The New Testament

“The New Testament is of full authority, and open to the understanding of simple men, as to the points that be most needful to salvation…He that keepeth meekness and charity [love] hath the true understanding and perfection of all Holy Writ,” for “Christ did not write his laws on tables, or on skins of animals, but in the hearts of men.”

John Wyclif (1320 -1384), the English reformer, headed a group that translated the Latin Bible into the English common language. (Addition mine)

From Church History in Plain Language — Bruce L. Shelley 

When Shall We Pray?

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Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.”

— Corrie Ten Boom (15 April 1892 – 15 April 1983, Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II).

Berean Call

Do You Have Rats In Your Cellar?

“C.S. Lewis takes a lesson from the same observation: “If  there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

“In other words, my behavior, when caught off guard, is the best evidence of the sort of person I am.  That being the case, I should never excuse my bad behavior simply because I’m suddenly prodded or provoked. What I am under unexpected pressure is what I am. There’s no way around it.”

Teach Us To Number Our Days —-David Roper

Holy and Blameless: Part 4

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(Note: For parts one through three, please scroll to bottom of this post or use search bar.)

“…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —” (Col. 1:22 emphasis mine)

In this scripture the Apostle Paul is telling us that the Lord Jesus has reconciled us SO THAT He may present us before Himself in a state of being holy and  blameless and beyond reproach.  Notice it is “before Himself” at this point but I Thess. 3:13 tells us: “…so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”  Ultimately you will be presented to God the Father as one who is holy, blameless and beyond reproach.

Let’s break this scripture down and discuss what these descriptive characteristics mean.

“Holy” comes from a Greek word used to designate a building, person or something else that was dedicated to the service and worship of one of their pagan gods.  It is the same Greek word translated “saint” that Paul calls the born again believers.  The word speaks of separation. In our case it is separation from evil and separation to the service and worship of the Lord Jesus and God the Father.  Colossians 1: 13 says the Holy Spirit

“… delivered us out of the tyrannical rule of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love, in whom we have our liberation, procured by the payment of ransom, the putting away of our sins; ” (Wuest)

In Galatians 1:4 Paul said:

“…the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself in behalf of our sins so that He might rescue us out from the present pernicious age…” (Wuest)

These two scriptures witness to the fact that our faith in the Lord Jesus has brought about a separation from evil and separation to good in our new life.   So positionally we are holy or separated unto Christ.

It is the believers responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to make this positional truth experientially true in his new life in-Christ.  We need to make it a reality in our character. Paul put it this way after telling us  what Almighty God said about dwelling in us in II Corinthians 6: 16-18:

“Having therefore these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all contamination which may defile the flesh [the human body] and the [human] spirit,  progressively accomplishing holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (II Cor. 7:1 Wuest)

Notice that Paul is saying “let us cleanse ourselves“. This is the responsibility of the believer with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are to be “perfecting holiness” in the reverential awe of the Lord. Perfecting that separation from evil in our lives.

In Romans 12: 1-2 Paul says the same thing in more detail.  Notice Paul’s urgency in what he writes:

“I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service, [rational, in that this service is performed by the exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.” (Wuest)

The inner being is the positional you, the real you, who you are by the new birth and the “change your outward expression” is an exhortation to make the positional a reality in your experience.  He is saying don’t cover up the new person you are in Christ with the evil characteristics of this pernicious age or world.

Therefore, in conclusion, we are exhorted to be experientially holy, separated from evil.  Sin is evil. Remember “evil” is what God says is “evil”, not what we may think “evil” is.  That is why we need to read our Bibles to learn what He says is evil.  It is that simple.

Also Peter says “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him, in peace, spotless, and blameless.” (II Peter 3: 14). “Spotless” refers to being undefiled by sin or being holy, being free from censure, irreproachable. Notice Peter says we need to “be diligent” about this. This speaks of intense effort.  This characteristic of holiness will not just happen in our lives, we must supply serious effort in our working with the Holy Spirit in sanctification.  And He will bring it to pass!!

Due to travel, we will look at the words “blameless” and “reproach” next weekend. Thank you for your time.  I pray the eyes of your heart were illuminated. Now:

“…carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation with a wholesome, serious caution and trembling, for God is the One who is constantly putting forth His energy in you, both in the form of your being desirous of and of your doing His good pleasure.”  (Phil 2: 12-13 Wuest)

May you be carrying your salvation to its ultimate conclusion!  God bless you.

Carl

 

 

Found Holy and Blameless – Part 3

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(Note: For Part one and two, please scroll down to the bottom of this post or use the search bar. Thank you.)

In our last post we spoke about being “before Him” (Ephesians 1:4) and what that meant, how the Holy Spirit was gazing NOW, into our innermost being to see the reflection of Jesus in our character.  After finishing that post, I felt compelled to share the following.

In James 4: 4 Brother James tells the recipients of his letter “…do you not know that your friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore would desire after mature consideration to be a friend of the world is [thereby] constituted an enemy of God.” (Wuest).

God The Father sent Jesus to the Cross to rescue us from this present evil age (Gal. 1:4) and since the world is Satan’s kingdom (John 14: 30), He, God The Father, is VERY SERIOUS about us not loving the world and the things of the world.  (See Rev. 2:20 – 23)

Through I John 2: 15 (Wuest) He tells us to “Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it…” The people James is writing to evidently still considered the world precious and their indwelling evil nature was fulfilling its passionate carvings through the things of the world. The Holy Spirit was not in control of their life but their evil nature was.

This why James tells them in verse 5:

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: The Spirit which He has made to dwell in us jealously desires us.” (NASB margin note)

Wuest’s Expanded Translation sheds light on what the second half of that verse means:

“The Spirit [Holy Spirit] who has been caused to make His permanent home in us has a passionate desire [to control us] to the point of envy [of any control indwelling sin may have over us]?

