Is Christian Nationalism A Scriptural Means Of Propagating The Gospel And Defending God’s Kingdom?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version)

Christian nationalism is the belief that a nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way (Paul D. Miller). A troubling trend among some Christians is an increasing reliance on the use of political/social activism to enforce the practice of Christian values in the public space. This has sometimes resulted in hate speeches and xenophobic attacks against people of other faiths, as well as against other Christians not considered conservative enough. Christian nationalism is thus seen by some Christians as the only way to prevent the take over of Christian nations by liberalism and worldliness.

From the biblical point of view, is it lawful to use such means as political activism and coercion/intimidation in the evangelisation of the world and the discipling of men for Christ? Is the kingdom of God on earth to be established and expanded through political and cultural revolutions? We shall examine the Scriptures to understand the nature of God’s kingdom and how to occupy and carry on with the work of the Great Commission as we await the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

St. Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

St. Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

St. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

St. Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

St. Matthew 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The Great Commission the Lord Jesus Christ gave his disciples was to go into the world, preach the gospel of salvation to all people, and make disciples for him among all nations. The means to achieve this mandate was clearly and unambiguously spelt out by the Lord. Winning souls from all nations for Christ is to be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Christ forbade his disciples from launching out on this mission without first getting filled with the Holy Spirit. Only the gospel preached with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit will produce the kind of disciples Christ desires. Biblical Christianity is not to be grown or propagated by oratorical skills, humanistic psychology or by the use of force or threat of it. World evangelism is not to be achieved by activism or through political pressure groups. The Lord intended Christianity and its influence to permeate the world through only one means-the out-living of a gospel preached and vindicated by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit!

St. Luke 24:46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,

St. Luke 24:47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

St. Luke 24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

St. Luke 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

The Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

St. Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

St. Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

St. Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

St. Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

St. Mark 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

St. Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

St. Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel —not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

We need to understand that the kingdom of God is not of this world’s system. No country on earth is God’s country (with the exception of Israel that God chose in the Scriptures as his own nation and an example of a theocracy). Christians are not called to build theocratic Christian nations on earth that will form the kingdom of God. Our Commission is to get men and women saved out of all the corrupt and doomed nations on earth, and make them citizens of the heavenly country. We’re not to fight physically to take hold of earthly nations and turn them into the kingdom of God, either through activism or by force. We’re to save ourselves and others from the wrath of judgement coming upon the whole world and the whole nations on earth. One of the greatest evangelists of all times, DL Moody, captured this so wonderfully with his famous quote: “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said, ‘Moody, save all you can”. That’s what we’re called to do- to save all we can, and not to try to build “holy empires” for God on the foundations of condemned nations!

St. John 18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

St. John 18:34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

St. John 18:35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

St. John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

St. John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

The Acts 2:37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

The Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

The Acts 2:40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

1 Thessalonians 1:8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia —your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,

1 Thessalonians 1:9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead —Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

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

Hebrews 11:14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Hebrews 11:15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country —a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The danger of Christian nationalism is in assuming an earthly kingdom of God already in existence, within defined physical boundaries of Christian nations, that must be defended and protected at all costs from satanic invasion. Christian nationalists see their countries of sojourn as the kingdom of God already, and thus use all manner of unscriptural means to “occupy them for Christ”. They fight off every other group of people not adhering to the Christian faith, to silence and make them irrelevant. They think that by using any and every means to suppress others not believing in the Christian faith, they’re promoting the kingdom of God. Like the misguided Peter before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Christian nationalists believe it’s okay to use the power of the sword and other carnal weapons to enforce the Great Commission and protect Christ’s interests. I’m sure the Lord’s response to Peter’s zeal without knowledge, as well as his response to Pilate, will help reveal his mind about his Kingdom and how not he intends to bring it about.

St. Matthew 26:48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”

St. Matthew 26:49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

St. Matthew 26:50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

St. Matthew 26:51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

St. Matthew 26:52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

St. Matthew 26:53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

St. Matthew 26:54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

St. Matthew 26:55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.

St. Matthew 26:56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

As long as the Lord has not returned to take over the kingdoms of this world and to rule and reign over all nations in righteousness, we can only pray and labour in soul-winning, to harvest and prepare citizens of the kingdom, while waiting for the coming of the Kingdom. As long as the kingdoms of this world have not become the kingdom of our God and his Christ, our reign on earth is still futuristic. The earth the Lord promised the meek for an inheritance is not this present sin-cursed world that’s headed for destruction. All we’re seeing now will be burnt up with fire, including all our beloved nations, simply because this is not yet the kingdom of God. All these kingdoms must give way first before the kingdom of God is established on earth. It’s not for us to know the times and seasons which the Father has set by his own authority to bring about his kingdom. Our task is to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit and to witness for Christ, not by activism but by evangelism; not by political revolutions, but by the preaching and the living out of the Gospel. That’s how we’re to occupy till the Lord comes back!

Philippians 3:18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Philippians 3:19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Peter 3:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

2 Peter 3:2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

2 Peter 3:3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

2 Peter 3:4 They will say, “Where is this ’coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

2 Peter 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

2 Peter 3:6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

2 Peter 3:7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

2 Peter 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

2 Peter 3:12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

To fight to seal off our “Christian nations” from infiltration by non-Christians does not promote the reaching out of all nations for Christ. In fact, that would amount to denying ourselves the opportunity of reaching out to people whom we could never have been able to make contact with. To seek to subdue all dissenting voices by force and intimidation is to miss the opportunity of engaging and converting unbelievers by the love of God and by the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. What will secure our nations for Christ is not violent political activism, hateful bigotry or xenophobic attacks on foreigners of other faiths, but a revival of true religion. It was the great revival in Wales (1904-1905), midwifed by Evan Roberts, that led to the voluntary closure of pubs and night clubs, and their conversion to worship centres. That heaven-sent revival also resulted in a 50% reduction in cases of drunkenness recorded by the police during this period in Wales. This was not achieved through the carrying of placards or by physically attacking and harassing people inside pubs and clubs. The same revival emptied police cells and kept police men idle for a long period of time, because criminals had been converted to Christ and criminality had dropped significantly.

Paul’s effective Spirit-led evangelism in Ephesus also led to people giving their lives to God and subsequently destroying all tools of their previous devilish trades. No political activism or use of pressure groups was involved. No fighting with carnal weapons was needed in subverting the kingdom of darkness and liberating the souls of men here, just effective evangelism in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rather than carry placards and guns to threaten doctors and nurses in abortion clinics, let’s call down revival from above that will convert the hearts of men and women and make them stop patronising such clinics. Our prayers of faith, coupled with the preaching of the word in the power of the Spirit, will achieve more for the kingdom of God than the million-man marches and demonstrations against evil we often see in the streets. The early church were a minority with no political voice in the land, but they had a powerful voice in heaven, as well as the power of the Holy Spirit, through which they turned their world upside down for Christ. That’s the way the original gospel was intended to change the world!

The Acts 19:11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,

The Acts 19:12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

The Acts 19:13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”

The Acts 19:14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

The Acts 19:15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”

The Acts 19:16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

The Acts 19:17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.

The Acts 19:18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.

