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Will you base your doctrine and beliefs on a sentence fragment?  That is what much of Christianity is doing today.

Paul, Chief of Sinners?


Apostle Paul

(Acts 24:16 [AKJV]) And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men. 

Paul could not have been the chief of sinners and at the same time “have always a conscience void of offense toward God”. He said this and Luke wrote this under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. “a conscience void of offense”.  

Not merely “considered” free from offense, but he said, “I ‘exercise myself’ to have ALWAYS a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men”.

Only a man free from sin can say such a thing and not be a liar. The holy Ghost would not endorse a lie. Paul walked in the freedom he preached which comes by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ; by the power of Christ in you; by the true grace of God.

Notice, in Galatians 1, how Paul contrasts his past when he persecuted the church, with his present preaching of the faith. We will see that he also compared his past with his present in his letter to Timothy which is below.

But first, let us read the Galatians passage and take note of vss. 13 and 23 and how Paul contrasts his past and present. That is how we give testimony. A testimony is what we were before we met Christ, how we came to know Christ, what He has done in us and how it has been since we met Christ. We give experiential evidence of what Christ has done in us.

(Gal 1:10 [AKJV]) For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Apostle Paul cannot be the “servant of Christ” and the servant of sin at the same time.

(Gal 1:11 [AKJV]) But I certify you, brothers, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 

(Gal 1:12 [AKJV]) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

(Gal 1:13 [AKJV]) For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 

Note on the word, “Conversation“. It means conduct or behavior.

CONVERSATION G391 ἀναστροφή anastrophe (an-as-trof-ay’) n.

1. behavior 

[from G390]

KJV: conversation

Root(s): G390

(Gal 1:14 [AKJV]) And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  

See here how Paul is speaking of his past, before Christ apprehended him?

(Gal 1:15 [AKJV]) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace

(Gal 1:16 [AKJV]) To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Paul says God was pleased to “reveal His son in me“. He is speaking a time after he persecuted the church.

(Gal 1:17 [AKJV]) Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 

(Gal 1:18 [AKJV]) Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. 

(Gal 1:19 [AKJV]) But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. 

(Gal 1:20 [AKJV]) Now the things which I write to you, behold, before God, I lie not. 

(Gal 1:21 [AKJV]) Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 

(Gal 1:22 [AKJV]) And was unknown by face to the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 

(Gal 1:23 [AKJV]) But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed.  

See the glaring comparison of past Saul and present Paul?

(Gal 1:24 [AKJV]) And they glorified God in me. He says, “they glorified God in me”.  

Can god be glorified by a practicing sinner? Obviously and contrarily, God was glorified by the wondrous change he worked in the heart of the Apostle who once persecuted the church but now builds it as a chosen vessel of Jesus Christ Himself. A chosen vessel of Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Ghost. See it here in Acts 9, see his transformation and hear the very words of Jesus who called him into service.

(Acts 9:15 [AKJV/PCE] But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 

(Acts 9:16 [AKJV/PCE]) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 

(Acts 9:17 [AKJV/PCE]) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 

(Acts 9:18 [AKJV/PCE]) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 

(Acts 9:19 [AKJV/PCE]) And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 

(Acts 9:20 [AKJV/PCE]) And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 

(Acts 9:21 [AKJV/PCE]) But all that heard [him] were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests

(Acts 9:22 [AKJV/PCE]) But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. 

Now let’s look at the much repeated, “I am chief of sinners” mantra that people use to say Paul was a sinner all his life. We must keep in mind that Paul never wrote merely a verse to a church or a person. He wrote letters, entire letters. Many pick and choose verses and they twist the Apostle’s words like a media man during a campaign year.

Look at the following and notice the same contrast Paul makes of before and after Christ was revealed in him.

(1Tim 1:12 [AKJV]) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry

(1Tim 1:13 [AKJV]) Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  

Note Paul is referring to his past, before conversion.

(1Tim 1:14 [AKJV]) And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 

(1Tim 1:15 [AKJV]) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  

(1Tim 1:16 [AKJV]) However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 

(1Tim 1:17 [AKJV]) Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

It is common to use present tense when making a point. Example; “I am more of a sinner than you all, just look at what I did before I came to Christ and He changed me”. This passage in no way was ever intended by the Apostle nor by the Holy Ghost to comfort us in our sin nor to say that Paul continued in sin for the rest of his life after conversion. This passage is showing a contrast between pre and post conversion of Paul.

(1Cor 4:16 [AKJV]) Why (wherefore) I beseech you, be you followers of me. 

Would the Holy Ghost inspire Paul to say “follow me the chief of sinners”? or, is Paul inspired by the Holy Ghost to say “follow me” because God has so worked in his heart that to follow him is to follow Christ?

(1Cor 11:1 [AKJV/PCE]) Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ. 

(1Cor 4:17 [AKJV]) For this cause have I sent to 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.  

My ways which are in Christ“: are the ways of a ‘chief of sinners’, the ways of Christ? Of course not, Paul has new ways which are in fact the very ways of Christ. He teaches these ways every where in every church. He teaches the ways of Christ, every where in every church. The ways of Christ, which, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Paul calls his ways. Paul’s ways are, the ways of Christ, no longer are they the ways of the chief of sinners.

 …”remembrance of my ways which be in Christ“. Can Paul say this under inspiration and in good conscience if he were a sinner? If Paul’s ways were the ways of a sinner, a “chief” sinner, will the Holy Ghost inspire him to write this?

“am of Christ”…  Is sin ,sinning and sinner ‘of Christ’? Paul did not say, “be followers of me, a sinner of Christ”.

Again:

(Phil 3:17 [AKJV]) Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample. 

Does Paul and Holy Ghost want us to follow sinners as an example? Here too, Paul shows that others walk in such a way as to be commended as worthy of being followed.

The gospel came with power and it’s power was revealed and exhibited in the holy lives of the messenger who testified.

(1Thess 1:5 [AKJV]) For our gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 

(1Thess 1:6 [AKJV]) And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. 

(1Thess 1:7 [AKJV]) So that you were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

Paul brings their attention and calls on them to remember His blameless behavior among them

(1Thess 2:10 [AKJV])You are witnesses, and God also, how piously and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 

Can Paul say this while all the while he is sinning? Remember, he is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Paul’s conscience would have condemned him and he could never have written such a thing if he were a sinner.

Review the words of Paul in 1 Timothy Chapter 1 and refuse the twisted and lying way that this statement, “of whom I am chief”, has been fed to us and repeated until it is believed as a truth over the years. Doctrines are not based on a sentence fragment!

“War Propaganda”, in volume 1, chapter 6 of Mein Kampf (1925), by Adolf Hitler 

(two variations)  

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.  

If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. 

Moral of the story:

If we embrace the lie that “even Paul sinned all his life“, then we will justify our own continuance in undefeated sin. If we deny that freedom from sin is possible by embracing the lie that Paul sinned all his life and never walked in complete sanctification then how can we believe God will bring us into complete sanctification?.

(1Thess 5:19 [AKJV]) Quench not the Spirit. 

(1Thess 5:20 [AKJV]) Despise not prophesyings. 

(1Thess 5:21 [AKJV]) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

(1Thess 5:22 [AKJV]) Abstain from all appearance of evil. 

(1Thess 5:23 [AKJV]) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

(1Thess 5:24 [AKJV]) Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.

558429_427838037254934_1155106157_n

(1Cor 3:10 [AKJV/PCE]) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 

Paul was given grace to lay the foundation. Jesus Christ is the foundation. All things pertaining to faith and godliness, forgiveness and redemption proceed forth from Christ. Not just from Christ to anyone but to the one who has “fellowship” with Him. These things are not merely “from” Christ but “In” Him and are attainable as a result of true fellowship with Him.

We are called to repent of our sins and to enter into fellowship with Jesus Christ through the gospel. The gospel which Paul was “graced” to preach. That post Mosaic dispensation of grace, by which we may be forgiven of sins and empowered by the very Spirit of God through the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ and through fellowship with Him.

