By; William Frederick
To be spiritually prepared for the Lord’s return, after making sure that you are a Christian, one also needs to make sure that they are living a righteous life. That is that one is living a life that is without offence toward God and man. There are serious consequences for the believer who is not living in obedience to our Lord’s commands.
“For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (I Cor 11:30-32)
These verses suggest that the disobedient Christian will be subject to problems, sickness, and even death for their disobedience. A Christian would certainly not want to be in a disobedient state when the Lord returns. How does one live righteous? Well righteousness is summed up in just 2 commandments.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40).
Thus the two most important things for a Christian to do is to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself. This is the definition of righteous living. How does a Christian love God? Jesus answered that question succinctly. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15) “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (Jn 14:21). So Jesus told us the way that we love God is to keep the commandments. There is a group of Christians that say to make a list of items that you should obey in the Christian life is legalism. No, to not have a list of things a Christian should obey is licentiousness. Legalism is when you say that one must obey a list of “dos and don’ts” for salvation. To have a list of dos and don’ts from the Bible in order to show love to God is godly living. Those who say the Christian is free or at liberty to do as they wish are not free but are enslaving themselves to sin at the dictates of their misguided imaginations and fleshly desires. If someone is legalistic in saying “that in order to love God you must keep the commandments” then Jesus was legalistic when he said, “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” We know that this was not the case therefore it is not legalistic to keep the commandments for the purpose of trying to love God. The very first thing one needs to obey the Lord in after becoming a Christian is to be scripturally baptized. The Christian is commanded to be baptized immediately after salvation, and there are many examples of this happening in scripture.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt 28:19). “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48). “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:37,38).
After obeying the Lord in believer’s baptism, and in many cases goes along with being baptized, is that one should find a Bible believing, Bible preaching church. Unfortunately there are many churches that do not adhere to the Bible in belief and practice. These churches should be avoided. In my experience a good barometer of a church is their doctrine of salvation, the version of the Bible they use, their music standards, and their emphasis on evangelism. From what I have found the most Biblically accurate churches believe in salvation by grace through faith, as outlined above, use the KJV version of the Bible, have conservative music standards, and participate in evangelistic outreaches to the community on a regular basis. In my experience Independent Fundamental churches are usually a good choice. Once a good church is found one should attend regularly. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb 10:25). I have never met a successful Christian that did not go to church on a regular basis. In regards to a Christian’s personal relationship with God as much prayer, Bible reading, meditation on God’s Word, and fasting should be practiced as possible. Those practices are what keep us close to God and enable us to gain strength from Him. Here are some verses that bring these facts to light.
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thes 5:17) “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Jos 1:8). “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” (Mt 9:15).
Besides putting God first in our life by spending time with Him in prayer, Bible reading, and fasting the Christian also needs to give God His proper place in his finances. In regards to finances God wants a Christian to at least tithe. Tithing is the practice of giving 10% of your increase to God. If a Christian does not tithe then he is stealing from God.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. 12. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-12)
Many Christians do not give God His proper place in their finances and thus suffer the devourer reaping havoc on their finances. Some Christians spend more on their pets in a year than they give to God. And now some of you will say that tithing is from the Old Testament law, and the Christian is not responsible to keep the law, therefore Christians do not have to tithe. It is true that tithing was first introduced in the Old Testament but we must remember that there is a ceremonial part of the law, a judicial part of the law, and a moral part of the law. The moral part of the law is valid for all time. The moral law involves any commands that affect one’s moral relationship with God or man. If something was morally wrong during the law it was morally wrong before and after the law also. For example lying was morally wrong before the law, during the law, and is still wrong today. Tithing is part of the moral law and thus is still valid for Christians today. Jesus Himself even reaffirmed this “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Mt 23:23). We must also take into account that tithing first came about before the law was introduced when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. Unfortunately many Christians justify grievous sins by saying; “we are under grace.” That is true for salvation, but God does have a moral code that He wants His children to follow, not to earn salvation, but to live a life pleasing to Him and to receive His blessings. The Christian should desire to live a life pleasing to God in thankfulness for the free gift of salvation that God has given us, not as a license to sin. “Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Gal 5:13b)
In regards to a Christian’s outward relation to his fellow man, a Christian is to love others. As the golden rule states; “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mt 19:19). That basically means that you should treat people as you want to be treated. What does that specifically involve? A good starting place to love others would be to observe the Ten Commandments. Most all the other commandments in scripture are based upon them.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 13. Thou shalt not kill. 14. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15. Thou shalt not steal. 16. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
The Ten Commandments give us a good starting place for loving others. God, in Galatians 5 also gives us some specific details of what loving God and your neighbor as yourself entails.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20. Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21. Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul above is saying that in order to love God and your neighbor as yourself one must walk in the Spirit and if one walks in the Spirit he will not carry out the desires of the flesh. He then lists things of the flesh that a Christian should not partake of. The list is pretty extensive and covers just about all the sins that our society is involved in. Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, refers to the many sexual perversions that many are involved in such as pornography, masturbation, sex outside of marriage between a man and woman, etc. These sins are extremely grievous to the Lord and the Christian needs to flee from these things. Many TV shows and movies glorify sexual perversions and sins and the Christian should not view any of these either. “Be not deceived evil company corrupts good morals.” A sin related to the above sexual sins and can be a cause of some of them is immodest dress. Many women and some men seem to be infatuated with trying to dress in such a way as to sinfully attract the opposite sex. When someone dresses immodestly they defraud other people. To defraud another in this way means to stir up unholy desires in another that cannot be righteously fulfilled. Scripture speaks specifically to this sin. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” (I Tim 2:9). “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.” (Mk 10:19). I am shocked at how many Christian adults dress immodestly and or allow their children to dress immodestly. Those who dress immodestly and allow their children to do the same will reap the consequences of such foolish and immoral behavior.
