Will morality by popular opinion work? The founding fathers of the United States did not believe so.
Few people have ever heard of a man named Sir William Blackstone. I personally learned about the man while taking an Ethics course during study at Wright State University.
His input was integral to the forming of the United States constitution. The following commentary by Donald R. May describes Sir Blackstone’s important contribution to the formation of United States Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
“The laws of the United States of America are based on moral laws that come from God and not from men. In writing our founding documents and our laws, our Founding Fathers relied heavily on the Bible and Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1771). Blackstone’s legal philosophy stated in his Commentaries was embodied in our Declaration.
“Morals are the foundation of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our laws. Morals are the first line of defense for our society. Morals make most laws unnecessary. When morals fade away, a civilization regresses with a breakdown of family and social structure. The numbers of laws, police, courts, and jails must be increased to replace the absent morals”.
Commentary by Katherine Green Robertson
Freedom from Morality Makes Us Less Free-JUL 4, 2016
A recent poll conducted by Dr. George Barna systematically explored America’s “shift in values.”
Predictably, those polled value comfort, happiness, and acceptance, but they also claim to value independence, control, and freedom.
These same respondents—including six out of seven “born again Christians”—professed a “personalized moral code,” that is, that they believe moral choices should be based on their own feelings.
Only 10% of respondents said that they believe in absolute moral truth.
Tragically, many of those polled seem to miss the direct link between freedom and the foundational morality of America—the cornerstone of our republic.
John Adams wrote to his cousin, “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”
The Founders knew that no president, nor any number of laws, could ensure the preservation of liberty; that, even in its genius, the Constitution would not be good enough to withstand a national loss of morality. Why?
Because the Constitution established a government that was hands off in order to maximize freedom.
The Founders knew that if the American people did not possess moral character, that if they were irresponsible with their freedom and did not police themselves, then more laws and regulations would be required. They understood that when government grows, freedom shrinks.
Many Americans who say that they desire freedom mean freedom from morality. “Don’t tread on me” has been misshaped into “anything goes,” but this has not led to true freedom.
In fact, an absence of morality weakens our basic freedoms of speech, religion, and enterprise and produces societal problems like the breakdown of the family (which leads to poverty and government dependency), increased crime and addiction (leading to incarceration), and a lack of integrity in business (which leads to costlier regulations)—all losses of freedom.
“Society cannot exist,” Edmund Burke wrote, “unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.”
The Constitution and our first laws were the embodiment, not the source, of the morality of the Founders. Yet our loathing of absolute morality, combined with the increasing role of government, now leaves us actually looking to laws for adjudging right behavior.
Consider the latest Planned Parenthood debacle: because a loophole in federal law meant that the selling of babies’ body parts was technically legal, this grotesque practice was defended and ultimately undisturbed. Even in Alabama, the supposed heart of the Bible Belt, state leaders have defended poor choices, without regard to morality, by saying that “no laws were broken.”
Undoubtedly, devaluing morality has cost us, not just culturally, but in actual dollars.
Taxpayers spend billions of dollars on prisons and corrections as we protest virtue and morality in the public square.
Government spends billions of taxpayer dollars attempting to care for the poor in ways that rob individuals of purpose and dignity and interfere with community-based benevolence.
We sink billions of dollars into public schools that are essentially asked to make up for the problems caused by the family breakdown, but then refuse to allow them to teach morality or character. Even a century ago, Theodore Roosevelt understood that “to educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
Our desires for independence and control cannot logically lead us to desire freedom from morality, truth, and virtue. As Patrick Henry put it, “A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles”.
Is Morality Determined by Its Popularity? by Avery Foley on October 13, 2017
Everybody’s Doing It
This new study from the Karolinska Institutet, a medical university in Sweden, found that participants’ view of “selfish and altruistic behaviors changes depending on how common they are.”
The principal investigator for the Swedish study commented,
The fact that a behavior is common doesn’t automatically mean that it’s right—this idea is based on flawed logic that confuses facts with moral values.
This researcher is right: popularity doesn’t equal morality. Yet the idea that the majority determines what’s right and wrong, or that it’s up to the individual, permeates our society. In this view, there are no moral absolutes, just changing tides of public opinion. What’s right today might be wrong next year and vice versa. It leads to shifting sands and a world where everyone does what’s right in his or her own eyes (Judges 21:25) or in the eyes of others.
A More Sure Foundation
Opinions on morality change constantly, often depending on the situation or “what’s in it for me.” But, as believers, we have a firm, unchanging foundation for our morality. When we start with God’s Word, we aren’t prisoners to the changing tide of public opinion. We can stand our ground, knowing what is right and wrong. The principles in God’s Word are timeless and apply to all Christians, in all times, and can be used in all situations.
When a person or a society looks to the Holy Bible as the United States founders attempted to do, they are looking for guidance from a standard above themselves and their imperfections. When one is governed by their own sense of morality, they become a god unto themselves. They judge what is right or wrong based on their personal feelings. Does any of this sound familiar?
1 Now the snake was the most cunning animal that the Lord God had made. The snake asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
2 “We may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden,” the woman answered,
3 “except the tree in the middle of it. God told us not to eat the fruit of that tree or even touch it; if we do, we will die.”
4 The snake replied, “That’s not true; you will not die.
5 God said that because he knows that when you eat it, you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.”
6 The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So, she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it. (GNT)
The desire to be like God and to be able to determine what is good and what is bad is what led to the fall of humankind in the first place. In verse 6 we read that this appealed to the woman Eve. And it still appeals to many humans today.
A person doesn’t have to look very far or for very long to see the disastrous effects of moral relativism and morality by popular opinion.
First, let us consider what is NOT evidence of being holy.
Some confuse ‘holiness’ with a superficial piousness or with a sanctimonious behavior of superiority above others.
Some synonyms for pious are: sanctimonious · self-righteous · holier-than-thou · pietistic · churchy · religiose · Pharisaic.
You note that Pharisaic is often used instead of the term pious. The Pharisees were religious bullies known for self-righteous behavior and a condemning attitude toward those who would not follow their notion of what ‘holiness’ is. This behavior is not scriptural holiness.
You may have also noticed the term ‘churchy’ which describes a person who conforms or adheres rigorously to the practices or creeds of a particular denomination group while condemning everyone else who doesn’t. This too is not a mark of true holiness.
False piety makes a person think they are better than other people according to their own set of rules; therefore, they believe, ‘God loves and accepts us while rejecting anyone who doesn’t agree with or obey our set of rules’. This is nothing more than self-righteousness…one having declared themselves righteous.
This is often accompanied by grandiose acts like holding one’s head aloof or perhaps even the way a person may walk along; gliding with an air of regality (high and mighty). An air of superiority is not holiness. Real holiness is not a performance!
So what did God mean when he said concerning His chosen nation, “You are to be holy to Me because I, Yahweh, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be Mine”? (Leviticus 20:26)
In three words: separate, pure, and clean. The next logical question would be “How”?
We get an idea from the words of Peter found at 1Peter 1:15,16:
“But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”
What did Peter mean?
Holiness is not merely a spiritual state. The fact of the matter is that often spirituality can be rooted in un-holiness. As you continue to read, you will find examples of un-holy spirituality among God’s chosen people.
Holiness Involves Keeping Separate
Holiness is to keep ones self separate and morally clean in order to serve in behalf of other. It was God’s plan that the nation of Israel was to be a “kingdom of priest” separated from the rest of the nations.
5 Now, if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own people. The whole earth is mine, but you will be my chosen people,
6 a people dedicated to me alone, and you will serve me as priests.”
Further, God told Moses to give this instruction to the people of Israel:
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy”.
In the Law, God gave the command not to intermingle with foreign nations and even told them why.
