Etikettarkiv | sin

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

sinCan flesh be sinful?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rom. 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it God’s responsibility to KEEP US, even by force?

John 8.jpegGod and his ”responsibilities”

There are some Christians who erroneously believe that it is God’s responsibility to make sure that born again believers are kept, and some even believe in the concept that God keeps us from falling (sinning). They might suggest that if a true Christian falls away and is no longer a child of God, then God’s power was not great enough to keep him, as though the Bible says it is God’s responsibility to keep people by force.

The truth is that we have a free will and we are therefore able to walk away from God without him preventing it from happening. If we on the other hand repent and come to him (or return back to him) he will accept us (keep us) us rather than rejecting us. Had it been up to God to make sure that we do not fall (sin) then we would of course not sin a single time for the rest of our lives. If we sin, it is always our fault and never God’s fault.

God created us to seek him and come to him, which means that we can. We have also been provided with the ability to repent, which we are all requested to do.

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;— 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;27That they should SEEK the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though HE BENOT 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

Clearly not everyone seeks God, nor repents, which means that God has chosen to create us with free will and with the ability to both obey and disobey. This does not hurt his ”sovereignty” (a non-Biblical word – KJV).

But what about verse 2 Thess. 3:3? Does it not suggest that God in fact is the one who keeps us, and does so no matter what we do? No, he can indeed keep us from evil, but he does not promise to do so unconditionally – and he does not promise that we will never be affected by persecution or pain. If we walk our own ways and even seek to be tempted, then we cannot expect to be kept from the snare of the devil since we have chosen to remove ourselves from God and his protection.

2 Thess. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Examples 1

The word ”keep” in the above verse is  a translation of the Greek verb φυλάσσω (Strong’s 5442, phylassō). The same word can also be translated observe, bewaresave, guard and watch.  

When we read the examples below (words in green are based on another verb) where this word is used, we can see clearly that what is ”kept” is not necessarily kept unconditionally or for ever. A choice is involved. We can for instance read that shepherds ”keeping” watch over their flock, but this does not mean that sheep can never ever stray away and be lost. We can also read warnings such as ”Little children, keep yourselves from idols”, which is evidence of that we can not sit back and expect God to take this responsibility instead of us. If some of us do to get involved with idols, then we can be certain of that it is not due to God lacking in power but due to our own choices when we oppose God’s commandments.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Mark 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. (+ Luke 18:21)

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. — 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. — 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. — 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. — 19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

Acts 16:3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for TO KEEP, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 21:23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

Rom. 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

Gal. 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

1 Tim. 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

1 Tim. 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: — 20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

2 Tim. 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keepthat which I have committed unto him against that day.13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

2 Pet. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

choiceExamples 2

There is also another verb often translated ”keep”, which is τηρέω (Strong’s 5083, tēreō). This word can also be translated observe, reserve guard, watch, preserve, hold fast, etc – i.e. it is often used interchangeably with the verb φυλάσσω above. The examples show that there is a choice involved in this case as well.

Matt. 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Matt. 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matt. 27:36 And sitting down they watched him there

Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.— 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.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. — 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. —24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: — 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

1 Cor. 7:37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

2 Cor. 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Eph. 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. — 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Ti. 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

2 Ti. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Ja. 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Ja. 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.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 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

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

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. — 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Rev. 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev. 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations

Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. —8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. — 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Rev. 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rev. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Rev. 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Rev. 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. — 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.  

We also have a noun tied to the the above Greek verb, which is τήρησις (Strong’s 5084, tērēsis):

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

We also have the verb παρατίθημι (Strong’s 3908, paratithēmi), and in this verse we can clearly see that the righteous are not forced to remain righteous by God as though they would lose their ability to sin. It is true that it is not likely that a born again Christian would like to return to the world and his/her old vomit, but once in a while it still happens:

1 Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Looking at a woman to lust after her means adultery and sin? Matt. 5:28

lustIt is not possible to commit adultery unless you’re married

If a man looks at a woman with the precise aim ”to lust after her”, it is a sin according to the teaching of Jesus Christ. However, Jesus does not say that it is a sin to simply look at a woman and find her attractive. The sin in question is adultery, and it is not possible to commit adultery unless you are married.

Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman TO LUST AFTER HER hath committed ADULTERY with her already in his heart. (KJV)

The sixth commandment: ”Thou shalt not commit adultery”

Based on the verse Matt. 5:28, a man commits adultery (is unfaithful to his wife) if he looks at a woman to lust after her. This means that this verse is in reference to those who are married and who still choose to look at a women with the aim to lust after her. This statement was a surprise to many of the pharisees since they likely were of the view that you could only be an adulterer unless you actually committed the physical act of adultery and/or broke up a marriage.

What about those who are not married? Are they free to look at women with the aim to lust after them, and particularly if the women are unmarried, in order to not break the 10th commandment which says ”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s”? No, even though Matt. 5:28 is in reference to married men, the fact is still that our thoughts and intentions reveal our inner thoughts and our true intentions. Do we stay away from temptations as much as we can, or do we seek to be tempted? This is how we will be judged:

Rom. 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

We can read in the Bible that one man and one woman are meant to be one flesh (Mark 10:8), and that a marriage is supposed to be for life. (At least this is the ideal situation.) In order to achieve this goal, we are created to be attracted to the opposite sex, but also with the possibility to be in power over our own bodies. Since 1+1=2, it is not good for a man to purposely look for tempting situations with other women which could easily lead to sin.

God knows if we happen to end up in a tempting situation with no fault of our own, and he knows what we do to get out of the situation (if anything). He knows our possibilities and our limitations and he does not demand the impossible from us but what is possible. We are human beings with free will, and no robots:

1 Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God created man to be attracted to the female body and this means that women would do well to not tempt men by dressing too revealing. When it comes to such female temptations, the attacks from the devil can perhaps be viewed as more severe today compared with Biblical times, because many women unfortunately dress themselves as though they were prostitutes (encouraged and normalized by the current world view) and there are loads of pornographic material available. Many men have confessed to be addicted to pornography, so the best way is to not even start watching such material in the first place. Watching pornography is usually optional (if we do not count the times when they are forced upon someone, such as in a liberal class room) and can therefore be avoided. It is harder to get away from other types of temptations – for example if your class mates or colleagues at work do not dress modestly. Each individual can still do his best to skip as many spiritual attacks as possible, even if he cannot avoid all tempting and awkward situations. During the time of Paul, people married at an early age so they did not have to wait that long to be husband and wife, and they were generally not affected by the same pressure and sex propaganda as today’s school children.

It is important to remember that temptations are not sins in themselves. Also Jesus was tempted just like us, and he never sinned. It is giving in for temptations which is a sin. To involve even more people in one’s sinful behavior is of course even worse. If someone is guilty of sin, he must confess his sins, ask for forgiveness and start walking in the light. There is hope for everyone!:

1 John 1:7 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. —-9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Bible does not say that it is a sin for an unmarried man to fall in love with another unmarried woman, and to feel mutual love and attraction for each other. It is enough to read in the song of Solomon to realize this much. This Biblical book also concerns God’s love for Israel, but it still involves a romantic communication between two unmarried individuals who feel an attraction for each other. We are created to be two in one union. Adam initially lacked something in his life when he was alone on earth, and Eve was created for him to make their union perfect. It is natural for a young person to seek a soul mate in his/her life and to long for a life long companionship where even the bed is shared. We generally do not feel complete without the other half, just like in Adam’s case, and that means that it is natural to look for our other half. This is not a sin!

A life long relationship is of course not only about a physical attraction but about being attracted to a special person who shares the same moral values and outlook on life. If we do find this someone and there is mutual attraction, it is not a sin to also feel a physical attraction. Paul says The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife”.  

1 Cor. 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

Paul’s advice for singles is not ”Simply avoid having an attraction for each other, because it is a sin. Just stop having such feelings!”. Instead his advice is actually to get married, for it is better to marry than to burn … With other words, such normal feelings are hard to just shut off based on a decision because we are created into sexual beings and even to replenish the earth. This does not mean that we are unable to control our bodies.

1 Cor. 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

It would rather be unnatural for a young engaged couple to not have any physical/sexual attraction for each other. Both still have the responsibility to not tempt the other person, but to save the gift of a physical union until the wedding. I believe that a young couple will be very blessed if they decide to wait until the marriage with their intimate relations. This is also a sign of true love for each other, and that each person places God first in his life.  Eccl. 4:12 ”—  a threefold cord is not quickly broken”.

More from the same chapter lust 2

Understanding Matt. 5:28 is important since loads of men (particularly young, single men) erroneously believe that they are sinners just because they happen to meet a woman on the street who they find extremely sexy and attractive. They might also believe that they are sinners because they happen to see a billboard with an attractive woman that they would like to take a second look at. Still, this does not mean that it is a good idea to make room for further fantasies about these women without making any attempts whatsoever to halt the thoughts.

