John 3:16, Part II

“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.“ 

This is the second part in a two part series. We will only address the meaning of the word believe since it incorporates many ideas that need a concentrated focus.


To Believe


There are two very important questions to ask here. What is the criteria to believe (in Jesus) and what happens if we fail to meet the criteria to believe?

Believe in the Greek – πιστεύω pisteuó (pist-yoo’-o) it is a verb and means to entrust: to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit, to place confidence in. Another way of saying it is: everyone who believes, every believing person, or everyone believing;

In this context, it is generally accepted that it is a present active participle and implies the necessity of a continuous action. A continuous, active belief is the condition necessary for us to have eternal life. But what does this mean?

The Short Answer: Believing is putting your faith in the atoning work of Jesus, living for, and growing in God as best as you can in all the light you have: a complete and active commitment, continuing in the righteousness and  Love of God. 


The Long Answer


We know that if we continue in something we get better at it; in short we grow and begin to perfect whatever we are doing. Likewise, God expects your faith and knowledge to grow. So should you.

About the word faith: Many times in scripture “faith” is used interchangeably with the word believe.

So if I say faith or belief/believe/believing, I am referring to the general concept of the continuous act of putting our trust Jesus as noted in John 3:16.


Belief, its Meaning


When we believe in Jesus it is not merely acknowledging His gospel is true. Its putting our faith into action and placing our life into Jesus’ hands. 

In Genesis, God told Abraham to do this exact same thing. Remember, Abraham is the father of the children of promise (those who have been saved). This call of his faith is highly symbolic and applies spiritually to those who receive the promise.


Take your son, your only son,

whom you love, Isaac,

and go to the region of Moriah.

Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering

on a mountain I will show you.

~  Genesis 22:2


The children of the promise are to sacrifice to God those things most sacred to them. We are to even sacrifice our life for Him. Abraham was to sacrifice the most precious fruit of his life by dedicating it (his son) to God.


I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God,

that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,

holy, acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service.

~ Romans 12:1


Giving our life to God is considered our reasonable service. This begs the question, what may be considered unreasonable service? The next verse points us in the right direction.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

~ Romans 12:1


Those who choose to believe in Jesus must provide a service that is not conformed to the world, given over to the pleasures it offers. Because when we do, we fail to remain obedient to our calling and fall into sins of disobedience. The Apostle John explains this more concisely: 


My dear children,

I am writing this to you

so that you will not sin.

But those who obey God’s word

truly show how completely they love him.

That is how we know we are living in him.

Those who say they live in God

should live their lives as Jesus did.

Do not love this world

nor the things it offers you,

for when you love the world,

you do not have the love of the Father in you.

For the world offers only a craving

for physical pleasure,

a craving for everything we see,

and pride in our achievements and possessions.

These are not from the Father,

but are from this world.

So you must remain faithful

to what you have been taught from the beginning.  

~ 1 John 2:1, 5-6, 15-16, 24


Jesus’ Clear Examples


Jesus showed us four examples of the gospel’s effect on people’s lives. We will look closely at each one in order to understand what can happen to those who hear the gospel and fail to believe, those who believe for while yet do not remain faithful as John (and other apostles) warned, and those who continuously believe, building their faith through active trust and obedience.


The following are four classes of people and the results of their choices to act upon their belief (or faith). There are 3 possible outcomes for those who hear the word of God.

Let us review Jesus’ words found in Luke Chapter 8 below.


1. The Seed along the Path


A farmer went out to sow his seed.

As he was scattering the seed,

some fell along the path;

it was trampled on,

and the birds ate it up. (verse 5). 

*(A farmer is someone who preaches truth. The seed is the word of God).

Those along the path are the ones who hear,

and then the devil comes

and takes away the word from their hearts,

so that they may not believe and be saved.

(verse 12)


This first group are people who hear God’s word, they may feel moved in their heart, feel the Holy Spirit prompting them, but do not take the step and act to believe in their heart and trust in God’s word.

Many hear the word of God and just like seed on the path, His word is near, waiting to be planted in their hard, world trodden heart, but Satan comes along and steals the word out of their heart. This can happen many ways. Usually current worldly distractions lead them away and through the fruits of their continued sin God’s word and the prompting of the Holy Ghost is washed away. This person will perish in hell never receiving the work of God in their hearts.


2. The Rocky Ground


 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up,

the plants withered because they had no moisture.

(verse 6)

Those on the rocky ground

are the ones who receive the word with joy

when they hear it, but they have no root.

They believe for a while,

but in the time of testing they fall away. 

(verse 13)


This second group are people who hear the word of God. They are convicted of sin, repent, and receive God into their hearts.

Their faith was soon tested (as it always is), and rather than being nurtured up developing strength, holiness, and perfection, their faith (or belief) remained in a heart that was fragile, carnal, and undeveloped in the ways of righteousness. Continuing in this heart-state kept them weak and led them away to perdition.

We must take a firm hold of the word of God, growing in grace daily, putting away all things contrary to His nature.

Unfortunately, those who don’t develop the seed God plants in their hearts will believe in vain if they continue in a state that facilitates falling away. 


Now, brothers and sisters,

I want to remind you of the gospel

I preached to you, which you received

and on which you have taken your stand.

By this gospel you are saved,

if you hold firmly to the word

I preached to you.

Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

~ I Corinthians 15:1-2


Paul reinforces this principle about rocky ground, and encourages us to hold firm, to pull out the rocks of the world out of our hearts, in order to nurture our faith until it is strong, tested, and proven.

Those who God considers elect are those who hold firm in what they believe. We must stand firm on all the principles of God’s until the end. When Paul uses the words “you have believed,” it has the same connotation as John 3:16: He wants them to remain in an active and continuous saving belief.

Just prior to this, Paul told the Corinthians that they are saved. Properly, this means that they have been delivered out of danger and into safety. This is principally God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety).

~ HELPS Word-studies

As we actively and faithfully believe, we are being delivered from our previous acts of sin and its wages. Full deliverance is contingent upon our continued obedience until death (or the coming of Jesus).

Remember, if you believe, Jesus is delivering you from the penalty of sin, from having to commit any more sin against Him because it’s sin’s power over us has been vanquished. This is why we must persist, continuing to live out our faith in Him.

No longer are we to sin but to obey the same command that Jesus gave to the forgiven adulteress; Go and sin no more.


We know that our old sinful selves

were crucified with Christ

so that sin might lose its power in our lives.

We are no longer slaves to sin.

For when we died with Christ

we were set free from the power of sin.

And since we died with Christ,

we know we will also live with him.

We are sure of this

because Christ was raised from the dead,

and he will never die again.

Death no longer has any power over him.

When he died,

he died once to break the power of sin.

But now that he lives,

he lives for the glory of God.

So you also should consider yourselves

to be dead to the power of sin

and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

~ Romans 6:6-11 NLT


Once we believe, we begin to grow. We must remain in Him and allow Him to change our rocky soil. No grapes grow where there is no vine or husbandman. No vine grows where there is no nutritious soil. The seed has been planted in many hearts, yet only to whither on the vine.

Sin stops us from growing, destroys our connection to God, and leads to death.


I am the vine; you are the branches.

Whoever abides in me and I in him,

he it is that bears much fruit,

for apart from me you can do nothing.

If anyone does not abide in me

he is thrown away like a branch and withers;

and the branches are gathered,

thrown into the fire, and burned.

~ John 15:5-6

———-

No one who is born of God

will continue to sin,

because God’s seed remains in them;

they cannot go on sinning,

because they have been born of God.

~ 1 John 3:9 NIV

———-

But now you are free from the power of sin

and have become slaves of God.

Now you do those things

that lead to holiness

and result in eternal life.

~ Romans 6:22 NLT


3. The Thorny Ground


 Other seed fell among thorns,

which grew up with it and choked the plants. 

(verse 7)

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear,

but as they go on their way

they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures,

and they do not mature

(verse 14)


This passage is interesting because the words “grew up with it” indicate that the people believed, put their faith in God, and were growing in Christ but they do not mature. At the same time they were believing in Him, they were also engaging in worrying, gaining wealth, and enjoying many forms of worldly pleasures or getting lost in recreational activities. 

This is the most troubling verse of all to me because most of Christianity envelops more time and thought in life’s worldly distractions than consecrating their life as living sacrifices, developing a noble and pure heart, which is the only reasonable service a Christian should do.

Jesus is saying that we need to be single-minded: not divided by a heart partaking in the things of this world and of Christ. A Christian should be markedly different focusing on God in daily living, acting, thinking, and all their intentions.

There is no keeping up with the Jones in the Christian life. We are to be completely free from those things that so easily entangle a carnal heart.


He gave himself for us to set us free

from every kind of lawlessness

and to purify for himself a people

who are truly his, eager to do good.

~ Titus 2:14 NET

———-

Come close to God,

and God will come close to you.

Wash your hands, you sinners;

purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided

between God and the world.

~ James 4:8 NLT

———-


4. The Good Soil


 Still other seed fell on good soil.

It came up and yielded a crop,

a hundred times more than was sown. 

(verse 8)

But the seed on good soil

stands for those with a noble and good heart,

who hear the word, retain it,

and by persevering produce a crop. 

(verse 15)


Who has a noble or worthy and good heart? It is clear from scripture that all have sinned and none are righteous. So, this passage cannot mean the word fell on hearts that are good. Verse 8 is talking about soil: the place and things that nurture the heart.

agathós – means inherently (intrinsically) good; as to the believer, describes what originates from God and is empowered by Him in their life, through faith.

~ HELPS Word-studies

Strongs Concordance describes good as having developed a good constitution or nature: γῆ, Luke 8:8; δένδρον,Matthew 7:18, in sense equivalent to ‘fertile soil,’ ‘a fruitful tree,’ (Xenophon, oec. 16, 7 γῆ ἀγαθή, … γῆ κακῇ, an. 2, 4, 22χώρας πολλῆς καί ἀγαθῆς οὔσης) and that it corresponds to the figurative expression good ground, denoting a soul inclined to goodness, accordingly, eager to learn saving truth, ready to bear the fruits (καρπούς ἀγαθούς, James 3:17) of a Christian life.


