Murder As Defined By Jesus: Part 1

21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. – Matthew 5:21-26

I love how the righteousness of God goes right down to the heart of an issue. Murder according to Jesus is not just a physical act, but a spiritual act. If we are angry in our heart or speak words of bitterness and resentment, we are on the path of murder and we are in danger of the judgment of God.

As Christians, we are passed from judgement to life through faith in Jesus and this is a good thing because who among us has not behaved murderously in the sight of God?

Though we are passed from judgment to life, as sons of God in the making by the adoption of Jesus Christ, we should expect some chastisement from God if we continue dealing murderously with people.

Is there ever a time for murder as a Christian?

That is a question I have pondered for a while, and here is my understanding of this issue:

Vengeance is God’s and God’s alone. Period, whether we like it or not and whether we understand it or not.

You might say then, what about cases like Ananias and Shapira who lied to the Holy Spirit and were killed or the man who failed to give glory to God and was struck down dead? (See Acts 5 and Acts 12) What about the two witnesses in Revelation 11?

These cases are the vengeance of God brough about by the Holy Spirit—the Word and Sword of God which is as a consuming fire—not the vengeance of man.

If God acts through His church—which is the body of Christ—then it is the Lord’s doing. If we are doing these works it is not us that does it, but the Holy Spirit in us.

If we take it upon ourselves of our own accord, strength, will, and judgment to execute the judgement of God onto another, we are not in the will of God and we are in danger of the judgment ourselves.

There are many out there among the Christian faith who take the judgment of God into their own hands wrongfully. There are many who speak “out of their own heart” and not the heart of God.

Since the Holy Spirit is often a “still, small voice,” it can be easy to do at times, but I know that if we sincerely love the Lord, Jesus and are willing to submit our will to His will, as Jesus submitted His will as the Son to the Father, then He will correct us and bring us into better communion with Him by the Spirit of God in us.

This is one of many reasons why it is not a good idea for any of us to overly rely on another man. As the scriptures say, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” However, it is also true that if something is truly inspired by the Spirit of God, those who are also of the Spirit of God should resonate with what is said.

However, all things as the Father deems in His time. He blinds and deafens and gives sight and hearing as He wills. All things are working together for our good who trust in Him, and if He divides us for a time, it is for our good.

Sometimes brethren divide. Paul and Peter divided. If we must divide, let it be in humility, love, patience, and trusting that God is at work. We must follow our conscience and know “who are we to judge another man’s servant?”

The Spirit will stir us up to do whatever work we are to do for the glory of God and strength of our brethren, and though presently we all “see in part and know in part,” one day we will be united in Him. How wonderful that will be!

So, we seek peace with our brethren. We seek peace with everyone, as much as is possible, without denying the will of Jesus, our Lord. We must do what He calls us to do, even if it does not make sense to us or others. “God is in heaven and I am on earth, therefore let my words be few.”

We should strive to tame our tongue so that our words are few and His are plentiful. That is my hope and desire for the church, because I know that His Words are a much better defense than the strength and violence of Man—a strength and violence that the Word of God condemns.

We serve a God of mercy, patience, and love. We serve a God of Peace. We also serve a God of Justice and a God of War. The King of Kings encompasses many things—and to each His own for His use and glory as the Father deems. However, in some things we should be of one mind. I believe that to rely on the strength of man is folly. Many scriptures attest to this.

Our hearts are deceitful. Our judgment is corrupt. Our justice is folly and our wisdom comes to nothing but sin adding to sin.

Sorry if belaboring this point is grievous, but I do think this is where the focus of my ministry comes to a full—to unite the brethren in Christ under one banner that trusts in Jesus, reveres Him, fears Him, and humbly relies on His strength and not our own so that we might stand with Him in That Day blameless.

There is much to say on this topic, so there will be several parts to this article.

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.

I Would Rather Be Weak in Flesh and Strong in Spirit

Maybe this is the fever that has wracked my mind today talking, or the maybe it’s many weeks without adequate rest, or perhaps it is the heart issue I’ve had since childhood that seems to be taking its toll on my body. Maybe it is the years of mental anguish.

Or, maybe it is heartache to see someone who I love dearly seem to seep into a state of spiritual drunkenness–and if I may be so blatant to say so, few are as dear to me as this person.

Whatever the cause, though my flesh is but weakness, I am bold in Spirit by the power of the Lord to say that it is a shame when we think that our fleshly strength is something to boast about—all the while refusing to be corrected according to the strength of the Spirit.

It is strength to be self-controlled. It takes more strength to tame a tongue than to take a city. It is the fearful who fight as man fights—with brute force. It is the brave who fight as God fights, trusting in Him and His strength—to lay life down and believe in Him to raise it again.

God is for peace, but yet, He sends warring. Violence to those who love violence. Pestilence to those who love pestilence. Famine to those who are for famine. Vengeance to those who love vengeance.

Who are we of? If we want to fight for God, we must control ourselves—and if we cannot—that should be priority. Be weak in flesh and strong in Spirit, and if we refuse, God will handle it. If we are His servants of a truth, and of His Spirit of a truth, He will subdue us so that we are strong in Him.

