1 John – Testing to Know – Test 6 Part B

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test #6 Becoming an Anti-Christ – Continued

oneanother.jpgIn our last post, I settled on the topic of church life through a computer monitor, and how this may be a trap.  In the post, I challenged the reader to fulfill the “one another” commands, while attending a virtual church meeting that is becoming so acceptable in this society.

As I researched this list, it shocked me as to the volume of verses that contain the phrase “one another”  This list does not contain passages that define brotherly love other than with the term “one another”  This list only includes that one specific term.

Although lengthy, take your time and consider the consistency of this command throughout the New Testament.

Romans 12:10
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:16
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Romans 14:13
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Romans 15:5
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15:14
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Romans 16:16
Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 7:5
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another–

1 Corinthians 12:25
that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20
All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:12
Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:19
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Ephesians 5:21
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

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

Colossians 3:13
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12
and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,

1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

1 Thessalonians 4:18
Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:15
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

2 Thessalonians 1:3
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

Hebrews 3:13
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Hebrews 10:25
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 1:22
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9
Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

1 Peter 5:5
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

1 Peter 5:14
Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

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 cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 John 3:23
And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5
And now I ask you, dear lady–not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning–that we love one another.

Enjoy fellowship with the saints.  Love one another.  Turn the one eyed bandit off!  Be with the saints!

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 6 Part A

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test #6 Becoming an Anti-Christ

1 John 2:18 – 19
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Wow – When I first read this verse, I couldn’t understand it.  Why wasn’t antichrist capitalized?  And why is John saying that there are many antichrists?  And that antichrists have already arrived in the first century?

Didn’t he know the Bible taught of the one coming Anti-Christ who would rule the world, work with Satan and have a false prophet as a side kick?

Let’s consider what the Bible says about  antichrist.  As a matter of fact, lets consider what 1st and 2nd John says about the antichrist, since this topic is restricted to these two books.

Four verses in all the Bible speak of antichrist.  Let’s see what they can teach us.

1 John 2:18
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

This verse, which we are currently looking at, simply defines the occurrence and timing of the coming of antichrist.

  • They are coming.
  • They are present, that is, in the first century at the time of John’s writing.
  • And they signify it is the last hour.

1 John 2:22
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

This verse actually gives us a definition of antichrist.  A deceiver and denier of both the Father and the Son

1 John 4:3
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

A bit more definition of antichrist – one that does not confess Jesus (as Lord).  Also that there is a spirit associated with antichrist.

2 John 1:7
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

John’s second epistle describes antichrist as a deceiver and denier of the humanity of Christ.  This is 1 John 2:22 retold!

So, as a test for believers, 1 & 2 John is instructive regarding antichrist.  Defining antichrist gives guidance for believers.

Our particular set of verses in 1 John 2:18-19 speak of consistency of faith.  Perseverance in following the Jesus described in the Bible, who has been raised from the dead, ascended bodily into heaven, and reigning from above.

In summary, these verses speak of antichrist not continuing with the family of God. This verse is often called upon to defend an Augustinian theology, but that is not my goal with this blog.  I would like to be practical for once.

love-one-another.jpg

A living faith in the Son and the Father requires a living relationship with His people.  Continue with His people, or it may appear that in pulling away from a fellowship of believers, the actions of antichrist are being replicated.

Dear reader, do not fall for the teaching that is popular nowadays, that church can be virtual, that Christianity can be lived through a monitor.  A monitor does not have a beating heart for God, a sense of belonging with one another.  The television monitor becomes a barrier in fulfilling these exhortations.  The family of God is a one another community.  We need each other.

I will publish a list on “one another” commands found within the New Testament in our next installment.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 5 Part B

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test #5 – Don’t Love the World – Continued

In our last post we considered John’s teaching of loving the world, what it meant and our responsibility to not do it.  In this post, lets consider the second portion of the verse, not loving the things in the world!  Let’s read the passage once more, prior to digging in.

1 John 2:15 – 17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Things in the World

Initially, when I read this phrase, I automatically think of my Prius. Or my computer.  Or my phancy phone.

You know, material “things” of the world.  But as I read the 16th verse, it doesn’t say … all that is of the world…

John declares that three things are in the world, that is according to verse 15, which believers are not to love.

