Posts Tagged ‘Obedience’

Just a re-post reminder that hell is real. This is actually part 2 of 2  of my series on hell 

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s word is more glorious than even the wonder of birth; for in it He has given us some incredible insights into His own heart’s desire. His word is not merely a bunch of rules and laws made to regulate every aspect of men’s behavior and to oppress their freedom in life. No, God’s word is actually the only true wellspring of life, in addition to the only effectual means for guarding what He gives unto His people. Some may immediately feel compelled to challenge that statement, but I am not speaking about the bible you have on your shelf, I am speaking of that which came by unction of God’s Holy Spirit unto His prophets and apostles, that which is spirit and not merely “letter.”

The bibles we have are but books made of paper and ink, filled with letters that cannot do anything of their own, there is no power in them anymore than a flashlight has the ability to illuminate without batteries being in it. It is only a means, a tool whereby the supremacy of God’s spoken word which is ultimately spirit can be revealed unto us . . . that is if and when our heart is in the right condition.

Through God’s holy word comes first the revelation of His supremacy and preeminence, that “God is,” meaning there is in fact a God to whom all men are accountable. Secondly it teaches us how He has created all things in a state of “good.” God created the realms for life to flourish, the sea, the air and the land and then brought forth all manner of life and gave them not just the command to be “fruitful and multiply,” no much more than that, God gave forth the blessing of life.

He created every “herb bearing seed upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree for food which also has yielding seeds.” God also spoke into existence things that were not and gave them life that they might live and move within God’s very being. After God created man He declared that the result was “very good,” or what the Hebrew would convey as extremely good.

Thirdly, we can see, and learn from God’s holy word, that through it comes both the revelation and foundational teachings of righteousness. We also see creation set into motion with harmonious order, established cycles and rhythms whereby all things would thrive and flourish. It reveals boundaries for man’s protection whereby he could grow, learn and experience the joys and liberties given unto him. What God created was good, not evil; life and not death. This does not mean He failed to make provisions for such, which is far from the truth.

Just as certainly as God flawlessly fashioned all creation for life, He knew that giving His creatures the facilities and means to enjoy it, would also mean His perfect creation could be polluted and therefore most certainly would be. God knew from the beginning when He first put into place the harmony of creation that His creatures would eventually fall into disharmony with Him through exercising their ability to choose.

But that does not mean God created sin, for I would ask how could there be sin without first the establishment of righteousness? Disharmony and sin are not God’s creation, nor are they a state or condition that can exist alone; rather they are measured and established only by their contrast with God’s original harmony and righteousness. There can be no disharmony without harmony, nor sin without righteousness. These two things cannot exist by themselves, for they are nothing more than witnesses to the absence of their counterpart, just as darkness is measured by the degree of light present, likewise cold in regards to the presence of heat.

Now when I said God didn’t create “evil” I know many are going to throw the following verse at me,

 Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

 One would do well to investigate the intent of this verse; for it is God’s forming of the light that created darkness, just as “the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” meaning without light and void of illumination. Likewise God’s desire and establishment of peace is what creates the possibility for evil. However, the “evil” of this verse is not moral; rather it is the contrast of peace, i.e. war, which cannot exist without willful disharmony to God’s formerly established harmony. Others may want to debate that God Himself does evil and they may seek to prove it by submitting verses similar to the following scriptures –

 Jeremiah 26:3 – If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

 Jeremiah 42:10 – If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent Me of the evil that I have done unto you.

  What is paramount is to understand is that the “evil” in these verses is not synonymous with sin, wickedness or unrighteousness. This evil is best understood as a required action that is contrary to God’s preferred will. God never wanted to punish, but His holiness and righteousness demands it because God will not forever endure with that which refuses to live and exist in accordance with His word. Yes, God is longsuffering, but there is a limit to God’s willingness to wait for repentance, which when exhausted then obligates God to act contrary to the blessings He desires to give. If we will not comply with the conditions of His blessings, we are only left with the repercussions of His curses. But never, never does God commit wickedness or unrighteousness for He is holy.

  Isaiah 30:18  – And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.

 Lamentations 3:31 – For the Lord will not cast off for ever:  32 But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

 Ezekiel 18:23 – Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? . . . 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

 Ezekiel 33:11 – Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

 Romans 2:2 – But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

 1 Timothy 2:4 – Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 It has always been the desire of God that what He created as “good,” even “very good,” that it should continue as such forever. However, because sin entered, disharmony was created when His creatures made the fatal willful choice to cast away His word. Nevertheless, He has long sought to make available to all the remedy that was prepared from the foundations of the world to reconcile all things back unto Himself. For more on this plan of reconciliation please see my old post “Justified in the Spirit.

In continuing with the topic of hell, let’s now look at a little discussed passage of scripture –

 Deuteronomy 23:9 – When the army goes forth against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing. 10 If there is among you any man who is not clean because of an accident at night, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp. 11 And it shall be as evening turns, he shall wash with water. And when the sun is down, he shall come into the the middle of the camp. 12 You shall also have a place outside the camp where you shall go forth. 13 And you shall have a paddle on your weapon. And it shall be, when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you. 14 For the LORD your God walks in the middle of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you. Therefore your camp shall be holy, so that He may see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you.

This is one of those passages that many Christians just read over and rarely gleam anything from. However, there is much here that we should be giving our focus too, for we are talking about going to battle and having the certainty that the Lord will be with us. What is the underlying principle in these verses is the requirement for us to be holy for He is holy. That is why it is absolutely clear that since everyday we are waking up afresh, we therefore need to be daily putting on the whole armor of God, . . . because every minute, of everyday, our adversary is seeking to devour all he can. Therefore we must keep ourselves “from every wicked thing.” These truths should be clear and evident even to the young in faith.

However, the passage also warns against those who are “not clean by reason of uncleanness that chances him by night.” Now what does this passage mean? These verses in Leviticus help to bring clarity–

Leviticus 15:1  – And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,  2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness. 4 Every bed, whereon he lays that hath the issue, is unclean: and everything, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.  5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.

Leviticus 15:16 – And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. 17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. 18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the evening.

The light shed by these verses clearly indicate that the concern of the Lord is the uncleanliness, associated with either genital disease, or a “copulation,” meaning an ejaculation of semen. Now, some might readily see the problem with disease rendering one unclean, but an ejaculation? How would that defile a man? Whether we understand it or not it is still in God’s Holy Scriptures and is given as an admonition to His people and therefore requires our prayerful consideration. But this is also why I selected to entitle this post with the opening verse –

1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 The “corruptible seed” Peter is alluding to is the seed whereby we were originally born, our father’s semen. Yet in this verse Peter is also stating how we are in fact “born again” by incorruptible seed, even the word of God. Furthermore, the beloved Apostle John tells us that true Christians cannot sin because His seed is in us –

1 John 3:9 = Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remains 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 does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.

