Etikettarkiv | Hell

Bible verses about eternal LIFE or DEATH for the souls

death2What the Bible says about spiritual DEATH

Our choice when it comes to our permanent future seems to be a) eternal life, or b) eternal death. If the first realm is eternal (staying alive for ever in the kingdom of God) it makes sense to assume that also the latter realm is equally eternal (staying dead and non-existent for ever). Note that I do not believe that the process of dying will last for ever but rather the duration of being dead – as in a permanent irrevocable death and complete non-existence. If the whole process of dying would last for ever, then this too could be labelled ”eternal life”, albeit in agony and torture. The Bible, however, explains that our choice is either life or death. Not life or life.

There is no doubt, however, that unbelievers risk being burned in the fire that we call hell (see verses below) unless they repent. Nevertheless, the exact duration (and degrees) of this suffering is unknown and up for debate. We do know that books will be opened and proper judgments will be made, and also that the place called Hades will finally be thrown in the lake of fire (often called Gehenna). The lake of fire is the second death. Hades appears to have two sections (and good and one bad) and this is where Lazarus ended up, as per Luke 16:20-25.

The Greek adjective αἰώνιος (aiónios, Strong’s 166) derives from the noun aiṓn (Strong’s 165), and even though it is often translated ”eternal” it does not always refer to something that will last non-stop. Even God’s covenant with Israel was ”eternal”, and yet it no longer applies.

Bible verses where everlasting life is contrasted with death and corruption

The Bible contrasts ”everlasting life” with corruption and death. If you live in shameful sin you will end up with death, and if you are the servant of God you will end up with the opposite, which is everlasting life.

Gal. 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap CORRUPTION; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap LIFE EVERLASTING.9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of SIN UNTO DEATH, OR OF OBEDIENCE UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS? — 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is DEATH.22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and THE END EVERLASTING LIFE.23 For THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.— 6 For TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH; but to be spiritually minded is LIFE and peace. — 9 But 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. — 13 For 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.  

John 6:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. —  24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. — 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE; and they that have done evil, UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION. 

Matt. 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,  — 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Matt. 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:—41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:—46 And these shall go away into EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT: but the righteous into LIFE ETERNAL.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. — 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. — 36 He that believeth on the Son hath EVERLASTING LIFE: and he that believeth not the Son SHALL NOT SEE LIFE; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Matt. 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into LIFE halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into EVERLASTING FIRE.9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto EVERLASTING LIFE, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. — 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. — 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. — 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are DEAD.50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, HE SHALL LIVE FOR EVER: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. — 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. — 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. — 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. — 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  

Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves UNWORTHY OF EVERLASTING LIFE, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Matt. 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. –—  26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Matt. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. — 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matt. 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matt. 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).

Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Rev. 21:He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Clues from the old testamentdove 2

Gen. 2:1 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Below are two long sections from Ezekiel which are key to understanding the issue of life and death, particularly from the perspective of the old testament before Jesus’s entrance on earth. All souls are God’s souls and everyone must give an account before God in the future, but the soul that sins – and that does not repent before it is too late – shall apparently die. This is naturally not about a physical death since ALL human beings will eventually die one day (sinners or not), but the below verses have a focus on a spiritual death.

Ez. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,— Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.10 If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,—13 Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.14 Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,—17 That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ez. 33:5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby

Contempt” below is a translation from the Hebrews noun deraon, which can also be translated aversion or abhorrence (Strong’s 1860). It is also used in Is. 66:24.

Dan. 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Is. 66:21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord.22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Eccl. 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

heavenThe kingdom of God is only for those who repent

You will only enter the kingdom of God if you repent and become born again.

Matt. 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Luke 18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Matt. 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Gal 5:19 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.

Rom. 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 8:27 And 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. — 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. 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.

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. — 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. —  48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

1 Tim. 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Quotes from the old church fathers where they deny original sin / sinful nature

handpåläggningThe pre-Nicene church fathers did not believe in the sinful nature

It’s not enough to go back to Luther and Calvin to check the views of the early church, but we must go further back than that. If we do, we will soon notice that Luther and Calvin took impression of Augustine, and Augustine believed the contrary to the early church fathers before him when it comes to the issue of the sinful nature and a number of other subjects. Augustine must be blamed for the new unbiblical teachings which were brought into church due to him, and which today are considered truths in particularly the reformed church. We must therefore go back to the early church fathers before Augustine, and then we can see how their stance lines up perfectly with the Bible.

It’s true that Adam’s sin affected us a great deal, because the ground is cursed due to him and we can’t reach the tree of life due to him, which means that his sin brought physical death on all his posterior (including Jesus before he rose again). We’re bound by weakness, shame, fear, suffering and many natural shortcomings due to being related to Adam, but we certainly didn’t inherit his SIN. Romans 5:12 tells us that DEATH (not SIN) passed upon us BECAUSE all sinned. Not because Adam sinned. The physical death that we get due to Adam is not a punishment, but rather something that we get out of the mercy by the providence of God. The only other alternative would be to continue living on for ever without dying – in this present cursed world. That would be a cruel fate.

