Tag Archive | salvation

The apostle Paul had a revelation rather than a regeneration on the road to Damascus

paulus2”I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (Acts 26:19)

We can read about Paul’s meeting with Jesus Christ in Acts. 9 in the Bible.

Paul was a zealous man, and he even threatened to kill the disciples of Jesus because they were Christians. He was on his way to Damascus where he would be getting the proper documentation for bringing Christian men and women bound to Jerusalem and bring them before the chief priests. Paul did not realize that he was not serving a good cause, and by his actions he was actually persecuting the son of God and God in flesh – Jesus Christ. Paul was certainly not a lazy man when it came to religion and if he could be converted to the right side, he would be a very good choice to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Paul had inflicted much grief and pain in innocent people, and for the rest of his life he would be getting several doses of his own medicine.

However, Paul was not chosen to believe, and not chosen for salvation. He was chosen to receive a special revelation from Jesus, with the aim that he would be converted and thus become a useful missionary for the gospel. Jesus likely knew the likely outcome through such a revelation, since he knew Paul’s heart. It is true that not all people get this type of revelation from Jesus, but it is also true that all people on earth in fact have different kind of backgrounds, living environments, chances to hear the gospel, etc. God is fair and we will be judged based on our conscience and abilities (Romans 2:7-15).

Paul saw a light from heaven and spoke to Lord Jesus. Paul was blind for three days and was also praying to God during this time. Ananias was instructed by Jesus to lay his hands on Paul to induce the miracle to give Paul his sight back. He did so, and told Paul that Jesus had sent himthat you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (v.17). This is therefore an example of a person who is able to seek and pray to God before he receives the Holy spirit, Cornelius in Acts 10 is another example. It is also an example of a person who was not among the initial disciples, and yet had the gift of healing and inducing the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands. The spiritual gifts are still applicable today. As soon as Paul received his sight and the Holy Spirit, he rose up to be baptized. 

Acts. 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” NKJV

It does not say above that Paul was chosen for salvation, but again he was chosen to receive a revelation. He responded well to it as expected (that was the aim of the revelation after all) and was therefore correctly described as a chosen vessel of Jesus. This does not mean that Paul did not have a will of his own, or that he had no choice in the matter.

Calvinists often say that we are chosen for salvation (or damnation) from the foundation of the world, but if that is true one must wonder if Paul was chosen yet again on the road to Damascus? Was he not chosen the first time from the foundation of the world? If someone also suggests that Paul was chosen for salvation from his mother’s womb (see verse below), then it would make Paul chosen for salvation no less than three times! Besides, if Paul was chosen for salvation once or twice before Acts 9, his divine revelation would be irrelevant anyway, since he would be chosen for salvation with or without it. 

Clearly no one is chosen to believe or not believe, because if this had been the case then it would naturally be God’s fault if someone does not believe. We can read in Acts 17 that we are even created to seek and find God, and that he is not far away from any of us. Also, keep in mind the parable of the wedding party of the King’s son in Matt. 22. Those who were called ”chosen” were those who had chosen to go to the party, and they were not even on the initial guest list.

Paul had an option to obey or disobey Jesus’ calling. Fortunately he obeyed and was a useful chosen vessel.

So then, King Agrippa, I WAS NOT DISOBEDIENT to the vision from heaven (Acts 26:19)

God separates us all from our mother’s wombs, and again, we are all created to seek him and find him. We can be saved through God’s grace if we respond well to his calling. The reason for the revelation at Damascus, was to shake Paul up so that he would hopefully get converted and be a good preacher of the gospel. It worked out well, just like Jesus had anticipated.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (NKJV)

The holy Spirit is given after faith and repentance – not before

acts-10Repent, 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 2:38)

Some Calvinist friends are of the opinion that God is the one selecting whom to save and provides the holy Spirit to the chosen individuals – and in this fashion enables them to believe (while he shows no courtesy to the others who are chosen to be non-elect before they are even born). The Bible, however, teaches that God does not want anyone to perish and that the holy Spirit is given to a person after he/she has repented (after having come to Christ and confessed his/her sins). You can read my article about regeneration (being born again after having been cleansed from sins) here.

Based on the Bible we can deduce that the presence of the holy Spirit (the holy Ghost) operates in different ways between the old and the new testaments (this deserves an article of its own). Suffice is to say that one could of course be saved also during the time of the old testament, before the time of Jesus Christ who later died, was resurrected and provided the holy Ghost as our individual Helper. Before his time, there was a lot of focus on the prophets of God who could provide extra light on the Torah. Faith leading to righteousness has always been required for salvation ever since the time of Adam.

