It is always good to go back and re-visit what we believe. this week, i visited baptism (and yes, i changed a bit more with the Scriptures I read) … enjoy as i did! brother kyle
“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.
He got up and was baptized.”
07 / 30 / 11
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis within Scriptures are mine.)
Baptism. It is an act of submission and obedience. It is a picture of death and life, of being washed and cleansed. It is a choice. Just like any other command of God, we can either choose to obey or disobey
we can either be sons of obedience (Romans 6:16, 6:26), or sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6, and Colossians 3:6).
I would like to address a common tradition on this subject, first. I was raised with the traditional teaching that we must baptize our infants (in order to ‘impute’ the Holy Spirit, as if a human can apply water and the word to secure eternal salvation for that baby). It is a common belief that when we baptize an infant, they then received the Holy Spirit and became a member of God’s family (saved). This view, however, does not line up with Scripture and cannot be found ANYWHERE in His Holy Word (I challenge anyone to find ‘infant baptism’ in the Bible).
Baptism does not save, neither does obedience, but we do both out of a submitting heart that believes WHO He is and WHO we are in comparison to Him. Let us take a look at God’s teachings on this subject.
We are saved by faith alone in YHVHs Salvation (Yeshua).
Once we repent and our lives turn toward the One who Saves (Yeshua YHVHs salvation), our outward response is to be baptized in Him. So, baptism is an act of obedience which is an outward sign of an inward reality. Even our Master, whom we are to imitate, did so:
“Then Yeshua (Jesus) came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.” (Matthew 3:13)
Why did Yeshua (Jesus) find it necessary to be baptized? His own words tell us in Matthew 3:15:
“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness ”
Notice He did not simply say, “it is proper for ME“, but He said “US“. We will now take a look at many passages about baptism. Please note that it was always done in response to a decision made by the person, himself. Being baptized is a choice a person makes upon repentance and a desire to obey God. They repent of their sins and then are baptized, as our Master says, “to fulfill all righteousness.”
“Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” (Matthew 3:6)
This is NOT a ‘one time’ sin, but a lifestyle of sin. In other words, when someone realizes that the whole Torah (Law) is for their lives today and they turn toward it and look to the Messiah and how He obeyed it one should be baptized. It is when we leave our sinful lifestyle and begin living for Him, we consider this a washing away of the old sinful lifestyle and the rising up to a new lifestyle of obedience and service to God. When someone realizes that God’s entire Word (including His Laws and Commandments) is the manual for their life, and that they must live according to it, they realize just how bad their former way of life has pained their Creator. Baptism is simply an act of cleansing.
“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3)
Can you see that baptism of the flesh is an outward sign of submission to God? By seeing our sins as utterly wicked before God, we are to die to our flesh (symbolized by submersing ourselves in the water that washes our flesh) and be raised as new creatures (being baptized with the Spirit that washes us INSIDE, by teaching us God’s ways).
“having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Yeshua (Jesus) were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ” (Romans 6:3-4)
Baptism, just like any other act of obedience to God does NOT save anyone. Our obedience is an act of faith. We believe God is God and we are His servants. If a child dies before accepting Christ, and thus could not make this choice to be baptized, it is YHVH Who decides the fate of all creation. That child simply may not have been created to rise up in the first resurrection as a priest, but in the second resurrection.
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.‘” (Mark 16:15-16)
I love this one. Can you see that we are saved by faith (justified), and then obedience such as baptism follows (which is sanctification). However, he who does not believe is condemned? He is condemned because of his disbelief in God (That person’s disobedience is the PROOF they do not believe in God) they are NOT condemned because he or she did not get baptized.
Can an infant repent and accept Yeshua (Jesus) as His Savior? NO! We men cannot perform a ritual of baptism on an infant to impute the Holy Spirit or salvation into that baby. If you believe this traditional teaching, I urge you to go to the Bible and try to find Scripture to support this belief. You will not be able to. Notice, it says, “Whoever BELIEVES and is baptized,” or many times, “REPENT and be baptized,” in both cases, it is a decision that one who has understanding makes (babies cannot make this choice, but that doctrine came out of a misunderstanding about two resurrections one for the priests and the other for the rest of Israel.)!
“After this, Yeshua (Jesus) and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (John 3:22-23)
This was not a line of baby carriages but people who were repenting of their sins.
“Before the coming of Yeshua (Jesus), John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.” (Acts 13:24)
Notice, again: Repentance comes before practicing obedience. We die to self (symbolized in baptism) and are to rise up a new person (by the washing of God’s Spirit within!), then we live a lifestyle of obedience to His Laws (by the work of the Spirit writing them on our heart and teaching us). Can you see the combination? We put our flesh under HIS authority through the outward sign of baptism (cleaning the outside), and then we show the fruit of our salvation by our obedience to God through the work of His Spirit (cleaning the inside where sin starts).
“And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4)
We must realize that our lives are ‘under the bondage of sin’ and repent before we can be forgiven. Just like our forefathers in the desert, the act of faith was putting the blood on their doorposts it was only subsequent to that faith that they were then baptized in the Red Sea then there was the giving of the Law!
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
Notice, again, the flesh first, then the Spirit. In order to allow the Spirit full control, we must submit our flesh!
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?” (Notice that they heard the message about the Messiah, first. Then, upon realizing their errors and sinful lives before God they cried out, “What shall we do?”) “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom YHVH (the Lord) our God will call.” (Acts 2:37-39)
(This passage shows that baptism is available to our children once they understand and are able to repent. However, a parent can NOT decide for their children or babies), as John 1:12-13 explains: “ to those who believed in His name, HE gave the right to become children of God; children born NOT of natural descent (being born Jewish or even of Christian parents), nor of human decision (A parent baptizing their child) or a husband’s will, BUT born of God.” It is only upon hearing the message and subsequent repentance that one is to be baptized: “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:40-41)
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Yeshua (Jesus) Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)
Again, no babies, but all adults.
There are several examples of whole households being baptized. This, however, does not mean that one person believed and then that person decided that his or her whole household was to be baptized. Instead, these passages show the excitement of a single person realizing the errors of the teachings of their day, then proclaiming it to those he or she loves the most the members of his or her own household. Thus, by hearing and believing, they too decide to be baptized, as well.
“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and stay at my house,’ And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:14-15)
“At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:33)
“Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8)
There is no greater honor for a parent than to have your child come to you and say, “Daddy, I am a sinner and I am giving my life to God. I want to be baptized.”
Baptism is an act of obedience that points to the greater baptism that done by the Spirit:
“who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:20-22)
Repent from your sins and be baptized and sin no more. Obedience is the fruit of the Spirit within a child of God baptism is part of that obedience.
One last thought: Many people realize that infant baptism is not Biblical, but may still be in error regarding baptism in one respect. If you notice, I always put back the names of the Father (NOT ‘the LORD’) and the son (NOT ‘Jesus’). Consider what Yeshua commanded .
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Many baptisms go something like this, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” based upon the above Scripture. But what did Yeshua actually say? The word Name is singular. The common Name they all share is YHVH. YHVH the Father, YHVH’s Salvation (Yeshua), and YHVH’s Spirit all share the Name YHVH! Also, notice that after you baptize them in the name of YHVH, you are also commanded to teach them God’s Laws (observe everything that is commanded us). Hmmmm Just something to think about.
My thought? We must believe in YHVH (and His plan of Salvation) and be baptized and practice His Laws to be saved but, we will perish because we do not believe in Him (which our lack of obedience actually reveals). Let me know if you see it any other way (and use Scriptures, not teachings of men).
So, are we saved by baptism? No, but by not doing it we prove that we do not believe in Him.
Are we saved by obeying His Laws? No, but by not practicing them we prove that we do not believe in His Word.
12 / 09 / 05
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
One of the most used sayings I have heard as I have gone through my life as a child of God is: “We have the victory, we know the outcome.” Although this is true for those truly in Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), the war is far but over, my friends. Even for His true children. I keep saying, “true children”, because we are losing potential fellow-heirs all the time. Satan is a deceiver and a liar. (“… for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b))
As I see Satan’s army, they are divided into two fronts. The purpose of the first front, are the obvious ones. This group seems to show the world “what evil is”. This group makes Satan’s second group look mighty holy and good. You know, “Wow, that person sure is evil, eh? I mean, straight from the lineage of Satan.” All the while, an elderly lady may be gently preaching a lie about the kingdom of God to them. The later is Satan’s elite, his undercover soldiers, if you will. Their aim? To convince people that they are from God and that they hold the truth. Remember when Satan tested our Savior in the desert? Satan used Scripture … straight from the Word of God!! Our Savior used the truth to combat “twisted truth”. Satan is working overtime to win those who have heard the truth! “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12)
Wow!! There will be, and are, people who THINK that they are saved children of the living God, yet are perishing! They have been deceived and thus, have lost the battle. They heard that the war is over and have given in to the enemy. All the while, they still THINK that they are saved, yet helping the advancement of Satan. “The coming of the lawless one (the one who hates the law) will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they REFUSED to love the TRUTH and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful DELUSION so that they will believe the LIE.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11) (Satan can use a well loved leader of a growing church or a homeless man on the street … do NOT be deceived, my friends! We know that the world will LOVE the lie in the end … for they will THINK the lie is God’s truth, this is why they worship the anti-Christ and his followers! “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear.” (Revelation 13:8) (Keep asking yourself, why don’t those who truly love God recognize these false teachings?)
