THE CARNAL CHRISTIAN WILL BE SAVED Modern Christianity has fallen away from God! Most of the organized church system has wandered so far from the truth that it refuses to even listen to the truth. The apostle Paul warned us that this would happen. He said: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from THE TRUTH..." 2 Timothy 4:3 NAS The Psalmist defines "the truth": "…and THY LAW is THE TRUTH." Psalms 119:142 KJV In both the business world and the religious world the formula for success has become: "Give the people whatever they want!" The people do not want the truth, they want their ears tickled with "smooth things". Therefore it has been unpopular for the churches to teach that we must obey God's law and give up our lives on this earth to the service of Jesus Christ. It may be unpopular, but that is exactly what Jesus asked for, our life and nothing less. He said: "...but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the
gospel's, the same shall save it." Mark 8:35 KJV He gave us no options; we must surrender this lifetime to Him, no matter what it may cost! The first act of our surrender is to obey God's law, just as Jesus said: "...but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Matthew 19:17 KJV Sadly, many who have turned to Jesus for salvation have been led away from obedience to the Ten Commandments by false teachers
who tell them that they may remain a "carnal" Christian (one who disobeys God's commandments) and yet still receive eternal life. All who accept that lie will be lost! IS THE CARNAL CHRISTIAN A BELIEVER? Many professing Christians have been persuaded to believe they have received eternal life despite their ongoing bondage to sin. They are told they are born again children of God and saved forever the moment they say: "I believe in Jesus and receive Him as my Savior." Their teachers offer this verse as proof of the sinner's instant salvation:
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life;" However, the rest of that verse is seldom quoted:
"…but he who does not OBEY the Son shall not see life, but the WRATH OF GOD abides on him." John 3:36 NAS They are being told that they do not have to obey, the only requirement is that they "believe." Yet the apostle Paul said that the mind that will not subject itself to the law of God is a carnal (sinful) mind and hostile toward God. He wrote:
"...the CARNAL MIND is enmity [hostile] against God: for it IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD," Romans 8:7 KJV Is it possible that a person will inherit eternal life even if that person is hostile toward God and will not obey His law? All major denominations now say: "YES!", the carnal person will still be saved if he "believes." The apostle Paul says "NO!": "For to be carnally minded is death;" Romans 8:6 KJV This devastating doctrine of "The saved (but still carnal) Christian" has been firmly established in our churches because the meaning of the word believe is not always clear. The only true definition of what it means to "believe" is the scriptural one found in John 3:36 (see above). Examine it carefully and you will see that
ONLY THOSE WHO OBEY TRULY BELIEVE. THE PROOF! (John 3:36) IF:
One who believes in the Son has eternal life,
One who does not obey shall not see life,
The one who does not obey, does not believe.
For it is clear that the one who shall not see life, could not possibly have eternal life. Scripture does not allow any one who will not obey to be counted a "believer." Thus any church that considers a willfully disobedient person to have eternal life is teaching a fatal error. One may be willfully disobedient or a believer, but not both. Satan's lie ("the carnal Christian") is carefully designed to soothe the conscience of those who seek the easy way. You may be sure that all who profess it to be an option are deceived to some degree. Paul did not teach that we had a third choice; quite to the contrary he said: 1."For if you live according to the flesh YOU WILL DIE, but 2. if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body
YOU WILL LIVE." Romans 8:13 RSV In the New Testament, just as in the Old Testament, there are only two choices: death or life - sin or righteousness. Paul gave no hope to the sinful man when he said: "You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which
leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness." Romans 6:16 RSV In his letter to the Galatians, verse 5:19, Paul described the deeds of the flesh (our sinful nature) and then went on to make the requirement for the cleansing of the flesh absolutely clear.
"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:24 NAS Please stop and take note of the past tense that Paul used. The
apostle did not say they will crucify the flesh, he did not say that they had a choice or that it would be done for them. He said they had already crucified the flesh. Those who truly belong to Christ Jesus - those who are "His" - have already crucified their own sinful nature. Therefore, by that verse those who are seeking God have an infallible measuring stick within themselves. They have only to look at their own lifestyle to see where they stand with God. If they have not yet totally committed themselves to put to death the deeds of the body through obedience to God's law, they do not yet "belong" to Jesus. No one can deceive you, nor can you deceive yourself if you measure by the Ten Commandments. The strategy of Satan in the modern church has been to make people believe that they have eternal life the moment they accept Jesus as their personal Savior. (A very easy path indeed!) The act of receiving Jesus does bring joy to the heart; however, it reveals that they now have the right (or power) to become a child of God. (born-again) They now have the gift of faith from God which enables them to surrender this life to God. (If they will!) The apostle John showed us the process of salvation when he wrote this verse: "But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the right TO BECOME children of God..." (born-again) John 1:12 NAS Jesus said: "â€Śthe way is narrow that leads to life, and FEW are those who find it." Matthew 7:14 NAS The first step on that narrow path to life is to repent of our sin and accept (receive) Jesus as our Savior. The next step is to accept Jesus as our LORD and surrender all of our heart, our soul, our strength and our mind to serve Him forever. The mark of a servant is that he obeys the commandments of his Master.
SALVATION WITHOUT OBEDIENCE?? How would you answer these four questions concerning your relationship with God?
Yes No ____ ____
Do I truly love God
Does God know me?
Do I abide in God?
Do I really know God?
According to the New Testament these questions can only be answered "yes" by one who is keeping the commandments of God. I certainly would not expect the reader to believe this statement without ample proof. To find that proof, let us examine God's word . 1.
Do I truly love God?
THE TEACHING OF JESUS: As our Lord was teaching in Jerusalem, one of the Pharisees who was trained in the law of Moses, approached Jesus and attempted to test Him with this question: "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him: "What is written in the Law? How do you read?" The lawyer responded from the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus: "You shall LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Jesus agreed with him and said: "DO THIS and you will live." Luke 10:25 RSV (Deuteronomy 6:5 - Love God) (Leviticus 19:18 - Love your neighbor) In 1st Corinthians 13:4 Paul teaches how we are to love our neighbor, but how does one love a God whom we cannot even see?
It is just at this point that many are led astray from the truth. THE SCRIPTURES DEFINE HOW TO "LOVE GOD". "For this is the LOVE of God, that we keep His commandments." 1 John 5:3 RSV "He who has my commandments and keeps them he it is who LOVES Me." John 14:21 RSV "If you LOVE Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15 RSV The word of God is clear. There can be no possible misunderstanding by those who are willing to hear the truth. The LOVE that God asks of us, is that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS! The practical result of obedience to God's law is that we will finally overcome sin. It is this battle to conquer sin which tests our faith. James teaches that only those whose faith has been tested and approved will receive the crown of (eternal) life. He wrote: "Blessed is a man who preserves under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who LOVE Him." James 1:12 NAS James is saying that those who are approved and receive the "crown of life" are those who LOVE the Lord; and Jesus said that those who LOVE Him are those who KEEP His commandments. CAN YOU KEEP GOD'S COMMANDMENTS IF YOU ARE BREAKING THEM?
Does God know me?
THE TEACHING OF JESUS: As He was teaching the "Sermon on the Mount", Jesus warned His
disciples that even though someone may say "Jesus is Lord" and manifests a "spiritual gift", these things are not proof of Salvation. Rather, it is only the one who does the will of God who will enter the Kingdom of God. "Not every one who says to me, "Lord, Lord" shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who DOES THE WILL of My Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" And I will declare to them, "I never KNEW you depart from Me you EVILDOERS." Matthew 7:21 RSV
THE SCRIPTURES DEFINE WHOM GOD "KNOWS": "But if one LOVES God, one is KNOWN by Him." 1 Corinthians 8:3 RSV "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who LOVES me." John 14:21 RSV "The Lord KNOWETH them that are HIS." 2 Timothy 2:19 KJV ["And they that ARE CHRIST'S have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Galatians 5:24] God knows all men, but only a few are "known" by the Lord in the Biblical sense, that is, as Adam "knew" Eve. To be "known by God" represents the spiritual union of Jesus with his people. (The Bridegroom and His bride.) Those who say "Lord, Lord" yet continue to willfully sin have never experienced this union. Thus Jesus will say to the EVILDOERS: "Depart from me..." Who are the "EVILDOERS"? This word comes from the Greek
"Anomia" which means illegality or violation of the law and generally wickedness. The apostle John used the same word "Anomia" to give us a clear definition of what true "sin" is. He said: "...sin is the transgression of the law." ------ Anomia------------
John 3:4 KJV
Therefore, a literal translation of what Jesus is going to declare to the EVILDOERS who say "Lord, Lord," is this: "I never KNEW you, depart from Me you that transgress the law "ANOMIAN" IN TODAY'S CHURCH. Another revealing use of the word "anomia" is recorded in Matthew's gospel. During the Olivet discourse, as Jesus was speaking to the men who were to become His apostles, He foretold of the conditions that would exist near the end times. He said: "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness (Anomia) is increased most people's LOVE will grow cold." Matthew 24:11 NAS
As you look about your world, your church, and perhaps even yourself, do you recognize any of the conditions that Jesus said would come to pass? 1. Many false teachers will arise (within the church) to lead the people astray. 2. And lawlessness (transgression of the law) will increase 3. And LOVE (the keeping of the commandments) will grow cold.
