March 24, 2017
Christians may admit, “I absolutely believe we must obey the Lord.” But if that is the case –that to be saved requires obedience to God– then the “faith alone” doctrine cannot be true. –Because obedience, being necessary for salvation, means it is faith plus obedience. Obedience is another way of saying “deeds” or “works” or “actions” or “behavior” or “conduct”. Ja. 2:24 says, “We know that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” We must understand then: “Faith, without works of obedience to God, won’t save.” Thus we can say, “Faith, without actions in line with God’s preordained plans for us [Eph. 2:10], won’t save.” God’s Word tells us that only those who do the will of God inherit eternal life. (Mt. 7:21 & 12:50 // 1 John 2:17) This doing of His will is called obedience.
We can say it this way as well, as James 2:22 does: Our faith is made complete by our actions. In other words: Obedience completes faith.
Faith is not mere belief, for even the demons believe and shudder. (Ja. 2:19) Faith is active, which means it involves actions, and those actions must be acts (works / deeds) of obedience to Christ’s commands (Word and Spirit). “Indeed, just as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (v. 26) Dead, useless, lifeless. Thus outright rebellion, or simply the neglect to walk in the plans God has ordained for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10) –those plans which will involve that of offering ourselves as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1,2) so that we are serving God’s purposes with our whole heart (1:9a) and becoming more and more conformed to the likeness of Christ (8:29)– is to have a useless, counterfeit, non-saving faith.
These truths make up what is taught in God’s Word. However, we also read there that growing in Christ-likeness in thought, word, and deed is a process, thus Jesus’ analogy of fruit production. We start out as a spiritual infant and hopefully move quickly to toddler stage and beyond. Of course toddlers aren’t Olympians yet. Of course twigs need time to blossom and bear fruit. So the obedience required of those new to the faith-walk is what any loving father would require of his young child. But everyone is certainly expected to progress to adulthood (spiritual maturity) as we strain toward perfection daily, doing so by diligently studying God’s Word and eagerly putting it into practice. Of course God is merciful and kind, but He is never pleased with disobedience. Whether the command is simple or advanced, He expects us to obey it.
Certainly the maturing process takes some longer than others, and likely those who have been fed major falsehoods will undergo painful confusion that will slow them down as they try to understand and adjust to the Truth. But God’s Word is there to comfort such people, not just to teach them. Truly, “A bruised reed He [the Lord] will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.” (Mt. 12:20)
But, does God’s Word teach that He requires His people to obey Him? Or is it that we are simply covered with Christ’s righteousness so that whether we obey God’s commands or not there is no difference made in God’s view of us? Is it true that once we are in Christ, we can neither please God nor displease Him by anything we say, think, or do? No, it is not true. Instead Scripture tells us that we are required to obey the Lord and that if we do, we are pleasing to Him, and that if we do not, we are displeasing to Him. (Gen. 4:7 // 1 Sam. 15:22,23 // Rom. 8:8 // 1 Thes. 4:1) Regardless of our claim of faith, faith is made complete by righteous works, and it is by both that we are justified. (Ja. 2:14-26 // Rev. 3:1-3,15,16)
Yes, we must obey the Lord. It is necessary for salvation.
March 18, 2017
The tithe is not an obligation for Christians. There are no commands in the New Testament to pay 10% or more to a church. “The tithe” was made for the Israelites who were in a theocracy and as a means of support for their temple ministers who ministered before the Lord and on behalf of the people full time, daily, and who had no other income. There were also tithes set aside for the poor (like our taxes that support the welfare system) and also toward one’s own “savings account” for required religious pilgrimages. On the other hand, we who are in the New Covenant are commanded to be generous, and to obey in every area of our lives, including in our finances, all that the Spirit prompts us to do.
