We Must Be Doing What Is Right

September 30, 2017

Do we do what is right? How often? All the time? Most of the time? Okay, it’s often hard to evaluate ourselves objectively, so let’s ask, “Do others see me doing right, and how often? Would they consider me to be a righteous-acting person or a sinful-acting person?” I’m adding the word “acting” to the words “righteous” and “sinful” because these two latter words should be opposites to us since God’s Word reveals them to be opposites.

Let’s make no mistake about it: Scripture tells us that righteous people are not those who claim to be righteous in God’s eyes or who claim, “I have had Christ’s righteousness imputed to me”, but are instead those who are righteous-acting –those whose actions, thoughts, and words are righteous in God’s sight. Contrary to popular opinion, this is the Truth taught throughout the Word of God, just as 1 John 3:7b confirms: “He [the person] who does what is right is righteous, just as He [Christ Jesus] is righteous.” And the first part of the verse gives the warning, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Let’s take serious note: False doctrine is anticipated on this issue, warned about, and warned about to the children of God.

In case we still cannot see ourselves clearly enough to evaluate ourselves in this area, let’s then ask it of others we know: “Does that person generally do what is right, or generally do what is wrong?” 1 John 3:10 says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” Or, “Anyone not practicing righteousness is not of God.” I’m not advocating going around judging people, but I am advocating that we discern, and particularly that we discern our own selves, our own actions, our own righteousness or unrighteousness before God. I meet people often, especially while evangelizing, who think they are fine in God’s eyes, even while they continue to buy and/or sell drugs, hire prostitutes, engage in unwholesome talk, and cheat their fellow man. Can such a person really belong to the Lord? 1 John 3:10 makes it abundantly clear that they do not. It makes it abundantly clear that, rather, they belong to the devil. If we can see this situation plainly in others, let’s try to see our own position plainly and truthfully.

This is 1 John 3:10 in its entirety: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who is not practicing righteousness is not a child of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Most of us know love is a must –that we must love the Lord fervently and love others as ourselves. But what about having a life that is filled with “doing what is right”? God’s Word tells us that this is both a proof and a requirement in our salvation status. Yet the church is ignoring this. They are denying that it is so. They are teaching that Christ-followers can do wrong / be sinful / have a life characterized by unrighteous behavior, and still be seen as righteous in God’s opinion. What deception.

1 John 3:8 says, “Anyone practicing sin is of the devil.” Verse 6a says, “Anyone abiding in Him [Christ] does not sin.” The rest of the verse says it even more strongly: “Anyone sinning has not seen Him nor has he known Him.” (v. 6b) Chapter 5, verse 18 says, “We know that everyone having been born of God does not continue to sin.” Chapter 2, verse 4 says, “The person saying, ‘I have known Him,’ yet is not keeping His commandments, is a liar and the Truth is not in him.”

Let’s go over to the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 24. Jesus says, “Anyone not loving Me does not obey My teaching.” This means, then, that anyone who is not obeying Christ’s teaching does not love Him. Does anyone not loving Jesus make it to Heaven? Most Christians would say, “No”, as certainly would I, and we can confirm this in the Word, such as when Jesus teaches in this passage that it is the person who obeys Him within whom the Spirit sets up residence. (v. 21-23) And of course, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ indwelling him or her, that person does not belong to Christ.” (See Rom. 8:9)

While we’re at Rom. 8:9 let’s note that it also confirms that if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then we will not be controlled by the flesh (sinful nature / fallen natural nature) but will instead be controlled by the Spirit. Indeed, we have died to the old self and have a new nature and a new Boss. (Rom. ch. 6) If we resist following Him… if we ignore His orders… how can we claim to belong to Him? If we defy our employer’s instructions, would we last long in the company? If we disregard civil laws, would we not soon end up in jail? Heb. 10:29 warns, “How much worse a punishment do you think that person deserves who has trampled upon the Son of God, and who has esteemed as ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” How can we claim to follow Christ if we are being daily controlled by the fallen natural nature?

