Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
One of the principal goals of the Christian redemption is the raising of our body into eternal life. John 3:16 is referring to the restoration of that which was lost in the Garden of Eden, that is, eternal life in the body:… “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Apostle Paul had set everything to one side in order to attain to the resurrection to eternal life.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:22,23—NIV)
And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11—NIV)
The raising of our body into eternal life is a major goal of the Christian redemption. John 3:16 is referring to the restoration of that which was lost in the Garden of Eden, that is, eternal life in the body:… “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Apostle Paul had set everything to one side in order to attain to the resurrection to eternal life.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I conside5r them rubbish, that I may gain Christ And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:8-10—NIV)
I have written much on the subject of the resurrection, attaining to the resurrection, and the first resurrection from the dead. The concept of the resurrection is growing in my mind to such an extent that I would like to add some recent thoughts.
One of the most significant, from my point of view, passages from Paul’s writings is found in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians, verses 4 through 21. I view the passage as significant because in this text Paul tells how he has set everything aside to pursue his goal. His goal is to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The Book of Philippians is not the only place where Paul speaks of pressing toward the redemption of his body.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23—NIV)
For some reason, perhaps from the influence of the philosophy of Gnosticism, the goal of salvation has been changed from attaining to the resurrection, to residence in Heaven. The resurrection to eternal life and residence in Heaven are not at all the same thing. Heaven is a place in the spirit realm. The bringing of the human body into eternal life is the goal of what is taking place in our salvation. It is the restoration of what was lost in the Garden of Eden.
Paul did not set aside everything in his life that he might enter Heaven. Residence in Heaven was not Paul’s goal.
Paul groaned for deliverance from the body of sin and death. This was because Paul desired to be free from sin so he could serve God in righteousness. In addition to freedom from the compulsion to sin, Paul must have imagined what it will be like to have a glorious body like that of the Lord Jesus—to no longer be confined in prison in Rome in a corruptible, animal body; no longer subject to weariness, pain, and death!
In order to fully grasp what Paul is telling us in the third chapter of Philippians we must begin to view salvation as a program that is bringing us to the resurrection from the dead, to the redemption of our mortal body.
The sixth through the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans tell us how to attain to the resurrection to eternal life in the body. Every person who has ever lived on the earth will be resurrected sooner or later. It is not the resurrection itself that must be attained, it is the resurrection to eternal life in the body. This is the first resurrection, the resurrection toward which Paul was pressing with all his might.
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6—NIV)
If we would follow the thinking of the Apostle Paul we must learn to regard the Christian fight of faith as being for the purpose of laying hold on eternal life in the body.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12—NIV)
Our goal as a Christian is eternal life in our body. Our physical body (without blood) will be raised in the Day of Christ. If we have lived as a victorious Christian, our resurrected flesh and bones will be clothed with a body of incorruptible life, which the Lord will give us in that Day. This resurrection to eternal life and glory must be attained to. It must be attained to by laying aside all else that we may reach our goal.
We have stated that the sixth through the eighth chapters of the Book of Romans describe the path to the resurrection to life of the mortal body.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so grace may increase? (Romans 6:1—NIV)
In the preceding three chapters Paul had shown how we become righteous by putting our faith in Jesus Christ rather than by diligently obeying the commandments of the Law of Moses.
Since Paul’s teaching could be interpreted to mean there is nothing we need to do to be righteous other than believe in Christ, that we may continue to sin if we like because we are saved by grace, Paul wrote chapters Six through Eight. These chapter reveal the true grace of God, not the prevailing Christian concept that we are saved by a mental assent to the facts concerning Jesus Christ.
Shall we go on sinning so grace may increase? Never! This would make the new covenant the Divine encouragement of sinful behavior.
By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:2—NIV)
What does this mean?: “We died to sin.”
Does it mean we no longer have a sin nature? No. This would contradict the remainder of Chapter Six. Does it mean we sin but God does not see our sin because it is hidden from His eyes? No. This would contradict the remainder of Chapter Six.
“We died to sin” has to do with our basic orientation to salvation, which is that our adamic nature has been crucified with Christ and our inward nature has been born of God, has been raised from the dead with Christ, and has ascended to the right hand of God with Christ. Therefore for us to continue in sin is to deny the position we have taken by faith.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3—NIV)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6—NIV)
Or don’t you know all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:4—NIV)
When we were baptized in water we dramatized the fact that we have chosen to place our entire adamic nature on the cross with Christ.