The Holy Spirit will certainly lead us to obey God’s moral law, which is encompassed by the Law of Love –to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love others as ourself. (Jesus in Mark 12:29-31) Referring to these and the Ten Commandments, Jesus also said, “If you want to enter Life, obey the commandments.” (Mt. 19:17) We should quote that for those who think people can sin and still belong to Christ. In fact, we are held to a higher Law than that of the Ten Commandments. For as our Lord has informed us, our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees (who held to the Commandments strictly, at least outwardly), or we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Mt. 5:20)
Our righteousness must flow from a cleansed / clean / pure heart, and if we have that, we will constantly uphold God’s moral law of conscience (Rom. 2:13-15), which is the Royal Law of Love. (Ja. 2:8, see also Mt. 22:37-40) Therefore, “If we walk in the Spirit we are not under law.” (Gal. 5:18) –Because we will already be serving God (conducting ourselves) in complete holiness and obedience to Christ’s Spirit. (Rom. 8:9,14)
None of us can be declared righteous by the works of the law; but rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Rom. 3:20) So although the law is holy, righteous, and good (7:12), because we cannot consistently obey it (without the Spirit’s power), it actually puts us to death. (v. 7-13) For the penalty of committing sin (this being a transgressing of the law –1 John 3:4) is death. (Rom. 6:23) And since committing just one sin makes us guilty of breaking the whole law (Ja. 2:10), we are thereby “held prisoners by the law”. (Gal. 3:23) But Jesus! So through our faith (trust and commitment) to/in Him, “we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” (v. 25) “So the law was our tutor until Christ” (v. 24) “in order that we might be declared righteous by faithfulness.” (Same verse)
“So, my brethren, you also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another” (Rom. 7:4) –to Christ, “in order that we might produce fruit for God.” (Same verse) Therefore, by dying to the law (v. 5) –which had aroused sinful passions in us so that we bore fruit for death (same verse)– “we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” (v. 6)
So, God “condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous mandates of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:4)
March 10, 2017
My intention in emailing Mike was not to divide or to try to convince anyone of anything to do with Israel. That last post of mine about Israel was actually a copy of an email I sent to a friend who brought up the subject to me recently. It is interesting that the Lord had me post it and to do so right before my first email to Mike when I did not know it would be a point of contention.
Anyway, I understand your desire to hold to Mike’s teaching on it as you further his legacy. Even so, the last link I sent to you was not to attempt to convince you but to show you that I have studied the Israel subject from God’s Word extensively so that you do not bother trying to convert me to your view.
I emailed Mike (thus you, his present spokesman) in true sincerity, thanking him for his messages about the necessity of being purged of sin and walking obedient to Christ. Mike teaches, such as here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9xBDCjRpco, as I do concerning repentance, obedience, and freedom from sin, and wide disagreement concerning these is what creates, I understand, the “great divide” that he talks about. Instead of encouragement, though, I received a slight from you due to my teaching regarding Israel. I hope you do not do similar to other genuine followers of Christ. No one has perfect knowledge on every subject and I am convinced that the Lord allows this so that we do not follow any man, but only Him. As He taught us, “You are not to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ.” (Mt. 23:10)
Since you have made God’s promises to Israel an issue of division, I encourage you as well, to study, without bias, those promises found abundantly throughout Scripture. Truly, I cannot see how anyone can deny what God is saying to and about Israel. Rom. 11:25-29, along with its context, is just one passage that is unmistakably speaking of the race of Israel as opposed to the Gentiles. As it speaks of their present hardening, the patriarchs, and God’s irrevocable gifts and calling, the Israelite race is undeniably the focus of discussion there.
It is difficult to understand how any Bible believer could write off what God states in so many passages within His Word regarding the Israelite nation. For example, God devotes several chapters in Ezekiel (chapters 36-48) to reveal His plans about the future nation and temple and land of Israel. When we read the precise measurements which God told Ezekiel to write down concerning the land partitions and the temple construction, how can teachers write that off as figurative? –Or having been fulfilled in Nehemiah’s time, when it wasn’t?
No, there is no way to legitimately view these chapters as written to anyone other than the tribes of Joseph and Judah (Ezek. 37:19) of whom the Lord says, “I will bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.” (v. 21,22) To believe that this refers to the church is to disbelieve God’s clear words. God goes on about this joined nation: “I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them… They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived.” (v. 23,25a) This cleansing has not yet happened to Israel and to deny that this refers to the literal land and nation of Israel is to disbelieve God’s words. “They… will live there forever, and David My servant will be their Prince forever.” (v. 25b) Was God being disingenuous with the Israelites through the prophet Ezekiel, and not really planning to fulfill this promise? Was God promising the Israelites these things when He really meant He would give the church this land and that it would actually turn into a figurative land? Was God not making a distinction between nations when He said, “Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when My sanctuary is among them forever.”–? (v. 28)
In Ezekiel chapter 39 God is talking about literal “mountains of Israel” (v. 4), a literal war, a literal valley, and literal animals. We cannot read God’s words, “…when the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to Me” (v. 23) and still insist that God is not referring to the Israelites. We cannot read God’s words, “…for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (v. 28,29) The church (Christ-followers) are not the ones who were sent into exile because of unfaithfulness to God. It was Israel. These chapters are about Israel and her future –when God cleanses them and comes to live among them forever. How can He stress it any more clearly?