Jesus told me something a few years ago. He told me that He would “keep me at the Mount of Olives.” I did not know what it meant, but I am starting to know. I was also shown myself laying in a golden circle clumsily using a sword, then a power came over me and it was as if the sword moved on its own, quicker and quicker of its own will and not mine. I then stood up, walked over to my beloved friend who was doing as I was, wielding a sword within a golden circle. I saw a piece of this person’s circle was slightly out of whack, so I pushed it in without them noticing. I then walked away. I told this person of this dream, and I pray they remember.

It is time to walk away, and I pray that we can all be weak in flesh and strong in Spirit, so that we who love Him can be given power to wield the Word of God—which is the Sword of the Spirit of God—in righteousness. There are many forms of strength and many kinds of experience. What God values is foolish to man.

By the grace of God, I have a lifetime of experience that is valuable to those who will receive it and strength in Spirit to use this experience according to the will of the Father and for His glory.

For how long? Who knows? How long until my body cannot take it anymore? How long before the enemy of my soul does me in? It is for God to know and ordain—but make no mistake—I do not perish in fear or weakness—but in strength by He who is Mighty, and whatever comes my way I pray that I might say with faith and joy: “from dust I am and to dust I go, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. – Matthew 23:37-39

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When the world will not have peace, there is division—but this is not the heart of God for His people. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. It was His desire that they should listen to His message, but they would not—and this was the Father’s will. It was the Father’s will that Jesus be crucified for the sins of Jerusalem and for all who the Father will draw to Jesus in the future.

The sword comes when people reject the way of the Lord. In one sense we could say that this is the Father’s doing because “no man can come to the Son unless the Father draws him.” Those who the Father ordain to know of the Son come to the Son, and those who come to the Son are made to know of the Father. Yet, in some sense, though the Father and Son are equal and the same, they are distinct persons also. The Son submitted His will to the Father, and He is equal with the Father. We, submit our will to the Son, and we are made one with Him and the Father by the Holy Spirit of God that is in us.

The Holy Spirit of God has a heart for peace, but when man reject peace, they bring division upon themselves. We do not bring division. This is not the heart of God. “How long must I suffer you” who use the word of God to justify the foolish mind of man? I include myself in this. I love justice and I want to see it done. Yet, I know that I too deserve to have justice done on me, and when I consider this and the grace of God towards me, I humble myself and sit my raving butt down.

Jesus will avenge. This is not our job. If division must come, let it come because we take up our cross and follow the Prince of Peace, even to our death if need be, while everyone around us tears each other limb for limb in futile attempts to establish their own kingdom.

If we do not deny the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ—we will die. Go ahead and live by the sword. See where that gets you. Far better to live by the sword of the Word of God—a God who wept over the city that would be destroyed because it forsook Him.

Weep over our cities! Weep over the people who reject the ways of Jesus and instead bring warring, famine, and death to this world! Weep over your own murderous heart so that you might have a heart for peace. Subdue yourself under the Prince of Peace, and He will gather you under His wings. Those who continue to grieve the Holy Spirit are desolate as they “draw back unto perdition,” but “not you, beloved.” We are not “sons of perdition.”

There might come a time for us to war too, but the people of God have always martyred themselves for the gospel. They did not pick up swords. “The Lord saves not with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lords, and He will give you into our hands.” Live by His Word and die a Christian’s death. Let the world die the death of those who love violence. When we are raised and called to Jesus—we who submitted ourselves even unto death as He did—we will partake in His vengeance. And He will have it.

The false Prophet calls people together to war too soon. He is a “son of perdition.” “But not you, beloved.” Be patient, wait on the Lord, and He will give us what we need when the time comes. If we must war, we war—but “rest yet a little season.” Don’t be too hasty to desire destruction. This is the great temptation of this time. Remember, Jesus wept.

Considering Proverbs 10:31-32

31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.

32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

Froward is a strange, archaic word. I’ve looked this word up using online Strong’s concordances and through Google searches. Sometimes that’s helpful when dealing with the King James.

According to my understanding of the word, to speak “frowardly” is to speak in a manner that stirs up conflict, strife, division, and the like. When we speak arrogantly, proudly, refusing to be corrected or hear opposing views, when we speak to slander, accuse, or do harm to another, when we speak lies, wicked things, or encourage behavior that is far from God, we are speaking “frowardly.” This can encompass many things.

If we are listening to the wisdom of God, we will not speak froward things, because these are the things that God hates—and all things that God hates are not to inherit the Kingdom of God.

We have all spoken froward things, and maybe we still do. James did a good job writing about the difficulty of taming the tongue. I encourage you to take a look at James Chapter 3. You can search for it online if you do not have your bible on hand.

Our mouths are one of the vilest members of our body—and as Jesus teaches—out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What lies within us will eventually come out of our mouths, revealing inner wickedness that needs to be repented of.