So where do we draw the line? How much unrighteous behavior severs us from Eternal Life? None? –if we claim to have trusted Jesus for salvation? What about a person who claims to belong to Christ yet who keeps falling into the sin of child molesting? Is that person saved because he has trusted in “Christ’s imputed righteousness” for himself? What about a “Christian” who views pornography? Is he really “a new creation”? (2 Cor. 5:17) Do such “Christians” truly possess the Holy Spirit who gives us “all the power we need to live godly”? (See 2 Pe. 1:3,4) Has the old self really died? Has such a person truly been washed clean? And if so, are they walking in that cleansing, or are they going back to the filth? The latter would describe such a person and 2 Pe. 2:20-22 explains, clearly, such a person’s fate.

Now let’s ask, if someone keeps doing the most vile of deeds, even while claiming to be saved, is that person saved? I think most everyone would have to say, “No, that person is deceiving himself.” Okay. So what about “lighter” sins? What about if someone is being immoral in any way? What about if someone has a habit of drugs, theft, rage, greed, laziness, slander, or lying?

Friends, the true standard is not our opinion. The standard is God’s standard and He has revealed what that is in His Word. This can be seen in Gal. 5:19-21 where we are told that “those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God” and it lists impurity, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, drunkenness, etc. “Those who live like this…” –That’s about behavior. Another example is in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 where a similar list is given. Verse 9 there warns us to not be deceived about the fact that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And lest anyone says, “Well, ‘the wicked’ are those who have not had Christ’s righteousness imputed to them”, verses 9 and 10 list those characters who behave in particular manners. Wicked and righteous are labels the Bible gives to describe people as a result of the way those people conduct themselves. (See Mt. 13:41-43 & ch. 25 and John 5:29 and Ja. 2:14-26 just for starters.)

Some other lists of behaviors and character traits that will disable people from salvation can be seen in Eph. 4:31-5:7 which include bitterness, slander, and greed, and in Col. 3:5-10 which include lust, anger, malice and fowl talk, and in Rev. 21:8 which include the cowardly and all liars.

Col. 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because…” Why? –Because you had not yet put your trust in Christ and been imputed forever with His righteousness? No. It says, “…because of your evil behavior.” It is sin that separates us from God and if we go back to wallowing in it, we have forfeited the grace of God that has allowed for us, and been available to empower us, to walk pleasing to Him. (Jonah 2:8,9 // Rom. 2:1-16 // 2 Cor. 6:1,2,14-18 // Titus 2:11-14 // Heb. 6:8 & 10:26-31)

So, is our life one of sinful-acting or righteous-acting? Are we wicked or are we righteous? All individuals, including those who claim to be saved, are given a label by God based on whether or not we are making a daily practice of doing what is right. (Luke 9:23-25) If we are not, we are sinning (Ja. 4:17), we do not belong to God (1 John 3:10), and we are, instead, of the devil. (v. 8 )

Let us, therefore, “repent and turn to God, doing works consistent with repentance.” (Acts 26:20)

with love,

Last week while witnessing downtown a young woman came up to me asking for prayer concerning something she was extremely upset about. I listened to her and prayed with her and hugged her. I also gave her encouraging Scriptures, reminding her of God’s promises. Her tears stopped and she became joyful as she praised and thanked the Lord for His comforting, strengthening Word. She expressed hope and faith in what I was telling her and I was amazed. Readers, please say a prayer for her that she will walk close to the Lord. She told me that she has seen me witnessing down there for thirteen years, though she’d never talked to me till now.

That was a blessing encounter and I had many other ones. However, one encounter I had that stuck heavy in my mind and heart was a conversation I had with a young man who said he’d met me a year or so ago while he and some others were also evangelizing. We enjoyed edifying each other in the Word until it became obvious that we were not in agreement on the obedience/works issue. He kept pressing it and must’ve quoted Eph. 2:8,9 at least four times, being emphatic that works do not save us. I said works of the flesh and the law do not, but that obedience to Christ’s teachings and Spirit is necessary, that it is a continual choosing to put forth effort, that effort is certainly work (though yes, work done using the power of the Holy Spirit), and that it is thus works! He did quote verse 10 once as well, but he could not seem to accept that the “good works” stated there really does mean that we must do good works and that if we must, but we don’t, we’d be walking in rebellion to the Spirit. He agreed to a point, yet since he also revealed that he believes God preordains some people to be saved and some people to be damned (even while denying to be a Calvinist), he said that such rebellion against God would not keep a believer from being saved.