The scriptures are clear; sexual perversions are sinful and will bring damage to one’s self. “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” (I Cor 6:18) God intended for sexual relations to be kept inside of the bounds of marriage between a man and woman.
The next sin in Paul’s list is idolatry. Most Christians are not tempted with out and out idolatry, though I have seen Christians possessing idols as “artwork,” which is a sin. Scripture makes it clear that God wants all idols to be destroyed, not kept as artwork. For when someone has an evil item such as an idol or a ouija board, etc. in their possession they in effect give satan permission to reap havoc and destruction in their life. Idolatry is not only the outward worship of another God but also includes putting anything in God’s rightful place. If the Christian puts anything before God then that becomes an idol. God and our relationship with Him should be our number one priority in life. Nothing should come before Him. We are to love the Lord with all our heart mind and soul.
The next sin listed in the Galatians passage is witchcraft. Witchcraft is very prevalent in our society. There are some blatant forms of witchcraft in our society that are practiced by satanic cults and churches. Some witchcraft is disguised as fun things to do, such as games like dungeons and dragons, ouija boards, horoscopes, etc. Many adults, and sadly enough children, are unknowingly indoctrinated into aspects of the occult without even realizing it. A recent example of this would be the Harry Potter obsession. The Harry Potter books and movies are pure witchcraft and have introduced many unsuspecting children into the arena of the occult and the devil. Unfortunately many Christians have endorsed these books and movies as being acceptable “fun fantasy” for Christians to partake of. They are being deceived by the devil and great harm is being done to many a young Christian. Here is what a former Satanist, who is now a pastor, has to say about these books;
“…Materials such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and other such educational presentations in witchcraft have overtaken not only the minds of the masses of people, but have also captivated the very churches that should be opposing them…. We can see that these spineless religious leaders are perpetuating witchcraft and are destroying many young lives by refusing to take a stand against it. I can tell you that as a former witch, the Harry potter material does teach the principles of witchcraft, and the first principles taught to a neophyte or beginner witch are that there is a continual contest between good and evil, that there is good witchcraft and bad witchcraft, and that there is white magic and black magic. Furthermore, all witchcraft is of the devil even though witches claim that they do not believe in the devil…. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is likewise an instructional series in witchcraft…. These movies are always released at the time of the witches’ sabat of Yule. (12/19/01, 12/18/02, and 12/17/03). President Bush wears an exact replica of the magic ring from the Lord of the Rings trilogy…. The Elvish runes (on the ring the president wears) are interpreted as follows: ‘One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in darkness bind them.’”
Notice that the quoted author also considers Tolkien’s books to be an instructional series in witchcraft. Unfortunately the Lord of the Rings trilogy in both the movie and book form are also very popular and have been embraced by pagans and Christians alike. I have found several occult bookstores that recommend the Lord of the Rings series as great literature. That’s enough to tell me that it is wrong. Here is a description of a book set to accompany the Lord of the rings trilogy it strongly shows the occult connection within the Lord of the rings.
“From the Publisher Officially licensed by Tolkien Enterprises, Inc! Middle Earth lives inside each of us--and it can help us access the future! Based on J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved trilogy of wizardry and enchantment, this entirely new divination system uses a runic ring just like the one Sauron forged. Cast it upon a map of Middle Earth, and use the richly illustrated guidebook and 40 tarot-like cards to interpret the answers to your questions. Packaged in a stunningly beautiful slipcase that looks like a book, it contains all the magical elements you need: the ring, map, book, and cards.”
Another strong satanic influence in our country is Halloween. Halloween is a satanic festival. It is the pagan’s highest “holy day” of the year. It is a day when a black mass is performed that includes many satanic rites and animal and human sacrifices. They do this for the purpose of invoking satan’s power, which is strongly manifested on that day. No Christian should participate in any way in a religious festival of another religion, let alone a satanic one.