Now when John says one who is “born of God cannot sin,” he is not saying they are incapable of sinning. He is saying that because God’s “seed remains in him” that he cannot accept the pleasures of sin in the light of the cost of sin. It would be similar to me offering any of you $5.00 for your car or perhaps a gold watch. Certainly you could foolishly accept the $5.00, but if you truly understand the worth of what you have then you “cannot” accept my offer without abandoning what is reasonable. That is why Paul pleads with us to present ourselves as living sacrifices unto God.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

How do you know “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God?” Only by God’s word. That is why John stated that “His seed remains in him,” which may help to shed light on  some other passages of scripture regarding uncleanliness –

Leviticus 15:19 – And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the evening. 20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. 23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the evening. 24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.

Leviticus 20:18 – And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

Now why would it be inappropriate for a man to lie with a woman while she is menstruating? Apart from the normal responses regarding hygiene, it is because the “seed” placed in her would not remain; her body will naturally cast it forth from her. When a woman’s body is menstruating it is going through the process of expelling her last egg that wasn’t fertilized. Since at this point most eggs are no longer alive, in the normal situation the male sperm will therefore never penetrate a viable egg but it too will only be flushed out as waste.

(Now before I am dismissed because of accuracy regarding the chances of a woman becoming pregnant even though she has had her normal cycle, the chances are very, very rare and could only most likely happen if prior to the menstrual cycle some sperm from an earlier relation managed to enter the fallopian tubes and was not flushed out. This unlikely event would create an opportunity for them if they are still alive to encounter a new egg during the next ovulation if for some reason it was hastened from irregularity in the cycle. But again this is going outside the norm and stretching normal limitations. Please remember that I am not a gynecologist and that I work with wood)

What is important is that we see the correlation the Apostle Peter makes between the “corruptible seed” whereby we were conceived and the “incorruptible” whereby we are born again, even the word of the Lord. This shows us the significance of our design and Why God Created Us Male And Female. Symbolically the male’s semen represents the word of God which is not cast to the ground. To do so is prophetic action showing disrespect for that which has holy symbolism. Think of the anger the Lord had towards Onan who was told by his father Judah to go and “raise up seed” for his dead brother with Tamar –

Genesis 38:6 – And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him. 8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore He slew him also.

 This displeased the Lord on at least two counts, first, a lack of love for his brother and second, the intentional spilling of his semen on the ground. Since we are created in the image of God and are to be His glory, then it is conceivable that our seed, i.e. semen, represents His holy word. Thus it was important to God that Onan’s seed should have remained in Tamar, just as it is important that God’s seed remain in us, and that as children of God, we be able to impart His seed unto others. Perhaps part of this can even be our love of Christ and evangelistic willingness to go and “raise up seed” for our Brother and Savior Jesus Christ by being instant in season and ready to give and answer for the hope that is within us.

Again, these are but prophetic imagery given unto us to teach us greater lessons from our Lord, just as circumcision of the flesh does in regards to circumcision of the heart. But look at the verses in Duet.23 before this –

Deuteronomy 23:1 – He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

It is important to the Lord that we know in whom we believe and are able to procreate with our faith by His seed, i.e. word which remains in us. Those not having seed or unable to impart it “shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” Also, since Paul tells us we’re to be living sacrifices, we should be able to appreciate that animal sacrifices were not acceptable unto the Lord either if they were born or rendered impotent.

Leviticus 22:24 – Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.

Those who have truly been quickened by God’s word have hidden His word in their hearts and are desirous to share it. That is because God’s word is the only solution for uncleanliness in the heart and lives of His children, now please don’t confuse that with the purpose of Christ’s blood for our atonement and forgiveness. We know that all things were sanctified and consecrated unto the Lord with both water and blood. Consider how the Apostle Paul speaks of husbands loving their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and the correlation of the water of the word and the blood of atonement and their applications as to why Jesus laid down His life for us. –

Ephesians 5:26 – That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Consider also the words of Peter –

1 Peter 1:13 – Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

We are to be holy, not just because we have been washed by His blood, but also because we have renewed in our minds. As if the very loins of our minds were girded with the girdle of truth and walking in obedience to our Lord and Savior. That is why we are forgiven by His blood, so we can be freed from sins and indwelt by His Spirit and empowered to walk in His word whereby we are to be changing daily, our old carnal nature decreasing while the nature of Christ is being formed in us.

1 Peter 1:18 – Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,  21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:  23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

We are given the responsibility of purifying our souls by obeying His truth, but thank God for the grace and empowering by His own Spirit within us which enables us and labors with us to perfect our love for Him and each other… if we remain willing. It is this Gospel, this incorruptible seed that causes us to be born again and quicken and changed.

1 Peter 1:24 – For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Let look back now at our text in Deut. 23 –

Deuteronomy 23:12 – Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:  13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:  14 For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

After the instructions regarding, “uncleanness that chances him by night,” as it said in Leviticus concerning if “any man’s seed of copulation go out from him,” the Lord now moves to another topic concerning keeping the camp clean because the Lord walks in the midst of the camp. This shows both the responsibility for personal cleanliness, and the individual and corporate responsibility to keep the camp clean as well. Therefore if any man has to “ease” himself he is to go outside the camp and so do. By the words “thou shalt have a place without the camp” it is indicated that this would be a designated place, not just every man running off to wherever, but a specific place known to all.

Therefore, instruction was given that every man should have a “paddle upon they weapon,” whereby they could dig a hole and ease themselves in it, and “turn back and cover that which cometh from thee.” Again, regardless the apparent subject matter, we are actually being given glorious imagery here. Placed upon the weapon was a paddle, designed specifically for digging of a hole to accommodate that which is expelled from the body. Sadly we cannot see these weapons, but one of the weapons of choice which could be so equipped with a small spade is a sword. Again, symbolically the sword represents two things in scripture, God’s word and His judgment. Not just judgment in the sense of determining right and wrong, but in the sense of judgment coming upon a people for their rejection of His holy word, casting it, as it were on the ground.

 Deuteronomy 32:41 – If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me. 42 I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.

Now one thing we must remember, our Lord is a warrior, the ultimate warrior . . . and He is mighty in battle.

Psalm 24:7 – Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Our God has graciously given us His word and by it quickened us, it is His “seed” whereby we are born again. But be not mistaken, it is also the sword He will whet and take hold of, it is His sword of judgment against the wicked who “will not stand in the congregation of the righteous.” Consider also these verses in Isaiah –

Isaiah 1:16 – Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil;  17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

But as Jesus said, broad is the path which leads to destruction and many will choose it by casting God’s word behind them. These are wicked men serving their own lusts and not honoring God who gave to them both the blessing of life and the honor of being created in His own image. Instead they defiantly turn away and lived their lives refusing and rebelling, doing so regardless of the Spirit of His Grace. Therefore they are unclean, defiled, sold under sin and foolishly boasting in their own shame.

