Some may wonder how I can reconcile the title of this blog post with Ephesians 5:25, but by His grace, I will. This verse says, “The husbands! love your own wives, as also the Christ did love the assembly, and did give himself for it.” Look closely at that which I placed in italics……and did give Himsef for it. Christ came and laid His life down for His bride, the church. If you notice, down throughout the annals of time, you can see many ugly people who make up the bride of the Lamb. In 1 Corinthians 6, Apostle Paul states, “have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit. And certain of you were these! but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were declared righteous, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.” (vss. 9-11) In all this, Paul wrote, “And certain of you were these!” There are many people in the body of Christ that were ugly in their sinner days. The bride of Christ is composed of those who were once liars, thieves, murderers, molesters, rapists, idolators,homosexuals, &c. I will now show you some biblical people who fit into this category.
First off, let’s start with Moses. Moses was raised by the Egyptians, yet he was an Israelite by birth. When the time came, he saw an Egyptian being rough with an Israelite and he killed him. He hid the body and fled and wondered in the wilderness for fourty years, until God revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush(Exodus 3). God used this man to bring the Israelites out of Pharoah’s bondage. In Numbers 20, he smote the rock twice when God told him to speak to it. He rebelled, paid for it by not being allowed to cross over into the promised land, yet he is at rest with God.
Then there’s Samson(book of Judges). He was to never have a razor touch his head. His strength was in the length of his hair. He killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass. Yet he dealt roughly with people at times. He then told Delilah the secret of his strength and when he woke up his hair had been cut off. Yet, after it grew back out, he killed the Philistines and himself when he tore down the building they were dwelling in.
In the book of Joshua, you can read of a harlot named Rahab. She made a covenant with the Israelites that they would spare her when they would take over Jericho. She lied when some men came in to search for the two spies who were sent to spy out the city. She was a harlot who also lied, yet her name is mentioned in the “hall of faith” chapter of Hebrews 11.
David was a man after God’s own heart. He took over after Saul had rebelled against God’s commands given to him by Samuel. Yet, David slept with a married woman(Bathsheba), had her husband(Uriah) killed, and seem to continuely struggle with sin as he wrote in the Psalms.
Then there was David’s son Solomon. In the latter days of his life, he had wives and concubines that were idolators. He gave them his support and also worshipped with them, if I’m remembering correctly. Yet it was Solomon who God gave wisdom to to lead His people. It was Solomon who God told David his son would rebuild the temple for His people to worship Him in.
In Luke 7, there was a woman who came unto Jesus whilst He was at Simon’s, who was a Pharisee, house. She sat down at His feet and began to kiss His feet, and washed them with the tears she shed, and dried them with her hair. This Simon said “This one, if he were a prophet, would have known who and of what kind [is] the woman who doth touch him, that she is a sinner.” Then Jesus told him a parable about two people who were fogiven their debts. One owed a lot more than the other, yet both were forgiven. He then asked Simon who would love the one who forgave their debt the most? Simon said the one who he forgave the most. Jesus told him he answered correctly. However, He then mentioned to him, “Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; water for my feet thou didst not give, but this woman with tears did wet my feet, and with the hairs of her head did wipe; a kiss to me thou didst not give, but this woman, from what [time] I came in, did not cease kissing my feet; with oil my head thou didst not anoint, but this woman with ointment did anoint my feet; therefore I say to thee, her many sins have been forgiven, because she did love much; but to whom little is forgiven, little he doth love. And he said to her, Thy sins have been forgiven;” Simon was a Pharisee, and most of them thought they kept the Law and were safe. They thought they had no need of being saved. Yet, Jesus rebuked them many times, even saying to them that if they believed Moses’s writings, they’d believe in Him, because Moses wrote of Him. They were self-righteous, and this is a form of vanity. Sinners who are being drawn by God, know how vile they are before Him. They see their true ugliness. Sinners who are not being drawn, do not think of themselves as being lost. They think their good works, if they outweigh the bad, will get them to heaven.
I will close this with one of the most wicked people I have ever read about….one Saul of Tarsus. Here was a man who was the Pharisee of Pharisees. He was consenting to Stephen’s death when he was stoned in Acts 7. He had letters in his hand to go to Damascus to persecute the christians and have them thrown into prison. He had beaten, inprisioned, mocked, tortured them who called upon Christ’s name. yet, in His time, God shined the Light about him and three days later, Ananias healed him of his blindness, and he went and preached Christ. He wrote many of the NT books we so cherish now. He was even willing to lay down his life for Christ, the one he was so opposed to to begin with.
