SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT (EXCERPT OF THE FIRST AND SECOND RESURRECTIONS)
From: The First and Second Resurrections, by Robert B. Thompson
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
To employ believing in Jesus as the only aspect of the victorious Christian life, not following the Spirit’s guidance in using the additional means God has provided for overcoming the world, our fleshly lusts, and our self-centeredness, will lead to confusion, passivity, despair, and finally, spiritual destruction—a complete loss of inheritance.
Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament Scriptures advocates a belief in God apart from the daily, active, diligent, intense, single-minded seeking of God’s will in every area of personality and behavior.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [the result is] everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
Everlasting life is the result of holiness. We become holy as we obey the teaching of the Apostles.
It is of God that we address Jesus as Lord. It also is of God that we do what Jesus says. It is vain to call Jesus, Lord and then not do what He says.
Jesus will not obey the commandments for us although He certainly stands ready to assist us as we come to Him for help. We must obey God in all that the Apostles have stated. When we obey the Word, God sets us free from sin. When we do not obey the Word we are not set free from sin. The result of slavery to sin is spiritual death.
Perhaps the reader is weighing the two alternatives. Should I rest in Jesus and wait for Him to live the Christian life in me or should I obey the numerous commandments in the Gospels and the Epistles, praying always to God to help me overcome the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of my self-will?
Must I overcome or did Jesus do all the overcoming for me?
If you are making this choice now we suggest you reread the New Testament and discover for yourself whether it teaches that Jesus will do it all for you and in you or whether you must make the effort to meditate continually in the written Word, being careful to do all it commands.
The majority of the passages of Paul’s epistles speaks of the absolute necessity of righteous, holy, and obedient conduct if one is to inherit the Kingdom of God. Pick one of Paul’s epistles at random. See for yourself how much of it is devoted to righteous, holy, and obedient behavior. Observe if Paul presents such works as desirable only but not essential to our entrance into the Kingdom of God.
The context of the third chapter of Philippians has to do with the true works of the saint.
Paul disowns the “dead works” of Judaism as “loss for Christ.”
Paul refers to all other “things” that were gain to him as “dung.”
However, Paul associates certain works with “the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
Let us examine those “works,” for they are the true works that bring us to the first resurrection from the dead.
- Gaining the excellency of the knowledge of Christ his Lord.
- Suffering the loss of all things.
- Counting all things but dung.
- Winning Christ (and this toward the end of his life—perhaps six years before his martyrdom!).
- Being found in Christ.
- Gaining the knowledge of the power of Christ’s resurrection.
- Gaining the knowledge of the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.
- Being conformed to the death of Christ.
- Forgetting the things that are behind.
- Reaching forth to the things that are before.
- Pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.
These works constitute the true Christian walk. Paul was a giant of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God because he always was pressing toward the mark of the upward calling of God—the calling to the first resurrection.
That these attitudes and actions are works can be seen in the following verses:
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)
The “righteousness which is of God by faith” includes a walk, a pursuit of Christ.
It has been supposed that Paul, when contrasting faith and works, was comparing belief in Christ with the living of a righteous life. Such is not the case.
Rather Paul was comparing the attempt to gain righteousness by our self-directed works—particularly, in Paul’s case, the works of the Law of Moses, with the single-minded pursuit of Christ.
There is an enormous chasm between interpreting Paul’s teaching to mean we should pursue Christ rather than our own program of good deeds, and interpreting his doctrine to mean God is saving us on the basis of Christ’s righteousness and we are quite free to live our life as we see fit while we are waiting to go to Heaven.
The only true Christian life is the life of single-minded consecration. The present level of Christian experience is far below the standard of the Scriptures.
Paul never said or implied it does not really matter how the saints behave, that they will not be rewarded according to their behavior. Our conscience, Paul’s exhortations and personal behavior, and the entire Scriptures, tells us this cannot be true.
Paul taught we must give our life to gain the knowledge of God. Now that Christ, God’s Son, has been sent down from Heaven and has died on the cross for our sins, and has been raised for our justification, we are not to develop our own program of good deeds and attempt to please God by performing them.
We are to abandon our schemes for attaining God’s approval and turn our attention to the single-minded, intense, fervent, desperately earnest seeking of union with our Lord Jesus. This is what it means to be saved by faith rather than by works.