Thus Paul says in Rom. 11:1,2, “I ask then, Did God reject His people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject His people, whom He foreknew.” Paul is taking about a tribe, a bloodline, and the Israelite race here, not the church. He is reminding his readers that the Israelites are God’s chosen people and that God has not rejected them, while in verses 12 and 15 he says that their return to God and His acceptance of them will bring greater blessing to the world than that which their temporary hardening brought. “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.'” (v. 26) This promise is reiterated numerous times in the Old Testament, including in Ezekiel 36:24-32 and in 37:14, the latter verse being where God promises, “I will put My Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.” This promise is to “the whole house of Israel.” (v. 11) God is making promises to His chosen, elect nation descended from Jacob (Rom. 9:1-13); not to the church.
Jesus is of the Jewish physical bloodline (Rom. 9:5 & 15:12) and the Jews are God’s chosen people with whom all Christ-followers can participate with –in the blessings of salvation and knowing God. (11:17,18) This is why it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people” (15:10), which makes a distinction between Jews –the chosen race, and Gentiles. We can see that regardless of there being one people (Body) unified in Christ (1 Cor. ch. 12), God still recognizes separate nations. As Rom. 15:12 says, “The root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in Him.” And as Rev. 21:24 says, “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it [into the New Jerusalem].”
After the earth is laid bare and the new heavens and earth come (2 Pe. 3:7,10,13 // Rev. 21:1), there will no longer be a temple building in Jerusalem. (Rev. 21:22) However, before that there will be another temple, as the book of Ezekiel illustrates. There, while describing the new temple in detail as well as commands for the priests, God says, “This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile My holy name.” (Ezek. 43:7) In verse 10, God orders of Ezekiel, “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins.” These chapters were written for and to Israel, the nation.
In speaking of the boundaries of the land, God says, “These are the boundaries by which you are to divide the land for an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel, with two portions for Joseph.” (Ezek. 47:13) To teach that this directive is to an imaginary twelve tribes of the church would be ludicrous. Verse 14 makes it doubly clear who the subjects of the promise are as God continues, “You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to your forefathers, this land will become your inheritance.” The forefathers God swore to give the land to were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God swore to them that He would also give the land to their descendants (Gen. 13:15 & 35:12) “as an everlasting possession.” (17:8) God emphasized that these descendants were to come from their own bodies / be their physical offspring (15:4), “the children of the promise” (Rom. 9:8), and that Jacob’s descendants would, as a nation, repent. (Isa. 59:20,21 // Zech. 12:10-13:2 // Luke 1:67-75 // Rom. 11:25-27 // Heb. 8:8-12)
Chapter 48 of Ezekiel (the last chapter of the book) are directives from God about the exact divisions of the land for each tribe, specific geographical locations included therein, as well as the measurements of the city. The locations and names of the gates of the city are described in verses 30-34, and verse 31 says that “the gates of the city will be named after the tribes of Israel.” Revelation chapter 21, which describes the New Jerusalem, mentions the same in verse 12 saying, “On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.” Ezekiel 48:35a gives the distance all around the city, while the rest of this verse declares, “And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.” (v. 35b)
For anyone reading these things it should be plain that Ezekiel chapters 36-48 are referring to that which is still to happen concerning the literal nation, land, temple, and city, for no, these promises, along with the measurements and specifications God gave, were not fulfilled in Nehemiah’s and Ezra’s time, nor when Herod rebuilt the temple. Teaching otherwise is a denial of much of God’s Word.
So, in spite of our disagreement on these things, ____, I do still appreciate Mike’s messages against sinfulness in those who claim to belong to Jesus. Regardless of the fact that all teachers I know teach differently than I do in at least one small (or big) area, I am able to sift through and glean from (some of) them so that I learn, even as I constantly compare what they say with Scripture. I do find many of Mike’s messages to be a proclamation of the Truth, and therefore beneficial, particularly in how well he explains what salvation is, does, and looks like. I am glad I found his videos last month and I plan to continue to listen to them. I also found a couple of your videos this week and I appreciate your stand, as well, for purity and holy conduct in believers.