Those three things are as follows

  • the lust of the flesh
  • the lust of the eyes
  • the pride of life

prius - small.jpg

Now of course I could see that my racing Prius appeals to my lust of the flesh.  (What?)

But buying a Prius doesn’t mean I have loved a thing of the world, unless it was purchased to consume upon my own desires (lusts) and pride.

By the way, the stripes were a gift from my awesome daughter, but that is another story!  You can read of it at the post Let Me Tell You a Story – A Racing Prius

What is my point?

The things of the world are not to be relegated to material things.  The things of the world are those characteristics, attributes, desires and traits that pull us away from the Father and His Messiah.   A Prius, on it’s own, can not pull me away from the Father!  But watch out – if it appeals to the lust of my eyes, then yes I have a problem.

77's pride of lifeThese three “things” of the world make us seek independence from God (pride of life), drives us to satisfy sexual desires outside the confines of a loving marital relationship (lust of the flesh), and propels us to accumulate possessions, power or people (lust of the eyes).

I freely admit my struggle with succumbing to loving my lust and pride, but I can honestly tell you that owning a racing Prius isn’t the result obeying the lust of my eyes!

Where is your struggle?  The desires of the believer are addressed here and the message is that we can decide on what our desires are to be.

Feelings follow faith.  A life of seeking the will of God (even when desire may be weak to non existent) will produce long term desire for the will of God to be realized.

Seek the will of God.  It’s got a brighter future!

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 5 Part A

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test #5 – Don’t Love the World

1 John 2:15 – 17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Ok – John brings to our attention two topics that believers are not to love!  This has always been a confusing set of verses for me, especially since a brother once compared John 3:16 with them

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Same Greek word used in both sets of verses.  We are told not to love the world, and yet God so loved the world.
This is difficult!
Or is it?
The Greek word is kosmos and has the following definitions (BLB Strongs Dictionary)
  • an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government

  • ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3

  • the world, the universe

  • the circle of the earth, the earth

  • the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family

  • the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

  • world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly, the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

  • any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort                                            the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)

kosmos.pngThe World
Kosmos is used to describe multiple ideas, ranging from the commonly thought of “world” as in the universe, or the physical earth, all the way to describing an arrangement or order.
Within this varied word usage, as in John 3:16, kosmos describes the totality of lost humanity, those for whom Christ died.
1 John 2:15 depends on an alternate available meaning, that is, the order or system of the world. This is what I call the “ways of the world”.
We all would recognize it when this “system” is used against us.  When a lie is uttered to defame our reputation, we realize someone is using deceit (a “way of the world”) to attain power over us (a goal of those using the ways of the world).
When a boast is made to puff us up, we can (and should) recognize this is a method used to influence us for someone else’s priorities.
When an advertiser uses a scantily clad woman to entice us to buy 12 widgets, we need to recognize this “way of the world” is depending on our fallen nature to lure us into providing funds for their bottom line.
These “ways of the world” are systems that we must not depend on, and need to recognize as being temporary, fleeting and trending to destruction.
And if you love this system, the love of the Father is not in you.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 4

that-you-may-know.jpg

 

Test #4 Loving my Brother

1 John 2:9 – 11
Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

In the last post, we dealt with three concepts that John addresses in this epistle.  Justice, love and faithfulness.

John starts out with the believers claim of abiding in the light and yet hating his brother.  It is, John warns us, a false claim.  Hating a brother in antithetical to Christian life.  Golly, the Master has told us to love our enemies.  Love, in its proper understanding is the very heart of God, and is to be the heart of the believer.

But lets consider this issue of stumbling.  If we love our Brother, there is no cause for stumbling.  I assume John is saying that hating my brother is the cause of stumbling, at least in this context.

Quite a while ago, I came over another verse that made a similar claim.

Psalm 119:165

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Let’s consider what it means “to stumble”.  John uses the greek term σκάνδαλον skandalon when he speaks of stumbing in this verse.

The term refers to a trap or a snare, an impediment to cause tripping.  Occasionally the term refers to the Master Himself, in relation to those who were blind and unwilling to repent.

Life is full of these traps, and by the deception of the enemy, these traps may appear to be justifiable in the believers thinking.

Let me give you an example.

A neighbor once became antagonistic to our family, and his hatred centered on my sweet little wifey.  He drug us into court over crazy claims and personally sought to intimidate us.  This went on for a number of years and we had friends that counselled us to retaliate in one way or the other.