Now take a moment and let that sink in. Read it again.

Now, listen to the Holy Spirit through Paul in II Cor. 11: 2-3

“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin…”

And why was he jealous?

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

He, the Holy Spirit, has a passionate desire to sit on the throne of our hearts, giving us the desire and power to say NO to enticements to sin.  As we say NO to temptation, He provides the power to follow through and manifest Jesus in us in the process.  He wants us to stay faithful to our bridegroom Christ Jesus and not be an adulteress by loving Satan’s world. “Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? (I Cor. 10: 22) says Paul to the Corinthians.

Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek summons up how He feels about us very nicely:

“The Holy Spirit is not a passive Partner. He aggressively and actively pursues you.  He fiercely wants more of you. When you give part of yourself to something or someone else’s control, the Holy Spirit wants to seize that part of your life and bring it back under His divine control….So make your relationship with the Holy Spirit your top priority. Don’t give Him a reason to feel betrayed by or envious of other things in your life that have taken His place.  Get to know the Holy Spirit’s voice in your spirit so He can help you set your life in order. Make sure every area of your life is under His loving control!”

The crowning purpose of salvation is for us “to become conformed to the image of His Son,..”.  That, I believe, is the main purpose the Holy Spirit indwells us. Is that not what this sick and wicked society needs to see? JESUS IN ALL OF HIS LIFE-CHANGING GLORY!

II Corinthians 6: 16 -18 tells us that the Holy Spirit is none other than the Lord Almighty. Oh, how we need to let Him OUT for the lost masses to see! Let that be our purpose in life every day we arise.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless  with GREAT JOY, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24 – 25 NASB emphasis mine)

Carl

Holy & Blameless – Part 2

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(Note: For Part One of this series, please go to the bottom of this post. Thank you.)

As we discussed in Part One, our brothers Paul, Peter, Jude and other New Testament writers are exhorting us to be diligent to be found holy and blameless “before Him”.

The Greek words translated “exhort” and “exhortation” in the English language denote “to call on, entreat”, “to admonish, to urge, someone to pursue some course of conduct”, to advise, warn” and “to impel morally, to urge forward, encourage”.  I share this to make it clear that the motive in writing on this subject is not to bring condemnation but to encourage us to go forward in being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).  We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.

I also wanted to share what Kenneth Wuest, former Greek professor at Moody Bible Institute (1950s), said about the meaning of the phrase “before Him”.  He says the word “before” in the Greek means “to see down in” and:

“The word speaks of a penetrating gaze that sees right down into a thing. It refers here to the penetrating gaze of the Holy Spirit as He sees right down into our innermost being, through all of the superficialities, hypocrisies, and shams of human existence. This refers to a PRESENT searching gaze of God into the inner character of the saint, not to a FUTURE judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  And it is not a searching gaze conducted in a critical attitude which looks for faults, but a satisfied, delighted contemplation of the reflection of the holiness and spotlessness of the Lord Jesus in the character of the saint, for Alford says; “implying an especial nearness and dearness to Him—-and bearing a foretaste of the time when the elect shall shall be before the throne of God (Rev. 7:15).”” (Emphasis mine)

Notice that he says that “before Him” in this text refers to NOW and not the FUTURE Judgement Seat of Christ. In Jude 24, I Thess 5:23, I Thess 3: 13, Phil 1:10, and Eph 5: 27 it is referring to the future event.  In the first post of this series, I said the context of this exhortation was the Judgement Seat of Christ, but I evidently missed this explanation. I apologize for any confusion this may have created.

In Galatians, Paul speaks about the Isralites being typed as little children unable to attend to themselves; therefore, they needed a guardian to guide and protect them. This was the Old Testament Law.  Now, we as adopted children of God, do not need a guardian because the Holy Spirit indwells us.  And He is far more powerful than the Law.  In Wuest’s explanation we see Him gazing into our innermost person, contemplating the reflection of the Lord Jesus!

May He be seeing a beautiful reflection of Jesus in your inner most being today.

He Has Blessed You In Christ,

Carl

Found Holy & Blameless – Part One

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“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  (Ephesians 1: 4 Emphasis mine)

Scripture exhorts us to be holy and blameless.  It has nothing to do with our justification in Christ, our salvation, but is descriptive of the character that is produced as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process that begins once we are born again.  He produces the character of Jesus in us.  We stop loving sin and the world, satan’s kingdom,  and start loving the Lord Jesus. We stop practicing sin and start practicing righteousness.  We are gradually conformed to His image.

Our scripture locates where this character is desired: “we should be holy and blameless before Him.”  Nearly all the scriptures associated with this phrase, or phrases similar to it, mention this context: “before Him“, when we “stand in the presence of His glory“, or “at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” or “until the day of Christ” or “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory”.  This all refers to us standing in His Presence after He raptures the church and the Judgement Seat of Christ occurs.  The next BIG EVENT on the biblical calendar.

When He comes to rapture His people out of the earth, we will see Him in all His Glory and each believer will stand before Him to receive our reward or loss of rewards depending on what we have done for Him.  It is here in His Personal Glorious Presence that the New Testament writers exhort us to be found “holy and blameless”.

The Apostle John saw Him in His Glory in Revelation 1: 12-16 and “fell at His feet as a dead man.”  Following is a description of how Lord Jesus looked:

“…one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters….and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”  (Rev.1: 13 -16)

It is in His Presence that we are exhorted to “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless”, (II Peter 3:14). Take a moment to reflect on this awesome meeting that you will experience as a born again child of God.  To see your Savior face to face.  The word of God says we will either be filled with exceedingly great joy and be able to speak or we will turn away in shame.  Which do you want?

