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!

God’s Concept Of Pure And Faultless Religion Isn’t Just Keeping Oneself From Spiritual Pollution; It Also involves Looking Out For The Poor And The Needy!

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

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

The Apostle James summarised one of the qualities of pure and undefiled religion in the verse of his epistle quoted above as involving acts of charity towards the poor and needy. Religion is not just a measure of our relationship with God whom we’ve not seen. It’s also a reflection of our relationship with our fellow men and women whom we see and interact with on a daily basis. We cannot claim to love God whom we’ve not seen, while ignoring and neglecting sons and daughters of God whom we see daily. To claim to love God while despising our fellow men is incongruent with the principle of true religion.

1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

The greatest religious commandment is to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. The second is to love our neighbours as ourselves. On these two commandments revolve the entire Bible. And our neighbours aren’t just the people next door to us that look like us. They’re not just those in our religious assemblies, neighbourhoods, social clubs or political parties, with whom we agree. The man with whom we disagree politically, doctrinally and socially is also our neighbour. The woman with a different skin colour, “funny name” and a gibberish language that doesn’t make sense to us is also our neighbour. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Lord Jesus made us realise that every human being (no matter their ethnic background, religious affiliation, social standing or political philosophy) is our neighbour. Anyone made in God’s image and likeness is our neighbour. It’s okay to support those close to us and to assist those in our immediate surroundings who are in need, for piety should begin at home (1Timothy 5:4-8). And if we all can lend a helping hand to just one person in need around us, we’d be surprised how many poor and needy people will be lifted out of distress and trouble. We’d be surprised at the total number of people that will rise above the tide of poverty and despair.

St. Matthew 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.

St. Matthew 22:35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

St. Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

St. Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

St. Matthew 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

St. Matthew 22:39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’

St. Matthew 22:40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

St. Luke 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

St. Luke 10:26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

St. Luke 10:27 He answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “

St. Luke 10:28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

St. Luke 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

St. Luke 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

St. Luke 10:31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

St. Luke 10:32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

St. Luke 10:33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

St. Luke 10:34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

St. Luke 10:35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ’Look after him,’ he said, ’and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

St. Luke 10:36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

St. Luke 10:37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

True religion is not tested by how much good we do to those who do good to us. It’s not measured by how much we help people in our clique, caucus or comfort zone. If we help only those who help us, we’ve not done anything more than the infidels around us, for they do the same. If we do good only to people we expect good in return, we haven’t done anything of eternal value. If we give expecting something in return, we haven’t sown eternal seeds worthy of eternal rewards. If we want to touch lives in ways that touch God, we should look out for people in real need who can’t ever repay us and make an impact in their lives. When we help such poor and downtrodden people who can’t ever repay us, we’re literally lending to God. When we give expecting nothing in return, we’re sowing eternal seeds that will yield eternal rewards. God is well pleased with such sacrifices!

St. Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

St. Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

St. Matthew 5:45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

St. Matthew 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

St. Matthew 5:47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

St. Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

St. Luke 14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

St. Luke 14:13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

St. Luke 14:14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Hebrews 13:1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.

Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Some may argue that to help the poor and needy is socialism and a disservice to the Protestant work ethics. Such people may consider all poor and needy people as lazy and indolent people with an entitlement mentality. It’s true that some capable and able-bodied people who find themselves at the low rung of life’s ladder have only themselves to blame, for failing to take hold of opportunities that came their way, and for failing to engage themselves in dignified labour (even if mean and lowly) so as to take care of themselves and others around them. The Bible warns such people who would not work (when they can) not to expect to eat (2Thessalonians 3:10). God doesn’t condone laziness and slothfulness, and he expects able-bodied people to work diligently and to eat from the sweat of their brow. However, there are some people who are physically and mentally challenged and disadvantaged in life who genuinely need help. There are some that life has dealt a cruel blow, who’ve been hit hard by the vicissitudes of life. There are those whose lives have been unravelled literally by unexpected and unplanned calamities, who are down and out in the cold. Unless they get a helping hand to pull them back on their feet again, they may never rise from the heavy blow that misfortune has dealt them. The hands of God to lift up such downtrodden and downcast souls are yours and mine. The God such people expect to bail them out are people like you and I that have enough to eat and to spare. To pray for such people to be clothed and to be filled, while making no attempt to clothe and feed them is to make a mockery of true religion. That’s making a mockery of faith.

James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

James 2:15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.

James 2:16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.

James 2:20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ?

James 2:21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

James 2:22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

James 2:24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

James 2:25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

From Genesis to Revelation, we see God passionately involved in the cause of the poor and needy. The Law and the Prophets are filled with divine concerns for the poor, the needy and the downtrodden. The social safety nets provided in the Scriptures for the poor among God’s people (and even for needy foreigners!) would make some people almost think God was a socialist! From mandating a day of rest for menial workers and labourers every week, to advocating fair and prompt wages, to mandating food stamps (storehouses in the house of God) for the poor and needy and strangers in the land, God made it abundantly clear how concerned he was about the lot of the poor. He takes it personal when they’re oppressed and exploited or not paid a prompt, fair wage for a decent job. He threatens vengeance against all those subduing and ignoring the poor. Yes, God encourages people to work hard and be industrious, yet he acknowledges there will be some poor and needy ones among us at all times, and we must be compassionate and empathetic to their cause. We must not disdain or reproach the poor, for that would be directly insulting their Maker.

Leviticus 19:9 “’When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.

Leviticus 19:10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 24:17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.

Deuteronomy 24:18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.

Deuteronomy 24:19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Deuteronomy 24:20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.

Deuteronomy 24:21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.

Deuteronomy 24:22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

Deuteronomy 14:28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns,

Deuteronomy 14:29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Malachi 3:8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ’How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.

Malachi 3:9 You are under a curse —your whole nation —because you are robbing me.

Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

Malachi 3:11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.

Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

Proverbs 14:31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 17:5 Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

Leviticus 19:13 “’Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. “’Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.

Malachi 3:5 “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.

We will always have the poor among us, that much was prophesied by none other than the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And, we should never waste the opportunity of blessing the poor whenever that comes our way. In fact, we shouldn’t wait for the opportunity to come to us- we should go out of our way to look for and bless the poor. The Gospel is particularly targeted at the poor, and we should never forget that. The Lord and his original Apostles made that clear to us, and Peter, James and John made sure Paul understood that as he headed off to minister to the Gentiles (which thing Paul himself had been inclined to do). May we not forget the poor as we practise our religion, as that would dent the quality of our religion before God.

St. Matthew 26:11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.

St. Luke 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,

St. Luke 4:17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

St. Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,

St. Luke 4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Galatians 2:1 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.

Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

Galatians 2:3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.

Galatians 2:4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.

Galatians 2:5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Galatians 2:6 As for those who were held in high esteem —whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism —they added nothing to my message.

Galatians 2:7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.

Galatians 2:9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.

Galatians 2:10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

In conclusion, true piety is not limited to loving God alone; pure and undefiled religion also involves loving our neighbours as ourselves. And, love of neighbour must be demonstrated by caring for all, especially the poor and the needy. To neglect the poor and needy in our midst while claiming to love God is a mockery of faith. God loves and cares for all his children, but especially the poor and stragglers among us. There has always been a social safety net for the poor in God’s scheme, and we are the ones enjoined by Scriptures to ensure and enforce that. To look the other way at the plight of the needy when it’s within our means to help is to act like the hypocritical Priest and Levite towards the wounded traveller in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We cannot claim to love God while ignoring and despising the poor of his children. To reproach the poor is to reproach his maker. That is the Gospel truth.

God bless you for visiting and for reading!

Christian Sanctification Is Not Sinless Perfection- It’s Sinning Less And Less As We Become More And More Like Jesus

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

The Christian life is a relational walk with God, while following the footsteps of the Lord and Master Jesus Christ. From the new birth experienced at conversion till death, the Christian, through the enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit, strives to emulate Jesus Christ in words and deeds, as he grows into the stature of a perfect man. We have a standard to measure up to, with regards to our thoughts, words, deeds and relationship with God and one another- the Lord Jesus Christ, the only perfect and sinless man to have walked upon the face of planet earth. Unfortunately, some view this growing into Christlikeness (sanctification) as sinless perfection, and thus spend the entirety of their Christian experience struggling with guilt and condemnation in their failure to reach that illusory state of sinless perfection. The frustration/struggle with sin has left many discouraged and disillusioned, and has made some to fall out of the heavenly race. What’s the biblical view of sanctification, Christian maturity and Christian perfection? What constitutes victorious Christian living from the view point of Scriptures? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these pertinent questions.

