Category Archives: Grace and Obedience

Repentance, Salvation and The New Bible Versions: Yes, it Really Does Matter

3″ I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish…. Luke 13:3, 5

19″ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent….” Acts 17:30

13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:13

 

 

In my experience, it has been very rare to attend a church that consistently teaches the narrow road to Jesus Christ…the road that travels through his blood, shed freely for our sins on a cold hard cross. I recently attended a church where the pastor teaches frequently and powerfully against the false, broad-road, happy-go-lucky Jesus, which is so prevalent today. This man, without equivocation, states that the road to heaven is narrow and that few find it. He boldly teaches that the only Jesus who saves us from the consequences of our sin is the one described for us solely in the Bible, and that Jesus is full of love, grace, and mercy…but also unmitigated vengeance in His time. Hell and the Wrath of God Despite the fact that this pastor uses my former longtime-love, the NIV 84, I was able to sit through a few of his sermons, since the substance of the messages were not affected by the textual differences between translations. However, in a recent sermon, this changed, and the truth of God was greatly, and horrifically obscured due to a serious doctrinal change from the Textus Receptus to the newer, critical Greek text, reflected in the differences between the KJV and the NIV/NASB/ESV, et al. The Bible Version Controversy Explained

The sermon in question was on Matthew 9:9-13, and the parallel passage in Luke 5:27-32. The substance of these passages centers around the fact that Jesus surrounded himself with publicans and sinners, and frequently ate and drank with them. In Luke 5:29, the text states that Matthew, who had just been called by Jesus, held a feast in his honor at his own house. However, the pastor, while using Luke to expound on the nature of the dinner (a feast vs. a quiet gathering) focused on the passage in Matthew and noted that, when questioned by the legalistic religious leaders as to why he would spend time with such undesirables, Jesus answered:

13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13 NIV

I believe that this verse is critical for understanding the heart of Jesus Christ towards mankind.  It even explains why he left the glory of heaven …”to call sinners….” Yet the critical Greek Text, which is followed closely by the NIV and all of the other new Bible versions, deletes out THE key phrase at the end of verse 13. Jesus did not just “call sinners” to come and party with him, as so many megachurch preachers want us to believe – and justifiably so using the NIV/NASB. Jesus Christ did come to earth did to call sinners, and he called them to repentance.

In the KJV, and in it’s underlying Greek Text, the Textus Receptus, the Greek word “metanoia” is present at the end of of verse 13, and that word completes this important passage perfectly. Below is Matthew 13:9 in the King James Bible:

“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(emphasis added). ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:13‬ ‭KJV‬

Jesus did not call the unrighteous to further unrighteousness or to simply to hangout with him, as the passage without the repentance language could easily imply to a new believer, a pastor interested in attracting people with a worldly “gospel,’ or to an antinomian (hypergrace proponent). Instead, the God of heaven and earth called the sinners, tax collectors and publicans he loved so dearly, not to fulfill their fleshly lusts, but to turn to him from the wickedness of their sins via repentance. The celebration with Jesus and his disciples was not a time of gluttony and drunkenness. It was a time of true joy – the kind of joy that comes when we know that we are safely hidden in the shadow of God…resting in the freedom and peace that accompanies a broken and contrite heart towards God as a result of an awareness of and hatred for our sin. Sin, Repentance and the Cross

The deletion of repentance in Matthew 9:13 (and in Mark 2:17) brought to my mind another well-known passage, this one addressing those who though they were saved but, shockingly (to them), were not.  “Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Luke‬ ‭13:26-27‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

I have always wondered who those people were (in the passage above) and why they were so deeply deceived about something as important as their eternal destiny. I think I now understand. They were those who chose to spend time with Jesus, eating, drinking, and perhaps even sitting under his teaching on occasion…yet they refused to turn their hearts away from sin to him via repentance. In other words, they viewed Jesus just as the NIV and most other new Bible versions do…as a cool God/man who really just wants us to follow his ways and hang out with him…no judgement, no pricking of our consciences, no repentance…just chill with Jesus and his posse, and maybe debate some theology over a craft beer or two. After all, isn’t that how Jesus rolled??  Sadly, that Jesus is a fake one, manufactured by our own lustful desire to cling to our sin…and even our Bibles and many of our “churches” affirm that Jesus.

Another oft-quoted verse that, in the NIV appears to justify unmitigated sin, is the famed Romans 8:1:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” NIV

A few years ago I had an unmarried Christian brother quote this verse to me after nights of skinny dipping and heavy drinking. His point to me, when I was attempting to encourage him gently to flee from sin to the Jesus of the Bible was that, “I’m saved, so don’t even talk to me about repenting and turning my heart away from my sin. There is no condemnation no matter what I do.”

Well, the King James Bible tells a different story. It states:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV

The point is not that one has to be perfect to walk uncondemned before Jesus Christ. Instead, the extra clause emphasizes the fact that, if we are truly in Christ Jesus, while we will stumble and fall as we make our way through this wicked world, we, as lovers of Jesus Christ and his precious blood, hate our sin and seek, with all of our hearts to walk not according to our fleshly lusts but according to the spirit. Paul said it best to Titus when he described what should happen when we truly understand the grace of God:

11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-13,15

I could go on and on quoting important doctrinal changes to new version Bibles via the underlying critical Greek text, but for the purposes of this article I am simply illustrating how the new versions can absolutely corrupt ones understanding of God’s grace…even when a solid pastor is preaching. If we truly believe with our hearts (per Romans 10:9-10), that Jesus Christ paid for our sins with his blood, free of charge, than we will seek to turn to him from our sin, and honor him…not as works unto salvation, but as love. Jesus himself states:

21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” John 14:21-24

We must all, as disciples of Jesus Christ, desire only the pure milk of the word, and thus, cast off all of our adulterated Bible versions, no matter how easy they are to read and no matter who accuses us of being legalistic. The evidence in favor of the KJV and it’s Greek foundation are overwhelming. See, The Bible Version Controversy Explained . We are told by Jude to contend vigorously for the faith, but how can we do that if we are quoting watered down Bible versions that delete out the clarion call to repentance, a call given by Jesus himself twice in a row in Luke 13 (see the top of the page)? Even Muslims I meet on the streets when I am evangelizing point to the fact that Christians have over a hundred different Bible versions, all of which say different things, while they only have one Quran. Therefore, they cannot even consider trusting the Bible or Christianity. What a brilliant scheme by Satan to easily convince 2 billion Muslims that Christianity has to be false since their holy book contradicts itself in hundreds of places! While I gladly inform them that only one English Bible is actually true, and I note that I would be glad to explain to them the history of the Textus Receptus and KJV, they simply laugh and say that the KJV is only one of hundreds of Bibles, and why should they believe me. Such is the brilliance of satan’s handiwork….

 

EPILOGUE

I loved the NIV and NKJV for 25 years, and I believed what was taught in seminaries and bible colleges about the superiority of the Greek foundation for the new versions (the critical Greek text, whose primary components are Codex Siniaticus and Codex Vaticanus). However, after my wife (like me, an NIV’er at the time), raised serious questions as to why the KJV was so different doctrinally than modern Bibles (after reading straight through six different versions), I decided to dig beyond what I had, like a sheep, been fed.  So…I studied the issue for myself and found well over a hundred serious doctrinal changes, many of which lined up with catholic church doctrine (Acts 8:37, 1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Tim. 2:15, James 5:16 are a few off of the top of my head). My previous in-depth article (linked in the previous paragraph) lays out my findings in much greater detail.

I care about one thing and one thing only – that people escape satan’s wicked lies and pass from death to life via repentance through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have no other agenda than that, and this goal can only be accomplished if we are ALL teaching, exhorting and rebuking with an accurate Bible, a Bible that demands more than that sinners simply follow Jesus. Instead we must use a Bible that repeats over and over and over again the call by both Jesus and his apostles that all men everywhere must repent for the remission of sins.

 

15 “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:15

 

The Beauty and Power of the Written Word of God

Click link for edits and deletions in the so-called New King James Bible

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SIN, REPENTANCE AND THE CROSS OF CHRIST

                                         SIN, REPENTANCE AND THE CROSS OF CHRIST

 

” I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3,5

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you but Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live for righteousness, for by his wounds you have been healed” 1 Peter 2:24

“…Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Revelation 1:5b

 It grieves me deeply that so much of the focus of popular “Christian” teaching and preaching today deemphasizes or even ignores sin – the very reason Jesus came to earth – and instead focuses on more humanistic things such as prosperity, non-essential theological matters, team building, “prophecy,” charitable acts, and the freedom we have in Christ. Teaching on those things can be edifying if done in the unmoving shadow of the cross of Christ, through which I was crucified to the world and the world to me. We should all, as believers, do, say and teach nothing outside of the context of the eternal truth that, the blood of God’s precious Son was freely shed for us all, so that we might repent of our unrighteousness, and turn from sin, towards the face of the one and only God who loves us with an everlasting love.

 As Isaiah said, every act of charity that we do in our flesh is like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). All of our motives are laid bare before the one to whom we must give an account. God sees our hearts, and knows when we claim to be serving him, but in the deep places of our hearts are truly seeking to gain the approval of men, broaden our business contacts, and perhaps are even attempting to earn our salvation. Paul understood the pitfalls of this type of thinking and beautifully and powerfully proclaimed that he would not glory in anything but the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ…. He considered wealth, power, and the respect of men a loss for the sake of Christ. Instead he sought, with all of his heart, to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Jesus in His death so that somehow he could attain to the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3:7-14). My hope is that we will all search our hearts before God, seeking out our true motives in everything, and ask God to conform us to His likeness through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Below I am setting forth, in summary form, many of the scriptures that stood out to me as I searched the word, regarding how the identity of Jesus was so deeply intertwined with the notions of sin, repentance, and the mercy of God. One thing is abundantly clear from my research – Jesus cannot be accurately preached without emphasizing these concepts. The scriptures prove, without doubt, that the very reason Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh was to save us from our sin (it is sad that this is even a question)…and he accomplished this incomparable act of unmerited mercy, by shedding his blood for us on a cold, hard cross.

