Maria Yeager

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Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 7

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

This is a verse that I hear many evangelicals repeat over and over again. Another popular one is Romans 10:9:

“…because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

These are wonderful passages. How comforting it is to know that if you truly believe in Jesus, your sins will be forgiven and you will be saved. In this Easter season, we should never forget that Jesus suffered tremendously and gave up His life in order to save us from our sins. How wonderful!! I am so incredibly thankful for the free gift that Jesus gave to us!!

But is that the end of the story? Is that all we have to do to be saved? Well, not exactly. Yes, the evangelicals are correct in saying that if we truly believe, we will be saved. However, the key word here is “truly”.

First, let me address several evangelical teachings that are correct. First of all, Paul does say that we are no longer under the law.

“But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” Romans 7:6

In addition, Paul does say that we are not justified through deeds:

“For no human being will be justified in his sight by deeds prescribed by the law; for through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20

However, some evangelicals have a tendency to cherry pick scripture. They like to point out the passages they like but then they seem to ignore what else Paul said. The above scripture passages are beautiful; however, without reading the rest of Romans, you could be easily misled. Here are some statements by Paul in the book of Romans that counter evangelical beliefs:

“Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Romans 3:31

“What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?” Romans 6:1-2

“Therefore do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions.” Romans 6:12

“What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one who you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:15

The point I am making in this blog is that you cannot cherry pick scripture. Yes, Paul says that a person is not justified through deeds, and he also said that those who truly believe in Jesus are no longer under the law. Like I said earlier, the key word here is “truly”. Remember what I pointed out in my previous blogs – just because a person says “Jesus is my Savior” does not mean that person TRULY believes. Remember that Jesus said that not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is all about what is in a person’s heart and if a TRUE SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION has taken place. If you really take the time to read Romans….really read it slowly…you will see how Paul makes this exact point. If a person has TRULY accepted Jesus and is a TRUE Christian, his/her actions will automatically follow – he/she will do their best to avoid sin and to act in a Christ-like manner.

So how do we know if someone is a true Christian? Well, none of us really know because only God knows what is in a person’s heart. However, Jesus taught us how we, as human beings, can begin to distinguish between true and false Christians when he said, “By their fruits you will know them.” We are not to judge others; however, we are also not to condone sin. The only way for us to discern good from evil is by watching a person’s actions, and it is up to us, as true Christians, to rebuke sin when we witness it.

I think it is obvious that by cherry picking scripture, some evangelicals have gone off track. Some of these people support Donald Trump, and if you look at EVERYTHING that Paul says in Romans, not just select scripture passages, you will see that true Christians should be rebuking Trump for his immoral/unethical behavior. True Christians should never, ever support a person who says he never ask for forgiveness and who is waist-deep in sin. We should pray for Trump, but we should never condone his behavior.

Have a wonderful Easter! God bless!

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 5

Today, I am going to take a little break from Matthew and jump to the book of James. It is only a few pages long but it is full of direction on how we must be “doers” and not just “hearers”. I think we need to take a good hard look at this little section of the Bible today.

Again, I hear many evangelicals say that actions don’t matter – all that matters is grace, and that if we confess “Jesus is our Savior” with our mouths, that is enough to get into heaven. Now let me make this very clear – we DO need to accept Jesus as our Savior. We DO need grace to get into heaven. By all means! But the point I am trying to make is that actions are also important, and that the teaching that we are to get into heaven by grace alone….without any work on our part….is incorrect.

In my search for answers, I found James to be quite enlightening. Many people focus on the gospels which are so important, but if you go further into the New Testament- into the letters of Paul, John, James, etc., it really clarifies things. This is where it clarified for me that actions do in fact matter.