Christian sanctification has two components. When a person believes in the finished works of Christ on Calvary as the basis of his salvation and eternal life and accepts and obeys Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, he becomes saved. The person is immediately justified and sanctified. He is justified by the fact that God declares him no longer guilty of his sins, thus attaining peace and right standing with God. He is sanctified immediately because he becomes adopted into God’s family and becomes a new creature, old things in his life having passed away, with all things concerning him becoming brand new. Justification and sanctification are by grace, through faith in Christ Jesus.They are both imputed gifts of grace that are not earned or merited! God simply transfers the righteousness and perfection of Christ to the new believer, because Christ had already carried the believer’s sins upon himself and died vicariously for the believer on Calvary, some 2000 years ago.

1 Corinthians 1:26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1 Corinthians 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,

1 Corinthians 1:29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

1 Corinthians 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

1 Corinthians 1:31 in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

2 Corinthians 5:20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

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 the result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Romans 4:1 What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh?

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Romans 4:3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due.

Romans 4:5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Romans 4:6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;

Romans 4:8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.”

The first part of sanctification (adoption into God’s family and separation unto God) is thus a work of grace and not merited by any acts of righteousness. Just by being in Christ, we’re clothed with his righteousness and invested with all his attributes. Whatever he is, so are we in this world, in God’s eyes. We become sons and daughters of God, and God’s heirs as well as joint heirs with Christ. This is the privilege any child enjoys by being born into a royal family. Immediately after birth, such a child becomes royalty himself, from the very minute he comes out from the womb. He didn’t do anything to merit it. Royalty was conferred on him by being born into the royal family. It’s his hereditary right! The same is conferred or imputed sanctification or righteousness. It comes through the blood of Jesus Christ and not by any works of righteousness which we have done.

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

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

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

1 John 3:1 3 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

1 John 3:3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

1 John 4:15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.

1 John 4:16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

1 John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

The second part of the sanctification process is the outworking of the inner grace of the Spirit in us, as we strive to match our high and holy calling with our conduct in the world. It’s akin to the grooming process of princes and princesses from infancy to maturity, to help them become what they were born to be. The Holy Spirit continually grooms the believer in the ethics and acceptable behaviour of Christianity, teaching, guiding, leading, rebuking and exhorting as the occasion demands, as he leads us in the footsteps of Christ, towards the stature of a perfect man, towards the fullness of the measure of Christ. We learn to sit, crawl, stand and walk in the Spirit, as he guides and leads us. We will stumble, fall, make false steps, but it’s all part of the learning process. Each time we fall, God helps us back on our feet, as we continue to learn to walk in righteousness.

One thing we should have at the back of our mind in our walk with God is that our acceptance with God and his approval of us do not depend on our performance. As long as we’re in Christ, we’re automatically accepted before God. Our acceptance is in Christ, not in ourselves. In walking with God we’re not trying to please him and earn his favour. We already have that unconditionally in Christ. All we’re doing is growing in grace. We don’t need to get agitated or frustrated by the growth process. We need to be calm and relaxed, and trust that God is able to help us become what he wants us to be. We should keep our eyes focused on Jesus and his love for us, and not on our mistakes, failures, disappointments, etc. Those things do not define us, however slow the progress we think we’re making. A toddler may be overwhelmed by the way an adult runs and jumps, but if only he knew how long it took the adult to get to that level, and all the fallings and stumblings that went with it! Our earthly parents never gave up on us till we got to where we are today. So, why do we think God will give up on us if we stumble and fall a couple of times? As long as we remain in Christ and don’t slide back and abandon the faith, God will continue to patiently groom us to spiritual maturity.

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

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it is said,
“When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.”

Ephesians 4:9 (When it says, “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 same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some 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 all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Ephesians 4:14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.

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

Ephesians 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation—

1 Peter 2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and

1 Peter 2:5 like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (NKJV).

The outworking of sanctification (matching our calling with our walk, or our position with our standing) is a lifelong process that never really comes to an end till we’re glorified. As long as we’re in these fallen bodies of clay, sinless perfection is an impossibility. The goal of the Christian walk is therefore not sinless perfection (a mirage unrealisable by fallen men in a fallen world) but a continual transformation into the image and likeness of Christ. Each day, we’re to take a step closer to the image of Christ, as we follow his footsteps, one step at a time. Sometimes we’ll slip and fall, but it’s okay. We’re not to beat ourselves and remain down. We’re to simply admit and confess our failures, accept God’s forgiveness, pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep moving. We should never despair or give up! Each new day, we’re to put behind the things that are past, and reach out for the mark ahead of us. The big shoes and giant footsteps of our Lord are not to overwhelm and discourage us; rather, they’re to humble us and keep us meek and free of pride and totally dependent on God and his grace. The high target set by the Lord himself is to remove far from us the arrogant assumption of having arrived spiritually, for the moment we think we’ve arrived and consider ourselves able to stand on our own without the Lord’s help, our fall is imminent! The one who has risen the highest can fall to the lowest depth in a twinkle of an eye!

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

1 Peter 2:23 When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:25 For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Philippians 3:8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,

Philippians 3:11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Philippians 3:13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.

Philippians 3:16 Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.

Our walk with God (the visible manifestation of our sanctification) is not a turbulence-free experience. The flesh or “old man” is still alive in every believer, and will not be done away with or destroyed until when we’re clothed with our immortal bodies. That will be either after our death, or when we’re glorified at the coming of the Lord. For as long as we remain in these fallen bodies of clay, the Spirit and the flesh in us will be engaged in a daily battle of supremacy and control. The Spirit and the flesh struggle for control and dominance over our lives. Whoever of the two we yield to will control and direct our lives.

The whole process of Christian maturity is learning to yield to the Spirit and resist the flesh. Sometimes we will succumb to the flesh and let it drive our actions, grieving the Spirit. However, the Spirit doesn’t abandon us as long we don’t cut ourselves off from Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us work through our weaknesses and failures, and teaches us to yield to him and resist the devil and the flesh. As we mature in our spiritual walk, we learn to resist and subdue the flesh and yield to the Spirit. At no point do we get to the stage where it’s impossible for us to sin or fall into temptations of the flesh. That’s why we’re to be on our guard at all times. That’s why we’re enjoined to watch and pray ceaselessly. That’s why we’re encouraged to deny and deprive the flesh of the base things that feed and nourish it and make it thrive and flourish.

Knowing that falling is part of the growing up process, we don’t get frustrated and give up when (not if) we fall. We don’t get discouraged by our imperfections. We’re rather realistic and accept our imperfections and the fact that God loves us just as we are, warts and all, and he’ll help us become what he wants us to be, with time. Just like children are not deterred by their childhood failings, but still go ahead to enjoy life and have fun, we should go out and have fun spiritually despite our imperfections. We should be proud of our calling and our heritage and enjoy our sonship, even though we’re still imperfect. We may not be exactly like Christ today, but we’ll be exactly like him one day. For every mistake we make and for every fall we experience, there’s ready grace and forgiveness, so we don’t have to wallow in regrets and self pity. After each fall, we should pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and receive forgiveness and move on. Knowing that no one can can condemn you except the one who has justified and sanctified you (and continues to sanctify you daily), we relax and enjoy God even in our shortcomings. We have already overcome by being in Christ and are not striving to be victorious, for we’ve already obtained the victory in Christ! It’s a win-win situation for the believer in Christ! What a blessed state!

Galatians 5:16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.

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

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,

Galatians 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions,

Galatians 5:21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

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

Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).

Colossians 3:6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.

Colossians 3:7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth.

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

Colossians 3:10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Colossians 3:12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

James 4:1 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?

Proverbs 24:15 Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against the home of the righteous;
do no violence to the place where the righteous live;

Proverbs 24:16 for though they fall seven times, they will rise again;
but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

1 John 2:2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

1 Corinthians 10:12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,

Romans 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (NKJV).

