Considering Proverbs 10:3-5

The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
    but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Lazy hands make for poverty,
    but diligent hands bring wealth.

He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

When considering the above passages from a Christian perspective, I see two interpretations: a literal and a spiritual or metaphorical.

First, the literal interpretation.

Verse 3:

As Christians who wear the righteousness of Jesus faithfully, we trust in God and we know that He will provide for us. As Jesus said, “behold the fowls of the air, for they sew not neither do they reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you much better than they?”

In times of trouble and famine, we can trust in the Lord to provide for us. However, I never want to negate the possibility of suffering, because should a Christian find themselves in such a position, I never want them to lose faith. If no help seems to come, then consider it your time to honor Jesus by remaining faithful to death. You are not forsaken, but rather, you are nearing the Kingdom and you are glorified in your suffering and glorification of the Son.

Verse 4:

If we are willing to work, then we should do well—especially in the United States. However, I also know that there are life circumstances that can lead to poverty, and sometimes we might choose to live simply because we have other priorities, and these priorities can be upright in the eyes of God.

In all things, we should refrain from becoming envious or entitled to the wealth of others, instead opting for honest work with our own hands to the best of our ability. We should be thankful, trust in the Lord, and abide peaceably in whatever situation we find ourselves in.

If we have wealth, then we should distribute to those in need, however with wisdom so that we are not enabling those who could work for themselves but choose not to. If we enable these, then we are enabling their bondage instead of encouraging the freedom that comes through self-sufficiency.

Verse 5:

A father should expect his son to work with his own hands and to be wise during times of plenty by making good use of that which he was given. If a father owned a crop and his son was lazy during the harvest, we can see how that would be troubling for the father.

Now, the spiritual interpretation—which is the one I like best.

I want to consider wealth in terms of wealth in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus said, “blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Jesus also said, “lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust do corrupt, and thieves break through and steal. Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moths nor rust corrupt nor thieves break through and steal. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”

With these ideas in mind, consider the verses above.

Verse 3:

Jesus does not let the righteous go hungry without filling them. If we hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ—which is the knowledge of Jesus and the power to walk according to His ways in this present world—we will be filled.

There are many scriptures that support this idea, and this is what the Christian life is about—it is about growing in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven and dying to the kingdom of this world through faith in Jesus. This is a life-long pursuit, and the treasures we have to gain are so valuable that they cannot be compared to anything we might gain by seeking the pleasures of this life instead. See the parable of the Pearl of Great Price.

Verse 4:

If we are lazy in the faith and with the salvation that was bought with the blood of the Son of God, then we will not prosper in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus says that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

As Christians, we are inheriting a Kingdom—and there is work to be done in this kingdom. If we are faithful to what we receive, then we can receive more. The parable of the talents is a great example of this. Jesus also said that we should “occupy until I come.”

We have work in the Kingdom of Heaven to do in this life, and we should seek Jesus to learn what that work is and continue seeking Him so that we can be faithful to perform that which He gives us to do, knowing that He provides everything we need. We want to be faithful servants, not “wicked and slothful” servants.

Verse 5:

As Christians, we are children of God and joint heirs of the promise with Jesus Christ. We want to make our Father in heaven proud, not grieved. In times of plenty, we should gather all things that will make us strong in the Kingdom of Heaven and ready to make a stand against the kingdom of darkness and of the prince thereof.

We have so much available to us, especially in the United States. We can worship freely without persecution. We have many resources for learning the scriptures and for fellowship. We have all of our basic needs met in the flesh—and then some. In this time, we should be making use of all that God has given us so that we are prepared for the time of famine—and that time of famine will come.

There will come a time of famine—both a famine of bread and a famine of the Bread of Life when the word of God is made criminal.

We still have time to be diligent, faithful servants who make use of all that the Father has given to us—and He has given us an abundance.

We have abundance in the things of a prosperous nation here in the United States and we have abundance in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Let’s not neglect the time of harvest. There is so much for us within the Kingdom of Heaven—and Jesus opened the way up for us so that we can harvest His treasures freely. However, we cannot serve God and this world also—so we should be thankful for the abundance we have been given in this country and use that abundance as a means to peaceably seek the Kingdom of Heaven before the time of peace is over.

If we do this, then when the kingdom of darkness descends, we will not be “taken” unawares. We will be awake and ready with our lamps burning bright. See the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.

What about myself?

I want to do better. I want to continue seeking Jesus so that I can grow in the riches of His Kingdom—and I never want to lose the faith that He can and will work mightily in me so that I can overcome the kingdom of this world. I want to be more serious about casting off sin and putting on Christ—and that means letting go of worries over the things of this life and trusting more fully in Him.

I want to be ready to stand against the kingdom of darkness—and that begins now. “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” Every day provides us with opportunity to shine as faithful, Jesus-wearing servants of the Kingdom of Heaven who strive against the things of the kingdom of Satan in faith. I want to do better, day by day, and should that great Day of the Lord come, I want to be prepared.

Minuscule Faith Moves Mountains (Complete Series)

Faith is fundamental for any Christian. Our salvation hinges on faith, and yet I wonder how much we truly understand what a “faith-based” life really means. What change might we experience if we really took hold of our faith? I want to spend some time considering faith. Jesus tells us that even faith as a mustard seed can move mountains – so you see, there is both the simplicity and the depths and power of faith.


Understanding Saved by Grace Through Faith

How well do we understand the fundamental Christian doctrine of “saved by grace through faith?” How does one come to the faith? What are we putting our faith in? What does this faith save us from? What is the act of God’s grace towards us?

I’m going to answer these questions in basic terms because it’s actually very simple. Over the years, these ideas have been somewhat lost at times, but that does not mean they are difficult to understand. I think sometimes we just need someone to declare it then trust the Spirit to stir our hearts up so that we can seek these things for ourselves.

Before you get started, take a look at Ephesians Chapter 2 if you can. If you cannot, here are the first 10 verses for your convenience. After you read this, what are your thoughts about the above questions?

Ephesians Chapter 2 (KJV)

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The Process of Salvation by Grace Through Faith

We need to be careful when explaining the faith in a step-by-step or otherwise legalistic way, but as I mentioned, I want to keep this as simple to understand as possible. Generally speaking, this is my understanding of the salvation by grace through faith process:

  • Faith is God-Given: Faith in the Son, Jesus is given to us by God the Father. Though from our perspective, we “accept Jesus,” it is only by the calling of God that we are allowed to know that Jesus is the Son of God.
  • Faith Brings is to Jesus: Faith tells us that Jesus is the Son of God who came in the flesh to atone for our sins. We not only believe in who Jesus is, but what he will do. Because we believe these things, we will seek to obey his commandments (Matthew chapter 5-7).
  • Jesus Provides the Remedy for Sin: The atonement for our sins includes forgiveness and remission. As the laws of God are written in our hearts as promised though the covenant of Christ (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10), we are changed from a sinful nature to a righteous nature through the course of our lives—always striving for greater perfection of heart—a heart conformed to “that which is perfect” or the laws of the kingdom of heaven. This is accomplished by the Spirit of Truth working in us and freeing us from all things that “steal, kill, and destroy.” (for more on the Holy Spirit, read John chapters 14-16).
  • Faith in The Remedy by Jesus Allows us to Approach God: As we strive in this faith, just as Abraham, our faith is counted to us for righteousness (Romans Chapter 4). That is the imputation. It means God sees us based on our faith. He sees us for what we will become while we are yet in sin. That does not mean we continue in sin. “Should we sin more so grace can abound? God forbid” (Romans 6:1). Our imputed righteousness is a means by which we can approach God as we grow from righteousness to righteousness. Darkness cannot fellowship with light, but through the Light which is Jesus, we can have a relationship with God!
  • Faith Causes Works: As we continue and our natures change, we bring forth “fruit of the Spirit” which leads to true righteousness that can only come from a new heart, not performance that is vain or something we try to do by our own power or by law. This is a product of faith; only by faith it is given. This is not works-based salvation, but rather, salvation creates “a peculiar people zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).
  • Continued Faith Results in Resurrection: If we continue in the faith, we will be saved from death and granted everlasting life.
  • Salvation is Given, Not Earned: Salvation is a gift of grace because it can only be given—never earned. We can never come out of sin and have a new nature on our own, no matter how hard we try. The old covenant law shows us this. The gift of salvation by grace and through faith means freedom from this wicked world and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven—both in this present world, in the age to come, and eternally.

How does one come to the faith?

We come to faith in Jesus by the hearing of the word of God, but only by God are we able to have “ears to hear.”

  • John 6:44 – No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Romans 12:3 – For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
  • Romans 10:17 – So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

What are we putting our faith in? What does this faith save us from?

We place our faith in the new covenant which is given by God and through the Son, Jesus (who is one with God and distinct from God). Unlike the first covenant where one nation obeyed outward laws of righteousness to set them apart, the new and “better covenant” is given to all nations and writes the laws in our hearts—actually changing our natures so that we can live according to the laws of the kingdom of God in this present world—thereby saving us from a present life of sin and death, and granting us entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven to come as adopted sons of God unto everlasting life.

  • Salvation by grace through faith is the theme of the New Testament, yet it is astonishing how many confused and half-truths there are about the Christian faith. Here is a broad list of scripture to consider.

In Conclusion

Let’s go back to Ephesians Chapter 2 and take a look at each verse.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Without Jesus, we are all dead because of our sin. To sin is to follow the ways of this world and the prince of it rather than following the ways of God. As earthly creatures, it is our nature to follow after the flesh and after this world. Only Jesus walked in the flesh in this world without sin.

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Because of our sinful natures, we do things that cause death—and death is our just reward. Death is the natural cause of sin. We see this presently, not just in that all man die, but we see that those who live a very sinful life often live self-destructively. God loves righteousness and He hates sin. Those who continue in disobedience will face His wrath.

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Though God hates sin, God is also love. Through His abundant mercy, He came to this earth in the person of Jesus the Christ. Notice, it is God who made us alive in Christ. We did not choose to make ourselves alive in Christ. It is through faith that we are saved by grace, and faith is given to us from God. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, a sacrifice which the old covenant sacrifices foreshadowed, we are forgiven and cleansed from our sins so that we can approach God for redemption.

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Through Christ, we can approach the throne of God presently and we will live with Him eternally. We can abide in the Kingdom of God now, in the future, and forever. This is a gift beyond measure that is shown through the abundant love of Jesus Christ.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Our faith is not something we create from within ourselves, it is a gift from God: a gift if grace. All things that result from this faith are also of grace, otherwise we might have cause to boast over our righteousness. We are to never be self-righteous. Instead, we are to understand that all good things in us are a gift of grace. It is very gracious that God would come to this earth and die so that we can be transformed from destructive and wicked people into those who are fit for God’s kingdom. Grace is not a means of excuse for continued sin. It is freedom from it as well as forgiveness as we strive in the faith.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Everything about our salvation is given to us. Though this leads to good works if our faith is not dead, it is not these works that save us. Rather, the works are what we call “fruit” which shows us that our “calling and election is sure” (2 Timothy). God has purposed all of this for His will to bring up many sons, and He will complete his work in us. So, we continue in the faith knowing that God is true to His word and He will deliver us from the death of this world and of the flesh.


The Precious Fruits of Faith

What would you trade in this world for the kingdom of God? Is there anything worth this gift we have been given? Is there anything in the creation more precious than the blood of Jesus that was shed so that we could have faith that leads to salvation and eternal life? Of course not. Even so, I wonder how much we really lay hold of “the faith” that came at such a high price.

I know I could use more appreciation for it. I don’t want a weak-willed faith. I want to hold it with an iron grip that would not dare allow this world to snatch it away—even in the slightest.

As someone who is prone to letting the world get her down, I appreciate that I can have faith at all. I look at the unbelief in the world and I think, wow. God is so good to me by allowing me to believe in Jesus at all. What an amazing gift!

I’m thankful, but I also want more from the faith. I want to know the one I’m believing in. I want to know what he stands for, what he wants from my life, and how I can grow towards doing things that are pleasing to God. I want to know how to get the most from my faith.

If I continue in this world, and all I did was make a “declaration of faith” then continue living as if this “free gift” made no impact on me, what do I have to show God for the sacrifice he made?

Here God. Here’s that faith you suffered to give me. No, it didn’t cause me to grow in righteousness, but I believed in you. Wasn’t that what you wanted?”

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? This sounds like a statement made by a “wicked and slothful servant.” I will never claim to have it all together. I’ve learned that no matter how much I think the Lord is changing me, there is always room to grow.

I will never know anything as well as I should and I will never be good like God is good. However, I do know that I can move towards those things. I know that faith will bring about fruits that allow me to draw nearer to God and detach me from the bonds of this world.

What Does it Mean to Have Faith?

In essence, when we have faith in something, we are placing our confidence or trust in that thing we look to. As Christians, we place our faith in Jesus Christ, right? However, are we as trusting and confident in him as we could be? I know I have much room to grow in this, so I wonder, in what ways can I live a more “faith-filled” life?

Is living a faith-filled life about avoiding sin by our own ability, just to be later discouraged when we fail? Or should we have faith that Jesus will work the fruits of righteousness in us by HIS power?

Is living a faith-filled life about taking vengeance into our own hands when someone does us wrong? Or, should we have faith in the patience, mercy, and wisdom of God by allowing Him to deal with our enemies while we “trust in the Lord and do good?”

Are we living a faith-filled life when we put our trust and confidence in this wisdom of this world over the wisdom of God that most often flies in the face of what the world deems is best?

To truly live in the faith means that we trust in the Lord and “lean not on our own understanding.” Our own understanding tells us that we will always be bound to sin, but yet we also should not sin. Our own understanding is selfish, greedy, and concerned with growing in the kingdom of this world instead of the kingdom of God.

Lay Hold of The Faith and Find Freedom From This World!

When we truly believe in who Jesus is and trust in him, we are given an unshakable peace. I want to know that peace. I want to know what it’s like to smile in the face of adversity, to retain an inner joy that cannot be corrupted by this world, to show the same patience towards others that Jesus shows towards me.

I want to learn mercy, wise judgment, and how to set aside the cares and pleasures of this present kingdom for a kingdom that is far more valuable—and far more satisfying. Faith in Jesus provides these things.

Faith in Jesus is salvation from this present wicked world. It is forgiveness for sins. It is a power to have our natures changed into the righteousness of God. It is a precious promise of entering into a place of eternal peace. Faith is the greatest gift of all—one that we should continue to pursue so that we can live the “abundant life” Jesus died to provide for us.


Avoiding the Legalistic Faith Trap

As Christians, we should want to obey Jesus and bring him honor and glory. As Christians, we should also want to seek all that is made available to us through the wonderful promises of salvation. However, there is one thing that can greatly hinder these things: legalism.

What is Legalism?

If you look up the definition of legalism, you might find something like, “excessive adherence to law or formula; dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.”

As it pertains to Christianity, we could define legalism as any action we take in order to conform to an idea of what it means to be a Christian.

Legalism can include many things, like how a Christian should dress, behave, and worship. We can also apply this to what we deem necessary actions that signify an entrance into the faith, such as making a declaration of faith or becoming baptized.

I understand that the latter examples might seem confusing at first. If you will, please continue reading so a clear point can be made.

Put another way, to act legalistically is to perform outward showings of Christian behavior, that may or may not be an accurate representation of genuine conviction or change of nature. Herein lies the problem with legalism.

Legalism is akin to letter-of-the-law obedience—a form of obedience that is more aligned with an old covenant mindset—a mindset which Jesus came to testify against and abolish. Why? Simply stated, man could not be made truly righteous by following law. Man finds loopholes, lives hypocritically, and at times, will blatantly defy law.

The law of the kingdom of God is not so. These are the laws of the new covenant, as promised in Jeremiah, stating:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jeremiah 31:33).

This is the very same law brought to us by Jesus Christ (also referenced in Hebrews 8:10 and Hebrews 10:16). This law is perfect and cannot be tainted by man, because it is of a spiritual nature and instead of being written on stone, it is written “on the fleshly tables of the heart.” This leads to that “new nature” we Christians are to put on.

When we are transformed by the Holy Spirit, we begin walking a path of righteousness that cannot be contained within the letter of the law, nor can it be attained by a mere fleshly being. This is a walk “not by power or might, but by my spirit.”

Therefore, when we attempt to walk that “straight and narrow path” using our traditions and outward performances of righteousness that seek to mimic what we think a Christian should be, we will fall short—and as with the old covenant, we embark on a path of bondage instead of true freedom.

Examples of Legalism

I’m sure most of us can think of at least one example of legalism among Christian traditions and beliefs today. For the purposes of this article, I want to illustrate some common areas of legalistic thought and compare these ideas to the spiritual change we are to seek.

When you look at this, consider the manner in which God’s people sought to obey Him in these moral issue areas while under the old law. Are we much different today?

Moral IssueLegalistic ApproachSpiritual Approach
AppearanceWomen should have long hair and never wear pants. Men should keep short hair.Men and women should dress with humility and modesty. Women should not purposefully dress like men or vice-versa.
Dietary LawChristians should not eat pork or drink alcohol of any kind.Christians should be moderate in all things, never allowing gluttony or dependence on any substance.
SacrificesGive a 10% tithe to your church. Donate to charities. Help with church functions.Cultivate a servant’s heart that does not seek after it’s own, but instead looks out for the well-being of others.
WorshipChristians must go to church on the right day (Saturday or Sunday). Instruments are allowed. Instruments are forbidden. Conduct quiet services. Jump, shout, and sing to the Lord.God created the sabbath for man, not man for the sabbath. One honors one day above the rest, one honors every day alike. Worship Jesus with a sincere heart, and praise him according to your conscience.

Can you see the difference? As Christians, we know that we should live a certain way, so we place restrictions on ourselves or adhere to certain traditions in our attempts to attain righteousness (or, to appear as such). This is an approach that “makes clean the outside of the cup” first. This is a backwards approach that can only get us so far.

In Christ, we should be doing things the other way around. Through his Spirit and with faith in the promises of salvation, we should be seeking a change of heart that will lead to sincere righteousness.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also (Matthew 23:26).

Why Legalism Can Become a Trap

If we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), our perspective on many issues will change. As this happens, we might do some of the things mentioned in the above “legalistic approach” example. However, law does not consider the inner-man, and Jesus came to change the inner-man.

Some scripture to consider concerning the “inner-man”:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 1:7)

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God (Ephesians 3: 14-19).

We cannot fool God with our legalism. 

We might be able fool ourselves and others into thinking we are doing God’s will, but He knows our hearts and is not fooled by our traditions. In other words, “God is not mocked.” As with the church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1), we will say that we live, but we are dead.

Legalism kills our liberty. 

Another problem with legalism is it opposes the liberty we have in Christ. Of course, liberty is not a license to sin, however there are a lot of things that Christians judge others for that are a matter of individual conscience. Things like praise preferences, holidays, clothing, food, and the like all have some measure of liberty in Christ—so long as we are not in bondage to these things or full of pride. In-fact, when we become too worried over these things and judge others, pride and vanity are often within our hearts, so what does our legalism profit us?

Legalism Creates:

  • Division: When we place restrictions or obligations on others, and especially when we begin to judge others according to these ideas, this leads to what Paul the Apostle called “doubtful disputations.” Or, as Jesus said, “straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel.” We become so caught up on small issues that we forget to love one another and divisions break out among the body of Christ.
  • Accusations: Things like pet doctrines or traditions can cause us to judge our brethren in a very unrighteous manner. We might question whether they are “real” Christians, or begin to accuse them of having weak faith or of committing a sin, when in reality, they are within their liberty-based rights to make the choices they make and hold the beliefs they hold.
  • Hypocrisy: The Christian walk is of a spiritual nature. Therefore, when we attempt to attain that which is spiritual through traditions and other fleshly devices in place of an actual spiritual change, we often become hypocrites. Our inner-self does not reflect the outer performances.
  • Complacency: When we view the sinner’s prayer, baptism, or any other tradition legalistically, we risk becoming stagnant in the faith, without really pushing forward and growing in the things of God.
  • Death: It does not matter how much we “honor God with our lips” if our “heart is far from him,” we are not going to inherit eternal life. If we continue fueling unnecessary conflict, accusing others falsely, living as hypocrites, and conforming to this world, then we are at risk of eternal damnation. The salvation and condemnation of others is for God to judge, but it’s not a path we should want to go down.

A Declaration of Faith and Baptism Can Be Legalism?

I’ve written before that I view things like the sinners prayer to be a man-made tradition that’s loosely based on scripture. However, I believe that we cannot judge whether or not making a declaration of faith or becoming baptized indicates one will be saved—either in the positive or in the negative.

Why? These are outer works, that may or may not reflect sincerity. Even if sincere, a person might not continue in the faith and become as “the seed on stony ground or among thorns” (See Matthew 13 for the Parable of the Sewer in the Field).

On one hand, if we tell people that all they have to do is make a confession, and/or get baptized, without preaching the fullness of the gospel of the kingdom that promises an inner change of nature, then we risk leading people on a path of destruction—and that is the common teaching today, sadly.

On the other hand, if we tell people that their declaration of faith is not enough, we are setting ourselves up as judge, and that is God’s domain. When our heart is right and sincere, things like reciting a sinners prayer or baptism is a fruit of salvation. If our heart is not right, it is a work of the flesh. That, I think, is the distinction—and not one that we can go around judging others concerning.

We cannot know the heart of anyone or what God is doing with them. When make judgments of the heart, we risk falling during the time of great tribulation.

When we view our own ideas too stringently, we risk harming those who are already weak in the faith, leading them to question their salvation and relationship with God. In doing so, “it would be better that a millstone were hung about our neck and we were cast into the sea.”

The best approach is for each individual to work out his or her own salvation and seek to be “conformed to the image of Christ.” If we truly seek to know Jesus and to grow in the things of God, then the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Remember, this is not works-based salvation. It is the work of Jesus within us.

The Commandments of Christ are of The Spirit—Not the Letter

The greatest problem with legalism, as mentioned already, is it does not necessarily reflect the inner-self and will only lead to a partial and imperfect form of righteousness. Jesus’s sermon on the mount is the most important example of the commandments of God, demonstrating that true obedience goes deeper than some simple matter of law.

For example, most of us can avoid murder, but can we cause our nature to change so that we do not hate in our heart? Many of us can avoid adultery, but can we change a lust-filled heart? Can we truly love anyone, much less love our enemy without some kind of inner change? Probably not. Those inner-changes are what the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is about!

Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven of our sins and promised a new nature that is free from the bondage of sin. When we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, the Holy Spirit will write the knowledge of the Lord in our hearts, changing our very natures from wickedness to righteousness—“against which there is no law” that can condemn us! This is the ultimate pursuit of Christianity, and it is a life-long spiritual journey—one that is often in opposition to and hindered by legalism.

Read Matthew 5-7 for the commandments of Jesus.

Food for Thought

We know that Jesus causes us to “bring forth fruit.” This is spiritual fruit that comes forth out of a changed heart. Therefore, real fruit cannot be fake. We do not want to be as those who offer fake fruit to the Lord. When we approach the Christian life according to the letter of the law (or legalism) instead of trusting Jesus and seeking him so that our natures are changed, we embark on a path of hypocrisy that bears “wild fruit.” What did Jesus tell us would happen to hypocrites and those who do not bring forth fruit?

