Etikettarkiv | righteous

Leighton Flowers, and his misunderstanding about righteousness and the SIN nature

sinThe ordinary misconception about sin and righteousness

I can definitely recommend Dr. Leighton Flowers’ pod channel Soteriology 101 as well as his YouTube channel with the same name, because he has a great ability to humbly describe the downfalls and inconsistencies of Calvinism (although perhaps he is even a bit too humble at times). Especially Dr James White has a lot to learn from Leighton, when it comes to debating and highlighting proper exegesis. Please check out Leighton’s channel and subscribe if you want to learn more about the dark side of Calvinism and why it does not fit the scriptures.

Even though I am in awe about Leighton’s way of dealing with Calvinism and Calvinists, I would also like to point out some doctrines where I disagree with his rather common ”Baptist views”. He has correctly said that Calvinism seems to contain two types of free will, two types of love, two types of calling, etc, (or something to this effect) but he too makes a similar mistake when he claims that there are two types of righteousness in his own belief system. He is convinced that this is the only way to avoid Bible contradictions, but there is a better way without having to resort to two types of righteousness.

I am not making any exact quotes here (unless possible) because I usually listen to his podcasts while out running and not being able to take notes. Nevertheless, I have heard enough to know that he believes that there are saved sinning Christians, and that it is totally natural for Christians to sin – and abnormal if they do not. He has not said it in those exact words but that is the only conclusion one can make from his comments. I am not saying that he actively encourages Christians to sin, nor that God does not care if Christians sin (rather the contrary), but he nevertheless teaches that sinning is normal and unavoidable both for unbelievers and believers.

The issues I am thinking about are the following (I am disagreeing with all of them):

  • No one is righteous
  • We cannot stop sinning
  • We cannot obey the law of God
  • We are saved by faith alone
  • Repenting does not mean leaving all of ”the old sinning man” behind
  • Once saved always saved
  • We can get Jesus righteousness transferred into us (Jesus imputed righteousness)
  • We are born with a sinful nature due to Adam
  • Penal substitution
  • Speaking in tongues – always being understood (and not even in use)

No one is righteous – Romans 3:10

The first verse to mention is Rom. 3:10, because this verse, read in a vacuum, is often used as a proof text for other verses. It is the famous ”no one is righteous” verseThe only way to be labelled righteous in a world where no one can successfully stop sinning, is to have someone else’s righteousness transferred into himself – namely the righteousness of Jesus Christ. However, this is not what the text is saying. First of all, Paul who made this claim called himself righteous along with two of his friends, and this means that Paul believes there are in actual fact people who can call themselves righteous. I suspect that Leighton would not disagree with that, but perhaps he would add that they are only righteous because of the righteous blood of Jesus and not because they are righteous in themselves. Nevertheless, Paul claimed that he indeed lived a righteous life by his own actions (likely referring to his life as a saved believer in Jesus Christ). Paul said that the conduct of him and his friends was holy, righteous and blameless (1 Thess. 2:10) and that he had lived with a perfect conscience before God (Acts 23:1). A person cannot sin and have a perfect conscience. Jesus tells us to be perfect, which means we can.

Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

When making the quote in Rom. 3:10, Paul starts off saying ”as it is written”, and it is of utmost importance to check this quote (see link above) in order to not misunderstand him. Paul is quoting from a couple of psalms where unrighteous people (the fools) are contrasted with righteous people (who do good and seek God). This means that even those quoted psalms claim in context that righteous people are non-existent, nor that it is impossible to seek God. Moreover, psalms are often mirroring the reality by using poetic expressions, which means that we should be careful to not take a verse from Psalms and make a doctrine out of it.

Since we have sinned, we must of course repent and be cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We have no authority to cleanse ourselves from our sins, but after having been born again the idea is that we must not revert back to our old life style but be led by the holy Spirit away from sin. We must DO righteousness! Peter, John, James and Paul say:

Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and WORKETH righteousness, is accepted with him.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Ja. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?—24 Ye see then how that BY WORKS a man is justified, and NOT by faith only.25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. — 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. — 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.

Jesus himself believes there are people who are righteous, and that those individuals therefore have no need to repent (unless they sin of course) because they have already done so. (Repentance is a requirement for salvation.) He did not come to call the righteous to repentance but the sinners.

Luke. 5:32 – I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 

Luke 15:7 – I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Jesus contrasts the righteous with the sinners, where the aforementioned are saved and the latter ones are not. This is far from the idea of ”sinning saints”.

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

1 Cor. 6:9-10 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, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

works of the lawWe cannot stop sinning? Yes, people could obey the law also in the Old Testament

Leighton and others seem to take for granted that God’s law can never be fully obeyed, and especially not when it comes to the Old Testament. The idea is often that ”this is the reason that Jesus died for us, because of our inability to obey the law!”. The Bible, however, does not say that God’s commandments are too hard for us to follow, or that we are created too weak to follow them. If we do not even have an ability to fully obey God, and God is aware of this, would it really be our fault if we sinned? If we can obey and does not do so, we are guilty. If we cannot obey of no fault of our own and therefore sin out of necessity, we are not guilty.

But if we could obey, why did Jesus die? Because we have sinned. Bad choice. We are guilty sinners precisely because we could have obeyed but chose not to.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. — 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Gen. 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Is. 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Deut. 30:10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.—14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, THAT THOU MAYEST DO IT.15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 

The Bible says we are NOT saved by faith alone

A lot of Christians should take the practice to repeat the following verse a few times a day:

Ja. 2:24 Ye see then how that BY WORKS a man is justified, and NOT by faith only.

Lots of people do not even believe this verse is in the Bible, but the fact is that faith without works is dead. Also demons have faith. It is true that Paul spends a lot of time trying to get the Jews to understand that they are not saved only because they are born Jews and because of any need to follow the 613 Jewish laws (including circumcision) but that is often labelled as ”works of the law” (the law of Moses). Paul makes a clear distinction between the law of Moses and the always existing Godly laws which have always applied throughout history:

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.  

We are not saved by faith alone.

Ja 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?—25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Repenting – a requirement for salvation

Repenting requires turning away from sin (Acts 3:19; 26:20), and the Bible promises wrath for the impenitent (no matter their faith) and not mercy. Repenting is not one and the same as confessing sins, because also agnostics and atheists might choose to confess their sins. Spending your days sinning and confessing will not save you.

If the case is that Leighton believes that no one can confess their sins without the holy Spirit working in them first, there are Bible verses which speak against it. Sure, we are created to seek God and find him (Acts. 17:27) so in this way we are all ”drawn” to him and divinely created to come to him (if we so desire), but the Bible says that we get the holy Spirit after that we confess and repent (see verses below). Having the holy Spirit does not mean we will automatically obey him.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.  