Hearts are make noble and good by allowing the living word of Christ to flow freely within and without the whole course of our life.

When we first receive the word, it is clear from the preceding three types of soil and the whole tenure of scripture that all are unrighteous and deserving of death. There is nothing we can do to make our hearts noble or good. 


And to the one who does not work

but believes in him who justifies the ungodly,

his faith is counted as righteousness,

~ Romans 4:5 ESV


After ungodly sinners receive the word, their hearts begin to change. This is an instantaneous gift and yet can be a time consuming process that begins to reveal itself as demonstrated by the love of God emanating from an increasingly growing, consecrated, and submissive heart.

Pauls describes above God’s pardon and crediting our faith as righteousness. Christ justifies us while we are yet ungodly and guilty of sin.

As a result, God cleanses us from guilt of our all our past sin, frees us from the power of sin, and enables us to live a life that is truly righteous. This is a what true pardon means. Not only forgiving us but enabling us to be obedient to Him.


Therefore, my beloved,

as you have always obeyed, so now,

not only as in my presence

but much more in my absence,

work out your own salvation

with fear and trembling,

~ Philippians 2:12 ESV

———–

Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation

in His blood through faith.

This was to demonstrate His righteousness,

because in the forbearance of God

He passed over the sins previously committed.  

~ Romans 3:35 NASB


Faith is Reckoned as Righteous


 When we get saved, God passes over all our previous sins. Our heart has not been made pure yet because the predisposition to sin, to do evil (carnality) still remain. We are pardoned the moment we are saved. 

Our heart still needs to be purified. It still needs to be made noble as grows in that good soil that Jesus is developing.

This is where the act of salvation gets interesting. We have been pardoned. Not by any righteousness in us but by our belief in Jesus. He justifies the ungodly, not doing any work but having a faith (believing) that is counted as righteousness.

Keep in mind scripture does not say we are given Christ’s righteousness. We must always remember that God is just and He judges according to truth. Our salvation is based on faith and faith alone. We are still what we were in mind, body and soul. The work has just begun. He has only begun to make us holy. This is what He wants to finish.

Christ’s righteousness is not imputed to us as our righteousness. This is a common mistake based upon assumption. Scripture states that God reckons our faith as righteousness, which is conditional or us to be united with Christ who was raised for our justification.

Genuine saving faith is transformative and righteous at the outset. Jesus begins by imputing righteousness justifying our faith. Through obedience, our hearts being to filled with His love as He cleanses (purifies) our heart from of all its impurities stemming from sin.

Our imperfections remain since we are still human with limited in knowledge, perspectives, and understanding. It is our sinful character or nature that is being cleansed. Our memories, thinking, and habits remain as they become subject to His image and we become partakers in His nature.


seeing that His divine power has granted to us

everything pertaining to life and godliness,

through the true knowledge of Him

who called us by His own glory and excellence.

For by these He has granted to us

His precious and magnificent promises,

so that by them you

may become partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped the corruption that is in the world

by lust (by our evil desires or sinful nature).

~ Peter 1:3b-4


Partaking in His holiness is the natural outcome of continuous, active, saving faith. This can only happen in a consecrated life, undivided in devotion and commitment to Christ. 

He wants to strengthen your faith, conform you to his image, so when He comes (or you die), you can be confident, lacking in nothing with a clear conscious, unblemished, and unblamable in His sight.


May he strengthen your hearts

so that you will be blameless and holy

in the presence of our God and Father

when our Lord Jesus comes

with all his holy ones.

~ 1 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV

———-

Blessed are the pure in heart:

for they shall see God.

~ Matthew 5:8 KJV

———-

The purpose of my instruction is

that all believers would be filled with love

that comes from a pure heart,

a clear conscience, and genuine faith.

~ 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT

———-

For judgment will again be righteous,

And all the upright in heart will follow it.

~ Psalm 94:15 NASB


God wants to purify our hearts: to make it morally upright, noble enough to eschew (to consistently, firmly, and assertively turn away) from all evil and abhor sin (to regard sin as vile and utterly detest it all its forms) from the deepest recesses of your soul.

A christian pastor once tried to correct me and told me that the gospel is not about morality. This could not be further from the truth. From the moment Adam and Eve sinned, their moral compass was skewed and and in need to correction. God wants to restore our moral compass so that we can be with him.

We are given a warning in Hebrews 5:7-14 about falling away and the importance of living a righteous life. Without the moral compass God wants to restore in our heart, we will be unable to distinguish good from evil and will remain in sin.


Conclusion


Therefore, whosover believeth in Him will have transformed nature because they have a continuous and active faith in the only holy, upright, and righteous savior, Jesus Christ.

Love Him with all of your heart. If you cannot truly and completely do this, it is because even a tiny part of your heart is at enmity with God. Ask Him to continue His work of purifying your heart.

He can do anything. Don’t give up.

Through it all: He will perform and do His good pleasure in you . . . if you believe.


 

 

John 3:16, Part I

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.

In this two part series, we are going to examine: #1: For God so love the world, #2: that whosoever,

# 3: believeth in Him will be discussed in the second post.

We will not address the nature of Christ, perdition, and eternal life here. Those can and should be addressed separately to my understanding.


This post will review sections #1, 2, & 3, “For God so loved the world, that whosoever

Post two will address # 4, what does it mean to believe in Jesus.


Some of these elements will be broken down into subsections such as “For God” because it addresses a very specific moment in time, a very specific people in the past, and it is applied generally in the future.


For God so Loved


I have always believed that this verse said that God loved all of creation; even the animals, plants, and oceans. Studying this verse more closely, I have learned that this is true. But it means so much more.

In the words “For God, ” we have have a trifold revelation: The first application a very specific span of time and a specific people. The second application is very general, addressing the character of His creation, and the third, His relation to all of mankind.

For” meant: In this manner, in this way or in this fashion, in accordance with this description (corresponding to what follows); in keeping with; along this line, in the manner spoken; In this manner as described in the wilderness, by Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea . . . God provided a way to salvation.

It points to how God loved us while we were yet sinners and sent his Son: in this manner or in this way.


But God demonstrates his own love for us,

in that while we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.

~ Romans 5:8


The First Application of “For


We have to look at the preceding two verse to see the first application showing His love.


As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 

so that whoever believes  in Him

will have eternal life.

~ John 3:14-15


To the Jews of Jesus’s day, the brazen serpent was considered very highly. It represented a type of resurrection. Because by looking upon it, the dying lived.

When the people in the wilderness cried out for salvation (Numbers 21:4-9), God provided a way for them. He did not take the serpents away when the serpent was lifted up. They remained in the midst of the people.

The serpents represented the immediate consequences for their sin, just like death represents the immediate consequences or wages for our sin. 

Like the serpents in the wilderness, God will not take away death from us. We still have to die. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God expects us to cease from our sinning. Because sin brought forth this judgment.


 

In John 3:7, Jesus saidMarvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus was speaking to Israel through a representative, Nicodemus, a Pharisee. Secondarily, He was speaking to the rest of mankind.

When Jesus said Marvel not that I said untothee, He was speaking to Nicodemus (by the use of thee). When He said Ye must be born again, He was speaking to the whole world because ye is plural. This nuance is lost in the newer versions of the Bible.


The Second Application of “For


The second application is very general and I believe it includes every part of the creation story. God loved Adam and Eve, and during creation He called what He made Good six times.

After He finished His work and looked at the whole, God said it was Very Good!

We know God loved His creation and everything in it. We also know the whole of creation groans, waiting salvation.

For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains

of childbirth together until now.

~ Romans 8:22


Even creation is waiting its rebirth, both the heavens and the earth. 


See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

~ Isaiah 65:17


The Third Application of “For


Because God loves all of humanity even while we are yet sinners, He devised a plan of pardon for us all.

 

Jesus was lifted up on the cross to atone for our sins. His purpose was to set us free from sin, the power of sin, and the wages of sin, which is not fully consummated until the second death occurs.

Anyone whose name

was not found written in the book of life

was thrown into the lake of fire.

~ Revelation 20:15


Our fall into sin, pointed to the crux of God’s complete plan of salvation: 


The Fall into Sin


God hates all sin and would not make anything sinful. God is not the author of sin. He is holy and only holiness, purity, truth, and justice come from Him.

Nothing wicked or corrupt was ever found in Him or in His immediate creations. His angelic beings, humanity, and creation were all created in righteousness and perfection (in relation to the absence of sin).

The angels and mand sinned after they were created by the perfect hand of God. This shows that the angels and humanity had the ability to choose or the capacity of free will to serve God or to rebel.


Yet this capacity is not fully understood. Nor is the first revelation of sin. This passage describes when sin was found in Lucifer.


Thou wast perfect in thy ways

from the day that thou wast created,

till iniquity was found in thee. 

~ Ezekiel 28:15


When God created Adam and Eve, they were the apex of His creation: created in perfection. Neither was sin found in them until after the the creation.

This passage describes when sin was found in Adam and Eve.


She also gave some to her husband,

who was with her, and he ate it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

and they realized they were naked;

so they sewed fig leaves together

and made coverings for themselves. 

~ Genesis 3:6-7


In the above passage, mankind is described as having their eyes opened. They could discern between good and evil. The discovery of personal sin was realized by the disobedience of God’s will.

Sin brought with it, shame, guilt, and death. It also altered the order of the entire creation. The makeup of the our world was completely stained and spoiled by the works of sin. 


Now, I do not claim to understand how the darkness of sin enters every living soul after Adam and Eve, but I do not ascribe to the concept of original sin as defined by Augustine of Hippo.

Augustine’s attempt to frame the mystery of sin in mankind was built around his earlier influences from Manichaeism, Gnosticism, and Augustine’s own sinful proclivities.

These influences are clearly corruptive in nature. Man’s unscriptural philosophies do not belong in the train of Christian thought for they increasingly distort our understanding of God, create false doctrines, and our understanding of His plan and will for our lives.