Today there is the notion that grace merely pardons us of sin and even rewards us in the face of continued sin; as though God winks at sin and says, “I got ya covered and by the way, here are some great gifts for you too”. This is mental assent to false doctrine and gross error. To the extent that someone’s notion of grace serves as an encouragement to sin, that notion is in error. While we do have an abiding propitiation for our sins which we “may” commit from time to time, grace is not a covering for continued intentional and habitual sin and it is not something that comes to us apart from fellowship with Jesus Christ.

(1John 2:1 [AKJV/PCE]) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

(1John 2:2 [AKJV/PCE]) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

Let’s look at 1st Corinthians 1:3-9.

(1Cor 1:3 [AKJV/PCE]) Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. 

(1Cor 1:4 [AKJV/PCE]) I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 

(1Cor 1:5 [AKJV/PCE]) That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; 

No doubt, but that this enriching, utterance, knowledge etc…, came by that grace which was given to them. We need to see how that grace is effectual, not merely ethereal, not merely reckoned, but evidential in the life. Grace has an outworking which can be experienced by the recipient and observed by the onlooker. Paul goes on to list some of that evidence.

(1Cor 1:6 [AKJV/PCE] ) Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 

Here, in verse 6 we have two important words to understand, “Testimony” and “Confirmed“.

(In the following definitions, the bolds are mine.)

1) TESTIMONY G3142 μαρτύριον marturion (mar-too’-ree-on) n.

1. something evidential 

2. (genitive case) evidence given or (specially), the Decalogue (in the sacred tabernacle)

KJV renders it: to be testified, testimony, witness

2) CONFIRMED G950 βεβαιόω bebaioo (beb-ai-oh’-o) v.

1. to make firm, steadfast 

2. (figuratively) to confirm

KJV renders it: confirm, (e-)stablish

Paul is saying that the evidence of Christ has been established in these to whom he is writing. This evidence is a result of the grace of God at work in the saints.  Paul continues to mention more evidence.

(1Cor 1:7 [AKJV/PCE]) So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

While we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to be abiding in Him such that we “evidence” Him in our lives and character, even to the extent of operating in some gift of God which is peculiar to those endued by HIS Spirit.

(1Cor 1:8 [AKJV/PCE]) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ

Here is that word “confirm” again. It means to “solidly establish”. It speaks of an outward sanctification resulting from that sanctification concerning you and me which existed first in the heart of God and then became evidential in the heart and the life of the recipient of the grace of God.

Paul says Jesus Christ will establish you. Again here, as in so many other places, Paul properly puts the focus on faith in Jesus Christ. We must see this and allow it to grow our faith, seeing that it is the intention of Jesus Christ to establish us in Him such that when He comes back, He will find us “blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”

(1Cor 1:9 [AKJV/PCE]) God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 

In verse 9 we have one more word to become familiar with, it is “Fellowship“.

1) FELLOWSHIP G2842 κοινωνία koinonia (koy-nown-ee’-ah) n.

1. partnership 

2. (literally) participation 

3. (social) intercourse 

4. (financial) benefaction

KJV renders it: (to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution, fellowship

This verse has depths of meaning. Paul continues to point us to faith in the faithfulness of God to establish us blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ. We are called to fellowship, (Koinonia) with His Son Jesus Christ, both now, practically, and ultimately in eternal glory in the New Creation to come.

This fellowship is a real, two way intercourse with Jesus Christ and a participation with Him. Like a marriage, it is a partnership. We both must do our part. We do what we can and must do; He does what only He can do. He will not force Himself on us. In this we see the importance and value of loving God out of a pure and sincere heart. Out of this fellowship flows unfathomable benefits. We do become benefactors of the necessary fruits of grace through sincere fellowship with Jesus Christ. Let us look at these.

(1Cor 1:30 [AKJV/PCE]) But of him, (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 

Many today think they do not have to participate. But this chapter makes it clear that we are in a partnership and we must do our part. It is from this Koinonia with Christ that these benefits flow. It is not merely “from” Him but “in” Him that we have such benefaction given unto us. “But of him, (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:“. Before we actually enter into relationship with Jesus Christ through repentance and acknowledgment of Him and His work on the cross and in the resurrection from the dead, such benefaction is merely offered to us. Once we enter into true fellowship with Him, then do these benefits become real and effectual to us. Only then does He become for us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”.

This Koinonia fellowship extends beyond merely the person and Jesus. It flows horizontally between us too. No doubt this was Paul’s grief in his hearing of the affairs of this Corinthian body of believers: the evidence of Christ was confirmed in them but they were not honoring Christ in one another. From this letter, among other things, we may see how that we are truly one body: and that body is the body of Jesus Christ. We may benefit from the following consideration: if we would not do this to Jesus Christ, we should not do it to one another. If we would not treat Jesus this way, we should not treat one another this way. Consider Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians’ behavior toward one another in 1st Corinthians 11:17-34. Their taking of the communion in unworthy manner had everything to do with the way they treated one another. Paul addresses some other things in this light, such as divisions and fornication etc., which were going on in the Corinthian Christian community. Once we understand fellowship, (Koinonia), with Jesus Christ, we may then be able to love one another the way we should. Once we understand that it is not merely by quoting a verse like 1 Cor 1:30, “But of him, (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:“, so that we may go around doing as we please because we are, so called, “covered“, but that it is through true, sincere fellowship with Him that we have these benefits; it is only then that we may be found blameless in actuality, in our character and in our walk here on earth at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Once again, it comes down to this; do you believe HE is able and do you want Him to do the work in you?

bible-quotes-on-strength-8

1Peter 1:1  Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

a)  Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ

Among the first called to discipleship by Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Matt 4:17 [AKJV])

From that time, (Immediately after being tempted in the wilderness at the end of a 40 day fast:), Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(Matt 4:18 [AKJV])

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

(Matt 4:19 [AKJV])

And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

This is not the same Peter who Jesus called Simon, but seeing His plan for Peter, Jesus told him early on who He shall be in the service of the Lord, speaking of a divine transformation of character which should result from Peter’s encounter with the living God who now in the likeness of sinful flesh, fashioned as a man, walked among men.

(Mark 14:37 [AKJV])

And he comes, (Jesus having been in prayer in the garden of gesthemene on the night of His betrayal) and finds them sleeping, and said to Peter, Simon, sleep you? could not you watch one hour?

(John 1:40 [AKJV])
One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

(John 1:41 [AKJV])
He first finds his own brother Simon, and said to him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

(John 1:42 [AKJV])
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, You are Simon the son of Jona: you shall be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

God has a way of making His call and intentions known to those who are His, even before they are able to understand it or walk in it. We see this even when God called Abram saying “go into a land that I shall show you”.  Obedience and faith go hand in hand. The one activates the other, the one encourages the other and like all the enabling graces of God bestowed upon us, the use of them multiplies them, unlike the natural course of events in this world in which the use of a thing diminishes it, in the Kingdom and economy of God, the use of the things of God actually increases them.

Note also; even as we see Abram straight away obeyed the Lord and by faith began to go into a land he yet knew not of,

(Gen 12:1 [AKJV])
Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you:

(Gen 12:2 [AKJV])
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:

(Gen 12:3 [AKJV])
And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.

…even as we see Abram straight away obeyed the Lord and by faith began to go into a land he yet knew not of,  so also Peter straightway left His nets and followed the Lord.

(Matt 4:20 [AKJV])

And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Again, obedience and faith go hand in hand. The one activates the other, the one encourages the other and like all the enabling graces of God bestowed upon us, the use of them multiplies them, unlike the natural course of events in this world in which the use of a thing diminishes it, in the Kingdom and economy of God, the use of the things of God actually increases them.

The Apostle Paul echoes this same principle in his words to Timothy:
(2Tim 2:1 [AKJV])
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

(2Tim 2:2 [AKJV])
And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

In Timothy’s giving away to others, that which Paul taught Him, not only does Timothy grow but those to whom he ministers also grow. They hear the word and receive the grace of God imparted. The faithful obey and walk in what they have and by this faithfulness, God makes them able to teach others also.