Act 26:20 – But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT and turn to God, and do WORKS meet for repentance.

Mar 6:12 – And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Mat 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.— 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

osas 10Once saved always saved – the devil’s lie

It is not God’s responsibility to make sure that we endure to the end and do not fall back into sins. If anyone chooses to sin, perhaps by getting involved in adultery and lies, it is always and only his/her own fault and therefore not possible to blame God for not holding him tight enough or for not completing the salvation process all the way into eternity. It is very common to say that the person ”was not saved to begin with” if he gets involved in heavy sin, but the Bible (and real life) is full of examples with people who have died spiritually due to sin (like the prodigal son). Sure, some of them chose to repent and returned back to life, but it is not certain that everyone will choose to do this.

Leighton says: ”— God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. ” and ”We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.”

It is the devil who taught ”Ye shall not surely die” to the God-believing Eve, but he lied. Sinning always has and always will cause spiritual death – unless the person repents. (Repenting means turning away from sin.) A branch in the vine (Jesus) can be cut off due to lack of fruit.

Rom. 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is DEATH.— 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

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.

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive AGAIN; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Rom. 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Also in the Old Testament we can read that a righteous person (someone who does righteousness) will not be aided by his previous righteousness if he sins again. He will rather die in his sins if he lives in sin.

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.—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.

Imputed righteousnessimputed righteousness

You will never read in the Bible that we can get Jesus righteousness imputed into us. Not even in Rom. 4. Yes, we can read about ”imputed” righteousness, but not from Jesus Christ. The word ”imputed” comes from the Greek word ”logizomai” (Strong’s 3049)  and does not mean ”transfer”, but rather ”reckoned” or ”counted as”. If we have repented from our sins, and become totally cleansed, we are reckoned as righteous because we are. This will last as long as we keep ourselves righteous and do not become dirty again. Remember that WE must do righteousness, and we are told to not be deceived about this. Do not let anyone tell you that you can be regarded as righteous in God’s eyes while still living in sin, or that you can combine righteousness with sin and still be ok.

But wait a minute – does not the Bible warn us from thinking we can trust in our own righteousness? (Rom. 10:3; Phil 3.9) Yes, but what does this really mean? It means that we should not believe that we can be saved because of a permanent good standing with God which can never be changed no matter what we do. We should not do as the Jews, who believed they were always acceptable in God’s eyes because they were born as Jews, were sons of Abraham, etc. If a righteous person trusts in his own righteousness and commits sin, he must forget about being right with God due to that sin. This is the message we can read in Ez. 33:13, and it is still applicable.

Ez. 33:13 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.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Read more about ”imputed” righteousness here.

The sinful nature

It is good news that Leighton does not believe that people are responsible for having inherited a nature inclined towards sin (which means they are without guilt), but I do not even believe we have inherited a sinful nature in the first place. If we have inherited a nature inclined towards sin, what is the huge difference between the disposition of Adam and Eve? Why did they sin? Did they too have a nature inclined towards sin since they in fact did sin? Apparently they could choose to sin just as easily as their descendants, and this is evidence of that our nature did not change, which explains why the Bible does not claim it. If our nature would have changed due to our forefathers’ sin, why does the Bible not say so considering that this is rather significant information? Romans 5 and Ephesians 2 do not say it, nor any psalms.

Leigthon says: ”— because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin.  — We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty (?) before he has personally sinned.”

Penal substitution theory (originally from Anselm)

I believe that Jesus Christ died to REMOVE our sins, which is a big price to pay (his own life). I do not believe that Jesus paid for our sins, or that our sins somehow ended up in his body before they were eventually removed. Nor do I believe that Jesus took the penalty that we should have, on himself and instead of us. The punishment due to us is destruction and hell, which Jesus did not take on himself. Jesus did not die as a substitution in penalty but a substitution for penalty, under certain conditions. The atonement is a substitute for our penalty so that our penalty itself can be remitted in forgiveness by the mercy of God. If Jesus had paid for our sins, then our sins would be forgiven before we sinned and even long before were even born. Paid is paid. A breach of God’s law is either paid or forgiven – not both.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Speaking in tongues – ”no man understandeth him” (1 Cor. 14:2)

I am not exactly sure what Leighton’s view is about speaking in tongues or the spiritual gifts in general, but I have listened to a podcast which makes me suspect that he has the common ”baptist” view of the spiritual gifts – which means that he believes that spiritual tongues are always understood, and actually not even in use. A preacher such as Benny Hinn is unfortunately often used by non-charismatic preachers to represent churches which make use of the spiritual gifts.

1 Cor.12:13 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. —9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: — 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 14:1 Follow after charity, and DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS, but rather that ye may prophesy.2 For he that speaketh in an UNKNOWN tongue speaketh not unto men, but UNTO GOD for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. — 4 He that speaketh in an UNKNOWN TONGUE edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 5 I WOULD THAT YE ALL SPAKE WITH TONGUES but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. — 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are ZEALOUS of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.14 For if I pray in an UNKNOWN TONGUE, my spirit prayeth, but MY UNDERSTANDING IS UNFRUITFUL.15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding ALSO: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. — 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. — 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

SO we should not forbid anyone to speak in tongues (so not discourage it), but we should DESIRE, COVET EARNESTLY and be ZEALOUS to speak in tongues – and even better; to do so when it comes to even better gifts like prophesying and healing (in order to edify even more people). The question is: Do we all obey this? Are we eager to get the gifts? Do we encourage others to get the gifts and explain to them what wonderful gifts which are awaiting them? If not, why not obeying Paul’s advice?

Some things we can learn from the above:

  • Paul explains the different parts of the body of the church, where prophesies, tongues, healing, etc, are some of the parts. He does not say that this body would  cease to exist within a few years.
  • There is such a thing called ”an unknown tongue”, which we are requested to eagerly seek. It means: no one understands.
  • We should desire the spiritual gifts (that is all of them, but especially those who can benefit the most people).
  • No one understands the tongues (unless they are interpreted).
  • Interpretation of the tongues is a separate gift, indicating that the original tongues must be interpreted if they are intended to be understood. 1 Cor. 14:13 is just one verse proving that it is not certain that a person who is able to speak in tongues automatically also has the gift of interpretation and able to know his/her own tongues.
  • Edification of oneself is a good thing (or else you must not pray for your own health, strength, wisdom, etc). Being able to edify even more people is of course even better.
  • Paul wished that all of the Christian Corinthians (and likely therefore all Christians) spoke in tongues, and he never added that this wish only applied for a certain time/generation.
  • If there is no interpreter available in church (which might be the case), then the person should pray in tongues to himself and to God. He is never told to forget about speaking in tongues because people are able to fake them.
  • We are asked to pray in two ways, we should pray/sing with the spirit (not understanding the words), or the opposite way which is praying/singing with our understanding and spirit. It depends on if you pray for yourself to God, or if you pray/speak edify other people.
  • Paul spends 3 chapter talking about speaking in tongues and other spiritual gifts, and he does not discourage it anywhere. He does the exact opposite and he wishes that everyone would speak in tongues.