In conclusion, Christian perfection or progressive sanctification is not sinless perfection, but a gradual (even if sometimes inconsistent) lifelong move towards Christlikeness. It’s a daily and steady transformation into the image of Christ, although we’ll never get to replicate the fullness of that glorious image on this side of eternity. Christian perfection doesn’t mean that the Christian can or will ever stop sinning altogether (we can never be sinless but we can and should sin less and less as we progress). As long as we remain in these sin-tainted bodies of clay, and as long as the old man remains in us (and he will remain in every Christian till we leave this earth), we will never be immune to sin. Hence, we’re called upon daily to put on the whole armour of God and to resist the devil and the flesh daily, so that we will continue to walk in the Spirit in order not to fulfill the desires of the flesh. The growth process towards maturity can be slow and sometimes frustrating, but patience is a fruit of the Spirit that’s wrought in us as we persevere in following the footsteps of the Lord day by day. However much we rise and fall and stumble and wobble in our walk towards maturity, we’re assured of one thing- our acceptance and approval with God do not depend on our performance, for we’re already accepted in the beloved, warts and all! So, let’s learn to relax and enjoy our daily walk with the Lord, knowing that through it all, we’re more than conquerors through him that loves us! We’ll keep moving from glory to glory even after several fallings and stumblings, and the Lord will always be with us, as long as we don’t forsake him.

The Grace Of God Is Not A License To Sin!

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

Some have interpreted God’s grace in Christ Jesus to mean a license to continue in sin. Such people view God’s grace as a permission to live unholy and ungodly lives, since unlimited grace is available to forgive all sins as long as one is in Christ. This school of thought believes the more sin abounds, the more grace abounds to cover it. Shall we continue in sin so that grace will abound? Is grace a license or a permission for saved Christians to indulge in a lifestyle of sin? What is the purpose of God’s grace that’s been made available to us in Christ Jesus? Let’s examine the Apostolic writings to find answers to these questions.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

The passage above teaches us some fundamental truths about God’s saving grace- it’s available to every person, and its purpose is to save men from sin and to teach them to live godly and righteous lives in this present world! Saving grace is to teach us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and not to give room to them. Grace is not a license for sin, but a deterrent against sin! God’s grace is to enable and empower us to deny access to sinful impulses, not to accommodate them. Grace is to impart to us a hatred for sin and a love for righteousness. When grace comes into our lives, we’re to submit ourselves as instruments of righteousness, and commit to living sober, godly and righteous lives, starting right here in this present sinful age! Nothing can be plainer than these truths!

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

Romans 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Romans 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

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

Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

Romans 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Romans 6:21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.

Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

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

According to the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome, believers in Christ are to consider themselves dead to sin, and alive to righteousness. Paul told them that they were once slaves to sinful passions by which they were held captive. Then, they indulged in sinful passions without restraint. But now, having been delivered from their captivity to sin, they should become slaves to righteousness, and gladly indulge in righteous passions. Once when they were slaves to sin, they submitted their bodies as instruments of unrighteousness. Now that they have become slaves to righteousness, believers should submit themselves as instruments of righteousness unto godliness. The believer in Christ is expected to hate sin and love righteousness. He is expected to be ashamed of his former sinful lifestyle and now become a champion of righteousness and holiness. The believer in Christ is expected not to continue the habit of practising sin, now that he’s a new creature and old things have passed away. Yes, the believer is not perfect and he’ll fall into sin every now and then, but he’s not to live comfortably in his sins. Once the believer sins, he’s to feel godly sorrow (through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and his awakened conscience) and quickly repent and forsake his sins. He may fall into sin, but he’s not to remain fallen and joyfully wallow in the mire and grovel in sin. Only dogs return back to eat their vomitus with comfort, and only pigs gladly go back to wallowing in the mire after they’ve been washed clean!

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

1 John 3:5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

1 John 3:6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.

1 John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

1 John 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

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

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

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.