(2Tim 2:2 [AKJV])

And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

“to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

It is not merely a transfer of information, but a walking in and an experiencing of the things of God to the increase thereof, that these things, in a very real and living way, may be imparted to others. It is a living faith in a living God. It is life in the Spirit. Life begets life. Who wants to live tonight?

The Apostle Paul reveals this truth saying, “you are all partakers of my grace“.

(Phil 1:6 [AKJV])

Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
(Phil 1:7 [AKJV])

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of my grace.

There is a time to respond to the call of God and that time is now. As we continue in faith and obedience, our ignorance and youthfulness in the Lord notwithstanding, the day of our commissioning will come. Often times there are things the Lord must deal with in us , therefore be confident, nothing doubting, that God will make you an able vessel if you would but respond to the call and continue in faith and obedience to Him.

You are called. Your hearing, (reading) of these words, at this moment, if there has ever been a moment, is the call. God hasn’t changed His mind. If He ever called you, you are called still. This is the call of God, right now, tonight (as you read). As I speak these words, the Spirit of God is at work affirming and imparting the call, to you, and the ability to respond even as Peter heard and responded.

The Pattern Revealed In The Shaping of Peter

We see Peter getting the word from the Father in heaven, revealing just who Jesus Christ is, and we see Peter getting the word straight  from the mouth of God in the flesh, the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, concerning just who God had decided Peter would be, and, in this we see the pattern revealed for all who are called into the service of God.

Let’s observe it here:

(Matt 16:13 [AKJV])

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

(Matt 16:14 [AKJV])

And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

(Matt 16:15 [AKJV])

He said to them, But whom say you that I am?

(Matt 16:16 [AKJV])

And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

(Matt 16:17 [AKJV])

And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.

(Matt 16:18 [AKJV])

And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Notice this pattern does not require us to have seen Jesus as Peter the First Apostle did. Notice we are but required to hear from the Father as Peter did.

“for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.”

(John 6:45 [AKJV])

It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.  Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me.
(John 20:29 [AKJV])

Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Peter is here called to be a pillar which later he did become,

(Gal 2:9 [AKJV])

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go to the heathen, and they to the circumcision.
(Rev 3:12 [AKJV])

Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name.

Upon this divine attribute in Peter, of hearing from the Father concerning who Jesus Christ is, Jesus says He will build His church. A church which has the promise of a guaranteed victory, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

There is only so much dying, so much self sanctifying, so much cooperation with the things of God we can do. Although we must do all that we can, all that we can is not enough, it serves to show our love for God, our willingness out of a pure and sincere heart, it reveals our inadequacy and it opens the door to God’s grace for in our weakness, He is strong. As we proceed into the things of God, there yet must come a humbling; a purging; a preparing; a sanctifying by the Spirit; a Jacob becoming Israel, a man who once walked in his own strength; a man who walked in but the first things of God’s grace, becoming crippled by the Hand of God, through whatever agency God so deems most efficient, and coming out with the limp of brokenness and newness of life and dependency upon  that strength and anointing which is only found in the abiding presence of the most High God; a becoming as a vessel fit for the master’s use. This only can be done as a divine shaping, a divine transforming and it is done through the course of the events in the life of the called ones, here and now and only by the hand of God, only by the operation of God in ones life. Are you willing? We lose control and must simply be brought through like a blind man through the blazing flames and turmoil of life, but not without some knowing that this will occur, not without some notice from on high.

Let’s see the revealed pattern in the experience of Peter.

(Luke 22:31 [AKJV])

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

(Luke 22:33 [AKJV])

And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.

(Luke 22:34 [AKJV])

And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

Imagine the alarm that must have flooded Peter’s soul, “No!, no!, no!, oh God no!, no don’t let it be so Lord no, please don’t tell me this, Oh God how can this happen”. The horror and dread of this only but increased until Peter was in the very fulfillment of that which he never dreamed he could do. Deny the Lord that he loves. Imagine the tremendous remorse, “Oh God how, how could I ever have done such a thing, oh God I walked with you, I knew you, I was in your presence, Why oh God, why, why, did I do this, how could I do this. How can I ever serve you again, how can I ever recover from this, I denied you in public, I denied you, I dishonored your betrayal. The pearls of your mercy were laid out to me, displayed before me and I regarded them as something to be denied as though I never knew you. I followed from afar off as one ashamed to be your acquaintance. How can you ever forgive me? What hope is there for me now?” Have you ever felt such? Do these thoughts ring true in your soul?

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

The time came at some point in Peter’s mind, in his heart when he remembered the words Jesus spoke to him. These words did Judas never know but Peter had them even from before the falling away, even from before the foundation of the world, these words were known in the mind and heart of God, these words,

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

This is the Peter that wrote this epistle, this is the Peter that strengthens and feeds the flock, even to this very day, even in this very letter, even in these very words I am speaking to you now, Peter is bringing you strength, as Jesus said He would, as Jesus determined he would.

What has Jesus determined to do in and through you? Oh but to respond straightway to His call, he is calling, and you do hear it, you hear it, it pounds in your heart with excitement and fear but do not resist, just say yes to Him and let Him do what He does.

In this letter, 1st Peter, we see the power, the divine grace by which Peter is able to strengthen the flock. He has been there from the beginning, he saw Jesus in the flesh, he fell away and was restored. Peter knows by excruciating experience the frailty of the flesh of man, for even in his great strength and character as a man, he was so weak that in it he betrayed the Lord he loved. He betrayed the Lord that loved him. But Peter also new the restoration and transformation that comes through brokenness and he new first hand the unfathomable mercy of God. He need not appeal to doctrine alone but he draws from the living wells of the experience of the very mercies of God.  He was the one Isaiah spoke of, not the redeemer but of those who were the very object of the redeemer’s love and sacrifice; see Jesus, see Peter, see your self in these words, for they are for you, from the deepest mercies of God, these words which became flesh are for you, saying,

(Isa 53:3 [AKJV])

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

(Isa 53:4 [AKJV])

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

(Isa 53:5 [AKJV])

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.

(Isa 53:6 [AKJV])

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(Isa 53:7 [AKJV])

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.

(Isa 53:8 [AKJV])

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

(Isa 53:9 [AKJV])

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

(Isa 53:10 [AKJV])

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

(Isa 53:11 [AKJV])

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Jesus Died and was crushed by the Father for this very thing, for our rejection of Him, for our disregard for Him, for our sin and for our rebellious hearts. For these things He died and rose again justifying and calling you unto Himself. From the heart of God, from the mercy of God, He took upon Himself our despising Him so we may be clothed upon by His grace, by His righteousness, that we may be transformed into and even bear His image, that we may be the dwelling place of his Spirit, that He may be our very dwelling as well. Peter fulfilled his part of this passage and so did Jesus and so it is with all of us. We must but respond right away, straight away to the call of God for look at what He has done to secure you unto Himself.

(Matt 4:20 [AKJV])

And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Finally, let us see the divine restoration that the Lord brings to Peter and let’s see how He again informs him of his future destiny as a servant bought with a price, a vessel fit for the master’s use. Oh to be so possessed and ordered by the living God.

Let us read beginning in John 21:15

(John 21:15 [AKJV])

So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

(John 21:16 [AKJV])

He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my sheep.

(John 21:17 [AKJV])

He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.

Now think back to the time when Peter heard these words:

(Luke 22:31 [AKJV])

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

(Luke 22:33 [AKJV])

And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.

(Luke 22:34 [AKJV])

And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

Three denials Peter had done and here Jesus leads Him, Jesus leads him, (it seems as though Peter didn’t even know what was happening), but Jesus knows and he leads him into three confessions and says feed my sheep.

Earlier Jesus said:

(John 15:3 [AKJV])

Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.