The Acts 19:19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

The Acts 19:20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

2 Chronicles 7:12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

James 5:18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

In conclusion, the mandate of the Great Commission the Lord gave the Church is to be carried out only through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s task on earth here, while awaiting the return of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is to preach the gospel to all creatures, win as many souls as possible for Christ and prepare those souls to be worthy disciples of Christ and citizens of heaven. We’re not called to use political activism or the power of the state to enforce Christian values on others who don’t believe in our faith. We’re not called to create theocratic Christian nations on earth that must be secured and defended by carnal means, to ensure unbelievers don’t come in or thrive inside. All we’re called to do is use the power of the Spirit to persuade men and women of every colour and race to turn from darkness to light, and from Satan to the living God, in order to escape the wrath of God coming upon the world of unbelievers. Christian nationalism (that leans on the state to enforce Christian values in the public space and seeks to create Christian theocratic societies) is thus not a scriptural means of propagating the gospel and spreading Christianity, because it relies on means not approved or endorsed by the Scriptures.

Lord, What Will You Have Me To Do?

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

The apostle Paul is, arguably, one of the greatest ministers of the gospel, being the chief of the apostles, and the most distinguished preacher, evangelist and teacher in the history of the church. He lived an amazing life as a believer and as a servant of Jesus Christ, and did great exploits for the kingdom of God, eventually dying as a martyr. But, there was a time when Paul (then Saul) was a murderer of christians and a terror to the church of Christ. The turning point in his life occurred while on his way to persecute Christians at Damascus. His dramatic arrest by Jesus Christ, and his subsequent conversion to Christianity, shook him profoundly and set the stage for the life of total obedience and service to the Lord that followed. As dramatic as his conversion was, it was the question that Paul (then Saul) asked the Lord, after getting to know him, more than anything else, that set the tone for the great life and ministry he had in Christ.

The Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

The Acts 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

The Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

The Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?

The Acts 9:5 And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.

The Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? And the Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.

The Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

The Acts 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

The only question Paul (then Saul) asked the Lord, after getting to know him, was what the Lord would have him to do. Paul’s question revealed a profound understanding of the sovereignty of God and his predetermined purpose and plan for his intelligent creatures. God is not so much interested in what we want do for him as he is in our obedience to his will, to do what he has predetermined for us to do. If we recognise the fact that Christianity is intended to make people know and do God’s will, and not a means of getting divine backing for our own will, our perceptions and orientation will change. We will become more kingdom-minded and less self-centered. We will be praying more for God’s will to be done, rather than for us to have our ways.

God has a plan and purpose for each of us. That purpose for our life was conceived in the eternal mind of God even before we were born. God told Jeremiah that before he came out of his mother’s womb, he had already sanctified and ordained him as a prophet to the nations. Paul would later acknowledge the fact that God called him from the womb and separated him to be an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, before he was born. God told the Israelites who were about to go into captivity in Babylon that he had plans for them, which would bring them peace and prosperity, even in their captivity. For that reason, they were not to resist going into captivity, however unpalatable it looked. Recognising that God has a plan and purpose for each of us is key to living a fulfilled and successful life. Until we grasp that revelation, we’ll continue to insist on our own will and ways, which will ultimately lead to disaster. Our ways may appear right in our eyes, but they don’t always end well for us.

Jeremiah 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

Galatians 1:13 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:

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

Galatians 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Galatians 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Jeremiah 29:4 Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon;

Jeremiah 29:5 Build you houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Jeremiah 29:6 Take you wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that you may be increased there, and not diminished.

Jeremiah 29:7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace.

Jeremiah 29:8 For thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the middle of you, deceive you, neither listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.

Jeremiah 29:9 For they prophesy falsely to you in my name: I have not sent them, said the LORD.

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus said the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:14 And I will be found of you, said the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, said the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Like Paul, we must intentionally seek the Father’s will for our lives, in all circumstances we find ourselves. We must ask for what he’d have us do, and not try to force God to approve and bless our self-willed plans. We must come in humility to the Father who has the blueprint and masterplan for our lives, and inquire what he has foreordained for us to do, for only God’s eternal purpose for our lives will bring peace, joy and fulfilment to us. Jesus said his food was to do the Father’s will, and to finish the work the Father gave him to do on earth. To identify the Father’s will for us, and to accomplish that will, should be our food too, as children of God. Christ did not come to do his own will, but the Father’s, and likewise, we are not sent by Christ into the world to seek to do our own will, but his. Thus, until we are able to identify what our God-apportioned callings and purpose on earth are, we will only be doing our own will. Until we ask God and receive a definite answer to the life-defining question, “what will you have me to do, Lord?”, we will be living at cross purposes with God. Until Paul asked that question and got a definite answer, he was living contrary to God’s will, being a persecutor and destroyer of God’s church, while thinking he was doing some great service to God, in his misguided zeal. But, when he asked and received from God what he was born to do, the fiercest persecutor of the church turned around to become its greatest masterbuilder ever! Destiny was finally discovered and fulfilled!!

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

John 4:32 But he said to them, I have meat to eat that you know not of.

John 4:33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Has any man brought him ought to eat?

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Hebrews 10:5 Why when he comes into the world, he said, Sacrifice and offering you would not, but a body have you prepared me:

Hebrews 10:6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.

Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.

Hebrews 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 22:39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said to them, Pray that you enter not into temptation.

Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.

1 Corinthians 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Too many Christians there are who are busy imagining their life’s work and just feeling their way through life, without a definite word from God as to what their specific work and mission on earth are. Too many of God’s children are wandering aimlessly through life, lurching from one self-willed decision to another, just trying out anything that feels good and that seems to work, without a definite knowledge of God’s purpose for their lives. Until we have a clear revelation of the specific work we’re called to do in the kingdom, we will fail to fulfill destiny. Until you discover what your destiny is, how can you fulfill it? Thats why we frequently find a hand in the body of Christ struggling to be a leg, or an ear trying so hard to be an eye. But, if we discover who we are, and our position and place in Christ, we will fulfill God’s purpose for our lives in our generation. Thus, the greatest question, after salvation, is to ask God to reveal to us his will and purpose for our lives. That must be the starting point for whoever wants to live a fulfilled life in Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.

1 Corinthians 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1 Corinthians 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

1 Corinthians 12:22 No, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

1 Corinthians 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

1 Corinthians 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked.

1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

1 Corinthians 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

1 Corinthians 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

1 Corinthians 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.

In conclusion, deliberately seeking to know and to do God’s will for our lives, like the apostle Paul did on his first encounter with Christ, is key to living a fulfilled Christian life. God has a specific will and plan for all his children. He has a specific role and function for each member of his body to perform in his church and in his kingdom. Like parts of the human body, each member of the body of Christ has his/ her unique position and function in the body. The onus is on every believer to find out their position and role in the body of Christ, and to play that role accordingly, for the edifying of the church and the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. Locating our place and purpose in God’s plan requires asking the Lord the same question that Saul asked him when he encountered Christ on the way to Damascus—”Lord, what will you have me to do?”

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The Unpardonable Sin: What Is It, And Who’s In Danger Of Committing It?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

There is a sin which is unpardonable, and it behooves us all to know what it is, as committing it will not be forgiven, both in this life and in the next. Many Christians are puzzled and troubled by what the unpardonable sin is, and they should be, because of its mortal consequences. In this article, we’ll try to throw some light on the nature of the unpardonable sin, highlighting what it is, who’s susceptible to committing it, and whether or not it can be committed in ignorance. We’ll explore relevant portions of the Scriptures in order to address these issues.

St. Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

St. Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

In the passage above, the Lord Jesus Christ gave a hint as to what the unpardonable sin is. He told us it’s blasphemy (slander) against the Holy Spirit. What the Lord Jesus was saying at that time that he had not been glorified was that anyone who spoke ill of him, including calling him a devil, would be forgiven. But, as soon as he was glorified (died for sin, resurrected and ascended to heaven) and the Holy Spirit sent down to take his place among believers, anyone who would speak evil of the Holy Spirit would be in danger of committing the unpardonable sin.

Thus, insulting or reviling the Holy Spirit is a sin that should be dreaded. But, is it all categories of people who blaspheme or speak ill of the Holy Spirit that are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin? It doesn’t appear to be so, as the Scripture makes room for forgiveness for those who blaspheme as ignorant unbelievers. God overlooks and readily forgives all sins committed by unbelievers in their days of ignorance, once they repent when they come to the knowledge of the truth. That’s what makes God just and fair. Paul, before his conversion, was a blasphemer who reviled and spoke ill of the Holy Spirit, the risen Christ and the church, yet he was forgiven and received grace to be the chief of the apostles.

St. Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

The Acts 17:29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone —an image made by human design and skill.

The Acts 17:30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

The Acts 17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

1 Timothy 1:13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

So, if a prominent blasphemer and persecutor of the risen Christ and of the church such as Paul could be forgiven, because he did it ignorantly as an unbeliever, it only means that the unpardonable sin cannot be committed by unbelievers! It means people who have not come to the knowledge of the truth cannot commit the unpardonable sin! This view is corroborated by Scriptures which link the unpardonable sin to those who have once been enlightened and have come to the knowledge of the truth, who have tasted of the good word of God and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit. These are the people who cannot be brought again to repentance if they abandon the faith, revile or insult the Holy Spirit and tread underfoot the blood of the holy covenant by which they were previously sanctified.

Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,

Hebrews 6:5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age

Hebrews 6:6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Peter made the same point in his second epistle, stressing the fact that those who had previously escaped from the pollution of the world may backslide and get entangled therein again. Such people are compared to dogs who go back to their vomit, or washed pigs who return to wallowing in the mire. They are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin because, having had a previous knowledge of the truth, if they blaspheme or revile the Holy Spirit, it would be unforgivable. Paul also spoke of some believers whom he handed over to Satan, so that they would learn not to blaspheme, as the consequences of blasphemy for someone who once knew the truth are grave.

2 Peter 2:12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

2 Peter 2:13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.

2 Peter 2:14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed —an accursed brood!

2 Peter 2:15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.

2 Peter 2:16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey —an animal without speech —who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

2 Peter 2:17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

2 Peter 2:18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.

2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity —for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

2 Peter 2:20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

2 Peter 2:21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

2 Peter 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,

1 Timothy 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.

1 Timothy 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

The Lord Jesus made the context of the unpardonable sin very clear. He wasn’t talking to unbelievers or heathens who didn’t know God, when he made the remark about the unpardonable sin. He was talking to the Scribes and the Pharisees who were leaders of God’s people, and therefore well informed about spiritual truths and the things of God. Unfortunately, the Pharisees and the Scribes who should have known better were the ones who were busy attributing the works of God through Christ to demonic powers, out of envy and jealousy. They knew Christ was of God, for no man could do the things he did if God wasn’t with him. Though they knew it was the power of God at work in Christ’s life and ministry, they deliberately and maliciously attributed the wonderful works of God he did to satanic powers! To deliberately and knowingly attribute an act of God to Satan is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit doing those works. To maliciously speak evil of the Holy Spirit working through any servant of God is to revile the Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to such acts of blasphemy as constituting the unpardonable sin.

St. John 3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council.

St. John 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

St. Matthew 12:22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.

St. Matthew 12:23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

St. Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

St. Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

St. Matthew 12:26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?

St. Matthew 12:27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.

St. Matthew 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

St. Matthew 12:29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

St. Matthew 12:30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

St. Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

St. Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

St. Matthew 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

St. Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

St. Matthew 12:35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

St. Matthew 12:36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

St. Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The unpardonable sin is actually a sin against the atonement, for those who had once been saved. When we despise and revile the atonement, after getting to have a knowledge of it, there is nothing else that can save such a person. Like the sons of Eli (priests of the Lord) who despised the atonement by desecrating the sacrifice and God’s temple, nothing could atone for their sins. They had trampled upon the atoning sacrifice which alone could save them, so they were eternally doomed. Their sins could not be forgiven nor atoned for, for all eternity. They had committed the unpardonable sin! It’s the same as those who trample underfoot the son of God and count the blood of the covenant whereby they were sanctified an unholy thing, and have reviled or insulted the Spirit of grace.

1 Samuel 2:22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

1 Samuel 2:23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.

1 Samuel 2:24 No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the LORD’s people is not good.

1 Samuel 2:25 If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the LORD, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death.

1 Samuel 2:26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people.

1 Samuel 2:27 Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ’Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh?

1 Samuel 2:28 I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites.

1 Samuel 2:29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’

1 Samuel 2:30 “Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ’I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ’Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.

1 Samuel 2:31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age,

1 Samuel 2:32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age.

1 Samuel 2:33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.

1 Samuel 2:34 “’And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you —they will both die on the same day.

1 Samuel 2:35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always.

1 Samuel 2:36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”’”

1 Samuel 3:11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.

1 Samuel 3:12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family —from beginning to end.

1 Samuel 3:13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.

1 Samuel 3:14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ’The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

In conclusion, the unpardonable sin is blasphemy or slander against the Holy Spirit. It involves insulting or reviling the Holy Spirit and attributing his works to Satan, by people who should know better. The unpardonable sin is not a sin that’s committed in ignorance or unbelief, and so cannot be committed by unbelievers. God readily forgives all sins committed by unbelievers in their days of ignorance, when they eventually repent after coming to the knowledge of the truth. It’s therefore believers who are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin. If such people who once knew the truth and were partakers of the Holy Spirit now turn to revile and maliciously slander the Holy Spirit and tread underfoot the blood of the covenant that once saved them, there’s no more sacrifice to atone for their sins, since they have sinned against the atonement. There’s no forgiveness for such people in this age or in the age to come. Such people have committed the unpardonable sin. May we then, as believers, be careful how we speak and respond to works of the Holy Spirit, for our words concerning the Holy Spirit and his works can lead us to commit the unpardonable sin and to eternal condemnation.

Can A Spirit-Filled Born-Again Christian Be Possessed With An Evil Spirit?

Within pentecostal and charismatic circles, it’s common to see Spirit-filled born-again Christians undergoing deliverance or exorcism on account of demon-possession. These evil spirits are thought to be responsible for inducing born-again Christians to commit various sins. Is it possible for someone filled with the Holy Spirit to be possessed by evil spirits at the same time that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within the person? Can the Holy Spirit coexist with evil spirits within the same person? What’s responsible for making born-again Christians to commit sin? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these pertinent questions.

James 3:11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

James 3:12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water (NIV).

