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

The Mark of The Beast And The Bible Version Issue: A Warning

Sunset Cloud

“Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he approveth.”  Romans 14:22b

 

As the readers of this blog know, the Bible version issue, which I once considered ridiculous, is now dear to me, and one that I approach with a great measure of seriousness, since the Bible is God’s voice to his beloved children. We cannot afford to listen to and teach from the wrong Bible. As I studied this issue in great depth over a period of many months, I was shocked to see the stark, substantive  differences between the new versions (ESV, NIV, NASB, etc.) and the King James Bible (KJV), a version I had dismissed entirely some 25 years earlier. The new versions and the KJV flow from two entirely different streams of Greek manuscripts, which I have written about in some detail here: The Bible Version Controversy . That link also contains additional links at the end, which show specific departures (deletions and additions) from the Majority Greek text (which is the one used by the KJV), by the ESV, NIV and NKJV. I encourage anyone who wants to understand this issue in more depth to read my article, and then review the links at the end.

It has recently come to my attention that all of the new versions state, in Revelation 13:16, that the mark of the beast will be “on” our right hand, while the KJV says that it will be “in” our right hand. “On” and “in” are NOT the same thing, and based on my research into the Bible Version issue (see link above), I believe that this critical, eternity-affecting difference is intentional, and will be used to deceive thousands and perhaps millions into taking the mark of the beast. The ESV, NIV, NASB, et al. will be used to prove to those alive during that horrific season, who are concerned about the mark, that they can and should take it in their right hand…since “in” after all is not “on,” and how could the ESV possibly be wrong since so many of the men I respect love it??

Based on technology readily available today, and already in use in some places in Europe, I believe that it is highly likely that the “in” referred to in the KJV means an RFID chip. In Europe for instance, RFID chips encased in silicate glass have been inserted into the right hands of some in order to store medical and contact information, while in Sweden an inserted chip has been, in at least one case, used to open locked doors without a keycard at an office building. I certainly wouldn’t swear by this or say that this definitively will be the mark, but it is highly suspicious given the fact that these chips can store banking information and other personal details and are injected with a needle…in to one’s right hand.

My challenge to all Bible believers is to contemplate this” on”/”in” difference and review the Bible version issue again, carefully. The Bible is God’s voice to us and we need his authentic word now more than ever with all of the charasmatic false teachers rising up, and the dark opposition to the biblical Jesus that we are seeing wax stronger every day in our sick and godless society. The version issue is especially important in the context of the mark since an eternity in heaven vs. an eternity…on fire…in hell…is at stake. While we may or may not be here when the mark is unveiled, those we have influenced will be…and if the Bible we taught from and praised, is used to dupe those we love into taking the mark, it will not go well for us at the judgement seat of Christ – and as for those deceived into taking the mark: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the lamb…and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they shall have no rest day and night….” Revelation 14:6-11.  I want no part of leading anyone into that horrific fate.

Paul tells us in Romans 14, that, blessed is that the man who is not condemned by what he approves. Romans 14:22b. May we not condemn ourselves by teaching and even using a Bible that, among many other things, is working to seduce people into taking the mark of the beast, lest you, by ignorance, pride, the fear of man or hard-heartedness, lead others off the cliff and into the fiery pit where the worm never dies and the fire is never, ever  quenched.**   We are all watchmen…..

Ezekiel 3:17- 21

“17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”

** I was ignorant of the Bible versions issue for 25 years, and was a huge NIV 84 and NKJV fan. However,  when my wife, after reading through 6 different versions, noticed huge, substantive differences between the KJV and others…I didn’t want to hear it. I debated her hard-heartedly for about 8 months…but ultimately the great weight of the evidence was so overwhelmingly in favor of the Greek text used by the KJV Bible (the Textus Receptus/Majority Text/Byzantine Text), that I knew my beloved NIV belonged in only one place…the trash.

The Bible Version Controversy

Hell and the Wrath of God Almighty

Heaven With God Forever

The Written Word of God

 

 

RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT

                                              

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.  Philippians 1:9-10 kjv

 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  John 7:24 kjv

 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 kjv

 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  Proverbs 9:8 kjv

16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? Galatians 4:16 kjv

 

 

One of the most profound and destructive lies spouted by both Christians and non-Christians alike, is that believers in Jesus Christ are not to ever judge anyone or anything. We are simply told to live and let live, as our culture and even our Christian friends disintegrate before our eyes…falling into apostasy, and away from all that is true and right before our great God.

In Matthew 7:1-5, the passage most often quoted when the issue of judgment arises, Jesus Christ makes it clear that “judging” others is wrong…if the person doing the judging is guilty of the very same thing they are pointing out to the recipient of the judgment:

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eyeThou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Based on the above passage (and John 7:24, quoted at the top of the article), it is clear that Jesus is not rejecting all judgment, but is only condemning hypocritical judgment. He even instructs his audience at the end of this passage, that once they have removed the plank from their own eyes, they are free to help their brothers deal with their own sin as well. A few verses later, Jesus goes even further, warning the people to be on guard for false prophets, whom they will recognize by their fruit, thus, making it clear that we must not only evaluate (aka judge) the fruit of others, but we must also have a clear standard by which to test that fruit. That standard is truth. What is truth? According to Jesus, Christ while he is praying to his Father, “Thy word is truth,” (John 17:17b), and the Bereans knew that well….

In Acts 17, the Bereans were noted to be more noble than other believers because they tested every single thing they heard from their teachers, with scripture. They used the word of the Lord as it should be used – as a sharp two-edged sword, separating truth from error, judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart and laying bear everything before the one to whom we must all give an account (Hebrews 4:12-13). The Bereans, even with their lack of resources compared to today, relentlessly used the word to ensure that they weren’t ingesting false teaching shrouded in charisma, the wisdom of the world or sweet-tasting lies.

Jesus made several other statements about his own judgments, which explain why they were truly righteous, rather than being sanctimonious or hypocritical. In John 5:30, Jesus stated that his judgments were “just” because he sought not his own will, but instead sought only the will of his Father. In John 7:18, Jesus reminded the Jews gathered outside the temple that he was not on earth to seek his own glory but instead was seeking only the glory of his Father who sent him. The eternal truths of God are the only things that matter when exercising biblically sound judgment.

As Philippians 2:5-11 states so eloquently (see the entire passage at the end of this article), the humble and obedient attitude Jesus had toward his Father during his earthly life, must be our attitude when making scripturally mandated judgments. Humility, biblical truth and obedience to the unambiguous teachings of Jesus Christ are the measuring stick we must use when testing our hearts for jealousy, pride or anger, as we both give and receive reproof, encouragement and exhortation to and from those we love and respect in the body of Christ. The only way we can be certain that our judgments are “right” is if they line up perfectly with the word of God, and if they are spoken in gentleness and love.

An excellent example of a “right” judgment is found in Galatians 2:9-21, when Paul, very publicly and without equivocation, rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy and fear of man, which was leading others astray. After an unidentified friend of James started influencing the brethren for the worse by encouraging them to turn back to elements of the Jewish law, Peter began to withdraw from his Gentile brothers during meals. It became such a problem that even Barnabas was deceived (vs. 13) into believing that the grace of God was not enough, and that believers must still honor certain Jewish customs and traditions in order to maintain their salvation.

When Paul saw that Peter and the others, “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel,”(vs. 14) he called Peter out and reminded all of the gathered brothers that they were saved by grace alone and not by works of the law. While the passage does not explain how the situation was resolved, I am certain that Peter humbled himself and repented, gladly turning away from his metastasizing sin, so that no one else would be led astray. The truth of Jesus Christ was Paul’s only goal in bringing this issue up publicly. He was not concerned with the short-term embarrassment this confrontation caused, even to a much-beloved personal friend of Jesus, such as Peter.

Paul clearly loved Peter, but he was no respecter of persons when it came to contending for the truth of the gospel. We too shouldn’t place men above the clear truth of the word (1 Cor. 4:6), meaning that we must never be afraid to challenge our brothers in Christ who are teaching (or practicing) that which is manifestly false according to the scriptures. Paul revered the saving gospel message and knew that Jesus Christ alone bore his sins in his body on a cold, hard cross, broken and bleeding in the presence of his enemies. Therefore, he did not shrink back from a brief, but necessary moment of disunity among the brethren. Instead, he fixed his eyes firmly on the truth of Jesus, pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him (Philippians 3:7-16).

Paul also made the point in 2 Corinthians 10:12,18, that we are not to measure ourselves by our brothers or sisters in the Lord. Other fallible men are never our standard. As Paul said, those who measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves are not wise. It is not those who commend themselves who are approved by God, but it is those whom God commends. We must never test ourselves or others by what men think or say…even men we love and respect. Instead, we must judge rightly by using the penetrating blade of the word of God as we test everything…prove everything. Men can and often do become idols, and can subtly replace the truth of God in our lives. Let us do as the Bereans and test, first ourselves, and then our brothers, with the eternal scriptures, not to criticize or wound, but to prepare each other to meet the Lord face to face. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

As Jesus noted in John 3:19, men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Most of us don’t want the truth, so when our entrenched ways are tested by those who dare to love us enough to challenge us with the word of God, we fling it back in their face imploring them not to judge. Paul pointed out this problem when he rhetorically asked the Galatians if he had now become their enemy by telling them the truth (Galatians 4:16). Don’t we, as servants of the living God want truth, even the sharp, soul-piercing truth of the word of God? I pray that myself first, and then everyone else who longs for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, will speak and receive life altering biblical truths in gentleness, meekness and love.

 

EPILOGUE

God’s judgments are always right, and he has given us a sharp two-edged sword with which to rightly cut away the clever and wicked deceptions of this age from his pure and everlasting message. We MUST wield this sword in power and grace, not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect his precious little flock from the sweet sounding lies of western “Christianity” which lead down the broad and primrose path of eternal destruction. Jude tells us, in no uncertain terms, to earnestly contend for this great faith, given to us by Jesus Christ and his Father. We honor that command by growing in love, knowledge and judgment, so that we are able to approve that which is excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 1:9-10kjv). The only way we are able to mature in Christ is to eat, drink and breathe the everlasting word of God…not as taught by fallible men, but as taught by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27). May we all invest our hearts in the things of eternity as the clock of time…winds down.

 

***BONUS KJV SCRIPTURE***

Revelation 2:2 This…is what God loves, and why he commended the church at Ephesus:

2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars….

 

Romans 16:17-18

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

 Titus 1:13

 …Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith….

 Titus 2:15

 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

 Titus 3:10

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject….

