UPDATE: What does “walking in the spirit” mean (and how to do it)?

Romans 8:3-4
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but who walk according to the Spirit.

In the passage above Paul uses the terminology “walk according to the Spirit” but in Gal. 5:16 he uses the terminology “walk in the Spirit”…

Galatians 5:16
But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

But what exactly does walking in the spirit mean? According to the Greek words and grammar, and the intended meaning behind them, let us examine the next passage…

Romans 8:5
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

To make a long story short (if you want some details let me know and I will add them, I am just short on time today), a better translation of the Greek grammar here gives us the following…

For those who live according to the flesh, devote their minds to pursuing the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit, devote their minds to pursuing the things of the Spirit.

So…what are the things of the Spirit that the believer needs to pursue? The short answer is – anything that emanates from, or leads to, the spiritual. A short list would be

(1)  Striving to walk in holiness.

(2)  Striving to walk in obedience to God.

(3)  Striving to spend as much time with God in prayer that we can.

(4)  For those who can, fasting with prayer for specific spiritual things.

The list goes on, but basically anything that either builds you up, or builds someone else up spiritually, or builds up the Kingdom of God, is a spiritual pursuit. We are either striving to do worldly, fleshly things (whether sinful in and of themselves or not), or we are striving to do spiritual things (reading your Bible, praying, evangelizing, etc.).

According to Paul in Rom. chapter 8, those who walk in the flesh cannot please God, saved or not, that is not the point. The saved person will go to hell just as the unsaved person will if they are not walking in sanctification – which is exactly what Paul talks about when he says “walking in the Spirit” (look up above again to Gal. 5:16).

Jesus says the same thin only in different words:

Luke 9:23
And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Luke 14:27
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Luke 14:33
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Why does Jesus say that unless we crucify our flesh/desires of the flesh that we cannot be His disciples? Because if we do not crucify the flesh with its desires and lusts, we will not want to follow Him – because the flesh wars against the spirit in order to keep us from doing the spiritual things that we might desire to do…

Galatians 5:17
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

A better (and less confusing) translation of this verse says…

Because the flesh wars against the Spirit, and fights against the spirit in order to keep you from doing the spiritual things that you want to do.

This is why Paul continues in this same chapter to say that only those who crucify their flesh (along with its lusts and passions) can become one of Christ’s…

Galatians 5:24
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

So we have covered what walking in the Spirit means (to reiterate, it means that we live our lives in the pursuit of spiritual things, especially working daily on being holy – that is, practicing sanctification…keeping ourselves free from sin as much as possible), but if you are like me, telling you what it means and that you must do it…really doesn’t help me much unless you give me instructions on HOW to do it.

There is only one way for us to walk in the Spirit and please God…to walk in holiness and sanctification…to crucify the flesh and its lusts and passions which get in between us and the spiritual things that we want to do…and that is prayer.

Prayer has fallen along the way-side in this modern world, and that is a shame…because we cannot be what God wants us to be in this world without it…we cannot do what He wants us to do without prayer – it is as simple as that. Here is how it works…

Psalms 105:4
Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually!

The verse reads a little differently in the Hebrew…

Seek Yahweh and be strengthened; seek His presence continually.

The ONLY way for us to receive the spiritual strength or power that enables us to perform spiritually, is through seeking God’s presence…that is, by coming into His presence. I have used this analogy before, but it is the closest thing that I can think of to illustrate this spiritual principle.

Think of yourself as a spiritual glow-in-the-dark item…just like the glow-in-the-dark toys we used to get as children. You take that toy and hold it up to a light-bulb which “powers” it up to glow…then when you turn out the light or go into a dark room, the toy would glow that eerie green color.

You are a spirit temporarily dwelling within a physical body of flesh, and the ONLY light source of energy to a spirit is the Father of Spirits – God, Yahweh. When we come into His presence and spend an adequate amount of time there, we soak in the Light of His presence…

Psalms 90:8
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

Psalms 4:6
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O LORD!”

Psalms 89:15
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk in the light of Your face, O LORD,

Isaiah 2:5
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Remember Moses when he came down off the mountain top after spending 40 days and nights in God’s immediate presence? How his face glowed so brightly that he had to cover his head with a “gunny sack” until the brightness faded? When we spend time in God’s presence, we can become saturated by His presence, power, and Spirit…giving us the spiritual power that we need to dominate the flesh, rather than allowing the flesh to continually dominate over us.

How do we enter into God’s presence? According to the Scriptures, we enter into God’s presence through praise, worship, and especially prayer…

Psalms 95:2
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

While thanksgiving is a form of worship, the Hebrew here reads a little differently than this translation…

Come before His presence with song and shout praise to Him.

Psalms 100:2
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!

We have the idea of entering into God’s presence through prayer through Psalm 105:4 and others using the word “seek” in reference to His presence, for prayer is always the context of such seeking. We do not see any Biblical reference to seeking God in any other context or in any other way.

When we pray, or sing praise or worship songs to God, we enter into the spiritual realm, we enter into His presence. In the passages below, we “draw near” to God’s throne of grace, where God sits – we are drawing near into His presence…where we find help (power – in this case) in the time of need…

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:19-22
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,
20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

We have confident entrance into the Holy of Holies – the presence of God – because when Jesus died upon the cross and He uttered the words, “It is finished,” the atonement for sin was made and the veil in the temple separating men from the presence of God was torn into two pieces (Mat. 27:51). We enter today by the “new and living way” (of the Spirit – Rom. 7:6)  so that we can enter into God’s presence for life.

Here is the catchy part…praying is a spiritual endeavor, and speaking from experience, it is not easy (at first) to spend time praying. Here is my suggestion – get with some Christian friends or people from church, and set a regular time of prayer and come together for group prayer. Begin by everyone giving things to pray about, and then just all come together in a huddle and begin praying about those things.

It is easier to pray when you commit yourself to others to come together…and as many times a week that you can do so, do it! Soon, you will have the strength to pray on your own, and the more you pray the more power you accumulate. Remember that glow-in-the-dark illustration I gave earlier? That toy did not retain its glowing power for very long, and neither do we retain that power of God for long.

It is like a bucket for water with a small hole in the bottom…we need to constantly pray in order to first get that bucket full, and then to keep it full!!! As an example, all I can give you is my own experience…I try to pray for at least one hour a day, and at that rate it took me just about a month before I had the strength to snort at temptation and walk away – just like that!

A month may seem like a long time, but the more time we spend in God’s presence in prayer, the stronger we get…and there is no other way in order to receive that spiritual strength in order to walk in the Spirit. That is God’s way, and He does it for a reason…but we cannot get into those right now.

Remember all of the exhortations to pray…

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Ephesians 6:18
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Colossians 4:2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
pray without ceasing,

…and the examples of such prayer by Jesus and others…

Matthew 14:23
And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone,

Luke 5:16
But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 6:12
In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God.

Luke 18:1
And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Acts 1:14
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Acts 6:4
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

By not emboldening other words I am not dismissing them in the texts above, my point is to show the importance of prayer. If we spent today as much time as Jesus, His disciples, and others did…we would be walking in the same power that they did.

Recall that Stephen (Acts 6) was not an Apostle…he was just like you and me…and he performed miracles and signs of power. Even Jesus Himself was giving us an example – He was God in the flesh…but He laid His powers of deity down to walk in this life just as a man. the miracles and power that He displayed was an example of what we can also do if we fill ourselves up with God’s power through prayer.

Don’t believe me? Read John 14-15 and mark where Jesus tells us that we can do the same miracles that He did as long as we are walking and abiding in Him…and then remember that Romans 8 begins with those who are abiding in Christ – who walk in the Spirit, not the flesh.

There are your two motivations for praying as much as you can in order to receive spiritual power…(1) to perform in the supernatural, and (2) just to enter into God’s presence where there is fullness of joy and spiritual pleasures!

Psalms 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Blessings!

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A close look at Matthew 7:21-13

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of My Father who is in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Many who teach on this passage come from the Calvinistic persuasion and so teach that those Jesus addresses in verses 22-23 were never truly saved, but only those who thought they were saved – because of the false doctrine from Calvin of Unconditional Eternal Security. Many others teach on this passage do not understand covenant or covenanting, nor the principles by which ANE (Ancient Near East) covenants operated by.