The Apostle James asked these rhetorical questions above to point us to the fact that it’s against the law of nature for two diametrically opposite entities to coexist in the same place at the same time. Salt water and fresh water cannot flow from the same spring. A fig tree cannot bear olives, neither can a grapevine produce figs. It’s just not natural and it’s therefore impossible for such occurrences to happen.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He is holy and divine. He fills and indwells believers in Christ. Evil or vile spirits are spirits of demons who are unclean and impure. They possess people who are unholy and impure. These are people who do not know God, who have not experienced the new birth, or people from whom the Holy Spirit has departed, having previously dwelt in them. Because these two spirits are diametrically opposed to each other (one is holy and the other unholy; one is from God and the one from demons), they both cannot co-exist simultaneously inside the same person.

1 Samuel 16:11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, Are all your sons here? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.

1 Samuel 16:12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him, for this is he.

1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

1 Samuel 16:15 And Saul’s servants said to him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.

1 Samuel 16:16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.

1 Samuel 16:17 So Saul said to his servants, Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.

1 Samuel 16:18 One of the young men answered, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.

1 Samuel 16:19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.

1 Samuel 16:20 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul.

1 Samuel 16:21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.

1 Samuel 16:22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.

1 Samuel 16:23 And whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him (ESV).

The Scriptures present us with an interesting story in the passage quoted above. The moment David was anointed by Samuel to be king in Israel, God’s Spirit (the Holy Sprit) came upon David. At about the same time, God’s Spirit that was upon Saul (who was previously anointed king by the same Samuel) departed from him, and an evil spirit came upon Saul from that moment. Let’s note something important here: before an evil spirit could come upon Saul, the Spirit of God previously upon him had to depart from him. The evil spirit could not possess Saul while the Spirit of God was still upon him. The Holy Sprit and evil spirits are diametrically opposed and cannot coexist in the same person at the same time. One must give way for the other to take hold of a person.

We’re told in Scriptures that when an evil spirit is cast out from a demon-possessed person, such a spirit has the potential to come back to inhabit that person, if the person is not filled with a contrary spirit (in this case, the Holy Spirit). This means that evil spirits cannot possess or fill someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and evil spirits cannot coexist at the same time in the same person. For the Holy Spirit to come into a person, every evil spirit in that person must depart first. For an evil spirit to come upon someone previously filled with the Holy Sprit, the Holy Sprit must depart from that person first. One cannot serve two masters at the same time. It’s either one is filled with the Spirit of God and is a servant of God, or one is filled with vile spirits and is a servant of the devil. We cannot serve God and the devil at the same time!

Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.

Matthew 12:44 Then it says, I will return to my house from which I came. And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.

Matthew 12:45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation (ESV).

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV).

If the Holy Spirit and evil spirits cannot coexist in the same person at the same time, what then is responsible for a Spirit-filled believer sinning? If it’s not evil spirits residing in the Spirit-filled believer that inspires him to sin, what is at work? What we must understand about the Spirit-filled believer is that he has a dual nature. Every born-again Christian who’s filled with the Holy Spirit also have their own innate sinful nature still resident in them. We all have our flesh or “old man” still alive in us. It is the flesh or the “old man” in us, the sinful nature, that induces us to sin, not evil spirits inhabiting us. That sinful nature or the “old man” in us is what we all struggle with in our sanctification process. Sanctification is mortifying the flesh or carnal nature in us, and allowing the Holy Spirit and his fruits to dominate and control our lives. The daily battle for believers is between the Holy Spirit and the flesh in us. When we fail to mortify the flesh, through the Holy Spirit in us, we become overwhelmed by the flesh, and it will manifest his works, which are sinful. Sin then is not the work of evil spirits in us, but the manifestations of the flesh or old nature still resident in us, which will only be removed when we’re glorified and clothed with our immortal bodies. That’s when we will have and manifest sinless perfection.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Romans 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Romans 7:20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members (NKJV).

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (NKJV).

Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,

Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Galatians 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another (NKJV).

So then, it’s not deliverance that will make a born-again Christian to stop sinning, because there are no evil spirits possessing him or her. To stop sinning, a Christian needs to deal with the sinful nature (the flesh or the “old man“) which is still alive in every Christian, despite our new birth experience. And, dealing with the “old man” or the flesh is not a one-off thing. Crucifying or mortifying the “old man” is a lifelong process of sanctification. It involves filling our hearts and minds with the word of God, meditating on the word of God, praying, fasting, separating ourselves from sinful associations and sinful environments, etc. We’ll never be sinless on this side of eternity, because the “old man” will never completely die, until we’re glorified. However, we’re expected to sin less and less as we grow more and more in grace. It’s as we discipline and pummel the flesh that the Holy Spirit is allowed to dominate and guide and lead us in the path of righteousness and holiness. Working out our sanctification involves working on the flesh to subdue it and bring it into subjection to the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, however high we rise in our sanctified walk, we’re all still capable of falling and sinning. And when we fall and sin, it will not be because we’re possessed by evil spirits; it will just be because the flesh which has always been there in us was released from its suppression by the Holy Spirit and broke through, because we allowed it. What we need to do at such times is not to undergo deliverance, but to repent and rededicate ourselves to God, and continue with the daily work of mortifying the flesh.

Psalms 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.

Psalms 119:10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

Psalms 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You (NKJV).

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air (NIV).

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (NKJV).

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

Colossians 3:7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (NIV).

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (NKJV).

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

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

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

In conclusion, the Holy Spirit and evil spirits cannot co-exist at the same time in an individual, just as fresh and salt water cannot flow from the same spring. It’s impossible. It’s therefore unscriptural and incongruent to be conducting exorcism on Spirit-filled born-again Christians for whatever reasons. When Holy Spirit-filled Christians sin, it’s not because they were induced to do so by evil spirits residing in them. Christians sin simply because every born again child of God still harbours the sinful nature (the “old man” or the flesh) in them, despite the new birth experience. As long as the “old man” still remains in us (and he will continue to remain in us until we’re glorified and clothed with our immortal bodies), we will still be susceptible to sin. The “old man” in every Christian can be tempted to sin, and it will succumb every now and then. In fact, those who rise the highest in their walk with God and think they’re now standing should take heed, because they can fall at any time if they’re not careful. The safeguard against sin is to mortify the flesh and its lusts, through the Holy Spirit residing in us. This is done by filling our hearts and minds with the word of God and meditating on it day and night, through prayer and fasting, and by separating ourselves from sinful companions and environments. This sanctification process is lifelong and will never be complete on this side of eternity, as we can never achieve sinless perfection in these vile bodies of ours. However, we’re to sin less and less as we grow in grace and in our walk with the Lord. When we sin and fall short of God’s glory (which will happen every now and then), what we need is not deliverance or exorcism, but repentance, confession of our sins and a rededication of our selves back to God. A Spirit-filled Christian doesn’t need to undergo deliverance each time he sins, simply because he is not possessed by evil spirits!

What Kind Of Anointing Makes People Violent And Destructive?

(All Bible Quotations, Except Otherwise Stated, Are From The New International Version)

Many in pentecostal and charismatic circles are used to witnessing chaotic scenes during anointing services. The sights of people falling and tumbling under the anointing, getting violent and hurting themselves and others in the process, are all too familiar. All these are usually attributed to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and of believers being filled with the Spirit. Are these normal manifestations of the anointing with the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit make people violent and destructive when he fills them, or are there other forces at work here? We shall examine the Scriptures to understand how the Holy Spirit manifests, as well as the spirits that make people violent and destructive.