IS THIS "LEGALISM"? NO! Satan, the father of lies, has enticed man to disobey God's commands from the beginning of creation. The charge of "legalism" against those who teach obedience to the law of God is just another one of Satan's deceptions. It is not a "work of the flesh" to obey the commandments unless you are depending on your obedience to earn forgiveness (justification). On the other hand, a willing obedience
to God's moral law is the scriptural evidence of a true saving faith. James challenged the brethren to show him the reality of their faith without also showing him their works of faith. He asked them: "What use is it my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can that faith save him?" James 2:14 NAS It is clear that "Faith without works is dead," yet it is also clear that no man can earn forgiveness by doing good works, for we are justified (forgiven) through our faith in a living Christ. However, if a man accepts Jesus as both his personal Savior and LORD, that man will surely obey Him and keep His commandments, no matter what it may cost. If we do not obey Him, He is not our Lord. Through our obedience Jesus cleanses us from the doing of sin (sanctification). First the law sends us to Jesus Christ for justification (forgiveness), and then Jesus sends us back to the law for sanctification (cleansing) by the Holy Spirit. Paul warned that if we wish to see the Lord, we MUST go through the process of sanctification. "Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD:" Hebrews 12:14 ASV Without the light of God's law to expose his sins, a man walks in desperate darkness, for he must depend upon his own heart to decide what is good or evil. The prophet Jeremiah said: "The heart of man is deceitful above all things," and the Proverbs teach that: "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes." Therefore, if we do not have a permanent standard (carved in stone) by which to measure sin, we will always deceive ourselves. In these "latter days," many teachers who claim to speak for God have turned away from the law of God. It has become more popular to obey their "inner voice" than the voice that spoke from Mount Sinai. However, the true test of a teacher's "spirit" is found in the book of Jeremiah. God said: "But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed MY WORDS to My people, And they would have TURNED THEM from their evil way and from the evil of their doings."
Jeremiah 23:22 RSV Those who speak by the "Spirit of Christ" will always teach others to immediately and completely cease from committing sin. They will always proclaim "HIS WORDS."
WHICH WORDS ARE "HIS WORDS"? When Jesus faced the temptations in the wilderness, he declared to Satan: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4 RSV Our Lord was quoting from the book of Deuteronomy (8:3). When that verse is considered in context you can see that it clearly refers to the keeping of God's commandments: (8:1)
"All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, THAT YE MAY LIVE, "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove (test) thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, or not.
(8:3) "And He humbled thee...and fed thee with manna...that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LORD DOTH MAN LIVE." (8:6)
"Therefore thou shalt KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him."
Both Jesus and the book of Jeremiah are referring to the same "WORDS," those that proceeded from the mouth of God on Mount Sinai; the Ten Commandments!
If there is still any doubt in your mind, think about this: The English word "Commandment" is translated from the Hebrew "dabar" which means: "a word." Therefore that which was carved in stone forever were the Ten "dabars" (words) of God. Legalism? No, I think not, unless Jesus, the prophets and the apostles were all legalists. Now let us return to the four questions.
Do I abide in God?
THE TEACHING OF JESUS: At the Last Supper, Jesus taught His disciples about our spiritual relationship with Him. Our Lord used the branch and the vine to illustrate our complete dependence upon Him. He explained that the branch can bear no fruit without the constant flow of life from the vine. Jesus said to them: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who ABIDES in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit..." "If a man does not ABIDE in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and BURNED." John 15:5 RSV ABIDE is from the Greek "Meno." It means to remain in, to stay, to dwell. THE SCRIPTURES DEFINE HOW TO "ABIDE" IN GOD: "All who keep His commandments ABIDE in Him, and He in them." 1 John 3:24 RSV "If you keep My commandments you will ABIDE in My Love." John 15:10 RSV The church of today is empty of true spiritual strength and bears little resemblance to the church of the first century because it refuses to ABIDE in God. The scriptures plainly teach that the Father
promises to answer only the prayers of those who ABIDE in Him and obey His law: "If you ABIDE in Me, and My WORDS abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." John 15:7 RSV "And we receive from Him whatever we ask, because we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS." 1 John 3:22 RSV "If one turns away his ear from hearing THE LAW, even his prayer is an abomination." Proverbs 28:9 RSV A thousand may pray until their knees are bloody, but if they are not keeping His commandments, God says their prayer is an abomination to Him. Yet the prayers of only one man who abides in Him can change the lives and circumstances of many: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16 KJV "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right, is righteous." 1 John 3:7 RSV God's word is painfully clear. If one does not keep His commandments, one does not ABIDE in Him. If one does not ABIDE in Him, God does not answer his prayer; and he will become like the withered branch, cast forth, thrown into the fire and burned.
Do I really know God?
THE TEACHING OF JESUS: After the Last Supper, Jesus was praying to the Father and spoke these words: "And this is eternal life, that they KNOW Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."
John 17:3 RSV THE SCRIPTURES DEFINE WHO "KNOWS" GOD: "And by this we may be sure that we KNOW Him, If we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS." "He who says "I KNOW Him" but disobeys His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him." "No one who ABIDES in Him sins; no one who sins has either seen Him or KNOWN Him." 1 John 2:3 - 2:4 - 3:6 RSV God's word is indeed a piercing sword. The apostle John is saying that if you are not able to keep His commandments, you do not yet know God. And Jesus said if you do not know God, you will not have eternal life. These are hard words to hear, especially for those who would prefer to have their "ears tickled." Many thousands of words have been spent in vain trying to twist these icy clear verses. Many thousands of hours have been wasted trying to prove that these simple verses do not mean what they say. Yet their unshakeable truth is our protection, for we cannot be deceived if we will but listen and accept what they declare: "THOSE WHO TRULY KNOW GOD, KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS."
DISCIPLES - BEWARE! The New Testament often uses the "wolf" as a symbol of false teachers. Please take heed for among your own selves there are many friendly and even affectionate "wolves." The church is their hunting ground, and there they prey upon the true flock of God. Paul warned us of these "wolves in sheep's clothing." He said: "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw the disciples after them." Acts 20:29 RSV
The warning Paul gave to the Ephesian elders is relevant today, for Satan has not changed his methods or his tools. The sad thing is that many deceived elders and pastors think they are truly working for God by teaching against His law. The law of God protects the "little flock" like a high fence. The Ten commandments keep the false prophets out and the disciples within. The light from the law exposes both false doctrines and false teachers. Therefore, the wolves must try to knock down the fence, so they may lure the sheep out into the world, where they become easy prey. Many of these false teachers say: "Jesus is Lord" yet they have become unsuspecting servants of Satan, the "great deceiver." Here are some of the distortions they use to undermine the law of God: "No one ever kept the commandments perfectly." "Jesus has fulfilled the law for us." "We are not under the law." "The law is only for the Jews." These twistings of scripture are simply excuses for sin; pleasant words for itching ears. One very deceptive lie being taught by some is that we are indeed to "obey the commandments" but not the Ten Commandments. They say that the New Testament commandments we are to keep are: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart...and your neighbor as yourself." (See Matthew 22:37) Jesus did say that these were the most important commandments (precepts) in the Old Testament, because they compressed all the teachings of the Law and the prophets into two thoughts. But was He really giving us "new" commandments? Let us take a closer look... Our Lord was quoting from the book of Deuteronomy: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these WORDS which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and
when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:4 RSV The whole 6th chapter of Deuteronomy is about obedience to the TEN WORDS of God, which Moses had just finished reading to the people of Israel. In both the Old Testament and the New, we are taught to love God by keeping His commandments.
"For this is the love of God, THAT WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS." 1 John 5:3 RSV WHICH COMMANDMENTS? When Jesus was asked this direct question:
"What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Jesus gave the man this direct answer:
"Keep the commandments." When the man asked: "Which" commandments, Jesus quoted from the Ten Commandments and added: "love your neighbor as your self." (see Matthew 19:17) Our Lord has never revoked the law that He himself gave us. The scriptures teach that it could only have been through Jesus that those Ten WORDS were written upon the tablets of stone over 3,400 years ago: "All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:3 RSV "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and FOREVER." Hebrews 13:8 KJV If there is any doubt in your mind which commandments we are to obey, Jesus Himself pointed specifically to the Fifth commandment and called it both the COMMANDMENT of God and the WORD of God (not Moses) when he rebuked the Pharisees and the Scribes for teaching that it was all right not to provide for one's parents if the money was given to the temple as an offering. Jesus said:
"And why do you transgress the COMMANDMENT OF GOD
for the sake of your tradition?" Matthew 15:3 RSV
"Thus have ye made the COMMANDMENT OF GOD of none effect by your tradition." Matthew 15:6 KJV
"Making the WORD OF GOD of none effect through your tradition..." Mark 7:13 KJV
Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees for keeping the law, but for disregarding it. His contempt for all those who are "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" has never changed. In Mark's version of this incident Jesus added:
"You nicely set aside the COMMANDMENT OF GOD in order to keep your tradition." Mark 7:9 NAS As it was then, so it is now. If we would enter life we must trust only God's word, and turn away from the "leaven" of the modern Pharisees; those religious leaders who would teach us to set aside the commandments of God and follow their "new" traditions. Beware of those who smile and say: "Oh yes, we should try to keep God's commandments, but if you don't - well, you are still saved by grace." That is a LIE! If you have grace you are able to do what God has commanded you to do.