*Our words matter. Our words matter because they testify to God and to man what lies within us—whether we have a heart for God or a heart of wickedness.* — This statement needs further clarification. Many honor God with their mouths and not their hearts. Inserted 6/12/21.–

Usually, we have both. As Christians, we “war against the flesh.” Meaning, we struggle against a sin nature that causes us to do things that our God and Lord hates—and since He hates it—we should hate it too.

If we love our wickedness, then we need to take that to God so that He can work His love in us more fully. Once we find ourselves loving what God loves and hating what God hates, we are in a better position to overcome by the working of His Spirit in us.

If we speak as God would have us to speak, what a wonderful change we might make in this world! Yet, how terrifying also, especially as this world continues down a trajectory of loving that which God hates.

The scriptures say that the word of God is as a fire. The words of the froward are as a fire too.

This contrast makes me think of something we see in the book of Revelation. There is the horseman army of the enemy who “out of their mouth shoots smoke, and fire, and brimstone.” Then there are the two witnesses: “if any man should hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouths and devours their enemies.”

One is the fire of the frowardness of man. One is the fire of the righteousness of God. We need to be able to tell the difference, by the grace of God, and seek Him so that we can do what is pleasing to Him.

He will give His power to the meek (self-controlled), and humble. He will give His power to those who love Him with all they have, who love their neighbor, who desire to see peace and not destruction, who hate their own sin most of all, who love the truth, love and show mercy, and in all things seek the glory of our Father in Heaven.

There is one who is power hungry, proud, arrogant, rude, hating of mankind, loving of warring, and ripping and tearing of those who oppose him; a father of lies and lover of them; who hates mercy and desires condemnation and who seeks his own glory as he lords himself over all others.

See the difference?

One is of God. One is of the enemy of God: Satan.

Jesus will war. He will destroy. As we see in Revelation 19, but this is not the same as the working of the enemy.

These comparisons are important. I want to do more Clarification and Comparison of the Saintly and Satanic articles. We need to be those who have their “senses exercised to discern good and evil.” We cannot overly rely on anyone else in these matters, because the state of man and the state of much within Christianity is frowardness—and God does hate it.

Thanks to God that He is still dealing patiently with us. To a degree. There is time to repent, to seek Jesus and what His truth and His gospel means for us. However, we have to be willing to step into the wilderness, so to speak. Many pastors have defiled the way of the Lord, but He always makes a way. Seek Him, find Him, and be in awe of how good, patient, merciful, and gracious He is with us.

It truly is amazing how much He puts up with. Yet, there will come a time when there is “time no longer.” So, if God loves us enough to call us to Him in this time, let us hear, by the grace of God, and come to Him. He is merciful, slow to anger, and desires good for all who belong to Him. In His desire for good, He will destroy much for our good.

It is better that we turn to Him now, stand with Him now and later, so that we might “suffer for righteousness’ sake instead of evil doing.”  

This is part of a series of articles considering the Proverbs from a Christian mindset and applying these lessons to present-day events. You can find all of the Considering Proverbs writings here. Subscribe to receive future posts by email.

GODLY INSTRUCTION IS GOOD, BUT IT IS BETTER THAT WE SHOULD DISCUSS SO THAT WE ALL MAY EDIFY ONE ANOTHER AND GLORIFY GOD. Let no man Lord themselves over you. Including me. Feel feel to share your thoughts below and begin a discussion. I would so love to hear from you!

Weaning Babies is Hard

I just put my 20 month old to bed after his last nursing session. For good this time. Weaning breastfed babies is hard. They cry. They don’t understand why you no longer provide that for them–the comfort and nourishment that you have provided since birth. It’s confusing, frustrating, and frightening.

It’s hard on mother too. It’s hard because you know that it would be so easy to soothe him and make the crying stop. Just give him what he wants. Put him at ease with that which is sweet, warm, soothing, and familiar.

Yet, you know that your baby isn’t really a baby anymore. He has to grow up, and you have to let him. So, you do your best to distract him. Sing silly songs, dance him around, offer a snuggle and a story instead. Show him something new and exciting. Encourage him in a new way that increases his confidence as he grows into a “big boy.”

It’s hard to wean a baby, but it’s an amazing milestone too.

Look how far he has come. There’s so much more to learn, and without as much dependence on mama, he can do greater things than he could before.

It is the same with us as Christians.

We cannot stay as breastfed babies. We have to grow up too, and sometimes we might want to fight it. We might want to cry because it’s confusing, frustrating, and frightening. Yet, it is also exciting, especially if people are there to guide us, sing us songs, dance us around, and show us something new and exciting.

The leaders of the faith need to be willing to do this. It’s hard to wean the babies, but because we love them, we want to see them grow. They cannot remain dependent on us forever.

We want people to be able to live their lives without needing constant instruction and assurance from a pastor, teacher, or some other form of minister. Sure, we are a body and we serve one another, but we do so with the goal of helping one another grow up into Christ.

I have a great appreciation for milky ministries. They are sweet, warm, and soothing. However, there is enough of that already. We need meaty ministries that encourage Christians to grow. Even if they kick and scream a bit at first.

The Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees

For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:19-20

What is the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, and why does their righteousness ban them from the kingdom of heaven?

