Etikettarkiv | flesh

Does the Bible say that nature and flesh are SINFUL in Rom. 8:3?

sinCan flesh be sinful?

A sin is something that a person does based on his/her own choices. Also Jesus had flesh just like us, and he was obviously no sinner so this means that flesh cannot be sinful in and of itself or else Jesus too would be sinful.

The term ”sinful nature” cannot be found in the Bible (KJV), but ”sinful flesh” is found once in Rom. 8:3. Since flesh cannot really be sinful in itself (without a person living in it), why can we find this phrase in this verse?

It is a reference to what Jesus did for us when he was born into this world – ”in the likeness” of sinful flesh.

Rom. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh

According to Blueletterbible, ”flesh” is a translation from the Greek noun σάρξ (sarx, Strong’s 4561) and apart from flesh/meat from man or animal it could also signify the human body as opposed to the soul or spirit. It could also signify the human nature with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions, or simply a human being as such. So the translation could be flesh, body, human nature, carnality or materiality; kindred. 

But why does it then say ”sinful flesh”? Likely to convey that flesh is what human beings use to sin with, as Paul explains below when he is using the words ”mortal body” and ”members” as instruments to perform unrighteousness. If we have no body (or members) we have nothing to sin with. Granted that our minds are involved when we make plans to sin, but with no heart or brain we cannot even have any thoughts.

Rom. 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Angels are living in another realm but they too can appear as physical beings and they can disobey God (as obviously Satan did) which is sinning. When it comes to ”flesh”, it is something that is tied to human beings and animals (created on the sixth day) rather than angels who live in another habitat – even if angels temporarily can take the shape of human beings. The description of Jesus coming in the likeness of sinful flesh is therefore a good description when it comes to what Jesus did for us. He became flesh for our sake, and while ”flesh” is usually used in a negative way we naturally also need our physical bodies/flesh to do the good works which we are called to do. 

Jesus suffered for us in the flesh, and the reason for this is because man has sinned, which he did in flesh. The description of Jesus becoming flesh:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Phil 2: 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Heb. 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil

1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 Pet. 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries

righteous 5Paul describes his choice between living on in the flesh (in his physical body) or to depart from this world into a permanent life with Christ:

Phil. 1:22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 

Jesus had no advantage over us when it comes to sin (he was tempted like we are) and this means that it is a false idea that human beings are born with a sinful nature and Jesus is not. None of us have a sinful nature, and we certainly cannot blame our bodies if we choose to sin. We have been promised that we will not be tempted beyond our ability to say no.

Heb. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, yet without sin.

1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Paul explains further what it is to live in the flesh vs walking in the Spirit. He makes it clear, that if we choose to live in the flesh (which is the same as living in darkness or living ”in the world”) then we simply cannot please God. That would be impossible, for living in the flesh is the opposite of living after the Spirit. To be carnally minded (to live after the flesh) is death, but to live after the Spirit is LIFE. The choice is ours, and we have no excuse. Paul also provides examples of what it is to live after the flesh:

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, but after the Spirit.

Rom. 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk 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, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

1 Cor. 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Rom. 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Since the flesh is weak we can make it easier for ourselves if we pray and become stronger spiritually.

Mat. 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38)

In a way we must continue to live in our bodies and ”walk in the flesh” in this particular sense (continue to live in the world). In another sense we must avoid ”walking in the flesh” in the sense of giving in for temptations and sin (living in darkness).

2 Cor.2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

1 Cor. 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

2 Pet. 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The order based on James 1 is 1) lust, 2) temptation, 3) sin and 4) death. Not the other way around as many Calvinists would have you believe; where we start off being dead, and due to this predicament we sin due to our weak nature which is easily tempted.

Ja. 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The Bible does not say that having flesh is a sin, but rather breaking the commandments of God. Sin is transgression of the law, and God is naturally disappointed when we break his commandments which is all about disobeying him.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

What kind of transgression could it possibly be to have flesh? Why would this hurt or harm God? Would God be upset and disappointed each time someone is conceived and starts to develop flesh? No, the doctrine of the sinful nature is not Biblical. Read more about Romans 5 here.

The only true God in John 17:3 does not exclude Jesus

kors 7And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent (John 17:3)

If Jesus must be excluded if God is ”the only true…God”, then why is not Jesus excluded elsewhere where God is said to be ”the only” something? And why is GOD not excluded when JESUS is said to be ”the only....” something? If you check the verses below you will see examples of where either God or Jesus is called ”the only”, and yet most antitrinitarians have no problem including the other one. It’s only when it comes to John 17:3 where they for some reason do NOT want to include Jesus, and we already know the reason. If they did, they have to let go of a beloved verse which they have always viewed as proof for that Jesus isn’t God, and now they are left with nothing.

God…

  • Is the only one who is God – John 17:3, Is. 43:10, Is. 45:18, Ps. 86:10 (yet JESUS is too 1 Hebr. 1:8, 1 John 5:20, John 20:28)
  • Is the only one who is Lord (despotes, Strong’s 1203) – Jude 4 (yet JESUS is too 2 Pet. 2:1)
  • Is the only one who is King of Kings – 1 Tim. 6.15 (yet JESUS is too Rev. 17:14, Rev. 19.16)
  • Is the only one who is  Lord of Lords – 1 Tim. 6.15 (yet JESUS is too Rev. 17:14, Rev. 19.16)
  • Is the only one to be exalted on that day – Is. 2:11, 17 compare also with Ps. 118:16 (yet JESUS is too  Acts. 2:33, Acts 5:31, Phil 2:9)
  • Is the only one who is immortal – 1 Tim. 6.16 (yet JESUS is too Hebr. 1:8-12)
  • Is the only one who is Savior – Is. 43:11, Is. 45:21-22 (yet JESUS is too Titus 2:13, 2 Pet. 1:1, Acts. 13:23, Acts. 4:12, 1 Tim. 1:15)
  • Is the only one who make wonders/miracles – Ps. 72:18, Ps. 136:4 (yet JESUS too Matt. 4:23, 8:27, Acts. 4:10)
  • Is the only Creator and NO ONE was with him – Is. 25:24, Neh. 9:6 (yet JESUS is too Hebr. 1:10, Col 1:16-17)
  • Is the only one who we should worship – Rev. 14:7, Matt. 4:10, Neh. 9:6 (yet JESUS too Matt. 28:9, 28:17)
  • Is the only one who has Glory and who doesn’t share his glory with anyone – Is. 42:8, Is. 48:11 (yet JESUS too Phil. 2:9-13)

Jesus…

  • Is the only one who is Lord – 1 Cor. 8:6 (yet GOD too Deut. 10:17, Is. 42:8)
  • Is the only one who is Holy – Rev. 15:3-4 (yet GOD too Ex. 5:11, Is. 57:15)

The fear of accepting that Jesus is GOD in flesh

Antitrinitarians often cite John. 17:3 as an attempt to deny the deity of Jesus, by suggesting that Jesus would never call his Father ”the only true God” had he been God himself because there is only ONE God. It’s absolutely true that God is ONE, but why not ONE Godhead? Why cannot three persons be in the same trinity? Can God not be in any way he wants? Can God not be in a burning bush at the same time as he is in heaven, and at the same time as he oversees every single step that all people on earth make during the same second? Can he not be on every continent at the same time? Jesus can be on the right side of God, just like he is in the midst of a group who gathers together in his name.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

I’d like to believe that Jesus is present in our midst (albeit not in flesh) when two or more are gathered together in his name. Does this mean that he is unable to also be in the midst of other groups of people who gather together in his name somewhere else on earth – if they happen to gather together at the same time? Must we sit there with the hope that he is not already fully booked and unable to attend our meetings because his schedule is full and he is busy elsewhere? I’d like to believe that none of the persons in the Godhead have any problems at all to be in several places at the same time, and consequently Jesus doesn’t have any problems with sitting at the right hand side of God (the Father) despite being God himself. One pile of sand can be divided into three piles of sand, and our Lord can likewise be split apart should he want to. The persons in the Godhead are not divided in essence but they can split apart and act independently, but in unity, within the trinity.

