Friends,
Over this last month I’ve been corresponding with someone who, although he teaches the importance of obedience to Christ, made the Israel / Millennium issue a point of division. On March 10 I posted an email I’d written to him that day, he wrote back the next day, and now here is the first half of my response to him on March 12:

_____,
I appreciate you asking me to forgive you if you misjudged me and showed a carelessness concerning Christlike love. I don’t believe it was “if”, but of course I forgive you and I hope you mean you have turned from doing that. Remember, I emailed Mike to encourage him and thank him; not to ask him to evaluate my beliefs, and certainly not to quarrel. In deep sincerity I want his core message –surrounding the necessity of obedience to Christ– to spread. Truly he is skilled in explaining things clearly.

I do agree with the foundation of what Mike teaches. I definitely do not believe in original sin and when I begun writing messages in 1994 (my short tracts for my evangelizing) I contemplated for quite some time about what term to use in passages that speak of the flesh’s sinful desires. To use the word “flesh”, however, creates another problem (with people thinking our body itself has a sin-disease) where people then tend to (wrongly) accept that the spirit is pure while the body can keep sinning. I think both terms lack clarity for people, but “sinful nature” is what is easier to say when I quote the verses while evangelizing (or while writing posts). I do emphasize that one’s sinful nature comes about through a continued choice to sin and that if we have been born anew, we have crucified it and it is gone.

I am open to being corrected, as we all should be, but I cannot accept a correction regarding something about which God’s Word clearly teaches the opposite, and about which the Spirit of Truth has already instructed me extensively. The Lord allowed me to be pushed into searching the Truth regarding Israel and Christ’s in-the-body rule on earth because of the friend who kept antagonizing me about it. I told her it was not a subject I had studied much and that my emphasis of teaching was on obedience, but she persisted and considered it a dividing matter. So, I told her I would study it (again and thoroughly), which I did under the tutelage of the Spirit and the Word, and I came to the very opposite conclusion that she had. So, being that Christ-followers should not have to keep on learning over and over what we’ve already been taught by the Lord, “never able to arrive at the knowledge of the Truth” (2 Tim. 3:7), I trust you understand that I must believe God’s Word and Instruction over your views and words.

Consequently, when I read God’s words, “I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” (Amos 9:15), I believe Him. I’m not going to believe those who say that God meant, “I will plant the church in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.” Since God brought Jacob’s descendants back to the land several times, but then did uproot them for almost 2,000 years, I believe God when He says there is coming a time when they won’t be uprooted ever again.

As to the 1,000 years, I believe God’s Word again when Rev. 20:1-7 mentions the 1,000 years six times. That the 1,000 year reign would be recorded six times within seven verses is certainly an emphasis to its coming reality and should not be viewed as “just a fictitious idea”, as you call it. I caution you to remember Jesus’ warning “that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” (Mt. 12:36)

After the 1,000 year reign there will be another battle against the people and city God loves (Rev. 20:7-10), the devil will be thrown into the lake of burning sulphur (v. 10), earth and sky will flee from God’s presence (v. 11b) in great fiery destruction (2 Pe. 3:5-12), and the Great White Throne Judgement will take place. (Rev. 20:11-15) Then God will restore all things by making a new heaven and a new earth. (21:1 // Isa. 66:22 // Rom. 8:19-24 // 2 Pe. 3:13)

Indeed, “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom…” (Rom. 8:21); for Jesus “must remain in Heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.” (Acts 3:21) Yet you, _____, are trying to persuade me to disbelieve the holy prophets who spoke God’s promises in His name. Yes, I know that Christ-followers are participants of the spiritual Kingdom of God now, but that does not negate God’s promises to Israel or His promises to rule in person (Rev. 22:4) over all the nations. (21:22-26 // Isa. 9:6,7 // Zech. 14:16-21)

~~~~~~~~

Friends, I encourage all of us to know well what God’s Word says –what the Lord commands as well as what He promises. For many false teachers are in the world and most of them, in being adamant that they are correct and that everyone needs to adhere to their interpretations, mock those of us who take the Word of God at face value. Truly, it is God’s words that we are to believe, not men’s words that contradict it.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
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.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
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)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

_____,
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.

Sincerely,
in Christ,
Rachel

Friends,
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.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel