OUR INHERITANCE IS CONDITIONAL

OUR INHERITANCE IS CONDITIONAL Copyright Š 2008 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.

Christians have an inheritance. Their inheritance is the new Jerusalem and all else of the new creation of God. However, inheriting the "all things" of God depends on our overcoming the evil that comes against us.

OUR INHERITANCE IS CONDITIONAL

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

Christians generally assume when they die, or when the Lord comes, they will receive crowns, rule over nations, live in mansions, possess great wealth, and perhaps play harps and wear golden slippers.

However, like most of the other Bible promises, the promised inheritance is conditional.

To inherit the "all things" of God we must "overcome."

We understand, therefore, it is of tremendous importance that we are certain what the Scripture means when it says "he who overcomes."

Our day, at least in America, is one of erroneous Christian teaching. Paul’s doctrine of "grace" is being presented as an alternative to righteous behavior.

In actuality, grace is an alternative to the Law of Moses, not to righteous behavior.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

We say we are justified by faith, meaning God regards us as righteous because we believe in the atonement made by the Lord Jesus. This is true and is the means by which we enter the program of salvation.

However, after we have received the Lord Jesus, if we continue to sin, God no longer regards us as righteous.

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:6,7)

No doubt the Apostle John wrote this because in his day there were believers who were interpreting the Apostle Paul to mean Divine grace is an alternative to righteous behavior.

Notice the clarity of the statements:

"No one who lives in him keeps on sinning."

"No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him."

"He who does what is right is righteous."

These three statements totally dismantle the current teaching that stresses salvation is by belief alone and our conduct is not related critically to our salvation.

We may believe in Jesus Christ, but if we do not practice righteous behavior we are not righteous.

What actions are included in righteous behavior?

Truthfulness, moral purity, honesty in business, faithfulness, kindness, showing mercy, forgiveness, patience with other people, doing to others as we would have them do to us.

If we persist in lying, adultery, dishonesty, treachery, harshness, unforgiveness, impatience with other people, being selfish toward other people as the rich man was toward Lazarus, speaking evil of other people and causing divisions between believers, injuring other people as we grasp what we want, then we are not righteous in God’s sight. We may believe in Christ and preach Christ; but we are not righteous in God’s sight if we do not turn away from unrighteous behavior.

Grace does not cover persistent unrighteous behavior, although the current Christian thinking insists it does. Today’s cry is: "We are saved by faith alone."

The result of such unscriptural teaching and preaching in America is moral decadence. Young people in the public and private schools are shooting their friends. The government is filled with graft. The leaders of the country are arrested for unlawful sexual advances toward their employees. Murder, rape, and robbery abound.

The American people wonder Why? Why? Why? as the world looks on in amazement.

The reason is, the Christians are not keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. They are not keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles because they have been taught they are saved by faith alone and how they behave is not critically important.

Decadent churches give a poisonous testimony, and America staggers forward in its moral filth and vomit.

The churches meanwhile are looking for a "rapture" so they will not experience the suffering produced by their lack of obedience to Christ and His Apostles.

God has told us if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, He will hear from Heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

But His people have no intention of turning from their wicked ways. They have been taught it is not necessary they turn from their wicked ways because "God sees them through Christ.’

Now, back to our subject, which is that only those who overcome will inherit the splendor of God and be the sons of God.

Because of the erroneous understanding of the function of Divine grace, the current teaching is that we are an overcomer by making a statement of belief in Christ.

The following passage is used to prove if we "accept" Christ, according to the current Christian formula, we automatically are an overcomer.

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5:4,5)

The current reasoning is as follows:

"I am born of God because I believe Jesus is the Son of God." Therefore I am an overcomer."

But this interpretation would conflict with previous statements in the same epistle.

The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (I John 2:4-6)

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:6,7)

Obviously the interpretation of I John 5:4,5 to mean we are an instant overcomer by "making a decision for Christ" (an unscriptural phrase) does not agree with other statements in the Book of First John.