God is always willing to forgive a humble heart.

Unfortunately many Christians view Matt. 5:28 as support for man’s inability to be faithful to God and to obey his commandments. Maybe their erroneous thoughts go something like this:

”Since Matt. 5:28 tells me that I am failed human being no matter what I do, I can just as well give into other sins once in a while, as long as I don’t overdo it – like watching pornographic films, like going to the beach and look at half dressed women to lust for them in my mind, and even go to bed with a woman. I’m saved anyway, and even my pastor at church tells us that God doesn’t see our sins but only the blood of Jesus, and that no one can stop sinning and that this is precisely why Jesus died for us, that faith + nothing saves us, that it’s man’s sinful nature that makes him sin, that God accepts us if we only confess our sins every day and do our best, once saved always saved, Jesus is our righteousness and that means that we don’t have to be righteous too, etc. In fact, there is only one detestable sin that could jeopardize your salvation and that is if you start teaching that there is something you must DO to stay saved and that it is possible to obey God’s commandments. God gets very upset with that type of legalistic pharisaical attitude, but other than that you’re good to go. Sinning is natural, and not sinning is unnatural. We will not die because we’re Christians!”

In reality, it was the Serpent (Satan) who persuaded Eve that she could be saved despite sinning and he said ”Ye shall not surely die”. God does not give us commandments he knows we cannot obey. The problem is if we add to the commandments and make them impossible to follow, like the pharisees did. Read this passage from the same chapter (Matt. 5), and try to think which category fit you the best? The description in blue, or the the description in green? Which one are you? Do you break the commandments and teach others that it is impossible to obey God, or do you obey the commandments and teach others that it is possible to obey them?

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.

Jesus does not teach us to give up, but that we can be perfect the way our Father in heaven is perfect. This mean that we can. In the same chapter we are told to love and pray for those who persecute us. Are we to believe that this is also impossible for us to follow, and that Jesus can obey this commandment for us and instead of us?

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

The question should not be if we can be perfect (we can indeed according to Jesus) but what it means to be perfect. We know that it does not mean ”to never ever having sinned”, because Jesus said this to his disciples and they already had sin on their accounts. We can choose to repent and start walking in the light, and we do not get only one single chance to do it right.

There is no man that does not sin? 1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chr. 6:36 and Ecc. 7:20

glory of godSo all people sin constantly and cannot stop?

Below you will find three quotes which are commonly used (out of context) to support the Gnostic idea that we constantly sin in thoughts, words and deeds because of our fallen nature.

1) 1 Kings 8:46 (and the parallel 2 Chr. 6:36)

1 Kings 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;

+ the parallel:

2 Chr. 6:36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;

The above quote is from an earnest prayer by Solomon to God. Solomon was initially a very wise and righteous man, but he later fell away when he married multiple foreign women (700 wives in total, plus 300 concubines) who lured him away from the only true God. In this particular prayer his expressions show that he absolutely believes that people can and should be obedient to God in everything. In this particular prayer he sincerely hopes that God will see the works of repentance from his people Israel, as well as their earnest prayers. We can see that Solomon expects people to repent and be successful in their aim to always be faithful to God’s laws.

Solomon’s expression ”there is no man that sinneth not” seems to be a general expression and principle about man on earth, and this is sadly a valid description also today. We know for certain that Solomon did not try to express an inability of man to be faithful to God, because among other things he states ”LET YOUR HEART THEREFORE BE PERFECT WITH THE LORD OUR GOD, TO WALK IN HIS STATUTES, AND TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, as at this day”. He does not propose that such an attempt would always lead to failure. If you repent and ”return on to God with all your heart and all with all your soul”, does this not indicate that you also avoid sin?

1 Kings 8:44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:—54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.—57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.—61 LET YOUR HEART THEREFORE BE PERFECT WITH THE LORD OUR GOD, TO WALK IN HIS STATUTES, AND TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, as at this day.  

In 2 Chr. 6 the wicked are contrasted with the righteous, and Solomon absolutely trusts that people have the capability tofear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live”:

2 Chr. 6:14 And said, O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:—23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)31 That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

and we read on:

2 Chr. 6:37 Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;38 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:39 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.

