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Category Archives: James 2:

The Precious Human Life #1: “Thou shalt not kill”

SIH TOTT ICONINTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

The taking of precious human life, whether justified or not,  is a very important action that should never be taken lightly. Yet sadly in today’s society, human life seems to be becoming an expendable commodity, where life is taken very quickly without much, if any, consideration of the severity of the action about to be performed.

Just turn on the news and you will see beheadings; snipers being honored for killing enemies of war; drone attacks killing their targets and innocent bystanders; putting criminals to death by capital punishment; policemen killing armed and unarmed citizens during attempted arrests; the taking of lives of many innocent men, women and children during mass slayings in schools, theaters etc; the daily taking of life while yet in the womb; acts of ethnic cleansing, etc etc etc. The list is seemingly endless.

Please understand, I am not saying all the above are acts of murder, nor am I saying all the acts above are justifiable killings. As a matter of fact, on purpose, I tried to mix what I believe are both types of killings together on purpose. That is because this devotional series is not meant to define what is and isn’t justifiable killings. To do so, would take away from the intent and subject of the series

{For the record: I personally believe that the Bible teaches the existence of both murder and, with very specific limitations, justifiable killings. In my mind, based on my studies justifiable killings would include self-defense, defense of family, governmental punishment for wrongdoing, loss of life due to accidents, and wars to stop the abuse of others.

Unfortunately I believe many of the wars we enter into are not justifiable. They are motivated by political or economic motives and not sincerely being started out of a heart of love wanting to help those who are abused and mistreated. We go to war in places where we have “national interests”, while we allow abuse and killings to take place in other countries that are labeled as containing “no national interests” without lifting a finger to help the abused and murdered. These things ought not so to be.

This is all I am going to say on this subject for this series. The detailed study on this subject is for a later time. The last thing I want during this series is to get sidetracked with debates about what is and isn’t justifiable killing. In my experience, normally more heat than light comes from this type of debate and it will take our attention off the subject of this devotion series.}

This series is about emphasizing the preciousness of ALL human life and the impact of taking ANY human life, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES surrounding the act. Because of the great impact of the killing of man upon mankind, we are to very seriously, carefully use the revelation of Scripture consider our actions before any life is taken. And yet, in today’s time it seems to be taken so easily, without due consideration to what is actually taking place when a life is taken.

The Bible clearly presents the need to realize that the taking of any human life, without regard to the circumstances of the killing, is a very weighty act that holds eternal repercussions, not only for the one killed but for mankind and society as a whole. The basis of this teaching is found in the wondrous nature, purpose and need of mankind.

Our devotional series will contain six daily devotions, all of which will emphasize the wondrous nature of the human creation and the loss inflicted upon mankind when a human life is taken from their midst…

1. Thou Shalt Not Kill (Exo 20:13)
2. The Glory and Honor Of Man (Psa 8:4-6)
3. God’s Image & Likeness (Gen 1:26-27)
4. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Psa 139:14-16)
5. The Minister and Witness Of These Things (Acts 26:16-17)
6. Prepare To Meet Thy God (Amos 4:12)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” (Exo 20:13, James 2:11, 1 John 3:12-15)

In both OT and NT, we find the clear prohibition to the purposeful taking of human life for unjustifiable reasons (aka murder):

1. MURDER CLEARLY PROHIBITED…

Exodus 20:13 KJV – “Thou shalt not kill.”

2. MURDER IS DEFINED AS TRANSGRESSING (VIOLATING, STEPPING OVER THE BOUNDS OF) THE LAW OF GOD…

James 2:11 KJV – “For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”

3. HATRED OF HEART LEADING TO MURDER, AND THE ACT OF MURDER ITSELF, SHOWS A MAN TO BE WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, ALIENATED FROM CHRIST, AND LACKING ETERNAL LIFE…

1 John 3:12-15 KJV – “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

Folks based upon these three texts, and many others found throughout the Bible, we need to see that MURDER IS PROHIBITED BY GOD and is such a heinous act that it is the mark of an unregenerate man. These principles alone cry out for us to seriously consider our actions before we choose to willfully take the life of any other human being, our physical brother, based upon our creation….