Isaiah 1:21 – How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:  23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

God will not always strive with mankind, He will soon avenge Himself of His adversaries.

Isaiah 1:24 – Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease Me of Mine adversaries, and avenge me of Mine enemies.

Yes, as God commanded the host to keep the camp clean, and just as a man who needed to ease himself was to go to the designated place and there with the paddle on his weapon dig a hole. Likewise God has prepared a place in His judgment where He too will ease Himself. Listen to the word of the Lord; listen to His cry, “Ahhhh!” This is the groaning of the pain within His bowels of mercies after continually being frustrated, grace extended in vain to a rebellious, stubborn and stiff-necked people. It is as if God is cramped over in anguish and heartache by the very presence of the wicked within Him; all creation as well is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God and the removal of the wicked. Mind you though, all the evil men and all the demons and devils which hell currently awaits cannot weaken or abate one iota the strength of God. Still nevertheless He has long-suffered while warning the wicked, endeavoring to rescue the lost and to offer repentance to the broken and contrite ones. His omnipotence cannot be weakened by the sins of men, but His heart is nonetheless pained and vexed by their sins.

All who have rejected God’s word, those from the very beginning who have lived and moved and had their very being within Him, will one day be expelled out from His presence for all eternity as waste out the draught and into the pit. The Gospel makes it evident it is the responsibility of every person to take full advantage of the exceedingly great and precious promises of God’s word, whereby we can be made partakers of His divine nature. Therefore, we are commanded to be what He fully enables us to be. Therefore we must be holy, because He is holy, or be expelled.Only by purifying ourselves by obeying the truth through His spirit, can we perfect this holiness in the fear of God. For He will not be mocked. He will repay who reject what He went through great lengths to provide, a remedy for our sin and sinful nature.

Psalm 62:11 – God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto You O Lord belongeth mercy: for You renderest to every man according to his work.

Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; And repays them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hates Him, He will repay him to his face.

Yes, there is a hell, Rob Bell and all the other universalists are wrong. It is the eternal place of torment for all those who would not be assimilated unto God, refusing to be purified, sanctified, consecrated and made holy by yielding to the working of the Spirit of Christ within them with and through the power of His seed/word. All those unclean, rebellious and wicked will not only fail to be able to stand in and with the congregation of the righteous, God will treat them as the filth they are and ease Himself of them in a place He has prepared outside the camp. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Isaiah 66:22 – For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Psalm 119:11 – Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Yoy.

John 3:17 – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

 

Peace to those who love the Lord, and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The Only Test of Love

Posted: September 12, 2019 in Shared Thoughts
Tags: , ,

From the beginning, the only sound scriptural authorized test of love is obedience; and by “love” I mean the biblically righteous love which alone will be acknowledged by God and acceptable to Him.

There is of course, a carnal love, just as there is a divine love. However, the carnal love, though capable of somewhat benefiting others, it is nonetheless self-serving. For the height and benefit of a carnal love’s virtues are limited, and that because its priority is only to profit the hearts, mind (emotions), and the physical well-being of self and others.

Furthermore, the viewpoint of a carnal love is consequently limited, because the birth of such is out of one’s own affections, wishes and cravings. Often, a carnal love barely exceeds that of mere obsession; and that being one’s own gratification. Now, the important thing to acknowledge, is that carnal love is quite capable of being religious and have a profession of faith. For Jesus frequently had to deal with religious men who were lovers of themselves, prideful men who were selective in their obedience to God’s word. These are such who justify themselves, and being deceived think themselves to be superior to others in religious matters. Men who teach one thing, but yet do another.

A heart seeking truth will recognize that a divine love stands in stark contrast with carnal love; for a divine love is birth out of a revelation of God’s holy love and benevolence for humanity. God’s love is undeniable, in that He gave His only begotten Son for our redemption for and from sin. Thus, a divine love will only exist within one who has indeed come to the humbling revelation of God’s great love for them as an individual, and that in spite of the contrariness of their corrupt nature with He who is holy.

The fact that He first loved us is the very foundation and reason why we can love Him with a perfect love, which simply means to love Him with all of our hearts, our minds, and our strength. For in truth, if one truly comes to understand their poverty of spirit, that their sins have left them spiritually bankrupt before a holy God, they will be cast into great agony of heart and mourning before God.

It is then that the promise of entrance into His Kingdom and the gift of repentance is offered to them upon their open acknowledgment that their sins have bankrupt them; for only such who do so are truly contrite and broken before Him. These, at the prospect of His mercy, respond joyfully with obedience and delight at a chance now to do His will, and are in so doing comforted by His unmerited love and consideration.

Truly, such who have been so humbled by the illumination of God’s great love will no longer seek to justify themselves, nor will they blame others for their having fallen into the depravity of sin. For those who seek to justify themselves, especially by blaming others, have no inheritance with God.

But those who are so humbled will find themselves aroused with a holy hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness, which righteousness is now available to us solely because of that great love whereby He sent Jesus Christ to be our only Savior and Deliverer from our sins. It is only because of His death that we can be offered new life, and because of His holiness that sinners can now be made into saints.

Truly, anyone who has partaken of God’s redemptive mercies will themselves be both messengers and vessels of that mercy. This should be evident to others by a true Christian’s public proclamation that forgiveness for sins has been made available through Jesus Christ for all; as well as Christians freely forgiving all who have ever treated them wrongfully. These are such who seek through their obedience to God and His word to purify their hearts even as He is pure; and to be holy, even as He is holy. For if their old nature has truly been crucified with Christ, and they have been born-again and made new creatures desiring to be like their Savior, then they too will find themselves laboring to be peacemakers. For being forgiven, all become ambassadors for God’s Kingdom and messengers of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ that alone can save men from their spiritual depravity and bondage of sin.

But there are some who will not receive a love for the truth of the Gospel. There are those, who being carnal, have had their hearts hardened and have had their minds blinded by the god of this world. Such will naturally hate those, who not only “believe in Jesus Christ,” but purposely walk in His truths that they might sin not, and live their lives seeking foremost His glory that it might be brilliantly revealed to others through their obedience of faith.

Hence, the only sound scriptural authorized test of love is obedience. For only they who love obey, and they who obey overcome both the old nature of sin and the seductive wickedness of the world. Those who have a divine love delight to do God’s will, for the heart of all His precepts is love for Him and others as ourselves. Those who obey the dictates of a divine love have the promise that they will walk with Him for “they are worthy.”

So, do you love Him?

John 14:21 – He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.

Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

1 John 1:5 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we [us and God] have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.