Gal. 4:But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

What would be a better way for Jesus to phrase himself? Should he have said:  ”…that they might know thee the only true God, and myself Jesus Christ – the second only true God”? That would make it sound there were several true Gods, and there would be a risk that the people around him would misunderstand him, be confused and even enraged – way too soon in history because it wasn’t time for his death just yet. Jesus only wanted to show them that there is indeed ONE true God, and that is the one that he communicates with just like the people around him. Did he communicate with himself? No, he communicated with another person in the same Godhead. Jesus constantly prayed to God the Father (often called just GOD), and the last time was when he was on the cross. As God in FLESH Jesus communicated with God the Father in the same way as all other people – by praying –  but he of course has a very special relationship since he shares the same Godhead. When Jesus was not in flesh (Jesus has always been with the Father from eternity past) but in spirit, he didn’t communicate through prayers. Since Jesus is both God and man, he would properly say that his Father is the only true God. Are there other true Gods? Of course not. There is only ONE. He was not denying His own divinity but affirming the truth that God is one, as the scriptures properly say.

”But Jesus is speaking about this ”only true God” in third person and that should mean that Jesus himself couldn’t be God”? It’s true that he referred to God in third person but he also refers to himself in third person! If Jesus cannot be God due to referring to God in third person, then neither can he be Jesus Christ by the same logic.

Jesus is not only God, but the son of God. He isn’t Joseph’s true son, so he must be someone else’s true son, and he is God the Father’s son (or sprung from the trinity). But it was also Jesus own decision to be born on earth, as he has always been a part of the trinity. I personally believe that when Jesus was born on earth, he behaved just like all other babies, and I don’t believe he had wisdom enough to know he was God at the age of 3 weeks, 3 months, etc. I don’t believe he knew he was God as a baby, because he was just a baby and behaved like babies normally do. As soon as he grew up and had the capacity to reason, he knew he was divine, and again, it was his own decision to be born as a man (first baby) on earth for our sake. His mission was to spread the gospel and die as a sin offering for all mankind, and he is also called son of man. As a man on earth, he too communicated with God (the Father). Jesus was also one of us.

Phil. 2:Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

GOD is the true Godthe first and the last

Jer. 10:10 But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

God the Father is the one true God

Joh. 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent 

Jesus Christ is the true God – 1 John 5:20

1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

The most natural way to read ”this” or ”this one” above (or in similar statements) is to make it refer to the most previous person mentioned, which would here be Jeus Kristus. Or else John should have clarified exactly who he was referring to, if the most natural way of reading his text is supposed to be avoided. God is not a God of confusion. Take note of  John’s way of starting out his letter in  1 John 1:1, where he states that the eternal life (Jesus) was with the Father – which is repeated in 1 John 15:19-20.  Jesus is also the true light. It doesn’t make sense, if monotheism is true, to have two separate persons/Gods who both are called the eternal life, the true light, IAM, alpha and omega, the Lord of Lords, Savior, Creator, etc, and who on top of all are being worshiped. Either Jesus is God, or we have a God Senior and a God Junior, which is polytheism.

Ps. 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

1 Joh. 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1 Joh. 2:Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.—22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 The same was in the beginning with God.3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John. 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

Joh. 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Joh. 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Evangelical scholar Robert M. Bowman Jr. about John. 5:20:

Three considerations favor the Son. First, the closest antecedent for “this one” is Jesus Christ (“in his Son Jesus Christ. This one…”). Second, in 1:2 the “eternal life” is Jesus Christ (who was “with the Father”), an apparent example ofinclusio (repetition of a theme or idea at the beginning and end of a text). Third, the confession form “This one is…” (houtos estin) strongly favors Jesus Christ, rather than the Father, as the subject, since John uses this language repeatedly with regard to Christ (John 1:30, 33, 34; 4:29, 42; 6:14, 42, 50, 58; 7:18, 25, 26, 40, 41; 1 John 5:6; of the man born blind, John 9:8, 9, 19, 20; of the disciple, John 21:24; of the anti-Christ, 1 John 2:22; 2 John 1:7), but not once for the Father. John has just used this formula for Christ earlier in the same chapter (1 John 5:6). (Robert M. Bowman, The Biblical Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity: An Outline StudyPart IV. The Son, Jesus Christ, Is God*)

Dr. Robert A. Morey:

“That there may be a few rare exceptions to a general rule does not mean that one should approach a text of Scripture with the a priori assumption that it will be an exception to the normal rules of grammar.Instead, we should approach a text with the a priori assumption that the normal rules of grammar and syntax will apply unless there are cleargrammatical reasons to depart from those rules. “Please notice that we said ‘grammatical’–not ‘theological’–reasons. Just because the grammar of a text leads to an idea which contradicts what you believe, this does not give you the right to throw grammar to the wind. Theology cannot overthrow or ignore the grammar of the sacred text. It can only bow before it…”

“The Greek text of 1 John 5:20 is simple and straightforward. John used houtos fifty-five times in his writings. Thus, we are not talking about a rare usage of a rare word. There are plenty of places in John’s writings where houtos was used in the same kind of construction as found in 1 John 5:20 and no one has any problem with houtos referring back to the antecedent… Why then all the hysteria over whether houtos refers to Jesus in 1 John 5:20? Obviously, it is not the grammar or syntax of the Greek that causes people to question whether houtos refers to Jesus Christ per se. It is that it refers to Him as God. That is the real issue. “If the text read, ‘Iesou Christo. houtos estin zoe Aionios (‘Jesus Christ. This is Eternal Life’), there would be no controversy whatsoever.Houtos would be seen as referring to ‘Iesou Christo. But once you add ho alethinos theos to the phrase, then the controversy begins.”

“The evidence for Jesus being called ‘the true God’ and ‘Eternal Life’ is quite strong:

1. The general rule on pronouns is that it modifies the immediate antecedent. This means Jesus Christ…

2) While John elsewhere refers to Jesus as ‘Eternal Life’ (1 John 1:2), the Father is never called ‘Eternal Life.’ More importantly, in the immediate context, since Jesus is ‘eternal life,’ then to have Him in your heart is to have eternal life (1 John 5:11-12). In John’s writings, refers to zoe Aionios ‘Eternal Life’ Jesus.

3) John applies the adjective alethinos ‘true’ to Jesus many times…

4) That the Father is called ‘true God’ in John 17:3 and the Son is called ‘true God’ in 1 John 5:20 is no more a contradiction than the fact that they are both called the ‘true One’ (1 John 5:20; cf. Rev. 3:7).