Father God, help us by your Holy Spirit to be found separated from evil and faultless in the Presence of Your Beloved Son.  Help us to be found  in love with Him and behaving in this age in a manner worthy of Him. In His Name we pray. Amen.

In our next post we will explore further the meaning of this exhortation to be “holy and blameless before Him“. I hope you will join us.  Thank you for your valuable time.

Do all things without grumbling and disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,..”  (Philippians 2: 14-15 emphasis mine)

Pay Close Attention To Yourself..” and “…Prove yourselves…”

God Bless You and Yours,

Carl

 

 

 

The Occult: A Trap For Those Who Turn Away From The True Living God

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“Today, a terrible spiritual vacuum exists in which people are forced to live because they turned from the living God and tried to fill the resulting emptiness with physical pleasure. Man crowds into this vacuum all the moral and ethical values attached to the material world. Again and again people protest, “There’s got to be something more than this, because we’re not satisfied.”  Satisfaction has not come through the dollar sign. Satisfaction has not come through the pill. Satisfaction has not come through economic aggrandizement or political conquests or military supremacy. Lost in a spiritual void, the human heart searches for some kind of reality apart from God and His Word, and discovers the occult reality from another dimension.”

“For the first time in history, the doorway to the occult has been left permanently ajar on a global scale, luring the unsuspecting — twenty-four hours a day — to the dimension of darkness. The kids who play with Ouija boards and think it is fun; the teenagers who try to levitate tables and read tarot cards, tea leaves, and their palms; and the parents who identify themselves as Virgo or Scorpio and believe what today’s paper says about tomorrow are people flirting with the kingdom of the occult, and it is perilous, because it reaches out to another dimension and endangers the soul.”

“God recognized what men had failed to recognize: knowledge of the future is in His hand, and any attempt to obtain from the hand of demons what has been denied by the will of the Divine is an experiment fraught with peril and dangers undreamed of by the human soul.”  (emphasis mine)

The Kingdom of the Occult   —Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, Kurt Van Gorden

God makes Himself very clear in Deuteronomy 18: 9-14 how He feels about occult practices and the people who do them:

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.”

God considered the Canaanite occult practices “abominations” worthy of capital punishment. We do not want to be an abomination to God by consulting the powers of darkness, demons, for knowledge that He never intended us to have, opening our souls up to demonic powers.  We want to be holy and blameless before Him.  As Christian parents, it is vitally important that we protect our children  from any involvement or exposure to these abominations. Teach them that they are wrong.

If you are a born-again believer and have been involved in any of these abominations in the past or are now, repent (change your mind about them), ask God to forgive you and let the blood of the Lamb wash away this sin.  Then destroy any occult materials or objects you have in your possession.  Forsake any involvement in the future.  Then walk in peace with your Father God.

More on this later.

Walk in discernment. May God richly bless you!

Carl

 

Love in Action

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Appian Way south of Rome – one location of Christian catacomb burials

“Atheism (i.e. Christian faith) has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead.  It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.”

Roman Emperor Julian (332-63) – Church History in Plain Language – Bruce L. Shelley

Emperor Julian, after Roman Emperor Constantine, was attempting to bring revival of the traditional Roman pagan religion when he made this observation.  He wanted to set aside Christianity and bring back the ancient faith, but he saw clearly the drawing power of Christian love.  Christians were called “atheist” by the Romans because they did not believe in Emperor worship.

Mr. Shelley says the following in reference to early Christians providing burials for the dead.

“One expression of Christian love had a particularly far-reaching effect. The church often  provided burial service for poor brethren. Christians felt that to deprive a person of honorable burial was a terrible thing. Lactantius, the North African scholar (C.240-320) wrote, “We will not allow the image and creation of God [the human body] to be thrown out to the wild beasts and the birds as their prey; it must be given back to the earth from which it was taken.””

This self-sacrificial love for people is said to be one of the reasons that the Gospel spread so fast in the beginning.  The testimony of this pagan Emperor bears witness to the words of the Lord Jesus:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  (John 13: 34-35 emphasis mine)

May we manifest His love for others as we go about our days.

God Bless You!

Carl

Blinding the “Eyes of The Heart”

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“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4) (Emphasis mine)

In the original language of the New Testament, the writers express the human understanding as the “eyes of the heart”. In this scripture Apostle Paul pulls back the curtain between the spiritual and physical dimensions and explains why people do not receive the gospel. I would like to share some thoughts on what Satan, the god of this world, uses to blind the eyes of the heart, the understanding of the unbelieving.

The word “Blinded” is tuphloo in the Greek language, whose root tuph means “to burn, smoke” and is used metaphorically, of dulling of the intellect”  (Vines).

Hence, the “blinding” that Satan does is a dulling of the intellect.  The intellect is defined as the “faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively” (Oxford Dictionary). To be objective is to keep your decision from being influenced by your personal feelings or opinions.

I would like to humbly suggest that  a person’s pride, Satan’s original sin, is what dulls the person’s intellect.  Scripture says that “Haughty eyes and  a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.  (Proverb 21:4 emphasis mine) In other words, they see all truth that is shared with them in the light or understanding of their prideful feelings and opinions.  And when that truth does not submit to or compliment their  pride, they reject it.   Through demons manipulating their thoughts, circumstances and their own indwelling sin nature, Satan dulls their understanding  by creating a false evaluation of their self-worth in their mind.