I know there are many more I could write about, but you get the picture. To save people, you have to first get them lost. I read that somewhere, but can not remember who coined that phrase. People have to see themselves for how ugly they truly are before God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. Our sins have seperated us from Him. God can not stand to look upon sin, let alone, dwell with it. We, as sinners, were ugly. But God sees us through Christ, having chosen us in Christ from before the foundation of the world.
Christ married us when we were ugly, when we saw ourselves as worthless, deserving of hell, no one wanting anything to do with us. He married us because it was His will and good pleasure to do so. It made Him happy to marry an ugly wife. Praise be to His name!!!
***I took this from an old song that has the words “If you want to happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.” As I was listening to it, this blog post popped into my head. I pray that this was of God, and not of myself.
In this day and time, you will come across a myriad of people in the local churches. You will find good honest christians who do all they can to support their church, feed the poor, visit the sick and homeless, have church meetings in prison, &c. You will find the alternative lifestyle in the more radical ones. You will find those who profess to live the christian life, but in time, their works will eventually manifest themselves and show who they really are. Then there are those I wish to focus on…the self-righteous Pharisees. This last sunday…9-14-2014…I went to a church that is about 1.5-2.0 miles from my house. My grandmother was a member of one of the sister churches in this United Baptist Association. This last sunday was the weekend of their annual association meeting. For those of you who may not understand what I mean, let me explain. Each year, these associations such as the United Baptists, Old Regular Baptists, Primitive Baptists, and even Free Will Baptists(FWB’s call their’s conferences), meet to have church and also do churchwork. The churches in each of these associations will decide during the year if they want to letter-up again with the association they’re in. If they decide to, they send delegates and a letter expressing desire to maintain correspondence with that association. They have this every year at the same appointed time. Friday and saturday they do churchwork as well as preaching. Sunday’s meeting is solely a worship service. I decided to go there for their sunday worship service. I knew quite a few there, and a bunch of them are my cousins. At the end of the service, people were singing songs, so I sang one. There was a man shouting and rejoicing, and others came up and shook my hand. Suddenly, there was this old man came up and snatched my wrist and said he wanted to speak to me privately. We walked outside whilst he held to my wrist. I didn’t shake loose, because I didn’t want to cause a scene in the church, and was quite shocked by this, too. He then asked me who I thought I was by coming in and acting the way I did. I then asked him what did he mean? He then said that I wasn’t in their correspondence. Furthermore, he asked me what I thought that gave me the right to do what I did? I apologized three or four times, and told him I meant no harm. But I saw a hatred in that man…I refuse to call him a “brother”…unlike any I’ve ever seen. At the end of it, he said I could come back in if I wanted to…yeah, right. I told him, no, and that I had caused enough harm as it is. I left, and will never darken another door of one of those six United Baptists churches ever again. These United Baptists have tore into each other so much, it’s pitiful. In the mid-1970′s, a UB association called Paint Union split over taking in people divorced/remarried. Old Paint Union formed from this division. Then Old Paint Union split, and Original Old Paint Union formed from it. Then there was the New Hope Association of UB’s. They split so many times, I don’t think anyone could keep up with all the associations that formed. The last I heard, they were down to four churches. The the Tri-State Zion UB’s split tiwce that I know of. Union Bethlehem split two or three times until they disolved that association. One side of the split is still functioning with 5-6 churches. They’re like a bunch of game roosters who will fight the very moment the see each other. They put me in mind of the Ishmaelites and the prophecy Abraham told Ishamel and that his people will have a war-like spirit. Don’t get me wrong, they’re many wonderful members in that association, but that old man ain’t one of them.