 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

1 Timothy 4:16

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

 1 Timothy 5:20

Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

 Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the crossWherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

False Prophets and Teachers

The Written Word of God

The Bible Version Controversy: The War Over God’s Word

Ecumenism Part 1: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word, is the Only Way to God 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preach the Word Boldly, and do Not be Ashamed of Jesus Christ

  PREACH THE WORD  BOLDLY AND DO NOT BE ASHAMED OF JESUS

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18-24

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! “Romans 10:15

“…in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21

Saint Francis of Assisi said something to the effect of, preach the Gospel…but rarely use words. While this may sound wise to some, it directly contradicts what the Bible commands regarding teaching and preaching. The word of God tells us to, boldly and humbly, and without fear or shame, proclaim the gospel message of Jesus Christ, for it alone is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). The unchanging Word of God always overrules anything any man has ever said – no matter how brilliant it may sound. As 1 Peter 1:24-25 says, all men are like grass and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and flowers fade…but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Every book we read, every sermon we hear, and every piece of advice we both give and receive must line up clearly and perfectly with the everlasting word of God.

14 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14

Are we, perhaps, embarrassed to say the name of Jesus Christ to non-believers? Are we ashamed to mention that his blood washes away our sins? Are we afraid of giving advice that is in accord with the scriptures because it may not be socially acceptable or culturally sensitive? Are we more concerned with the approval of men than the approval of the one and only God (John 5:44; 12:42-43)? As Jesus says in John 15:18-23, if we love Him and truly are His disciples, then the world will hate us. James, the brother of Jesus, tells us in very clear language that friendship with the world is hatred towards God, and that friendship with the world makes us enemies of God (James 4:4). Peter and Paul both state that, if we are truly going to follow Christ, then we WILL to be persecuted – and severely. Paul was persecuted so intensely that at one point that he even despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). We must prepare ourselves for the same. It is coming.

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

26 “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

 

There are those who say that men can disciple others in Christ while rarely talking to them about Jesus or the scriptures. Instead, by discussing family, work, leadership principles, and relationships, the Spirit can move to communicate Christ. There is nothing in scripture that supports this position. Instead, it appears to be more in tune with the basic philosophies and principals of this dying world, as mentioned by Paul in Colossians 2:8. As Matthew 5:19-20 says, to be great in the kingdom of heaven, we must both practice and teach His commands. As I will discuss in a subsequent portion of this document, Paul makes it clear that the world cannot know about the real, biblical Jesus unless we proclaim him (Romans 10:13-17).

When Jesus is about to ascend into heaven in Matthew 28:18-20, he specifically tells his followers to go and make new disciples throughout the world – and he goes on to tell them exactly how to do it. He commands them to “teach” these disciples “to obey everything” that He, Jesus, has commanded them to do. There was nothing in that charge that stated or even implied that they were to avoid or slow-play scriptural truth, and instead should first build relationships based on mutual, temporal interests and leisure. There is nothing in the final words of Jesus that say that we are to teach others to build better relationships with friends and family or instruct them how to become leaders in the business or political world. On the contrary, as previously noted, Jesus instructed his followers to teach their new disciples to obey… everything that He has taught, knowing that if they do that (fixing their eyes on Jesus Christ rather than the short-term things of this life), then everything else will fall into place.

Our job as disciples of Christ is to lift up Jesus as he is in the word, and if we obey that command then He will draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). While it may not make sense to our temporal minds to focus so intently on what Jesus told us to do in his final instructions to his disciples, and while it will cost us relationships and perhaps our reputations, the Holy Spirit will use our loving obedience to draw hearts that are truly interested in the real Jesus of the Bible, not to us but to himself. By our obedience, the spirit will reveal who truly wants to know Jesus Christ and the power of His death and resurrection for our sins, versus those who simply enjoy the friendships, recreation and business connections that being a lukewarm (or even false) Christian in America brings.

John 15:26-27 is another example of Jesus specifically instructing his disciples to proclaim him. He tells them that, once they receive the Spirit, they must testify about Him, just as the Holy Spirit will testify about Him. More specifically, Jesus says: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”

I greatly admire how Paul took the commands of Jesus to heart and boldly and unashamedly proclaimed the word of truth across the known world – despite the most extreme resistance and severe suffering. In Romans 1:16-17, Paul stated that he was not ashamed of the pure Gospel of Christ because he knew that it was the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, for in the Gospel of Christ, the righteousness from God that comes through faith is revealed. Paul bravely lived his post-conversion life looking not at his temporal needs and wants – but looking instead to a better country…a heavenly one… one that God has prepared for his people, for we truly are strangers and pilgrims on this dying planet (Hebrews 11:13-17).

Based on Paul’s words and actions, simply talking about principles of leadership, while enjoying sports and leisure time together, with a measure of Christian principals and relational dialogue mixed in, does not reveal the righteousness of the everlasting God. Instead, Paul clearly emphasizes a desperate need to actually preach the Gospel – and to be careful about our way of life, our doctrine – and even about the things of which we approve (1 Timothy 4:16, Romans 14:22b). In Romans 10:14 and 17, Paul states exactly why unbelievers need to hear the gospel. He asks, how can they (unbelievers) call on the one they haven’t believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they haven’t heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? In verse 17, he reaffirms the above by proclaiming that faith comes from hearing the message and the message comes from the word of God. In Titus 1:3 Paul also states that knowledge of the word is manifested through preaching.

We are all, in no uncertain terms, called to preach the word to those around us. With boldness and great humility, we are to spread the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified – in weakness, in fear, and in the confidence that comes from knowing what we are before the living God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). A powerful example of preaching Jesus, even under great stress is illustrated in Acts 8:1-4, when, even after the church was shattered due to Paul’s violent persecutions, those who were scattered went “everywhere preaching the word.” I have come to deeply appreciate the fact that Paul and the early church were never ashamed of the name of Jesus and His words. I pray that one day I may have the same boldness and Jesus-centered confidence.

While our culture has painted Jesus as a passive, social justice-seeking hippie, with long hair and sandals, Paul is not concerned at all about who men think Jesus is. He preaches what he knows for a fact – and he proclaims it without hesitation, even in the most dangerous and godless places. Paul was flogged and imprisoned multiple times, he was stoned, and was even dragged outside of a city and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20). But, after regaining consciousness, he got back up, and walked right back into that city where he continued preaching. He knew exactly who it was he was proclaiming– the Jesus who rescued him from the dominion of darkness, and the one who is before all things and in whom all things consist.(Colossians 1:13-20). The Jesus who did not consider equality with God something to be hold on to, but made himself nothing. The Jesus who did not retaliate when insults were hurled at him as he hung cold, naked and alone on a hard wooden cross…and the only God who has a kingdom that can never, ever be shaken.

In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus says that whoever acknowledges Him before men will also be acknowledged before His Father in heaven. This message is also contained in Luke 12:8-9. Jesus knows who He is and he wants us to know it and bravely proclaim it as well. John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:13-20, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Peter 2:23-24, Revelation 1:12-18 and Revelation 19:11-16, are all excellent scriptures which paint accurate and powerful portraits of Jesus as He was, is…and is to come. I strongly suggest learning those scriptures and teaching them to others. As Philippians 2:5-11 indicates, Jesus is God, and He stepped off his throne willingly in obedience to the Father – and for our eternal benefit. Because he did this, God the Father exalted His Name above every name, and one way or another, every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I suggest that we encourage those whose lives we touch to do that acknowledging now, rather than later when it is too late.

Psalms 91:14 has always spoken deeply to my heart about the power of acknowledging the name of God. In Psalm 91:14 David writes, “…because He loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him. I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.” This verse speaks powerfully to me as to why the Lord has so often protected me from my own foolishness – and from the lies of the world. In His mercy, and by His grace, I do love to speak His name to people I encounter – and I constantly ask Jesus to create a context where I can bring up His name naturally and peacefully. And He always does. There is no need to be obnoxious about it or to bring it up in a way that doesn’t fit the moment. For the God of peace will, if we ask Him, give us opportunities to proclaim exactly who this King of Kings and Lord of Lords is and what He has done for us. I pray that I will always have a heart to share the name of Jesus Christ. It is infinitely easier to do so in America today than it was for Paul in the violent, idol worshipping near east, in ancient times.

In Mark 3:13-14 and Mark 6:7-12, Jesus makes it clear that he called the twelve (12) apostles so that He might send them out to preach. In Acts 10:42-43, when Peter is talking to Cornelius about the Gospel and the life of Christ, he says that Jesus commanded ALL of his disciples to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed to judge the living and the dead. In Acts 5:18-20, 29, 41-42, the text states that the apostles “never stopped teaching and preaching the good news.” In Acts 3:11-26 and in Acts 4, Peter preaches the Word boldly and he is not ashamed or afraid to preach Jesus even when the Jewish leaders specifically forbade him from doing so. In Acts 9:27-29, Paul preached fearlessly, even in the face of death. In Acts 14, Paul preached boldly despite great opposition, and even after being stoned (with rocks) and left for dead. Paul constantly preached the Gospel of Jesus, and he was never ashamed and never let fear control his message despite the intensity of the violence he suffered. For he truly considered everything that was of personal benefit to him a loss for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7-14).

I believe that one of the greatest passages of scripture setting forth the differences between the ways of Jesus Christ and the ways of the world is 1 Corinthians 1:17 through 1 Corinthians 2:5. In this passage, Paul boldly proclaims that Jesus Christ sent him to preach the Gospel – but not with words of with human wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. He knew that this message was foolishness to those who were perishing, but to those who were being saved it was the very power of God. He pointed out how God uses the weak and foolish things of the world to shame the wise so that no one can boast before him. Paul also powerfully affirmed that the only thing he wanted to make certain that he communicated to the people under his charge was the core message of the gospel – that Jesus Christ was crucified for their sins (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Paul didn’t teach principles of leadership or brotherhood. As the 1 Corinthians passage referenced earlier indicates, he taught the cross of Christ – a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles – and he did it in weakness, and fear, and with much trembling so that his message would not rely on men’s wisdom but on God’s power. I believe that we are all called do the same. In Acts 20:24, Paul stated that he counted his life worth nothing, if only he might finish the race and complete the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace. In 1 Corinthians 9:16-18, Paul says, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel,” and when he does preach, he states that he does it free of charge so that he is not tempted to abuse his authority.

There are many additional passages that encourage us to proclaim the gospel boldly. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul reminds the church of the gospel that he originally delivered to them, and that in that gospel they must stand. In 2 Corinthians 5:20-21, we are told that we are Christ’s ambassadors to the world, and that God is making His appeal through us, imploring all men that He wants them reconciled to Him. In Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul asks for prayer so that whenever he opens his mouth, the gospel may be proclaimed fearlessly. In 2 Timothy 1:8-9, Paul says that we should not to be ashamed to testify about our Lord but should join with him in suffering for the Gospel. In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul says that he is suffering, yet he is not ashamed because he knows whom it is he believes. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul tells us to preach the Word and to be prepared in season and out of season to correct, encourage, and rebuke with great patience and careful instruction.