As I said to him, there are many other verses in the Bible, not just Eph. 2:8,9, and all Scripture must be taken into account and allowed to interpret itself. We cannot rest our theology on a few verses and ignore what other verses are teaching. We must weigh all the verses and look at their contexts. When we do this we see that there are scores of verses that teach that we must be walking in obedience to the Lord in order to be walking the path of Life and actually arrive at its final destination. (See Mt. 7:21 & 19:17 for starters.)

Let’s look at Eph. 2:8-10. These verses say, “For by grace you are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves; of God, the gift– not a result of works so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that in them we should walk.” We need to realize that faith is the actual adherence to what we claim to believe, and that adherence is action in mind, heart, and behavior. Because of God’s grace in offering us the gift of salvation, we are allowed to choose the gift by faith and then walk in it by faith. The offer of the gift was solely God’s doing and we didn’t deserve or earn the offer, but once we choose to accept the gift, we are required to abide by that which the gift requires –a continual submission to fulfilling those good deeds which God foreordained for us to do. (John 15:2 // Rom. 8:9,14 // Ja. 4:17)

Well, there were a lot of other verses I brought up to this guy, but he was no longer listening –only trying his best to convert me. It saddened me, and it saddens me that most of Christendom seems dangerously indifferent about, even resistant toward, obeying Jesus 24/7. They don’t seem to believe it is possible or necessary, so they choose to teach this unbelief and negligence to others, and they apparently feel satisfied because they do obey God’s Word when it’s convenient enough.

I wanted to quit the conversation because the disagreement was obviously going to solidly stand, so I gave him a hug and ended with 1 Tim. 4:16, reminding him that we better have our life and doctrine right since we will be held accountable for where we lead both ourselves and other people. At least he did agree with that.

1 Tim. 4:16 warns, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the doctrine. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and those listening to you.” This verse says there is a way to save ourselves, as well as our hearers. Really? I thought Christendom is teaching that it is all God’s doing?

Well, like I said, we must interpret Scripture with Scripture and not build a doctrine on just an isolated verse or two.

Here are three more of the many other posts I’ve written on this issue:




with love,

Witnessing downtown today was really great. I had a lot of lively conversations, including with atheists, with others who think that what they believe actually creates their eternal reality, and then also with those who believe God’s Word and want to walk closer to Jesus. I was glad that the Lord led me to go on from the train station to the restaurant area because there was a booth festival up there and thus loads of people. Truly, it is a high honor to spread the Good News in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit and I appreciate all the prayer backing from my mom and from other prayer partners, for it definitely helps make my efforts all the more successful.

My signs I used today were: “Jesus is the only true Savior. John 14:6”. And: “Look at Jesus, not at the wind and the waves.” And: “God says to sin’s captives, ‘Be freed!'” And: “Christ’s cross doesn’t cover a continuation in sin. Heb. 10:26”. And: “The Judge (Jesus) is at the door. Ja. 5:9”. And: “Lips that praise God but hearts far from Him..? Mark 7:6”.

Last week while witnessing downtown, I talked with two other evangelists that I once in a while see down there and one of them took a picture of me displaying another one of my signs (see below) and sent it to me. (The week before, they had given a Bible to the young man who is next to me in the picture and he was talking with them again, excited about his new walk with Christ. Please pray for him.)

So what about the message on my sign in this photo? Is it correct? I get a lot of reactions from this sign –both affirmations and rebukes– but I’m guessing that many church-goers would say it is not correct theology. Let’s look, though, at Scripture and let’s begin with the three verses I have referenced underneath the statement, “Holy conduct is necessary for salvation.”

The first is 1 Pe. 1:15 and it says, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” This is a command, not a suggestion, and it says, “Be holy in all your conduct.” We are being commanded to be holy. –By way of a claim? No, but by way of our behavior. Do we have to obey this command? Yes, we do –if we want to inherit Eternal Life. As Jesus said, “If you want to enter into Life, keep the commandments.” (Mt. 19:17) He also said, “If anyone keeps My Word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51) And what if we don’t keep (adhere to / heed / follow / submit to / obey) His Word? Then we will experience death. Eternal Death. Hell. It’s that simple.