Sin in Mankind


God created all of mankind after the likeness of Adam and Eve. Procreation is one of the many ways we are created after God’s image. So is the knowledge of good and evil.


And the LORD God said,

Now that the man has become like one of us,

knowing good and evil,

he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand

and take also from the tree of life and eat,

and live forever.

~ Genesis 3:22


We are conceived by parents who sin and are born into a world full of sin. We have a natural disposition to sin because the corrupted world in which we are conceived demands our corroborative effort in order to exist. 

It is as natural for us to sin as it is to breath. The deeper we go into sin the easier it is to do. Likewise, the deeper we live in God’s righteousness, the easier it is to be righteous.


Little Children


He called a little child to him,

and placed the child among them. 

Truly I tell you,

unless you change

and become like little children,

you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore,

whoever takes the lowly position

of this child is the greatest

in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever welcomes one

such child in my name welcomes me.

If anyone causes one of these little ones

who believe in me to stumble,

it would be better for them

to have a large millstone hung around their neck

and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 

See that you do not despise

one of these little ones.

For I tell you

that their angels in heaven

always see the face of my Father in heaven.

~ Matthew 10:2, 4-6, 10


Age of Accountability


We are told by Jesus that heaven is filled with the likes of little children. It is clear that children go to heaven because their sin is not counted against them for their capacity of good and evil is not yet developed.

Consider Genesis 3:7 where Adam and Eves eyes were opened and they had an awareness that sin had become a part of who they were. Before that, in a sence, they were like little children who did not comprehend good and evil.

Children eventually reach an age of accountability, when child-like innocence fades and the sinful characteristics that have taken a hold of their life, are awakened by their their consciousness.

Then Jesus goes on to describe the 99 sheep and one that was lost. I believe one application of this parable is linking children as sheep who enter into sin after they have become accountable. Then God goes looking for them.

We all like sheep have gone astray. Since the whole context of Matthew chapter 10 leading up to this parable was in reference to children, this is a likely contextual application.

Like the prodigal son, we fall and utter sinfulness and are accountable to the judgment due if we remain in our sins by disbelief and disobedience.


 The rest of Matthew 18 describes brothers in Christ who sin and servants of God who fall into sin and lose their position with God (lose their salvation because of sin).

There is a clear development of accountability, and increasing levels of responsibility described in this chapter. It is likely Jesus was describing accountability and responsibility in the context of the Jewish life.

And this is why God sent His son to us; To give us the opportunity to correct our sinful disobedience and change our dispositions (our heart) by “believing” in the gospel of His son.

Later we will discuss the key word of the verse, “believing.” It is very important to have a correct understanding of its meaning and application.

I was led astray from the Lord and fell back into the practice of sinning after initial salvation due to a common misunderstanding of the word believe in the church today.

That is why the next section only discusses the concept “to believe.” It is my understanding now that if I died in that state, I would have perished. Thanks be to God’s grace alone I am alive today and believe in Him.


The World


World – κόσμος or kósmos literally means something that is ordered, or more properly it means an ordered system such as the human body, the Earth, our solar system, the universe, even the whole of creation.

Order demands intimate and precise functioning of everything. The English word “cosmetic” comes from kosmos and describes an ensemble or garnishments, which enhances the order and details of the face as a whole.

So God does loves everything that he created and wants to make it all Very Good again. Mankind was creation’s garnishment: the perfect ensemble added completing the magnificent and expansive universe.

It is right to add: God did not create anything that He hates. And we know what God hates. 

God wants not only to restore us but to exalt us to a heavenly nature. Those who serve God are not a partaker of this corrupt world. We live in it but do not ascribe to its characteristics or nature.


If you were of the world,

the world would love its own;

but because you are not of the world,

but I chose you out of the world,

because of this the world hates you.

~ John 15:19

———-

Do not love the world

or anything in the world.

If anyone loves the world,

love for the Father is not in them.

~ I John 2:15

———-

Whereby are given unto us

exceeding great and precious promises:

that by these ye might be

partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped the corruption

that is in the world through lust.

~ 2 Peter 1:14


Whosoever


The word whosover in Greek is (πᾶς) pronounced pas. Literally means all, the whole, every kind ofany, everyone.

The emphasis in the Greek considers the total picture and then focuses on “one piece at a time. The context is the world (the emphasis) and every person in the world (one piece at a time) is the effect.

Since God loves the whole world and everyone and everything He created in it (Satan and the angels are not of this world). 

Whosoever is clearly a call to humanity for we are the only thing in the creation of the universe that is fashioned after His image with moral and intellectual capacity to receive the gift of salvation.

Although the whole creation groans for redemption, man is given the honor to receive Jesus’ act of redemption. As a result, the whole creation will be made anew, perfect in God’s eyes because Jesus gave mankind salvation.


For God did not send the Son

into the world to judge the world,

but that the world might be saved through Him.

~ John 3:17

———-

For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains of childbirth

together until now.

~ Romans 8:22

———-

But in keeping with his promise

we are looking forward to a new heaven

and a new earth,

where righteousness dwells.

~ II Peter 3:13


In the new heavens and new earth, only the righteousness will dwell: God, His Angels, Humanity, and the rest of living creation living in perfection order with God in glory forever.


In Part II, we will explore the word Believe.

Keep the faith!


Something smelly in the wilderness


In Hebrews chapter 3, Paul gives us a warning,


Take heed, brethren,

lest there be in any of you

an evil heart of unbelief,

in departing from the living God.


 then a pleading exhortation.


But exhort one another daily,

while it is called To day;

lest any of you be hardened

through the deceitfulness of sin.

For we are made partakers of Christ,

if we hold the beginning of our confidence

stedfast unto the end;


We are called to hold fast our faithful repentance in Christ just as we did in the beginning.

If we fail to to this, we allow sin through disobedience to re-enter our lives and risk our hearts being darkened and hardened, bringing unbelief and eventually separation from the God.

This is not a break in fellowship as some believe but departure from the Living God.


Souls in Peril


While it is said,

Today if ye will hear his voice,

harden not your hearts,

as in the provocation.

For some, when they had heard,

did provoke:

howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

But with whom was he grieved forty years?


All but two of the adult Israelites delivered from Egypt perished in the wilderness (figuratively speaking, in sin). The two delivered, Joshua and Caleb, followed the exhortation and did not harden their hearts.

They also had the benefit of an enriched faith, moral uprightness, and godly character.

Either way you cut it, the example God gave us in Hebrews reveals very poor odds for those initially delivered from sin through faith in Christ.

The Israelites knew, saw, and lived with the truth and promises of God. They were fed living water, manna, and were provided for. All these were shadows of what Jesus does for us now.

Why was God grieved with them and why did so many perish?


was it not with them that had sinned,

whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

And to whom sware he

that they should not enter into his rest,

but to them that believed not?

So we see

that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

~ Hebrews 3:12-19


They Perished because they did not heed his voice and obey his word. Rather, they chose return to sin, fell into unbelief, and hardened their hearts.

Instead of entering into His rest, they entered into judgment.

This is our example today. Do not continue in sin, guard your heart, and believe God can change both your heart and your (sinful) nature.

Or, like the Israelites, you run the risk of having your body left rotting in the wilderness only to be fed on by the birds of destruction.


Jesus died so we could live. Here is His exhortation.


Take my yoke upon you

and learn from me,

for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

~ Matthew 11:29


We get on our knees before the cross, repent of our sins, believe in Christ. We walk away from our sins and follow His lead preparing ourselves to be obedient to Him and to live, truly live.

Here is Jesus’ warning to His servants who fail to do this.


And that servant, which knew his lord’s will,

and prepared not himself,

neither did according to his will,

shall be beaten with many stripes.

~ Luke 12:47


Let His stripes purify your heart. 

For many will be beaten with many stripes because of hardened and darkened hearts and disobedient unbelief in the knowledge and faith in Christ.


The choice is yours.

The only question is,

What kind of servant are you?


Take His yoke

and learn from Him,

you will find rest for your soul.



Let us therefore fear, lest,

a promise being left us

of entering into his rest,

any of you should seem to come short of it. 

~ Hebrews 4:1

By works a man is justified, and not by faith only.


Many do not like the title of this post for what it implies, but it is taken directly from scripture and intimated to be as important as faith. For within an active faith are found works to be shown reflective of genuine repentance.

Controversy aside, we are called unto good works as a Christian and commanded to hold fast our profession of faith. We are also told that those who profess Christ but are impure, sinful, and live with unbelief perform works unto eternal punishment.


 

This is why I am posting some of my favorite verses that necessitate a life devoted to God.

They are in no particular order but speak volumes to those willing to listen and obey God’s word and not adhere to a particular doctrine that denies works of righteousness as a necessary part of a disciple’s life.

Our church is drenched in antinomianism and is teaching us to live in the wicked mire of sin. If this doctrine remains in our heart and lives, we will perish in our sin.


Romans 11:21-22

For if God spared not the natural branches,

take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Behold therefore the goodness

and severity of God:

on them which fell, severity;

but toward thee, goodness,

if thou continue in his goodness:

otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.


1 Corinthians 10:1-12

Moreover, brethren,

I would not that ye should be ignorant,

how that all our fathers were under the cloud,

and all passed through the sea;

And were all baptized unto Moses

in the cloud and in the sea;

And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

And did all drink the same spiritual drink:

for they drank of that spiritual Rock

that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

But with many of them

God was not well pleased:

for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things were our examples,

to the intent we should not lust after evil things,

as they also lusted.

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them;

as it is written,

The people sat down to eat and drink,

and rose up to play.

Neither let us commit fornication,

as some of them committed,

and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Neither let us tempt Christ,

as some of them also tempted,

and were destroyed of serpents.

Neither murmur ye,

as some of them also murmured,

and were destroyed of the destroyer.

Now all these things happened unto them

for ensamples:

and they are written for our admonition,

upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth

take heed lest he fall.