Augustine’s views about infants who die without water baptism

Unfortunately, Augustine only knew little Greek (unlike Pelagius who knew both Greek and Hebrew) and seems to have misunderstood the teaching of the Greek Fathers who lived before him, because he reached different conclusions than they did. The Manicheans were a gnostic cult Augustine originally belonged to and which advocated that the nature of man can be corrupt to the point that his will is powerless to obey God’s commands”. Chadwick p. 228(2)

Some quotes from and about Augustine:

But even the infants, not personally in their own life, but according to the common origin of the human race, have all broken God’s covenant in that on in whom all have sinned…Even the infants are, according to the true belief, born in sin, not actual but original, so that we confess they have need of grace for the remission of sins. (Augustine, City of God bk. 16 ch. 27)

As nothing else is done for children in baptism but their being incorporated into the church, that is, connected with the body and members of Christ, it follows, that when this is not done for them, they belong to perdition. / III. 4

such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: ‘Judgment from one offence to condemnation’ (Romans 5:16), and again a little after: ‘By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation’ (Romans 5:18). / On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins, and the Baptism of Infants, ; cf. Study by the International Theological Commission

What is plainer than that the ancient divines, for three hundred years after Christ, those at least who flourished before St. Augustine, maintained the liberty of our will, or an indifference to two contrary things, free from all internal and external necessity! / Simon Episcopius (An Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism by John Fletcher, Volume Two, p. 209, Published by Carlton & Porter)

Augustine himself. (A wonderful saint! As full of pride, passion, bitterness, censoriousness, and as foul-mouthed to all that contradicted him… When Augustine’s passions were heated, his word is not worth a rush. And here is the secret: St. Augustine was angry at Pelagius: Hence he slandered and abused him, (as his manner was,) without either fear or shame. And St. Augustine was then in the Christian world, what Aristotle was afterwards: There needed no other proof of any assertion, than Ipse dixit: “St. Augustine said it.”/ John Wesley

The pre-Nicene church fathers all taught against the gnostic idea that we are born with a sinful nature

You will sometimes see quotes by old church fathers from Calvinists who suggest that they teach original sin, but if you scrutinize those quotes and also read them in context, you will see that they teach no such thing. We also get a clearer picture if we compare with other texts from the same church father, and obviously the church fathers don’t contradict themselves. It’s very common to misunderstand the consequences of Adam’s sin (physical death) thinking it’s about a forced nature. If an original sin is forced upon us, then naturally we would have the best excuse for sin there is, and Jesus (clearly without original sin) would have a great advantage over us.

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

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. (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians chap 5, + 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. (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians chap 5)

Irenaeus of Lyon 120-202 AD. The Apostle John had a disciple named Polycarp, who had a disciple named Irenaeus.

Men are possessed with free will, and endowed with the faculty of making a choice. It is not true, therefore, that some are by nature good, and others bad. (Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter XXXVII)

Man is endowed with the faculty of distinguishing good and evil; so that, without compulsion, he has the power, by his own will and choice, to perform God’s commandments. (Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter XXXIX)

Those who do not do it [good] will receive the just judgment of God, because they had not worked good when they had it in their power to do so. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for they were created that way, nor would the former be reprehensible, for that is how they were made. However, all men are of the same nature. They are all able to hold fast and to go what is good. On the other hand, they have the power to cast good from them and not to do it. (Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 37)

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)

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. (Against Heresies, Book V, XXVII, 2)

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.And if any one disbelieves that God cares for these things, he will thereby either insinuate that God does not exist, or he will assert that though He exists He delights in vice, or exists like a stone, and that neither virtue nor vice are anything, but only in the opinion of men these things are reckoned good or evil. And this is the greatest profanity and wickedness. (Apology 1, Chapter 28)

But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, 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, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.” (Apology 1, ch. 43)

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 sins; and that it is by the influence of the wicked demons that earnest men, such as Socrates and the like, suffer persecution and are in bonds, while Sardanapalus, Epicurus, and the like, seem to be blessed in abundance and glory. The 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 angels and men 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 [virtue and vice]. And this also is shown by those men everywhere who have made laws and philosophized according to right reason, by their prescribing to do some things and refrain from others. Even the Stoic philosophers, in their doctrine of morals, steadily honour the same things, so that it is evident that they are not very felicitous in what they say about principles and incorporeal things. For if they say that human actions come to pass by fate, they will maintain either that God is nothing else than the things which are ever turning, and altering, and dissolving into the same things, and will appear to have had a comprehension only of things that are destructible, and to have looked on God Himself as emerging both in part and in whole in every wickedness; or that neither vice nor virtue is anything; which is contrary to every sound idea, reason, and sense.” /Apology 2 Ch.7 2 (+ The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p.354)

But as my discourse is not intended to touch on this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Ghost reproaches men because they were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming ”gods,” and of having power to become sons of the Highest; and shall be each by himself judged and condemned like Adam and Eve. Now I have proved at length that Christ is called God. / Dialogue:124

