Tag Archive: sin


Those Who Approve

If you approve of abortion or homosexuality, or any other sin, in spite of KNOWING what the Bible says about it, then you are not a Christian. Don’t deceive yourself!

‘Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but -have pleasure in-* them that do them.’ (Romans 1:32)

* Strong’s G4909: syneudokew

1) to be pleased together with, to approve together (with others)

2) to be pleased at the same time with, consent, agree to

…a) to applaud

Your approval of such things reveals that you have been given over to a ‘reprobate mind’ (Romans 1:28). To have been given over to a reprobate mind reveals that you are under God’s judgment. For what? The Bible says it is because you ‘did not like to retain God in [your] knowledge’.

‘Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools’ (Romans 1:19-22)

But that is just the beginning of judgment. Your approval of sin reveals your reprobate mind, which is a sign that the wrath of God is being poured out on you already:

‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, WHO HOLD THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS’ (Romans 1:18)

‘But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

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 2:5-9)

Therefore,

‘ . . . 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 2:38-39)

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.

Here is another test, to see what spirit/Spirit is at work in a church: do they show preference to those of wealth and worldly status over those who lack? Are they given more responsibilities and privileges? Are they given more respect and honor?

‘My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor.

Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin . . . ‘ (James 2:1-9)

Any preacher who schools you in how to have your ‘best life now’ and attract wealth and success is teaching you to WALK IN THE FLESH. If you want to take lessons from him, you will be submitting yourself to the Law of Sin and Death.

[‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.’ (Prov. 14:12)

That ‘way that seemeth right’ is walking in the flesh–doing what your own heart, instincts, desires, and human reasoning tell you is right.]

The first sin he will teach you to engage in is covetousness, which is idolatry (Col. 3:5). Witchcraft/New Age Religion calls this ‘the Law of Attraction’. He will probably tell you it’s ‘positive thinking’ or ‘visualization’.

In other words, idolatry is required, to ‘have your best life now’. I bet you didn’t see THAT in the fine print.

Is it really worth it? Just how much are YOU willing to sacrifice, to have your ‘best life now’?

‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ (Mark 8:36)

‘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!!

Righteousness by The Flesh?

Many believers, in an attempt to draw closer to God, have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ (Old Testament Law) and are following the Hebrew Roots movement.  But this is not pleasing to God.  Keeping The Law is, and always has been, a work of the flesh.

To go back to keeping the letter of The Law, rather than being led by the SPIRIT of The Law, shows a lack of understanding.  (But I do not say this in condemnation–the subject CAN be confusing.)

We are plainly told that we are delivered from The Law . . . specifically, the LETTER of The Law.

‘For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.’  (Romans 7:5-6)

 

Sadly, and ironically, living by The Law INCREASES a person’s separation from God, because where The Law is, sin increases.

‘What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.

For without the law sin [was] dead.  For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.  And the commandment, which [was ordained] to life, I found [to be] unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me].’  (Romans 7:7-11)

 

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  The way He works is often a mystery to us.  One might reason that The Law was given so that men would be obedient.  But men who are spiritually dead, who are under the Law of Sin and Death, are unable to walk in perfect obedience.  In fact, the reason that God gave The Law to men is perplexing to human reasoning:

‘Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.’  (Romans 5:20-21)

‘[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.’  (Galatians 3:21-22)

When the Law came, men became worse!  Sin was strengthened and sin abounded.  But this was in order that our salvation could be by FAITH, and not by works.  If we could have walked in perfect obedience, salvation would not have been a gift, by God’s grace, but rather the just compensation for our works.  By the way that God chose, He is glorified and His righteous, longsuffering, merciful, gracious character is revealed.

So, should we dismiss The Law as being useless?  By no means!

‘But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.’  (Galatians 3:23-25)

‘ . . . I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.’  (Romans 7:7)

The Law gives us a picture of what righteousness should look like.  It also shows us that, while we are still under the Law of Sin and Death, we are unable to walk in perfect obedience and righteousness.  It makes us realize our need for a savior . . . and our need for God’s help.

There is another aspect to this situation that must be discussed.  Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ have often done it as a reaction to the false gospel and false doctrines that have taken over mainstream ‘Christianity’:

‘Just believe in Jesus and say this Sinner’s Prayer’ (no mention of repentance) . . . ‘Once you are Saved you are Always Saved’ (OSAS) . . . you can live as you please because you have ‘liberty in Christ’ and ‘we are only sinners saved by grace–we sin daily in word, thought, and deed’ . . . etc.

Not everybody is fooled by this hogwash.  But not everyone is grounded in God’s word either, so they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.

Those who have turned to ‘keeping Torah’ are not completely wrong.  They are far closer to the truth than mainstream ‘Christianity’.  HOWEVER . . . they have gone a little too far.

Jesus DOES tell us to keep The Commandments:

‘ . . .  if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’  (Matt. 19:17; also John 14:15, 15:10)

And Revelation tells us that in The Tribulation ‘the saints’ will keep 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 and 12:17)

The distinction is this:  there is a difference between The Law and The Commandments.  We ARE to keep The Commandments, but we are NOT to focus on the letter of The Law.

  • The Law contains 613 restrictions and commandments, including a dietary code.  The Commandments are ten.
  • The Law was written down by Moses, on scrolls.  The Commandments were written by God, in stone.
  • The Law was kept in the SIDE of the Ark of the Covenant.  The Commandments were placed under the Mercy Seat, INSIDE the Ark of the Covenant.

Furthermore, our keeping of The Commandments is not to be our FOCUS, but will be the RESULT of being led of the Spirit, once we are born again.  The Holy Spirit which is placed inside each Christian, is the (same) SPIRIT of The Law.  The Spirit leads us to keep the spirit/intent of The Law, and to DO IT WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVES.

Keeping the letter of The Law leads to death, but the Spirit leads us in the way of life.

‘Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’  (2 Cor. 3:6)

The Holy Spirit is NOT leading people to keep the LETTER of The Law, because that would be in contradiction to what is written in God’s word.

Therefore, there is no way around it: those who are ‘keeping Torah’ are NOT being led of the Holy Spirit.  They are walking in the flesh.  Romans 8:1 applies to them, in reverse:

‘[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’  (Romans 8:1-2)

Those who are keeping Torah are NOT walking after the Spirit, but are walking after the flesh.  They ARE under condemnation, and they have submitted themselves again to the Law of Sin and Death.

‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.’  (Romans 8:3-5)

Those who are ‘keeping Torah’ have their attention occupied with walking in the letter of The Law–all 613 requirements of it.  And they cannot keep it.  Nor will the Holy Spirit HELP them to keep it.  They are walking in the flesh.  Hopefully, in time, they will realize the miserable condition they have fallen into, and their need for a savior.

Ironically, those who are walking in the Spirit, who ARE focusing on loving God and loving their neighbor, ARE keeping the spirit and intent of The Law, and are not under condemnation.

‘So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  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.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’  (Romans 8:8-14)

If YOU have gotten caught up in the Hebrew Roots movement, understand that God sees your heart and knows that you wish to please Him.  But we please Him by walking in the way that HE has ordained, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.

The Scriptures clearly tell us that The Law cannot give us life (Col. 3:21, 2 Cor. 3:6) and that The Law has been done away with (Romans 7:6, Gal. 3:23-25).  YES, we must walk in obedience–but obedience to what?  (The Commandments, not The Law.)  And how?  (By the Spirit, not by the flesh.)

I hope you will prayerfully consider what I have said here, and turn back to a walk of faith and obedience, being led by the Spirit.

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)