HINT: Satan knows that God desires obedience!
1.) In the garden (He made Adam and Eve disobey)
2.) In the desert (He made Israel disobey)
3.) Today (He makes many disobey as well)
The only One who did not disobey was Yeshua (Jesus). But that is what Satan used … disobey God! Have you fallen for the lie that the Law is no longer valid for today?
Let us read how Yeshua (Jesus) told his followers to beware and know the truth so that they are not deceived by the father of lies, Satan. The time is coming when even those who have given their life over to serve the Lord (the elect) will have a hard time distinguishing the truth from a lie (I testify today, the lie looks like the truth!):
- “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” (Matthew 24:24-25)
How close are we to the end? Look who the masses are flocking to:
- Some denominations teach that we are to rebuke Satan and bind him (there is only One who can bind … we are to flee!) “This is especially true of those who follow the CORRUPT DESIRE of the sinful nature and despise authority. BOLD and ARROGANT, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men BLASPHEME in matters they do NOT understand.” (2 Peter 2:10-12a) and “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak ABUSIVELY against whatever they do NOT understand … Woe to them!” (Jude 9a)
- There are colossal churches performing great and miraculous signs and wonders as if performing a show on stage or at a theater (when did the Messiah do His miracles like this?)
- The most loved false doctrine is, because of the desires of their flesh, God is a big money tree or piggy bank … “who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” (1 Timothy 6:5b) and “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit…” (Jude 9b)
Can you see that we must combat Scripture with Scripture (Just like Yeshua (Jesus) did)? Satan’s job is clearly to get us to believe the lie and turn us away from the truth. My friend, are you seeking the truth with all that you are? Are you too busy with life and its gain to search? Would you rather follow man’s wisdom, than the wisdom given by His Spirit? Whose voice are you hearing?
- “When He (Yeshua (Jesus)) has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:4-5)
This is not a slumber party, my brothers and sisters! The war has increased in intensity now that the Messiah has come! If you are not feeling the heat … the love of the world, instead of the love of God, might just be in you. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19) (The world seems to hate what I, and many others in these end days, are preaching. Come to think of it, they hated what the Messiah and His followers were preaching too!)
Many who have been deceived, because they did not love the truth, will stand before the Lord waiting to be embraced by the Master. Instead, they will get the following answer and it is then that they will realize their negligence! “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. AWAY FROM ME, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Just so you know: The above people “thought” that they were saved. These are NOT Muslims, Atheists, or any other foreign religion but “Christian”. They are calling Yeshua (Jesus) Master thinking that they gave their life over to Him. The scary part? Is WHY Yeshua (Jesus) sent them away: They were transgressing His Laws / commands that HE gave to us in the Old Testament. Some translations have it “You who practice lawlessness” (NASB) or “You who work iniquity (sin)” (KJV).
Have you fallen for the lie (deception) that the Law is not for us?
09 / 23 / 05
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
• There I was reading God’s Word, praying and meditating on what I had just read … then I heard:
“Look up my child” (almost as if it were an audible voice)
So I looked up and saw a large tree … full of life and fullness.
“What do you see?”, seemed to be asked by this voice within.
I see a beautiful tree, I responded.
“Look at the tree more closely”, He replied.
• It was then that I saw a branch, a very large branch high up in the tree. It was without any life at all and full of death.
• This is where I will begin. The walk through God’s Word after this was like a walk on a deserted beach with a friend. One verse, after the other, the waves kept flowing to show. He seemed to talk to me as clear as a sunny day.
• The branch in the tree was like a soul … a human being who was a part of that tree for quite some time. I kept asking my Friend, “What caused that single branch, a branch surrounded with so much life … to just die? Did the tree suddenly cease to supply sap?” He replied, “The branch encountered a disease that ultimately brought about its death?”
• Remember the devotion I did some time ago about the Spirit and grafting? The summary was that once one starts to receive the sap (the Spirit) flowing through the vein … he or she is there permanently. I feel that God corrected me that day as He spoke to my heart about that dead branch in the tree. Now, this is not “Thus says the Lord!” … It is just a walk and what I found. I used to think (and was taught), that:
o Once the Spirit is given, we cannot lose our Salvation.
o It was after the “time of testing” that one would receive Him as the guarantee (This is where I was before this walk).
