Tag Archive: salvation


The Lawless Ones

Some of us wonder why so many who claim to be Christians can’t seem to receive the truth.  We show them what the Bible says, yet they reject it and continue to do as they please.  It’s because they are the ‘lawless ones’, who are not obedient to God.  Maybe this passage will make it plainer:

 

‘And you Daniel obstruct the words, and set a seal upon the scroll until the time of completion! until many should be taught and the knowledge be multiplied.

 

And I beheld, I Daniel, and behold two others stood, one here on this bank of the river, and one here on the other bank of the river.  And they said to the man being clothed with the linen clothes, who was upon the water of the river, until when will be the end of which you have spoken of the wonders?

 

And I heard the man, of the one being clothed with the linen clothes, who was upon the water of the river.  And he raised up high his right hand, and his left unto the heaven.  And he swore an oath to the one living into the eon, that for a time and times and half a time, in the completing the dispersing  hand of people having been sanctified, they shall know all these things.

 

And I heard, and I perceived not.  And I said, O lord, what of these last things?

 

And he said, Go Daniel! for the words are obstructed and sealed until end time. ** Many shall be chosen and whitened and purified by fire and sanctified.  And the lawless ones shall act lawlessly, and all the lawless ones* shall not perceive, but the intelligent shall perceive. **’  (Dan. 12:4-10, Apostolic Bible Polyglot (from the Septuagint))

 

* lawless ones = ‘anomoi’: lawless ones

 

‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity*.’  (Matt. 7:22-23)

 

* iniquity = ‘anomia’: lawlessness

 

Casting out demons and doing wonderful works is not lawlessness.  This passage describes people who did BOTH (good works AND lawlessness).  They professed to love Jesus, and did many things in His name–yet they persisted in living a sinful (lawless) life.  (Sadly, this is very prevalent in modern American ‘Christianity’.) Their sinful life was proof that they did not have a relationship with Jesus, and He ends up rejecting them.

 

(‘A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’  (Matt. 7:18-20))

 

‘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)

 

Deception is coming, and it is tailor-made.  But for whom?

 

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

 

God’s judgment upon those who  have pleasure in unrighteousness, and don’t love or believe the truth, is to send them a strong delusion SO THAT they will believe the lie (of the Son of Perdition) and be (eternally) damned.  They WILL be deceived, in the end-times.

 

Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.  To reject the TRUTH of God’s word is a very serious matter to God.  God says that we reap what we sow.  How fitting a punishment is this (to be sent a strong delusion), for those who reject the truth?

 

‘I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.’  (Is. 66:4)

 

The dividing line between those who aren’t deceived and those who are, is going to be whether they love and believe the truth, and whether they are obedient to God’s commandments.

 

‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’  (Rev. 14:12)

 

Sadly, some of you who  are reading this may be totally convinced that you are ‘saved’ and not deceived (some of you even think you are ‘Once Saved Always Saved’ and that it is impossible for you to be deceived, simply because you ‘believe’ that Jesus died for your sins and you said a ‘Sinners’ Prayer’).  Yet you are living in willful, unrepentant sin!

 

If you are not keeping God’s Commandments, you are ‘lawless’.  And if you are lawless, you will first be deceived, and then you will believe The Lie that is coming, and then you will be eternally damned–and all the while, you will think everything is perfectly fine!  This is what God’s word says. The stakes have never been higher.  If you are living in sin, REPENT–PLEASE!!

 

(This is not condemnation.  It is a warning, because I hate that so many people have been deceived by the modern (false) American ‘gospel’.  I hope and pray that you will repent, and not be one of the multitude of perplexed and horrified people that Jesus tells: ‘Depart from me’!)

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‘But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be CORRUPTED FROM the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.’  (2 Cor. 11:3)

 

There are those who would lay a heavy yoke upon you.

 

‘ . . . why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, >> which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?’  (Acts 15:10)

 

That yoke is The Law–the 600+ ordinances of the Mosaic Law.  Keeping The Law was NOT what Jesus had planned for us when He said:

 

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

 

No one in their right mind can argue that the Mosaic Law is either EASY or a LIGHT BURDEN–especially for Gentiles who were not raised in it.

 

‘For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are NOT GRIEVOUS.’  (1 John 5:3)

 

This verse cannot then, be talking about the Mosaic (Old Testament) Law.  We have a further clue here–the verse says that we are to keep His COMMANDMENTS.  Is it possible that there is a difference between The Commandments vs. The Law?

 

What are the Commandments?  Jesus gave us a partial rundown, in order to clarify that question:

 

‘. . .  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

 

He saith unto him, Which?