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 5:20).

Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15: 5-6).

Consider this passage from Isaiah 5. What are your thoughts about how this might apply to Christians today? 

These are verses 1-16, not the entire chapter, so you might consider looking up the whole chapter for full context.

Isaiah 5: 1-16

Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:

And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.

What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:

And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!

In mine ears said the Lord of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.

Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.

Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.

Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:

But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.

In Conclusion:

A faith-based Christian life is one that seeks, by faith, to have one’s nature changed from wickedness to righteousness—not by our own efforts or ability—but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. To do otherwise may or may not lead to condemnation, depending on the level of mercy God is showing each individual.

However, God is not mocked, and we do not want to “throw ourselves off of the pinnacle of the temple.” If we worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth” he will lead us on the path of righteousness that leads to everlasting life. Legalism can hinder our faith, trapping us in a cycle of bondage, and it will be manifest that the love of the Lord was not it us.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:10-12).


Faith as a Mustard Seed Moves Mountains

Does Jesus hear us because we are full of faith or because it is his will at that moment? Could it be that when the Lord hears us in our moments of “little” faith, he is glorified through both His mercy and our dependence on him for all things?

In this article, we are going to focus on how powerful even the minutest amount of faith can be and why that is so.

When Your Faith Feels Small, Remember Where Your Faith Comes From

There are times when all Christians feel as if their faith is hanging by a thread. When going through these hard times, it can be very helpful to remember that your faith was given to you by God. Real faith is a gift, and God does not give us faith for nothing.

  • With faith, we are able to approach Jesus with an understanding that he is the Son of God.
  • With faith in Jesus, we grow in the knowledge of the Lord as we learn what it means to live as Christians.
  • With faith in Jesus, we are freed from the bonds of law (legalism) because we know that we cannot live in true righteousness by our own ability.
  • With faith in Jesus, we are healed from the brokenness of sin as we learn to forgive others as God forgives us.
  • With faith in Jesus, we will bring forth fruits of righteousness, bringing God glory as we live out the gospel.
  • With faith in Jesus, we will trust the Lord and we will not live in fear.
  • With faith in Jesus, we will overcome all accusations of this world, even those of The Accuser.
  • With faith in Jesus, we will thrive in the kingdom of heaven during our present lives.
  • With faith in Jesus, we will overcome death.
  • With faith in Jesus, we are made wise virgins and faithful servants in the everlasting kingdom forever.

Faith is a precious gift to those who God is raising up as His children. As we walk by faith, we grow in the things of the Spirit as we die to the bonds of the flesh. It is an on-going journey, and one that is under the complete authority and workmanship of our creator. There is nothing we can do to earn it and there is nothing we can do to stop it. All things are by the power of God, and it is He who is “the author and finisher of our faith.”

As Jesus teaches us how to walk by faith according to the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we stop struggling so much. We stop living in fear. We stop trying to perform outwardly and instead trust that who we are will change overtime as we are made in the image of Christ. We will not focus on what this world has to offer or what those in this world think of us, because we have faith in something better. We have the kingdom of heaven, now and forever.

All things are given to you, dear Christian. From the moment you first believed until the day you are raised from the dead or transfigured at the coming of the Lord, Jesus, all things pertaining to your salvation are given by grace through faith.

Little Faith Accomplishes Much

How mighty is your God? How vast and immense is One who is eternal? How powerful do you suppose even a vapor of His ability within us might be? Even if that faith seems minute, this is something given to you by the Almighty!

When we call out to Jesus in faith, he hears us. We do not always feel full of faith, but it is in these moments of weak faith that Jesus is made strong in us. His mercy, patience, and power are shown to us so that we know our hope lies in Jesus alone. He hears the broken and the humble. He resists the proud. Sometimes it is the weakest of us, those who are most prone to doubt, and even those who have struggled to believe in Jesus at all who are most likely to be made strong in Christ.

With faith, even mountain-sized sins are leveled to the ground.

You might recall when Jesus said that a faith as a mustard seed can move mountains. If you read this in context (Matthew Chapter 17), you will see that Jesus said this in response to his disciples who could not remove devils from a child. Jesus then healed the child. Don’t you see? Jesus came to heal us. It is by faith in him, “by whose stripes we are healed,” that we can overcome all manner of destruction. He healed people because of his mercy and to show us that he has authority to forgive sin. He also has power to heal. Believe in him! Nothing is impossible for you. No sin has power over you. No darkness is stronger than The Light!

Seek him diligently, and you will be rewarded with the treasures of heaven. You will have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. You will learn Godly wisdom that this world cannot know. You will learn what is true by he who is The Truth. You will grow in the power of his might, able to stand in the faith no matter how the waves roar around you. We must lay hold of the faith, not lay it up in a napkin, and invest what God has given us in the things of the spirit. We are not foolish virgins or wicked servants. We are children of the promise!

You are forgiven. You are redeemed.

You are the workmanship of Jesus Christ within you. True faith is powerful and will bring forth mighty fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are life and light, and they will replace the darkness in you overtime. You are not bound to the destructive forces of this world. You have most wonderful promises in Jesus and great hope and joy that endures all trials we go through. Though we do not yet see all things under our feet, all things are under our feet because all things are under His feet.

He has overcome the world so that we too can overcome.

In Conclusion

Does Jesus hear us because we are full of faith or because it is his will at that moment? Could it be that when the Lord hears us in our moments of “little” faith, he is glorified through both His mercy and our dependence on him for all things?

All things happen according to the will of our sovereign God. If our salvation were based on our ability, none would be saved. The purpose of the creation is to “bring many sons of God to glory.” This process can only be completed by the Son, Jesus. God gives us faith in Jesus so that we can pursue the promises of the kingdom of heaven — promises that are given by grace. Within these promises, we are made free from the prisons of this world and the prince of it. We are forgiven by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and we are raised from death by the power of the resurrection.

We are promised a new nature as the Spirit conforms us into the image of Christ. This is a work done by the power of God, not us. It is God’s “good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God is made strong in our weakness, even when we feel weak in the faith.


Continuing in The Faith

What does a faith-based life really look like? Is it that picture perfect image of a Christian who is full of faith at all times, or is it a Christian who doubts yet continues seeking God anyway?

The process of continuing in the faith can vary a great deal depending on the individual challenges we face.

Maybe we are facing difficulty from wisdom of this world that seems to contradict the wisdom of God, causing us to question the faith. Maybe we are enduring some kind of ridicule or persecution for our faith. Maybe we become discouraged because of our sin and we feel too ashamed to approach God, question our salvation, or doubt his ability to help us overcome.

Whatever struggles with faith we endure, if we continue on we will find that our faith is made stronger.

Sometimes just holding on to belief that Jesus is the Son of God is all you have, and sometimes that is enough. However, once we come out of the difficulties, we should always push on and seek more from the faith. We have to continue in the faith. We have to grow, “from faith to faith.”

The struggles of faith is a difficult topic for me to write about, because the only experiences I know are my own. So, I think it is relevant and maybe helpful to conclude this series by sharing a little about my journey in the faith.

One Christian’s Journey From Faith to Faith

I don’t remember when I started believing in Jesus, because I was raised to believe in him. As with all believers, I believed that Jesus is the son of God. I believed that since I accepted that he died for my sins, I would go to heaven when I die instead of hell. I later found my faith greatly shaken, began to question Jesus, and considered Jesus as one of many truths out there. After nearly falling into dangerous New Age religion, I called out to God asking for Him to show me the truth.

He led me to a series of bible studies, and this started a journey of seeking the Lord with more sincerity and insatiable hunger for him than I ever experienced. When I looked back on my faith before, it seemed so lacking, self-serving, and weak. I did not believe in Jesus for the right reasons, and I didn’t have any substantial idea about who he really was.

As I learned more about the gospel and what Jesus stands for, I began to have a better grip on the reality of God, the severity of my sin, and the amazing mercy and incredible power Jesus provides for those who believe in him and worship him out of a sincere heart. I also began to see my sin very clearly, and I hated it. I struggled to believe that God would save me. I felt inadequate and fell into a state of depression.

I again called out to God, and He sent me His Holy Spirit. Again, I looked back over my previous faith and saw it as lacking. I thought because I had the Spirit, I had arrived and would be perfect now. I soon discovered that I was not. I had also started writing this blog, because I wanted to help Christians come out of delusional Christian traditions that keep them bound to sin and the same faithless life I once lived.

God allowed me to go down some very confusing paths, and in the process, I learned a lot about legalism, patience, and mercy. I also learned that I have such a very long way to go, and that this Christian journey is often complex and I should not be so arrogant in the way I approach others who disagree with me.

Now, I don’t know what my next steps are or where faith will take me. I do know that whatever happens, it will work out for my good. I know that the Lord will continue to bring me through hard times in order to refine me and bring me up in his image. I know that I always have room to grow in understanding about God, the gospel, the purpose of creation, and most importantly, what it means to live a Christian life.

All of this has happened in the last four years, and it has been an amazing ride! I can honestly say that I am not the person I was a few short years ago, and I have so much hope in the future changes the Lord will work in me.

I know for a fact that the Lord does not despise a sinner who approaches him for healing, no matter how big the sin. I know for a fact that Jesus will humble us if we are too proud so that we can have a heart that is prepared to receive him. I know for a fact that if we seek the righteousness of the kingdom first, he will take care of our needs—especially those of the spirit as we are raised up in his image. I know that our faith is made strong in weakness and in trials, and we will look back on the hard times with thankfulness, and we will learn to trust God over time.

Continuing in the faith is what the Christian journey is about, and as we push onward and upward in the things of God, we find greater peace and soundness of mind and amazing freedom from the cares of this world that would kill, steal, and destroy our faith.

The Christian walk isn’t supposed to be easy. There are times of relief and we are offered comfort despite the difficulties, but the process of growing often means going through hard times. If we seek Jesus diligently to help us overcome sin, depending on where we are and our individual journey and sin struggles, we might go through some difficulties. After-all, tribulation works patience.

Encouraging Scriptures About Continuing in The Faith

If you’d like some scripture to read when feeling weak in the faith, here are some of my favorites. I’m only including some excerpts, so I strongly recommend reading the entire chapter (or book preferably) for context.

2 Peter 1 “Add to Your Faith”

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12 “Run the Race”

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Originally posted on May 4, 2018 at my former website, http://www.kindlingtruth.com

Self Help Cannot Save Us

As someone who wants to grow and become a better person, I understand the value of self-help. There are some great resources out there, especially online, and I’m thankful. I’ve consumed content online that has helped me with my parenting. I’ve consumed content online that has helped me become better organized. I have consumed content online that has helped me understand traumatic events within my life and how these have contributed to my sinful nature.

However, no amount of knowledge can change who I am—and I’m a bit skeptical of the effectiveness of self-help. I know that we can improve ourselves. Many people do. I also know that there must be a limit, because if we could simply help ourselves, we would not need Jesus.

I’ve been focused a lot on self-help related issues for the past year or so, and though I have learned a lot, I have not had much success in applying what I have learned to my life as consistently as I’d like to—and this is because I need more than just man’s understanding—I need the healing power of Jesus. Only He can work the changes I need.

I know this, and I have known this for a while. However, I became frustrated because I was not receiving the change from Jesus that I wanted, and I felt responsible for doing all that I could do to make things better.

So, I learned about the things I wanted to learn about, and I did my best to heal myself. I still acknowledged my sin to the Lord and I still prayed about these things, but my heart was not fully in it. I did not fully believe that Jesus would help—and the more I tried to help myself, the less I believed He would.

There are other problems with self-help.

If we are able to experience some change, then we might become proud and impatient with others. We might think, “If I can do this, then so can you.” This mindset does not bring glory to Jesus, and this mindset causes us to lose patience and kindness with others.