Finally, a film by Torben Söndergaard. A Danish preacher who highlights both the importance of repentance and the fact that Christians should go out and preach the gospel, heal the sick, etc.

 

 

If we inherited Adam’s sin and were born with a sinful nature, we have Bible contradictions

wonderfully madeThe non-Biblical sinful nature  

The Bible does not teach that man is born with a sinful nature (not in Romans 5, not in Ephesians 2, not in any psalms, not anywhere). This illogical idea (that babies are sinners) can be traced back to Augustine and even all the way back to the gnostics.

Neither does the Bible claim that man can get an injection of someone else’s righteousness and thus magically become righteous despite living in sin. Man himself is responsible for being faithful to Jesus and to live a righteous life. Do not let anyone tell you that being obedient to Jesus is about self-righteousness, and therefore a sinful works-based salvation.

If man would be born (or conceived) with a sinful nature, we end up with many contradictions.

  • The Bible is strangely silent about it and rather claims that man is guilty when he transgresses the law of God, which requires that he knows the law in the first place.
  • We would have the best excuse for sin there is – our nature made us do it.
  • All the church fathers the first 300 years AD would be wrong for claiming the opposite.
  • Jesus would have a HUGE advantage over us from the very start since he was not born with a sinful nature, which is something that makes the holder prone to sin. We would be able to say ”No wonder that Jesus could so easily refrain from sin! He was not born with a sinful nature like the rest of us!”
  • Sinning is apparently something that can be found in the DNA and be inherited from person to person, and not (always) something that a man DOES.
  • It is apparently a sin to have ”flesh”, since this is the starting point for our sins?  Jesus started to get flesh just like us during his conception, but his flesh was without those sin genes?
  • God turns out to be an unrighteous judge who charges all human beings for something they are innocent of and could not help.
  • The sinful nature has apparently prevented all human beings from being obedient to God from the very start, so God has either made us too weak to obey his laws, or he has made the laws too difficult for us to obey.
  • Sinning is described in the Bible as transgressing God’s law (1 John. 3:4) and something that offends him, but what exactly offends God about a person being born (or conceived)?
  • Babies (also newborn, and unborn babies) would be able to commit sin – even before they have hearts, despite that Matt. 15:18-19 and Mark 7:20-23 tell us that evil thoughts proceed from the heart.
  • Babies are apparently spiritually ”dead” already from conception when they are still tiny specks, which puts Eph. 2:1 in doubt since it claims that we are dead due to ”trespasses and sins”.
  • Romans 5:12 should not be saying that ”death passed upon all men FOR that all have sinned”, but rather that SIN passed upon all men because Adam sinned. (Btw, the Bible itself proves in many verses that ”all” does not always refer to all human beings.)
  • James would be wrong for claiming that man’s own lust and giving in for temptation is the cause of sin (James 1:14-15), when in reality all people are sinful long before they can have lust and before they even have functional body parts.
  • Is. 7:16 would be wrong for suggesting that a child does not know to refuse the evil and choose the good.   
  • etc

But … if we have no sinful nature, why do we sin? Answer: Why did Adam and Eve sin? Think about that for a moment.

But … if we have no sinful nature, then there could potentially be someone out there who could have been totally free of sin all his life. Answer: Yes.

But … if we have no sinful nature, why did Jesus have to die? Answer: Because we have sinned. We have transgressed the law of God.

We are sinners precisely because we could have chosen to obey God but chose to not do it. This makes us guilty rather than God. God is graceous and does not give us one single chance to live righteous, but if we mix sin and righteousness we have not truly repented and we are fooling ourselves.

Transferring blood to make us righteous?

imputed righteousness.jpg

”Impute” translated from the Greek verb λογίζομαι (logizomai, Strong’s 3049) = can also be translated to think, reckon, count and suppose. Note that it does not mean ”transfer” or ”inject”. 

When we repent we become totally cleansed from our past sins (certainly not any future sins) and we are totally forgiven even if our sins are numerous and severe. We are counted as righteous because sin can no longer be found in us when we are 100% free from all sin. It is therefore no divine lie that we are counted as righteous because the fact is that this is what we have truly become thanks to the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

So how long does this righteous state of being last? It lasts as long as we remain righteous by walking in the light, which is OUR responsibility. WE are supposed to be led by the holy Spirit and be faithful to Jesus. Do not let anyone tell you that someone else will do it for you or instead of you. Jesus is ”our righteousness” in the sense that he died for us and removed our sins, but this does not mean that we can get his righteousness transferred into us. Many Christians misunderstand ”imputed” righteousness in Rom 4-5, because they erroneously believe it means ”transferred”. This is not true, since the word rather means to be reckoned, counted or regarded as righteous. Not because of a blood transfer, but because our sins have been removed. The Bible does not teach ”once righteous always righteous” (or ”once saved always saved”). If a prisoner gets out of jail, it does not mean that he is now free to commit further crimes since he has

There is no way that God would count us as righteous unless we truly were, and we can never fool God by suggesting that he does not see our sins but only the precious blood of Jesus. We can never be regarded as positionally righteous while still living in sin. Always remember Satan’s famous lie ”Ye shalt not surely die”. The idea that blood can be transferred into us and make us righteous (even if we sin), is an attempt from Satan’s side to trick us into feeling comfortable in our sin and to get the idea that we have a heavenly fire insurance. Even many pastors teach that it is normal for Christians to sin, and abnormal if they do not. They might even go further than that by suggesting that it is self-righteous to be completely faithful to Jesus, and that we should never believe that we can be victorious over sin. Satan could not be happier for this type of help, because it is totally backwards: ”Christian sinners” (an oxymoron) go to heaven, but righteous Christians go to hell (because of the sin of self-righteousness). This sounds like the greatest sin (and the only one that can make you lose your salvation?) is to teach and believe that you can be completely faithful to God. THAT angers God the most?

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO and TEACH THEM, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, YE SHALL IN NO CASE ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.  

God is speaking:

Gen. 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Deut. 30:11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. —- 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. (NASB)

Read about Rom. 5 here.

”For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law”, Rom 2:12

works of the lawPeople can perform righteousness without having heard about the Bible content

The common question about the inhabitants in the jungle ”What about those who live in the jungle and who have never heard about the gospel?”