Jesus spoke the cleansing and restoring words to Peter and led him to confession of his love and told him now…feed my sheep, it is done, you are now a vessel worthy of the masters use:

(Luke 22:32 [AKJV])

But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

Finally:

(John 21:18 [AKJV])

Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

(John 21:19 [AKJV])

This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, Follow me.

Catholic Church history say’s Peter was crucified upside down because he could not allow himself to be crucified in the position of his Lord. There is no certain proof for this legend but we do have the written Word of God to draw on. Based on the very words of Jesus, it may be more likely that he was killed by the sword.

(Matt 26:52 [AKJV])

Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

How ever he did die, we do know this, He was led away where he would have not gone on his own and in his death, the Lord was glorified.

(John 21:18 [AKJV])

Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

(John 21:19 [AKJV])

This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, Follow me.

This is the Peter of this epistle. This is the Peter who is the epistle of Christ unto us. What kind of epistle will God fashion you into? You too are called to be a letter from God to the people around you. Will you be that letter? Will you let God do His work in you?

Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for your divine ordering of the lives and the deaths of your saints. Thank you that it is by your doing, that by our lives and our deaths, we may glorify you. Thank you Lord that in your unfathomable mercy and unsearchable wisdom, you are able to turn our weakness into that which ultimately glorifies you. Father we ask in agreement with you, Lord, glorify yourself in and through us, do with us as you will. Lord, we, the best we know how, humbly submit to the divine workings of your Holy Spirit in our lives. Help us, oh God, to see past the flesh, to see past the blinders of popular doctrines which men in their frailties may have fashioned according to their will after the flesh. Take us beyond Lord, to the clearing of Godly wisdom and Holy counsel, and fashion us as you see fit. Call and deliver us unto the ancient paths, unto the old paths of the Apostles’ doctrine and the righteous and Holy ways of God. Let us again be grace and salt in the earth as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that we would show forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Let us know with a Godly knowing what it is to be “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:” Let us know what it is for “Grace and peace, to be multiplied”.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

And all the people said, amen and amen.

peter-with-keys

cycle

Judges Chapter 6 – Section One, Verses 1-6

Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

Judg 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.

Judg 6:3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;

Judg 6:4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

Judg 6:5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.

Judg 6:6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried to the LORD.

PART 1 VS 1

Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

(a) And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD:

(b) and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian

(c) seven years.

450px-Gideon300

(a) And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD:

Israel means “He will rule as God”, see the Strong’s as follows.

ISRAEL: H3478 יִשׂרָאֵל Yisra’el (yis-raw-ale’) n/p.
1. he will rule as God
2. Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob
3. (typically) of his posterity
[from H8280 and H410]
KJV: Israel. Root(s): H8280, H410

It can be said this way and hear it,

“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

Where else can anyone do evil but in the sight of the LORD? Can we hide from God?

(Heb 4:13 [AKJV])
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Perhaps the emphasis here is meant to be that of a conspicuous lack of the fear of God. Somehow these people have degenerated into a place where they have no regard for the God of their fathers, no sense of the ever present Holy One who knows and sees all. There is that condition in all men which wants to offend their God, disregard Him, sin against Him, turn their backs on Him. Even in His coming to walk among us did we have this insidious nature which despised Him.

(John 1:11 [AKJV])
He came to his own, and his own received him not.

He knew this all along. God is omniscient, that is to say He knows all things. He has always known all things. Never has there or ever will be a thing that God learns as something He did not previously know. He came to us knowing He would be rejected, even when we saw how wonderful He is.

(Isa 53:3 [AKJV])
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

But He still came for you even as He is calling to you now. He will not stop calling until you come or until you die and are eternally out of reach, in the confines of hell and outer darkness, awaiting that day of eternal judgment when all of death and hell shall be cast into the lake of eternal fire.
For those who come, for those who respond yes to Him, He continues to call, deeper and deeper until that day when the prize is secured. Not just your prize of eternal glory, incorruption and immortality but His prize:

(Titus 2:14 [AKJV])
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

“and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

And for those who have not responded to His calling, He calls and calls and calls yet still, even until you die. What if tonight you die? Why would you not respond to the God who made you and loves you? The scripture tells why.

(Isa 53:3 [AKJV])
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Does that describe you? He knew that from the beginning, yet He came and He calls you now; come, throw down your sins, confess them to Him and come. He is so willing to receive you and change you that He died on a cross and bled out the cleansing blood to make you clean and acceptable to Him; He rose from the dead that you may partake of His very Spirit, the Spirit of the living God and be changed into His glorious image forever. He sat down at the right hand of the throne of His Father that you may sit down with Him in His throne. Even knowing everything there is to know about you, He died to save you. He died to make you His. Will you deprive Him of His reward, or will you honor Him and say yes Lord Jesus I am yours, do with me as you will.

(John 1:12 [AKJV])
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Israel had known 40 years of peace after the defeat of Jabin in 1296bc. We see that in Judges chapter 4 verses 23-24.

(Judg 4:23 [AKJV])
So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

(Judg 4:24 [AKJV])
And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

It says, “So God subdued”. Israel had known 40 years of peace after God defeated Jabin in 1296bc. But apparently not 40 years of holiness. Just 40 years since God had done wonders for them, yet, at some point, the children of Israel began to flounder again. They did not remember their God. Someone remembered, the record is here for us to look at now, but these did forget their God and all His wonder. They esteemed Him not.

So now here in 1256bc we see the record saying “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord”.

(b) …and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian

The Lord will do what it takes, according to His infinite goodness and wisdom to bring us to Him but in the process, some may be lost for all eternity. Now is the time to turn to Him for even as He did with these ones, He will do to all. God does not change.

(Gal 6:7 [AKJV])
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

(2Pet 2:19 [AKJV])
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage.

of those who serve corruption, it can be said, “of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage”.

“of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage”.

At first the children of Israel gave themselves to their first enemy, their own lusts and desires, their own sin. Then, God turned them over to their second enemy, the hand of Midian.

Isn’t that the way it works? We give place to a little thing and everything starts pouring in. When we allow sin, death and destruction soon follow. A crack, when it comes to sin getting in, a crack is as a door is as a flood gate. Just think about the little mouse in your house. “Oh he isn’t going to hurt anything, look how cute he is. He just has a little hole he comes and goes from. Lets feed him, just right here, so he only stays just right here in this spot. That way we know he doesn’t get in the places and things we care about. After all what harm can a little ‘ole mouse do?” The next thing you know the walls of your home have become infested with rodents, they are living and eating and defecating and breeding and dying in the walls and ceiling of your home. The smell permeates the house, even those walking by can smell it, the neighbors can smell it. All the food and food surfaces are contaminated with their droppings. It is their droppings that they use to tell the other mice where to go. So they make their droppings in all the places and things you care about. So every precious place and all that you care about are infested, fouled and defiled. All is a waste. In no time at all the entire house is contaminated, defiled and condemned. Sickness, allergies and disease flourish and it becomes altogether uninhabitable. Who would want to live in such a place? Certainly not God, even man himself has become putrefied by this condition of the abundance and infestation of his own sin.

That’s what we see here, Israel gave in to sin and God has given them over to their enemies.

(Rom 6:16 [AKJV])
Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?

(c) …seven years.

Suddenly now things are out of control for Israel, even as they become for all of us who choose to serve sin. No longer does Israel decide about her affairs, about her station, it is now decided for her and for a determined amount of time. Seven years! The time is set. Cry all you want, strive all you want, pray all you want, but the time has been set and God will not change His decree. Sentence must be paid. Want freedom? It will come when the lesson is learned and at God’s appointed time. It is Him who is in charge. We failed to recognize that so now we have an opportunity to become oh so aware that God is in charge, not us. Until then, be glad that God will not be angry forever. Be grateful that the time will be fulfilled. Be careful how you receive the chastisement of God. Be glad you are alive on this earth to be chastised and not dead and in an eternal hell from which there is no escape.