However, being that I do not believe that you have responded to me as Christ would have, I encourage you to remember Jesus’ teaching that all His Truth hangs upon the Law of Love –to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself. (Mt. 22:37-40 // Mark 12:30,31) I encourage you to teach and to model Jesus’ command, “In everything, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Mt. 7:12)
You want others to genuinely consider your teachings and reexamine their own. Do the same for others. As Jesus taught, “All men will know that you are My disciples IF you love one another.” (John 13:35) If Bible teachers act so elitist that they cannot fellowship with anyone who does not believe exactly as they do on every matter, there is cause to wonder if that person is like the ones spoken of in 1 Cor. 13:1-3 who can fathom all mysteries, surrender their body to the flames, etc., but who, nevertheless, gain nothing because they don’t have love.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Rom. 15:7) “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” (14:4) “Why do you look down on your brother?” (v. 10) “Stop passing judgement on one another.” (v. 13) There ARE disputable matters (v. 1), and even if the other person’s faith seems weak (or their beliefs wrong) to us, we are not to shun the weak (same verse) “brother for whom Christ died.” (v. 15) Everyone who serves Christ in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit is pleasing to God. (v. 17,18) “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (v. 19) And, “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (15:2) I caution you to be more careful with people whom God brings across your path so that you do not neglect obedience to these commands.
Truly, “If we love each other, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12) If we do not love each other, we are not of God. (3:10) You and Mike teach that right, holy living in Christ is necessary for salvation, and this is good. But, let’s not forget that along with the commands to be holy, we are commanded, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men” (Heb. 12:14) and, “in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3) “Be imitators of God, therefore… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Eph. 5:1,2) Yes, faith, hope, knowledge, Truth, –these are highly important (1 Cor. 13:1-13)– but as that last verse tells us, “the greatest of these is love.” In fact, as both Rom. 13:9 and Gal. 5:14 inform us, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Consequently, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” (Ja. 2:8) Yet if we stumble at just one point, and this would include at that of love, we become guilty of breaking all of it. (v. 10) I caution you to have love and prove it through your words and actions. (1 John 3:16-18) As Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) So, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (1 Cor. 10:24) Indeed, it is only faith working through love that contains the power. (Gal. 5:6) Thus love in action cannot be separated from holiness if someone is really walking in the Truth of Salvation.
I pray that the Lord will further His Truth through your ministry, through Mike’s, through mine, and through everyone else’s who walks in the Light of God’s Love.
There is the Truth, and then there are counterfeits to the Truth. Counterfeits are error and they will not set a person free from sin, from sin’s bondage, or from sin’s penalty. The penalty of sinning is slavery to sin (John 8:34), and death. (Rom. 6:23) –Eternal death. This death is banishment from God and from all that is good, forever. (2 Thes. 1:8,9) It is eternal punishment dealt to someone due to a lack of righteous, Christ-empowered deeds he or she accomplished while on earth. (Mt. 25:45,46; see also John 5:29 and 2 Cor. 5:10 and Rev. 3:1-6)
The whole of Rom. 6:23 (literally from the Greek) says, “Indeed, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God, life eternal in Christ Jesus the Lord of us.” We must be IN Christ in order to be possessing eternal life, and we are in Him by obeying His commands and His Spirit in the Word. (John 6:63 & 14:23 & 15:10 // 1 John 2:3,4 & 3:24) If we are not continually submitting to Christ as Boss, we do not possess Him. (Rom. 8:9,13,14)
If we look at the verse right before Rom. 6:23 (verse 22), it says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Therefore we are to understand that Christ-followers are expected and able to do everything God commands because they have been freed from sin, this provision producing the good fruit that results in sanctification, which in turn results in eternal life. Moreover this means that those who do not produce righteous fruit are not standing in a sanctified (cleansed / holy) position before God, and are thus not in Salvation. (Jesus says the same in John 15:2,6)
Verse 18 of Romans chapter 6 has already told us, “We have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”, while verse 16 informs us that if we keep sinning, we show that sin is still our master and that this leads to death. The first two verses of this chapter, again from the Greek, read, “What then will we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound? Never may it be! We who died to sin –how still will we live in it?” Then verse 7 says, “The one indeed having died has been freed from sin.” Verses 3-6 have already told us, that by being baptized into Christ’s death and resurrected life, each of us died to the old self and was raised to live as a new creature.