THE "NEW" TRADITION Satan's greatest accomplishment has been to get the "church" to set aside God's Sabbath day. He has caused many to disobey God by doing away with the Fourth Commandment. Please, don't listen to him! The seventh day Sabbath stands forever, just like the stone on which it was carved by the finger of God. You may search the scriptures end to end and you will not find one verse that says that the Sabbath was ever changed from the seventh to the first day of the week. Nor one verse that says the requirement to keep the Sabbath has been canceled. We can clearly see where God commanded us to "Remember the
sabbath day." (Exodus 20:8) Where did God change it? Since there is no scriptural authority for disregarding the Sabbath then it could only have been changed by the tradition of man! There were TEN commandments given by the very mouth of God for all to hear that day on Mount Sinai. There are still ten. If you are not keeping the Sabbath then you are breaking God's law.
BUT WE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW! There has always been confusion sown into the church about Paul's position on the Ten Commandments. Peter warned us that unlearned and unstable men would twist the teachings of Paul. (2 Peter 3:15f) The apostle Paul himself settled the matter for all time. He said:
"Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is THE KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD." 1 Corinthians 7:19 NAS
"Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, WE UPHOLD THE LAW." Romans 3:31 RSV Therefore, knowing that God's word cannot possibly contradict itself we can be sure that when Paul said: "we are not under the law," he did not mean that we are no longer required to keep God's commandments. IF YOU WOULD ENTER LIFE..." I know that many of you who are reading this are still saying: "legalism" or "Phariseeism" or perhaps, "No! Never! Salvation is all by grace. I am not to do anything." Friends, to you I can only let God's word speak:
"...he who DOES NOT OBEY the Son shall not see life, but THE WRATH OF GOD RESTS UPON HIM." John 3:36 RSV Surely all would agree that to obey the Son would require us to "do" something. That "something" is the total surrender of our self-life in obedience to God. Through that obedience we "work out our salvation (from sin) with fear and trembling." When we repent of sin and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ in faith, God puts His Holy
Spirit into us and by His strength and grace we are enabled to walk the narrow way that leads to life. As Jesus spoke to his disciples following the sermon on the Mount, he warned them of the difficulties they would face along that "narrow way." He said:
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way EASY that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are MANY. For the gate is narrow and the way is HARD that leads to [eternal] life, AND THOSE WHO FIND IT ARE FEW." Matthew 7:13 RSV All who are seeking the way that leads to life; please listen to the words of Jesus as he spoke to the "Rich Young Ruler." Try to imagine yourself to be the young (and very religious) man who sought out the Lord on the hot and dusty road to Jerusalem. You approach the Master and ask him: "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Look into the eyes of the Son of God, as He says to you:
"IF YOU WOULD ENTER LIFE, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS." Matthew 19:17 RSV Our Lord Jesus is the same "yesterday, and today, and forever." He did not have one plan of salvation for that young man and another for you. Will you listen to the theologians of the world (who don't even agree with each other) or will you let the simple clear words of Jesus decide the issue? If this message bothers you, and you go to your Pastor or counselor for advice, I suggest you ask him this question: Do you keep the Ten commandments? (including the Sabbath?) If he says "No," remember this verse:
"The one who says, "I have come to Know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, [false] and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:4 NAS Let God's word alone guide your way. Do not trust someone because of their position, or good deeds, or pleasing personality.
Instead test them by the pure and simple teachings of the Bible. The truth will set you free, but a liar can deceive you! The Bible teaches that God's message to Man is very simple. It has never changed. It is this:
"FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: FOR THIS IS THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN." Ecclesiastes 12:14 KJV
NO ONE CAN STOP COMMITTING SIN Satan wants Christians to think they can continue to commit sin and still be saved. Satan whispers to the believer that it is impossible to cease from sin. To prove his point he tells believers that they are committing sin every time they have evil thoughts or desires.
Then, once they believe that lie, he soon has them thinking like this...
Lustful thoughts are sin, and committing Adultery is a sin.
I can have lustful thoughts and still be saved.
I can commit Adultery and still be saved.
As you can see, the Satanic deception depends on the false premise that a believer who has lustful thoughts is committing a sin. That simply is not true, the Bible carefully distinguishes between a person's "SIN NATURE" as described in Romans 7:17, and Galatians 5:17: "...sin that dwelleth in me." "...the flesh lusteth against the Spirit." and COMMITTING SIN as found in 1 John 3:8: "He that committeth sin is of the devil;" There is a great difference between the sin nature as an active force in man and committing sin which is rebellion against God. The Sin nature is that which urges us to commit an act of sin; and that is what this booklet is about - the difference between our Sin nature and acts of sin. Comparing Acts of Sin and the Sin Nature: AN ACT OF SIN consists of an intentional choice to break one of God's Commandments with full knowledge that it is wrong. The
Bible refers to this as "Presumptuous Sin" as opposed to sins of ignorance. A sin done in ignorance of the law could be atoned for by the offering of a sacrifice (Lev 5:17) but willful transgression of the law was punished by death. (Lev 20:10 - Adultery) If a Christian is obeying God up to the knowledge he has and unwittingly breaks one of God's Commandments it is not an act of willful sin and he is not condemned. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus (The Blood of Christ) covers any sin done in ignorance until such time as the Holy Spirit makes the believer aware of his wrongdoing. We can see the principle clearly illustrated in 1 John 1:7: "But IF we walk in the light, as he is in the light...the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Look closely, the condition for cleansing is that we must walk in the light. If a believer is doing what he knows to be wrong, he is not walking in the light and therefore he is not covered by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus only cleanses from sins done unintentionally or in ignorance of Godâ€™s law. If the Christian has come to know that it is wrong, and continues to transgress the law, he is guilty of rebellion. If he will not put that sin away completely and forever, he is a rebel against God's Kingdom and will be condemned to death. He will not inherit eternal life. This is what John meant when he said: "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is SIN which is not mortal." 1 John 5 :17 "....SIN is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4 All wrongdoing is transgression of the law, but any transgression done in ignorance is not mortal. God does not consider a sin to be mortal unless there is rebellion in the heart. Without an attitude of rebellion there is no act of sin. Perhaps this analogy will help explain what it means to "commit sin"... A man was walking in the park and saw a sign that said: KEEP OFF THE GRASS! Police Dept.
He walked up to it and contemptuously kicked it over and said: "I'll walk where I please!" That man acted in rebellion to the law. Another man was walking in the same park and strayed on to the forbidden grass without seeing the sign, but as soon as he did see it he immediately obeyed. That man did not act in rebellion. Both men trespassed, but only one was rebellious. So it is with sin, we do not "commit sin" unless we are aware that what we are doing is against one of God's Ten Commandments, and do it anyway. The word "commit" implies an intentional act as in: commit murder...commit robbery...commit Adultery. No one can commit sin accidentally. Does a born-again Christian "commit sin"? The apostle John said NO!... "No one born of God commits sin." 1 John 3:9 Many who think they are born-again are not. The fact is that a person is not "born of God" the moment he first believes. Just as in the natural world where a child is begotten before it is born, so it is with the spiritual rebirth. First we are "begotten from above" then if we continue to grow we are born. The seed in the womb has "power" to grow and so do we! John said: "But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power TO BECOME children of God..." John 1:12 RSV Please notice that John did not say "...all who believed in His name ARE children of God, but that all who believed had power TO BECOME children! With the new birth comes the power to obey through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The true child of God will suffer anything, even death before he will deliberately offend God by disobeying even one of His commandments. According to the scriptures, if we do not obey God's commandments we do not love God! John said: "For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments." (1 John 5:3) If that is not clear then listen to what Jesus said: "He that hath my commandments, AND KEEPETH THEM, He it is that LOVETH me: John 14:21
Only those who love God are going to inherit eternal life! Is it possible for someone who is born-again to commit a deliberate act of sin against God's law? Yes, because he still has free will and is able to choose good or evil. But woe to him if he chooses evil... Think about it! This is a blessed person who has made a covenant with God to obey Him, and in turn has been given the faith, the strength, and the power to obey; yet he treacherously chooses to rebel and betray the one who has shown him great mercy. He spits in the face of the Holy One who suffered the agonies of the cross and died in his place. The return of a born-again believer who has come to the â€œknowledge of the truthâ€? unto willful and deliberate sin is an act of high handed treason. ( See Heb 10:26) God's righteousness demands judgment without mercy and eternal destruction for such a wretch. (Read Proverbs 1:28-33 and Hebrews 6:4-8 and tremble!) In order to keep new believers from understanding these things and recognizing that they must stop "committing sin", the Devil wants them to put errors such as lustful thoughts and angry words, in the same category with deliberate acts of rebellion such as Lying, Stealing, and Adultery. He wants them to think that it is normal to "commit sin" very day so that they will lose the distinction between rebellion against God and simple manifestations of the Sin nature. THE SIN NATURE is that part of man which generates evil desires. The Sin nature is used by the Devil to tempt a person to commit sin. Through the Sin nature, Satan is able to stimulate the body, soul and mind towards evil. The spiritual powers of Satan's kingdom work directly through the Sin nature in order to tempt a person into breaking God's law. Like the carrot on a stick held in front of a donkey, Satan dangles the reward of pleasure as an inducement to lure the person along the path towards actual transgression of God's Ten Commandments. Through rewards of greater and greater pleasure the unwitting victim is drawn ever deeper and deeper into his own lusts, until lust overcomes him and he becomes willing to rebel against God and
commit an act of sin. Sinful lust is best defined as: "desire for that which is forbidden". The scriptures teach that although lust in itself is not an act of sin (i.e. a deliberate transgression of the law) it will soon lead to an act of sin if not checked. Here is the way James described the process by which our lusts lead us into transgression and death: 1st Stage. DRAWN AWAY!