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. But let’s keep going:

“But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who ACT – they will be blessed in their doing.” James 1:25

These passages clearly refute the beliefs of some evangelicals who say that our works on this earth don’t matter, and all that matters is grace. These passages also directly apply to those evangelical preachers who turn a blind eye to Trump’s immoral behavior. They are not “doing”…they are not standing up and saying that Trump’s behavior is unacceptable.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” James 2:10-11

Let’s think about that for a moment. Some of the evangelicals and even other Christians constantly speak out against abortion. But these same people are quiet about Trump. Some even give Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels. Now, read the above passage again. Clearly James is telling us that this kind of behavior is wrong. We have to call out ALL sin, not just the sin that “fits” into our little box. You can’t pick and choose.

Going on, James clearly states that faith without works is dead:

“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17

Then James makes a statement that should make everyone think long and hard. He states that even the demons believe that God is real….and they shudder:

“Even the demons believe – and shudder.” James 2:20

Then he goes on to reiterate that works are a part of accepting Jesus fully:

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:24-26

Now, as we read the next verse, let’s think about the evangelical preachers who are giving Trump a “mulligan” and who teach that we don’t have to act or to follow the Ten Commandments:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1

Kind of scary, huh?

Now think about the obvious hypocrisy that we are witnessing in some evangelicals today. Remember, they jumped all over Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, but now these same evangelicals are mysteriously quiet about Trump. Also, a recent poll showed that during the Clinton administration, the percentage of evangelicals that said that moral behavior of a President wasn’t important was in the 20s. Today, under Trump, that number is in the 70s. What happened? Is it hypocrisy, or do the rules change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of PARTIALITY or HYPOCRISY.” James 3:17

James is very clear. These teachings and behaviors of evangelicals who still support Trump are not in line with true Christianity. My hope is that they will read this, pray about it, and return to the only path that leads us to Jesus.

I implore preachers like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Andrew Wommack and others to rethink what they are teaching and to call out Trump on his immoral behavior.

I will close with this:

“Anyone then who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” James 4:17

Have a wonderful weekend! God bless!

 

 

 

 

God Works in Mysterious Ways

Have you ever gone through something horrible and thought “Why me?” Have you ever wondered why God allows us to walk through the “valley of death”?

I’ve certainly been there. And I’m quite sure you have too.

But I have also learned that no matter what we go through, somehow good always seems to come from it. One example in my life is my ordeal with adenomyosis. While I cried my way through some of the most painful nights of my life, I questioned why God was putting me through it. But today, I can look back and see why He put me through it – to help other women who are suffering through adenomyosis today. I have written one book on the subject and am working on a second book. I sell about one book per day, and I get constant “thank you” messages from women desperate to find help for this terrible medical disorder.

As many of my readers know, I don’t like Trump. Since Trump took office, I have heard over and over again from some on the far-right that “God put Trump in office”. I don’t believe this. Why? Because God gave us free will. He doesn’t dictate what we are to do in this life. He invites us to follow Him, but He doesn’t dictate. If he put Trump into office, then He also put Obama in office, and those on the far-right aren’t going to like that much…haha! Also, if God puts someone in office, why would we have elections? The truth is that we, the American people, voted Trump into office, and God ALLOWED it to happen.

Now, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. But what I have witnessed this year personally is that those on the far-right are not nearly as Christian as they say. I see a lot of people (not all, but some) point their fingers at the left and calling them evil. However, the behavior of these same far-righters is not at all Christian. In fact, some of these far-righters turn around and do exactly what they tell others not to do. Hypocrisy has become blatantly clear in some on the far-right.

So, what if God allowed Trump to get into office in order to shine a light onto the hypocrisy in the far-right evangelical movement? What if He allowed Trump to become President in order to show the hypocrisy and non-Christian behavior in the Republican party? Like I said, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. What I do know is that God works in mysterious ways, and many times, he will use something meant to hurt us for good. After all, in the Bible, it says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

I used to be Republican, but I am now just completely embarrassed and disgusted by the Republicans. What I now see is some on the far-right that loves to point fingers at other while acting in a non-Christian manner. I see white-washed tombs. Jesus said “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” This means some love to talk all about Jesus but they live in continual sin, and this is hypocritical. These people are all talk, but there is nothing Christian inside them. That’s why I have always said that words aren’t enough. You have to truly believe in Jesus in your heart, and your actions will follow. If you truly believe in Jesus, you will turn away from sin…not to say that you won’t ever sin again (we are all human), but you won’t live in continual sin.