There was a time when I honestly thought I was a Christian, meaning, that I was a real “follower of Christ.” But like so many others professing Christ nowadays, I was believing what so many religious teachers out there teach as the Christian’s dilemma, that we will always be stuck in doing those things we hate and many times completely unable to do those right things we want. My question was and still is, just how is that being “free indeed?”

John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed ;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Romans 7:19 – For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

So, how are we supposed to reconcile those words of the Apostle Paul with the words of Jesus? Are we “wretched men,” or are we “free indeed?” Like so many, I was taught that Bible teaches that sin “dwells in me,” and therefore, evil is always going to present with me. Thus, like Paul himself supposedly admitted, I too was always going to be sinning, and that like it or not, I am therefore incapable of ever becoming the person I pray to become in Christ. That if I want any real peace of mind and heart, I just needed to accept all that as fact and quit being so hard on myself. If I did not simply accept who I was “in Christ,” I would never have any peace.

To this day I am continuing meet believers who wholly accepted it as sound doctrinal fact and therefore teach it as so. Consequently, many of these have absolutely no real motivation to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” To me, that is both alarming and frightening, since without holiness no man shall see God on favorable terms.

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Capture

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head . . . because of the angels.

In the last few decades there has risen much confusion around this particular verse, as well as the whole of the subject matter being addressed here by Paul to the Corinthians. All the same, this verse is part of God’s Holy Word and is intended to be both informative and instructive, though tucked neatly away here in a very illuminating passage of scriptures.

Since it is part of God’s Word that never changes, believers today are still obliged to give the utmost prayerful consideration as to its application to their lives. For we are to be as lights in the midst of this dark and blind world; and are also called to properly “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things,” both in what we say and do, in order to give the glory and honor due to the Blessed Name of our Glorious Savior Jesus Christ.

Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, “believers” nowadays simply choose to ignore Paul’s 298 instructive words in this particular passage, (counted in the King James prior to verse sixteen) and have imprudently conclude “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” In so doing, they treat Paul’s instruction here as completely irrelevant to them, as if it was written without reason, and were a complete waste of Paul’s time and parchment.

Nevertheless, up until the last half-century or so, the majority of “the churches of God” did keep the custom of women wearing head coverings to some degree. This shows that most believers in today’s Church have lost the very attribute for which Paul was praising the Corinthian church in the first place, “I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

So, what was Paul saying, “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God?” Well, what was the beginning of that verse?

1 Corinthians 11:16 – But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

What this verse is saying is simply this, as believers and members of the Body of Christ, we are not supposed to be contentious, for only by pride comes contention.

Though Jude said to “earnestly contend for the faith,” that does not mean we are to be contentious or belligerently quarrelsome. There is a big difference between earnestly reasoning the perceptual truths of God and argumentatively rejecting them out of personal preference or ignorance.

Still, many discard parts of God’s word simply because they don’t understand them and therefore don’t feel they are important, or that it doesn’t apply to today’s church. These poor servants of Christ would miserably fail to follow what has been called “the Gospel of Mary,” when she told the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, “Whatsoever He says unto you, do it.”

The Gospel isn’t a smorgasbord buffet-style religion where everyone gets to pick and choose what they want to do. They who would come to Christ, hoping to have the atoning blood of the Lamb of God applied to their lives, must do as did the Jews in Egypt; they must consume ALL of the sacrificial Lamb WITH its bitter herbs . . . not just the choice tender desirable parts.

Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roasted with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning you shall burn with fire.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin..

To refuse to do “whatsoever He says unto you” leaves one as guilty as those preachers failing to keep the Great Commission, “Go you therefore, and teach all nations . . . to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

So, as I stated before, until recently the majority of “the churches of God” faithfully kept the custom of women wearing head coverings. Therefore, one would do well to ask, “Why then, and not now?” What is different? Are today’s liberal churches more enlightened? Or have they simply moved further from the faithful application of God’s perceptual truths, to now abusing the liberty they have from sin’s dominion through grace as an unwarranted liberty of the flesh?

We do well to remember what Paul said to the church of Corinth, “I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”

What were the ordinances? Perhaps an even better question would be what exactly is an ordinance? A simple way to find out what Paul meant is to study how the Greek word which was translated “ordinances” in this verse was translated elsewhere in scripture. For out of the thirteen times the word was used in scripture, only this one time was it translated “ordinances.” The other twelve times it was translated “tradition” or “traditions” as seen below-

  • Matthew 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
  • Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
  • Matthew 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
  • Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash [their] hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
  • Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
  • Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
  • Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
  • Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered [them] to you.
  • Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the tradition of my fathers.
  • Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6  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.

God used the Apostle Paul to deliver ordinances, or traditions, which he intended to be observed by the Church. However, while some at Corinth kept them, others had elected not to. This division in keeping the observance Paul had commanded had led to a contention between them, and that is not surprising since the true foundation of this subject matter is that of spiritual authority.

It is evident Paul had some who were strong resisters of his authority in the Corinthian church as testified by scripture-

1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Paul was trying to set things in proper order and lay a firm foundation for their understanding of order and godly authority in the Church. Hence Paul wrote, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” It is evident here that Paul was rehearsing the divine structure, or order of authority to them, which is established further by the phrase “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

The Bible in Basic English states it this way, “For this reason it is right for the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.” So, we readily see that the woman ought to have her head covered while praying or prophesying, i.e. teaching the things of God. But what does it mean “because of the angels?” Just what does a head covering, or the covering of the hair, have to do with the angels?

Well, let us look through a window provided by scripture into the throne room of heaven-

Isaiah 6:1 – In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.

Here we can see the angel’s were using two of their wings to cover their face, which meant they held their wings over their heads so as to conceal their faces, and with two they covered their feet. But why?

The answer is simple, they did not wish for their God-given beauty to detract from the glory, honor and praise due to God alone. This will become more evident as we continue, for in the scriptures there is a detectable similarity between the gifts God gives to the woman and those He gave to Lucifer before he fell from God’s grace.

Ezekiel 28:13 – You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were.; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.

What do we see in these verses here?

First we can see that God gave to the anointed cherub a glorious apparel to complement the position in which he was placed in God’s creation.  His garment, or covering, was a divine gift of a majestic adornment given to honor him.

What about the woman? –

1 Corinthians 11:15 – But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

Who gave this “glory” to compliment all women? The Creator did.  Doubtless when God created Eve that she was given long hair as an adornment to complement her God-given beauty.

As we can see from both passages, both the jewel-studded garment of the anointed cherub and the woman’s hair are said to be given by God as a glorious “covering.”

Still, that does not answer the question, “What does women wearing a head covering have to do with the angels?” Perhaps we should review what happen with Lucifer and what caused him to have his negative conversion and to fall out of God’s graces.

