Category Archives: Sin

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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GOD, ADAM AND THE GARDEN: LOVE AND TRAGEDY IN PARADISE

        GOD, ADAM AND THE GARDEN: LOVE AND TRAGEDY IN PARADISE

 

When I recently read the first few chapters of Genesis, I felt the full measure of God’s overwhelming creative power and love for me as He, and the Holy Spirit (see Gen. 1:2) designed and built a beautiful, and glorious habitation for His beloved new creation – man. I felt the intimacy of God’s thoughts towards us as He created thick green grass to cover the barren earth, and a multitude of seed-yielding herbs and fruit trees to provide us life-giving food, sweet and delicious to the taste. God then created lights in the heavens to govern both the day and the night – for signs and for seasons and for days and for years. God also made a multitude of creatures to fill the earth, the waters, and the sky with abundance. He blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply, and to fill the earth … and He saw that those things He made were good.

 

Then God formed man in His own likeness, and gave him dominion over all of the glorious things that He had just created, and He blessed us and told us to be fruitful and to multiply. God then viewed all that He had carefully labored over… and He saw that it was very good.

After God made Adam from the dust of the ground, He put His mouth up to Adam’s face… and gently breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and Adam became the first living soul. Genesis 2 goes on to state how God Himself went and “planted” a garden in a place called Eden, designed specifically for Adam, with every tree that is “pleasant to the sight” and that was “good for food.”

As one who loves to plant palm trees, bamboo and other tropical vegetation, the above passage touches a deep place in my soul, painting a beautiful and intimate picture of the God of heaven and earth personally designing and building a gorgeous and life-sustaining garden for man. God specifically created it so that, not only are there an abundance of plants which are perfect to sustain him physically, but there were also many trees, shrubs, and flowers which were placed there by God solely for Adam to enjoy with his other senses – his eyes, his nose and his tongue. When I picture this garden, I envision lush green queen palms blowing slowly in a soft, warm wind. I see huge, grand Canary Island date palms; purple and translucent Hawaiian Ty; thick pink, white, and yellow oleander; and waves of flowering purple, lavender and orange bougainvillea, all surrounded by endless open spaces full of thick, lush dark green grass.

I had never noticed the fact that, after creating the garden, God gives Adam his very first job, a job, which I greatly envy. “The Lord God took man, and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15). What a great and innocent vocation – to tend to all of the beauty and glory that God specifically fashioned for him, all the days of his life. If only….

Besides the fact that God actually designed and planted a lush beautiful garden specifically for Adam, where he could live and reign forever, enjoying the beauty and glory of creation each and every second, the verse that struck me the most about God’s intimate and personal love and delight in man, was Genesis 2:19. In this verse, it says how God formed all of the birds and animals, and brought them to Adam “to see what he would call them.” I envision God, like a loving, deeply interested father, sitting back and watching with a big, warm smile, as His precious son Adam, thinking and imagining for himself, perhaps for the first time, comes up with creative names for all of the living creatures God made just for him. It reminds me of watching my little daughter with a new doll wrapped up perfectly for Christmas, opening it, naming it, smiling joyfully at it, and holding it close to her heart…and then giving it her very favorite name. The feeling I get as a father when I see this, is just a little taste of what God must have felt as He finished His six days of creating this wonderful planet, and watching as His plans, His purposes, and His dreams for mankind are fulfilled through Adam.

But God didn’t want robots to fill this glorious place that He carefully and lovingly designed for us, so He gave Adam and Eve free will. He allowed them to decide whether or not He, the God who made every single thing on the earth for them, was enough. Would they choose to love Him? Would they choose to trust Him? So God planted a tree, that if eaten from, would give them the knowledge of good and evil – and He specifically told them to enjoy all of the other trees and plants but not that one.

God loved them (and us) so much that He did not want us to lose our innocence and be burdened with the knowledge of evil, and He gave us every opportunity to avoid it. He simply hoped that we would be content tending the garden, enjoying the beauty, the peace, the love, and the friendship that Adam and Eve had with each other and with all of the animals, and He wanted us to walk closely with Him…in the cool of the evening.

But it wasn’t enough for Adam, and it wouldn’t have been enough for me. The unceasing beauty and majesty of creation – which speaks loudly to the hearts of each and every human through the soft clouds and a warm summer wind – is not enough. No. We, in our selfish ambition and desire to be as gods, prefer to close our eyes and hearts to God, and to pursue the cravings of our flesh. As a result of Adam’s choice, he and Eve were ejected from the garden God designed for them, and the ground was made firm and difficult to till so that they would have to eat from the sweat of Adam’s brow…and the intention of God, to make them immortal in their innocence, was shattered, and God declared that from dust they were created and to dust they shall return (Genesis 3:19, 22, 24). A cherubim and a flaming sword were placed at the entrance to the garden, preventing mankind from ever accessing the tree of life again…until Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, provided us a way back to intimacy with God through His precious blood shed in agony on a hard wooden cross.

What a great tragedy mankind turned out to be. We continued to hurt the heart of God even after the garden to the point that, just before the world was destroyed by a flood in Genesis 6, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth and it grieved Him at His heart.”

The fact that we have the capacity to so wound the heart of the living God, shows me in a tangible and powerful way, just how much He does love us and just how grievous our sin is to Him. This same God, who made us in His image, and placed a rich and verdant garden in which we could have dwelled forever in unceasing peace and beauty, was pierced deeply and personally because of our unceasing wickedness. And to consider that, despite the fact that every inclination of our hearts was evil, He still sent His one and only Son to live spartanly and die brutally, shows that His love and desire for our hearts has not waned. May we return that love to Him by seeking His face and His face only, and recalling His wonderful plan for us at the dawn of time. For if we truly repent and believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will, one glorious day, be restored to Him and to His eternal kingdom, and there we will finally eat from the tree of life, and we will live and reign with Him in paradise forever.

Heaven: Your Best Life…Later Part 2

Grace, Obedience and Salvation: The Narrow Road

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

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