Archive for June, 2017

Why so many conflicting religions (part 3)

3. The gospel of error and greed
Another common reason why there are so many conflicts in the Christian religion it is because of the depravity of false teachers who have a heart trained in covetous practices, and have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

I am appalled to see that despite the many warnings given to us by the original apostles, the majority of people are inclined to follow the pernicious ways of these false teachers rather than inclining their ears and hearts to the warnings given to them by the apostles.

Here for example are some of the warnings given to the church by the apostles;-
The apostle Paul went to great length to warn God´s faithful people of these prophetic times by saying. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among your-selves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.’
“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:28-35).

The apostle Paul further warned us saying of the Great Apostasy which the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, and asked us to, “know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (1Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

To this end, the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Lord’s true ministers is to: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2Timothy 4:2-5).

The apostle Peter also issued a warning saying; “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2Peter 2:1-3).

Then we have the apostle Jude warning us of these false teachers by stating; “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 16-19).

Imagine despite all these warnings, the majority of people still find themselves entrapped by these false teachers. The reason for this according to the apostle Paul it is because “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.”
This time of deceit was prophesied long ago by the prophet Isaiah who wrote; “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:10-11).

This is the sort of dilemma that we face today, people who fail to accept the fact that there is only one way that leads to life, one path, one truth, one law of righteousness and that we should not deviate from them. Straying away from this one path is to go down the way of destruction, and this is where unfortunately most people are heading despite the many warning clearly given in scriptures.

So these are three typical examples of why there are so many conflicting ideologies in the Christian religion, but to have a deeper understanding and a better insight of why are there so many conflicting religions one has to begin from the very inception of man’s existence.

Why so many conflicting religions (part 2)

2. Denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The other main reason for the dissensions in the body of Christ is that of denying the only God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But how is this feasible when they are all mentioning the name of Jesus Christ? Well Jesus Christ forewarned His disciples saying, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” He also said, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:4-5, 11-12).

The main reason why the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is denied, it is because the majority of those who profess to believe in him fail to ascribe to Him the honor and glory due to Him as God. Jesus Christ on many occasions confirmed His unison with the Father, but unfortunately many people do not honor Jesus Christ as they honor the Father, they are disregarding His Sovereignty and majesty.

On several occasions Jesus Christ alluded to the fact that He and His Father are one. In revealing the Father to the disciples Jesus said to them, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” (John 14:7-10).

Jesus said again, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23).

The crux of the matter is Jesus Christ and the Father are one. You see one, you see the other. You honor one, you honor the other. You reject one, you reject the other. And according to the apostle Paul, “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

It is Jesus Christ who created all things, it is He who said, “Let there be light and there was light.” It is he who, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.

And He is the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:15-18).

Unfortunately, this is where He is denied, we fail to ascribe to Him the honor, the majesty, the sovereignty and glory that is due to Him as the Lord. People make it appear as though just mentioning the name of Jesus and singing praises to Him is all that is required of them. But the truth of the matter is there are protocols, regulations and a prescribed manner by which one can have fellowship with Jesus Christ and consequently with the Father also, since when one is honored the other is also honored.

The apostle John gave us an insight on how this protocol goes, he wrote, “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. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1John 1:5-10).

An important thing to note is that the same protocol that is required to have fellowship with the Father and the Son is the same that is required to have fellowship with one another, as verified again by the apostle John who wrote: “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1John 1:3).

Now since Christian fellowship is with the Father and the Son, one should not approach it haphazardly, or without due reverence, for this is what the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).

So these are two typical examples of why there are so many conflicting ideologies in the Christian religion, but to have a deeper understanding and a better insight of why are there so many conflicting religions one has to begin from the very inception of man’s existence.

Conflicting Religions

I often asked the question why should there be so many religious denominations, with so many divergent and conflicting ideologies! Causing so much confusion in the body of Christ when there is in fact only One true God, One Lord Jesus Christ the only Mediator between God and man, who by no means the author of confusion, but to the contrary One of peace?

Bearing in mind also that there is only one truth, one faith, one way to the Father for which believers have been admonished saying, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).

The root cause of this dilemma is straight forward and quite simple. There is only one faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, but ungodly men have done the following causing the majority of those who professed to believe in Jesus Christ to follow them. They have:-

1. Turned the grace of God into lasciviousness

This means that they have taken the grace of God which is His unmerited favor, His forgiving mercy, His gifts and talents, eternal life etc. things mankind could not have attained on their own, and turned this around taking it as a license to gratify the lust of the flesh.
For example, these ungodly men are misleading themselves and others in believing that they are not subject to the law. But let us allow the scriptures to clarify this sensitive issue. The scriptures for example state the following:-
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14)
What does that mean! Does this mean that one can continue sinning? Or in other words continue transgressing the law of God, since we are not under law but under grace?

The answer to this question is simply this, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15)

Being dead to sin is figurative to, not allowing sin to reign in our mortal body, that we should obey it in its lusts, and that we should not present the members of our body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, which is the transgression of the law.

Another important question one should ask is why are we not under law? The answer to this question is thoroughly explained by the apostle Paul`s letter to Timothy which reads, “knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust” (1Timothy 1:9-11).

Therefore, those who are not under the law are those who are already living within the confines of the law, and so the law is not made for the righteous because he/she is already practicing righteousness, as it is written. “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins (transgressing the law of God) 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” (1John 3:7-8).

Yes, we know that, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, but it is by the law one can know what sin is, as clearly stated by the apostle Paul who wrote; “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet” (Romans 7:7).

Therefore, the big question is, do we then make void the law through faith? The answer is: Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. The irony of truth is, the source of our salvation, our calling, our faith, our justification, our forgiveness and our consolation is from the grace of God, and therefore, if it is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! The truth of the matter is, having been set free from sin, by removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh, by having the laws of God placed in our mind and written on our hearts, by transforming the natural carnal mind which is enmity against God and not subject to the law of God neither can it ever be, and replacing it with a spiritual mind which now understands the things of the Spirit, we now become slaves of righteousness.

This is one of the main reasons why there are so many divisions in the body of Christ: Ungodly men turning the grace of God into a license to disobey the laws of God in order to gratify the flesh.
Copyright © 2017 by Lucius Joseph
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