topics of interest

We Cannot Live as the World Does

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21—NIV)

In these verses Paul warns the believer that if they live as the world does they will not inherit the kingdom of God.  This is a sober warning.  The new covenant provides for the change needed within the believer to reject the above list given in Galatians 5 and to choose goodness and righteousness.  The problem with the old covenant was that it could not change the sinful nature of the believer as the new covenant now provides. The old covenant was based on a set of rules, but the new covenant changes the desires and the nature of the believer, so that they keep the commandments of God naturally.

It is clear in the Bible that God judges sin.  The world of Noah was destroyed because of sin.  ‘They think evil in their hearts continually’, God says.  In the new testament Annanias and Saphira were judged by Peter because they lied to the Holy Spirit.  God hates sin the Bible says. Our sin separates us from God.

We understand that God is gracious and merciful, and he provides for our errors as we walk with him.  However, he does not do this unless we are working hard to defeat the sin in our lives.  He will give us the victory if we look to him and use the tools he has provided to help us.   Sin is never OK with God.  We see this over and over in the Bible.  With Saul trying to kill David, with the Pharisees trying to kill Jesus, with the man who sinned in the church of Corinth.

The church teaching today apparently says that sin is OK because it is covered and forgiven by God. When we read the Bible we can see that this teaching is not scriptural.  This  teaching takes a part of the truth of the Word and tries to make it the whole Truth for reasons of patronizing the believers who are failing and to gain followers in their churches.


The Promise of Life

We read in II Timothy about a promise of life in Christ Jesus.  We read that this life and immortality was brought to light by Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Many churches  teach that a simple prayer is all you need to do to access eternal life.  This seems to be far from correct.  We need to enter into discipleship with the Lord.  The apostle Paul found himself chained up in a prison for his gospel of  “Jesus Christ being raised up from the dead and descended from David”.  This was a hard thing in those days for Jews and Gentiles to hear.

There is no doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ impacts and changes lives.  The gospel translates us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.  How will this gospel of eternal life work for the kingdom of God?  I am beginning to think that eternal life begins now in that we see changes preparing us for the kingdom, preparing us for the day and time in which we live.  Is it possible to see our bodies change from mortality to immortality while living on the earth today?

The Bible states that ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last’.  We who live in the last days may have a grace that was not available to those living earlier.  We might be the ones to obtain immortality in our body first, at least in part.  For sure we should be seeing changes in our personality by the rejecting of sin and our turning to righteousness and goodness. Our inner man should be changing from our old selfish nature to the lordship and the nature of Christ.

I am seeing some changes happening in my physical body.  My hair is turning from grey to more of a brown color.  I am 64 years old.   I am saying these things because I think we need to be careful as saints of God to not be so entrenched in a particular doctrine such as ‘going to heaven’ that we are unable to consider anything else.  We may be in the ‘beginning of the end’ of this age.  We need to be open to what God may do in these days.  We do have examples in scripture that can give some credence to this thinking of possible immortality here.  Jesus said that if it was his will that the apostle John live on until his return that this would be so.  Tradition says that people tried to kill John and were unable to.  One tradition says that he was put into boiling oil and still lived.  We also see examples of the Hebrew children thrown into the fiery furnace and surviving without a singe, and of Caleb in the OT conquering land and having the strength of a forty year old while in his eighties.  We are not without the witness of scripture.  We need to be cognizant of this and to not reject a new idea without some study and earnest consideration.