2 Pet. 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Cornelius – faith and righteousness before the indwelling of the holy Spirit

The apostle Peter describes the truth about salvation ”in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him”. The ability to do this was available both in the old and the new testament, even if the holy Spirit operates in a different way today compared to the old times. One difference is that people did not speak in tongues in the old times, and miracles and healing were primarily connected to the prophets and holy men of God.

The story about Cornelius (Acts 10) is enough for us to understand that a person can believe in God, do many good works – before having been baptized in the holy Spirit.

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.—22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.—33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.—44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Here is more evidence that faith precedes the indwelling of the holy Ghost:

Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, WHICH THEY THAT BELIEVE ON HIM SHOULD RECEIVE: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

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.

Heb. 11 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us. —30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent

Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee

2 Tim 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.21 IF a man therefore purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded

Jeremiah 4:14 Wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved

Ezekiel 18:31 Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die… 

Rev. 2:21 And I gave her SPACE TO REPENT of her fornication and she repented not. 22 Behold I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation except they repent of their DEEDS

Notice below that the order of events is 1) enlightenment to every man who comes into John 1.jpgthe world, 2) reception and belief in Jesus Christ, 3) resulting in becoming the sons of God (thanks to being cleansed and pardoned):

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

Notice also that ”his own” did not receive him. If that would signify the chosen elect, it is strange why God did not enable them (predestine them) to believe in him. It rather seems like it is our own responsibility – to react on God’s calling. This is not the same as ”saving ourselves” without God. We do not have the authority to forgive ourselves for our own sins, and we cannot be born again without the grace of God and unless he provides the opportunity for us to have all of our sins erased.

Can you be born again AGAIN? – John 3:3,7

born again

Being born again, or ”born from above”

When a sinner for the first time comes to Jesus, confesses his sins, repents, becomes forgiven/cleansed/regenerated and decides to leave his old sinful life style behind him to live a new life with Jesus Christ, this can be expressed with being ”born again”. He has put off the old man and put on the new. If a person has gone from spiritual death to spiritual life, being born again is truly a good description and expression – because the person has been given his life back and can start a brand new life together with the holy Spirit given to those who first repent (Acts 2:38). He has been given the key to the kingdom of God.

Sometimes you will hear the question ”Can you be born again AGAIN?” from particularly reformed believers who are convinced that it is only possible to make the transfer from spiritual death to spiritual life one time only (without ever reverting back to spiritual death) and that a person who is born again WILL endure to the end and inherit the kingdom of God as a certainty. They believe that if a person does seem to revert back to deep sin and spiritual death, then he was not saved to begin with. This is commonly believed by the ”once saved always saved” camp as well as the ”perseverance of the saints” camp. The question, however, should be rephrased in order to avoid misunderstandings. There is a risk that the person asking the question might interpret the expression in one way, and the person answering might understand it in a different way. ”Born again” might be only two words but the expression has a deep meaning.

We can agree that a sinner can only once be ”totally converted for the first time” (when he repents, becomes forgiven, gets baptized and becomes a completely new cleansed person and a child of God). However, it is possible for the same sinner to go back to one or more of his old sins because he does not lose his free will in the process. Even Jesus Christ had the ability to sin (something he never did), so naturally we too could still make this choice. The serious part is that an unrepentant sinner is always lost, and people who were previously born again are not excepted from this danger. The devil is always on the hunt to tempt Christians with the hope to ensnare them in sin, and sometimes he succeeds when Christians give in for temptations. Some Christians repent at once, some do not repent until after months or years, and some Christians never repent but have truly reverted back to their own vomit and remain there. People can go from life, to death to life again:

The prodigal son: 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.-32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive AGAIN; and was lost, and is found.

The debt which was cancelled by the Lord, and later reinstated again: Matt. 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and FORGAVE HIM THE DEBT.32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.d

2 Pet. 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are AGAIN entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.22 But it is happened unto them accor—ding to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit AGAIN; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

So the question should rather be if a born again child of God can still choose to sin, and yes he can. Even King David, a man of God’s own heart, chose to sin quite severely – through murder, adultery and lies – and did not repent until after about a year. What does the Bible say about a righteous man who sins like King David?