First, if you have read the entries here on covenanting, you may recall that both Redemptive covenants of God (that is, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) follow ANE covenanting principles, just as God designed them from the beginning. These redemptive covenants have what is called, “covenant law”…the covenant law of the Old Covenant was the 10 Commandments which are no longer in force today because the Old Covenant is no longer in force, being replaced by the New Covenant.

Covenant law had one purpose – it was the stated conditions for remaining in covenant relationship with God…that’s it. No one was ever saved either in the Old or today in the New Covenants by walking in obedience to covenant law…one is saved through union with God which one can only attain by first being in covenant relationship with God. Those who believe that Paul addresses people thinking themselves saved because they obeyed the Law of Moses, misunderstand that Paul is not addressing what the Scriptures teach, but what the Pharisees contorted and perverted. No where in the OT Scriptures is it taught that anyone was saved because they obeyed the covenant law (the 10 Commandments) – that belief arose during the Intertestimental Period between Malachi and Matthew, which we have no Biblical record of, but which is attested to through other historical writings.

In any event, this passage (Mat. 7:21-23) is Jesus addressing the people in the Sermon on the Mount, which when thoroughly examined, is an identical image of Moses being given the law by God and then turning around and giving the law to the Israelites. In the OT, Moses was the lawgiver…in the NT, Jesus is the lawgiver. Moses mediated the Old Covenant between God and men, and Jesus mediated the New Covenant between God and men 2,000 years ago.

Jesus stood on the mountain (just as Moses did) and delivered the covenant law to the people (just as Moses did before Him), and in Mat. 7:21-23 is part of that covenantal address. Jesus says in verse 21 that only those who walk in obedience to God will enter into heaven – and what He was talking about was obedience to the covenant law of the New Covenant, just as the Old Covenant. However, remember that they New Covenant is based upon better promises than the Old Covenant…

Hebrews 8:6
But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

In verse 22 we find those who at one time were saved and walking with God in covenant relationship…because no man can cast out demons, prophecy, and do miracles in Christ’s name unless he is walking in covenant relationship with God. It is through Christ, the Living New Covenant (Isa. 42:6, 49:8), that God gives man the power and authority to do such things.

It is not about “works” which so many preachers and teachers today try to make the passage out to be addressing. Those in verse 22 WERE saved and they WERE walking with God and they DID have eternal life at one time…but since “once saved, always saved” doctrine is false teaching, those in verse 22 failed to take the next step and so in the end were cast into the Lake of Fire.

The Western Church today has a big problem, and like most cancers, it goes unnoticed almost until it is too late. Today the church is taught that one has eternal life simply because they believe (which is true); and that’s it…”once saved, always saved” is the motto spouted out by most churches in America and European countries today, but that is not what the Scriptures teach. The Scriptures teach that eternal life is only a state of being, that it has a purpose – and when observed as it is in the Scriptures, eternal life can then be more accurately identified as another prerequisite to attaining heaven…

John 17:3
And this is the purpose of eternal life, that they may come to know You personally, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Now, in verse 23 above we see that Jesus tells those in verse 22 who are not making it into heaven, “I never knew you.” And in John 17:3 above we see that the purpose of eternal life is so that we can get to know God on a personal basis. You Bible will not read the same as the text above because I translated it directly from the Greek, and (again) if you have read any of my posts before, you may remember that I repeatedly state that most of our translations today fail to bring the Greek grammar fully into view. Above is the meaning of the Greek text (with its grammar); the word translated as “that” in most of your Bibles is hina, and means that, so that, meaning for the purpose of.

The word translated as “know” is ginosko, meaning to know either in a beginning or completed sense, depending upon how it is used in the text. It intimates that such knowledge of someone comes by way of personal fellowship with, a knowledge acquired over time through experience. The word here is in the Present Active Subjunctive verb form, meaning that one can constantly or repeatedly come to know God through personal interaction with Him, but the choice is theirs to make. Hence, “they may come to know You.” Eternal life present, then, is NOT what we have been erroneously taught that it is today in many Christian circles.

There are passages in the NT that address eternal life in two different categories: (1) as a present reality (eternal life present) and (2) as a future consummation in heaven (consummation of eternal life). No one who has eternal life present is gauranteed to reach the consummation of eternal life in heaven…only those who come to know God will, and only by walking in obedience to the covenant law of the New Covenant, therefore remaining in covenant relationship with God in order to come to know Him.

Eternal life, then, is more clearly understood as a legal term by the covenant for remaining in covenant relationship with God. One who believes has eternal life present, but as John the Baptist says in John 3:36, the believer who does not walk in obedience to Christ will never make it to the consummation of eternal life, because the wrath of God STILL remains upon him (and in the NT Scriptures, Jesus and all of the writers intend one who believes as one who not only believes but walks in obedience to what he believes, so obedience is automatically part of believing in the mindset of Jesus, Paul, James, John, Peter, Luke, and Jude)…

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; but whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Those in Mat. 21-23 who were saved (what Jesus meant by them calling Him Lord) and who worked miracles in His name and then told to “depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness,” were those who did abide in the covenant and so had the power and authority of Christ to perform such miracles…but they missed the whole point of eternal life in that they failed to engage God in personal relationship. This is why Christ tells them, “I never knew you,” and what He means is that He never got to know them personally.  God knows about everyone who was ever born – He is God…but there is a very real difference between knowing about someone and knowing them personally, experientially.

I can read a book about your life, what you have done, your dreams and aspirations, your interests and so forth…and through that I can get to know a great deal about you, but I can never get to know you personally without spending time with you…and that is the same way with coming to know God.

Don’t be one of those people in Mat. 7:22-23….be one of those people who spend time with Him in prayer and come to know Him on a personal and intimate level, and make it to the consummation of eternal life in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb!

Blessings!

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The Most Important Thing

The more I meditate upon the Word of God and pray about what I see, for confirmation, the more I experience both exhilaration and sadness. Exhilaration at gaining a deeper insight into the mind of God toward us, and sadness at the amount of people who I am seeing leave the church for whatever personal reasons that they are doing so for. However, when all of those reasons are boiled down to where the ‘rubber meets the road,’ it all comes down to the fact that for whatever reason – be it the failure of their pastor in teaching the Word of God, or for the Christian today just playing church and not taking their walk with God seriously – the main reason they are leaving is because they don’t understand what Christianity is all about.

Jesus came to institute the New Covenant, in which we gain the atonement in Christ’s blood. The atonement in Christ gives us things that the atonement under the Old Covenant did not: The imputed righteousness of Christ, the imputed holiness of Christ, based upon these two elements of the atonement God proclaims us as justified; The combination of righteousness and holiness brings salvation from sin (the fourth element of the atonement), based upon these four elements, we have received redemption and reconciliation, for a total of six elements. All of these are given to us for one reason…because we need them in order to enter into God’s presence, in order to engage Him in personal and intimate relationship. Notice that eternal life is NOT in the atonement in Christ (much to the false teachings of Reformed Theology, which states that we have eternal life because Christ died on the cross…which is not Scriptural), we are given the elements in the atonement in Christ so that we can enter into God’s presence and engage Him in personal relationship and fellowship, for no man can approach God with sin in his life. The atonement in Christ has only ONE purpose: it is the basis for God’s forgiveness, and it cleanses us from sin…

Leviticus 5:18
He shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him for the mistake that he made unintentionally, and he shall be forgiven.

Leviticus 16:30
For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins.

As long as one continues to abide in the New Covenant relationship with God, the blood of Christ continues to cleanse us from all sin…

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

We need to remember that eternal life is spoken of as both a present day reality as well as a future consummation. In other words, just as Jesus says, if we believe in Him and walk in obedience to Him, then we have eternal life now – but those who do not follow through with the REASON that we have been given eternal life will not see life in eternity, just as the Scriptures teach…

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

So, the usual next question is this, “What is the purpose for eternal life?” I am glad that you asked, and here is the answer, straight from the mouth of Christ Himself…

John 17:1-3
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
3 And this is the purpose of eternal life, so that they might come to know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

God gave Jesus the authority to give eternal life to all that come to Him, but that eternal life does NOT automatically mean that those who have it will go to heaven ‘no questions asks,’ and it is foolish for people to teach and preach that nonsense because it is not Scriptural. The gift of eternal life has a purpose, and it is NOT to get you into heaven when your mortal body dies…it’s purpose is to give you access to God so that you can enter into an intimate, personal, love relationship with God.