• Can a branch (people) ever be grafted into the Root (Yeshua, or Jesus) without accepting Sap (His Spirit)? Of course not; that branch would die. When one is grafted in to the Root … that appears to be the justification done by God (Since this can only be done by God. He is the one who calls and He is the one who justifies! (“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him …” … John 6:44a)) Obviously we cannot graft ourselves, either … that would be doing something to gain salvation. Although some try by saying mere words, yet that is not the case, but only a misinterpretation of what “profess” means (Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 15:8). It is only by faith, and still, it is only a gift from God!! (Ephesians 2:8-9)
• So, back to the branch (I know I ramble) … what caused it to dry up and die? Why did it stop receiving the life-giving sap?
• Who are the “players”:
o (Sin) = this could be a disease or even bugs that may have invaded the branch at one time. The branch did NOT just die one day. It slowly stopped accepting the sap. Can that happen with us?
o (Children of God) = these are the branches that are part of the Tree
o (Our Savior) = Root / Trunk
o (His Spirit) = Sap / Life-giving Nutrition
BELOW ARE SOME VERSES THAT SEEM TO SAY (at first glance) … “ONCE TRULY SAVED … ALWAYS SAVED”:
• 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 … “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit on in hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (After reading the other verses, though, this guarantee seems to be good as long as we continue receiving the life-giving Sap sent from the Root. This started to make sense to me, then.)
• 2 Corinthians 5:5 … “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (The Spirit of God seems to be a deposit given freely to us. What IF we choose NOT to accept the deposit at any time? We simply give back the deposit … deal’s off. The rightful owner has His deposit (Spirit) back. BUT, if we keep His deposit, we are guaranteed what is to come!! This is the line of thinking that I seem to be seeing.)
• “Lord, what are you saying”, I asked. He kept pointing back to that branch and reality … “Look at that branch again. If it continued accepting the sap of the tree, would it have died?” I responded, no.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE IS “FRESHLY” GRAFTED IN? WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
• A newly grafted-in branch (or even a green sprout of a natural branch) is a mere infant. At this stage of life, we know nothing. About His Word or even who is feeding us. Let me ask you, does a newborn baby know His parents? How about the rules of the house and what to obey? Of course, not. But that baby is just as much part of the family as the older children. Salvation does NOT depend upon what one knows OR does … life has been given to the branch by the Sap sent by the Root! Read the next verse … It appears that these mere infants in Christ seem to be worldly and just starting to share in the nourishing sap. Just receiving knowledge … “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2) Worldly people are generally not in obedience to God’s Law … but they may still be part of the family. (Hint: Time will tell if it is truly part of the entire Tree) If the baby no longer gets food … death will result. So these infants need nourishment, or they too may die spiritually (and possibly never know it until judgment day). But for now … they are part of the family … saved and receiving the life-giving Sap from the Root.
• Just like a real young branch, it is at this stage that baby believers will easily accept lies, false doctrines and deceptions about the truth. (Just like a young sprout / branch that is still green on the outside … it is more acceptable to disease and death) Babies in Christ accept what ever they are taught because they do not know God and His Word fully, yet … they are still babies, mere infants … “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14)
• So, can people lose their salvation at this point? I now believe they can. This stage of life is critical! It is at this infancy that they will usually accept anything they hear about God. It is usually at this stage that they fall away, or during times of extreme testing:
o “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” (Luke 8:13)
o “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
DURING THE COURSE OF LIFE, THOUGH, CAN ONE LOSE HIS SALVATION (Or die because of rejecting the nourishing Sap)?
• Just like the branch that the Lord showed me … it did not die all at once. Something began to kill it and caused it to hardened its veins. It could have been a bug at first, or a disease that came around … but the death is usually a slow process. Sometimes, even storms blow down a dying branch only to find bugs INSIDE, that were not evident from the outside. We can only tell that death is looming by this branch lacking in producing fruit (leaves, etc… ) Spiritually, this represents sin. Sin is a disease that can eventually harden our hearts. Remember, we were justified by God and His work. But one may die because they chose to stop accepting the sanctifying work of His Spirit.
• “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION with fear and trembling, for it is God who works IN YOU to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13) (You see, during our entire life, we are supposed to be producing fruit for God. Fruit that is according to HIS purpose. We are to be GROWING as the Tree grows (Remember, the Root was only a seed at one time). It is when we fear and tremble before God, that we remain close to Him and attached to the Tree system … the Root and its Sap. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to put guards up to protect ourselves. We need to be held accountable by others who will let us know when we may be in a sin (have a disease that may start to kill us if we allow it to grow). (1 Corinthians 8:13 and Galatians 6:1)
• “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a FEARFUL EXPECTATION of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Hebrews 10:26-27) (It did NOT say that we die if we deliberately sin … it did say that if deliberately KEEP ON sinning … we would be on the road to death. This is a warning … get the bugs off you … get to the Doctor so that He can cure you. WE would be the ones who are rejecting the sanctifying work of His Spirit (Who is attempting to write the Law on His children’s heart). The raging fire is NOT a guaranteed fate here … but the writer seems to be revealing that there are signs that may be the proof that the branch is starting to die … REJECTING the Sap’s sanctifying work. This is only a warning sign! It’s time to “spray for bugs” and “give special care to this branch”. This branch should start fearing, though!)