People are certainly not doomed due to the unfortunate circumstances of having been born in the jungle with no chance to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Romans 2 tells us:

Rom. 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;

1 Tim. 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a PURE HEART, and of a GOOD CONSCIENCE, and of faith unfeigned: 

Apparently people are able to naturally do the things contained in the law even though they do not have it written down for them. In this case it does not mean all the 613 Jewish laws containing many ceremonial aspects, but it does mean the law of love, or the law of God that has existed ever since the days of Adam and Eve. It has always been against nature to murder, steal, lie and commit adultery. On the question (from a young man) what one must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus did not say ”Just believe in me”, but he said:

Mark. 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

Other versions of the same story:

Matt. 19:17 — if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

Luke 10:26 — What is written in the law? how readest thou?27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

If you love God with all your heart, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself, then you automatically also follow the other detailed commandments, to not murder, steal, lie, commit adultery and dishonor your parents. Adam and Eve were not only expected to not eat of the tree of knowledge, but both prior to their sin and afterwards they were expected to stand with their Creator and by doing so obey the basic commandments. The promise for us today is ”Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). If we truly walk with God, we automatically obey his commandments. If we truly love God, we naturally obey him.

Also the people in the jungle know that there is a Creator (his divine attributes can clearly be seen in nature) and that it is wrong to treat others in a way that we would not like to be treated ourselves. To take another person’s life, or to steal, lie and cause someone to be jealous and sad, are things that our conscience will tell us are wrong. It is true that we can learn to make our conscience more flexible with time, but this does not change the fact that we are deviating from the law of love. Our upbringing, traditions and culture can affect our understanding and reasoning, but in the end we have all been given a conscience and God will judge us based on our thoughts and actions.

Rom. 1:18-32 makes it very clear that we have no excuse if we do not seek our Creator and do good:

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  —28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 2 and sinning without the lawfree will 2

It says in Rom. 2:1-3 that God will pay attention to how we judge others, and he will judge us accordingly – and most of all righteously. God can see the whole truth about our hearts. v. 5-8 continues to explain how God will judge us. If we want to escape his wrath on the day judgment (or the day of wrath), we must obey the truth and patiently do good. If we harden our hearts and do not obey the truth, we will be in big trouble unless we repent. This is about a spiritual life or death:

Rom. 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Who will render to every man according to his deeds:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, ETERNAL LIFE:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and WRATH

Paul continues to explain that it is actually the doers of the law who will be justified. Also gentiles can ”do” the law (without having the law) and this includes also people in the jungle:

Rom. 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

The NKJV renders v. 15: ”who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)”. 

Paul made a clear distinction between the Jewish law and the law of love (which has always been in force):

1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, BUT KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.

Rom. 2 ends with Paul explaining to the Jews (who are the ones in focus in his letter since they are confused about the law) that gentiles can indeed fulfill the law – people who might not be circumcised but who do what the law says. It is the heart that counts (the inside) and not an outwardly circumcision.

Rom. 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Jesus said (of course without suggesting that circumcision is a sin):

Matt. 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

So do we not need Jesus since we could be saved without him? Yes of course we do. There is no forgiveness without the blood, and Jesus shed his blood for us as a final sacrifice once and for all (more in Hebrews). We have no authority to forgive ourselves for our own sins. The gospel about Jesus Christ urges people to repent from their sin and live in the light. People need to hear about Jesus and what he did for humanity. They need to understand the love that God has for us. Jesus is the living bread!

John 6:51 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.

Naturally we cannot believe in Jesus Christ if we have not heard about him:

Rom. 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

The law was the Jews’ schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, and when Christ came this detailed schoolmaster was no longer needed. Now our guide is rather the holy Spirit.

Gal. 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.—23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Rom. 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Ja. 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well

1 mos. 3Being saved prior to Jesus, in the Old Testament

People who lived prior to Jesus Christ made an entrance to earth as God in flesh could of course be saved without having heard about him. Naturally the people of Israel had heard about God their Creator, but Paul’s explanation in Romans 1-2 applies both for them and for the gentiles. Moreover, people who lived prior to Moses could of course be saved as well without having heard about the son of God. They too had laws to obey, despite the absence of commandments written on stone tablets. God said early about sin:

Gen. 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, SIN lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and THOU SHALT RULE OVER HIM.

In Ezekiel we can find a good explanation how we can be saved. By believing in God and do good (just like in the New Testament):

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, 8 He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, HE SHALL SURELY LIVE, saith the Lord God.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.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.

You can see the same story in Ez. 33.

Everything is sin? We can never stop sinning? Youtube film.

Who is righteous according to the Bible?

Are those righteous who have been given another person’s righteousness (Jesus’ righteousness) while they continue in sin albeit feel ”sorry” for their sins?

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.7 Little children, LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU: HE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS, EVEN AS HE IS RIGHTEOUS. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (KJV)

Do not be deceived by those who suggest that we can hide behind Jesus so that God the Father does not see our sins but only the blood of Jesus. We cannot fool God – he can see our sins! Sinning continues to separate us from God. It is Satan who says the opposite ”Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). This simple lie goes around on and on again in our churches where well-meaning pastors claim that God loves us exactly as we are (IN our sins) as long as we believe in Jesus because ”once saved always saved”. What do you say about those who claim that we can never stop sinning? Think about this:

”By changing the definition of sin to include many things that God has not called sin, Satan causes believers to be greatly discouraged and they give up trying to get victory over sin. If sin is all inclusive, then it becomes too great to overcome. I’ve had people tell me that feeling desire for a McD’s burger was a sin. In doing this, Satan makes it seem that sin is too wide, all inclusive, and inescapable. That tactic overcomes the young Christian so that they do not press on to perfection. They become convinced that there is no hope of ever being free from something that is so all inclusive”
/ Clarence Bro Cope

Do not listen to those who claim that all we do is like filthy rags before God (a term from Isaiah 64:6 where we can read about people who mix righteousness with sin and believe they are still fine). We can be good servants here and now thanks to the grace of God.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly IN THE PRESENT AGE (NKJV)

Jesus Christ holds the SCEPTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS as God in flesh

sceptreHebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever: A SCEPTRE of righteousness is the SCEPTRE of thy kingdom (KJV)

”Scepter” in the New Testament is a translation from the Greek word rhabdos (Strong’s 4464) which could also be translated as rod or staff.

”Scepter” in the Old Testament is a translation from the Greek word shebet (Strong’s 7626), and can also be translated as per above or as ”tribe” or ”clan”. Other synonymous words for ”rod” in the OT is matteh (Strong’s 4294) and choter (Strong’s 2415).