Ez. 18:24 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.—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.

Ever since the time of Adam, the truth remains that the wages of sin is death and that Satan lied when he taught the opposite. Sins still separate us from God.

Being born again (1 Pet. 1:23)

Being born again is a translation from the Greek verb anagennaō (Strong’s 313). According to the Blueletter Bible, it could mean (apart from being born again) to be born anew, to produce again or to have one’s mind changed so that he lives a new life conformed to God’s will (so unlike before). From Strong’s 303 and 1080; to beget or (by extension) bear (again):—beget, (bear) × (again). We can read about being born again (313) in 1 Pet. 1:3 (twice) and in. v. 23.

1 Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,—13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:—22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever

Ye must be born again”, says Jesus (John 3:3,7)

”Be born” is here a translation of the verb gennaō (Strong’s 1080) and is a variation of genós (Strong’s 1085). In the KJV it is translated: begat, be born, bear, gender, bring forth, be delivered. ”Again” is a translation of the adverb anōthen (Strong’s 509) and can be translated again, anew, from above, from a higher place, top, from the first and from the beginning.

We are all born physically from water (in our mother’s womb), but we also need to be spiritually reborn in order to become heirs to God’s kingdom, and that is when we are forgiven and cleansed from our past sins. No wonder Jesus taught ”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”! 

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.

From the below text we learn that Jesus seemed surprised about Nicodemus’ failure to understand him, indicating that Jesus was no Calvinist (Calvinists believe God is the one who enables and prevents people to believe). Jesus also compares himself with the serpent in the wilderness during the time of Moses, and people had to walk up to this serpent to behold it in order to be cleansed from their wounds. They had to make their own choice to do it, and similarly we need to make our own choice to approach Jesus in order to be cleansed from our ”spiritual wounds” (our sins). Whosoever believes in Jesus will get eternal life, showing that it is a universal offer for everyone. God loved the WORLD, and sent his son not to condemn THE WORLD but to save it. Parts of the world will still be condemned,  but this does not change the fact that Jesus was sent to enable salvation to the world. We can see in v. 18-20, that the reason why people are still being condemned is because they do not believe in Jesus and do not come to the light due to their evil ways (they love darkness rather than light). If you do evil deeds you hate the light and do not come to the light. In v. 36 we can see that a person risks the wrath of God if he does not believe (and obey) the son of God (Jesus, God in flesh). God has no reason to be angry at someone who acts according to his will, which means that he is only angry at those who do NOT do his will but walk their own ways.

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God —31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

The new man who is born againjohn piper

Do not trust reformed Mr Piper (see picture right), but trust in the Bible which says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but was sent so that the world through him (the condition) could be saved. We must therefore remain in the vine (Jesus) so that we will not be cut off (John 15). Below we can see various descriptions about how a new person in Christ is expected to live his life. We can read about THE OLD MAN being put off:

Colossians 3:Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have PUT OFF THE OLD MAN WITH HIS DEEDS;10 AND HAVE PUT ON THE NEW MAN, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

2 Cor. 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.—17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; behold, all things are become new.

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.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?

Eph. 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;  2 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, THE OLD MAN which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you PUT ON THE NEW MAN which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and DO NOT SIN”:do not let the sun go down on your wrath,27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (NKJV)

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 John 1:If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

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

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Matthew 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

1 Cor. 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

God does not only hate the SIN but also the sinner who refuses to repent

love3It is not the SIN that will be thrown into the lake of fire but the SINNER

God indeed loves the world – so much that he let his only son die for us even though we haven’t deserved it. It was not only dirt, trees, lakes and flowers that he loved (no need to die for them) but the people living on earth. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and the Bible says that he does not have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. God wants us to repent from our wicked ways so that we can live, and there is joy in heaven for each person who decides to repent. Looking at it this way, we can’t get rid of God’s love for us. His desire is always that each one of us will repent and be saved, because it’s naturally better to end up in heaven than in hell.

However, even if God loves us it doesn’t mean that he will accept us and welcome us into his kingdom no matter what we do. God’s love is in a way conditional, even if we don’t deserve his love and our salvation by anything we do or believe. It is when we confess our sins and repent as our previous sins are being removed, and when we have moved from spiritual death to spiritual life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Rom. 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Rom. 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ezek. 18:23 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?—32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

God does not only hate sin, but the Bible sometimes describes God as hating the sinner who refuses to repent from his evil ways

Psalms 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man

Psalms 11:5 The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Proverbs 6:16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

 

Lev. 20:23 And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.