• “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:38-39) (Can we shrink back? Of course, we all do … we all back slide. Is God pleased when this happens? It appears not. The writer even goes on to the point of saying that those who shrink back are destroyed. So when we slip, it is critical to repent and turn from our wicked ways. This is where we count on His mercy and compassion. Shrinking back hinders and quenches the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 … “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.”) In other words, do not hinder the flow of Sap into your veins.)
Rejecting the sanctifying work of the Spirit will eventually stop the life of the Spirit from flowing into the branch … that branch will die … apart from God):
• Read the verses below carefully. This is no longer about infants … these are the older branches that the Gardener EXPECTS to produce fruit. These branches have been part of the Tree for some time and are mature. Attached securely to the Tree system. These are who the Gardener expects to see fruit from. What fruit does He expect? “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8)). We must accept that God, in His love, gave us His Laws to live by. Remember, sin is being without the Law … 1 John 3:4 … “Everyone who sins BREAKS the Law; in fact, sin IS LawLESSness.”) What happens if we grow along with the tree, but are barren, without fruit? What happens if we accept being justified, yet refuse to accept the sanctifying work of His Spirit … producing fruit (Obeying)? Let us read:
• “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10)
• “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that WILL produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21:43) (So WE are to be producing fruit. But man has been taught that there is no Law to obey!! Do you believe that? We all sin … God knows that. Is it intentional (we know and understand a rule of God’s, yet refuse to obey), or is it unintentional (because we do not know the Law yet, even though His Spirit may be TRYING to write it on our heart?))
• “He cuts off EVERY branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:2)
• “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19)
• My friends … nowhere in the Bible does it say that we must reach a certain stage in our faith in order to be saved. We need not know anything to be part of the family, but have faith. Nether does lip service get you grafted in … it is the will of God and Him calling us. It is a process, like a real tree. Salvation is a gift (It is HE that justifies), but it seems that it is US who has the “free will” to reject the Spirit’s life-giving nourishment. In other words, God is trying to conform us to the IMAGE of the Tree we are attached to (That is the proof … some may be attached to the wrong tree. We can tell by the fruit they produce …. Matthew 7:16-20) A true child of God MUST be growing and producing fruit in accordance with, and in line to God’s Law (for it is THAT Law that the Spirit is writing on our hearts.) 2 Peter 1:5-9 even states that we MUST be adding to our faith; We must possess certain qualities in INCREASING measures (Remember … this is the proof that one is still alive in Christ … is still receiving His Spirit, the Sap.) Many have forgotten that we are to be CLEANSED from our sins … it is HE that cleanses us as He writes the Law on our hearts.
• Here are some verses that seem to reveal the disease (sin) that may cause one to eventually die:
o “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast (sin) works through the whole batch of dough.”” (Galatians 5:7-9) (Let us NOT let a sin control us. We must conform to the image of our Creator / Savior!)
o “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.” (2 Peter 3:17) (All of us must stop and think … what is God’s truth and what is based upon tradition and man’s interpretation. God DOES care! He is patient and is waiting for many to repent and obey. (Romans 2:5 … “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are STORING up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed.”) Just because the entire world or everyone around us is doing something, does NOT mean that it is right before God.)
• What does our Savior seem to be saying in the next verse?
“REMAIN in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can to do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”” (John 15:4-6)
• Yeshua (Jesus Christ) is telling us … IF we remain in Him … He promises to remain in us. If we continue to remain in Him, He guarantees what is to come!! If we do not remain in Him … we will die! That seems to be a guarantee, as well. (Just like the branch I saw). That branch did NOT remain in the tree. It was because of outside influences that the branch eventually died. It may have been a disease, or a simple hardening of its veins … The branch did not guard itself. That is how careful we must be to protect our faith, obey God out of love and live! We WILL be sanctified IF we are justified. The proof and the Gardener’s expectation is fruit (obedience). Those who claim to be justified are grafted into the Root of Jesse … Isaiah 11:10 and Romans 15:12. If we truly believe that … we will shudder and fall to our knees and obey (producing “fruit in keeping with repentance.”).