Thinking without the guidance of the Word, we could have retaliated justly in our thinking.  He started it.  He was the one who spread lies about us, and the neighbors we were close to.  He deserved to be opposed!

david-spares-sauls-lifeIt just so happened (providentially don’t you know) that we were reading through the story of David and Saul, and how David would not retaliate on Saul.  Vengeance is mine saith the Lord, was a phrase that kept coming up.  Love your enemy.

Can I say we never fell into a hatred of our neighbor.  Not!  Absolutely I was weak.   But as the Lord supplied strength, we came out of this period seeing the Lord deliver us from this neighbor, and heard many stories of His justice being enacted on this poor man.

But I want to confess something.

Our effort to love this neighbor during this time was a bit weak.  We didn’t retaliate in any way, other than sometimes slipping into vile gossip, but we were not very proactive either.  Being friendly when seeing him on the sidewalk, offering a meal or giving a gift (like a big ol apple pie?) may have been a good start.

Let us not think that the demands of the Master are of no impact on our lives.  I often considered the offer of grace to be a relief from the burden of the ten commandments.  In some ways, the burden is greater, since the requirement is to obey the spirit of the law and not simply the letter of the law.  With the same breath, I also want to remind us to learn of Him.

Matthew 11:29 – 30

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

He is the One to look to for all things.  Help me O Lord in making Your will my focus.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 3

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test #3 Keeping His Commandments

1 John 2:3 – 5
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:

This is the test that caught my attention when I was studying for the “Commandments for Christians” posts.

The issue in this verse is the identification of the commandments being referred to .  Is this referring to the Ten Commandments?

Yes and no.  My understanding of the new covenant that Jesus initiated for believers in the upper room, and sealed with His death and resurrection, is that He has authority over all.  He has authority over the prophets, the law giver (Moses), the interpretation of the Old Testament, the moral standards for the believer, the interpretation of the Old Testament, the …..

Get my point?  He is Lord.  And by sitting in this position, He has elevated the commandments to a much higher level, and the proper understanding and application of them in the believers life is the challenge for us.

So Carl, what is John defining when he refers to commandments in this book?

Three overarching topics rise to the surface in this study.

Truth (Righteousness)

A believer is responsible for seeking the truth and acting on it.  I have published a series “Judge Judge Judge” in the past, looking at the teaching of righteousness / justice. The reader may want to take a few moments to review.

The Master wants His people to live in the truth and make life decisions based on the truth.  This is critical and we will find this thread of thought throughout this letter from John.

Love (Mercy & Grace)

When I read this epistle, the command to  love is everywhere.  Love the brethren, love the Father, love the Son, love the lost.

Oooops – Does John bring this last topic up?

This epistle is all about family.  Although the command to evangelize runs through the New Testament, John’s purpose in this epistle is to define the status of the believer based on a number of tests.  Some may find evangelism when John refers to loving the brethren, and that may be true.  I am not convinced.  It is a minor point, since love is to permeate every aspect of our lives.  We cannot love God and not love the lost.  This is a natural outgrowth of living in the light.

As we venture through this letter, we will find that loving God is to be an all consuming motivation for the believer.

Faithfulness 

The third point that I find in this letter is faithfulness to the Father and the Son.  Denial of the Son is the lynch pin of Christianity.  I am looking forward to studying this topic most.

As I surveyed over the epistle, and the test’s John supplies, it became evident that this list looked familiar.  I think the Master supplied a similar list when confronting the Scribes in Matthew 23:23

Matthew 23:23

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

The Word is consistent, and John is delivering this truth to his brothers and sisters in a manner that suits their needs.

As I have been in this fascinating book, it has definitely challenged me, clearing out some wrong thinking, and realigning priorities to live by.  I hope, as my readers follow along, you will also find a challenge to follow Him closer, and to enjoy His loving nature in your life.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 2 Part C

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test # 2 – Relationship with Sin – Continued

In our last post we considered verse 9 under the topic of our relationship with sin.  Let’s continue with verse 10.

1 John 1:8 – 10
If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Living in Denial

Take note that this denial is different than the first condition.  The first dealt with a denial of the nature of the believer.  No sin existed in the believer.  The result was the loss of truth experienced in the life of the believer – no small issue!!!