If we are truly a new creature / a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), then the old self is gone and it is with the new self –filled with Christ’s Spirit (same verse // Gal. 2:20 // Eph. 4:24)– that we conduct ourselves in thought, word, and deed. Such an existence means we are following Jesus and His words, which in turn means that we are not carrying sinfulness with us. 1 John 1:9 says from the Greek, “If we should confess the sins of us, faithful He is and just, that He might forgive us [our] sins, and might cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So if we have been cleansed, why would anyone think that Christ-followers would still be producing the fruit of sin? We absolutely must not!
Verse 7 of this same chapter (1 John 1) informs us that we walk purified as we walk in the Light. Jesus is the Light and we must keep in step with Him. (Gal. 5:25) For He says, “I am the Light of the world; whoever is following Me shall not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12) So why, if we are not walking in sin (the darkness) but are instead walking in the Light, would we need to keep confessing our sins?! Yes, IF we do sin, which can still happen when we are tired or caught off guard, then we must repent immediately and God will forgive us and again wash us clean. But falling into sin, even “small” sins, daily? –No! We are walking in the Light of Life, not in the darkness of sin! The person who tries to do both is not in the Truth and is thus not saved. (1 John 1:6 & 2:4)
Indeed, “This is how we know we are in Him [Christ]: The one who claims to abide in Him, ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) Jesus says in John 8:28 that He always speaks exactly what the Father has taught Him, and in verse 29 that the Father remains with Him because, “I always do what pleases Him.” THIS perfection is what we are to make every effort, daily, to consistently achieve (Mt. 5:48 // Luke 9:23-25 // 2 Pe. 3:14) if we are claiming to be in union with Christ!
Let’s continue in this John chapter 8 passage, carefully considering what Jesus teaches here about sin versus freedom:
John 8:30: “As He spoke these things, many believed on Him.”
John 8:31: “Therefore Jesus said to those Jews who trusted in Him, ‘If you continue in [live by / walk in / hold to / abide in / put into practice / obey] My Word, then you are truly disciples of Me.'”
John 8:32: “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”
John 8:33: “They answered to Him, ‘Abraham’s seed we are, and to no one have we been under bondage ever. How can you say, ‘Free you will become’?”
John 8:34: “Jesus answer them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that everyone practicing the sin, is a slave to the sin.'”
John 8:35: “And a slave does not remain in the household [of God] to the age [forever], but a son does remain to the age [forever].”
John 8:36: “If therefore, the Son shall set you free, free [from sin / from bondage to sin] you will be.”
Many in Christendome like to quote this last verse as well as verse 32. However, they often seem to be unfamiliar with the rest of the passage. Yet if they would read all these verses, they could not legitimately deny that Jesus is saying, very clearly, that those who continue to produce the fruit of sin reveal that they are not free from sin, are thus not in the Truth, are therefore not in the Freedom, and are thus not sons of God –even if they have at one time trusted in Christ. (Numerous Scripture passages, just three being Rom. 8:13,14, Heb. 10:26-31, and 1 John 3:5-10, teach the same.)
So, we are to make every effort to be found spotless before God (2 Pe. 3:14), doing so by training ourselves to put into practice Christ’s teaching. (Mt. 28:20 // 1 Tim. 4:7) We absolutely CAN do this through the power of the Spirit of the All-mighty God! (Eph. 1:19) Truly it is a wicked insult to the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29) if we think He is not powerful enough to deliver us from all our sins and to help us live His divine nature (Gal. 2:20 // 2 Pe. 1:3,4) free of sin. (1 John 3:9) He IS able! (Eph. 3:20 // Phil. 4:13) Hence, if we produce the fruit of sin, we are of the devil (1 John 3:8), for we are only righteous by doing what is right. (v. 7) It is our choice to consistently walk in the power God’s grace has made available to us for obedience to Christ. (Titus 2:11-15)
These things being said, may we all diligently study the Word of God for ourselves while viewing other men’s teachings as a grain of salt in comparison. For as Scripture has made plain, there is no righteous position in Christ without abandoning sin (2 Tim. 2:19), without obeying Jesus (John 14:23), and without walking (continuous tense) in God’s will. (Mt. 7:21) We are on Christ’s road as we FOLLOW Him (John 10:27,28) and our position is secure if we do not fall from it through sin or through false doctrine. (Heb. 12:14-17 // 2 Pe. 3:17; see also Gal. 1:6-9 and 1 Tim. 4:16)
It’s either slavery to sin or freedom from it. The former leads to Death while the latter leads to Life, meaning: Hell or Heaven.