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." The moment the Sin nature is given an opportunity it begins to act on a person's will by drawing him away from what is right through his own lust. - (Greek: Epithumia 1939, "a longing for what is forbidden.") Those "longings" will soon entice. - (Greek: Deleazo 1185, "to entrap.") Once the person is entrapped, his desires have grabbed hold of his mind, and the sin nature will work to draw him on toward actual sin by rewarding him with pleasure or the promise of pleasure if he will continue to entertain his "longing for what is forbidden." 2nd Stage. SIN BROUGHT FORTH! "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:" Very soon the lust will have "conceived," and the living seed of rebellion is planted in the fertile soil of the mind. It begins to take root and grow and then bringeth forth sin. - (Greek: Tiktei 5088, "to produce from seed.") Once the seed of rebellion has taken root in the mind of the believer actual transgression is not very far away and is inevitable unless the person slams on his spiritual brakes and puts a stop to the process. This can only be done by an express act of the will and calling upon Jesus to rescue him from Sin's power. 3rd Stage: AN ACT OF SIN AND DEATH!
"and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14, 15 If the person does not stop entertaining his lusts, the power of sin will have its way and the person will soon commit sin by choosing to set aside God's Law. Then Sin, "when it is finished (Greek: Apoteleo 658, "to complete entirely i.e. consummate.")
BRINGETH FORTH DEATH"! Listen to the warning that Paul wrote to the born-again Christians at Rome. What he said to them, he said to us: "...his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of SIN UNTO DEATH, or of obedience unto righteousness." Romans 6:16 A true Christian will not long entertain lustful fantasies about forbidden desires because he knows they are evil, dangerous, and offensive to God. The mature Christian knows that the longer one does entertain wrong thoughts or desires, the more one will suffer when trying to shut them off. The longer they are entertained, the deeper they become rooted and the more difficult to overcome. The Christian need not fear that he will not be able to overcome temptation because God promises that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure. (See 1 Cor 10:13) That same verse also proves that anyone who really is born-gain and has the Holy Spirit of God is able to say "NO!" to any temptation that comes his way. (I pray that any believer who finds himself unable to avoid acts of sin will realize that he is not yet born of God and will cry out for God's Holy Spirit, and surrender himself completely in obedience to God's Law.) If the Christian will not turn away from his lusts--then he wants to keep them. If so, then sooner or later, he will inevitably succumb to the power of the Sin nature, reject the Lordship of Christ and commit sin. If he was truly born-again and then turns away from obedience to God's law, he will be lost! Not only lost, but according to Peter the punishment for the dog returning its vomit will be worse than for the unbeliever who was not able to obey. Christians, beware of your desires that are contrary to God's law, for the Devil is patient and has lots of time.
"WHOSOEVER LOOKETH UPON A WOMAN TO LUST..." A good example of willful sin would be Adultery, which is an act of sin that occurs when a person chooses to set aside God's law and have sexual relations outside of marriage. Please take note that to commit Adultery is an act of sin, but the lust which precedes the decision is NOT AN "ACT" OF SIN, rather it is the manifestation of the Sin nature.
It is very important to notice that when Jesus said: "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman TO lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:28 HE DID NOT SAY-"If you look upon a woman *WITH* lust ye have committed adultery in your heart." Jesus was saying this: "The Pharisees have told you that you are committing Adultery only if you actually have relations with a woman, but I say to you that it is the intent of your heart that God judges. If you look upon a woman lusting to have sex with her, and the only thing stopping you is the lack of opportunity, then you have already broken God's law in your heart." The word TO means: "indicating intention, purpose or end." (Websters) If a man is looking on a woman with the intention of lusting after her then he certainly is not trying to avoid lust! He may be sure that his heart is still set upon evil. He may also be sure that if he would commit Adultery given the opportunity, he is not truly born-again because John says that "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." (1 John 3:9) Looking upon someone TO lust after them is a sin, but the Devil wants Christians to think that just looking at the opposite sex and feeling desire is also an act of sin. That is not true! It is simply the first stage of temptation. Temptation to commit sin does come through lustful desires, fantasies, etc. but those lusts are not in themselves an act of sin because temptation does not involve rebellion. If lust itself is an act of sin then Jesus committed sin because the Bible says that "every man is TEMPTED when he is drawn away in his own LUST," and that Jesus was TEMPTED like as we are,".
THE SCRIPTURES CANNOT BE BROKEN... Here is the final proof that sinful desires are not an ACT of sin; the scriptures say this about Jesus: "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN, that he might be a merciful and faithful
high priest..." (Hebrews 2:17) "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; BUT WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) "But every man is TEMPTED, (Greek: Tested) when he is drawn away of his ow LUST..." (James 1:14) THE PROOF
"Every man is TEMPTED when he is drawn away of his own lust..."
Jesus was "IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE",
Jesus was TEMPTED when he was drawn away of his own LUST.
Jesus was TEMPTED when he was drawn away of his own LUST,
Jesus was "yet without sin".
Jesus was without sin when he was tempted.
Therefore If Jesus was tempted by lust (sinful desire) then lust is not an act of sin. The Bible says that all Christians are tempted and drawn away of their own lust, but "He that committeth sin is of the devil." (1 John 3:8) The Devil wants us to commit sin and "sin is the transgression of the law." Those who knowingly choose to disobey any part of God's Ten Commandment Law (including the Sabbath) are obeying the Devil. They are his servants and will share his fate on Judgement day. Paul warned: "Know ye not that, to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are..."