Now, we know that he did not go to the river because He stood in need of baptism, or of the descent of the Spirit like a dove; even as He submitted to be born and to be crucified, not because He needed such things, but because of the human race, which from Adam had fallen under the power of death and the guile of the serpent, and each one of which had committed personal transgression. For God, wishing both angels and men, who were endowed with freewill, and at their own disposal, to do whatever He had strengthened each to do, made them so, that if they chose the things acceptable to Himself, He would keep them free from death and from punishment; but that if they did evil, He would punish each as He sees fit./ Dialogue: 88

But neither shall the father perish for the son, nor the son for the father; but every one for his own sin, and each shall be saved for his own righteousness.—Furthermore, I have proved in what has preceded,” that those who were foreknown to be unrighteous, whether men or angels, are not made wicked by God’s fault, but each man by his own fault is what he will appear to be./ Dialogue: 140Neither 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

God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall certainly be punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably (wicked), but not because God created them so. So if they repent all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God. / Dialogue cxli

Clement 2nd, 80-140 ADThe 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. The author quotes from some document for the sayings of Jesus.)

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

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… 

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)

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.

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)

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

Tatian the Assyrian 120–180 AD Theologianjesus

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)

Tertullian 160-225 AD

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)

Athenagorus of Athens, 133-190 AD Apologist

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)

Aristides of Athens, 134 AD (Marcianus Aristides)

 

Theophilus of Antioch, –185 (Succeeded Eros c. 169)

Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God; but 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. (Apology to Autolycus, ch. XXVII.—The nature of man. c.180, Vol. 2, p. 105)

Hyppolytus of Rome, 170 – 235 AD theologian

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)

Hoodwinking multitudes, [Marcus, the Gnostic heretic] deceived many persons of this description who had become his disciples. He taught them that they were prone, no doubt, to sin. However, he said that they were beyond the reach of danger because they belonged to the perfect power.—Subsequent to baptism, these [heretics] promise another, which they call Redemption. And by this, they wickedly subvert those who remain with them in expectation of redemption. (Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 5, pg.92)

Origen (Adamantius) 185 – 253 AD Scholar, theologian

The Scriptures emphasize the freedom of the will. They condemn those who sin, and approve those who do right. We are responsible for being bad and worthy of being cast outside. FOR IT IS NOT THE NATURE IN US THAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE EVIL; rather, it is the VOLUNTARY CHOICE that works evil” (A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 289, Published by Hendrickson Publishers)

the heretics introduce the doctrine of different natures (A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David Bercot, p. 291, Published by Hendrickson Publishers)

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)

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. (Ante Nicene Fathers, Volume 3, p. 308)

Cyprian, 200-258 AD Bishop of Carthage

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)

Novatian, (Novatus) 200–258 AD Scholar, priest, theologian and antipope

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)

Lactantius 240-320 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. (Ch. 16 bk 4 Divine Inst.)

Eusebius, 263 – 233 AD Bishop of Caesarea

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 Christian Examiner, Volume One, Published by James Miller, 1824 Edition, p. 66)

Methodius, 260-312 AD Bishop of Olympus

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)

There is nothing evil by nature, but it is by use that evil things become such. So I say, says he, that man was made with free-will, not as if there were already evil in existence, which he had the power of choosing if he wished, but on account of his capacity of obeying or disobeying God. For this was the meaning of the gift of free will? and this alone is evil, namely, disobedience./ The Sacred Writings of Saint Methodius

For man received power, and enslaved himselfnot 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./ The Sacred Writings of Saint Methodius + The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume Six, Published by BRCCD, p. 746

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)

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.The Sacred Writings of Saint Methodius

The Divine Being is not by nature implicated in evils. Therefore our birth is not the cause of these things. (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume Six, Published by BRCCD, p. 696)

Arnobius of Sicca, –330 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

Cyril of Jerusalem, 312-386

Lecture IV 18″Know also that thou hast a soul self governed, the noblest work of God, made after the image of its Creator, immortal because of God that gives it immortality, a living being rational, imperishable, because of Him that bestowed these gifts: having free power to do what it willeth.”20″There is not a class of souls sinning by nature and a class of souls practising righteousness by nature; but both act from choice, the substance of their souls being of one kind only and alike in all.”21″The soul is self-governed: and though the Devil can suggest, he has not the power to compel against the will. He pictures to thee the thought of fornication: if thou wilt, thou rejectest. For if thou wert a fornicator of necessity then for what cause did God prepare hell? If thou wert a doer of righteousness by nature and not by will, wherefore did God prepare crowns of ineffable glory? The sheep is gentle, but never was it crowned for its gentleness; since its gentle quality belongs to it not from choice but by nature.” / Lecture IV 18, God’s Strategy in Human History by Roger T Forster & V Paul Marston

Learn this also, that before it came into this world, your soul had committed no sin, but we come into the world unblemished, and, being here, sin of our own choice. Do not listen, I say, to anyone who expounds ‘If then I do that which I would not’ in the wrong sense, but remember who says, ‘If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword,’ and what follows.” (Catechetical Lectures IV . 19)