 

Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’  (Matt. 19:17-19)

 

We are also clearly told:

 

‘For Christ is the END OF THE LAW for righteousness to every one that believeth.’  (Rom. 10:4)

 

‘Having ABOLISHED in his flesh the enmity, >> even the law of commandments contained in ordinances . . . ‘ (Eph. 2:15)

 

‘I do not frustrate the grace of God: for >> if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.’  (Gal. 2:21)

 

Something was abolished, and something was reaffirmed.  Two different things.  The COMMANDMENTS were reaffirmed (do a search of ‘keep commandments’), and the LAW was abolished, for those who are in Christ.

 

Acts 15 clearly shows the resolution of this question.  There is no room for dispute.  The matter was already settled by the council of Apostles in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago:  GENTILES ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.

 

Now some of you think that you might like to keep The Law by choice, as an extra measure, in order to be more pleasing to God.  But it is not the keeping of The Law that pleases God–it is FAITH that pleases Him.

 

‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’  (Heb.  11:6)

 

Furthermore, there is at least one very good reason not to go under the Law:

 

‘ . . . as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them.’  (Gal. 3:10)

 

You cannot go under The Law half way.  Either you fulfill it perfectly . . . or you are cursed.

 

‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law . . . ‘  (Gal. 3:13)

 

Our only salvation . . . our only hope or means of justification . . . is Jesus.  To go under The Law is to ‘walk according to the flesh’.  (To walk after the flesh does not only mean to live a life of sensual debauchery . . . it can also mean to live a life of stern discipline and legalism.)

 

The difference between walking after the flesh and walking after the Spirit is in:

 

1.  Who we submit to (The Living Spirit of God vs. the letter of written ordinances).

 

‘ . . . the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’  (2 Cor. 3:6)

 

2.  Who/what our focus is on (the keeping of complex ordinances vs. the Lord Himself)

 

 

We  need not fear being displeasing to God, if we  have repented of our sins, trusted in Him by faith, and follow the leading of His Spirit daily.

 

 

So many Christians are craving something more . . . a deeper walk with God than what they are seeing in the ‘churches’ today.  It may be that all they are lacking is a true conversion experience.  These ‘churches’ no longer preach repentance.  They are making a lot of ‘believers’ in THEIR version of ‘Jesus’–but they are no longer making true converts or disciples of Christ.

 

Being a ‘new creation in Christ’ begins with repentance and trust in Jesus.  Walking in Christ is to continue in obedience until the end.  Anything less is not a true conversion, and will bear no lasting fruit or hope of eternal life.

 

If you are not seeing the fruit you desire . . . or not experiencing the transformation you expected . . . examine your foundation.  Have you been converted via faith in Jesus AND repentance?  Do you walk in obedience to God’s Commandments?

 

It really is true that you reap what you sow.  You will get about as much out of your relationship with God as you put into it.  Surrender yourself completely and you will never be disappointed!

 

https://dontbefooled666.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/the-difference-between-the-commandments-and-the-law/

You MUST Forgive!!

WARNING!! DANGER!!

‘But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ (Matt. 6:15)

‘And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’ (Matt. 18:34-35)

There is no ‘wiggle room’ here. Jesus was giving us a very literal warning.

Friends, if your neighbor comes banging on your door at 2 am and tells you your house is on fire, you don’t simply respond ‘Thank you. I believe in you!’ and then go back to bed. No! You pull your sleeping family from their beds and drag them out the door!

Likewise, faith in Jesus is much more than just believing that He existed, died, and rose again. Believing in Jesus means believing in His WORDS–AND OBEYING THEM!!

There are no options and compromises allowed here–we MUST forgive others, else we forfeit OUR hope of being forgiven and saved.

[There is NO magic incantation (‘Sinner’s Prayer’) you can say that will enclose you in a protective bubble and transport you to the end of your life unscathed. We must walk (and perhaps even crawl at times) along that ‘narrow path’ until we reach our destination. There are trials and temptations all along the way. We must walk IN THE SPIRIT (obedience to God) in order to overcome them.]

I truly believe that God is testing and preparing His people now. I am not perfect, but I am not a person given to holding grudges. However, in the last few weeks, God has been bringing people to my constant remembrance who I have had even the slightest little thing against in years long past. He is urging me to be sure that I have completely forgiven them, from my heart.

Friend, if you are harboring a grudge against anyone, you are walking in the flesh, not the Spirit. This will be a great detriment to you–perhaps even hindering your prayers.

God HATES hypocrisy. To claim to be forgiven, while we refuse to forgive someone else, is a grand form of hypocrisy. It shows that we do not understand the mercy and forgiveness of God. His forgiveness comes, not because of any worthiness on our part, but because of His great love. So likewise, His Spirit living within us will lead us to pour out that same great love on others, by forgiving them–even when they are unworthy.

We MUST walk in the Spirit to reach our destination.

‘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)

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)

Tug-Of-War

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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