Deuteronomy 7:2-4 2 When the Lord your God places these people in your power and you defeat them, you must put them all to death. Do not make an alliance with them or show them any mercy. 3 Do not marry any of them, and do not let your children marry any of them, 4 because then they would lead your children away from the Lord to worship other gods. If that happens, the Lord will be angry with you and destroy you at once.
History shows that they did not keep God’s commandment and kept mixing with the nations God had told them they must not mix with.
As a result they kept making themselves unclean with the corruption of foreign nations. They assimilated these foreign nation’s practices; often which involved immorality and pagan worship. Over the history of ancient Israel, they would never keep clean. Yet they kept up a superficial pretense that they were holy. God stated this was the case to the prophet Isaiah:
13 The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized”.
This was the behavior in the days of the reign of King Josiah. While there was a priesthood going about the daily ritual duties of the Temple, they and the majority of the Judean two-tribe kingdom were in no sense keeping themselves clean and holy. It was in this time of idolatry and spiritual adultery with other gods when Josiah came to power in Judah.
The split away ten tribe kingdom to the north had already had fallen into captivity due to its sins against Almighty God. God had used mighty Assyria as an instrument of correction to punish Israel and they already had been taken into captivity.
This is how the prophet Jeremiah described the situation:
Jeremiah 3:8-10 8 “observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself. 9 Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn’t return to Me with all her heart—only in pretense.”
They only maintained a pretense of faithfulness and holiness, Again true holiness is not an act.
King Josiah- An Example of Holy Conduct
2 Kings 22:1, 2 tells us: 1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from the town of Bozkath. 2 Josiah did what was pleasing to the Lord; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God.
King Josiah did not follow the course of disobedience that previous kings had followed. His father, King Amon and his grandfather King Manasseh both committed evil sins. Manasseh, was responsible for rebuilding the pagan high places that King Hezekiah had torn down. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made.
Manasseh and Amon did not follow the instructions God gave concerning the king:
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 18 When he becomes king, he is to have a copy of the book of God’s laws and teachings made from the original copy kept by the Levitical priests. 19 He is to keep this book near him and read from it all his life, so that he will learn to honor the Lord and to obey faithfully everything that is commanded in it. 20 This will keep him from thinking that he is better than other Israelites and from disobeying the Lord‘s commands in any way. Then he will reign for many years, and his descendants will rule Israel for many generations.
Deuteronomy 17:20 talks about the ideal king: “that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.” King Josiah met God’s righteous standards.
The Second Book of Kings informs us that he went on on campaign to restore pure worship and make the nation holy again.
1 King Josiah summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 and together they went to the Temple, accompanied by the priests and the prophets and all the rest of the people, rich and poor alike. Before them all the king read aloud the whole book of the covenant which had been found in the Temple.
3 He stood by the royal column and made a covenant with the Lord to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul, and to put into practice the demands attached to the covenant, as written in the book. And all the people promised to keep the covenant.
4 Then Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah, his assistant priests, and the guards on duty at the entrance to the Temple to bring out of the Temple all the objects used in the worship of Baal, of the goddess Asherah, and of the stars. The king burned all these objects outside the city near Kidron Valley and then had the ashes taken to Bethel. 5 He removed from office the priests that the kings of Judah had ordained to offer sacrifices on the pagan altars in the cities of Judah and in places near Jerusalem—all the priests who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. 6 He removed from the Temple the symbol of the goddess Asherah, took it out of the city to Kidron Valley, burned it, pounded its ashes to dust, and scattered it over the public burying ground. 7 He destroyed the living quarters in the Temple occupied by the temple prostitutes. (It was there that women wove robes used in the worship of Asherah.) 8 He brought to Jerusalem the priests who were in the cities of Judah, and throughout the whole country he desecrated the altars where they had offered sacrifices. He also tore down the altars dedicated to the goat demons near the gate built by Joshua, the city governor, which was to the left of the main gate as one enters the city. 9 Those priests were not allowed to serve in the Temple, but they could eat the unleavened bread provided for their fellow priests.
King Josiah’s example is a fine example for us to follow because it is an example of true holy conduct. Do you feel as Josiah felt?
Separation of the Servants of the House of God
Within the nation itself, the priest were to further separate themselves as a group from those Israelites who were not of the priesthood.
The separation and standard of cleanliness of the priesthood is perhaps the best example to examine what is required to keep clean and holy in God’s sight.
Throughout the Old Testament, the term priest (kōhēn) is commonly used to refer to an official who was set apart from the rest of the community in order to carry out certain duties associated with worship and sacrifice. The fact that they served in the Holy Temple of God, their sacred duties, and the fact that they were responsible for handling the Temple utensils which were considered “holy vessels” made cleanliness on the part of the priesthood extremely important. They were required to obey certain restriction and were required to preform certain acts that the common people were not required to do.
While serving in the Temple, priest were required to literally wash themselves before coming near the alter or the Tabernacle.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them– to him and his descendants throughout their generations.” (Exodus 30:17-21)
As “ministers of the LORD” (Joel 1:9; 2:17), priests functioned as mediators in God’s presence and were responsible for the day-to-day operation in the Temple.
The priests had to be ritually clean (tahor) in order to serve at the Temple, and if he had somehow had become ritually unclean (tamay), he would have restore himself with the passing of time and by bathing his whole body in fresh, ritually clean (tahor) water, according to Leviticus 15.
From the physical standpoint, a priest was considered clean when any obvious indications of dirt or similar defilement have been removed. A clean priest was also one who habitually maintains a pattern of personal cleanliness and hygiene, while at the same time taking care to ensure that his habitat was in a clean condition.
Most important however were matters concerning moral cleanness. For the Hebrews, holiness demanded that they should reflect in their living and thinking the exalted moral and spiritual qualities of God had revealed in His laws.
Cleanness was fundamental to the establishing and preservation of holiness in the Israelite community. As distinct from any other nation, the Hebrews were provided with specific instructions concerning cleanness and how to recover it when it had been lost through carelessness or disobedience. The Hebrew people were to manifest their moral cleanness by demonstrating it in daily life, giving proof that they were living by God’s high moral standards and His high ethical qualities of absolute purity, mercy, justice, and grace.
Not being perfect, they had to avail themselves to God’s provisions for them to be cleansed and to remain clean.
One provision to remain clean has was mentioned previously and that was the commandment not to mix with foreign nations. These nations did not worship Jehovah. They did follow His commandments. They could only serve to corrupt His people.
Jesus Unique and Separate-How?
Christ is uniquely set apart and separate from all other creation as the only begotten child of God. He, like God his Father is peerless. He was individually singled out and remained separate from the angels.
A reading of Revelation chapter 5 indicates that the angels were not familiar with the Lord until he was introduced to them at the time he was led in and entered the Sanctuary.
If you reason on the matter, why would the “strong angel” spoken of in Revelation 5:2 ask “Who is worthy” to enter the Most Holy and receive the scroll”, if everyone present knew of Christ?
5 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Jesus had lived a separate existence until that time. He was also separate and unique as he is the only begotten son of God.
This separation is part of the Biblical view of holiness. This is why the opposite of something holy is said to be mundane or profane; ordinary. To be holy is to be removed from the realm of the ordinary.
The Hebrews lived lives separately, according to the Torah’s commandments, precisely because God is separate. The highest form of worship is to imitate what is Divine. Man must strive to be a reflection of his Creator and His holiness.
Following the example of the past, if Christian life is to be holy for the assembly, then the elect brothers of Christ must take care to be especially holy.
They have been distinctively sanctified by the Creator Himself for all time and singled out for a life dedicated to Him. The vehicle that accomplishes this sanctification is the commandments found in His word the Bible, which obligate them to their Creator in service to High Priest Jesus Christ.
As Christian disciples of Christ, we have been given a similar command that was given to the ancient Hebrew nation.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the LORD. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
We are given this commandment for all the same reasons God gave this commandment to the ancient Hebrews. If we disregard it we become unclean by being corrupted by practices which unbelievers consider to be acceptable, but the Bible condemns.