How many churchgoers have placed their entire adamic nature on the cross with Christ? These are the genuine Christians. The remainder have never started on the path to the resurrection into eternal life in the body.
“But I believe!” Belief is only mental assent until it seeks Christ with its whole heart and obeys the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Mental assent does not produce eternal life or salvation.
The only correct response to the Gospel is to assign our whole first personality to the cross with Christ.
Sometimes people pray for years for deliverance from spiritual bondages only to discover that the bondage continues. Deliverance from sin is the reward for doing what God has said. If we do not count that we are dead with Christ; if we do not present our body a living sacrifice; if we refuse to set aside our own life, take up our cross, and follow Jesus; then we have not started on the path that leads to eternal life in the body. And while we may experience some deliverance, there will be other bondages that are not broken. This may be because we have not done what God has commanded in His Word.
God will not do what He alone can do until we do what we can do.
God does not intend to deliver people so they can run about according to the desires of their flesh and soul.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4—NIV)
The purpose of assigning our first personality to the cross with Christ is that we may, by the power of God’s Spirit, live a new life. The new life is one of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. If we really believe that we have been crucified with Christ, and have been resurrected with Him and ascended to the right hand of God in and with Him, this fact will be revealed in our behavior.
If we are not living a new life it is because we have not laid hold on the Christian salvation in the correct manner.
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:5—NIV)
When the Apostle Paul uses the term “resurrection” he is thinking primarily of the resurrection of the body. While it is true that we have a portion of eternal life now, in our inward nature, the whole purpose is that we will attain to the resurrection of the body.
We will not completely be “alive,” in the scriptural sense, until our body has been made alive.
Think carefully about the following passage:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:22,23—NIV)
We will not be alive until Christ returns. This means we will not be eternally alive in our body, which is the way God intends for man to be.
I think the reason we have not been too concerned with the resurrection of the body is due to the poisonous influence of Gnosticism. Gnosticism teaches that salvation is in the mind and what happens to the body is not significant. This is the very opposite of the Christian salvation, which is pointed toward the redemption of the body—much more so than has been preached in the Christian Era, I believe.
We will be united with Christ in His resurrection, in an inward “firstfruits” sense now, and then fully at His return. But our union with Christ in His resurrection must be attained to, as Paul emphasized. It does not just happen because we at some point have taken “the four steps of salvation.”
For we know our old self was crucified with him so the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—(Romans 6:6—NIV)
“Our old self” refers to our original, adamic personality. The “body of sin” is speaking of the sin that dwells in our adamic personality. God crucifies with Christ our first personality—all of it—in order to get at and destroy completely the body of sin that is in us. All things are to be made new in our personality and all things are to be of God.
The purpose of doing away with the body of sin in us is so we no longer will be in slavery to sin. It is at this point that those who view Paul’s discussion in the sixth chapter of Romans as referring to something existing abstractly, a sovereign state of grace, leave the doctrine of the Apostle Paul. Paul is not referring to an abstract sovereign forgiveness but to release from the bondages of sin; to an actual, observable change in our behavior. Such change is absolutely necessary if we are to attain to the resurrection into eternal life.
Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:7—NIV)
When we die we automatically are freed from the Law of Moses. The Law has dominion over us only as long as we are alive in our adamic personality.
It is true also that a physically dead body does not sin. It does not behave in an unlawful manner.
Paul is exhorting us to count ourselves dead with Christ so we may be freed from the legal obligations of the Law of Moses. Also, since our adamic nature, our first personality, now is on the cross with Christ, having died with Him, we no longer are obligated to live in our old, sin-prone nature. It is not reasonable, not fitting that we should do so. We have no obligation to that which is crucified with Christ to live according to its desires. Having died on the cross we no longer are slaves to sin.
Paul wrote Romans 6:7 to show the benefits we derive from dying with Christ on the cross, a position we are to take by faith and maintain by faith every day of our Christian discipleship. When we depart from intense fellowship with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we go back into a vain religion that operates through the talents and efforts of human beings. Fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ is the mainspring of the Christian salvation.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8—NIV)
Our purpose in dying is that we might live. Resurrection always comes from crucifixion with Christ, from nowhere else. It is only as we are willing to share in His sufferings that we can live by His resurrection Life.