We can see what happen to Lucifer in Ezekiel’s prophetic words against the king of Tyrus, who by pride of position, wealth, power and beauty, became more and more covetous.  The king of Tyrus foolishly sought to go beyond the bounds of what was lawful for him, and being covetous had sinned, and therefore God was going to cast him down. For this prophecy of Ezekiel concerning the king of Tyrus in his pride is merely a repetition of exactly what Lucifer had done and reveals how sin first entered God’s holy creation.

Ezekiel 28:2 – Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

The king of Tyrus had exalted himself in his own eyes, but his pride did not change in reality what he truly was; a mere man who because of his pride was going to die as a man –

Ezekiel 28:9 – Will you yet say before him who kills you, I am of the gods? But you are a man, and not God, in the hand of him who kills you. 10 You shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers. For I have spoken, says the Lord Jehovah.

Now God could have ended this prophecy here.  It conveyed all it needed to about the king of Tyrus sin.  Yet God continued to reveal more through Ezekiel for our admonishment and understanding of sin’s induction into creation.

Ezekiel 28:11 – And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 Son of man, lift up a lament over the king of Tyre, and say to him, So says the Lord Jehovah: You seal the measure, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were.; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.

In these passages it is revealed how the king’s personal life and pride was, as it were, a prophetic mirroring of Lucifer’s prior to his fall.  This can all be safely determine by the following statements –

  • “You have been in Eden the garden of God” – The king of Tyrus was never in the Garden of Eden . . . but Lucifer was.
  • “the day that you were created” – The king of Tyrus was born, not created . . . but Lucifer was.
  • “You were the anointed cherub” – We see in verses 2 and 9 that God clearly says of the king “thou art a man.”

There are other parts that could be expounded on here, but before we do, let’s look through another similar prophetic window of scripture at the fall of Lucifer, the anointed cherub.

Isaiah 14:4 – you shall take up this song against the king of Babylon and say, How the exacter, the gold gatherer has ceased! 5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers 6 who struck peoples in wrath, a blow without turning away, ruling the nations in anger, a persecution without restraint. 7 All the earth is at rest and is quiet; they break out into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since you have fallen, no woodcutter will come up against us. 9 Hell from below is moved for you, to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the dead for you, all the he-goats of the earth. It has raised from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All of them shall speak and say to you, Are you also as weak as we? Are you like us? 11 Your pride is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your harps. The maggot is spread under you, and the worms cover you. 12 How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. 14 I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit.

Above we have anot prophecy against a king, this time the king of Babylon. And again, he is going to be brought low and judge by the God of heaven and earth. Why? Because of his pride, his life as well has mirrored the pride of Lucifer; having extended himself beyond God’s given and lawful boundary of rule and influence.

But what do we see in Lucifer’s heart by this prophecy of Isaiah? We discover his intention to rise up out of his place and to usurp the authority above Him, even God.

Isaiah 14:13 – For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. 14 I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit.

What was it about Lucifer that he allowed to deceive him and into thinking he should be, and thus could be, “like the Most High?” This is where it is helpful for us again to return to Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Ezekiel 28:7 – Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.

The anointed Cherub Lucifer’s heart was lifted up because of his beauty and he had corrupted wisdom by reason of his brightness.

What does this reveal? It reveals that God had given to the anointed cherub a perfect and beautiful countenance that radiated with the glory of God. But when Lucifer began to take pride in his countenance and his beauty he “corrupted wisdom.”

What does that mean, he “corrupted wisdom?” What is it that phrase is trying to tell us? First we need to understand what exactly is the foundation and heart of wisdom.

We know that wisdom finds application in all areas of life and relationships from parenting, friendships, business, economics, from following to leading. Yet the greatest relationship one must be concerned about is by far their relationship with God. What do the scriptures tell us?

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 4:7 – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

The foundation of true life-preserving wisdom is “the fear of God.”  Yet by scripture we can see how in the heart of the anointed cherub, that when he became prideful over his God-given beauty, it stirred his heart to covet the very position of praise and honor reserved for the Most High Himself alone.  He foolishly cast off fear and wisdom, by reasoning within his own heart as to why not he too should share a place of equality with God and thus began plotting to ascend to the positioned reserved for God alone.

Isaiah 14:3 – For you said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Gazing upon his own beauty and brightness, Lucifer compared himself to the manifested glory of God and foolishly believe he too was worthy of the worship of the rest of the angels. Instead of having humility with his gift of beauty, he felt he was deserving of the majestic apparel God had given him. And so, Lucifer rejected his position in the spectrum of authority by attempting to usurp the authority of God, seeking to steal the praise that God alone is worthy of.

It is “for this cause” ought the woman to have power on her head, because of the angels. God has given the woman her hair to be a natural adornment of beauty. Why else do most men have a natural admiration for long hair?

However, when we who are the creatures of our glorious Creator gather together for prayer or worship or the reading and speaking of God’s word, let the woman with humility cover her head, as do the angels in the very presence of God, willfully concealing her “glory” lest it detract from the glory due God. Likewise a man should not cover his head, “forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God.” To do so would be to dishonor his head, i.e. Christ Himself.

Each of us, whether male or female, have been given positions of honor and gifts from God, yet we must learn to be faithful in the place which God has given us to serve Him, being fitly joined together serving Him while we adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. The woman is to submit to the authority of her own husband “as unto the Lord.”  The husband is to love his own wife, “as even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Thus we adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Yet when a woman refuses to submit to her husband, the angels shutter with fear as they recall with utter clarity Lucifer’s introduction of sin into God’s holy creation. This is why the scriptures plainly teach that women are not to usurp the authority of God has given unto men as He holds them accountable for the family.

Now having shared all this, I must clarify that I do not feel a women needs to wear a head covering constantly. As the scripture says, “bodily exercise profits little, but godliness profits withal,” and unless the heart is right it matters little what one does outwardly. But if a woman wishes to go on to a “more perfect way” of walking in the light of God’s word, then as the scriptures say, while “praying or prophesying,” she should prayerfully consider keeping” the ordinances” Paul delivered unto the churches. I would also further clarify that I feel “prophesying” implies also the instruction or teaching of God’s word to the younger women so that they too might learn how to adorn the gospel of Christ in all things.

I must admit, I have had many women express to me that they do not “feel any unction of the Holy Spirit” to begin covering their heads. I would answer that with pointing them back to what we all do have, the written word of God. Isn’t that enough? Are we one moment to be defending the scriptures as “the Word of God” and then the next minute failing to acknowledge what is written?

Honestly, most of the time I do not feel “any unction of the Holy Spirit” to do many things, nor do I need such an “unction” if the Holy Scriptures has already given me light and a path for me to walk in. It is simply my duty to walk in the light . . . while I have the light.

John 12:35 – Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes.

Ephesians 5:8 – For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light.