Romans 6:16 The most important question a Christian can ask himself is: Whose servant am I? "Jesus answered...Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." John 8:58
DECEPTION #3 ALL CHRISTIANS COMMIT SIN WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COMMIT SIN? When a person breaks the law of God (the Ten Commandments) he has sinned. However, the Scriptures distinguish between sins of ignorance and sins of presumption. When a person breaks the law unknowingly the Bible calls it a sin of ignorance. (This person does not "COMMIT" sin). When a person breaks the law deliberately it is called a presumptuous sin. (This person does "COMMIT" sin). The word COMMIT means: "to do; perpetrate, as a crime". In the Greek it is poieo which means: to make. To commit sin means to make sin; it is a deliberate act such as God making the universe. Therefore, one who sins in ignorance never commits sin. On the other hand, one who sins presumptuously always commits sin. It is vital to understand what it means to commit sin because the apostle John said:
"HE THAT COMMITTETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL; WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN." 1 JOHN 3:8-9 One of the greatest deceptions being taught today is that the phrase "to commit sin" really means "to practice sin" or "to sin habitually". Those who teach that perversion say that if one deliberately breaks God's law only "occasionally" he is not really committing (practicing) sin. Recently a minister told me that if he were to commit adultery a few years down the road he would not be practicing sin. I asked him how often could he do it and not be "practicing sin"? He said "...about every eight years or so". According to that theory, every person becomes his own judge of how many sins must be committed before he is guilty of practicing sin. Human nature being what it is, a person would always find a way to convince himself that he is sinning just below the point of
"practicing" sin. For example, one person thinks he is guilty if he commits adultery every eight years or so, another every five years, and for another perhaps once a year, etc. Those who teach that abominable theory say that because a person does not have a "lifestyle" of sin or does not sin habitually (whatever that means) he is not really "committing" sin. To say that to commit sin means "to practice sin or to sin habitually" is simply the devil's device to keep the guilty sinner from feeling condemned. The reality is that if a person knowingly breaks God's law even once, he is committing sin. How many sins did Adam commit before he was guilty? The Greek word used for "to commit" is in itself absolute proof that commit does not mean practice. In the Greek NT there are two words that are commonly used to express the idea of doing something. The first is "poieo", the second is "prasso". Please listen to what Strong's Greek Dictionary Of The New Testament has to say about those two words. 4160 poieo, poy-eh'o; appar. a prol. form of an obsol. prim.; to make or do (in a very wide application)
4238 prasso, pru'-so; a prim. verb; to "practice", i.e. perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from 4160 [poieo] which properly refers to a single act). When John said "Whosoever is born of God doth not COMMIT sin he used the word "poieo", (to make or do sin with the idea of a single act). If he had meant to say "practice" sin he would have used "prasso". This device of the devil about practicing sin is not something new; it is the same old trick he has used for hundreds of years. Please take a moment to read what John Wesley (leader of the greatest revival known in modern times) had to say about "habitual sin": "But some men will say, 'True: whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin habitually.' Habitually! Whence is that? I read it not. It is not written in the Book. God plainly saith, 'He doth not commit sin'; and thou addest, habitually! Who art thou that mendest the oracles of God?-that 'addest to the words of this book'? Beware I beseech thee, lest God "add to thee all the plagues that are written therein'! John Wesley's Fifty Three Sermons
"The Marks of the New Birth" April 3, 1741 I ask you how many deliberate sins must a person commit before he is committing sin. How many murders must one commit before he is a murderer? How often must one commit adultery before he is an adulterer? At this point, we must be careful to distinguish between sins of ignorance and sins committed presumptuously because the sins done in ignorance can be forgiven but presumptuous sin will not be forgiven. For example, in the book of Numbers, we find those two types of sin compared: SINS OF IGNORANCE (These were forgiven) Numbers 15:27 And if any soul sin through IGNORANCE, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering. 15:28 An the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that SINNETH IGNORANTLY, when he sinneth by ignorance before the Lord, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. SINS OF PRESUMPTION (Not forgiven) Numbers 15:30 BUT the soul that doeth aught PRESUMPTUOUSLY, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth [blasphemeth] the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15:31 Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." Those Israelites who deliberately broke God's commandments were not forgiven! Today, many people think that things are different since the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. They say that their WILLFUL sins are "under the blood of Christ" and therefore forgiven. Are they correct? The apostle John said sins were cleansed only "IF" we walk in the light: 1 John 1:7 "But IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Are we cleansed from both sins of ignorance and presumptuous sin? The answer is obvious: we are cleansed only from sins of ignorance. The condition for cleansing is that we must "walk in the light". If a
believer is deliberately doing what he knows to be sin, he is not walking in the light. Therefore, the blood of Christ does not cleanse from willful sin.
BLOOD COVERS ERRORS ONLY The precepts of God do not change. In the Old Testament, the blood sacrifice of animals was a type looking forward to the blood sacrifice of Christ. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul confirmed that the blood sacrifice covered only the ERRORS of the people never the presumptuous or willful sin. Paul said this: Hebrews 9:7 "But into the second [tabernacle] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the ERRORS of the people." The word "error" is from the Greek: agnoema, which means: "a sin, (strictly, that committed through ignorance or thoughtlessness)". Thayer's Greek Lexicon (Strong's # 51) Many people believe that the blood sacrifice covered all the deliberate sins of the people of Israel, but as you can see, it covered only ERRORS (i.e. the sins of ignorance). It is the same with the blood of Christ. When we are truly "born of God" the blood of Christ covers all past sins and all future sins of ignorance. But those who deliberately transgress the law of God are committing presumptuous sin and the blood of Jesus Christ does not cover their willful disobedience. Paul carefully warned Christians that the sacrifice of Jesus would not cover willful sin. He wrote: Hebrews 10:26 "For if we SIN WILFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SINS. 10:27 BUT a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries." The adversaries are those who rebel against God. They are believers who have "come to the knowledge of the truth" and have been set free from the power of sin. They have the law of God written in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and yet break it with a high hand. By their rebellion, they become
the enemy of God and will be punished with Satan and his angels. In response to this, many will point to King David and his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. They will say that David sinned presumptuously and God forgave him! That is indeed a good question which demands an answer. The simplest response is to let the Scriptures decide why David was forgiven. The answer is that David had not yet grown to the point where God considered him to be a "righteous man" as defined by the Lord in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 18:21 "But if the WICKED turn away from all his sins that he hath
committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 18:24 "But when the RIGHTEOUS turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." The Lord says that if a WICKED man (as David proved himself to be) turned way from all his sins he would live, [verse 21] but if the RIGHTEOUS man turned back to his wicked ways he would die. [verse 24]
If, in fact, David had fully repented and turned from his wickedness before his sin with Bathsheba, he would have been a righteous man who had turned away from his righteousness and therefore condemned to death. However, since we know that David was not condemned, we also know that he could not have been a "righteous" man when he committed sin with Bathsheba. It is the same today, if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness he will be forgiven, but the believer who has been delivered from his sin and then turns back to it (like the dog returning to his vomit) will be condemned to death on Judgement Day. Christians who think they can commit willful sin and still be saved from God's wrath because their sin will be covered by the blood of Christ have been deceived by the same Great Serpent who seduced Eve into disobeying God's law by saying: "Ye shall not surely die." Please do not listen to that liar or his modern day helpers. Listen instead to the apostle John: "HE THAT COMMITTETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL"
"WHOSOEVER IS BORN OF GOD DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN" 1 JOHN 3:8-9 In order to have eternal life, the Christian must come to the point where he has ceased from willful sin completely and forever. No matter what one has been told by his church, the Bible says that anyone who finds himself still committing willful sin is not born of God. We are not truly born of God until we have totally committed ourselves to obey God's law and surrendered our own will completely to His will. At that stage of growth, we do not yet understand the sin nature that is buried deep within our souls. We often break God's law without knowing it. Since the sin is done in ignorance, the atoning death of Jesus covers it. But once we recognize that what we are doing is sin and confess it, we MUST stop doing it. If we refuse to stop, we are guilty of rebellion and will be condemned on Judgement Day because we refused to accept Jesus as our Lord. Think about it...If we do not obey Jesus, He is not our Lord! Jesus asked: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things I say?" Luke 6:46 Remember, John said: "...whosoever is born of God SINNETH NOT". (1 John 5:18) As sin is revealed by the Holy Spirit those who really are born of God quit doing it. Eventually all sin is revealed and thus they quit doing all sin. On the other hand, the Christian who continues to disobey even one of God's Ten Commandments (including the Sabbath) is in rebellion. There will be no rebels in God's kingdom.
GOD'S LOVE IS "UNCONDITIONAL" Modern Christianity is fond of saying â€œGod loves you unconditionally!" I challenge anybody to prove that from the Bible. There is not a single verse which explicitly states that God loves mankind (or even a Christian) without conditions. Some would point to the verse that says "...while we were yet sinners God loved us" or John 3:16 which says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son..." in order to demonstrate God's continuous love. However, if one looks closely, those verses do not say that God loves mankind. They say He loved them. The Greek verb "agapao" (loved) is in the aorist tense and indicative mood, thus a single completed act; that is, not a present tense loves, but a past tense loved. The fact that at some point in time God acted with charity towards a sinful world by giving them a saviour, does not imply that God loves all men unconditionally. In fact the scriptures say exactly the opposite. They say that God does not love wicked mankind and was sorry that He made them... "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And the LORD was SORRY THAT HE HAD MADE MAN ON THE EARTH and it grieved Him to His heart" (Gen 6:5-6) One might argue that even though God is sorry that He made man, He still loves them despite their wickedness. You know..."God hates sin, but loves the sinner!" The problem is that popular slogan is not scriptural. On the contrary, the Bible says:
"For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee...THOU HATEST ALL WORKERS OF INIQUITY." (Psalms 5:4-5) "...But The wicked and him that loveth violence HIS SOUL
"The face of the LORD is against them that do evil..." (Psalms 34:16) Please note that the face of the Lord is not against the evil one does, it is against the one who does evil. So much for "God loves the sinner...". The fact is that God hates both the wicked and their sins. Think about it for a moment; if God "loves" mankind so much why did He drown them all like rats? Has the heart of man changed so much since the time of Noah? No, the fact is that mankind is just as wicked as ever, if not more so. The astonishing truth is that God did not send his Son to suffer and die for a world that He has affection for, but to die for a world that God was sorry He had made. A world filled with wicked people that He hates! And yet, despite our wickedness, God will extend love to individual men and women, but THERE ARE CONDITIONS! If we want to abide in Godâ€™s love we must keep His commandments. Jesus said:
"IF ye keep my commandments, YE SHALL ABIDE IN MY LOVE;" (John 15:10) "IF a man love me, he will keep my words: AND MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM," (John 14:23) "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: And he that loveth me SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER..." (John 14:21) The word â€œIF is a conditional particle. Those verses clearly say that God will love someone IF they keep His commandments. Therefore, the doctrine of God's unconditional love of mankind is false. We must stop listening to the ear tickling sermons of modern Christianity and let the scriptures speak for themselves about whom God loves...