In 2 Timothy 4:10-16, Paul makes it clear that both his teaching and his way of life were consistent. His words and his actions worked together to make his message powerful. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:19-20, to be great in the kingdom of heaven we must practice AND teach his commands. In Romans 15:18, Paul says that he leads the Gentiles to obedience by both what he has said and by what he has done. Clearly, as disciples of Christ and spokesmen for the gospel, our words and our actions must be consistent and must not be based on our flesh our supposed gifts. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul made it clear that the message he was preaching had nothing to do with his natural affinities, and he wasn’t worried at all about coming across as eloquent, powerful, or wise. In fact, he knew that eloquence might actually quench the power of the message of Jesus. He simply wanted to preach Christ crucified, in weakness and in fear of the Lord, in order that the Holy Spirit might do the talking.

In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul states that we as believers are to shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life. In Colossians 1:28-29 and 2:1-3, Paul says that we proclaim Jesus, teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. This act of teaching the gospel is our labor, our vocation as followers of Jesus. Paul’s stated purpose was that, through his teaching, everyone might have the full riches of complete understanding in order that we all may truly know Jesus Christ. Paul makes it eminently clear that the commands of Jesus must be taught in order for men and women of this earth to understand the truth and to be freed from the bondage of sin.

In Colossians 4:3-5, Paul prays that God will open a door so that he may proclaim the mystery of Christ to all people, and he encourages the church in Colossae to make the most of every opportunity to share Jesus with others. In Philemon 1:6, we are instructed to be active in sharing our faith so that we will have the full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9- 10, we are told that, as chosen people we are to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.

I believe that the more we understand exactly who Jesus is and what it is he has done for us free of charge, the bolder and less ashamed we become in proclaiming Him, as He is in scripture. That is why I believe that knowing, teaching, and even memorizing John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:13-20, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Peter 1:23-24, Revelation 1:12-18, and Revelation 19:11-16, is of the utmost importance as a follower of Christ. What could be more important to a believer than having powerful and accurate portraits of our living God from his eternal word, burned into our hearts and minds? There are very few things that I would want someone whose life I am somehow touching, to know more than these passages.

EPILOGUE

Someday every knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth, will bow down to Jesus Christ and every tongue will indeed confess that he is Lord. Let us encourage those we know and love to do this confessing before death … instead of after. And let us do it boldly, and powerfully, and without fear, through the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that we truly are heirs of an eternal kingdom that can never, ever be shaken.

1 Corinthians 1:17- 24

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Piercing the Darkness: My Journey Preaching the Gospel in Key West, Florida

The Written Word of God: What do the Scriptures say about it?

True Leadership in Christ

Money and the Ministry: Teachers, Preachers and Mammon

HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE LIVING GOD: Ecumenism Part 2

HIGH TREASON AGAINST THE LIVING GOD: Cowardice and Joining Together With Unbelievers

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?              1 Corinthians 10:20-22

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men….  2 Corinthians 5:11

 

As our time on this planet melts away, I feel a great urgency to encourage all believers, myself first, to test each and every action we undertake in the name of Jesus Christ, against the eternal word of God, lest we be deceived by the sweet-tasting lies of this world and face a God who is disappointed with us when we stand before him. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, when speaking about the judgment seat of Christ (which all believers will face), “Knowing, therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” It is my passion, stemming from my own past failures and brokenness, to persuade everyone I know who calls upon the name of the Lord, to test everything…prove everything, while there is yet time so that we will not experience terror on that day, and as John says, that we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his appearing (1 John 2:28).Preach the Word Boldly and Do Not Be Ashamed

False teaching, the patterns and traditions of this wicked world and the love of money and recognition, abound in the modern church. May everyone who reads this article, test their hearts and their actions against the Holy Scriptures, and flee from that which is not clearly supported by the word of truth. False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

One of the areas that is most disturbing to me in terms of patent apostasy, is the move towards ecumenism. This grieves me deeply because the scriptures are so very clear on that topic, yet so many good men are involved in prayer groups and gatherings where Muslims, Buddhists, and Jewish friends are treated as brothers before God…allegedly all under the same heavenly Father. There is no brandishing of the sharp double-edged sword of the gospel of truth, which leads to repentance, and there is no discussion of the reality of the fires of hell for those who do not turn from sin to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Therefore…in fact…there is no concern for the eternal destiny of these “friends.” The false, short-term relationships created by such events will perish in the flames, along with those men’s souls, when this world ceases by the breath of God. Hell and the Wrath of God Almighty

As the scriptures state, without equivocation, Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word, and that blade is swinging, dividing parents from children, brothers from sisters and friends from friends.(Matthew 10:34-39; Ephesians 6:17). How much more does Jesus Christ want us to divide from those who do not even believe that he, as God and man, bore our sins in his body on the cross? He wants (and even demands) that the truth of God separate us out from the world – not to create meaningless disunity, but rather to create true unity among those who truly know and love the God of the Bible, all under the headship of the one who made us and loves us with an everlasting love.

Perhaps the most comprehensive and direct passage on the issue of separating from unbelievers is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, quoted below:

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 2 John 1:9-11, also states, in no uncertain terms, that if we invite one who does not hold to the doctrine of Christ, into our house, or wish them well, without confronting them with the gospel of Jesus, then we are actually partakers in their evil and godless deeds:

 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 If these passages and the one quoted at the top of the page from 1 Corinthians 10 are true, how can we possibly sit down at a table with unbelievers (and even more with those who openly worship a pagan and thus, demonic “god”) and fail to confront them with the death, burial and resurrection of our great Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of the world? We cannot, therefore, do not, lest you taste the anger of God when you stand before him.

 Jesus and Paul made it clear – we, as believers and children of the living God, are not to join together with unbelievers unless we are preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ to them. The context of the relevant passages is not limited to marriage, business or prayer meetings. Our God is a jealous God, and he demands that we pursue holiness, purity and righteousness by refusing to water down exactly who he is and what he did for our sin on the cross…ever. Jesus also made it abundantly clear that when we do follow him with all of our hearts, the world will indeed hate us just as they hated him (John 15:18-27). Let us embrace the fact that we are, as Peter said, strangers and pilgrims on this earth, living not for a city built by men, but for an eternal city – one built for us by the very hands of God. Heaven: Your Best Life…Later

EPILOGUE

If we are not experiencing pushback and rejection from the world, and even from the “believers” we know who are caught up in the most glaring heresies of today (false signs and wonders, hypergrace, the contemplative,ecumenism, prosperity/word of faith, latter rain, etc.) then perhaps we should examine our hearts to determine if we, like Paul, are truly considering everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord, and his death and resurrection for our sins (Philippians 3:7-15). We all must, without fear or shame, boldly proclaim the only message that can save souls from a rapidly approaching eternity in hell…the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. As Peter says so eloquently regarding the inevitable reproaches we will receive for the sake of Christ, “Happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you…” (1 Peter 4:13-14). For in a short time, we will receive an eternal reward, far more glorious and wonderful than anything our temporal minds could ever comprehend. May we all seek that everlasting kingdom with all of our hearts.

Heaven: Our Best Life Later

*** A Few Bonus Scriptures***

1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:2

For the preaching of the cross is to them the perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:18

For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. 2:2

Proverbs 9:8

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  

 Proverbs 14:12

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

 2 Corinthians 10: 12,18

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise18 For (it is) not he that commendeth himself (who) is approved, but (he) whom the Lord commendeth.

Romans 10:13-14

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

John 12:42-43 (This refers to confessing Jesus as he truly is in the scriptures, not a generic Jesus, who, as a prophet, is respected by all religions. He is God and savior…nothing else)

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

Jude 1:3

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

What Exactly is the Gospel?

Piercing the Darkness: Preaching the Gospel in Key West, Florida

Ecumenism: Jesus Christ, as He is in the Word, is the Only Way to God

Preach the Word Boldly and Do not be Ashamed of the Gospel

Catholicism and the Worship of Mary

Leadership in Christ: Our Responsibilities as Teachers and Hearers of the Word of God

 

The Bible Version Controversy: A Brief History of The War over God’s Eternal Written Word

DR palms
Dorado Beach, Dominican Republic, September 2015

“ The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6-7

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Luke‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭(check your new version Bible to see what is curiously deleted from this verse)

Yea, hath God said…?”   Satan to Eve, and the textual critics to the world. The most destructive lie ever told…lives on.  Genesis 3:1b

 

 

I used to dismiss the King James Version of the English Bible entirely. I thought of it as a ridiculous and outdated translation – an anachronism at best. I viewed it as a shabby antique – one that belonged under a half-inch of dust in my grandmother’s attic….but then I studied the history of current English Bible translations in great detail, and realized that ALL of the new versions use corrupt and purposely adulterated Greek manuscripts, which water down the eternal word of the living God…every last one of them. That Greek your pastor often refers to in church? It flows from corrupt Greek manuscripts first edited by the gnostic, self-castrating “scholar” Origen (and a student of his work, Eusebius), who believed in purgatory, universalism, that all human souls have existed from eternity past, that satan (and demons) would eventually be redeemed, and that Jesus did not actually return to earth in the flesh after his resurrection.

The manuscripts Origen compiled and edited in Alexandria, Egypt in the 200’s, form the two primary Greek New Testament manuscripts (Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Siniaticus) used by Westcott & Hort, Nestles & Aland and the United Bible Society to make ALL of the modern English Bible versions. These manuscripts were more or less hidden from view from the late 300’s until the 1400’s (1800’s in the case of Siniaticus, when it was found in a trash bin at the St. Catherine’s monastery in Egypt where it was allegedly about to be burned)…hardly making them the word of the Lord preserved from generation to generation per Psalm 12 (see above). The fact that these two foundational manuscripts conflict with each other in over 3,000 places in the gospels alone, and are missing entire books of the Bible, does not help their credibility.

(*Siniaticus, aka Aleph, has 23,000 edit marks; has at least 9 different scribes over many centuries making those 23,000 correction marks; is missing the first 46 chapters of Genesis, the pastoral epistles and Revelation, but contains the gnostic Epistle of Barnabas along with the bizarre Shepherd of Hermès- yet it is THE  “ancient manuscript,” that lit the fuse of the pseudo-science know as textual criticism. Vaticanus isn’t much better).

In the 1800’s, Westcott & Hort, two Anglican clergy men and open occultists, whose own letters expose their veneration of Darwin and the Catholic Church, their love of seances and their total disregard for Eden, heaven, the flood and the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, made their own Greek New Testament manuscript (the so-called “critical Greek” text). This new Greek manuscript cleverly deleted out, added in or simply rephrased whatever scriptures they thought they could get away with without causing a furor …verses and passages that lined up with their “enlightened” thinking and, not surprisingly to anyone who has studied the Bible version issue, their changes almost always lined up with catholic doctrine(Acts 8:37, 1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Tim 2:15,Jm 5:16, etc.)