This denial is regarding individual acts of sin in the believers life.  This is the condition I fear I fall into far too often.

I feel a story would be best to illustrate this point.

My wife and I were seeking to witness to Don and his girlfriend and were developing a great relationship with them.  We would get together on Friday nights and play cards, or some board game, and have a hoot of a time.

One night, as the competition rose around the table, I made a critical mistake in laying down a wrong card, losing the game.

foul wordOut came a foul word.  Don had never heard me swear before and he instantly picked up on it!

I denied it.  We argued about it. This is where things fell apart.

I needed to confess this sin in front of them, admitting I did wrong.  But I didn’t – My self righteous attitude clung to a lie, and because of that, I lost an opportunity to share the Master with Don. If I had confessed immediately, I could have shared of the mercy of God in providing this solution, but I preferred to defend my hypocrisy instead of exalt my Master.  What is wrong with me?

We remained friends, and I believe I eventually admitted to my sin to Don.  But I learned that my old man was very much alive and kicking, even in the effort to serve our Risen Savior.

Keep short accounts with the Lord.  Do not deny the sin, but seek a humble spirit to always be ready to admit to a sinful act.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 2 Part B

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test # 2 – Relationship with Sin – Continued

In our last post we considered verse 8 under the topic of our relationship with sin.  Let’s continue with one of the first Bible verses a believer memorizes, and see what John can teach us.

1 John 1:8 – 10
If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Living in Confession

Condition

ConfessionIf we confess our sin.  This statement provides a condition of reality.  John mentions a plurality of sins the believer may become entangled in.  It is an act of sin that John transitions to in this verse, as opposed to the state of sinless perfection described above. Given the gracious nature of our God, this willingness to walk in the truth of our fallen condition supplies a remedy to our soul.

But does our confession stir the grace and love of the Father to forgive us?   Lets look to the result of our confession of sin.

Result

The result of our confession of sin is that

“He is faithful and compassionate to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Did I write that verse correctly?  Read it again, since I have corrupted the text with my own thoughts!

Did replacing the word “just” with compassionate make a difference?  Did I write it the way I understood it, or should I read it again?  I hope this caught your attention.  Since I noticed it, it made a difference in my understanding of a walk with the Master.

Our confession of some act of sin to the Father initiates the Father’s justice!

The Greek word “just” in this verse is dikaios, and is defined as righteous, without prejudice or partiality.

So where is the love?

This forgiveness is a result of the New Covenant in the Blood of Jesus, being shed for us, and providing propitiation (satisfaction) to the righteous requirements of the Law.  His blood shed on the cross created a covenant (like a last will of a dying person) that is binding on all participants.

As a participant (or should I say a recipient) of the terms of the New Covenant, God the Father is just (righteous) in providing forgiveness to this ol’ sinner, if I come to Him on His terms.  Humbly, and without pretense, in confessing my sins, He is just in forgiving me.

Does He love me – Of course.  He suffered and died for me when I was an enemy.

But in this context, justice is the reason forgiveness is provided!

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 2 Part A

that-you-may-know.jpg

Test # 2 – Relationship with Sin

1 John 1:8 – 10
If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

John is establishing our relationship the Father and the Son in relation to sin in these verses.  Each of these verses begins with a condition we at times will find ourselves in.  If we live in this condition, John supplies the result of the agreement with the condition supplied

Living in Denial

Let’s start off with verse 8.

Condition

If we say we have no sin.  Notice this is denying the existence of sin in the believers life.  His audience must have understood the sin problem prior to their salvation, since to become a believer, sin must be confessed and repented of.  (Somewhat ironic that they were in a better position as lost souls than they are now!)

John is addressing a group of believers, who after coming to know the righteous Savior, considered themselves to be “practically” righteous.  I say practically, since the Word does describe believers as positionally righteous.  This is not John’s point.  John is speaking to believers who, according to verse 9, are capable of sinning, and will need a relief of this burden.

Result

Self DeceptionOne result comes out of being in this condition.  Self deception.  How dangerous this condition is.   How very dangerous.

This condition’s fulfilled results in the believer existing in a state of falsehood.  A self imposed delusion of being incapable of committing sin.  A sinful state in reality!

No-one other than self is to blame for this darkness of existence.   This is not the result of satanic attacks – it is simply the result of loving your life.