2 Peter 2:4-9

For if God spared not the angels that sinned,

but cast them down to hell,

and delivered them into chains of darkness,

to be reserved unto judgment;

And spared not the old world,

but saved Noah the eighth person,

a preacher of righteousness,

bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha

into ashes condemned them with an overthrow,

making them an ensample

unto those that after should live ungodly;

And delivered just Lot,

vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them,

in seeing and hearing,

vexed his righteous soul from day to day

with their unlawful deeds;)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly

out of temptations,

and to reserve the unjust

unto the day of judgment to be punished:


Jude 1:5

I will therefore put you in remembrance,

though ye once knew this, how that the Lord,

having saved the people out of the land of Egypt,

afterward destroyed them that believed not.


James 2:14-26

What doth it profit, my brethren,

though a man say he hath faith,

and have not works?

can faith save him? 

If a brother or sister be naked,

and destitute of daily food, 

and one of you say unto them,

Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;

notwithstanding ye give them not those things

which are needful to the body;

what doth it profit? 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead,

being alone. 

Yea, a man may say,

Thou hast faith, and I have works:

shew me thy faith without thy works,

and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

Thou believest that there is one God;

thou doest well:

the devils also believe, and tremble. 

But wilt thou know, O vain man,

that faith without works is dead? 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works,

when he had offered Isaac

his son upon the altar? 

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works,

and by works was faith made perfect?

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith,

Abraham believed God,

and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:

and he was called the Friend of God. 

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,

and not by faith only. 

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot

justified by works,

when she had received the messengers,

and had sent them out another way? 

For as the body without the spirit is dead,

so faith without works is dead also.


Some are already withering believing their current state is acceptable to God.  Take heed lest ye fall. It is not just belief or faith alone that will save you. We are to:

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance

(John the Baptist)


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 Judæa,

and then to the Gentiles,

that they should repent and turn to God,

and do works meet for repentance

(Paul the Apostle)


God can deliver you if you seek after Him like you do your most precious treasures . . . for in this, He is found.

Working out our Salvation

I hear much talk of different isms: Calvinism, Arminianism, Methodism, Catholicism, Baptist(ism), New Evangelicalism, etc. Where does it all comes from? Our carnality. Even so, most “isms” of our day have strayed far from what Paul and Appollos was preaching. Sure there is much truth in some and less in others but; even in our current divisions, there are divers errors that divide us within our errors.


While we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:11-13), we should consider the verse below. If this applies, there is yet much work to be done on a personal level. No one can work out their salvation on a corporate level, so it doesn’t really matter what your church organization believes. It can’t save you. Only the word of God living and working in you can do that.


“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (1 Corinthians 3:3-5).


If we are not working out our salvation with fear and trembling, I plead with you reader, please go back to the Bible and see what was missed . . . because something was.


“Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short. Be careful to do every thing in religion in the best manner, and fear lest under all your advantages you should so much as seem to come short . . . Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1,11).


Here is an excerpt from Matthew Henry Commentary that explains this concept further.

I. He exhorts them to diligence and seriousness in the Christian course: Work out your own salvation. It is the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9), and our eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9), and contains deliverance from all the evils sin had brought upon us and exposed us to, and the possession of all good and whatsoever is necessary to our complete and final happiness. Observe, It concerns us above all things to secure the welfare of our souls: whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. It is our own salvation, the salvation of our own souls. It is not for us to judge other people; we have enough to do to look to ourselves; and, though we must promote the common salvation (Jude 1:3) as much as we can, yet we must upon no account neglect our own. We are required to work out our salvation, katergazesthe. The word signifies working thoroughly at a thing, and taking true pains. Observe, We must be diligent in the use of all the means which conduce to our salvation. We must not only work at our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work out our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence. He adds, With fear and trembling, that is, with great care and circumspection: “Trembling for fear lest you miscarry and come short. Be careful to do every thing in religion in the best manner, and fear lest under all your advantages you should so much as seem to come short,” Heb. 4:1. Fear is a great guard and preservative from evil.


Are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling? Or are you already confident? Think about that for a moment. Don’t seek guidance from others (or me for that matter) who will reinforce your confidence or current belief system. Who knows how much ism has already crept in. Rather, seek to understand the whole council of God unencumbered by preconceived bias. I am trying hard to do this and some of what I am coming up with is not popular even among my Christian brethren.

Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles spoke a great deal about why people should have fear and trembling, namely Hell. In the New Testament, the realities of Hell was primarily spoken to the religious, followers of Christ, believers, and those who perceived they were following after God. Hell was not spoken much to unbelievers. That reality in and of itself should cause us to ponder.


The Biblical concept of working out our salvation by implicit definition means; it is not yet complete.

Yet, we must endure unto the end.

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)

“But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22)


 

This Post is About Erring from the Truth of Scripture, the Sin that Ensues, and The Battle to Overcome

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20

When we err from the truth, it is not just one sin we commit. When we err, from the truth, we set into motion a cascade if sins that multiply, repeat, and reproduce themselves. Erring from the truth is not necessarily the same thing as willfully committing sin.

Here is one example of erring from the truth. I use to believe as many do today: that our sins past, present, and future are forgiven the moment we trust in Jesus with all our heart. That is what I was taught, so I believed it.


In reading about this subject, I never saw the Bible say our future sins are forgiven. Nevertheless, I went on living this particular error of truth. I committed a multitude of sins, spoiled my mind, and darkened my soul. God’s ability to work through me was deeply compromised. I was walking on a precipice teetering on eternal judgment. I now stay far away from the edge of that cliff. You should too.


Here are some scriptural proofs showing that our future sins are not automatically forgiven and can change our walk with God even causing us to lose our salvation.

“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of men’s sins: keep thyself pure . . . Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” (1 Timothy 5:22,23,25)

“but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) This is present tense and written to believers.

“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) If we walk after the flesh, there IS condemnation for those which are in Christ Jesus. Many Bibles have taken out the last half of this verse because of the doctrine of once saved always saved. These same scholars and many pastors following their works will tell you it was because of “higher criticism”.

Those scholars have removed scripture and changed the meaning of God’s word. If they don’t repent of this sin, they have a curse from God awaiting them upon their mortal death: 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.” (Revelation 22:18-19)


So our names can be taken out of the book of life:

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:5) Once again, the inverse: if anyone does not overcome He will blot out his name out of the book of life.

We need to overcome the world and all the corruption Satan has cast upon us. This is not works, but we do this with faith in Jesus. We have to act on our faith and do not have dead faith. If we have faith we do well, but faith without works is dead. I would venture to go further and say that faith without works produces sin and sin produces death.


What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith onlyLikewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:14-26)


“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-20)


Once again: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Our bodies our not our own to do as we please. They belong to God. When we do what we want with them, we are stealing from God. This is a sin that must be repented of like all others. Fear the consequences of your sin.

We cannot, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Romans 6:12). This is the whole nature of overcoming the world. God’s spirit reign in our bodies, minds, and souls producing fruit. We war against our sinful nature and must overcome it. The moment we accept Jesus we are saved. It is the sin we incur that can entrap us later. Our body must be inhabited by the Holy Ghost and not defiled by sin.

Once again, these are all to believers:
“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Corinthians 3:17)
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Believing that our future sins are forgiven, is a grave and terrible error

If someone errs in believing this, they run the risk of not repenting and living in sin. Not identifying, repenting, and turning from “routine” sin (it becomes routine because of habituation) is a grievous mistake that can quench the Holy Ghost and lead to spiritual death.

Do you see how erring from the truth can cause a multitude of sins? (James 5:20)

When we fall into error of truth or choose to practice willful sin. When we follow Christ, we find that no one can separate us from the love of Christ. This refers to being separated by a power outside ourselves, like when we will get raptured and taken up. It does not refer to our own power or choice to live in sin. We have strayed ourselves bringing our souls into spiritual death. Scripture promises God’s children security in Christ when we are walking in him, following Him, listening to Him, not when we are putting the cross of Christ to shame by crucifying Him all over again.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16).

“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:20-22).

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).”

Do not be drawn into sin leading to perdition and damnation, to Hell. There is no liberty in sin. There is no liberty to sin. Those that teach we have liberty to sin have been warned in scripture. To accept sin as a normal part if our Christian life comes from the teaching of Balaam, which God hates.

There are sins not unto death, sins unto death, and blaspheming the Holy Ghost (subject for a later post). Live in a manner that you avoid them all!!!

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) Because our sinful nature wars against our soul. This, we must overcome.


We are in a war against ourselves. God has provided us a way to escape and overcome. Be not dismayed or distracted, fight the good fight unto the end.

~ D

How did we get so far away from New Testament church practice?

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5


With verses like this I am at a miss how so much of Christianity can believe in a doctrine that teaches that if we say a prayer to accept Jesus into our hearts we are secure in our salvation. If we choose to continue in sin its okay, because once we said that prayer, we are saved.



Old Testament:

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. (Psa 10:4)

Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. (Psa 10:13)

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psa 11:5)

Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. (Psa 11:6-7)

New Testament (poneros)

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.,” (Mat 13:49-50)

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: (Mat 18:32)

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (Mat 25:26)

And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: (Luke 19:22)

And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (2 Thess 3:2)

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil [poneros] deeds. (2 John 10-11)

(There is much to be learned from these verses about wickedness that has permeated Christianity that deserves further study.)


Paul also calls the church to “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

I was taught that this meant the man will physically die and still go to heaven. Can Christians practice sins worse than non-Christians and still go to heaven? [“and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles“]

That is what I use to think until I Iearned that this man is mentioned elsewhere in Corinthians and it appears that he was restored to the church. Flesh in verse 5 can mean the human body but the Greek word also means sinful nature. I am inclined to believe that Paul meant the man’s sinful nature was put to death since his spirit appears to be saved as he was restored later in 2 Cor 2:5-8,

But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

If this was not the man in 1 Corinthians 5:1, the principle would still stand in light of the context and the New Testament church practice of reflecting God’s holiness and longsuffering in love.

Paul also mentions him in 2 Corinthians 7:12 – “So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.”