Another very strong occult influence on our society is music with a heavy beat. This type of music would come under the general heading of rock or rap music. There is much evidence to show that rock music in any form, Christian or secular is satanic. See addendum 2 entitled “Rock Music; Wolf or Sheep?” at the end of this book for a fuller explanation on that subject. The evidence presented in that article clearly shows that satan uses music with a heavy beat to control and or influence people for evil and to destroy their lives.
Whether it is rock music, horror books and films, UFO’s, Horoscopes, Ouija boards, or satanic fantasy games and books Christians need to stay far away from these things. For when someone has an occult item in their possession or is participating in an occult practice they in effect give permission to satan to control, influence, and or harm them. Unfortunately this is why many Christians are depressed, sick, unable to overcome temptation, and even have died. “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (I Cor 11:30).
Another group of sins listed in the Galatians passage above talk of the proper relationships with others; “hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions.” God wants us to get along; He desires that the world would live in peace. He wants us to show love toward our fellow human beings. He wants us to treat others, as we want to be treated. The hatred of many in the world seems to be growing steadily and at times escalates to feverish pitches. Unfortunately many Christians are involved in arguing, complaining, verbal attacks, bickering, and most of the time it is over very trivial matters. Many times Christians expect others to be perfect and when they are not many Christians will over react in some childish manner. Many people have left good churches because of the stupidest reasons; like the pastor forgot to shake their hand, or the church didn’t pick the color carpet that they wanted, etc. All of this bickering, fighting, and discontent among Christians needs to stop. These sins grieve the Lord; we need to get along with each other. We need to encourage each other; we need to build each other up.
Our society in general is characterized by much violence, which also grieves the Lord. The court system is clogged with cases of violence of all kinds that people have committed against each other. Such was also the case in Noah’s day; there was much violence on the earth, and that is one of the reasons why God destroyed them. God hates violence, fighting, murders, and the like. The Christian need not be involved in any of this. There is much violence that is being promoted in our society via TV, movies, and video games. Scientific studies have shown that the watching of violence and or playing violent video games causes one to be more violent. I am amazed at how many Christian parents allow their children to be exposed to violence and then they wonder why these children are depressed and or are rebellious and commit violent acts. Violence is characteristic of a hedonistic lifestyle and should not be a part of the Christian’s life. God does sanction certain forms of violence such as the execution of murderers, police actions, wars, etc. Thus the above discussion does not negate the validity of those acts.
The next sin listed is “heresies.” I am amazed at how many different so-called “Christian” religious organizations there are. Many of these are in clear disagreement to what the Bible teaches. One example would be the many churches that have women pastors. The scriptures are very clear on the forbidding of women pastors. Yet many churches have chosen to disobey the clear commands of the Bible. This truly grieves the Lord’s heart. Why anyone would want to attend a church that is in clear disobedience to the word of God is beyond me. The Bible is our only standard for doctrine. The Bible needs to be the supreme authority in matters of the church, not pragmatism, tradition, or experience. Find a church that preaches, teaches, and follows the Bible and the Bible alone and you have found a good church. Churches and religious organizations that stray from the Bible should be avoided as heretical.
The next sin listed is “envying.” This is the sin of coveting after “things.” America is consumed with coveting after and getting “things.” Much of what people strive and live for is to attain things for the mere purpose of impressing others. They see something and they are consumed with getting it to the point where they forsake family, friends, morals, and God to obtain it. Some obtain these things and live far above their means through the misuse of credit. As long as they make the minimum monthly payments they are happy. This is a very foolish financial practice that will one day come back to hurt them. These pursuits are all empty and Christians should not waste their time in such frivolous empty pursuits. The accumulation of “things” is what some people base their self worth and happiness on but in the end it has no eternal value. The Christian should take heed to the words of Jesus and live for eternity and seek to obtain true riches that will last forever.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mt 6:19-21)
The next sin on the list is “murdering”. Surely a Christian would not be involved in murdering. Yet unfortunately some Christians have murdered. They have committed this sin through the grave sin of abortion. Shockingly enough some Christians have bought into the liberal agenda that an unborn baby is not a person until it is born. This is far from the truth, God considers an unborn baby to be a person from conception. Here is a scripture passage that tells us how God feels about babies still in the womb.