When we are pursuing Christ with zeal, in all fervency of spirit, we are regarded as righteous in the sight of God. Christ is covering us with His atoning blood.
Christ is God’s beloved Son. God desires that we hear Him, not that we develop some plan of redemption of our own or go back to the Law of Moses.
Christ is our Righteousness when we are abiding in Him, when we are living by His body and blood, when we are seeking Him night and day. We are not anxious concerning our past sins. They have been cast behind God’s back. Our seeking of Christ is the righteousness God desires and we shall be rewarded accordingly.
It appears the majority of Christian believers of today are not seeking Christ with all their heart. They are living with one foot in the world. They bear the image of the world in their actions and thoughts. They live like the world.
All such will be rewarded according to their works.
As the Scripture declares, every person will be rewarded according to his deeds.
We have stated previously that the eternal Life that comes to us from Christ always reveals itself in righteous, holy, and obedient behavior. Where there is unrighteous, filthy, and disobedient behavior there is no eternal Life of God. It is as simple and as straightforward as that.
We must be laying hold on eternal life, on our union with Christ, at every moment throughout our lifetime. To not do so is to invite the forces of sin, corruption, and death to enter our personality. Seven unclean spirits more wicked than before will enter the house that had been cleansed.
Salvation is not a ticket to Heaven. Salvation is the transformation of the individual so he no longer has anything to do with Satan or Satan’s works but instead has entered the eternal Life that is in Christ and the Father. He who is undergoing this transformation is not under Divine condemnation but is passing from the death of Satan into the fullness of the life that is in the Lord Jesus.
The transaction begins the moment we truly receive Christ. But we must walk diligently in grace each day so we have enough “oil” (Matthew 25:4); so the Word in us is not choked out by the things of the world (Luke 8:14); so no man takes our crown—our place of rulership in the first resurrection (Revelation 3:11); so our name is not blotted from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).
Our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, not when we heard and believed the Gospel but from the creation of the world (Revelation 17:8). Now the task is to keep our name there. This we do, according to Revelation 3:5, by living the victorious life in Christ; by pursuing the Christian walk according to the directions given us by the Apostle Paul.
The righteous and holy attitude and conduct the eternal Life of Christ works in us demonstrates our deliverance from the second death, from the Lake of Fire. Even with this the tongue of some believers is “set on fire of hell [Gehenna]” (James 3:6).
If we march forward in the Holy Spirit, gaining the victory over the world, Satan, and our lusts and self-will, we will win the Kingdom. We will rise to greet the Lord at His appearing. But if after having believed in Christ we continue in the ways of the world we will reap corruption in the Day of Christ. All the Apostles taught this.
There is no eternal life apart from righteous and holy conduct. The amount of eternal life we possess is revealed in our behavior. It is impossible for eternal life and sin to dwell together (I John 3:15). The fruit of freedom from sin, and slavery to God, is holiness of personality and behavior. The final result of holiness of personality and behavior is eternal life (Romans 6:22).
Without holiness no person ever shall see the Lord or be received by Him (Hebrews 12:14; II Corinthians 6:17).
The second and third chapters of Revelation describe the seven churches “in Asia,” the Christian churches on the earth, the golden lampstands of the Divine testimony.
It is clear from these two chapters that each of the churches had problems of behavior. Many of the members were not up to the Lord’s standard of discipleship. Jesus promised rewards to each believer who overcame the problems of conduct in the churches.
In the hour in which we are living we who teach the Word of God must begin to stress the role righteous conduct plays in determining the eternal destinies of both Christians and non-Christians alike.
It is important to note in the second and third chapters of Revelation that the Lord Jesus did not speak as though the Christian faith of the believers would cause God to overlook their sins and shortcomings. Christ was judging their works and warning the believers of the consequences of failure to live righteous, holy, and obedient lives before Himself.
It seems evident that only a minority of each of these Christian assemblings qualified as victorious saints, becoming eligible for the rewards promised to the overcomer. This fact strikes a heavy blow to the doctrine that all the saved will participate in the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears.
To those not acquainted with the concept of the two resurrections let us interject that there is a resurrection when the Lord comes, at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and one at the end, often termed the “white-throne” judgment. The common teaching is that all the saved will participate in the first resurrection and all those raised in the second resurrection will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Our point of view is that the first resurrection is for the members of the royal priesthood, that it is a special, advance resurrection, and it is this resurrection that the Apostle Paul was striving to attain.
