THE WALL AGAINST SIN
THE WALL AGAINST SIN Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The concept of the wall is prominent in the Scriptures. The Book of Nehemiah tells of the rebuilding of the wall that surrounds the city of Jerusalem. The Book of Revelation, when describing the new Jerusalem, places great emphasis on the wall that surrounds the holy city and on the twelve foundations of the wall.
While there very well may be an actual jasper wall surrounding the new Jerusalem, it is true nevertheless that the real wall God is concerned about is the will of the saints to choose not to sin, the will to choose to do God's will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.
Table of Contents
THE WALL AGAINST SIN
The Book of Ezra describes the rebuilding of the Temple of God, the Temple having been destroyed seventy years previously by the Babylonians. The rebuilding of the Temple of God symbolizes the building of the Body of Christ, the concept of the maturing of the Body of Christ having been lost since the first century.
The Book of Nehemiah tells of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, the wall that had been broken down by the Babylonians at the time the Temple was destroyed.
The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem symbolizes the constructing of the defense against sin. The definition of sin and the manner in which sin is to be dealt with under the new covenant have also been lost to the Christian churches since the first century.
It is evident, however, to all Christians that God wants no worldliness, lust, or self will of any kind whatever in His people.
Now, the following is important to understand. We know sin will not be practiced in the Kingdom of God. The understanding of the churches at the present time is that God forever will see us through Christ so whatever we do will not be regarded by Him as sin; or all sin is removed from us when we die and go to Heaven; or sin will be removed from us when the Lord returns.
God forever will see us through Christ so even though our behavior has not changed, we still are filled with lust, hatred, and drunkenness, it does not matter to God. He cannot really see what we are doing. Can you believe this is preached today?
When we die and go to Heaven all sin will be removed from us. Physical death and Heaven are our redeemers.
When the Lord comes He will remove all sin from us and we will be spiritual giants.
Let us note, to begin with, that there is no scriptural basis for any of these three versions of deliverance from sin. The first idea, that God sees us through Christ, is not scriptural. Although commonly believed, you would search your Bible in vain if you tried to find it. The opposite is true, as Paul pointed out so many times. If we keep on sinning God judges us and chastises us in one manner or another. Also, we place in jeopardy our resurrection to life.
For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. (I Corinthians 11:29—NIV)
The concept that when we die and go to Heaven all sin will be removed from us has no basis in the Scriptures. In fact, sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God. If indeed sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God, how then would we be delivered from sin merely by dying and entering the spirit realm?
The popular version that when the Lord comes He will remove all sin from us and we will become spiritual giants has no foundation in the scriptures. It is true that we shall be changed externally at His return, but such change depends on our having been changed internally in advance. God has no intention of placing a body like that of Jesus Christ on an immature, worldly, lustful, self willed personality. The very thought is unscriptural and, in fact, illogical if not ridiculous.
But what does the Scripture say about getting sin out of the camp?
The Lord has told us that at the end of the age, probably independently of whether we are alive on the earth or in the spirit realm, His messengers will remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin, and then all who do evil, and cast it and them into the fire.
We think Christ has begun today to remove sin from those who are seeking Him. The believers who cooperate with the Holy Spirit will be as the wheat that will be gathered into the Lord's barn. The believers who do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the removal of sin from their personality will themselves be cast into the fire that is never quenched.
Are you one of those disciples who is living close to God today? Then the Holy Spirit already is speaking to you about your love of the world, the appetites and passions of your flesh, and especially your self-will and self-seeking.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43—NIV)
We can notice several ideas in the above passage. The removal of sin from the Kingdom of God will take place at the end of the age. I think the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun already. Why don't you go to Jesus and ask Him if I am correct.
Sometimes the great moves of God are missed even by God's people because they are not in prayer. This reminds us of Simeon and Anna who saw Christ because they were people of prayer. The rest of the Jews went about their business not aware their Messiah had been born in a stable. Are you living so close to God in prayer that you will know when God moves forward in His plan for establishing His Kingdom on the earth?
Jesus did not say where the removal of the weeds would take place, only that it would be at the end of the age. Since Peter says God is ready to judge the living and the dead, I would venture that the removal going on now in the earth has also begun in the spirit realm among the departed believers.
