CAUSE AND EFFECT

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

CAUSE AND EFFECT Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

There are two kinds of outcomes of the manner in which we live the Christian life. One kind of outcomes consists of rewards and punishments. The other kind of outcomes has more to do with cause and effect. The two kinds of outcomes are related but they are significantly different.

The cause-and-effect outcomes are hardly preached today but they are emphasized in the writings of Paul.

CAUSE AND EFFECT

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature  will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8—NIV)

There are two kinds of outcomes of the manner in which we live the Christian life. One kind of outcomes consists of rewards and punishments. The other kind of outcomes has more to do with cause and effect. The two kinds of outcomes are related but they are significantly different.

The cause-and-effect outcomes are hardly preached today but they are emphasized in the writings of Paul.

The first kinds of outcomes, rewards and punishments, have been part of Christian religious instruction from the beginning of the Christian Era. The idea is that we come to Christ so that we may be saved from Hell and enter Heaven when we die.

The New Testament clearly teaches that there is a Hell and there is a Lake of Fire, termed "the second death." The New Testament also mentions the outer darkness, lashes, being driven from the Presence of Christ, and becoming a "wandering star." These are the scriptural destinies of those who have not pleased God.

They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1 :13—NIV)

As far as Heaven being the goal of salvation, this is not scriptural. The scriptural hope is resurrection to eternal life and eventually participation in the new heaven and earth reign of Jesus Christ. The immediate hope is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the present earth. This was the hope of the early church, and it seems from the Epistles that the saints of those days believed the Kingdom would come in their day.

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. (I Corinthians 1:7—NIV)

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (I Corinthians 4:5—NIV)

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. (II Thessalonians 1:6,7—NIV)

Can you see in the above three passages that the hope of the early church was not that of going to Heaven but of the coming of the Lord to judge and destroy wickedness and set up His Kingdom on the earth? They believed the Kingdom would come to the earth during their lifetime.

Otherwise the verses would speak of the time we died and went to our eternal home in Heaven or that the Lord would soon come and bring us to Heaven. There is no flavor of this kind of thinking in the Epistles.

We understand therefore that the Scriptures point toward the fiery punishment of the wicked and also toward the peaceful rule of Christ over the righteous, who will inherit the earth.

But there is another set of outcomes, the set emphasized in the writings of the Apostle Paul. This set is composed of cause and effect, sowing and reaping relationships. These outcomes are not rewards, strictly speaking. They are the inviolable results of specific behaviors. These are not affected by grace or mercy. They occur naturally and—barring Divine intervention—inevitably.

The Christians of today appear to be almost totally ignorant of the cause and effect relationships of their present behavior to their state in the Day of Resurrection, supposing by "accepting Christ" they will escape Hell and go to Heaven, and this is all they need be concerned about.

Let us give some examples of cause and effect relationship in daily life on the earth and see how they differ from rewards and punishments.

If a person eats a balanced diet and exercises he will feel better, probably live longer, and avoid the illnesses sometimes attributed to improper diet or lack of exercise. If a person eats more than his body requires there are specific results There is overweight and possibly diabetes or other illnesses often associated with overweight.

We do not think of good health or sickness as being rewards or punishments, although they could be considered that way.

Cigarette smoking is associated with a number of health problems. Again, there is a cause and effect relationship.

If a person drinks alcohol his perception will be affected. This change of perception is a cause and effect relationship. If he gets in his car and drives, his reflexes are not normal due to altered perception. This is a cause and effect relationship. If he causes an accident while he is drunk, this is a cause and effect relationship due to subnormal reflexes. We usually do not think of altered perception, subnormal reflexes, or an accident as rewards or punishments. They are cause and effect relationships.

However, if the car accident resulted in considerable damage and someone was killed, there will be suitable punishment administered. So punishments and cause and effect relationships are connected in this manner.

Conversely, if someone trains his body for a number of years for participation in an athletic event, the effect will be improved performance. If he then competes in an event and wins, he will be rewarded for his improved performance. Again there is a connection between cause and effect relationships and rewards.

Hell and the Lake of Fire (Gehenna) are mentioned in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation. But Hell is not mentioned in the Epistles as being the destiny of the Christian who continues to sin. The warnings of the New Testament, for the most part, have to do with perishing, death, corruption, and receiving the direct consequences of our behavior.

It is of the greatest importance that the Christians of today come to understand that even if they escape Hell, what they will encounter in the Day of Resurrection will directly reflect their behavior in the present life. God’s grace and mercy will not intervene in the Day of Resurrection so as to cancel the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping.