When I have considered my own standing before God, and found it “worthy” of acceptance, I always tend toward pride.  But didn’t the Scriptures state that we are to boast in the Lord Jesus only?

Declaring “no sin” in my life produces a proud heart, dangerously close to declaring an independence from God’s provisions, and creating a state of separation from all others.  Who wants to be around Mr Perfection?

Jesus Himself, the only One who could state this claim of “no sin” and defend the truth of it, described Himself as lowly and humble.  A believer, living in this darkness will justify this bogus claim.

Follow Him who is humble.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 1 Part B

that-you-may-know.jpgTest # 1 – Walking in Light – Continued

In our last post, we considered walking in the light and the natural growth of believers to walk as we look to Him.  In this post, let us consider the blessing accrued as we walk in the light, as He is in the light.

Let’s read our passage again.

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Blessings of Walking in the Light

If we conduct ourselves according to the Light of God that we understand, we experience two blessings according to John.

Blessing One

“The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin”.

I want to discuss this blessing first, since it is so bedrock to our faith!  John is speaking to believers and reminds us of the action of the blood of Christ with our sin problem.

Prone to wanderAs believers, we have been delivered from the life of sin and self, from our looking away from God.  But we all know that we are prone to wander, prone to want those leeks we left behind in Egypt.  Prone to return to our prior lives.  As we recognize these attitudes and actions in our life,  we are to repent, agree with God about our condition to God (confess) and request forgiveness from Him. (See 1 John 1:9)

In this verse, the verb “cleanses” is in the present tense in the Greek, representing a simple statement of fact viewed as occurring in actual time.  His sacrifice was a once for all act of supreme love for us.  The effects of this sacrifice are far reaching.

As we bang around and fall, learning to walk this life in His light, we must understand that His sacrifice for us is an active love that is always reaching out to us, seeking our good.

We do ourselves much damage when we ignore His loving provision.

Blessing Two

“We have fellowship with one another”  John states that as we practice the truth of God, and of His character, we have fellowship with one another.

Is he saying we have fellowship with God or with other believers walking in the light?  It seems obvious that if we are walking in light (truth), we would be in fellowship with the Source and Being of light.  Otherwise, John may be stating that we experience fellowship with others who are walking in the light.

This was an incredible blessing when I first considered it.  We had recently moved to a new town and hadn’t found a church yet.  It seemed we were all alone, and yet this verse instructed me that as I walk in the light, I did have fellowship with others of like mind.

We have fellowship with others.  A state of being, that as I walk properly, will experience that fellowship (or sharing together) with others.  Of course, being associated with a body of believers makes this much more “efficient” but it doesn’t take away from the fact that fellowship with others is based on “Light Living”.

We all know that some churches have folks that are walking in the dark, and some walking in the light.  This verse (and book) defines the difference between the two.  Notice that it is not based on personal likes or denominational distinctions.

Or that God agrees with us.  What do you mean with that remark Carl?

Let me give you an Old Testament example.

josh_5_14_captain_of_the_hostsPrior to entering Canaan, Joshua met “the captain of the Lord’s army”, and as the military man that he was, Joshua demanded whose side He was on.  The Angel simply stated “I am the Captain….”

He wasn’t on the side of the Israelite’s.  We often get this so mixed up.  He is the Lord.  They were to be on His side!  There is a difference!  Check out The Lord’s Enemy  post for a bit of teaching on this surprisingly forgotten concept for some!

He is the Lord and His people have fellowship with one another as they walk in His light.

John will describe that light throughout the remaining chapters of the book.  I hope you can walk with me through these truths and come out of them with renewed vigor to follow Him in His light.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post.  Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Test 1 Part A

that-you-may-know.jpg

John provides our first test immediately after he gives his message, after he gives witness of who he has fellowship with, and reminds us that God is light.

Test # 1 – Walking in Light

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Light and darkness are two environments, two states, two authorities that we may live within.

As John gives us these tests, it is good to remember that his audience was first century, and it was common to speak of daily life as “walking”.

As believers, our lives are to be lived for God, and John (along with all the NT authors) spoke of walking when they refer to our living our lives. To walk is to live.

Walking entails a number of elements that may be instructive for us to consider.