5) The interpretation that ‘the true God’ refers to the Father leads to a meaningless tautology. Lenski explains: In the first place, if houtos has as its antecedent ‘the real God’ (the Father), then the statement is a tautology; John would say: ‘This real God is the real God.’ He would say it after having twice said: we know the real God and are in the real God.” (Morey, The Trinity: Evidence and Issues [World Bible Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, IA 1996], Part IV: The New Testament Evidence, Chapt. 17. God the Son, pp. 354-357) ”

A common objection to the most obvious understanding of 1 Joh. 5:20 – where houtos refers to the last person spoken of – is to present a verse where it’s NOT possible to read the verse in such a way. If such a verse could be found, the idea is that we are then exempt from reading ANY verse in the Bible according to the ordinary pattern if we don’t really want to – and particularly John 5:20 which is the ”problematic verse” that must be ”solved”. Such verses are not easy to find, but 1 John 2:22 is at least one example, and voilá – this discovery is used to find legitimate reasons to override the implications of John 5:20. So instead this verse is read in such a way that it agrees with the preferred doctrine, which is ”there is no way that Jesus is God”. Not due to grammatical reasons, but due to one’s own personal views (just like Dr. Robert A. Morey warns about). This is not an honest way to read the Bible, and it’s nothing but cherry-picking. 

On top of this, there is a major difference between the two verses. Houtos must not refer to the last person spoken about but then this must be made clear in the context! To clarify who is the Antichrist, John adds the information (in caps below) that he who denies the Father and the Son is the Antichrist. No matter what language we speak, we would normally want listeners/readers to understand what we say, and if there is a chance that someone might misunderstand us we would rather want to express ourselves in such a way that misunderstandings can be avoided. If we want to deviate from the most common way to use houtos, extra clarification is needed. 

1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He [houtos] is antichrist, THAT DENIETH THE FATHER AND THE SON.

Jesus is covered in GLORY and yet the Bible says God doesn’t share his glory with anyone…ljus

Isaiah 42:I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Also Jesus is called true God and Lord

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the TRUE GOD, and eternal life. (more literally:…he is the true God)

Jude 4:For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our ONLY Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (ESV)

Rom. 9:of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over allthe eternally blessed GOD. Amen. (NKJV)

Hebr. 1:But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

John. 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and MY GOD.29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Lord of Lords – there is only ONE – and yet both God the Father and Jesus Christ are called Lord of Lords

Other lords but God are mentioned in the Bible (like 26:13) and it’s not uncommon for a servant to call his master ”lord”, but the Bible also says there is one particular LORD who is LORD OF LORDS, and he ALONE is LORD.

Isaiah 37:20 Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou ONLY.

Deuteronomy 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

Psalm 136:3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

1 Tim. 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

Matt. 22:42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

God the Father is the ONLY savior, and Jesus Christ as well, and both created the earth – ALONE

Creation

Isaiah 43:11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.

Titus. 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our SAVIOUR Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

According to John 1:3 and Col. 1:16-17 Jesus made all things, and absolutely NOTHING was before him. So God the Father could not have been before him since he is definitely something! Is God a liar?

Col. 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Col. 2:Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

There is only ONE God hat we shall worship, and JESUS allowed himself to be worshiped

It would have been so easy to quench the idea that Jesus is not God by showing Jesus correcting those who worshiped him, but not once did he do that. To Jesus will every knee bow and every tongue confess:

Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Zech. 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Acts. 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus is the Messiah who the Scriptures and the Prophets write about – God in flesh

Jesus birthJesus Christ is the Messiah 

Messiah is a translation from the Greek word Χριστός (Christos) Strong’s 5547, and is used 538 times in the Bible, and it can also be translated as ”the annointed”. So Jesus Christ means Jesus the Messiah

Jesus is identified as the Messiah several times in the Bible, so we can’t get around the fact that the son of Joseph and Mary was the promised Messiah that the Old Testament so often is speaking about through prophets and psalms.

Matt. 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

The well-known story about the wise men who looked for the star of Bethlehem, shows that they knew that the Messiah would be born there just as promised in the Scriptures. They expected the Messiah in form of a ”King” and a ”governor”, which is a shepherd, and that’s exactly what Jesus was called several times. The Messiah was supposed to be come from the tribe of Judah – which is the tribe that Jesus came from.

Matt. 2: 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (Mika 5:2,  2 Sam 5:2, 1 Chr 11:2,  John 7:42).

The people understood that the son of man is the same as the Messiah, and they asked Jesus how come he says that the son of man must be lifted up when the Scriptures say that the Messiah shall abide for ever. Jesus then tells them that he is the light that they must believe in, in order to be children of light and also that he will continue to be a light for them for a little while more.

John. 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

Jesus equals the Messiah with the son of man, and when he speaks about his return to earth he warns us and tells us not to be deceived about who the Messiah really is, since it will be clear for everyone. If we feel any kind of uncertainty in this respect, it’s not the Messiah because his return will be like the lightning before all people.

Matt. 24:And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.—23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.25 Behold, I have told you before.26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

If only God the Father is God and the only one to be given glory, then the holy Spirit should testify only of HIM (God the Father), but Jesus suggests that the holy Spirit testifies of HIM (Jesus).

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of ME

Jesus Christ was crucified for the reason that he claimed to be the son of God, the Messiah and God in flesh. Jesus constantly connected the God name ”I AM” to himself, which he does also in the below verses when he responds to the questions from the high priest. If Jesus wouldn’t be the Messiah, then a more truthful answer would be a ”NO WAY! It would be blasphemy to call oneself for the son of God so of course I don’t do this!”, but that was not the response that Jesus gave, but rather ”I AM”. The high priest understood immediately that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy and rent his clothes, and the jews around him viewed him as guilty. Guilty of what? Blasphemy! To make oneself equal with God.

Mark 14:60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

Also Paul equals Christ with Jesus – the one who God rose up from the dead and placed on his right hand side – just like the prophesies say in Scriptures. King David described it as ”The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand”, despite that the Bible makes it clear that there is only ONE Lord and ONE God. The trinity solves this problem beautifully. Both God the Father and Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords.

Acts 2: 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. (Ps. 110:1)

Acts 18:And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

John the Baptist calls Jesus for the lamb of God, and Andrew says to his brother that they have found the Messiah, and he leads Peter to Jesus.

John 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

We can read about the lamb of God in Revelations, and we can read about people who sing to the lamb and also call him Lord God almighty, and King of saints. They say that he alone is holy, for all nations shall come and worship him. But God the Father is of course HOLY too, and that means again that they share the same godhead. Each person in a godhead can be holy.

Rev. 15:And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

The Scriptures speak about Jesus Christjesus12

Peter speaks about Jesus Christ and says that peace is given by him who is Lord of all.  Jesus is the one who God ordained to be the judge of the living and the dead, and Peter says that all the prophets witness about him and explains that whosoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts. 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)—39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:—42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

If we don’t believe in the one who the Father has sent, we are in big trouble. Jesus says that the Scriptures (that is the old testament) testify of him, and that Moses wrote about him. The jews who Jesus was talking to refused to believe that Jesus was sent by God and that means that they did not have his word abiding in them. If they truly believed Moses, they would also believe that Jesus is the one who he says he is. Even today there are many cults that refuse to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and coequal with God the Father.