2) Ecc. 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not

The author of Ecclesiastes has also said ”eat, drink and be merry” which must be read in its proper context, and he sometimes sounds a bit pessimistic about man in general. The author has the right to express himself with hyperboles, general principles, analogies and poetic comparisons, depending on what he wants to convey. The author describes righteous and God-fearing people, and he contrasts them with the wicked. This means that also this author is of the opinion that man can be a righteous and godly individual who does what is right.

Ecc. 7:16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 

Ecc. 9:1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

heart 53) Prov. 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

We have no authority to cleanse ourselves from sin, but we can be cleansed when we confess our sins and repent. The text in Proverbs often mirrors the reality through poetry, analogies and general principles, which means that the text does not necessarily convey the truth in a literal sense. Proverbs 20:9 poses an important question to think about, because who can really say that he/she has never sinned? The case is usually the opposite – that people are unclean due to ongoing sins. Not because they have to commit sins but because of their own choices. The point in likely to express the fact that sinning is (sadly) common among people. Babies have never sinned and cannot even do so because they are not aware of the law, but they can on the other hand not read any advice in Proverbs so the text is not written for their sake. If Proverbs 20:9 should be read in a literal sense as though there is absolutely no one under the sun who has a pure heart because of constant sins, the chapter and the book of Proverbs contain multiple contradictions. We can even read in the verses prior to Prov. 20:9 and right after it, that man can indeed cease from strife, can be just, pure, etc.

Prov. 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.—The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.8 A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.—11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.—15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.—19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good.—30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

You can also read about other common verses that are used to promote a sinful life – Rom. 3:10 here and 1 John 1:8 here.

Support for sin in a Christian chat room

sinnerSinning is normal and inevitable = the teaching of many Christians

A few weeks ago I visited a Christian chat room for the first time in ages, but I only managed to stay for about 5 minutes due to the atmosphere. Even though it was a long time ago since I entered a Christian chat room, I still felt as though it was ”the same old” support for sin which I remember too well from past discussions. It was a sad experience to realize that we have not reached anywhere in all these years, and I am particularly thinking about babies in Christ which might enter the chat room and learn that the cross they must carry is super light and that there are no requirements for salvation apart from ”believing” in Jesus. Oh, and also that they can never lose their salvation (if they sin too extensively they were not saved to begin with ….).

I even discovered a user name which I remember from a long time ago (a very unusual one, so clearly the same person) and this person promoted sin,  that we cannot avoid it and that there are no consequences, just like he did years ago. Is it really that important to spend time teaching people that sinning is inevitable? If this would be true (that we always sin in thoughts, words and deeds) will we not sin regardless of the preaching? Or is it important to feel ”sorry” for the sins – that we cannot help doing in the first place?

Still, there seems to be ONE sin that can make us lose salvation after all (even if these Christians claim we cannot) and this would be if we teach that there is something we must DO to stay saved. The believe this is legalism and something that God hates, but does God really hate the teaching that we can successfully obey him and be faithful to him? Is this really the only sin that makes him furious and which will put our salvation in jeopardy?

If we sin (and also Christians can choose to sin), we must confess our sins and repent. This means a change of mind and to turn away from sin. We are not provided with only one chance to get it right, but if we constantly sin we are not saved.

I will list some examples below of what I heard in this chat room during my short visit (not all the comments were addressed to me) and I will also make some comments.

He promised to never leave us! Did he lie?

Reply: Please check the context of this expression. Sure, God will never leave us or forsake us, but we can certainly choose to leave and forsake him. In such a case we have separated ourselves from him (Is. 59:2) because sin continues to lead to death – and if we deny Jesus, he will deny us (Matt. 10:33). Remember that it was Satan who lied and taught that sin does not lead to death. Even if we do forsake him, he will always stand there with open arms, hoping we will return to him as the prodigal son did. Remember that the prodigal son was ”lost and dead” while being away from his Father. Also, think about the covenant between God and Israel which was declared to be forever but which became void because of Israel’s behavior. It is best for us if we make sure to remain in the vine (John 15), because then we will never be forsaken but loved. God does not promise to never forsake us unconditionally, (which would go against a large portion of the Bible).

You are asking him to get back on the cross again!

Reply: No, Jesus died once and for all. and this does not mean we are now free to sin without any consequences. Jesus does not have to step up and down the cross each time a person sins. The truth is that sin continues to lead to death, and we are certainly not living in lawlessness without any commandments to obey. Even if Jesus died for the sins of the world, this does not mean that all the sins of the world were/are automatically forgiven on the cross and that we were forgiven before we were even born. Jesus did his part (and what an offer that was!) and we must do our part. We are forgiven and cleansed when/if we repent from our sins, and it is always our past sins that are forgiven. Certainly not any future sins.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord

Rom. 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God

We are SEALED until the day of redemption!