I don’t agree with some of what the Democrats believe, but I now see that the Democrats actually act on helping the poor and welcoming the stranger. The Democratic party welcomes immigrants and is outraged when Trump and his administration didn’t adequately respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico. The Democrats are ACTING in a Christian manner regarding these issues. Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them” meaning that by ACTIONS, you will know them. I see more Christian actions this year from Democrats than Republicans.

For me, God opened my eyes this year. He opened my eyes to hypocrisy. I now understand the meaning of “white-washed tombs”. I now know that I can’t vote for a candidate based only on one issue – by doing that, we can end up in the situation we are in today. I have learned that pro-life addresses life at ALL stages, not just the unborn. Those who voted for Trump based solely on the abortion issue are knee-deep in hypocrisy as well. Why? Because they fight for the unborn, but once they are born (and many will have disabilities because a lot of abortions are done because of medical issues), they want to take healthcare away, specifically by cutting coverage for pre-existing conditions. So, we bring these children into the world, but the Republicans don’t want to take care of them once they get here. See the hypocrisy?

I think we should look back on this rough year and listen to what God is trying to show us. I listened and learned. Will you?

What is True Christianity? Part III

Today, I want to address what my counselor refers to as “dichotomous thinking” or “black-and-white thinking”. This means that a person’s beliefs are absolute – there are no “gray areas”. Today, I talked to my counselor about Trump and how everything seems to be all-or-nothing with him. For example, he says that he’s drawn the biggest crowds ever at a certain event. Then he turns around and attacks someone saying that person is the worst ever. Nothing is ever in the middle. Nothing is ever mediocre in his mind. This is called “dichotomous thinking”.

I’ve seen this kind of thinking before…probably everyone has at one point.

I would like to look at a few examples of this kind of thinking in Christianity and how it does not fall in line with what Jesus taught us.  Many years ago, I took part in a discussion about how people get to heaven. This group insisted that the only way to heaven was to accept Jesus as their Savior. I asked the question, “What if a person lives somewhere that is desolate and never heard of Jesus? Say he is a really good person…lived a Christ-like life…but never accepted Jesus because he never heard of him?” Someone immediately responded: “He’s going to hell. Period. He didn’t accept Jesus.” That answer just tore at my soul. If God is love, then how could He turn His back on someone who never heard of Jesus?

During the last year of my marriage, my now ex-husband insisted that he was going to heaven. Period. No ifs, ands or butts. I don’t know where he came up with this…I suspect it was either his family or his mistress (he was having an affair at the time that I wasn’t aware of). When I suggested that Jesus was the judge and not us, he told me that I was wrong. Completely wrong. Later, after I found out about the affair and confronted him, I told him that he was breaking a commandment….a clear commandment that Jesus specifically addresses in the New Testament. His response was “that sounds too judgemental to me”.

Now there are several issues here. In the first case, “dichotomous thinking” is very clear.  Besides the fact that we are not the judge (see What is True Christianity, Part I, where I address that issue in detail), biblically, the person’s insistence that the man in question was going to hell can be rebutted. A few verses in John address both situations above. Let’s look at the first situation. Meditate on the following verse:

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause'”.” John 15:22-24

Think  about that for a minute. “If I had not come…they would not have sin.” Jesus makes it clear in that passage that if a person didn’t know about Him, they would not be held to the same standard as Christians who do know about Him.

Now, let’s look at the second situation where my ex did know about Jesus.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.'” John 15:22-24

As you can see, once you know about Jesus, you are held to a higher standard. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, not wallow in it. These two situations also show how dichotomous thinking can get people in trouble. There ARE gray areas in life.