To begin with, we must understand that the human spirit, which is the seat of emotions and passions, can be influenced by many different spirits- the Holy Spirit, angelic spirits, demonic spirits and spirits of other human beings. Holy angels operate in obedience and subservience to the Holy Spirit, whose messengers they are. Their influence on the human spirit is therefore the same as that of the Holy Spirit. Demonic spirits are spirits of fallen angels who align with satan, God’s chief adversary, and work in tandem with the devil to oppose and resist God and his works. Their main purpose is to deceive, to kill, to steal and to destroy God’s creations. The human spirit can be influenced and controlled by either the Holy Spirit (directly or through holy angels), or by evil or demonic spirits. The manifestations displayed by an individual will reveal which spirit is influencing the person. The Holy Spirit will manifest his gifts and fruits when he comes upon an individual, while evil or impure spirits will display evil and destructive tendencies through the vessel they possess or anoint. We will now examine a few instances in the Scriptures when various spirits came upon people and the manifestations they displayed.

1 Samuel 18:5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.

1 Samuel 18:6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.

1 Samuel 18:7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

1 Samuel 18:8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”

1 Samuel 18:9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

1 Samuel 18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand

1 Samuel 18:11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

1 Samuel 18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.

1 Samuel 19:8 Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.

1 Samuel 19:9 But an evil spirit from the LORD came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre,

1 Samuel 19:10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

In the accounts above, we see an evil spirit coming upon King Saul and the impact it had on his behaviour. Though the anointing of the evil spirit made Saul to prophesy, it also made him mad, furious, intensely jealous and hateful. It induced a murderous rage towards David and provoked Saul’s many attempts on David’s life. We learn from these encounters that the anointing of evil spirits comes with destructive tendencies, confirming the Scriptures that the devil has only come to kill, to steal and to destroy, and that he’s a murderer.

St. John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

St. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Other instances where violent and destructive behaviours were displayed in the Scriptures also involved demon-possessed people. When demons take hold of people, they not only manipulate their minds (leading to insane behaviour), they also induce violent and destructive tendencies. Demons are supernatural spirits that possess supernatural strength. Those they inhabit may display such supernatural strength, causing harm and destruction both to themselves and to others around them. We see a clear example of that with the demoniac in the region of the Gerasenes. Possessed with a host of impure and violent demons who twisted his mind and imbued him with supernatural strength, the demoniac lived a tormented and destructive life. However, upon deliverance from the influence of those demons, he came to his right senses and was calm and well behaved. When the same vile spirits that had possessed him earlier entered into a herd of swine, they drove the enraged pigs down a steep slope and into a lake, where they all drowned. Such is the destructive effect of evil spirits!

St. Mark 5:1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.

St. Mark 5:2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him.

St. Mark 5:3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.

St. Mark 5:4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.

St. Mark 5:5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

St. Mark 5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.

St. Mark 5:7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”

St. Mark 5:8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

St. Mark 5:9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”

St. Mark 5:10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

St. Mark 5:11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.

St. Mark 5:12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.”

St. Mark 5:13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

St. Mark 5:14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.

St. Mark 5:15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.

Further examples of the violent and destructive effects of evil spirits in the Scriptures are seen in palsies caused by these spirits in those they possess. These vile spirits can induce convulsions in people, throw them into water or fire (with the intent to kill them), and make their lives miserable. Such demons cause much sufferings and pains to both the people they possess and their carers. And even on their way out of those they possess (during exorcism), they inflict so much injuries that they leave their victims almost dead.

St. Mark 9:14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.

St. Mark 9:15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

St. Mark 9:16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.

St. Mark 9:17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.

St. Mark 9:18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

St. Mark 9:19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

St. Mark 9:20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

St. Mark 9:21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.

St. Mark 9:22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

St. Mark 9:23 “’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

St. Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

St. Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

St. Mark 9:26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”

St. Mark 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

In contrast, when the Holy Spirit comes upon people, he anoints them with gifts of the Spirit and does not bring about violence or destruction. People do not shake and convulse, even if the buildings they are inside are shaken by the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. He may come down in the form of a fire or a whirlwind, but he does no violence to the people he fills and possesses, neither does he induce violent and disorderly behaviours in them. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of gentleness and meekness, not of violence and destruction. He doesn’t torment the people he possesses, rather he brings peace to them. He brings healing and deliverance, not bondage and sufferings. Even when he came upon the people for the first time on the day of Pentecost and made them speak in foreign languages they had not previously learnt, they were not disorderly. When he refilled these same people later and granted them more boldness to preach the gospel, though the building they were inside shook, he did not induce convulsions in the people! What a contrast to scenes we observe today in a lot of pentecostal and charismatic churches! Nowadays, it’s the people that do the shaking and convulsions under the anointing, rather than the building!

The Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

The Acts 2:2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

The Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The Acts 2:5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

The Acts 2:6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.

The Acts 2:7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?

The Acts 2:8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?

The Acts 4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

The Acts 4:24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.

The Acts 4:25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “’Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ’

The Acts 4:27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.

The Acts 4:28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.

The Acts 4:30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

The Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

Isaiah 42:4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

Finally, we’re told in the Scriptures that God is not an author of confusion or disorder. We’re admonished to do things decently and in order in our Christian assemblies. Even while under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of a prophet is still under the control of the prophet. Disorderliness in Christian assemblies will only send the wrong message to unbelievers- that we’re mad and have lost our minds. The Holy Spirit does not make people act mad or out of control. He is the spirit of divine order! Let us then beware of the frenzy in our anointing services. We must not roll on the ground and foam at the mouth, scattering benches and chairs, and injuring ourselves and others in the process, to prove that the anointing of the Holy Spirit has come upon us. Such manifestations are not evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but of possession with impure spirits.

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

1 Corinthians 14:27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two —or at the most three —should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret.

1 Corinthians 14:28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

1 Corinthians 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.

1 Corinthians 14:30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.

1 Corinthians 14:32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace —as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

In conclusion, only evil spirits induce violent and destructive behaviours when they possess people. The same violent manifestations are seen when evil spirits are being cast out of people, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In contrast, the Holy Spirit is a spirit of calmness and gentleness, and he does not cause rowdiness when he comes upon people. Thus, it is okay to see violent and destructive manifestations during deliverance services, when evil spirits are being cast out of demon-possessed people. However, violence and rowdiness cannot and should not be attributed to the infilling or outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people, simply because the Holy Spirit is not a spirit of violence, but of calm, gentleness and orderliness.

Did Jesus Condone Adultery By Refusing To Condemn The Woman Caught In Adultery?

(All Bible Quotations, Except Otherwise Stated, Are From The New King James Version)

When Jesus refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery, was that an affirmative action on his part in support of adultery? Did Jesus mean adultery or sin should not be condemned generally? What exactly did the Lord mean by his statement: “woman, neither do I condemn you..”? To understand the meaning of the Lord’s statement on that issue, let’s examine the relevant Scriptures closely to extract their meaning in context.

John 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

John 8:2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.

John 8:3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,

John 8:4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.

John 8:5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

John 8:6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

John 8:7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

John 8:8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

John 8:9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

John 8:10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

John 8:11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

When the woman caught in the very act of adultery was brought before Jesus, the hypocrites who brought her for judgement at the Lord’s feet (while allowing the man with whom she committed the act to conveniently escape) wanted to test Jesus on whether or not he would go along with the demands of the Mosaic law concerning adultery. In the law of Moses, the penalty for adultery was death by stoning. The law had no mercy and no room for repentance for adulterers. Adultery in the law was one of the sins that could not be atoned by sacrifice of any kind. It was an unpardonable sin!