Let us look at the passage in question and see if there is another interpretation that agrees with the remainder of the epistle.

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5:4,5)

If we interpret the above passage to mean our faith that Jesus is the Son of God enables us to overcome sin, and everyone who truly has been born of God lives a life of victory over the sin that is in the world, then we have an interpretation that fits perfectly the remainder of the Book of First John.

The Book of First John is directed against those who claim we can disobey God’s commandments and still be viewed as righteous. This is the theme of the epistle.

The two chapters of the New Testament that speak of the victorious saint are the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation (also by the Apostle John).

The seven churches are seen to have problems, just as do the Christian churches on the earth today. Then the Spirit speaks of overcoming the problems that are afflicting the churches. He (never they) who chooses to overcome the behavior that displeases the Lord Jesus will receive the rewards we ordinarily associate with being a Christian.

If every member of the churches was an overcomer because he or she had "accepted Christ," then the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation would be meaningless.

The rewards to the overcomer announced in the second and third chapters are those normally associated with "accepting Christ."

The truth is, to be an overcomer demands more consecration than customarily is found among Christian people, at least in theAmerica of our day.

The overcomer is not a super-Christian. He is just a Christian. The average believer of our day is not a Christian at all. According to the New Testament, a Christian is a disciple. A disciple is a believer who has turned away from his life in the world, has taken up his or her cross of self-denial, and is following the Lord conscientiously each and every day.

This is not true of numerous believers who attend Christian churches in America.

To be an overcomer, a victorious Christian, is not a goal we reach. Rather the overcomer is someone who each day overcomes the problems set before him.

We do not finally arrive at a sublime goal after years of tortuous asceticism. We can be an overcomer the same day we pray to the Lord and ask Him to save us.

Every day we are challenged by the statements found in the Bible. Every day there is some aspect of the Scriptures that requires action on our part. It may have to do with forgiving someone who has injured us. It may have to do with trusting God for enough money to pay our bills. It may concern our health, or marriage. It may be directed at some bodily lust or soulish passion.

Every day of our pilgrimage there is a point of concern. How we respond to this tension indicates whether or not we are living in victory.

First of all, we have to be reading our Bible every day.

We have to be praying every day.

We have to be assembling with fervent saints if possible.

We have to be counting ourselves crucified with Christ and risen with Him to the right hand of the Father.

We have to be praying for ways in which we can serve the Lord.

We have to have an attitude of obedience to Christ no matter what He demands of us.

All these are absolutely necessary if we are to be a victorious saint.

If we are living according to the above terms, we will be challenged each day. Often the Lord uses other people to cause us pain, worry, or concern. How we then respond is critical if we are hoping to be counted as a victorious saint, an overcomer.

If the pain, worry, or concern causes us to go to Christ, and we pray until all bitterness and unforgiveness leave us, we will be given the "hidden manna." This means our spiritual nature will be nourished with the body and blood of Christ. This nourishment will cause Christ to be formed in us.

Let us say someone causes us great harm by gossiping about us. We must instantly go to the Lord until we gain absolute peace, without a thought of lashing back at the offender. We permit ourselves to be defrauded. When we are reviled we do not revile in return.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11,12)

The Lord often was reviled but He did not revile in return.

When we are insulted, and do not respond in kind but seek the face of Christ, we grow in the Lord. This is what it means to be an overcomer. It is not some far-off goal we eventually reach. It is a matter of daily turning to the Lord instead of taking matters into our own hands.

But what happens if we do not go to Christ but attempt to avenge ourselves or justify ourselves?

Our sinful nature is strengthened. God views us with disfavor. We lose our testimony as a Christian.

When we do not forgive those who sin against us, God does not forgive our sin.

The result of not gaining the victory is an increase in bitterness in our personality. The Christian churches are filled with believers who are bitter because they have not forgiven someone who has offended them. They are not victorious saints. They are not overcomers.