Once we TRULY accept Jesus, our hearts and souls will change and we will not continue to live in sin. This is not to say that we won’t make mistakes…we will as we are human. But God’s mercy is not to be abused. God’s mercy does not mean that we can continue to live waist deep in sin. If you have proclaimed Jesus as your Savior but still are immersed in constant sin, you truly haven’t accepted Him. Examine your heart and soul and see if you have TRULY allowed Jesus into your heart.

What is True Christianity?

It’s funny how God gets His message across to those who believe in Him.

Yesterday, I wrote a long blog on a subject that has really been bothering me, but I didn’t publish it. It was way too long, and I went off on tangents, so the whole thing was messy. I decided to think about the subject a little bit more. I decided to write a week’s worth of short blogs.

The subject has to do with Christianity. You see, over the course of my life, I have run into so many people who focus mostly on John 3:16. They believe that all they have to do is to say “Jesus is My Savior” and they are guaranteed entrance into heaven. These people believe that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they act – they can sin all they want to, but it doesn’t matter. They say the words, “Jesus is My Savior” and they believe that is all that needs to be done.

I’ve thought for a long time how people like this came to believe this way. I thought that maybe the idea that they don’t have to follow the Ten Commandments was appealing because it means it would be easier to get into heaven. Well, yeah, if you can still get to heaven even if you continue to live in sin, wouldn’t you want to believe that – I mean that makes things a lot easier doesn’t it? Sad thing is, it just plain isn’t true, and Jesus himself said so. I will explain this in greater detail below.

Another concern that crossed my mind – are these people just listening to their preacher every Sunday? Do they ever just open up the Bible and read it themselves? Hmmm…well, that is a possibility.

Yesterday, part of what I wrote had to do with the suggestion for everyone to open up their Bible and read it. Especially read the entire New Testament. It puts John 3:16 into context.

Interestingly, my mom told me this morning that today (August 28) is the feast day of St. Augustine. This saint was born in 354 AD and had a rather wild childhood, and he even left Christianity for a while. One day, as he wept under a fig tree, he prayed and asked God for help. Suddenly, St. Augustine heard a child’s voice say “Tolle Lege” over and over again. “Tolle Lege” translated means “take up and read”. He picked up a scroll and read Romans 13:13-14 which changed his soul, and he was converted. In St. Augustine’s own words:

“By a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart – all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”

Interesting that today is St. Augustine’s feast day – the same day that I have written this blog about reading the Bible! God works in mysterious ways.

I am concerned about today’s Christianity. I believe a section of it has taken a wrong turn. I have heard preachers, some very well-known, that make statements that I know are not biblically based. So, I am going to write short blogs over the course of a week and address some of these statements and ideas made not only by evangelical preachers but also their followers.

Several months ago, someone who I knew said to me, “I guess you think you know more than Franklin Graham?” She was upset because I had challenged her on some of her beliefs. My answer to her was “yes”. Why? Because I listen to God, not man, and I told her this. About a year ago, after hearing some of these disturbing remarks by the religious right, I decided to sit down and read the New Testament from beginning to end. Although John 3:16 is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, it must be taken in context with what is said in the rest of the New Testament.

The truth is this: No one is automatically guaranteed access into heaven. I know that is probably going to shock a lot of people, but just stay with me for a minute and meditate on this verse actually stated by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew:  “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, LORD, LORD, WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Matthew 7:21. It doesn’t get clearer than that! But He goes on, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me you evildoers.‘”Matthew 7:22-23.  Go back and read those verses again….and again.  This puts John 3:16 into perspective, doesn’t it? Yes, we can say that we believe in Jesus, but in the end, Jesus is the judge, not us. If we know for sure who is going to heaven as some evangelicals would have you believe, there would be no need for God. ONLY GOD knows what is in the hearts of men. Human beings CANNOT say whether someone is going to heaven or hell, and that includes preachers. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, and I think he made it very clear in these verses that you can’t fool Him. He knows our heart. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell, Andrew Wommack, and others DON’T know what is truly in our hearts and therefore cannot judge. No human being can judge another. Remember, Jesus also said, “Do not judge, lest ye be judged”.