My hope is that readers will look up the scriptures cited as they examine this writing.

Matthew 1:20-21 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, he told Joseph that Mary, his future wife, would bring forth a son named Jesus who “shall save His people from their sins.” So…when God communicated to Joseph why he needed to take an already pregnant Mary as his wife, the only reason he gave was that this unborn child “will save His people from sin.” Redeeming us from sin is the very core of Jesus’ identity on earth – from birth to death.

Matthew 3:1-12 John the Baptist, the greatest man ever born to woman according Jesus, had one message: repentance for the forgiveness of sin because the kingdom of God was at hand. Clearly, John, like the prophets before him, was standing in the place of God, warning those who had ears to hear, that, in order to have access to God’s heavenly kingdom, repentance must take place. In verse 8, John also states, when addressing the self-righteous Pharisees, that true repentance brings forth fruit. (See, also John 15 on bearing fruit to the glory of the Father).

Matthew 4:17 After Jesus is finished with His forty (40) days of fasting and the temptations of the devil, Matthew states that Jesus’ primary message was the same as John the Baptist’s: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 9:1-6 In this passage, Jesus made it clear, while addressing a man who had palsy and couldn’t walk, that He had the authority to heal both body and soul. In order to emphasize that the healing of the soul was much more important that healing a physical disability, He told this man first that his sins were forgiven. Only after that point was made to the man and the people who were observing this interaction, did He tell the sick man that his faith had also healed his body.

Matthew 9:7-13 Jesus stated that He came to heal those who were sick in spirit, so that they might know His mercy – and NOT to receive robotic sacrifices. This stands in stark contrast to the legalism of the Pharisees, who rejected His message of repentance. Jesus, their long-awaited Messiah, actually came to have mercy, not to receive sacrifices…and He did not come to the proud, but he came to call the poor, the weak, and the broken to repentance.

Matthew 11:20-24 Jesus rebukes the towns where He preached because they refused to repent. These cities, which had heard the message of repentance from His mouth, and rejected it, are worse off than Sodom and Gomorrah at the Judgment. This message is clearly applicable to those today who hear (or read) the true message of repentance and mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ, but reject it. It will not go well for those who minimize or ignore that beautiful message of salvation and healing, on Judgment Day. Jesus actually repeats this warning in Matthew 12:38-42 when He tells the scribes and Pharisees that He will not show them the miraculous signs they are requesting, but instead they must simply repent of their sins as Nineveh did at the preaching of Jonah.

Matthew 21:23-32 It is not what we say, but what we do that matters to God. We must repent and obey in order to please Him.

Matthew 26:26-30 During the last supper, at the end of the meal, Jesus passes around a cup of wine and tells his disciples that it represents His blood which is shed for many for the remission of sin.

Mark 2:15-17 Jesus didn’t come to those who seem to be righteous. He came to call sinners…those who almost certainly realized that they were living in a way that displeases God and were seeking a way out…to repentance. Since the self-righteous don’t believe that they need a redeemer, why would He come to them? God sees the deep things of the heart, and He longs to heal those who understand what they are in their sin…dead.

Mark 6:7-12 When Jesus first sent out His disciples, the only instruction He gave them in terms of what they taught, was to preach repentance for sin.

Luke 1:76-77 In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that He came for one reason, to teach us God’s loving plan of salvation via his death on the cross for our sins…covering them with His blood. That is who Jesus is and that is why he came. The more we live in that beautiful, simple truth, realizing that we are hopeless sinners, and how merciful and loving God was to forgive us, the more we grow in the love and in the power of God. There is no secret knowledge to obtain in Jesus Christ, just an understanding of what exactly he did for us on the cross, by subjecting himself to unfathomable violence…taking away the sin of the world.

Luke 13:1-5 Jesus states, in no uncertain terms, that unless you repent you will perish.

(verse 5: “5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”)

Luke 15 In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that there is much joy in heaven over one repentant sinner, even more joy than there is over ninety-nine (99) righteous men. He also tells the parable of the prodigal son, emphasizing His mercy on those who are truly repentant and turn away from their sin, submitting themselves instead to the will of God.

Luke 16:19-31 In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus makes the point about just how difficult it is for a wealthy person to even care about sin and hell, given the enticing power of the temporary and deceptive luxuries that surround him.

Luke 18:9-17 The parable of the self-righteous Pharisees and the humble publican emphasize the fact that we must always remain aware of our sin lest pride creeps in and draws us away from the truth. We must stay humble before Jesus, not to live in self-condemnation, but to constantly remain aware of what exactly our great God has done for us through His blood, so that we might live in the freedom and power of His mercy.

Luke 24:47 Jesus, as He is about to ascend to heaven, tells His disciples to preach repentance for the remission of sin to all nations, not just to the Jews. This is the exact same message that Paul preached when he went to the gentiles.

John 1:29 When Jesus is described by John the Baptist, He is called the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Just as the angel of the Lord described Jesus to Joseph as the one who would take away our sin, so John the Baptist described Jesus to those around him when he sees Jesus from afar.

John 5:1-14 Jesus healed a man who couldn’t walk, and then tells him to sin no more lest a “worse thing happen” to him. Again, Jesus is emphasizing the horrible, eternal consequences of sin, and illustrates that point by stating that, even being unable to walk for a lifetime is nothing compared to what happens to the unrepentant in hell.

John 8:1-9 In the parable of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus makes the point that we are all hypocrites, and must be careful not to condemn others who sin, for what if our own sin was exposed for the world to see? Instead, as Jesus illustrated for us, we should loving point out sin to those who have ears to hear, sharing with them the mercy of God, and encouraging them to go…and sin no more.

John 9:40-41 Jesus tells the Pharisees, who are full of pride and vain knowledge, that their sin remains because they claim not to have any sin. If they truly knew God, then they would be aware of their sin. As 1 John 1 says, if we claim to be without sin, we lie, and the truth of God is not in us.

John 15:22-23 If we hear the message of Jesus but ignore it, we are guilty of our sins because the very reason He came in the first place was to reveal sin to our hearts, so we might turn away from the temporary deceptions of this world, toward Him…and inherit eternal life.

Acts 2:38 Peter, when preaching the Gospel, told his audience to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins that they might receive the Holy Ghost. I particularly like this passage and a few similar ones in Acts because it makes it clear that when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, repentance for the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ is the key message.

Acts 3:19 When Peter preaches the Gospel to a large crowd, he tells them to repent and be converted that their sins may be blotted out.

Acts 3:26 In this passage, we are told that God raised up His own Son, Jesus Christ, and sent Him to bless us by turning us away from our sins.

Acts 5:31 When Peter is preaching to Jews, explaining to them who exactly Jesus was and is, he describes Jesus as the one exalted by God to be Prince and Savior, and to give repentance and the forgiveness of sins to Israel.

Acts 11:18 In this passage Peter explains to his Jewish brothers that God showed him a vision that Jesus has given repentance unto life, not only to Jews but also to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:38-39 Paul is teaching a group of Jews about Jesus, explaining to them how the Old Testament points directly to Jesus, and Paul specifically notes that, through Jesus came the forgiveness of sins, something which the law could not provide.

Acts 17:23-32 Paul preaches to the Greeks on Mars Hill in Athens teaching them that God has commanded all men everywhere to repent.

Acts 20:17-24 When speaking to the Ephesian elders, Paul recounts how he preache to both Jews and Greeks, repentance towards God and faith toward Jesus Christ.

Acts 26:20 Paul, when describing his ministry to King Agrippa, notes how he preached to the Gentiles that they should repent and do works consistent with repentance.

Romans 2:4 We should all know that the goodness of God leads us, not to more sin, but to repentance.

Romans 5:8-21 This extended passage indicates that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, justifying us by His blood and saving us from the wrath to come. Paul also notes that death came to us through sin and that all of us have sinned. However, sin was not imputed to us to forever, because, just as sin came on us through one man, by the righteousness of another man, Jesus Christ, the free gift of justification unto life came to all men as well. While sin abounded and reigned unto death, through Jesus Christ, grace reigns through righteousness.

Romans 6 Paul asks the key question, should we all sin because of grace? No. We are dead to sin so how can we live it any longer? Since we were baptized into Christ death, we were therefore buried with Him by baptism into death, and just as Christ was raised from dead, we should also walk in the newness of life. Our mortal life was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, that we should no longer serve sin. Instead, we should live unto God and should not, through the spirit, let sin reign in our mortal bodies. We are reminded by Paul that the wages of sin is death, and that we should obey God, not out of duty or to earn our salvation, but from our hearts.

Romans 7 When we were in the flesh, our sin bore fruit unto death. While the law itself is not sin, it did help us understand what sin is – and sin, as Paul says, slew us. He notes that even he does what he hates to do because sin dwells in his flesh, yet his inward man delights in the law of God – yet the law of sin is still in his body warring against the law of his mind. Who will deliver him from this body of death? Jesus Christ!