Seven years. A set aside time. A temporary time. We know 7 speaks of completeness, rest, perfection, sanctification and now we understand that 7 is, in this case, speaking to judgement. We can easily see all these attributes of the number 7 apply in this case. All we have to do is read the verse, “Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. He set them apart unto judgment. He set them apart for a holy purpose. Judgment is a holy purpose and a benevolent one. He could simply send the disobedient to hell right away and not fuss with them and still serve a holy justice. The number 7 is shown twice, once in the scripture address, Judges 6:1, (6 and 1 are 7), and once in the verse as the time decreed, “seven years”.

image1-1024x724

It is a temporary decree. It will end. And soon. We see here by the fact that the decree is temporary, that God must have something ultimately good planned for the Children of Israel and again, by this we ought to see the same intention of God for us, for God does not change, God is immutable. He is, has always been and will always be perfect and He does not change. The same benevolence, the same good intention and purpose He has for one, He has for all both then and now and forever. That means you my friend.

(Jas 1:17 [AKJV])
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss, neither shadow of turning.

(Mal 3:6 [AKJV])
For I am the LORD, I change not;
These verses speak explicitly of God’s immutability. He does not change.

In the decreeing of 7 years is found much reason for rejoicing. Is found the benevolence of God. Is found the desire in God’s heart for His children to be reconciled to Him, to know the glory of relationship and communion with Him. His intention is nothing less than evident, it is trumpeted aloud to anyone paying attention. God wants all to be well with you. Otherwise why only seven years? Why not send them all into the depths of hell now and be done with them? Be done with the repeated heart ache they bring? Our God is a God of redemption, He wills not that we die, not that we perish, but rather that we share in His glory.

(Ps 30:5 [AKJV])
For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

God has a grand design for everything He does and it is your best interest He has in mind as well as His. Consider it earnestly, God’s best interest for Himself includes your best interest. It is better for Him that you do well. His well being is eternally tied to your well being and you can be sure that every measure taken to win your affection, to corral you into His will for you, is the absolute best and most efficient way possible and is aimed at the absolute best outcome for you and for Him. Even if it means seven years as it did for the children of Israel in this instance.

(2Tim 3:16 [AKJV])
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Here is more evidence, plainly written and easy to understand, God intends for us to be instructed in righteousness, ..in righteousness.

(2Tim 3:17 [AKJV])
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works. …

Reading about this experience of the children of Israel is for our being made perfect, being thoroughly furnished unto good works. The very judgment brought by God through the use of Midian was for the very same purpose. And such measure will be employed upon any of us when ever the infinite wisdom of God deems it necessary for our best interest, for our well being, for our turning to and being restored unto Him that He may secure us in Him for all eternity.

Even in what we are reading here in this first verse of Judges 6 we see powerful, everlasting truths of hope and warning for us.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…

In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul was talking about the deadly mistake of the children of Israel who after having been delivered from the bondage of Pharaoh and Egypt were entangled in their own sin to such a degree that the wrath of God killed many of them! And this he says is our example!

Lets look at it for a moment. 1st Corinthians 10: 6-11

(1Cor 10:6 [AKJV])
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

“examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things”, Why? Look at what happened to them. Notice, God is good, He is benevolent, He can not tolerate sin, He is not a tyrant, He will not ask of us that which we can not do. Sin separates us from God and that is not His will for either Himself or for us. It is the worst thing that can happen and He wants the best for Him and for us.
Let’s continue to read some things He is warning us not to do by this old testament example which is meant to apply to new testament saints.

(1Cor 10:7 [AKJV])
Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

If nothing is more important than to sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play, then we are idolators. Jesus said it this way,

(John 3:19 [AKJV])
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

and this way,

(Mark 12:30 [AKJV])
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.

(1Cor 10:8 [AKJV])
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

What a warning to those who have been made alive by Christ and are slipping into sin. What a warning to those who are backslidden. He says this is our example! 23,000 were slain in one day.

It is a warning to new testament saints, let’s look at another example and a desired result:

Ananias_and_Sapphira_hiding_Money_86-462

(Acts 5:1 [AKJV])
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

(Acts 5:2 [AKJV])
And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

(Acts 5:3 [AKJV])
But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

(Acts 5:4 [AKJV])
Whiles it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied to men, but to God.

(Acts 5:5 [AKJV])
And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

(Acts 5:6 [AKJV])
And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

(Acts 5:7 [AKJV])
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

(Acts 5:8 [AKJV])
And Peter answered to her, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much.

(Acts 5:9 [AKJV])
Then Peter said to her, How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried your husband are at the door, and shall carry you out.

(Acts 5:10 [AKJV])
Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

(Acts 5:11 [AKJV])
And great fear came on all the church, and on as many as heard these things.

The desired result…the fear of the Lord

“And great fear came on all the church, and on as many as heard these things.”

Judg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

(“Those who are called to reign with Christ, did evil in the sight of the Lord”)

They had lost their fear and therefore sin easily overtook them, so God brought the hand of Midian upon them seeing, among other things, in His infinite and unfailing wisdom, that their fear of God should be renewed.

(1Cor 10:9 [AKJV])
Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Paul is clearly and most assuredly tying the old testament example to our conduct with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in New Testament times. He is saying “as it happened to them, so it can happen to you”. He said neither let us tempt Christ. Who is ‘us’? In verse one he says, “Moreover, brothers”, in Chapter 1 verse 2 he says, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and ours:”.

Let us not tempt Christ.

(1Cor 10:10 [AKJV])
Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

(1Cor 10:11 [AKJV])
Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.

Conclusion

It is even more serious for us to heed these warnings! How much more able are we who have been bought by the blood of Christ and endued with the Spirit of God to walk in His ways? Christ came! He died, shedding His blood on the cross! He gave us His Holy Spirit! He calls us Sons! He calls us to use this power of the Holy Ghost and cooperate willingly, with effort, with zeal and joyfulness with the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost unto holiness for the reward of Jesus Christ who bought us with His own blood.

(Titus 2:14 [AKJV])
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

What is peculiar in a world where sin is the norm? Holiness! What is peculiar in a world of darkness? Light. What is peculiar in an unrighteous world? Righteousness. What is peculiar in a world that disregards God? Regarding Him in all things all the time!

Let us remain focused and balanced, even though we must see as a bright and brilliant light, the glorious and hope filled intentions of God in times of judgement, there is yet a real and serious eternal danger. God can not tolerate sin in the camp, sin in the house. His benevolent intentions are universal, He intends and will accomplish the best for Him and for His elect, … that often means some will perish, it often means many will perish. We see in Paul’s example using the time of Moses as he address the Corinthians that people died! It was found in the heart and mind of God that that was the best thing to occur.
In the Judges 6 example we see that there was a remnant saved from death.

Look here at this example in Gideon’s time, during this seven years they had again been reduced to but a few and to a pitiful, week and impoverished state. Those who survive the ordeal are the ones who can be helped by this hope of a temporary judgment having in design the restoration of a people to their God for all eternity! In this we need to be fearful and cautious; for who knows who will live through the season of chastisement to see the hope and who will not?

When death befalls you, you want to be found in the favor of God and in holiness and not be found in the company of the devil and in the chains of sin. For the chains of sin are fastened upon the beds of hell and to die therein is to remain therein. But to die in Christ is to remain in Him for all eternity.

Will you be found in Him? That is your choice to make and God has afforded you the power to make that choice; the very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is here now, He is here with you right now and will be with you forever, if you so choose. God has done all in Christ on the cross for you, He does all even now with the very presence of His Spirit, He is here now with you. All hinges upon the choice you make.

Make the choice now my friends for when Judgment comes full on, we do not know who will die and who will live through it. When it comes, it comes. And it is coming. And we need to be in Christ when it does. Latch on to Him and never let go!

(1Tim 6:12 [AKJV])
… lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called,…

Paul again sums it up so well as one inspired by the God who loves us and gave Himself for us, in his warning which is tied to the glorious hope and intention of God not only for us but for Him. What He did on the cross was also for Him. ..For Him. … For Him.