Westcott & Hort did expect some push back on their changes even back then…but they heard hardly a peep (Dean John Burgon’s vigorous dissent was an exception). Leading men loved these brilliant, iconoclastic lies shrouded in the dense and deceiving fog of “scholarship.” Did we really not have a true Greek New Testament until the late 1800’s?? That is exactly what the textual critics/new version advocates are saying.

It is important to note that all of this information regarding Westcott & Hort’s core beliefs is gleaned exclusively from their personal correspondence, published by their children after their deaths. That is the only way we know these key facts about their non-literal view of the Bible, their reverence for Darwin, Rome and the occult, and their motives for changing the scriptures…and we are all reading and teaching from their Bibles.

The first English translation to flow from Westcott & Hort’s so-called “critical”Greek text was the 1881 Revised Version. Subsequently, their Greek manuscript (with additional changes made by the Nestles and Åland committee and the UBS, also using Siniaticus and Vaticanus) was used as the foundation for EVERY single new version. It is deeply corrupt, and if one examines charts with the actual departures from the Textus Receptus Greek(TR), which was used by the KJV and Geneva Bibles (I have added links to charts at the end of my article), I can assure you that he or she will see through this brilliant plan to weaken God’s unchanging word, and turn eternal concepts into temporal ones (the famed Jeremiah 29:11 is but one example of a spiritual promise turned into a temporal one in the NIV). I, personally, was both shocked and disgusted by the numerous substantive changes to my Bible, yet… I do concede that the modern versions are a bit easier to read and understand due to more familiar language. The new version translators (and satan) knew all too well that this generation would take ease of reading and the lofty and pretentious claims of scholarship over the sharp two-edged sword of truth. I did for over 25 years.

The KJV detractors, and there are many, attempt to denigrate the 54 scholars (or 47, since 7 died during the translation process) who jointly worked on the KJV, with their subjective and pseudo-intellectual textual criticism. The translators were all considered brilliant scholars, and were chosen by the King due to sterling, easily verifiable academic backgrounds (I have seen many of their CV’s)…men such as Lancelot Andrews, George Abbot, John Aglionby, and the head of the OT committee, Dr.John Bois, who was reading and writing in Hebrew at age 6. These men worked in 6 separate groups (two at Oxford, two at Cambridge and two at Westminister), each of which translated the entire New Testament independently, after which time the groups came together, using fourteen translation principles, to determine the final reading. Furthermore, each portion of New Testament scripture had been independently translated between 14 and 17 times by the committee, ensuring accuracy and thoroughness.

All of the criticism of the KJV on intellectual grounds is pseudo-academic nonsense. The KJV is hated because it stands as the preserved word of God, starting in Antioch and then spreading all over the world, only to be gathered together by the brilliant Pope-defying, Catholic scholar Erasmus(the Reformation had not happened yet) in the 1500’s. Luther, Tyndall, Coverdale, the Geneva Bible translators, the Great Bible translators, the ancient Wessex Gospels translators, and many more used the same Greek manuscript family as Erasmus (known as the Textus Receptus, Byzantine Text, Majority Text or Traditional Text), and since satan couldn’t burn all of the copies…he decided to change the Bible from the inside, using proud men, far too “enlightened” to believe many of the “superstitions” of God’s word. Noted occultist/ theosophist Helena Blavatsky (a favorite of Adolph Hitler, and publisher of the periodical “Lucifer”) and her disciple Alice Bailey, have openly discussed satan’s ultimate plan to infiltrate the church from the inside…and the Bible was a perfect place to start(See Paul’s warnings, Acts 20:29-31;2 Corinthians 2:17).

I understand that the language of the KJV is old fashioned at times, and most seminarians and Bible college graduates will have a dismissive attitude towards it. Why? Because the vast majority of seminaries and Bible schools are part of the ecumenical, watered-down gospel machine. Yes…Satan, the father of pride, works everywhere – but especially in academia. Men love to know better than other men because they went to this school or that school and studied under this professor or that one. Satan was and is counting on the pride of men to weaken God’s word by imparting to them limited, but “scholarly” knowledge, in order to proliferate his altered Greek manuscripts and thus, his modern Bible versions. The apostle Paul specifically noted that he was well aware of satan’s clever schemes to deceive men (2 Corinthians 2:11),and he warned the church specifically about those who were already corrupting the word of God in his day(2 Corinthians 2:17).

As for the new versions having older manuscripts…that is technically true in a general sense, because the Alexandrian manuscripts were written on higher quality papyri/vellum at their well-funded gnostic schools, and because they weren’t frequently handled for over a thousand years…since almost no one took them seriously outside of Vatican City until the 1800’s. The early Antiochan manuscripts (Textus Receptus/TR) were true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles, yet were on lower quality papyri, because the early church wasn’t wealthy – and they were sent all over the world by foot and by ship, which exposed them to the elements. They were also worn down due to constant usage and thus, were recopied time and time again…unlike the gnostic manuscripts, which were hardly used at all. Despite those facts, the earliest surviving Bible today is an Antiochan(TR) Syrian translation, called the Syrian Peshitta, circa 150 AD… which necessitates multiple earlier TR Greek manuscripts(since the concept of a bound manuscript codex had not yet been created). The famed TR “Itala” Bible(a Latin TR translation) also dates to the 160’s AD. There are also several thousand old Latin Majority text Bibles in existence, which date from 157AD – to circa 400AD, along with similarly dated Coptic, Bohairic, Armenian and Gothic Bibles. So…even the “oldest biblical text/manuscript” argument, often used to support the corrupt Alexandrian Greek texts, fails…and does so with extreme prejudice.

Kurt Aland, co-author of several late editions of the Nestles & Aland Greek New Testament text, and a vigorous KJV detractor, admits that early copies of Textus Receptus(TR) manuscripts are almost non-existant (again,the very early Syrian Peshitta, Old Latin, and Itala Bible versions did survive) because they were intentionally destroyed by Rome during the brutal Diocletian persecution(303-311 AD), along with unfavorable weather conditions in Asia Minor and Greece. However, once the Roman persecution of the church ended circa 311 AD, there was, naturally, an explosion of new Textus Receptus manuscript copies inside the Roman Empire, prepared by actual Bible believing christians, and proliferated over the centuries by brave communities such as the Itala Church in Italy, the Donatists in Africa, The Paulicians/Albigenses/Bogomiles/Cathars, etc. throughout Europe the Balkans and even into Asia. Groups such as the Waldenses in the Italian and French Alps, the Gallic church in France, Ulfilas in Northern Europe (who translated the Bible into Gothic), the Vaudois in Switzerland, the Anabaptists, and the Huguenots also worked vigorously to translate and maintain the true biblical text, unmarred by Rome.

The Itala church and Waldenses/Vallenses/Vaudois were two of the communities of faith that worked feverishly in the early 300’s to reproduce TR Bibles in order to make up for all of the copies which had been burned by Diocletian. This easily explains the concern textual critics have with the sudden appearance of a large number of Textus Receptus manuscripts in the 4th Century, and beyond. The Waldenses were known to memorize entire books of the Bible and even as much of the New Testament as they had, and head out into the world as far as they could go, translating the Bible for the people groups they met along the way. Some made it as Far East as the Parthian empire, known today as Iran.

It’s funny – I often hear the question:”Where was the KJV before 1611??” Well, that question should be reversed. Where, exactly, was the critical Greek text before 1881? The answer: in caves in the Egyptian desert, and of course, in the Vatican. Meanwhile, as I have noted above, the source text for the KJV had spread all over the world – from Antioch to Ethiopia to the British Isles to Armenia and to The mountains of western Europe, beginning in the 1st century.

Even KJV rejecting scholars agree that well over 98% of all ancient Greek manuscript evidence agrees with the KJV, while less than 2% agree with the new versions (the last official count I have seen was 5,702 to 44, which is more like 99% to 1%). Any claim that the new versions are superior is patently false from both a spiritual and scholarly standpoint. Yes, they are easy to read, but they have many deep heresies intended to draw mankind away from many of the simple yet profound truths of God. As Jesus said to his Father in John 17, “Thy word is truth” – but not if his eternal word has been edited by wicked and deceitful heretics, who, like Satan in the garden, boldly and proudly cast doubt on God’s voice to mankind by proclaiming to the world – “yea hath God said?” The question is: Are you believing that very same lie today?

EPILOGUE

This is by far the most divisive topic I have ever written about because we all love our modern Bibles, and cannot possibly believe that so many people have it wrong. My beloved seminary professor is wrong?? My distinguished and learned pastor?? My youth group leader?? Yes…even him – or her. Everyone talks about this issue as if they understand it, but usually they just understand one side…the anti-KJV side, the side I was once steadfastly on. It took a trusted friend about 8 months to finally shake me out of my NIV 84 stupor with hard, raw evidence. Then I decided to take the time to study the history of the Greek and Latin manuscripts (that form the foundation of our Bibles) for myself. Once I had a grasp of manuscript history, and reviewed many of the specific changes(deletions and additions) in the actual biblical text…I was done with all of my new versions forever (A few of the hundreds of passages with substantive changes: The removal of the compassion of Jesus four times in Matthew(NIV 84),Genesis 30:27, Jeremiah 29:11(NIV 84), Matthew 9:13, Mark 9:44,46,48 and 10:24, Luke 4:4, Luke 9:55-56, John 7:8-10{is Jesus a liar??},Acts 8:37, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Galatians 5:12(did Paul really want his enemies to castrate themselves??), Colossians 1:14, Romans 8:1b, 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Timothy 6:5,20(warning about prosperity preachers and false science), James 5:16, 1 John 5:7, and Revelation 1: 6, 8, 11). Sadly, I discovered that my dear NIV – even the one written back in 1984 – was the worst of the lot (the Message doesn’t count because it cannot seriously be called a Bible due to multiple ridiculous and even occultic additions). It was hard to read the KJV at first…but I prayed for help from the Holy Spirit…and now I can’t live without it.

I am not one of those people who believe that one can only be saved via the KJV Bible, or that the KJV is perfectly written(I believe it is perfect in substance but not necessarily in form). I simply believe that the KJV, whose Greek foundation lines up with approximately 98% of all ancient manuscripts, according to the most recent studies, is the preserved word of God for this English speaking generation per Psalm 12:6-7. That passage, which I have quoted at the top of this article, was (not surprisingly) edited heavily in the new versions (Septuagint Greek), so that it’s meaning is entirely different. Did God truly say in Psalm 12 that his word would be preserved forever?? Not according to your new version(check that verse in your Bible).

After much study (hoping desperately that I would come to a conclusion that allowed me to keep my NIV, my NKJV or even my brand new MEV), I determined, along with countless other men and women far smarter than I am, that the only legitimate Greek manuscript used as a foundation for a Bible is the Textus Receptus – and despite the claims of the NKJV and MEV editors, the only true Textus Receptus Bible in English is the KJV.