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Finally, grace liberates us from the law and sets us free from the law of sin and death. Grace delivers us from the prison house of the law. However, we’re not to use the liberty we have in Christ as an occasion to sin. The liberty of grace is not a warrant to indulge in sinful lifestyles. It’s not an open check to wilfully sin with impunity, knowing that forgiveness is readily available. Grace gives us the liberty to live free from sin and the authority to become children of God. The grace of God in Christ makes us not slaves, but masters over sin. It empowers us to walk in the Spirit so that we would not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Being no longer subject to the law through grace does not make us lawless! We may not be subject to the law of carnal ordinances anymore, but we’re still subject to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! And those who are Christ’s are expected to crucify the flesh and its sinful lusts and passions!

Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

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.

In conclusion, grace sets us free from the bondage of the law of carnal ordinances. However, it does not make us lawless, and it doesn’t give us a license to sin. The grace of God in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death and enables us to mortify the flesh and its lusts. Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and unrighteousness and to live sober, godly lives in this present evil age. Grace is therefore not a license to sin, but an empowerment to live above sin.

Thanks for visiting and for reading. God bless you!

God No Longer Dwells In Cathedrals, However Magnificent They May Be: Christians Are Now His Dwelling Place!

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

John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.

John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The Temple of God is where God’s presence is made manifest among men, where men can expect to meet with God in worship and supplication. In the Old Testament, we find God’s presence dwelling among his people in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple, all built to divine specifications. In the Tabernacle/Temple, men had the opportunity to offer sacrifices for sin, worship God and pray to him. Thus, the Tabernacle/Temple was a hallowed and revered place, because of God’s abiding presence.

Exodus 25:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.

Exodus 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.

Exodus 25:9 According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.

Deuteronomy 12:10 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety,

Deuteronomy 12:11 then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 12:12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.

Deuteronomy 12:13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;

Deuteronomy 12:14 but in the place which the Lord chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.

Because the Tabernacle/Temple was the only accepted meeting place with God (as the place where God’s presence dwelt), no resource was spared in its construction and beautification. Precious stones and all manner of costly pearls were lavishly used to decorate and garnish the Tabernacle/Temple, according to divine instructions. Solomon’s Temple, for instance, was considered the most magnificent and the most expensive in his time. It was built with expensive stones and woods imported from foreign lands, and was decked inside and outside with gold and other precious stones. King Solomon spared no cost and no effort in building the best house he could for God (1Kings Chapters 5, 6 and 7).

Even in those times when God chose to reveal his presence in a physical Tabernacle/Temple, Scripture made it abundantly clear that no man could build any befitting house for God, simply because even the heaven of heavens cannot contain God! How then can men build a dwelling place for God? Solomon too acknowledged this truth while building the most magnificent Temple for the worship of God. He confessed that no house any man built could be adequate for God, and pleaded rather for God to have respect towards prayers made in the house that was built to bear his name.

1 Kings 8:12 Then Solomon spoke:
“The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud.

1 Kings 8:13 I have surely built You an exalted house,
And a place for You to dwell in forever.”

1 Kings 8:14 Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing.

1 Kings 8:15 And he said: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled it, saying,

1 Kings 8:16 ‘Since the day that I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel.’

1 Kings 8:17 Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the Lord God of Israel.

1 Kings 8:18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.

1 Kings 8:19 Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.’

1 Kings 8:20 So the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke; and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised; and I have built a temple for the name of the Lord God of Israel.

1 Kings 8:21 And there I have made a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

1 Kings 8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven;

1 Kings 8:23 and he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.

1 Kings 8:24 You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day.

1 Kings 8:25 Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.’

1 Kings 8:26 And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David my father.

1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!

1 Kings 8:28 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today:

1 Kings 8:29 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place.

1 Kings 8:30 And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.

The Acts 7:44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,

The Acts 7:45 which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David,

The Acts 7:46 who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.

The Acts 7:47 But Solomon built Him a house.

The Acts 7:48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

The Acts 7:49 ‘Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?

The Acts 7:50 Has My hand not made all these things?’