Now, this man was the same sort of people John the Baptist and Jesus Christ rebuked throughout the four gospels. John the Baptist called them a “brood of vipers”(Matt. 3:7) and Jesus called them that in Matt. 12:34 and 23:33. These pharisees were resting in the Law and the fact that they were born naturally a Jew. When Jesus came to set up a new and living way, they scoffed at Jesus’ notions. They were holding to the traditions of the elders. That is what this man does, and also that association. They are down to 6 churches and ~300 members, but most of them are old and feeble. How can they fulfill the Great Commission and “preach the gospel to every creature”?(Mark 16:15) If one of their preaching Brothers preaches outside of one of those 6 churches, they are in deep trouble. Again, how can they fulfill the Great Commission? They’re at odds with the record of God right there. They take the passage of 1 Thess. 5:12 way out of context where it says, “And we ask you, brethren, to know those labouring among you, and leading you in the Lord, and admonishing you.” That isn’t talking about correspondence. It is talking about knowing them by the fruit they bare. I know many people’s labours who are not in my Old Regular Baptist associaton by their fruits. I believe they are good christian people. If we can’t fellowship and worship here on earth, then how can we when Christ comes to gather us? Are they in the UB association going to sing awhile and then dismiss and let other’s sing? As we are shouting praises, will they wait for us to be silent so they can then proceed to shout? This is the ignorance they wallow in…and they’re proud of the “old time way”. Sad part about this is those who were actually in the “old time way”, most of them couldn’t read their names in box car letters if they tried(I’m talking about their ancestors here). But, that pharisee is following right along where his ancestors stopped…and they probably couldn’t read or write.
Now, getting back to the hatred I saw in this man eye’s and the way he talked to me like I was a dog. The bible calls this man a murderer. Why would I say this? It’s found in 1 John 3:15, “Every one who is hating his brother — a man-killer he is, and ye have known that no man-killer hath life age-during in him remaining.” The KJV calls a “man-killer” a murderer, and that’s what he is in Gods eyes, imo. Then the bible says also in 1 John 4:20, “if any one may say — `I love God,’ and his brother he may hate, a liar he is; for he who is not loving his brother whom he hath seen, God — whom he hath not seen — how is he able to love?” It’s impossible to love God, who he hasn’t seen, when he showed such hatred towards me. A man such as this has no business preaching, and needs to be saved, imo. If I am wrong about this pharisee, I pray that God will forgive me. However, Jesus said we shall know them by the fruits they bare.(Matt. 7:16) This man showed me some rotten fruit.
Here’s why I said what I did. God is God of Unity, Harmony, Love, Peace, Joy, &c. Satan, the adversary, he only comes to kill, steal and destroy. After I had settled down…at first it really hurt me that I caused them to feel uncomfortable about what I did…I began to think how much in the wrong he was. Sure, if I knew it would have came to this, I would have never sang that song to begin with…I did it in ignorance. However, he sought to lambaste me over it with a rather crude, rude, and crass manner. He could have came up to me after church had ended and explained to me how things went in that church and association and I would have apologized just the same. But noooooo, he had to take the authoriataive approach. And he’s not even an officer in their asociation, iirc. Officers are Moderator, Asst.-Moderator, Clerk, and Asst-Clerk. But he had to get his “smooth on” I guess. So this man has all the makings of a tare, self-righteous pharisee, ravening wolf sent to scatter the sheep, &c. I honestly hope I never see this man ever again….
In the book of Exodus, you can find where Moses has been on the lam for close to 40 years after killing an Egyptian, when he comes upon a burning bush. He is amazed that it is burning, but it is not consumed. As he approaches it, he hears the voice of God, and tells him to take off his shoes because he is on holy ground. As they converse, God tells him to do something, and Moses tries to come up with an excuse as to why he can not do it. I want to focus upon this one thing, however. When Moses asked Him,”Lo, I am coming unto the sons of Israel, and have said to them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they have said to me, What [is] His name?” what do I say unto them?‘(Exodus 3:13) God told him this; “I Am That Which I Am;’ He saith also, `Thus dost thou say to the sons of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.’” (Exodus 3:14) Now, focus in on “I AM that which I AM”. What would be the significance of the way God spoke that. It all boils down to God’s immutability. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.(Hebrews 13:8) Jesus affirmed this on a few occasions of being the I AM of the bible.