We notice that the Son of Man will send out His messengers. These may be spirit-angels or human-angels. The term "angel" means messenger, nothing more.
The messengers will removes the weeds out of "his kingdom." We are not speaking of removing sin from the world but from the Kingdom of God, the kingdom that is in Heaven at the present time and is destined to be located on the earth.
We are so accustomed to think in terms of "going to Heaven" that we cannot perceive the things Jesus said. The Lord Jesus never talked about going to Heaven but about the Kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel has to do with the coming of all the glory of Heaven to the earth, not the removal of human beings to the home of the angels.
Sin began in Heaven. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God, the rule of God. God's will is being done today in Heaven because the rule of God, the Kingdom of God, is in control there. Soon the rule of God is to come to the earth.
Our goal as Christians is not to go to Heaven but to enter the Kingdom of God. As in the parable we are discussing, the reference has nothing to do with going to Heaven as to a place but is directed toward the Kingdom of God, the rule of God. This is why "everything that causes sin" must be removed. It may require another generation before the believers are able to change their thinking from going to Heaven as a place to the coming of the government of God to the earth.
But don't we want to go to Heaven where all is love, beauty, freedom from dread, sickness, and death, where we can renew relationships with deceased loved ones? Yes in the present hour. But no in the future, because all that we desire is destined to come to the earth along with God, Jesus, and the holy angels.
We are being prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven, the rule of God We are not being made ready to go to the realm of angels to live forever! This is why it is so totally important that we are delivered from all sin. Does this make sense to you?
First all that causes sin is removed from the Kingdom. Then all who do evil. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to remove sin from us, then we will be one of those who do evil.
In order to be saved we must receive the Lord Jesus Christ, believing in Him when He is presented to us. But you will find in the Gospel accounts that the division that will come at the end of the age will not be between those who believe and those who do not but between those who do evil and those who do not.
In the case of the five virgins who could not go to the Bridegroom the issue was foolishness and carelessness, not belief in the Gospel. In the case of the man who lost his talent and was cast into outer darkness the problem was wickedness and laziness.
Because of a misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul we believe that Christ will come and reject those who do not believe, even though they may never have heard, and accept those who do believe even though their behavior is sinful. This is an enormous error in thinking.
The purpose of our believing in Christ is that we may have our sins forgiven and then be delivered from foolish, careless, wicked, lazy behavior. When our belief in Christ is not bringing forth a new righteous creation then our belief is useless to God and to His Kingdom.
The Scripture cannot be broken. When the Lord comes He will remove the weeds from the wheat. The weeds are those in whom Satan has sown his death. The wheat are those in whom Christ has sown His Life. There are numerous believers today in whom Satan has sown his death. If they do not work with the Holy Spirit in the removal of this spiritual death, then, at the Lord's coming, they will be removed from those who have been delivered from sin.
The Scripture cannot be changed to conform to our traditions. Those who do evil, Christian or not, will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We have the authority to enter the Kingdom when we put our faith in the atoning blood of the Lamb. We have the power and wisdom to enter the Kingdom when we receive the Spirit of God. After this we must learn to live and behave in the Spirit of God. By so doing we become part of the Kingdom of God.
It is not at all true, although believed universally today, that we can become part of the Kingdom of God while we continue to sin. No sin is permitted in the Kingdom of God.
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:6—NIV)
The teaching of today that Christians are doomed to continue to sin but they are covered by an unconditional amnesty is definitely against the Scripture. It is error and has destroyed the moral strength of the Christian churches in the United States.
Referring back to Matthew (above), everything that causes sin and all who do evil will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This includes Christians. There is no such thing as a "state of grace" that makes the Word of Jesus Christ of no effect.
God is ready and able to deliver from worldliness, lust, and self-will all who call upon Him for freedom from these evil chains. The time is now. Every believer can be delivered in preparation for the return of Christ to the earth. But those churchgoers who insist on maintaining their own way, trusting in the current grace-rapture-Heaven error, may find themselves one day thrown into the fiery furnace. I prefer to believe the Word of God. How about you? I do not trust the current traditions for they are denied by the Scriptures.