Unlike the new versions’ Egyptian/gnostic roots, the Textus Receptus flows from the spirit-fed spring of the early believers in Antioch…all the way to London in the 1600’s. Do the new versions have many things right? Of course. What satan does best is weave darkness and light together, so that the two cannot be distinguished. He has done a brilliant job with the new Bible versions…yet with an open heart and mind, along with a willingness to exchange comfort and familiarity for truth, his scheme can be defeated. I challenge everyone who reads this, to study the actual textual changes for themselves, in context, ignoring ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed this scheme…for there are many, and they are often nasty. John 15:18-19 warned us that if we were of Jesus Christ, the world would hate us…and nowhere is that more evident than in the battle for God’s eternal voice to mankind. The very truth of His preserved word to this and every succeeding generation is at stake. Yea hath God said? Yes. He did actually, and you can read his words to the world, preserved for eternity, in your King James Bible.

Revelation 22:18-19

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

***The new Reina Valera Gómez (RVG) is a true Spanish Textus Receptus Bible(unlike the other Reina Valeria’s, which mix TR and Alexandrian texts).

***Please remember that if you look up the changed/corrupted verses in the Greek online, chances are very high that the only Greek you can find is the Westcott & Hort/Nestles & Aland/UBS Greek, which is where the corrupted verses originated and metastisized. Unless you check the verses in a verifiable Textus Receptus (TR) Greek (and several people who have dedicated their lives to study this issue say that there are few true TR’s online) you are using the corrupt Westcott & Hort/Nestles & Aland Greek. Even some of the supposed online TR manuscripts have been intentionally altered, as has the new supposed TR Bible, The Modern English Version (and the New King James for that matter). Now why would anyone try trick good Christian men and women into reading a Bible that we thought was based on the TR but really isn’t? As Paul said in a verse I cited above, we are not unaware of satan’s devices.

****Why is your ESV different then your NASB, which is different than your NIV? The answer…is ca$h. In order to receive a copyright on a new version, the law requires that it be 20% different than all other versions. So, the editors of the new versions simply grab a thesaurus and go to work, changing whatever words they can (is the Holy Spirit really a “helper??” My hamburger needs helper but I need a Comforter!) and rephrasing other passages. Do we really need all of these new versions? Of course not – but the editors and publishers want your money and are more than happy to nip, tuck and carve up God’s eternal word to get it…and the plan seems to be working well.

If one studies the history of the KJV’s translation process, it is clear that prayer played a very large role. Furthermore, the translators never profited from its sale.

***Mark of the Beast Issue***

The ESV, NIV, NASB, etc. all say that the mark of the beast will be “on” your hand, like a scannable tattoo (See, Revelation 13:16). The KJV, however, says that the mark is “in” your right hand or forehead. “In” and “on” are not the same things, and thus, someone is lying to us. I believe that the ESV etc. will be used to try and prove to people that the implantable chip we will all be required to have, is not the mark…when actually it is. The smoke of the torment of those who are tricked into taking the mark…will ascend forever. Throw away your new versions and tell everyone you know to do the same. I wrote a brief article on this issue: The Mark of the Beast: A Warning, and on how the new versions delete key words regarding repentance and sin:Repentance, Salvation and the new Bible versions: Yes, it really does matter

Additional Resources:

Westcott & Hort were not Christians

Excellent Chart showing NIV, NASB, etc. deletions

NIV Chart Showing Deletions and Changes

More NIV problems

ESV deletions and changes

NKJV Changes

The Trinitarian Bible Society, Dr. Edward Hills, Dr. David Otis Fuller, Dr. Mickey Carter, Dr. Hayes Minnick, Dr. William Grady, Dr. D. A. Waite, David Cloud, Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer, Dr. Al Lacy, and Dean John William Burgon(1813-1888).

The Underground Christian Network has excellent podcasts on this issue, which can be found via a search inside your Iphone or smart phone’s podcast app., and I recommend Dr. David Otis Fuller’s book Which Bible?; Chick Publications, Look What’s Missing; Dr. Stauffer’s book One Book Stands Alone; Dr. Sam Gipp’s The Answer Book; Dr. Edward Hills’ The King James Version Defended; and Dr. William Grady’s Final Authority.

David Cloud’s www.wayoflife.org website also has helpful resources on this issue (including a well-researched downloadable book), as does D.A. Waite’s excellent scholarly book Burgon’sWarnings on Revisions of Textus Receptus and the King James Bible. The Burgon Society’s website is: www.deanburgonsociety.org. Dean Burgon’s, The Revision Revised, is a brilliant critical, and often incisive analysis of Westcott & Hort’s Greek manuscript by one of their contemporaries.

Bible Version Comparison Chart:

Click here for version comparisons

Eternal Answers Ministry has some helpful information as well: http://eternalanswersministry.blogspot.com/2009/06/textus-receptus-vs-alexandrian-codices.html; Some of the NIV’s problems are laid out on this site: http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/PDF/keith-piper-serious-omissions-in-the-niv.pdf

Many KJV questions are answered at the link below, which I found the night this article was published:http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/pages/KJV/400-years-of-the-king-james

Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer has several first-rate presentations on youtube on the NKJV and how it masquerades as a TR Bible – and on the NIV. Below is his EXCELLENT presentation on some of the NIV’s most glaring errors, especially those edited or omitted to conform to catholic doctrine: https://youtu.be/OQFtvmVHBb4

And another video from Dr. Stauffer showing NIV changes which affect  New Testament doctrine of salvation: https://youtu.be/T0o2yKJgvnA

Additional articles from this blog:

The Absolute Certainty of Scripture

Ecumenicism: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word is the Only Way to God

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

Catholicism and The Worship of Mary

 

 

 

 

Favorite Scripture #6: One of The Many Reasons Why Jesus Christ is Great…And I am Not

One of my all-time favorite scriptures is 1 Peter 2:21-24, which so beautifully and powerfully captures the essence of who Jesus Christ was while he was on this earth:

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

This passage speaks to my heart about the supreme greatness of Jesus because it illustrates his perfect obedience to the Father, and his unwavering humility, even in the midst of the most horrific of suffering. As our magnificent saviour hung on a cold wooden cross, iron spikes protruding from his hands and feet, all in the presence of his gloating and triumphant enemies…he did not retaliate, speak a word in his defense, or even threaten his tormentors with what was going to happen to them at death. Instead he silently entrusted himself to the one who judges justly…his Father.

Jesus knew that in obedience to God and as an example for us, he must endure unfathomable suffering and humiliation at the hands of his most bitter enemies…and so must we…so must I.

The primary lesson I absorb from this passage is that, for me to truly be Christ-like, I must be willing to quietly endure even the pettiest of rejections I face as a follower of the biblical Jesus. Really – anything I suffer for his name is petty compared to what he went through on our behalf – yet sadly, it is difficult and even agonizing at times not to defend myself. My pride rises in my throat as I seek to defend my name, my reputation. But wasn’t Jesus of no reputation? Didn’t he allow himself to be mocked and even abused for the very same sin that rises in my wicked heart as I speak his truth?? As Paul said so eloquently: oh what a wretched man am I!  Who will rescue me from this body of death? …

…Jesus Christ. He alone bore my sin in his body on the cross so that I might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his wounds I have been healed. I believe Lord and I am so thankful for who you are and what you did for foolish, prideful me. I forgive those who have hurt me…help me to per-fect that forgiveness in my heart just as you so willingly forgave me while I was yet a sinner. Do not let my love grow cold but help me to fix my eyes on you as you truly are in your word, as I speak your scriptural truths in gentleness and love, and as I run this race with endurance, hand in hand with you, my saviour and my Lord.

Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective on the Purpose of Life

The Written Word of God: What Did Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles Say About the Written Word of God?

False Prophets and Teachers: Wolves Among Us

AUTHORITY: Whose Authority Should A Believer Be Under?

                           

                 Authority: Whose Authority Should A Believer Be Under?

There is a strong movement amongst church and Para-church leaders to push professing Christians under the umbrella of a group or a “leader.” I believe that the scriptures do, with great clarity, point to submission to government entities as long as they are affirming values that are objectively good and are punishing evil. (Romans 13:1-7). We are also exhorted to submit to our brethren in accordance with the biblical model given to us by Jesus, Paul and Peter. Christ centered leadership does not lord authority over others, as Jesus Christ himself showed us by serving the sick and the poor and by washing his disciples’ feet even as he was about to be brutally executed by his enemies.

Many of the well-known Christian leaders of our day reject any type of scriptural examination of their teachings, claiming that, as David spoke of Saul, so we are not to touch (or question) God’s” anointed.” Fortunately, we have the great apostle Paul as an example of how a leader is supposed to respond to a flock that tests his teachings. In Acts 17:10-12, it is clear that the Berean church was highly esteemed…because they tested EVERYTHING Paul taught them with the scriptures. They were not rebuked or rejected by Paul for daring to test his teachings. Instead they were considered to be more noble than other churches for examining his words, and have been recorded forever in the canon of scripture for that very act. May we find leaders who feel the same way about honest men testing their teaching in the refining furnace that is the word of God.

It is a very good (and sadly, a very rare) thing to have mature and honorable people in our lives who truly believe and understand the word of God. I am a firm believer that when the Lord brings us such people, they should feel the freedom to use God-breathed scripture to correct, train, teach and even rebuke us…getting us back on the straight path to Jesus Christ. The word of God should always be our final authority, as it was for the noble Bereans, for it will endure long after this earth and it’s inhabitants burn away. (1 Peter 1:23-24).

I personally long to know men and women of honor and truth with whom I can share this journey to Jesus Christ…believers who have put aside the deceptive lies of this world: wealth, status, sex, power, constant recreation, and instead joyfully subject themselves to the only one who judges righteously…Jesus Christ. But as noted above, such believers are few and far between as the wickedness of this world flows like an open sewer into the body, destroying the hearts and minds of even the most sincere followers of Christ.

Below are several scriptures that set forth the biblical model of authority, warning us that we should be cautious when submitting to fallible men, and reminding us that Jesus alone is our final authority. The scriptures also illustrate that biblical authority should not look like temporal authority. Instead it should look … like Jesus. I encourage those who read this to do so with a Bible in hand. This is far from an exhaustive study, but it does attempt to capture the primary theme of the verses that address this issue.

Matthew 23:8-12

In this passage, Jesus instructed a large crowd that they should not call anyone teacher or master, for Jesus Christ alone is our master. He also warned them that they (and we) are not to call anyone father other than our Father God in heaven. Instead, whoever is greatest among us must be our servant and whoever exalts himself will be humbled. In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus also emphasizes the fact that those in authority through Christ should be a servant, just as Jesus Christ came to serve mankind and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Luke 16:15

In this passage Jesus points out that what is highly esteemed by men is detestable in the sight of God.