(Titus 2:11 [AKJV])
For the grace of God that brings salvation has “appeared”,(shined down on, manifested…delivered), to all men,

(Titus 2:12 [AKJV])
“Teaching”, (instructing, disciplining, making us able, raising us up in), us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
You see we have what we need to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

(Titus 2:13 [AKJV])
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

(Titus 2:14 [AKJV])
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

He is purifying a people unto Himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works. It’s for Him!

He will have a people unto Himself. He will have a new heaven and a new earth. He will come for His bride. Nothing dirty can be there. Not one speck of dust, not one iotta of sin. No darkness at all, no corruption at all. It will be glorious and holy. Now is the only time we have to respond.

(1Tim 6:12 [Webster])
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
(1Tim 6:13 [Webster])
I give thee charge in the sight of God, who maketh alive all things, and [before] Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified a good confession;
(1Tim 6:14 [Webster])
That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(1Tim 6:15 [Webster])
Which in his times he will show [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
(1Tim 6:16 [Webster])
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honor and power everlasting. Amen.

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There is no reason, not to pray. People are devastated by wars, earthquakes, storms etc… They need assistance, they need prayer. One must never adopt a hard heart toward these catastrophic events.

Jeremiah wept sorely over the fulfilled word of God against Israel which He spoke and then witnessed with his own eyes. He was persecuted for bringing the hard word of destruction and judgment from God upon the people yet he still wept bitterly when it came to pass. Do we have such a heart? I know I fall short of it.

Psalm 1:1-2
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Let us ask the Lord for a spirit of prayer and intercession. Let us ask God for a heart which weeps at the things that break His heart. While there is a righteous and just, “I told you so” in the ways of God and His servants, it is not without tears and compassion and a deep heartfelt sharing of God’s desire to bring life and restoration, even by use of catastrophic disaster through wars, storms, earthquakes etc….

There is most often a remnant left to reflect upon and consider the events and their causes. Whether we believe God brought them directly or whether we believe he merely “allowed” them to happen, like many teach saying that God’s hand of protection is removed from a people who turn their backs on Him, we still must consider that our sin, our debauchery has made us vulnerable to destruction.

We must be aware that we may not be a survivor of the next catastrophe. We may die in our sins. Would you rather die in your sins or die right with God? This is our message to our selves and to others.

(Ezek 33:11 [AKJV/PCE])
Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (oh people)

I do believe that God Himself brings these things, but it doesn’t matter, when it comes to whether you die in your sins or not. It doesn’t matter, when it comes to the fact that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. We must still seek to share His heart, to partake in His love and desire to see men saved and not that they perish. But we must at the same time warn without apology, that it is not going to get any better.

I know that the judgment of God is upon us. We say it and it comes to pass yet people will avoid and deny and suppress it. But are we repenting? Are we praying for our own sanctification? Are we praying for the souls and hardships of others? Are we weeping for our own sin? Are we praying for for the loss others are experiencing? Are we seeking Jesus Christ? Are we preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Are we warning of the destruction of these last days and the final judgment to come?

Why should you live and another die? Why should we be warm and fed and another left homeless out in the cold mourning the loss of his family and his material possessions?

Let us seek for a spirit of prayer and intercession. Let us seek for the heart of God. Let us humble ourselves and be grateful. Let us see that we are no better than those who lost everything in the Tidal Waves, in the Typhoons, in the Earthquakes, in the Wars.

God is calling us to walk in righteousness, in faith in Jesus Christ, in love, in humility, in this present time, in this present place. No one is immune. As it rains on the just and unjust, so does calamity come.

May the following words reign in our souls, sanctify us, be a testimony concerning us and flow out as blessing to those around us.

(Col 3:1 [AKJV])
If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.

(Col 3:2 [AKJV])
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

(Col 3:3 [AKJV])
For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

(Col 3:4 [AKJV])
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.

(Col 3:5 [AKJV])
Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

(Col 3:6 [AKJV])
For which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience:

(Col 3:7 [AKJV])
In the which you also walked some time, when you lived in them.

(Col 3:8 [AKJV])
But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

(Col 3:9 [AKJV])
Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds;

(Col 3:10 [AKJV])
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

(Col 3:11 [AKJV])
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

(Col 3:12 [AKJV])
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;

(Col 3:13 [AKJV])
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.

(Col 3:14 [AKJV])
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.

(Col 3:15 [AKJV])
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be you thankful.

(Col 3:16 [AKJV])
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.

(Col 3:17 [AKJV])
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

prayer11

Preachers have taught you to walk in unbelief.

(Heb 3:19 [AKJV/PCE])
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

If we don’t understand that by the power of God we can be holy even as He is holy; if we don’t understand that by the grace of God we are freed from sin; if we don’t understand that the grace of God is the power of Christ in us to walk in entire and complete sanctification then we can not possibly believe that we can ever stop sinning, or walk in holiness or come to biblical perfection or entire sanctification.

Jesus said:

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Did you see that? “If thou wilt be perfect“.

But the preacher said no one can be perfect. Who is lying?

Read on:

Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Matthew 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Jesus said with God, all things are possible.

Ok let’s see it again,

Preacher says “no one can be perfect”

Jesus says, “If thou wilt be perfect…”

Preacher says, “no one can be perfect”

Jesus says, “with God, all things are possible.”

Preacher says, “no one is perfect, only Jesus can be perfect”

Jesus says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” ( Matthew 5:48 )

Preacher says, “no one can be holy. Only Jesus is holy”

Peter says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.(1Peter 1:15-16)

Hebrews says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; … (Hebrews 12:14-15)

“…Fail of the grace of God…”

The preacher has you in unbelief due to an anemic and false understanding of grace. Obviously since God says be ye holy, He has made it possible to do what He told us to do. His command is a promise and his promise is a command. Jesus said all things are possible with God.

Jesus said,… “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)

Think about it, how can Jesus say “repent” if He did not know it were possible? If you think you have to sin until you die, then how can you repent?

Listen to Jesus:

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Obviously if a preacher is telling you that we all will sin, no one is perfect, no one can be holy, then he is an unbelieving preacher, preaching defeat and unbelief and calling it the unmerited favor of God. What kind of man will stand up there and tell you to feel comfortable in sin and unbelief?

Listen to Jesus:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)

Believe the gospel. The whole Gospel.

Paul knows that God is able to bring you all the way to perfection. He not only tells you to be holy, but he tells you how! Believe in Christ to do it.

Look at his words:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly [ENTIRELY}; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1Thessalonians 5:23-24)

He points you to trust Jesus Christ to do it! You are called to be wholly sanctified and blameless, body, soul and spirit, now until Jesus Comes. “...the very God of peace sanctify you wholly”. He will do it if you believe and just cooperate. Do you want it?

Jude knew it; look at his words:

“Now ((unto him that is able to keep you from falling)), ((and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy)), To the only wise ((God our Saviour)), be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

Paul’s words here too:

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:13-16)

This is something to be excited about. This is Jesus’ work. He is working for a prize and you are it! You are Jesus’ prize!!!

Look at these words about the grace of God and what Jesus is doing with you!!

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” (Titus 2:11-15)

When it says that the grace of God is teaching us, it means teaching like you would teach a child how to play baseball. He becomes a baseball player. Not like someone who reads a book on baseball and never plays. Grace teaching is the power of God bringing it to pass in you right now!!

Did you see the prize Jesus is after?

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

“and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

He is purifying a people unto himself!! You are his prize, you are His poetry, you are His workmanship!

Saved by grace! You are not saved if you practice sin all your life. That is why we need this grace which the cleansing blood of Jesus made it possible for us to have.

Look at the popular grace vs:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Look familiar? Ok now look at the rest of it,

“And you hath he quickened, ((who were dead in trespasses and sins;))

Wherein (((in time past))) ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation ((in times past)) in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For (((we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.))) (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Notice the repentance? Repentance is not dead works. Walking in holiness by the power, (grace) of God is not dead works, … is not legalism.