Titus 1:116 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Can you detect the conditions listed in these verses?

Proverbs 8:17 I LOVE THEM THAT LOVE ME; and those that seek me early shall find me.

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

1 Cor. 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Cor. 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

Ja. 2: 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

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.22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

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

John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John 3:10 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.

1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.—11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.—18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.19 We love him, because he first loved us.20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Deut. 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Daniel 9:4 And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

Being cut off from the VINE due to lack of FRUIT, despite starting out in Jesus – John 15

tree 2A branch can start out in the vine (Jesus) and still be cut off at a later stage due to lack of fruit

”Fruit” is often used as another term for ”works” – as in showing our faith by doing good deeds towards others. We are not saved by either faith alone or works alone, but the two must go together. The following are some things we learn from John 15:

  • Branches that bear at least some fruit (which is a sign of life) will be pruned, but if branches bear no fruit at all they will be removed and thrown into the fire
  • The branches that were cut off were so because they did not abide by bearing fruit, and they will WITHER which shows they used to be alive and fresh.
  • Jesus declared his disciples ”clean” and yet they (along with all of us) were warned to not be cut off the vine due to lack of fruit.
  • Being thrown in the fire is a common term for being thrown into hell, and this happens when people transgress God’s commandments and refuse to repent.
  • We are fervently urged to ABIDE. We are not simply told that we absolutely WILL abide because it’s not possible to lose our salvation. It’s the other way around since we are told to stick with Jesus, or else terrible things will follow.
  • There are many IF:s in the chapter. ”IF a man abide not in me…”, ”IF ye abide in me….”, ”IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love….” ”IF ye do whatsoever I command you, you are my friends”, etc. Why all these IF:s if we are eternally secure once we are in Jesus?
  • God is GLORIFIED when we bear fruit, so his desire is that we bear fruit so that he can be more glorified. That means that it’s something negative if a branch that used to be in him must be cut off due to being useless.
  • Bearing fruit is a condition for being a disciple of Jesus.
  • We are told to CONTINUE in his love. We are not told that it’s a certainty that we will.
  • We are told that we are friends of Jesus IF we obey his commandments.
  • Jesus gives us a commandment to love one another, just like Jesus has loved us. This shows us that we can heed to this commandment.
  • Jesus also tells us that he has kept his Father’s commandment and therefore he abides in his love, and we are asked to do the very same (obey the commandments so that we can abide in Jesus love).
  • Jesus had even ordained his disciples to bear much fruit, but this naturally doesn’t mean that they had no ability to disobey. Judas (a chosen disciple) had departed earlier, but from history we learn that the other eleven remained with Jesus and showed much good fruit throughout their lives.
  • Certain people ”had not had sin” if it weren’t for the fact that they rejected Jesus despite that he had come and spoken to them and shown them amazing works of God that no other man has done. Their refusal to accept Jesus made them guilty as sinners, despite that they were very religious Jews eager to obey the law of Moses.

John 15:1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.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.7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.10; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. —.22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.—24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

While the above chapter shows that we can be cut off from the vine due to lack of fruit, the following chapter shows that we as branches can be cut off from the olive tree due to lack of faith (unbelief).

  • The good olive tree with its roots is a picture of the Jews to whom the gospel was first provided. We are also told about another olive tree (wild by nature) which is a picture of the gentiles. Some of the branches in the good olive tree were broken off when Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and the gentiles could be grafted in – provided they had faith.
  • Paul tells us not to boast about our place in the olive tree, but he also says ”IF you boast...” showing that we might choose to be disobedient to God against his will.
  • We are told that we stand in the olive tree by FAITH, so this is a condition for salvation (both for the Jew and the gentile).
  • We are told to not be high-minded , but Paul wants us to live in ”fear” (in another letter he says: ”work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”) since God has shown that he doesn’t necessarily spare the branches if they don’t cooperate by having faith.
  • We are told to TAKE HEED, which would be a useless warning unless there were a real risk that we could lose our place in the olive tree. We are specifically told that we might not be spared due to unbelief.
  • We are told to keep those who tragically fell in mind, because we too might be cut off if we don’t continue in his kindness.
  • Jews (or anyone) can be grafted in AGAIN (meaning we can go from being in the tree, to not being in the tree, to being in the tree again). The condition is FAITH and that we continue to abide.