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (Ps 139:13-17)
This language in this passage clearly shows that God considers an unborn baby to be a person. Shame on the Christian parents who coerce their teenage daughters into getting abortions to prevent embarrassment. Shame on the Christian young people who do not want to be inconvenienced by birthing a child and kill it instead. Abortion is a great wickedness and grievous sin against the Lord. Severe judgement will fall upon any who participate in the murder of innocent children. It baffles me to hear young people say that it would be too hard to birth a baby and then give it up for adoption, so they choose to murder it so they will not have to put up with the anguish of giving it away. So in effect they are saying that I would rather murder my child than suffer having emotional grief at having to give it away to someone else to raise. That is the ultimate act of selfishness. And they are deceived if they think that it will hurt more to give up their baby than to murder it. In actuality they will suffer far worse emotionally for killing their baby then they would if they gave it up. It is a selfish mother who thinks of herself before her child. This sin grieves God’s heart terribly.
The next sins on the list are “drunkenness and revellings.” Drunkenness would be defined as the result when someone allows himself or herself to come under the influence of alcohol or some other controlling substance. I am sure we have all witnessed the change in behavior of someone under the influence of alcohol. People usually experience mood changes, a loss of physical coordination and control, and a loss of inhibitions. Thus when people come under the influence of alcohol they say and do things that they normally would not do. Many times because of this the person will sin more frequently and or commit sins that they in their right mind would never do. Many millions of people have fallen victim to drunkenness, from DUI accidents, to spouse and child abuse, to loss of jobs, and poor health, and even death. Many families have reaped the terrible results of this abuse. Let the Christian never be accused of this terrible sin of drunkenness. And I will further say let not the Christian even drink any amount of alcohol. For the scriptures not only say that it is wrong to get drunk but it also says that it is wrong to even drink it. Scripture even goes farther and calls the substance itself evil. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Prov 20:1) Notice God calls wine itself a mocker. In the next passage, which pretty much gives a summary of what alcohol will do to a person, God says that you should not even look at it.
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30. They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”
So if we are not even suppose to look upon it how can we say it is permissible to drink? Do not be deceived in thinking that Jesus turned water into alcoholic wine in the infamous wedding at Cana. He did not; he turned it into non-alcoholic wine, which is commonly known as grape juice. The Greek word oinos, which was used in the wedding of Cana passage, can mean either alcoholic or non-alcoholic juice from grapes. So how do we know that Jesus turned water into grape juice? Because: if He had turned it into wine with alcohol then He would have been violating His own scriptures which forbid drunkenness and the substance itself. And furthermore He would have been violating the scripture that states that God places a curse upon one who gives someone alcohol “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!” (Hab 2:15). The admonition concerning drunkenness that we have just talked about would also apply to any substance that can control someone such as illegal drugs, and cigarettes.
I would like to bring another passage to light that concerns the manner in which a Christian is to conduct themselves in relation to governing authorities.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Rom 13:1-7)
The above passage makes it clear that the Christian is to obey the government. From paying taxes to obeying the speed limit, the Christian should live in submission to the governing authorities. Right now in the United States we have many freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. There may come a day when the Constitution is suspended or done away with. If that happens our freedoms that we enjoy as Americans may be invoked through the process of martial law being declared in America. Under martial law it is theorized that authorities will call for guns, food stores, and cash to be turned in and travel will be limited. Soldiers will become the enforcers. If condition ever transpires what should a Christian do? Should a Christian obey the government and turn in the weapons, food, and cash that they have saved up? Or should a Christian adhere to the constitutional guarantees and hold onto their possessions? The only time a Christian is permitted to disobey the governing authorities is when the government tells you to do something that is contrary to scripture. For instance, if the government said that you could not pray or read the Bible then of course the Christian would be under no obligation to obey those laws. But as long as what the government tells you to do is not against scripture then you are to obey them. The Jews had been attacked and their country was under Roman occupation their rule and laws had been suspended and Jesus instructed them to obey the governing authorities and pay taxes. I believe it would do us well to remember the words of our Lord concerning those who do evil against us.
“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Mt 26:52)
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:38-48)
We have listed several categories of sin that many in our nation have embraced. The Christian need not be involved in any of the above listed sins. Not for the purpose of earning salvation but because God has saved us from our sins and we out of love for the Lord should want to glorify Him by abstaining from sin and living a Godly life. Let us not use our liberty in Christ as a license to sin. Paul gives us a strong admonition if we continue in sin.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10. Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
The way to love the Lord and love people is by obeying the commands in the Bible and living a righteous life. Living a righteous life fulfills the law as stated in Romans 13: 8-10.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Dear Christian as we see the Day of the Lord approaching let us sincerely examine ourselves before the Lord with a humble and contrite heart to make sure that we are in the faith and that we are living a life that is pleasing to Him.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (II Pet 3:10-12)
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rom 13:11-14)
Let us all strive to hear the words “well done thou good and faithful servant enter into the joy of thy master.” Do not try to claim that you love the Lord if you do not obey His commandments. Jesus said; “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” (Jn 14:24) In regards to this matter the apostle John said
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” (I Jn 2:3-7)
An Epiphany will come to all!
Have you had yours?