February 25, 2017
In spite of Israel’s present disbelief in their Messiah, when we study the region’s true / truthful history we can see that the modern nation of Israel came about by miracles straight from the Lord. I was impressed by this anew when viewing footage last year of her handful of war planes that, miraculously, were built, smuggled to the area, and which scared off the massive approaching enemy with its tanks and all.
God is going to enter into judgement against all nations for scattering His people and dividing up His land. (Joel 2:31-3:3) The Lord will gather all nations to fight against Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2) and “Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations” (v. 3), “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem” (v. 4), He will strike the attacking nations severely (v. 12-15), and afterwards “the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty…” (v. 16) and “The LORD will be king over the whole earth.” (v. 9)
“And so all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26), cleansed, and in covenant again and forever with God. (v. 26-29) And God, as the man “Jesus… the Root and Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16), will reign from earthly Jerusalem a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-10 w/ Isa. 9:6,7, Dan. 7:13,14, and etc.) after which He will make a new heavens and a new earth (2 Pe. 3:7-13 // Rev. 21:1) and a new Jerusalem. (Rev. 21:2)
February 19, 2017
It seems that almost every time I evangelize at the train and bus stops I get, amid the many who either say nothing or say something positive, a person who comes up to me to try to straighten out my theology. This last Friday there was another one of these types and he approached me to inform me that my sign which says, “Holy conduct is necessary for salvation” is not Biblical. On my sign I have several verse references to support the statement, but he could not be persuaded, even when a sinner (a man who later told me he believes but is gambling with his eternity because he wants to keep sinning) came up and tried to reason with the first man, saying that my sign IS actually Biblically correct. (I’ll call this man “Odie” here.)
The first man, Joseph (also not his real name), tried to explain to me that nothing is needed on our part, except faith, in order to come to Christ and be saved. I told Joseph that I realize this is true if we also consider that faith involves the genuine renunciation of sin, but, I also told him, salvation is not just a moment in time but a road (Mt. 7:13,14) –or even like a train we get on that continues along a track– and is a submission to the process of training over a lifetime, as well as a destination. I told him we are saved (Rom. 10:10), we are being saved (Ja. 2:22,24 // 1 Pe. 1:9), and we will be finally saved (Mt. 10:22 // 2 Pe. 1:10,11 // Rev. 12:10-12), if we remain in Christ and on His salvation road… if we remain holding on to the Lifeline, and continue holding on all the way to the shore. Joseph would not accept what I was saying as he let it be known that he believed in the Once Saved, Always Saved doctrine, even though I quoted many verses for him.
Odie, who was listening in, moved closer to us and began his attempt to persuade Joseph, saying, “You are missing it, Man.” However, though Joseph listened for a few minutes to Odie, Joseph just kept shaking his head, repeatedly interrupting, and then abruptly walking away. Odie and I continued talking, and Odie became obviously filled with conviction and fear over his own eternal destiny. He and I talked for another fifteen minutes or so, and his last words to me were, “I realize that I, because I know better, will be judged even more strictly than those who don’t understand.” I agreed with him and added a reference to myself, reminding him of James 3:1 concerning God’s strict judgement for teachers of His Word.
So, those of us who presume to know the Scriptures (including Joseph) –we better get it right. We better be reading and studying –no, not men’s doctrines, but the Word of God itself. We better pray for God to wipe away all our biases so that we can comprehend what we are reading. For what blindness there is these days! What a strong delusion many have bought into! Holy conduct is not necessary for salvation??! Really? Is that what Joseph wants us to believe? Why does he think my theology is askew when it is his that is false?
