Tag Archive for Grace of God

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.

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
All rights reserved

The Reconciling Work of Christ

The Reconciling work of Christ

This is what produces peace with God, gives us access to the Father, and produces unity between Jews and Gentiles, and believers with other believers. The reconciling work of Christ is made possible only through his body as it is written; “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22).

In like manner, the redemptive work of Christ is made possible only through his blood. For God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, (through his blood) the forgiveness of sins.

The reconciling work of Christ is three-fold, and each requires a three way cycle to make it complete, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit complete the Godhead, and the body, soul, and spirit makes man complete, so it is with God’s plan of salvation for man.

The first step towards man’s reconciliation is God the Father drawing man to Christ, as stated quite distinctly by Jesus Christ who said; “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” This was repeated for emphasis when the people did not believe the words which Christ spoke to them, so he said to them again; “This is why I told you that no one can  come to me unless the Father has enabled him” (John 6:44, 65).

The process of drawing people to Christ was made possible by three inseparable links.

  1. Jesus Christ had to be God

Only as God was Christ able to claim and redeemed the lives of every human being. He was the Word who was in the beginning with God, and who himself was God, through whom all things were created, and without him nothing was made that was made. He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. But as God it was impossible for him to die, so the next obvious chain of event had to occur.

  1. The Word who was God, and by whom all things were created, became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Since as God he could not die to pay the penalty of sin in man’s place which is death, he was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, that he by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says; “I will declare you name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me” (Hebrews 2:12-13).

Now since the children whom God has given him have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. And because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

  1. Redemption through his blood

It should be an indisputable fact, that the law requires nearly everything be purified with blood: for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore in order that our sins could be forgiven, it was imperative that Jesus Christ shed his blood. For the life of every creature is in the blood, and God has given it to make atonement for the soul on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. It is through the process of these three inseparable chains of events that God the Father drew man to Christ, like he said; “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:32-33).

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