Paul also warned against sinning Christians here, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21) and here: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Eph 5:3,4)


Our church is already in deep trouble and not in the early stages of falling away. We hardly practice Christianity according to the Bible. There is not one church that I am aware that will purge members for sexual immorality, coveting, idolatry, railing, drug or alcohol abuse, or covetous, or an idolater, or railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, and then forgive and comfort one with open arms when he repents of his sins and comes back to live for God, like in 2 Cor 2:7-8. Usually we go on unaware of such sinful behavior because of our apostasy. We are so watered down in doctrine that sin has become rampant in most of our churches today with pastors even practicing these sins. Satan no longer has a foothold in the churches, he has control over many of them.


This concept of becoming spiritually dead after becoming saved is no different than the story of the Prodigal son . . .  for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. (Luke 15:24), And they began to be merry. You see here the father began to be merry and celebrate only when his son was found or alive again. The father does not celebrate or take pleasure in a son who is dead and lost. He is not part of his household only those children who are faithful like his other son.


 

Nor is it any different than what Jesus said about Christians that do not have a firm foundation in Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

The good news is we can get right with God if we fall away but we must be willing to live in repentance, abide in the truth, and then nothing will be able to keep us from the love of God. Because sin will not only keep you from church, it can separate you from God.


Brothers and Sisters,

“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Tim 2:19)

There are eternal consequences for those who don’t.

In love,

Donald Kjellberg

Take heed, lest ye be part of the great falling away described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Jesus left us with the Apostles and their writings. Within those writings are instructions, warnings, and exhortations on how we should live and die for God. The following is one such passage. In it we are warned against willfully sinning and the eternal consequences that follow such behaviors.

Moses and the Israelites were given great privilege not dissimilar from the church today. They were a picture of us and were judged as we will be. There is good news, we can overcome through God’s grace. Do not be deceived, we cannot walk in sin as Christians and expect to share in God’s glory. Take heed lest ye become a part of the great falling away that is prophesied to occur before the Antichrist is revealed to the church.

These things must happen according to scripture before Jesus comes to gather those who are alive and remain. Jesus explains this in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Of interesting note, in Mark the question of the audience is answered. It is not just the Jews to whom Jesus is speaking. He is warning all of us of the troubles to come, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”

If we take the examples from Paul below to heart, we can be rest assured we are on the path to glory and not His wrath to come. If you are guilty of the things described below (and the list is not exhaustive BTW, i.e., strife, envy, adultery/looking at a woman with lust, etc.) repent and turn completely away from those sins. You will fall and may have already fallen if you continue to practice them.

God sent His son so that no one may perish. He is longsuffering and does not want to condemn us. He wants us to believe in Him with an “active faith” not a dead faith. This is a continuous process that abounds with God’s grace, love, instructions, and ample guidance as we seek His face. It is our duty to submit and prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. God is faithful and will help us if we work to overcome as noted here, here, and here unto the end.

Here is the passage – 1 Corinthians 10:1-13:

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

We are instructed to pray that we are not led into temptation. Temptation is the predecessor to sin. If you find yourself in a situation that brings temptation, flee from it. If you cannot flee, remember God will not allow you be tempted above that you can bear. Obedient Christians do not live in sin. Not only are we are not suppose to continue in sin at all, we are commanded to abstain even from the appearance of evil. Properly equipped, we do not have to willfully sin. Sin may lead to death or it may not. But like the scripture said, “take heed” and walk uprightly. To consciously live in sin once you know the truth will send you to Hell. Don’t believe the lie that once you say the prayer of salvation, you are “good”. This is from the Devil. To those who hold the truth in unrighteousness, the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven. Don’t let your heart be darkened. If it has been darkened, pray the Lord will wash it anew. He can and He does. He wants to have you walk  walk in the light even as He is in the light and you will be cleansed from all sin and unrighteousness.

Once again, here is one last passage describing our fate as obedient servants or followers of sin. The choice is yours. God has given you all you need in His Living Word. BTW, in case you did not know, when the word word is capitalized, it refers to Jesus. When it is not, it refers to the word of the Bible.

If you are in a church where the preacher says you have to sin or it is okay to sin as a Christian, get out! Take heed, lest you fall like our ancestors did in the wilderness.

Antinomianism: The Tares in Today’s Church

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As I read God’s instructions for our life in the New Testament, I recently came to a new realization about modern Christendom. The problem is as old as Cain and also troubled the early church (via Gnosticism).

This included the doctrines of the Nicolaitans and Balaam which, allowed for unbiblical hierarchical church structures, infusion of paganism, and compromising moral values. These doctrines remain with us today. Some of it is subtle, most of it is pervasive, and it would make a great study within the larger context of Church history, but I digress . . .

Nowadays, Gnosticism permeates our church through the influence of Greek manuscripts. The Roman Catholic church (RCC) in an attempt to gain back her lost “reformation children” introduced the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaticus through the 19th century Bible revisionists Westcott and Hort. These manuscripts are now the dominant codices of the Nestle Aland Greek New Testament that are used in all modern Bibles versions and taught in most Christian Bible colleges.

Today we see a slow movement of protestant churches moving toward the RCC through cooperative actions like the pro-life movement, the P.E.A.C.E. plan, and other human rights issues. Don’t get me wrong. I think abortion is murder and these other moral issues are important but we are called to separate from all forms of ungodliness (2 Corinthians 6:16-18). That is the exactly what ecumenism is: uniting religions, mixing paganism, fomenting more antinomianism (ungodliness), and ultimately (IMHO) bringing about the fruition of the Whore of Bablyon. If you would like to read how the RCC uses these movements to validate her position and authority over Christianity and other religions the official page is here.

Antinomianism will play an important role in the falling away of the end-times church and its not just about Catholicism. But what exactly is antinomianism?

With the discerning eye that God calls us to develop and act on (1 Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 5:11, Philippians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:21), we can observe antinomianism in the emerging church, the Purpose Driven philosophy, the faith/prosperity movement, new evangelicalism, and others areas of modern Christianity. I am finding its influence all over my life: in my priorities, in my household, and what occupies my family’s time.

The following is an excellent explanation of antinomianism from bereanpublishers.com. As you read (it is long) please take your time, pray, and ask yourself how much does this describe you? We are called to become like Christ and not the world.

I pray that you . . . may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,” Romans 12:2.

Sincerely, Donald Kjellberg

 ANTINOMIANISM

‘Antinomian’ is pronounced [an-ta-nome´-ee-ann].  The word itself can be traced back to the Greek of the New Testament.  It comes from putting two Greek words together: `anti (anti) and nomos (nomos).  The first word “anti” taken by itself means, “over against or instead of”, and corresponds to our English word “anti”, which means “opposed to”.

The second half of the word ‘Antinomian’, which is the word “nomos”, means: (1) a law, rule, standard; (2) a rule of life or moral conduct.  This is the same word that is translated “law” in “Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”-KJV. Rom. 3:31.  Consequently, when these two Greek words are combined, it gives the meaning: lawlessness; without, opposed to or against laws, standards, or rules of moral conduct.

IS ‘ANTINOMIAN’ A BIBLE WORD?

Yes, it most certainly is (in the Greek Language, that is).  It can be found in the following form 25 times throughout the New Testament.  This time it again comes from taking the Greek word “nomos”, but prefixing it with the negative particle “a” to give the Greek word “anomos”.  The Greek word “nomos” was previously defined as: a law, rule, standard; a rule of life or moral conduct.  When the negative article “a” is prefixed to it, the exact same meaning as our English word ‘Antinomian’ is derived.  The Greek translation for this New Testament word is: lawlessness; the condition of being without law; having contempt for law.

It is usually translated (Strongs # 458, 459) using vague words like ‘iniquity’, ‘wicked’, ‘unrighteousness’ or ‘transgressor’ (in the Authorized Version-KJV).  It’s even more vague in all the newer translations.  Only 6 times was it clearly translated (KJV) as ‘without law’, ‘lawless’, etc., in 3 verses only.  However, understanding this word’s true meaning, brings new meaning and clarity to all verses that contain it.  Even though it is found translated ‘iniquity in Matt. 7:23, the words ‘Antinomian’ or ‘lawlessness’ could rightfully be put there instead.  It would then read, starting at verse 21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  and in thy name have cast out devils?  and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work “lawlessness” (Antinomianism).

Other verses that condemn Antinomians to hell are: “The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do ‘Antinomian(ism)’.”  “And because ‘Antinomians’ shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with ‘Antinomians’?  and what communion hath light with darkness?”  “For the mystery of ‘Antinomian(ism)’ doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”  “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all ‘Antinomian(ism)’, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Matt.13:41; Matt. 24:12; 2 Cor. 6:14; 2 Thess. 2:7; Titus 2:14).  With this in mind, it is interesting to see what men of God have said about it.

WHAT’S ITS BASIC DOCTRINE?

In his late book, Paths to Power, A.W. Tozer defined it this way.  “Fundamental Christianity in our times is deeply influenced by that ancient enemy of righteousness, Antinomianism.  The creed of the Antinomian is easily stated: We are saved by faith alone; works have no place in salvation; conduct is works, and is therefore of no importance.  What we do cannot matter as long as we believe rightly.  The divorce between creed and conduct is absolute and final.  The question of sin is settled by the Cross; conduct is outside the circle of faith and cannot come between the believer and God.  Such in brief, is the teaching of the Antinomian.  And so fully has it permeated the Fundamental element in modern Christianity that it is accepted by the religious masses as the very truth of God.  Antinomianism is the doctrine of grace carried by uncorrected logic to the point of absurdity.  It takes the teaching of justification by faith and twists it into deformity.”

I know there are some (maybe you, dear reader) who might say, “That’s the gospel!  That’s Grace!  That’s what I believe and practice!”  Oh, if we would only take the time to seek God, pray and read the Gospel, unfettered by the “Doctrines of Men”, we would surely find that Antinomianism is ANOTHER GOSPEL (i.e.- not Christianity).