I see a lot of that in the realms of psychology and self-help. I see a lot of pride in one’s self and harshness, accusations, and unforgiveness towards others.

I also see a lot of encouragement in things that are very much “the wisdom of this world” and not the wisdom of God. I see a lot of encouragement in things that would push people away from Jesus and not to Him.

I also know that no matter how much we are able to help ourselves, we cannot save ourselves. We cannot heal every wound. We cannot spot every sin and repent of it. We certainly cannot forgive ourselves.

So, though I have some appreciation for the insights we can gain from self-help and psychology in general, I know that these things cannot save us—and in many instances, these things can actually lead us further away from Christ, and in some of the most deceptive ways.

That is why I am including a “recovery” theme within this ministry.

I know that there is valuable information out there, and any true information is given by God. However, I also know that man can corrupt what is good and true, and without Jesus we will. I also know that Jesus has the best answers, and the world of self-help and psychology can seduce us away from Him.

So, I want to share the valuable insights I have learned, but with a Christian mindset that considers the wisdom of God and not the wisdom of this world.

My hope is to attract people who are wounded but would otherwise rely on self-help and psychology instead of Jesus. These are people who are very often “poor in spirit” and desperately seeking for answers and someone who cares. I want to, in some small way, lead these wounded people closer to the One who can really help—and the One who can forgive them also.

I still need healing too. I know I am healed by His blood, but I also believe that I should see this healing in my life—not just theoretically or judicially through the imputation—but in this present life and present world. The scriptures declare this to be true, and I need to hold onto that faith no matter how much some want to discourage that.

I still need to trust in Jesus more and stop trying so hard to fight my nature on my own. I know that we are participants in our salvation, and I want to do what I can, but I don’t want to allow my striving to replace seeking Jesus as sincerely as I could.

Keeping My Word

I’ve been reposting some of the old content from my previous website, and one of the things I used to do was write impromptu posts that discussed things I was dealing with at the time in my Christian walk. I haven’t done that here, and maybe I should.

In Tuesday’s article, I wondered about discussing the positive changes that Jesus has worked in my life, and I want to do some of that. However, I never want to create an illusion within my writing that makes me seem to be more upright than I am.

Even though I understand that any goodness I have is from Jesus and not me, I also have lingering sin issues that affect my life, and these issues are really weighing on me.

I have confessed my sin to God and to man—at least one or two people know all about my sin—but there are some things that I cannot publish—not for my sake so much as for the sake of others.

Though, I admit that this discretion is for my sake too and for this ministry’s sake because there are some who are actively trying to destroy me. These love to hear of any fault I have, and maybe it’s a thing of pride to say this, but I don’t want to give them any more satisfaction. I do expect to come clean with all things eventually, but I would prefer to overcome first, Lord willing.

Even so, I can speak in some general terms, though I realize that ambiguity is not as satisfying for those who read.

In any case, I’m feeling very low, unworthy, and ashamed. I also feel a little afraid.

There is one post on my former site that gets regular views entitled, “Rebellion is as Witchcraft and Stubbornness is as Idolatry.”

In this article, I made a declaration. I said that I would not stand for any sin within myself, because all sin is as idolatry and witchcraft. I’ve made similar declarations. I need to do what I said I would do, or I need to repent of what I have declared.  

What if I’m like Ananias and Saphira, or like the sow who wallows in the mire or the dog that returns to his vomit? What if the Lord’s teachings are falling on my heart of stone, just to wither away when hard times come? What if the Lord’s teachings are falling on my heart that’s covered by thorns, just to be choked by the cares of this life and financial troubles?

I know I’ve progressed, and in my heart Jesus is Lord. He is first, though my sinful nature still gets the best of me. Then I wonder, why? I know His Spirit is still within me because I receive things from Him. So, why am I so powerless to stop these sins? Why can’t I perform that which I said I would do?

Or maybe the question is, why hasn’t Jesus freed me yet? Or did He? Maybe I’m not really laying hold of the power He has given me by His Spirit. Maybe I keep trying to overcome on my own. I know I have done that more-so lately. I prayed about these things for a while, then I gave up. I lost faith that Jesus would hear and help, so I have not sought Him like I should.

I know there are some who would get a kick out of this. Yes, I still sin. And yes, I still believe that I should not and I still believe that Jesus will make a way for me to escape—though I know I do not deserve it. I also notice that my heart is turning away from this faith. I’m beginning to feel defeated and wonder if a sinful life is even possible.

I deserve to fulfill all the wrong sides of the parables of Jesus. He has given me so much. I know He is faithful and He will perform all things He has promised—but I think I need to renew my seriousness in fighting these things—and not on my own, but with faith in Jesus.

He will hear, and tomorrow is a new day. Maybe tomorrow is the day of salvation. Or maybe the next day or the next. Maybe years from now, but I know that I can’t give up. I said things that I meant, and I cannot take these things back. I won’t. I don’t expect to be perfect in this life, but if I go down with lingering sin, I want to go down fighting it to the very end with faith in Jesus and His promises.

I can’t stand that I made declarations that I have not kept. I need to keep them.

Why I Believe in Jesus: He is the Physician

It can feel awkward talking or writing about the things Jesus has done for you. On one hand, I want to talk about who I was and the changes He made in me so that He is honored and so that others might be encouraged. However, I also understand that doing so can be off putting, and there are a few reasons why that might be.

One might confuse boasting in the Lord for boasting in myself. One might hear about a change that the Lord worked in me and become discouraged because they have not experienced that change themselves.

I think about when Jesus worked miracles for people, as we read about in the scriptures. He told some to go and tell people what He had done. For others, He asked them to keep quiet about it. I think Jesus did this because He knew what the outcome would be in each case, and He would not encourage a testimony that would lead to sins such as pride, envy, strife, and murderous intentions.

As far as I can tell, the only way we can know which things to declare publicly and which things we should keep to ourselves is by listening to the guidance of the Spirit as we consider what the outcome might be for those who listen.

If people will benefit from a testimony, then we should share it. If there is no real benefit for others or if our testimony will place ourselves or others in harm’s way before our time has come, then I think it is best to keep the matter private.

Though there might be things to keep to ourselves, we cannot “hide our light under a bushel.” If Jesus works in us, then our lives will change, and people will see that. In-fact, the most powerful testimony is living a life in Christ. As our life inspires questions about how and why we live a certain way, we can talk about Jesus and what He has done.

As far as publishing His works in my life openly, I need to take more time to consider which details I should write about and which details I should not.

Specifics aside, I do notice that the working of Jesus follows a similar methodology.

All change began with a change of mind towards the things of God. There were sinful behaviors I justified before Jesus showed me otherwise. I also had ideas about God and the gospel that encouraged sinful mindsets. Having my understanding changed was an act of grace and mercy; I could not simply change my mind without divine influence.

I have also noticed that the change of mind that comes to us in Christ is a progressive change. Though there are moments of big change, such as the moment we first believe in the gospel and turn our lives over to Jesus or when we receive the Holy Spirit, most change seems to be gradual and cumulative.

There are aspects of our sinful nature that are so deeply embedded into our core nature that we cannot simply change our mind and stop the sin because we are not dealing with just one issue—but many related issues that feed off of each other. In such instances, a slow and steady continuation in the faith as we learn to walk after the things of the Spirit will bring gradual change and healing.

Some changes occur in an instant, and others might take a lifetime. However, all changes we experience are given to us by grace through faith.

It is the grace of God that leads us to Jesus. With faith in Him, we know that we are forgiven of our sins so that means we can boldly approach God without shame because we have passed from condemnation to life.

Since we are not condemned, we can look at ourselves honestly and seek the Lord to change our perspective so that we are no longer justifying sin but instead focusing on Christ and aiming for a life lived in Him.

We should search ourselves regularly, because we can become blind to sin; we are very good at justifying ourselves. Therefore, we should never claim to be without the capacity for sin. In all things, the Holy Spirit will convict us if we seek Jesus and listen. If we don’t know how to listen to the Spirit, then we seek that through regular prayer and consideration of the word of God.

We also have faith in the resurrection promise of Jesus and the healing power of His Spirit, knowing that any real change we receive comes from Him and not our efforts. In this, Jesus alone is glorified and no man can boast.

We also have faith in His perfect timing and will for all things, so if the change we seek is slow we can find patience with ourselves and others.  We also know that anything we lack will be made whole once we are raised from the dead bodily at the coming of Jesus.

We have faith that all things pertaining to our salvation are given to us from God. However, we were given this life for a reason, so we will experience things. We will strive in the faith and we will fight against sin. We will experience defeat and we will experience victory. In all things, we rely on the blood of Jesus and the mercy of God alone, trusting that all things are working out for our good.

We have faith that all things are accomplished in Christ. Death was defeated on the cross, and by the grace of God, the divine nature of Jesus and the power of His Spirit teaches us to cast off sin and walk righteously in this present world as one who was given victory over all dead things.

We continue in this faith, knowing that all things must be placed under the feet of our Lord, and we will see that day—and we will rule over death with Him—both as we experience freedom from sin in this life and when we see our Lord coming with power and glory to establish His rule forever.

Whether you are an unbeliever who wants to turn their heart to Jesus or a believer who has walked with Him for years, you need the Physician.

We all have room to heal and grow. The day we claim to have it all is a sad day, because that is the day we cease from pursuing His Kingdom. This pursuit is not a one-time declaration—but a life-long commitment.

I know this from experience, so I will always encourage others to continue in the faith and growth, from faith to faith and from righteousness to righteousness according to the perfect will and timing of our Lord and the grace of God that abounds to all who trust in Jesus Christ.

30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (John 5:30-32).

I intend to look at the above scripture further in tomorrow’s article. Feel free to leave a comment or send a private message if you want to discuss any of the ideas mentioned here, or if you just want someone to talk to about your own walk in the faith.

Considering Proverbs 10:2

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

As Christians, we know that the only righteousness that will deliver us from death is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Our own righteousness is not enough and never will be.

As Christians, we also know that there is nothing we can do to earn the righteousness of Christ that is projected onto us by the grace of God the Father and the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.

What about a change of nature, as promised by the resurrection of Jesus and stated throughout the New Testament?

As Christians, we have an amazing promise of healing by the Physician who comes to work on us from the inside out, changing our natures so that we are more like Him.

I’m thankful that as a Christian, I am not under the law—a law that often “makes clean the outside of the cup” while leaving the inside filthy.

Yet, how often do we still try to make the outside clean?

We can learn a lot about what a Christian life should look like through the scriptures and through other believers, and we can do our best to honor the sacrifice of Jesus by attempting to arrange our lives accordingly.

However, if we get too caught up on the outer works—without focusing on the change of heart that Jesus provides—then we can exhaust ourselves with our often-futile attempts at real change.

If the inside of a person is full of the treasures of wickedness: lying, greed, envy, resentment, lust, thievery, selfishness, pride, vanity, and so on, then our outer works can become hypocrisy.

If we continue in these things inwardly, while doing our best to appear to be Christ-like outwardly, then we might become tempted to justify many of the wicked things within ourselves so that we do not have to face how hypocritical we truly are.

Is this what Jesus wants from us?

Does He want us to wear His righteousness, then go around doing the best we can to make that righteousness a reality while denying what is going on beneath the surface and in the heart?

No, He does not want that, does He?

So then, do we wear His righteousness and go about living our normal, sinful life without any change towards serving Jesus and living more uprightly?

No, that does not sound right either, does it?

So then, do we change what we can change, live honestly regarding our sinful struggles, and do our best to serve Jesus with our lives in truth and not hypocrisy?

That sounds a little more like it, doesn’t it?

