perhaps such actions felt perfectly suitable to him–why should he be judged for doing what ‘came naturally’ to him, if others are not judged by the same standard?

Your ‘god’ is  full of holes.  Have you really taken the time to think this through?

Now let me answer some of your other points . . . based on what I DO know of the nature and will of God–Jehovah.

“True faith is found in the love and acceptance of all people, as jesus christ taught the masses.”

Jesus never equated ‘true faith’ with loving and accepting all people.  Nor did he accept the behavior of all people. He was clearly displeased with the Sanhedrin and the moneychangers.

Maybe you should go back and read a little more about Jesus–you can find the chronicles of his ministry in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Also, much is taught about Him, by the apostles, in the books of Acts, Romans, and Hebrews.

“To do other is to do evil.”

Your opinion and definition.

“To have the love of christ, to share it with others, is to not judge–to accept, love and nurture each as who they are.”

Are we talking about the same Jesus?  God, come to Earth as man . . . born in the flesh, of a virgin . . . lived a perfect life . . . had neither wife nor kids . . . ministered for three and a half years . . . was crucified . . . died . . . then rose again on the third day . . .?

Those of us who believe in THIS Jesus are each called first to REPENT, then to turn from our wickedness, and to follow Him!

Jesus says that if we love Him, we must obey His commands.  He also explained that He is God, and His commands are the spirit of the ten commandments.  If we are loving/obeying Him, we will be living in harmony with the ten commandments.

‘nurture each other as ‘who they are’–no, we are called to correct, rebuke, and encourage each other.  Two of those three terms signify a confrontation of another’s behavior.  According to your jesus, we would only need to encourage one another.

Jesus Christ didn’t demand his followers to be different. He merely helped them be better people. He nurtured, guided and loved.

How can anyone, as followers of Christ, do less?”

Did He demand? No.  Did He teach them to be different?  Yes.  He urged them to understand the spirit of the Law, and to do ‘above and beyond’ what it required of them.

Following Jesus is a free-will choice.  It is not demanded of anyone.  But if one follows Him, then they must submit to His ways.

“Salvation is found in the true belief and love of god, however you choose to find god.”

Excuse me?  You create a god that you can truly love and believe in–then that leads to your salvation . . . How exactly do you define salvation? And what do you  need salvation from, if your jesus just loves and accepts everything about you, as you are  now?

God, through His Word, the Bible, teaches that we need salvation from our SINS.  Which means that everything is NOT tolerable and acceptable.  It means that we are NOT already ok, and just in need of love and acceptance,  nurture and guidance.

The heart of man is sinful and that sinful nature will give birth to acts of sin.  Sinful acts require judgment, from a righteous God.  We need salvation from ourselves–but your religion deifies your self!

“The words of a page are written by man. The words of faith are written by man.”

Yeah, yeah.  Over forty authors, writing over a period of about 2,000 years . . . a multitude of prophecies fulfilled, etc.  . . . just coincidence . . . merely the work of men . . . blah, blah, blah . . . whatever.

“So many have redone the bible, ripped out sections and tried to adapt it to themselves.”

Sadly, it seems this is what you are doing.  Your ‘understanding’ surely has not taken into consideration the entirety of Scripture.  The little bit of what you say that actually seems to have some small relation to the Bible, pertains to Jesus.  Yet even there, I see no indication that you have actually read any of it.  The little bit of what you say about Jesus is the sort of thing one picks up from listening to others’ opinions.

“No mortal man should know the name and will of god.”

No mortal man should know his name–what caused you to develop such a strange opinion?

And how can your god hold men accountable for their actions if they don’t know his will– oh wait, he doesn’t judge does he?  So . . .  we should all just do what seems best to us, and if he likes us we’ll get to go to heaven?

How do you know that what you think is good is the same as what your god thinks is good?  What if your god loves the ways of pedophiles, kidnappers, murderers and thieves–and you aren’t one?

But, here is the conclusion of the matter:

“Only a true believer will know god, not by written words or coercion. Only true faith will lead each to god.”

The god that you talk about is a god that you have created for yourself–and your god is a projection of your own prideful beliefs about yourself.

That pride is what you call ‘true faith’.  But, you are right that your ‘true faith’ (your pride) will lead you to your god, because:

You ARE your god!