No more disclaimers. This is for whomever will listen, and for me to remember.
In the Bible are written givens and conditions which are absolute. Among the givens are those which describe attributes of the Most High God, to which the conditions of our salvation are subjected. In the discipline of geometry, givens and conditions must be known and accepted by all who would work out the equations and wish to come to the correct conclusions. Those found within the Word of God are even more strict, in that where geometry equations may sometimes be worked out with more than one method to arrive at the answer, God makes clear in His Word that only His Way laid out in its pages is the only way to be saved.
For example, one given we know from the Scriptures is that God is Holy.
"For I am the LORD your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy" Leviticus 11:44. The Hebrew word for holiness, transliterated "kedushah" (קדושה) strongly implies separateness. God commanded His people Israel, as well as those who follow Jesus His Son, to be holy and therefore separate from the world, because God Himself is holy and separate. "Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty."" 2 Corinthians 6:17-18.
Another given from the Scriptures is that God is Righteous. "Therefore has the LORD watched on the evil, and brought it on us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he does: for we obeyed not his voice." Daniel 9:14. The Hebrew word for righteousness, transliterated "tse'dek" (צדקים), means both morally correct and in accordance with the law. Paul said in his letter to the Romans "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." Everything that God is and does is morally correct and in acccordance with the law which He established. His world; His rules, and it pleases Him to abide by them faithfully even as His creation violates convenant after covenant from its depravity. It is pure folly to think that God's love overlooks our sin. He loved His people Israel, and they had to continuously offer innocent blood on their behalf because of it. Unblemished lambs had to die for them. He loved the world in this sacrificial manner; He gave the only Son He has to die for us, so that no more blood need be shed for sin.
"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand." Isaiah 53:4-10
We'd better know who God says He is before we listen to any lies or make any assumptions.
The Scriptures tell us also that, as He is holy and righteous, He does *not* tolerate sin. "See, the day of the LORD is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins." Isaiah 13:9-11.
What is sin? We know that the cost of sin is death (Romans 6:23), so it would behoove us to know how it is defined within God's Word. Sin is any thought, word, or deed that breaks God's law, and severs all relationship between humanity and God. Hebrew has 3 words that are translated as sin, giving the word fuller meaning.
1) "Pesha'" (פֶּשַׁע): transgression, defection, rebellion.
2) "'avon" (עָוֹן): perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity.
3) "chet'" (חֵטְא): unintentional sin, crime, or fault, missing the mark, as in archery.
Note that whether we intend to sin or not, they all fall under the umbrella of that which separates us from God and for which the penalty is death. More importantly, notice what is missing from these definitions:
What the world finds acceptable.
Only God defines what separates from Him and places us under His wrath. We can't remove anything from the list and get away with it.
Keep this in mind as we look at another more popular attribute of the Almighty God in Scripture: Love. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8
We know also from the Scriptures that love has other basic attributes, all falling under the umbrella of who God is. "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Those descriptors are contained within a complete thought; each condition of love described is joined with the other. This means that one can *not* therefore take "love bears all things" outside of the context of all the other things love is, such as rejoicing in truth and not sin, or as a defining attribute of the One who is also Holy and Righteous and therefore utterly intolerant of sin.
All the givens of who God is must be considered in total, lest one arrive at an answer that is not simply incorrect, but fatal to the soul.
Most unfortunately for humanity, there are givens about us which make us refuse to do so on our own, as our hearts refuse to repent, our pride enjoys our sin, our will accepts what society says above what God says and won't tolerate subjection. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9-11.
So where does that leave us?
We now know exactly what sin is, let's get to know the full meaning of the only remedy for it.
There are two words in Hebrew; "nacham" (נָחַם): literally; to draw the breath forcibly, to pant, to groan, to be sorry, to rue, to regret, suffer grief. Also "shuwb" (שׁוּב): to return, turn away, turn back, go back. The word was used to describe what God wanted His captive people in Babylon to do with regard to their idolatry... which is the act of worshiping something other than God.
Two in Greek; "metamelomai" (μεταμέλομαι): literally; To care afterwards, to repent one's self. Very close to "nacham". Also "metanoeō" (μετανοέω): to change one's mind for the better, think differently, heartily to amend with abhorrence (to find repugnant, be hostile) to one's past sins. "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" contains this word.
We must repent of our sin, then, which means we must groan in anguish over our rebellion. We must regret it and suffer grief over our perversity. We must turn back and away from our defection. We must care afterwards about the act and not be indifferent to it when we miss the mark. WE MUST FIND OUR SIN REPUGNANT. WE MUST HAVE HATRED FOR OUR SIN.