Malachi 2:10 KJV – “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”

May we all come to understand the devastating effects of taking human life and the need for an intense detailed examination of the Scripture for every circumstance where the willful taking of physical life is a possibility.

In our next devotional, we will be being looking at the preciousness of human life by examining man, who is given glory and honor by God.

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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 1)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In

1 Cor 13:8

Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

 

 

 

Lesson:


The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”

Our text for this lesson is found in 1 Corinthians 13:.

1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2) And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4) Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8) Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

 

Here is a short outline of the entire chapter…
1)    The Definition and Indicators Of Biblical Love  vs 1-7
2)    Partial Versus Complete Knowledge   vs 8-10
3)    Illustrations of Partiality versus Completeness   vs 11-12
4)    Superiority Of Biblical Love vs 13

 

 

 

For this part of our study, we will be looking at verses 8-13….

 

8) Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Here, Paul makes it very plain that love is the only gift of the four divine gifts (love, prophecy, tongues, knowledge) that will exist eternally.   In our previous studies, we explained that knowledge prophecy and tongues were related to the divine inspiration and accreditation of Scripture (along with the accreditation of the local church).

 

(Please note it is crucial to understand the meaning of the phrases “shall fail”, “shall cease”, and “shall vanish away”)…

  1. “shall cease”
  2. is the Greek word – “pauo” – it means “to stop”, “to be made complete” and “to end”.
  3. is in the middle voice, meaning the subject of the verb is acting upon itself.  In other words, tongues would “stop by themselves” or “would be ended in and of themselves”
  4. “shall fail” and “shall vanish away”
  5. Both of these phrases are the same Greek word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
  6. Both of these are in the passive voice meaning the subject of the verb receives the action.  In other words, our verse is saying that “the perfect thing” (vs 10) will cause both knowledge and prophecy to “no longer be exercised”, or “to vanish away”

 

9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

Out of the four previously mentioned gifts from God… knowledge and prophecy are set apart by being described as “in part”.  What does “in part” mean?  This phrase is referring to the nature of divinely inspired revelation to man.  Keep in mind, as God handed down His word to mankind, he did it over many years and many different men.  He gave it a part at time, not all at once.   (Isa 28:9-13)

 

The gifts of prophecy and knowledge were “in part” which teaches us that… as each prophecy came from God (as each bit of knowledge came to man) they were “one part” of the whole of divine revelation to man.  Until the final revelation from God was received by John on the Isle of Patmos (the book of Revelation), both knowledge and prophecy received by man was only a piece of His Word.  At the end of the message given to John on Patmos, the word was finally completed.  It was only then that mankind had the prophecy and knowledge God had chosen to give to man was made complete.

 

Love exists eternally, knowledge, prophesying and the gift of tongues will definitely come to an end, making love a much more valuable gift from God.

 

 

10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Paul describes what causes prophecy and knowledge to vanish away.  He describes it as “that which is perfect.  To help us understand what Paul is referring to, we need to recognize a few important points in our study…
a)    Remember, in the previous verse of our study we saw that the gifts that were “in part” were the gifts of prophecy and knowledge.
b)    Also, we saw that the ending of these gifts were described by the Greek word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
c)     Thirdly, we learned that based on the Greek passive voice, something must act upon the knowledge and prophecy “to render it useless” or “to cause it to vanish away.”

 

What has acted on the gift of prophecy and knowledge rendering them worthless and causing them to vanish away?

It is the completed revelation from God… Once God had given to man all of His Word, there was no need for prophecy or knowledge gifts any longer… they were now useless, ineffective and worthless because the Lord was not going to add to the Word He had given to men. In other words, divine inspiration ceased and with it, the gifts linked directly to it…. prophecy and knowledge.

a)    Remember, the Lord has made it plain that the Word He has given to us is now complete. We will be receiving no additional inspired truth from Him.  (Rev 22:18, Heb 1:1-2)
b)    We know it is His Word that is “perfect” based on the Greek word for “perfect”… The word for perfect is “telios” – which means “complete”, “finished”, “brought to completion”.  “Telios” refers to the Word of God in James 1:25.  Contextually, based on the subject matter of prophecy and knowledge and the inspiration of the Word, it makes sense that the Word is what is being described as “perfect”…

 

Please note: Not once in Scripture does the word telios refer to sinlessness. Here is every use of the word “telion” in the Bible. Every time it is used it is linked to the completed Word and Spiritual Maturity.  