However, do we have faith that Jesus can do more for us? Do we have faith that He truly can heal our hearts and make us clean from the inside out—not just in the imputation but in reality?

If we seek Him, receive His Spirit, and are willing to die to the things of this life that the flesh loves so that we are able to walk after the Spirit and not this world, then we can receive much healing. I think there will always be “one more thing you lack” but I believe that we can experience so much freedom.

However, we have to love the things of righteousness and hate the things of wickedness. We also have to have faith in the transformative power of the gospel and not place our trust in our own ability to change. Our ability, or works, are dead works that can only make us into hypocrites.

So, let’s consider.

The law, or outer works, when performed by man will always be filthy. The working of Jesus is pure.

Do we believe in this? Do we seek this?

Or do we wear His blood and keep laying outward works on ourselves in attempts to honor His name? Do we go the other direction and wear His blood while continuing to live a life of defeat and sin because we know we are hopelessly sinful, and we don’t want to live in hypocrisy?

Do we change what we can change and live honestly without trying to be something we are not, but claim defeat against certain sins or stop pursuing the Kingdom further?

If we are of these mindsets, then we need to pray that we have greater faith in the power of the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We wear the blood of Jesus, and we know that His blood is the only way that we can appear before God without shame and condemnation.

However, we are also promised His Spirit and through the Spirit we should receive the righteousness of Christ in our hearts—changing us from the inside out—which is more effective and real than the law ever could be.

While in this world, there will always be “one thing you lack.” There will always be something to seek Jesus in and there will always be some service to provide.

We will not achieve perfection in the flesh. However, if we can keep the faith with a proper focus, then we can be more effective for the Kingdom of God and we will find freedom from the mindsets within the faith that cast “stumbling blocks” Infront of us.

All things pertaining to our salvation are given to us by grace through faith.

If we know that we are hopelessly sinful and we need a Savior, then God has favored us. If we know that Jesus is the only way of salvation, then God has favored us. If we love the teachings of Jesus and we want to live a life that serves Him, then God has favored us.

If God favors us, then we are not condemned.

We are not condemned to a continued life of sin and destruction. We are not condemned to the punishment for sin, which is the second death. So, let us consider the favor (grace) of God and pursue the promises of the gospel with all that we have—which we received of God—and will not falter.

What about myself? I know what it is like to wear the blood of Jesus and continue living in sin without much care for righteousness, and I know the kinds of teachings and mindsets that lead to this. I also know what it is like to wear the blood of Jesus and attempt to change myself in futility, and I know the kinds of teachings and mindsets that lead to this. I still do the latter in some measure. I need greater faith also. I will write more about this in tomorrow’s testimony article, Lord willing.

What Matters Most

In times of confusion, strife, and division, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most.

Today, I am going to republish two posts from my former website, kindlingtruth.com.

This might not be what you expect. This is not about confusion, strife, and division among the nation in terms of politics. Instead, this has to do with confusion, strife, and division among Christians.

This is one of my controversial beliefs–and one you have to judge for yourself–but I believe that the state of our nation reflects the state of our church, and God has purposed this as a means of turning His people to Him.

Although there is a place for responsible participation in politics, I will continue to assert that Christians should focus most on our issues–and the nation will follow our example.

So, to that end, here are two articles that express my thoughts on the issues of division among the Christian church in the United States. Whether you agree with the above sentiment regarding God’s will for our nation, I hope you will find something valuable in these writings.


What Matters Most

Posted on May 16, 2019  

One thing Jesus criticized the religious leaders of his day for was “neglecting the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith.” As Christians, we should be trying to learn what righteous judgment looks like.

As we learn judgment, we are often faced with a question of what matters most. In most scenarios, there is the very wrong thing to do, the technically right thing, and the best thing.

Sometimes our perspective blinds us, so we think we are doing the best thing when we aren’t. Maybe we are standing by an issue that is true or good, but we are not seeing the greater picture and we make poor judgment calls that hurt people. Maybe we are dealing with an issue we are blind to, so we don’t know what is right in the first place.

Let’s go back to what Jesus called important: judgment, mercy, and faith. Let’s also consider the commandment Jesus gave us: “this is my commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you.”

If we have faith in Jesus, we should explore righteous judgment so that we can know what it really means to love others as Jesus loves us. In pursuing this, we will learn about mercy. We will also learn how to navigate difficult situations, even when dealing with a matter of what is technically right and what is best.

This can be applied to many issues for Christians. How do we apply this to Christian teachings? What matters most?

It’s easy to get hung up on one matter of doctrine or another. Some people are very focused on the sabbath day, or the rapture, or the nature of heaven and hell. Some become hung up on outward acts of righteousness, like the way we should dress or wear our hair. For others, the way we praise the Lord during our assemblies is an important matter.

There are all kinds of issues that Christians argue over. How many of these issues really matter? Of course all things have their place, but in the right order. No issue should be more important than helping others pursue Jesus more fully.

In many cases, what we are placing first in terms of importance is not in line with pursing Jesus or the commandment he gave: love one another. We might think it is. Especially if the issue we hold dear seems to be a matter of salvation.

In the end, if we put Jesus first, he will help us sort these issues out.

Jesus has to come first. He has to come before loyalty to our denominations, pastors, or affections for traditions within the faith. He has to come before the troubles and pleasures of this world. He has to come before our pride, our reputation, or other forms of self-love. If we put Jesus first and learn to love him, we cannot help but learn to love others too. That’s what he wants from us, after all.

If we love Jesus first — and by extension — our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will learn the righteous judgment we need to determine what matters most.

Take Christian doctrine, for example. What matters most? What issues affect our brethren the most? The gospel of the kingdom of heaven should be the primary focus at all times. Within the gospel there are enough issues for us to be dealing with right now. There are some dangerous misconceptions:

Many Christians believe that they can make a one time declaration of faith, go on to live without much regard for the kingdom of heaven, and still call themselves “saved.”

Many Christians view grace, the Lord’s forgiveness, and Christian liberty as cushion for living a sinful life.

Many Christians are taught that what God really wants for them is to live in worldly prosperity and to escape all suffering.

Many Christians are deterred from seeking the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit.

Many Christians are not being fed the word properly, and they are not maturing as well as they could be.

Many Christians are in danger because we spend so much time arguing over petty matters, that we have forgotten what matters most.

If Jesus matters most, and the love for the brethren matters most, then where is there room to neglect the things of the kingdom of heaven? Where is there room to take for granted the sacrifice of the Lord that brings grace, forgiveness, and liberty? Where is there room to deny the Lord dwelling in our hearts through the Spirit, thereby bringing us gifts that makes us more profitable for the kingdom of heaven?

Jesus has to matter most. If we are honest with ourselves, Jesus might not always matter most. We are self-serving by nature. We also tend to look to man by nature. We want to fit in with the crowd. We want to prosper in this world. We don’t want pesky righteousness to get in the way of our pleasures, in one regard or another. We want to look up to those exalted figures within the faith, or even government and pop culture.

God’s people have always done these things. They have always grumbled, coveted things of this world, and looked to the leaders of the world for guidance. It should not be so. If we have these problems, now is a good time to get honest with ourselves and with Jesus. Now is a good time to get our priorities straight, while we still can.

Being aware is important, but losing hope will do us no good. Jesus will not allow any who sincerely belong to him go astray for long. He will cause us to love him most, and he will teach us what that means. We will learn righteous judgment, mercy, and faith.

There is no reason for all of the division among believers, aside from the purposes of God. However, His purposes do not negate our responsibility. If we know better, if we know that something is not right, then we should do our best to do something about it. Why? Because we love Jesus and what he stands for. We love the brethren.

Here is a comforting thought: The body of Christ is not truly divided. It only seems to be. Therefore, on an individual level, we should keep something in mind. If we think that our group, church, or denomination is the one that has it all together, we are wrong. Point blank.

The body of Christ is not limited by the traditions of man. It is only contained by the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, with Jesus at the center and what it means to serve those who are one with Him.

We can all learn to love Jesus most. We can all learn to love others most. If we were perfect in these things, then we would not sin. Let’s keep learning to focus on what, and most importantly WHO matters most.

The Most Important Things

Posted on December 2, 2018 

I’m feeling a bit heart-broken lately, y’all. I want to kind of pour my heart out to all five or so of you who will read this.

Words are hard sometimes, you know? Some situations are complicated, and trying to communicate things in writing while accounting for important nuances can be difficult. Things get left out, especially when one feels a bit overwhelmed by it all. Thank the Lord for the peace He gives in knowing that God is in control!

I’ve been very immersed with the problem of Christian division. Like I mentioned in a recent article, this is nothing new…but my perspective on this “problem” and the “solution”varies a great deal over time.

In the past few days, I keep randomly turning to Bible passages that speak of Christians being united. Philippians 2. John 17. 1 Corinthians 1.

On top of that, I’ve been learning about Christian history and Jewish history…and the same theme repeats. The people of God become divided, scattered, and destroyed.

I don’t know what Christianity is really like in other countries. I’ve heard stories, but I can only speak to Christians in the United States. We are terribly divided.

On one hand, God is in control, right? I believe that all things are working according to His will, so that means all of this division among the brethren in the form of denominations is also His will. Yet, I feel like I should be doing some small part to unify Christians.

Then I think, what about the past? Anytime God’s people are going astray, God allows it right? Yet, there are consequences. There are also those who God preserves. How does He preserve them? He sends people to pull them out before the wrath of God is unleashed.

I think we need to get out, but how?

Do we come to a single doctrine and demand we all obey that? Goodness no! That’s what I used to think…but then I realize, anytime someone comes along demanding we all believe a single teaching, worship a certain way, or otherwise create strict rules, oppression follows. Then comes rebellion. Then comes destruction. Then comes fraction.

We will disagree on much, and that is okay.

There are only a few doctrines or Christian ideas that I will keep pushing heavily, and these are the small things–yet the most important things–the things of salvation. This includes:

  • The gospel of the kingdom of heaven — in truth, and subsequently:
    • The meaning of sin.
    • The meaning of grace.
    • The meaning of salvation.
    • The Holy Spirit.
    • Seeking Jesus above man.

I’m working on a article series, that I fully intend to publish, entitled “The Problem with Kings.” The whole purpose is to look at the real cause of division–and the real solution.

The real cause? Looking to man. Making “kings” out of our doctrines, our denominations, our Christian leaders–and placing these things so highly that we hold them above the Lord. In so doing, we fight. We are scattered. We rebel against one another, and the Body of Christ is destroyed. Just as all “kings” in Christian history, looking to Man or man’s wisdom leads to our demise.

Does God allow it? Does God purpose it? Certainly. Yet, there is time and place for all things. All things in our history as God’s people ultimately works out for our good. Our preservation as a faith, and our correction. Our understanding that there is ONE God–and Man is not that God!

Even in the end-times, the point is to overthrow all things that are “proud and lofty” so that the Lord alone is exalted.

Guess what? That includes our exalted men of God. Our denominations. This also includes the worldly, of course. The idolatry of Hollywood, the calling of evil good and good evil, corrupt governments, and so on.

The wrath of God is not for His people…but…we must return to being His people. We need to let go of our “kings” and return to The King of Kings.

I cannot expect people to listen. In-fact, I know they won’t. People are afraid. They are attached to their ways. They trust in “kings” when the unbelieving world comes crashing down on them. This also repeats over and over…yet…some will hear.

Some will put the Lord above all else, and in doing so, our petty matters of disagreement and division are dissolved by our love for Jesus and each other. As we seek the Holy Spirit and become baptized with the Truth in our heart, we will be one as the Son and the Father are one. We will learn to take care after the most important things: the issues of the gospel in truth. We will understand that as a body, we need each other in order to grow. We need each other’s strengths to help us conform to the image of Christ. We need each other’s understanding to form sound doctrine.