Jesus has told us, “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mt. 10:22) He has told us that those who belong to Him (His family and His Kingdom) are only those who do God’s will, which comes by putting His teachings into practice so that good fruit is produced. (7:15-27 & 12:50 // John 15:1-10) Jesus tells us, “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.” (John 16:1)
Going astray is a possibility or Jesus would not warn us of it, nor would He warn us of persecution, lack of fruit-production, and sin which can cause us to turn to waywardness and be cut off from Christ and God’s love. (Luke 8:11-15 // John ch. 15) He would not warn church-goers of deeds that are not complete in His sight (Rev. 3:2) or warn them to repent and to obey His teachings. (v. 3) He would not warn us that becoming soiled, and being found unworthy and unable to overcome, can result in having our names erased from the Book of Life. (v. 4-6) “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Does this statement from Jesus in Luke 9:24 sound like He is teaching that all we need for salvation is a one-time moment of belief and confession of sin? Hardly! Instead Jesus makes it clear that losing our life for Him means denying Self, picking up our cross daily, and following Him. (v. 23)
Many other verses of Scripture say essentially the same thing. Rom. 6:6 tells us that “our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless…” while Gal. 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Col. 2:11 says that those who are in Christ have had their sinful nature circumcised off by Christ, while Titus 2:11-14 says that God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to sin (v. 11) so that Jesus “who gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness may have a purified people for Himself who are eager to do what is good.” (See v. 14) And I could go on and on.
One passage I quoted for Joseph was Heb. 10:26,27 about sinning deliberately and that it causes one to forfeit salvation. I wanted to continue on down to verse 31, but I kept getting interrupted. Even so, may the rest of us comprehend that this passage, unlike Joseph declared it to be, is speaking of those who have once been saved. Verse 29 shows us explicitly that it is about the person who has once been sanctified (washed clean and made holy) by Christ’s blood. It says, “How much more severely do you think a man ought to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” This passage is warning those once saved! Verse 30 warns, “The Lord will judge His people” while verse 31 says, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Let’s understand that “a dreadful thing” does not equate to having the words said to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Master!” (Mt. 25:21) No, it equates to this: “You wicked, lazy servant!” (v. 26) and a banishment to “the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (v. 30)
Truly, regardless of what Joseph and his ilk believe, the Word of God warns, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” (Heb. 10:36) Verses 35-39 make it clear that we “Christians” have the choice to continue living by faith or to make the choice to throw away our faith and shrink back under God’s wrath that destroys (see also Luke 12:4,5) and that sends us to eternal punishment. (Mt. 18:32-35 & 25:46 // 2 Thes. 1:7-9)
1 Cor. 16:22a says, “If anyone does not love the Lord –a curse be on him.” Oh, but those of Joseph’s theology would say, “But I do love the Lord.” Do they? –When they say it is not necessary to have holy conduct in order to be saved? –When they refuse to teach that completed salvation is not a reality until we actually step from this earth and stand before God’s Judgement (2 Cor. 5:10 // Heb. 9:27) and hear Him call us “Faithful”? Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) He says, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching” (v. 23) and so will be indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and the Father. (Same verse // Rom. 8:9) Indeed, love for God is to obey His commands (1 John 5:3) and, through the power of the Spirit, to walk in victory over sin. (v. 4 // Rom. 8:1-14)
Let us not be deceived: Jesus will not grant entrance into Heaven to those who refuse to abandon their sin and their disobedience to God. (Luke 13:3 & 23-27 // Eph. 5:5,6) Jesus will not grant Eternal Life to those who refuse to obey Him. (John 15:10 // Heb. 5:9) Yes, everyone is offered the gift of salvation (John 3:16 // 1 John 2:2), but not everyone is chosen. (Mt. 22:1-14) Only the fervently obedient, faithful, and worthy fruit-producers who have walked in God’s will are the ones chosen to enter the eternal joy and love of their Master. (Mt. 25:21 // John 15:10 // Col. 1:10 // 1 Pe. 1:7-9,13-17,22 // 1 John 2:15-17 // Rev. 3:14-16 & 17:14) I’ll say that again: Only the fervently obedient, faithful, and worthy fruit-producers who have walked in God’s will are the ones chosen to enter the eternal joy and love of their Master.
Let’s realize that Jesus has informed us that those who are eternally secure are those who follow Him. (John 10:27,28) Let’s understand that Jesus says that if we hold to His teaching, we belong to Him (8:31-36) but, if we do not, we have no Life in us. (6:53-57) John 6:66 shows us that “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” Why? Because much of Jesus’ teaching offended and annoyed them and they did not want to accept it. (v. 60,61)
Again, let us not be deceived. For turning to false doctrines can, absolutely, make any Christian fall, or be cut off, from their secure position in Christ. (John 15:2,6 // Heb. 3:12-19 // 2 Pe. 3:17) So can the lack of fruit production or the remainder of sin in one’s life. (John 15:2 // Heb. 6:4-12 // 1 John 2:3-6 & 3:6-10) Thus we are warned, “See that what you have heard from the beginning [that is, the Truth first taught by Christ and the apostles] remains in you. IF it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He promised us –even eternal life.” (1 John 2:24,25)
May Joseph, and all others who hold to his type of theology, come to see their dangerous error.