Nowhere is the above statement truer today than in the church, where both leaders and laymen are enamored with the wealthy “Christian” businessman or the “Christian” celebrity athlete. Often authority and respect are erroneously given to a wealthy businessman not because their hearts and character have been tested with the refining fire of scripture, but because character is simply assumed because they have had temporal success. In my experience I have seen church leaders ignore the fact that many of these men have stepped on the necks of business partners – even ones who were struggling financially – to gain more power and wealth for themselves. Also, the fact that many of these men have often ignored or left behind wives and children as they built an empire for themselves that will soon burn away (Revelation 18:10-19), is forgotten, because in today’s church, cash and outward appearances are almost always king. Paul and Jesus, however, cared nothing for material wealth and had no place to rest their heads as they traveled from city to city on foot, in order to love and serve the poor with integrity. (See Paul’s thoughts on all things temporal: Favorite Scriptures #1: Paul’s Perspective On This Short Life (Philippians 3:7-14)) Are those in power in our spheres truly caring for the weak and powerless on a consistent basis as Jesus and Paul did? Not likely, because as much as it is talked about in our sanctuaries, it is rarely a significant item on the schedules of the men leading our churches since there is much fund raising and book writing to do.

John 2:24-25

Jesus did not entrust himself to men for he knew what was in men.

While Jesus was God, and was fully submitted to the Father while on earth, this statement by John makes it clear that we should be very cautious when trusting ourselves to others, just as Jesus was. Perhaps that is why Jesus, in John 14:26 (and 1 John 2:27) told us that the Holy Spirit, not rabbis or pastors, would teach us all things. We must all simply take the time to study the word of God ourselves, with the help of the spirit, and not delegate that duty to any man.

1 Corinthians 4:6

Do not think of man above that which is written.

This is an excellent verse, making it clear that Paul does not want any man to place him or any other elder above the scriptures. The word of God alone is our final authority, not man.

1 Corinthians 4:6

The head of every man is Christ

This unambiguous statement by Paul makes it clear that in Christ, men do not rule over men. Jesus Christ is our Lord and it is to him alone that we must give an accounting for our lives. Thus, we should get to know what is important to him straight from the fountain…avoiding the middleman where the fountain often becomes polluted.

2 Corinthians 1:24

In this verse Paul makes states that he did not want to have dominion over anyone else’s faith. He simply wanted to be a helper…a servant to his flock because each one of them, and each one of us, stand and fall based on our own faith.

In 2 Corinthians 11 and in Galatians 1, we also see that in both Corinth and Galatia, the people in the churches were easily submitting themselves to a different gospel and a different Jesus than the one Paul preached. Why? It was undoubtedly because they, unlike the Bereans, did not test what they heard from their leaders with the word of God. Even Jesus Christ himself used the word of God when he battled Satan in the desert after starving for 40 days. He could have easily come up with his own memorable and powerful phrase with which to hammer Satan. But Jesus Christ himself chose to use the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God in reminding Satan that, “It is written….” With those words, Satan fled.

Jesus and Paul both warned us, and Paul with tears, that we must be on guard, for many false prophets and teachers will arise from inside the church. These greedy and power hungry men lord their authority over the flock, and as Peter said, turn us into merchandise…a means to comfort, wealth, power and fame. I believe we can all say that we have seen far too much of that type of leadership in the body…some subtle and some not so subtle.

In Galatians 2, Paul also makes it clear how he feels about challenging authority if he believes that false practices or teachings are taking place. He did not mind challenging even the great apostle Peter – and in front of other believers. Peter was leading the church back into legalistic practices, some of which Peter himself ignored when it suited him. So Paul called him out in a very clear and direct manner, not demeaning Peter but calling the sin that was taking place sin, with no attempt to prop him up or protect him from what he had to face. Paul’s only desire was to honor and glorify God by making it known publicly that Peter’s actions were wrong and were infecting the body.

Neither Jesus nor Paul was a respecter of persons. They loved people but did not idolize them or place them on a pedestal. The scriptures are clear: only Jesus should be worshipped and treated as above criticism. Yet somehow today, some in the church feel that we should cover or down play the sins and false teachings of our leaders because it will hurt the body if they are exposed. Quite the opposite is true. There is nothing…nothing more beautiful than a good, strong leader in Christ owning up to his failures and being an example of humility and teachability to the brethren. That…is true power through the spirit of Jesus Christ.

It is also clear that Paul did not believe that he had to run every decision he made by other men. When he received his calling to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he stated that he did not confer with flesh and blood before undertaking that commission. (Galatians 1:16). He, like Jesus, did not need to be told by fallible men what he knew the spirit was calling him to do. Is it wise to run important decisions by men we trust, who know the word and use it as their lamppost? Yes. But if there are no such men available, we are able to trust the word of God and the mighty Holy Spirit within us to lead us into all truth. (John 14:26, and 1 John 2:27).

Ephesians 5:21

Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of the Lord.

Again, Paul makes the point that in Christ, we who are growing towards maturity are not supposed to lord authority over each other. Instead we should mutually submit to the biblical wisdom and insight that our brothers and sisters have for us through knowing and fearing God. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ,” meaning follow him to the extent that what he is doing is truly following Jesus. We do not have to blindly submit to the worldly advice and insights given to us by our friends and fellow believers, for each one of us are ultimately accountable to the only one who judges justly.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

Paul states that he and his brothers put their faith, not in men, but in the gospel, seeking to please God who tries their hearts.

I love that Paul emphasizes throughout his letters, that we must remain aware, at all times, that it is ultimately Jesus Christ to whom we are accountable. We must constantly live in a state of godly fear and awareness of his mercy, power and majesty as we remain in him, bearing fruit to the glory of the Father.

1 Timothy 2:5

There is only one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

This is another scripture that states clearly and directly that we, as believers, are beholden to no man, but are instead personally responsible for our own faith and must communicate our sin, our troubles and our thanksgiving to Jesus Christ himself.

Similarly, Hebrews 4:15-16, reminds us that we have a high priest in the heavens who can relate to our infirmities since he himself was a man. Therefore, we can approach his throne of grace with boldness so that we may obtain mercy from him directly in our time of need.   Notice how there is no mention of going first to a pastor or brother. We all may, due to the sacrifice of Jesus’s body on the cross, approach him directly and with great confidence. Furthermore, Hebrews 12:1-3, tells us, eloquently and with great spiritual power, that we are to fix our eyes not on man…but on Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith who, for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. It is the Jesus of the Bible that we must focus or minds, our hearts and our eyes on, not man.

2 Timothy 2:15-17

In this passage Paul reminds Timothy that he has known the Holy Scriptures since he was a child, and that those scriptures are able to make him wise unto salvation. Paul goes on to tell him that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness so that he – and we – might be fully equipped for good works.

The lesson here is that, if I am to mutually submit to another for instruction, correction and reproof, those admonishments must come from the scriptures…and not from the mind and heart of a man.

Hebrews 13:17

In this passage, Paul tells us to obey those that have “rule” over us for they are accountable to God for our “souls.”

Based on how the words “ruler” and “soul” are used in both this passage and in Romans 13:1-7, and based on what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 23:8-12(discussed above), it appears that this passage is addressing temporal rather than spiritual authority. Regardless, the Berean church established with great certainty that examining those who posses the gift of leadership with the word is a noble thing.

1 Peter 5:1-3

Peter instructs the elders to feed the flock of believers rather than to lord authority over them. He also encouraged them to be good examples to the younger brothers and sisters.

1 John 2:20,27

We all have the anointing from God and “know all things,” so we “need not that any man teach” us since the anointing from God will teach us instead. These verses are similar to Jesus’ statements in Matthew 23:8-12 and John 14:26, which are discussed earlier in this writing.

1 John 2:20 and 27 directly address two key issues as they relate to authority in the church today. First, they establish, with certainty, that there are no longer any specially anointed men who are not subject to a careful examination with scripture. While we all have different gifts and we can learn from each other…everyone who is truly in Christ is personally anointed by God. Secondly, these verses remind each of us NOT to delegate our responsibility to learn about Jesus Christ to an authority figure. We all are to seek God ourselves while he may yet be found and we must test everything we hear from men with the word, lest we be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14).

There are many men and women today who are desperately trying to obtain power and wealth by declaring themselves (or by having their cohorts declare them) apostles and prophets of Christ. They expect all believers to get in line under their self appointed headship and to obey everything they teach, including many so-called revelations, which often contradict scripture directly. One of the best examples of the obvious false teachings of both the Dominionists/NAR and Bethel, is their false eschatology, which is the exact opposite of the clear teachings of Daniel and Revelation. In Revelation 13:7 and in Daniel 7:21, 7:24, 8:24, and 11:33, it is clear that believers are NOT going to retake the world to usher in Christ’s return. Instead, the saints will be defeated by the antichrist, and Jesus will take his revenge in his time and in his way. It is not about us and our fleshly desire to reign. It is about Jesus Christ and his perfect plan, which takes place in his perfect timing.

There truly is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ, our wonderful and precious high priest who gave his body and his blood for us…cold and naked on a hard wooden cross. This great and wonderful God has given us the gift of his Holy Sprit, which will indeed teach us all things as we seek him with all of our hearts. (John 14:26). We must reject the worship of proud, charismatic men and must instead invest our hearts in the one thing that we know is true…the unchanging, everlasting word of God. Then we will be able to understand God’s perfect love and his will for our lives.

EPILOGUE

If we do find faithful believers who are truly following the model of a Jesus centered life, as illustrated by the apostles, by all means follow them as they follow Christ. But…know the word for yourself so that you, like the Bereans, are equipped to test everything, and do not fall for clever sounding phrases and thoughts sprinkled with the name of Jesus and other Christian language. Submit to committed followers of Christ as they teach you God’s eternal word…but understand this: all men will fade away and die, like grass in the hot sun (1 Peter 24-25), but the word of God endures forever. When we stand before God at the end of days, with everything laid bare before him, he will ask us if we truly loved him with all of our hearts, and if we did, why didn’t we take the time to test the things we were taught and practiced with the scriptures since many courageous men were burned at the stake so that we could have it by our beds and on our electronic devices. I hope that we are all able to tell Jesus, with great boldness, that we did love him and that we were not fooled by the call from proud and deceitful men to listen to their interpretation of the Bible and ignore our own, through the Holy Spirit. Seek the Lord in truth and with great earnestness while he may yet be found. Time is short my brothers and sisters. Make the most of it while there is still daylight….

Ecumenism part 1: Contend Vigorously For the Faith

Preach the Word Boldly, and do Not Be Ashamed of Jesus Christ

Tithing and the New Testament Church

LIMITED ATONEMENT: Does Everyone Have an Opportunity to Be Saved?

           Limited Atonement: Does Everyone Have an Opportunity to Be Saved?

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  John 3:36

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the gospel of Jesus Christ, and not sovereign election or predestination!) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Cor. 5:14-15

…God our Saviour…will have all men to be saved , and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all…. 1 Timothy 2:3-6

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. ” John 12: 32-33

9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

An Analogy:

If my wife, rather than being human, was AI, and was programmed to run to the door, smile, hug and kiss me with great joy every day when I come home from work, it would mean exactlynothing, because it wasn’t from her heart. It wasn’t her choice to marry me or love me.