The work mentioned in this article was completed in October, 2019:

The Problem with Kings–We Are the Four Horsemen

Inserted 11/4/20:

It is important to note that the unity we strive for is in spirit by the Spirit that indwells in believers. This is not unity in a systemic or structural way. Any unity between government and religion–in a systemic and structural way–is more like the Great Whore.

A question for you to consider: Should our churches do what the government tells them to do, even when it means preventing the gathering of believers and worship? If they will bow so easily, then maybe it’s time to get out. These structures will fall eventually, and they will do everything the government tells them to do because they are non-profit governmental organizations, among other reasons. Not all, but most.

Don’t we have houses we can meet in? Of course, our gatherings would be smaller and would make no man rich and exalted off of the name of Jesus. Pity.

We don’t need to expend riches on buildings and a system that exalts a few by creating a bunch of dependents–kind of like the welfare state. Another issue our nation reflects? Perhaps.

Considering Proverbs 10:1

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

If we consider wisdom as synonymous with godliness, as described in earlier chapters of the Proverbs, then we can see how a father would be glad to have a wise son. We can also consider how an ungodly and foolish son would bring grief to his mother.

However, I cannot help but think of the failings of the parents of our generation.

Before I get into this, please know that I do not accuse anyone in particular; I know some great parents, and I sympathize with those who struggle. So do I.

Even so, there is a pandemic of failing our sons, and this has everything to do with a society that embraces godlessness and foolishness.

It seems that many fathers and mothers create foolish, ungodly children—and what’s worse is when the parents are glad to do so.

It amazes me when parents find sassy, misbehaved kids to be cute and funny.

It amazes me that some parents think it is trendy to have a gender fluid child, so they push that agenda onto their sons—sons who were obviously very boy-like before being girly became a cool thing to do.

Our little boys are robbed of any attribute that will make them strong men who respect and protect women.

Our little boys are supposed to sit still and be quiet; rough housing with other boys is discouraged and shamed; creativity is driven out of them; and the need to compete is quenched by our participation trophy society.

Our boys are fed garbage media and entertainment that encourages fornication, selfishness, and pride—while also doing everything possible to neuter them.

Our boys are sent off to public school where they are emotionally abused and made into obedient little pons of Carl Marx.

Mothers and fathers are selfish, child-like, and lack the proper discipline necessary to run a household and discipline their own children.

Children are either allowed to run wild because their parents don’t know what to do with them, or they are stifled by helicopter parents who are afraid that their precious little boy might get a boo boo.

Our boys are fat, lazy, and afraid of sweat and hard work. Don’t worry, mommy will do it all for you.

Mom shaming, as terrible as it was, has been replaced with enabling of terrible mothering with statements like, “if your kid is still alive, you’re doing a great job! Go have some more wine. You deserve it.”

Fornication is rampant, leading to single parent homes; single mothers are praised while the fathers are shut out—and many fathers take that free pass and run as far as they can because women today have lost their minds.

Modern-day feminism is a huge disservice to our sons—and a lot of today’s problems stem from this insane movement.

So much could be said about this, and as disheartening as it all is, I sympathize a great deal with parents today. I was not a good parent either and I understand the many influences that strip us of our ability to raise wise sons.

However, I think that some measure of natural affection should take hold and cause even the worst of mothers to face herself and grow for the sake of her kids.

I know some moms who did just that, and I am so proud of them. It’s hard to be a good mom when you don’t have the right tool box, but I know that Jesus has the tools and He can give them to us and change the damage within our hearts and minds that make it impossible to wield those tools effectively.

I feel bad for the mothers who want to raise their sons right, but don’t know how (often due to their own abusive parents), then have to deal with mom shaming on one side and enabling of child neglect on the other.

I feel bad for the mothers who were duped by feminism, then when they became mothers found themselves without necessary support.  

I feel bad for the fathers that live in a culture that has abandoned them, made their job of no importance, and turned men into child-like abuse victims of a radical feminist culture with no sense of responsibility or natural affection for women and children.

How did this happen?

The terrible mothers and fathers of today did not sprout up out of nowhere; the mothers and fathers before them and the ungodly society they perpetuated created them—and they in turn create more ungodly sons and daughters.

It’s amazing how the parents of the previous generation scoff at how terrible the parents of their grandchildren are; you created these parents! You babied them, enabled them, spoiled them, encouraged wicked living, and emotionally abused them. It’s no wonder we have child-like adults trying to raise children—and failing miserably.

This problem has perpetuated over many generations, and this snowball effect is reaching a point of climax. That snowball is going to come crashing down, and all generations will feel the effects.

I feel bad for our sons, and I shudder to think what the next generation will be like if our parents do not return to the ways of Jesus and wise child rearing.

I am thankful to know that even the worst of us can change if we turn our hearts to Jesus. He changed me and keeps changing me, and He can change you too.

If you want support that is compassionate but not enabling, reach out anytime. My kids are not that old, so I don’t have the most experience, but I have some experience in re-raising poorly parented kids and I know that often means reparenting yourself first. I know it is extremely hard to do, but with God all things are possible.

The Problem with Kings–We are the Four Horsemen

This was originally posted on October 4, 2019 on my first website, http://www.kindlingtruth.com

I abandoned that project for a few reasons, and I’ve been thinking about that decision lately. I’m not sure that I made the right choice. In any case, I have decided to republish some of the articles from that website to this one and work out some kinks along the way.

The below series is the last one that I completed on kindlingtruth.com, and I think that I need to republish it now.


We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 1)

I have something heavy to share and I’m not happy to share it, although there is a sense of amazement I feel at the word of God along with many other emotions as you might also experience if what I write makes sense to you.

I’m not sure where to begin except to explain what just happened to me. If this or other cases of my sharing seems to be a kind of praying or doing things to be seen, I apologize and I hope you will see that I write these things in sincerity as someone who is trying to convey experiences and lessons learned, both for my good as I try to be a good steward of what the Lord gives and for the good of the brethren in Jesus Christ.

It’s no secret to the few who read this blog regularly that I have some on-going struggles, and they seem to be peaking lately. I’ve just spent the last few hours in prayer, which I’ve never done to this extent. In basic terms, I began by seeking the Lord with some personal problems. This led to self-assessment and conviction of the Holy Spirit, which led to seeking mercy from the Lord, thanking Him for showing me my errors, and asking for strength to do better. Nothing too out of the ordinary.

Then, something out of the ordinary did happen. Suddenly, the issue I have reminded me of the red horse in Revelation 6.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

The struggles I have cause me to do things that further harden the hearts of some instead of encourage to righteousness. The things I struggle with fuel conflict and destroy peace at times. The things I struggle with kill someone I love spiritually. What do I mean by killing spiritually? You can read this, but basically this is aligned with the teaching of Jesus that says if we hate in our heart, we are killing others.

I am like the red horseman. Great. Or, at least I was. I believe that the Lord is working.

I went on to read all four of the horsemen, then I realized, I am or have been all of those too — and not just me — all of us are. All of us Christians are. Maybe not each and every one of us, but as a collective. Christianity today can be represented by the four horsemen.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

How does this relate to Christianity as a whole today? I want to write a series of articles about this, looking at each horseman in detail. In basic terms, we:

  • Go forth conquering in the name of Jesus, but we do so in an unrighteous and destructive manner.
  • Kill one another, and we use the word of God very often to do so.
  • Neglect righteous judgement.
  • Bring death.

I’m not saying this is the only way to interpret this prophecy. I believe that all prophecy has an application depending on the season we are in. There could be a more literal application to come, but for now, I’m asking you to consider these things spiritually according to the teaching of Jesus given during His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7).

We need to consider ourselves and seek the Lord. If there is any way you can relate to these horsemen after doing so, repent. I believe these to be the very actions and mindsets that lead up to the desolation of Christianity and the arrival of the false Christ.

On a positive note, I also believe that in turning aside from these things, dying to the kingdoms of this world, and growing in the things of the kingdom of God, we will be spared from the great deception that consumes this world, both now and in the future. If we are hardened to this, we can ask Jesus to “open these seals” within our hearts as only He can do, and only Jesus can place the seal of God on us. We need to be sealed and in the right way. Not as one with a hard heart, but with a heart that is protected and secured in righteous doing as the world falls apart.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 2)

In this article, I want to explore what might be revealed to us presently within the first seal. First, I need to back things up a bit.

What is Being Sealed?

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5:1).

“Him that sat on the throne” is God the Father. What is the book He holds in His right hand? I cannot say for certain, but there are other instances in Revelation when a book is mentioned. Are these the same book?

In Revelation 10 a great angel appears with a “little book.” The book is opened, seven thunders utter mysteries and the mysteries are sealed. We are told that this “mystery of God” will be finished when the seventh angel sounds. John was then instructed to take the little book, now sealed, and eat it up. It was sweet in his mouth, but his belly was made bitter.

There is also the book of life, which is mentioned on multiple occasions throughout the scriptures. Then there is the written word of God.

We can speculate on the nature of the book in Revelation 5, and I’m not sure what my exact take is on the issue. I think in some capacity, there is only one real “book” and all knowledge is contained in this “book.” Therefore, what matters most is the knowledge written therein pertaining to life, especially concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We cannot understand the things that pertain to life without Jesus revealing these things to us.

This notion carries through to what is written next in Revelation 5. Who is worthy to open the book?

Why is Jesus the Only One Who Can Open the Book?

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:2-10).

I don’t want to get into the depths of what is being discussed in the above scriptures at this time. If you’re curious or have insight and you would like to talk about these things, let me know. I’d be happy to. The point for now is this declaration: The Lamb that was slain is the only one found worthy to open the book and to loosen the seven seals. Of course, the lamb is Jesus Christ.

What Do Open Seals Reveal?

I think we can assume that the act of opening a seal is a symbol for revealing information. What kind of information is being revealed?

Here’s what I mean when I say that “the book” is only one book, and this includes the book of life: This book can contain all kinds of knowledge as revealed by the fullness of the Spirit of God. This knowledge can go two ways in the end: life or death. It depends on how the knowledge is received.

If the knowledge is received on “good ground” (the parable of the sower in the field, Matthew 13), then we are receiving life and we bear the fruits of life. We are also falling on the right side of that “two-edged sword” which is the word of God (Hebrews 4:12). If not, then that very same word, that very same knowledge that brings life to many, will bring death. This knowledge can be sweet as honey and it can be bitter at the same time, especially as we digest these ideas more fully.

So, when looking at these seals, we want to look at them as one who is being given knowledge pertaining to life.

However, as with a two-edge sword, we should be careful in how we handle this knowledge. We should be reverent, never taking such things lightly, because in so doing we also take the blood of the Lamb lightly. The blood of the Lamb also has a life and death application, depending on whether we drink His blood in a worthy or unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:29).

The First Seal

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

The one on the white horse reflects the coming of Jesus. Jesus will come on a white horse, as we see in Revelation 19. However, I do not think the person mentioned here in Revelation 5 is truly Jesus, but an imposter. Why do I believe this Christ figure is an imposter?

For one, a crown was given to him. That means this false figure received a kind of authority that is not innately his own. Since God grants all authority, but in Him is no darkness, we can determine that this authority is given by God through the prince of this world, or Satan. Another reason I believe this to be a false Christ is because we know that a false Christ must come (the son of destruction/perdition) before Jesus returns (Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2).

There are two ways I see this:

  • The false Christ figure is that final antichrist who will deceive the nations before Jesus returns.
  • The false Christ figure represents something spiritual within Christianity, both on a global scale and pertaining to many of us individually.

How do I come to these conclusions?

If not Jesus Himself, which I believe it not to be, then this figure on the white horse represents a person or persons acting in the name of Jesus. In the final sense, this could have to do with antichrist. In the present sense, this considers any who act in the name of Jesus falsely or with a mis-aligned intent.