• Here’s another frightening verse for those who do not want to obey God (show fruit) … how long will it be until one is removed and discarded from the Tree? “So He (The owner … God) said to the man (Our Savior) who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” (Luke 13:7-9)
12 / 24 / 04
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
• You know me, I try to keep everyone on their toes and always guessing; always questioning the teachings of men; always trying to get people to put as much energy into their relationship with God as they do trying to excel in their occupation or job!! Oh, talk about investments, work or sports, and “WOW”, most people have all kinds of time … defend their faith and examine what they have been taught, you would think it’s a sin in itself. I am trying to get people out of a stupor, which so many seem to be in. Many are unknowingly putting their trust in faulty interpretations of God’s Word.
• I used to have a hard time with this subject … When is a person saved? If a person is saved, can they lose their salvation? I have even been taught by the preachers of God’s Word that God left His children, Israel (they meant the Jews), and now has a “new bride” (Sort of a “new” Israel, I guess). So I have always wondered, “Will He leave me, too, if I sin?”
Here are some verses that seem to show that we will never lose our Salvation, once we receive it:
- John 10:27-29
- John 17:12
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
- 2 Corinthians 5:5
- Ephesians 1:13-14
Ahhhh … after reading those verses, I am very content and secure knowing that I am saved! What??? What are these verses, though?
- Luke 8:13
- 2 Corinthians 13:5
- 1 Timothy 4:1
• Okay … put on your thinking caps (Yes, you DO have time!) We must not accept discrepancies in God’s Word!!! God’s Word is PERFECT and He is UNCHANGING, so if there seems to be a discrepancy, it is US who needs to search for the truth.
• I feel the secret is in verses about grafting. If a person is called by God, it is THEN that he or she has been grafted into the Messiah. Christ is the root / vine … WE (both the Jew and the Gentiles who have been called) are the branches. (John 15:1-2) I have become fascinated with grafting, now that someone has taken the time to explain it. I never knew that we can take a freshly cut branch of another tree and graft it, or attach it, to the live stump of another. (Obviously, there is more to it, but I never knew it was, in fact, possible). There are many verses that refer to Believers as being the branches and the Messiah as our support … the source from where the sap (Spirit) flows! So there must be something here, and we must dig for truth!!
• Branches are supported by the roots / stump:
- John 15:4
- Romans 11:16-21
- Matthew 3:10 (Notice … it is cut down at the root. Not including the root!)
• So let us look at grafting (knowing that it doesn’t ALWAYS work). It is up to the branch, NOT the Root if this process succeeds! Just like Salvation before one is saved … it is US who reject the Spirit by our refusal to obey and accept God’s sovereignty (believing in Him for who He actually is … the sin of unbelief is why we go to hell, NOT our daily sins.) So, how can we tell if a branch is accepting the sap from the root over time? (John 15:2 again)
• It is here, I feel, that lies the secret of Salvation. Who is the sap that is sent from the root to nourish the branches? (John 14:26) Here are the “players”:
- Root / Vine / Stump = Yeshua (Christ, the Messiah)
- Sap that comes from the Roots / Vines / Stump = His Spirit (neat, eh. The sap does not exist, unless there is a source, likewise, the Spirit comes from it’s source … the Messiah)
- Branches = Those who have been called. (NOT necessarily believers, yet.)
• How would God’s Spirit remind us of what is spoken in God’s Word? (Hebrews 8:10) You see, once grafted, the sap (His Spirit) attempts to bring life to the grafted-in branch (us). Without the Root we are dead! The Spirit is attempting to write the Law on our hearts (bringing life … Psalm 19:7) … (Revealing the covenant relationship (first devotion on 10/03/04) … revealing who He and that His entire Law / commands are for His children (second devotion on 10/10/04 … and revealing who we are in the Kingdom, Israel (third devotion on 10/17/04)). As His Spirit reveals these truths, or attempts to write them on our heart, we either take in this nourishing sap, or refuse to eat of it (our refusal is usually a hardened heart condition … hard soil).
• I, myself, am finding that the world hates me more and more each and every time I live another truth that has been reveled by His Spirit. I am holding firm to the teachings of God and now understand Matthew 10:34-37.