In John 11, Lazarus is sick, nearly dead, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, send word unto Jesus that Lazarus is nearly dead and that they needed Him to come and heal him. Jesus tarried for two days and then made the travel. To make a long story short, He conversed with Mary and told her that Lazarus would live again. Mary said he would live again on the resurrection at the last day. To which Jesus said, “I AM the rising again! and the life; he who is believing in me, even if he may die, shall live; and every one who is living and believing in me shall not die — to the age.”(John 11:25,26) Jesus is the rising again of all them that are in Him. Both saint and sinner will rise again at His coming in the Cloud, but only those who are His shall never taste the second death…the lake of fire. He is the firstfruit of them which sleep.(1 Cor. 15:20) If Christ were to have spoken this, He could have said, “I AM the Firstfruit of them which are sleeping.” The dead in sin are dead, but the saints who died, never truly died, but are asleep. What do I mean by that? Look at Stephen for instance. In Acts 7, after he is stoned, and has seen Christ standing on the right hand of God, and after he said to lay not this sin against them, the bible says Stephen fell asleep. To be dead is to be seperated from God, whether whilst a sinner walking around, or buried. The body of both the saint and sinner dies, but the souls of the saints never die. The body, at the point of salvation, was not cleanesed, only the soul. The soul has “risen again”, because the “I AM the Rising Again” has done the work within them that only He could do. They go back to be with Him, and when He returns to judge the world in righteousness, He will bring back the souls of them that died in Him and they will reunite with their bodies that come forth out of the ground. Their bodies will rise again. The “I AM”, the “Rising Again”, will bring them forth when He comes with a shout, with a voice of the Arch Angel, and with the trump of God.(1 Thess. 4).
Then in John 14, Jesus told them that He had to go away and prepare a place for them, and conversely, us. He told them also that if He went away, He would come again and receive us and take us to be with Him. Oh what a precious promise this is! Thomas, in verse 5, asked Him, “`Sir, we have not known whither thou goest away, and how are we able to know the way?’ Jesus then told Thomas in verse 6, “`I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” It is amazing at all the “I AM” references you can find in the bible.
In John 15, Jesus told them, ” I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” We who abide in Him, and who produce fruit, He will purge/prune it, that it will produce more fruit.
In John 10, Jesus stated, ” I am the door of the sheep; all, as many as came before me, are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them; I am the door, through me if any one may come in, he shall be saved, and he shall come in, and go out, and find pasture.”(vsts 7-9) He then went on to say, “`I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd his life layeth down for the sheep; and the hireling, and not being a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, doth behold the wolf coming, and doth leave the sheep, and doth flee; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep; and the hireling doth flee because he is an hireling, and is not caring for the sheep.I am the good shepherd, and I know my [sheep], and am known by mine, according as the Father doth know me, and I know the Father, and my life I lay down for the sheep, and other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these also it behoveth me to bring, and my voice they will hear, and there shall become one flock — one shepherd.”(vss 11-16)
There is no other way to get to heaven than through Jesus. As I have showed you, Jesus is “the way, the truth, the life, the ‘Rising Again’, the True Vine, the Door unto the sheepfold, and the good Shepherd of the sheep. He’s not, “I used to be the good Shepherd”, or “I am going to be the good Shpherd”, but He has always been the good Shepherd, He has always been the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He has always been the Door into the sheepfold, that we may go in and out and find pasture. He has always been the “Rising Again”. He has always been all of this. He is immutable and waivers not.
So in closing, I just wanted to show that God is “I AM”. What I am driving at is this. God being “I AM” is nothing akin to saying “I am going to be”, or “I used to be”, but God is always “I AM”. He will always be “I AM”. He never changes. We must be the ones who change if we are to be in Christ. However, He is the One who makes the change in us.
I will close with these few verses:
For to Abraham God, having made promise, seeing He was able to swear by no greater, did swear by Himself, saying, `Blessing indeed I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee;’ and so, having patiently endured, he did obtain the promise; for men indeed do swear by the greater, and an end of all controversy to them for confirmation [is] the oath, in which God, more abundantly willing to shew to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, did interpose by an oath, that through two immutable things, in which [it is] impossible for God to lie, a strong comfort we may have who did flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before [us], which we have, as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and entering into that within the vail, whither a forerunner for us did enter — Jesus, after the order of Melchisedek chief priest having become — to the age.
Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same, and to the ages.(Hebrews 13:8)
I ask this more in the fashion of a rhetorical question. I ask this in such a way, dear reader, for you to ponder on what I am really asking. I hear it all the time that prayer changes things. If it does, then how can God be immutable? For the record, I am not anti-prayer in the least, but, people tend to not fully grasp what prayer is all about. Prayer isn’t about us causing God to change things…outcomes…but rather, that our will be bent to His will. It is about us submitting to Him, and His will. For instance, look at the land of Ninevah, and God sending Jonah to tell them their impending doom. God is going to pour His wrath upon these heathens. God tells Jonah this in Jonah 1:
” And there is a word of Jehovah unto Jonah son of Amittai, saying: `Rise, go unto Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim against it that their wickedness hath come up before Me.” (vss 1,2) God has told Jonah to tell them He going to destroy them. Then in chapter 3, God told Jonah, after the whale vomitted him out of his belly, “Rise, go unto Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim unto it the proclamation that I am speaking unto thee.”(3:2) This made the second time that God told Jonah that destruction was coming to the land of Ninevah. Jonah told them “`Yet forty days — and Nineveh is overturned.” (Jonah 3:4) Now, they could have went around in the “woe is me” mentality that many have today, but they fasted, took off their clothes and put on sackcloth, even the king did, and all sat in ashes.
In Jonah 3:10 it states this; “And God seeth their works, that they have turned back from their evil way, and God repenteth of the evil that He spake of doing to them, and he hath not done [it].” So, did God change His mind and not destroy them, or was this part of His redemptive plan? I affirm the latter. God is immutable, and changes not. He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore(Hebrews 13:8).
In actuality, it was Jonah who had to bend his will to God’s. When the Ninevahites heard of the wrath of God to come, they willfully repented, even fasted, took off their own clothes and put on sackcloth, and sat in the ashes, not wanting to be destroyed. When God saw their deeds, He repented of the wicked words He said of what He was going to do to them(3:10). Now, if He knew the end from the beginning(Isa. 46:10), if His works were known from the foundation of the world(Acts 15:18), then He had to know what they were going to do even before He commanded Jonah to go and preach to them. Jonah got miffed that God didn’t destroy them. He even would have preferred to die than live(4:8). God was using Jonah in a way that the Ninevahites would bend their will to His. God was using Jonah in a way that through prayer, they would submit to Him. This is what prayer is truly about.
It’s like those who have a love one near death. They have prayed to God many times to heal them. Yet, in all of this, they have gotten progressively worse, and not better. When it gets to the point where it looks like death is there, they submit their will to Him and ask Him to not let them suffer any more. All the prayers in the world will not change Him, or His mind. If prayer did, in fact, change His mind, then none would die.
Let me close by saying this again. I am not anti-prayer. God ordained prayer as a way for us to communicate with Him. It is through prayer we beseech Him and ask Him to help us, and others, who need His help. Yet, at the end of it all, we always say, let it be in accordance to your will. Maybe not in those exact words, but pretty close. In other words, we always end our prayers with the words “if it be your will”. So, if prayer does change God’s mind, then can He truly be immutable? Ponder on this, dear reader…..
“For thus said the Lord unto me: `Go, station the watchman, That which he seeth let him declare.’”(Isa. 21:6 YLT)
If you can get a picture of a city that was in OT times, cities usually had walls that surrounded them, with watchmen on the tops of the walls. They would watch out for invaders, and when they saw them coming for an attack of the city, they would sound the alarm. They usually blowed a horn, and when the citizens of that city heard it blow, they knew an attack was coming. They would then take their positions and get ready for war.
This is a picture of us, the christians. I know that the usual application is preachers, but even laypeople have a way of “sounding the alarm” as they witness to people. But the main idea I want to get across is that the “sound” the horn made was a particular sound. A sound that the inhabitants of that city knew. If another sound was made, they would not know to “man their positions”, and be prepared for the assault from their enemy, and no doubt suffer defeat. Apostle Paul addressed this when he wrote in 1 Cor. 14:7,8…”yet the things without life giving sound — whether pipe or harp — if a difference in the sounds they may not give, how shall be known that which is piped or that which is harped? for if also an uncertain sound a trumpet may give, who shall prepare himself for battle“? Look closely at that which I bolded and italiacized…“who shall prepare himself for battle?” As much as we were to preach, witness, emplore, beg, lost peoples to come to Christ, if God isn’t drawing them, eventhough we’re “sounding the alarm”, we’re making a peculiar sound, a sound they have no understanding of, sounding like barbarians, without any understanding. If the invaders are coming, and the watchmen start playing a flute, the citizens won’t prepare themselves for battle.