And this is what is important: they will not receive the rewards we ordinarily associate with being a Christian.

They will not inherit the rewards set forth in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. They will not inherit all things. They will not be named as God’s sons.

Can you see what an area of ignorance this is in current teaching in America?

Many may disagree with me. They may maintain that all we have to do is make a profession of faith in Christ and we will rule with Christ. They will speak of God’s mercy, or His unconditional love, or of sovereign grace. They will claim we are saved by grace and not by works.

It does not matter. The New Testament is clear and unambiguous. The rewards of eternal life, of rulership, of opportunities to serve, are made only to those who overcome the evil which has come against them during their pilgrimage. The evil comes from the spirit of the world, from Satan and his demons, and from their own lusts, passions, and self-will.

No one can take our peace from us. The reason people are able to tear us down from our high place in God is that we do not take our pain to the Lord Jesus. Instead we react in our sinful nature. We seek revenge. We seek to justify ourselves. We insist on being treated fairly. Thus we lose our peace and are counted as a defeated believer.

To be a victorious saint is not extraordinarily difficult. Every believer is challenged to be an overcomer. In fact, only the overcomers are true Christians.

As I said previously, because we are defining grace as an alternative to keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, the clarity of the call to the life of victory has been muddied and obfuscated until few believers believe such victory is possible. No doubt Satan is behind this confusion, because he much prefers saints cower in defeat and unbelief in the Lord’s power to save us from sin.

When we are willing to throw off the current attitude that:

No one is perfect;

As long as we are in the world we have to sin;

If we try to be righteous we are insulting the perfect work of Christ;

Jesus has done it all so relax;

and begin to read the promises in the New Testament concerning victory over sin, we find to our joy that the only satisfying Christian experience is that of walking before God as one of His conquering sons.

If you can look up to God right now and there is nothing He is requiring of you that you are not doing, to the best of your knowledge, then you are an overcomer. It is just as simple as this.

Every day do what He is requiring of you, and His commandments are not grievous. Do this and you are a victorious saint. If you die in this faith, being persuaded of the promises of God, you will be rewarded when the Lord returns far, far beyond your most extravagant imaginations.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

Now let us look at a few passages that speak of the need for victory in Christ.

Notice, first of all, that the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation do not talk about belief but about action—as is true also of the "faith chapter," the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

From our point of view, the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans offers the best description of the proper orientation to the Christian walk.

The sixth chapter of Romans tells us that after we have received Christ and have been baptized in water, we now have the authority and power to choose to serve sin or to choose to serve righteousness. The unsaved have neither the authority nor the power to choose to serve righteousness.

The fact that we have the authority and power to choose to serve righteousness tells us that it is not only possible but required that we lead the life of victory in Christ. To choose slavery to sin rather than slavery to righteousness results in spiritual death, even though we have received Christ and have been baptized in water.

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:13,14)

Don’t you know when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

If there were no other passages in the New Testament teaching us that if we Christians choose to continue to sin we will die spiritually, the above verses would suffice for the sincere student.

But there are many more.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 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 8:12,13)

The implication in the above passage is that we are not obligated to live according to our sinful nature. Through Christ we can choose to put to death the tendencies toward sin that dwell in us.

What serious teacher of the Bible could read the above verses from the Book of Romans and claim while we are in the world we are required to sin, and it does not matter because we are "saved by grace"? The teacher who ignores the clear exhortations of the Apostle may be sincere, but he is ignorant and is bringing down himself (or herself) and his students to spiritual corruption and death.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

The contemporary viewpoint that such passages as the above do not apply to Christians is unworthy of a sincere scholar. The entire Book of Hebrews is written to Jewish Christians who were backsliding.

And the idea that Hebrews is directed toward Jewish Christians and not Gentile Christians is not worthy of discussion. But it does reveal the extremes to which Bible teachers will go to prove we do not have to live a righteous life.

As we have stated, the entire Book of First John is an exhortation to godly behavior.