Mark 4:23 – If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24 And he said unto them, Take heed what you hear: with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

I pray this may be a blessing to those seeking to glorify of Lord in all things. Remember . . .

Proverbs 13:10  – Only by pride comes contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

1 Corinthians 11:16 – But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

For those interested, I had addressed the distinct roles of the man and woman in my post “Why God Created Us Male And Female.” Peace.

(NOTE: I am still working on my study of Jesus’ love as revealed to us through His letters to the seven churches… This post is just a heart rant that needed to be vented)

Good News! Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Bad News…  Jesus Christ is still the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Why is that good and bad news? Because it is established upon the truth that God never changes, and that not one word He has spoken will ever fail. Hence, like a coin with one side being “heads” and the other side “tails,” so is this truth; which gives men a definite cause for both the “Joy of the Lord” and “The fear of God.” For God will do all He has said He will. A day of reckoning is coming.

Listen people, it is time to put away your neat little boxes with all the pleasant sweet “promises of God for the day,” each written on their own colorful little cards, and begin to seek out and walk in the whole counsel of God. Quit your picking and choosing from God’s word, for Jesus said we live by every word that God has spoken. You cannot ignore the parts you don’t like to hear… that’s why they stoned the prophets. Wake up, and don’t be a hypocrite! Away with the artsy colorful memes with their sweet words on them… obey the Gospel!

Revelation 14:6 – And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, HAVING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO PREACH to those dwelling on the earth, even to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, 7 saying with a great voice, “FEAR GOD AND GIVE GLORY TO HIM! For the hour of His judgment has come. And WORSHIP HIM who made the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Romans 1:3 – …Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name.

Romans 16:25 – Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

It’s great that you believe in Jesus, but God has commanded ALL MEN everywhere to repent, not just to believe. It is really simple people, belief and faith are simply not the same thing. You can believe without faith, but you cannot have faith without absolute belief. True saving faith requires a response from you; a purposeful taking of action to the acknowledgement of God’s will; it’s called “Obedience.” That is how we are saved by Grace, THROUGH FAITH.

Acts 6:7 – And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it [faith] is the gift of God [which is offered with the hearing of the gospel].

Hebrews 5:8 – Though He were a Son, yet learned He [the benefits of] obedience by the things which He [obediently] suffered; 9 And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.

2 Thessalonians 1:7 – And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; 10 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Remember, Jesus said even the demons believe, but mere belief is not enough. God requires our faith to have works, or actions of love and faithfulness. As James, the Lord’s brother said, “Faith without works is dead,” just as your body without your spirit is dead. It is faith that enables overcomers to “lay hold of eternal life.”  So wake up to righteousness and seek fruit unto holiness. Turn from your wicked ways, humble yourself before Him and seek His will; it might be He will still forgive you and restore you unto Himself.

Have you never read what Paul wrote to the Jewish believers about faith?

Hebrews 4:1 – Therefore, a promise being left to enter into His rest, let us fear lest any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For also the gospel was preached to us, as well as to them. But the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Faith produces faithfulness, you know a tree by its fruit. So, if you claim to be a Christian, then you you must realize that you are claiming to be a steward of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is obligated to the whole counsel of God… not just the pleasant and pretty parts. Wake up! and pick up your cross, deny yourself, seek first His kingdom and righteousness and follow Christ’s Spirit of Truth which He sent to set you “free indeed.”

1 Corinthians 4:1 – Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, IT IS REQUIRED in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Now, I am certain that you will never see the following promise of God in any little religious and cute, yet marketed for profit and sale, box of promises-

Deuteronomy 28:63 – And it shall be, as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and to bring you to nothing. And you shall be plucked from off the land where you go to possess it.

If God so judged Israel, do you really think that He is going to spare America? Did you forget that Jesus said when they say “Peace and Safety” that is when sudden destruction will come? Or a nation divided cannot stand? God is no respecter of persons or nations. God kept His all His words towards Israel; and because His word is founded upon His righteous precepts, His judgment will likewise be visited upon other nations as well. Listen to His word to Ezekiel… and realize that not one of these words failed to come to pass…

Ezekiel 8:17 – And He said to me, “Have you seen, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they do the hateful things which they do here? For they have filled the land with violence and have turned to provoke Me to anger. And lo, they put the [pleasant and odorous] branch [that they carry to offer to their idols] to their nose.” 18 And I will also deal with fury; “My eye shall not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” 9:1 And He cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, “Let the Overseers [the angels] of the city draw near, even each with his destroying weapon in his hand.” 2 And behold, six men came from the way of the Upper Gate which faces north, and each had his shattering weapon in his hand. And one man among them was clothed with linen, and a writer’s inkhorn by his side. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. 3 And the glory of the God of Israel had gone on from the cherub, where it was on it, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed in linen, with the writer’s inkhorn by his side. 4 And the LORD said to him, “Go through in the midst of the city, in the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and are mourning because of all the abominations that are done in her midst.” 5 And He said to those in my hearing, “Go over in the city after him, and strike. Let not your eye spare, nor have pity.” 6 “Fully destroy old men, young men and virgins, and little children and women. But do not come near any man on whom is the mark. And begin at My sanctuary.” And they began at the old men who were before the house. 7 And He said to them, “Defile the house [the Temple, for judgment begins in the house of the Lord], and fill the courts with the slain. “Go out!” And they went out and killed in the city. 8 And it happened as they were slaying them, and I remained, then I fell on my face and cried, and said, “Ah Lord Jehovah! Will You destroy all the remnant of Israel in Your pouring out of Your fury on Jerusalem?” 9 And He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is great, and the land is full of blood, and the city is full of perversity. For they say, The LORD has forsaken the land; and, the LORD does not see.” 10 “And even I, My eye shall not spare, nor will I have pity, but I will put their way on their head.”

Who was to be spared the judgment of destruction? The people whose hearts were heavy with sighing, “groaning and mourning because of all the abominations that were done” in their country.

Ezekiel 21:1 – And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and drop a word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel.” 3 “And say to the land of Israel, So says the LORD: Behold, I am against you, and will draw out My sword out of its sheath and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked.” 4 “Since then I will cut off the righteous and the wicked from you, therefore My sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north,” 5 “so that all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn out My sword from its sheath. It shall not return any more.” 6 “And you, son of man, groan with the breaking of your loins; and grown with bitterness before their eyes.” 7 “And it will be when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ You shall answer, ‘Because of the news that it is coming; and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water.’ Behold, IT COMES, and IT SHALL BE,” says the Lord Jehovah.

Wake up people…

Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised), 24 and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He who despised Moses’ law died without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will be thought worthy to receive punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, says the Lord.” And again, “The Lord shall judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Time is running out. Soon the promise below which has never made it’s way into a “Promise Box” will become reality…

Revelation 22:10 – And He said unto me, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whore-mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.”