So the command is that we be holy in all our conduct, and this required holiness is being equated with God’s holiness. In other words, not a little bit holy, but fully holy. And it is about conduct. Jesus taught the same when He said, “You therefore must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) –And when He said, “You are My friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14) This “doing” is not an “imputed righteousness” but it is a producing of fruit done in the will of the Father. (v. 16 // Mt. 7:21) Jesus warned that those in Him who do not continue to produce His fruit will be cut off (John 15:2) and thrown to the fire. (v. 6)

The second verse I referenced on my sign is John 5:29 where Jesus said, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” Can committing sin be “doing good”? Of course not. And let’s remember that neglecting to do good is sin in itself (Ja. 4:17), that it is a path to being vomited out of God’s mouth (Rev. 3:15,16), and that it is damnable. (Mt. 25:41-46)

The third verse I referenced on my sign is Heb. 12:14: “Pursue peace with all, and holiness, which without, no one will see the Lord.” Can anyone deny that this verse is commanding us to pursue holiness because if we do not attain it, we will not see the Lord? Can anyone deny that this verse teaches that holiness must be pursued? Again, it is not a suggestion, but a command and a warning. We should take note that the following verses (v. 15-17) about missing the grace of God, defilement, and missing our chance, teach that holiness is not a claim but instead an existence of clean conduct and that we can indeed sell our inheritance for a bowl of sin.

We have been told that obedience to God and His commands is a requirement in serving God. (John 8:31 & 12:26) So we can’t serve the Lord (or love Him or honor Him or be unified with Him or belong to Him) if we don’t obey Him / His Spirit and His teaching. (Rom. 6:16,17 & 8:4,9,14) Obedience to God is what makes us holy. It is not about a claim. It is about conduct. As 1 John 2:3,4 tell us, if we do not obey Christ’s commands, then we are not in the Truth and do not know Christ.

Holiness is about what we do. A claim to love Jesus and His teaching is not sufficient. The claim must be backed up by righteous behavior (John 14:15-24 // Titus 1:16 & 2:11-14 // 1 John 2:29) and a doing of what the Master is instructing. (Mt. 12:42-46) Any other teaching is a deception. (Ja. 1:22 // see also Luke 12:15-21 and 1 Thes. 4:1-8 and Titus 2:1 and Heb. 2:1-3 & 10:26-31) As Gal. 6:7,8 say, what we sow, we do reap, eternally.

I give plenty of Scripture to back up what I teach and I encourage people to look up the verses I don’t take time to quote. But here are ten more that reveal that holy conduct is necessary for remaining on the path of Salvation so that one actually arrives at the Final Destination / Eternal Life / Heaven / Eternity with God:

1. 2 Tim. 2:19: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” This means we must turn from wicked (sinful) conduct to holy (righteous / obedient-to-Christ / walking in the will of God) conduct.

2. Eph. 5:3-6: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or crude joking… For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person –such is an idolator– has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

3. 1 Cor. 6:9-11: “Do you not know that the wicked [the unrighteous / wrongdoers] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor… drunkards nor verbal abusers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed…” The contrast of being washed clean or remaining unclean is dependent upon behavior, not a claim, and we are being warned that being deceived about this fact is indeed a danger.

4. Gal. 5:19-21: “The acts of the sinful nature are…hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition… I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this [behave like this] will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

5. 1 Pe. 4:17: “…what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the Gospel of God?”

6. Heb. 5:9: “He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”

7. 2 Thes. 1:8,9: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction…” And as 1 John 2:3-6 reminds us, knowing the Lord happens only by obeying His commands and living like Jesus.

8. Rom. 2:6-11: “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life…” This passage goes on to say that those who are self-seeking, reject the Truth, and follow evil, have God’s wrath awaiting them, and that God does not show favoritism. Again, this passage is about conduct.

9. Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation… teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for… Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.”