As a Christian brotherhood, we are not curtained off like the Hebrew nation was, living in one central places within designated geographical boundaries. No, we are mixed among all types of people and spread throughout the whole world. All the more so we must be just as careful about whom we have association with. This is particularly true within the Christian body because that is the most likely place one may be corrupted. Note Paul’s words of counsel:
1 Corinthians 5:9-10:
9 In the letter that I wrote you I told you not to associate with immoral people.
10 Now I did not mean pagans who are immoral or greedy or are thieves, or who worship idols. To avoid them you would have to get out of the world completely.
Because of where we live, because of where we work, go to school, shop it is impossible not to have some contact with immoral people. But that is not true when it comes to association with those who professed be Christian disciples.
Whether professed Christian believer or an unbeliever, we have an obligation to God and Christ to avoid people with unclean practices. We must be holy.
Paul also gave this admonition:
2 Corinthians 6:17
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the LORD. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
If we unintentionally become unclean, we must avail ourselves to God’s means to be cleansed. There was such a provision for the Hebrews with the Law given to Moses by God.
Leviticus 5:2-3, 5
2 “‘If anyone becomes aware that they are guilty-if they unwittingly touch anything ceremonially unclean (whether the carcass of an unclean animal, wild or domestic, or of any unclean creature that moves along the ground) and they are unaware that they have become unclean, but then they come to realize their guilt;
3 or if they touch human uncleanness (anything that would make them unclean) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt;
5 When you are guilty, you must confess the sin,
Just as it was necessary to appear before the high priest and confess their sin to be forgiven and then be prescribe the necessary course of action to be cleansed, it is also true today. Otherwise we will remain unclean. Today, the High Priest exist in the Heavenly Temple and we must confess our sins to him. If we sincerely are repentant, he will forgive us an prescribe the necessary course we need to submit our selves to in order to be cleansed.
1 John 2:1
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
But we will never receive that help if we do not present ourselves before the High Priest.
God has commanded His people, “You are to be holy to Me because I, Yahweh, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be Mine”. (Leviticus 20:26)
God Himself is called holy because He is completely separate; unique and unequaled in all of His creation as is His son our Lord and High Priest Jesus Christ. Nothing can be compared to Him because He is peerless; He is the Creator of the universe and all existence, and absolutely different from anything or anyone else that exists. It is in this light that His obedient children can be collectively called a “holy nation”. We are to be a nation set apart from all others, completely different from any other, whose Divinely-mandated lifestyle serves as living proof that God is walking in our in its midst.
For us to remain holy, we must reject all ungodly thinking and behavior. We cannot allow ourselves to socially mix with those who defy God and His commandments. Their thinking and behaviors will eventually corrupt us.
We must reject all apostasy against God, even by those in positions of leadership like the examples from the Bible we considered that included kings and priests.
We learn what is means to be holy and how to conduct ourselves in holiness by examining God’s written word just as faithful King Josiah did.
Holiness is not self-righteous piety like that the Pharisees demonstrated. It is not churchy, holier-than-thou behavior. It is not a false-front. Jesus described people like this best:
27 “How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside”.
Be not like this.
In order to be holy, God has command that we listen to and follow His son, the Christ as our Master (Matthew 17:5). We do not exist in a holy state if we reject Christ.
Jesus serves as High Priest in the Heavenly Temple and now as in the past, when we somehow become unclean we must present ourselves before the High Priest in order to be forgiven our sins and to be cleansed in order to stay holy.
Holiness involves pure worship of God on His terms and according to His commandments. If we worship God in this way, we will keep ourselves holy in His sight.
Who Is Your Savior? On Whom Does Your Salvation Depend?
Do you look at your pastor as your savior? Do you look to your religious group or organization for salvation?
If you do, you are not following the instruction found in the Holy Bible and Jesus Christ is not your Savior.
Efforts to exalt fellow human beings instead of the Lord, Jesus Christ as Savior are not a new phenomenon. There were many who were doing this very thing in the first century at the formation of the Christian assembly.
So much was the case that the apostle Paul had to write a sternly worded letter about this subject to the Body members who resided in Corinth.
He had to remind them that they were not baptized in his nor any other man’s name that ministers as a servant to Christ.
He had to remind them whom it was that died in their behalf in order that the door to salvation would be opened to them.
The apostle pointed out to the Corinthians that what they were doing when they claimed to be followers of a specific minister of Christ, was actually attempting to divide Christ.
In 1 Corinthian 1:29, Paul tells them and us, that God purposed things in the way He did so that no human had cause to be boasting in themselves. But rather, that the glory be to God and Christ.
In Chapter 3 verse one, Paul said that their behavior was “self-directed” according to their “fleshly nature” and he said that their actions were based on jealousy.
Lastly, Paul makes clear that it is not the minister that spiritual growth is dependent upon, but that growth is dependent upon the Holy Spirit of God.
Please read the text of the first of letter Paul wrote to the congregation of Corinthian and then ask yourself “Am I looking to Jesus Christ as my Savior, or someone or something else”?
1 Corinthians 1
1 Paul, called as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosthenes our brother:
2 To God’s church at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus,
5 that by Him you were enriched in everything—in all speech and all knowledge.
6 In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you,
7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.
11 For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by members of Chloe’s household, that there is rivalry among you.
12 What I am saying is this: Each of you says, “I’m with Paul,” or “I’m with Apollos,” or “I’m with Cephas,” or “I’m with Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,
15 so that no one can say you were baptized in my name.
16 I did, in fact, baptize the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t know if I baptized anyone else.
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to evangelize—not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.
19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts.
20 Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish?
21 For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached.
22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom,
25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26 Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth.
27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.
28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something,
29 so that no one can boast in His presence.
30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 3
1 My fellow believers, when I was with you previously, I was not able to teach you as I would teach people who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Instead, I had to teach you as I would teach people whom their fleshly nature controls. I taught very simple concepts to you who had recently believed in Christ, as a parent would speak very simple words to a baby.
2 I did not teach you things that were difficult for you to understand, just like a woman does not give her baby solid food that the baby cannot chew and digest. And just like a woman gives her baby milk, I taught you simple spiritual concepts, because at that time you were not able to understand difficult things. And you are still not able to understand difficult concepts,
3 because you are still controlled by your self-directed, fleshly nature. Some of you are jealous and quarreling. Does not that prove your self-directed nature is controlling you? It shows that you are acting like unbelievers act.
4 By some of you saying, “I am loyal to Paul,” and others saying, “I am loyal to Apollos,” does not it show that you are acting like unbelievers?
5 So what you really ought to think about Apollos and me is that we are merely men who serve God. As a result of our telling you the message about Christ, you trusted in him. Both of us are merely doing the work that the Lord appointed us to do.
6 I was the first one who preached God’s message to you. I was like someone who plants seeds. Later, Apollos taught you more of God’s message. That was like someone who waters plants after they start to grow. But it is God who enables people to grow spiritually, just like he is the one who causes plants to grow.
7 So the person who first preaches God’s message to people is not important, and the person who later teaches people more of God’s message is not important, just like it is not the person who plants the seeds or the person who waters the plants who is important. Instead, it is God, who causes plants to grow and who causes people to grow spiritually, who is important.
8 The person who first preaches God’s message to people and the one who later teaches them more of God’s message both are trying to reach the same goal. And God will reward each of them according to how they served Him.
9 Remember that Apollos and I are both working together for God. You do not belong to us. Just like a field belongs to its owner, not to those who work in it, you belong to God, not to us who work for him.
Also, a house belongs to its owner. It does not belong to the man who built it. Similarly, God is the one to whom you belong.