Despite the semantic games, Calvinist teach that we are essentially robots, chosen by God to love him…forced to love him. That, of course, is not love at all. In order to have authentic love, we must have the freedom to hate, even to hate the God who made us and loves us. Satan made the choice to reject God’s love and his will…and so do most of us. Life is so much more than simple, gnostic FATE.

 

   The idea that God, before time began, preselected certain unborn people to be destined for salvation, while certain other people were pre-designated for hell, with no opportunity to believe and repent, is clearly and outrageously false – and fails when tested in the refining fire that is the word of God. We are to look to the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) for guidance on all issues, and the full counsel of God, as found in the eternal scriptures, obliterates the idea of limited atonement, along with the other pillars of Calvinism. However, for the purposes of this article, I will focus on the error of limited atonement because it is a critical concept for believers since, if it is true, the Christian life of evangelizing, being a living example of Christ, and making disciples, has no value in terms of saving others from the flames…and both the piercing gospel of Jesus Christ (which is the power of God unto salvation, per Romans 1:16) and prayers for the salvation of others…are meaningless.

From the dawn of time, men and women have had free will, given to us by the hand of God. In his sovereignty, he chose to create humans, not robots. In the garden, Adam and Eve had the freedom to either obey God, or to listen to the deliciously wicked voice of the serpent. God did not make or want mindless creatures, but instead, He, in his unimpeachable sovereignty has given each of us freedom. This freedom is best illustrated by the opportunity we all have to choose life or death, good or evil (see, Joshua 24:14-15).

Far more often than not, we have chosen evil, but the idea that we are all preordained to go to heaven or hell, without a volitional element, makes the life and brutal death of Jesus Christ, as well as the commands of Jesus and the apostles, moot, a waste, a sham, a fraud, and an unfathomable cruelty perpetrated by a God who in reality has an unsearchable love for each and every one of His beloved children. We are far more than robots living an essentially meaningless, preprogrammed life. We are men and women who have received the gift of free will from the one and only God, and he wants us to use that will to seek him with all of our hearts. The evidence of his love and mercy…is everywhere (Ps. 19).

My primary problem with Calvinism and all other structures and belief systems superimposed on the Bible, such as hyperdispensationalism, covenant theology and pre/post-tribulation rapture, is that we tend to force every other scripture we find into the mold of those manmade paradigms, even if there are 20, 40 or even 100 scriptures that seem to contradict the 3 or 4 verses that support our belief. We tend to cling to our position as an idol, rather than seeking the “whole counsel” of God on a subject. Why? Because we learned it from a trusted youth leader, a long-time pastor or from a wise seminary professor. Instead of trusting men, who will fade away like grass (1 Peter 1:24-25), we must take the eternal word of God, as a whole, gathering all of the verses on a topic we seek to understand, so that we can study every single word Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, et. al. said regarding that issue. That is the ONLY way to truly understand the things of God. We must rely less on the teaching of men, no matter how much we love and respect them, and rely more and more on God’s everlasting word. As John 14:26 and 1 John 2:27 teach us, the Holy Spirit will teach us all things as we press deeply into His word.

My hope is that we will all obey the Apostle Paul’s command in 2 Corinthians 10:5, and cast down every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We must tear down the manmade structures that we place on the eternal scriptures, no matter the cost, and instead search the written word ourselves, diligently and in full, just as the Bereans did and were commended for it (Acts 17:11).

Below are an abundance of scriptures, most of which are self-explanatory, which establish the fact that every single person born on this earth has a chance to be saved. While I will never understand the thoughts and intents of the heart of God, or fully comprehend His foreknowledge, I do believe that Jesus, Paul and Peter have made it more than clear to all of us who truly seek Him in His word, that no one, pre-birth is designated for hell at the whim of God, and that everyone has an opportunity to recognize and choose the only one who can save us from the consequences of sin(Romans 1:18-21).

If your theology requires you to change the definition of these simple words: all, any, every, and the world…then you have a problem. That problem is not with me. It is with God.

Nullifying the plain meaning of multiple scriptures in order to make them fit into the theology of our favorite authors and teachers, is a dangerous thing. For God so loved…the WORLD. Yes, God actually loved the whole world, so he gave his only begotten son to redeem us all, yet most reject such a great salvation.

Psalm 19:1-4 In this passage, David states that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord and the earth shows His handiwork. Day after day they pour forth knowledge and night after night they pour forth speech. There is no language where their voice isn’t heard. Their words have gone out to the end of the world.

This scripture, in conjunction with Romans 1:16-21, teach us that, God has revealed himself to all through the beauty and power of creation. Therefore, we are ALL without excuse.

Psalm 97:6 The heavens declare His righteousness and all of the people see His glory.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest….

Anyone who is weary and burdened is invited by Jesus to come to Him for rest. He doesn’t invite those he’s allegedly already chosen. He wants and has invited us all.

Matthew 18:14 When Jesus is talking about children, He specifically states that it is not His Father’s will that even one of these should perish. Clearly, Jesus is sharing His (and the Father’s) hope that every single one of the children on earth will seek Him and find Him. His will is that none perish, yet many do, thereby confirming that we have a will that can reject God.

Luke 2:9-11 When the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds to announce Christ’s birth, he told them that he was bringing tidings of great joy which will be “to all people.”

Luke 13:34 Jesus laments over the fact that He so desperately longed to gather ALL of His elect jews to Himself – but they refused to come. His elect jews willingly rejected the one who made them and was calling them home. I recommend reading this passage. It makes no sense in the context of Calvinism.

John 1:1-18 The gospel of John (along with Romans Chapter 10) is a tour de force against calvinism, tearing it down from every angle. This extended passage, which I believe is one of the most important in the entire Bible (because it establishes exactly who Jesus Christ was, is and is to come), is an excellent place to start in proving that Jesus came to save everyone who believes. Sadly, most reject his offer of salvation by grace through faith.

In the opening four verses, the Apostle John states, with great clarity exactly who our savior is, and he makes it abundantly clear that: Jesus “was the light of men.” Jesus was not the light of some men. He was not the light for certain chosen men. He was the light of all men. John then goes on to state that John the Baptist came as a witness to Jesus so that through Him all men might believe.(V. 7). Again, it was Jesus’ hope that every single person on this earth would believe in God…not just some men, not just certain preselected men, but all men. In verse 12, John also specifically states that anyone who receives Jesus, to him he will give the power to become a son of God. John is emphasizing the fact that there is a strong volitional element to salvation. Anyone who receives Jesus Christ can become a child of God. John 1:16 goes on to state that we have all received the grace of God.  Men predesignated for hell, with no chance to choose between Jesus and the god of this world, would not have the opportunity to receive God’s grace, thereby making John and the scriptures liars. I believe the clear, specific words of John the apostle, over any man, no matter their reputation, popularity or academic background.

John 3:16-21 In this well-known passage, Jesus restates the point made by John in chapter 1, by saying that anyone who believes in the name of Jesus will not perish but will have everlasting life. Verse 17 goes on to state that God sent Jesus into this world not to condemn it but to save it. He did not come to save a few preselected people who were already marked for salvation. Why would Jesus come and die a brutal, torturous death to save people who were already saved? Why would Jesus and Paul tell us to preach the word of God, to make disciples, and to contend for the faith vigorously, if it was already predetermined who would and wouldn’t be saved?    In the rest of this passage, we learn, from the mouth of Jesus Christ, the author of our salvation, that we all have a choice…darkness or light, good or evil. (See also, John 3:36, which is just as strong on this topic, and is quoted in the heading of this article).

John 5:22-24 Jesus states that all judgment has been committed to Him by the Father, and that it is the Father’s hope that all men would honor His Son. Jesus then goes on to state that whoever hears His words and believes that He was sent from the Father, has eternal life.   Again, there are no limitations placed by Jesus or the Father on who can hear and believe in Jesus Christ, and Jesus specifically states that it is His Father’s actual hope that everyone would honor Jesus Christ. The only person who seems to place limitations on who can hear the word of God and be saved is John Calvin.

John 5:39-40

“And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John‬ ‭5:40‬

Jesus tells His fellow Jews that, while they search the scriptures daily, they do not choose to come to Him, the very one to whom the scriptures point. Jesus is making it clear that the study of theology doesn’t give anyone eternal life…but willingly coming to the one and only savior, Jesus Christ, does…and that is a choice we all have the opportunity to make.

John 6:45-47 Jesus again states that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life, not just a preselected few.

John 12:32 Jesus says that, if He is lifted up from the earth He will draw all men to Himself. Most will ignore Him, but Jesus says, with unmistakable certainty, that He will draw ALL men to Himself.

John 12:48 is another clear verse, spoken by Jesus Christ, warning us of the eternal consequences of using our freedom to reject His salvation:

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

John 20:31

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

Why do we have the scriptures? That we might believe and choose life. This is another clear verse explaining how God has given humanity certain things (like creation per Psalm 19:1-2; Rom. 1:19-21) to point our eyes, minds and hearts to him. Some heed the call of God…but most reject it and go their own way.

Acts 7:51 When Steven, “full of faith and power” is explaining the prophesies of Jesus from the Old Testament to the Jewish council, he informs them that, just like their fathers, they resist the Holy Ghost.   Steven would not need to waste his time preaching this message to the Jews if it were predetermined who would and wouldn’t be saved. He also makes it very clear that their forefathers chose to resist the Holy Spirit, which is of course a voluntary act. In both Deuteronomy 30:19-20 and Joshua 24:15, God commands His people to choose…this day life or death, blessings or curses…thus, even in Old Testament days, God gave men the choice as to whether or not they would follow Him. Most of them chose the golden calf, Molech, the queen of heaven or Ashtoreth worship over the Living God, just most people today choose their idols over salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. We all have the ability to resist or accept the unchanging truth of our great God. He speaks to our hearts through His eternal word and through the glory and beauty of creation, so that all of us are without excuse. See, Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 1:19-20.

Acts 10:34-44 When Peter was sharing the gospel with Cornelius, he stated that God is not a respecter of persons, and that every nation that feareth Him and works righteousness, is accepted by Him(we saw that with Nineveh in the OT when they repented after hearing the word from Jonah) . In verse 43, Peter teaches that through God’s name, whoever believes in Jesus shall receive the remission of sins. We also see throughout Acts and the epistles that Peter, Paul and many other Apostles spend their lives relentlessly preaching the gospel throughout the world knowing that all men everywhere have an opportunity to hear the truth of Jesus Christ and be saved.