Romans 8 While this passage states that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, the King James version correctly includes an additional phrase at the end of verse 1 that was in over 98% of the ancient manuscripts, which I believe is critical to understanding what God requires of us in terms of sin: there is no condemnation “…for those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” In order to avoid condemnation, Paul makes it clear that we must have a heart to walk in the Spirit of Christ, not willingly continuing to sin because of grace, but setting aside the deeds of the flesh, which God condemned in the body of his own Son. Paul goes on to state that, if we live in accordance with the things of the flesh, it is death and is hostility towards the God who loves us. But, if we have the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead, He who raised Christ from the dead shall quicken our mortal bodies by His Spirit, which lives in us. Paul then repeats the fact that, if we choose to live after our sinful flesh, then we will perish, but, if through Spirit, we mortify the deeds of the flesh we will live. (See verse 13)

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Fornication (sexual intercourse outside of marriage between a man and a woman) is considered a particularly grievous sin to God because it is a sin against the body, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost. As Paul notes, we are not our own. We were bought at a price…a steep price I might add. Therefore, we must glorify God in our body and in our spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:55-58 The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be to God that we have victory over sin through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must be steadfast and unmovable, always laboring for the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 In this passage, Paul defines what exactly the Gospel is. He states that, Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again. This is the Gospel, Paul says, and in it…we must take our stand. We also must keep it in memory as we live, or else we have believed in vain.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away and all things have become new. God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting our sins against us. God made Jesus to be sin for us, even though He was sinless, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ.

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 Godly sorrow leads to repentance, which leads to salvation.

2 Corinthians 12:21 Paul stated that his duty was to reprove those in the church who sinned but did not repent.

Galatians 1:3-5 In the introduction to Galatians, Paul says, “Grace and peace from the Father and Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from the present evil world according to the will of the Father, to whom be glory forever.” I appreciate the fact that, when Jesus is described to the Galatians, it is specifically noted that He gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this evil world.

Galatians 5:16-26 We are told by Paul to walk in the Spirit, and not in the ways of the flesh. This passage lists the acts of the flesh (aka sin) and specifically lists, among other things, fornication, idolatry, uncleanliness, witchcraft, hatred, wrath, strife, heresy, and envy. Paul states that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. If we are truly Christ’s, then we are continuing to crucify the flesh and it’s lust.

Galatians 6:7-9 After listing the deeds of the flesh above, Paul states that we should not be deceived, God will not be mocked. If we sow to follow the flesh, we will reap corruption.

Galatians 6:14 In this passage, Paul acknowledges the supremacy of the cross of Christ over his life by stating that, God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world.

Ephesians 1:5-10 In Jesus Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 2:1-18 In describing the work of Jesus to the Ephesians, Paul states that Jesus quickened us who had died in our past sins when we walked in the ways of Satan according to the course of this world. But God, who is rich in mercy, even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive with Christ and raised us in Him to heavenly places. It is by grace that we are saved, and without this grace, we have no hope. Now, in Jesus Christ, we who were far off from God, are brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who broke down the wall of partition between us and Him. Paul goes on to state that Jesus abolished in His flesh enmity, making in Himself one new man that He might reconcile us unto God in one body by the cross, and through Him we have access by the Spirit to the Father. We are no longer strangers and foreigners, but are fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God.

Ephesians 4:17-25 In this passage, we are told not to sin, but to put off the deceitful lusts of our old man, and to be renewed in the Spirit of our mind. We are exhorted to put on the new man, which, after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. We are also specifically told to cease from lying, which is emphasized, I believe because it is one of Satan’s favorite weapons.

Ephesians 5:5-6 No unclean, covetous, or idolatrous man will inherit God’s kingdom. I very much appreciate the next part of this chapter, because it describes what is going on in the Christian world today. We are told by Paul not to be deceived by vain words (hypergrace/license to sin perhaps?) and that it is because of the sins listed above that God’s wrath is coming on those who disobey Him. We were once partakers of sin, and now we must walk as children of the light.

Ephesians 5:11 We are told by Paul to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them. In other words, we are to avoid sin and to expose and correct those who claim to follow Christ, but walk in or teach sin.

Colossians 1:13-23 This passage beautifully describes how God delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and through His blood, translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. Jesus made peace for us through the blood of His cross, reconciling all things to Himself. Paul notes that we have been reconciled to God, if we continue in the faith, not moved from the hope of the Gospel.

Colossians 2:13-15 We were dead in our sins, but Jesus forgave our trespasses, blotting out the law, nailing it to the cross.

1 Timothy 2:4-6 God wants everyone to be saved, and to know the truth. There is one God and one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.

2 Timothy 2:19-26 If we claim to be in Christ, we must depart from sin. If a man purges himself from sin, he shall be a vessel of honor. Timothy is then instructed that in gentleness and meekness, we should teach others, hoping that God will give them repentance for acknowledging the truth.

Hebrews 1:3 Jesus, the brightness of the glory of God, purged our sins and then sat down at the right hand of the Father. That is who Jesus is and it is what He did for us, while we were yet sinners.

Hebrews1:9 Jesus Christ loved righteousness and hated sin, therefore God anointed Him above everyone else.

Hebrews 2:17-18 Jesus became flesh that he might be a merciful high priest (able to understand our fleshly struggles, See 4:14-16 below) in things pertaining to God, making reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 3:12-14 Do not, through unbelief, and the deceitfulness of sin, depart from God. For we are partakers of Christ, if we hold our initial confidence in Christ, steadfast to the end.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Jesus was, in all ways tempted as we are, yet was without sin. Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace in a time of need.

Hebrews 6:4-8 It is impossible for those who are enlightened, who are partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word offered, if they fall away to reunite themselves again to repentance seeing that they crucify God afresh. Those who bear thorns and briars are rejected by God and their ends shall be eternal fire.

Hebrews 8:10-12 The new covenant establishes that we shall have mercy, and God will not remember our sins and iniquities any longer.

Hebrews 9:12-15 By Jesus’ own blood, He has redeemed us for eternity. The blood of Christ, through the eternal Spirit, purges our conscience from dead works to instead serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:22b Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins.

Hebrews 9:28 Jesus Christ was offered to bear the sins of many, and to those who live for Him He shall appear a second time, without sin, unto salvation.

Hebrews 10:10 We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus for our sins, once and for all.

Hebrews 10:12 Jesus, after He offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.

Hebrews 10:26-31 Do not sin willfully after having received the knowledge of the truth…because only a fire with indignation which will devour God’s adversaries awaits. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

James 1:12-15 If we endure temptation we will receive the crown of life from God. God does not tempt us, but our lust, which brings forth sin, tempts us into sin, and sin brings forth death.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. We must cleanse our hands of sin.

James 4:17 It is sinful to know good, yet willingly choose to do evil.

1 Peter 2:21-25 Jesus suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow. Despite His suffering, He did not sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When He was insulted while on the cross, He did not retaliate. Instead He entrusted Himself to the one who judges rightly, the Father. Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we being dead to sin might live for righteousness. By His stripes we are healed.

1 Peter 1:1-5 As Christ suffered in the flesh, so we must suffer as well, and that suffering will help us cease from sinning, that we might no longer live for the flesh, but instead live for the will of God. In the past, we walked in our lusts, our drunkenness, and in our idolatries. Peter notes that our friends will not understand why we no longer live like that, but they will one day have to give an account to God for their deeds.

2 Peter 1:5-10 In order to make our calling an election assured, we must gain virtue, knowledge, patience, godliness, and brotherly kindness. If we do not do such things, then we have forgotten that we have been purged of our past sins.

2 Peter 3:9 God is long suffering towards us, and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we do not have sin, we lie and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 2:1-3 John advises his audience that he is writing this letter so that we do not sin, and so that we understand that we have an advocate in heaven, Jesus Christ, who is the propitiation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 3:5-10 The reason that Jesus came to earth was to take away our sin, and in Him there was no sin. Whoever abides in Jesus doesn’t sin, and he who sins is of the devil. Whoever is born of God doesn’t sin and cannot sin because he is born of God. In this way we can see who is of God and who isn’t. Whoever does not do righteousness and does not love his brother is not a child of God.

***Based on the totality of scripture, I believe that the passage above is speaking about those who consider themselves to be “believers” yet have an unrepentant heart. Sinless perfection cannot happen as long as we are in, what Paul describes in Philippians 3:21, as these “vile bodies.” What John seems to be saying is that, if we are truly in Christ, we will despise sin and will remain in a place of repentance as we live. We will, with the help of the Holy Spirit, seek out our sin, and confess it, not out of guilt, but because we love this great God, Jesus Christ, who became flesh and willingly suffered and died that we might forever live with Him and His Father in paradise.

1 John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin. For whoever is born of God doesn’t sin and is protected from Satan. This verse clearly implies that when we willfully sin, we open the door to satanic oppression.

Revelation 1:5 Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of earth. He loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood and made us kings and priests unto God.

Psalms 19:13-14 In this Psalm, David asks God to keep him from presumptuous sin, and prays that no sin would ever rule him. He then shows just how much he loves God and understands His mercy and power by praying that every single thing he says and does…the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart…might be acceptable in the sight of the living God, his strength and his redeemer. May I have that same desire.

There is no special knowledge that we must attain to in order to mature in Christ.  Instead, we must all grasp the simple yet glorious message that Jesus Christ stepped off His throne to become flesh, and willingly died for the sins of the world, cold, naked, and rejected on a cross. In that and only that should we glory. For if we dwell, through the spirit, in a place of understanding exactly who Jesus was from eternity past, and what He left to walk among us (See Ezekiel 1), we can truly understand who and what we were in our sins without Him and just how much he loves us. Then, in great humility, we can walk in the fullness of His love and power, sharing with others the great and eternal gift He freely gave us, the forgiveness of sins through His body and His blood. And we also can continue to partake of this great gift as we boldly approach His throne of grace in our time of need.

 “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.”

Isaiah 1:18

Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective On This Short Life (Philippians 3:7-14)

What Is Important to God? Instructions For Life from Paul and the Apostles

Jesus and the Father Will Help Us Make it to The End

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GRACE, OBEDIENCE AND SALVATION: The Narrow Road

                     GRACE, OBEDIENCE, AND SALVATION….THE NARROW ROAD

****** I do believe in eternal security for those who are truly saved by the free gift of grace, through the blood of Jesus Christ. The bottom line: no one can snatch us out of Jesus Christ’s or the Father’s hands – not even we ourselves in our foolishness.(John 10:27-28). He will keep us and protect us to the end, faithfully completing the good work he began in us. Please see the top of my blog, which explains what I believe about salvation more extensively. ****** 

14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served … or the gods …in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.      Joshua 24: 14-15

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.30 I and my Father are one.   John 10:28-30

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.   Philippians 1:6

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

 

INTRODUCTION

It is extremely disappointing that in many churches today there seems to be an inordinate emphasis on the beautiful gift of salvation by grace alone, and yet there is so little teaching on the corresponding doctrines of obedience and fruit bearing through the spirit. The interplay between  those concepts is divine and in my view, is not fully comprehendible to our finite minds. Yet we all need to seek the truth – the whole counsel of God(Acts 20:27) – on these critical issues, ignoring easy, trite, christian cliches and pithy phrases that satisfy our desire for a quick answer, but may not fully capture the intention of God. Only the scriptures, viewed in-full, can truly teach us God’s definition of grace and what He requires of us as believers…not as works but as evidence of salvation.

In the writing below I am setting forth every single verse I found on the topic of grace, obedience and the call to bear fruit for the kingdom, as I read through the New Testament slowly and deliberately. Titus 2:11-12 describes as clearly as possible, what the saving grace of Jesus is supposed to accomplish in our lives:

11″ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world….”

I truly see the scriptures as flames of truth, and as the burning bush spoke to Moses, so the word of God speaks to us – and it is telling all of those who call on the name of the Lord to: believe, surrender, repent, love, obey, and be holy – and I know that I can’t do any of that without calling on the Holy Spirit to come to me and help me put my proud and selfish ways aside. God doesn’t want an intellectual “decision.” He wants our hearts, our souls, and our minds. In other words…he wants our lives.

Grace and the Narrow Road….

“…Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto to life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14

I believe that anyone who takes the time to read the scriptures for themselves will see, clearly, that Jesus (and Paul, Peter and James) speaks frequently and with great earnestness, about how loving God in spirit and truth results in obedience and fruit-bearing …. not as works, since we are saved solely by his free gift of grace, but as evidence of a sincere love for him – or as evidence of our faith. Jesus seems to equate love for God and salvation with obedience – especially in John 14:15-29(I will quote it below) and 1 John 2:3-4. How could a good and “just” God allow someone into heaven through his bloody, brutal death who didn’t actually love him but simply used him for a free ticket to heaven? I believe that the scriptures state without equivocation, that He can’t…and He won’t. He doesn’t want our words, He wants our undivided hearts set on him…and he will help us by the Holy Spirit once we have committed ourselves to him in spirit and in truth.

There are two categories of scripture that I think are important for understanding what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. One involves what it means to actually be saved, and the other involves the nearly 100 verses that don’t tie salvation to obedience, but make it abundantly clear that, as disciples, we are called, loudly and frequently, to flee sin and to obey. Isn’t that what we should want to do anyway if we really believe that Jesus had spikes hammered through his feet and hands, and hung cold, naked and humiliated on a cross for us in the presence of his gloating enemies??

In this writing, I am going to focus on the first category, going through the New Testament book by book after a few thoughts on “belief.”

What exactly does “believe” mean when Paul says in Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

I think James, the brother of Jesus says it best when he says that even demons “believe” that Jesus is God (James 2:19). Thus, an intellectual belief alone is clearly not a “saving” belief. We must believe more deeply than with our minds – we must believe in our hearts, not just that Jesus is our saviour but also that he is our Lord.

James seems to define what a “belief” leading to salvation is in James 2:14-24(and1:22), where he famously says, “faith without works is dead” and that we are justified by our actions and not on faith alone. Does this mean that we need works to be saved? No. It means that works, obedience and fruit-bearing are evidence that we really are saved because they shows that we truly understand, in our hearts, the meaning of the life, death and love of Jesus Christ. Belief as evidenced by actions seems to be the difference between believing in our hearts that he is Lord, versus only believing with our minds, as even demons do.

The Pharisees thought they were saved by their actions, without regard to their hearts. Now we have Christians doing the opposite. They say they are saved in their hearts, and yet they have no desire to honor the living God who made them with their actions. Both are wrong and Jesus himself makes it clear on many occasions that salvation is not just an intellectual choice, but a decision of the heart. As John 4:23-24 says, the Father only wants those who worship Him with their hearts – in spirit and in truth. He has had enough of empty words….

Matt. 7:15-19 Jesus says that every good tree bears good fruit. You will recognize a good tree by its fruit. He goes on to say that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire….So…. Jesus Christ, the one who was in the beginning with God, the one who made all things, the one in whom is life and light, and who died for our sins and will judge us at the end…say, very clearly, that if we don’t bear fruit we will be thrown into the fire. Why? Because we were never truly saved in the first place.

Matt. 7:21-23 In this passage, Jesus says that not everyone who says to him “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact MANY (a lot of people who think they are believers) will say that they prophesied and cast out demons in His name (I find it interesting that he chose those as examples), but he will say to them, away from me evil doers! I never knew you. What we think about ourselves doesn’t matter. Our lives need to line up with the unchanging word of God to be saved. Obedience to His Word (and word) because we love Him and believe Him is how we do it. See, also 1 John 2:3-5.

Matt. 7:24-27 Whoever hears the words of Jesus and obeys them, will be safe when the storm comes because their foundation is God. Whoever hears His words and doesn’t obey them will be destroyed when the storm comes, because their foundation is like a house built on an unstable foundation of sand.

Matt. 10:37-39 Jesus says that whoever loves his father, mother, son or daughter more than Him is not worthy of him, and whoever does not take up his cross and follow Jesus is not worthy of Jesus. Whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it….Jesus seems to be saying that salvation requires surrender – a willingness to lay down everything – even family and domestic comforts – to follow God. This directly contradicts those who say a simple prayer is all that is needed to be saved.

Matt. 11:28-30 Jesus says to all those who are weary, “come unto me.” He then goes on to instruct them to, “take my yoke upon you and learn of me….”…This call to come to God requires more than just an acknowledgement that He is God. It requires a willingness to take on the yoke of God, surrendering our volition and desires to Him. I love the image of Jesus taking the reins of our lives from us and steering our life for us while we remain fully submitted to His will. Paul describes it as servanthood (KJV) to God. Servanthood? Yes, but we are a bondservant to the only one who knows us fully and who loves us unconditionally.

Matt. 13:3-23 & Luke 8:13-15 The parable of the sower is powerful on the reality of salvation being evidenced by fruit bearing. This parable describes people actually receiving the word, and even holding on to it for a time….but then the deceptions and troubles of life come and choke it away. I think the hyper-grace people are those who will lose the seed when persecutions come. They don’t realize it now, but because they don’t really understand what Jesus did for them (for if they did they would long to obey Him), so when trouble comes, they will gladly water down the truth – or even deny it – to protect themselves from pain, since the little prayer they said long ago already saved them.

Matt 16:24-27 Everyone who desires to follow Jesus must take up their cross and follow Him. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for the sake of Jesus will save it……Clearly, those who follow Jesus in spirit and in truth, understand that our best life isn’t now…it’s later, in heaven with Jesus and the Father, forever. James the brother of Jesus also made it clear that friendship with the world is actually hatred toward God (James 4:4). John said essentially the same thing in 1 John 2:15-17.

Matt. 18:21-35 If we do not forgive with our hearts, the people who sin against us, we will be cast into hell….So, to enter heaven, the owner of heaven(Jesus) tells us that we must follow His example and forgive others deeply, with our hearts. Only His spirit can get us to that place of forgiveness, but if we love Him we will ask Him to help us forgive even the ones who have abused us or rejected. If we don’t care to do that with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be cast into hell (vs. 33-35).

Matt. 24:9-13 Persecutions will come, and he who stands firm to the end will be saved….Again, salvation isn’t saying a magic prayer once. According to Jesus, it involves living a life of obedience and remaining in the truth all the way to the end….

Matt. 28:19-20 I always forget that, in the great commission Jesus tells his disciples to make disciples by…“teaching them to observe [obey]all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Discipleship requires obedience! It is not just hanging around together and watching football while we drink craft beer and talk theology. If we are not encouraging and teaching obedience to the life-giving commands of our great and merciful God, then we are not really being disciples or making disciples.

Luke 6:46-49 If you hear my words “doth them” aka  PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE, you are like a man who built his house on a rock. When the storm comes, you will survive, unlike the man who hears his words but doesn’t obey them. The storm will destroy his house and him along with it….Clearly Jesus is saying that storms will come to everyone – and if the Rock, who is Jesus, is not your foundation, then you will be destroyed.

In Luke 8:19-21, when Jesus’ family is trying to find Him and someone tells Him that they are outside looking for Him, He tells the multitude that those who HEAR and OBEY are his mother and brothers. Interestingly, in Luke 11:27-28, when a woman tells him that his mother Mary is a blessed woman, Jesus says, “…Rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and KEEP it.” So much for Mary worship.

Luke 12:35-48 This is one of the most instructive scriptures on the topic of obedience once we are saved since Jesus tells Peter – continue to obey me or even you will be cut to pieces and assigned a place with the unbelievers. It is impossible to read these words of Jesus Christ and not hear the call to obey Him, knowing that a life of disobedience, even for the Apostle Peter, means very bad things.

Luke 13:22-30 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate…” …. But we ate and drank with you, say the people. Away from me all you workers of iniquity, says Jesus… Entering through the narrow door does not consist of living like the rest of the world, while having an intellectual knowledge that Jesus is savior. The narrow door involves making Him Lord by taking his yoke upon us and forsaking the world. In 1 Peter 2:11, Peter says that we are “strangers and pilgrims” in the world. How then can we live like the world and be saved?? We are supposed to hate the world, not conform to it. See also, James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; and Romans 12:1-4.