Reply: The verse says ”whereby ye are sealed UNTO the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). It can also be translated ”by whom you were sealed FOR the day of redemption”. A seal is a requirement but a seal can be broken. Where does the idea come from that a seal or mark cannot be tampered with or broken? The text does not say ”sealed and saved unconditionally all the way UNTIL the day of redemption no matter the conduct”. The Greek word sphragizó can mean seal, or set a seal upon, or mark with a seal. We are indeed uniquely ”marked” when we as christians have the Holy Spirit in our lives, and we are separate and different from those without this mark. See this blog article.

We can never be perfect!

Reply: Actually, we can. Jesus himself said: Matt: 5:48 ”Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. Let us not argue with Jesus.

We are saved by grace and not by anything we do!

Reply: We are indeed saved by grace, but this does not mean we are free to sin and that we do not have to do anything. Read also Eph. 2:10 where we can read that we must WALK unto good works that God has created for us. What happens if we do not?

We are created unto good works, prepared to walk in them! 

Reply: Right, see above. WE do the walking. Jesus does not do the walking for us or instead of us. If God would be responsible for making sure we have good fruit in our lives, then he would not fail once. We would never ever sin.

Salvation is a gift that can’t be earned!

Reply: Yes, salvation is a gift, and nothing we have earned, but who says that gifts cannot be neglected or thrown away?

We have been imputed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ!

Reply: The Bible does not say this. We can read about imputed righteousness, but not that we can be imputed with the righteousness of Jesus (or anyone else). ”Imputed” does not mean ”transferred”, but it rather means ”reckoned” or ”viewed as”. We can indeed be reckoned as righteous if we have chosen to repent for our sins and become cleansed in the blood of Jesus. Then we can be regarded as righteous because we are. We have not become 80% cleansed but 100%, and we remain clean as long as we stay away from sin. The Bible does not teach ”once righteous always righteous”, nor can we pretend that God the Father does not see our sins because the blood of Jesus hides his vision.

A few more common pro-sin arguments (even if I did not hear them in this particular chat room):

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us!

Reply: Before the popular verse of 1 John 1:8 we can also read less popular verses such as v. 6 ”If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” and v. 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”. Please reflect on the conditions which are clearly described. Or do you sin around the clock? Is there not one minute a day when you can say that you have no sin?

No one is righteous according to Rom. 3:10!

Reply: Paul, who made the above statement that no one is righteous, called HIMSELF righteous, along with Silas and Timothy, and he constantly requested that people should avoid obeying their flesh. Romans 3:10-11 is a reference to a few psalms, and they must be read in context. In those psalms you will find references of people who are righteous as a contrast to those who are not (the foolish ones). Note that he says ”as it is written”, which means that we should check ”what is written” so that we will understand his reason for quoting these psalms in that particular moment. See more here.

We are saved by faith alone and not by works!

The Bible, however, says the exact opposite:

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

Our sinful nature makes us sin!

Think again. The Bible does not teach that we have a sinful nature (which would be an excellent excuse for sinning). Not in Rom. 5, not in Psalms, not anywhere.

Should we wash each other’s feet like Jesus did to his disciples? John 13

fötterJesus washed the feet of his disciples to illustrate a point and to be an example

The story about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples should not be used as support for the idea that a few daily sins in a Christian person’s life is absolutely normal and something that can be washed away on a daily basis. Here is the story from John 13, and the time is just before the Passover when Jesus knew his hour was come:

John 13:5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Jesus does not express above that we constantly walk around with dirty feet (as in always walking around with minor sins) and that it is enough to get those symbolic feet washed once in a while in order to continue staying clean, holy and saved. Jesus has very high expectations on us, and he even told us to be perfect (Matt. 5:48). This ”perfect” condition does not equal ”to never ever having sinned, and to continue staying totally free of sin” because Jesus said this statement to his disciples and they had already sinned previously in their lives. However, it does mean that we can successfully refrain from sinning – for days, months, years and for ever. If we sin, it is never because we did not have power enough to avoid those sins. If we spend our days sinning and ”repenting”, we clearly do not love Jesus since he told us ”if ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Jesus expectations on us:

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

Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and SIN NO MORE.