Rom. 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.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.23 And they also, IF THEY ABIDE NOT STILL IN UNBELIEF, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

In the below parable we can read about a vineyard who belongs to the ”well-beloved”, and we are told he is the same as ”The Lord of hosts”. He worked hard to produce good grapes, but contrary to his expectations WILD grapes were brought forth. What else could he have done to his vineyard apart from what he has already done? Nothing, and yet things didn’t turn out the way he wanted. The Lord of hosts then proceeded to lay his vineyard to waste.

Isaiah 5:1 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He EXPECTED IT TO BRING FORTH GOOD GRAPES, BUT IT BROUGHT FORTH WILD GRAPES .3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.4 What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? WHY THEN, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.6 I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it.”7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help. (NKJV)

I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me Into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?” (NKJV) is the question asked in Jeremiah 2:21. God planted one thing and expected a certain result (a noble vine), and yet he received a totally different result (an alien vine). Things don’t always end up as God desires, and that is due to our free will that he created us with.

Jeremiah 2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God.

Jeremiah 8:12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.13 I will surely consume them, saith the Lord: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.

The Lord of hosts planted a tree and called it ”a green olive tree, fair and of goodly fruit”. Yet, he ended up destroying it and branches were broken off. It’s a picture of God’s holy people ending up rebelling against him and provoking him to anger due to their evil deeds.

Jeremiah 11:15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.16 The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.17 For the Lord of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

Every man is judged based on his fruit. It’s wise to win souls:

Jeremiah 17:10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

More from the New Testament (apart from John 15 and Romans 11 above)

tree 1

We have not truly repented if we bring forth bad fruit. John the Baptist refused to baptize Jews who were still stuck in their corruption and sins. Every tree which doesn’t bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Even evil people can give good gifts to their children, but this doesn’t mean they are saved. It does mean that we can all do good. (Seeking God and repenting are two examples of good things that an unsaved person might choose to do.) We are told to enter the narrow gate, meaning the choice is ours. We are told to beware of false prophets, which shows that there is a risk that believers might be deceived. It also shows that people are NOT forced into being ”non-elect” or ”elect”, because for the non-elect a warning to beware of false prophets would fall into deaf ears, and the elect don’t even need to be warned because they can’t even lose their salvation. False prophets might be dressed in sheep’s clothing but we are still able to know them by their fruit. Are they for instance willing to be corrected by the Bible? Do they often lose their self-control and resort to name callings? Do they subtly encourage people to sin by declaring that we can safely serve two masters and still be saved? Do they show good deeds in their lives? We decide what kinds of trees we want to become, but we are also likened with branches (see above) that can be cut off.

”Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Doing wonderful works in God’s name (prophesying, casting out demons, etc) is of course not a sin, but if you add iniquity into the picture you’re a sinner and therefore lost. Naturally everyone can get his/her soul restored by repenting! In the story below, Jesus had never known the people spoken about – probably because they had always been workers of iniquity and lawless.

”Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH them…” shows that not everyone is doing the will of God – but if he is doing the will of God, then that person is wise and is likened to having built his house on a rock. Notice that it’s not God who builds the house on the rock for him, but he does so himself and that is the reason he is considered to be wise – by obeying his Lord, which sadly not all choose to do.

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work INIQUITY.24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

We certainly can’t blame God for placing evil thoughts into our hearts, because then he would be blamed for our iniquities. On judgment day we are to give account for every unnecessary word that we have said, showing that it’s our own responsibility to master our own tongues. We choose if we want to be a good person or an evil person.

Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

”Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”Luke 6:46. Why indeed? We certainly don’t have to disobey God, but if we do it’s our own choice and nothing that we can blame on God.

Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Some people bless God with the same mouth as they curse others – for instance their brothers and sisters. James says to this brothers (indicating it also concerns believers) that it should not have to be in that way.

James 3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT SO TO BE.11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

Jesus always hopes for that we will bear fruit, and he doesn’t give up until one final day when it’s too late. Then the fig tree will finally be cut down for good:

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and IF NOT, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Jesus sheep: I give them eternal life and they shall never perish? – John 10:28

sheepJohn 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Much have been made of John 10:28-29, but verse 27 is not as popular and not always included when people try to make a point out of these verses. That is probably because the CONDITIONS for being a sheep are listed in. v. 27, and if you’re out to prove unconditional eternal security, then you’re out of luck. Verse 27 is the verse that identifies Jesus’ sheep, and we can read that they are the ones who listen to him and follow him. Furthermore, no MAN is able to ”pluck you out from his  hands”, and ”pluck out” would be something that someone other than yourself might do to you. You don’t ”pluck yourself” out from someone’s hands, but you can certainly leave Jesus if you really want to since he doesn’t force anyone to either come to him or remain with him.