There are a few things that could be said. One thing that stands out to me is their tendency to consider themselves to be righteous while they condemn others for their sin.

As Jesus said, “I am not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.”

If we do not realize that we are sinners in need of a savior, but trust in our own righteousness, we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Our own righteousness can take many forms. This can include following the law. We might think that because we are generally law-abiding, that means we are good people. We might think that if we follow what society says is righteous, then we are righteous.

Here’s the problem.

Law and societal norms are not the righteousness of God.

His righteousness goes much deeper—even to the issues of the heart—as we will see if we continue reading Matthew 5. For example, someone might think that they are righteous because they have never committed physical murder. Jesus says that if you hate someone in your heart, you are murderous. Who then among us has not been murderous according to the perfect righteousness of God?

We all have blood on our hands. We all need Jesus, and unless we humble ourselves to recognize that we are sinners, we cannot go to the Savior and The Physician who can transform our wicked hearts into something more like Him as He heals our mental and emotional wounds, shows us a better way, and give us the ability to do as He would have us by the working of the Holy Spirit in us.

If we do not know that we are sinners, but instead focus on the sins of others, we are as the scribes and Pharisees.

There are many, aren’t there?

There are the scribes and Pharisees of every social movement today. People love to show how virtuous they are as they tear down others hatefully and call it righteous as they do so. There are the scribes and Pharisees of science who say you must obey the letter of their laws of science so-called or be killed, but they themselves do not obey what science says.

“They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born and lay them on man’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”

If we are not aware, we Christians can be as the scribes and Pharisees too. We want to be on-guard against hypocrisy as we bash certain sins but ignore others, justify our sin through legalism, call ourselves righteous because of our good works, or deny the work and will of Jesus for our lives.

We also do not want to be as the scribes and Pharisees who “did their works to be seen of man.”

Putting on shows of outer righteousness while denying how sinful we are is a particularly distasteful form of hypocrisy. It does not matter how good our lives look from the outside when our inner world is seeped in sin, usually hidden sins that we can cover up as we pretend to be “good people.”

There is no room for pride, vanity, lust, lying, and greed in the Kingdom of Heaven just as there is no place for the sins that some Christians harp over—usually self-righteously—because they look at the sins of others instead of healing their own in Jesus.

“Take heed to yourselves.” “Get the beam out of your own eye.” Jesus said these things for a reason, and we should listen. Once we can see more clearly, we are in a position to do some good for those who are bound to sin. Otherwise, we just make things worse, and we add more sin to ourselves.

It is always better to be honest about who we are. Honest sinners who know they are sinners are more accepted of God than all the lying righteous people. However, we should be righteous, not by our strength alone but by His working in us.

I suppose, if I could coin a term for what I believe in this regard, it would be “Honest Holiness.” I do believe in holiness for Christians, but I also believe that only Jesus is truly holy. There is always more to seek. We should be “poor in spirit” as we push forward, obtain more of the Christ-like nature, and glorify God in truth—not fakery—which He hates, as He deals patiently and mercifully with us, freeing us in His own time according to the measure of His own perfect and pleasing will.

Glory in His grace, not our works. However, grace will create in us many good works. His works. We cannot do His works if we proudly rely on our own, as the scribes and Pharisees.

On a final note, do not think that we are above those who killed the prophets, as Jesus said.

Do not think that we are better than the big sinners of our history in general.

If we do not realize that ordinary people, like us, are capable of extraordinary evil, then we testify to the fact that we are as those who killed the prophets and committed other great evils.

Why?

Because we are not honest about who we are, and if we are not honest, we cannot repent. We cannot seek Jesus. We cannot be healed by The Physician.

Consider the scripture below. “This generation” that Jesus mentions is not a generation of time, but of type. This type of person exists in all time. We do not want to be of the scribes and Pharisees, because their end is the damnation of hell. Read more in Matthew 23-24.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (Matthew 23: 30-36).

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.

“He who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” Who is he?

2 Thessalonians 2

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Who is he who restrains the Wicked one—he who will be taken out of the way, and after, the Wicked one is revealed?

In one sense, this was Jesus Himself. In another sense, I believe Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit.

I could be wrong, but there are reasons why I think this is the case.

For one, I relate. I relate to Jesus when He perceived virtue or strength leaving Him. I feel it too. There are days like today when this life and my Christian service so sufficiently drains me of any good thing that His Spirit has worked, that the only thing that remains in me is that Wicked One, and “that which I would not do, I do.”

I am thankful that Jesus provides in us “a well of living water.” I can slow down for a while, go to Him, focus more intently on prayer and less intently on this world, and I can be revied in His Spirit. Without that, I would be helplessly bound to the sin nature—which is my natural state and is the natural state of all mankind.

I also relate because some of the things that drain me and grieve me are the same things that drain and grieve the Holy Spirit. I know because He told me. He is the Comforter, and when I poured out my complaints to the Lord, I knew that my complaints were His too.