Luke 14:25-34 If you are not willing to give up everything for Jesus then you cannot be His disciple….Clearly Jesus is not looking for people who want to get away with as much drinking, sex, greed, pride and sin as they can and still be saved. He wants those who worship Him and His Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

John 8:31 If you obey my teachings then you really are my disciples.

John 8:51 If you obey me you will never see death.

John 12:47-48 If you hear the words of Jesus and reject them, then you will be condemned by the Father on the last day.

John 14 is an excellent chapter on the love Jesus and the Father have for us….if we obey.

vs. 15-17 if you love me then you will obey me…and then(once you obey me) I will send you the Spirit, which the world cannot accept. vs. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will show myself to him. vs. 23 He who does not love me will not obey my teachings. These words are not my own but belong to the father who sent me. Then Jesus shows his own obedience to His Father in vs. 31. The glorious result of His life of obedience is beautifully and powerfully laid out in Philippians 2:5-11.
…If a person says that they don’t have to do anything to be saved except believe in Jesus intellectually,then they need to carefully study the words of Jesus in John 14. Jesus says, specifically, that you must obey his commands if you truly love him, and if you want his spirit. (Acts 5:32 reiterates the fact that we only receive his spirit if we obey him). John 14 is also a beautiful portrait of the intimate love both Jesus and the father have for us. Jesus wants to take us to be with Him…where He is. Jesus and the father want to make their home with us. Jesus will not leave us as orphans but He will come for us….

John 15:9-10 You will remain in the love of Jesus…if you obey Him, just as Jesus remained in his Father’s love via obedience.

Acts 26:20 Paul preached repentance for sins and told believers to…. do works consistent with their repentance.

Romans 1:5 Paul received grace and apostleship, not to call people to “decide for Christ”… but “for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” This passage makes it clear that obedience through faith, was the actual purpose of Paul’s great calling. Peter says that God chose us and sanctified us…unto obedience. 1 Peter 1:2. Peter says that God’s elect have been chosen “for obedience to Jesus Christ….” not simply to make a decision for Jesus then to live as you please.

Romans 6:1-7, and 11-14 In this passage Paul makes it clear that it is an absolute abomination to think that grace is a free pass to continue sinning. If we died to sin how can we live in it any longer? We were baptized with Jesus into His death, and just as Jesus was raised from the dead in glory, so we should walk in the newness of life. In verses 11-14, Paul goes on to state that we should consider ourselves dead to sin and thus, should not let sin reign in our mortal bodies by obeying its lusts. We are not to yield our bodies to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but instead we are to yield ourselves to God. For sin shall not have dominion over us any longer.

Romans 8:1 In the King James Version (which agrees with 98.02% of ancient manuscripts), but sadly, not in the other versions, Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That last phrase was deleted from the Bible versions that flow from manuscripts Sinaticus and Vaticanus along with  the 1881 edits by Westcott and Hort Those deletions change the meaning of the entire verse. We have been given free will, and for there to be “no condemnation” on believers, according to Paul, we must be choosing to walk, not according to our sinful nature, but in accordance with the Spirit which we have freely received from Christ. Romans 8:4, in most versions, goes on to affirm the point made in 8:1 by the KJV, by stating that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled…by those who walk after the Spirit and not the flesh.

Romans 8:7-8 The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God and those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Romans 8: 11-15 Because Jesus is in us we have an obligation to put aside our sinful nature and, by the spirit, to put to death the misdeeds of the body. “If ye live after the flesh(sinful nature) ye shall die, but if, ye through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” So says Paul – the same guy who speaks so frequently and beautifully on grace.

1 Corinthians 7:19 The flesh means nothing. Only obedience counts.

1 Corinthians 15: 10 Paul states that the grace of God caused him to labor more abundantly than all of the other apostles. He was not bragging. He was simply illustrating how much he knew he needed the mercy of God and how grateful he was for it, since earlier in the chapter he expressed shame for previously persecuting the church of God. God’s grace did not whisper lies to Paul’s heart, like the serpent in the garden, to sit back and relax…not worrying about sin and disobedience. Instead It told him the profound truth that Jesus died a brutal death for HIM and that he was saved, despite his wickedness, by the merciful hand of Jesus Christ. This prompted him to, with great vigor, serve the Lord across the known world with no regard for his physical needs.

Galatians 1:6-9  Here, the Galatian believers were turning to a different gospel… a different Jesus. Paul makes it clear that if he or even an angel preaches a different Jesus or a different gospel… may they be eternally condemned.  So…if we are pulled off into heresy, teaching and preaching a false Jesus Christ, they will end up in hell.

Ephesians 5:3-8 Paul states with great clarity that no immoral or greedy person will inherit the kingdom of heaven…no matter what prayer he prayed.

Colossians 1:21-23 We are holy in Christ’s sight and are free from accusation….if we continue in the faith, grounded and settled, not moved away from the hope of the gospel….not as works, but as evidence of salvation.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 Avoid sexual immorality since God called us to live a holy life. Paul then says that rejecting this teaching is rejecting God himself.

1 Thess. 5:8-11 says be self-controlled to avoid suffering God’s wrath…..Believer or not a believer, whether Paul or a young disciple, all of us must, through the spirit (Romans8:13), discipline our flesh by obeying the unchanging word of God.

2 Timothy 2:19b Everyone who confesses the name of The Lord must turn away from wickedness.

Titus 1:16 Titus (and Jude) is an excellent book on the life we are called to live as followers of Christ. Titus 1:16 says that some people claim to know God – but by their actions they deny him. Clearly our actions matter. Titus 2:11-12 teaches us exactly what the grace of God should lead us to…and it isn’t the freedom to enjoy sin:

11″ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world….” 

Hebrews 5:9 Jesus is the author of salvation for….all those who obey.…Salvation is not for those who simply have an intellectual belief in Jesus Christ. We must also obey, and we will if we are truly saved.

James 1:22 and 2:14-24 state very clearly that an intellectual belief in Jesus is not enough for salvation. We must prove our faith by our actions, since even demons “believe” or accept that Jesus is God. “Works” prove that our belief is real, but they don’t save us. Only faith in the blood saves us.

James 4:4-5 tells us that friendship with the world is hatred towards God and that anyone who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God, for the Holy Spirit is envious.

…If we are living, in large part, like the world and are fitting nicely into our sick and godless culture, something is wrong. We are to be set apart, not by legalistic actions, but by knowing God – by being holy, by exercising spirit-lead self control and by fleeing from the greed, materialism, drunkenness and lust that ties us tightly to this age. Each of us needs to test our actions in the light of the unchanging, everlasting word of the Living God. Remember that Jesus told us all very clearly in John 15 that if we truly love Him, then we will be hated by the world, and James tells us that friendship with the world is hatred towards God.

1 Peter 4:17-19 It is even hard for a righteous man to be saved so how much more the ungodly?

2 Peter 1:5-10 Make your calling and election sure by making every effort to exercise goodness, self-control and love.

…Here Peter, as Paul frequently did, emphasizes that obedience is required to make our election certain. Again, I strongly believe that they are saying that, while “works” don’t save us, obedience and fruit are evidence that we truly believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, and has saved us from the dominion of darkness through His blood.

1 John 1:5-7 God is light. In him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness we lie and do not live by the truth. …We can’t be in Jesus and walk unrepentantly in darkness.

1 John 2:3-6 Anyone who says that they know him but does not obey him is a liar and the truth is not in him. We know that we really know him if we obey him.

1 John 2:15-17 If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:24-25 If what you heard in the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the son and the Father…and you will have eternal life.

1 John 3:6-10 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has seen him or knows him. vs. 9 – No one who is born of God continues to sin. vs. 10 – Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.

2 John 1:6 What is love? It is walking in obedience to his commands.

2 John 1:8-11 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for(meaning rewards in this context). Anyone who does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God.

Jude 1:3-4 We are instructed to earnestly contend for the faith, and avoid godless men who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality.

….Sadly, this is what happens when people don’t take the grace of god and the call to obedience seriously. The brutal murder of Jesus for our sins becomes a free pass to do whatever we want. But, as Galatians 6 says, do not be deceived…God will not be mocked.

According to Jesus Christ himself, who alone is the author and perfecter of our faith, an intellectual belief in his life, death and resurrection for our sins is not enough to be saved. He wants our hearts, our minds and our eyes fully focused on who he truly is and what he did on the cross to redeem us from the eternal consequences of our sin (Romans 15:6, Colossians 3:2, Hebrews 1:1-3). He wants us to continue in repentance and obedience, not as works but as evidence of our love for him. He also wants us to have a faith that overcomes the world, not one that conforms to the world… and He will help us to make it to the very end, for the one who called us is faithful(1 Thessalonians 5:24).

EPILOGUE

All of these verses, and many, many more, make it abundantly clear that Jesus doesn’t just want men and women of words. He wants – and demands – action – not to earn salvation, put as proof of a surrendered heart. The action required is belief, proven by obedience, which leads to fruit. He wants us to bear fruit, fruit that will last, and this is to His Father’s glory(See, John 15.) There really isn’t any way around these scriptures. So let us put aside all of the legalists who have hurt us and have turned us away from the commands of God, and let us all seek to obey Him, not because we have to or because it earns us anything, but because we adore Him and desire in the inmost places of our hearts to honor Him with all of our being…and Jesus and the Father will help us make it to the end….See, Making it to the End: Jesus Christ and the Father Will Help Us

Portraits of Jesus Christ in the word: Who Exactly is our God?