We believe further that the majority of those raised in the second resurrection will be saved into the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus. But they will be judged according to their works and rewarded accordingly. This is what the Scripture teaches and to maintain that all will be lost at the second resurrection is to go outside the written Word.
In line with our perception of the two resurrections we are urging all Christians to stop sinning and begin to keep God’s commandments. It appears to us that those who will return with Christ are the victorious saints. The purpose in their returning with Christ is to bring multitudes of people to salvation and to release the material creation.
If we are correct one can see immediately that the lukewarm Christian indeed is playing a dangerous game with his or her future. It is not Divine grace that is at issue here but the works of the believer, the works of righteousness that always accompany the life of victory in Jesus.
The many rewards to the Christian who does press through to victory are listed in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. We understand these two chapters to be of supreme importance in that they reveals the consequences of our behavior as Christians. It may be noted also these rewards are not those we ordinarily associate with salvation, such as eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven, golden slippers, harps, a reunion at the river and so forth. While all of these blessings may be available, the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation have to do with eternal life, with governing the world in righteousness, with becoming a pillar in the eternal Temple of God, with sitting with Christ in His throne.
It is our opinion that the rewards to the conqueror listed in these two chapters are steps in attaining to the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection and ascension that will take place when our Lord appears.
The church in Sardis is an example of a Christian congregation. Here was an assembling with a reputation for being alive. This suggests that it was a growing, vital congregation or group of congregations. No doubt the church in Sardis, as well as the six other churches in Asia, represented many Christian believers.
What did Christ state concerning the church in Sardis? Did He say (as sometimes is stated or implied in the Christian churches of our day) that the works of the members did not matter because they were saved by grace, being filled with imputed (ascribed) righteousness? This is the assumption undergirding the concept that every person who is saved will participate in the first resurrection.
Christ spoke different things to each of the seven churches in Asia. But one statement was made to all: “I know thy works.”
The Christian churches of today stress the profession of faith. Christ stresses the works of the Christians. This difference in emphasis has the most profound implications imaginable for the Christian people of our day.
Christ said to the Christians in Sardis: “I have not found your works perfect before God.”
Again: “You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy”
“You have a few names.”
Can we infer from this that the majority of the Christians in Sardis were not worthy to walk with Christ in white? Can we assume also in the churches in Asia a clear distinction was made between those who overcame unrighteousness and those who did not?
Are we to understand that the rewards are based on righteous conduct, on holy behavior, on an attitude and practice of obedience to God?
Every chapter of the Book of Revelation means exactly what it says. The Book of Revelation is bound with a curse because the Lord knew the severity of the Christian discipleship would be challenged in the last days, as indeed is happening, and that deception would abound.
We have stated thus far that only the victorious saints in Sardis are worthy, because of their conduct as Christians, to walk with Christ in white. We have stated also no promise of Revelation, Chapters Two and Three is given on the basis of a profession of faith in Christ. All are given on the basis of Christ-filled righteous works on the part of the believer in Christ.
Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding ever to affect Christian thinking is the defining of Divine grace as magic spectacles God wears so our continued unrighteousness is seen as Christ’s uprightness, our moral filthiness appears as Christ’s purity; and our stubbornness is transformed into Christ’s meekness and obedience.
While a certain element of the above is true when the sinner comes to Christ, to prolong this concept past the time the sinner gets on board, such that we are dealing with an unscriptural, mystical dispensation of grace, is to wreck all God has set out to accomplish under the new covenant.
There was a believer in Corinth who was behaving immorally with his father’s wife. According to current teaching Paul should have said, “There’s no problem here. All God is seeing in our brother is the moral purity of Christ. He is saved by grace, not by works of righteousness he has done.”
Gentlemen, we have been deceived royally. The enemy is proving to be a personage of considerable skill in the war of righteousness.
Pretty strong statements! But how do they square up with Paul’s teaching in the early part of the Book of Romans?
Paul, reacting against the Jews who were attempting to make the blood atonement of Christ a part of the Law of Moses, spoke eloquently of God’s willingness to ascribe righteousness to us when we have no righteousness of our own to bring before Him. We Gentiles make much of this assigning of righteousness to us, righteousness given through Christ while we yet are sinners.