We have so grieved the Holy Spirit.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit by replacing Him with legalism.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit by claiming His inactiveness on one hand and falsely manifesting Him on the other.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit by denying Him, turning Him into a mere force of the universe or the so-called power of the mind of man.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit with our petty disputes, divisions, envies, and power-grabbing attempts among many authoritative entities within the Christian faith.

 We have grieved the Holy Spirit with callous, clumsy, and self-indulgent use of the word of God.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit with our fornication with the spirits of this world as we justify sin, corrupt righteous judgment, slander, accuse, and destroy our fellow man.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth—with our lying ways and love of them.

The Holy Spirit came to this world in a new way after Jesus ascended into heaven, and He is always there. “If any man hears my voice, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me.” Yet, He comes to those who want to keep the commandments of God.

Jesus said that if we keep His commandments, He will petition the Father to send us the Holy Spirit. These commandments are hinged on loving God with all you have and loving your neighbor. See John 14-16.

The more we “fall away” from this as we deny the teaching of Jesus and the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ in truth, the more we grieve the Holy Sprit also. Will He continue with us?

How have our churches and Christianity at large grieved the Holy Spirit? God is patient, merciful, and understanding. However, I do not expect the Holy Spirit of Truth to continue dwelling amid the lying, perverse, murderous ways of those who carry the name of Jesus. There is mercy for honest struggle. That is not the same thing as all out neglect of the Lord and abuse of the covenant bought with His blood.

He will continue with some, and these receive power from Him to speak the truth of the good news of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, among other deeds. Perhaps that is why the rain must stop at that time. The world rejected the living water, so they must do without water. It makes sense to me, though I do not feel gladness about it.

Let us not continue to grieve the Holy Spirit. When He is taken out of the way, all that remains is the Wicked One—and he will come.

Considering Proverbs 10:30

30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.

When reading passages about “the righteous” and “the wicked,” it makes me thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus and the work He does in us. We are all “the wicked.” That’s why we need Him.

Without Him, there is nothing but judgment coming for us—apart from the mercy of God that is His to give as He chooses. Not that I expect mercy apart from faith in Jesus, but I like to think about the possibility for those who never knew the gospel. The final judgment is God’s domain in any case. Not ours.

That’s a side issue, so back to the point.

We who have heard the gospel have an obligation to live of the gospel. Meaning, we should live our lives as Christians to the extent we are able according to the measure of faith we are given. I believe that pursuing a change of nature that conforms to Jesus Christ is part of the gospel.

I believe this is part of the good news of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. If His Kingdom comes “not with observation” and is “within in you,” you will go through experiential knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as He removes the things of this world that you are enslaved to, shows you a better way, and by His Spirit provides the strength to do better. Each person according to their measure as the Father deems. “Some 30, some 60, some 100.”

There is a future coming Kingdom too. I believe that Jesus must rule on this earth and put all things under His feet in a way that everyone will see and know. I know people differ on their views of the Millennium. I am a Millennealist, for lack of a better term. Though, I do wonder about it because Jesus says that when He returns, He will “destroy with the brightness of His coming.” I’ve wondered if the fire of God is itself the “second death,” but I don’t know.

In any case, our God is a “consuming fire.” He will burn out many things within us by the Holy Spirit over the course of our lives as Christians, and all the more if we seek Him with faith that He has forgiven our sins and with faith that there is power to overcome them in this present life.

Trust and respect for the blood of the Son of God is what keeps us from judgment—and no wicked person will be able to stand.

The Judgement of God is shown through times of trouble, through the enemies of God, and through God Himself. In any case, we want to be “counted worthy to escape.”

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. – Luke 21:33-36

How are we counted worthy to escape, and what is this escape?

I do not believe in a rapture. I believe that the rapture is a corruption of the doctrine of the resurrection. See: A Simple Rebuttal of the Rapture in Favor of the Resurrection.

We escape by having the knowledge of our Lord sealed up inside of us by the Spirit of God that “renews our mind” in Christ Jesus.

With this knowledge—and it is of the experiential sort that should affect how we live our lives—then we will have what we need to resist temptations of the enemy, stand firm in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and do whatever God calls us to do in service of Him and our brethren. This knowledge is also faith that when Jesus returns, we will be raised bodily and transformed into a new spiritual body.

When Jesus returns, all that is not of His Spirit will burn up—or a great deal of it. That’s my thoughts. They are still developing.

In any case, we want to be those who stand with Jesus—both during times of trouble when the enemies of God have more power and when Jesus returns—like the three Hebrews who did not bow to the image of Babylon and were standing with the Son of Man in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3).

Taking up the Christian faith is no light thing. Jesus is not kidding around. When He returns, it is no joke.

It is wonderful that He is merciful and patient with us. We need that because we are faulty, and thank God that we serve a God that is understanding of the frame of Man. However, we wear the blood of the Son of God on us, and it is possible to disrespect this due to sheer lack of care.

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. – Hebrews 10:28-31

I don’t believe that any sincere believer has a lack of care, but we can all be aware of areas that are lacking and seek Jesus. God is to be trusted but feared also. Fearing God directs our steps and places us in good standing for receiving mercy and also encourages us to want to give mercy to others because we know that God is fearful and one day, He will rule this world.