Yes, God is Love, but our society's act of mistaking Love for tolerance and acceptance of what God has already called sin, and because our flesh likes it a lot *we* decide it is *who we are* and *defines* us, is lethal error; which embraces the penalty of sin in full. Such an act embraces death.
Yes, Jesus spent time with people who were living in sin even by the standards of society. He was very clear as to why. "And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."" Luke 5:30-32.
One can not help but see the implication here; Jesus did not come for everybody.
He didn't come for people who think they are already perfect on their own and require no change; He came for those who know their spirits are destitute and doomed. He came for people who know that they have a terminal disease from which only Jesus, the Great Physician", can heal them.
As I illustrated in "Destroy Your Will", indeed, as this very blog is titled, this isn't Afternoon of Games time; this is a fight to the death, and WE are the ones that will die. ALL of us.
GET THIS. Whether we bow the knee to Christ now, or when we are before the Throne of Judgment, we will bow, and we will die. Here is the catch; when we are saved, we only have die once. You follow what I'm saying?
IF WE STOP PLAYING STUPID GAMES, HATE ALL OF OUR SIN *AS GOD HAS DEFINED IT*, PUT OUR WILL AND PRIDE TO THE SWORD AND FOLLOW JESUS, WE DIE ONLY FOR THIS BLINK OF AN EYE PERIOD THAT SPANS THE DATES THAT WILL BE MARKED ON OUR HEADSTONES!
IF WE *DON'T* STOP ACTING LIKE WE CALL THE SHOTS, AND LOVE OUR SIN *AS GOD HAS DEFINED IT*, AND WORSHIP INSTEAD OUR WILL AND PRIDE, WE DIE BOTH AFTER THE EYE BLINK WE SPEND HERE *AND FOR ALL ETERNITY*.
I'm talking about the Second Death.
Come on, stay with me. We've got sin, we've got repentance, now get what the gifts from the LORD of repentance and salvation keep us from.
"He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Revelation 21:7-8
ENDLESSS DEATH. THIS IS NOT ALLEGORY FOR MERE SEPARATION FROM GOD, THIS IS A PLACE WHICH JOHN THE APOSTLE SAW WITH HIS OWN EYES.
READ THIS NEXT LIKE YOUR SOUL DEPENDS ON IT. GET THIS AND GET IT IN FULL.
The lake of fire and brimstone is an actual place. Jesus referred to it many many times. Everytime he spoke of tares being bundled and put in the fire, or broken, fruitless vine branches picked up and thrown in the fire, trees not bearing good fruit cut down and thrown in the fire, it would be better to go into eternal life crippled than have all your limbs and be thrown into the fire, THAT WE SHOULD NOT FEAR MEN WHO HAVE POWER ONLY TO KILL OUR BODIES BUT FEAR RATHER HIM WHO HAS POWER NOT ONLY TO KILL OUR BODIES BUT THROW OUR SOULS INTO THE FIRE... The Almighty God is speaking about the place He prepared for the devil and his angels. NOT FIGURATIVE. NOT AN ALLEGORY EVEN FOR OBLIVION.
Everlasting fire. Endless spiritual death. Where the worm which consumes does not die, and the fire is never extinguished. Why is it like this? Why does it last forever? Because in addition to being love, God is holy, and righteous, and does NOT. TOLERATE. SIN.
"The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:10-15
Acknowledge your sin. NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS, WHAT *GOD* SAYS IT IS. The act will be more excruciating for some than for others, depending on how deeply they identify with their sin.
The LORD spoke to His disciples about this and how it applies.
"“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. 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. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other." John 15:1-17
We will all bleed. No one will be spared from the pruning shears. All that your will and pride can do to resist, it will do; no matter the cost to your soul.
"WAIT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THOSE SHEARS?? DON'T CUT THAT OFF--NOOO!!! THAT'S MINE!! I NEEDED THAT!! I'VE HAD THAT FOREVER! I'VE BEEN THAT MY WHOLE LIFE!!"
The longer and harder we identify with a sin, the more it will hurt. I am speaking now to those who label themselves homosexual. I do so with love and respect, as someone who is dear to me and brother from another mother counts himself among you. I pray to God it pleases Him to give you the grace to read this in full and seriously consider the words. God loves you, but do not be deceived; forget what those who are filled with hate and fear say; this speaker is not one of them. It is not the person God hates, and as the Spirit of God is in me, nor do I. It is the sin. The Word of God is truth. It is not merely words written by desert nomads thousands of years ago--it is the Word of the LORD, which it pleased Him to use His prophets and apostles to write down to provide instruction for all on whom He pours out His spirit. What you have embraced to your bosoms and identified as *you* is a lie which your will and your pride have declared to your flesh. If it is truly by predisposition, that fact makes it no different from all the sin that the human thought and emotion are capable of.