Leviticus 20:10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

Deuteronomy 22:23 “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her,

Deuteronomy 22:24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.

We see that adultery, under the law, was a very grave sin with mortal consequences. Now, we must understand Jesus’ perception of adultery before we go any further here. The Lord Jesus had an even stricter view of adultery than Moses. In the Mosaic law, while the act must be committed before a diagnosis of adultery can be made, Jesus taught that just by thinking about a person lewdly and lusting after the person in one’s heart one has committed adultery already! According to Jesus, one doesn’t have to be physically involved in the act to be considered guilty of adultery: the conception and nurturing of the idea in one’s heart is as good as committing the act physically!

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So, Jesus considers adultery a sin and has an even stricter definition of adultery than Moses. We have to be very clear about that. Adultery is as much a sin in the new testament as it was in the old, with an expanded scope in its definition in the new testament. Therefore, there should be no doubt that when Jesus told the woman caught in adultery “neither do I condemn you”, he wasn’t exonerating her of the sin of adultery, nor was he trivialising her sin, because Jesus considers adultery a sin! What exactly did the Lord mean by his “neither do I condemn you” statement then? Simple: Jesus refused to condemn the adulterous woman to death by stoning as demanded by the Mosaic law! The law demanded her to put to death immediately for her adulterous act. However, while the law of Moses had no mercy for the adulterer (and some other categories of sinners), Jesus came with grace and truth. Though he condemns adultery as sinful, he gives the adulterer space to repent. He makes mercy available to the adulterer, like all other sinners. Jesus hates sin, but he loves the sinner and doesn’t want him/her to perish in their sins. That’s why the Father sent him to the world of sinners in the first place. That’s why he willingly gave his life as a ransom for the salvation of all men who would place faith in him as Lord and Saviour. There was no mercy with Moses, but abundant mercy is available in Christ!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

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

John 1:15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”

John 1:16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Revelation 2:20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Revelation 2:21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.

St. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

To show that Jesus did not exonerate the woman from adultery and that he did not condone her adulterous act (but that he only refused to condemn her to instant death by stoning as prescribed by the Mosaic law), Jesus gave her this parting rebuke..“go and sin no more”. He didn’t waste any opportunity to make the woman realise what she had done was sinful. Even though he didn’t allow her accusers to stone her to death as required by the law, he sternly rebuked her (after they had dispersed) not to indulge in the sinful act of adultery again!

John 8:10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

John 8:11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

In conclusion, the Lord’s statement about not condemning the woman caught in adultery simply meant he did not approve of her being stoned to death as was the penalty for all caught in adultery under the Mosaic law. Though Jesus condemned adultery as a sin and had an even more stringent definition of adultery than Moses gave in the law, he did not subscribe to the instant death penalty for adulterers as prescribed by Moses. Whereas there was no mercy and no atonement for adultery under the law, Jesus came with grace and mercy for all sinners, including the adulterer. By refusing to condemn to death the woman caught in the very act of adultery, Jesus effectively abolished immediate judgement for adultery as prescribed by Moses, making adultery no longer an unpardonable sin. Adultery still remains a sin under the new testament, but the blood of Christ can atone for it and there’s mercy available to the adulterer. Thus, no one needs to be stoned to death any longer for adultery. This is one of the benefits of the grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ.

Let’s Pray For Our Leaders, Whatever Their Political Or Religious Philosophies May Be!

The natural tendency after one’s preferred candidate loses an election is to try to undermine the new leader, looking for faults in the way he or she handles issues, and wishing them ill, just to justify our position that they shouldn’t have been elected in the first place. Such behaviour may be okay for the natural man, but, what does God expect from Christians in our relationship with our leaders? Are we to support and pray only for leaders we align with politically and philosophically? How are we to relate with leaders we don’t agree with, in policies, politics and even religious beliefs? We shall examine the Scriptures for a clear understanding of our responsibilities as Christians towards our political leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people —

1 Timothy 2:2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (NIV).

The Scripture urges us to pray for kings and all those in authority, so that we may live in peace as we carry on with our pursuits in life. It’s instructive to note that Paul was soliciting prayers for dictators, autocrats and heathen rulers here, not for democratically elected leaders. These were the same emperors, kings and governors who were the foremost and fiercest persecutors of Christians and Christianity in the time of Paul, yet he called for prayers for them to govern well, so that there would be peace and security, to enable Christians carry on with their business of worshipping God and evangelising the world. The different and divergent religious philosophies of the kings and those in authority wasn’t a hindrance to pray for peace and prosperity during their reign. Their wickedness towards Christians didn’t induce a reciprocal hatred and sabotage of their government by Christians. However evil they were, Paul still urged prayers for them and their regimes, for peace to reign. Paul’s focus was on the Great Commission, not the ideologies of those in power. Paul was more interested in the Kingdom of God and how to use every opportunity to promote it, not in the kingdoms of this world which would soon pass away.

When we pray for those in authority over us, we’re praying for our own good also. When we pray for God to give our leaders the wisdom to administer our nations well, for peace and prosperity to reign, we’ll become partakers of those benefits too. If chaos, anarchy and hardship reign in the land, we all will be affected. As Christians, we must recognise that every authority, however autocratic and despotic, operates with divine permission, for no authority rises to power without God’s permission. God appoints and removes rulers according to his will and purpose. Wicked rulers have all served God’s purpose at various times in human history, and the ultimate evil ruler who’s yet to appear on the scene (the anti-christ) will also serve God’s purpose in his time.

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Romans 13:2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

Romans 13:4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Romans 13:5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

Romans 13:6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor (NKJV).

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

1 Peter 2:12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,

1 Peter 2:14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.

1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—

1 Peter 2:16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (NIV).

Daniel 4:28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 4:29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon.

Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

Daniel 4:31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!

Daniel 4:32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” (NKJV).

Psalms 75:6 For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

Psalms 75:7 But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another (AKJV).

As Christians, we’re not supposed to get involved in politics in partisan ways, for our kingdom is not of this world. The Christian party is neither Republican, Democratic nor Socialist. In fact, there is no Christian political party, for Christianity is not a political philosophy, but a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, the son of God. The Christian belongs to Jesus’ party, and is Christ’s ambassador here on earth. Our citizenship is in heaven, from where we wait for the Saviour to come and change our vile bodies. Here on earth, we’re just pilgrims passing through a strange land, on our way back to our heavenly home. Therefore, we’re enjoined in the Scriptures not to be entangled with the affairs of this world. Yes, we’re expected to be good citizens of the places we live in, and we’re to play our civic role in ensuring good governance, by participating in the political process. However, our participation should not be that of hyper-partisans who get so entangled with the various political parties that we lose our identity and focus as heaven’s ambassadors here on earth. As Christ’s representatives, we’re expected to be independent and neutral (like all other ambassadors are expected to be, in relation to the various groups and factions in the countries where they serve), focused completely on projecting heaven’s truths and values and reconciling men back to God. That way, we can justly condemn evil wherever it’s found in any political party, and praise any righteous/godly policies wherever they’re found. We’re to stand and defend heaven’s values, and not become the religious wing of any political party or the mega phone of any politician.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (NKJV).

Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (NIV).

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” (HCSB).

2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (ESV).

Our obligation as Christians is to pray for a conducive socio-economic environment for peaceful and godly living, and for the propagation of the gospel without hindrance. For this reason, we’re to partner with every government in power, no matter their political philosophy, to ensure law and order exist, and liberty and prosperity reign, for in the peace of our nations shall we find peace. When Israel was in captivity in Babylon (a heathen nation), God enjoined them to pray for the peace and prosperity of their place of captivity, for in the peace of that place would they find peace. The same injunction is given to the Christian today, to pray for those in authority and for the peace and prosperity of the various lands we’re sojourning in, for in the peace of these nations shall we find peace to live and preach the gospel.

Jeremiah 29:4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:

Jeremiah 29:5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.

Jeremiah 29:6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.

Jeremiah 29:7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (NIV).

Finally, let’s not forget that the heart of every king and every ruler is in the hand of God. He controls them as he wills. That is why we must look up to God in prayers to effect the change we need in our nations in order for the will of God to be done. Our focus should be on the will of God being done. And, the will of God at a point in time may be to allow a wicked Pharoah to rise up so that God may display his power through him. The rise of the anti-christ and the new world order are all the will of God, to usher in the millennial reign of Christ, for without the reign of the anti-christ, there will be no millennial reign of Christ. To fight the establishment of the conditions that would lead to the reign of the anti-christ is therefore to oppose the will of God! We’re enjoined to pray for the will of God to be done, not to oppose it, however unpalatable it may appear to us. That’s the commandment of God!

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes (NKJV).

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (ESV).

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,

2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

2 Thessalonians 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

2 Thessalonians 2:6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

2 Thessalonians 2:12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (NKJV).

Luke 22:40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Luke 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed,

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (NKJV).

Matthew 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven (NKJV).

In conclusion, we’re enjoined in the Scriptures to pray for all our leaders, no matter their religious or political philosophies. This is to enable us live peaceful and godly lives in quietness, as we worship God and evangelise the world. We must honour and lift up every authority in prayer, because every authority comes from God, and every authority rules with God’s permission. As Christians, we’re heaven’s ambassadors on earth, and we must remain politically neutral in the various lands of our sojourn here on earth, as we try to project heaven’s values and reconcile men back to God. We must not jeopardise this ministry of reconciliation (the Great Commission) by getting politically entangled with the affairs of this world, thus becoming the religious wing of political parties. Our obligation is to pray for God’s will to be done on earth, even if it’s against our own will. It’s as we align our will with God’s will that we’ll become worthy and effective ambassadors for God here on earth. Let us then desire and embrace God’s will- nothing more, nothing less and nothing else! Let your kingdom come, Lord, and let your will be done on earth! Amen!

God bless you for visiting and reading!

Jesus Commands Those He Has Saved To Stop Sinning!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).

We’re told in the Scriptures that Jesus Christ came to save his people from their sins. In fact, his name Yehshua means saviour or salvation in the Hebrew. His coming is to deliver his people from both the guilt, penalty and power of sin. He came to set men free from the bondage of sin, as well as to give those who believe in him the power to become children of God. Thus, we see Jesus forgiving people their sins and warning them never to go back again to a lifestyle of sinning. This means that those who are saved by Jesus are supposed to stop living deliberately sinful lives!

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.

John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.

John 5:4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

John 5:5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

John 5:7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

John 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

John 5:9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath.

John 5:10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”

John 5:11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”

John 5:12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”

John 5:13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (NKJV).

John 8:1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

John 8:2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.

John 8:3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst

John 8:4 they said to him, Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

John 8:5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?

John 8:6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.

John 8:8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.

John 8:9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

John 8:10 Jesus stood up and said to her, Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?

John 8:11 She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.]]

It’s instructive to note that in both cases above, Jesus warned the people he saved and pardoned to stop sinning. To the man who had been paralysed for 38 years, Jesus admonished him to stop sinning, otherwise something worse than what he had experienced would happen to him. To the woman caught in adultery, he forgave her, refused to condemn her to death by stoning, but admonished her to stop that sinful lifestyle. God is holy, and he expects his children to be holy even as he is. Jesus delivers and saves people from sin, but he also empowers them so that they would become holy and flee from sin. He requires us to use the grace and the resources he’s made available to us to purge and separate ourselves from ungodliness in this present world. He will only make use of those of his children who purge themselves and abstain from iniquity, while discarding those who continually and habitually live a life of sin. Don’t be deceived! God cannot be mocked. Whatever a person sows, that’s what he will reap. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap destruction. If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap everlasting life.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;

1 Peter 1:16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,

1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

2 Timothy 2:20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.

2 Timothy 2:21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Galatians 6:8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation —but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,

Hebrews 10:27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

In conclusion, Jesus not only forgives and saves people from sins, he demands also that they stop sinning after their deliverance. Contrary to some liberal theologians who teach that a righteous walk is not a necessary requirement of the saved Christian, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that those he has saved from the condemnation of sin should stop sinning. He expects them to live a holy and a sanctified life henceforth, because he himself is holy. The believer is expected to purge himself from the desires and lusts of the flesh in order to have a fruitful walk with God. That’s the only way we can be vessels of honour fitted for good works.

Christianity Is Following Jesus Subserviently, Not ‘Using’ Him To Advance Our Personal Agenda!

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

Matthew 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. We’re not Christians simply because we’re born into a Christian family, or because we go to church on Sundays. People become Christians through only one way—by being born again, which entails acknowledging they’re sinners, accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, repenting of their sins, and getting baptised in Jesus’ name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ, in order to become Christians. For, if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him, such a person is not a Christian. Such a person does not belong to Christ. That’s simply the gospel truth.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

The Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Romans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

So, being a Christian is belonging to Christ in a personal way. It’s getting united with Christ by his indwelling Spirit. It’s becoming one with Christ. Thus, a Christian is someone in intimate union with Christ, one who has the mind of Christ. A Christian is one who follows in the footsteps of Christ, intentionally living as Christ did, while he was here on earth. In fact, the name ‘Christians’ was first given to the disciples/ followers of Christ by outsiders who observed how they so resembled Christ in their ways and conduct. It was actually a name of mockery, intended to deride and ridicule the disciples who were closely imitating Christ in their living. But the name stuck, because the followers of Christ were actually glad to be considered worthy of being identified with their Lord and Master. The early disciples considered it a badge of honour to be considered of the same comportment as their Lord and Master. What greater honour can a disciple have, than to be considered in the same light as his master?

Luke 9:23 And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Luke 9:25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

The Acts 11:25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,

The Acts 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Matthew 10:24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

Matthew 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

John 15:18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

John 15:21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 15:23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: They hated me without a cause.