The only time we will be given an opportunity to change what we are going to reap is during our lifetime on the earth. If we turn away from the world, calling on the name of the Lord, we will be forgiven our past sins. Then we will have another chance to sow good seed so we may look forward to a desirable harvest. But, as any sinner will tell you, even though we have turned away from the world and have begun, through the Lord Jesus Christ, to sow good seed that we may have a better resurrection, we still may experience some of the consequences of what we did prior to starting off new with Christ.

God is not mocked. What we sow we reap!

Now let’s take a look at passages of Scripture that have to do with sowing and reaping, with cause and effect, rather than with rewards as such.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,  that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16—NIV)

This verse is often preached as, "Believe in Jesus Christ and you will not go to Hell but to Heaven." Am I correct? Is this what is preached?

This interpretation is traditional and mythological. There is a Hell and there is a Heaven. But Jesus referred to neither in this instance. Maybe we better stick with the Word of God. What do you think?

The term perish is used in the New Testament to refer to something coming to an end or being destroyed in some manner. Since the Lord contrasts "perish" with having "eternal life," we would say that perishing is associated with not living.

We know eternal life is much more than eternal existence. Eternal life is life lived in the Presence and Person of God, especially in a body that has been raised and filled with the Life of God. Eternal life is love, joy, and endless peace in the Presence of God.

If this is true, then to perish is not to receive eternal life in the Presence and Person of God; not to live endlessly in love, joy, and peace. Since it was immortality in the body that was lost in the Garden of Eden, we might add that John 3:16 has to do especially with what we experience when we are raised from the dead in the Day of Christ.

The following passage associates perishing or not perishing with the coming of the Lord.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." (I Corinthians 15:54—NIV)

Some day our body will be raised by the power that animates all creatures of God, both righteous and wicked—the power that created the heavens and the earth. A human body can be resurrected by this Divine power and still not be made truly alive by being filled with the Spirit of God. The body can be in existence but not filled with the Life of God.

There is only one Tree of Life, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. If we do not believe in Him then we cannot gain immortality in the body.

If we do not choose to follow the Lord Jesus in the present life we shall be raised from the dead (all shall hear His voice and come forth from the grave) but our body will be as that of Adam and Eve—void of the Life of God. We will be in a perishable state to be sure—perishable in the sense of not receiving the Divine Life, the Presence, love, peace, and joy we hope for in Christ.

Perhaps no devout Christian would disagree with what I have stated thus far.

There is a dimension, however, that may be new to the reader. It is this: I am not making any assumption about Hell or the Lake of Fire. Rather I am pointing out that there is a cause and effect relationship between passing from death to life and receiving Jesus Christ, independently of where we are placed later.

Our race as Christians is thought of today as escaping Hell and gaining Heaven. This, I believe, is incorrect. Rather our race has to do with escaping death and gaining life. Hell and Heaven are places. Death and life are conditions of existence. They are not synonymous.

A person could be strong and healthy and sent to prison. Another person could be sick to the point of death and be in a comfortable home with all his family members. I believe these distinctions are very important for us to consider. I will explain as we go along.

Hell and Heaven, at least as we think of them, are in the form of punishments and rewards. But death and life are not strictly punishments or rewards but are the results of how we have behaved in the world. The reason why these distinctions are important for us to consider is that Christians today are being taught that if they accept Christ they will go to Heaven. But they are not being taught that the way they behave is directly affecting the state in which they will be resurrected regardless of where they go.

Small is the gate and narrow the way that lead to life—not to Heaven, but to life!

If we are wise we will fear Hell and the Lake of Fire. But we also need to fear what we will face in the Day of Christ. The Apostle Paul did! When he taught about the Judgment Seat of Christ, that each one of us will receive what we have done, Paul said: "Knowing the terror of the Lord I persuade men."

For if we as a Christian have sown to our flesh we are going to reap the destruction of our flesh when our body is raised. If we as a Christian have sown to the Spirit of God we are going to reap eternal life in our body when it is raised.

What we especially need to understand is that grace and mercy do not affect the state of our resurrection. The state of our resurrection will be a reaping of what we have sown, not a punishment for being wicked. The punishment may come later and may consist of lashes, the outer darkness, being driven from the presence of Christ, or even assignment to Hell or the Lake of Fire. Daniel mentions being raised to shame and everlasting contempt.

Indeed there are fearful punishments to be considered. But also there is the question of reaping what we have sown as a Christian.