See, also...The Deceitfulness of Wealth: Your Best Life…Later Part 1 and The Loving Discipline of the Lord,

Teachers, Preachers and Mammon: Money and the Ministry

Hell and the Wrath of God-Almighty

What Is Important to God? Instructions For Life from Paul and the Apostles

What instructions for life are emphasized by the Apostles ?

                     

                               LIFE AS A BELIEVER: The Apostles’ Instructions To the Church

 

I have been reviewing the New Testament scriptures following the ascension of Jesus, slowly and deliberately, seeking passages that teach believers (myself, especially) how to live a life that glorifies Jesus Christ. More specifically, I have been seeking to determine what things were most important to the Apostles, as indicated by the instructions they emphasize and repeat in their teachings to the churches. The themes that I am finding are: we are to flee sin, cast down our idols, and live, through Christ, lives of love, obedience, self-control, and holiness. Love is clearly the most important of all of those commands because it epitomizes what Jesus and the Father have done for us…while we were yet sinners, they loved us.

While there were a episodes of healing and the casting out of demons in Acts, and in the Epistles, Paul, James, Peter, John and Titus almost never mention those things. Instead, they focus their exhortations and instructions on avoiding sin and loving our brothers and sisters. They warn their flock repeatedly to watch out for false prophets and teachers masquerading as angels of light, and they instruct all of us to preach the word of God in humility and confidence. This writing will focuses on the commands given to us by them, which relate to daily life as believers.

1 John 2:3-6 summarizes what it means to truly be a follower of Christ in very clear terms. In that passage, John says that we know that we have come to know Jesus if we obey his commands. The man who says he knows Jesus but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. If anyone does obey His word, then God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know that we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

The above scripture embodies everything contained in the verses I am going to summarize below… we are to walk as Jesus did. Jesus walked in gentleness, peace, love, confidence, and strength, through His Father. He was holy, He was pure, He was bold and He was righteous. As the scriptures below indicate, we are all called loudly and clearly to do the same – not as works, but because we truly know and love the Living God.

In Acts 5:29-32, the apostles were brought before the high priests for disobeying their command not to preach in the name of Jesus. The apostles told the high priests that they must obey God rather than men, even though it would result in a severe beating. In verse 32, this passage states that the Holy Spirit comes to those who obey God. The implication is that, if you do truly receive the Holy Spirit, then you will obey God. If you do not have a growing interest in obeying God, then it is quite possible that the Holy Spirit does not dwell in you.

In Acts 26:20, Paul emphasized that our good deeds are evidence that true repentance has taken place in our hearts.

In Romans 1:3-6, Paul received grace and apostleship to call the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. This scripture corresponds with the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20, when Jesus tells the disciples to go and make more disciples baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that He has commanded us. We are all called loudly and clearly to teach – and practice – obedience.

In Romans 2:5-16, Paul states that if we persist in doing good for the sake of God, we will receive eternal life. If we are self-seeking and reject the truth and follow evil, then there will be wrath and anger. It is not those who hear the word that are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the word who will be found blameless, according to Paul.

In Romans 5:11-16, Paul teaches us not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies so that we obey its evil desires. Also, we do not offer parts of our bodies to sin but instead we offer the parts of our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be our master.

In Romans 6:1-6, Paul asks, shall we continue sinning because of grace? No. Jesus died for sin so how can we live in it any longer? We were buried with Christ by baptism into His death so that we might live a new life. Our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

In Romans 7:4-6, Paul says that we died to the law for the body of Christ that we might belong to Jesus in order that we might bear fruit to God.

In Romans 15:17, Paul states that he glories in his service to God and will not speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished in him in leading the Gentiles to obey God by both what he has said and done.

In 1 Corinthians 3:10-17, Paul says that our foundation is Jesus Christ, and we should not build on that foundation with earthly things for they will be burned up in the fire. We are God’s temple and if we destroy that temple, God will destroy us.

In 1 Corinthians 4:16-17, Paul urges us to imitate him. He emphasizes the fact that his way of life agrees with what he teaches.

In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Paul tells believers expel the immoral brother from their church. Hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature may be destroyed. Paul says that we must not associate with someone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a drunkard, or a slanderer.

In 1 Corinthians 7:19, circumcision and un-circumcision mean nothing. Obeying God’s commands is what counts.

In 1 Corinthians 7:35, we are exhorted to live a life of undivided devotion to the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 8:9-13, Paul teaches us not to let the exercise of our freedom cause a weak brother to stumble. If anything that we do causes a weak brother to stumble, then we are sinning against Christ. Give up anything that could cause others to sin out of a sincere love for God and for others.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul says that we are to run a disciplined race like someone who competes in the games. He exhorts us to discipline our bodies and make it a slave so that after we have preached to others, we ourselves might not be disqualified for the prize.

In 1 Corinthians 10:1-14, we are told not to set our hearts on evil things as those in the desert with Moses did, and suffered for it. Do not commit sexual immorality or test the Lord. Do not fall away and flee every kind idol.

In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, we learn that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. No one should seek their own good, but instead should seek the good of others.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31-32, whatever we do, do it for the glory of God and not for ourselves. Do not cause anyone to stumble.

In 1 Corinthians 10:33, we are again told not to seek our own good, but the good of many so that they might be saved. Follow Paul’s example as he follows the example of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, we take our stand on the Gospel, and hold firmly to it. Otherwise we have believed in vain.

In 1 Corinthians 15:33-34, Paul teaches that bad company corrupts good character. Stay away from those who love sin and we ourselves must stop sinning.

In 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, Paul states that we have victory through Jesus, therefore we are to stand firm and let nothing move us – always giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, we are told to be on guard and to stand firm in the faith. Be men of courage. Be strong and do everything in love.

In 2 Corinthians 1:12, Paul emphasizes that him and his followers have conducted themselves in the world with holiness and sincerity.

In 2 Corinthians 1:21-24, Paul says that we are to stand firm in Christ with the help of God.

In 2 Corinthians 2:9b, Paul says that we are to be obedient in everything.

In 2 Corinthians 4:2, Paul tells us to renounce all secret and shameful ways.

In 2 Corinthians 4:10, Paul encourages the believers to desire the life of Jesus to be revealed in their bodies.

In 2 Corinthians 4:18, we told to fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.

In 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, Paul says that we are to make it our goal to please God rather than man or ourselves. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one of us may receive what is due for the things done in the body, whether good or bad.

In 2 Corinthians 5:15, we are reminded that Jesus died for us, so that we should no longer live for ourselves but for the one who died for us.

In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul says that we are Christ’s ambassadors, so we must live accordingly.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, we are told to separate from the world and to not be unclean because we are temples of the living God. We are to come out from the world and be separate. We are told not touch what is unclean.

In 2 Corinthians 7:1, Paul exhorts us to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

In 2 Corinthians 9:13b, Paul tells the people that men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies their confession of the Gospel of Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5, we are told to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 13:11, Paul says that when we were children we thought and reasoned like children. As we grow up in Christ, we are to put childish ways behind us and must lay aside our selfish and immature ways.

In Galatians 5:13, we are called to be free, but we are not to use our freedom to indulge in the sinful nature.

In Galatians 5:16, we told are to live by the Spirit so that we will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

In Galatians 5:19-24, Paul says that the acts of the sinful nature are sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, envy, and drunkenness. Paul warns the church that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires therefore, let us walk in the Spirit.

In Galatians 6:7-9, we told not to be deceived. God will not be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. If we sow to please the sinful nature, we will, by that nature reap destruction.

In Galatians 6:14-15, Paul says that he will never boast of anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to him and him to the world. Nothing in the flesh matters -what counts is a new creation.

In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul states that we were dead in our transgressions when we followed the ways of the world – the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works.

In Ephesians 4:1-2, we are told to live a life worthy of the calling we received. Be completely humble, gentle, and patient.

In Ephesians 4:17-32, Paul states that we should not live in sin, which separates us from the life of God. Instead, we are to put off our old selves, which are corrupted by deceitful desires and put on a new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We should not ever let unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only that which is helpful for building others up. We do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Finally, we are to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, slander, and every form of malice.

In Ephesians 5:1-18, Paul says that we are to be imitators of God, with no hint of sexual immorality nor any kind of impurity or greed. We should not indulge in any type of obscenity, foolish talk, or course joking, but rather thanksgiving. No immoral, impure or greedy person – such man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of God. We are to let no one deceive us with empty words for it is because of these things that God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient. Therefore, we should not be partners with them. We were once darkness, but now we are light – live as children of the light. We are to find out what pleases the Lord and have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. We must be careful how we live, not as unwise, but as wise. We must not get drunk, which leads to debauchery, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.

In Ephesians 6:6b, Paul says that like servants of God, we should do the will of God from our heart.

In Ephesians 6:10-13, we are told to be strong in the Lord and to put on the full armor of God so that on the day of evil we will be able to stand our ground.

In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul’s prayer for us is that our love may abound more in knowledge, and depth of insight so that we might be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.

In Philippians 1:27, we are advised to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul says that if we have any encouragement from being united with Christ, then we will be like minded with each other, being one in Spirit and purpose. Our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus, who being God, gave up that glory to be a servant of man – and he became obedient to His Father even to the point of death, and death on a cross.

In Philippians 2:12-16, we are told to continue obeying Jesus and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We should do everything without complaining so that we may be blameless and pure before God.

In Philippians 3:7-15, Paul says powerfully and poetically that everything should be considered a loss to us compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to know the fellowship of sharing in the sufferings of Christ so that he might become like Jesus in his death. He put his past behind him, setting his mind and heart on his future with Jesus. Everyone who is mature should take such a view of things.

In Philippians 3:17-20, Paul said that we should follow his example and take note of those who live as he instructed. We are told not live like those whose mind is on earthly things.

In Philippians 4:9, Paul says that whatever we have learned or received or heard from him, we need to put into practice.