Gradually, God moved from having his presence dwell in physical temples to having humans as his dwelling place. He started by dwelling in his fullness in Christ, who was Emmanuel (God with us) on earth. Christ was the full embodiment of God and the perfect Temple of God. He was the perfect dwelling place of God. While the people kept adoring and magnifying the magnificent Temple Herod built for the Jews at the time of Christ, God had moved from Herod’s Temple to the perfect One! When the disciples drew the Lord’s attention to the magnificence of Herod’s Temple, the Lord could only see one thing in that Temple- its imminent destruction! While others looked and saw a magnificent structure that housed God, Christ saw a shifting shadow that had fulfilled its purpose and should now give way to the real Temple! The substance was here now, and the shadow had become irrelevant! How ironic that while the true Temple of God was ignored, insulted and blasphemed by the religious people, the shadow was venerated and deified! How typical of humans, to be more concerned about shadows while ignoring the substance!

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

John 2:18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

John 2:20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

John 2:21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Colossians 2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Colossians 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Mark 13:1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”

Mark 13:2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

From Christ as the Temple of God, God moved further to dwell on the inside of believers in Christ who have been saved and sanctified by his redeeming blood. God has now made every believer in Christ his dwelling place through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thus, God’s ultimate purpose to dwell among men has been fulfilled- not in houses made by men’s hands, but in the very hearts of men! Now, wherever two or three of God’s people are gathered in his name, he’s there in their midst! It doesn’t matter where the gathering takes place. It could be in a cave, a desert, in the forest, in the open or in an uncompleted building. As long as two or more Spirit-filled believers gather together in those places, God is there in their midst, because each of them is a carrier of the divine presence! Each is a temple of the living God!

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!

1 Corinthians 6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”

1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the temple of God having moved from physical buildings to the hearts of men, a lot of churches today still lay emphasis on physical buildings as the temple of God. We see churches spending exhorbitant amounts of money to raise and decorate mighty cathedrals which they celebrate as God’s dwelling place! We see churches competing to outperform one another in building the biggest, the most expensive and the most lavishly decorated “temples” for God, all the while ignoring and paying little attention to the welfare and the wellbeing of the men and women (the true temple of God) who worship in these mighty edifices. The garnishing and decoration of these cathedrals are put above the needs of the congregants who must deny themselves even their basic needs in order to build a befitting “tabernacle” or “dwelling place” for God. And so, unwittingly, we’ve returned back to the Old Testament where the physical building has more significance and glory than the worshippers!

In failing to realise that the neglected men and women who worship in the buildings that are held in such esteem are the true temples of God, we neglect the temple of God while glorifying empty buildings! By not recognising every believer as the true temple of God, we dishonour God and his temple! We trample upon the true temples of God and ignore their needs, while we ignorantly spend time and waste resources to decorate buildings that God does not dwell in and has no delight in. If only we can realise that whatever building we gather in to worship is just for our comfort and has nothing to do with God’s glory! If only we can understand that God doesn’t give a damn about our places of worship! If only our eyes can be opened to the fact that God’s concern is with the state of our souls, his true temple, and not the magnificence of our buildings which we erroneously call his house! God doesn’t care a hoot about where we gather to worship, but he cares a lot about the state of our souls and how we care for one another, for we all (as believers in Christ) make up his true temple. How will God feel that we neglect his temples to waste resources and care on buildings that will ultimately decay, collapse or be destroyed? Isn’t it foolishness to place more value on ephemeral and temporal things to the detriment of eternal things? Think it about this!

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Ephesians 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,

Ephesians 2:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

1 Peter 2:4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, the temple of God has moved from physical buildings constructed according to divine instructions, to the hearts of converted and sanctified believers in Christ Jesus. Thus, God’s emphasis has shifted from magnificent buildings men erect in his honour, to Spirit-filled men and women in whom he dwells by his Spirit. In response, people of God too should move from adoring and deifying cathedrals and buildings (which are actually sanctified by the presence of Spirit-filled men and women who bring God’s presence into these buildings). Emphasis should shift accordingly from building befitting cathedrals for God, to building up men and women into a holy habitation for God’s dwelling. Whatever building we gather in to worship now has nothing to do with God’s glory, for we are the glory of God as believers in Christ. The buildings are just for our comfort and nothing else. God dwells in us now and no longer in buildings made with human hands! Let us then stop venerating empty buildings and making them more important than the Spirit-filled temples that gather in those buildings!

Revelation 21:3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:
Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God (HCSB).

God bless you, and thanks for visiting the blog!