Notice carefully:

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in  Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22,23—NIV)

Romans 6:23, "the wages of sin is death," is often preached to the unsaved. The verse is not addressed to the unsaved but to the Christian concerning whether he has chosen to be the slave of righteousness or the slave of sin.

Heaven and Hell are not mentioned. The issue is life and death.

"The result is eternal life." If we have chosen to be the slave of God, we reap holiness, that is, freedom from sin, and pure behavior. The result of freedom from sin, slavery to God, and holy personality and behavior, is eternal life. Eternal life is not as much a reward as it is a direct result.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)

The above verse implies that we will be rewarded for the things we did while living on the earth.

But the King James has what I believe to be the original emphasis:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)

Do you see in the King James translation that each person receives what he or she has done? If he has been hateful he receives hate. If he has been a liar he receives lying. If he has been a thief he receives thievery.

As I said previously, if we have come to Christ and been washed in His blood we have a new chance to sow better seed. But—and this is where the error is today—if we do not take every opportunity after becoming a Christian to change our behavior, as the Lord helps, we are going to reap death instead of life.

I do not know what Christ will do with any specific individual under any given circumstance. I do know, however, that the current teaching that no matter how we live we are going to receive a glorified body and be crowned as a king and priest at the coming of the Lord is not scriptural. This is not how Divine grace operates under the new covenant.

Speaking of being clothed in our own behavior, as it were, there is a verse in Revelation that is not ambiguous.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:8—NIV)

There is no ambiguity here. The Bride will be clothed in her righteous acts, righteous acts brought forth as Christ has been formed in her.

The hope today is that the sinning Christian will be clothed in white at the coming of the Lord. It is true rather that the sinning Christian is destroying his or her own resurrection.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4—NIV)

Not the whole church in Sardis will walk with the Lord in white but the minority who through Christ have overcome that which has sought to turn them from Christ.

The Apostle Paul speaks of the filling of the physical body with the Life of God. This will take place in the Day of Resurrection.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11—NIV)

But then Paul tells us what we must do if we would attain to the filling of the mortal body with eternal life.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13—NIV)

Is Paul speaking to Christians? Of course! He still is addressing the saints in Rome.

What is Paul saying? He is saying if the Christian does not live according to the Spirit of God, putting to death the deeds of his sinful nature, he will die. If instead he follows the Spirit of the Lord each day, overcoming the passions and appetites of his body, he will live.

What does Paul mean by "live"?

Paul means live in eternal life in the Presence of the Lord.

What does Paul mean by "die"?

He means not live in eternal life in the Presence of the Lord but to live as any other person whose body is dead because of sin.

The relationships expressed here seem to me to be in the form of cause and effect rather than rewards and punishments. If the believer chooses to live according to his fleshly nature the result is spiritual death. Since the Christian churches have in many instances decided to make eternal security a cardinal doctrine, they may not accept the fact that a person could be a Christian and then die spiritually. But I think this is what Paul is stating.

If the believer chooses to live according to the Spirit of God, then he or she continues to grow in resurrection life. He has laid hold on eternal life, as the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy.

Now we are faced with a question: how will our possession of eternal life, or lack of it, affect us in the Day of Christ? Remember we are not speaking of Heaven, Hell, or the Lake of Fire but of the state of the personality, including the body.

It seems likely to me that since Paul mentioned the making alive of the body in verse eleven, and then speaks of living and dying in verse thirteen, that Paul may be implying that if we do not live according to the Spirit of God, our body, when it is raised in the Day of Christ, will not be made alive by the Spirit of God. It is only as the Spirit of God is dwelling in us that we have the hope of having our body made alive in the Day of the Lord.

This puts us in mind of the five foolish virgins who had the door shut in their face when the Lord came. Why was the door shut against them? Because they had run out of oil, to speak in a figure; out of the Holy Spirit.

We know the consequence of having a body filled with Divine Life will be that we will ascend to meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for eternity.

But what will be the consequence of having our body raised from the dead and not filled with the joyous Life of God? This is the question.

Unless we are prepared to believe all Christians who have failed to overcome the world, the passions of their flesh, and their self-will, shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, we are faced with the fact that they will be somewhere else in their spiritually naked state. Perhaps this is why the outer darkness is mentioned. Notice what Daniel says about this.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2—NIV)

We would expect the verse to say that some will go to Heaven when they are raised and some will go to Hell. But again the division is not this. Some will be raised to life and some to shame.