John. 5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.-46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Paulus says that the law and the prophets are witnessing about a righteousness that can be given through faith in Jesus Christ.

Rom. 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Jesus says here again that the prophets are writing about him, and he shows that the suffering that the Scriptures say awaits the Messiah is tied to him (Jesus) because he IS the promised Messiah, and he DID suffer for mankind on the cross. Moses, the prophets and psalms testify of Jesus, so when we read in these old books in the old testament we can see stories about Jesus Christ who – from their point of view – is yet to come in the future in the form of flesh. When we read the complete Bible today, including the new testament, this event has of course already happened.

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.—21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.—24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.—44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Jesus reads from the Scriptures in his home town, and says that what can be read in Isaiah 61 is about himself.

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;–For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.—10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Paul explains that Jesus is the stumbling stone for the jews, or actually for anyone who refuses to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah, God’s son and God with us. Many cults are interested in raising up stumblingstones for us, and they are eager to teach that Jesus is not God in flesh.

Rom. 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Isaiah 10:21-22)

Isaiah 8:13 Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.17 And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Paul reasoned with people and explained to them that the Scriptures speak about Jesus and that he must suffer as the Messiah, but also rise again. There is a division between those who believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah and those who don’t.

Acts. 17:And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Below we can read in multiple places that the Scriptures speak about Jesus Christ as the holy one – the Messiah. God gives Jesus Christ GLORY – despite that we can also read in the Scriptures that God doesn’t share his glory with anyone. (This means Jesus must be God.) Moses explained that God would send a prophet ”like unto me” (as a leader for Israel and for all people who would unite with them) and that it’s of great importance that we listen to this prophet who is the Prince of life, and who has the power to bring either life or judgment. Since eternal life is given through faith and obedience in Jesus Christ (Hebr. 5:9), which includes the acceptance that Jesus has come in the flesh (1 John. 4:2), some religious cults do what they can to teach the opposite message – that Jesus is NOT the Messiah nor God in flesh.

Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Jesus was together with the israelites during Exodusjesus13

Jesus is the ROCK that followed the israelites during Exodus.

1 Cor. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;And did all eat the same spiritual meat;And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Jude 1:For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

Quotes from old church fathers, supporting Free will and objecting to the Sinful nature

The first 300-350 years AD we had a complete agreement among the early church fathers that man has a free will, that we are not ”once saved always saved” and that we were not born with some kind of sinful nature which is holding us back to depravity and inability to seek and find God. Are we to believe those years were full of darkness before Augustine entered the scene (354 -430 AD) to finally give us light? The only ones who taught against free will were the gnostics.  All of the early church up to the time of Augustine was unanimous in their belief and understanding of the nature of sin being that of choice.

”Gnostics also believed that mankind was wholly evil and some sects even renounced marriage and procreation. They also believed in two gods, one evil god and one good god. Their teachings are believed to have influenced Saint Augustine in the development of his theology of ”total depravity” of mankind and concept of God. For nine years St. Augustine adhered to Manichaeism, a Persian philosophy proclaimed in southern Babylonia (Iraq) that taught a doctrine of ”total depravity” and the claim that they were the ”elect.” He then turned to skepticism. Next, Augustine was attracted to the philosophy of Neoplatonism. He blended these beliefs with his later Gnostic Christian teachings. His teachings were in turn passed on to John Calvin in his extensive study of Augustine’s writings. It is very easy to follow the trail of John Calvin’s theology from the pagan religion of Mani in Babylonia to his writings in France and Geneva”  Read more here

Unfortunately this new teaching (well, not really knew since the gnostics taught it before Augustine, and he was a former gnostic) lead to many consequences:

A. If we sin, it’s not our fault because our sin nature made us  do it. We are victims – not guilty.
B. A life change is not essential for salvation.  We are not perfect, just forgiven.
C. Jesus was born without sin and therefore different from us and had an unfair advantage. He couldn’t sin and we can’t help but sin. This minimizes what Jesus did for us.

It’s of course possible to take quotes out of a context and make them sound like a person has views he in fact doesn’t have, but that would be nothing but deceptive. A more honest approach would be to quote someone’s clear and general views instead of trying to find some odd quotes out of context to ascribe views to a person he doesn’t have. With or without a broader context, the old church fathers DID hold to the views the quotes clearly reveal. I have seen some attempts where reformed thinkers have listed quotes from early church fathers with the aim to show that they spoke against free will, but after having read them 1) most often the quotes don’t actually say what they claim they say, and are at best ”vague”, and 2) the context and other writings from the same person show that they have the opposing views.

”I read through most of the early Church writings and gathered the quotes personally – to be sure to understand the context and to no miss things. But it is amazing to me that I seem to find more quotes I did not have all the time. It is amazing how much the Early Church was against TULIP! —they [the reformed] refuse to acknowledge it, or must assume that the Early Church fell from the truth taught to them by the Apostles immediately after the Apostles died.” (Lyndon Conn)

Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus) 160-225 AD

Apologist and a polemicist against heresy. He is perhaps most famous for being the oldest extant Latin writer to use the term TrinityCyprian’s teacher.

I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and powerFor a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience of resistance. (c. 207, Vol. 3, pp. 300-301)

No reward can be justly bestowed, no punishment can be justly inflicted, upon him who is good or bad by necessity, and not by his own choice.  (c. 207) (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 61, published by Truth in Heart)

Some people act as though God were under an obligation to bestow even on the unworthy His intended gift. They turn His liberality into slavery…. For do not many afterwards fall out of grace? Is not this gift taken away from many? (Tertullian On Repentance chap. 6.)

The world returned to sin…and so it is destined to fire. So is the man who after baptism renews his sins.  c.197

However, in the case of little children…Let them “come,” then, while they are growing up; let them “come” while they are learning, whither to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ. Why does the innocent period of life hasten to the “remission of sins? ”…If any understand the weighty import of baptism, they will fear its reception more than its delay.

Irenaeus of Lyons 120-202 AD

The Apostle John  had a disciple named Polycarp, and Polycarp had a disciple named Irenaeus.

”But although we shall be understood, from our argument, to be only so affirming man’s unshackled power over his will, that what happens to him should be laid to his own charge, and not to God’s, yet that you may not object, even now, that he ought not to have been so constituted, since his liberty and power of will might turn out to be injurious…Therefore it was proper that (he who is) the image and likeness of God should be formed with a free will and a mastery of him self;… At present, let God’s goodness alone occupy our attention, that which gave so large a gift to man, even the liberty of his will.” /Chapter 6

And again, who are they that have been saved, and received the inheritance? Those doubtless who do believe in God and who have continued in His love… and innocent children, who have had no sense of evil.

But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect similar to God HAVING BEEN MADE FREE IN HIS WILL, and with power over himself, is himself his own cause that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff. (c. 180, E/W), 1:466

This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves…  (c. 180, Against Heresies 37; God’s Strategy In Human History, p. 246)

”Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds”…And ”Why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?’…All such passages demonstrate the independent will of manFor it is in man’s power to disobey God and to forfeit what is good.” (c.180, Vol. 1, p. 519)

Nor, again, does God exercise compulsion upon anyone unwilling to accept the exercise of His skill…. They have been created free agents and possessed of power over themselves. (c. 180, Vol. 1, p. 523)

But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shineth everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it. Chapter 10

Christ will not die again on behalf of those who now commit sin because death shall no more have dominion over Him…. Therefore we should not be puffed up…. But we should beware lest somehow, after [we have come to] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins but rather be shut out from His kingdom (Heb. 6:4-6) [p. 65].