In Colossians 1:10-12, we are advised to live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing him in every way, bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God that we may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father.

In Colossians 1:21-23, Paul tells us that once we were alienated from God because of our evil behavior. But now we are holy through Christ’s death…if we continue in our faith, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel.

In Colossians 2:6-8, Paul proclaims that, just as we received Christ Jesus as Lord, we are to continue in Him, rooted and built up in Christ. We are not to be taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies, which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ.

In Colossians 3:1-3, we told to set our hearts and minds on things above and not on earthly things. We are to focus on things above since Christ is seated in heaven at the right hand of God.

In Colossians 3:5-10, we are told to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature – sexual immorality, impurity, greed, etc., for God’s wrath is coming because of these things. We used to walk in these ways in our old lives, but now we must rid ourselves of anger, rage, slander, malice, and filthy language since we have put on our new self which is to be renewed in the image of God.

In Colossians 3:12-15, we are advised to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness, and to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

In Colossians 3:17, Paul says that whatever we do in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to the Father – and whatever we do, work at it with all of our hearts as working for the Lord, not man.

In Colossians 4:2, we are told to devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

In Colossians 4:6, Paul says that our conversations should always be seasoned with grace.

In Colossians 4:12b, we encouraged to stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, Paul commends the Thessalonian church for being imitators of him and of Christ, despite their severe suffering. This was a model for all believers.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Paul says that we are to turn to God and away from all idols, in order to serve the living and true God. We are also encouraged to live waiting for God’s Son in heaven to return.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12, Paul stated that he and his followers were righteous, holy, and blameless among the Thessalonians. They dealt with the people as a father deals with his children, encouraging them and comforting them and urging them to live lives worthy of God who calls us into his kingdom and glory.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, we are to instructed to live our lives in order to please God. It is God’s will that we be sanctified, avoiding sexual immorality, and controlling our bodies in a way that is holy. For God does not call us to be impure but to live a holy life. He who rejects this instruction does not reject man, but God who gives us His Holy Spirit.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:4-9, Paul reminds believers that we do not live like the world but are to be are self-controlled, for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through Jesus Christ.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, we are told to test everything and avoid every kind of evil.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5, we are encouraged to have patience and faith through trials. By doing this, it will be evident that we are worthy of the kingdom of God. When the Lord Jesus is revealed, He will pay back those who do not obey the Gospel.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, Paul prayed for the people so that God would fulfill every good purpose and act done by faith so that the name of the Lord might be glorified in the people and in him.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10 and 12, Paul says that counterfeit miracles deceive those who are perishing – who don’t really love the truth. Those who do not believe the truth but have delighted in wickedness will be condemned.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Paul encourages believers to stand firm and to hold fast to the teachings he passed on to us.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:6b, we are advised to keep away from every brother who does not live according to the teachings received from Paul.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15, we are told to never tire of doing what is right, and to not associate with those who do not obey Paul’s teachings.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-6, we are instructed to live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness. This pleases God.

In 1 Timothy 4:12, we are encouraged to set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, and in purity.

In 1 Timothy 4:16, we are warned to watch our lives and doctrine closely. We are to persevere in them, because if we do, we will save both our hearers and ourselves.

In 1 Timothy 5:22, we are told to keep ourselves pure.

In 1 Timothy 6:6, Paul tells Timothy that Godliness with contentment is great gain.

In 1 Timothy 6:11, we are told to flee from the pursuit of riches and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, and gentleness. We are to take hold of the eternal life to which we are called.

In 1 Timothy 6:17-21, Paul instructs the rich to put their hope in God, not wealth – and to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share – laying up treasure in Heaven – so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. We are to guard what has been entrusted to us and are to turn away from godless chatter and opposing ideas that have caused some to wander from the faith.

In 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Paul says that we are not to be ashamed to testify about our Lord but are to join him in suffering for the Gospel by the power of God who has called us to a holy life.

In 2 Timothy 1:13-14, we are encouraged to hold fast to the pattern of sound teaching in faith and in love. We are to guard the good deposit in us with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul says that we should do our best to present ourselves as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed – correctly handling the word of truth.

In 2 Timothy 2:19b, we are taught that everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.

In 2 Timothy 2:22, we are exhorted to flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.

In 2 Timothy 3:14, Paul tells us to continue in what we have learned about Christ.

In 2 Timothy 3:19, we are encouraged to know the scriptures, which fully equip us for every good work.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-5, we are commanded to preach the Word, and to correct, rebuke, and instruct the brethren. We are to continue in sound doctrine and endure hardship. We are to do the work of an evangelist.

In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul says that we should not live longing for the pleasures of this world but instead we should live for His appearing.

In Titus 1:1, we are taught that knowledge of the truth is designed to lead us to godliness.

In Titus 1:16, Titus states that some who claim to know God deny Him by their actions.

In Titus 2:1-8, we are instructed to teach sound doctrine and are to be temperate and self-controlled in all things.

In Titus 2:11-12, we are taught that the grace of God, which brings salvation, teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions. We are to live self-controlled and Godly lives.

In Titus 3:1-6, we are advised to do what is good. At one time, we were deceived and were enslaved by every kind of passion and pleasure, but God saved from those things us through the washing and rebirth of His Spirit.

In Hebrews 1:9, it says that Jesus was exalted by God because He loved righteousness and hated wickedness.

In Hebrews 2:1-3, we are taught to pay careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away from God. How will we escape God’s just punishment if we ignore such a great salvation?

In Hebrews 3:1, we are encouraged to fix our thoughts on Jesus.

In Hebrews 3:6, Paul says that we are God’s house …if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

In Hebrews 3:12-19, we are taught not to turn away from the living God and become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end. (If we are truly His, Jesus will hold us firmly to the end as we trust Him.) Our distrust of God leads to disobedience. Those who don’t trust and obey God will never enter His rest.

In Hebrews 5:8, Paul preaches that although Jesus was God’s son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and became a source of salvation for all who obey Him.

In Hebrews 5:11-14, we are told not to be slow to learn, needing to be taught the elementary truths again. We must be acquainted with the teachings on righteousness. By constant use, we train ourselves to distinguish good from evil.

In Hebrews 6:1-8, Paul states that we are to leave the elementary teachings about Christ and move toward maturity. It is impossible for those who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God, if they fall away to be brought back to repentance. Land that produces thorns is worthless and will be burned in the end.

In Hebrews 6:11-12, we are instructed to show diligence to the end and to make our hope sure.

In Hebrews 9:28, we are encouraged of the fact that Christ will appear again to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

In Hebrews 10:23-31, Paul says that if we deliberately keep on sinning after we receive knowledge of the truth, then no sacrifice for sins is left – only the fearful expectation of judgment that consumes the enemies of God.

In Hebrews 10:32-39, we are taught to remember when we first met Christ and were confident even in times of great persecution. We should remain confident and wait for our reward. We should not shrink back and be destroyed, but believe and be saved.

In Hebrews 11:6, Paul says that without faith it is impossible to please God, and God rewards those who earnestly seek him.

In Hebrews 11:25, we are reminded that Moses chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin with the Egyptians.

In Hebrews 12: 1-4, we encouraged to throw off everything that hinders and every sin that entangles, and to run the race of faith with perseverance. Let us live, fixing our eyes on Jesus, not on the world or on ourselves. We are to continue the fight against sin, resisting it with all of our might.

In Hebrews 12:12-13, Paul teaches that the Word of the Lord is living and active, and sharper than a double-edged sword. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

In Hebrews 12:14, we are commanded to be holy, for without holiness no one will see God.

In Hebrews 12:16-17, we are taught not to be sexually immoral or godless like Esau who sold his blessing for one meal.

In Hebrews 12:28-29, we are reminded that we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, so let us worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.

In Hebrews 13:4, we told avoid sexual immorality, for God will judge the sexually immoral.

In Hebrews 13:7, we are instructed to imitate the faith of our leaders who spoke the Word of God to us.

In Hebrews 13:16-17 we are encouraged to praise God continually and to do good – for such sacrifices please God.

In Hebrews 13:18, we are told to live honorably in every way.

In James 1:21-22, we are instructed to get rid of all moral filth and to not merely listen to the Word and so deceive ourselves. Instead, we are to do what it says.

In James 1:26, we told to keep a tight rein on our tongue.

In James 2:14-26, we are taught that faith without deeds is meaningless.

In James 3:13, we are commanded to show our wisdom and understanding by living a good life, with deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

In James 3:16-18, we are taught that envy and selfish ambition lead to disorder and every evil practice. But wisdom from Heaven is pure, peace loving, considerate, full of good fruit, submissive, and is full of mercy.

In James 4:4, we are told in no uncertain terms that friendship with the world is hatred towards God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

In 1 Peter 1:1-2, we are reminded of the fact that we have been chosen for obedience to Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 1:13-16, we are instructed to be self-controlled; setting our hope fully on Jesus. As obedient children, we do not conform to the evil desires that we had when we were ignorant. We are to be holy in all we do just as God is holy.

In 1 Peter 1:18-19, we are reminded that we have been redeemed from the empty way of life passed down to us by our forefathers, by the precious blood of the Lamb.

In 1 Peter 1:22, we are taught that we purify ourselves by obeying the truth.

In 1 Peter 2:1-3, we are told to rid ourselves of malice, envy, deceit, and slander. We are to crave pure spiritual milk so that we may grow in our salvation.

In 1 Peter 2:11-12, we are instructed to live as aliens and strangers in the world. We are to abstain from the sinful desires which war against our soul. Instead, we are to live good lives so that pagans may see our deeds.

In 1 Peter 2:16, we are commanded not to use our freedom as a cover for evil, but to live as servants of God.