If a believer continued to live in the flesh until the Life of God was gone from his personality (probably many of us have seen this happen to someone who at one time had been a radiant Christian), and then was raised to discover there was no Life of God in his spirit, soul, or body, would he be ashamed when he saw the saints dwelling in Divine light? Perhaps so. Maybe he or she would run to the darkness to escape the observation of those who suddenly realized that the person they thought was living for God was actually a hypocrite having no love for God or the saints in him.

Can you see what we mean by cause and effect relationship? You could think of shame and everlasting contempt as punishment, but in a very real sense they are just the end product of life lived apart from the Spirit of God.

And on the other side of the coin:

Those who are wise  will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3—NIV)

Those who are wise and lead many to righteousness shine now—today. It is not that at the coming of the Lord the fleshly Christians who are counting on imputed righteousness to get them into Heaven will suddenly "shine like the brightness of the heavens." This is ridiculous as well as totally unscriptural.

What we are, we are. Death or the coming of the Lord will not change what we are. Rather, what we are will be revealed at the coming of the Lord. The unchangeable law of sowing and reaping will operate. We will be placed where we are fitted to be placed.

The believers of today are looking to be with Jesus in Heaven. Many of them would not be happy at all with Jesus in Heaven. They love the world. They love to indulge the passions of their flesh. They love to exercise their self-will without hindrance. Why would they be happy in Heaven with Jesus and other people who have turned away from the world, the flesh, and their self-will? Again, this is ridiculous.

The truth is, they do not really desire to be among the saints in Heaven. What they want is to continue their fleshly way of life as long as possible and not be sent to Hell or the Lake of Fire. This is unscriptural and unrealistic. If what we desire is found in Hell then God in His goodness will send us there. Hell and Heaven are real places, not some sort of fantasy land where people become something they have not been in the world.

Let’s consider another verse.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature  will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8—NIV)

From the context of the Book of Galatians we understand the above passage to be addressed to Christians. I think it is saying the same thing as Romans 8:13, which we discussed previously.

Paul had said previously in Galatians:

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24—NIV)

Today we would say that if the person who places his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, but who does not crucify his sinful nature with its passions and desires (and this certainly is true of numerous Christians who have been taught it is not critically important how they behave because they have been saved by grace) will go to Heaven anyway. He has been "saved" by an unconditional grace, by a sovereign action of God who has chosen him for salvation.

But Paul says if we do not crucify our sinful nature with its passions and desires, choosing instead to live so as to please our sinful nature, from that very same sinful nature we will reap destruction. The question is, what does it mean to "reap destruction"?

We are suggesting in this present essay that reaping destruction means in the Day of Resurrection the Christian will not receive the blessings of life and glory we normally associate with salvation. How could it mean anything else? He has lived to please his sinful nature. From that same nature he will reap destruction. In the Day of Christ what he has done shall be given to him even though he names the name of Christ.

Conversely, if the Christian seeks to please the Spirit of God, from that same Spirit He will reap eternal life. This is strongly suggestive of what Paul said in Romans:

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11—NIV)

The life we will receive in the Day of Resurrection is the same life that lives in us now, the eternal incorruptible Life of the Spirit of God.

When we choose to live in our sinful nature rather than in the Spirit of God we directly affect the nature of our resurrection from the dead. This is apart from an assignment to the outer darkness, Hell, or the Lake of Fire. We affect the state of our personality. It is a cause and effect relationship.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10—NIV)

The list in the passage above is that of the actions of the sinful nature. Those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. This does not mean that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God unless they accept Christ. It means exactly what it states.

I understand the following verses, in I Corinthians, Chapter Six, state that the Corinthian believers were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Christ. But when we stop and think we realize that Paul is reminding them not to practice such behaviors, now that they are Christians (as the context of the passage will reveal), because these manifestations of the fleshly nature are never a part of the Kingdom of God.

There is no indication in the entire New Testament that a Christian can continue in the works of the sinful nature and be excused on the basis of having "accepted Christ." In fact, the opposite is declared emphatically. This is the monumental error of current Christian teaching.

Another verse:

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:39—NIV)

Here we find we are believing and continuing to believe in order that we might be saved. This shows us that salvation is something that takes place at the end of our discipleship rather than at the beginning. We are saved by persevering to the end as the Lord Jesus said.

If we, having started as a Christian by turning away from the evil in the world and receiving the forgiveness of God through the blood atonement, then return to the ways of the world, we are courting destruction. We are not saved to eternal life. We are destroyed. We have killed ourselves by living in the sinful nature.

Jesus said if we put our hand to the plow and look back we are not worthy of the Kingdom of God; we are not fit for the Kingdom of God.