And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God. He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store. Those, therefore, who cast away by apostasy these forementioned things, being in fact destitute of all good, do experience every kind of punishment. God, however, does not punish them immediately of Himself, but that punishment falls upon them because they are destitute of all that is good. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXVII, 2)

Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons. c.180

[Irenaeus quotes 1 Cor. 6:9-10 about inheriting the kingdom of God.] It was not to those who are outside that he said these things, but to us, lest we should be cast out of the kingdom of God by doing any such thing. He proceeds to say, ”And truly such were you, but you are washed, but you are sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” [1 Cor. 6:11]. And just as [under the old covenant], those who led vicious lives and led other people astray were condemned and cast out, so also even now the offending eye is plucked out, and the foot and the hand, lest the rest of the body perish in the same way. (Against Heresies, IV:27:4)

Ignatius 35-107 AD Bishop of Antioch in Syria. Ignatius was a disciple of the Apostle John and appointed as Bishop of Antioch by the Apostle Peter.

And pray ye also without ceasing for the rest of mankind (for there is in them a hope of repentance), that they may find God. Therefore permit them to take lessons at least from your works. (Letter to the Ephesians 10:1)

Do not err, my brothers. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If, then, those who do this in regard to the flesh have suffered death, how much more shall this be the case with anyone who corrupts the faith of God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified, by wicked doctrine? Such a person, becoming defiled, shall go away into everlasting fire and so shall everyone that listens to him. (Letter to the Ephesians 16)

I do not mean to say that there are two different human natures, but all humanity is made the same, sometimes belonging to God and sometimes to the devil. If anyone is truly spiritual they are a person of God; but if they are irreligious and not spiritual then they are a person of the devil, made such not by nature, but by their own choice. Pg.61 vol. 1.

There is set before us life upon our observance [of God’s precepts], but death as the result of disobedience, and every one, according to the choice he makes, shall go to his own place, let us flee from death, and make choice of life.

Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens) 150–215 AD

A theologian who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Among his pupils were Origen and Alexander of Jerusalem.

We…have believed and are saved by voluntary choice (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 217)

To obey or not is in our own power, provided we do not have the excuse of ignorance (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 353)

Each one of us who sins with his own free will, chooses punishment. So the blame lies with him who chooses. God is without blame. (c.195, Vol. 2, p. 226)

Neither promises nor apprehensions, rewards, no punishments are just if the soul has not the power of choosing and abstaining; if evil is involuntary. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p.319)

We have heard from the Scriptures that self-determining choice and refusal have been given by the Lord to men. Therefore, we rest in the infallible criterion of faith, manifesting a willing spirit, since we have chosen life. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 349)

The Lord clearly shows sins and transgressions to be in our own power, by prescribing modes of cure corresponding to the maladies. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 363)

Their estrangement is the result of free choice. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 426)

Believing and obeying are in our own power. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 527)

Nor will he who is saved be saved against his will, for he is not inanimate. But above all, he will speed to salvation voluntarily and of free choice. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 534)

Choice depends on the man as being free. But the gift depended on God as the Lord. And He gives to those who are willing, are exceedingly earnest, and who ask. In this manner, their salvation can become their own. For God does not compel. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 593)

Clement, 80-140 AD 

The first Apostolic Father of the Church.  According to Tertullian, Clement was consecrated by Saint Peter. Early church lists place him as the second or third bishop of Rome after Saint Peter. In Philippians 4:3 Clement is mentioned whose name was written “in the book of life”. Although known as 2 Clement, this document is in actuality an anonymous homily of the mid-second century.

Thus although we are born neither good nor bad, we become on or the other and having formed habits, we are with difficulty drawn from them. Pg 273 vol.8

But inasmuch as inborn affection towards God the creator is sufficient for salvation to those who love Him, the enemy tries to pervert this affection in men, and to render them hostile and ungrateful to their Creator…But if mankind would turn their affection towards God, all would doubtless be saved, even if when they have some faults they would be open to correction for righteousness, but now most of mankind have been made enemies of God, their hearts the wicked one has entered, and has turned aside towards himself the affection which God the Creator had implanted in them, which He, God, desires that they might have towards Him. Pg.101 Vol.8

1 Clement 7:4 Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ and understand how precious it is unto His Father, because being shed for our salvation it won for the whole world the grace of repentance.

1 Clement 7:5 Let us review all the generations in turn, and learn how from generation to generation the Master hath given a place for repentance unto them that desire to turn to Him.

For, if we do the will of Christ, we shall find rest; but if otherwise, then nothing shall deliver us from eternal punishment, if we should disobey His commandments. 2 Clement 6:7

…with what confidence shall we, if we keep not our baptism pure and undefiled, enter into the kingdom of God? Or who shall be our advocate, unless we be found having holy and righteous works? 2 Clement 6:9

For as concerning them that have not kept the seal, He saith, `Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh’. 2 Clement 7:6

So, brothers and sisters, if we have done the will of the Father and have kept the flesh pure and have observed the commandments of the Lord, we will receive eternal life (2 Clement 8:4)

So then He meaneth this, Keep the flesh pure and the seal unstained, to the end that we may receive life. 2 Clement 8:6  

Let us, then, not only call him Lord, for that will not save us. For he says, ”Not every one that says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall be saved, but he that does righteousness.” Therefore, brothers, let us confess him by our works, by loving one another, by not committing adultery, speaking evil of one another, or cherishing envy; but being continent, compassionate, and good. … By such works let us confess him, and not by those that are of an opposite kind. It is not fitting that we should fear men, but rather God. For this reason, if we should do such wicked things, the Lord has said, “Even if you were gathered together to me, into my very bosom, yet if you were not to keep my commandments, I would cast you off and say to you, ‘Depart from me … you workers of iniquity.‘” (2 Clement 4) Hermas, c. A.D. 160

It is therefore in the power of every one, since man has been made possessed of free-will, whether he shall hear us to life, or the demons to destruction. 

He who is good by his own choice is really good; but he who is made good by another under necessity is not really good, because he is not what he is by his own choice… 

For no other reason does God punish the sinner either in the present or in the future world, except because He knows that the sinner was able to conquer but neglected to gain the victory.

Justin Martyr 110-165 AD

For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative Chapter 28

Let some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever occurs happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to THE MERIT OF EACH MAN’S ACTIONS. Now, if this is not so, but all things happen by fate, then neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and CHOOSING GOOD BY FREE CHOICE, they are not accountable for their actions.  (c. 160, E), 1:177

But neither do we affirm that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer, but that each man by free choice acts rightly or wronglyThe stoics, not observing this, maintained that all things take place according to the necessity of fate. But since God, in the beginning made the race of men and angels with free will they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed, and this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both. (vice and virtue) 2 Apology ch.7  (+ The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p.354)

In the beginning, He made the human race with the power of thought AND OF CHOOSING the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God.  (c. 160, E), 1:172

I have proved in what has been said that those who were foreknown to be unrighteous, whether men or angels, are not made wicked by God’s fault. Rather, each man is what he will appear to be through his own fault. (c.160, Vol. 1, p. 269)

Neither do we maintain that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer. Rather, we maintain that each man acts rightly or sins BY HIS FREE CHOICE….Since God in the beginning MADE THE RACE OF ANGELS AND MEN WITH FREE WILL, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed.  (c. 160, E), 1:190

He created both angels and men free to do that which is righteous. And He appointed periods of time during which He knew it would be good for them to have the exercise of free will. (c. 160, Vol. 1, p. 250)

I hold further, that those of you who have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back for some reason to the legal dispensation, an have denied that this man is Christ, and have not repented before death – you will by no means be saved . c.160

Methodius 260-312 AD Bishop of Olympus.