Consider the totality of Christian history. Our history is riddled with people and ideas that go around “conquering and to conquer,” all the while doing so in the name of furthering the kingdom of heaven. This is why we have so many denominations, for example. These leaders and ideas become a sort of crowned “king” that lay law down, divide, and conquer.

These “kings” take many forms, dating all the way back to the first king of Israel, Saul. Beginning with Saul until now, when the people of God become king in place of the King of Kings, division follows. So does murder, as we will see in the second seal. There are many “kings” today. Many denominations, many religious leaders, many individuals who go around “conquering” in the name of the kingdom of heaven but going about it in the wrong way.

How do we know if a religious leader is acting in the name of the Lord in sincerity or falsely? Here are some indicators, though they can be hard to spot at times:

  • Unrighteous motivations like money, social status, and power.
  • Becoming overly dogmatic about a non-salvation issue, resulting in an approach that forgets love for the brethren.
  • Laying laws on people that do not promote inner righteousness, but outward legalism.
  • Laying laws on people that are oppressive and negligent of our Christian liberties.

What Does This Seal Mean for Us?

Beware of “kings” who go about establishing their own kingdom instead of furthering the kingdom of heaven. This begins with those of the faith. After we hold our own Christian leaders accountable, then we can look to other kinds of worldly “kings.” These “kings” are governments and social ideologies that go about conquering in the name of their kingdom (their idea of eutopia on earth).

These can include any social trend that calls evil good then tries to impose that evil as a virtue onto others while calling those who oppose unrighteous. Many such things are trending these days, but judgment begins at the house of God, so we should begin looking to our own wrongdoing first. After-all, history teaches us that it is the failings of God’s people that leads to oppression by worldly rulers in the first place.

We should look at ourselves first, always.

Since judgment begins at the house of God, this first means judging ourselves. Each individual is a temple, and we need to get our house in order. If we are not honest with ourselves, then we are at risk of judging others for things we do, and we become hypocrites. So, let’s consider. How do we set ourselves up as a conquering king, all the while thinking we are acting in the name of Jesus? If we are sincere in heart, the Holy Spirit will convict us and guide us to repentance. Jesus will forgive us.

However, we should not think we are above these things. Here are some examples (many based on my own failings):

  • Becoming so stern about an issue of doctrine or other non-salvation issue that we cause divisions among the brethren.
  • Trying to impose our sense of righteousness on others in a manner that does not consider the liberty of our brethren, but instead places unfair bondage or judgment on them.
  • Attempting to force someone into repentance through harsh words or actions.
  • Having a know-it-all mindset that considers any who oppose as an enemy or outsider in the faith.

In Conclusion

The only One who can open our hearts to the knowledge that brings life is Jesus Christ.

If we continue as one who is hardened to our sinful state and continue therein without repentance, then the love of the Lord is not truly in us. However, we all have blind spots, or seals, that we need opened. It’s always a good idea to pray that the Lord will continue to reveal the hidden darkness in our heart and give us the knowledge of life we need in order to overcome.

Both the knowledge of our sin and the knowledge of life are important. How we receive these things speaks to whether we will be found on the side of life or the side of condemnation and death.

What can we learn from the 1st seal today?

As Christians, our lives are meant to be lived in Jesus name. However, if we claim the title of Christian and go around doing things in opposition to the kingdom of heaven, instead fueling the kingdom of this world or our own agenda, then we are not acting like Jesus. Instead, we are a kind of antichrist. This is a hard reality, but again, there is none who is above this and if we acknowledge these shortcomings and repent, there is forgiveness. There is life.

No sincere Christian should look at themselves as a kind of antichrist, but as mentioned earlier, the way we handle the things of God matter. All of the warnings given through our history, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles of the scriptures are given for a reason.

We should pay attention and be attentive to our salvation. If we are sincere, we should grow in reverence for the warnings we are given in the word and greatly appreciate the blood of Jesus that cleanses us. In so doing, we will grow in the knowledge of the Lord, and we will receive mercy, forgiveness, and life. Salvation that is neglected is revealed to be no salvation at all, only hard heart delusion and death.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 3)

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword (Revelation 6:4).

Can you imagine a person, full of so-called righteous indignation, riding on a fiery-red horse of zeal while wielding the word (sword) of God? That’s what I see when I read this verse.

How easy it is to become this horseman.

As Christians, we are supposed to be zealous after the things of God, and there is a righteous form of zeal. However, there is an unrighteous form of zeal also.

For many of us, when we are converted to the Christian faith and begin to see how corrupt the world is, even the Christian world, we can become consumed with a desire to do something about it. Without love and wisdom however, we can become overly harsh and condemning. We can become as one who leads people away from Jesus, not to Him. We can begin to use the sword of God to smite our fellow servants. For more, read “Those Who Kill with the Sword.”

The most deceptive form of zealous indignation is one that is cloaked in righteousness, or the justification of righteousness. Those doing such things will think that they are doing the will of God, when in reality, they have fallen for the devices of Satan.

Remember what Jesus said, “many will kill you, thinking that they do God’s service.”

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service (John 16:2).

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. 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 (Mark 13:12-13).

This is a dangerous place to be, and very often this is something that comes about after we place ourselves under some kind of false Jesus king as mentioned in the first seal. We have a ruler that seems to be of God, and this ruler has an agenda. He is conquering in the name of Jesus. So, we begin to kill one another with our legalism, hypocrisy, anger, and so on.

Much could be said about this seal. There are many life situations in which we find ourselves killing others spiritually. This can range from being too harsh with someone because of their sin to being too permissive, thereby enabling their sin. We can be full of so-called righteous indignation on either front. We see this today in Christian society.

Take any moral issue that people fight and “kill” each other over today. On both sides you have an extreme. You have the extreme opposition to the moral issue who lacks compassion and patience with those in bondage to sin, then you have the extreme enablers who twist the love and grace of Jesus to basically make sin permissible. Both use the word of God to do so, and both sides are killing the one in bondage to sin because both are following their own “king” instead of what Jesus really has to say about the matter.

And what does Jesus have to say about the matter?

You can consider any form of sin that is rampant and a source of contention today, and the way Jesus would handle it is going to be similar. Sin is not acceptable, no matter what the reason. However, there is a reason and we should be compassionate, because if we were in their place, we would do the same. We are no better, and any good thing in us came from God, not ourselves.

We should approach such a person with empathy and humility, rebuke the sin as a force of destruction in their life, then point them to the One who can forgive and redeem them: Jesus. Jesus can heal them from this sin. He can release them from it, literally.

However, if they will not hear us, then we move on. If the person claims to be a Christian and their sin is causing those weak in the faith to sin also, then they must be removed from us after ample rebuke is given by multiple Christians.

In either case, we should love our enemy and pray that the Lord will turn their hearts to Him. Harsh words harden hearts, never free hearts. Enabling sin also hardens hearts.

There is a middle ground that is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, and though there is a time for being stern and even removing people from us for the sake of others, we always use caution and keep love as the primary motivation. When we use the word of God (the sword) to do so, use it wisely, in context with the full counsel of the word of God, with humility, and with the hopes of persuasion—not murder or condemnation.

How do we overcome this?

We need to get back to What Matters Most. First, get out from under the rule of that “king” that is holding your mind and heart captive. This “king” is usually an idea, or an association of many ideas or social pressures that twist our perspective into something that is not of God, though we might think it is.

If we put Jesus first and ask Him to reveal our blind spots, He will. This process can take time, and it can feel strange at first and even a bit overwhelming as our world-view is turned upside down—or rather—put back in order of how it should be for a Christian.

Over time, we are made free from the “kings” of this world as Jesus takes the reigns of our heart. We will learn how to use His sword righteously, because the Holy Spirit will do the wielding. This I know of personally, and I’m still learning.

As this process takes place, we learn about righteous judgment—and that’s precisely what we will discuss as we look at the third seal.

Again, I want to mention that this is an interpretation of these seals for today, and this pertains to murder in the spirit by those among the Christian faith. In the final days, there will be murder again by those who claim to be of God. If we are doing these things now, what’s to stop us from doing these things then in a time of such great deception? Seek Jesus in truth now and turn away from murderous use of His word. He will forgive us and teach us a better way.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 4)

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Imagine a rider on a horse that is so black that the rider himself is shrouded in darkness. This blind rider holds a pair of balances in his hand, representing judgment. Is the judgment of the blind rider just? No.

Consider the full picture of the horsemen leading up to this point. First, we have a “king” that comes in the name of the Lord with a mission to conquer others. Secondly, this religious person, idea, or set of ideas spiritually harm others while using the word of God to do so. However, this misuse of the word only leads to spiritually famished Christians.

“A measure of wheat for a penny,” is a day’s wages for a comparatively small amount of wheat. Who can live in such a state as this without starving to death? Again, consider this spiritually. Such a scale is unjust, isn’t it? Such a scale leads to starvation.

 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

It happens all of the time. A Christian that is held captive to a “king” is conditioned to cherry pick certain scriptures then use these out of context to support ideas that do not bring real healing and life. There is so much chaos in the Christian world today, and many don’t know where to go for proper instruction in the things of God.

“The battle of the warrior is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood.” Tons of noisy conquerors, spiritual murder, and starving sheep. That’s what we have today.

The sad thing is, many Christians are vulnerable to misuse of scripture because they have not studied themselves, and those who want to learn have few resources available of any substantial value. That’s why I recommend these studies.

Blindness is a curse of pride.

Famine in the word of God leads to famine in the knowledge of the Lord and blind judgment—especially when mingled with pride. A person under the power of these horsemen influences will undoubtedly have issues of pride. Pride thinks it knows it all already, assumes the best for others forcibly, and is unwilling to consider its own wrongdoing. Pride is a curse of blindness and unjust judgment.

How do we learn righteous judgment?

As with all things, we seek Jesus. All of us have more to learn about the righteous ways of the Lord, no matter how experienced we are in the faith.

For more on humility, righteous judgment, and how to effectively overcome evil in this world, you can read: Exercising in HumilityExercising in Righteous Judgment, and Overcoming Evil with Good.

In Conclusion:

In the third seal we see unjust judgment, spiritual famine, and blindness. These things naturally result from following the wrong “kings” and using the word of God in a murderous manner. Such corruption cannot thrive without pride, and God blinds the proud.

Blindness is a curse, and one that is not meant for the true followers of the Lord. Take comfort in this, remembering that many who claim Christianity are more like the tares sown among wheat like Jesus taught. The time of reaping will come, and the blind will lead one another to their own demise while the faithful are preserved.

We should always remember that it is the Lord who opens our understanding and who shuts the right way from the vision of the unjust. Even during the time of greatest wickedness and deceit, the Lord will preserve His word within the hearts of the faithful remnant. In the context of this interpretation, that’s what I think “hurt not the oil and the wine” represents.

Although God is the one who blinds and enlightens, it is necessary to make problems known. God uses fellow brethren to help us, and speaking these things is useful for the sake those who are currently confused by the “horsemen” of today. Refusal of rebuke is another symptom of a hard and prideful heart. The further blinding that results is just. God is just and He is also merciful towards those of a sincere heart.

For now, we all have a measure of blindness. Yet, we also have the Holy Spirit who reveals all truth to us. Seek truth earnestly, face the corrupt judgments we are all so prone to making, and in so doing we will become humbled and better fitted to the kingdom of heaven.

There is an epidemic of pride and “the blind leading the blind” within Christianity today.

What does corrupt judgment, spiritual famine, and the blindness of pride lead to? Only death and destruction—the fourth seal.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 5)

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (Revelation 6:7-8).