I am going to take another angle to this. In Joshua chapter 6, you can see them, the Israelites, as they are being led by Joshua, after Moses had died and God buried him. God told Joshua to circle Jericho once a day for six days, and then on the seventh day, make seven trips around it. As they were circling it, God gave Joshua instruction on what to do….“and Jehovah saith unto Joshua, `See, I have given into thy hand Jericho and its king — mighty ones of valour, and ye have compassed the city — all the men of battle — going round the city once; thus thou dost six days; and seven priests do bear seven trumpets of the jubilee before the ark, and on the seventh day ye compass the city seven times, and the priests blow with the trumpets.” As you can see, there were seven priests blowing seven trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant coming behind them. That’s the way the gospel works. As we preach God’s word, we are blowing the trumpet, blowing the horn sounding the alarm. Now, when God is in the mix, working within one of His sheep not yet in the fold, He causes them to hear the trumpet sounding the alarm, telling them that the enemy is fastly approaching. Jesus Christ is coming right behind the effectual preaching of one of God’s called ministers, much like the Ark was coming right behind the priests blowing their trumpets. Undoubtedly, the watchmen that were looking down from the tops of the walls wondered what was going on. They had no idea what was about to take place. The “sound” the seven trumpets made were peculiar to them. They had no clue that in less than one week, the walls of their city would fall by the hands of God.
I will close this by going back into 1 Cor. 14 where Apostle Paul was talking about speaking in tongues. Now, I am not a believer in speaking in tongues as the pentecostals/charismatics do, but I want to finish this blog post out this way. Whenever we are preaching and/or witnessing to lost people, if God hasn’t acted upon them with His regenerative powers, we are going to sound like a foreigner to them. As it states in 1 Cor. 2:14, “and the natural man doth not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for to him they are foolishness, and he is not able to know [them], because spiritually they are discerned
,and then in 1 Cor. 1:18 Apostle Paul stated, “for the word of the cross to those indeed perishing is foolishness, and to us — those being saved — it is the power of God.” So unrenerate people are unable to truly understand the “sound” the trumpets make, what the preachers are preaching, what the laypeople are saying to them. They need an Interpreter to translate the message for them. This is where the Spirit of God comes in. It takes something much deeper than words to bring life to the dead. It takes an inner working, an effectual calling, calling a sinner out of darkness into His marvellous Light. To bring one from death in the tomb, to life in Christ. To set free that which has been bound. Only God can do this. I will leave you with these verses of scripture…please pay close attention to what is in italics…
“Righteousness and judgment [Are] the fixed place of Thy throne, Kindness and truth go before Thy face. O the happiness of the people knowing the shout, O Jehovah, in the light of Thy face they walk habitually. In Thy name they rejoice all the day, And in Thy righteousness they are exalted.”
I am quite shocked that I have to word the blog post title question the way I did. I just don’t know how you can truly have a grammatically correct sentence the way I worded it, but alas…..
Now, is repentance from sin necessary for salvation? Let’s see what God’s word has to say about it. First off, I want to go to Acts 17:30 where the beloved physician Luke wrote, “the times, indeed, therefore, of the ignorance God having overlooked, doth now command all men everywhere to reform.” As you can read for yourselves, God has commanded all men everywhere to repent. Yet, so many refuse to do so, choosing to live in the mire of sin like a hog lives in its. Repentance is more than a change of mind, it’s a change of the heart, a Godly sorrow that has been set up in their lives, that leads them to repentance(2 Cor. 7:10). Now, let’s look at some other verses that addresses that repentance is necessary for true God-given salvation.