I say that God – purposing to honor man in this manner and to grant him an understanding of better things – has given man the power of being able to do what he wishes. He commends the use of his power for better things. However, it is not that God deprives man again of free will. Rather, He wishes to point out the better way. For the power is present with man, and he receives the commandment. But God exhorts him to turn his power of choice to better things. (c. 290, Vol. 6, p. 362)

I do not think that God urges man to obey His commandments, but then deprives him of the power to obey or disobey…. He does not give a command in order to take way the power that he has given. Rather, He gives it in order to bestow a better gift…in return for his rendered obedience to God. For man had power to withhold it. I say that man was made with free will. (c. 290, Vol. 6, p. 362)

God is good and wise. He does what is best. Therefore, there is no fixed destiny.” (c. 190, Vol. 6, p.343)

Now those [pagans] who decide that man is not possessed of free will, and affirm that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate…are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause or author of human evils. (c. 190, The Banquet of the Ten Virgins 16; God’s Strategy In Human History, p. 252)

Because there is nothing evil by nature, but it is by use that evil things become suchman was made with free-will, not as if there were already evil in existence, which he had the power of choosing if he so wished, but on account of his capacity of obeying or disobeying God. For this was the meaning of the gift of free will.

If then, any are evil, they are evil in accordance with the wants and desires of their minds, and not by necessity. They perish self-destroyed, by their own fault.’For a man is not spoken of as ‘murderer’ but by committing it he receives the derived name of murderer. Evil is not a substance, but by practicing any evil it can be called evil…for a man is evil only in consequences of his actions. For he is said to be evil because he is a doer of evil. It is a persons actions that gives them the title of evil. Men produce the evil and are the authors of them. It is through actions that evil exists. Each man is evil in consequences of what they practice. It all has a beginning.

For man received power, and enslaved himself, not because he was overpowered by irresistible tendencies of his nature, nor because the capacity with which he was gifted deprived him of what was better for him…I say therefore, that God purposing thus to honor man…has given him the power of being able to do what he wishes, and commends the employment of his power for better things; not that he deprives him again of free will, but wishes to point out the better way. For the power is present with him and he receives the commandment; but God exhorts him to turn his power of choice to better things.

Arnobius 297-303 AD

Does He not free all alike who invites all alike? Or does He thrust back or repel any one from the kindness of the supreme, who gives to all alike the power of coming to Him. To all, He says, the fountain of like is open, and no one is kept back or hindered from drinking. If you are so fastidious as to spurn the kindly offered gift… why should he keep on inviting you, while His only duty is to make the enjoyment of His bounty depend on your own free choice. Book 2 ,64

Aristides of Athens – 134 AD (Marcianus Aristides)

And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God, and if furthermore, it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. Apology to Hadrian

Tatian the Syrian 110-172 AD

Our free will has destroyed us. We who were free have become slaves. We have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able to reject it again.” (c. 160, Vol. 2, pp. 69-70)

Each of these two orders of creatures [men and angels] was made free to act as it pleased. They did not have the nature of good, which again is with God alone. However, it is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice. In this manner, the bad man can be justly punished, having become depraved through his own fault. Likewise, the just man can be deservedly praised for his virtuous deeds, since in the exercise of his free choice, he refrained from transgressing the will of God. (c. 160, Vol. 2, p. 67)

Lactantius 260-330 AD

We should be free from vices and sin. For no one is born sinful, but if our affections are given to that direction they can become vices and sinful, but if we use our affections well they become virtues.’ Ch16 bk 4 Divine Inst.

Melito -180 AD Bishop of Sardis near Smyrna

There is, therefore, nothing to hinder you from changing your evil manner to life, because you are a free man. (c.170, Vol. 8, p. 754)

Athenagorus 133-190 AD

Just as with men who have freedom of choice as to bother virtue and vice (for you would not either honor the good or punish the bad; unless vice and virtue were in their own power, and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to them and others faithless), so is it among the angels. (c. 177, Embassy for Christians; God’s Strategy in Human History, p. 247)

Theophilus

If, on the other hand, he would turn to the things of death, disobeying God, he would himself be the cause of death to himself. For God made man free, and with power of himself. (c.180, Vol. 2, p. 105)

Hyppolytus 170 – 235 AD

God, who created [the world], did not nor does not, make evil….Now, man (who was brought into existence) was a creature endowed with a capacity of self-determination, yet he did not possess a sovereign intellect….Man, from the fact of his possessing a capacity for self-determination, brings forth evil….Since man has free will, a law has been given him by God, for a good purpose. For a law will not be laid down for an animal devoid of reason. Only a bridle and whip will be given it. In contrast, man has been given a commandment to perform, coupled with a penalty.” (c. 225, Vol. 5, p.151)

The Word promulgated the divine commandments by declaring them. He thereby turned man from disobedience. He summoned man to liberty through a choice involving spontaneity – not by bringing him into servitude by force of necessity. (c. 225, Vol. 5, p. 152)

Man is able to both will and not to will. He is endowed with power to do both. (c. 225, Vol. 5, p. 152)

Origen (Adamantius) 184/185 – 253/254 AD

The soul does not incline to either part out of necessity, for then neither vice nor virtue could be ascribed to it; nor would its choice of virtue deserve reward; nor its declination to vice punishment.” Again, “How could God require that of man which he [man] had not power to offer Him?” (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 62, published by Truth in Heart)

This is also clearly defined in the teaching of the church, that every rational soul has free will and volition….we are not forced by any necessity to act either rightly or wrongly. (c. 225, Vol. 4, p. 240)

It seems a plausible thing that rational natures, from whom the faculty of free will is never taken away, may be again subjected to movements of some kind. (c. 225, Vol. 4, p. 272)

Since those rational creatures themselves… were endowed with the power of free will, this freedom of the will incited each one to either progress (by imitation of God), or else it reduced a person to failure through negligence. (c. 225, Vol. 4, p. 292)

In the preaching of the church, there is included the doctrine concerning a just judgment of God. When this teaching is believed to be true, it incites those who hear it to live virtuously and to shun sin by all means. For they clearly acknowledge that things worthy of praise and blame are within our own power. (c. 225, Vol. 4, p. 302)

Certain ones of those [Gnostic’s] who hold different opinions misuse these passages. They essentially destroy free will by introducing ruined natures incapable of salvation and by introducing others as being saved in such a way that they cannot be lost.