But if we will look closely at Romans, Chapters Three through Five, we will see that Paul was not showing us a way to go to Heaven without trying to do good, as one contemporary “translation” has it, but was seeking to convince the Jews they could receive righteousness by putting their faith in Christ apart from observance of the Law of Moses.
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: (Romans 3:21,22)
“The righteousness of God without the law,” not the righteousness of God without righteous behavior!
The Jews, having been instructed in moral behavior from infancy, would understand that receiving Christ did not signify they no longer would have to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This would be inconceivable to anyone who had any knowledge of the Lord.
The issue was circumcision, the feast days, and even the ten commandments. (We understand the Ten Commandments will be obeyed to a far more comprehensive extent under the new covenant than was possible under the old).
We Gentiles, not approaching the new covenant from the Jewish perspective, have missed the point!
Releasing the Jew from the obligations of the Law of Moses indeed is a far cry from the idea that once we accept Christ we no longer are required to live righteously. This would contradict much of what Paul wrote in the Epistles. Also it would defeat the purpose of God under the new covenant.
The reason God is willing to receive us is that Jesus Christ, who kept the Law of Moses perfectly, died on our behalf, purchasing us with His own blood. The blood of God’s Lamb has made an atonement for us. We have been accepted in the Beloved.
God’s purpose in washing us in the blood of Christ and permitting us to enter the Holy of Holies in prayer is that we might now, having a heart and conscience free from all condemnation, receive the ability to live righteously. God has given us eternal life, the Holy Spirit, the body and blood of Jesus, perfect forgiveness, that we might learn to live righteously!
It appears we Christians have misunderstood God almost completely. We have postulated a dispensation of grace (an unscriptural and destructive concept and term) to mean God no longer demands righteous, holy, obedient behavior. We are accepted of God (we say) on the basis of an unconditional amnesty, a legal state unrelated to our behavior. When we sin God sees only the righteousness of Christ.
It appears it is not possible a more cunning device could have been invented by the enemy to destroy the purpose of God under the new covenant.
It absolutely is true that as we set out on our discipleship the Holy Spirit does not deal with all of our sinful nature at one time. Most of our worldliness, lust, and self-will is covered from God’s sight, else we would be under condemnation all the time.
But there always is a growing edge of righteousness the Spirit is dealing with concerning each individual. God always judges us at this point. Either we are abiding in Christ in the challenge under consideration, and bearing the fruit of righteousness, or we are not abiding in Christ, are not obeying the Spirit, are not growing in righteousness. When this is true we come under Divine judgment. We are beginning to draw back to destruction.
Think of your own life. Isn’t it true that God is dealing with you at the present time concerning some area of worldliness, bodily passion, or self-will? If He is not, may we be so bold as to say you are not a disciple?—you are not growing in Christ? You may have a head knowledge of salvation (so do the demons) but you are not experiencing it.
We are free from condemnation only as long as we are abiding in Christ, faithfully following the Spirit of God, getting the victory through Christ over every sin the Spirit points out to us.
One can see from this what a grievous error the concept of a dispensation of grace actually is. The concept of the dispensation of grace presents a new kind of Divine dealing with man such that he relates to God on a theoretical plane having little reference to the reality of his personality. God views him in Christ apart from what he is. This is terribly, terribly incorrect!
There is no such thing as a dispensation of grace!
There indeed is a new covenant. The new covenant creates in a human being much, much greater righteousness, holiness, and obedience of personality than ever could be true of the Law of Moses. Under the new covenant God writes His laws in the heart and mind.
Forgiveness serves to keep the believer without condemnation while the Divine commandments are being written in the heart and mind. One can see therefore that to conceive of the grace of forgiveness as an alternative to the program of moral transformation into Christ’s image is the negating of all God has planned and hoped for in Christ.
The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom is not ascribed righteousness, ascribed peace, or ascribed joy, but actual righteousness, peace, and joy of the born-again human personality.
This is why Paul repeated that those who live according to their fleshly impulses cannot possibly inherit the Kingdom of God. Why not? Because there is no sin in the Kingdom of God. To enter the Kingdom of God is to cease from sin by the power of Christ. To enter eternal life is to cease from sin by the power of Christ. To be saved is to cease from sin by the power of Christ.