For we know since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. (Romans 6:9,10—NIV)
Christ took upon Himself our sins, He had no sin of His own. Having been raised from the dead He is immortal. Death cannot control Him any longer. Thus Christ died to sin once for all time and now lives to God alone.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11—NIV)
We are to live in precisely the same manner. We are to identify ourselves with Christ on the cross, then with His resurrection, then with His ascension. We have died to sin once for all time. We now live to Christ alone and to God through Him.
But is there sin in us? Yes, there is. But the Holy Spirit brings to our attention only a small part of our worldliness, lust, and self-will. When this much has been taken care of, then the Spirit leads us a step deeper. We must deal with what we have been shown if we expect to remain without condemnation. We must confess, renounce, denounce, turn away vigorously from whatever problems have been pointed out. The blood of Jesus keeps forgiving the part of our personality that has not as yet been dealt with.
As the Spirit reveals the death that is in us we must ask God to forgive us and remove it from us. This is what it means to walk in the light of God, and as we do, God forgives us and cleanses us from all sin.
This is how we attain to the resurrection into eternal life in the body. Our body is spiritually dead because of the sin that is in us. Our task is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He attacks the sin that is causing the death of our body. If we are faithful in putting to death the deeds of our body, then, when the Lord returns, He will finish the work of redemption and clothe us with eternal life.
But if we do not follow the Holy Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our body, then we can forget about being raised into immortality when the Lord returns. It will not take place. We have not overcome sin and therefore we will not be given to eat from the tree of life.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so you obey its evil desires. (Romans 6:12—NIV)
Because we are in a fight to lay hold on eternal life we are not to let sin govern our actions. If we will patiently do all New Testament commands, God will do His part and give us victory over the sin that always is waiting to control us. This is how we attain to the resurrection to eternal life in the body.
But if we do not do what the New Testament commands we will not gain victory over our sinful impulses. In this case, we will be as the foolish virgins. When the Lord returns He will not know us. The door will be shut in our face.
Be sure you understand what I have just written. Much error is being taught in our day. The believers in Christian churches are not, in numerous instances, correctly oriented to the plan of salvation, supposing any moment they are going to be carried off to Heaven so they won’t suffer. This is deception!
Let’s turn now to a further discussion of how we attain to the resurrection into eternal life in the body.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10—NIV)
Think carefully about this statement. All human bodies are spiritually dead because of the sin that dwells in them. This is true for the saved as well as the unsaved.
There is something different about the saved. Although their body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it, their inward nature is alive because of the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to it.
Eternal life always is a result of righteousness whether ascribed or behavioral.
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. (Romans 6:22—NIV)
Eternal life is the result of holiness and righteousness. Holiness and righteousness are the result of our choosing to be the slaves of God rather than of sin.
Our inward, spiritual nature is alive because of the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to it, and also because of the beginning acts of righteousness that occur in our personality as we choose to be the slave of God rather than of sin.
But our body remains spiritually dead.
The goal of the Christian salvation is, as we have said, to redeem our body from death.
Notice the next verse:
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 Spirit of the resurrection already is living in us. God’s intention is to one day give life to our mortal body by means of that same Holy Spirit of Life.
But if this is to be true, if we are to attain to the resurrection into life in our body, we must obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
Paul was laying aside all else that he might know Christ; that he might gain Christ; that he might know the power of Christ’s resurrection; that he might share Christ’s sufferings.
Paul was doing this that he might attain to the resurrection from the dead, that is, the resurrection that is to eternal life in the body.
The implication is that if we do not follow Paul in utter consecration we stand in danger of not attaining to the resurrection into life in the body.
We have to sow to the Spirit of God at all times. We must live in the Spirit.
The Law of Moses was engraved in granite slabs. The law of the new covenant is the Holy Spirit Himself.
As we follow the Holy Spirit the righteousness of the Law is imputed to us.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4—NIV)
But if we do not cleave to the Holy Spirit we will reap destruction in the day when the Lord returns.
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 6:8—NIV)
This is a cause and effect relationship. It has nothing to do with grace or mercy. The principle of sowing and reaping is an unchangeable law of the Kingdom of God.
We are in pursuit of the resurrection into eternal life in the body. This pursuit requires that we give ourselves to Christ completely at all times. Anything less than total consecration and diligence will not suffice. This is war!
The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation tell us of the rewards of life, authority, power, service, and closeness to God that are given to him who overcomes. To overcome means we have chosen to turn aside from the appetites and passions of our body and soul and to seek Christ with a whole heart. By so doing we gain victory over worldliness, lust, and self-seeking.