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)

There are several other passages having the same emphasis. But the above may be adequate if the reader is willing to depart from the prevailing errors.

Our nation, the United States of America, is in serious trouble today. Why are we in trouble? Because the Christians are being taught they can be saved apart from living a godly life.

Demons of lust, murder, and covetousness are entering the American people. The populace cannot understand why school students are shooting each other. They suppose it is because there are guns in many American homes.

Whether there should be so many guns is not within my area of expertise to judge. It is a sociologic problem.

The primary source of the violence among young people is the media to which they are exposed. As long as we make a god of free speech, permitting songs that advocate lust and violence, and artistic expressions that vilify Jesus Christ, God will not protect us from the demons. They will have free course among us.

As we, because of our sinning, become increasingly vulnerable to demons and fallen angels, we are going to see increasingly foul displays of every form of moral corruption. There are no educational programs or criminal proceedings that will be able to prevent the rape, murder, public nudity, pornographic displays, pedophilic behavior, drunken driving, or drug trafficking. The authorities will try, try, and try again. Billions of dollars will be expended. The psychologists and educators will advance their theories and programs. But nothing—absolutely nothing—will avail.

Why is this? It is because the above behaviors are demonic. They cannot be solved by physical endeavors.

Not too long ago doctors were unaware of the relationship between dirty hands and infection. Then Joseph Lister and other investigators provided the basis for the modern programs of antisepsis. Prior to their work their were many postoperative fatalities due to infection.

The doctors before the programs of antisepsis caused many deaths because they were ignorant of the manner in which bacteria are transmitted. They were sincere but uninformed. So it is today. The preachers and teachers of lawless grace are sincere, but they are wreaking moral havoc in the churches, the result being that the secular society has little moral guidance from the very institutions God has chosen to bear witness of His Person and will.

Our nation is becoming increasingly decadent, as many other nations of the world are aware. We boast of our material successes, but spiritually we are corrupt and are exporting corruption to other countries.

We think because we have legalized abortion, God is consenting to the murder of fetuses. But their blood is crying to God and He shall avenge them. When He does, America will be chastened severely

We have been given so much, both materially and spiritually. There are many American people who are spending their lives in the effort to provide other countries with some of our material and spiritual riches.

But our country in the main is as the rich man and many other countries as Lazarus. The poor of those countries will go to Abraham’s bosom but we will end up in Hell because of our selfishness. And making a profession of Christ will not change our destiny. God is looking for new righteous creations, not disobedient children who are trusting in their theological beliefs and professions.

What can you and I do as individuals? We can’t feed the whole world and we can’t bring every person to Christ. But we can present our body a living sacrifice so God can use us however He will.

If we do this, if we place every relationship, every thing, and every circumstance on the altar of God, He will break our life as Jesus broke the loaves and fishes and we will be able to feed many people. Whatever our ministry is, we are to exercise it with total diligence. This is all God requires of any individual.

We have stated that it is the victorious saints who will inherit the "all things" of God.

What of the believers who do not live victorious lives? They are certain to experience a severe loss of inheritance, as in the parable of the talents. They may be saved as by fire, but this is to enter the new world as a naked spirit, without the rewards we usually associate with salvation.

The Lord is not pleased when we are lukewarm. He spits us from His mouth.

We see then that the careless believer who neglects to press forward to the life of victory is facing a bleak future. And there always is the danger of the Lake of Fire, even though today’s hirelings repeatedly comfort the "saints" by telling them that no matter what they do, once they make a profession of Christ they cannot possibly be lost to God’s purposes.

Again I say, it is time for us to wake up. To keep on preaching and believing the lawless-grace, Heaven, rapture error is to invite a dreadful future in which there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Let us not be among those who choose to believe a lie and thus receive great delusion as their wages. Let us rather obey the Apostle Paul by forgetting the things that are behind and by pressing forward toward the mark for the high calling of God in the Lord Jesus Christ.