 

Jesus taught us that “all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you unto them: for this is the law and the prophets.” This is one of the great distinctions from those of other belief systems clarified by Jesus’ teachings on the oracles of God. Many religions out there aggressively preach messages of constraint, i.e., don’t treat people the way you don’t want to be treated. Often such religions and institutes affix to their messages oppressive obligations of repetitious prayer, have vain ceremonies and require their followers to maintain a cultural appearance of (perceived) piety.

Here Jesus takes us immediately into servitude to others, “Do for others what you would want them to do for you.” All those out there who continually harp on the difference between the law and grace, they would do well to pause and consider Jesus words here “for this is the law and the prophets.” Jesus wasn’t throwing away the law and saying, “From now on, this is what we do.” He was actually warning everyone not to get caught up in mere religion, that this is what God has always really required.

In the Old Testament when Balak, king of Moab, consulted with Balaam what he needed to do that he might know the righteousness of the LORD. Being ignorant to the righteousness of God, he asked what was it he had to give. Listen to his question and Balaam’s reply –

 Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Should  I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what the LORD requires of you, do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

Sadly, because the churches are no longer teaching from the whole Bible, many people nowadays fail to understand the distinction between the two separate aspects of “The Law,” that part which was fulfilled and done away with, and that part of which not one jot or tittle will pass away until after all is fulfilled.  Let’s look at Jesus words –

(more…)

There was a time when I honestly thought I was a Christian, meaning, that I was a real “follower of Christ.” But like so many others professing Christ nowadays, I believed what so many religious leaders nowadays teach as the Christian’s dilemma, that we will always be stuck in doing those things we hate and many times completely unable to do those right things we want. My question was and still is, just how is that being “free indeed?”

John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed ;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Romans 7:19 – For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

So, how are we supposed to reconcile those words of the Apostle Paul with the words of Jesus? Are we “wretched men,” or are we “free indeed?” Like so many, I was taught that Bible states sin was in me, and therefore, evil was always going to present with me. Thus, like Paul himself supposedly admitted, I too was always going to be sinning, and that like it or not, I am therefore incapable of ever becoming the person I pray to in Christ. That if I want any real peace of mind and heart, I just needed to accept all that as fact and quit being so hard on myself’ I simply need to just accept who I was “in Christ,” otherwise I would never have any peace. To this day I am continuing meet believers who wholly accepted it as sound doctrinal fact  and therefore teach it as so. Consequently, many of these have absolutely no real motivation to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” To me, that is both alarming and frightening, since without holiness no man shall see God on favorable terms.

(more…)

A timely re-share:

Hallowed Be Thy Name

This was a message God laid on my heart concerning the deity of Jesus the Christ, the Lord’s Prayer and its exhortation for us to petition that God’s name to be hallowed, revered and feared in this fallen world. God’s people need to recognize the necessity to daily seek first His kingdom and righteousness while the long-suffering of God’s waits as with one hand he holds His love and mercy while with the other hand holding back His coming wrath and judgment on a wicked world.



A timely repost…

Sadly, what is mostly offered to the world as “The Church of Jesus Christ” is in truth nothing more than an apostate whoring religious system which, though naming the name of Jesus Christ, has succumbed to the worldly wisdom of marketing experts in order to increase their numbers. To avoid offending the attending ignorant, they eagerly embrace the latest fashionable watered down translations of Holy Writ reducing God’s word into a flimsy weapon useless against the adversary and too dull to pierce the heart of unrepentant sinners . . . many who already proudly boast in their illusion of “salvation.” Have they forgotten the warning “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life?” Or are they just so arrogant and lacking of fear?

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Part 2 of 2  of my series on hell 

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s word is more glorious than even the wonder of birth; for in it He has given us some incredible insights into His own heart’s desire. His word is not merely a bunch of rules and laws made to regulate every aspect of men’s behavior and to oppress their freedom in life. No, God’s word is actually the only true wellspring of life, in addition to the only effectual means for guarding what He gives unto His people. Some may immediately feel compelled to challenge that statement, but I am not speaking about the bible you have on your shelf, I am speaking of that which came by unction of God’s Holy Spirit unto His prophets and apostles, that which is spirit and not merely “letter.”

The bibles we have are but books made of paper and ink, filled with letters that cannot do anything of their own, there is no power in them anymore than a flashlight has the ability to illuminate without batteries being in it. It is only a means, a tool whereby the supremacy of God’s spoken word which is ultimately spirit can be revealed unto us . . . that is if and when our heart is in the right condition.

Through God’s holy word comes first the revelation of His supremacy and preeminence, that “God is,” meaning there is in fact a God to whom all men are accountable. Secondly it teaches us how He has created all things in a state of “good.” God created the realms for life to flourish, the sea, the air and the land and then brought forth all manner of life and gave them not just the command to be “fruitful and multiply,” no much more than that, God gave forth the blessing of life.

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City of Destruction

One of my all time favorite books is Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, so I am starting this post with a short excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter –

“As I walk’d through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a Man cloathed with Rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great Burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying What shall I do?

“ In this plight therefore he went home, and refrained himself as long as he could, that his Wife and Children should not perceive his distress, but he could not be silent long, because that his trouble increased: Wherefore at length he brake his mind to his Wife and Children; and thus he began to talk to them: O my dear Wife, said he, and you the Children of my bowels, I your dear friend, am in myself undone by reason of a Burden that lieth hard upon me; moreover, I am for certain informed that this our City will be burned with fire from Heaven; in which fearful overthrow, both myself, with thee my Wife, and you my sweet Babes, shall miserably come to ruin, except (the which yet I see not) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be delivered.

“At this his Relations were sore amazed; not for that they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought that some frenzy distemper had got into his head; therefore, it drawing towards night, and they hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed: But the night was as troublesome to him as the day; wherefore, instead of sleeping, he spent it in sighs and tears. So, when the morning was come, they would know how he did; He told them Worse and worse: he also set to talking to them again, but they began to be hardened: they also thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriages to him; sometimes they would deride, sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him.

“ Wherefore he began to retire himself to his chamber, to pray for and pity them, and also to condole his own misery; he would also walk solitarily in the fields, sometimes reading, and sometimes praying: and thus for some days he spent his time. Now, I saw upon a time, when he was walking in the fields, that he was, as he was wont, reading in his Book, and greatly distressed in his mind; and as he read, he burst out, as he had done before, crying, What shall I do to be saved?

“ I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run; yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go…”

I believe the only wise way to “go” in order to flee the City of Destruction my friends is to “Come out of her My people.” Now please rest assured that I know John Bunyan was speaking about leaving the world and sin and seeking first the Kingdom of God. I love the book and I have read it joyfully and with tears many times. But in scripture, sometimes things we read are not just parables and proverbs for teaching us principles. Sometimes they are actual instructions revealing the will of God for His people their need to flee the wrath to come.