"Then the righteous will shine like the sin in the kingdom of their Father." Did you notice the sequence? First the weeds were pulled up and burned in the fire. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of God. Does that sound to you like the believers are going to be "raptured" into Heaven while the wicked are free to inherit the earth?
I think we see, then, that God has a plan for removing sin from His Church. The removal will take place at the end of the Church Age. Where the deliverance will take place is not clearly described. I prefer to follow the Apostle Peter in the idea that God will judge the living and the dead at the same time. Even so it is difficult to imagine the messengers of God going to those who are dead and yet in the Kingdom of God, pulling them from their placement in the spirit realm and throwing them into the fire. But this seems to me the most likely scenario.
If this is not true, then the judgment and deliverance will take place on the earth.
You know, salvation takes place at three times, you might say. First, there is some point in our life when we specifically receive Christ into our life. We are saved.
Next, we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling throughout our lifetime. It always is possible to fall away, according to the New Testament, and we are warned about this. The believer who does not bear the fruit of righteousness is cut out of the Vine, out of Christ. Our teaching today often is abysmal when dealing with the passages of the New Testament that warn Christians about falling back into sin.
Finally, there are several passages that tell us our salvation is in the future. For example, "he who endures to the end shall be saved."
Our passage in Matthew that we are studying is another one of these that points to a future determination of our salvation. At the end of the age some of those in the Kingdom are removed and cast into the fires of Divine judgment.
Salvation is never static. The day of salvation always is today. There is no such thing as being saved yesterday. Either we are abiding in Christ right now or we are dying spiritually. Salvation is never a ticket that we hold waiting until we die. Salvation is a narrow, compressed way that leads to life. Salvation is a process that removes us from the death of Satan and brings us into the Life of Jesus Christ. Our redemption has not been completed until we are in the image of Christ and dwelling in untroubled rest through Christ in the Person of our Father in Heaven.
God continually is challenging us to take a step forward, to abide in Christ in a greater way than ever before. Is this true in your life? The step is a step forward in your salvation. To not take that step is to draw back to destruction. You cannot go around any step that God places before you.
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:39—NIV)
Today the Church of Jesus Christ is faced with a major step forward in the Kingdom of God. We have been forgiven through the blood atonement. We have been given God's Spirit. Now it is time to build the wall against sin.
As we said previously, the concept of the wall is prominent in the Scriptures: first in the Book of Nehemiah, and then in the description of the new Jerusalem.
Let me begin by making some comments about righteousness and sin.
I believe the new Jerusalem is a real city and the wall that surrounds it is a real wall made of jasper, a colorful variety of quartz. Yet, there are many aspects of the city and its wall that clearly are symbolic.
For example, the wall represents our will to choose not to sin, our will to do God's will. It is in the human will buttressed by the Divine Nature of Christ that resistance to sin finally is built.
The height and thickness of the wall are measured in terms of man's unit of measurement because the wall against sin is constructed from man's effort as well as God's effort. One of the great problems of the Christian teaching of today is it does not emphasize the numerous passages of the New Testament that refer to the things we must do to drive sin from our personality. We often are looking for God to perform acts of deliverance that He will not do because we are not doing our part. It always must be both the sword of the Lord and of Gideon if we are to gain complete victory over sin.
When our desires run ahead of our strength to choose to do God's will, this signals a breach in our wall against sin. Then we are to prepare a bed of mortar in the breach and set our stone in it. We get the mortar and the stone by praying. It never is God's will that His people continue in known sin.
Righteousness is obedience to God's will. Righteousness is not inherent in a particular action. For example, bearing false witness is a sin. But when the midwives lied to Pharaoh about the birth of male children God made homes for the midwives. What is sin in one instance is righteousness is another.
Sin is disobedience to God's will, the will to choose to disobey God's will.
God does not force His will on people. He could force us to do His will, you know, but He desires to relate to us in love. God wants us to choose to do His will.
Any dictator can force people to do his will, but he does not have their heart and so he possesses little of value.
If we wish to have a wall against sin constructed in our personality we first must believe God wants to deliver us from all sin, that God has the power to deliver us from all sin, and that God wants to do this now. If we are not convinced of these three elements of deliverance we will never have the wall against sin built in us.