Novatian 200–258 AD

When he had given man all things for his service, he willed that man alone should be free. And lest an unbounded freedom would lead man into peril, He had laid down a command, in which man was taught that there was no evil in the fruit of the tree. Rather, he was forewarned that evil would arise if man were to exercise his free will in contempt of the law that had been given him….As a result, he could receive either worthy rewards or a just punishment. For he had in his own power that which he might choose to do. (c. 235, Vol. 5, p. 612)

Eusebius 263 – 233 AD Bishop of Caesarea

A Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon. Considered the father of “Church History” for his extensive writings in ecclesiastical history.

The Creator of all things has impressed a natural law upon the soul of every man, as an assistant and ally in his conduct, pointing out to him the right way by this law; but, by the free liberty with which he is endowed, making the choice of what is best worthy of praise and acceptance, because he has acted rightly, not by force, but from his own free-will, when he had it in his power to act otherwise, As, again, making him who chooses what is worst, deserving of blame and punishment, as having by his own motion neglected the natural law, and becoming the origin and fountain of wickedness, and misusing himself, not from any extraneous necessity, but from free will and judgment. The fault is in him who chooses, not in God. For God is has not made nature or the substance of the soul bad; for he who is good can make nothing but what is good. Everything is good which is according to nature. Every rational soul has naturally a good free-will, formed for the choice of what is good. But when a man acts wrongly, nature is not to be blamed; for what is wrong, takes place not according to nature, but contrary to nature, it being the work of choice, and not of nature!

The devil in his oracles hangs all things upon fate, and taking away that which is in our power, and arises from self-motion of free will… brings this also into bondage to necessity.

Commodianus 250 AD

Being a believing man, if you seek to live as the gentiles do, the joys of the world remove you from the grace of Christ c.240

Cyprian 200-258 AD Bishop of Carthage

It is written, ‘He who endures to the end, the same shall be saved’ [Matt. 10:22]. So whatever precedes the end is only a step by which we ascend to the summit of salvation. It is not the final point wherein we have already gained the full result of the ascent. (Cyprian Unity of the Church sec. 21)

The liberty of believing or not believing is placed in free choice. In Deuteronomy, it says, ‘Look! I have set before your face life and death, good and evil. Choose for yourself life, that you may live. (c. 250, Vol. 5, p. 547)

Shepherd of Hermas

The Muratorian canon, a list of canonical books from about the 3d century, says Hermas was written by the brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome, about 140-154. Author still remains unknown.  The document was composed over a longer period of time. Visions I-IV were composeed during a threatened persecution, probably under Trajan (the Clement of 8:3 could be Clement of Rome). Vision V – Similitude VIII and Similitude X were written perhaps by the same author to describe reprentance to Christians who were wavering. Similitude IX was written to unify the entire work and to threaten those who had been disloyal. This last phase must have occurred before Irenaeus (ca. 175). A preferred date would be 140. On the basis of this internal analysis multiple authorship seems necessary (Giet 1963), though the work could have been composed by one person over a long period of time (Joly 1958).

He that does not know God,” [the angel of repentance] answered, ”and practices evil, receives a certain chastisement for his wickedness, but he that has known God ought not to do evil anymore but to do good. If, accordingly, when he ought to do good, he does evil, does he not appear to do greater evil than the one who does not know God? For this reason, those who have not known God and do evil are condemned to death, but those who have known God and have seen his mighty works and still continue in evil shall be chastised doubly and shall die forever. This is the way the Church of God will be purified.” (Shepherd of Hermas III:9:8)

If you do not guard yourself against anger you and your house will lose all hope of salvation. Hermas c.150

The Epistle of the Apostles 2nd century

A work from the New Testament apocrypha. The work was lost to the West until a complete version in Ethiopic translation was discovered and published in the early twentieth century. The text was used regularly by the relatively isolated Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was evidently not considered heretical by that church. A fragmentary Coptic manuscript of the fifth or fourth century, believed to be translated directly from the original Greek, and one leaf of a Latin palimpsest, dating to the fifth century, were then identified as deriving from the same text. The text is commonly dated to the 2nd century, perhaps towards the middle of it.

 27 ”For to that end went I down unto the place of Lazarus, and preached unto the righteous and the prophets, that they might come out of the rest which is below and come up into that which is above; and I poured out upon them with my right hand the water (?) (baptism, Eth.) of life and forgiveness and salvation from all evil, as I have done unto you and unto them that believe on me. But if any man believe on me and do not my commandments, although he have confessed my name, he hath no profit therefrom but runneth a vain race: for such will find themselves in perdition and destruction, because they have despised my commandments.”28 …Then said he unto us: Verily I say unto you, all that have believed on me and that believe in him that sent me will I take up into the heaven, unto the place which my Father hath prepared for the elect, and I will give you the kingdom, the chosen kingdom, in rest, and everlasting life. 29 But all they that have offended against my commandments and have taught other doctrine, (perverting) the Scripture and adding thereto, striving after their own glory, and that teach with other words them that believe on me in uprightness, if they make them fall thereby, shall receive everlasting punishment. We said unto him: Lord, shall there then be teaching by others, diverse from that which thou hast spoken unto us ? He said unto us: It must needs be, that the evil and the good may be made manifest; and the judgment shall be manifest upon them that do these things, and according to their works shall they be judged and shall be delivered unto death. And we said unto him: Lord, will they that believe be treated like the unbelievers, and wilt thou punish them that have escaped from the pestilence? And he said unto us: If they that believe in my name deal like the sinners, then have they done as though they had not believed. And we said again to him: Lord, have they on whom this lot hath fallen no life? He answered and said unto us: Whoso hath accomplished the praise of my Father, he shall abide in the resting-place of my Father.

Epistle of Barnabas 70-100AD

A Greek text preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament. It is traditionally ascribed to Barnabas who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. A form of the Epistle 850 lines long is noted in the Latin list of canonical works in the 6th century Codex Claromontanus. It is not to be confused with the Gospel of Barnabas.

The Lord will judge the world without respect… of persons. Each will receive as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when ye reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

We take earnest heed in these last days, for the whole time of your faith will profit you nothing unless now, in this wicked time, we also withstand coming sources of danger, as befits the sons of God. (Letter of Barnabas 4)

Whom he did predestinate, them he also called and justified and glorified – Rom. 8:29-30

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Rom. 8:30)

Let’s go through the whole chapter from the start, based on KJV.

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Notice the condition involved. There is no condemnation for those who WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT. Are we still exempted from being condemned even if we would choose to live according to the flesh? No way. Then we would be in deep trouble.

2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The same condition once again.  Thanks to Jesus sin offering we can be cleansed from our past sins, but the idea is to not get dirty once again. These verses don’t say that we are only free from the PUNISHMENT of the law while we continue to BREAK it. No, we are free from the law IF we live by the spirit. It’s the same thing as Paul says elsewhere:

Gal. 5: 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall NOT fulfil the lust of the flesh.17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But IF YE BE LED OF THE SPIRIT; YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW.

5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Paul is clear about that being carnally minded is DEATH. So to obey the flesh ( i e to sin) is to be ”carnally minded”.