In 1 Peter 3:9-12, we are instructed not repay evil with evil, but with blessing. We are to turn from evil and do good.

In 1 Peter 4:1-9, we are taught that we should be willing to suffer in our body because those who suffer in the body are done with sin. We do not live our lives for evil human desires, but for God. People will heap abuse on us for not living in debauchery and drunkenness, but they will have to give an account to Him who judges all. We are to be clear minded and self-controlled so that we can pray. Above all things, have unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

In 1 Peter 4:10-11, whatever we do, we are to do it for the Lord so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 4:19, we are encouraged that, even as we suffer for God, we should commit ourselves to our faithful creator and do good.

In 1 Peter 5:1-4, we are taught to serve others eagerly, not being greedy for money, but humbly waiting for the chief shepherd to appear at which time we receive a crown of glory that will never fade away.

In 1 Peter 5:6-11, we encouraged to humble ourselves and cast our anxiety on Jesus. We are to be self-controlled and alert. To Jesus be the power for ever and ever.

In 2 Peter 1:3-4, Peter teaches that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Through His great and precious promises we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.

In 2 Peter 1:5-11, we are instructed to make every effort to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, godliness, and kindness. If we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective. Therefore, we are to be eager to make our call and election sure, and we will receive a rich welcome into Heaven.

In 2 Peter 2:15 and 19-22, we are told that if we escape the corruption of sin by knowing Jesus and are again entangled in it and are overcome, it would have been better for us to have never known the way of righteousness.

In 2 Peter 3:11-12, peter says that we are to live holy and godly lives as we look forward to the day of God.

In 2 Peter 3:14, we are instructed to make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with God.

In 2 Peter 3:17-18, we warned not to be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall away from our secure position.

In 1 John 1:5-7, John proclaims that God is light and that in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with God, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and the truth is not in us. But if we walk in the light, then the blood of Jesus purifies us from sin.

In 1 John 2:3-4, John teaches that we know that we have truly come to know Jesus if we obey His commands. The man who says I know Him but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.

In 1 John 2:6, John says that whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

In 1 John 2:9, we are taught that anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in darkness.

In 1 John 2:15-17, we are instructed not to love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world then the love the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the lust of the eyes, the cravings of sinful man, the boasting of what he has and does- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires will pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

In 1 John 2:24-25, we are instructed that we must see to it that what we have heard from the beginning remains in us. If it does, we will also remain in the Son. And this is what He promised… eternal life.

In 1 John 2:28-29, we are told to continue in Him so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him. He is righteous and everyone who does what is right is born of Him.

In 1 John 3:6-10, John teaches that no one who continues to sin has ever seen or known Jesus. He who does what is right is righteous, and he who does what is sinful is of the devil. No one who is born of God will continue to sin. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: anyone who does not do what is right is not a child a God.

In 1 John 3:17-18, John says: let us not love with words but with actions and in truth.

In 1 John 3:23-24, we are told that this is God’s command: to believe in the name of Jesus and to love one another. Those who obey His commands live in Him.

In 1 John 4:7-8, we are instructed to love one another because love comes from God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

In 1 John 4:20-21, we are taught that anyone who says I love God yet hates his brother is a liar. If we don’t love men we can see, how can we love God whom we can’t see? Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

In 1 John 5:3-5, we are taught that we love God by obeying His commands and everyone born of God overcomes the world.

In 1 John 5:18, John teaches us that anyone born of God does not continue to sin, and reminds us that Jesus will keep us safe.

In 2 John 1:4-6, we are taught to walk in obedience to His commands. His command is to walk in love.

In 2 John 1:8-9, we are encouraged not lose what we have worked for. If we do not continue in the teachings of Christ we do not have God.

In 3 John 1:3-4, John states that it gave him great joy to hear that his friends were walking in the truth.

In 3 John 1:11, John teaches us not imitate what is evil, but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does evil has not seen God.

In Jude 1:4, we are told that men should not change the grace of God into a license for immorality.

In Jude 1:7, we are reminded that Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer punishment of eternal fire.

In Jude 1:18-20, Jude teaches us that in the last days there will be scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires. They divide us and do not have the Spirit (Acts 5:32, states that only those who obey the commands of Jesus have the Spirit). Remain in God’s love, and hate even the clothing stained by corrupt flesh.

In Revelation 1:5-6, we are taught that Jesus loves us and has freed us by His blood. He has made us a kingdom and a priesthood to serve His God and Father. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus commands His churches to repent, to overcome, and to obey.

In Revelation 14:12, we instructed to have patient endurance as we continue to obey God’s commands and to be faithful to Him.

In Revelation 17:7-8, we are promised that he who overcomes will inherit the dwelling of God and will be His son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the sexually immoral, the liar, and those who practice the magic arts will be thrown into the fire.

The above scriptures are convicting and at the same time comforting. We are blessed to have clear directions for how to walk out our faith, and we have been given excellent role models in the apostles, and a precious Holy Spirit to teach us all things (John 14:26). As I wrote these verses out, I had to stop and repent many times as careless thoughts, words , and deeds came to mind. I prayed for endurance, patience, and love through the Spirit, as I continue to cast down my idols, and press on toward the goal of living in and through Jesus Christ every single day.

Confronting Sin: Snatching Those we love From the Flames

           CONFRONTING SIN WITH THE SHARP SWORD OF TRUTH, WHICH IS THE WORD

    ***This was in response to a friend who once had a powerful ministry that dealt with intense sin through the love, mercy and truth of Jesus Christ….but he was ultimately shamed and bullied into denying the eternal word and placing worldly friendships and short-term acceptance by this sick and dying planet, over the everlasting truth of the Living God.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”   John 3:19-21

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”    Isaiah 5:20

“…And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”  Jude 1:23

 

When I read some of your thoughts on grace and accepting everyone as they are, they do, for a moment, sound good. But as I ponder them in light of scripture, they sound more to me like the basic philosophies and principals of this PC world rather than the principles of our glorious and eternal God, Jesus Christ(Colossians 2,8). Jesus didn’t come to make sinners happy, content and affirmed in their sin. He came instead to set his precious children free – free from the eternal fire of hell which he says, very clearly, is the consequence of sin.  Jesus told the adulteress, whom he saved from a brutal death, to “go and sin no more.” He told the man he healed by the pool in John 5 to “stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” He told others that if their right arm causes them to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better to go into heaven maimed than to be cast into hell. Hell, according to Jesus, is very, very real.(See, “Hell and the Wrath of God,” Linked at the bottom of this article).

So, while accepting everyone as they are, without addressing sin with the sharp double-edged sword of the word, and the idea of “non-judgment” sounds good to the world’s itching ears…it is not real love in the eyes of our God, who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Jesus and Paul tell us to make “right judgments” based on the spirit (John 7:24; 1 Cor. 2:14-15), not to ignore the obvious. It is not love according to our God, if we who are called to love, refuse to address the sin of those we are instructed to love – especially when we know that such sins will lead to hell…if we even believe in sin and hell anymore.

In 1 Thessalonians4:2-8 (one of the many scriptures addressing sexual sin) Paul states that anyone who rejects his teaching on sexual immorality rejects God himself. Thus, we can deduce that there is something very important to both God and Satan about sexuality. One created it and wants to preserve the beauty and holiness of it – while the other wants to destroy it, and us along with it.

What hurts a person who is living in open sin worse – being confronted with that sin directly by someone who loves them, with a heart focused on getting them to heaven with Jesus forever – or simply allowing them live in false love and acceptance for the next 40 or so years, which will ultimately lead to an eternity in hell, where the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched?  Most people who are living an openly sinful lifestyle both love and hate their sin, so of course it is going to hurt – and badly – when they are confronted with the fact that the sin they indulge in daily, and often with great delight, and which actually has become integral to their identity, is presented as a grievous error in the sight of living God. The humiliation of seeing these acts for what they are – along with the fear of rejection by clueless Christians are very, very real – but also very short term when eternity is at stake.  Real love through Jesus is caring more about their eternal destiny then it is about being comfortable, happy and accepted on this planet.
Paul cared about one thing as he carried the gospel across the known world – the souls of men. He didn’t seek to be liked or affirmed or to make people happy. He preached, with great passion, the true gospel of repentance and grace plainly and clearly, whatever the personal cost was to him…so that by all means some, even one, might be saved.

Attaining eternity with God in unimaginable glory, beauty and peace is the true purpose of our lives.  We are all called, loudly and clearly, to throw off every sin that entangles us, and to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead..pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-14).

EPILOGUE

As James (and John) said, friendship with the world is hatred towards God and becoming a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God. So why is it that we seek acceptance by this world instead of acceptance from the one and only God? See scriptures below:

How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God “John 5:44 (NIV84)

“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”  John 12:42-43

Are we afraid of being rejected by the world – being thrown out of the PC synagogue – if we stand for truth? Jesus was hated by the world (John 15) and he told us that we would be hated as well if we really are his disciples. So why – why do we so hunger for the approval of a sick, sinful world that is going burn in the end? Paul lived for the eternal kingdom of God – one which can never be shaken – for he truly understood the words of Jesus…”For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul?”

A few other key verses, which push me to take a very close look at all that I speak, write and approve, are….

Romans 14:22b “Blessed is the man who is not condemned by what he approves.”

And

1 Timothy 4:16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them for in doing so you may save both yourself and your hearers.”

I do not want my worst enemy to burn in hell for eternity. How much more do I want to protect those I know and love from the flames – the flames which Jesus himself refers to on many occasions as being very real? Let is put aside the fear of appearing legalistic or judgmental, and with love, address the sin of those we care about and hope that they will do the same for us. Perhaps, as Jude says, we can snatch them from the flames…for in hell, the fire is never quenched.

 

Isaiah 1:18

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.

Hell and the Wrath of God-Almighty