It is easy to find “believers” who readily acknowledge that the call to “come out from among her My people” applies to one’s spiritual life to live as it were separate from the world; I mean it’s a whole lot easier to find those who admit that than do it. But I am persuaded time is running out and it is rapidly becoming necessary (for all those who can) to wake up and literally comply with this call of God to physically, geographically, separate themselves from wherever He is getting ready to pour out His judgment and wrath, and right now it looks like it is America. (more…)

A couple of years ago I had written an article about the unfaithful steward who wasted his master’s goods, I discussed the attitudes of the Pharisees that were there listening. Amazingly, instead of agreeing with Jesus that the steward’s behavior was sinful, they instead began to deride Jesus to publicly mock Him. The more I ponder this reactive attitude towards Christ the more I am amazed at just how hard an arrogant and religious heart can be. Not only were they failing miserably at being faithful stewards of the oracles of God which they openly boasted to be the keepers and teachers of, they failed miserably in their living by them. Such is why all who will live godly for Jesus will not only be rejected, but likewise persecuted by today’s arrogant religious leaders.

Jesus said such men were “those who justified yourselves before men,” but warned all that God knows the hearts of all men. But what was it the Pharisees had been “justifying” themselves about? They were the prominent religious leaders of the day . . . that is up until the Light of the world appeared unto men exposing them for what they really were. They were covetous not only of worldly things, but also of the praise and admiration of men. No wonder Jesus spoke such sharp condemning words to them that what they “highly esteemed” was an abomination in the sight of God.

If you are an America Christian who is faring well and yet yearn for, or look for the praise and approval of men, then I strongly urge you to listen to Jesus words against these religious men  –

Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 In the Gospel of John it was recorded how many of the chief rulers actually believed on Jesus, but only two of which are mentioned in scripture and eventually came forward and stood for Jesus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. However, many of them would not openly confess Jesus because they feared the Jews, i.e., the Pharisees –

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:  43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (more…)

There was a time when I honestly thought I was a Christian, meaning, that I was a real “follower of Christ.” But like so many others professing Christ nowadays, I was believing what so many religious teachers out there teach as the Christian’s dilemma, that we will always be stuck in doing those things we hate and many times completely unable to do those right things we want. My question was and still is, just how is that being “free indeed?”

John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed ;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Romans 7:19 – For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

So, how are we supposed to reconcile those words of the Apostle Paul with the words of Jesus? Are we “wretched men,” or are we “free indeed?” Like so many, I was taught that Bible teaches that sin “dwells in me,” and therefore, evil is always going to present with me. Thus, like Paul himself supposedly admitted, I too was always going to be sinning, and that like it or not, I am therefore incapable of ever becoming the person I pray to become in Christ. That if I want any real peace of mind and heart, I just needed to accept all that as fact and quit being so hard on myself. If I did not simply accept who I was “in Christ,” I would never have any peace.

To this day I am continuing meet believers who wholly accepted it as sound doctrinal fact and therefore teach it as so. Consequently, many of these have absolutely no real motivation to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” To me, that is both alarming and frightening, since without holiness no man shall see God on favorable terms.

(more…)

I know I have written several times on grace in the past, but we must be obedient to what we feel the Lord gives us to share. So, whoever you are, maybe this is just for you.

The follow list contains three things that God’s word not only fundamentally teaches about God’s grace, but biblical history affirms over and over again to be true as it records without partiality the triumphs and failures of those who believed in God.

  1. Grace is sufficient.
  2. Grace can be frustrated.
  3. Grace can be received in vain.

First, regarding grace’s sufficiency in the life of the believer, Paul was assure by God that His grace would be adequate to see him through whatever temptations he would endure or the trials and persecutions he must suffer for the cause of Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul learned his confidence was only to be in God’s grace, and that he could not depend on his own strength or power. For it was in his weakness where Paul found he was able to experience God’s fullness in a way he couldn’t in those areas where his own strength or wisdom were adequate, such as making and mending tents. But when it came to his salvation, doing the work of the ministry, fighting the fight, or running the race, Paul knew full well he could not do those things apart from the grace of God given unto him.

Furthermore, the fact that God had given such empowering grace unto Paul, he was fully aware he must take full advantage of it so as not to frustrate it, lest he fall short in the calling God had given unto him.

1 Corinthians 9:16 – For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

I often use the following example when speaking of God’s “sufficient” grace. Someone needs to get somewhere but they have no means to get there. They are at an impasse and do not know what they are going to do because they have to get there or the consequences will be severe if they fail to do so. Upon hearing of their plight I offer them the use of my car, to which they say, “Great, but I have no money for gas.” I tell them no worries, I will fill up the tank and that will be more than sufficient to get them there.

Being greatly relieved, they are now confident that they can safely make the trip because they have been given all they need for the journey, but while on their way they get to thinking they have more than enough time and there is “more than sufficient” gas, so they take the liberty to go sightseeing to other places along the way. Getting caught up in their new found liberty with my car and gas, they carelessly are driving around exhausting the gas. Soon they turn around towards their original destination and suddenly to their surprise the car abruptly stops out of gas!

Is this is not like the parable of the ten virgins Jesus gave us? Or the warning in Hebrews 4-

Hebrews 4:1 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (more…)

A couple of years ago I had written an article about the unfaithful steward who wasted his master’s goods, I discussed the attitudes of the Pharisees that were there listening. Amazingly, instead of agreeing with Jesus that the steward’s behavior was sinful, they instead began to deride Jesus to publicly mock Him. The more I ponder this reactive attitude towards Christ the more I am amazed at how just how hard an arrogant and religious heart can be. Not only were they failing miserably at being faithful stewards of the oracles of God which they openly boasted to be the keepers and teachers of, they failed miserably in their living by them. Such is why all who will live godly for Jesus will not only be rejected, but likewise persecuted by today’s arrogant religious leaders.

Jesus said such men were “those who justified yourselves before men,” but warned all that God knows the hearts of all men. But what was it the Pharisees had been “justifying” themselves about? They were the prominent religious leaders of the day . . . that is up until the Light of the world appeared unto men exposing them for what they really were. They were covetous not only of worldly things, but also of the praise and admiration of men. No wonder Jesus spoke such sharp condemning words to them that what they “highly esteemed” was an abomination in the sight of God.

If you are an America Christian who is faring well and yet yearn for, or look for the praise and approval of men, then I strongly urge you to listen to Jesus words against these religious men  –

Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 In the Gospel of John it was recorded how many of the chief rulers actually believed on Jesus, but only two of which are mentioned in scripture and eventually came forward and stood for Jesus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. However, many of them would not openly confess Jesus because they feared the Jews, i.e., the Pharisees –

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:  43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (more…)