If we desire to be a member of the royal priesthood, to attain to the first resurrection, we must live a victorious life in Jesus Christ. This is what the Bible clearly teaches.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12—NIV)
Because our inward nature is alive because of righteousness, because our body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it, and because it is God’s intention to bring eternal life into our body; for these reasons we do not have an obligation to live according to the sinful nature of our body. It does not make sense to do so and will only prevent its resurrection into 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, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13,14—NIV)
If we choose to live according to our sinful, dead body, we will die. What does this mean? It means the eternal life that God had given us when we received Christ will be withdrawn. We have not sown to the Spirit of God but have lived our life in the desires of our flesh and soul. When the Lord returns our body will not be redeemed.
We shall die!
It is our responsibility each day to cooperate with the Spirit of God in putting to death the sinful actions of our body. The Spirit leads us from one area of darkness to another. As we walk in the Spirit we do not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. We subdue our fleshly, soulish desires by the power of God.
The sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit in the warfare against the sinful passions of the physical body.
If we live in victory over our flesh and soul, if we overcome their desires, we will be fed with the hidden manna. This means the body and blood of Christ will be fed to us in the invisible spirit realm.
If we do not live in victory, carelessly neglecting our salvation, yielding to our fleshly nature and ignoring the prayer and meditation in God’s Word that are essential to nourishing our new inward nature, we will die spiritually.
This is the meaning of the parable of the virgins. Those who were careless, who did not provide enough oil, were turned away at the coming of the Lord. The “oil” represents the Life of the Holy Spirit. The “lamp” represents the Word of God. It was not enough to be theologically correct. They had to be filled and remain filled with the Spirit of God. Only then could they go to be with the Lord at His coming.
We have been warned by the parable of the sower that it is possible to have the Life of Christ germinate in us and then die.
We have been warned by the Lord that if we do not abide in the Vine and bear the fruit of Christ’s image we shall be removed from the Vine; removed from Christ!
Hebrews and Jude warn us about starting out from Egypt and then dying in the wilderness.
There are other warnings also. But how can this be? If upon receiving Christ we die with Him, are resurrected with Him, and then ascend with Him to the Father, how can it be that the Life of Christ can germinate in us and then die? How can it be that if we do not abide in the Vine we shall be removed from Christ?
How can it be that we can start out from Egypt and then die in the wilderness?
Once having risen with Christ, how is it possible to turn from the way of righteousness so our latter end is worse than if we never had received Christ in the first place?
How can these things be possible?
I don’t know. I do know the Scripture is clear that if we do not choose to be the slave of God, of righteousness, if we do not refuse to permit sin to rule our actions, we shall die spiritually.
The famous last verse of the sixth chapter of Romans, “the wages of sin is death,” refers to the Christian who has not chosen to turn away from slavery to sin.
I think the issue is centered on the body. It appears we shall be rewarded in our body or punished in our body. Some shall be raised to eternal life in their body. Others shall be raised to judgment in their body.
I am not speaking now of Heaven, Hell, or the Lake of Fire, the destinies of the wicked. I am pointing toward the idea of dying spiritually, or reaping destruction, of receiving, at the Judgment Seat of Christ the bad we have done.
I believe we are overemphasizing the idea of destiny (Heaven, Hell, the Lake of Fire) and not calling attention to the sowing and reaping aspect of judgment.
We imply to the unsaved that if they will receive Christ they will not go to Hell but to Heaven. However this is not the emphasis of the New Testament, particularly of the Epistles. Paul does not even mention Hell in any of his Epistles, which would not be the case of the Gospel of the Kingdom had to do primarily with going to Heaven and escaping Hell.
Rather, the Gospel has to do with the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and our status in the Kingdom (greater or less in the Kingdom). The Gospel of the Kingdom has to do especially with attaining to eternal life in the age to come.
Will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:30—NIV)
“In the age to come, eternal life.”
But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, And they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:35,36—NIV)
“Worthy of taking part… in the resurrection from the dead.”
There will be some believers who lead a victorious life in Christ and then, at His return, receive from His hand a body like His all-powerful body. These are God’s conquering saints. They have attained to the resurrection into eternal life.
There will be some people, unfortunately, who finally are lost to God. They will be thrown into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels. This is a fate so terrible as to be incomprehensible.