A Focus for Walking

In the first century, walking was the primary way of getting from point A to point B. No one left point A without knowing where point B was. My point, in all these points, is that walking had a destination, or a goal in mind. Our lives also are to have a goal.

I recently began a new series titled “Let Me Tell You a Story”, and published a post speaking of walking with purpose. It may be of interest to you – Let Me Tell You a Story – Plowing.

A Manner of Walking

Prior to becoming a believer at 21, my life was a filled with confusion, and fear. Out of that fear, came an existence of drunkenness and drug abuse. I will forever be thankful for the mercy of the Lord in delivering me from that hell. During those days, I staggered through my existence. Often I would find myself in shameful conditions, or dangerous environments.

A believer is to live upright and circumspectly, understanding truth (light) and conducting themselves accordingly.

Consider yourself a Christian? Where are you at with practicing truth in your life. A little darkness known is darkness still!

Growth in Walking

I’m not sure if I have mentioned before, but I have 6.8 grandchildren, as of this writing. My oldest is 12 and my seventh will be born December 12, 2020.

Baby-Falls-Down-on-Sidewalk-in-Rain

Each of these little miracles will walk through life, and have to learn how to balance their body as they exercise their legs and feet to propel their body forward. It is a gargantuan effort for a little eight month old to stand, and even greater for that ten month child, risking the dangers of falling in order to do what daddy does. So far each grandchild has proven to want to walk like daddy. It seems to be “second nature.”

We have a second nature too, and as we love Him and watch His actions in our lives and the lives of others, we also will want to walk like our Father. The issue we need to address is whether we are watching Him or watching something unimportant.

I trust you will seek to watch the One who is worthy of our gaze.

I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post. Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

1 John – Testing to Know – Introduction

that-you-may-know.jpg

Heard a preacher once say that God tests in order for us to know, whereas we humans teach (supply knowledge) in order to be tested.

Which one of us is backwards???

Tests are supplied for the believer in order to know his status before God. I have come out of a denomination that taught 1 John as describing tests for the purpose of assurance of fellowship. John, I was taught, gave these tests in order for believers to know they were pleasing to God, in fellowship with Him.

It makes a lot of sense.

There are some who would refer to the tests John provides as tests of true or false Christianity. The tests define true Christianity, not whether you are a good or “bad” Christian.

A totally different ballgame here folks.

But what of it?

Is this it a manipulation of the texts in order to enslave believers into a legalism?

Wow Carl – settle down!
Keep a open mind and allow the Word to tell you without jumping to conclusions!

Join me as we go through testings in order to know, in the book of 1 John.

I trust that these tests will challenge you as they have I!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Eternal Security and its Fruit

A fella by the name oEternal Security - 1f George Sodini kept a blog.

I have found a few posts that he published.  These posts are interesting to me since they have a theological leaning.

You see, this man listened to a preacher teaching about eternal security, and the message this man heard allowed him to make some very serious decisions!

December 24th 2008, he states

I should have exit plan done and practiced by then. I know nothing will change, no matter how hard I try or what goals I set.

December 28th 2008, he states

I will shoot for Tuesday, January 6, 2009, at maybe 8:15. I have list of to-do items to make.

December 31st 2008 he states

I hope it doesn’t snow on Tuesday. Just thought of that. The crowd will be thin so I would postpone. —-!

A little later he would write

Be Ye Holy, even as I have been Ye holy! Thus saith the lord thy God!”, as pastor Rick Knapp would proclaim. …. religion is a waste. But this guy teaches (and convinced me) you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven. Ask him.

January 5, 2009

Was at the gym to lift. Very crowded. Tomorrow should be good. …… to be in serious pain so long one thinks it is normal. I cannot wait for tomorrow!

January 6th 2009

It is 6:40pm, about hour and a half to go. God have mercy. I wish life could be better for all and the crazy world can somehow run smoother. I wish I had answers. Bye.

It is 8:45PM I chickened out! —-! I brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!

May 4, 2009

I was so eager to do this last year.

What is it like to be dead? I always think I am forgetting something, that’s one reason I postponed. Similar to when you leave to get in your car to go somewhere – you hesitate with a thought: “what am I forgetting?”. In this case, I cannot make a return trip!

May 5, 2009:

To pull the exit plan off, it popped into my mind to just use some booze.