  1. The Word Of God
    1. James 1:25 – telion speaks of Bible perfect replacing imperfect.
  2. Spiritual Maturity Brought About Through The Word
    1. Eph 4:11-13 – telion speaks of mature man based upon receipt of knowledge resulting in unity
    2. Hebrews 9:11 – telion is speaking of new tabernacle compared to old. Completed NT revelation revealing Christ as completed Messiah prophecy
    3. Hebrews 8:13 – when the NT was complete the OT was thrown down and perfect (Word revealing Christ) has replaced imperfect
    4. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebs 5:12-6:5 – Bible brings men to maturity
  3. Marks Of Spiritual Maturity
    1. Love – matt 5:44-48, Luke 6:36
    2. Dedication to lord – matt 19:21
    3. Spiritual discernment – 1 cor 2:6,14, hebs 5:14
    4. Attitudes – 1 cor 14:20
    5. Truth of gospel salvation, perfect not sinless – phil 3:15
    6. Unity w lord – col 1:28
    7. Faithful to lord – col 4:12
    8. Patience – James 1:4
    9. The gifts of the Lord – James 1:17
    10. Faith/works – James 2:22

(Please note that in Matthew 5:44-48 – “telion” does refer to the Lord. However, in the context, it is not speaking of the Lord’s sinlessness, it is speaking of the spiritual maturity that He displays as He shows unconditional love to those who are around Him. No place in Scripture does the word “telios” mean sinlessly perfect.)

 

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that the term “perfect” does not refer to the completed Word of God. Instead, let’s assume that “perfect” in our text refers to the Lord at His second coming or the eternal sinless state. We have already seen that this “perfect thing” that is coming must act on the gifts of prophecy and knowledge rendering them useless.

If this is so then…
a)    We have to say that the Lord is continually revealing His inspired word to man throughout the ages. In other words, His word is not in completed form, but He is continually adding to His revealed Word to man. This revealing of the Word will only stop at His second coming.
b)    If this is so, we should be continually adding to the Scriptures.  Every new revelation God gives to man should be added to the Scriptures.  This principle does away with the warning given throughout God’s Word to not add to the Scriptures (Revelation 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6).
c)    And also the fullness and completeness of God’s Word for us to use is done away with.  Therefore, we cannot count on His Word being the complete set of instructions for us to live by. (2 Tim 3:16-17)  In this hypothetical scenario, we may face situations that the Word cannot equip us to face.  What happens if the part of the Word we need now, will not be revealed to man for another 25 years?  Our entire view of the Scriptures must change if this is the case.

However, the Bible clearly tells us otherwise…
a)    The Word of God has been given to us resulting in us being given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)
b)    We are told that it is through the Word that we can know fully (Ephesians 3:3-5, Romans 16:25-27). These imply we have no need of other revelation than found in His Word.
c)     In Jude 1:3 we read that the truth was “once” delivered unto the saints. The term “once” is translated from a Greek word that means “once and for all”. In other words, the truth of God was revealed to us through His Word, and at its completion, no other revelation would be needed or given. This is exactly the point of our 1 Corinthians 13 passage.
d)    Also in Ephesians 2:20, we find that the teachings of the Christ, the Apostles, and the Prophets make up the foundation of the Lord’s local churches. This clearly implies the Scriptures would be completed during the founding years of the local assemblies. How can His churches be founded upon something which would not be completed for many years to come? It would be impossible. The very illustration of a foundation teaches us that the Word (just like the foundation) must be completed before the local assembly can be established (like the house that will be framed, roofed and then brought to completion FOLLOWING the completion of its foundation).  A foundation is never completed during or after the completion of the house which stands upon it.