10 Just like a skilled person puts a foundation in the ground before he builds a house, as a result of God kindly helping me, I was the first one who declared the message about Christ to you. And, just like others build a house on its foundation, there were others who later taught you more about Christ. But just like each person who builds a house must be careful about what materials he uses to build it, each person who teaches God’s truth must be careful about what he teaches.
11 Just like people can put in only one foundation for a house, there is only one message that we can give to people. That message is about Jesus Christ. (Translation for Translators)
There is no doubt that a true disciple of Jesus only looks at him as their Savior and only look at him as God’s means of salvation.
Preachers and religious organization that teach that you must be their follower to gain salvation, are lying to you and leading you away from the true Savior, Jesus Christ.
At 1 Corinthian 1:13, the apostle Paul mentions an all-important fact that many professed believers have either overlooked or have chose to disregard.
1 Corinthian 1:13
“Is Christ divided? Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?”
A Christian disciple is to make their vow to God at their baptism according to the instructions that Jesus himself left to follow.
Matthew 28:19, 20
19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
Did your baptismal vow include more than the “name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”? Did it also include the name of a religious denomination? Then was it really a valid baptism in God’s eyes?
Please consider these questions by reviewing the post entitled “Is a Denominational Baptism Scriptural? Is it Valid? Is it a Sin?
7 Won’t God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
These are the words of Jesus Christ. The Lord’s question should cause a professed disciple of his to wonder why he would ask such a question.
Jesus’ statement does not imply that he himself felt that true faith would be abundant among humankind when he returned. In fact, he questioned whether there would be any at all.
Yet, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, there were 2.3 billion Christians of all ages living in the world. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, reported that the number of Christians in the world edged past 2.5 billion in 2019. This represents almost one third of the Earth’s population.
Given Jesus’ question, something doesn’t add up does it?
Note also what he is quoted as saying found in the gospel of Matthew:
13 “Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.
14 How narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way that leads to life. Few are those who find it.
Here he says that “few” are those who truly find and who truly travel the pathway of righteousness.
Paul spoke prophetically about this phenomenon in his first letter to Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:1-2
1 But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 through the hypocrisy of liars, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;
He is saying that many in the last days would succumb to teachings that do not equate with true Christian discipleship and that their conduct would not demonstrate true faith.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul specifically described one of two contributing factors that would result in a scarcity of true faith.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate healthy doctrine, but with itching ears will surround themselves with teachers who cater to their people’s own desires.
4 They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to myths.
The second main contributor is the infiltration of false teachers into the church brotherhood.
The apostle Peter warned about them:
2 Peter 2:1-2, 12, 17-19
1 Now there were false prophets among the people, just as there also will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many people will follow their immoral ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned.
12 These people, like irrational animals, are mere creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. They insult what they don’t understand, and like animals they, too, will be destroyed,
17 These men are dried-up springs, mere clouds driven by a storm. Gloomy darkness is reserved for them.
18 By talking high-sounding nonsense and using sinful cravings of the flesh, they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error.
19 Promising them freedom, they themselves are slaves to depravity, for a person is a slave to whatever conquers him.
These false teachers have a confusing and a divisive effect that stumbles many seeking true faith.
3 If anyone teaches false doctrine and refuses to agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and godly teaching,
4 he is a conceited person and does not understand anything. He has an unhealthy craving for arguments and debates. This produces jealousy, rivalry, slander, evil suspicions,
5 and incessant conflict between people who are depraved in mind and deprived of truth. They think that godliness is a way to make a profit.
Even though many profess to be Christ’ disciples, the reality is that few truly are. They have not heeded the apostle Peter’s warning found in 2 Peter 2:1.
The apostle Peter pointed out that it is the one who earnestly seeks God that is manifesting true faith.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Jesus’ question regarding the presence of true faith when he returns, emphasized how scarce it would be and how hard it would be to maintain it.
Will you fight to be one of the few?
What Is Godly Fear?
What does it mean to fear God?
Does the Bible contradict itself on this matter?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 exhorts:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. KJVlite
Over and over in the Bible we are exhorted to fear God, to have the fear of the Lord, to live in godly fear.
So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
The fear of the LORD leads to life, then contentment; he rests and will not be touched by trouble.
But why should we fear God? Isn’t God love?
1 John 4:18 clearly tells us that: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Is this a contradiction?
Godly fear isn’t the same as fear of a tyrant, or a dictator. We don’t need to fear His anger, unless we fear punishment due to a bad conscience and an unrepentant heart because of sin. (Romans 2:5-9)
To fear God is absolute reverence and awe for Almighty God, the Creator of all things, including we ourselves individually.
This causes us to fear to sin against Him, because we want nothing else in this world than to be pleasing to Him, and to bring honor to His name. We fear to cause Him sorrow or grief, knowing how incredibly wicked willful sin is, how much God hates it, and how much it hurts Him when we sin.
Please re-read the passage above from Deuteronomy 10:12.
Proverbs 8:13 states very succinctly what the fear of God means:
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
Some attempt to pit Ecclesiastes 10:12 and 1 John 4:18 against each other and claim the Bible contradicts itself. There is no contradiction.
1 John 4:18 is stated to a specific group who obediently accept Jesus as Messiah. Refer to verse two of the same chapter:
1 John 4:2
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
These words are specifically spoken to those truly in union with Christ by accepting him. It is not a general statement to all humankind.
These words are directed toward those who love God and keep His commandment out of love for Him. They have no reason to fear.
That cannot be said of all people. There are those who should properly be in fear because they do not obey him out of love.
For them, Paul's words found in Romans 2:5-9 apply:
5 But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 who “will pay back to everyone according to their works:”
7 to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality -- everlasting life.
8 But to those who are self-seeking, and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness -- wrath and anger,
9 affliction and distress, on every human being who does evil, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Bible does not contradict itself on this matter nor any other matter.
Watch Your Footsteps Carefully
Watch Your Footsteps Carefully…Watch How You Walk
The word ‘Christian’ does not mean an admirer of Christ, nor recipient of Christ’s blessings, nor even one who simply believes in Christ. It means much more than that.
‘Christian’ means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. A Christian is a disciple of Christ.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, this is the definition of what a disciple is:
“a person who believes the ideas and principles of someone famous and tries to live the way that person does or did”.
Jesus came as a man and left us an example to follow in our conduct of how we are to think and behave.
1 Peter 2:21
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Sin has a grip on all people, and we have all fallen short of God’s will in our lives at some time.
Even those of us who attempt to lead a godly life must be honest with ourselves and admit that we are imperfect sinners and must therefore pay constant attention to our behavior.
Consider our thoughts. Are they always so pure and noble, loving and forgiving as we make ourselves out to be? Or do we harbor hatred in our heart?
Consider our words. Are all our words a blessing? Do we offer blessings and yet curse with the same tongue?
Consider our conduct. Are all our deeds unselfish? Do we do things for God’s glory or our own? Are we really following in Jesus’ footsteps?
Because of the perversion of real Christianity you may never have heard of this kind of Christianity, but God’s Word speaks of no other kind. Pick up your Bible today, and rather than reading what Jesus did in your place, read how you can follow in Jesus’ footsteps to become like Him!
Ask yourself, “Am I really a Christian, according to the Bible?” If this is the life you want, don’t hesitate. Pray that God will give you His Spirit, and then start following in Jesus’ footsteps in the way you behave.
We have this Scriptural admonition as a reminder and as a warning:
12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God;
13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end:
The Holy Scriptures long ago counseled worshipers of the living and only true God to watch their steps in order to maintain pure worship and good standing before Him:
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
12 When you walk, your steps will be sure. And when you run, you will not fall.
13 Always remember what you have learnt. Do not forget it. The things that you have learnt will give you life. So keep them well.
14 Do not go where bad people go. Do not follow the ways of bad people.
15 Do not do it! Keep away from every bad thing! Refuse it and go on your way.
16 Bad people cannot sleep unless they have done something wrong. They lie awake unless they have caused someone to fall.