10. Rev. 22:11,12: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” These verses are contrasting those who behave holy or unholy, and verses 14 and 15 do so also. Verses 18 and 19 show that actions define eternal destiny, as does 21:7,8, & 27.

There are many more Scripture verses that teach that holy conduct is necessary for inheriting eternal life. But hopefully this has been enough to convince the skeptics.

To read another post I wrote on this subject, click here:


with love,

On this Labor Day, as most people have taken a break from their career work, let us also consider whether or not our labors are in line with God’s will. Jesus has taught us, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27)

Let’s take note that “the Son of Man”, who is Jesus, WILL (future tense) give us eternal life –if we work for food that endures. Yes, we are walking that (evermore-illuminating) Road now if we are abiding in Christ, but we have not yet arrived at our final destination and so must realize that it is indeed possible, through foolishness (carelessness / rebellion / falsehoods / sin) to miss, drift away, turn back, or fall from this Narrow Road. (Mt. 7:14 // John 6:66 // Heb. 2:1 & 3:12-14 // 2 Pe. 3:17)

Truly, our choices are what prove our faith genuine (or not), but if genuine, our faith then results in love for Jesus, trust in Him, and inexpressible joy, all because we are receiving the goal of our faith (1 Pe. 1:7-9) –the salvation of our souls (v. 9), which, through God’s grace, WILL BE (future tense again) given to us when Jesus Christ is revealed. (v. 13) In other words, God’s grace has saved us, is continuing to save us, and will with finality save us –if –if we remain in Christ (John 15:1-10), which comes by communing with Him and keeping (holding to / adhering to / obeying) His Word. (John 8:55 // 1 John 2:3-6)

Yes, to do the work God requires is to believe in the One He has sent –Jesus. (John 6:28,29) However, this is not an intellectual belief (like the demons have –Ja. 2:19), but a belief that causes us to make every effort to be communing with Christ and serving Him. (Mt. 11:12 // John 6:53-58) It is a belief that causes us to feed on His words (John 6:63), which is what enables the Holy Spirit to fill up our spirit and give us Life. (Same verse) Without feeding on Jesus / His words, and putting His teaching into practice, we will not remain in Christ and will not have Life. (Luke 6:46-49 // John 6:53,56)

Jesus says in John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me.” He also says in John 12:26, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me.” Jesus is informing us that we must do God’s work in unification with our Master and that we cannot serve Him without following Him (meaning without obeying His leadership). Therefore, we cannot serve Christ without being led by Him, and because this leading of His is continuous –24/7– so must our following after Him be 24/7. So we cannot claim to be serving Christ if we are not following Him, and we cannot claim to be following Him if we are not walking –walk-ing– submissive to Him, which means doing, at all times, what His Spirit is instructing us to do. Indeed, we are either following the old nature, or we are following the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:6 & 8:9) for we cannot live in obedience to two opposing wills. (Luke 16:13 // Gal. 5:16-25)

Let’s read the rest of Jesus’ words in John 12:26: “And where I am, My servant also will be.” Let’s think on this. Is it possible for someone to be abiding in (living in / doing) that which is not in the will of God, if they are truly serving (thus following) Christ? We know the answer is “No.” So can a person be giving their efforts to that which is not under the leadership of Christ and still be abiding in (remaining in) Christ? Again, the answer has to be “No.” Should anyone, then, be carefree about Jesus’ warning concerning those who do not remain in Him (do not serve Him by obediently following Him) –that they will be like branches whom God cuts off from Christ and left to wither and be cast to the fire? (John 15:2,6) Certainly such carefreeness would prove fatal.

Jesus says in John 10:27,28 that He preserves the eternal life of… –who? Is it those who claim to believe in Him? Or is it those who are in reality believing in Him and proving their faith genuine by listening to His words and actually following Him? We see that it is the latter. (Same verses)

So, on this Labor Day, let us reject the false doctrine that tells us that no work is necessary for salvation and let us instead heed our Lord’s teaching when He warns: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27) Jesus has definitely told us to work –but only for that which survives to eternal life. Consequently, only those who keep on forcefully pushing forward in the will of God are those who inherit Life forever. (Mt. 7:21 & 11:12 // 2 Cor. 5:15 // 1 John 2:17)

with love,