August 3, 2009

I took off today, Monday, and tomorrow to practice my routine and make sure it is well polished. I need to work out every detail, there is only one shot.

Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.

Also, any of the “Practice Papers” left on my coffee table I used or the notes in my gym bag can be published freely. I will not be embarrassed, because, well, I will be dead.

On August 4th, 2009 George Sodini entered an LA Fitness health club, firing 52 shots into the building, killing 3 women and injuring nine others.  He also took his own life.

This shooting was perpetrated by an imbalanced man, with multiple struggles and personality conflicts.

The referral to seeing God and Jesus, along with the reference to being able to commit mass murder while still being able to go to heaven seems to me to be a warning sign of the eternal security teaching.

Can a sick man take a good teaching and warp it to his own justified benefit?  You bet.

Can this type of teaching also lend itself toWhat does it say allowing for sinful actions to be justified within the believers life?  I think so, and this story seems to indicate this very thing.

Be careful of the teachings you listen to.  Actions are a result of beliefs.  Guard your heart, and follow the truth found in the Scripture, and not from any man.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Paul & James – What a Massive Contradiction!

How in the world does a fella deal with the following obvious contradiction in the New Testament?

ContradictionRomans 3:28

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

James 2:24

24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Extreme Solution

Some may take the stance that James is not worthy to be taken seriously, not even to be considered part of the canon.  I believe Martin Luther, the great reformer, called the book of James “a right strawy epistle”

One of Martin Luther’s quotes …

In a word St. John’s Gospel and his first epistle, St. Paul’s epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that is necessary and salvatory for you to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book or doctrine. Therefore St. James’s epistle is really a right strawy epistle, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it.

I assume the remark was Luther’s attempt to rid the canon of the epistle, and it may hearken back to Paul’s use of straw in the first letter to the Corinthians, where Paul noted that worthless works are “straw…”.

I have always leaned on the thinking that if God the Father sent His Son to die on a cross for the sins of the world, He would have a vested interest in maintaining the message He wants the world to hear.  So far it looks like the epistle of James has weathered 2 millennium of attacks and stands strong.

Another factoid that supports James epistle as worthy of acceptance is the echoing of Jesus teaching within the book.  Check out this table comparing Book of James with statements of Jesus.  Sixty seven verses in the book of James (total of 88 verses) contain allusions to or expound statements of the Lord.  That is 3 out of every 4 verses!

So, if the book of James is to be considered acceptable canon material, how do Christians resolve the apparent contradiction between James and Paul?

I would suggest context plays a role.  Let me explain.

Faith Only

Paul is laying out the method of salvation for all lost men to establish a relationship with God the Father, through God the Son.  It is widely accepted that faith in Christ and repentance of sins are the two components of salvation.  I think Paul is using faith, being understood by his audience, who heard the message of repentance and faith from others. Although the passage refers to faith only, many other passages include the concept of repentance, which Paul plainly taught in other contexts

Acts 17:30

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

Acts 26:20

20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

2 Timothy 2:25

25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

This faith in Romans 3:28 is the noun form of “belief, faith etc.”  It is not the verb in the text.  The action word in the passage is “justified” and the action is performed by God in response to the faith of the sinner.  God justifies the sinner when the sinner exercises faith in the Messiah’s sacrifice and resurrection.

Consider the Old Testament passage the apostle refers to.  Paul mentions Abraham’s faith in the next chapter (5 verses away) and uses Abraham to support his teaching of faith only to be justified.

Rom 4:1-5

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
And to the one who does not work but believes in[fn] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

abraham-isaac

Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Paul is referring to Genesis 15:1-6

Genesis 15:1 – 6

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”

And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member

And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

In the Roman’s 4 passage, Abram’s faith was in the promise God gave to him of his future offspring.  It was Abrams belief in the promise of a son, in the bare Word of God.

Faith & Works

James. on the other hand is not referring to the Genesis 15 promise, but in Abraham’s continuing, fulfilling, outworking of that faith in the sacrificing of the very son God promised to Abraham.  James is referring to Abraham offering up his own son in verse 21.

James 2:21

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?

James says Abraham was justified by works, by some action he took. 
WHAT?

James 2:22 – 23

You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;

and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.

Note that James uses the Genesis 15 passage (the promise of a son) in his teaching, but that the faith initiated in Genesis 15 (the promise of a son) was completed in Genesis 22, where Abraham proved his faith in the promise of God even if the son was to be put to death. 