A scepter is a special staff/rod carried by a king or a high official, and in our past it was used as a token of authority and power of the king. Scepters are similar to a shepherd’s rod, except they are much fancier and way more valuable. Christ is told to have a kingdom, and his symbolic scepter is told to be of ”righteousness”. Righteousness is doing what is right, just, pure and pleasing to God, and this means that the Lord Jesus will be totally fair and govern his kingdom righteously.

Below we can find some interesting verses where ”scepter”, and also ”rod” or ”staff” are mentioned.

New Testament (KJV)

Aaron’s rod was one of a kind. It was a sign of authority and power:

Heb. 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Compare the below verse with Jacob’s prophesy in Gen. 49:10, to which the author of Hebrews is referring. It’s interesting that Jacob is said to have been leaning upon the top of his staff when he prophesied about the scepter not leaving Judah until Shiloh comes;”The sceptre shall not depart from Judah—”:

Heb. 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff

The disciple John saw an extended version of the vision of the future-coming scepter that both Jacob and Balaam saw much earlier in the OT (see further down below). The book of Revelations mentions a man-child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and there are many more descriptions of Jesus Christ:

Rev. 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.28 And I will give him the morning star.

Rev. 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Rev. 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Rev. 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Old Testament (NKJV) – using the word shebetdove 2

Below is Jacob’s prophesy about the last days concerning Judah. Jacob (Israel) was prophesying over each of his twelve sons and he places the scepter in Judah’s hands. Jacob was speaking of the lineage from which the Messiah would come. The scepter, the sign of power and dominion shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh (rest/peace) comes;  And to Him shall be the obedience of the people”. People were apparently supposed to be obedient to the one holding the scepter or this ”Shiloh” who is understood to be the Messiah. The prophesy also suggests that people can trust that the scepter will at least remain in Judah until his arrival. (There is no mention of what will take place after his coming.) From David’s time until the exile, the scepter as always been in Judah. The Roman empire affected the area at the time of the birth of Jesus, and in him both the priesthood and the kingship would be synchronized. Around the time of his death the Jews suggested ”We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

We also recognize more descriptions of the son of man (Jesus Christ) from Revelations:

Gen. 49:“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.9 Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.11 Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.12 His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Balaam gave numerous prophesies about a star that would come out of Jacob who among other things would be brought out of Egypt.

Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.3 Then he took up his oracle and said:“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,Who sees the vision of the Almighty,Who falls down, with eyes wide open:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!6 Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens by the riverside, Like aloes planted by the Lord,Like cedars beside the waters.7 He shall pour water from his buckets, And his seed shall be in many waters.“His king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted.8 “God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows.9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’“Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he who curses you.”—17 “I see Him, but not now;I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. 18 “And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,While Israel does valiantly.19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.”

Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Matt. 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.

In the book of Esther we find an interesting story involving a king’s scepter. The queen Esther wanted to speak to the powerful king about an urgent matter and she hoped to find favor in his site so that she could continue to live, despite approaching him without first being asked for. The king chose to do his part, holding out his scepter, and Esther did her part by touching the top of it. This fortunate combination meant that Esther would get life instead of death. In comparison, we may all approach the throne of God without fear, because his son Jesus Christ always has his scepter extended to us. Our job is to repent from our sins to become cleansed and righteous:

Esther 4:11 ”All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.”

Esther 5:2 So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

Ps. 45 is introduced with this information: ”The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.”A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love”. Psalms/songs in the Bible do not contain any kind of falsehood, but we must be prepared for a certain extent of poetic expressions, comparisons, analogies and metaphors which are not supposed to be understood literally. This particular song seems to be talking about an earthly king, with comparisons with a heavenly king and God himself. V. 45:6 is the source of the famous expression in Heb. 1:8, where God (the Father) is talking to God (the son). Since the long and detailed expression is about God the son in Heb. 1, it is also about God in Ps. 45. We can see references to the Messiah also in Ps. 45 – someone being on the right hand side, a mighty one, being the most fair, riding with righteousness, being anointed with oil, being worshiped, praised, etc. (Read my article about Heb. 1:8 here.):

Ps. 45:1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.3 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O MIGHTY ONE,With Your glory and Your majesty.4 And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; The peoples fall under You.6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.—11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.—17 I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

Note Ps. 45:7 about joy ”Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of JOY NASB, and compare with Hebrews again:

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God

John 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of thebridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.

Is. 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

”It despises the scepter of my son” according to a prophesy of Ezekiel:

Ez. 21:8 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished!10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter of My son, As it does all wood.—13 “Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,”says the Lord God.14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy, And strike your hands together. The third time let the sword do double damage. It is the sword that slays,The sword that slays the great men, That enters their private chambers.

ros (1)Old Testament  (NKJV) – using the word matteh

There was a lot of focus on the rod that Moses (and Aaron) used during Exodus. Moses had great use for it when he showed others the power of God, and proved that he himself had been given authority to be the leader of the Israelites on their journey:

Ex. 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”He said, “A rod.3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),5 “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. 9 And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”

Ex. 7:19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.

Ex. 14:16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Num. 20:Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

Each tribe also had rods, but their rods cannot be compared with the rod that Moses possessed:

Num. 17:2“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod.

Jonathan was involved in a dramatic story where he dipped his rod into honey in order to eat from it:

1 Sa 14: 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint.—42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”And Jonathan told him, and said, “I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”

A psalm by David replete with references to the Messiah Jesus Christ, such as ”The Lord said to my Lord”. Jesus Christ is called Lord of Lords and he is a priest forever, just like it says in Heb. 7:21-24. It is out of Zion from where the rod of strength will come. :

Ps. 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”2 The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!3 Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.4 The Lord has sworn And will not relent,“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.

Heb. 7:21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’”),—24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Old Testament (NKJV) using the word choter 

A rod shall come forth out of the stem of Jesse (king David’s father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Messiah would come from king David’s blood line:

Is. 11:1 There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

150 things we must DO to get saved, and the myth of salvation by FAITH ALONE

gräva”Ye see then how that BY WORKS a man is JUSTIFIED, and NOT by faith only” – Ja. 2:24

You will sometimes hear that we do not need to do anything at all to be saved apart from just having faith in God, because Jesus did all the rest for us. Some will even tell you that the salvation formula is ”Faith + nothing = salvation”.  The Bible, however, tells us that we must show our faith by doing good works – and without serving two masters. There is no salvation unless there is true REPENTANCE, which does not mean ”oops!”, but is a total change of heart where you confess your sins, make a complete u-turn and start walking in the light with Jesus. Faith without works is dead. Below are not really 150 different things we must do, but at least 150 verses which describe things we must do. All can be wrapped up in the one commandment ”love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself”. 

