Tag Archive: repentance


We All Sin Every Day . . . ???

Christians don’t ‘all sin every day’. When we repent of our sins and turn to Christ by faith, in sincerity, He gives us a new heart and we hate the sin we used to love. Not only that, He fills us with His Spirit, who gives us the power to wrestle with sin and be able to say ‘no’ to it.

Did you ever repent when you came to Christ? Did you ever confess your sins to God, ask Him to forgive you, and make up your mind to live the way He wants you to? No, you don’t have to answer to me. But, as a Christian, I have to ask.

It seems that the ‘churches’ today are so keen not to offend anyone that they don’t dare tell people they are sinners, and that they need to repent. But if we don’t repent, then we don’t receive the new heart I told you about, nor do we receive the Holy Spirit to help us stop sinning. God only gives those things (and eternal life) to those who are sincere in their commitment to turn away from sin and to obey Him. Just BELIEVING in God is not enough.

‘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.’ (Matt. 7:21)

‘And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and DO NOT the things which I say?

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, AND DOETH THEM, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

But he that heareth, AND DOETH NOT, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.’ (Luke 6:46-49)

Christians rarely sin on purpose, because when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us, He does not lead us into sin–and if we start to go astray, He will convict us (make us feel bad) to warn us. Sin separates us from God, and we do not WANT to sin, so when the Holy Spirit shows us we are doing something wrong, we repent and stop.

To sin in ways we do not know . . . sometimes we do. And the Holy Spirit sometimes overlooks those things for a time, and leads us to learn the truth about them. What we do after we learn the truth is important, because if we continue to do something that is wrong after He has taught us, and warned us not to, then that is a serious thing.

‘For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.’ (Heb. 10:26-27)

Those who are truly children of God are serious about not wanting to sin, and serious about learning how God expects us to live, and being obedient. We do not brush off warnings, and we do not stiffen our necks and go our own stubborn way.

I hope you will honestly examine yourself, your attitudes, and how you came to Christ. If you have not truly repented, it would be a tragedy for you not to realize you aren’t really a Christian until you are standing before the Lord on Judgment Day. I urge you to make things right today.

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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.

‘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!!

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)

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.

What Must We Do To Be Saved?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

I believe this sets the pattern for the true gospel:

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

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

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

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

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)