"The LORD loveth the righteous." (Psalms 146:8) "He loveth him that followeth after righteousness."
"I love them that love Me." (Proverbs 8:17) "...For I the LORD your God am a jealous God ...showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS." (Exodus 20:5-6, (2nd commandment) According to those verses, all who are not keeping the Ten Commandments of God can be certain that God does not love them. (Anything contrary is a lie.) The sinning Christian has been repeatedly told that: "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!" ...Sadly, nothing could be farther from the truth, for their end shall be eternal destruction.
ALL MEN ARE NEIGHBORS "...And who is my neighbor?" The true answer to that question is a matter of life and death for all Christians because Jesus said that to have eternal life we must love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we possibly obey Jesus if we do not know who our neighbor is? The scriptural answer to that question may surprise you... In the book of Luke, we find a man who asked Jesus this question: "Master what shall I do to inherit eternal life?". Jesus responded by asking the man what had been written in the law about receiving eternal life. The man then quoted the following verses from the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and all thy mind; AND THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF". Jesus told the man that he had answered correctly and that if he would do those things he would inherit eternal life. The man then asked "And who is my neighbor?".... There are three general answers to that question. To determine the legitimate answer we need to compare the words brother and neighbor because they are often used as synonyms in the scriptures. In order to simplify this study I have expressed the three opinions in the form of equations: Opinion # 1. NEIGHBOR = BROTHER = MANKIND In this view neighbor and brother are equal terms and may be applied to all human beings; thus all men are my neighbors. Opinion # 2. NEIGHBOR = SOMEONE NEAR and BROTHER = CHRISTIAN
Here, neighbor and brother are different. The neighbor is anyone who is geographically near, while the word brother applies only to one who is a fellow Christian. Opinion # 3. NEIGHBOR = BROTHER = CHRISTIAN Finally, neighbor and brother are synonymous terms that apply only to fellow believers. Thus my neighbor is my brother in Christ and no one else. In order to determine which of these views is correct we must let the scriptures define and explain themselves. One of the first rules of biblical interpretation is to examine the verse in context and determine what it meant to the people it was spoken to. When Jesus said "love thy neighbor as thyself" he was quoting from Leviticus 19:18. Here is that verse in context:
:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among THY PEOPLE: neither shall thou stand against the blood of THY NEIGHBOR. I am the Lord. :17 Thou shalt not hate THY BROTHER in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke THY NEIGHBOR, and not suffer sin upon him. :18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the CHILDREN OF THY PEOPLE, but thou shalt love THY NEIGHBOR as thyself. It is easy to see that the terms "neighbor", "brother" and "thy people" were used as synonyms. That usage is especially clear in verse:18, where "children of thy people" is used in parallel with "thy neighbor". The command was not to bear any grudge against fellow Israelites but to love them "as thyself". This command, in its original context, applied only to the people of God; that is, those who lived in the land and obeyed the laws of God. The following articles from standard reference works emphatically point out that the words neighbor and brother referred specifically to fellow Israelites: BROTHERLY LOVE Gk. philadelphia, means, not figurative brother-like love, but the love of those united in Christian
brotherhood...In the OT 'brother' like neighbor, means fellow Israelite (Lv 19:17f.) New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Press NEIGHBOR. Five Hebrew words are rendered "neighbor" in the AV of the OT, the principal one being rea'....In the OT one's neighbor is clearly a fellow Israelite as indicated by the statement: "You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18 RSV). The parallelism of this verse identifies â€œneighbor" with sons of your people." A different code of conduct was prescribed towards the foreigner in contrast to ones fellow countrymen. (Deut 23:19, 20)
Baker's Dictionary Of Theology, Baker Press The article from Baker's Dictionary of Theology above points out that there was indeed a different code of conduct towards those who were not of the Israelites. That distinction can be clearly seen in these verses from Deuteronomy 23:19&20
"Thou shalt not lend upon usury to THY BROTHER;... "Unto a STRANGER thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury," The formula for defining neighbor and brother in the verses we have looked at would be: NEIGHBOR = BROTHER = ISRAELITE STRANGER = ALL OTHERS The sharp eyed Bible student will quickly say "Stop! there is another class of people. What about the stranger who dwells in the land?" He (or she) would point to Leviticus 19:33- 34 which says:
"And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and THOU SHALT LOVE HIM AS THYSELF;" To that vigilant student I would say thank you - for proving my point that the people whom Israelites were to love as themselves were the people who followed the law of God. Although the stranger who sojourned in the land was not a fellow Israelite, he was to be treated as a brother ("as one born among you") because God said the sojourner was required to obey the laws of God just as the Israelite:
"ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgements, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, NOR ANY STRANGER THAT SOJOURNETH AMONG YOU: (Lev 18:26) "The sojourner could be circumcised (Exod 12:48) and enjoy all the privileges of true religion: the Passover (Exod 12:49) the Atonement feast (Lev 16:29) presenting offerings (Lev 17:8) all the feasts (Deut16:11) and share in the sabbath rest (Lev 25:6)" Vine's Dictionary of Biblical Words It is obvious that if the sojourner was to be treated the same as "one who is born among you", then there was a distinct difference between those who were born among the Israelites and all others who were not "born among you". In the Old Testament, the neighbor was not just someone who was near, he was a brother by birth or by choice. The question we must now ask is:
Did the meaning of the word "neighbor" change in the New Testament? In reference to the book of Luke, where Jesus told the man to "love thy neighbor as thyself" the word neighbor must retain the same meaning as the original text from which it was quoted (Lev 19:18) unless we find biblical evidence to the contrary. If this Old Testament definition of neighbor is brought forth into the New Testament it would mean that the neighbors we are commanded to love as we love ourselves would apply only to the brethren in Christ, that is, those who are born of God. If that is true we can expect to find unquestionable proof in the New Testament epistles that the term neighbor is used as a synonym for brethren in Christ. The word "neighbor" as used by Christ comes from the Greek word: plesion. It is used eight times by Luke, Paul and James. As you will see, in six of those verses the word neighbor and brother or brethren were parallel in meaning. Here are those six verses: 1. Acts 7:26-27
"And the next day he [Moses] showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying Sirs, ye are BRETHREN; why do ye wrong to one another? But he that did his NEIGHBOR wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?"
2. Galatians 5:13-15
"For, BRETHREN, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by LOVE serve ONE ANOTHER. [not the world] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; thou shalt love thy NEIGHBOR as thyself. But if ye bite and devour ONE ANOTHER, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another". 3. Ephesians 4:25
"Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his NEIGHBOR: for we are members ONE OF ANOTHER". 4. James 2:1-15 (For brevity's sake I will quote only the verses in this passage which are directly relevant to the question in order to provide context.)
2:1 "My BRETHREN, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2:5 Hearken, my beloved BRETHREN, hath not God chosen the poor in this world 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, thou shalt love thy NEIGHBOR as thyself, ye do well: 2:9 But if ye have RESPECT to persons, [in your assembly] ye commit sin, 2:14 What doth it profit, my BRETHREN, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works... 2:15 If a BROTHER OR SISTER be naked and destitute of daily food. [brethren, not the world] 2:16 And...ye give THEM not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" "Do not speak against one another, BRETHREN. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law... There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your
NEIGHBOR". James 4:11-12 (New American Standard) It is abundantly clear that the Old Testament concept of neighbor = brother was carried over into the thinking of the apostles in the New Testament. Jesus carefully defined who our brothers in Christ are. He said:
"My mother and my BRETHREN are these which hear the word of God and do it." Luke 8:21 Therefore, the New Testament formula for neighbor would be: NEIGHBOR = BROTHER = THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD AND DO IT. Just as in the Old Testament, the neighbor is one who obeys the law of God. Why then did the Jewish lawyer who certainly understood that principal ask Jesus: "Who is my neighbor?". And why did Jesus answer the lawyer by telling him the parable of the good Samaritan?
In order to understand both the question and the answer, we must consider the historical background: "The Jews hated them [the Samaritans] and would have nothing to do with them. Over the centuries the Assyrians intermarried with Jews to form the hybrid group known as the Samaritans. The Jews did not accept them as their neighbors and it was with this in view that Jesus spoke to the Jews the parable of the good Samaritan". The Jewish lawyer knew that Jesus had made converts among the Samaritans (Luke 9:52) and wanted to justify himself in his hatred of them, even though they were related by race and religion. (The Samaritans kept the Torah) Jesus responded to the lawyer by telling the parable and then asking him which of the three who passed by the hurt man proved to be neighbor unto him. The lawyer said: "He that showed mercy on him". Jesus proved to the lawyer that the Levite and the priest did not prove to be neighbor to the victim because they did not really obey God's law. On the other hand, the Samaritan whom the lawyer hated, proved to be his neighbor because he did obey God's command to "love
thy neighbor as thyself". Again we see the principle that our neighbor in the biblical sense is not simply someone who is near, but one who is a believer in God and keeps His commandments. When one stops to think about it, the expression "love thy neighbor as thyself" is telling us "how much" we are to love. In other words,"as thyself" is the measure of service to our brethren that God expects. If my brother or sister needs something and I am not as generous to him as I would be to myself, then I am a "respecter of persons". To say that we are to love anyone who "is near" in this same manner would place a terrible burden upon the believer. If that were true, then we would be required to share our homes,our clothes, and our food with any wretched person we happened to come across. That was never the intent of God. I challenge anyone who says differently to prove from the history of the church in the book of Acts or the epistles that the church EVER was told to use its assets for anyone who was not a member of the body of Christ! Having said these things let me also say that we are to "love our enemies" and to do good to all men as we have opportunity. But we are not required to love them as "ye love yourself". With the people of the world we are to follow the rules of love set forth by Paul in 1st Corinthians 13, "Love is patient and kind" etc. And yes, we are to do unto all men as we would that men would do unto us. Those are the everyday standards that God expects of us in our dealings with those outside the church. But to love another as I love myself is a privilege reserved for those who are my brethren in Christ - the children of God.