Nothing wicked can stand in His presence, and if He is to rule, how will we stand?

Now, when I talk about Jesus returning, I must mention that Jesus says that he “will not come at just anytime.” We remember this lest we encourage people to accept the false Christ as Jesus.

From 2 Thessalonians 2

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us push on in love of the truth of the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ

—a gospel that promises forgiveness and freedom from sin in this present world, obtaining of a Christ-like nature, and a returning King who will put all things under His authority—and no one can stand in that judgment who does not stand with Him.

This includes the false prophet, beast, and the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon. This is good news—and it is fearful news—so we should not take it lightly. Especially since most Christians today either are or have been of the Great Whore and unfaithful churches of Revelation 2-3. in some measure.

It is good for us to consider how we have been unfaithful, especially in the realm of “principalities and powers” of the Christian faith.

Jesus said this once and it is true again, “there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

This is part of a series of articles considering the Proverbs from a Christian mindset and applying these lessons to present-day events. You can find all of the Considering Proverbs writings here. Subscribe to receive future posts by email.

Exercising in Truth

Originally Posted at KindlingTruth by Amanda on April, 23 2018

It can be easy for us to become carried away with things pertaining to the “end times.” Sometimes it’s just a matter of interest. Other times we might become fearful because of some teaching we have heard or because of current events.

This article is part of a series entitled, Preparing for End Times. I decided to write these because I sympathize with people who become fearful or overly focused on things pertaining to that time period. As someone who’s walked this, I’m learning that it’s more productive to focus on Jesus. This is detailed in the first article within this series, Seeking First the Kingdom of God.

When we become overly focused on the latest prophetical hype, events within the news, or trying to understand cryptic scriptures, we might find ourselves having trouble knowing which ideas are true and which are not.

In this article, I want to discuss avoiding things like fear and deception by focusing on what is true.

Why Truth is Important

As Christians, it’s obvious that we do not want to be among those who are deceived into worship of the Antichrist. It is my belief that many will do this because of fear. As Christians, should we be around during the time of great trouble and deception, having a foundation of truth will be very comforting because we are then placed in a position of trust in the Lord instead of fear.

Consider today. How many of us are afraid of what’s happening in the world? How many “rapture” dates have been set during our lifetimes? Sure, many of us no longer listen to those who cry wolf, but I think most can relate to holding some kind of worry over when Jesus will return and how much suffering we might endure until that time.

There will always be troubles in this world. There will always be those who try to link current events to prophesy. There will always be false teachers and false prophets, and even more so as That Day approaches. Should we be focusing on these things, or should we be focusing on what is true by growing closer to he who is Truth?

Lessons from Jesus About Avoiding Deception

What did Jesus teach about standing firm in the truth in the “end-times”?

Let’s take a look at Mark Chapter 13

1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,

Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

When many read verses 5 and 6, I think we assume that Jesus is saying that many will come claiming to be Christ. This might be true, and many have. However, what about those who say that Jesus is the Christ, but then go around distracting Christians from his truth, even leading them astray with false prophetic teachings or shows of power supposedly of the Holy Spirit?

We see such things today. The most deceptive among us are not those who make claims we can easily detect as false, like claiming to be Christ for example. It is those who appear to be Christians that are the most damaging very often. Though we cannot judge who is a Christian and who is not, it’s a good idea to be very careful in believing those who claim prophetic abilities or powers of the Spirit.

Based on what I have learned about this so far, here are some questions to consider if you are not sure about a Christian prophet, teacher, or the like. Any of these should be a red caution flag:

  • Is the focus on Jesus or themselves?
  • Are they preaching the gospel first and foremost, or is their ministry mostly “signs and wonders?”
  • Do they claim to have power to command the Holy Spirit to enter people or claim to be able to give gifts to people? See John 3:8. Many claim to be able to baptize in the Spirit. We can pray over people and they might receive it. However, they might not. The Spirit is God. We cannot command God to do anything.
  • Do they profess many visions and dreams or draw attention to themselves as something great?
  • Do they claim that if you do not follow them or their teachings you will be cut off or fail to inherit salvation?
  • Do they claim to know who are real Christians and who are not?

And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

People often cite these passages as a way to cause people to fear that the end is upon us. In reality, Jesus is telling us that these are common and will happen throughout the ages. We are not to be troubled by these things. We can expect this to escalate, however, this will be like nothing we have ever seen. It will not be a slow progression, but instead, this will be a sudden and drastic change that affects the world in a profound way.

This sounds scary, no doubt. However, this time of trouble is to separate the wicked from the just. Though many Christians will suffer and die in the end, we are not to fear this time. It is the coming of the kingdom of God. Though difficult, when we realize that the end to our suffering and persecution is near an end, we have something to rejoice in despite the troubles we face.

9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.

10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.

13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

It’s interesting that it is within the synagogues (or churches) that we will be beaten. Why is that? Is it because at this time they have become the Great Whore and worship the beast? Maybe. That does seem rather likely. However, from my limited perspective, many Christians are already ostracized by churches if they seek the truth instead of conforming to false doctrines, traditions, and worldly assemblies. Is it really so hard to imagine?