And you must know your soul to be endowed with free-will, and to be God’s fairest work in the image of himself. It is immortal in as far as God grants it immortality. It is a rational living creature not subject to decay, because these qualities have been bestowed by God upon it. And it has the power to do what it chooses. For you do not sin because you were born that way, nor if you fornicate is it by chance. And do not take any notice of what some people say, that the conjunctions of the stars compel you to fall into unclean living. Why should you avoid acknowledging that you have done wrong by blaming it onto the stars that had nothing to do with it? (Catechetical Lectures IV . 18 (109)

John Crysostom, 347-407 AD Archbishop of Constantinoplesamvete

All is in God’s power, but so that our free-will is not lost . . . It depends therefore on us and on Him. We must first choose the good, and then He adds what belongs to Him. He does not precede our willing, that our free-will may not suffer. But when we have chosen, then He affords us much help . . . It is ours to choose beforehand and to will, but God’s to perfect and bring to the end./On Hebrews, Homily 12, God’s Strategy in Human History by Roger T Forster & V Paul Marston

Jerome, 347 – 420 AD, Priest, historian, theologian

God has bestowed us with free will. We are not necessarily drawn either to virtue or vice. For when necessity rules, there is no room left either for damnation or the crown (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 62, published by Truth in Heart)

Pelagius, 360 – 420, British monk and theologian (with knowledge in Greek, unlike Augustine). Notice below how he is in agreement with all the early church fathers about man’s free will and that we have not inherited Adam’s sin. Pelagius wrote ”On Nature” and ”Defense Of The Freedom Of The Will”, and in these he suggests that Augustine has been affected by Manicheanism (Augustine was a former gnostic) by mixing christianity with pagan fatalism. Manicheanism teaches that the spirit is God-created, while the flesh is corrupt since it had not been created directly by God. Augustine is the great heretic and has brought in many heresies into church, and Pelagius continues to be wrongly attacked by christians, despite that he was both Biblical and taught the same things as all the church fathers before him.

Whenever I have to speak on the subject of moral instruction and conduct of a holy life, it is my practice first to demonstrate the power and quality of human nature and to show what it is capable of achieving, and then to go on to encourage the mind of my listener to consider the idea of different kinds of virtues, in case it may be of little or no profit to him to be summoned to pursue ends which he has perhaps assumed hitherto to be beyond his reach; for we can never end upon the path of virtue unless we have hope as our guide and compassion…any good of which human nature is capable has to be revealed, since what is shown to be practicable must be put into practice. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 36-37, published by The Boydell Press)

It was because God wished to bestow on the rational creature the gift of doing good of his own free will and the capacity to exercise free choice, by implanting in man the possibility of choosing either alternative...he could do either quite naturally and then bend his will in the other direction too. He could not claim to possess the good of his own volition, unless he was the kind of creature that could also have possessed evil. Our most excellent creature wished us to be able to do either but actually to do only one, that is, good, which he also commanded, giving us the capacity to do evil only so that we might do His will by exercising our own. That being so, this very capacity to do evil is also good – good, I say, because it makes the good part better by making it voluntary and independent, not bound by necessity but free to decide for itself. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 38, published by The Boydell Press)

Those who are unwilling to correct their own way of life appear to want to correct nature itself instead. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 39, published by The Boydell Press)

And lest, on the other hand, it should be thought to be nature’s fault that some have been unrighteous, I shall use the evidence of the scripture, which everywhere lay upon sinners the heavy weight of the charge of having used their own will and do not excuse them for having acted only under constraint of nature. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 43, published by The Boydell Press)

Yet we do not defend the good of nature to such an extent that we claim that it cannot do evil, since we undoubtedly declare also that it is capable of good and evil; we merely try to protect it from an unjust charge, so that we may not seem to be forced to do evil through a fault of our nature, when, in fact, we do neither good nor evil without the exercise of our will and always have the freedom to do one of the two, being always able to do either. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 43, published by The Boydell Press)

Nothing impossible has been commanded by the God of justice and majesty…Why do we indulge in pointless evasions, advancing the frailty of our own nature as an objection to the one who commands us? No one knows better the true measure of our strength than he who has given it to us nor does anyone understand better how much we are able to do than he who has given us this very capacity of ours to be able; nor has he who is just wished to command anything impossible or he who is good intended to condemn a man for doing what he could not avoid doing. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 53-54, published by The Boydell Press)

Grace indeed freely discharges sins, but with the consent and choice of the believer. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 92, published by The Boydell Press)

Obedience results from a decision of the mind, not the substance of the body. (The Letters of Pelagius and his Followers by B. R. Rees, pg 90, published by The Boydell Press)

I verily believe, the real heresy of Pelagius was neither more nor less than this: The holding that Christians may, by the grace of God, (not without it; that I take to be a mere slander,) ‘go on to perfection;’ or, in other words, ‘fulfill the law of Christ.’ John Wesley

Here is a good video when it comes to the topic of Augustine’s corruption of the church:

Saved as by fire as per 1 Cor. 3:15? Yes, but NOT if we sin!

eldIf any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor 3:15)

This verse does not say that we can be saved in our sins, and notice that sins are not even mentioned in the context. This is a warning to christians (not sinners) who might not always build their lives on a proper foundation, and sometimes also lack the proper motivation for doing good works.