This drives home the point that by focusing on just one or two verses in the Bible, you can easily be misled. My advice to everyone is “Tolle Lege” (Take Up and Read). Don’t rely only on your preacher during Sunday service to teach you about God. Pick up your Bible and read it. It is the only way to true peace and to the absolute Truth.

 

Once Saved, Always Saved? Part 2

 

This question is certainly a hot topic of debate. After writing my previous post on this same topic, I was contacted by a friend of mine who didn’t agree that our salvation can be lost. She talked with her pastor about this issue since my post made her think a little more about this subject. His explanation was good. He said that if someone turns against God after becoming a Christian, they were never Christian. There is truth to this statement. According to 1 John 2:19:

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

I am glad that my friend enlightened me in this way. That makes a little more sense to me. However, I was still troubled by a few things.

First of all, God gave us free will. If, once we are saved, we are always saved, then doesn’t that take away our free will? Also, the way that some preachers are passing on the message of “once saved, always saved” sounds to me like they are saying that sin isn’t a factor since our works have nothing to do with our salvation. I do know of people who truly believe that you don’t have to do anything except to say “Jesus is my Savior”. They truly believe that they can lie, steal, cheat, or do whatever they want, but as long as they say “Jesus is my Savior”, they are guaranteed salvation because salvation is a gift, and our works have nothing to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong – I fully believe that our salvation is a gift and that Jesus died on the cross to save us. There is no doubt in my mind. What I worry about is that people are getting an incomplete and twisted message. I believe the error occurs when one or two passages in the Bible are the main focus, and the rest of the Bible is ignored. Let me explain further.

There are many passages in the Bible that point to the fact that you can turn away from God and possibly lose your salvation. First and foremost is a passage that I referred to in my last post:

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” 2 Peter 2: 20

Peter also refers to Proverbs in making his point:

“Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit’ and ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.’ 2 Peter 2:22

As per the book of Hebrews:

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift….if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subecting him to public disgrace.” Hebrews 6:4-6

“We have come to share in Christ IF we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Hebrews 3:14

“See that no one is…godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected.” Hebrews 12:16-17

As per the book of Timothy:

“If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us.” 2 Timothy 2:12

From 1 John 2:

“See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. IF IT DOES, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.” 1 John 2:24

But the one that stands out most to me is from 2 John:

“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” 2 John 8-9.

As far as the teaching of current pastors regarding the fact that our actions (works) have nothing to do with our salvation, the most important passage comes from James:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” James 2:14

“You see that a person is justified by what he does and not be faith alone.” James 2:24

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26

There are also many different places in the Bible where Jesus Himself states that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. One such verse can be found in the gospel of John:

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” John 14:21

Another one can be found in 1 John 3:

“Those who obey His command live in Him, and He in them.” 1 John 3:24

Now, regarding the idea that people can just say “Jesus is my Savior” and still lie, steal, cheat, etc., the Bible specifically warns against this behavior. In fact, the warning are stern:

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessolonians 2:8-10.

“Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:22

So, here is my opinion on this subject. Based on the above scripture, I believe that if you are a true Christian and endure to the end, staying true to God’s Word, you cannot lose your salvation. As it says in John 10:28, “no one can snatch them out of my hand.” 

Is it possible to be a true Christian and then turn away from God? Yes, I believe it is possible based on the above scripture. If it wasn’t possible, why would there be so many warnings? Remember, Judas was once an apostle but then later betrayed Jesus. Is that because he was never a true Christian? Was it because he was Christian and then turned his back on God? We will never know as only God knows what is truly in someone’s heart and soul.