"In this the children of God are manifest...whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God." 1 John 3:10
I CAN FAIL THE TEST THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH It is a tribute to the Serpent's cunning that this vital part of salvation is so often ignored by modern Bible teachers. And yet, from Genesis through Revelation, the Bible teaches that God tests His people in order to determine their faithfulness. In the book of Genesis, we see that God tested Adam and Eve.
"And the Lord God COMMANDED the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, THOU SHALT NOT EAT OF IT: for in the day that thou eatest thereof THOU SHALT SURELY DIE." (2:15) Through the experience of Adam and Eve we can gain understanding on the subject of testing. From that model we see that God tests His people by commanding certain things and then warns them of the consequences for disobedience. If the people believe God and obey Him, they pass the test. If they refuse to obey, they fail the test and will be shut off from the tree of life for eternity. This same pattern of testing is repeated throughout the history of God's people. The 22nd chapter of Genesis begins with these words:
"After these things God tested Abraham..." God commanded Abraham to take his only
son and sacrifice him upon an altar. As Abraham raised the knife over Isaac, the angel of the Lord told him to stop and said:
"For now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." (Gen 22:12) God tested Abraham's faith by commanding him to sacrifice that which was most precious to him. Abraham passed the test and received God's blessing. Modern Christianity teaches that Abraham was blessed because of his faith. Nevertheless, the fact is that Abraham was not blessed for his faith, but rather for the obedience which his faith produced. The proof of that is seen in Genesis 22:18 when the angel of the Lord said to Abraham:
"...BECAUSE YOU HAVE DONE THIS, and have not withheld your son ... I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven...and by your descendants shall all the nations bless themselves, BECAUSE YOU HAVE OBEYED MY VOICE." That is why James used the example of Abraham when he insisted that faith without obedience is a dead faith, he said:
"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?" (James 2:20f) James was careful to emphasize that Abraham was justified WHEN he had offered Isaac. Yes, it is true that we are justified by our faith, but as James points out, that faith must be tested in order to receive eternal life. He wrote:
"Blessed is the man who ENDURES trial, for when he has stood the TEST he will receive the CROWN OF LIFE which God has promised to those who LOVE HIM." James l:12 That one sentence contains the three facts necessary to understand the process of testing:
1. Christians must ENDURE TESTING. 2. Those who STAND THE TEST receive the CROWN OF LIFE. 3. The crown of life is promised to those who LOVE GOD. The apostle John defines how to LOVE God:
"For this is the love of God, that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS." (1 John 5:3) So, there it is - God's plan of testing for all who will accept the testimony of scripture... THE CROWN OF LIFE IS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD!
As we continue to look through the scriptures we will often see this concept of testing through obedience. For example, in the book of Exodus we find that God chose the Israelites and called them out of Egypt. After they had crossed the Red Sea, God gave them commandments in order to test them. All those over the age of twenty failed the test and died in the wilderness - except Joshua and Caleb - who through their faith were obedient. After forty years in the wilderness, as they were about to enter the land of Canaan, Moses said to the new generation of Israelites: "And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, TESTING YOU to know what was in your heart, whether you would KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, or not." (Deuteronomy 8:2) Repeatedly, we see God testing His people in order to know what is in their hearts, and that test is whether we will keep His commandments or not.
JESUS WAS TESTED! In the New Testament we find this same principle of testing. For example...
"Then was Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." (Matt 4:1) In that lonely desert, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would only bow down and worship
him. While most of us will never be offered kingdoms for our disobedience, Satan does offer us worldly pleasures and rewards if we will follow him and commit sin by disobeying the commandments of God. Just as God allowed Satan to test Jesus and Job, God also allows Satan to test us in this world. One can easily understand this concept if one sees the world system with all its pleasures and rewards as the means by which we are tested. The scriptures say that "...the whole world is in the power of the evil one." (1 John 5:19) and that Satan is "...the god of this world." (2 Cor 4:4). As we go through our time on earth, the world system under the power of Satan is like an obstacle course for the Christian. Satan uses all his power over the pleasures of this world in order to draw us into disobedience. The good news is that even though we may be tempted to the limit of our strength, God does not permit Satan to test us beyond our ability to resist. Paul wrote:
"God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) Since we cannot be tested beyond our Godgiven ability to obey, if we disobey, our choice proves what is in our hearts. If we love God "with all our heart, all our mind and all our strength" we will choose to keep His
commandments. If we love the world more than God we will choose to break God's commandments. It is just that simple. THE RICH YOUNG RULER'S CHOICE Did Jesus teach that we must keep the Ten Commandments in order to receive eternal life? Nothing could be clearer than His words to the Rich Young Ruler who asked Jesus "What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" Jesus answered him by saying: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments...You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness ..." (Matt 19:17f) Jesus was not tricking that man, our Lord meant just what He said! When Jesus commanded the man to "sell all and give to the poor", He exposed the covetousness in the Rich Young Ruler's heart. The young man chose not to obey and failed the test.
OVERCOMERS RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE In His letters to the seven churches, Jesus refers to the testing of our faith several times. The constant theme is that the one who conquers or overcomes (Greek nikao) is the one who receives the reward. In some letters the reward promised has to do with eternal life, for example: EPHESUS (Rev 2:7) "...To him who CONQUERS
(nikao) I will grant to eat of the tree of LIFE, which is in the
paradise of God." SMYRNA (Rev 2:10) "...Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of LIFE...He who CONQUERS (nikao) shall not be hurt by the second death." * Remember that in James 1:12, the "crown of life" was the reward promised to those who love God (i.e. keep His commandments.) SARDIS (Rev 3:5) "He who CONQUERS (nikao)
shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of LIFE." The reader might well ask: "Does the word "conquer" have anything to do with the believer overcoming the world system controlled by Satan and his angels? The answer to that question is found in the 1st Epistle of John. In the fifth chapter, John uses the same Greek word "nikao" (to conquer or overcome) three times in describing the victory of the believer over the world. Not only did he use the same word "nikao" - he tied it directly to keeping the commandments of God...
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments...for whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH (nikao) the world: and this is the victory that OVERCOMETH (nikao) the world, even our faith. Who is he that OVERCOMETH (nikao) the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God."
(1 John 5:3-5) God allows Satan and his world system to test our faith. Those who pass the test by keeping the commandments of God are those who "conquer" the world, and according to Jesus, those who conquer will be granted "to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God".
With those verses in mind, it is easy to understand what Jesus meant when He told the Sadducees that only those who are "accounted worthy" will be the sons of God. Jesus said:
"The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are ACCOUNTED WORTHY to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they CANNOT DIE any more, because they are equal to angels and are SONS OF GOD, being sons of the resurrection." Luke 20:34 Only those who are "accounted worthy" will become the sons of God and receive eternal life. That simple truth is far different than what is being taught in the churches of today, who say that those who just "believe" will have eternal life. Listen to these sobering words of Jesus as he promises life and sonship to those who conquer sin - and death in the lake of fire to those who do not...