• Let us walk a little further with grafting. How about if, as the Spirit (or Sap sent FROM the Root) reveals truth, the branch refuses to accept this sap? What if there is NOT fruit produced, or found on the grafted in branch? (Luke 13:7-9) Now obedience IS the fruit … Matthew 3:8. God is patient … God is merciful … The Man who takes care of the vineyard, is pleading and praying as He tends to the stubborn branch … “Bear fruit, my child. Bear fruit” … “Accept the sap!!” … But if we refuse, we refuse. This is why “Many are invited (grafted), but few are chosen (accepting / believing who God TRULY is) (Matthew 2:14). Read the excuses given by those who did NOT accept the sap, the invitation in Luke 14:16-23 and see if some of these excuses don’t sound familiar to you:
- “I am too busy taking care of my investments / money.” (verse 18)
- “I just purchased some ‘big boy’ toys, so after I get some time on my own, I will come and join the feast.” (verse 19)
- “My family needs me too much. I just never have the time for such events.” (verse 20)
• Alas … verses 21-24 reveal who actually ended up coming to the banquet and ended up being at the supper table. Is life that important? To be called by The Creator of all things; Grafted into His Son, yet so many are concerned with what MAN (family and friends) think, that they refuse the Spirit’s prompting? (God is NOT a Catholic, Lutheran, or Baptist. God is NOT a religion or denomination (Yes … even those “non-denominational” churches are a denomination.) God is not to be put in a box … that is what the Pharisees and teachers of the Law did. Nothing seemed to have changed from when the Messiah came among His own people, the Jews. They, too, loved what was handed down by their teachers / preachers of God’s Word. Is it that we just love looking like those around us? Do we love the teachings and traditions of man that much, that we have let go of God’s teachings / commands? (Mark 7:6-9)
• Okay, okay … back to grafting. The Sap from the Root is always trying to penetrate into the veins of the branch grafted in. Over time, the branch either becomes part of the Root (looks, acts and talks just like the Root which it is now one with, as if it was always there) OR it rejected the Sap (It falls off, or is cut off and thrown into the fire in the end). The branch stands without excuse, for it has tasted the goodness at the grafting point; It’s been enlightened about God’s Word. One can even say, it shared in the Sap, yet the branch would not let it in for growth. What do you think would happen to such a branch? (Hebrews 6:4-6)
• Is this what Philippians 2:12 brings to life … at time of the grafting process that one actually is working out his salvation … acceptance of God’s Spirit, the life giving Sap?
• The branch MUST become like the Root. It must let go of who it is and accept who it will become … based upon the ROOT it is grafted into. If the branch that is grafted, is part of the same family of trees that the root is … it will be easier for THOSE branches to accept. WOW … I love how God’s Word is complete now. (Romans 11:24b)
• Again, let us not forget the job of the Sap (the Spirit of God). His job is to sanctify us … to convict us of our sins!! (What better way to do this than to actually write the Law on our hearts and minds!! Before, it was given to them on stone!!). The more Sap the branch allows in, the more obedient the branch becomes (the more it will look like the Root … who lived in total obedience!). If one lives IN Him, grafted INTO the Root, then 1 John 2:6 and Romans 8:29 are the PROOF that the grafting has been successful! The sap is flowing freely into the veins of the branch. Let me use my relationship with my wife again. I say, “I love you honey” yet how does one know that this is true? My actions over time will prove if this is a true profession. Does the way I treat her and respect her make me love her? Or are these items that I do for her the result of loving her?
• So … how do we show God that we believe? That we love Him? Is our obedience the result or the cause of our salvation?
• What are some other types of fruit? We must understand that from the outside no one can tell if the Sap is flowing on the inside, right? (Except by the presence of fruit!) In the same way, we cannot tell if one is saved or not … except by their obedience. (For without the Sap, the branch remains a WILD branch … hostile to the Root (Romans 8:7)) What is the indication that one is saved, or accepting the Sap inside the veins of the branch? (By their fruit … their obedience to God’s commands; Their love for others; Not conforming to the world). God even told us what loving Him will look like in the branches that accepted the Sap (1 John 5:2-3).
• The sacrifices Israel did just covered their sins … week in and week out … year after year (did you know that? They did NOT save them … the sanctified them. Who sanctifies US now? (Romans 15:16b)). The sacrifices were an EXTERNAL cleansing of their sins. But NOW, He takes the sins away, as they are revealed and repented of!! (Hebrews 9:13-14) We are now free to SERVE the living God! The child of God is continually being sanctified. God’s Spirit takes that dirty and filthy rag of a person and cleanses him … making him pure and white for the marriage day! Can you see the believer, as he repents of his or her sins that are revealed, BECOMING whiter! BECOMING holier! Being MADE into the likeness of His Son! (Hebrews 10:14-17). This is ALL the cause of BEING saved … NOT to be saved. This is ALL the cause of accepting who you are grafted in to, not so we will be grafted.