17 To do bad things is like food and drink to bad men.
The apostle Paul also offered similar counsel to the 1st century Christian congregation:
15 So, you must be very careful how you live. Live like people who understand what is right and good. Do not live like people who do not understand anything.
16 These are bad times, so use every moment well.
17 Do not be fools. But instead, understand what the Lord wants.
18 Do not drink too much wine, because that will cause bad things. It will stop you ruling yourself properly. But instead, let God’s Spirit fill you.
Everyone is a follower of someone or something. Some people follow in the footsteps of their family and tradition. Others follow their own instincts, drawing from a variety of philosophies, religion, friends, and family. They do whatever they feel is right in their gut. That is doing according to one’s own will.
However, true Christians do not follow any of these paths, but rather the path of Christ as his footstep followers. A true Christian listens to the complete teachings of Jesus and obey all of his commandments. They do not cherry-pick through his teachings and commandments selecting to believe and obey only the ones that appeal to their personal will and desires.
A well known entertainment figure who promoted many different so-called ‘spiritual’ belief systems, would often speak of Jesus Christ in personal perception terms. She would say, “My Jesus is like…”.
Jesus was a real historical person and not some mythological character. There is no my Jesus, your Jesus, or his/her Jesus. There is but the one Jesus and we either choose to accept him or not. We can’t make him into something according to our personal preferences.
We can tell if we’re Jesus’ followers if we live out His truth and walk in the light as He is in the light.
We cannot think and behave like those alienated from God and please Him. There is no fellowship between “light” and “darkness”. There is no fellowship between Christ and the devil.
Whose Approval Should We Be Seeking?
Whose Approval Are You Seeking?
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”
1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Often, humans have a propensity to seek praise of their fellow human beings. They judge their good standing based on how much praise they garner from other people. But quite often, they find themselves seeking the approval of men above the approval of God.
Lord Jesus warned against coveting the praise of other people. He said this:
“How terrible when all people speak well of you; their ancestors said the very same things about the false prophets”.
But why would people heap praise on a false prophet? The reason can be found in the Books of Isaiah and Jeremiah:
They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. (NLT)
The prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes? (NLT)
Much of the time, what gets the approval of other human beings isn’t a matter of right and wrong but, is a matter of doing what pleases them. So there have been many who corrupted themselves and their teachings in order to appease ungodly people.
The gospel writer John made this comment primarily concerning the chief rulers of the Jews, many of whom believed that Jesus was the hoped-for Messiah, but were afraid to confess him for fear that they would incur ostracism and shame from the Pharisees.
“They loved human approval rather than the approval of God”.
This was not only true of those leaders, but it was also true of many of the common people. In essence, they were more concerned with being approved by other human beings rather than whether or not they had God’s approval. Their concern was driven by fear.
While it is true that often we are taught through a system that uses praise as an incentive for good behavior but uses criticism and often disapproval as a disincentive of bad behavior, getting praise is not the end objective. The end objective is the production of good behavior. To seek praise for praise’s sake alone is wrong.
Whose Approval Should We Be Seeking?
The answer to that question is a simple one. On whom does our existence and life depend upon? God.
The apostle Paul who was the writer of the Letter to the Colossian church, also wrote these words to the brothers in Rome:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
And Paul wrote this in his second letter to Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Of the fact that it is pleasing to God that we obediently follow His son Jesus, there can be no doubt. God himself spoke from Heaven and said so.
Recall the transfiguration experience that Peter, James, and John were witnesses of?
1 Six days later Jesus took with him Peter and the brothers James and John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone.
2 As they looked on, a change came over Jesus: his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white.
3 Then the three disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.
4 So Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how good it is that we are here! If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased—listen to him!”
God said both that He was pleased with (approved of) His son Jesus and that we should “listen to him”.
It is God’s approval as disciples of Christ we should always seek and many times that will mean the disapproval of other humans.
We cannot become more concerned with the approval of men than we are with living a godly life and seeking the approval of God.
Retribution and Reward
1 Now I have something to say to the rich people who do not believe in Christ and who oppress and cause others to suffer. Listen to me, you rich people! You should weep and wail loudly because you will experience terrible troubles!
2 Your wealth of various kinds is worthless, as though it were rotted. Your fine clothes are worthless, as though termites had ruined them.
3 Your gold and silver are worthless, as though they were corroded. When God judges you, this worthless wealth of yours will be evidence that you are guilty of being greedy, and as rust and fire destroy things, God will severely punish you. You have in vain stored up and accumulated wealth at a time when God is about to judge you.
4 Think about what you have done! You have not paid wages to the workmen who have harvested your fields for you, with the result that those reapers are crying out to God for him to help them. And God, the all-powerful Lord, has heard their loud cries.
5 You have lived luxuriously, just to have pleasure here on earth. Just like cattle fatten themselves, not realizing that they will be slaughtered, you have lived just for pleasure, not realizing that God will severely punish you.
6 You have arranged for judges to condemn innocent people. You have arranged for others to kill people. And even though those people had not done anything wrong, they were not able to defend themselves against you. My fellow believers, that is what I say to the rich people who oppress you and cause you to suffer.
7 So, my fellow believers, although rich people cause you to suffer, be patient until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back. Remember that when farmers plant a field, they wait for their valuable crops to grow. They must wait patiently for the rain that comes at the planting season and for more rain that comes just before the harvest season. They wait for the crops to grow and mature before they can harvest them.
8 Similarly, you also should wait patiently and trust the Lord Jesus firmly, because he is coming back soon and will judge all people fairly.
What Does Mark 5:7 Prove?
“And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not”.
These are the words of a group of demons called “Legion”. These demons uttered these words just before Jesus called them out of the man they possessed.
While the demons were pleading with Jesus not to send them to their final destination, these wicked spirits acknowledged what many stubbornly deny. The fallen angels clearly called Jesus “Son of the Most High God”.
These demons knew Jesus was not God on Earth in flesh.
This is further proven in the next words by the one speaking in their behalf:
” I adjure (beseech) thee by God, that thou torment me not.”
He did not ask Jesus to withhold from tormenting him in Jesus’ own name, but rather by or in the name of “God”.
Clearly as all the fallen angels know, Legion knew that Jesus isn’t God Almighty, but rather the Son of God.
While lying preachers teach the false doctrine a Trinity Godhead and that Jesus was God on Earth in the flesh, the demons confess knowledge of the real truth that these professed ministers of Christ refuse to accept.
Hot, Cold, and Lukewarm
Fully Understanding What Jesus Meant
In Revelation 3:15-17, Jesus is talking to the church in Laodicea. Laodicea was a city in Asia Minor, which is now the location of modern-day Turkey. (See map)
In these verses, the Lord uses the terms “hot,” “cold,” and
He says this:
“I know what you have done; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other!"
“But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth!"
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" (GNT)
To fully understand what Jesus meant when making these statements, it is necessary to examine this text in its original, historic context. Whether or not you get the full understanding of biblical text depends largely on how you read the Bible. There are two ways to read the Bible to develop an interpretation of what you are reading.
One is called ‘exegesis’ interpretation. The other is called ‘eisegesis’ interpretation.
Basically, exegesis relies on the original context of a biblical passage to determine what that passage means, while eisegesis relies on things other than the original context of a biblical passage to determine that passage’s meaning.
Using an exegesis approach to understanding Revelation 3:15 and 16 brings a more in-depth and accurate understanding of what Jesus was referring to and meant. Let’s examine these verses in their historical context. But first let’s examine the conclusions that have been drawn by those not examining the historical context.
In many religious circles, it might be said that someone is “on fire” for the Lord. So, someone might understand “hot” to mean “on fire,” religiously zealous, or completely committed to God.