Two times now I’ve been stared down and preached harshly toward because of my beliefs that go against tradition (because people assume and take things out of context). I don’t see this as far fetched at all.

The good thing is, when this happens on That Day, if we are here, the Holy Spirit will keep us and teach us what to say. So again, we do not need to be afraid. That is the key thing to take away here. We must endure, but Jesus by his Spirit will give us what we need if we put our trust in him.

14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

If we read 2 Thessalonians 2, we see that the Day of the Lord will not come at just any time. There must be a falling away first and the son of perdition revealed. That is when the “end times” officially start. I make note of this because many already say we are in the “end times.” We are not.

When we see the abomination of desolation standing in Jerusalem, we will know that it’s time to “come out of her my people that you receive not her plagues.”

This is interesting. Is this about the city Jerusalem, or is there a spiritual application? Many today are focused on what is happening in Jerusalem, but the Christians are Jerusalem. We are grafted into Israel. So, I wonder how this will pan out in the last days.

This is a good example of why it does little good to worry too much about cryptic passages. If we trust in Jesus and seek him first so that we are “wise virgins,” then he will give us the understanding we need when that day comes.

15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:

16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.

20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

When we are made to know who the abomination of desolation is, we do not hesitate to get away from him—whether we are leaving a physical location, separating ourselves spiritually, or both. As Christians, our journey is often a step forward and a step back. When this day comes, we cannot look back or we will be as Lot’s wife who looked back at Sodom as it burned. Though we might be afraid, we have to focus on Jesus and do not give into any temptations to worship the beast that come our way.

We know the affliction will be great. There will be “men’s hearts failing them for fear.” Again though, I believe the Lord will extend peace to those who worship him sincerely, so this is not a time for us to fear. We might even be among those who are casting plagues and bringing the judgment of God. This time of judgment is not for us to fear, but again, for us to rejoice because the Kingdom is coming!

However, we should show due respect to this so that we are not among the foolish who were not spiritually prepared. We do this by seeking Jesus and living a Christian life now, regardless of what time we are in.

21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

Regardless of what powerful displays we might see, we must remember this warning. Even today there are those who claim to have power and such. There’s an epidemic of this online, such as on YouTube. We are not to believe these people. Any who are truly serving Jesus now or in those days will not be seeking their own glory. They might even put on false humility, but there are always indicators if we know what to look for. Reference the bullet list above for some basic things to consider.

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Notice that we see the Lord come after tribulation. Whether you believe in the rapture or not, using that as hope to escape tribulation is not wise. What are these stars? Are they real stars, asteroids, or is this a symbol for something else? Maybe someone out there understands this, but I don’t.

The main thing I take away from this is when the Son of man returns, it will be very obvious and this will happen after the son of perdition comes, is revealed, and after the time of tribulation.

This gathering is often considered the rapture, but I believe the scriptures teach this as the “first resurrection.” Those who were killed by the beast are raised before a great earthquake, and those who remain give glory to God (Revelation 11:11-13). Perhaps some are transfigured at this time also, I don’t know for sure.

28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:

29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.

30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

When the son of perdition, who is the false prophet and the beast is revealed, then affliction is coming. When the remnant witness Christians who were slain raise from the dead, they will know that the vengeance of the Lord is coming as his “vials of wrath” are poured out. I know many read much into the parable of the fig tree, but as far as I can tell, that is a distraction and can be a waste of time. Why? Read on.

31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

It does not matter how much we try, we will not know when this time will be until it is upon us. Instead of trying to pin down prophetic scriptures, we should be learning the righteous ways of God by the power of Jesus transforming our lives so we are not separated as goats from the sheep (or the wicked from the just).

It bears repeating that the best way to prepare for the “end times” is to seek first the kingdom of God. We do not want to be foolish virgins who took no oil for their lamp. We do not want to be a wicked and slothful servant. We do not want to be without a wedding garment. We do not want our houses on built on sand. Jesus tells us all these things for a reason. We should listen.

In Conclusion

There is so much out there that distracts us from the simplicity that is in Jesus Christ. Focusing on fear, the news, prophetic teachings, false prophets, and seeking security in this world by stocking up on food and gold is not what we are to be doing right now. We should be seeking fist the kingdom of God so that we can learn to trust instead of fear as we are conformed to the image of Christ.

As someone who has had a tendency to worry about the end times and has attempted to understand prophesy, I get the draw many have to this. I assure you, if you’re one who loves Jesus in sincerity, there is greater peace and fulfillment in learning his law and seeking him so that you can perform his law.

There is enough there to keep us focused for a lifetime, and this is far better than learning the foolish and vain things of this world or allowing others to fill you with fear (Of course, I do not mean the OT laws. These are the laws of righteousness according to the kingdom of God which Jesus writes in our hearts).

This article is posted here in attempts to take service to Jesus as seriously as possible by reevaluating old works, correcting errors as I’m given to see them, and reposting content that seems acceptable.