10And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Paul says that we indeed have the power to overcome our fleshly desires and that is when we obey the spirit. IF we live after the flesh we shall die, but IF we live by the spirit we shall live. It’s one or the other and we can’t serve two masters. We are able to know WHO the ”sons of God” are and they are the ones who are led by the spirit of God. The spirit of God would never lead us into sin but AWAY from sin, so we know we are God’s children if we obey Jesus! As christians we must be careful since the devil walks about like a roaring lion, trying to tempt us and make us fall. Thankfully, God has promised us a way out. IF we fall, we must repent…

15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

We are in bondage as long as we live after the flesh and we have no reason to fear for the eternity ahead of us since we can KNOW that we are the children of God. IF we are his children (this could change from one day to another if we choose to live after the flesh) then we are also heirs of God, and we have something wonderful to look forward to. The children of God are promised a place in God’s kingdom. In fact, we are guaranteed a place in the kingdom, provided of course that we remain ”sons of God”. If we suffer with Jesus, carry our cross daily and endure to the end despite persecutions, then we will also be glorified with him.

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

We live in a world which is in bondage of corruption and the whole creation groans. This is clearly not what God had intended when he created it.  However, we shall be delivered!

23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

As children of God, we can continue to live on the hope that we will get new glorified bodies, which we are indeed guaranteed if we endure to the end. We must remind ourselves that a few years in a painful and corrupted world is nothing compared to what is in store ahead of us. There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more agony!

26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Our prayers have a great impact on things, and that’s why it’s so important to pray. We can change the outcome of the future. Paul tells us in his letters to the Corinthians that we should pray in two ways; 1) with our spirit and 2) with our minds. The first option means that we do NOT pray with our minds since we can’t understand what we are praying. That would be speaking in tongues.

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

The word ”HIS” is NOT in the Greek. And notice the condition again. Things work out well TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, which is the condition for a good outcome. If we love God, it also means we have reacted upon and accepted Jesus sin offering for us. The Bible says that if we love God we OBEY him, and that’s how we know we are the children of God. As children of God we are then CHOSEN, SPECIAL, PRECIOUS  and ELECT. As children of God we can look forward to a wonderful inheritance which we are guaranteed – as long as the condition is met of course.

In the parable in Matthew about the King who prepared a wedding feast for his son, we can read ”For many are called, but few are chosen. The ones who were called ”chosen” were the ones who accepted to come (and also went) to the wedding feast and who made sure to dress up in wedding clothes. One fellow neglected to do this and was thrown out.  WE must keep in mind to wear the wedding clothes because that is our responsibility.  God will certainly not pick and choose who will enter his Kingdom, but he welcomes whosoever wills. And we know the conditions…

29 For whom he did FOREKNOW, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

This is about a corporate election. Those who are predestined are those who will have persevered and God foreknows who those will be. We are justified when we are cleansed from our past sins, and after that our goal is to be conformed into the image of Jesus. We have assurance in the hope of salvation while on earth, as long as we abide in Jesus of course.

Rom. 8:29 is referring to those WHO LOVE GOD, stated in vs 28. The promises are tied to THEM and no others. Also in 1 Peter 1:1 the elect are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge. Paul affirms that the body of Christ is foreknown, predestined and elect in the eternal plan of God and will persevere to final glorification. Individuals can take comfort in the promises, but only as they are identified as members of the Christian community.  A person who is not part of this community has no claim to the promises. What is predestined is not who will be in or out, but what will happen to all who are in. They will eventually be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and glorified. God predestines the consequence of the choice to be in Christ or not, but he doesn’t predestine the choice itself.

The word called in v.30 is a translation from the Greek word kaleo, and it’s the same Greek word found in Gal 1:6. In this verse we can read that the called Galatians were still risking to desert Christ by turning to another gospel. This means that called people have no unconditional assurance of salvation, unless of course they stick to Jesus Christ.

31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

There are some who take the ”if God be for us, who can be against us” to mean that there are no worries as long as we have faith in God. While that is partly true, the conditions must still be met. If we make sure to belong to Christ, the enemy can’t harm our souls but only our bodies. If Jesus has cleansed us from our sins, and we have continued to kept us clean (and/or repented for any new sins we have committed) then there is no one who can charge us for any transgressions. We have been justified because Jesus had made us clean! However, Jesus is not automatically making intercessions for us. To be forgiven we must confess our sins and repent. Only THEN will Jesus make intercessions for us.

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God will never cease to ”love the world” in such a way that he is hoping that as many people in the world as possible will turn to him and LIVE, but we also know there are conditions for God’s love and acceptance. If we love him and show it through our obedience, then nothing will separate us from his love.

Ps. 145:20 The LORD preserveth all them that LOVE HIM: but all the wicked will he destroy.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Origen:

”that those whom God foreknew would become the kind to conform themselves to Christ by their sufferings, he even predestined them to be conformed and similar to his image and glory. Therefore there precedes a foreknowledge of them, through which is known what effort and virtue they will possess in themselves, and thus predestination follows, yet foreknowledge should not be considered the cause of predestination.”

Deliver someone unto Satan for destruction of the flesh 1 Cor. 5:5

Deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit MAY be saved (1 Cor.5:5)

There are some who believe that the wicked man spoken about in this passage did not lose his salvation even though he was a fornicator who committed a horrific crime. Some of course will say that ”he wasn’t saved to begin with” but this man was a member of this particular church and a brother, so it’s more likely that he at one point was a true christian. When we read that this man was to be delivered to Satan so that his spirit MAY be saved, it doesn’t say that this procedure definitely WILL succeed. This however was an attempt to save his soul. IF the man was already saved (as some suggest) then why can we read that he was to be delivered to Satan so that he may be saved, if he already was? Paul criticized the leaders of the church for not having reacted concerning this man and his grievous sin, and put him away from among them. To say that this man was saved despite his fornication, is to say that unrepentant sinners are welcomed into the kingdom of God.

1 Cor. 1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit MAY be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump—11But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 2For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

The same Greek word translated wicked in that verse is also found in Mt. 13:49,50:

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Also, the same word translated fornication in 1 Cor. 5:1 is found in Gal. 5:19-21:

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

It looks like the same man is spoken about yet again in 2 Cor.2:

1But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? .5But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

Being carnally minded is DEATH but we can attain moral perfection NOW

Romans 7 is often used as support for that we can have our sins and our salvation too, but we must consider ALL of Romans 7 and particularly Romans 6 and 8.  Paul ends chapter 7 by telling us about the SOLUTION to his problem:

Rom. 7:224O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

He also says:

Rom. 6:18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is DEATH. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life

Rom. 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

1 Cor. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

We can all see a distinction between these two claims coming from the same man – PAUL:

Rom. 7:14 but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom. 8:For to be carnally minded is death; (but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.)

Clearly Paul couldn’t be both carnal and NOT carnal at the same time. If we are sold under sin we are NOT spiritually alive but spiritually dead. Paul said that as a converted man he lived with a good  conscience void of offense

Acts 23:1And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

Acts 24: 16And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.

2 Tim. 1:3I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

The description in Romans 7 is not of the converted life of  Paul, but a narration describing what happens when an unconverted sinner’s mind encounters the law of God and is convicted by it.

What does Paul mean with ”perfection?

Php. 3:12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Paul was talking about being free from physical corruption and attaining physical perfection, so not the same as MORAL perfection.The verses right before make it clear that he is talking about the resurrection and our new glorified bodies which will not be corrupted:

Php. 3: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Paul was certainly not saying that moral perfection is unattainable in this life since he continues to say that many have already attained perfection:

Phil. 3:14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.). 

Read also:

Rom. 8:12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1 Cor. 9:27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Not even Jesus was ”perfected” until he was resurrected:

Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.