John the Baptist told the Jews this, “And in those days cometh John the Baptist, proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea,and saying, `Reform, for come nigh hath the reign of the heavens,’ for this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, `A voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, straight make ye His paths.’ And this John had his clothing of camel’s hair, and a girdle of skin round his loins, and his nourishment was locusts and honey of the field.Then were going forth unto him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about the Jordan, and they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins. And having seen many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming about his baptism, he said to them, `Brood of vipers! who did shew you to flee from the coming wrath? bear, therefore, fruits worthy of the reformation, and do not think to say in yourselves, A father we have — Abraham, for I say to you, that God is able out of these stones to raise children to Abraham, and now also, the axe unto the root of the trees is laid, every tree therefore not bearing good fruit is hewn down, and to fire is cast.” (Matthew 3:1-10 YLT)
People want to say that repentance from sins was only spoken of by Jesus to the Jews. That’s true, but why was it this way? Here’s why: `I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,‘ this was what Jesus said in Matthew 15:24. He first went to His chosen people, and He also told His desciples to “the way of the nations go not away, and into a city of the Samaritans go not in, and be going rather unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.`And, going on, proclaim saying that, the reign of the heavens hath come nigh; infirm ones be healing, lepers be cleansing, dead be raising, demons be casting out — freely ye did receive, freely give.” (Matthew 10:5-8 YLT) His targeted audience, His earthly ministry was focused upon the Jews. That was who He spoke to most of the time. There was the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter He healed, and the woman at the well in Samaria, but those are only two instances that I can think of off the top of my head, where He had dealings with Gentiles. So to say that the Christ commanded the Jews to repent of their sins, and we don’t have to, is horrible exegesis, in my opinion.
Then in Romans 2, Apostle Paul touched upon repentance being necessary, and also the source from which it came; “or the riches of His goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, dost thou despise? — not knowing that the goodness of God doth lead thee to reformation! (Romans 2:4 YLT) It is the goodness of God that leads a sinner to reformation/repentance. It is God that sets up a Godly sorrow that leads a sinner to repentance. (2 Cor. 7:10). Then John the Baptist told the Jews this as well, “make, therefore, fruits worthy of the reformation, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have a father — Abraham; for I say to you, that God is able out of these stones to raise children to Abraham; (Luke 3:8 YLT) God has to break up that stony heart first. In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable of the seed sower, and the condition of the four grounds represented there. The only one that the seed took root and brought forth fruits was that which was sown in the good ground. Why did it(seed) not bring forth fruit in the other three grounds? In the wayside ground, Satan snatched it away before it could get planted. In the stony ground, it sprung up, but withered away before any fruits were produced. The thorny ground choked the seed out as the plant sprouted out, so did the thorns, and choked it out. So why did the seed not prosper? It was a good seed, but in three grounds it failed to produce fruit. Again, why? It all stems from the heart. The heart is desperately wicked and who can know it? (Jer. 17:9) It is from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.(Matt. 12:45 & Luke 6:45) The heart of a sinner is as hard as stone and they have to be given a new heart. (Eze. 11:19 & Eze. 36:26) That is why it’s imperitive that regeneration has to be prior to conversion. God gives a sinner a new heart to feel with, new eyes to see with, new ears to hear “what says the Lord”. In regeneration is justification, the giving of saving faith. Faith and repentance coincide and you can not have one with out the other. As the Hebrews writer said, “looking to the author and perfecter of faith — Jesus, who, over-against the joy set before him — did endure a cross, shame having despised, on the right hand also of the throne of God did sit down;” (Hebrews 12:2) Then in Acts 16:14 it states that God had opened Lydia’s heart. So, as I have shown you, dear reader, the heart has to be changed. It can only be changed by God Almighty Himself.
All of this has to happen to have a true conversion of the soul. There has to be repentance from sin in order to be saved…converted. I will close with this passage Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica:
“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thess….all 10 vss YLT)
Look closely at what I put in italics. He said “and how ye turned to God from idols”. To turn from idols and turn to God is repenting of your sins, whilst turning to God. You can not turn to God without turning away from your sins. You have to deny yourself, and seek after Him with all your heart. Then in Luke 13, Jesus stated this TWICE; “No — I say to you, but, if ye may not reform, all ye even so shall perish.” (Luke 13:3,5 YLT)
If there be a sinner who reads this, please let me tell you that repenting of your sins is an absolute necessity in order to be saved/converted. God saves you from your sins, and not in them. “No — I say to you, but, if ye may not reform, all ye even shall perish.”
I hear people talking about the baptism spoken of in Romans 6 as the believer being baptized…immersed, in the water. Yet, I can find no mentioning of it there. I will not attempt to go verse-by-verse, as that would be too time consuming, making by blog post too lengthy, and having fewer readers actually reading it. So, I will attempt to hit the high points, addressing what baptism is actually being referred to. All of the verses I will use are in the YLT.