We are not saved from sin by the power of Christ so we can go to Heaven but that we might have fellowship with the Father. Christ did not present Himself as the way to Heaven but as the way to the Father. Today we need to think more about going to the Father. The Christian salvation is being viewed as a means of man getting what man wants—now, and later in the spirit realm.
But the Bible is a record of how God is going to get what God wants, that is, children who obey him, fear him, love him, obey Him strictly, and enjoy His holy Presence forever.
How does all of this sound to you?
When we begin to talk about the fact that our salvation is validated only by our becoming a new creation of righteousness you ought to hear the stuff thrown at us.
“We have to sin while we are in this world.”
This must be in the Book of Hezekiah. It sure isn’t in the Bible. In fact the Bible says that sin shall not have dominion over us. Again, we are debtors not to the flesh to live after the flesh.
“Christ did it all so there is nothing we have to do.”
If this is true, why are there hundreds of commandments to righteousness in the pages of the New Testament.
There are numerous commandments we are to obey, such as to let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth. If Christ did it all and there is nothing we are to do, why does the Bible command us to let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth but only that which builds up the hearers? Why does it command us to prefer one another? Why does it command us to work quietly with our own hands? Why does it command us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? Why does it command us to present our body a living sacrifice?
Why are these hundreds of commandments in the Scriptures if we are not supposed to obey them? The Book of First John warns us if we are not keeping God’s commandments, and yet profess to know Him, we are a liar and the truth is not in us.
And then we hear: “We don’t have to strive. He will do it in us.”
Try flopping around like a jellyfish and see how far you get in the Kingdom!
It indeed is true that as Christ is formed in us we begin to show forth His Nature in our personality. But Christ will never be formed in us until we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. If we don’t do what we have been commanded, if we don’t awake to righteousness and quit sinning as Paul exhorts, Christ will never be formed in us.
I have seen some of the people who have been advised that Christ has done it all, or they do not have to fight the good fight of faith because Christ will do it all in them. From all appearances it isn’t working!
“We are Pharisees and legalists if we attempt to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.”
I have heard this tactic employed by believers who want to go to the movies where there were films including scenes of moral filthiness, violence, and profanity. When we protest we should not do such things the reaction is “you are a legalist.”
What is a legalist—someone trying to obey Christ and live a holy life? If this is the case you can call me a legalist all you want.
“But you aren’t perfect!” Tell me about it. But I’m keeping short accounts with God and I’m pressing on. Hallelujah!
“You are trying to earn your way to Heaven.”
First of all, we Christians need to go back to the Bible and discover that going to Heaven is not the goal of redemption. Heaven is the place of Paradise in the spirit realm, the location of God, Christ, and the saints and holy angels. If we are saved we will go there when we die.
But to go to Heaven is not the goal. The goal is the reward we receive in the day of resurrection. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth when the Lord appears. Our place in the Kingdom will not be determined by grace or mercy but only by what we have sown during our lifetime on the earth.
If we have suffered with Christ, obeying Him faithfully, we will rule with Him.
If we have been careless we will suffer an incredible loss of inheritance. Listen to me! We will suffer an incredible loss of inheritance in that day and mercy and grace will have nothing to do with it. You ignore this warning at your peril!
Heaven has little to do with our goal. Heaven is a staging area for the army of the Lord that is to return with Jesus and drive sin from the creation.
Where will you be in that day?
It is ironic that the New Age-Hindu religions and philosophies have as a main goal the removal of the idea of sin and guilt. You can do whatever you like. You make the decision whether it is good or evil. The concept of “sin” is archaic and must be removed if man is to find fulfillment.
Isn’t it amazing that we Christians have come up with the same conclusion although arrived at in a different manner. It no longer matters whether we sin!
Whether determined from New Age beliefs or Christianity, the result is the same. People are relieved from fighting the good fight of faith, the true Christian fight, the determination to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The eternal truth is, God will never receive anyone who is walking in darkness, except initially to forgive him and lift him back on the path so he can fight his way forward in God.
Today’s pastors and teachers are presenting a faith that has little connection with reality. They are saying we gain righteousness by believing certain things and making certain statements. They teach that if a person believes what the Bible says is true, righteousness will flow from the Divine Throne whether or not the person is living a godly life.