This means if we begin as a Christian and then return to the ways of the world we do not belong in the Kingdom of God. What could be clearer? The Kingdom of God does not consist of double-minded people who are unable to decide between the ways of Jesus Christ and the ways of Satan.

We see, therefore, that there is a real Heaven, a real Hell, and a real Lake of Fire. God the Father, Christ, the saints, and the holy angels are in Heaven at the present time.

The wicked are in Hell as of this moment.

In the future the wicked will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels.

All these are facts and the thought of them should make a wise person take heed to his ways.

But there is another dimension of our future, as we are setting forth in this brief essay, and that is what kind of a state we will be in personally in the Day of Resurrection, regardless of where we are placed.

If we have faithfully sought the Lord during our days on the earth, doing His will each day, denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following the Lord, then in the Day of Resurrection our body like our soul and spirit will be filled with the Life of Christ. We then will be with the Lord forever.

But if we have not faithfully sought the Lord during our days on the earth, have not presented our body a living sacrifice that we might prove His will for our life, have not denied ourselves, have not taken up our cross and followed the Lord each day, then, in the Day of Resurrection, our soul, spirit, and body will not be filled with the Life of Christ. Where we will go from there depends on the judgment of Christ at that time.

The Scripture does not suggest we can wait for death to change what we are or for the coming of the Lord to change what we are. The power of the new covenant to bring forth new righteous creations operates only as we obey the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. I do not believe any competent Bible scholar would deny this.

We can understand, therefore, the deadly error of the current teaching. The current teaching is concerned only with where we will be. Thus the emphasis is on a "rapture" that will bring us to Heaven where we will live comfortably in a mansion forever.

The problem here is that the writing of Paul concerning the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping is ignored. It is as though all that matters is where we are, not what we have or have not become through Jesus Christ. There is no new creation involved, only a new location. This concept simply cannot be supported by the New Testament.

Jesus Christ came to change people by destroying the works of the devil, not to move people from one place to another. What good would it do to bring an unchanged Adam into Paradise? Sooner or later he would do something else wrong and God would have to remove him from the garden.

The Christian salvation is an act of redemption, that is, it redeems people from the death that captured them as they succumbed to the wiles of Satan. Our Redeemer has come and by His blood has paid the price of redemption. More than that, by His Spirit he is able to change us into His image in spirit, soul, and body.

God does not save man apart from a response on man’s part. Rather He has sent Jesus so man, by looking to Jesus constantly, might change from a sinful Adam to a life-giving spirit in the image of Christ. One of the greatest mistakes in current Christian thinking is that Christ saves us apart from any diligence or perseverance on our part.

As Paul said to Timothy, we have to save ourselves by doing what Christ and His Apostles have commanded. If we do not obey Christ and His Apostles, we do not press forward to salvation. There is no growth of Christ in us. Soon there is no eternal life left in us. The fruit God is looking for is not borne. We are cut out of the Vine, out of Christ. We then are thrown into the fire.

From Matthew through Revelation there are things we have been commanded to do. The evidence that we love Christ is that we keep His commandments. The Great Commission charges us to exhort the disciples to keep the commandments of Christ.

The commandments of Christ continue through His Apostles. The Epistles contain numerous commandments. We have been granted access to the Mercy Seat in Heaven that we might receive the strength and wisdom we need in order to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

Christ is not formed in us except as we keep His commandments. Christ does not come to dwell in us except as we keep His commandments. It is our natural adamic nature that must obey the exhortations of the New Testament, and this we can do as God assists us. Divine grace is, among other things, the wisdom, strength, and virtue needed to obey what Christ and His Apostles taught.

Christ formed in us is the new covenant. But Christ is formed in us only as we do what is stated in the Gospels and Epistles.

The role of obedience to Christ in the plan of redemption is an area of confusion in today’s teaching and preaching.

The idea that all we have been commanded to do is to love one another, and this fulfills all other commandments, is true in theory but unworkable in practice. It is not possible for us in our adamic nature to love one another, as a bit of reflection will verify. Human love is quickly overcome by the evil of our world.

Only the love that comes from Christ formed in us is strong enough to overcome the evil of the world, and Christ is not formed in us except as we resolutely and prayerfully do what we have been commanded.

Let us not be among those who are dawdling in the current deception of the Christian teaching of grace-rapture-Heaven. Let us rather join the ranks of the heroes of faith of the Book of Hebrews, diligently pressing forward in faith and obedience that we might join the great cloud of God’s witnesses who are waiting patiently for the coming to earth of the city of God.