It may be true that in between these two extremes will be a multitude of people who have not lived a victorious life in Christ, and yet have not been wicked enough to be cut off from God’s Face for eternity. Perhaps some of these shall receive lashes. Others will have their talent taken from them and be thrown into the outer darkness. Still others will be resurrected to shame and everlasting contempt, as in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Daniel.
This is the only scheme that appears to me to satisfy the whole New Testament.
In any case, it is certain if we choose to live in the appetites and desires of our flesh and soul, we shall not be raised and given a body like the Lord Jesus. Of this much I am positive from the Scriptures. This is a fact and it includes all people, even those who have received Christ.
We shall not receive the rewards assigned to the overcomer unless we are an overcomer. If this is not the case the Bible is not the true Word of God.
This is all we really need to know. What will happen to the believer who does not choose to live the life of victory in Christ is not clear to me. The New Testament speaks of lashes, outer darkness, being cut in pieces and appointed our portion with the unbelievers, losing our talent, not escaping the wrath of God because we have neglected our salvation, ending up in a worse condition than if we never had accepted Christ, spiritual death, corruption, rejection by the Lord at His coming.
We can speculate about some of this, but not about the fact that the rewards are assigned to him who overcomes, and this means overcome sin—for our battle is against sin and consequent spiritual death.
I would suggest we not gamble that we can trifle with the demands of Christ and still hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The present Christian teaching of grace-Heaven-rapture-unconditional love is not solidly based on the Scriptures. The standard of Christianity in America is far, far below the standard set by the Bible for a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I think America is going to be severely damaged by terrorist attacks and perhaps weather catastrophes. In the future, if you are still alive, you may or may not be able to repent of your carelessness and turn to Jesus. You may discover in that hour that the spiritual oppression is so great you are not able to pray. Waiting until the last minute to serve Christ indeed is a dangerous risk. You may be cut off suddenly, and that without remedy.
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. (Proverbs 29:1)
Our doctrine about the rapture is incorrect and this may be made clear to most of us in the days of moral horror and calamity that are approaching. When it comes to your attention that you have never denied yourself, taken up your cross, and set out after the Lord, why don’t you do this instead of panicking with the rest of the country?
Our goal as Christians is the same as Paul. It is to attain to the resurrection into eternal life in the body. This is the mark that has been set before us. To receive immortality in the body, to have a body like the Lord Jesus, is a hope so superior to anything we can imagine that it is well worth the effort, like the Apostle Paul, to turn away from everything of our life that has not been wrought in Jesus Christ.
Notice the comment of the Apostle John:
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3—NIV)
Our hope is to be like the Lord Jesus when He appears and to see Him as He is. But if we really have this hope in us we must purify ourselves just as He is pure.
Several verses that follow, in Chapter Three of First John, tell us how important righteous living is in the Christian life. For example:
But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. (I John 3:5—NIV)
We can see readily from the above verse that Christ did not come just to forgive our sins but to take away our sins. This is probably one of the most important truths that we Christians are to embrace in the present hour.
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)
This passage, First John 3:6, alone condemns present-day Christian teaching and preaching. No person who is dwelling in Christ continues to sin. If we continue to sin we have neither seen Christ nor known Christ.
Think of it! How far we have gotten away from the doctrines of the New Testament! We claim we are saved by grace apart from righteous behavior. What we are teaching is Gnosticism, it is not the Christian salvation. Our current doctrines are actually heresy. We need to repent!
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (I John 3:8—NIV)
The above verse does not mean that when a Christian sins he has not been saved or that he or she is possessed by the devil. Rather, John apparently is reacting against those who were teaching in his day the “lawless grace” message being presented in our time. John is saying that a true Christian is pressing into Jesus Christ and overcoming sin. When he sins he confesses his sin, takes his forgiveness and cleansing, and presses forward to victory.
The Son of God did not appear to forgive the sins of the devil, the sins we Christians commit. The Son of God appeared in order to destroy the works of the devil that come forth from our personality.
We Christians are preaching and living that which is not scriptural!
There is no doubt that the grace of forgiveness has been greatly overemphasized in our country. The grace of the ability to purify ourselves and to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles has been neglected, I believe.
Let as many of us who will, now turn back to the Lord and begin to serve Him as a disciple should. By so doing we shall attain to the resurrection into eternal life in the body.
(“The Goal”, 3611-1)