Added to this is theory that belief in the lordship of Jesus brings to the worshiper a state of righteousness that produces all necessary moral and character transformation apart from any effort on the part of the believer. Jesus has overcome all enemies, and by placing our faith in Him we also have overcome all enemies. Our part is to rest in the finished work of Christ. No struggle, no effort on our part is required. Jesus has done it all. Anything we are to do the Lord will perform in us and through us.
(It must drive Jesus and the Apostle Paul crazy to hear the things being taught in their name!)
It is a sovereign grace, an unconditional salvation untouched by human effort. Many proceed further to claim that once this sovereign grace has been accepted it never can be changed or lost. It is from God alone and man’s actions can neither add to nor subtract from it.
This concept does away with the “good fight” of faith. It is a demonic delusion designed by Satan to destroy the moral strength of the Church.
As we follow the Lord in the Christian warfare we learn how to lean on the Lord. We cannot gain victory by our own efforts to overcome sin. We soon will give up in despair if we do. It is “the sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” We have to do the fighting but it is always the Lord Jesus who gives the necessary strength and wisdom.
We learn to move with the Lord and rest with the Lord. He is the Overcomer with a capital “O.” We are the overcomer with a small “o.” We cannot fight the good fight of faith by ourselves and the Lord Jesus will not fight it for us.
The victorious Christian life depends on God doing His part and us doing our part. Leaning too much on God or too much on ourselves will cause us to lose the good fight of faith.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
“Him that overcometh… even as I also overcame.”
The path to victory includes knowing how to rest in Jesus while we are gaining victory over Satan, over the spirit of the world, over our fleshly lusts, and over our own self-will and self-seeking. We gain total victory over these adversaries by the Spirit’s guidance and strength, as we pray, read, hope in, and trust in the Scriptures, as we confess our sins, as we resist the devil, as we gather together with fervent saints, as we minister to and are ministered to by the other members of the Body of Christ, and by all the other means God has provided.
To employ trusting in Jesus as the only aspect of the victorious Christian life, not following the Spirit’s guidance in using the means God has provided for gaining release from the world, for conquering our fleshly lusts, for overcoming our self-centeredness, will lead to confusion, passivity, despair, and finally, spiritual destruction—a complete loss of inheritance.
The current teaching that Jesus did all the overcoming for us is a lie. This lie was designed to destroy the moral character of the Church. Satan knows that God cannot use an unrighteous Church to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament Scriptures advocates a belief in God apart from the daily, active, diligent, intense, single-minded seeking of God’s will in every area of personality and behavior.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to read the Scriptures. He helps us, and then speaks to us when we make the effort on a consistent basis.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to pray. He helps us and speaks to us when we make the effort on a consistent basis.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to present our body a living sacrifice. He helps us when we make the effort day by day.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to give an offering. God blesses us when we give of our means on a consistent basis.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to resist the devil. We resist the devil, according to the commandment in the Word, and then God strengthens us.
- Ordinarily God does not move us so we choose Him in times of trial. We make the choice and then God blesses us. God provides a way of escape for us so we may emerge unharmed.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We make the effort and then the Holy Spirit does the work.
- Ordinarily God does not move us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow the Lord. But God will bless us if we do so.
We say “ordinarily” because there often are times in our discipleship when the Lord prompts us or reminds us to do something. Also there are seasons when God “bears us on eagles’ wings,” helping us through a difficult period. The times when the Lord “bears us on eagles’ wings, lifting us out of ourselves for a season, are extraordinary interventions, not the normal Christian experience. We do not grow during such times. We grow when we are using our spiritual “muscles.”
The above are a few of the commandments found in the New Testament writings. If we strive to obey them God will deliver us from sin and rebellion and we will enter eternal life.
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:17,18)
“Obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” The key is obedience.
Christian believers have been deceived by the current errors because they no longer are “people of the Book.” God’s people have turned away from reliance on the written Word and are following the various traditions and errors in the Christian churches of today. The worst of these errors is that we are saved unconditionally and shall go to Heaven no matter how we behave.
Some pastors have become psychologists in the attempt to relieve the pressures on people. There is a place for psychologists in the world as there is also for medical doctors. But it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God that finally breaks the chains of sin.
Let us turn away from the soft, people-centered, ear-tickling “gospel” we are hearing in our day. What does the Word say?
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. (Matthew 25:26,27)
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10)
“If ye do these things.”
(“Something to Think About!”, 3076-1)