In many religious circles, it may also be said that someone is spiritually “cold” when they are not religious, or not committed to God at all. So, someone might understand “cold” in Revelation 3:15-16 to mean a non-believer, or someone who is not committed to God.
Lastly, since lukewarm is neither hot nor cold, we might understand “lukewarm” to mean someone who is religious but who is not fully committed to God, or who does not display the outward signs of religious zeal that we associate with someone who is on fire or “hot” for the Lord.
All of this makes sense, in English. It takes contemporary connotations of modern, English expressions for “hot,” “cold,” and “lukewarm,” and brings those connotations to Revelation 3:15-16. It brings meaning to the text, without asking whether this meaning is coming from the original, historical context or not. This is an example of eisegesis. An eisegetical method would use a modern understanding of those terms in a religious context to understand what that passage means.
Exegetical methodology, on the other hand, looks to the original context of these verses. This approach will examine the original Greek words for “hot”, “cold”, and “lukewarm” and then explores how these words would have been understood by the original author (Jesus) and audience of this passage of Scripture.
In this case, references to “hot”, “cold”, and “lukewarm” are probably referring to water temperature, using the water situation at Laodicea as a metaphor for the people’s behavior in the church at Laodicea.
Laodicea was a rich city with many industries thriving in it. For all of its wealth and prestige, however, it also had hard, unpleasant water (Strabo, Geog,). Two neighboring cities, Hierapolis and Colossae, had much better water.
These three cities, Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colossae, were so close to one another that they are mentioned together by Paul when he wrote the congregation in Colossae:
Colossians 4:12, 13
12 Greetings from Epaphras, another member of your group and a servant of Christ Jesus. He always prays fervently for you, asking God to make you stand firm, as mature and fully convinced Christians, in complete obedience to God's will.
13 I can personally testify to his hard work for you and for the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Archaeological studies of the ancient world tell us that Hierapolis was known for its hot springs. The hot water (zestos) of Hierapolis was used by the Romans as a health spa, similar to the way natural hot springs are used today. The warm water was invigorating.
Archeological studies on the other hand, reveals that Colossae had cold (psuchros), refreshing water. In the intense heat of the summertime, one can appreciate the value of cold water.
Laodicea, unfortunately, did not have enough water for its population. It had to pipe water into the city, and when the water got there it was neither hot nor cold but was lukewarm. It wasn’t useful, hot water for healing, and it wasn’t useful, cold water for refreshing. So, for all their wealth and prestige in the ancient world (v 17), Laodicea had an embarrassing situation with their water. And Jesus as recorded in Revelation 3:15-17, uses that embarrassing situation to make a point about the Christians in Laodicea.
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"
When it says, “I wish you were either one or the other,” Jesus is saying that he wishes they were useful, that they were either healing or refreshing to people. Apparently, based on the rest of this section in Revelation, this rich city of Laodicea was content to be blessed, but they were not doing anything with it. They weren’t being good witnesses on behalf of the Lord. They were not helping other people. They weren’t even looking to Jesus for their provision, but instead boasted in their own capabilities. In other words, they were lukewarm Christians who talked big, but were not producing Christian fruit.
This examination of Revelation 3:15-16 is an example of exegesis. We looked into the original historical context of the passage, and how this passage would have been understood in its original context.
The Letter of Jude
1 I am Jude. I serve Jesus Christ like a voluntary slave. I am a younger brother of James, the leader of all the congregations. I am writing to you whom God has chosen to belong to him. You are loved by God our Father and protected by Jesus Christ.
2 I pray that you will continue to experience very much God acting mercifully toward you, causing you to have inner peace, and loving you.
3 You whom I love, I was very eager and very much wanted to write to you about that which we all share and have in common, which is how God through Jesus Christ has saved us. But now I realize that it is necessary for me to write to you in order to exhort you to defend the truth about Christ that we believe. Jesus and his apostles gave that truth once and for all to us who belong to God, and we must not let it be changed by anyone nor revise or change by anyone.
4 Some people falsely teach that because God kindly does for us what we do not deserve, it does not matter and is all right if we continue to sin. Those people show by the way that they conduct their lives that they do not want to admit and accept that Jesus Christ is our only Master and Lord. It was written long ago that God would condemn such ungodly people and people whose lives are displeasing to him. But some of those people have entered like crawling snakes into your congregations and oppose the truth about Christ, so you must resist and oppose them.
5 Although you previously knew all these things, there are certain things about which I desire to remind you. Do not forget that although the Lord rescued His people from Egypt, He later destroyed most of those same people, ones who did not believe in Him.
6 And there were many angels to whom God assigned positions of authority in Heaven. But many did not continue to rule with authority in those positions. Instead, they abandoned the place that God gave them to live in Heaven. So, God has put those angels in chains forever in the darkness. They will stay there until the great day when God will judge and punish them.
7 Similarly, the people who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah and the nearby cities committed sexual immorality. They sought all kinds of sexual relations that differ from what God permits. So, God destroyed their cities. What happened to those people and those angels shows that God will punish people, such as the ones who teach false doctrine, in the eternal fire of Hell.
8 Similarly, these ungodly people in your midst also defile their own bodies by living immorally, because they claim and say that God revealed in visions that they should act that way. They refuse to allow anyone to have authority over them, and they speak evil about God's glorious, wonderful angels.
9 When the devil (Satan) argued with the chief angel Michael about who would take away the body of the prophet Moses to bury it, Michael did not do as these teachers of false doctrine do. Even though Michael has much more authority than they do, he did not disrespectfully, revile, or say evil things to Satan nor accuse or condemn him. Instead, he only said, “I desire that the Lord God will rebuke you!”
10 But the ones in your midst who teach false doctrine revile and speak evil against the spiritual beings that they do not understand. They also do the evil things that they desire. Things that they know about naturally and without needing to think. Things that they just do without considering the consequences like animals. So, they destroy themselves. But they will also be punished by God.
11 God will do terrible things to those who teach false doctrine! They conduct their lives wickedly like Cain, who murdered his brother because he was jealous and angry because God accepted his brother's sacrifice and did not accept his. These false teachers devote themselves to doing wrong things like Balaam, who tried to induce God's people to sin in order to get the money that was offered to him. They will perish like Korah, who rebelled against the authority that God gave to Moses.
12 Those teachers of false doctrine are as dangerous to you as hidden rocks on a reef, like rocks underneath the surface of the ocean are to a boat. When you gather together to eat the meals that help you believers to love each other more and have a closer relationship with each other, they join you and carouse shamelessly, caring only for themselves and not for others. Because they do not do anything to help others, they are as useless as clouds that are blown along by the wind but that do not produce any rain. They are as disappointing as trees that do not produce fruit in the autumn as we expect them to. They are not only spiritually dead themselves, but they are not able to cause others to be alive spiritually, just like trees that have been uprooted and as a result are unable to produce any fruit.
13 They are restless, like the pounding waves of the ocean. Just like waves produce foul-smelling foam on the shore, those teachers of false doctrine do shameful deeds. We cannot depend or rely on them to show us how to conduct our lives, just like we cannot depend or rely on falling stars to show us the way when we travel. God has reserved intense darkness for them forever in Hell.
14 Enoch, the sixth person in the line of people who descended from Adam, prophesied this about those teachers of false doctrine: “Listen carefully to this: The Lord will certainly come with a countless number of his holy angels in order
15 to judge everyone, and to punish all wicked and ungodly people, those whose lives are displeasing to God for all the ungodly things that displease God that they did in an ungodly way, and for all the harsh things that ungodly sinful people have spoken against him.”
16 Those teachers of false doctrine grumble about the things that God does. They complain about what happens to them. They do the sinful things that their bodies desire. They talk boastfully. They flatter and say nice things to people, only in order to get those people to give them the things that they want.
17 But you people whom I love need to remember the things that were predicted by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, the things that the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said would happen.