God could force every single one of us to follow him, but he has chosen to give us free will and being responsible for our own actions. So if we are not his sheep, it’s our own fault and nothing that can be blamed on God. We can further read below in the same chapter that Jesus EXPECTS people to believe in him due to the works that he has done, but the fact is that people still refuse to. If we refuse to come to Jesus and obey him, we are not his sheep but we are actually the devil’s goats. People who are goats wouldn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus, and it’s a bad idea to seek to be a goat. So the context is:

John 10:25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any MAN pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no MAN is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

A few verses later Jesus says ”believe the works: that ye may know, and believe”, and yet some choose to disobey him. Most people in this world refuse to seek Jesus and believe in him, and that means they don’t qualify to be Jesus sheep. Jesus sheep are, again, those who listen to him and follow him.

John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38But if I do, though ye believe not me, BELIEVE THE WORKS: THAT YE MAY KNOW, AND BELIEVE, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 

We can’t sneak into the Kingdom of God but we must go through the door which is Jesus, and Jesus has shown that he is the true shepherd. The gate is narrow, but we can pass through if we let the Holy Spirit guide us, and Jesus says ”if any man enter in, he shall be saved”. We must come to Jesus and remain with him, and if we do and endure to the end, we are saved for eternity! In this life our task is to follow and obey the true shepherd, because the wonderful promises are tied to those who do. We should make absolutely sure to belong to the body of Christ, because the body of Christ IS going to heaven and that is certain. Here is the start of the chapter:

John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and THE SHEEP FOLLOW HIM: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. — 7Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me IF ANY MAN ENTER IN, HE SHALL BE SAVED, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

It does say that Jesus gave his life for the sheep, and that is true because his sheep are part of the world for whom Jesus died. We can also read that Jesus gave his life for PAUL, and also Paul is part of the world for whom Jesus died.

Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved ME, and GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.

But doesn’t it say that Jesus gives his sheep eternal life? Doesn’t eternal mean eternal? Yes, of course it does, but ”an eternal present” is still eternal even if it’s neglected or thrown away. God’s eternal kingdom is eternal whether we enter it or not, and it would be very strange if the wonderful promise to Jesus followers would only be ”temporary life”. We are not offered salvation because we have earned it, but there are still conditions for salvation. A gift is free and it’s nothing that you pay for or earn, BUT it’s still 100% free even if you have a few conditions involved. If you give someone a present that he doesn’t even accept, it’s still a free gift. It’s also a free gift if he must first go to the post office to receive it, and it’s still free even if he throws it away. If you tell your son that he is going to get a new car when he graduates from school, including free gas for as long as he live and all insurance paid, it’s also considered a free gift. But isn’t the requirement that he first graduates from school? Yes, but he doesn’t pay a dime for the car and he doesn’t earn it. Nothing says that a person who graduates from school can expect a car, and no student has the right to ask ”I’ve just graduated, so where is my car which I earned and which I expect to get?” No, someone offered this car as a gift, despite that he didn’t have to make such an offer in the first place. It’s also possible that the son takes the car and doesn’t take care of it or even neglects it. Note the conditions for getting eternal life:

John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Hebr. 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY HIM 

What happens if a christian does not obey all this? Still saved? Read more about Jesus sheep in this article.

LOOK UPON ME whom they have PIERCED – JESUS in Zech. 12:10

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They shall look upon me whom they have PIERCED! (Zech. 12:10)

The prophet Zechariah is talking about a day in the future (from his perspective) where ”he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them”. When we study about the angel of the Lord (which you can read more about in this blog article), we can see that he is a particular messenger (not a created angel) and even God himself. We can see that God (the Father) has a dialogue with the angel of the Lord so this means they are not one and the same. However, if the angel of the Lord is a manifestation of Jesus Christ, then it all makes sense that he is referred to as God, and that people feared they would die for having seen him face to face. The angel of the Lord is said to have guided the israelites from Egypt to Canaan – which is the land of Israel – and if the angel of the Lord is also Jesus Christ, which it actually says in 1 Cor. 10:4, he is the same as the Word who would later turn up in flesh and guide his people (all who come to him) into his Kingdom!