Despising holiness is not an attribute of a saint of God. The absence of the desire for holiness is not an attribute of a true saint of God.

The preachers lied to you. They sold you a half baked grace message which says grace is merely the unmerited favor of God. They tell you “you have bean cleansed by the blood and God’s grace smiles at you because when the Father looks at you He sees Jesus, not your sin”. The preachers tell you that “you will always sin but that’s ok because Jesus paid the price”.

Jesus did not pay the price to make it ok for you to enjoy the sin that has broken His heart and damned His creation. What kind of stupid gospel is that? A holy God comes and dies a shameful death on a cross so that you can sin and not worry about it? God forbid.

You have been bought by the blood of God and cleansed so that He can come live in you and by His power walk you into holiness. The good news is that by His power and work in you, you can walk in the Spirit and no longer be slave to sin. The power of sin has been broken!

Look again

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Romans 6:6-8)

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

(ok stop right here. Catch it. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Do you see it? If you are under the law, you can’t help but to sin. But if you are under grace, you no longer serve sin. Being under grace means sin has lost it’s power over you. Grace has made you free from sin!)

Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Romans 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is explicitly clear. Believe and trust Him. Walk in what He has given you. Freedom from the bondage of sin.

Now someone who is either confused, deceived or just plain rebellious will quote this,

1John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But for those of us who actually love the Lord and want to walk in truth and holiness and honor the gift of God toward us, we will read the rest of it.

1John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

(Sin is darkness)

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

(We have been freed from sin. Sin no longer has dominion. Sin is still present in the dead flesh man. Every time you say no to sin, you show your love for God, you testify or give evidence of the power of God at work in you and you are overcoming. Each choice for righteousness and holiness opens the flood gate for the grace of God to empower you to walk in His ways.

Jesus says much about overcoming in the letters to the 7 churches in the book of Revelation. Without the presence of sin, there would be no overcoming, no picking up your cross, no dying daily etc…Sin is challenging you all the time. Sin is always present and we always will have to deal with it. But we do not have to sin. We do not hae to obey sin. So if you say you have no sin, then you are a liar. It does not say, “if you say you do not commit sin, it says ‘have no sin'”.)

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(As we grow as overcomers we may, (it is possible to) fail to resist sin and commit sin from time to time. This will be less and less until we cease from sin altogether. Here we have a provision for forgiveness and cleansing. This is not a provision for sin! God does not make provision for sin. God is holy and sin is unholy. This is provision for forgiveness as you grow and are being perfected. You are expected to overcome and cease from sin; and God has provided a way for you to do that. Believe.)

1John 1:10 If we say that we (((have not sinned))), we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(All (((have sinned))). I think we all know this and it really needs no comment other than it is PAST TENSE)

You are expected to cease from sin. Look at what Peter says about ceasing from sin.

2Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

2Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

2Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

2Peter 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

2Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

If we do not understand grace, then we can never believe unto holiness.

The popular grace message is a false one. Many have realized this but have left false grace and stepped into the very next trap. Failure to distinguish false grace from biblical grace. Many are reacting to the word “Grace” with a reaction that belongs on false grace alone. Failure to make the distinction between false and biblical grace will cause reactions against true grace. Already I am seeing what amounts to the notion that there is a contest between grace and holiness or between grace and obedience. There is a notion that grace is in conflict with the words of Jesus. Not true. False unbiblical grace is a problem. Rejecting true grace is a wrong response. We need to study and understand what grace truly is.

First of all we need to be reading each letter or book of the bible in it’s entirety. We need to identify the thoughts and concepts as we read. Chapter and Verse are useful for identifying where things are. That’s all. Paul and Peter did not write verses to people and churches, they wrote entire letters.

Next I suggest everyone study grace. Look up every place where it is mentioned and see how it is used. Look up the meaning in the original language, in dictionary, particularly Websters. Look it up in the Strong’s concordance.

Without grace, holiness will be another false message. Holiness without a proper understanding of grace will be but flesh works and legalism.

Anyone can preach repent and be holy. But that is not enough. We do not need people getting frustrated at a graceless holiness and then rejecting true holiness for the same reason they rejected true grace. A false doctrine based on a real truth will bring a reaction against the true. That has been Satan’s plan and it has worked well for him. Jesus and the Apostles told us how to realize holiness and entire sanctification, they didn’t just say be holy, repent and obey. They provided the power to do so. If you don’t see it you can’t believe it. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. When you see it in the word and hear it preached correctly, then your faith will be able to welcome in that power to walk all over that sin monster that you hate so much. You do not have to be a slave any more. Jesus not only forgave you and washed you by His blood but He empowers you. He is your power over sin.

Tell the lying preachers who take your tithe like it’s a law while telling you that you can never stop sinning to get lost.

(Heb 3:12 [AKJV/PCE])
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

….heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

…departing from the living God.

(Heb 3:13 [AKJV/PCE])
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

(Heb 3:14 [AKJV/PCE])
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

(Heb 3:15 [AKJV/PCE])
While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

(Heb 3:16 [AKJV/PCE])
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

(Heb 3:17 [AKJV/PCE])
But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

(Heb 3:18 [AKJV/PCE])
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

(Heb 3:19 [AKJV/PCE])
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

556580_413544408684297_1088916070_n

(1Cor 15:34 [Webster])Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak [this] to your shame.

Today, preachers will have you believe that your hope is only in the resurrection. Resurrection is indeed our primary and ultimate hope. It is the blessed hope of eternal life free from the corruption of the flesh, free from sin and death and forever one with God.

The resurrection is our future hope. We have also a present hope. We have a present deliverance, a real and present deliverer which is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in us.

Preachers today tell us we will always be sinners until we die. They make our death, the death of a sinner, our deliverance. They make our own death our hope. This does not agree with the word of God.

A man’s personal experience is not a tool by which to interpret or filter scripture. Because the preacher can’t or won’t stop sinning does not mean that the bible teaches that we have to sin until death delivers us.

In Paul’s time, there were those who were teaching that there is no resurrection. In Paul’s effort to correct this error he made the following statement:

(1Cor 15:19 [Webster])If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

In Paul’s reassurance to the Corinthians, he points to two hopes. One now and one in the resurrection, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”. Notice there is a hope now. We do not have to be subject to sin for the rest of our lives.

Jesus Christ is our deliverance, not the death of a sinner. Corruption and the battle against sin will surely end with our resurrection/transformation at Christ’s coming. Until then, we have a present hope and an internal power. The very power of the God of all creation abides in us enabling us to walk in righteousness and holiness. Listen to Paul and compare these words of Paul to those preachers who say “you will always sin until you die”.

(1Cor 15:34 [Webster]) Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak [this] to your shame.

No Apostle of Christ ever preached that we will always sin until we die.

There is what I call Parrot theology out there where so many repeat an error so often as to make it sound like an irrefutable truth. One major error is that Paul claimed to be a sinner until death when he said “not that I have attained…” in Philippians 3:12. They completely overlook or ignore verse 11 which clearly shows he was talking about the resurrection. “If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead”. Then the other parrot theology says no one can be perfect when in the same passage Paul declares the exact opposite: 15)”Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you”.
Lets look at the passage in Philippians 3:

Philippians 3:10-21 – Casting Down Imaginations – Two Perfections

We will be looking at Philippians 3:10-21

10)That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;

11)If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.

12)Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13)Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before,

14)I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

15)Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.

16)Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

17)Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample.

18)(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

19)Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

20)For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21)Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.

People love to quote Paul here in their effort to refute entire sanctification.

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:12)

They assert that this proves that Paul was a sinner too, that is, that he sinned all his life and never attained unto entire sanctification. unfortunately many simply repeat what they have heard as though it is true and by so doing, miss what Paul was actually saying.

One might wonder, “have they ever actually read the entire book of Philippians or even this entire chapter? Or even verses 11 and 15?”