The Word of God is clear that it is a completed document that can be relied upon to meet our every need. Again, keeping all of this in mind helps us to understand that the Word is complete and then it follows that the gifts related to the inspiration of His Word are no longer necessary.

 

11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

 

Paul now uses the example of the maturing of the process of understanding is used to picture the process of God’s revealed Word being brought to completion.  Just as Paul’s growth allowed him to come to a more mature and full understanding of life, so too, as God’s Word is brought to completion, it brings to us a fuller understanding of our Lord and our responsibilities as servants.

Based on the Word being brought to completion during the age of the Corinthian church. It was time for them to “grow up” and become mature as well. It would only be at that time that they could use the wonderful blessing of His completed Word to help them to correct the many errors in their assembly.

 

12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Paul now compares our knowledge of God in our sinful flesh with mankind’s knowledge of God with only a portion of His Word given to them.  In both cases, an incomplete view of God is had by man.

  1. Paul describes a time when God cannot be seen clearly
  2. Paul describes our life in our sinful flesh as seeing our Lord “through a glass darkly”.
  3. Paul then compares this to mankind trying to see a full picture of Christ with only a portion of God’s Word given to man. “now I know in part”.
  4. Paul next describes when we can receive a fuller knowledge of Christ
  5. When we go home to be with the Lord in heaven, it is seeing Him “face to face”, this will result in seeing Him much more clearly than while in our sinful flesh.
  6. Paul then compares this to receiving His completed Word which gives us a much more full revelation of the Lord.  “ then shall I know even as also I am known” .

 

In other words, God bringing His Word to completion gives us a much greater knowledge of who He is and what He has done for us. This is being related to man who while in his fallen, fleshly body is greatly limited in knowledge about Him. But when we receive glorified bodies in our eternal state, we will see Him much more clearly.

 

Also, keep in mind, both of these illustrations are illustrations CONCERNING AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE AND KNOWLEDGE INCREASING to a state of completeness. This is another point that cannot be ignored.

 

To say “that which is perfect” is speaking of spiritual maturity, the second coming of Christ, or the eternal state does not jive with these two illustrations when they are taken together. One illustration could be said to be speaking of spiritual maturity (vs 11) and other one could be said to be about His second coming and the future state (vs 12).

 

However, the only principle that is being brought out in both illustrations is the principle of incomplete knowledge and understanding being brought to a finished or completed state. Again pointing us back directly to His Word being brought from a state of being “in part” to a finished state of completion.

 

 

13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

 

After telling us about the Word and it’s soon completion, Paul now brings us back to the original thought… love is even greater than our three existing gifts of faith, hope and love.

 

Why didn’t Paul mention prophecy or knowledge as abiding (to continue on for extended period of time, to endure to limit)? We have already seen they would end within a short period of time from the writing of 1 Corinthians when Word was brought to completion (about 20 years).  So he didn’t include these on our list.

 

But why didn’t he include the gift of tongues… when did they cease to exist?  Tongues ceased to exist, around the same time as knowledge and prophecy.  Tongues were one of several “sign gifts” that God gave to mankind. The gift of tongues were handed down through the laying on of the Apostles hands. At the death of the last Apostle, the gift of tongues would no longer be able to be passed down and, therefore, died “in and of themselves” (“they shall cease” – vs 8).

 

Keep in mind, the last Apostle living was the Apostle John. John penned the last book of the Bible (Revelation) in approximately 97 AD and died approximately 100 AD. Following his death tongues could no longer be handed down and went out of existence soon afterward, well within the time frame of this study. We will look at the ending of tongues in great detail in a later portion of this study.

 

Putting all of this together, it is easy to see why only faith, hope and charity are said to “abide” (to stay in place for an extended period of time).  The gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues would go out of existence within a few years after Paul’s ministry would be complete.

 

But not so with faith, hope and love.  They would continue on until the second coming of Christ.  When Christ comes back we will have no need of faith nor hope…. As we begin, our eternity with Him, we will begin the process of receiving all His promises to us.  Faith and hope will no longer be needed, we will be experiencing all He has for us.