“What, then, shall we say? shall we continue in the sin that the grace may abound?let it not be! we who died to the sin — how shall we still live in it?are ye ignorant that we, as many as were baptized to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized?’“(vss 1:3)
In verse 3, pay careful attention to as many as were baptized to Christ. Now, what is being baptized to Christ? Is the fleshly man? Is it the spirit, the soul of man that is baptized to Christ? I contend that the latter is true. When John the Baptist came preaching repentance, he baptized them with a water baptism unto repentance. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist told them this; “I indeed do baptize you with water to reformation, but he who after me is coming is mightier than I, of whom I am not worthy to bear the sandals, he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” John could only baptize someone with water, and that is the only thing we can baptize with. It takes a working of the Spirit, being placed in Christ, and this can only take place via the Spirit of God. So how is it that water baptizes us to Christ? It can’t.
“this knowing, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of the sin may be made useless, for our no longer serving the sin;for he who hath died hath been set free from the sin.” (vss 6,7)
Our old man has been crucified with Christ. When Christ died, we died. When He raised, we raised. What He did, we do, because He did it for us. Then look deeper at verse 7. What died here that was set free from sin? Was it the flesh? No. Was in the soul? Yes. The flesh still has the stain of sin all over it, “it is still at enmity with God”(Romans 8:7). “It can not understand the things of the Spirit”(1 Cor. 2:14). The soul has been set free by the shed blood of Christ. It has been cleansed, it has now on it the wedding garment, waiting for the Bridegroom to call it home.
“so also ye, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to the sin, and living to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.”(vs 11)
I think the verse that states “we are dead, and our lives are hid with Christ in God”(Col. 3:3), should suffice. We no longer live of ourselves, but it is rather, that “in Christ we live, move and have our being”(Acts 17:28). We are dead, the old man died, was crucified. Christ now lives within us, and “because He lives, we can live also”(John 14:19). We are Spiritually alive only because He lives within us.
“for sin over you shall not have lordship, for ye are not under law, but under grace.” (vs 14)
Sin no longer lords, or reigns, over us. Christ, the Stronger Man, came in and “cast the strong man out, and spoiled his goods”(Matt. 12:29). And after He ejects him out of that person, He tells that strong man “to never come back in to him again”(Mark 9:25). We now live unto Christ, no longer desiring to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Sure, there will be times when we sin, yet we will repent and go on. But we no longer desire to sin, yearn for sin, I am referring to the inner man, the soul/spirit of a man that has been brought from death unto life. That new life is in Christ, and as 1 Cor. 5:17 so poignantly states it; “so that if any one [is] in Christ — [he is] a new creature; the old things did pass away, lo, become new have the all things.”
“What then? shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? let it not be!have ye not known that to whom ye present yourselves servants for obedience, servants ye are to him to whom ye obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?and thanks to God, that ye were servants of the sin, and — were obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which ye were delivered up;and having been freed from the sin, ye became servants to the righteousness.” (vss 15-18)
In verse 18, it states, “and having been freed from the sin, ye became servants to the righteousness.” Again, what has been freed from sin? Was it the flesh? Was it the soul/spirit of man? I still contend it is the latter and not the former. In 1 John 3, John writes, “every one who hath been begotten of God, sin he doth not, because his seed in him doth remain, and he is not able to sin, because of God he hath been begotten.” John interestingly stated “because His seed in him doth remain.” We know that the word “seed” is meaning the word of God. We also know that Jesus is the “the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“And now, having been freed from the sin, and having become servants to God, ye have your fruit — to sanctification, and the end life age-during;for the wages of the sin [is] death, and the gift of God [is] life age-during in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vss 22,23)
Again, we read those pesky little words, “having been freed from sin”. Once more, what has been freed from sin. We know it is not the flesh, because that is all it wants to do. It is the inner man that has been unshackled from the chains of sin, that kept us in bondage to Satan. He had us burdened down with sin, has us in chains of bondage. Christ came and broke those chains off of us, toke Satan’s yoke of bondage off of us, which only held us back from serving our Creator. When Christ took Satan’s yoke off us, and put His on us. He tells us this in Matthew 11, “Come unto me, all ye labouring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest,take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because I am meek and humble in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls,for my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.” vss(28-30)
So there is no way that water is mentioned here as the baptism we received. The baptism here in Romans 6 is that baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire. This has to take place before the water baptism is of any benefit to the person. The water baptism does not free people from sin, does not make any of us a new creation/creature in Christ. Water does none of this.