In order to be saved, the Bible tells you to … (NKJV if nothing else stated):

  1. ABIDE IN JESUS, to get eternal life – 1 John 2:24-25,28
  2. ABIDE IN JESUS, in order to not sin and to know him – 1 John 3:6
  3. ABIDE IN JESUS, so that he will abide in you, and you will not be thrown in the fire – John 15:4-7
  4. ABIDE IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST and do not transgress it, in order to have God – 2 John 1:9
  5. ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS, which war against the soul – 1 Pet 2:11
  6. AGREE WITH YOUR ADVERSARY quickly, lest he delivers you to the judge – Matt. 5:25
  7. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SON, to have the Father – 1 John 2:23
  8. BE A DOER OF THE LAW, to be justified – Rom. 2:13-14
  9. BE A DOER OF THE WORD AND NOT A HEARER ONLY, to not deceive yourself – Ja. 1:22
  10. BE A FAITHFUL SERVANT OF THE LORD, in order to enter into the joy of the Lord and not be cast into the outer darkness – Matt. 25:23,30
  11. BE A HOLY AND UNDEFILED TEMPLE, in order to not be destroyed – 1 Cor. 3:16-17
  12. BE A PEACEMAKER, in order to be called a child of God – Matt. 5:9
  13. BE A SLAVE TO GOD, to be set free from sin, and to get everlasting life – Rom. 6:22
  14. BE CONVERTED AND BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 18:3
  15. BE DILIGENT, to present yourself approved to God – 2 Tim. 2:15
  16. BE DILIGENT TO ENTER THE REST, lest you fall due to disobedience – Hebr. 4:11
  17. BE DILIGENT TO MAKE YOUR ELECTION SURE, to get an entrance into the everlasting kingdom – 2 Pet. 1:10-11
  18. BE GENTLE TO ALL, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, to be granted repentance and be a servant of the Lord – 2 Tim. 2:24-25
  19. BE HUMBLE, to get grace – Ja. 4:6
  20. BE LED BY THE SPIRIT, in order to not be under the law – Gal. 5:18
  21. BE OBEDIENT TO GOD, in order to be righteous and a slave to God instead of sin – Rom. 6:16
  22. BE PATIENT AND AVOID THE MARK OF THE BEAST, to keep your name in the book of life – Rev. 16:2, Rev. 13:8-10
  23. BEAR GOOD FRUIT, to not be cut down and thrown in the fire – Matt. 7:19
  24. BEAR FRUIT WORTHY OF REPENTANCE, to not be thrown into the fire – Matt. 3:8-10, John 15:2
  25. BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, to fulfill the law of Christ – Gal. 6:2
  26. BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE ”I AM”, to not die in your sins – John 8:24-25, 28, 58
  27. BEWARE, LEST YOU ALSO FALL FROM YOUR OWN STEADFASTNESS, being led away with the error of the wicked – 2 Pet. 3:17
  28. BRIDLE YOUR TONGUE, to not deceive your heart and be in a useless religion – Ja. 1:26
  29. CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD, to be saved – Rom. 10:13
  30. CLEANSE YOURSELF, in order to be a vessel of honor and sanctified – 2 Tim. 2:21
  31. CONTINUE IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, which enables you to be wise for salvation – 2 Tim. 3:14-15
  32. CONTINUE IN THE FAITH, GROUNDED AND STEADFAST, so that Jesus will present you as holy and blameless in his sight – Col. 1:22-23
  33. CONFESS JESUS BEFORE MEN – so that Jesus will confess you before the Father – Matt. 10:32
  34. CONFESS THAT JESUS IS CHRIST AND HAS COME IN THE FLESH, in order to not be of Antichrist’s spirit and be a deceiver – 1 John 4:2-3, 2 John 1:7
  35. CONFESS THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, in order to abide in God – 1 John 4:15
  36. CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH the Lord Jesus, in order to be saved – Rom. 10:9-10
  37. COME TO THE LIGHT and expose your deeds, to be a person who does the truth – John 3:21
  38. COMPETE FOR THE PRIZE, to obtain an imperishable crown – 1 Cor. 9:25
  39. COMPETE ACCORDING TO THE RULES, in order to be crowned, and BE FIRST in order to partake of the crops – 2 Tim. 2:5-6
  40. CONTINUE IN GOD’S GOODNESS, in order to not be cut off from the olive tree – Rom. 11:2
  41. DENY YOURSELF, TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW JESUS, in order to come after him and be his disciple – Mark. 8:34, Luke 14:27
  42. DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT COMPLAINING AND DISPUTING, so that you may become blameless and a child of God without fault – Phil. 2:14-15
  43. DO NOT TAKE AWAY FROM THE BOOK OF THIS PROPHESY, or God will take away your part of the book of life and from the holy city – Rev. 22:18-19
  44. DO NOT LIVE IN AN UNRIGHTEOUS WAY, or you will be affected by God’s wrath – Rom. 1:18
  45. DO NOT TURN THE GRACE OF GOD INTO LEWDNESS, to not be condemned – Juda 1:4
  46. DO NOT BE a fornicator, an unclean person or covetous man, in order to inherit the kingdom of God – Eph. 5:5
  47. DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, to get the right to the tree of life and be able to enter through the gates into the city – Rev. 22:14
  48. DO GOOD, in order to be resurrected to life – John 5:29
  49. DO GOOD, be rich in good works, ready to give/share, that you may lay hold on eternal life – 1 Tim. 6:18-19
  50. DO GOOD DEEDS with patience, to get eternal life – Rom. 2:6-8
  51. DO GOOD WORKS, in order to be righteous/justified and not have a dead faith – Ja. 2:14-26
  52. DO GOOD WORKS and be righteous, in order to inherit the kingdom of God, like give food/drink, provide shelter for strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick/prisoners, etc – Matt. 25:34-36
  53. DO THE THINGS THAT JESUS SAYS, in order to not fall – Matt. 7:24-27
  54. DO THE WILL OF GOD, to be Jesus’ brother, sister and mother – Matt. 12:50, Mark 3:35
  55. DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 7:21
  56. DO THE WILL OF GOD, to receive the promise – Hebr. 10:36
  57. DO THE WILL OF GOD, in order to abide for ever – 1 John 2:17
  58. DO THE WILL OF GOD, in order to be heard by him – John 9:31
  59. DO TO OTHERS WHATEVER YOU WANT THEM TO DO TO YOU, in order to fulfill the Law – Matt. 7:12
  60. DO WHATEVER JESUS COMMANDS, in order to be his friend – John 15:14
  61. DISCIPLINE YOUR BODY AND BRING IT INTO SUBJECTION, lest you might become disqualified – 1 Cor. 9:27
  62. DEPART FROM INIQUITY, in order to be known by God – 2 Tim. 2:19
  63. DRINK OF THE WATER GIVEN BY JESUS, to store a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life – John 4:14
  64. EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, to be raised up at the last day and get eternal life – John 6:53-56
  65. ENDURE TO THE END, to be saved – Matt. 24:13, Matt. 10:22
  66. ENDURE, AND DO NOT DENY JESUS, in order to reign with him and to not be denied by him – 2 Tim. 2:12
  67. ENDURE TEMPTATION, in order to be approved and to get the crown of life – Ja. 1:12
  68. ENTER BY THE NARROW GATE , to avoid the way that leads to destruction – Matt. 7:13
  69. EXAMINE YOURSELF whether you are in the faith, in order to not be disqualified – 2 Cor. 13:5
  70. FEAR GOD AND WORK RIGHTEOUSNESS, in order to be accepted by him – Acts 10:35
  71. FEAR GOD AND DO NOT BE HAUGHTY, in order to be spared – Rom. 11:20-21
  72. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, and lay hold on eternal life – 1 Tim. 6:12
  73. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, FINISH THE RACE, KEEP THE FAITH and LOVE HIS APPEARING, to get the crown of righteousness – 2 Tim. 4:7-8
  74. FOLLOW JESUS, in order to get eternal life – John 10:27-28
  75. FORGIVE YOUR BROTHER, so that the Father will forgive you – Mark. 11:25, Matt. 6:14-15, Matt. 18:35