 

At that point, faith and hope will no longer be in existence, but only love will continue on to eternity.  Thus making “love” the greatest gift of all that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:.

  • Gifts are temporary but love is eternal
  • Gifts are elementary but love is mature
  • Gifts are partial but love is complete

 

 

Based upon our study, we have seen that the gifts involving the Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth (Knowledge) and the Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth (Prophecy) came to an end with the completion of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, in approximately 97 AD. We also saw that the gifts involving the Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth (Tongues) came to an end within one generation following the death of John in 100 AD.

 

In our next lesson, we will see that the end of the Accrediting gifts can be understood by examining the 70 year time frame that the Lord uses to accredit His Word and the places of worship He has established.

 

 

 

 

Additional Information:

The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”

Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

 

Pro 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

 

Isa 28:9-13 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
(10) For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
(11) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
(12) To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
(13) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

 

Mat 5:44-48 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
(45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
(46) For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
(47) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
(48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

 

Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

 

Luk 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

 

Rom 16:25-27 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
(26) But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
(27) To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Written to the Romans from Corinthus, and sent by Phebe servant of the church at Cenchrea.

 

1Co 2:6-14 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
(7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
(8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
(9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
(10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
(11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
(12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
(13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
(14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

1Co 13:8-13 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
(9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
(10) But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
(11) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
(12) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

 

Eph 2:19-20 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
(20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

 

Eph 3:3-5 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
(4) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
(5) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

 

Eph 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 

Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

 

Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

 

2Ti 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
(17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

Heb 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

 

Heb 5:12-6:5 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
(13) For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
(14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
(1) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
(2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
(3) And this will we do, if God permit.
(4) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
(5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

 

Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 

Heb 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

 

Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

 

Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

 

Jas 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

 

Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

 

Rev 22:18-20 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
(19) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(20) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 4 – What About Good Works?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #4…. What about good works? ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Rom 3:19-27 (KJV)

19) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.

21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22) Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

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;

26) To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27) Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Titus 3:1-8 (KJV)

1) Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

2) To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

3) For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.

4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8) [This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:12-14 (KJV)

12) When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

13) Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

14) And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)

11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Col 1:9-14 (KJV)

9) For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14)            In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:

Jas 2:14-26 (KJV)

14) What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15) If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16) And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?

17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

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?

22) Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23) And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

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.

Gal 5:19-26 (KJV)

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.

26) Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Rom 5:17-6:11 (KJV)

17) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6

1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

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.

7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10) For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE STUDY:

Salvation cannot be merited through the keeping of God’s laws… the laws were given to show us our sinful condition.

Rom 3:19-27 (KJV) Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  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;  To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Salvation is based upon the work of Christ upon the cross… not our good works.  Notice in this text that Paul first acknowleges the universal sinfulness of mankind.  He then speaks of the work of Christ on behalf of His people, doing the work of salvation for them.  Paul then emphasizes that, because Christ has done all the work for our salvation, we cannot in any way boast or glory in it.  He them summarizes by teaching us, in no uncertain terms, that “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

If man is either saved by his works, or keeps himself saved by his works, then there is room for he sinner to boast.  After all, not only did Christ do His work on the cross on the sinners behalf, but also the sinner, through his own labors either brought salvation to himself, or kept himself saved.  According to Paul, this cannot be.

A Christian’s good works are done to glorify and honor our Lord in the eyes of others…   

Titus 3:1-8 (KJV) Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  [This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 2:11-14 (KJV) – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

If a Christian does not perform good works to gain or keep salvation, why should He strive to live a life pleasing to God?  In Titus 2:11-14, we are told that a Christian’s good works are motivated out of appreciation for what He has done for us.  He has given us the blessed hope of eternity with Him and He has redeemed us from our sin through His death on the cross.

We find another motive for living a Godly life in Titus 3:1-8, here Paul explains to us that the production of good works in the life of a Christian is “good and profitable unto men.”  Good works aid others, they show the wonderful change that takes place in the life of one who has trusted in Christ.  Also, living a godly life of good works reveals Christ to others.