There are christians who are satisfied by with having a ”fire insurance” – an insurance that gives them the right to at least be exempted from hell, as long as they believe in Jesus Christ. They are content with this type of  insurance because this means they can still get away with sinning once in a while, and the only thing they would ever risk amounts to reduced rewards in heaven. They might think it’s worth it because heaven is always heaven, and with this type of insurance they can both have their sins and their salvation too. You might exclaim that ”true christians wouldn’t reason in that way!”, but isn’t it true that also christians can choose to sin? And isn’t it likely that they might give in for sins more readily if they are being told they won’t end up in hell for it? The tragic thing is that we do NOT have an unconditional fire insurance. We risk to be cut off the vine and thrown in the fire if we lack fruit (John. 15), and we will not reap eternal life in heaven if we break the commandments and sin. If we love Jesus, we obey him (John. 14:15).

The context in 1 Cor. 3:15 shows that it concerns believing christians and their building material and building methods. Sin is nowhere mentioned, and it’s not even needed to be mentioned since we already know from the rest of the Bible that sins separate us from God unless we repent. Nothing unholy shall enter heaven, and sins evidently make us unholy.  We can read that the foundation that we build upon must be JESUS CHRIST (and not ourselves, a philosophy, a pastor, a church, a dear friend, money, high status, tradition or someone/something else).  It’s the motives in our hearts that will be judged by God. He can see what ground we are building on, and the reasoning in our hearts.  Our motive should be to spread the gospel about Jesus Christ in order to see people saved.

Paul is addressing ”brethren”, but he is warning these brethren. He also lists a few sins that would make us carnal, and if we are carnal we are not saved:

1 C0r. 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?

Rom. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Speaking about christians, Paul says that they shall receive ”his own reward” according to their LABOR. This indicates these christians at least do some work, which means they produce some good fruit. That is a good thing because we know that lukewarm christians are not saved. We will reap the reward of eternal life if we show our faith with good works, and we will also be rewarded individually depending on our works.

1 Cor. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.

Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Paul warns christians that they must take heed on the way they build their lives, and every man’s work shall one day be made manifest. Do we work in order to get a popular position in the society, or because we want to go with the flow? What are our true reasons?

1 Cor.3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Paul says ”IF any man’s work abide”, meaning it’s not certain it will. It’s still ”work”, but will it abide? It depends on the motives. If it abides, the man shall receive both eternal life and individual gratification, but if the work does not abide but burned he will be saved but as by fire. If the man would be sinning on the other hand, he would not even be saved as through fire, but he wouldn’t even be able to enter the kingdom at all. This story is about christians who WORK, in combination with their motives for doing so. Paul ends with a warning to christians that if they defile the temple of God, which they all are, they will be DESTROYED.

1 Cor. 3:14 IF any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 IF any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Read also the next chapter which is also about the intent of the heart.

1 Cor. 4:Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Three chapters later Paul lists sins that will prevent us from entering the kingdom of God, and christians are not exempted:

1 Kor. 6:Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

We can unfortunately be the cause for that a brother stumbles/falls/is offended, by the way we are living our lives:

1 Kor. 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (”stumble” NKJV)

A film with students mocking a preacher of God on college campus

Wow what patience Jesse Morell (the preacher) has! Students are shouting, showing filthy signs and purposely standing in his way on the sidewalk. A guy proudly starts ripping his motor cycle as soon as Jesse speaks.  If these individuals won’t repent, I fear for what is awaiting them on judgment day.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Proverbs 14:9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

Jude 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

The Apostle JUDAS was probably once SAVED

judasJudas Iscariot  was one of Jesus’ disciples and a chosen APOSTLE. In order to be qualified for a position like this there are certain conditions that apply and that Judas apparently met (Mat 12:49-50, Lukas 14:26-27). Jesus gave many warnings to his twelve disciples that they must live holy lives, and he also gave them many wonderful promises both when it concerns their lives on earth and the next life – and Judas Iscariot was one of those disciples which Jesus addressed. It would have been an extreme paradox if a disciple which was not of God but of Satan, would have the capability to heal the sick, raise people from the dead and cast out demons, because a ”son of Satan” cannot cast out demons from himself.

Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

If Judas just hanged around with the other eleven disciples without performing any miracles, the other disciples would surely have noticed something and would wonder why everyone apart from Judas managed to heal the sick and cast out demons. When Jesus later on explained for his disciples that one of them would betray him, they all looked at each other in amazement and wondered to themselves who on earth this could be (Joh 13:22). They seemed to have no clue about the darkness in Judas and that he was a likely suspect, so apparently he had given them no sign of any particular bad fruit in his life. It therefore seems like Judas lived his life just like the others – at least as far as they knew. We know of course that Judas was a thief since he stole from the money bag that he was responsible for, but this wouldn’t be anything that he would tell others about, so as far as they knew Judas was just one of them and performed the same powerful miracles as they did. A person who is guilty of theft and who has not repented from this can of course not be saved, but we don’t if Judas repented or not. We DO know that also the other disciples had been guilty of sin as well and Peter is a good example of this. After that Judas had betrayed Jesus, Peter also sinned by denying Jesus three times and this is a sin which clearly leads to death (which all sins do) since Jesus clearly said so. If we deny him before men, he will deny us. ( Peter later repented.) If Judas would have failed when it comes to healing the sick and casting out demons, this would have been detected by the others because Jesus did not send out his disciples to work alone but at least two and two.

Matt. 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; —Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: —Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Jesus explains that they don’t have to worry about what to say because the spirit of God will speak IN them. Judas was given this promise as well.

Matt. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.— 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?—40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me

We can read that Judas (by transgression) fell from his ministry and apostleship. The Greek word that is translated ”fell” is parebé that is from parabainó that means transgress, violate, depart or desert. Matthias took the place that Judas used to have. Also Matthias passed the requirements to be in this important position.

Apg. 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Judas seemed to be a friend that Jesus could trust. If this psalm is not about Judas, who is it about?

Psaltaren 41:All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.10 But thou, O Lord, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

Judas was promised a throne in heaven together with the other apostles where they were to judge the tribes of Israel. Jesus PROMISED his twelve disciples  – where Judas was included – that they would be getting a throne each. Sadly Judas caused this promise to not be fulfilled.

Matt 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Despite those wonderful promises he ended up in hell. It would have been better if he had not been born.

Lukas 22:And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

Joh. 13:And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him ;

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

 Matt 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born

There were many who stood in line to kill Jesus but his Father protected him until it was time to meet the death for the sins of all mankind. Jesus’ death was planned, but there are many ways in which he could have chosen to die so Judas did not have to be the one to betray him at all. The evilness of Judas was in this unique case used for something good, namely the death of Jesus on the cross. God has in a few cases used man’s evil schemes for something good, but it’s never God’s intention or desire that anyone should ever sin. There is no darkness in God and he doesn’t tempt anyone, much less make anyone sin. The Father knew what Judas was up to and Judas will be punished for having acted against the will of God. Do read more about this in this blog article. 

I can add that no one is actually finally saved until he enters the kingdom of God. It does look like Judas was ”spiritually alive” at one point in his life.

Here are the views from Gordon Olson, from The Truth Shall Make You Free

p. Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve apostles to serve God and be a witness to the Gospel and revealed truth. He obviously was partaking of this truth, but rebelled and became an apostate—thus frustrating the loving plans of his Master: Acts 1:25; Mt. 10:2-4; Lk. 6:12-13; Mk. 3:14-15. The reasons why the Twelve were chosen are given below. If the Lord Jesus chose to bestow extended labor of preparation upon one whom He certainly foresaw would fall of the intended mission, it would appear that an unwise and inconsistent choice was made. Judas had no authority, he merely ”became a guide to those who arrested Jesus” (Acts 1:16). 

1) The Lord Jesus chose the Twelve from His disciples after an all-night of prayer to the Father: Lk. 6:12-13. 

2) The threefold purpose in calling the Twelve is plainly declared: Mk. 3:14-15. 

3) Judas was in a state of salvation when chosen and sent forth to represent Christ: Lk. 9:1-2; Mt. 10:8 (12:25-26); 10:16, 20 (Jn. 8:44); Mk. 6:7, 12; Lk. 9:6; Jn. 13:20. 

4) Judas rebelled against his Master (Jn. 6:64, 70-71), joined himself to Satan (Lk. 22:3; Jn. 13:2, 27), and thus fell from his ”ministry and apostleship” (Acts 1:17, 25). 

5) It does not appear that the treachery of Judas was specifically prophesied in the Old Testament, nor that the Lord Jesus expected his apostasy until He perceived its development in his mind. If our Lord expected it all the time, why was He ”troubled in spirit” or heart stricken at its development (Jn. 13:21)? It is obviously presented as a tragic surprise. The following are the passages involved and suggested literal translations for careful study: Jn. 6:64 ”But there are some of you who are not believing. For Jesus was knowing from the beginning who they are who are not believing and who it is who would deliver Him up.” ”From the beginning” most likely refers to their unbelief or turning of heart, which Jesus was observing (Jn. 2:24-25). See Mt. 19:4, 8; Jn. 15:27; 16:4; Acts 11:15; 26:4; Phil. 4:15—”from the beginning” of the thing spoken of. 

Jn. 6:70—”Did not I choose out for Myself you the twelve, and out of you one a devil is?” This strongly implies that he was not such originally, but became so (Lk. 22:3; Jn. 13:2, 21). 

Jn. 6:71—”For this one was about to be delivering Him up, one out of the twelve.” Nothing is prophetic here, merely stating his purpose. 