18 They told you, “In the final period of time in which we are now living there will be people who will laugh at the truths that God has revealed. They will do the ungodly things that are displeasing to God that their bodies desire.”
19 That describes the teachers of false doctrine well, because they are the ones who cause divisions among believers. They do what their own minds tell them to do. The Spirit of God does not live within them.
20 But you people whom I love, hold and continue to trust firmly the very sacred truths that you believe. Pray letting the Holy Spirit enable and empower you.
21 Keep conducting your lives in a way that is appropriate for those whom God loves. Keep constantly expecting that our Lord Jesus Christ will act mercifully toward you. Keep expecting that until the time when we begin living eternally with him.
22 Mercifully help those who are not certain what teaching they should believe.
23 Rescue others from the influence of those who teach what is false, as you would rescue things by snatching them from a fire. Pity those whom the teachers of false doctrine have completely convinced but beware that they do not influence you. Detest doing or even thinking about the sins that those people commit, just like you would detest touching not only filthy things but the clothes that were stained by those things.
24 God is able to keep you from ceasing to trust in him and from sinning, and he is able to bring you into his glorious presence. As you stand before Him, there will be nothing for which you will be condemned, and you will be rejoicing greatly.
25 He is the only true God. He has saved us as a result of what Jesus Christ our Lord did for us. God was glorious and great and mighty, and He ruled with great authority before time began. He is still like that, and he will remain like that forever! Amen! That is true!
Jude wrote this letter to warn its readers against false teachers. These were teachers who claimed to be Christians but were not as evidenced by their ungodliness. They posed a great danger to the faith of anyone who listened to them.
Jude said they were “as dangerous to you as hidden rocks on a reef, like rocks underneath the surface of the ocean are to a boat”. These false Christian teachers want to shipwreck you and your faith.
He also likened them to uprooted trees saying, “just like trees that have been uprooted and as a result are unable to produce any fruit”. In verse 19 he states, “The Spirit of God does not live within them”.
In this same verse, Jude describes the division they cause because they teach things contrary to the Word of God. “They do what their own minds tell them to do”.
How can one keep from being misled by false teachers?
Verses 20 and 21
20 But you people whom I love, hold and continue to trust firmly the very sacred truths that you believe. Pray letting the Holy Spirit enable and empower you.
21 Keep conducting your lives in a way that is appropriate for those whom God loves. Keep constantly expecting that our Lord Jesus Christ will act mercifully toward you. Keep expecting that until the time when we begin living eternally with him.
Following the Example Set By The Apostle Paul
“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another”.
1 Corinthians 4
1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
Resist those who want you to follow them instead of helping you become a better follower of Christ.
Whom Is Your ‘Mother’?
Whom Is Your Mother?
Old Covenant Slave Mother vs New Covenant Free Woman
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar.
25 For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Comparatively, the son of Abraham by the free woman (Isaac) is likened to those seeking to be justified by faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah, without becoming Jewish first or seeking a Zionist national identity.
When reading Paul's words, the son of Abraham by the slave woman (his son Ishmael) was likened to those seeking to be justified by human means, by the works of the Law, by circumcision, by legal Jewish identity.
Paul confronted those who wanted to enforce the Jewish Law covenant upon the newly formed Christian congregation. The Christian congregation and the covenant it was formed upon was comprised of not just natural Jews, but of people of other nations who were not bound to obey the Law of Moses.
Yet there was a constant insistence then and also now by natural Jews to enforce an old terminated covenant centered on one physical nation, Israel. They sought to be right with God by continuing the things of the past while ignoring His will in the matter.
Paul explains that he is referring to two opposing covenants, illustrated using (unnamed) Sarah, and (named) Hagar.
Paul's words emphasize a competition between two covenants. One is legitimate and the other is not.
Paul also wanted his readers to understand that to expect right standing with God according to the flesh, according to Jewish social status, and a physical national identity is to be identified with a covenant of slavery, the covenant with Hagar and her offspring.
Zionist and so-called Christian-Zionist possess this slave mentality by insisted on creating an earthly nation with Jerusalem as it capital. This is exactly what Paul is warning against.
The original old covenant with a single nation is the covenant with Hagar and her offspring. It relates to the Torah of Moses because that is where practicers of Judaisms in Paul’s day looked for the origins of the Nation of Isra'el as a people, because with the Law, God covenantally “married” as it were, his bride Isra'el.
At the time Paul wrote this letter, earthly Jerusalem certainly was not free. The Roman government had a choke-hold on the complete region. It could not have been the Jerusalem above Paul refers to.
What he does say specifically is that the Jerusalem that is above is free (in opposition to the slave-city earthly Jerusalem), and that this heavenly Jerusalem is our mother.
One Should understand these verses as proof positive that the Old Covenant stemming from Mount Sinai represents slavery and must be replaced by the New Covenant stemming from the Heavenly Jerusalem that offers freedom, and this would be true only if we interpret the terms "old covenant" as "old nature" and "new covenant" as "new nature."
The present Zionist movement are the efforts of those attempting to defy God and continue under a yoke of slavery.
Paul mentions that Ishmael was born when Abraham succumbed to his flesh. Or in other words, in the normal way ordinary human beings produce and bear children.
On the other hand, the son of the free woman Sarah (Isaac) was born, not according to human effort, but by the Divine power of God and after Abraham and Sarah were in reality too old to physically copulate for the sake of producing children.
Galatians 4:26 King James Version (KJV)
"But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all".
Is Belief Alone Enough?
We find these words in the Book of Acts Chapter 16:
30 and brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (NHEB)
Some point to the above verses and believe and preach to others that belief is all that is required.
However that idea is not born out in a thorough examination of the Holy Scriptures.
Two men are mentioned in the Book of Acts Chapter 8. Both came to believe in Christ.
9 But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one,
10 to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that power of God which is called Great.”
11 They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Simon himself also believed. Being baptized, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occurring, he was amazed.
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
16 for he had not yet fallen upon any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
19 saying, “Give me also this power, that whomever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.
21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
22 Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask the Lord if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
24 Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me”. (NHEB)
The account does not recount what reply, if any, Peter gave to Simon. However, after this Phillip had an encounter with an Ethiopian man who came to understand that Jesus was the Messiah and then desired to be baptized.
Acts 8:36, 37
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (KJV)
Both of these men believed; and yet they displayed contrasting behavior in how their belief effected them.
Simon believed yet his heart and his motives were not pure. He thought he could purchase the Holy Spirit.
Concerning belief in God, the Book of Hebrews has this to say:
6 Now without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
And since God has established his resurrected only-begotten son Jesus as High Preist, he is the only means of approach and reconciliation with Him. We must first believe this to be so.
But is belief sufficient?
The Bible tells us that the fallen angels “believe”.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. (NHEB)
Clearly their belief is not a saving belief because it does not cause them to obey the Lord.
And in speaking of the “rulers” among the Jews, John 12:42 says:
“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him”.
More than belief was necessary. Confession is required to be saved and yet confession is something in addition to belief.
Belief in itself is not an end. Rather it is the beginning. It is prerequisite.
The Bible writer James tells us that there must be deeds or “works” consistent with our faith.
We can do things—or can refuse to do things—that disqualify us from receiving the free gift of salvation from God.
We can offer others a ‘free’ gift for example a meal, clothing, or shelter. But even though it is offered without charge, isn’t it true that the recipient has to avail themselves appropriately to take advantage of the opportunity? Consider Matthew 22:1-14.
The fact is, that the Bible shows us that God sets certain conditions for determining whether or not we receive the free gift of salvation. Some conditions enable us to receive that gift, and other conditions disqualify us from receiving it.
Jesus made this clear:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
Jesus has already told us that merely acknowledging Him as Lord and Master—saying “Lord, Lord”—is not sufficient.