  76. GIVE THE MORE EARNEST HEED TO THE THINGS HEARD, lest you drift away – Hebr. 2:1
  77. HOLD STEADFAST TO THE END, to become partakers of Christ – Hebr. 3:14
  78. HOLD FAST TO THE WORD OF JESUS, in order to be saved and to not have believed in vain – 1 Cor. 15:2
  79. HOLD FAST WHAT YOU HAVE, so that no one may take your crown – Rev. 3:11
  80. HUMBLE YOURSELF IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD, and he will lift you up – Ja. 4:10
  81. HUMBLE YOURSELF UNDER GOD, to get grace and so that he may exalt you in due time – 1 Pet. 5:5-6
  82. IMITATE THOSE WHO THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE inherit the promises – Hebr. 6:12
  83. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS AND LOVE EACH OTHER, in order to abide in God – 1 John 3:23-24
  84. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, (Jesus lists 7), in order to enter into life – Matt. 19:16-19
  85. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, in order to be loved by the Father – John 14:21
  86. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, in order to abide in the love of Jesus – John 15:10
  87. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, in order to not be liars but be in the truth – 1 John 2:3-5
  88. KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, in order to truly love God and overcome the world – 1 John 5:3-5
  89. KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, to show that you love Jesus – John 14:15
  90. KNOW the only true God and Jesus Christ who is sent, to get eternal life – John 17:3
  91. LABOUR FOR THE FOOD, which endures to everlasting life – John 6:27
  92. LAY ASIDE ALL FILTHINESS, and receive the implanted word which is able to save your soul – Ja. 1:21
  93. LAY ASIDE all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, that you may grow in respect of salvation – 1 Pet. 2:1-2 NASB
  94. LET YOUR CONDUCT BE WORTHY THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, to get salvation and avoid perdition – Phil. 1:27-29
  95. LET YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE PHARISEES, to enter the kingdom of heaven – Matt. 5:20
  96. LIVE IN HOLINESS and not uncleanness, because rejecting this is to reject God – 1 Thess. 4: 7-8
  97. LIVE RIGHTEOUSLY, in order to inherit the kingdom of God – 1 Cor. 6:9-11
  98. LIVE WITHOUT DEFILEMENT, or causing an abomination/lie, in order to have your name in the Lamb’s book of life – Rev. 21:27
  99. LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, do good to those who hate you, to be the Father’s son – Matt. 5:43-44
  100. LOVE JESUS MORE THAN FAMILY MEMBERS, to be worthy of Jesus – Matt. 10:37
  101. LOVE THE BRETHREN, to pass from death to life – 1 John 3:14
  102. LOVE IN DEED AND IN TRUTH, to remain in God’s love – 1 John 3:17-19, 1 John 2:10
  103. LOVE ONE ANOTHER, to be born of God and abide in him – 1 John 4:7-9, 12
  104. LOVE ONE ANOTHER, to fulfill the law (5 commandments listed summed up in 1) – Rom. 13:8-10
  105. LOVE YOUR BROTHER, in order to not be a liar and to obey God’s commandment – 1 John 4:20-21
  106. NOTE AND AVOID THOSE WHO CAUSE DIVISIONS AND OFFENSES contrary to the true doctrine, in order to not be deceived – Rom. 16:17-18
  107. OBEY JESUS, to get eternal salvation – Hebr. 5:9
  108. OBEY GOD IN FAITH, in order to enter the promised rest – Hebr. 3:18, Hebr. 11:8
  109. OBEY THE GOSPEL OF GOD, in order to be righteous and saved – 1 Pet. 4:17-18
  110. OBEY THE SON, in order to see life and avoid the wrath of God – John 3:36 NASB
  111. OBEY THE GOSPEL OF JESUS, in order to avoid everlasting destruction – 2 Thess. 1:8-9
  112. OBEY THE TRUTH, to not leaven the whole lump – Gal. 5:7-9
  113. OBEY THE TRUTH, in order to purify your soul – 1 Pet. 1:22
  114. OBEY THE TRUTH, in order to not be considered bewitched and having suffered things in vain – Gal. 3:1-4
  115. OPEN THE DOOR FOR JESUS WHEN HE KNOCKS, so that he will come in and dine with you – Rev. 3:20
  116. OVERCOME, in order to be dressed in white garments and not blotted out of the book of life – Rev. 3:5
  117. PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be considered born of Jesus – 1 John 2:29
  118. PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be righteous just like Jesus is righteous – 1 John 3:7
  119. PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be of God – 1 John 3:10
  120. PREACH THE UNPERVERTED GOSPEL, to not be accursed – Gal. 1:8-9
  121. PRESENT YOUR MEMBERS AS SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, to be holy– Rom. 6:19
  122. PRESS TOWARD THE GOAL, for the prize of the upward call of God – Phil. 3:14
  123. PUT TO DEATH YOUR MEMBERS, like fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness in order to not be affected by the wrath of God which is coming upon the sons of disobedience – Col 3:5-6
  124. PURGE OUT THE OLD LEAVEN, that you may be a new lump and saved on the day of the Lord – 1 Cor. 5:5-7
  125. PURSUE PEACE WITH ALL PEOPLE, AND HOLINESS, without which no one will see the Lord – Hebr. 12:14
  126. PUT OFF THE OLD MAN concerning your former conduct, to not be corrupt through deceitful lusts – Eph. 4:22
  127. PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, in order to live and be a son of God – Rom. 8:13-14
  128. REPENT FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, to be forgiven and not perish – Luke 3:3, Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, Acts 11:18
  129. REPENT through godly sorrow, leading to salvation – 2 Cor. 7:10
  130. RUN IN THE RACE, to get the prize – 1 Cor. 9:24
  131. SERVE IN THE NEWNESS OF THE SPIRIT, to not bear fruit to death – Rom. 7:5-6
  132. SERVE GOD ALONE AND NOT MAMMON, to be loyal to God – Matt. 6:24
  133. SERVE THE LORD JESUS HEARTILY, to receive the reward of the inheritance – Col. 3:23-24
  134. SHOW GOOD WORKS, in order to prove that you do not deny God but know him – Titus 1:16
  135. SHOW MERCY, to get mercy on judgment day – Ja. 2:13
  136. SHOW MERCY TO YOUR NEIGHBOR, to inherit eternal life – Luke 10:25-28, 36-37
  137. SOW TO THE SPIRIT, to reap everlasting life – Gal. 6:8
  138. STAND FAST, in order to not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage and Christ will profit you nothing – Gal. 5:1-2
  139. STRIVE TO ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE, to be known by God and be saved – Luke 13:23-24
  140. TAKE HEED if you think you stand, lest you fall – 1 Cor. 10:12
  141. TAKE HEED TO YOURSELF, TO THE DOCTRINE AND CONTINUE IN THEM, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you – 1 Tim. 4:16
  142. TAKE YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW JESUS, in order to be worthy – Matt. 10:38
  143. WAGE THE GOOD WARFARE with a good conscience, to not shipwreck your faith – 1 Tim. 1:18-19
  144. WAIT EAGERLY for the second return of Christ, for salvation – Hebr. 9:28
  145. WALK ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT,  to be in Christ, to fulfill the law and to not be condemned – Rom. 8:1-2, 4-6
  146. WALK ACCORDING TO HIS COMMANDMENTS, to have love – 2 John 1:6
  147. WALK IN THE LIGHT, to be cleansed from your sins – 1 John 1:7
  148. WATCH AND BE SOBER, in order to be prepared and obtain salvation – 1 Thess. 5:6-9
  149. WATCH AND DO NOT FORGET YOUR OIL, or else the son of man will not know you – Matt. 25:12-13
  150. WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION, with fear and trembling – Phil. 2:1