Satan has run a tremendous bluff on the Christian community. Satan has injected the idea that as long as we are in the world we are required to sin. Satan has injected the idea that God cannot or will not deliver us completely from sin. Satan has injected the idea we are so filled with sin that total deliverance is impossible. Satan has injected the idea that God's will is so difficult of attainment that no one could possibly do it. Satan has injected the idea that if we do God's will we shall be miserable and lack good things and the joy we could have if we would just follow our own desires. This was the means by which Satan deceived Eve and to this day deceives the human race.
But the Bible says we owe the flesh nothing that we should live according to its appetites. The Bible says if we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Bible says the portion of Christ that is in us does not sin and cannot sin because it has been born of God. The Bible says if we as a Christian continue in slavery to sin we will die spiritually.
Whom are we to believe, Satan or God? Whom would you like to believe (a very revealing question)?
If one is to understand the history of man from the time of Adam he or she must consider it in terms of the rebellion of the angels.
At some point in eons past the angels rebelled against God's will. God did not immediately cast all of them into the Lake of Fire (which is prepared for the devil and his angels) but conceived of a far-reaching plan. God's plan includes removing the authority of the angels from them, creating a new realm, the physical universe, creating a new race of creatures termed "man," and giving to man the authority to govern all the works of God's hands.
If you do not understand the previous paragraph I do not believe you will be able to place the events of history in proper perspective, particularly the events of Church history.
God began the program of developing human rulers by forgiving our sins through the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary by Jesus Christ.
But our being forgiven, while it benefits us, does not solve the problem of rebellion in the universe.
God proceeded to give those who have been forgiven His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and power to live a moral life and to bear witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it does not solve the problem of rebellion in the universe.
Once we have been forgiven by the blood of the Lamb and filled with the Spirit of God we now are in a position to begin to solve the problem of rebellion the universe. We solve the problem of rebellion by choosing to do God's will in every detail of life.
There are three areas of sin in our personality: love for the world, the passions of the flesh, and self-will. The source of all sin is our self-will, just as the self-will of Satan is the source of every sin.
We solve the problem of worldliness, with the Lord's assistance, by coming out of the world and choosing to find our survival and security in God. We spend time in prayer and reading the Bible instead of using every minute to make sure we have enough food and material goods. We choose not to love the world or to be a part of it any more than is necessary for us to discharge our responsibilities in a reasonable manner. We are in the world but not of the world. We must remember this always, especially in the age of moral horrors we are facing.
We solve the problem of the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul by confessing our sins to God and receiving His forgiveness and His cleansing. We do this continually. We walk in the Light of God's Presence with an open heart and conscience, always being ready to perceive and deal with the spiritual death that is brought to the surface of our personality as we go through various ordeals, problems, and trials. If we keep abiding in Christ, walking in the Spirit of God, we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh.
However, the biggest problem is our self-will. The biggest problem of the Christian churches of our day is self-will—often self-will in religious matters. God wants us to cease our programs long enough to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches. But we keep plowing ahead with our plans to save the world.
It is our personal cross that destroys the self-will from us. God permits Satan to place us in miserable circumstances, just as in the case of Job. We are in prison. We cannot come forth. We do not enjoy what we are doing and we are not receiving what we fervently desire.
Now what? Either we will bear our cross patiently after the Master for many years, or we will decide "God wants us to be happy" and force our way out of the circumstances which are frustrating us.
I sincerely hope I am mistaken but I do not think there are very many Christians in America who are willing to cease from their own programs, even religious programs, and remain in the prison where God wants them. I am sure there are some, and these are the heirs of the Kingdom. The rest is religious Babylon.
We are forgiven by the blood atonement. We are filled with the Spirit of God. But we still are part of God's problem because we are not seeking to find and obey His perfect will. Every believer who is not seeking God's will to do it perfectly in every detail is a baby.
When I first became a Christian and went to Bible school I was very zealous. The older Christians had a saying they picked up somewhere: "The world is waiting to see the person who will go all the way with God, who will do God's perfect will."
Being single and without close relatives I volunteered for the job. I told God if He would give me the grace I would do His perfect will.