Psalms 119: 105 says that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and our path so that we do not stumble in our daily living.  Their pride is a false light, actually darkness, to their feet and path and they stumble (perish) because of it.  They can not see Satan’s traps, the consequences of sin and the need for a Savior.  And in the end “The lamp of the wicked will be put out” (Proverb 24:20).  They will be humbled but it may be too late to change.

James, Jesus’ half brother, exhorted us to humility by writing “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands sinners; purify your hearts, you double minded.”  (James 4:6-8)

As we go about our daily lives, we encounter two types of people.  One type is willfully ignorant of the life of God. Paul adds further revelation about the lost when he says they are “excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:18)  They know there is a God but, because of the “hardness of their heart”,  they do not want to know about Him because they think practicing sin will make them happy and bring satisfaction in life.  This is the deceitfulness of sin.   Job said “to depart from sin is understanding” (Job 28:28), therefore, they choose not to understand Him, to keep the light of the gospel out.  Job describes them:

“And they say to God, “Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Thy ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?” (Job 21:14)

“They have been with those who rebel against the light; They do not want to know its ways, nor abide in its paths.” (Job 24: 13)

I once read a true story about a Christian who took a lost acquaintance to hear a famous Christian apologist speak. After the presentation, he asked his lost guest his opinion.  The lost guy said that everything the apologist said made sense but he would not accept it because he did not want to give up his lifestyle.  He willfully kept the light of the  gospel out, choosing to walk in the light of his pride.

The other type of person is just like the one above except for the fact that the Holy Spirit of God is dealing with him . If you are a born again believer this was you (and me). Someone shared the gospel with us and through the Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin and righteousness the pride was torn down, the eyes of our hearts where illuminated by His truth and we understood we were sinners in need of a Saviour. God even gave us the faith to believe, repent of our sins, and obey the gospel message and now we are His adopted children walking humbly before our Father and Jesus Christ, our Lord. Praise His Name Forever.

So as you go about your life, do not prevent people from being able to access Jesus through you.  In love, open your mouth and share His truth. Be a Holy Spirit led witness of the grace of God in your life. Be willing to address the pride that is blinding people so the truth can shine in on their understanding.  The Holy Spirit is working everyday to bring people to the Cross and glorify Jesus.  Let us work with Him and He will work with us.

Thank you for your time. May God bless you and your family.

Carl

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Be Deceived

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How careful should we be not to put the cheat upon our own souls! Doubtless there are many in hell that once thought themselves to be in the way to heaven. Let us daily beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves in the concerns of our souls.”  


Matthew Henry, 1721 (Emphasis mine)

How we need to live in constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of our hearts, and of the insidiousness and power of our utterly corrupt sinful nature. In Galatians 5: 17 Paul tells us that it is always warring against the Holy Spirit in us to bring our soul back under the control of our evil passionate cravings.  In respect to this constant battle, the writers of the New Testament are continually warning us not to be deceived.

Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6: 9 -10 ) (Emphasis added)

“Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” (I Cor. 15: 33 ) (Emphasis added)

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”  (James 1:16 ) (Emphasis added)

“Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil;”  (I John 3:7-8) (Emphasis mine)

We can and do deceive our own selves, according to scripture.  Our pride is the root of the deception.

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you…” (Ob 1:3 )

Stop leading yourselves astray. God is not being outwitted and evaded. For whatever a man is in the habit of sowing, this also will he reap.; because the one who sows with a view to his own evil nature, from his evil nature as a source shall reap corruption. (Gal. 6: 7-8 Wuest Expanded Translation)  (Emphasis added)

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26) (Emphasis mine)

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8) (Emphasis mine)

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise” (I Cor. 3:18) (Emphasis mine)

Satan uses fellow human beings to deceive us and they are in the visible church according to the word of God:

“And they” (false prophets) “will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive;” (Zechariah 13:4b) (addition mine)

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.”  (I John 2:26) (emphasis mine)

“They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls,..” “For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption;”  (2 Peter 2:13-14, 18-19)

“I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument,” (Col. 2:4) (Emphasis mine)

“See to it that no one take you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men…” (Col. 2:8) (Emphasis mine)

“But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  (2 Timothy 3:13) (Emphasis mine)

“…for this you know absolutely and experientially, that every whoremonger or unclean person or covetous person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God. Let no one keep on deceiving you by means of empty words, for because of these things there comes the wrath of God upon the sons of the disobedience. Stop therefore becoming joint-participants with them;…” (Ephesians 5: 5-7 Wuest ET) (Emphasis mine)

Satan has deceived the whole world.  His has blinded the minds of those who are not in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He has placed false preachers, pastors and teachers in the body of Christ.  Some are obvious and some are not.  NEVER be lulled into deception by a “hairy robe” or some acknowledgement of supposed “learning”.  He can have a wall full of diplomas or years of experience but if his message does not line up with the word of God, he is a wolf in sheep clothing. It is our responsibility to know what the Bible says and to be led by the Holy Spirit so we can discern false teaching and not be deceived. In Revelation 2: 2, Jesus commended the Ephesus church for exposing the false apostles that came to them.

Did you notice above that false teachers entice through our passionate desires? We need to guard our hearts against the desire to be someone important, be recognized or we believe we have some special revelation or some other prideful desire, which opens ourselves up to Satan’s manipulation and deception.  Our goal as Christians should be to serve our brothers and sisters and be a living witness of the goodness of God.

Now may the Lord cause us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  Bless His Holy Name for giving us instruction and warnings.

Carl

(All scripture is from the NASB unless otherwise noted.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insight Into Christian Persecution

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Not many years ago our knowledge of Christian persecution was based on what the Roman Empire did to Christians and random acts of violence that happened in some far off land. ISIS changed all of that. Their videos showed the killing of Christians in the Middle East.  With that in mind, I wanted to share the findings of Nik Ripken who has researched persecution in over 60 countries by talking to those who have survived persecution.  Following are his thoughts.