So there is at least some effort involved in order to be a child of God, and you should not trust those who try to make the cross that you must carry light as a feather. Apart from the above examples there are even more verses which tell us what we cannot afford to do if we want to remain saved. In summary these 150 requirements tell us one thing only:

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

If we believe in Jesus and truly love him, we also stay close to him and get help by the holy Spirit to overcome sin. God is merciful and will absolutely forgive you upon repentance, even if you are guilty of having disobeyed the entire list of requirements.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord REQUIRE of you But to DO JUSTLY,To LOVE mercy, And to WALK HUMBLY with your God?

Was Paul not yet morally perfect according to Phil. 3:12?

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

The context for this verse is the RESURRECTION of our bodies, and that’s important to keep in mind. If we don’t understand that it’s about the resurrection, there is a risk we might misunderstand Paul and believe that he is talking about a moral perfection and that he has failed to live morally upright here on earth. Paul doesn’t talk about moral perfection but about a bodily perfection, because as long as we remain in our earthly bodies we must accept that we are not physically perfect but actually rather weak and fragile. Our goal is to one day enter the kingdom of God, and get new glorified bodies. Jesus asked us to be perfect (which you can read more about here), and naturally Paul wouldn’t argue against his Master.

Phil. 3:2 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 

Those who are the circumcision (of the heart) are those who worship God in spirit, and that is in contrast to those who obey their flesh. Only those who worship God in spirit will one day inherit the kingdom of God, so this is a condition for salvation.

Phil. 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, BLAMELESS (”found blameless”, NASB). 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

The problem with the pharisees was that they were not clean on the inside but only on the outside, and Paul counted himself as a pharisee who was eager to obey God and his laws (as he understood them).  Even if Paul was a learned man with a good reputation, he feels that  such worldly glory isn’t worth anything in comparison to what he has found in Jesus Christ. We are told to not love the world or anything in it, but we are supposed to live our lives for Christ and his kingdom. Naturally Paul doesn’t suggest that it’s now less important to be faithful to God compared with before.

Phil. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Paul’s aim is to win Christ and be found in him, and that means that he has to move forward and leave the   Jewish ceremonial laws behind him and put his faith in Jesus Christ. The eternal life that Jesus offers is by faith   (evidenced by obedience from the heart) and one is not saved only because he is born a jew and circumcised. Paul says again, in Phil. 3:2, that those are circumcised who worship God in spirit, and who rejoice in him. If we have sinned (and we have), we are not able to be cleansed and righteous in ourselves but we rely on righteous blood shed for our sake. We can be righteous if we confess our sins and repent, because then we become cleansed from our sins in the precious blood of Jesus. Paul makes a difference between works of the law (the entire Torah with its 613 laws) and obedience to God.

Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Above is the direct context to v. 12. It’s about the resurrection of the dead, which is the goal for Paul, and when he writes to the Philippians he hasn’t reached this goal yet. Paul presses forward towards the prize, but he still calls himself PERFECT, and shows that he isn’t the only one being perfect.

Phil. 3:15 Let us therefore, AS MANY AS BE PERFECT, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Paul isn’t physically perfect, but he is morally and spiritually perfect.  He asks us to walk by the same rule, based on  perfection.

Phil. 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.(NASB)18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Paul – who calls himself holy, righteous and blameless  – asks others to follow his example. If he would be mixing good deeds with bad deeds (sin), he wouldn’t be a very good example for us, but he would be a big hypocrite and someone to stay away from.  Paul weeps about those who are not walking with him on the narrow path to God, and he calls them enemies of Christ. Their end is destruction! That’s because they have their mind on earthly things instead of focusing on God.

Phil. 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Paul continues to talk about the resurrection in heaven, and the new glorified bodies. He doesn’t say that he isn’t able to fight his flesh successfully unless he first gets a new glorified body. We don’t have to wait until we die before we can be faithful to God, but we can live holy lives here and now. Not even Jesus was ”perfected” until the third day in his resurrection, so it’s about the physical body.

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

Paul about himself:

1 Thess 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:—12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

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

1 Cor. 4:4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (NIV)

Rom. 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.–12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.—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?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 

1 Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: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.