Jn. 13:11—”For He was knowing him who was delivering Him up, therefore He said, Ye are not all clean.” Here was a present activity. 

Jn. 13:18—”Not concerning all of you am I speaking; I Myself am knowing the ones I did choose out for Myself; but thus is the Scripture fulfilled (or again illustrated): He who is eating My bread did lift up against Me his heel.” Our Lord is referring back to a purely historical event in the life of David, where his counselor Ahithophel betrayed him and joined Absalom’s rebellion (Ps. 41:9, see II Sam. 15:12; 16:23), which was similar to His sad experience. Since David wrote of ”my close friend, in whom I trusted,” the Lord Jesus in applying this passage must have felt similarly and had trusted Judas. 

In Jn. 13:18 and 17:12 we have the conjunction ”hina” with a verb ”to fulfill,” which may be translated either ”in order that might be fulfilled,” as in the case of a specific prophecy, or ”so that was fulfilled” indicating a re-fulfillment or an application of an Old Testament historical situation or declaration. 

Jn. 17:12—”While I was with them I Myself was keeping them in Thy name whom Thou didst give Me, and I guarded (them), and no one out of them perished (or did destroy himself), except the son of perdition, so that the Scripture was fulfilled.” What Scripture our Lord had in mind is not known, perhaps Ps. 41:9, as above. 

Acts 1:16-17, 20—”Men, brethren, the Scripture, which the Holy Spirit did speak beforehand through David’s mouth, must have been fulfilled in the case of Judas, who became a guide to those who took Jesus. For that having been numbered with (us), he was among us and did receive the allotted portion of this ministry . . . For it has been written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation become desolate and let no one dwell in it, and his office let another take.'”

Reference is back to Ps. 69:25, where we notice a plural pronoun used, not a singular pronoun which would be the case if this had been a specific prophecy to Judas. 

The other reference is to Ps. 109:8, where the words, ”let another take his office.” are a part of a context extending from verse 6 to verse 19. This whole passage is a pronouncement against ”adversaries from the Lord” (20). Since only one small part of this passage is referred to, it would appear that the brief quotation in Acts 1:20 is intended as an application of a previously pronounced judgment upon a typical enemy of God. Obviously, if this had been a specific prophecy of Judas, the whole passage would have been referred to and not just five words. Peter’s reference to the Holy Spirit speaking ”through David’s mouth” must relate to his lifetime inspiration in his writings (II Sam. 23:2), and not to any specific prophecy concerning Judas, as the Lord Jesus spoke of (Mk. 12:36).

The difference between the Sheep and the Goats in the parable, is what they DID and DIDN’T DO

Jesus says in John 5:29 that at the resurrection those who have done good will get LIFE and those who have done evil will get damnation. James, Paul, John and Peter say the same thing.

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

James. 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Rom 8:13 For 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.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

1 Pet 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the SOUL;

What we DO makes the difference whether we will be able to enter God’s kingdom or not (even if we of course must believe that Jesus is God who has come in the flesh and that he has died as a sin offering and cleansed us from our sins with his blood). The Bible is filled with commands that we must DO things to be saved (not lose salt, go through the narrow gate, endure to the end, carry our cross daily, etc) and this might be surprising for us in Scandinavia, because we have been influenced by Martin Luther to a great deal. He was a person who didn’t take much delight in the book of James (according to his own words) where he could read things such as:

James. 2:20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our fathered by faith alone” even though the Bible says we’re not saved by faith alone. 

We tend to believe that if we must DO anything at all to be saved, then it is ”works salvation” and the biggest theological error under the sun (and a sin). Naturally we can’t save ourselves, because we are all in need of cleansing in the blood of Jesus, and we can’t earn our salvation by anything we do or believe, but there are still conditions for our salvation and that is to believe, repent and obey God. This is something that we must DO. Matthew 25 contains three parables that all have the point that what we DO affect our final destination – heaven or hell. This might be referred to as heresy in the Church today, but the Bible disagrees. Read the parable between the sheep and the goats. Both the sheep and the goats believed in the one they communicated with – Jesus – and also demons accept that Jesus is the son of God and even confess this out loud! This won’t save them, which is James’ point. (Not that demons are angels and can’t be saved, because the subject in James 2 is ”Deeds”.) Faith without deeds is dead. 

The final judgment 

Matthew 25:31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, andye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, andye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. 

The difference between the sheep and the goats is therefore what they DO. The sheep end up on the right side, and they are the ones that have done something good (righteousness), and the goats end up on the left side, and they are the ones that have neglected to do something good. They have NOT shown compassion and mercy. Lack of fruit can hinder us from entering the kingdom of God. We can read this in John 15 where the branches are cut off and thrown in the fire due to lack of fruit. We are not  saved by merely believing in a ”package”. We could compare with the angels in the beginning of the creation. I don’t believe they had a problem to ”believe in God”, or to accept him as their Creator. Still, we can read that 1/3 of them fell when they followed Lucifer on his wicked ways. It was once again what they DID which affected the continuation of the story – in the future they will be thrown in the lake of fire which was prepared for them from the beginning of the world, due to their deeds.