By bearing spiritual fruit…

Titus 3:12-14 (KJV) – When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come

unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.  Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.  And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Col 1:9-14 (KJV) – For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:

Gal 5:19-26 (KJV)  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  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.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Bearing spiritual fruit is another way of describing good works in the life of a Christian.  Once again Paul  emphasizes the need for good works in the above verses by stating, “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful”; “ That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”; and finally, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Why do these things? Well, in the above verses Paul tells us in Titus 3:12-14 because it is “necessary” in the proclaimation of the gospel. In Col 1:9-14, we are told to bear fruit out of a heart of appreciation considering all He has done for us.   In Gals 5:19-26, we are to bear fruit because it is proof of a genuine salvation experience/.  Paul also tells us in Gals 5: that the furit bearing that takes place in a Christian’s life is the result of the enabling and leadership of the indwelling Spirit of God.

And by visibly declaring our faith to others.

Jas 2:14-26 (KJV) – What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Here James helps us to understand the importance of good works in the life of a Christian.  James argument is this… It is an easy thing to say “I love Jesus”, “ I am a follower of Christ”… etc etc. Many who have never trusted in Christ can make these statements.  It is only when we see good works resulting from their conversion that we can begin to believe their confession of faith is sincere.

James makes these statements:

“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

It is an issue of sincerity.  If someone wishes peace, warmth and being filled upon one who is in need, can he be sincere if he doesn’t do anything to help the needy individual?  Likewise, works shows to others we have experienced a sincere trusting in Christ as our Savior.

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Here, James points out that works are absolutely necessary to declare our faith to others.  Without good works, we can say we have trusted in Christ, but there is no proof in our life that we have experienced conversion.

James immediately follows these verses with a description of the type of belief that demons possess.  Here, he makes it plain that demons do have a sincere belief in God.  It is so sincere they actually tremble at the thought of God.  However, this is not the type of belief that brings salvation…. DEMONS ARE NOT SAVED!   How do we know this?  They lack the good works that prove their belief is a saving faith that produces change in the heart of the believer.

James follows this teaching using the lives of Abraham and Rahab.  In both cases, his teaching is that because their life had changed and they began performing good works, their faith is not in question.  They proved through their lives that their salvation was genuine.

Finally, James closes with “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  Based upon the previous verses leading to this this statement it is plain to see what James meant.  He is saying that if any type of faith that does not cause a change of lifestyle is a dead faith (ie a faith that is of no benefit, it is only a hollow worthless profession)

What type of “change in lifestyle” does a genuine faith produce?  It is a lifestyle of good works, turning from past sins to a position of submission to the desires of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Although obtaining and keeping salvation is entirely of grace without good works, we can not use this teaching to justify living an ungodly life…

 Rom 5:17-6:11 (KJV)  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:  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.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul answers a question that has been asked throughout the ages and continues to be asked even to this day… “If salvation is truly by grace, and if I cannot loose my salvation, doesn’t that give the Christian allowance to live a life of rampant sin?

Paul answer is plainly stated in the above passage… “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:  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”

In other words, Paul is saying, “How can I person who has trusted in Christ, and received a new life, continue to live in sin.  How can someone who has publicly declared his relationship to Christ via the ordinance of baptism, now choose to live a sinful life of dishonor to the very Lord who saved you?   A Christian needs to understand that it was our sins that sent Christ to the cross… if we believe that how could we blatantly commit sin and not be sorrowful and concerned about it’s presence in our life?”

Based upon our study today, the answer to our question, “If salvation is truly by grace, and if I cannot loose my salvation, doesn’t that give the Christian allowance to live a life of rampant sin?”

NO, the teaching of salvation by grace, apart from ANY works of man, does not justify living a sinful life after salvation… A)  A true salvation experience results in a changed life  B) Out of concern for the glory of Christ and the need of those who are lost around us, we are to live sinless lives.  C)  Lives of good works contradict the very salvation we claim to possess.  We say we are sorry for our sins, how can we live in them.  We say we believe that Christ died on the cross for our sins, how can we continue to commit them without concern or sorrow?