Charles Finney in the 1800′s spoke of it “as the opposite extreme to legalism.  Legalist are all work, Antinomians no work.  Professing to have yielded up their whole agency to Christ, they throw all responsibility upon Him and do nothing.  Under pretense of being led by the Spirit and of waiting for God to reveal His will to them, they give themselves up very much to spiritual indolence (idleness)1.”

Charles Finney

Noah Webster, in his 1878 Dictionary, defined Antinomianism as: “one of a sect who were charged with maintaining that, under the gospel dispensation, the moral law is of no use or obligation.”

1-Webster’s 1878 Dictionary defined ‘indolence’ as “inaction, or want of exertion of body or mind, proceeding from love of ease or aversion to toil; habitually idle.”

A BRIEF HISTORY

Interesting enough, the Church is being plagued today with Antinomianism more than ever.  In fact, it has almost “leavened the whole lump”.  This is not the first time that it’s crept into the hearts of God’s people unawares.  Historically, in Jeremiah’s day when Israel was deeply backslidden and God’s prophets were crying out against their wickedness, Antinomianism was the root cause.  It was also one of the first signs of decay to hit the early Church.  As the Bible teaches, the early Church fathers were well acquainted with what it was, and like Paul, found themselves in an ever present battle against its deadly effects.

By the 1700′s, Antinomianism had established itself so deeply in most of the colleges that produced pastors, that almost anyone simply professing faith in God was considered a Christian.  This condition having spread to this country as well, found heart-motivated morality in the Church almost non-existent.  After much sincere prayer and true repentance, a real ‘Revival’ did come from God during that time through men such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and others.  This revival reversed the course of Antinomianism but for a short while.  By the start of the 19th. century, Antinomianism had made a strong comeback.  Charles Finney and other Godly persons, who lived during that time, again found themselves facing it’s damning effects.  Although Finney and others succeeded in stamping out numerous strongholds, it didn’t take long for it to make a comeback in this century.

This century has seen a huge rise of those who promise many ‘would be Christians’ liberty, while “they themselves are the servants of corruption” (2 Peter 2:19).  Never before have there been so many who profess Christianity with their mouth, but live like and love the world.  Why?  Because Antinomianism has been the accepted gospel almost universally since the 50′s. 

WHY IS IT WRONG?

The origin for Antinomianism is rooted in a general misunderstanding concerning the difference between what is meant by “conditions” and “works” (earnings/merits).  Many devoted, but spiritually ignorant, religious teachers, in their zeal to explain the truth of our unmerited salvation and our inability to pay the debt for our own sins, have fallen into heresy.

“Heresy!  That’s a pretty strong word”, you say.  Yes, but that’s exactly what it is: “heresy”.  The word “heresy”, from the New Testament Greek word “airesis”, simply means “a taking, school, selection”.  A modern day dictionary defines it as “a school of thought”.  The word represents a popular practice among the religious crowd.  It describes the taking of truth and then selecting one’s favorite part or doctrine contained in it, over-emphasizing that point, and teaching it, usually to the complete negation of the rest of the picture. 

Heresy in the Garden of Eden?

A perfect example of this is in what the devil told Eve in the garden of Eden.  What he said wasn’t entirely wrong.  He just excluded parts of the truth and over-emphasized other parts, to such an extent, that what was said became a lie.  He said, “Ye shall not surely die:” (Gen. 3:4).  This was true in one sense, only he simply left out the rest of the facts.  It was true that they wouldn’t die, right then, probably based on their own vague understanding of death at the time (Bear in mind that up to this time no one had seen death).  But what the devil left out was a big deal.  They would indeed DIE another way, spiritually, right then, according to God’s real meaning.  Their body would also start dying, from that time on as well.  So… not presenting the whole picture, turned that short, partial truth into a huge deception.  Next verse:

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5).  Again, what the devil said was exactly true.  However, if only he had added in the parts that he purposely left out, the whole picture would have taken on an entirely different meaning- a pretty scary, and ugly one at that.  It’s like signing on the doted line without reading the small, fine print, ever!  Considering how the devil’s heresy ruined the human race’s earthly future, does one have to wonder much at the root source of such a heresy as Antinomianism? 

Earning by Works versus Conditions

“Taking” or focusing in on the truth, that we do not “merit” or earn God’s salvation and its attending blessings, has led many into Antinomianism.  Yes, it IS true that we do NOT earn our salvation, nor our relationship with God.  But that does not negate the fact that God DOES HAVE HIS “Conditions” respecting salvation.

Suppose, for instance, I were to read in my newspaper about a free milk giveaway happening at the local dairy.  Let’s say the newspaper states that between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Thursday, March 16th., the dairy is pleased to give to every person over the age of 18 a fresh gallon of milk, for free.  From such an ad, I’d understand that the milk would to be free, right?  I wouldn’t have to pay for it or earn it.  Also, anyone over 18 years old could receive a gallon if they wanted.  Therefore, it would be fairly clear that there would be NO WAY anyone could earn, merit, pay for or deserve a free gallon of milk.  It is a free gift.

However, at the same time, there are definite “conditions” to receiving the milk such as:

Firstly, one had to be over 18 years of age.

Secondly, they had to be present at the dairy.

Thirdly, only between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on Thursday, March 16th. could it be received.

Meeting Conditions does NOT mean earning by works

By being at the dairy at the required time would not mean that anyone had earned, worked for or deserved the milk.  No one would even be considered if they weren’t present there between the appointed times.  Merit, works and deserving it have nothing to do with it.  It is based totally on grace -i.e. the kindness of the dairy to give it away.  The dairy is giving it away simply because they want to.

On the other hand, there are definite conditions to being able to receive a gallon of milk.  How happy a person is about being able to get the milk makes no difference concerning whether they receive it or not.  Even “faith alone” is not the deciding factor in them receiving the milk directly.  If they don’t make it to the dairy in person as specified, they will simply loose out.  The fact that these conditions have to be followed has nothing to do with anyone earning the milk or whether or not it is a gift.  Having conditions has nothing whatsoever to do with the love, kindness and tender hearts of the dairy owners.

In the same way, parents sometimes have conditions for their children.  Because of LOVE, parents may wish to give or do something for their children.  However, just because they make it conditional, like first having to have either their room clean, face washed, hair combed or such like, doesn’t make the gift any less a gift.  Knowing how children can think, only the mind of an immature child could think they were earning it.  What does this tell us about the level of thought Antinomians use?

An example of salvation’s “conditions” was taught by Jesus in His parable concerning the wise and foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13).  The primary difference between the wise and foolish was whether or not they had met God’s conditions.

(Side note: some Antinomian teachers, in trying to explain this away, say that the foolish virgins only missed the rapture, etc., but will still have a second chance after the tribulation.  We ask: when does the Bible say they get their “second chance”?  Instead, Jesus said to them “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you”.  In every place where Jesus says He doesn’t know them, the consequences are always disastrous eternally.  So how do these “smooth talkers” get such a conclusion?  Certainly not from the Bible.  I’d hate to teach or base my eternal future on such unscriptural doctrines of men.)

WHY DO ANTINOMIANS EXIST?

Antinomianism is an entire doctrine built on religious confusion, or, more precisely, a complete lack of understanding concerning God’s “Conditions”.  Sad to say, its root cause goes even deeper than misunderstanding “conditions”.  The main battle isn’t really between bumbling heretics and those who understand God’s “conditions” – it’s between humanism and Christianity. 

Humanism

Humanism is summed up as this: the end of all being is the happiness of mankind.  Its focus is on two words: ‘happiness’ and ‘mankind’.  Therefore in humanism, everything a person does is centred around humanity’s happiness here on earth. 

Christianity

Christianity can be summed up as this: the end of all being is the glory of God.  Its focus is on two words: ‘glory’ and ‘God’.  Therefore in Christianity, everything a person does is centred around what pleases God, nothing less!  This is why Jesus could say to his close friend and disciple, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men”; and “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” and “If any will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:23, 7:21, 16:24).  Do you see?  The entire focus is on God and His glory, not man. 

Let’s Get Together and Make Peace (on earth)

At the root of Antinomianism is humanism with a little Christianity mixed in, for good measure.  How’s that?  Instead of pure humanism, which is focused solely on man’s earthly life, this mixture looks like this: The end of Antinomian “Christianity” is the happiness of mankind both on earth and in heaven.  Notice that it STILL focuses on the same two words that humanism does: ‘happiness’ and ‘mankind’.  The only difference between humanism and Antinomian Christianity is this: mankind’s happiness has been extended beyond the grave.  Does this mean that real Christians aren’t happy?  No!  However, they take their happiness in bringing glory to God, by doing only what pleases Him, never themselves.  This usually goes over the head of an Antinomian.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that in Antinomianism, like humanism, everything the Church does (especially those in leadership) is centred around humanity’s happiness.  This is the root of Antinomianism.  Once we understand this, everything else that puzzles us about ourselves, &/or our Antinomian friends, will disappear: i.e.-the lack of heart motivated obedience to Christ; the struggles against giving up basic, elementary things like TV, worldly videos, sports, dancing, smoking, worldly music, worldly friendships, etc.; the lack of interest in personally reaching the lost; and the strong attachment to, and love for, this present world.  This is why, when the subject of God’s “conditions” for salvation comes up, for an Antinomian, it does not compute.  Because an Antinomian’s beliefs are rooted in humanism, when they hear the real Gospel, they think it’s heresy or some strange “Cult”.

Please remember that humanism is at the heart of
Antinomianism when you read the rest of this article.
 

How Did They Mix Christianity with Humanism?

Imagine this: you’ve enrolled in an Air Conditioning School.  You try very hard to learn air conditioners, but it’s extremely difficult.  You just can’t seem to remember the theory, much less fix anything.  How it all works and fits together is beyond your comprehension.  You and air conditioners simply don’t get along.  You doubt the problem is your lifelong poor mechanical aptitude.  Maybe the school is wrong, so you decide to quit.  After you’re out, you begin to think about a theory of your own.  You go so far as to put down on paper, a whole system for understanding air conditioners, all based entirely on your own misconceptions.  Furthermore, you start your own air conditioning school.  You’ve always been a good talker.  Eventually, several of your students believe your theories, although nothing ever seems to work out quite right.  Nevertheless, they learn to have lots of faith in that coming day when the class’s air conditioners will work correctly.  Besides, they “feel good” about themselves and your simplified rationalizations, and that’s got to be more important.