Christianity then is a lifelong imitation of Christ. It’s a discipleship programme that has the goal and final objective of making followers of Jesus Christ become exactly like him. Every gift of the Spirit to believers, and every manifestation of God to his people, are intended to build us up into the full image and stature of Christ. To be like Jesus is God’s goal for every Christian. God did not save us so we can harness his power to accomplish our pet projects and self-centred plans. He didn’t deliver us from the guilt and penalty of sin only to turn around and fuel our vile passions, pride, greed, covetousness and inordinate ambitions. Rather, we are saved to accomplish God’s will in our generation, like Jesus did in his sojourn here on earth. God saved us to deliver us from our destructive ways, and to replace our ways with his own. Just like the Father sent Jesus to the world and Jesus submerged his will beneath that of his Father, Jesus has saved us and sent us as his ambassadors into the world, demanding that we surrender our will to his and live according to his commandments. We are thus to look unto Jesus as our example in everything, as the standard we’re to measure up to, in obeying the Father’s will. In whatever situation we find ourselves, we are to look unto Jesus, allowing the mind of Christ to disrupt our minds and control our thinking and guide our actions and behaviour. We are to bring all thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ, as we seek, like Christ, to ensure God’s will is done in us and through us.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Ephesians 4:7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says, When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.

Ephesians 4:9 ( In saying, He ascended, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,

Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:9 Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (AKJV).

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (AKJV).

Christians can only reflect Christ as we look unto him and keep beholding his glory. As we focus permanently on the Lord of glory and his agenda, we get gradually transformed into his image. As we fill our hearts with his words and are filled with his Spirit, our old sinful nature continues to die daily, while the life of Christ in us takes over. As we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow the Master, we gradually die to the flesh and thus grow in grace, becoming more and more like Jesus. The more we keep our eyes on Jesus, the more we receive grace to live above the temptations and snares of this world. As Isreal looked unto the brazen serpent on the pole and found healing and life, may we continue to gaze upon the risen Christ, who is our life, our hope and our glory. As we keep our eyes and minds fixed upon the risen and glorified Lamb seated upon God’s throne, we will become freed from the love of the things of this world, and discover the true purpose of life. That’s the ultimate goal of Christianity.

2 Corinthians 3:16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2 Corinthians 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:11 For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:12 So then death works in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

2 Corinthians 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (AKJV).

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Colossians 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

Colossians 3:7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In conclusion, being a Christian is much more than going to church on Sunday, or being born into a Christian family. To be a Christian is to be united with Jesus Christ spiritually, and to become his lifelong disciple thereafter. It entails denying ourselves, carrying our cross daily to follow Jesus, and living a life of absolute obedience to Jesus’ commandments, after we have been saved. As we follow in the footsteps of the Master Jesus, we are to seek only his will, and desire to do only those things which are pleasing in his sight. The goal of Christianity is to transform followers of Jesus Christ into his image, to become exactly like Jesus, in thought, words and deed, as they imitate the Master, inspired by his indwelling Spirit. Christianity is not using Jesus to fulfill our personal goals and advance our selfish ambitions, but dying to ourselves in our union with Christ, so that only Christ’s will will be done in our lives, and only his life will be reflected through us. True Biblical Christianity is following Jesus subserviently, after he has saved us, and not using Jesus as a means to advance our personal and selfish agenda.

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The Test Of True Spirituality Is In The Fruits Of The Spirit On Display In An Individual’s Life, Not In The Gifts Of The Spirit Manifested By A Person

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

Oftentimes, people use the spiritual gifts a person has in judging the person’s standing with God. Thus, the more gifted and anointed a man or a woman is, the more spiritual they are thought to be, while lesser talented and lesser gifted persons are judged to be less spiritual in their walk with God. How does the Bible advise we test people’s spirituality or genuineness? Is the possession of gifts and talents sufficient grounds for determining who is spiritual and who is not? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

Matthew 7:17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

Matthew 7:23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In the passage above, the Lord Jesus gave us the litmus test for ascertaining true spirituality. According to the Lord, to know how spiritual or genuine a person is, look at the fruits of their lives! The fruits of a tree (not its leaves or trunk or branches) are used to identify the tree. In like manner, the truly spiritual are known by the fruits of the Spirit in their lives, and not by the gifts of the Spirit they possess. A prophet or a man of God may prophesy accurately and do mighty signs and wonders in Jesus’ name (all gifts of the Spirit) but, if the fruits of his life do not align with the fruits of the Spirit, then he is either false or carnal (unspiritual). It’s as simple as that! The gifts of the Spirit can be operated by both spiritual and carnal people. However, the fruits of the Spirit are only displayed by those who are spiritually-minded and have, through the Spirit, mortified the lusts of the flesh. A man may have the gifts of the Spirit and still be carnally-minded and live a life of lawlessness; however, to manifest the fruits of the Spirit, one must abide in Christ and walk in the Spirit. Someone who operates the gifts of the Spirit can end up being rejected of the Lord and sent to hell; however, one who lives by the Spirit and bears the fruits of righteousness will receive the blessings and approval of God.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

John 15:2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul compared gifts of the Spirit with the ultimate fruit of the Spirit, love, and came to the conclusion that a man may possess all the gifts of the Spirit and end up as nothing, while a man who has and manifests the love of God (the ultimate fruit of the Spirit) in his life will trump all and abide eternally. Prophecy, tongues, knowledge, acts of charity, faith, wisdom and other gifts of the Spirit, as good as they are, may profit the one who possesses them nothing, if they lack the fruits of the Spirit. People may do mighty signs and wonders in the name of the Lord, prophesy accurately in his name, heal the sick and raise the dead, and even speak in the tongues of angels, yet, if they lack the fruits of the Spirit, it will all amount to nothing!

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The gifts of God are without repentance or recall. This means that once God has released his gift to a person, he doesn’t recall them back even if the gift is being misused. Gifts and talents given to people by God will be judged at the end of our life’s journey. Thus, gifts cannot be the only means to judge or validate a person or a ministry as being right with God. Because the bearer of a spiritual gift may live an ungodly life and still manifest the gift (recall the story of Samson who, even after sleeping with a prostitute, would still have the anointing come upon him for exploits), and because even messengers of Satan can be anointed to manifest almost all the gifts of the Spirit, Christians must be careful not to make the mistake of using gifts only to judge people as being of God or not. More importantly, we must take the pains to look for the evidence of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the lives and ministries of servants of God before we conclude they are of God. Unless we follow this scriptural injunction in testing people and ministries, we will definitely be misled! Many false prophets and false teachers are out there in the world performing great signs and wonders that are capable of deceiving even the elects of God! The only way to unveil such messengers of Satan who are masquerading as servants of God is to look beyond their gifts and screen them for the fruits of the Holy Spirit! Though they may have an abundance of “signs and wonders” in their ministries, such false ministers will be destitute of the fruits of the Spirit! That’s the only way to unmask them and show that they are of their father the devil!

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

2 Corinthians 11:12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

2 Thessalonians 2:12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Revelation 16:14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Ephesians 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Ephesians 5:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Ephesians 5:12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

Ephesians 5:13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

In conclusion, the gifts of the Spirit are wonderful endowments of the Holy Spirit to display the power of God in the lives and ministries of believers. However, the presence of the gifts of the Spirit does not automatically make a person spiritual or in right standing with God. Gifts can be misused and can be counterfeited by Satan. Therefore, we must look beyond gifts of the Spirit in judging someone’s spirituality. In seeking to know who is approved of God and who is not, we must look beyond gifts of the Spirit and look out for the fruits of the Spirit. It is by the fruits of the Spirit that we know genuine servants of God, not by their gifts. Gifts of the Spirit can be counterfeited, but no one can successfully fake the fruits of the Spirit who is not abiding in Christ!