As far as being a true Christian, I believe that actions will show what it truly in someone’s heart. I do not believe that you can say the words “Jesus is my Savior” and you are guaranteed to enter heaven while continuing to live in sin. I believe that you have to truly give your life over to God, truly believe in your heart that Jesus died for us, and live by His commandments. I think that so many people want to believe that actions don’t matter because it’s easier that way. I also believe that people are being led astray by focusing on one, two or three verses in the Bible. If you truly want to learn the teachings of God, you must read and accept all of it, not just some of it. The Bible can easily be twisted into what you want it to say if you only focus on a few verses. I challenge all who read this post to open up a Bible and read it – not just the gospels, not just the New Testament. Read all of it. Only then will you have the true knowledge of what it takes to be a true Christian.

And that’s my opinion 🙂

 

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House, All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does God’s Grace Give You Permission to Sin? (Part 2)

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As I read one of the letters that Paul wrote today, I was once again reminded that God’s grace does not give us permission to sin. I felt the need to address this topic once again.

As I watch the news and other shows, I am constantly bombarded by stories of betrayal, murder, theft, greed, etc. If that’s not bad enough, I also see some of these same people refer to God and His importance in their lives as they speak. I find this incredibly disturbing.

Paul addresses this issue over and over again in his letters in the New Testament.

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17

“The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

I would like people to think about this. Why are there so many people out there who don’t believe in God because they feel like Christians are hypocrites? Because that is exactly how some people live! Have you ever considered that because of the behavior of some of these hypocrites, others might turn from God and not be saved? Not only are these people putting their own souls at risk, but they are actually hurting Christianity as a whole because they AREN’T living according to the Bible. Yes, we all know that God forgives our sins, but the Bible also tells us that we must live in the Spirit. If we truly live in the Spirit, we cannot live in constant sin. Galatians 5:16-17 clearly states that living in the Spirit and living in sin are in direct conflict with each other. I would like to propose that not everyone who says they are Christian are truly Christian. Remember, the Bible also states that Satan himself parades around the world as an angel of light:

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is  not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

The Bible says many times to “not be deceived”. Know the truth about God. Yes, we are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ if we TRULY accept Him in our heart. This means living in the Spirit and putting aside our sinful nature. Yes, we all will make mistakes, and if we are truly in the Spirit and have left our sinful ways, we will be forgiven. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that just because you speak the words, “Jesus is My Savior” but do not leave your sinful life, that this is sufficient for God. You MUST put aside your sinful behavior, for one cannot truly believe and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior without turning from his/her sinful life.

For those of you who are sick of seeing the behavior of so-called Christians living smack in the middle of a completely sinful life, know that this behavior is not what God is calling us to do. The best advice I can give to you is to open up and read a Bible. That is the only way to know the real truth in God.

 

 

 

A Plea to Andrew Wommack

Today I watched Andrew Wommack as he gave his talk on The True Nature of God. To be honest, I was disturbed. In fact, at one point, I was so upset that I called him a false prophet and I turned off the television. Later, after I had settled down a bit, I looked him up and watched it on line. Why was I so upset? In short, because he states that those who are saved are no longer under “the law” (The Ten Commandments). He claims the Ten Commandments are there only for those who are not saved.

Believe it or not, I actually had a dream about this last night. Was it a divine dream? I think so. I believe that God was calling me to clarify a few things this man said. After watching it on line, I believe there are things Andrew said that were true, but there were also things that I believe were misleading.

It is true that we are under a new covenant and that Jesus Christ died to save us from death. If we truly believe in Him, we are saved. The key word here is “truly”. I have seen many times in my life people who believe that all they have to do is say, “Jesus is My Savior”, and they are guaranteed to go to heaven even if they keep on leading a sinful life. Some people truly believe that by saying those four words, they have an open license to sin. By the way, I wrote a previous blog on this exact subject.

