Etikettarkiv | separate

The Bible does not teach that we are born DEAD in trespasses and sins

grav2To base an entire philosophy/theological doctrine on the idea that man is born naturally depraved and unable to seek God or make morally good decisions, is risky to say the least. If we are BORN dead and depraved, then this should have been stated in the Bible, and in a very clear language, but we find the opposite to be true.

The words ”depraved” and ”depravity” are not even Biblical words (KJV) so we must first figure out what reformed believers might mean with those words when they claim we all start out naturally depraved, and we must also figure out if we have an obligation to side with their particular interpretation. Note that I’m not saying that something cannot be true only because the words are not present in the Bible, but if neither the words nor the concept can be found in the Bible, then it’s likely not something we must believe is true. Maybe it’s better to focus on the word ”dead” since we can find this word in the Bible, and in that way get a clue what it means to be spiritually dead.

Reformed believers often say we can’t do ANYTHING if we are dead, because ”dead is dead” and ”dead and not wounded”, but a physically dead person can’t do anything bad either. He is dead! If a spiritually dead person can’t do anything at all, then he wouldn’t be able to sin either but for some reason the ”reformed” God allows all people (or rather predestines them) to be born into sin and bound by darkness, whereas he only enables some of them to escape this darkness and do good. This doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would a loving God who hates sin prevent most people from seeking him and be morally upright individuals? (And why would he turn around and show wrath towards those who remain in their sins, when he is well aware of that they have no other option?)

Lazarus – a spiritually alive man who died

It’s very common to make a comparison with Jesus’ friend Lazarus’ resurrection that is described in John 11, and suggest that he is a good example of that a dead person must get divine help to come alive and do good. However, if this incident is supposed to show that spiritually dead people can’t do anything at all (and particularly not any good things) then we must ask ourselves why such a good man like Lazarus is selected to be an example, considering that he wasn’t spiritually dead at all but spiritually alive, and a close friend of  Jesus and much loved by him. Also his sisters Martha and Mary were believers of Jesus, which they showed both in words and in actions. It’s interesting that Jesus claims that Lazarus, despite being dead, is only sleeping (v. 11).

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not thereTHAT YOU MAY BELIEVE. Nevertheless let us go to him.” (NKJV)

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME .43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

John 11:45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and HAD SEEN THE THINGS WHICH JESUS DID, believed on him.

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

John 11:53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.54 Jesus THEREFORE walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

Jesus acted (as per v. 40) as though he expected Martha to believe and understand ALL the things that Jesus had previously explained to her, and not only the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and divinely sent by God. However, it looks like Martha had misunderstood certain things that Jesus had told her. Moreover, if people were predestined to believe/not believe (resulting in heaven or hell) before the beginning of the world, then nothing that Jesus would have chosen to say or not say would change the outcome of what is already determined to occur. Yet, we can read that one reason for bringing Lazarus back to life is so that people may BELIEVE in him (Jesus), which turned out to be a successful procedure because many jews did end up believing in Jesus – precisely due to what they SAW with their own eyes. It doesn’t say they started to believe due to having been chosen to believe. Nevertheless, other jews plotted to kill Jesus and THEREFORE Jesus no longer walked openly among them. However, if people are predestined to always act according to God’s will, then there wouldn’t be any reason to take such measures to avoid the jews because it’s not possible to thwart God’s plans in a world where ”predestination” is a rule. If God would have predestined someone to kill Jesus, then this would be the result whether Jesus walked openly among the jews or not.

Dead in trespasses and sins?

It’s always a bad idea to sin and thus be dead in trespasses and sins. Satan LIED and said that sinning will NOT cause spiritual death (which he said to Eve in Eden), but the truth is that trespassing the law – which is sinning – WILL separate us from God and cause spiritual death. We have the opportunity to repent of course.

Sin is the transgression of the law, John says, so that means we are not sinners due to having the nerve to be born but rather the moment we choose to break the law and SIN. If we are sinners already from birth, then John must be incorrect for suggesting that we are not sinners until we break the law of God, and the law of God doesn’t say that it’s a sin to be conceived or to be born into this world. It’s hardly our choice to be born, and why would that be a sin or against God’s will?

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

Some christians suggest that we are BORN ”dead in trespasses and sins”, but that is not what the Bible says.

Ephesians 2:1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Paul explains that the Ephesians in time PAST walked in sin, but he doesn’t expect them to continue like that. Also note that in order to commit the sins that Paul lists, you must at least be an ADULT. Babies are not aware of the law and they are unable to:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • be disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

We can be labelled either children of God or children of Satan depending on our life styles. We can also read that the ”children of wrath” are also called ”children of disobedience” so it’s clear that in order to fit the bill you must be able to DISOBEY – which is something that babies cannot do. Eph. 2 doesn’t suggest we are BORN as children of wrath, but it provides details for how we can BECOME children of wrath by the way we live. Even the Ephesians WERE dead due to their choice to sin, but thanks to the blood of Jesus, and through their own repentance of their sins, they were restored. Paul says”hath raised us up together”, but that is a picture of our future with Christ, because he continues the sentence with ”in the ages to COME”. We haven’t been elevated yet. Moreover, in Romans 2 we can read about people who obey the law ”by nature”, so apparently we are not born with a sinful nature. You can read more about the gnostic idea of the sinful nature in this blog article.

Col. 2:And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.—13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross

Paul warns the Colossians (and all of us) extensively because there is always a huge risk that we will fall from our salvation due to sin. If we could never risk to go from being spiritually alive to being spiritually dead, then there wouldn’t be any reason to warn true believers the way Paul does. We can become cleansed, regenerated and righteous by confessing our sins and repenting, because then our sins will be blotted out.

Sins/iniquities/transgression of God’s law (same things) have always separated us from God ever since Adam, and continue to do sodeath3

If we sin, we are dead (in trespasses and sins), and then we must seek God, come to him, confess our sins and repent in order to be cleansed and regenerated. Then we become ”born again”, because we are no more spiritually dead.

Daniel 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him

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

Gal. 6:Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF we faint not.

The prodigal son is an excellent example of a person who was LOST and DEAD (according to the words of his own Father who is a picture of God the Father), and still capable of making an excellent decision to repent, return to his Father and confess his sins before him. Loads of people say ”but he never ceased to be a son!”, but what does it matter to be a physical son of someone when he is still LOST and DEAD? And quite obviously a person who lives together with prostitutes in unrepentant sin is (during this time) nothing but 100% lost and dead, unless we must believe that heaven will be a place full of unrepentant sinners.

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.—30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.—32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was DEAD, and is ALIVE AGAIN AGAIN; and was LOST, and is FOUND.

Again, to base an entire doctrine on something that the Bible doesn’t say is extremely unwise, and especially if this false doctrine necessitates that we erect other false doctrines to save that first one, and which in the end makes God to be the author of sin and very illogical. Are we born depraved and with a sinful nature that makes us sin ACCORDING to God’s will or AGAINST his will?

Annonser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

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

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

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

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

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

The final judgment 

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

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

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

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

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

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