“Persecution is a negative reaction to the incarnate presence of Jesus among His people. The negative reaction can take many forms and it can come from many different sources. Persecution can come from society as a whole, from the government, from an ideological entity, or from families and individuals. Persecution may be overt (open) or covert (hidden). It can be physical or psychological. Persecution can be actual or merely threatened. Regardless of its form, however, THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF PERSECUTION IS TO SILENCE WITNESS. AT ITS WORST, PERSECUTION DENIES PEOPLE ACCESS TO JESUS.”

“As strange (and as horrifying) as it sounds, we came to realize that believers could be unwittingly complicity with the persecutors by simply refusing to share their faith.  Just like persecution, the refusal to share the faith denies people access to Jesus. It was a startling thought to realize that the persecutor’s use of violence to inhibit the faith and the believer’s refusal to speak openly of Jesus yield the same result. In both cases, people are denied access to Jesus. How tragic that the silence of believers could yield the same result as the violence of persecutors! On the other hand, when we share our faith boldly and refuse to silence our witness, we are powerfully identifying with believers in persecution.”

When we witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we identify with those in chains. When we refuse to witness, we identify with those who place the chains on followers of Jesus.”

–Nik Ripken – The Insanity of Obedience (Emphasis mine)

These quotes are some of Mr. Ripken’s insights from his extensive research on the persecuted church. It is startling to realize that when we don’t share our faith, we are having the effect Satan desires, by persecuting the believers in Jesus Christ. We are preventing access to Jesus.  

Reflect on that today.

May you walk in Holy Spirit power today to be a living witness for Jesus Christ.

Carl

Five Christian Categories

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In the book, Insanity of Obedience, author Nik Ripken,  lists five Christian categories by  Paul Marshall.  Mr. Ripken has served as a missionary in several African countries including Sudan. He has spent a significant number of years meeting with persecuted Christians around the globe to document their experience and expand the church’s understanding of persecution. I heartily recommend this book and his first book, Insanity of God.

The term “Christian” is used in various ways in different cultures and, as a result, is sometimes hard to define. These categories are not perfect but help us to get a handle on a definition. Please review the list and see which category you fit into.

1. “Census Christians are people who, if asked about their religion, would say, “Christian.” This designation might not relate at all to anything that these people believe or practice. Often, this is a cultural answer. If asked about their religion in certain geographic areas, for example, many people might answer, “Of course I’m a Christian. Isn’t everybody?” These people, according to Marshall, are “census Christians”. On a census, these people would check the “Christian” box.  What the designation actually means is anybody’s guess.”

2. “Member Christians claim some sort of identification with a particular Christian institution or organization. Again, this does not mean that these people necessarily participate or even show up at their church. These people simply have some sort of personal connection with a church and they identify themselves with that church. They might say, “I am Catholic,” or “I am Baptist,” or “I am Methodist.”

3.”Practicing Christians actually participate in the life of a church. They typically attend worship services. In some fashion, these people are involved in the forms and rituals of the faith. Often their connection with the church is limited to weddings, baptisms, and funerals.”

4.”Believers (or Committed Believers) are people for whom the Christian faith is central and shaping. These Christians strive to live out their faith and communicate their faith to others. To use the language of the evangelical world, the people have a personal relationship with Jesus. Often they will use the language of John 3 and talk about being “born again”.

5.”Hidden Christians are people who believe secretly. Fearful of persecution, these people keep their faith to themselves. In some settings, these believers might keep their faith secret from government officials and employers.  In other settings, they might keep their faith secret from even family members and friends. These believers might not even experience specifics acts of outward persecution, but the fear of persecution has caused their faith to be completely inward. For the most part, their faith, though real, is hidden. In most cases, they have not “joined” a church, though this might be an artificial measurement since, in many settings, there is no official institutional church to join.”

Did you fit in anywhere?  We hope so. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, we would love to send you some literature if you would send us your address.

The articles on this blog are geared to the encouragement and exhortation of the Believers (or Committed Believers) and Hidden Christians. Of course, everyone is welcome and we hope all deepen their walk with God through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for your time. May God bless you!!

“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord know those who are His,” and “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

Carl

Part Six : “…to the saints…”

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Religion which is pure and undefiled in the sight of God, even the Father, is this: to look after orphans and widows…and to be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27) (Emphasis mine)

As the earth rises over the surface of the moon in this NASA photograph, I hope the truth about the world is rising in your consciousness as you read this conclusion to the blogs concerning the Lord Jesus rescuing repentant sinners from this present evil age. (Galatians 1:4)  To access the other five parts on this subject, scroll to the end of this post.

There is one word in the New Testament (NT) that describes born again believers and their relationship to the world.  When the Apostle Paul writes the Ephesians, he addresses his letter  “…to the saints,…”.   The word translated “saints” in the English language is “hagios” in the Greek language and to the Greek it meant “devoted to the gods”.  The Greeks used it when they dedicated a temple or a person to the worship and service of one of their pagan gods.

Our New Testament authorities tell us the English  words “saint, sanctify, sanctification, hallow, holy, holiness” are all translations of Greek words from the root word hagi. The verb hagios means “to set apart for God”,  and refers to the act of the Holy Spirit setting apart for God the sinner who places his faith in Jesus Christ “rescuing us from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” .
(Colossians 1: 13).