Now, Andrew does say later that if you truly believe in God, you would not hurt others, and this is my point. But by emphasizing that we are no longer under “the law”, I believe you are sending the wrong message. God still expects us to abide by the commandments, and he repeatedly says in the New Testament that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. Here are just a few examples that clearly show that Jesus expects us to abide by the commandments (taken from the gospels):

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matthew 8:21-23

Where did the ten commandments come from? God the Father.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.” Mark 10:18-19

[Jesus said] “…those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:29

[Jesus said] “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent Him is a man of truth: there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” John 7: 17-19

[Jesus said] “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” John 8:51

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-24

[Jesus said] “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

[Jesus said] “Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:9-10

These are just a few of the numerous times Jesus tells us in the New Testament to obey His commands. We do not have a license to sin because we say “Jesus is My Savior” with our mouths. The true test of our belief in God is what is in our hearts, and only God has that knowledge. I do believe that actions speak louder than words, and we can get a glimpse into what a person truly believes based on his or her actions. We are all expected to follow God’s commandments, not just those who are not saved. The above passages from the gospels are very clear about this. I challenge Andrew Wommack clarify this issue on his show. Too many people are misguided.

 

 

 

Does God’s grace give you permission to sin?

To sin because mercy abounds is the devil’s logic.  He that sins because of God’s mercy shall have judgement without mercy.  Mercy abused turns to fury.  Mercy is not for them that sin and fear not, but for them that fear and sin not.

Thomas Watson

 

Over a good portion of my life, I have watched “Christian” people who sin knowing completely well that it is the wrong thing to do. They don’t seem to have any remorse for what they have done, and they keep committing the same sin over and over again.  These same people always come back with the same reasoning that God will forgive them because they believe in Jesus.  Yes, God will forgive those who sin against Him, but does that give these “Christian” people the right to sin?

Recently I was made aware of a situation involving some people who I knew in the past.  The beliefs of this group were generally along these same lines.  They proclaimed to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but the way they lived was anything but Christian.  Recently, one of them had an adulterous relationship and married the paramour.  A comment was made in their guest book by another family member that said “God made the two of you for each other”.  Clearly, God does not condone adultery in any way, shape or form.  This statement by the family member is blasphemous.

Enter antinomianism.  As I was preparing to write this blog, I happened to come across this term, and I was shocked that all this time, this way of thinking actually had a name.  Antinomianism is an unbiblical belief that man can freely sin as he wishes because only the mercy of God is sufficient for salvation.

There are many verses in the Bible that speak to this exact topic and misunderstanding of the scripture.

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkeness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

“What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-2

If someone is a true Christian, they cannot live in sin without the Holy Spirit convicting them of that sin.  Therefore, those who have truly accepted Jesus Christ as their savior will try their hardest to avoid sin and will be unable to live in a state of constant sin.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-18

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24

So how can we tell who are the true Christians?  By their actions.  Remember Judas?  He was one of the twelve disciples yet he betrayed Jesus.  Actions speak louder than words.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 8:18-20

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!”  Matthew 7:21-23

You cannot live in sin if you truly believe in Jesus Christ.  Yes, we are all human and we all sin, and that is why Jesus died for us on the cross.  But the deadly mistake comes when we abuse God’s mercy and think we can sin all the time.  We cannot do this, and this is not what the Bible teaches.  We are not called to sin at will but rather to try to live without sin.

“We know that we have come to know Him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3-4

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 John 5-6

I have heard many people say that deeds have nothing to do with salvation.  But I say that deeds show what is truly in your heart.  This is even addressed in the book of James:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such a faith save him?”  James 2:14

“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  James 2:17

“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.  You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”  James 2:18-19

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  Luke 7: 43-45

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?….But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”  Luke 6:46, 49

I believe that those who believe that they are free to sin as they like because of God’s mercy are falling into this trap of the devil because it is easier to accept than the truth.  Getting salvation while not having to follow any commandments or teachings of God is a tempting road to take, but it is an evil one.  If you want to take the true road to salvation, you have to take the road less traveled and follow His commands.  God will reward you beyond measure in heaven.

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.  I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.”  Revelations 2:2-3

 

 

 

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