*****Acts 17:24-31 In this powerful passage, where Paul is preaching to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, he lays out, in very clear terms, the fact that God, who made everything, created each person at a specific time and in a specific place that “they should seek the Lord and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” So even the godless Greek philosophers were placed on earth at a specific time and in a specific place, so that perhaps they too might seek God, find Him an be saved. This is true for every person ever created…says Paul: Acts 17:24-31

24” God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring…30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

Romans 1:16 This verse is self explanatory. The power of the God unto salvation is NOT predestination. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ransoms men from the flames of hell:  16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The great passage on Grace in Ephesians 2:8-9, also makes it clear that we are saved by “grace through faith,” not by “grace through predestination.”

Romans 1:19-23 Paul essentially restates what David said in Psalm 19, that all men are without an excuse when it comes to knowing God because God has revealed Himself to everyone from the dawn of time, through the glory and power of creation. Yet men choose to ignore what God has placed right in front of their five senses, and instead choose to degrade each other and embrace the darkest of sins.

**Romans 4:5 The calvinists claim that choosing to believe the gospel is a work, thus, true believers don’t choose to trust Christ but he alone chooses them. This verse makes it as clear as is possible, that choosing to believe is NOT a work because Paul contrasts belief with works:

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭KJV

Romans 5:18 Just as judgment came upon all men by Adam’s sin, so by the righteousness of Jesus, the free gift of justification unto life came to all men.

***Romans 8:29 In this verse Paul explains predestination as “foreknowledge,” just as Peter defines the “elect” as those God “foreknew,” in 1 Peter 1:2. The point is, that God did not preselect men to go to heaven or hell, but he, in his omniscience, “foreknew” who would choose to believe on his name, and those who would reject him. See below:

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ….” 1 Peter 1:2

 Romans 8:32 Paul states that God the Father delivered His Son to death “for us all.”

Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone that believes.

Romans 10:9-10  “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead (NOT” If thou art randomly preselected by Jesus for heaven before time began”), thou shalt be saved. For it is with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Romans 10:12-17 Paul teaches us, without any limiting language, that the Lord is rich toward “all” who call upon him (vs. 12) and goes on to state that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (See also, Joel 2:32) Paul then implores the Roman church to preach the gospel, since the only way that people can believe in Jesus is by hearing the word of God. He states, “How shall they believe in him of whom they haven’t heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans10:14).  This point is emphasized again in verse 17: “So then faith cometh by HEARING, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

Paul does NOT say that people believe in Jesus Christ because they are part of the “elect.” He makes it clear that people will not, and cannot believe…unless we preach, and they hear…the word of the living God.

In summary, Paul is telling us in Romans 10, with clear and powerful language, that salvation wasn’t accomplished at the pre-creation whim of God, but instead he exhorts us to go out into the world and preach the gospel in order to give more people an opportunity to hear the story of Jesus Christ, who ransomed us from hell with his blood, and perhaps, through hearing the truth, might be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

***1 Corinthians 5:11 “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

The passage above is one that motivates me to evangelize perhaps more than any other. Not only is the terror of the Lord on the day of judgement very real, but Jesus Christ has called us to labor tirelessly to “persuade” people, via the gospel, to repent. If the false, Calvinist understanding of predestination were indeed true then this scripture(along with many, many others) is a lie because no one could be persuaded.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 Christ died for all (it says that twice), thus if any man be in Christ he is a new creature and all things become new.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 Those are damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.

Who is damned? Those who choose not to believe.

1 Timothy 3:6-7 God’s wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, for He gave Himself as a ransom for all.

 1 Timothy 4:10  We labor and suffer reproach because we trust God, who is the savior of all men.

1 Timothy 4:16 We must be careful how we live and with our doctrine for in doing so we shallsave both ourselves and our hearers.   Clearly, our words and actions may have a bearing on who is and isn’t saved.

Titus 2: 11-12  11″For the grace of God which bringeth salvation has appeared to ALL men, 12 teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world….” The grace of God THAT BRINGS SALVATION has appeared to everyone. This is one of many passages that could not possibly be any more clear on the fact that God offers his grace to everyone, and he offers it for free.

Hebrews 2:9 Jesus, was made a little lower than the angels and was crowned with glory and honor so that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.

James 5:19-20 James tells us that many of our sins will be covered if we, through the truth, convert a sinner from the error of his ways, saving him from death. Jude 1:22-23 also emphasizes that by our actions, as followers of Christ, men can be pulled from the fires of hell.

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

2 Peter 3:15 “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation….”

‭Peter makes it clear once again – God’s long suffering towards us actually leads to salvation. How? It his patience with our wickedness…his long delayed judgement, that gives us all the time we need to consider his gospel and repent. He wouldn’t need to be long suffering towards us – and his long suffering certainly wouldn’t lead to salvation – if each of us didn’t have a choice to make with our hearts. That choice is…the short term pleasures of sin, or the blood of Jesus Christ? Choose this day who you are going to serve.

1 John 2:2 Jesus is the propitiation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 5:1  “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God….”

Once again, the apostle whom Jesus loved, teaches us exactly who is saved. It is those who believe that Jesus is who He said He is.

Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  At the very end of the Bible, THIS is what Jesus Christ wants us to know: whosoever is thirsty, whosoever will, let him take the water of life…freely!  The offer of salvation to everyone, without limitation is being made abundantly clear one last time. Please, come to him and choose the saving blood of Jesus Christ, as the clock of of time…winds down.

Jesus Christ, the one who was with God in the beginning and through whom all things were made; the one in whom is life and that life is the light of men; the one who gave us grace and truth; the one who bore our sins in His body on the tree; the one whose head and hair are white like wool as white as snow and whose eyes are like blazing fire; The one who holds the keys of death and hell; the one who someday will appear in an open sky, riding on a white horse wearing a robe dipped in blood with a name written on Him which no one knows but He Himself; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; and the author of such a great salvation, makes it clear, through His own words and the words of His Apostles, that He wants every single person born on this planet to be saved from the flames of hell. Why would He waste so much time teaching the jews about the dangers of hell if it was already predetermined who would and wouldn’t go there? Why would he give us the great commission or have us pray for the salvation of others, if everything was already set in stone? Why would he have allowed his son to be brutalized and murdered if we are all simply preprogrammed, predestined robots?

Because of His surpassing love, He gives all people everywhere an opportunity to repent and turn to Him. He even sends the gospel to pagans who are searching for the one true God (Cornelius, Lydia, and the Ethiopian Eunuch). However the road is narrow…and few find it because few want it. Let us all seek the kingdom of God through His everlasting word, unpolluted by the doctrines of demons and men, and let us joyfully share it with others who might also choose the glorious gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.

EPILOGUE

I strongly recommend that each one of us ask God to tear down ANY man-made belief system, which we have placed on His glorious word, no matter who taught it to us. Jesus promises us in John 14:26 (and John says essentially the same thing in 1 John 2:27), that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things, so I humbly suggest that we pick up our KJV Bibles, and ask the Spirit to destroy any preconceived notions we have about anything related to God…and then simply read.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.   Revelation 3:20

*A note on freewill and the Old Testament: As John 3 and Romans 10 indicate so clearly, salvation is and has always been accomplished in the heart of a man who hears and responds to the word of God (see, 10:17). Since Jesus came to earth, in order for us to be saved, we must believe in our heart that he, fully God and fully man, paid for our sins with his blood, and was raised to life by his Father. There is nothing in these verses (or John 3) that implies anything else. Hebrews 11 also makes it clear that it was always faith that saved, even in Old Testament times(see also, Romans 4:2-5 and Hebrews 4:1-7). Wicked pagans and harlots, such as the citizens of Ninevah, Nebachadnezzar, and Rahab were saved – not because they were jews (because the weren’t), but because they believed in the true God of heaven, and it was credited to them as righteousness. Anyone who has read the major prophets and the books of Moses can see that most jews didn’t care one bit about the God who chose them and redeemed them from slavery time and time again, therefore, they were not saved even though they were God’s chosen people. God, through his prophets, begged them to choose Him and turn their hearts back to the one who delivered their forefathers from Egypt…but they would not. Their hearts were hard and they refused to exercise their God-given freewill to “choose this day” and “turn their hearts….” Therefore, God have them over to his enemies time and time again.

Ezra 6:19-21 is another excellent passage illustrating that even pagans who separated themselves from the filthiness of their heathen gods and turned to the God of Israel, were accepted by Him.

No verse quite sums up the tenor of the entire Old Testament, and the freewill-rejection by the elect Israelites, of a God who loved them deeply, and pursued them with all of his heart, like Luke 13:34:

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

God longed to gather them to Himself, as a mother hen does with her chicks…BUT THEY WOULD NOT. No passage could ever summarize freewill, and how 99% of the world uses its freedom to respond to God than this one.

Faith in the one true God has always been the only factor that saves. Even the Magi, who came from somewhere in the far eastern regions of the known world, traveled thousands of miles to honor the baby Messiah prophesied about in the Jewish scriptures. These distant pagans did what few Jews did. They read and believed the word of God… and were rewarded not only with eternal life, but by meeting in person the God who could save them.

God has always been available to the hearts of those who want to find him, no matter where they are. Cornelius, Lydia, Apollos and the Ethiopian Eunuch are more examples of New Testament gentiles who wanted to know the one true God and sought him with their hearts, so God sent his gospel to them. That…is how He works.

One more for the road:

“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:24, 29‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Excellent Article: A Brief History of John Calvin and his Theology

All 5 Points of Calvinism Refuted

An Excellent sermon on Romans 9: Adrian Rogers

The Bible version controversy analyzed and explained

Piercing The Darkness: Preaching the Gospel in Key West, Florida

What Exactly is the Gospel?

ECUMENICISM: Jesus Christ as He is in the Word, Is the Only Way to God

Tithing and the New Testament Church

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 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 temporal things such as prosperity, non-essential theological matters, team building, “prophecy,” corporate leadership style, social justice, and the freedom we have in Christ. Teaching on some of those topics 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. However, I strongly believe that we should all, as true believers, teach nothing outside of the context of these eternal truths: the blood of God’s precious Son Jesus Christ, was freely shed for us all, so that we might see our need for a savior and humbly repent of our unrighteousness and turn, with all of our hearts, from sin, to 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 as 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: the approval of men, to broaden our business contacts, and are perhaps 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:

“5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

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 that “repentance and the remission of sin should be preached in his name among all nations,” not just to the Jews. This is the exact same message that both Peter and Paul preached as they spread the gospel across both Judea and the world.

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 (Matthew 1:20-21), so John the Baptist described Jesus to those around him when he sees Jesus from afar.

John 5:1-14 In this passage Jesus healed a man who couldn’t walk, and then tells him…not to be blessed or to increase financially…but 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 26:16-20 Paul, when describing the ministry given to him by Jesus on the road to Damascus quotes Jesus and says:

“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto the…To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”

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Romans 2:4 If we truly understand the goodness of God, then it should lead us 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 His righteousness.

Romans 6 Paul asks a key question, should we all feel the freedom to willfully 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

Harry Ironside on the meaning of repentance

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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