Verses 11 and 15: “If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.”(Philippians 3:11)

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.”(Philippian 3:15)

Paul was speaking here of two perfections. One, the crown of glory which he has not nor does he expect to attain until the resurrection from the dead. That is what this entire thought is about. He starts off with the resurrection and ends with the resurrection. He is talking about the resurrection. The other perfection, he explicitly claims to have attained. “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect … whereto we have already attained…”.

When running a race, one is not rewarded until the end of the race and he must run the race lawfully.

“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”(2Timothy 2:5)

Paul is not saying that he is a sinner any more than Jesus was when he said “I shall be perfected on the third day”.

Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, “Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”

Observe “perfect[ed]” in the key verses with the Strong’s:

Philippians 3:12 NotG3756 as thoughG3754 I had alreadyG2235 attained,G2983 eitherG2228 were already perfect:G5048 G2235 butG1161 I follow after,G1377 if thatG1499 I may apprehendG2638 that forG1909 whichG3739 alsoG2532 I am apprehendedG2638 ofG5259 ChristG5547 Jesus.G2424

PERFECT G5048 τελειόω teleioo (tel-ei-oh’-o) v.
1. to complete
2. (literally) to accomplish
3. (figuratively) to make perfect (in character)
[from G5046]
KJV: consecrate, finish, fulfil, make) perfect

ALREADY G2235 ἤδη ede (ay’-day) adv.
1. even now
[apparently from G2228 (or possibly G2229) and G1211]
KJV: already, (even) now (already), by this time

Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore,G3767 as many asG3745 be perfect,G5046 be thus minded:G5426 G5124 andG2532 if in any thingG1536 ye be otherwise minded,G5426 G2088 GodG2316 shall revealG601 evenG2532 thisG5124 unto you.G5213

Perfect G5046 τέλειος teleios (tel’-ei-os) adj.
1. complete{(neuter as noun, with G3588) completeness; in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.}
[from G5056]
KJV: of full age, man, perfect

(Luke 13:32 [KJV])And G2532 he said G2036 unto them G846, Go ye G4198, and tell G2036 that G5026 fox G258, Behold G2400, I cast out G1544 devils G1140, and G2532 I do G2005 cures G2392 to day G4594 and G2532 to morrow G839, and G2532 the third G5154 [day] I shall be perfected G5048.

Perfected G5048 τελειόω teleioo (tel-ei-oh’-o) v.
1. to complete
2. (literally) to accomplish
3. (figuratively) to make perfect (in character)
[from G5046]
KJV: consecrate, finish, fulfil, make) perfect

People tend to set up laws with strong statements which they passionately and often repeat. Statements like: “Any time someone says ‘I have arrived’, I know right away they are off.”

But look at what Paul said, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”(Philippian 3:15-16)

Is Paul saying let us walk by the same rule of not having attained or not being perfect? Is he saying let us walk in imperfection?

Paul just said “US”, “as many as be perfect”. He said, “… have already attained…”

May I reveal a little about that word “attained”? Attained, in verse 16 is from the Greek word “phthano”, (Strong’s number G5348).

Attained G5348 φθάνω phthano (fthan’-o) v.
1. to be beforehand, i.e. anticipate or precede
2. (by extension) to have arrived at
[apparently a primary verb]
KJV: (already) attain, come, prevent

It says, “to have ARRIVED at”… I do not think Paul was off!

People also say things like, “Paul never went around claiming to be perfect or to have arrived.” Really? We just saw that he said exactly that.

When we say things like that so strongly, so matter of factly and so often; people who hear them believe them and then go about in all their study, behavior and confessions to agree and to measure up to them. These statements become a law!! People then go about adhering to these statements which are as law to them! Every time the subject comes up, these strong statements, which they have heard said so often, replay in their mind and they end up adjusting themselves to fit these statements which have become as law to them. Do you know what the bible says about that?

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2Corinthians 10:3-6)

Many don’t even believe their obedience will ever be fulfilled!

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

This is what we are doing right now. Casting down imaginations which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.

“Why can’t I get past these sins?”, one might ask. One reason may be because of a stronghold of unbelief fashioned as an often repeated statement like, “you never hear the Apostles going around saying they are perfect or that they have arrived, as soon as someone does that you know they are off” etc…. Or, “we will always sin, we will never be perfected until we die, until after the resurrection”. What? Is this a new law now?

To many, it sounds good at first. But what if the Holy Ghost inspired someone to say or write that? Like He did with Paul? I have never heard anyone outside of written scripture claim to be perfect. No wonder, with all the unbelief of it and resistance to it. Yet when the claim is made that it is possible to be entirely sanctified, such statements against it often surface like some vehement defense of one’s own choice to remain in rebellion and unbelief. I truly think many are obeying such opposing statements more than they are the word of God! Can you hear them? “No one can ever be perfect. We all sin. We will always sin. The bible says all sin”, etc…

By the way, the bible does NOT say we all sin. It says we have all sinned, past tense.

Notice: Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all (((have sinned:)))

1John 1:10 If we say that we (((have not sinned))), we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Remember Jesus’ words recorded as being said to two different people?

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Notice how Paul agrees with Jesus Christ who called and appointed him?

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak [this] to your shame.”(1Cor 15:34 [Webster]).

In other words in light of the fact that we have the hope of the resurrection, Paul says “Awake to righteousness, and sin not;”.

So they say “Paul didn’t go around saying he had arrived, attained or was perfect? As soon as someone does that they are off”? Really?

These statements refuting entire sanctification, exalt themselves above the knowledge of God. Especially when an inspired Apostle absolutely did say such things. The issue is not that people would claim such a thing, the issue is whether the claim is true; and more so, did the Lord say to say it? If it is true, one can say it about one’s self as a testimony to the power of the grace of God and as an encouragement to other saints who have yet to attain. After all, that is the good news. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach (((deliverance to the captives))), and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”(Luke 4:18)

Let’s look at some statements from Paul that will cast down these vain imaginations.

“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.”(Acts 24:16)

“You are witnesses, and God also, how piously and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you that believe:”(1Thessalonians 2:10)

“Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”(2Corinthians 6:3-7)

“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”(2Corinthians 1:12)

“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day;”(2Timothy 1:3)

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”(Galatians 2:20)

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”(Galatians 6:14)

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1:21)

“Why (wherefore) I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.”(Acts 20:26)

The Apostle Paul is Christ’s chosen servant, (But the Lord said to him, “Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”:[Acts 9:15]), speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and as such he absolutely did make these claims that so many insist he did not make and are not possible.

Cast down the laws (imaginations) that are placed upon you by people’s statements which are contrary to the Word of God.

This passage of Philippians 3:10-16 does not prove that Paul was a sinner but on the contrary explicitly testifies to his attaining of entire sanctification; and it also testifies to others having attained it.

(Phil 3:15 [AKJV])Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.

(Phil 3:16 [AKJV])Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

(Phil 3:17 [AKJV])Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample.

“be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample.”

Could the Holy Ghost inspire Paul to write such a thing if it were a lie? If Paul were sinning until He dies how is he an example? If others were not walking in the fulness of the blood bought sanctification which Jesus Christ our Lord made available to us, then how can the Holy Ghost inspire Paul to write for us to “mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample”?

There is so much coming from the pulpit which is in stark contrast to the written words of the Apostles of Christ. Hold everything up against the light of written scripture, Babylon is everywhere.

If entire sanctification is not possible, Paul was a pathological liar living in a fantasy world. We know that is not true, so who is lying? The word of God or those who repeat statements contrary to the word of God? Cast down the imaginations which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.

Is there anything too hard for God?

(Matt 19:26 [AKJV]) But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

(1Thess 5:23 [AKJV]) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1Thess 5:24 [AKJV]) Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.

“Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it”. (Thank You Father)

“Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it”. (Thank You Lord Jesus)

“Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it”. (Thank You Holy Ghost)

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