On the other hand, some of your other students are growing frustrated at your bumbling.  They just can’t accept the fact that nothing in practice works right.  They even go so far as to tell you where they think you’re wrong.  Never mind that these thinking students are the only ones who ever manage to fix any air conditioning problems.  That isn’t what matters to you, so you accuse them of “causing divisions” and “defying authority”.  When they continue to disagree, you have them removed from your school.

Sound crazy?  Well, guess what?  That’s exactly how this doctrine of Antinomianism came about.  Only difference is that since it involves the spiritual, many consider theology mystical, hard to practice and abstract.  Consequently, most never even stop to analyze Antinomianism to see if it actually works like scriptural Christianity.  Instead, too many enjoy being on spiritual “Auto Pilot” because their ears feel good.  True, they might be constantly falling into sin; their lives &/or family’s spiritual lives are a mess, but at least they can “think” they are “saved”, until they die and find out the truth (after it’s too late).

Please dear ones; read your Bibles; study and learn about your heritage.  Is this how the early Christians lived and walked?  No!

Somehow Antinomians see the desire to satisfy God’s “conditions” as trying to earn one’s salvation.  Antinomianism has its entire focus on one piece of the truth – that is: we don’t “earn” (merit) our salvation.  But, the rest of the picture “conditions”, is not only neglected, but actually taught and warned against.  What this means is that perhaps millions are on their way to HELL while believing they are going to heaven.  What a really scary surprise that’s going to be.

Can you imagine reading an ad someday about a new, revolutionary medicine that cures cancer and AIDS completely, instantly?  Imagine hearing about it at special meetings, then going to months of seminars and being taught all about what it does and how to use it.  Only one problem, though.  No one seems to know how or where to actually get this marvelous cure-all.  What would you think?

If you think that’s bad, then neglecting and even discouraging hungry folks from knowing about God’s “conditions” to His blessed gift of salvation has got to be worse!  That’s exactly why Antinomianism is one of the worst and most dangerous heresies going.  God’s “conditions” concerning salvation are more than just “believing” and “accepting” Christ.  Otherwise explain what Jesus meant when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21).  Or what about “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works”? (Matt. 16:27).  How about the scene in Matthew 25 with the sheep and the goats?  Both apparently believed in Jesus and answered Him in a way that implied familiarity with who He was.  However, the goats failed to fulfill His conditions as outlined there, no if’s, an’s or but’s about it. 

THE OUTCOME

The fruits of this cancer are readily seen.  Just compare the difference between the witness real Christians had in Wesley’s, Finney’s, Menno Simons’, the Moravian’s and the Apostle’s day to that of today.  Instead, the modern Antinomian comes to believe that they are “free in Christ” -free to do whatever they want, whether it is the will of the flesh or God’s.  ‘A taking’ (heresy) of the Scripture which says, “All things are lawful unto me” (1Cor. 6:12; 10:23) out of context, effectively makes Antinomians a law unto themselves (licentiousness).  Consequently, whatever happens to be the day’s conviction or lack thereof, is the way they live.  Instead of God, they base everything on whether their motives are right.  Instead of God’s will, if they can rationalize something, according to either their own or some respected “believers” example or teaching, they usually feel perfectly at liberty to do whatever they want.  You can hear them say how God “told them” it was okay to do this or that, no matter what the Bible teaches.  They soon become experts in examining the limit to which any of God’s moral laws can be stretched (legalism), while still maintaining a minimum show of Godliness.  Because of this, their lives speak to an unbelieving world and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations” (Jer. 7:10).

Why did God say in Malachi 2:17, “You have wearied the Lord with your words”?  It was because the Antinomian element was saying, “Everyone that does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them.”  I’ve actually heard pastors preach that we don’t need to obey God unless we want to be used by Him.  I’ve seen teaching tapes offered which explain: “It’s the Heart that counts.  God looks at our hearts NOT at our outward actions.  God knows and sees our intentions and it’s our heart that counts with Him.”  Such theological nonsense must have been similar to what the prophets Malachi and Jeremiah heard.  God, in rebuking the prophets and pastors, said, “I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none does return from his wickedness.” (Jer. 23:14).  Sounds like today, where sinners are being comforted with, “It’s okay, God accepts you just the way you are.  He knows you want to stop smoking, drinking, chewing, cursing, hating, loosing your temper, coveting, rock and rolling, being worldly minded but He loves you anyway.  Just have faith and everything will turn out al…lll right.”  Maybe my Bible is different for theirs, but I don’t think that’s going to cut it.  There are huge lists in Rom. 1:29-31, 1 Corth. 5:11; 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21, Col. 3:5-6, Rev. 21:8, Ez. 18, etc., detailing exactly what will happen to folks who continue in such things.  Oh, Lord, please have mercy on us.

The Antinomians (or as some call them “Carnal Christians”) have been taught how to encourage themselves by imagining that the holy men of old were just as carnal as they are.  “They heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2Tim. 4:3-4).  Instead of shock, sorrow and sadness, these religious worldly-ans actually enjoy hearing sermons about David’s adultery, Elijah’s fear of Jezebel, Peter’s denial and Paul and Barnabas’ disagreements.

Some believing that their worldly life-style (death-style) is Christian, have proudly placed a socially acceptable metal fish or bumper sticker on their car amongst their other ungodly, worldly stickers.  With their bumper sticker neatly displayed, they have no convictions about the opposing messages being conveyed to the “lost”.  As they zoom in and out of traffic on the city’s highways, it never occurs to them that they are witnessing to the world in a negative way.  Since they feel “free in Christ”, exceeding the posted speed limits does not bother them in the least.  As it turns out, if you didn’t know them, it would be extremely difficult to tell them from your good ole American carnal sinner.

How can anyone tell the difference?

They essentially act just as impolite and worldly on the highways and in public places as the rest of the world.  Some are not even ashamed to state to the whole world that they are just like everyone else by displaying a “Christians aren’t perfect, only forgiven” bumper sticker.  Instead, Jesus and Paul said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  “I have not found thy works perfect before God.  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.”  “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?  It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.  He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 5:48; Rev. 3:3; Luke 14:34-35).

In his recent article published in the “Herald of His Coming” April ’95′, Elmer Klassen addressed this so aptly with the following:

“Why ask people to trust in Christ when it does not make much difference if they do?  When there are as many divorces within the Church as outside the Church, the habits of the Christians essentially the same as non-Christians, the pleasures of sin just as much enjoyed in the Church as outside the Church, why all this effort of making people Christians?

“The Bible tells us that the Gospel is the power that will stop people from sinning, but if this is not happening in the Churches there is something basically wrong with our preaching.  The Book of Romans does not urge us to prepare for a future heaven but promises a changed life here on earth to the one who will believe the book.  I seldom find someone who does.  To find someone who will confess chapter one as true is hard to find.  And to find someone who will continue to believe the Gospel according to Romans on to chapter 16 becomes even more difficult.

“The Gospel according to Romans promises a completely changed life to whoever will believe it.  But who believes this and confesses the book of Romans to be true in his own life?  Could it be that we are so in the habit of reading the Book in an old style and in such a traditional way that the Book has lost its power to change lives?” (Used by permission) 

F-L-O-D-D C-H-R-I-S-T (pronounced “flawed kris’t”)

Claiming to live by the Spirit, Antinomians have been taught to accept the fact that they don’t know God’s will for their lives, nor really hear His voice.  There is little evidence in their daily conversation to suggest that they are soon to be married to their Beloved, Christ.  No longer is Christianity to the Antinomian a passionate reunion and love affair with their God who died in agony for them.  On the contrary, the Antinomian is one who feels God is just around to protect and help them.  He’s their buddy, “daddy” and after their fun and frolic here on earth is over, they believe they will have a beautiful, ‘private’ split level home in heaven waiting for them.  God is viewed as their servant who on command heals, makes them rich financially, and blesses them with anything their selfish little heart lusts after.  Oh yes, they love to claim all of God’s promises of blessing for Israel in the Old Testament, but turn right around and claim that the New Testament frees them from any wrath or punishment, also promised to Israel for disobedience.  No more are the warnings of Jesus and His followers in the Bible taken at face value.

F-This “Carnal Christian” theology has negated any ‘Fear’ or respect for God and His judgment.  When they’re told something heavy, all they know is how to categorize and systematize it as fitting into this or that doctrinal slot.

L-Antinomians are essentially ‘Lawless’, hence the name, Antinomian.  But God says to them, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” -Prov. 28:9

The scripture states very plainly “Do we then make void the law through faith?”  That is about as plain as any statement could get.  It asks the question in such clear, precise language that even a child could understand: “Do we” (you know, the very ones who wrote the New Testament; the exact ones who established each and every doctrine in the first Church; the particular ones Jesus had taught concerning the exact meaning of the New Covenant), are they (Paul in particular here) now eliminating the law of God in our lives because of our justification by faith?  The answer: “God forbid (newer versions say “not at all!”, “By no means!”) yea, we **ESTABLISH** the law.”-Rom. 3:31.  To establish something does not mean to put it out back in the wilderness or in a hidden place where no one has to see it or deal with it.  So how do Antinomians come off with such an opposite idea that we aren’t under any obligation or responsibility to obey God’s moral law and commandments?  Answer: It’s simple.  Christianity was only meant to be followed and understood by those who had been born again by the Holy Spirit.  It ONLY applied so that “they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Cor 5:15).  Bear in mind that Christianity’s atmosphere and environment was only for those who were DEAD to themselves.  So when clever salesmen, in the 4th century down to our present day, started selling the benefits of the Christian life to the masses before they had been duly put to death and buried with Christ, the result was and still is our counterfeit belief system-Antinomianism.

O-As far as ‘Obedience’ is concerned, they view it as optional or only required when they feel “Led“.  Their excuse that they are “not under the law” usually takes care of any conviction for disobedience.