Zechariah is talking about a day when God will pour the spirit of grace to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (maybe due to their repentance and seeking of the Lord), and they shall ”look upon me whom they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for his only son”, and finally ”as one that is in bitterness for his FIRSTBORN”. Those are well known attributes for Jesus Christ our Messiah! We know for a fact that Jesus Christ was PIERCED with nails on the cross due to our iniquities, and the short description of this event provided to us by Zechariah, gives us an indication of how it must have appeared for those standing below the cross and who looked up to Jesus on the cross.

Zechariah 12:8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)

Zech. 12:10 — And they have looked unto ME whom they pierced (Young’s literal)

Zech. 12:10 —  and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced (Orthodox Jewish Bible)

Zech. 12:10 —  so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced (NASB)

Zech. 12:10  — und sie werden MICH ansehen, (Luther Bibel 1545)

Zech. 12:10 — y mirarán a MÍ, a quien traspasaron (Reina-Valera 1960)

Zech. 12:10 —  Et ils tourneront les regards vers MOI  (Louis Segond)

Zech. 12:10 — Alors ils tourneront leurs regards vers MOI (La Bible du Semeur)

This is also the picture that Isaiah gives us when he in Isaiah 53:4 says that ”WE did esteem him stricken—” which is how it must have appeared for the people below the cross who looked up on Jesus, and he goes on to say:

Isaiah 53:Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet WE did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

David prophesied about the one who is pierced (Jesus) in this psalm:

Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they PIERCED MY HANDS AND MY FEET.17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Zechariah 12:10 is fulfilled in the New Testament, together with other prophesies:

John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.—31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear PIERCED his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 

The israelites complained about their situation in the wilderness, which they of course did against God’s will, but due to his love for them he made them realize just how rebellious they really were by sending them fiery serpents that bit them. Sometimes obstacles might turn up in our lives, and we could then take the chance and at least consider the alternative that God wants our attention and that we might turn away from sin. (Or such obstacles might just be ordinary unfortunate circumstances.) The fiery serpents were a great hit, because the israelites understood that they were sinners and confessed it before Moses and God. God also thought of a way out of the problem with the wounds caused by the serpents, and asked Moses to make a hand-made fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and Moses made one out of brass. Consequently, each person who was bitten by one of the serpents could then be free from the poisonous snake bite by approaching the pole with the fake serpent of brass and look up to it. This was their own responsibility, and they were neither forced to go to the place where the pole was, nor forced to look at it. It was all based on free will, just like salvation is.

Jesus is compared with this brass serpent in the wilderness, and the whole story about the serpent is actually a picture of the whole salvation message where the serpent caused men to sin and thus be filthy, and where Jesus can cleanse us from our wounds and filthiness caused by Satan (and our rebellion) , if we only look up unto Jesus our Savior and repent for our sins. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness for the people to look at and be free, even so must the son of man be lifted up in order to save the world. We can look up to Jesus on the cross, believe in him, confess our transgressions and eventually be totally free! Jesus says in John 12:32 ”And I, if I be LIFTED UP from the earth, will draw all men unto me”.

Num. 21:And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

John. 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.14 And AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, EVEN SO MUST THE SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 12:32 And I, if I be LIFTED UP from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Hebrews 12:2 LOOKING UNTO JESUS the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the CROSS, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus Christ was together with the israelites during the Exodus. He was their rock, and just like we can tempt Christ today by living wicked lives, so too did they tempt Christ in the wilderness. They were destroyed by serpents.

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

Jesus Christ is likened to the one who is pierced also in Revelations.

Rev. 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which PIERCED him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The phrase ”a serpent of bronze” is a wordplay as ”serpent” (nehash) and “bronze” (nehoshet) are closely related in Hebrew. The brass serpent was later destroyed by Hezekiah.

2 Kings. 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Thomas had a hard time believing that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the son of God and GODpierced

Being the son of God means being GOD, because God the Father certainly has no children together with a woman. So if you’re the son of God, you also have the source in God, and since God is ONE and there is none like him, the son of God must be God himself.

Thomas eventually realized who Jesus really was (he already knew that he was the Messiah, the son of God and his Master), and he called him ”My Lord and my God (theos)”. Jesus did not correct him, and he never corrected anyone who worshiped him or equated him with God. Probably because there was nothing to correct.

Joh. 10:Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.—19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.—24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.