Jesus clearly stated that “the purpose of eternal life [is] so that they MIGHT come to know You, the only true God…” The purpose for having eternal life here on earth, in this life, is so that you can come to know God on an intimate and personal basis; and that is also the reason for your existence, that is the reason why God made you in the first place. Failure to understand this purpose, and to engage God in personal and intimate relationship, is why people are leaving the church today…because they want to experience God and have not experienced Him in church.

In my mind, failing to experience God in church is the pastor’s fault. I will be so bold as to also say that any pastor WORTH HIS SALT will understand the purpose for eternal life, he will also understand how to move his congregation into inviting the presence of God to come down into his church service in worship, so that God can manifest His presence in real and tangible ways. When people experience God personally, in real and tangible ways, they move closer to Him and develop that intimate personal love relationship which He is looking for in His people…when they do not experience God in real and tangible, personal ways…

Judges 2:7-12
7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel….
10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.
11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals.
12 And they abandoned the LORD….

Experiencing God and coming to know Him on an intimate and personal basis makes the difference between a living faith and a dying / dead faith. Today the world is full of churches that fail to induce the presence of God into their services…they fail to invite the presence of God to come down out of heaven and visit His people, because the secret is that God will not come unless He is invited. Worship is our invitation to God to come and walk with us, among us, to move within and among us…and when worship in church services becomes something less than what worship is in reality, then it ceases to be an invitation and becomes nothing more than noise in the ears of God.

If you live in the United States you may know my references here, and if not then I have nothing else to compare my point with. In many church “worship” services today, we have substituted contemporary Christian songs for worship songs…but most of them are NOT worship songs. “The God of Angel Armies” is great when it fulfills its purpose as a contemporary Christian song, but it is NOT a worship song, just as many other songs pastors and worship leaders are substituting true worship for. Contemporary Christian music may give us the goose-bumps…but worship is NOT about you getting goose-bumps, it is about extolling and exalting the God of all Creation.

True worship magnifies God, not what God has done for us, nor how much we love God because of what He has done. There is a difference between praise and worship, and while praise is important and has its rightful place, it is NOT to take the place of worship. Praise God for His goodness and kindness and love and works which He has done among us…but worship is not praise, worship is making love to God, it is loving on Him in song, in worship we magnify Him, we adore Him, we weep before Him, we exalt Him. Praise brings joy to our hearts…but worship…true worship brings tears of love, it causes us to fall to our knees with hands lifted to Him in just loving on Him. When we invite Him into our services, then He moves…He speaks to the congregation through prophecies and tongues and the interpretation of tongues…He heals and binds up and delivers with a might hand.

When God is present we have anything and everything that we ever need. When He is not present, because our church leaders have failed to coax us into inviting His presence to light upon us, then we have nothing…we receive nothing…and we become disenchanted with the idea that God truly exists…and we walk away from even trying any longer.

I have seen young people who were raised all their lives in church, turn around and walk away from God… as well as middle-aged and elderly folks do the same, and it all boils down to one reason. Our church leadership (for the most part) does not walk with God, and when they do not walk with God they do not receive insight from the Spirit on how to conduct church so as to draw God’s presence to us. We do not, therefore, experience the reality and power of God in a personal way in church, and so we fail to go home and invoke the presence of God into our homes, bedrooms, and prayer closets…and we shrivel up…and we die spiritually… and then we walk away from the church altogether.

I have seen people who were in church most of their lives, suddenly “come out of the closet” and announce to all that they were homosexual…why? Because their church leadership did not invoke the presence of God into their church services…these people did not experience God in a real, personal, and tangible way; and so their faith wilted and died…giving way to other things.

The most important thing, my friends, is spending intimate quiet time with God, just you and Him alone in your room (or wherever). Fall down upon your face and worship Him in word and in song…sing worship songs to Him (“I Exalt Thee,” “I Worship You,” “As the Deer pants for water,” “I Love You Lord,” “All Hail King Jesus” etc…), verbally invite Him to spend some time with you where you are. Pretty soon the tears of love for Him will flow, His presence will be manifest where you are, and you will have started on a journey of love so strong that you will feel as if you just can’t contain it. Pretty soon, you may even begin hearing the very voice of God in your spirit…

I can’t even put into words what an experience that is.

Blessings!

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Matthew Vines…a Christian? Not according to the Scriptures.

Lately Matthew Vines has been making waves, claiming to be a Christian that loves the Bible and Christianity, but as Jesus said…

Matthew 7:16-20
16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Lest someone think that I am saying that he is a false prophet (as in one who foretells the future), the term prophet in the Greek can mean either one who foretells, or forthtelling…which means expounding upon something. Mr. Vines, according to the Scriptures, is not a Christian. I have no doubt that he claims to be one, but his fruit demonstrates otherwise.

In an article published on “Upworthy” (a web-based article chauffeur of supposed truth, but apparently they don’t check the articles published on their web site for factualness – otherwise Mr. Vines’ article would not be included), claiming only 6 passages of Scripture in the Bible that deal with homosexuality. Not only is he wrong on that basic tenet, but his conclusion and means of explicating the Scriptures he uses, are both out the window as far as any real and sound examination goes. Vines claims that he did “intensive study” on the issue and came to the conclusion that God does not speak against homosexual acts in Scripture, but against other sexual based misbehavior.

His first point in the article in trying to make us believe that homosexuality is not a sin in God’s eyes, is the story in Genesis 19 where God sends angels disguised as men into Sodom to pull Lot and his family out before God rains down destruction upon it. Vine’s claims that:

For centuries, this story was interpreted as God’s judgment on same-sex relations, but the only form of same-sex behavior described is a threatened gang rape.

Maybe it escapes Mr. Vines’ reading comprehension, but gang rape behavior was same-sex, homosexual behavior, while both rape and homosexual behavior are both condemned by God as punishable by death…so exactly how he thinks the fact of “gang rape” homosexual behavior is any less homosexual than a one-on-one homosexual rape encounter is any different, is beyond any sense or soundness of mind. Case in point, his first claim that the story of Sodom does not mean “God’s judgment on same-sex relations” is based upon his bias leading his mind where he wants to go, NOT where the Scriptures lead us.

His next attempt at decrying God’s judgment upon Sodom for homosexual lifestyles, is in quoting Ezekiel 16:49…might I add, out of context…

Ezekiel 16:49
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.

Vines tries to tell us that the sin of Sodom was “pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease,” and not aiding the poor and needy. The problem with Mr. Vines’ exegesis is, however, that he breaks several hermeneutical principles of bible interpretation, especially that of Context. When we read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 16 we come to see that God is addressing Jerusalem, and in His address He uses the term Samaria as a figure of speech for the northern kingdom of Israel, and He uses the term Sodom as a figure of speech for the southern kingdom of Judah…which together made up the nation of Israel.

Before Mr. Vines tries to exegete any more Scripture, he really needs to first drop his homosexual-based bias and then learn Biblical Hermeneutics (and apply some common sense). God was not addressing the city of Sodom which had been destroyed now for over 1,500 years – He is addressing the sins of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which He does quite often and refers to them as sisters, among other things. In short, Mr. Vines’ second attempt at making homosexual behavior likable to God’s standard of obedience flies in the face of Scripture, biblical hermeneutics, and common sense rendering of the text he uses.

Mr. Vines next attack comes upon Leviticus 18:22, where God says…

Leviticus 20:13
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

He goes on to claim that…

Other things called abominations in the Old Testament include having sex during a woman’s menstrual period, eating pork, rabbit, or shell fish, and charging interest on loans, but they’re part of the Old Testament law code, which was fulfilled by Jesus.

Part of the issue here is that Mr. Vines doesn’t know part of what he is talking about, or else is he purposely deceiving those who might read his article. Christ did NOT come and fulfill the ceremonial laws of “unclean foods,” neither does He have anything to do with fulfilling sexual intercourse with a woman on her menstrual period, nor charging interest on loans. The law code which Jesus came and fulfilled was the covenant law of the Old Covenant, which is the Decalogue (the 10 Commandments). All of the other laws stemming from these were social and ceremonial laws, and nothing which Christ fulfilled.

By his inference, Mr. Vines is trying to tell us that Christ took up into Himself homosexual sins and fulfilled any law speaking against it, and I am sorry to say that he does not understand what he is claiming nor trying to make us believe. Since homosexuality is against nature as God created it, Christ would not take up into Himself and fulfill a sinful behavior so that people may go around committing homosexual acts and be forgiven when they ask, yet continuing practicing a homosexual lifestyle. It seems to me that Mr. Vines wants to eat his candy and go to heaven too, but God does not work like that, and Mr. Vines is perverting the Scriptures in his attempt to make the general public (and worse, Christians) accept his thesis.

He continues with Hebrews 8:13 where he correctly (to my great surprise) reads the verse as saying that Christ is the end of the law of the Old Testament. He is correct there, but then sadly fails to understand that when Christ came on the scene and fulfilled the old law of the Old Covenant, He also established the new law of the New Covenant, which is called the Law of Christ (which I am surprised he did not try to twist in his efforts here, but perhaps he does somewhere else that I have not read yet).

Vines goes on in another failing attempt to exegete Romans 1:26-17…

Romans 1:26-27
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were inflamed for one another, men in men committing shameless acts and receiving in themselves the natural recompense for their actions.

…he tries to make us believe that what Paul is REALLY talking about here is lust…not homosexuality, but lust. He says that “the behavior he condemns is lustful. He makes no mention of love, commitment, or faithfulness,” meaning that if a man just lusts to have sexual intercourse with another man, without loving him, or committing himself to his partner, or being faithful to his partner, then it is sin. But, if the two homosexual partners love each other, commit to each other and are faithful to each other, then God does not condemn them to hell. Exactly where he gets this from the text is anyone’s guess, but he does not get it from the text, and that is the main issue here with this failed attempt. Paul’s CLEAR implication is homosexual behavior, but Mr. Vines cannot see that because he falls victim to the first part of Paul’s full statement…

Romans 1:18-22
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

Vines goes on in his attack on the Scriptures by claiming…

His description of same-sex behavior is based solely on a burst of excess and lust. In the ancient world, same-sex behavior mainly occurred between adult men and adolescent boys, between masters and their slaves, or in prostitution. Most of the men engaged in those practices were married to women, so same-sex behavior was widely seen as stemming from out of control lust and vice of excess, like gluttony and drunkenness. And while Paul labeled same sex behavior unnatural, he says in 1 Corinthians 11:14 that for men to wear their hair long also goes against nature, and most Christians interpret that as a reference to cultural conventions.

First, his claim that homosexual behavior was seen “as stemming from out of control lust and vice of excess, like gluttony and drunkenness” is no where supported in any research that I have been able to locate. This claim appears to be a fabrication…although I must also point out that this article is found on an internet source and not in a religious or science journal of any kind, which simply means that one can claim anything he wants to and does not need to supply any kind of reference material where he supposedly gleaned this information from.

Second, the link between Paul calling homosexual behavior unnatural, and men wearing long hair as unnatural, is a leap in the extreme. Homosexual acts are unnatural because God created man and woman, Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve…and if He had, we would not be here to argue the point because sexual intercourse has two purposes: (1) for procreation (and no homosexual couple has ever produced a child – BECAUSE HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR IS UNNATURAL), and (2) for sexual pleasure. Homosexual acts are unnatural because God created the male organ (A) specifically for the female organ (B), NOT for the excretory system (C). That may be a bit graphic, but those are the facts.

When a male engages in a homosexual sex act with another male, he chooses to engage in an act which is as unnatural as human beings sprouting wings and flying. A man can strap on a pair of man-made wings and flap his arms and perhaps fly artificially, but that does not make the incident a natural one. When Paul addresses long hair he addresses men who might let their hair grow out down to the floor, and as he says, a woman’s hair is given to her as a covering. If she grows it out long enough, and pulls it to the front of her body, it covers her…but that really isn’t the point here. While hair may have been a cultural convention as Vines states, homosexual behavior was not. What’s more, Paul was addressing Romans, not Jews. God’s people already knew that homosexual behavior was a vile and gross act, but in Rome – in the spiritual darkness and void of God’s truth – they practiced such things, and so Paul was addressing those practices according to the revelation God had given to him. In short, Mr. Vines fails again, both in his exegesis of the Scriptures and in applying solid methods and principles of biblical interpretation.

Vines goes on to say…

In the last two likely references to same-sex behavior in the Bible, two Greek words, malakoi and arsenokoitai, are included in lists of people who will not inherit God’s kingdom. Many modern translators have rendered these terms as sweeping statements about gay people, but the concept of sexual orientation didn’t even exist in the ancient world.

First, malakoi does not specifically mean homosexual behavior, so I will not address it.
Second, the second word is arsenokoites, not arsenokoitai (which is the plural masculine form of the word). It is formed from two words; arsen (male) and koite (bed, bed-chambering), in which bed-chambering means sexual intercourse. This word specifically deals with a male who “beds” or “bed-chambers” another male: Homosexual acts. Vines is correct in repeating that those who engage in homosexual acts will not inherit God’s kingdom (and yet he appears to be living that very lifestyle…so what is he really saying), but then he goes off and makes a straight up lie to his readers when he claims that “the concept of sexual orientation didn’t even exist in the ancient world,”

If it did not, then, what was Paul talking about in Romans? I hope that people reading Mr. Vines’ articles are smart enough to see the obvious confusion in which he swims, and rejects his surmisings…but obviously my hope is thwarted, for the person who apparently posted his article claims to believe his nonsense, and also claims to be a Christian. It is sad to see people who have obviously been acquainted with church in their lives yet never come to know Christ personally, because such people go out of the church (or even worse, remain within the church) and listen so the nonsense such as what we have been discussing here. Yes, modern translators (in Vines’ words) render these terms as sweeping statements against homosexuals – because that is EXACTLY what they are.

Vines goes on…

Yes, Paul did not take a positive view of same-sex relations, but the context he was writing in is worlds apart from gay people in committed, monogamous relationships. The Bible never addresses the issues of sexual orientation or same-sex marriage, so there’s no reason why faithful Christians can’t support their gay brothers and sisters. It’s time.

First, Paul’s words are NOT “worlds apart from gay people in committed, monogamous relationships,” that is what Mr. Vines has come to believe based upon his bias for homosexuals. The homosexual sex act is not blurred, softened, nor tempered by “committed, monogamous relationships,” and to claim as such demonstrates just how far his claimed love for the Scriptures and God goes. Just as in Romans 1, men become lovers of themselves and what they want, and so set God aside, all the while claiming to put God first. The homosexual acts of a woman with another woman, or a man with another man, is what God commands is an abomination in His sight, and no committed or monogamous homosexual relationship is sanctioned by God as righteous.

Second, the bible does address sexual orientation (but definitely not same-sex marriage, because addressing homosexuality IS addressing same-sex marriage – it is an abomination and a sin in God’s eyes), and to say that it doesn’t is Mr. Vines’ bias speaking again, NOT the Scriptures. If a man’s bias is strong enough, it will cause him to see the color red as blue, and in psychology that is called schizophrenia (a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements).

Third, a person who is practicing homosexual behavior is not a Christian, for a Christian practices obedience to Christ and the Scriptures, and one who is practicing homosexual behavior is not walking in obedience to God or Christ according to the Scriptures. Therefore, no Christian has a homosexual “brother” or “sister,” Mr. Vines is out in left field with that statement.

Vines states in the beginning of his article that his slant on the Scriptures he presents to others actually changed his parent’s minds on God’s stand against homosexual behavior. I have seen this before, where a parent or parents just can’t deal with the thought of their child going to hell for the rest of eternity for their chosen lifestyle (for whatever reason), so they make friends with the sin, disregard God’s Word on the subject, and choose against the facts to believe the lie. Otherwise its just too maddening to think of your child burning for all eternity.

However, Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that His teachings would set a father against a son, and a daughter against her mother…and that is what we are witnessing in these last days. The only thing I can say is this…the Rapture is coming, and when believers are taken out of this world in a moment, in the blink of an eye, that will be the last sign to those like Mr. Vines and all of the others who will be left behind to go through the Great Tribulation, that the Scriptures are correct and that God is real.

Blessings!

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The Nature of Eternal Life, part 4

Today I am only going to hit one passage because there is a lot going in within it. We will look at Matthew 7:21-23 in great detail, but I am going to begin by breaking it down into individual verses, then I will bring them all together again in a more grammatically accurate thought-for-thought rendering, rather than a word-for-word rendering where a lot of intended meaning in the Greek is lost in the English translations.

 

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

 

21   “Not everyone who says [1] to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter [2] the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does [3] the will of My Father who is in heaven.

 

1.  “says” = lego, meaning to relate, recount, say, call; found in the Present Active Participle, meaning to continually or repeatedly do this action.

2.  “enter” = eiserchomai, meaning to go, to come into, to enter; in the Future Middle Indicative, meaning that this action will take place in the future, being accomplished by the subject of the verb (everyone).

3.  “does” = poieo, meaning to make, to do; expressed as an action that is continuous, repeated, habitual (practiced); it is expressed as a precept, requirement to do or perform, to fulfill. It is also in the Present Active Participle, reinforcing the thought of continual or repeated actions of obedience to the will of God.

Thus, a thought-for-thought (TFT) translation of this verse would read:

“Not everyone who consistently calls Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who continually obey the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

 

 22   On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy [4] in Your name, and cast out [4] demons in Your name, and do many mighty works [4] in Your name?’

 

4.  “prophesy,” “cast out,” and “works” are all found in the Aorist Active Indicative, meaning that it was a fact that these people prophesied, cast demons out of people, and performed “works of power” (dunamis). It also means that they did not continually do these things, but did them in the past and then ceased to do them.

A TFT rendering of this verse would be: (it really doesn’t change that much)

“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast demons out of people, and in Your name accomplished many works of power?’”

 

 23   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew [5] you; depart [6] from Me, you workers [7] of lawlessness [8].’”

 

5.  “knew” = ginosko, meaning to come to know in either a beginning or completed sense; in the Second Aorist Active Indicative, meaning the action took place in the past and was accomplished by the subject of the verb. In other words, “you” negated what needed to take place in order for the Lord to come to know them, they failed to do what was necessary in order for the Lord to come to know them.

6.  “depart” = apochoreo, meaning to depart, to go from; in the Present Active Imperative, meaning that it is a command.

7.  “workers” = ergazomai, meaning to work; it is in the plural and Present Deponent Participle, meaning that these people continuously or repeatedly performed the following…

8.  “lawlessness” = anomia, meaning lawlessness (not the absence of the law, but violation of the law in contempt [Thayer’s Definitions] – strong disapproval tinged with disgust). Zodhiates says “impious person,” or one who performs religious acts but lacks reverence for God.

Thus, a TFT rendering of this verse could be…

“And then I Myself will publicly confess, ‘You failed to do what was necessary in order for Me to know you, therefore I never came to know you. Depart from Me, you continual workers of lawlessness.’”

Or…

“And then I Myself will publicly confess, ‘You failed to do what was necessary in order for Me to know you, therefore I never came to know you. Depart from Me, you who continually worked in contempt of My law.’”

Either one would be acceptable (and I favor the second version). Therefore, bringing all these three verses back together again, a TFT rendering would read:

 “Not everyone who consistently calls Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who continually obey the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast demons out of people, and in Your name accomplished many works of power?’ And then I Myself will publicly confess, ‘You failed to do what was necessary in order for Me to know you, therefore I never came to know you. Depart from Me, you who continually worked in contempt of My law.’”

Scripture says that “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13), and Christ is here addressing people who want to listen to Him, he is addressing those who desire to enter into heaven. He implies that just because one believes in Him does not mean that this person will enter into heaven, because he must do more than simply believe, he must also obey God. This is whole within the context of these three verses.

In verse 22 Jesus goes on to describe how certain people will react when they are not allowed into heaven, complaining that they worked powerful works of faith in His name…they were saved (and continued to call Him Lord), they were in legal covenant relationship with God, which is how they were able to perform works of power by God’s Spirit (if they were not in legal covenant relationship with God then they would not have had the Spirit in order to cast out demons, and in the case of giving prophesies, if they were foretelling, they could not do that either except by God’s Spirit – if they were foretelling, Jesus does not call them false prophets, so their prophecies must have come to pass). These people were in legal covenant relationship with God, which enabled them to engage God in personal and intimate relationship, but they failed to do so. Like so many today, they spent their time just standing and resting against the wall after gaining access to the throne room of heaven, and watched but did not engage God in relationship.

In verse 23 Jesus goes on to answer them, telling them that they had done exactly what He accused the Pharisees of doing in the days when He walked the earth, that they performed what was necessary by the law but did not love God in the doing (Luke 11:42). Their actions were not spurred on by love for God, but by other motivations. These folks did what was necessary according to the law of the New Covenant (love on people) in order to abide in the covenant, in Christ, but they did so with lightly in their hearts toward God, and did so (it would seem) in order to promote themselves. They may have began in right standing with God in their heart, but (most likely) they allowed the attention that comes with such public displays of power to go to their heads. If so, after a while, it became less about God and all about them.

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A Study on Eternal Life, part 3

John 5:28-29  ” Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice  and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

 

1.  “those who have done good to the resurrection of life” tells us that those who have “done good” are believers, because unbelievers will not attain to life.

2.  Since I am addressing this verse against the backdrop of the other passages already addressed, unlike some who take one passage and build a doctrine out of it and then search for other passages that seem to back up their biased interpretation, I will review the conclusions from those previous passages:

In order to receive eternal life…

(a)  one must believe (John 3:15-16; 3:36; 1:12-13; 5:24).

(b)  one must walk in obedience to God (John 3:15-16 and 1:12-13 according to                the grammar).

(c)  believing does not give one eternal life, it is only a prerequisite, a condition,     which gives one the right to become a child of God – it does not make him a child      of God (John 1:12-13).

To these points we now can confirm that obedience is necessary in order to obtain eternal life (which is contrary to certain teachings today from mere men), as the text in question demonstrates that those who will attain to the resurrection of life do so not only because they believe, but because they also “have done good,” which in NT vernacular, means they have walked in obedience to God. This, while those “who have done evil” will come to the resurrection of judgment.

Again, I am aware of passages that can be utilized in a contradictory manner against this meaning of the passage in question, but I am addressing one passage at a time, so please be patient, we will get to them.

 

 

John 6:27-29  “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”  Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”  Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

1.  First thing, it is practically touted 100% of the time that Jesus no where here says that a person has to do anything to “work the work of God” except believe. While this is true, we must always take the whole Word of God into view. Since we KNOW that one must believe, and we KNOW that the Spirit elsewhere states that a man must obey also, if we wonder why Jesus makes no mention of obedience here, or repentance, or baptism, we can easily see why He does not here…

Matthew 13:10-15   “10  Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11  And He answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12  For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.’ 15 ‘For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

 

In comparing the phrase, “to the one who has, more will be given…but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away,” with the other synoptic gospels, we find that Jesus is saying that those who are paying attention, those who are intently listening because they want to know, they will hear and understand. But to those who are just there, to those who have closed their eyes to the reception of truth, their ears cannot hear the truth any longer. The word for dull is pachuno, meaning gross, dull, callous…in English vernacular, they are brainwashed by false doctrine. In short, Jesus does not give all of the information at one time (leading to the hermeneutical principle of Progressive Revelation and Topical Study) because they don’t really want to hear it, so He isn’t going to waste His breath. They are consumed in what they already believe and have no desire to change; therefore, what little truth they had in their believings will also be eroded way, “even what he has will be taken away.”

 

 

 

 

John 6:37  “All that the Father gives [1] Me will come [2] to Me, and whoever comes [3] to Me I will never cast [4] out.”

This verse states that God was giving to Christ certain ones at that moment. Jesus was making the statement that those whom God had given to Him, had come to Him, and that He had not cast away. The first thing I want to point out is that certain people interpret this verse to mean that those who come to Christ are (1) given to Him by God (which is true, there is no argument there); and that they will never fall away from Christ once they come to Him because He said, “I will never cast out (away).” However, the verse does not say nor insinuate that those who come to Christ will remain with Him, and as we shall see through further examination of the Greek grammar, the fact that they can fall away from Him is clearly observed:

1.  “gives” is in the Present Active Indicative, meaning that Christ’s words here are taking place at the moment that He spoke them. Therefore, a thought-for-thought (TFT) translation would read “is giving.”

2.  “come” is in the Future Active Indicative, meaning that those God is giving to Christ “will come in the future.”

3.  “come” is in the Present Middle Participle, meaning continuous repeated action which the subject (whoever) is doing in some way upon or concerning himself. Thus, a TFT translation would say “continues to come,” or “continues coming.”

4.  “cast” is in the 2nd Aorist Active Subjunctive; the 2nd Aorist meaning that the action took place in the past (have cast, did cast, etc.); the Subjunctive means that the action is carries with it some doubt or uncertainty because it is subject to some condition. Therefore, a TFT translation should read, “have not cast out because so far they have met the condition[s].”

Thus a TFT translation of the entire verse would read: “All that the Father is giving to Me will come to Me in the future, and whoever continues coming to Me I have not cast out, because so far they have met the condition[s].”

Again, Greek does not readily translate into English in word-to-word translations, and when we take the grammar into consideration and translate the Greek into a thought-for-thought translation, the fact that one remaining with Christ, even after God has given him to Him, is NOT guaranteed. One remains with Christ as long as he meets the conditions for remaining in Christ – which is continued faith and obedience to Him.

 

 

 

John 6:39-40  ” And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should [1] lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes [2] in Him should have3 eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

1.  “should” = (μὴ) pronounced “meh” = a dependent and conditional particle of negation, meaning that if one meets the condition, he “will,” if he does not meet the condition, then he “will not.”

2.  “believes” = (πιστεύων) “pisteuon” = is in the Present Active Participle, meaning that one must believe and continue to believe.

3.  “should have” = (ἔχῃ) pronounced “echo” = to have, to hold, to possess. This verb is found to be in the Present Active Subjunctive form, carrying the meaning of an uncertain possibility – a possibility that is not yet solidified as reality because it is subject to some further condition.

The grammar used here in the original language mirrors exactly that of the previous passages we have already examined in John 3:15-16 and 5:24. There is no new information here. God desires that those who He draws to Christ will continue with Him, but it is their choice to do so. God bringing them and giving them to Christ does not seal the deal, they are not His for the rest of eternity…else the Holy Spirit used a word here that He did not mean to, or God is demonstrated to be a deceiver.

We know that neither of these two are correct, therefore the false doctrine of men that teaches “once saved, always saved” is demonstrated as exactly that – a false doctrine concocted by men who did not understand the Scriptures.

Until next time, Blessings!

 

 

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The nature of eternal life, part 2

Rather than continue posting only one passage at a time with its separate examination, I will post a couple of passages here for discussion and information:

 

“Whoever believes [1] in the Son has eternal life. Whoever does not obey [2] the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)

1.  “believes” = pisteuo, in the Present Active Participle verb form, meaning one who “believes and continues in belief.”

2.  “does not obey” = apeitheo – which can mean disbelieve or disobedient. In the majority of its uses, it means disobedient. This verse is in the dative case, which makes apeitheo take on the meaning of disobedient, NOT disbelieve.

Some translations word this verse in the following manner:

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; and he who does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

This translation words the verse according to the genitive case, which is incorrect.  The grammar of this verse dictates that one must continue abiding in faith (believing) as the first condition towards attaining eternal life, and that a second condition is now in view; that of walking in obedience to Christ.

The grammar of the text trumps the man-made false doctrine that faith alone leads one to eternal life. When we know the grammar of the original language which our translations hail from, we can detect the slant of the translators’ bias – but we cannot always detect that slant if we do not know the grammar.

 

 

 

John 1:12-13  “12  But to all who did receive [1] Him [Christ], who believed [2] in His name, He gave the right [3] to become children of God, 13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

1.  “received” = (lambano) – to receive, acknowledge, embrace, follow the teachings of.

2.  “believed” = (pisteuo) – in the Present Active Participle verb form, meaning one who “believes and continues in belief.”

3.  “right” = (exousia) – permission, authority, power, right.

 

Those who received Him in faith were given the authority, the power, the right, the permission, to become children of God…believing alone did NOT make them children of God, it only makes becoming a child of God a possibility. In effect, faith prequalifies us to become children of God…belief in Christ prequalifies for eternal life, it does NOT give one eternal life.

The culmination of the whole Word of God does not support such a man-made notion.

 

 

 

For our last verse today…

John 5:24  “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes [1] Him who sent Me has [2] eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed [3] from death to life.”

1.  “believe” (pisteuo) – Present Active Participle = continuous / repeated action; represents the action as being accomplished by the subject of the verb; the subject of the verb is causing itself to accomplish this action; signified as being contemporary action with the leading verb. (*)

2.  “has” (echo) = means to possess, to hold, to have – Present Active Indicative = continuous / repeated action; represents the action as being accomplished by the subject of the verb; the subject of the verb is causing itself to accomplish this action; a statement of fact; action that is taking place as the speaker makes this statement. ($)

3.  “passed” (metabaino) – Perfect Active Indicative = describes an action (process) that took place in the past, the results of which continue to the present; represents the action as being accomplished by the subject of the verb; the subject of the verb is causing itself to accomplish this action; a statement of fact; depending upon the context, emphasizes either the completeness of the action, or the finished results of the action. (&)

 

Present tense = continuous / repeated action.

Perfect tense = describes an action (process) that took place in the past, the results of which continue to the present.

Active voice = represents the action as being accomplished by the subject of the verb; the subject of the verb is causing itself to accomplish this action.

Indicative mood = a statement of fact, or used for a question.

 

(*) Combination of Present tense and Participle = the action is still continuous / repeated, but is signified as being contemporary action with the leading verb.

($) Combination of Present tense in the Indicative mood = together these represent action that is taking place as the speaker makes this statement.

(&) Combination of Perfect tense and the Indicative mood = depending upon the context, emphasizes either the completeness of the action, or the finished results of the action.

 

When it comes to the fact that the subject (whoever) of the verb believes causes himself to have eternal life, some of a peculiar mind set take it upon themselves to state that this puts too much emphasis upon man and takes emphasis away from Christ and His work done on our behalf. Not only does this demonstrate that such a person does not hold to the Scriptures but rather holds to a man-made doctrine of demons designed to deceive people from the truth of God’s Word, but it also demonstrates that such folks don’t desire the truth of God’s Word.

The Greek grammar dictates what the English word-for-word translation cannot give. Despite what religious people think, the Scriptures dictate that man does have responsibility in the Divine Relationship which gives one eternal life. As the above passages demonstrate, the Greek shows that one must not only believe, but also obey God. This obedience does not give one eternal life, it only keeps one in covenant relationship with God wherein eternal life dwells.

 

 

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A study on Eternal Life, part 2

John 3:36  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains abiding upon him.”

1.  “believes” = pisteuo, in the Present Active Participle verb form, meaning one who “believes and continues in belief.”

2.  “does not obey” = apeitheo – which can mean disbelieve or disobedient. In the majority of its uses, it means disobedient. This verse is in the dative case, which makes apeitheo take on the meaning of disobedient, NOT disbelieve.

Some translations word this verse in the following manner:

 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; and he who does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

This translation words the verse according to the genitive case, which is incorrect, because the text was originally written in the dative case.

The grammar of this verse dictates that one must continue abiding in faith (believing) as the first condition towards attaining eternal life, and that a second condition is now in view; that of walking in obedience to Christ.

The grammar of the text trumps the man-made false doctrine that faith alone leads one to eternal life. When we know the grammar of the original language which our translations hail from, we can detect the slant of the translators’ bias – but we cannot always detect that slant if we do not know the grammar.

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A study on Eternal life, part 1

I will be presenting different passages of Scripture in a linear format in examining the subject of eternal life, because so many have fallen prey to the false teachings of Calvinistic Reformed Theology, which effectively prevents people from coming to God in any meaningful way.

The key thing to remember here as we advance, is that translators can manipulate the English to fit their biased slants on Scripture, but they cannot manipulate the Greek grammar, and the grammar shows us what the intended meaning of the verse in question 99% of the time.

John 3:14-16  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (15) that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

1.  “believes” (both usages) = pisteuo, in the Present Active Participle verb form, meaning one who “believes and continues in belief.”

2.  “μὴ” (me) translated as “may” in verse 15, and as “should not” in verse 16. It is a dependent and conditional particle of negation, meaning that one “may” attain to eternal life (verse 15), or “should not” perish (verse 16) depending upon whether or not they meet another condition to eternal life.

Thus, a thought-for-thought translation of these three verses (combining the Greek grammar involved and following a complete Biblical Hermeneutic) would be:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes and continues to believe in Him has met the first condition to attaining eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes and continues to believe in Him does not have to perish, but can attain to eternal life by meeting the other conditions to do so.”

The grammar here for “believe” is the same in other passages where this “formula” is used by John, specifically in John 5:24; 6:40; and 6:47, among others.

We can easily and clearly observe in the Greek grammar (which does not readily translate into English in word-to-word translations) that when one chooses to believe in Christ, he only begins his journey into eternal life, for belief is only one condition that must be met on that journey. We will meet these other conditions as we move ahead, but I want to take each passage separately in case anyone has any questions.

I will only be entertaining questions at this point, there are over 300 passages of Scripture which pertain to eternal life, although I obviously won’t be hitting them all, I will be examining those which calvinists traditionally use in “combat” style against the truths of the Scripture. Scriptures do not fight one another, nor does one passage cancel out another – but the Scriptures are to be harmonized together. When we understand this and lay our bias down for the truth of God’s Word, only then can one attain to the intended meaning of the Bible.

Blessings!

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Gospel Elements according to the Scriptures, not man’s doctrines.

1.  God is sovereign, but this fact does not mean that He forces His will in all things – most especially when it comes to eternal life.

 In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11)

God counsels within Himself, bringing His will and desires on any subject into balance in order to attain His ultimate goal on the matter.

 

2.  God’s purpose in creation is not to receive glory, for He is glorified and dwells in self-generated glory whether He performs an act of creation or not. God does not need to create man to attain glory either, for He is glorified in creating a simple rock. God’s purpose in creation was to receive a people, after all is said and done, that willingly choose to enter into an intimate, personal relationship with Him, and love Him of their own volition.

 But showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:6)

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, and knowing God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5)

 

3.  Therefore, because God created man in His image, and there is no Biblical president for saying that this image of God in man is damaged, and because free will is part of that image of God; and because in order to love God man must have free will, for love originates from the choice to do so, God has given man free will. Contrary to classical Reformed teaching, man’s free will does not contradict nor hinder God’s sovereignty in any way, shape, or form. God counsels within Himself, bringing His sovereignty and desire into balance, wherein man’s free will is demonstrated.

 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Timothy 2:3-4)

I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. (John 16:1)

God’s ultimate desire is that “all people” would “come to the knowledge of the truth” and “be saved.” However, in order to attain to His goal of having a people that have to choose Him, He gives men free will so that His goal of having a people who choose to love Him and enter into relationship with Him may come to fruition.

 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:37-40)

Sovereignty does not mean that God gets His way in every scenario; God’s will is that all those who He sends to Christ will remain with Him, but in saying that they “should have eternal life” indicates by the grammar that they could, or could not have eternal life. In saying “to keep you from falling away” indicates that those who come to Christ can, indeed, fall away, and therefore God’s desire for that person will not come to pass.

If God did not give man free will to choose Him, then all who He would cause to come to Him would not fulfill His desire of love, for love originates from free will choice – it cannot be forced, or it is not love. Those who indicate in their theology that God causes those who will be saved to be saved, fail to understand God’s purpose in creation, they fail to understand God’s character, and they fail to understand the nature of love.

 

4.  God knew Adam would sin and that his sin would pass down to all of his descendants through the flesh; therefore, He devised His plan of redemption before He ever began to create this present world.

 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned– (Romans 5:12)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:34)

Even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4)

For we who have believed enter that rest, as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,'” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you (I Peter 1:20)

And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. (Revelation 13:8)

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. (Revelation 17:8)

 

5.  This plan of redemption was arranged because of God’s love for those whom He would create – what we call the grace of God (one is not “saved by grace” but is saved because of grace).

 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. (Acts 15:11)

God devised His plan of redemption, and all of the elements of that plan, because of His love for us.

 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (I John 4:10)

We love Him because He first loved us. (I John 4:19)

 

 

6.  In His plan of redemption, God has sovereignly decreed that if a man chooses to come to Him for relationship, he first must demonstrate faith in Him.

 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

14   What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?…17   So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…20   Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?…22   You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;…24   You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…26   For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:14-26)

15   That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. 16   For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:15-16)

Faith is the first prerequisite for attaining relationship with God, through which other prerequisites flow.

 The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: (Romans 3:22)

Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:25)

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8)

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; but whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

We can easily, clearly, and plainly see that faith is the first, but not the only, prerequisite to attaining eternal life. There are others…

 

7.  In His plan of redemption, God has sovereignly decreed that if a man chooses to come to Him for relationship, after coming to faith in Him/Christ and understanding his sin issue, he must repent of his former sins and sinful lifestyle. Repentance is the second prerequisite in order to attain relationship with God.

 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

Repent in the two passages above are in bold because, according to the Greek grammar, they are commands.

 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

Even after coming to faith in Christ, as the passages above indicate, if one does not repent from his sins he will still perish.

 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30)

But declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:20)

God commands repentance, and then the performance of deeds (works) in keeping with that repentance.

 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:18)

Repentance leads to eternal life, it does not give it. Further evidence that repentance is a prerequisite to finally attaining to eternal life.

 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, (Acts 3:19)

As the verse above demonstrate, one cannot have their sins “blotted out” unless they first repent. Repentance does not perform the action of the blotting out of one’s sins, but it is a prerequisite to accomplish before one can reach the stage of having their sins blotted out.

 

 

8.  In His plan of redemption, God has sovereignly decreed that if a man chooses to come to Him for relationship, the prerequisites of faith and repentance having been accomplished, then one must receive the God-ordained rite of entrance into the New Covenant of Reconciliation, which is covenant relationship with God. This rite of entrance into the covenant is water baptism (emersion), and is the next prerequisite for entering into saving relationship with God.

 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:5)

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22:16)

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (I Peter 3:21)

Through prophetic utterance, God tells us that the Messiah will be the living embodiment of the New Covenant:

 I am the LORD; I have called You in righteousness; I will take You by the hand and keep You; I will give You as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, (Isaiah 42:6)

Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered You; in a day of salvation I have helped You; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, (Isaiah 49:8)

Therefore, baptism into Christ is baptism into the New Covenant:

 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:3)

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

 

 

9.  Upon receiving baptism, calling upon the name of the Lord, one enters into legal covenant relationship with God, just as a man and woman enter into a legal covenant marriage.

 8   But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9   because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10   For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved…13  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:8, 9, 10, 13)

It is important here to emphasize that the term “saved” in the passage above refers to salvation found within the atonement in Christ; in other words, saved here means saved from one’s sins, it is NOT utilized here as synonymous for eternal life. One does not yet have eternal life just because one enters into the covenant, but he does have salvation from his sins. This will be explained in further detail in the following pages…

 

 

10.  Several things next take place – practically simultaneously – first, this person receives the atonement in Christ and is thereby forgiven and cleansed from their former sins (contrary to the teachings of men which state the atonement takes care of every sin that one will ever commit – this is not found taught in the Scriptures).

 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (II Peter 1:9)

The elements of the atonement in Christ, which are imputed righteousness of Christ, the imputed holiness of Christ, justification (based upon the imputed righteousness and holiness of Christ), salvation from sin (based upon the imputed righteousness and holiness of Christ, and the justification which becomes of them), and redemption and reconciliation. All of the elements of the atonement in Christ are given to us freely, as gifts, by God, through faith.

 The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: (Romans 3:22)

To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.‘ (Acts 26:18)

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, (I Corinthians 1:30)

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28)

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:11)

Because of grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8)

They are given because they are required for a man before he can enter into God’s presence for personal relationship (as the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies demonstrated, especially when it was torn from top to bottom after Christ’s sacrificial, atoning death upon the cross).

 

 

11.  Here we will take a deeper look into the atonement in Christ (the work of Christ upon the cross), because Reformed Theology of the past 500 years has greatly confused this issue. In order to understand the atonement under the New Covenant, we must understand it under the Old Covenant – for the second is based upon the same principles as the first. Under the Old Covenant, the atonement had only two purposes: (1) to cleanse the sinner from his sin, so that he could remain in covenant relationship with God; and (2) it was the basis for God’s forgiveness.

 For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins. (Leviticus 16:30)

Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. (Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35)

Then he shall offer the second for a burnt offering according to the rule. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven. (Leviticus 5:10, 16, 18)

Repeatedly we read that the one who commits sin must atone for it, and if he does not, he will “bear his iniquity,” “his iniquity shall be upon him,” and “he shall be cut off from his people.”

 5  When he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, 6  he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin. (Leviticus 5:5-6)

30  But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31  Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.” (Numbers 15:30-31)

One who sinned cut himself off from relationship with God, he separated himself from God:

 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have caused Him to hide His face from you, so that He will not hear your voice. (Isaiah 59:2)

If he did not atone for his sin, then fellowship with God would not be restored, no reconciliation could take place.

The purpose of atonement was for the sinner’s forgiveness and cleansing from sin, so that he could remain in covenant relationship with God. It is the same under the New Covenant – the atonement in Christ cleanses the sinner from his past sins, is the basis for God to forgive him, and keeps him in covenant relationship (fellowship) with God.

 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me. (Acts 26:18)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7)

For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (II Peter 1:9)

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

Again, one enters into the covenant through baptism, and then the atonement is applied to one’s life – NOT before, as false Reformed teaching dictates. This is why Acts 2:38 states that one must “repent and be baptized” before they receive “forgiveness of your sins.”  II Peter 1:9 states (contrary to Reformed teachings) that the atonement in Christ (initially) cleanses the sinner “from his former sins,” or in other words, from his past sins. The atonement, when initially applied to one’s life, does NOT take care of all one’s sins past, present, and future.

Contrary to Reformed Theology, the Scriptures do not teach that eternal life is in the atonement of Christ. This confusion takes place because Reformed Theology fails to make the Scriptural distinction between the Biblical definition of salvation and the Biblical writers’ use sometimes of salvation as a term synonymous with eternal life. The Scriptural definition of salvation (referring to the salvation as a work of Christ upon the cross, the atonement in Christ), is “deliverance from sin.”

 She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

To give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, (Luke 1:77)

The following are examples of the term “salvation” being used synonymously as eternal life:

 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

We do not “work out” our “own salvation” much less “with fear and trembling” if we are talking about the free gift of salvation (deliverance from sin) that comes through grace and faith alone. However, there are obligations that we must meet in “working out” salvation that is synonymous with eternal life – NOT work that gives us eternal life, but meeting our obligations in order to remain in covenant relationship with God, which allows us to move forward with God into that relationship which gives eternal life, that cannot be earned in any way, shape, or form.

 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:8)

The “hope of salvation” cannot be the salvation found only in the atonement, for it is not a hope if one is abiding in the covenant. The hope of salvation speaks of the final consummation of attaining eternal life through intimate, personal relationship with God.

 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

Again, the salvation that comes from the atonement in Christ is ours now as long as we remain abiding in the covenant, there is nothing about this free salvation in the atonement because of grace that is to be inherited. The inheritance speaks of the eternal life spoken of synonymously as salvation, which we will ultimately inherit through our relationship with God in eternity.

 And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (Hebrews 5:9)

Obedience is not a prerequisite for attaining the salvation that is an element of the atonement in Christ, that salvation (delivered from sin) is a free gift of God through faith, because of grace. However, the salvation that is used here synonymously for eternal life does have to be “worked out” through obedience to Christ, just as the Scripture clearly and plainly teaches.

 Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

There is nothing to reveal concerning the salvation which is part of the atonement in Christ, the only possible salvation that can and will be “revealed in the last time” will be that of eternal life, which salvation here is addressed as synonymous with.

 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation– (I Peter 2:2)

There is no way that one can “grow up into salvation” which is the element of the atonement in Christ. It is given freely as a gift because of grace, through faith in Christ, and is freely flowing into the lives of those who remain abiding in God (Christ). The salvation spoken of here is used once again as synonymously with eternal life, which one can and should be growing up into.

Such confusion and false teachings originate from those who do not know or understand the two uses of the one term, “salvation,” and its cognates (save, saved, saving). When one uses the category “A” term of salvation (delivered from sin) as a category “B” situation (synonymous for eternal life), then inaccurate teaching and doctrine is forwarded as truth, which leads to false doctrine.

Again, eternal life is NOT a part of the atonement in Christ, neither do any of the elements of the atonement in Christ give eternal life to anyone.

 

 

12.  After one has called upon God and has entered into the Divine marriage covenant with God, and has received His forgiveness and cleansing through the atonement, the next thing he receives is the indwelling Spirit of God and regeneration – which is the “new birth.”

 He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (II Corinthians 5:17)

12 But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, 13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)

However, eternal life does not come to us through the legality of the New Covenant, nor through the atonement in Christ, nor through regeneration, for these are all prerequisites to ultimately attaining to that eternal life.

 

 

13.  Now that one has entered into the covenant with God, one must remain abiding in the covenant in Christ by walking in obedience to the covenant law of the New Covenant, which replaced the law of the Old Covenant.

 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. (Hebrews 7:12)

This New Covenant law is called the law of Christ,[1] the law of God,[2] the law of the Spirit,[3] the royal law,[4] and the perfect law and the law of liberty.[5]

 [1]  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. (I Corinthians 9:21)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

 [2]  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (Romans 8:7)

[3]  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

 [4]  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (James 2:8)

 [5]  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25)

 Remember that ANE covenants have covenant law, that law is the obligations that the partners must abide by in order to remain abiding in the covenant. The fact that the New Covenant has covenant law is prima facie evidence that the New Covenant is bilateral and conditional in nature. That is, the fact that the New Covenant has covenant law makes it self evident that the New Covenant is conditional.

 

 

14.  This law of Christ does NOT give one eternal life, it only stands as the obligations one has to meet in order to remain in covenant relationship with God.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)

 

15.  What is the law of Christ?

FIRST, that we walk in trusting belief in Christ:

 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

15  That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. 16  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:15-16)

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. (John 6:47)

 

SECOND, to love on people, by meeting any needs they have that you are able to meet:

 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (James 2:8)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8)

And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (I John 4:21)

So then, as the opportunities present themselves to us, let us love on everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:10)

 

 

THIRD, we are to love God:

 And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

We are told by God that what He accepts as love is walking in obedience to Him:

For this is how we love God, we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. (I John 5:3)

And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; (II John 1:16)

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, (Hebrews 5:9)

When we meet these first three obligations, then we are abiding in God:

 23   And this is His commandment, (1) that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and (2) love one another, just as He has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (I John 3:23-24)

 

 

FOURTH, part of walking in obedience to God is to walk in the Spirit; that is, to walk in obedience to the leading of the Spirit:

 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit… (Romans 8:1)

4   in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:4-6)

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6)

 

 

FIFTH, to partake of Communion in Christ:

 53   So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54  Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55  For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56  Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (John 6:53-56)

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (I Corinthians 10:16)

 

 

16.  When one meets all of the above obligations, then one is abiding in Christ, where eternal life dwells.

 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live,” (John 11:25)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, (II Timothy 1:1)

The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- (I John 1:2)

11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12   Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (I John 5:11-12)

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (I John 5:20)

 

 

17.  The purpose of having eternal life, is to spend time with God and get to know Him on an intimate and personal basis.

 And this is the purpose for eternal life, to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

It appears that those who are in covenant relationship with God, who do not follow through in that personal relationship, will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, because God will only allow those into heaven who He has come to know personally.

 21 Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22  On that day many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?” 23  And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-13)

But He answered, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.” (Matthew 25:1-12)

For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

In flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (II Thessalonians 1:8)

They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. (Titus 1:16)

 

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