A short time later I had a dream. In the dream I was on a ship that was breaking up. The sailors were jumping off into the water. So were the passengers and they were drowning.
I jumped over the side and started paddling around. Having been raised close to the ocean I have no fear of the water. I looked toward the shore, which was visible in the distance, and the sailors were playing ring-around-the-rosy on the beach—a child's game.
I looked back toward the people who were drowning. Then I noticed I could stand up in the water. It was only up to my waist.
So I turned to go back and advise the people to cease panicking. All they had to do was stand up and they could walk to the shore.
Then I awakened.
For a few days I pondered the dream, and then it came to me. God's perfect will is readily available to people and they do not know it. They are laboring under the notion that no one can do God's will, or that God's will is some horrible task that no one would desire. But the truth is, God wants every one of His children to do His delightful will at all times and in every detail of life.
I have been preaching the overcoming life since the time of the dream, some fifty years ago.
It is expected of every believer that he or she do God's will totally and completely in every instance. There is no other acceptable Christian life. Anything less than this is rebellion, it is disobedience to our Father in Heaven.
Last night in church we prayed that God would remove from us this satanic cloud that leaves us feeling we cannot do God's will. We most certainly can with His help. And we most certainly must!
The truth is, every action we take that is not God's will for us, whether we are aware of His will or not, leads us away from perfect joy. We just have to learn to believe God is on our side. He is seeking our eternal joy.
The original lie of Satan addressed to Eve was that God was not seeking for her that which was in her best interest. If Eve would only take matters into her own hands she would be happy. Eve took matters into her own hands and look how happy she was for nine hundred years!
Yet we never, never learn. Today Satan is telling the church people that if they keep control of their lives they will be happier than if they give everything to Christ. Can you imagine? And the people believe this!
When you talk to Christians about God building a wall against sin in their personality they are fearful indeed. They are afraid they are going to lose something of value if they turn their will over to God to do His will.
The very opposite is true. They are living in the original lie of Satan. They do not trust the goodness of God. They do not believe God has the willingness or the power to deliver them from sin. So the theologians have invented several ways of coping with the problem of the sins of the believers, none of which results in deliverance, only an unscriptural confusion.
The simple fact is, we are at the end of the Church Age. God is ready through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to remove everything that causes sin, and all who do evil, from His Kingdom. God is ready now to build the wall of the new Jerusalem. God is ready to build the wall in you and me.
Are you willing to do God's perfect will or are you still a disobedient child? Do you trust God? Will you this very minute tell your Father in Heaven that you want to do His perfect will no matter what it is?
I know God brings people through severe crises. I have been through a few myself. In such instances we absolutely must hold steadily to our trust in God's faithfulness and goodness.
Sometimes we hear of Christians being "mad at God" because something happened of which they did not approve. What is wrong with such people? Have they no brains at all? Don't they realize they would have nothing at all except for the goodness of God?
Are they trying to be one of Satan's lieutenants that they are mad at God?
Let us have faith in the One who sent His Son to the cross to die for our sins. The dreadful thing that happened to us was for our best, for our eternal joy. If we have been serving God it is impossible that something will take place that is not for the best. Let us trust our Father in Heaven!
Satan chose the path of self-will. The Lord Jesus Christ in an agony of mental, spiritual, and physical suffering cried out, "Not My will but Yours be done." By so doing He broke the back of Satan's authority and power.
The King of kings had to learn obedience through suffering. So do we.
The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven. Those who today long to do God's will, who cherish His will more than life itself, are the heirs of the Kingdom of God. They will receive everything that has been made new, to their eternal joy. These are the sons of God and God is pleased to be their Father.
These are the answer to the rebellion of the angels and mankind.
You can be a doer of God's will. All that stands between you and a perfect inheritance is your own unbelief. Heaven is ready to enable you to climb out of the valley of the shadow of death and join the ranks of those who delight to do God's will.
Choose now to do God's perfect will in every instance. If you do not have the will to choose to do God's will, then pray for that strength. Pray in Jesus' name for the inner strength to always choose to do God's will. It will be the Father's good pleasure to answer your righteous prayer.
Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, as in Heaven, so in earth. Amen.