The other parables in Matthew 25 are the well known parables of the ten virgins and the one about the talents. All the ten virgins ”believed” in the bride groom and waited for his arrival. What they DID and DIDN’T DO made all the difference for what happened next. They all had lamps, but half of the girls had chosen to not bring any extra oil even though this might be needed. We can see that it probably concerned spare oil since the foolish girls said the lamps are ”gone out”. This means the lamps had previously given light, but they did not endure to the end due to lack of oil. We are told by Jesus that we must endure to the end to be saved! The wise girls had chosen to bring some spare oil with them which was a good choice. Our choices make the difference! Also the parable with the Talents shows that our choices and our actions affect the outcome of things, and also here we can see that it concerns eternal life (with various rewards) or eternal damnation.

I know that I write a lot about repentance and righteousness in my blog, and that is because these topics are neither that common, nor popular, despite that they are very important subjects because they concern our SOULS. The devil’s only goal is to make us SIN so that we won’t be able to enter God’s kingdom. He tempts us and tries to provide us with excuses to sin. I believe the devil wants to reassure us that we can be saved by faith alone with no deeds, and that sin will not separate us from God. Wouldn’t it be horrible if he managed to deceive us into thinking ”What a relief that God loves me just the way I am, and that he views me as righteous despite that I live unrighteously at times, and that it’s enough to BELIEVE in him to be saved” IF this is not true? Just imagine if we on Judgment Day would have to say…”Oops!”

1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off (Matt. 18:8)

Did Jesus exaggerate when he asked us to cut off body parts which cause us to sin? 

Jesus wasn’t joking in the below listed verses in Matt. 18:1-9. One could say he was using a ”hyperbole” (Greek hyperbole ”exaggeration”) which means to exaggerate to create emphasis or effect as a rhetorical device or figure of speech, or one could also suggest he meant exactly what he said.

Matt 18:1 1At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Mark 9:42–48 describes Jesus’ words in a similar way, and Gehenna is described ”Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”.

Jesus speaks to his own believing disciples. He doesn’t say that sinning results in reduced gifts in heaven but rather that we are risking to end up in hell which is rather serious. Maybe we prefer a Jesus who turns a blind eye to our sins, but this only works IF we repent from them (and thereafter live in righteousness). Only then are the past sins removed. It’s amazing that God has arranged so that we can be completely cleansed from our sins and get access to his Kingdom! Jesus went through a lot of suffering to make this possible. So, does Jesus suggest that we should cut off body parts if they make us sin? Yes, I believe he does, but think about it…When we stand there ready to chop off a hand with an ax, wouldn’t we rather CONFESS our sins, REPENT and avoid sinning?! Wouldn’t that be a much better alternative? This is an offer provided to us by Jesus. John says:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now, THAT is a much better alternative and it doesn’t contradict what Jesus says in Matt 18:8. Note that Jesus doesn’t say ”If you have sinned you must as a punishment cut off that body part that made you sin”. We shouldn’t think that Jesus wants us to cut off body parts when we have sinned because that is not what he is saying. That wouldn’t make the sin be undone. He rather means that there are no acceptable excuses to sin IN THE FUTURE. Whether we are talking about kleptomania, mythomania, pyromania, gluttony, fraud, adultery, outlived homosexuality or alcoholism, there are no valid excuses to continue with those sins, and we can’t blame our sins on anyone or anything. We can never excuse our sins with ”I’m born this way” or that we don’t have a choice because we just obeyed our bodies. Paul says:

1 Kor 9:27 But 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.

Who in their right mind would say ”I know I could confess my sins and repent and I would be cleansed from all my sins BUT I prefer to chop my hands off to make absolutely sure I won’t sin with them again”? That would be rather foolish. It’s not certain that it will always be easy to avoid living in the flesh, but all things are possible for Jesus. Without the aid from the Holy Spirit it might be difficult to bring our bodies into subjection, but if we let ourselves be guided by Him we can make it. Prayers, fasting, persistence and support from other christians might very well be needed.

Matt 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Notice that it’s a sin ”to lust” after a woman. It’s not a sin to accidentally meet a woman and find her amazingly attractive, and you might be forced to be around pretty girls on a daily basis at work or somewhere else. It’s a sin to look at a woman in reality or on pictures/films with the aim ”to lust”, and it’s a sin to intentionally seek situations that can make you be tempted and which can lead to sin. Even if we avoid clear traps and tempting situations, Satan might still present them to us. We can’t escape from living in this world. A tempting thought doesn’t have to be a sin in itself. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert and I’m sure he desired to get something to eat and had such pictures in his head when the devil brought up the topic. It would have been a sin for Jesus to eat during a time when eating was not allowed, but despite the tempting thought he still chose to not give in for it and sin. God sees our hearts and he knows very well what we do or don’t do to avoid tempting situations, and also what we do to get out of difficult situations that we are already in and which we never even asked for.  God doesn’t ask for the impossible.