1Pet 1:13-16 (KJV)

13) Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14) As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that salvation is by God’s grace without the performance of good works to either obtain or keep our salvation…. In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

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www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

I’m Saved! In Church I Walked Down The Aisle and Said A Prayer…

SIH STSTA ICONAs a Pastor of 15 years, I used to ask the question, “Have you ever been saved from your sins?”.  I have received many different responses to this question.  Here are a few of them…

“Of course, I was baptized as a baby in (church name)”;

“Yes, I am saved, I am a member of (church name)”;

“Yes, I have kept all the sacraments of my church”;

“Yes, I was born into a Christian family, we’ve been Christians for at least four generations”;

“Why yes, thank you for asking, I walked down the aisle of (church name) and said the sinners prayer back in September of 2001”;

and many, many more.

It has broken my heart to hear responses like this coming from those for whom I care.  If you notice, in every case, the above responses imply that our salvation is based on something we have done.  The Bible makes it plain that our salvation does not lie in what we have done, but what the Lord has done in us.  (John 6:44-45, 6:63-66, Eph 2:8-10, Php 2:12-13, Col 1:25-29, Titus 3:4-5)

So where did we get the idea that salvation is based on something that we have done?  Sad to say, in many cases, the churches of today must take responsibility for fostering this false belief.  Since I am a Baptist pastor, I will use Baptist churches for my example… my heart aches when I see other Baptist pastors, at the close of the service, beg and plead for people to “come down the aisle and be saved” or “repeat the sinners prayer after me and be saved”.

In many cases, this is done by well-meaning pastors who are trying to encourage those in attendance to make a commitment to Christ.   But, instead of bringing about commitment, they are encouraging others to trust in a work for their salvation.

Please remember, a person can be saved just as easily standing in the pew, or sitting in a chair, or lying in a bed etc etc.  The Lord can work in the heart at anytime and any place, not just at the altar in the front of the church.  Likewise, salvation comes through Christ creating faith into the heart of the faithless, not by us saying any prayer.

Whenever the gospel message is given out in the Bible, it is never accompanied with the instructions to walk an aisle, or say a “sinner’s prayer” (the same can be said for baptism, church membership, keeping the sacraments, or being born into a Christian family).   The gospel message, when given in the Bible, is accompanied with the instructions to trust in Christ and His work. (Acts 16:30-31, John 3:15-16 etc etc)

The only way we can be certain we are saved is by knowing the Lord has worked in our lives.  How can we know this for sure?  The Bible makes it plain….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. … For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2Co 5:17-21)

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  (Jas 2:14-26)

THE STUDY:

In the Bible, a true salvation experience brings about change in the life of the believer.  When God intervenes in the life of a sinner and brings him to salvation, the newly saved person becomes a new creation in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17-21)  This “new creation” involves a new attitude about the Lord and sin.  (Eph  4:22-24)  The newly saved now sees Christ as their Lord and despises the sin in their life.  This new attitude then motivates the Christian to begin a life of service to their Lord and Savior.  This service is described as fruit bearing. (John 15:1-5, Gals 5:19-26)  This changed life is one of the reasons why God has saved us (Eph 2:8-10).

Also, this changed life is what gives us the ultimate assurance that the Lord has worked a work of saving grace in our lives. James clearly presented this principle in James chapter 2.  In verses 14-26, James refers to “dead” faith as opposed to a Godly saving faith.  How can we tell the difference?  James tells us the works that we perform will reveal the true nature of the faith we have within us.   The lack of a changed life shows us that the faith we possess is not of God but simply a work that we performed in and of ourselves (a dead faith).  A changed life brought about by our faith, shows us that our faith is a work of God in our heart. (Please read James 2:14-26 in it’s entirety to come to a full understanding of James’ teachings.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

So let me rephrase my original question, “Have you ever exercised faith in Christ?  If so, has this faith produced a changed life within you?  Do you now love the Lord and seek to please Him with your life.  Do you now hate sin and strive to rid it from your life?”  These questions get to the heart of our spiritual condition.

If you can say, “yes” to all three, you can be assured that you have been forgiven of your sins and are a part of God’s family.  If you must say “no” to any, or all, of these then you must come to the realization you are yet in your sins.  If you are yet in your sins, please follow the dictates of God’s Word….