His actions proved his faith in the promise.  (To God? or to men?)

James is telling us that true faith does not remain only faith.  To begin the Christian life, faith in the Son of God and His sacrifice is required.

To maintain the Christian walk, works will be evident.  If no works, James says there is no faith.

James 2:26

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. 

Summary

I’m thinking Paul is speaking of justification of the sinner in God’s presence, and that James is speaking of justification of the saint in men’s presence.  (James keeps saying – You see….)

There is no contradiction.

When each of us exercise faith in the risen One, challenges will come.  That initial faith, if real, will erupt in obedience to the One who supplied you life.  Not in any vain effort to add to your faith, or to improve your judicial standing before God.  It will be in response to the love and grace of the One you believed in.

How can we not obey, once we have tasted and seen that He is good.


If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post. I look forward to hearing from you.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

 

Conditional Security – Introduction

Conditional Security of Christian Believersif-150x150

SECURITY: the quality or state of being secure: freedom from danger, fear or anxiety

I have been a believer for over 35 years, having been saved at the ripe ol’ age of 21. One of the first teachings I received was the eternal security, “once saved always saved” (OSAS) doctrine. This doctrine teaches that once a person has placed faith in Christ (asked Jesus into his/her heart?), that person is eternally and irrevocably destined to heaven. It was, in my thinking, a contract I signed with God, a business transaction. Please understand, I am in no way reducing the covenantal promise He has provided to all who will trust in Him, but I suppose I question the duration of trust required.

Although I was never explicitly taught that sin could not break the contract I “signed” with God through faith, there was no fear to indulge in some peripheral sin. I was secure – I was going to be just fine! For close to 25 years I belonged to an eternal security denomination. I would only read eternal security books, eternal security pamphlets, and listen to teachers who taught eternal security. Every few sermons seemed to emphasize the eternal security of the believer, sometimes even using certain Scriptures to support the teaching. I vowed to never entertain that heresy of the “dark side”.

I just couldn’t risk the conflict in my mind.

I thought the OSAS logic was air tight. Certain Scriptures seemed to only teach the eternal security position. I would simply avoid the odd “bothersome” passages, (which began to pile up after a while), or find some way to explain the passage away.

It was a very comfortable place to be.

A Loss of Security

Then the church I was (heavily) involved in found sin in us and told us to leave. We were shocked and disoriented.

Just a few days previously, I had lost my job. We were living in a small Texas town with no possibility for work.

The security we found in our local church and our cushy job fell down around us.

I eventually found a position approx. 3 hours away. During my 3 hour commutes Monday morning and Friday afternoon, I began to listen to a Bible teacher who held different views than I. Initially I was drawn to this teacher’s eschatology, since my faith in dispensational teachings was slipping. He is a methodical and thorough Bible teacher who is not afraid to consider alternate viable interpretations of the Scriptural text.

I found him to be very challenging. Only one weakness – he had a “dark” side – he didn’t teach OSAS!

Another Security

As I listened to his teaching on Israel, the church and the end times, I would occasionally catch a reference to his “dark” side teaching and at first easily rebuffed his argument in my mind. That is until the passages became too numerous. It seemed that all I was doing was excusing, avoiding or rearranging Bible passages.

I started to study the passages and other authors from the dark side, until I found a book by Robert Shank, called “Life in the Son”. If you desire to continue in the OSAS camp, do not read this book. The exposition of numerous passages became too much for me.

So what is true security?

So far, I think true security is found in a consistent, direct relationship with the Savior. A desire to please Him and to do as He directs.

Although I have learned much since I began to consider conditional security, two thoughts come to mind.

  • The new covenant is an agreement between two parties.
    • He is faithful in all His activities and promises.
    • I am asking for help to become like Him.
  • If the nation of Israel, God’s covenant nation, was cut off and destroyed, how could I be so proud to think my relationship with the Living God could be ignored and not suffer?

No matter which camp you may fall into, we need to be motivated to please Him in all our ways.

Bible 2000x700As I publish on this blog, I will occasionally write on this topic, based on a Bible passage or topic.  I look forward to all comments and remarks.

I hope you will join me in “Considering the Bible”

2 Timothy 2:19

Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com