The Bible in the Book of Acts, tells us about a group of people the Apostles had witnessed to concerning Christ and who believed. Note what question they asked the Apostles and what reply was given to them:
Acts 2:37, 38
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We must live a life reflective of our faith. We must live a life of obedience to God’s commandments and submission to His anointed High Preist.
We must repent from our former way of life and become obedient “doers of the word” as the Bible writer James admonished us to be.
22 But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was.
25 But he who looks into the perfect Law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this person will be blessed in what he does.
If we believe that belief in Jesus alone is sufficient, we deceive ourselves and those who listen to us.
The wicked powers that rule of this world are very active mixing (also known as pairing) everything they can into a confusing mess hoping to befuddle people, so they won't be able to think clearly or know the truth.
Their hope is to have a similar effect of what God achieved when he confused the language of the Babylonians in Nimrod's lifetime. Because He did so, they were not able to complete their project. It turned out to be a failure.
In a copycat reversal in these last days, Satan is causing general confusion by tainting the knowledge and information bases with misleading information. Also, by mixing things that have nothing in common. For one example, oxymoronic expressions like "wicked good". Wicked and good are opposite to one another. What goes on in the mind when you pair them together? It causes mental angst/frustration.
Also, sources of disinformation rule the media sources. While decrying the dissemination of misleading disinformation and propaganda on the part of their adversaries, news sources then hypocritically proceed to do the same thing based on their own social and political agendas. In the course of doing so, they cause more and more confusion. What’s right and what is wrong?
If you observe, virtually every knowledge base has been corrupted from unbiased knowledge to the biased, skewed information one finds on television, radio, and in print today. There is no such thing as “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. It is extremely difficult to get any kind of untainted information.
If you do happen to find what seems a reliable news source, it won’t stay that way for long. They all use ‘bait and switch’ tactics to gain your trust. Once you are confident in their coverage, they will turn at some point to steering your thoughts in a specific direction.
Tainting the sources of knowledge is what is described in the Book of Revelation as poisoning the streams and rivers with "wormwood". Many died from drinking from those polluted springs.
Revelation 8:10, 11
10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch, and it fell on one third of the rivers, and on the springs of the waters.
11 The name of the star is called “Wormwood.” One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
Wormwood is highly toxic. High doses of wormwood may result in digestive upset, kidney failure, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and can ultimately be fatal.
Lies and disinformation are toxic too and can also be fatal. This is what the devil is counting on.
The devil believes that if he mixes everything together, no one will be able to separate real from false, truth from lie, fact from fiction, or right from wrong.
Satan is the father of the lie. That is what Jesus said. And his intent from the Garden of Eden until this day is to murder as many humans as he possibly can.
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan, the devil, is the mastermind behind the present campaign of the dissemination of false narratives and outright lies. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived. Satan is being successful among the apathetic and those who see it as too much hard work to search for the truth.
It’s high time to start thinking outside the mind controlling box the wicked powers that have created for you. Fact-find to verify what you read and hear.
“Rejoice In Our Afflictions”?
No one normal finds happiness in pain, suffering, and persecution. And the Holy Scriptures do not imply that a disciple of Christ feels pleasure from experiencing pain.
What then is meant by the expression "We rejoice in our afflictions?
The Apostle Paul explains:
We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance products proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rejoicing in the midst of suffering focuses our attention on the knowledge of what the Spirit produces in us through that suffering. The result is threefold: suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
A mother birthing a child often suffers agonizing pain. But the remembrance and joy in what is about to be produced, keeps her from being overcome by the birth pangs she experiences.
So too as disciples of Christ, we understand why we suffer, the cause of our sufferings, and know what will be produced if we endure these various trials and sufferings faithfully.
What are the distinguishing differences between a “sheep-like” disciple and the “goat-like” disciple?
Matthew 25:31-33: “the Son of Man … will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left,”
In several prophecies written in the Old Testament, the coming Messiah is referred to as a ‘Shepherd’:
Yet his bow remained steady, and his strong arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
He protects His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in the fold of His garment. He gently leads those that are nursing.
I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd.
My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow My ordinances and keep My statutes and obey them.
Jesus identified himself as the foretold of “shepherd” that would guide God’s obedient children to salvation.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know Me,
A drove of sheep is led by its shepherd, whereas a goatherd is led by a lead goat.
A flock doesn’t lead each other. A flock of sheep look towards the guidance of its shepherd to not only lead them, but also to protect them from dangers such as predators or dangerous environments. Quite opposite, goats lead a goatherd wherever THEY wish to go, while destroying the environment around them along the way.
The male goat represents strong-mindedness, singleness of purpose, and leadership rather than following. Goats follow their own will. The Scripture contrast these two distinct character traits found in sheep and goats in order to show the proper disposition of a true disciple of Jesus.
Perhaps this is so because people who exercise these characteristics are frequently offensive to their fellow brothers and sisters by tending to go off in their own direction in their drive to achieve their own will and goals. Unfortunately, often a great deal of self-pride accompanies the desire to lead others.
The goat-like disciple’s thinking and behavior is very different from that of the obedient disciple.
They have little sympathy for God’s way and remain indifferent to their brothers and sisters. Jesus spoke about this sort of indifference when he chastised the church in Laodicea:
15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot.
16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.
If you continue reading the following verses, the Laodiceans were doing just fine according to their own judgment, but not according to the judgment of the Shepard, Christ.
17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed, and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see
In reading the context of Jesus’ statements found at Matthew chapter 25, you will see that the goat-like disciples are condemned because of their sins of omission. They are condemned for what they didn’t do.
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels!
42 I was hungry, but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink;
43 I was a stranger, but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison, but you would not take care of me.’
44 Then they will answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we would not help you?’
45 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’
46 These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.”
There are sins of commission which are things we do: and there are sins of omission….sins of failing to act and do what is right in God’s eyes.
Why did Jesus label such people as goats? What characteristics possessed by a goat caused Jesus to use them in such a negative light?
Goats are ‘capricious’. Here are some synonyms for that term:
Goats are impulsive and unpredictable, devious and contrary. When they are not poking their heads through fences, they may be standing on their hind legs, stretching for those tender leaves just out of reach. Goats are never content with what they have.
They are clever in opening gates and squirming through small gaps because they hate to be limited and confined. While a fence will usually handle sheep, cattle, and horses; it will not hold goats. They will work tirelessly to spring themselves from any situation they deem inhibiting.
Consequently, goats are not very good followers. Sheep are ‘gregarious’ in their behavior. This word describes the nature of a flock or herd and is an instinct which is found strongly in sheep, cattle, and horses. Again, this quality is rather weak in goats; they prefer leading or going off on their own.
Goats may have some admirable qualities such as intelligence, sensitivity, playfulness, they are quick to respond to individual attention and affection. While all of that sounds good, they also so have many negative bad traits that will not allow them to be good followers.
Goats possess a stubborn streak. If you attempt to move a goat in a certain direction, say by grabbing its horns or by pushing and tugging, a goat will resist you. While Christ doesn’t force anyone, a goat-like disciple is rarely moved even if force is applied.
Goats are not very good followers; nor are many ‘professed’ Christian disciples of Christ. That is why Jesus compared his disobedient, self-willed followers to goats. Goats seem to want to forge their own way almost as if they are saying, “I don’t need the shepherd! I will do it all by myself”.
What would we call a Christian who is unpredictable? A goat! Or one who thinks he is above it all? A goat! Or one who independently does his own thing? A goat! What would we call a Christian who wants to take over, has trouble functioning in a group, and does not want to be led? A goat!
In contrast, sheep tend to be more cooperative and inclined to stay with the herd while goats tend to be more independent. Sheep tend to be dependent on the shepherd and more inclined to stay with him and near him.
Christ is separating the “sheep” from the “goats” now.