February 11, 2017
Jari (at my comment page today),
You ask, “Do you believe that great men of God such as John Piper, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, and other Calvinists are not really saved because they are following John Calvin’s heretic teachings?”
You call these men “great men of God” so I’m wondering what, to you, makes a person such. But even if God could possibly call them that, we can see in Gal. 1:6-9 the warning that we not follow anyone, including an angel from heaven, who might preach a gospel other than the true one. The Word of God informs us in this passage that anyone who does such a thing is to be eternally condemned.
1 Tim. 4:16 is a warning to teachers to watch both their life and their doctrine closely so that by doing so they and their listeners will abide in the Truth and be saved. What is God’s Word telling us here about those who teach false doctrines?
Ja. 3:1 warns teachers that they will be judged more strictly. 2 Cor. 5:10 lets us know that everyone, including those who are trying to please the Lord (v. 9), will be judged for the things we’ve done, whether good or bad, while Jesus lets us know that this judgement results in either eternal life or eternal punishment. (Mt. 25:31-46 // John 5:29) Moreover, He lets us know that our thoughts can condemn us to Hell (Mt. 5:27-30) as can our careless words. (v. 22 & 12:36,37)
1 Cor. 3:10-17 is a warning to us about how we build upon the Foundation (Christ), informing us that constructing foolishly or defiling the dwelling of God’s Spirit will result in loss and/or destruction.
So, if a teacher of Scripture does NOT teach:
~~that God’s grace is offered to all mankind (which it is –John 3:16 & 12:32 // 2 Cor. 5:15 // 1 Tim. 2:6 // Titus 2:11 // 1 John 2:2 // Rev. 22:17),
~~or that God’s grace teaches us to renounce wickedness and to walk habitually in Christ-like holiness (which the Truth teaches and requires –2 Cor. 7:1 // 1 Thes. 4:1-8 // Titus 2:11-14 // Heb. 12:14-17 // 1 Pe. 1:13-17 // 1 John 2:3-6),
~~or that God’s grace enables us and empowers us to meet these requirements of holy living (which it does –Rom. 8:1-4 // 1 Cor. 4:20 // Gal. 5:16,24 // 2 Pe. 1:3,4),
–then how are such teachers different from those spoken about who promise others freedom while they themselves, by remaining slaves to sin, are candidates for eternal darkness? (2 Pe. 2:17-19) And if they remain slaves to sin, and teach that everyone, including all Christ-followers, remain in slavery to sin, then how are they not within the category of those sin-slaves Jesus refers to who have no permanent place in His family? (John 8:31-36) How are such teachers different from those mentioned in 2 Tim. 3:5-9 and Jude 1:4 who, by changing the grace of God into a license to keep sinning, reject Christ’s authority and power in us? How are Calvinists (those who teach that the elect will inherit Heaven no matter what sins they continue to commit) unlike those whom Jesus condemns in Mt. 18:6 because they caused believers in Him to sin?
Are such men teaching the Truth –the true Gospel? If not, will they receive “the grace [of God] that is to be given us when Jesus Christ is revealed”? (1 Pe. 1:13) Well, that is not our judgement call. It belongs to God. However, after we have considered the things I’ve written here, including Gal. 1:6-9 (again), let’s also remember James 2:13 which says, “Mercy triumphs over judgement!” That is a relief for us all! Yet what does the first part of the verse say? It says that “judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.” Shouldn’t this give all of us pause so that we all examine our own selves soberly? (2 Cor. 13:5) As James 5:9 warns, “The Judge is standing at the door!” Yet the first part of that verse says, “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged.” Is this particular warning of God’s judgement not directed at believers? It is!
What I am getting at is this: We all need God’s mercy as we walk through life. All of us. But can teaching false doctrine jeopardize our Eternal Life? Yes, it absolutely can. However, so can any sin, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (Ja. 2:10)
Teaching false doctrine and thus rejecting the Truth is to be of the devil. (1 Tim. 4:1 // Ja. 3:15) But so is the person “who does what is sinful”. (1 John 3:8)
P.S. To read how Calvinism presents a false gospel, see here: