Etikettarkiv | commandments

Do we sin because we are sinners, and are we righteous because Jesus is righteous for us?

Here is what someone wrote (not sure if he got this from someone else or if he made it up himself):

”Did you know even if you had never sinned you would still be a sinner? The act of sin is only a result of what we are. Did you know that if you never did anything right you are righteous in Christ. In Christ righteousness is not a result of what you have done it is who you have become”

I can’t think of a more dangerous teaching than this, but I can very well imagine that this message is incredibly POPULAR in our churches today. I’m sure this IS what people would like to HEAR, so the chances are high that they would also choose a church with this type of convenient teaching.

2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.

It might be soothing for your conscience to be told that you can have your sins and your salvation too, and this is what the statement above (not the verse) is actually teaching us – even if the person who wrote this might not be aware of it. This type of message in the wrong ears could absolutely be soul-damaging and that’s why we must react. When we DO react, it’s a risk we will be charged for ”causing a division” but it’s the one with unbiblical doctrines who is the one causing a division even if he has lots of fans who praise him. What if someone who battles sin starts to take this message at face value and take it to heart? There is a HUGE risk he will feel comforted in his sins and become less motivated to let go of certain sins he has often battled with. Moreover, during various tempting situations in his life he might be more prone to give in for the temptations due to this type of message ringing in his ears. Do we really help a person who lives in sin, by patting him on his back while assuring him that he is still righteous because Jesus has been righteous for him, and that ”we are all sinners anyway and no one can be perfect”? He might subconsciously start to be convinced of this:

  • We are apparently always sinners no matter what we do, so what would it matter if I told a little white lie once in a while, or stole a few minor items from work that no one would be missing anyway, or slandered someone who really deserves it? I mean, when the temptations are too hard to overcome? I’m not more than human, and we are all sinners…
  • It’s a good thing to know that no matter how much sin I do, I’m always righteous in Christ! Of course I don’t seek to sin but it’s good to know that my soul is always secure even if I would give in for temptations once in a while and sometimes the temptations are indeed very tempting… I’m really glad that my pastor tells us (albeit in between the lines) that we can serve two masters and still be saved. Not that I seek to sin (of course not) but I can still afford to if the going gets tough, and sometimes I feel it gets very tough….I’m not more than human, and humans sin! My pastor tells me so.
  • I’m glad I can also afford to refuse to forgive a mean and nasty brother, deny Jesus if I would end up in tribulation and even take the mark of the beast without risking my soul (or perhaps not that last thing because my pastor tells me I will already be raptured away before I have to deal with the mark of the beast). Of course I will strive to NOT sin in such a way (I’m a christian!) but it’s good to know that Christ will still accept me the way I am despite my disobedience and I will not lose my salvation in any way. My aim is of course to never sin, but at the same time my pastor repeats that we are ALWAYS sinners no matter what we do, so a few extra sins could not possibly change this status. I can’t be more than a sinner and I already am! Whether I do good or whether I do bad, I’m always a sinner. So doing good works is only connected with the upcoming rewards in heaven and has nothing to do with my salvation – if I only believe in Christ.

And don’t say that ”A true Christian would never reason in such a way! True christians don’t seek for loop holes or excuses for sins”. Even King David (a man of God’s own heart) sinned severely for about a year, so true believers DO risk to fall for temptations and sin – for weeks, months or years. Some might repent sooner or later, but some won’t.

Even if you are a person who side with the statement in question and still succeed to live righteously and show lots of good fruit, what about OTHER Christians who are weaker than you? Do you think that perhaps a weak christian might be more prone to give in for temptations if he knows he is always eternally secure no matter what he does? I truly believe that is the case. If a weak christian understands that sinning is actually not a big deal (because we are always sinners no matter what we do, and we are always righteous in Christ no matter what we do) then OF COURSE it’s even more tempting to stick with his sweet sins, and of course it could be a slippery slope into sinning even more! He trusts in his fire insurance and that he can live in his flesh once in a while on earth, and still make it to heaven. But what if this is nothing but a big DELUSION? As christians, we wouldn’t want to  be part of equipping others with a false sense of security, but we would want to guide people away from sin so they can save their SOULS. Not leading them TO sin by sugar-coating the gospel! Temptations are hard enough as they are, and sinners don’t need our help whispering in their already very itching ears that ”Jesus is righteous for you so you don’t have to be”. It’s the devil who tries to convince us that sinning will not make us die, but the truth is that sinning does lead to death, even for christians.

I pray that we will be stay alert and encourage each other to be obedient to Christ and to expose teachings that suggest that we cannot live holy but must continue as sinners until we die when DEATH finally comes and saves us from our sin. It’s true that some people with this type of dangerous teaching are simply deceived themselves, but the problem is that they will still deceive others (who in turn will deceive others) so we must help them out to see how and where they have misunderstood the scriptures. We all need to be encouraged because this world can be very tempting and we need to stick close to God in order to get the strength needed. I’m confident of that we would see more victory when it comes to preaching and evangelizing if we spoke more about the need for true repentance and that sins separate us from God. Most of us long to see huge revivals but what if sins are in the way?

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Jesus started out his ministry by speaking about repentance, and so did John the Baptist before him. Here is also what Jesus said while giving us the commandment that we must go out in all the world and make disciples:

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and TEACH all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

And what is it that Jesus has commanded us to do – which he here asks us to teach others? For instance this:

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.21 He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, is he that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him.—23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son WILL NOT SEE LIFE, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Matt. 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

John 5: 28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth;they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation

Jhn 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and DOETH HIS WILL, him He heareth.

Matt. 16: 24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

So we are told to go out and preach the gospel and to TEACH people to obey the word of God, and they are all included in the ten commandments. Jesus also tells us who the greatest in heaven will be, and they are the ones who obey the commandments and teach others to do the same:

Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

To get back to the statement in question. We are not born sinners (that is originally a gnostic teaching popularized by Augustine) and Jesus righteousness is not imputed into us (that is a teaching from Martin Luther). We are sinners IF we sin, and we are righteous if we live righteously. First we must of course be cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus and that happens when we repent for our sins. But it doesn’t say ”once righteous always righteous”. There will be a falling away, and immorality is getting worse.

1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron

Finally, it’s also true that some christians might sit at home, reading lots of theology books, getting increasingly wiser and possessing all the right doctrines but STILL decline to be a fisher of men, whereas other christians might believe in all kinds of incorrect doctrines but THEY GO OUT AND MAKE DISCIPLES. The best combination is of course to go out and make disciples AND having the right doctrines 🙂 That’s the winning concept!

Annonser

People hearkened NOT unto God but closed their ears

The word ”hearken” is not commonly used today, but it’s an oft mentioned word in the Old Testament. It means: To listen attentively; to give heed, to give attention to what is said, to listen, or to hear in order to obey or comply. Below are some Biblical examples of people who did NOT choose to hearken to God or his prophets (contrary to God’s will) and they mainly concern his own people – the Israelites. Note that there are of course many more instances where we can read about people who refuse to listen to God or obey him, where the word ”hearken” is not used. Did God want people to hearken to him? Of course he did! Why pleading with people and attempting to get their attention if he wouldn’t want them to listen to him and obey in the first place? This means God’s will doesn’t always happen, but he is still in control. God can be sovereign and in control even though he doesn’t direct each of our steps. The Bible is a book filled with examples of individuals and large groups of people who disobey God and refuse to listen to him, and we can take these instances as warnings for ourselves.

Let’s ask ourselves, does God want us to rebel against him, to sin, to harden our hearts, to provoke him, to be evil, to not believe him, to gather together against him, to tempt him, to worship idols, to disobey his commandments, to forsake him, to be wicked, to cause him to anger, to go a whoring, to corrupt our ways, to transgress his covenant, to be stubborn, to harden our necks, to despise him, to be proud, to dishonor him, to reject his law, to refuse to repent, to speak lying words, to kill his prophets, to be deceived, to not receive correction, to do worse than our fathers, to not incline our ears to him, to not serve him, to turn our backs on him, to cause others to sin, to commit villany, to defile his house, to make abominations, to do something that he hates, to not turn to him, etc? I hope you say with emphasis that God of course does NOT want us to behave in such a way. Yet this is what we can read happened, and his own people reacted wickedly. To deny man’s free will is to deny major parts of the Bible, resulting in a Book that doesn’t make much sense.

Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exodus 16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

Numbers 14:11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?—22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:—35 I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die

Deutoronomy 1814 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.—

Deutoronomy 28:1And it shall come to pass, IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy GodThe Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways—15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:—20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.-45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee–62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God.

Judges 2:2 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim:—12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.—16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.20 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;

1 Sam 2:17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.

2 Kings 22:13 Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us

Nehemiah 9:15 And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments,17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.—26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.27 Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.28 But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the land of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies;29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear.30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.—34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.—35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.

Psalm 81:11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me

Psalm 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;—23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lordcommanded them:35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.—39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.40 Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.—43 Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.44 Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:45 And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

Jeremiah 6:Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.—10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord;—16 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

Jeremiah 7:For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.—12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.—23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.—31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

Jeremiah 16:12 And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:

Jeremiah 17:27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

Jeremia 25:From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that theLord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. –Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord—

Jeremia 26 Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you,5 To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened;13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.

Jeremiah 29:For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.—19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith theLord, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the Lord.—23 Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord—31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the Lord concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:32 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the Lord; because he hath taught rebellion against the Lord.

Jeremiah 32: 23 And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them:—30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord.-33 And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Jeremiah 34:13 Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying,14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.15 And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.17 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof—

Jeremiah 35:12 Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying,13 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the Lord.14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.15 I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me:17 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.

Jeremiah 36:It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people.31 And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.

Jeremiah 44: Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers.—Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.Therefore now thus saith the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain;—15 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,16 As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee.—22 So that the Lord could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.

Ezekiel 3:But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.—As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.—20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand—27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel 20:Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.—13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.—18 But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:19 I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them;20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.21 Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.—30 Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you.—39 As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.43 And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.

Hosea 9:1  Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.—They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord.—9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.—15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters—17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

Zechariah 1:The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers.—Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord.

Zechariah 7:Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:

Free will is Biblical, and the same as moral ability

MAN’S MORAL ABILITY AND THE RELATION IT HAS TO THE MORAL LAW
By Jesse Morrell (A section from the booklet “Free Will & Conscience”)

Moral ability and free will are synonymous terms, being identical in nature and meaning. Inability and free will are antonymous terms, being contrary in nature and meaning. Free will is the power of contrary choice. A man is able to do only what a man is free to do; and a man is free to do only what a man is able to do. Freedom speaks of the contingent, not of the necessitated, of that which was voluntarily chosen under liberty, and not that forced by necessity. A freewill choice is a choice that did not have to be chosen, but that was voluntarily chosen when the person could have chosen the opposite.

To be required or obligated to do better, and to be accountable or judged for failure to do better, one must be capable of doing better. To be capable of doing better, one must be free, or able, to do better. What a man is free to do, a man is capable, or able, of doing. If a man is not capable, then a man is not able or free, and if a man is not a free agent, then he is a necessitated agent who can no more have moral character than a puppet or a machine can have moral character. Moral character relates to voluntary or intentional choices commanded or condemned by the God-given intelligence, knowledge, revelation, or conscience, and moral accountability relates to moral character. Therefore, what a man is accountable for, he must not have been necessitated to do, but must have voluntarily committed.

A man is responsible only for that which he is intentionally the cause of, and a man is only the intentional cause of that which is voluntary, since what is voluntary is intentional, and what is intentional is voluntary. And since moral character consists only in free, voluntary, intentional choices, and moral accountability is according to moral character, a man is only accountable for his free, voluntary, intentional choices.

Thomas Chalmers said, “The morality of any act is with its willfulness.” And then again, “That an action then be the rightful object, either of moral censure, or approval, it must have had the consent of the will to go along with it. It must be the fruit of volition – else it is utterly beyond the scope, either of praise for its virtuousness or of blame for its criminality. If an action be involuntary, it is as unfit a subject for any moral reckoning, as are the pulsations of the wrist.”1

Respecting the moral government of God (Isa. 9:6-7), or the ruling and reigning of God in the realm of morality over moral agents (Lk. 17:21), in which God is the Governor (Matt. 2:6), the moral commandments of God never exceed the moral ability of men. The commands of God are directed to the ability of man, being instructions as to how a man is to use the liberty of his will, or how a man is to properly use his ability.

Since God’s moral commandments are directions for man’s moral ability, as to how to use this God-given ability, God’s moral requirements never exceed this God-given moral 3ability. Since God’s Moral Government is the governing of man’s moral agency (through persuasion and influence, not through force or necessity), God’s moral commandments never can, never do, and never will exceed man’s moral ability or moral agency. Because God’s commandments are directions to man, as to how a man is to use his ability, God’s commandments are in fact a declaration or a revelation of what man can do and what man should do.

The moral law of God’s Moral Government is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37) and “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). The moral law of God, in essence, is the law of love, love being the total and complete fulfillment of the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8).

The law of love, or the life of love, is commanded, and the law of selfishness, or the life of selfishness, is condemned. Love is not an involuntary emotion or feeling, but it is a voluntary, impartial committal of the will towards the highest well-being of all (Jn. 3:16; 15:13); it is the intention of the heart, and is synonymous with “good will” (Lk.2:14; Eph. 6:7; Php. 1:15), and is the same as benevolence.

If love is truly love, it must of necessity manifest itself into action and conduct whenever possible and whenever necessary, performing the required means to secure the end of the well-being of others. The “readiness to will” results in the performance” or in the “doing” (2 Cor. 8:11). If the inside of the cup (inward intention) is first clean, then the outside of the cup (outward actions) will be clean as well (Matt. 23:26), because what is inside will manifest in what is outside whenever possible. A good tree can only produce good fruit, while a bad tree can only produce bad fruit (Matt. 7:17), because the heart, or intention, determines the outward life (Matt. 12:35; Lk. 6:45).

Love, good will, or benevolence satisfies the whole of the law (Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8), but selfishness or self-centeredness is a total and complete violation of the whole of the law (Jas. 2:10). To break one letter of the law is to break the whole spirit of the law; which the entire letter of the law is derived from. The letter of the law is derived from the spirit of the law; therefore, to break one letter of the law is to break the whole spirit of the law. He that breaks the one breaks the whole. Therefore, to “offend in one point” is to be “guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10).

Notice that God does not command that we love Him with faculties that we do not possess, but rather that we love Him with all that we currently possess, “with all thy,” as opposed to with that which is not currently yours. The commandments are  directions to man as to how he is to use his ability. The commandments of God are not impossible, demanding that we love Him with a heart, soul, mind and strength that we do not have. Rather, it is possible to keep the law of God, which demands that we love Him with all of what we do have, with all that we are capable of, to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less. It is possible to keep the law because we are capable, and we are capable because it is possible to keep the law; our God-given commandments and our God-given ability directly correspond with each other. The command of God is that we 4love to the very highest of our ability, no more and no less, and therefore we are able to keep the law of love; we are able to keep the commandments of Jesus (1 Jn. 2:3; 3:22; 5:2-3; Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14). Obedience is always possible, and disobedience is never necessary or unavoidable. The highest that our ability is capable of is all that the law of God commands, no more and no less. The law of God is the law of our ability, to love Him supremely and our neighbor equally, according to our ability, with all of our ability, “with all thy.”

Clemens of Alexandrinus said that the call of “the Divine word – requireth but that which is according to the ability and strength of every one.”2 Gordon Olson said, “The words -all thy’ express our obligation. It is the exertion of -thy’ personality and ability that is required – all’ this ability.”3 Charles Finney said, “Entire obedience is the entire consecration of the powers, as they are, to God. It does not imply any change in them, but simply the right use of them.”4 Again Finney said that the law “simply requires us to use what strength we have. They very wording of the law is proof conclusive, that it extents its demands only to the full amount of what strength we have. And this is true of every moral being, however great or small.”5 And Asa Mahan said, “the law, addressing men -requires them to love God with all their – mind and strength,’ that is -with the power they now actually possess.”6

God commands that you use “thy heart” and “thy soul” and “thy mind.” Clement of Alexandria said, “What the commandments direct are in our own power”7 The command of God is directed towards our current faculties, and it does not exceed the limits of those faculties. We are to love him with “all” of these faculties, not with less or with more than those faculties are capable of. Man is not responsible for more than he can perform, and so man is not accountable for more than he can perform. Man’s responsibility is in accordance with all of his ability, and man’s accountability is according to his responsibility. Therefore, man will not be accountable for that which was beyond his power because man is not accountable beyond his responsibility, and his responsibility is never beyond his ability.

Man’s moral ability is naturally and obviously limited by moral possibilities; therefore, God’s moral commandments never require moral impossibilities, for that which is morally impossible cannot be morally commanded. God cannot morally demand a moral impossibility. Augustine said, “God does not demand impossibilities.”8  Charles Finney said, “The law of God requires nothing more of any human being, than that which he is at present naturally able to perform, under the present circumstances of his being.”9

The extent of God’s commandments is the exact extent of man’s ability, and the extent of man’s ability is the extent of God’s commandments; each one establishes and determines the limitations and boundaries of the other, and since man will be judged by the commandments, the extent of man’s accountability will be the extent of man’s ability. A man will not be accountable for that which he was not capable of; he will not be judged for that which was outside of the realm of his control. 5

The law of God is therefore the law of our ability: to love Him supremely and our neighbor equally, according to our ability, with all of our ability, to the highest of our ability, no more and no less. There is, then, no inability in which a sinner can hide behind as an excuse, no commandment that a sinner can point to as tyrannical, since all the commandments of God can be kept, without exception.

All sin is, therefore, inexcusable since all sin is voluntary and avoidable; that which brings moral guilt is always voluntary and avoidable. What is unavoidable is excusable, but what is inexcusable must be avoidable. What is punishable must voluntary, and what is voluntary must be avoidable. What is punishable must be vice, and what is vice must be voluntary. Only sin can be punishable, and only what is voluntary and avoidable can be sin. Therefore, sin is inexcusable and punishable because sin is voluntary and avoidable, and it is voluntary and avoidable because God has given man free will.

Justin the Martyr said, “We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishment, chastisement, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is ur own power. For if it is predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise and the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions – whatever they may be – for neither would a man be worthy of praise if he did not himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.”10

Charles Finney said, “Moral agency implies the possession of free-will. By freewill it is intended the power of choosing or refusing to choose, in every instance, in compliance with moral obligation. Free-will implies the power of originating and
deciding our own choices, and of exercising our own sovereignty, in every instance of choice upon moral questions, of deciding or choosing in conformity with duty or otherwise in all cases of moral obligation . . . unless the will is free, man has no freedom; and if he has no freedom he is not a moral agent, that is, he is incapable of moral action and also of moral character. Free-will then, in the above defined sense, must be a condition of moral agency, and, of course, of moral obligation.”11

Miner Raymond said, “It is axiomatic that that for which any agent is morally responsible must be within his control. If man be responsible for obedience or disobedience to the divine commands, then obedience and disobedience are both equally
within his power. Which of them shall result is not determined by any thing external to him. His own power of choice selects the one, it being at the same time a power equally adequate to select the other. That for which an agent is morally responsible must be an election; that is, a selection with an alternative.”12 L. D. McCabe said, “Accountability necessitates the origination of choice between obedience and disobedience.”13 And again, “A free, original, independent, conscious choice between good and evil, is the sine qua non [condition] of every act that involves morality.”14

A man is only accountable for his moral character. His moral character is his heart or intention (which necessarily manifests into action whenever possible). A man’s intention is within the realm of his control (or else it cannot be his). Intention must be voluntary, and what is voluntary must be avoidable.  Therefore, a man is only accountable for his intentional, voluntary, avoidable choices or intentions.

God holds men accountable to their responsibility. What God requires of man God expects from men, what God expects from men is possible for men, and what is possible for men is the same as what men are capable of. Accountability implies requirement, requirement implies expectation, expectation implies possibility, and possibility implies capability. Man is accountable for choosing sin only because he is capable of choosing righteousness over sin. A man is accountable for choosing darkness over the light onlybecause he is capable of choosing the light over darkness. A man is accountable for disobedience because he is capable of choosing obedience over disobedience.

A man is accountable for rejecting Jesus only because he is capable of following Jesus. A man is responsible and accountable according to that which is within his realm of control, according to that which is within his power. A man will be judged by his ability, no more and no less, since the commands of God require nothing more then that which is within man’s moral ability, that which is within the realm of moral possibilities.

Consider the great disappointment of God over mankind (Gen. 6:5-6, Ps. 81:13, Eze. 6:9). Now consider the logical implications of disappointment. Disappointment requires expectation, and reasonable expectation requires capabilities or potential.
Disappointment arises when failed expectations, which were based upon potential possibilities, occur. God’s great  disappointment with mankind is rooted in mankind’s great potential, moral capabilities, or open possibilities, which were given to mankind by God Himself. And if God’s disappointment comes from God’s expectations, and if God legislates according to His expectations, that is, if God’s requirements are the same thing as His expectations, then all of God’s requirements are perfectly matched by mankind’s capabilities or potential because God’s expectations are according to man’s capabilities or potential. Once again we clearly see that God’s requirements never exceed man’s capabilities. What God genuinely requires God must genuinely desire. And if God genuinely desires it, then God will enable man to do it.

Irenaeus said, “God made man free from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the commandments of God voluntarily.”15 If God does not grant man the genuine ability to obey it must be because God does not
genuinely want man to obey. But if God genuinely wants to be obeyed it must be understood that God grants man the ability to genuinely obey. If God wants man to voluntarily obey, God must make it possible for man to voluntarily obey since it is in His
power to make this ability available to man. That which He requires He supplies the ability to achieve. If God commands the parting of the red sea, God will supply the power to do it (Ex. 14:26-27). If God commands moral perfection of heart from men (Gen. 17:1, 7Deut. 18:13, Matt. 5:48) God supplies the ability for it to be achieved (1 Cor. 10:13). Those whom God holds morally responsible and morally accountable are those whom God has made or created morally free, morally capable, or morally able with open possibilities and natural potential.

So man has a free will because man was made with one, because man was made in the image of God. Winkie Pratney said, “Free choice is a reality with man because it is a reality in God.”16 Gordon Olson said, “God designed man’s constitution, with its
profound abilities and reactions, to enable him to achieve great heights of comprehension and moral nobility in the imitation of his Creator.”17

*1 Thomas Chalmers; The Bridgewater Treatise by T. Chalmers, 1835 Edition, p. 272,
273, published by Corie, Lea, & Blanchard
*2 Clemens of Alexandrinus; An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism by John
Fletcher, Volume Two, p. 204, published by Carlton & Porter
*3 Gordon Olson; The Kindness of God Our Savior, p. 10, published by Revival
Theology Promotion
*4 Charles Finney; Finney’s Systematic Theology, 1878 Edition, p. 129, published by
Bethany House
*5 Charles Finney; Finney’s Systematic Theology, 1878 Edition, p. 134, published by
Bethany House
*6 Asa Mahan; The Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 118, published by Truth in
Heart
*7 Clement of Alexandria; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p.
295, published by Hendrickson Publishers
*8 Augustine; Joy and Strength, 1929 Edition, p. 192, published by Grosset & Dunlap
*9 Charles G. Finney; Lectures on Systematic Theology, 1851 Edition, p. 35
*10 Justin the Martyr, First Apology Chap. 43
*11 Charles G. Finney; Lectures on Systematic Theology, 1851 Edition, p. 46-47
*12 Miner Raymond; Systematic Theology, Volume One, 1877 Edition, p. 520-521,
published by Granston & Stowe
*13 L. D. McCabe; Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity, p. 67
*14 L. D. McCabe; Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity, p. 74
*15 Irenaeus; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 286, published
by Hendrickson Publishers
*16 Winkie Pratney; The Nature and Character of God, 1988, p. 205, Bethany House
Publishing
17 Gordon Olson; The Kindness of God Our Savior, p. 61, published by Revival
Theology Promotion


What is The Law of Christ?

Paul said,  “Bear one another’s burden, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal. 6:2)

What is the law of Christ?  The law of Christ is the body of commands and teachings He taught to His disciples and they in turn were to teach every new disciple.  (Matt. 28:20)

Paul equated Christ’s law to God’s law.  (1 Cor. 9:21)

“To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”

Paul told the Christians in Galatia to carry each other’s burdens, and in doing so they would fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal. 6:2)

Paul also said such things as “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  (Col. 3:16)

What is the word of Christ?  

It has to do with everything Jesus taught and commanded! I have heard people try to get away with what Jesus taught by claiming it belongs to another dispensation in the future; that what Christ taught cannot be applied doctrinally to the Christians in the Church Age.

The word “doctrine” simply means “teaching or instruction.”  It is not some mystical word that is hard to grasp.  Whatever Jesus taught applied to the apostles, to those at that time, and to us!  If one does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, he does not have God.

2 John 1:9 says,
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”

As one author has well stated,

“It seems strange that men should forbid Jesus the privilege of teaching, during His earthly ministry, and great principles governing man’s relation to God – not only during the few remaining days of His brief earthly ministry, but throughout the age to follow, for which He was even then preparing His disciples.  It seems even stranger that men who so easily reject much of our Lord’s later teaching as ‘not applicable to the present dispensation’ do not hesitate to accept much of His earliest teaching (to Nicodemus, for example) as being fully applicable to the present age.  (One friend, in conversation with the author, even denied that our Lord’s words in John 15 have any bearing on the question of our relation to Christ today, since they were spoken ‘before Calvary’ – a few hours!  What delicate, fragile hairs skilled ‘rightly dividers’ can sometimes neatly split with one swift, sure stroke of their hermeneutical broadaxe!)

It is true that Jesus made reference to certain legal and ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic economy which are not applicable today.  But it is also true that He enunciated cardinal principles governing man’s spiritual relation to God which are as valid today as the moment of utterance.  One of these principles, according to His teaching in the Parable of the Law of Forgiveness, is that true repentance toward God is inseparably associated with our attitude toward our fellow men and cannot exist apart from a charitable, forgiving spirit toward others.

Such true repentance, like sincere faith and the faithful retention of the saving word of the Gospel, is necessary, not merely for a fleeting moment at the occasion of one’s conversion, but continually and habitually, as an essential condition of forgiveness and salvation.  ‘So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you,’ warned Jesus, ‘if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’  It is possible, warned Jesus, that Peter and others who have known the forgiving grace of God might forfeit that forgiveness.  The forgiving grace of God cannot dwell in bitter, unforgiving hearts.  He who refuses to forgive his brother has no real sense of need for the forgiveness of God and no just claim on His gracious forgiveness.  ‘Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’”

What does Jesus expect from us? 

Jesus expects us to obey Him.  He was not suggesting it, nor did He say it was for another dispensation.  Jesus said true believers are those who obey Him.  Jesus said if you love Him, keep His commandments (John 14:15).

We are to abide in the doctrine of Christ.  When we abide in the doctrine of Christ, we are fulfilling the law of Christ and it shows that we have both the Father and the Son.   (2 John 1:9)

God’s will is expressed in the Law of Christ. 

The law of Christ is anything Jesus taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and is considered the will of the Father.  (Matt. 12:50)

Jesus said whoever hears these sayings (of Jesus), and DOES THEM, is likened to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matt. 7:24)

The teachings of Jesus come from the Father. 

Jesus said His teaching were not His own, but came from the Father.  (John 7:16-17)  Everything Jesus taught and commanded came from God. (John 8:28; John 12:49-50; John 14:10; John 14:24; John 14:31)  Jesus obeyed the Father perfectly. Everything Jesus did was the will of God.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Teach them to obey all that I commanded you”.  By teaching others to obey all that Jesus commanded, is teaching the will of God.

The law of Christ is a law of the heart and mind. 

When one starts talking about how we should obey Jesus, immediately the cry is, “You are teaching a works salvation!”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Bible never says one can earn his salvation, but what the Bible does say iS to WORK OUT your own salvation (Php. 2:12).  You can’t work out what you don’t have!  On the other hand, all they teach is that one can’t help but sin every single day in thought, word, and deed.  Throughout both Testaments God wants people to forsake wickedness.  Jesus told people to “go and sin no more,” and Paul said, “Awake to righteouness and sin not!”  But on every side we are attacked by Satan’s followers who say you can keep sinning and never die (the same lie from the Garden).  Just listen to this clip ”Today’s Gospel”  of what is being taught out there, and hear how God’s word refutes them!

The secret to living a holy life, free from the bondage of sin, is LOVE.  The purity of your actions is not only from the mind, but from the heart. What is in your heart will fill your mind as well. Jesus called the teachers of the law and Pharisees hypocrites.  They were beautiful on the outside, but inside were full of dead men’s bones.  People, from the outside, can appear as righteous but inside are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matt. 23:28)  It is from out of the heart that proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. 15:19).  Jesus is not looking just for external actions to be pure, but his desire is for us to be pure in heart and mind as well.

 Will the Holy Spirit be given to those who do not obey Jesus – who claim to continually sin everyday in thought, word, and deed?

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will only be given to those who obey Him.

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”  (John 14:15-16)

This is corroborated by Peter.

And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”  (Acts 5:32) 

John tells us,

“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.  And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (1 John 3:24)

The Holy Spirit whom God has given abides in those who keep the commandments of Jesus!  For those who claim to sin everyday in thought, word, and deed cannot have the Holy Spirit, for they do not obey God.  They even write off what Jesus said as for another dispensation and therefore it doesn’t apply to them doctrinally!  Why?  Because it will knock down the wall of a false teaching called Unconditional Eternal Security!  When you listen to all these false teachers, and get rid of all the fluff in their sermons, it all boils down to one thing…..you can keep on sinning and you won’t die!  It’s the same lie the Serpent told Eve in the Garden.

The Bible is clear that if you don’t obey and abide in the doctrine of Christ, you do not belong to Christ, nor do you have the Holy Spirit. (2 John 1:9; Rom. 8:9)

Jesus said whoever obeys His commands, he is the one who loves Him.  And He who loves Jesus loves the Father.  Again, if anyone loves Jesus, he will obey His teachings. (John 14:21; John 14:23)

The reverse side is true just as well.  Jesus said those who do not love him do not keep His words. (John 14:24)

Jesus’ love is conditional as long as we continue to obey. 

Jesus’ love is NOT unconditional.  Note the condition in the words of Jesus,

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.   (John 15:10)

Being friends with Jesus is also conditioned upon our obedience.

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  (John 15:14)

If we hold to the teachings of Christ, we are the real disciples of His. 

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

We are assured by Jesus we will never see death if we keep His word.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (John 8:51)

It is obedience to the teachings (keeping His word) that causes the blessings.  Just as blessings were promised for obedience to the law of Moses, so are the blessings promised to us based on our obedience to Christ.

One cannot have salvation without repentance followed with obedience.

The Scripture says,

“And having been perfected, He (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”  (Heb. 5:9)

It doesn’t say salvation is given to those who sin every day in thought, word, and deed.  God does not want people to sin.  He tells people to forsake their sins and follow Him.  Jesus commanded that all men to repent, but modern man will tell you repentance is not part of the Gospel. It’s a lie.  God wants repentance preached (Luke 5:32; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21, etc. etc.).

There is a “godly sorrow.”  “For godly sorrow worketh repentance TO SALVATION not to be repented of;”  (2 Cor. 7:10)

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit,

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 16:8)

And as we read above, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32)  When a person feels the conviction of the Holy Spirit about his sinful condition, he can shrug it off, or he’ll come to God to forgive him of such a sinful life style.  He will want pardon through the mercy of God.  He knows his only hope is through Jesus who provided a way for his salvation and freedom from sin.  He will hate his sin because he can see what it has done to him and where it will send him.  He will not have a desire to do it anymore.  At that point of repentance, he wants to give up sin and not do it again.  Some people may be bothered for weeks under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, some may be a few days, and for some it may be on the very day (process of repentance).  He will not have rest until he comes to that crucial point of “godly sorrow” that leads to salvation.  He has to believe (faith) that God is able to forgive him of all the sins he has committed up to that point in his life, and his heart must be dead set against sinning again, which it would be if he is truly under godly sorrow.  Jesus came to set us free from sin, that it no longer has to have dominion over us.  His repentance will be proven by his deeds (Acts 20:26).  One’s deeds (obedience – NOT disobedience) will prove his repentance!  God will give that person strength if he will obey Him.  He gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him.  From there, as he reads the Scriptures (needs to grow in the faith), he will be warned not to go back to the way he once walked.  He can quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).  The Scripture shows us certain sins will not let one inherit the kingdom of God, but instead lead one to eternal doom (Gal.5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Eph. 5:3-6; Rev. 21:8, etc.).  The Bible doesn’t say we work FOR our salvation, but it does say to WORK OUT our own salvation, and that with fear and trembling! (Php. 2:12).

Salvation is conditional upon the fact that we continue to abide in Jesus.  One who abides in Jesus will not sin.  Remember, Jesus said if you love Him you will obey Him and His teachings.  The Scriptures tell us,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.  And His commandments are not burdensome.”  (1 John 5:3)

The Scriptures also say,

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4)”

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”  (2 Thess. 1:8) 

And you want to claim that you SIN everyday in thought, word and deed? This is simply being disobedient!

Which one is it – believing or obeying? 

Some Scripture passages say salvation is a result of obedience while other texts say salvation is through faith.  Is this a contradiction?  No.  Paul said,

“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:  (Rom. 1:5)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Eph. 2:8)

Faith comes first and obedience is the evidence of the faith.  The Gospel is to be obeyed for salvation sake.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”  (2 Thess. 1:8)

Disobedience is manifested in unbelief.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)

“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them thatbelieved not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Heb. 3:18-19)

So if you are disobedient, sinning everyday in thought, word, and deed, you are walking in unbelief. Among the sins that will send one into the Lake of Fire, the “unbelieving” is one of them.

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
(Rev. 21:8)

The Bible is clear that a past moment of acceptance of Christ does not guarantee anyone eternal salvation regardless how they live afterward.  If they don’t continue in the faith they will suffer the consequences in Hell for all eternity.

Scriptures say that there will be Christians who will depart from the faith (departing from the faith doesn’t happen to lost people!) (1 Tim. 4:1).  The widows turned from Christ and started following Satan (1 Tim. 5:11-15). Demas is another example. He was a traveling companion of Paul (Col. 4:14; Phm. 1:24). They worked together and endured various troubles and persecutions preaching the kingdom of God. But what happened to Demas? Paul said, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;…”  (2 Tim. 4:10). Demas, a saved man, fell away and went back to loving this present world.  He loved the world more than God. The god of this world is Satan! (2 Cor. 4:4). Demas got deceived and it affected his behavior. In his unrepentant state, he lost his salvation for he did not endure! (1 John 2:15; James 4:4)

Those who obey Jesus’s commands live in him.  Paul said to examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).  John corroborates Paul by saying, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (1 John 3:24)

Those who have a true saving faith in Christ will obey His teachings and commands.  Obedience is natural evidence of saving faith.  Those who are disobedient display their lack of saving faith.  Jesus NEVER asks us to do something we cannot do. If you love Jesus, you will obey Him, and to obey Him is fulfilling the law of Christ.

(Thanks to Sandra)