The writers of the NT used this word hagios to designate those people who have been separated from the world, Satan’s kingdom, for the purpose of worshiping and serving the true God through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

The Holy Spirit, through the NT writers, took this word to a higher level by adding a moral component not found in pagan usage. The pagan religions were not concerned with the morals of its followers. The major pagan temple in Corinth had 3000 “sacred” harlots.  The eastern religions were very immoral and this is why many Greeks and Romans were drawn to the Jewish religion with it’s high moral standards.  In the book of Acts you see Paul preaching in the synagogue to Jews and Gentiles.

Concerning our behavior or morals, the God that we have been “set apart to” says this to us, His adopted children:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who has called you, be holy yourselves also in your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY , FOR I AM HOLY.””
(I Peter 1: 14-16)

And in 2 Corinthians 6: 16- 7:1 God says:

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THERE GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. THEREFORE, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. 

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Notice it is “let us cleanse ourselves“.  So after salvation, in 2 Peter 1: 4  we are told:

“….applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence,….”

Notice that the scripture says we should be diligent to add moral excellence to our faith. Moral excellence or virtue is “morally good behavior or character, or the conformity to a standard of right”.  Our Heavenly Father sets the standard of right behavior which is holiness or separation from what He says is evil. Not what we may think is evil but what He says is evil or defilement.  His standard is shown in the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the desire and power to change his behavior which will result in him forsaking evil.  In other words, if we are a liar, we stop lying. If we are immoral, we stop being immoral. If we are greedy, we become a giver.  If we are one who hates, we become a forgiver and a lover of people.

Throughout the New Testament we are exhorted to forsake our futile way of life inherited from our forefathers and “become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8: 29).

In conclusion, the evil age that we live in is manifested in the evil characteristics of the kosmos (world), which is Satan’s ordered kingdom and the possible source of seduction of every born again believer. We have been separated from this evil by God at salvation and are separated to the worship and service of Him, being conformed to the image of His Dear Son over our lifetime and eternity and overcoming the world so that we do not consider it precious anymore.

Only by yielding daily to the Holy Spirit can you have the victory over Satan, your indwelling sinful nature and the world.  God is on our side and will give us the victory if we will just exercise our will to chose obedience to Him instead of sin and trust in the Holy Spirit to empower us to overcome.

ANYTHING in your worldly interaction that neutralizes or quenches your worship and service to God The Father, is not from the Father but is from the either the world, Satan or your own indwelling sinful nature as a source and should be repented of and forsaken.  The world is full of “unclean” things and we should not even “touch” them.

God bless you. I hope you have been blessed by this rather long study.  Thank you for your time.

” …He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him, who died and rose again on their behalf.”  (Emphasis mine – II Corinthians 5:15)

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 5)

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“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  And the world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2: 15-17 NASB)

(To access the first four parts of this study scroll down at end of this blog.)

Welcome back. Man has created some lovely cities in the world. The aerial view above of Jakarta is beautiful. Many things in the world are pleasing to the senses of man but are  traps of the devil. Today we are continuing our study on Jesus rescuing us from this evil present age.  In this post we are looking at I John 2: 15-17 where God warns us about the world (kosmos).

In our last post we discussed the Apostle John’s command that said “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.” (verse 15a)

John next writes “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”.  This is a description of an unsaved person because the Greek experts tell us it is saying more than he just doesn’t love God but that the love of God does not dwell in him as the ruling principle of his life.  He is saying that in this person the love of God does not exist.  This love (agape) is the love for the Father that the Holy Spirit generates in the heart of the yielded believer.  Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:5:

“…because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” 

This “love of God” is one of the characteristics of a born again believer and is expressed by obedience to Him.

Philo (20 B.C. – 50 A.D.) said “It is impossible for love of the world to coexist with love to God, as it is impossible for light and darkness to coexist.” This person is habitually and continually loving the world and the things in it. This is an unsaved person.

In II Peter 1: 4 the Apostle Peter tells us this corruption from the world comes by lust which here means evil cravings. Today we think of lust as immorality but it just means cravings in the NT and can be good or evil depending on the context.   In James 1:14 He tells us “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own craving.”

John continues in I John 2: 16 writing “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world.”

The “lust of the flesh” is the passionate desires or cravings of the indwelling sinful nature (the flesh) which govern an individual’s reason, will, and emotions.  A Christian’s evil nature died on the Cross with Jesus but still exist within him.  It was not eradicated as some teach. Writing to believers, the Apostle John said : “If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:9).  Therefore, if not reckoned dead by the believer, his old indwelling sinful nature will continue to dominate his life.

One of the manifestations of the evil nature is the “lust of the eyes”. The evil, passionate  cravings of the sinful nature that satisfy itself through a person’s eyes.  Peter, speaking of false teachers, says they have “eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin…”. In our day we have seen the rise of pornography and the increase in immoral TV shows and commercials that corrupts the person thru the lust of the eyes”.  This is also a portal for the sin of covetousness.  We see something someone has and we lust after it.

Another manifestation of the evil nature is the “boastful pride of life” which could be translated “vainglory of life”. This is an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt for divine law. Thayer defines it as “an insolent and empty assurance which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully desires and violates divine laws and human rights”. Insolent means “showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect”.  If you find your prayer life waning or non-existent, check yourself for this misplaced assurance. If we really in our hearts are operating in the “boastful pride of life”, we order our lives in a way that we see no need to request God’s help thru prayer. If this is you, stop right now and repent and ask God to forgive you.

The word “life” (bios) refers to that which sustains life, such as, food, clothing, and shelter.

To pull this together for us, the Wuest Expanded Translation of I John 2: 15-17 says:

“Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it, and the things in the world. If anyone as a habit of life is considering the world precious and is therefore loving it, there does not exist the love possessed by the Father in him. Because everything which is in the world, the passionate desire of the flesh and the passionate desire of the eyes, and the insolent and empty assurance which trusts in the things that serve the creature life, is not from the Father as a source but is from the world as a source. And the world is being caused to pass away, and its passionate desire. But the one who keeps on habitually doing the will of God abides forever.”