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

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Matt 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

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.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Before Jesus washed the feet of his disciples he said ye are clean, but not all” (John 13:10-11). The reason he said Ye are not all clean” was because he knew that Judas would betray him, so clearly he could not have been clean. Sin always makes one unclean, and sin is what separates us from God. This is evidence enough that Jesus does not expect us to walk around semi-dirty but to stay clean. Also in John 15 Jesus declares that his disciples were clean, but he still warned them (and all of us) that they must make sure to abide in him like a branch in the vine, and that lack of fruit might result in being cut off from the vine. Jesus says If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love”.

John 15:Now ye are CLEAN through the word which I have spoken unto you.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 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.— 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump

Jesus does not say that we only get one single chance to stay clean, but it is also true that we cannot have both our sins and our salvation too. A couple of verses to keep in mind:

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

Gal. 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Washing feet is an example of a good deed that we can do to another 

Jesus provided a good example when he washed the feet of his disciples, because it might be a distant idea that a Master will purposely ”go down to the level” of his disciples and perform such a basic and dirty task. The more common idea is likely that it is the ”low and poor” people who perform such tasks to the rich and famous, but in Jesus world it is often the other way around. The one who humbles himself is the greatest. If Jesus, who is God in flesh, is humble enough to wash the feet of his disciples, we too should follow his example. It does not have to be about washing feet, but what Jesus did was a great example and illustration. Jesus explains: ”15 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” He also says: 

Matt.23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

In the time of Jesus, in the Middle East, people used sandals and walked around on dry and dirt roads, resulting in dirty feet. Not so where I live in Sweden where it is not uncommon with snow and ice, as well as the existence of asphalt on the major roads where you go by car and not by feet. It is doubtful we would even consider it to be a pleasant and comfortable situation if someone would wash our warm and sweaty feet (and it would be so much easier if we did that ourselves in the shower), but during Biblical times it was common to wash ones feet (and hands) separately (sandals + dust/dirt = dirty feet) due to the necessity and to show respect.

Peter asks Jesus why he (Jesus) would not also wash his (Peter’s) hands and head, but that would have been losing the point of the illustration. If someone washes himself in the morning and goes out for an errand, it is usually not the hands and the head that become dirty and in need of a wash, but the feet – at least during this time and place. It is of more value to help someone in an area or situation where it is needed, rather than trying to improve something that needs no improvement. That would just be a waste of time.

Jesus says: He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all, and this can be understood literally and/or symbolically.  Just like the interpretation ”thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” – which can be understood literally and/or symbolically. What Jesus said was also factual, because washing the feet would be enough.

Another way to look at it is that it is not necessary to get rebaptized each time we sin. It is enough to confess our sins and repent – which means that we leave our old sinful man behind. Still, the story of John 13 tells us that Jesus washed the feet of his clean disciples. Besides, also clean people have a need to humble themselves and do good deeds to others.

The sinning woman in Luke 7 was forgiven and cleansed from her sins when she humbled herself, repented (a requirement for forgiveness) and showed her faith by doing good deeds:

Luke 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

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.

Another example of washing feet:

1 Tim. 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

An unclean heart produces sin  

Jesus explains that things that come out of someone might defile him, and he provides examples of things that make us unclean. From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts …

Mark. 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.1—18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

The tradition of washing feet 

sandaler

Here are some verses which show the Biblical tradition of washing feet.

Gen. 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree (Abraham)

Gen. 19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. (Lot)

Gen. 24:29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. (Laban and his household)

Gen. 43:24 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.

Ex. 30:17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

Ex. 40:31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat

Deut. 1:9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.—13 But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

Judg. 19:20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.

1 Sam. 25:40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.42 And Abigail hasted, and arose and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.

2 Sam. 11:8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.

2 Sam. 19:24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.

Ps. 58:10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Song of Solomon 5:3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

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

sinThe ordinary misconception about sin and righteousness

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

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

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

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

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

No one is righteous – Romans 3:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. — 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. — 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? — 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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

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

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

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

1 Cor. 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible says we are NOT saved by faith alone

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

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

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

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

We are not saved by faith alone.

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

Repenting – a requirement for salvation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imputed righteousnessimputed righteousness

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

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

Ez. 33:13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

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

Read more about ”imputed” righteousness here.

The sinful nature

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

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

Penal substitution theory (originally from Anselm)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things we can learn from the above:

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

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