I have some additional thoughts about the markers of a false prophet that I want to share. The bullet list given is not exactly accurate, but it can be. Lord willing, I will write something more about that.

I also have some thoughts about the “abomination that makes desolate,” but I am waiting until the idea is fully formed. I’ve been through similar thought processes with other teachings, so I will know when it is ready. I don’t expect many people to like it.

On These Contain All the Law and the Prophets

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. – Matthew 5:17-18

Although we as Christians are not under the Old Testament law, we have commandments of God to keep. I think of something Jesus said.

 “Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. This is the first commandment. Similarly, love our neighbor as ourselves. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Everything that the law and prophets spoke of hinges on these commands, and Jesus is the embodiment of what this means. He lived this perfectly.

If we follow Him, learn of His ways, and seek aid through the Spirit who “writes the laws of the Kingdom of God on the fleshly tables of the heart,” we are shown what this means and given strength to perform it.

If we sin, we are not obedient to God. We do not love Him as we should, and we are probably doing things that harm others. The nature of our earthly bodies is sin, so we need Jesus. We need His blood to forgive us and we need the Spirit so that we can walk more according to the Spirit of God and not the spirits of this world.

We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve sin and Jesus, and we cannot serve the things of this life and Jesus.

However, we have to live our lives.

Though we have lives to live, we should live them as Christians—not under the bondage of law nor under the bondage of sin—but free under the grace of God as servants of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we have liberty in Christ because law, in a strict sense, cannot contain the perfect righteousness of God. However, as Paul the apostle reminds us of, “do no use your liberty as an occasion for sin, but in love serve one another.”

Liberty in Jesus so that we can keep His commandments is critical. Legalism gets in the way. When we place regulations on our fellow Christians about how they should dress, worship, or live their lives in matters of individual conscience, we are placing them under the bondage of law—and the strength of law is sin, and the result of sin is death.

As we draw nearer to God through Jesus, we will learn of the will of God and we will serve God according to the ordination of our Father in Heaven. This can mean many things, so we should be careful that we do not “judge another man’s servant.”

We each are instructed to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” It is a small thing to stand in the judgment of man. Jesus is judge, so fear Him. If you love Him of a truth, then trust in Him also and know that by Him you are “passed from judgment to life.”

One day, heaven and earth will pass away, though the words of God never pass away. One day, the fullness of His word will be done, and the whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord. There is more yet to be fulfilled in Jesus, and He will do it because He has spoken it by His prophets of old and of the present.

This present world is carnally minded, and so are many Christians of this world.

There are many carnally minded Christians who need to be revived in Spirit.

Carnally minded Christians are legalistic, self-righteous, and hypocritical. Carnally minded Christians use grace and liberty as an excuse for sin. Carnally minded Christians measure blessings of God in worldly prosperity. Carnally minded Christians seek power in this world and popularity in this world. Carnally minded Christians deny the suffering of the servants of God and make this glory into a shame. Carnally minded Christians persecute their fellow servants.

The heart of a carnally minded Christian is far from God, no matter how much they honor Jesus with their lips.

Carnally minded Christians do the works of this world: the works of iniquity, and apart from the grace and mercy God that is His to give to whoever He will, Jesus will say, “depart from me you who work iniquity. I never knew you.”

“I am He that searches the reigns and hearts and I will give unto you according to your works.”

We want to be judged according to mercy as we keep the works of Jesus through faith in His grace—grace that makes free in Spirit as it puts the carnal to death. Not just judicially, but literally according to the measure of faith and grace we receive of the Father.

Teachings of carnal Christians are hated by God, and He will judge it. We do not want to be children of the carnal, but of the Spirit.

If we are carnally minded, we need to repent. There is no room for it in the Kingdom of Heaven, and although “this mortal must put on immortality,” there is a Kingdom of Heaven that is “within you.” He must be within you in some measure, and He is for all who love Him.

If we love Him, we cannot help but learn of Him and keep the commandments of God in some form—better and better until the day when our lives end and He returns. What remains of this world will die and we are raised incorruptible, but if we are not living as if we are going to this Kingdom and instead live as if this world is all there is for us, then something is way wrong with our faith.

We need to seek Jesus so that we can learn what grace really means. We need to seek Jesus so that we can revere the forgiveness that was bought with the blood of the Son of God. We need to seek Jesus so that we can learn of Him and keep His ways, not by our own strength, but by the Spirit of God.

Our strength is carnal. Our strength is death.

If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

For more on what it is to be a carnal Christian, you can read 1 Corinthians 3. Though, all of scripture testifies to this if we have “eyes to see and ears to hear” by the grace of God. First seek God. Get to know Jesus: He who makes the captives free and gives sight to the blind. He who raises the humble and lays low the proud. He who to whom all glory belongs, who give us strength and a sound mind in this world of corruption and confusion!

This article is part of a series that considers the Parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the statements Jesus made during His Sermon on the Mount, to which He referenced in His Parable of the Building on Rock and Sand. Visit the link for quick access to all articles written within this series. Subscribe for notifications of future posts.