D-Their lives are generally marked by the same ‘un-Disciplined’ life style manifested by any other moral non-Christians.  They live, eat, socialize, entertain, fear, dress, react, play, talk, buy, sell and enjoy just like the world.  Daily life for them is influenced by the world’s circumstances, not by God’s ordered discipline.  They bounce out of bed in the morning without any thought of having a disciplined, ordered spiritual plan throughout the day.  Consequently, their day consists of being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” based entirely on circumstances (Eph. 4:14).  They think it’s natural to set their hearts on worldly goals.

Many Antinomians are easy to spot, because of the following trait:

It is extremely hard, if not impossible, for them to keep their attention on anything meaty or deep spiritually if it’s not exciting and new to them.  They usually won’t read or hear anything that goes beyond their “feel good” attitude and beliefs.  Things like praying for hours, dying to self, teachings against the latest fun spiritual manifestation (however false), sitting still and reading the Bible for hours, or attentively listening to someone’s heavy spiritual thoughts are usually considered boring.  (I wonder how “bored” they’d be, having to live in abject poverty with a leaky roof, in a Communist country).  One gets the feeling that they’d have to be dying before they’d listen to anything sobering.  Most books and tracts (like this) of a serious nature usually collect dust.  If it isn’t fun or “UPLIFTING”, they’re not interested.  They have the same attitude a child does when let loose in a toy store.  They can’t wait to jump from one exciting toy to the next.  While they’re in the store surrounded by toys, they could care less that there is a bottomless pit right outside the entrance waiting for them.

Antinomians are on a spiritual merry-go-round.  One moment they’re “UP”, and the next they’re “DOWN”.  Their spirituality is constantly being “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” or crisis in their life.  It never dawns on them that there is something that they are “DOING” that is responsible for this.  It’s like allowing little Johnnie to sit in front of Television all day long or do as he pleases, and then being surprised that he’s rebellious and ungodly in his teenage years.

What this verse means: “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” is beyond the Antinomian, because their understanding has been made “of none effect through” their “traditions”-Antinomianism. (Gal. 6:7; Mark 7:13)

D-They base their acceptance of someone as a Brother/Sister almost entirely on whether this new Brother/Sister’s ‘Doctrines’ line up with theirs.  If this Brother/Sister is in agreement with their own doctrinal statement, then they must be Christians.  This is not to say that doctrines aren’t important.  But these Churchians pay more attention to what comes out of someone’s mouth (words), than the person’s good fruits or lack thereof.  This is very interesting, especially in light of the fact that the “the devils also believe, and tremble”- (James 2:19).

C-Although they profess faith in Christ and His Bible, they usually have no concept of how ‘Convictions’ relate to their everyday life.  I once met a newly arrived pastor who told me all about the new Church he was pioneering.  He told me about his concerns for the town and his hope for the ‘lost’ to get ‘saved’ at his Bible studies.  After spending time on that, he went on to tell me about his upcoming job interview.  He had applied at the local cable television company to be a salesman for their movie channels, just because he heard they were hiring.  Somehow, he saw no connection between his spiritual concerns for the lost and taking a job that helped spread violence, drugs, sex and rock and roll.  Amazingly, he had no concept on how his own convictions respecting his faith translated into his daily life.

God calls such persons “double minded”, which comes with His promise as well- “let not that man think that he shall receive ANYTHING of the Lord” (James 1:7).

Because an Antinomian’s Christianity is focused on fulfilling their own happiness, it is easy to see why their ‘Convictions’ aren’t heart motivated.  They only relate to their ‘Convictions’ (as they call them) whenever circumstances closely coincide with what they’ve been “TAUGHT”.  When a situation comes up that doesn’t closely coincide with their intellectual “rule book”, they aren’t ‘Convicted’ in the slightest.  This is because their ‘Convictions’ are based solely on abstract “beliefs” that are in their mind, not written on the “fleshy tables of the heart”.  This explains why an Antinomian may, one time, feel ‘Convicted’ against helping someone gamble or buy liquor at a Casino or Saloon, but, the next time, will have no ‘Convictions’ whatsoever about buying other items from, or doing work, for a Casino or Saloon.  On the other hand, a true Christian would know, in their heart, that whether they gamble or just buy gasoline from a Casino or Saloon, they are helping to support its ungodliness, and would become “partakers of other men’s sins” (Eph. 5:7; 1Tim. 5:22; Rev. 18:4).

H-Antinomians are constantly trying to re-invent the wheel.  They are grossly ignorant when it comes to knowing early Church ‘History’.  Consequently, they are usually seeking to find some new spiritual truth, experience or doctrine.  Whole Church groups have been formed just because of some ‘new’, revealed truth.  What follows is usually fruitless for God, and sometimes even disastrous.  By simply taking the time to study early Christianity, many would have discovered the tried and true paths.  Jesus and His Apostles laid them down and they’ve never changed.  Whenever the Church has returned to them, they have always produced wonderful fruit for God’s Kingdom.  History confirms this.

R-’Repentance’?  What’s that word?  To the Antinomian, repentance means, at the most, saying they’re sorry for their sin.  As far as it being one of God’s absolute “conditions”, never would such a thought come into their mind.  That would be salvation by works, right?  Wrong!  Although repentance is rarely preached about, it is an absolute necessity to our salvation.  What it means is rarely understood correctly.  Scripture alone makes it crystal clear that without Biblical repentance, there can be NO salvation.  True repentance is NOT just feeling sorry for one’s sin.  It is more than that.  It means a complete change of mind respecting one’s sin and selfish ambitions.  However, whoever heard of someone having a complete change in “thinking” without “seeing” the results in actions.  Interested in the difference between true and false repentance?  Read 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 and Hebrews 12:17 for starters.

I-The Church as a whole, especially in Western Church, is into ‘Idolatry’.  How is that?  By placing their leaders above Christ.  They idolize them, their teachings and authority above God’s Word.  “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:6-7).

S-One thing can be counted on in regard to an Antinomian, however.  They are fairly consistent in making promises they feel no obligation before God to keep.  To them ‘it’s the thought that counts’, in the heart, not the actions.  They are free to ‘Say’ and not do.  They’ll offer to do all sorts of loving, out of the ordinary caring acts, but if their own needs come in the way, which usually happens, guess what folks?

Instead Jesus, has some black and white words to say about this.  He says, “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”, and “let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” or “lest ye fall into condemnation” (Matt. 12:36; Mt 5:37; James 5:12).  Condemnation means going to hell, no matter what your teachers tell you.

T-Their emphasis on ‘Teachings’, seminars, retreats, Bible Schools, etc., take the place of being taught by God, Godly men and spending time with God in prayer and fasting.  Their Christian focus is centred on this pastor’s or person’s teachings.  They are ever going here and there following/attending this or that teaching.  Elaborate sales pitches like “he is such a gifted/powerful speaker/teacher” or “it is such a life changing teaching or principle” are often heard with nary a mention of the Name of Jesus.  I want my life given to Christ Jesus, not some teaching or principle.  Antinomians seem to be “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  After they have ‘matured’ in their (Antinomian) faith, “they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2Tim. 3:7; 4:3). 

THE CONCLUSION

The Bible gives evidence that the early Church was on it’s guard against such heresy.  In Romans 3:6-8, Paul said that already there were some teaching that he was preaching, “Let us do evil, that good may come”.  He asked, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”  His answer was (listen Antinomians!), “Certainly Not!” (Rom. 6:1-2).  And yet I hear, time and time again, so called ‘Christians’ saying, “Of course, we know we will always sin every day, but God forgives us and always will”.  If that’s Christianity, then they better rewrite their Bible to accommodate it!

James was very clear when he said, “I will show you my faith BY my works.” (James 2:18).  However, the Antinomian is deceived into believing that they can live completely different from what they say they believe.  Come on!  We all know actions speak louder than words.  However, when it comes to this point in modern Christianity, reality and logic fly right out the window.

Peter had much to say about those who are “free in Christ” to serve their own desires.  “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.  Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.  Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption (2 Peter 2:10-12)

Reading on through verse 22, Peter makes it quite clear that they weren’t destined simply to miss the rapture, but a real fate worthy of their lawlessness awaits them.

Actually, I must confess that I feel fairly qualified to speak about this subject, having been sucked into it myself years ago.  It does not work!  I now look back on it with shame and a heart felt repentance, for if we have God’s Spirit, we should know better.  I could write a book about this heresy of heresies.  In our day, it usually develops from the “Sloppy Agape”, and “Greasy, Cheap Grace” preaching.  However, God’s Word provides adequate teaching against such easy believism.  If we will but cast off the spiritless logic from some systematic teachings and read the Bible for what it says and means to each one of us personally, then we “shall know the truth, and the truth shall make” us free.

However, I can not help but feel sadness and holy grief for those who would lure new, zealous lambs of God away and into Antinomianism.  I have sadly witnessed many of my friends having their faith shipwrecked, because of it.  Call it Antinomianism, Easy Believism, Grace only or the Carnal Christian doctrine; it doesn’t work!  It’s 180° out of phase with reality and with what God wants, says and is.

In ending, I must be frank in saying that I believe very strongly that the widespread preaching of Antinomianism is the number one reason why the world today sees no reality in Christianity.  If you don’t think that’s what the world thinks, then you haven’t been listening when they talk among themselves.  With so many living and preaching Antinomianism, I believe it is the primary reason “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles” (Rom. 2:24).  The life style of Antinomians is the “reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (1 Pet. 2:2).  Because of it, Christianity has become and still is, from all anyone can see, just a another abstract BELIEF in certain doctrines and truths.  In the end, it is nothing more than just a religious social club, like Rotary or Lions, with morals that, many times, aren’t any higher than the standards of these society clubs.  The world no longer stands in awe of the person who is a “stranger and pilgrim on this earth”.  No longer do they witness those who so love Jesus that they have counted “all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus”.  The words of Jesus “for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” have no place in the Antinomian’s mentality.  Until Antinomians see what they are doing, having “counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done dispite to the Spirit of grace”, how can there be a revival?