"...To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of LIFE without payment. He who CONQUERS
(nikao) shall have this heritage and I will be his God and he shall be MY SON. BUT as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second DEATH." (Rev 21:6-8) I pray that those words of Jesus will strike fear and dread into the hearts of readers who have been told that they are sons of God simply because they have "believed". Only those believers whose faith has been tested by the "fiery trials" will inherit eternal life. Peter
had much to say about these trials, he wrote: "...though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the GENUINENESS OF YOUR FAITH, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ...As the outcome of your faith you obtain the SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS." (1 Peter 1:6-9) Only "genuine" faith, tested by fire, will result in the salvation of our souls. The authentic faith that saves is a faith that suffers with Christ by ceasing from sin. Peter wrote:
"Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh HAS CEASED FROM SIN,"
(1 Peter 4:1) Ceasing from sin causes the fiery trials which test our faith. As we struggle against Satan we share in the sufferings of Christ who overcame the Devil so that we might also be able to overcome. This battle against sin is the common heritage of all who follow Christ. Peter said:
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you TO PROVE YOU, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:12-13) If we want to be glorified with Christ then we must suffer with Him. That is why Paul said that we were:
"...heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, PROVIDED WE SUFFER with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him." (Rom 8:17)
Did you see the phrase "provided we suffer"? Suffering with Christ is the condition for becoming heirs of God! Perhaps many of you have read that verse in Romans without really understanding that to suffer with Christ means ceasing from sin. Thus, if you have not ceased from sin, you have not suffered with
Christ, and if you have not suffered with Christ, you will not be glorified with Him. As you can see, is not just those who "believe" who will be saved, but rather, those who believe enough to suffer by putting to death the deeds of the body through obedience to God's law. That is why Paul warned the Roman believers that:
"... if you live according to the flesh YOU WILL DIE, But, IF by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, YOU WILL LIVE." and those"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; IT DOES NOT SUBMIT TO GOD'S LAW, indeed it cannot; who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom 8:7) If anyone finds that he is unable to submit to God's law he may be certain that he does not possess the Holy Spirit of God. For it is only"...by the Spirit" that we are able to obey. Those who believe they have the Holy Spirit but cannot "put to death the deeds of the body" have been horribly deceived. There end will be destruction in the lake of fire.
THE FINAL WORD For those who still doubt what I am saying, please spend a few minutes in prayerful study of the very last blessing promised by Jesus as He ended the
book of Revelation...
"BLESSED ARE THEY THAT DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, THAT THEY MAY HAVE RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE, AND MAY ENTER IN THROUGH THE GATES INTO THE CITY. FOR WITHOUT ARE DOGS, AND SORCERERS, AND WHOREMONGERS, AND MURDERERS, AND IDOLATERS, AND WHOSOEVER LOVETH AND MAKETH A LIE." Rev 22:14 KJV From the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden till the time when New Jerusalem, the holy city descends from God, the scriptures declare that only those who keep the commandments of God will eat of the tree of life. "Here is the endurance of the saints,
those who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD AND the faith of Jesus. Rev 14:12
(Col 2:16 & Rom 14:5)
COLOSSIANS 2:16 ? Whenever the question of the Sabbath is discussed, those who do not keep it holy will inevitably appeal to Colossians 2:16 as their authority for disobeying the fourth commandment of God. What exactly did Paul mean when he wrote:
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:" Colossians 2:16 Yes, when Paul said "Sabbath" he meant the seventh day Sabbath - but that does not mean that Paul was canceling the requirement for obedience to a commandment of God. What God has commanded only God can set aside. One may search the New Testament for a thousand years and he will not find a single verse that says God has abrogated one "jot or tittle" of His fourth commandment. What then was Paul talking about when he said to let no man judge you in respect of Sabbaths? When we look at this verse in its context it soon becomes apparent that Paul was warning about the "Colossian Heresy" which was another gospel based on asceticism and the worship of angels in order to gain assistance from cosmic powers. The essence of this heresy was that Christ alone was not sufficient to deliver us from our slavery to sin. As you will see from the following verses, Paul was warning against three things that were being added to the gospel. 1. Traditions of men. 2. The worship of angels. 3. Submitting to doctrines of men.
COL 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and
vain deceit, after the TRADITION OF MEN of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. COL 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: COL 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and WORSHIPING OF ANGELS, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, COL 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) AFTER THE COMMANDMENTS AND DOCTRINES OF MEN? It should be obvious that KEEPING THE SABBATH DAY HOLY IS NOT A DOCTRINE OF MEN! Paul was not doing away with God's commandment; he was warning against the false teachers who were saying that if believers did not eat and drink the right food and keep the festivals, new moons and Sabbaths ACCORDING TO CERTAIN HUMAN REGULATIONS they would lose their reward. According to verse :23 below, they were teaching that without these ascetic regulations one could not overcome the flesh:
COL 2:23 These [DOCTRINES OF MEN] have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and selfabasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh. (RSV) One commentator summed up these verses by saying: "We conclude then that in verse :16, the warning is not against the Sabbath, festivals and dietary laws as such, but rather against those who promote these practices as indispensable aids to Christian perfection and as needed protection from the "elements [evil spiritual forces] of the world" thus denying the all sufficiency of Christ. (Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath To Sunday) Now really, doesn't that explanation make a lot more sense than
the notion that Christians are no longer required to obey the fourth commandment? It is a true saying that: "The commandment is not nullified by the condemnation of its abuse.". The question we need to ask is this: "Was Paul condemning the Sabbath day, or was he CONDEMNING THE DOCTRINES OF MEN who added ritualistic and ascetic restrictions to faith in Christ?" In order to answer that dispute, one must look at the broad picture. There is not a single verse in the New Testament which states that Paul taught a new doctrine that canceled the Sabbath commandment; nor is there any record of a controversy between the Jews and Gentile Christians over Sabbath-keeping. If Paul had been teaching that the Sabbath commandment had been repealed, it would have split the church wide open and he would have had to answer the objections continuously in his epistles. Think about it - if the Jewish believers made such a fuss about circumcision being optional, imagine what they would have said about the Sabbath day being revoked. At some point we must use common sense and reason to interpret what has been written. For example, does "Let no man judge you in meat and drink..." mean that Christians can be drunkards? Of course not, because you know that God's word forbids drunkenness. Well, it also forbids Sabbath-breaking! It is only logical to assume that if God was going to cancel one of His commandments, he would make that fact very clear. Surely, if someone said to you: "Let no man judge you in respect of murder or adultery" you would not assume that God had changed His mind about those sins without solid proof. Certainly, you would demand more evidence than one lonely verse in the book of Colossians? Or would you?
THE CHURCHMEN vs THE SABBATH
Many churchmen use Romans 14:5-6 as proof that New Testament believers no longer have an obligation to keep the Sabbath day holy. So let us examine those two verses, just as a Judge would consider evidence in his courtroom, and then decide whether or not they testify against Sabbath keeping. Paul wrote:
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another
esteemeth every day alike. Let very man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth [observeth] the day regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." Romans 14:5,6 The Judge would ask: "Where is the Sabbath mentioned in those verses?". The Sabbath is not mentioned there, or in the entire book of Romans! No court in the land would allow verses that do not mention the Sabbath to be used as evidence in an argument against the Sabbath - so why should we? You see, Paul could not have been talking about keeping the Sabbath day holy because obedience to God's law is not optional. It is ludicrous to suggest that any of the Ten Commandments can be disobeyed "unto the Lord". Think of the absurdity of saying "He that stealeth, to the Lord he stealeth; and he that stealeth not, to the Lord he stealeth not." What then was Paul talking about? He was talking about fast days. The whole 14th chapter of Romans is about food and how people's beliefs about eating should not be interfered with. The fast days could be observed according to each believer's conscience. A man could eat -or not eat, keep the day - or not keep it. It is as simple as this: Each man could observe FAST DAYS, or not observe them, according to his own convictions.
He that does not eat, regards the day. He that eats, does not regard the day. The "days" that Paul was referring to were the traditional fast days mentioned in Zechariah 7:5-6. The Gentile Christians in Rome did not keep them because they had no cultural interest in the anniversary fasts that were observed during the Jew's captivity in Babylon. 1 Even the Jews themselves had different convictions about the observance of those days - because those fasts were never
commanded by God. After the captivity (when the temple was being rebuilt) the men of Bethel also wondered if they should observe these fasts unto the Lord. For example, they asked Zechariah: "Shall I weep in the fifth month and abstain, as I have done these many years?" (Zech 7:2-3.) When you read Zechariah's answer, notice the striking similarity of his words with those of Paul to the church at Rome ... COMPARE Zechariah 7:5-6 "...When ye FASTED and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years,
DID YE AT ALL FAST UNTO ME, even to me [The Lord]? And when ye did EAT, and when ye did drink, did ye not EAT FOR YOURSELVES, and drink for yourselves?" WITH Romans 14:6-7 "He that regardeth the [fast] day
regardeth it UNTO THE LORD; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that EATETH, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that EATETH NOT, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us LIVETH TO HIMSELF, and no man dieth to himself." If you were the Judge in the case of the CHURCHMEN VERSUS THE SABBATH, would you be willing to say that Paul had cancelled one of the commandments of God based on the evidence you find in the 14th chapter of Romans? In our opinion, the evidence from Romans and Zechariah demands a verdict for Sabbath observance. The church must obey the Fourth Commandment - that is the only decision that will uphold the Law of God. CASE CLOSED!
These are the four traditional fasts that were mentioned in the book of Zechariah: 1. (The fast of the fourth month) In remembrance of the breaking of the wall of Jerusalem. 2. (The fast of the fifth month) In remembrance of the burning of the temple. 3. (The fast of the seventh month) In remembrance of the killing of Gedaliah, which completed the dispersion. 4. (The fast of the tenth month) In remembrance of the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem. See - Jer 52:6, Jer 52:12-13, 2 Kings 25:25, 2 Kings 25:1 It is of interest to note that those dates commemorate the judgments of God upon a people who refused to keep the Sabbath Day holy. (See Jer 17:19-27)
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