This completes part 4 of this blog. Part 6 will summarize this subject. I hope you will join me for it.

The “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” are from the world and not from God. Let each of us ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us where we are ordering our conduct in these characteristics of the world so we can stop doing the will of the world ruler, Satan, and do the will of God.  He will do it and bless our obedience to Him!

“…if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been captive by him to do his will.”  (II Timothy 2:25 -26)

Thank you,

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 4)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age,…”  Galatians 1:4

(To see parts one through three, scroll down to the end of this blog.)

The picture, which is reported to be the largest outdoor mural in the world, is to me a good composite of mankind that Jesus came to rescue.  Notice the eyes that are looking to the side as if something has caught his attention. May Jesus catch man’s attention with His love.

Continuing our previous discussing on the corrupting influence of this evil age, God warns us about the world in I John 2: 15-17:

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

We are commanded not to “love” (agapao) the world nor the things in the world. The Greek word for “love” in this context means “a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object loved.”  Apostle John was warning some believers to “Stop loving the world with a love called out of your hearts because of its preciousness.”. The verb used, speaks of the act of forbidding the continuance of an action already going on. The world system that God rescued them out of was still precious to them.  John was telling them to stop loving the world.

The Greek word for world here is kosmos and is defined by Vincent as follows:

“The sum-total of human life in the ordered world, considered apart from, alienated from, and hostile to God, and of the earthly things which seduce from God.”

Kenneth Wuest says:

“Kosmos refers to an ordered system. Here it is the ordered system of which Satan is the head, his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with those purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted. Much in this world-system is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual.  But it is anti-God and anti-Christ.”

After reviewing the NT scriptures that use the word kosmos I put this composite together:

Jesus called Satan the “ruler of the world” (John 14:30) and the whole world lies in his power (I John 5:19). All unsaved people are deceived by Satan (Rev 12:9) by his blinding of their minds, (2 Cor 4:4) preventing the light of the gospel from shining in. Therefore the kosmos is a dark spiritual place and a place of bondage. This is why Jesus came as a Light into the kosmos. Ephesians 2:2 tells us there is a “course of this world” which is “according to the prince of the power of the air”,  unsaved people behave according to their cravings  for things of the world thinking this is the way to true happiness and fulfillment only to find out it is a satanic illusion. They love the world because it is precious to them (II Tim 4:10); have worldly values (I John 4:5) which manifest through their words (Titus 2:12), Paul tells us to avoid worldly and empty chatter (I Tim 6:20) and worldly fables (I Tim 4:7).  Jesus said there are “stumbling blocks” (Matt 18:7) in the world.

“Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18: 36). Jesus chose you, the born again believer, OUT of the world (John 15:19). After discipleship, Jesus sends His disciples back INTO the world (John 17:18) as lights in the world (Phil 2:5). Jesus prayed that the Father would not remove His disciples from the world but protect them from Satan (John 17:5). Believers can be conformed to the world (Rom 12:2, James 1:27) and be defiled by the world  (2 Pet 2:20). The “worries of the world” and the “deceitfulness of riches” choke out the word of God in the believer’s heart making him unfruitful in the things of God (Matt 13:22).  Disciples will have tribulations in the world but we will overcome the world (I John 5:4, I John 4: 17, John 12:25).  The abiding word of God makes believers strong and helps us to overcome Satan (1 John 2: 14) The saints will judge the world in the end times (I Cor 6:2).

In summary, the modern world (kosmos) we live in today exist in the same pernicious age (aion) that Paul and Peter lived in.  The moral characteristics of the age will not change until the Lord Jesus establishes His millennial reign on the earth.  Technology has leaped forward a thousand fold but the evil moral characteristics of man remain.  The predominate religion today is the false religion of works, whether it be works by themselves or mixed with belief in Jesus Christ.

This concludes our study of the world. Next post will explain the remainder of I John 2: 15-17.  Hope you will join us again.

May the Holy Spirit search our hearts to show us where we are still considering the world precious.  The next post will reveal some characteristics of the world.

“… because everything that has been born of God is constantly coming off victorious over the world. And this is the victory that has come off victorious over the world, our faith. Who is he who is constantly coming off victorious over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

(I John 5: 4-5 Kenneth Wuest Expanded Translation)

Carl

 

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 3)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age…”   (Galatians 1:4)

“Be having salt in yourselves,..”   Lord Jesus  (Mark 9:50)

The twelve disciples had been walking down the road with Jesus and, among themselves, they had been debating which one of them was the greatest.  The Lord begins to correct them about how to be the greatest in the kingdom of God and warning them about temptation, sinning, and hell.  At the end of the conversation, He makes some comments about being “salted with fire” and salt.  In the interest of brevity, I will only address what is related to our discussion on the pernicious evil age and its corrupting influence.

When He mentioned salt, the Apostles minds would of probably immediately thought about how the law of Moses stated that temple sacrifices should be salted with salt. Secondly, they would of remembered that salt was a preserving agent.  Peter, John and James, all former fishermen,  may of used salt to preserve their catch of fish.

By having “salt” in themselves, it would prevent the corrupting influence of the evil pernicious age.  Remember the effect of the evil influence is likened to decay and rot on your morals or virtue. What does salt represent?  One fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23 is self-control and I believe that is what Jesus is using salt to represent.  Self-control will keep you from being “carried away” or “towed” by Satan and enticed to sin.  It preserves your morals from decay and rot. The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the ability to control our will.   We are told in II Peter 1: 5-6 to add the qualities of self-control or temperance to our lives. This would protect them and us from the corrupting influence of the age which Lord Jesus came to rescue us from.