• Please understand, there are some branches who do not accept the life saving Sap immediately. Yet over time and hard work from the Gardener, the rebel branches will either end up submitting their will to His … or they will not. (Luke 13:8-9 again)
• Some of these branches may even cry out, “I was ignorant. Have mercy on me!”. Was there a time when God overlooked such a cry of ignorance? (Acts 17:30) Why would He overlook ignorance in the past and not now? Did He change? Or did He give us something to help us and overcome ignorance? (Hint … it’s in the Sap! It is either flowing in your veins or it is not.) Back then, they had the external sacrifices for such ignorance! (Ezekiel 45:20) Now that the Son of God has been sacrificed, we stand without excuse! What do these verses mean to you about being ignorant and not conforming?
- Hebrews 10:26
- Ephesians 4:17-19
- Acts 3:17-23
- 1 Timothy 1:13
• Do not misunderstand true worship of God. Do you think that there are many who study and study God’s Word, yet never retain, or understand what it says? Is it possible for a person to attend church, give to the poor, visit the homeless and widows, and study His Word, yet remain unsaved? (John 5:39-47)
• God’s Spirit is the mirror of God Himself. His Spirit reveals the one who sent Him! (These past three devotions were just PART of that mirror). Many do not like what they see when they look into the mirror! Many do not accept God’s calling and are never even grafted. Those who accept God’s calling, are grafted in. Many end up not liking the family they see and remove their name from the wedding list. Many end up not accepting God’s Law as their own, thus refusing the Spirit’s job of sanctification. Let us not forget what we look like in the mirror! Let us stop saying cliché’s about God’s Law and who His family is, and truly accept them … (James 1:21-25)
• Are you willing to let go of all you have in this life to know God personally? What is the cost you are willing to spend? Do you desire to do God’s will over yours? Are you willing to conform to the Messiah. Or do you hang on to the traditions of man that so easily entangles us, refusing to accept God’s perfect Word? The answers may indicate how much Sap you desire to share in! Can you, or would you, let go of friends and family if that is what it takes to follow God and know Him more personally? (Matthew 10:34-38 again)
• “Walk in the Light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7) … It is a good cliché isn’t it? But what does it mean? What does light do? It exposes darkness … that is why the world will hate those who obey and live according to God’s Will. (John 3:19-21)
Light = righteousness (obedience) and truth
Darkness = Unrighteousness (sin) and lies (opposite of what light is!)
• The more Sap one receives from the Root, the more Light he or she will have. Today, if you taste the Sap, SWALLOW IT! Don’t be like my kids who are trying out a new salad dressing … they touch it with the tip of their tongue to see if they like it or not. Today, if you hear His voice, obey it! (Hebrews 3:7-10)
• Grafting. An amazing science of life, isn’t it? Let us not be satisfied with bearing a single leaf on our branch! For who knows how much the Gardener is looking for … is it just leafs that He wants or is it FRUIT … obedience? (John 15:8-10)
1st Page verses:
• John 10:27-29 … “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
• John 17:12 … “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”
• 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 … “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
• 2 Corinthians 5:5 … “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
• Ephesians 1:13-14 … “You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”
• Luke 8:13 … “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
• 2 Corinthians 13:5 … “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”
• 1 Timothy 4:1 … “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
• John 15:1-2 … “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
2nd page verses:
• John 15:4 … “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
• Romans 11:16-21 … “If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.”
• Matthew 3:10 … “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
• John 15:2 … “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
• John 14:26 … “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
• Hebrews 8:10 … “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
• Psalm 19:7 … “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”
• Matthew 10:34-37 … “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
• Luke 13:7-9 … “So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
• Matthew 3:8 … “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
• Matthew 22:14 … “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
• Luke 14:16-23 … “Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”
3rd page verses:
• Mark 7:6-9 … “He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”
• Hebrews 6:4-6 … “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
• Philippians 2:12 … “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
• Romans 11:24b … “How much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”
• 1 John 2:6 … “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
• Romans 8:29 … “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
• Romans 8:7 … “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
• 1 John 5:2-3 … “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”
• Romans 15:16b … “So that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
• Hebrews 9:13-14 … “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”
• Hebrews 10:14-17 … “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.””
• Luke 13:8-9 … “’Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
4th page verses:
• Acts 17:30 … “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”
• Ezekiel 45:20 … “You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance; so you are to make atonement for the temple.”
• Hebrews 10:26 … “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”
• Ephesians 4:17-19 … “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”
• Acts 3:17-23 … “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.”
• 1 Timothy 1:13 … “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.”
• John 5:39-47 … “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. “I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God ? “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?””
• James 1:21-25 … “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.”
• 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, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
• John 3:19-21 … “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.””
• Hebrews 3:7-10 … “ So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’”
• John 15:8-10 … “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.”