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”(1Jn 5:11-13)

If you would like more information about salvation, please refer to my blog page entitled “forgiveness”.

Also, if you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Secret Millionaires

SIH STSTA ICONWho would not like to trade places with John Carpenter, the first million dollar winner on the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTLnTK8qanw

Winning a game show or a lottery is the dream of a lifetime for many people.  The desire for huge amounts of money is a desire most of us have at one time or another.

Ironically, this dream of earthly wealth is a desire for fleeting value.  If we received a huge amount of money how long can we enjoy and use this wealth?  Only for the length of our lifetime (maybe 50, 60, or 70 years max).

Sadly, there are possessions of much greater, eternal value that we choose to ignore.  What is of greater value to us than money?  What can we truly “take with us” after we pass away?    We will see what this eternal wealth is in today’s study…

THE SCRIPTURE:

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

THE STUDY:

In the book of James, the apostle writes to Jews who had fled from their homeland due to persecution by the Roman Empire.   They were a discouraged, broken and POOR people.  In most cases, they departed with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They had lost their home, their livestock, their social standing, their savings, everything. This is the context of James’ message, he desired to encourage those who had lost all this world had to offer.  So what can you say to those who had “lost it all”?

First, he reminds them that they are loved by God… “My beloved brethren.”  The love of our God is of far greater value than any riches this world has to offer.  It is because of God the Father’s love for us that He was willing to send His Son to die.  It was because of God the Son’s love for us that He was willing to bear our sin and die on the cross.  It is because of God the Spirit’s love that He lives within us, accompanying us and guiding us as we walk through this life.  If we only have God’s love, we are very wealthy indeed. (See John 3:16, 1 John 3:16 John 14:23)  But the results of His love for us do not stop there. Actually what He does for us cannot begin to be listed, the list would be endless.

In our verse, James gives us two other products of God’s love… being “rich in faith” and “heirs of the kingdom that he hath promised”.   Both of these are eternal in nature… they will exist long after we have departed from this earth.  (1 Cor 2:9)

The value of faith cannot be underemphasized. It is directed to past, present and future time frames. God-given faith in Christ and His work, is an absolute requirement for God’s forgiveness and our salvation from sin (past).  (Please refer to 1 Pet 1:5-9)  Once saved, we continue to exercise faith in Him on a daily basis, looking to Him in all our decision making (present).  Also it is through faith, that we receive all of His future promises to us (future).

This brings us to the second great product of God’s love to us, the heirship of the kingdom that he has awaiting for us.  His kingdom, refers to all that He controls throughout eternity.   A heavenly home, living in His presence, rewards for our obedience, and the authority to rule with Him over the new earth are all a part of the life awaiting us.

The results of our heirship go beyond our earthly understanding. In Revelation 21:-22: John gives us a limited glimpse of the greatness of our eternity awaiting us.  Beginning with personally walking with God, to living a life where pain, sorrow, and sickness no longer exist, ending with a dwelling place of pure gold, his account of our eternity is clearly beyond our understanding.  Our eternity is so great… it cannot be valued, nor understood, with our human reasoning (see 1 Cor 2:9).

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

There is no doubt that God’s love to us, far outweighs the fleeting riches of this world. For the saved, every second we live, every breath we take, is filled with His gracious presence, protection and sealing, giving us peace that we are one of His and heaven bound!   This is the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” Peter talks about in 1 Pet 1:8.  It is a joy that should constantly exist in our lives no matter what circumstances we are facing.  God’s love should motivate the Christian to have a continually thankful joyous heart for all He has done, and will do for us.

For those of us who have not experienced the grace of God in our hearts, there is a void that cannot be filled apart from the love and joy only God gives.   Do you have that feeling of emptiness within you?  Have you been searching for that certain “something” that will make you feel whole and at peace?   Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can fill that void.  By trusting in Him and His work on the cross; by accepting Him as the Lord of your life and committing your life to Him, you will find forgiveness, peace, and eternal love and the fulfillment.

In other words, to become a secret millionaire all we must do is… look to Jesus and live…

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:27-28)

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”