For example, the greatest sin which my selfish flesh loved most was that of partaking in pornography, no less an abominable sexual sin as homosexuality, as much considered a right to do in our society as homosexuality, and every bit as murderous to the soul. You have placed yourselves in a worse predicament than many of us, because while all who are saved are delivered from sin, not all of us identified with that sin so completely, or joined in solidarity with others who owned it, as to consider ourselves right to make it a permanent part of our lives. That would make the pruning of it from your life cause massive trauma, but such is the elaborate efficiency of this particular sin. Our wills do whatever is necessary to allow what we crave to remain in our lives. It will tell absolutely any lie. It will literally sell your soul and make you believe you got the better of the deal.
And the lie only has to hold until you die.
It is grace of God we all need. Grace of God; a gift we do not deserve, to remove the scales from our eyes and to open them. More and more churches, even what was once my beloved United Church of Christ, defy what the Bible says about this, crafting policies like "Open and Affirming" to bring more people who are unaware or unwilling to acknowledge their sin and be comfortable in the church building. It doesn't want to make people angry by telling them the truth that would save their souls. It would rather lie to them and keep them comfortable and entertained as returning customers... as if they will not have to answer for their disobedience before God. This is what Jesus said about those who lie and lead the flock astray as the United Church of Christ does;
"Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." Luke 17:1-3
The lie only has to hold until you die.
When He gives us this grace to see our true condition, we are then broken, and we cry out to Him for dear life. FOR DEAR LIFE. We repent, we turn away from us and back to God, we confess our sin to Him, we ask for His forgiveness by the Blood of His Son on the cross, and we give our lives over to Him in full. We don't want what our will craves anymore, we just want what our Creator wants to be done in our lives. We in fact recognize our will as the traitor of our souls and put it to death for its treachery. We don't want to yield to whatever form of rebellion our bodies have been satisfied with all these years up to that point; we want only to please the LORD our God and find everlasting joy. Our will and our pride scream and fight and kick and argue against the change, but if God gives us the grace, He drags us to Him inexorably as fish drawn into a boat in a net.
The lie only has to hold until you die.
Then we pray and read the Bible like we sleep and eat nourishing food, beause we want to know more and we are sick of falling for the lie. Then we join Bible studies with other brothers and sisters whom God has also called to serve Him, the true Body of Christ, so we can begin to understand finally what the folks who care more for numbers than for condition of soul neglected to teach. We learn that *we* are to be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, *we* are to be the church, and the Holy Spirit does not occupy a Temple that is unclean. ""Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty."
The lie only has to...
The lie only has to fall and break upon the Stone before it falls on us.
"And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder." Matthew 21:44
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17
Be broken, dear brother, beloved sister. Trust in God's Word. You have been deceived by your own will. Flesh doesn't care about the spirit, so when it lies, it does an excellent job. I speak specifically to one who is very, very dear to me. You know who you are, and I am tired of standing among those who choose to respect you to death. I have loved you like a brother for 75 percent of my life, and as great as it is, I know that my love is nothing in comparison to that of the One who made us. I know it, because His Spirit is in me. He loved me despite my abominable sins, and would have delivered this son of ministers to the fire had He not given me grace to be His sheep, hear His voice, turn back from what I wanted, turn away from my sin and find it repugnant, and give Him my life, that I might serve Him and defend His truth.
Not my opinion, brother. Not a flimsy lie, sister.
God's truth, from His Word, which He gave grace to the prophets and apostles to speak and write down. God's love for you and for me.
God is love. God is righteous. God is holy. Separate. Be ye therefore separate.
Come out from among them.
COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM!!!
My pleading, even now, means nothing. Nothing. If it is His will, then you will. If it is not, then you won't. I pray only that we all seek His face and receive the grace to repent, be forgiven, and be followers of Christ in a world that is swirling the drain.
He loves us. He does not love our sin.
*We* are *not* our sin, no matter what the slogans of those who are bound to them by their flesh say. We are sinners in need of grace, mercy and forgiveness, and to switch labels on what is sin before the LORD, no matter what society says, deceives no one but us, and sends us to the Second Death.
The LORD Jesus said in Luke 6:22 "Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" 2 Corinthians 6:17