Concerning salt in our lives, the Holy Spirit led me to Matthew Henry’s A Commentary On The  Whole Bible. Here are his comments written prior to 1721 A.D.:

The nature of man, being corrupt, and as such being called flesh (Gen. vi. 3; Ps. lxxviii. 39), some way or other must be salted, in order to its being a sacrifice to God.

“Our chief concern is, to present ourselves living sacrifices to the grace of God (Rom. xii. 1), and , in order to our acceptableness we must be salted with salt, our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified, and we must have in our souls a savour of grace.  Thus the offering up or sacrificing of the Gentiles is said to be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as the sacrifices were salted, Rom. xv. 16.

“Those that have the salt of grace, must make it appear that they have it; that they have salt in themselves, a living principle of grace in their hearts, which works out all corrupt dispositions, and every thing in the soul that tends to putrefaction, and would offend our God, or our own consciences, as unsavory meat doth.

“Our speech must be always with grace seasoned with this salt, that no corrupt communication may proceed out of our mouth, but we may loath it as much as we would to put putrid meat into our mouths. As this gracious salt will keep our own consciences void of offence, so it will keep our conversation with others so, that we may not offend any of Christ’s little ones, but may be at peace one with another.”

Did you notice how he compares the effects of the evil influence of the age to “putrid meat”, “unsavory meat” and “putrefaction” in the soul. This is the rot and decay that we mentioned earlier. He also mentions “our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified”. “Mortified” is an old English word meaning ” to subdue and kill”; in the Christian sense “to reckon” dead as Paul tells us in Romans 6: 11 (KJV).

Therefore, we need to do as the Lord said and “Have salt within yourselves…” How do we do that? Believe what Paul said about your identification with Christ and present or yield yourselves to God as His servant and trust in the indwelling Holy Spirit to give you the desire and power to do the will of God as you exercise self-control to say “NO” to the enticements of Satan and the age. When you exercise your will to say “No”, He, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to follow through.  Your sinful nature will not have dominion over you! This will increase the fruit and power of the indwelling Spirit in our lives AND MAKE US MORE USEFUL TO GOD.  This is the only way to stop the corruption of this age from defiling us. Only God’s way works.

Hear Lord Jesus through Paul’s words in Romans 6:12-14:

“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and, on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body] in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for [then] the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

(Wuest Expanded Translation)

This completes the third installment of this series. The next blog will address what Apostle John had to say about loving the world. I hope you will join us.  May God richly bless your understanding of these things and may His indwelling Spirit empower you with self-control.

“Have salt within yourselves…”   Lord Jesus

Carl

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part 2)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age….”

(Part One may be found at the end of this blog.)

Has the devil ever taken you “in tow”?  This is what the picture represents. Your love for God being “towed” away.  Read on to find out what in the world I am talking about.

Apostle Paul says Jesus came to be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He took our guilt and the penalty the guilt required.  One reason He did this was to rescue us from this present pernicious age.  Because it is pernicious, this age has a corrupting influence upon the born again believer. Apostle Peter tells us in II Peter 1:4 that God has given to born again believers everything we need to live a godly life and become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

The corruption (phthora)  that we need to  escape is defined in the English dictionary as “to degrade with unsound principles or moral values” and “to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions”.  The Greek word means “a bringing or being brought into an inferior or worse condition, a destruction or corruption” (Vines).  Some authors refer to the effect of corruption as “inward decay and rottenness”. 

In other words, if we are not being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the corrupting influence of this age will cause our love for God (expressed in obedience to Him) to become infected with evil passionate cravings resulting in disobedience (sin). Our good morals or Christ likeness begins to rot or decay.  Another way to say it, is that our love for God is corrupted by a worldly love that considers something in the world more precious than God.

The effect of the  pernicious, corrupting influence of the age is to “carry away” or, as the original language says, “taken in tow”,  the believer from his steadfast love for God by “enticing him with his own lust” .  This is what James is saying in chapter 1:14:

“But each one is being solicited to sin when he is taken in tow and enticed by his own craving.” 
(Wuest)

Satan uses the things of this evil, pernicious age to “carry us away” or “take us in tow”.  The first thing he does is to get us distracted from God and focused on something  in his kingdom (the world) and he hooks us up to his Enticement Wagon, so to speak, so he can “tow” us further down the Road of Distraction where he entices you with things that you crave, i.e. attention, money, fame, power, liquor, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, rebellion, your way, freedom, etc.  And:

“Then when the aforementioned craving has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and this sin when it is full grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

It is “conceived” when we give our “will” over to do the enticement. When we say “Yes” to it. Satan knows what our passionate cravings were before we were saved and he will use the same passionate carvings to “entice” us to sin.  Plus new ones. I was never a drug user; therefore, he does not tempt me with illegal drugs but he tempts me with other  things that were in my life prior to salvation. Let us therefore, if possible, steer clear of areas of the world where we know our past and present temptations exist. Be wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.

In Mark 9:50 the Lord Jesus warns the twelve disciples “Have salt in yourselves…”  This is an important commandment and we will discuss salt and how it relates to this present evil age in the next blog. Hope you will join me.

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Don’t be taken in “tow” by Satan.  “…be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world” it says in James 1:27.  Stay free from the corruption of this age and stay steadfast in your love for God. Let us keep our minds full of the Word of God and our eyes fixed on His purposes in the earth.  Let us be led daily by the indwelling, powerful Holy Spirit who He has so graciously made to dwell in us!

Let us pay close attention to ourselves for the purpose of holiness.

Carl