When I consider this horse and rider, what I see is the totality of the previous three. Let’s recap while considering these ideas:

  • The horse is the animal on which the horseman rides. This represents what carries or motivates the horseman.
  • The tool in the hand of the horseman ties into the action this horseman takes, and a crown represents authority

The First Seal: First, there is the white horse with the conquering king who carries a bow. The white horse and crown represent a pursuit of power that comes in the name of Jesus falsely.

The Second Seal: Next is the red horse and the rider who takes peace from the earth and is given a great sword. The red horse reveals a fiery, unrighteous zeal and the sword is the word of God. The rider is someone under the “king” mindset who uses the word of God to spiritually murder others, most likely under the misguided assumption of good intentions.

The Third Seal: The third is a black horse whose rider carries balances in his hand. The blackness indicates blindness and the balances represent judgment. This rider is blinded (most likely by pride) and therefore makes unjust judgements that result in spiritual famine.

False Christian kings (ideas, leaders, and the like) lead to murderous use of God’s word, unjust judgment, and spiritual famine. Such are motivated by self-serving power, unrighteous indignation, and the blindness of pride.

What do all of these things lead to? Death and Hell.

Hell in this context is a transliteration of the word hades which means the grave. So, think of it this way. These horsemen first lead to spiritual death, which then leads one to their grave.

For information on the different translations of hell in the Bible, visit this article.

A fourth part of the earth is killed with the sword (murderous use of God’s word), hunger (spiritual famine), death (spiritual death), and the beasts of the earth. What do the beasts of the earth represent? If we follow our method of interpreting this spiritually instead of literally, any ungodly person or influence could represent a kind of beast.

In Conclusion

It’s important to keep in some things in mind.

Many Christians fall under various horsemen influences. It’s common for us to use the authority of Jesus to promote ideas that are not truly of God. It’s common to be full of unrighteous indignation and to use the word of God unwisely and dangerously. It’s common to become prideful, blinded, and to make unjust judgements that harm others. However, death is not to be our end.

Jesus taught us that many would come in His name and destroy. Jesus taught that many claim to follow Him but without real sincerely. Jesus also teaches that we should not judge anything before its time.

There are many Christians among us who are children of Satan, not God. However, many of us would seem to be children of Satan too before the Lord works more fully in us. Many of us might identify with some of these horseman actions, and if we do, it’s not too late to seek Jesus and ask for forgiveness and the guidance we need to be free from these harmful mindsets.

Jesus will avenge all who are slain by the horsemen.

If we Christians turn to Jesus and leave the ways of the horsemen behind us, then we are not going to be condemned. However, many will not repent. Many will continue to kill fellow Christians spiritually, and Jesus will avenge their deaths. We see this theme in the fifth and sixth seals. We will look at these two seals in the next article.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 6)

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled (Revelation 6:9-11).

The fifth seal transitions from the four horsemen to faithful Christians who are slain by the ideas and actions perpetuated by the horsemen. Why were they slain and in what manner?

They were slain for their faithfulness to the word of God and their testimony of Jesus Christ.

Contrast this with the horsemen who are not faithful to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

On one hand, there are those who follow a false idea of Jesus, who use the word of God negligently and murderously, who are blind and make unjust judgments, thereby leading many to their deaths.

On the other hand, there are those who follow Jesus in sincerity, who use the word of God responsibly, whose eyes are enlightened to make righteous judgment, thereby leading many to life eternal in Jesus Christ.

Some things to consider when interpreting this seal:

  • Although there is limitation on our judgment of other Christians, as far as whether they are sincere or not, there will come a time when the distinction is made clearer. This is that time of separating the wheat from the chaff, as Jesus teaches.
  • In the end, all who the Lord intends to save will be saved, and there is nothing the enemy can do about it. Jesus is faithful and true.
  • In the end, any who retain horsemen attributes without repentance and redemption, and thereby continue to kill others spiritually and literally are not the true children of God.
  • In the end, any who are killed spiritually by horsemen figures without redemption, and thereby face real death instead of salvation, are not the true children of God.
  • God is in control of all things, all things are working according to His good will, and all things are working together for the good of those who belong to the Lord.

These four horsemen are given authority from God as instruments of Satan. Their purpose is, in the final sense, to aid in the separation of sincere Christians from the insincere.

Those who act with horsemen traits repent. Any who belong to Jesus under the horsemen influence also repent. All are shown a truer way.

In the end, none who belong to Jesus of sincerity are harmed by the horsemen, at least spiritually. Many sincere Christians are killed in the flesh in the final days, but remember, we are looking at these seals as it applies to Christianity today. We are considering these ideas spiritually.

So, what manner of death are we seeing portrayed by those slain under the alter? Is this spiritual death or literal death?

For now, let’s keep with the spiritual interpretation.

Any who are faithful to Jesus out of a sincere heart, but are somehow led astray by horsemen, will eventually be redeemed. As mentioned above, the Lord will lead all who belong to Him towards a better understanding, repentance, and a truer pursuit of the Christian life.

This crying under the alter can indicate a feeling of confusion, hopelessness, and desperation often felt by sincere Christians as they try to find Jesus despite all of the commotion in the Christian world. These cry out to Jesus, asking for help and judgment. One in this state might cry out to the Lord:

  • Oh Lord, are you really there?
  • Oh Lord, how do I know if the name of Jesus is the only true way?
  • Oh Lord, which denomination is right?
  • Oh Lord, why do I feel so far from you? Aren’t I “saved” because I recited the sinner’s prayer?
  • Oh Lord, help me! This world is destroying me!
  • Oh Lord, which way is true; judge it all and show me!

Such as these are spiritually dead, and it is because of the horsemen. Yet, they will not remain dead. Jesus will give them white robes. Both those who act as horsemen and those slain by horsemen can be led to this point of desperation, and they will be if the Lord wills it. They will cry out to the Lord, Jesus will begin to reveal truth to them, they will repent, they will be healed. They will be given white robes. Then…

They will see their brethren killed in the same way they were once killed. They will see the confusion, the lies, and all manner of Christian corruption.

Many of us go from being one who is influenced by the horsemen of this world to one who cries out to Jesus. Then, we begin to see things more clearly. Yet, while we are yet babes in Christ and lack love and wisdom, we can find ourselves on the other end of things. We then become horsemen ourselves in one regard or another. We repent again. We learn to wait on Jesus while being better stewards of what Jesus gives us to do.

Jesus tells us, be patient, trust in me, “rest yet a little season.” It is not yet time to reap. The horsemen will continue killing until the purposes of God are fulfilled.

Then comes the sixth seal – the reaping has begun.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 7)

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)

Interpreting the Sixth Seal

How we interpret this seal depends on what time we are in. At least, that’s how I see it.

I hope I can explain what I am thinking clearly.

As mentioned in the previous articles, as of now we are looking at these seals in a metaphorical or spiritual sense. I believe that in the final days, these seals will take on a more literal meaning – though the spirit of the meaning remains constant.

For this seal, the difference of interpretation for current, future, and final days is much more significant than the previous seals.

If we interpret this seal as the natural result of the interpretations of the seals we’ve looked at so far, then what we see in this sixth seal is not Jesus. It is the antichrist and his great deception. If we interpret this seal as the natural result of a final days’ interpretation of the previous seals, then the one coming in the sixth seal is Jesus, as stated in the scripture.

Why the distinction?

Consider our current interpretations of the seals in a spiritual sense as it pertains to Christianity today. Specifically, look back to the first seal. The one on the white horse is any man or idea who sets himself up as a leader while claiming authority from Jesus. In the final days, I believe this seal to be the greatest fulfillment of this idea. We have the rule of antichrist and his ideas. He comes exalting himself as God, but he is false.

If we follow through with the spiritual, present-day interpretation, we have to keep something in mind: The Lord, Jesus will not return at just any time. The son of destruction must come and be revealed first.

So, if we continue on the path of interpreting these seals spiritually and for today, then we cannot interpret this sixth seal as the coming of Jesus – but, we can interpret this as the coming of the false christ.

The Literal Interpretation: The Coming of Jesus Christ

The Lord, Jesus is patient and merciful, but His patience will come to an end. Why would there be a limit to the patience of Jesus? Jesus is just, and in His mercy towards those who are faithful, He will return and overthrow all who oppress and murder the children of God. This includes many who call themselves Christian outwardly, but do not truly submit to Jesus.

By the time Jesus returns, there will be a clear distinction between those who are sincere and faithful to Jesus and those who are not. The time in which Jesus says, “rest yet a little season” will be over, and now it is time for the Lord to establish His reign. In so doing, all the high and proud things of this earth are made low. We see this if we take the sixth seal literally.

How is the distinction between the faithful and unbeliever set? This distinction is made when the false Christ appears. When he appears, there will only be two options: Follow the true Jesus and face execution or follow the false christ under false promises of protection and life.

Learning from our History as God’s People

We can gain insight from the history of God’s people. There are patterns that we see in the old testament and they are seen again in in the new testament, particularly in Revelation.

There is a tendency for God’s people to follow the “kings” of the earth instead of God. Christians are not totally immune to this tendency. That’s the basis of the lesson we can learn from the horsemen, for example. When the hearts of Christians are more aligned with these “kings” instead of Jesus, what will happen?

If we are truly the children of God, we will suffer chastisement. As the Jews of the old covenant, God will send oppression, lead us into captivity, and call us back to Him.

This pattern continues. We see the ultimate example and fulfillment of this in the last days. Christians are not faithful to Jesus. Oppression comes by way of the false christ. We are threatened with destruction. Those who are not sincere will be consumed by the deception of antichrist. Those who are faithful are kept from this temptation, though they might have to give their life up.

Can we see shadows of this today? We certainly can. We can see the assault on Christianity in the West. We can see the pressure to join in with society and deny the teachings of Jesus. Why is this happening? Should we fault the world for doing what the world does, or do we have a part to play in this? Maybe we should be looking to what we have done wrong, how we have gone astray in our looking to “kings” and how we might return to the Lord so that we are among the faithful who are spared from the deception of the false Christ. We will consider these ideas in greater detail within upcoming articles in this series.

The Spiritual Interpretation: The Coming of the False Christ

Of course, the antichrist is not here yet—though as Paul the apostle wrote—there are many antichrists. The work of present-day “kings” provide some insight into what we can expect when that final deception, that son of destruction, is revealed.

Let’s see if we can take a look at the sixth seal and think about antichrists or “kings” today. What patterns are we repeating from our ancestors? How are we leading up to the coming of the antichrist?

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

What happens when our light goes out and a Christian loses his way? In Genesis, God made a greater light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night. Of course, for the Christian, Jesus is our Light. He is as the sun: bright, powerful, and life-giving. As Christians, we are like the moon. Until Jesus returns, the world is in darkness. We are supposed to light the way through our Christ-reflecting behavior and teaching of the gospel.

What happens when the idea of Jesus is so corrupted that it is not light, but darkness? What happens when Christians are so given over to “kings” that they become murderous instead of light and life bringing? What happens when our sun is darkened and our moon turned to blood?

This is the path we are headed down as a whole, though Jesus will retain His faithful remnant as He always has.

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

When I read this, my mind goes to future events. I have a hard time thinking of a present-day application. This passage hearkens to other passages in Revelation like the 5th trumpet events and the image of the dragon casting a third part of the stars of heaven to the earth in Revelation 12. I believe these events to be the coming of the antichrist and his army and false prophets.

I suppose we could stretch this into an interpretation for today. Stars are seen as a symbol for angels or messengers in Revelation 1-3. These stars could be any messenger (pastor, prophet, teacher, and the like) of Satan that presently deceives people.

In any case, when the sun is darkened and the moon is turned to blood we are prone to deception from false ministers of Satan. This applies now and in the last days. One naturally follows the other.

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)

When Christians are blind and under the rule of antichrist figures, can we find the kingdom of heaven? No. It is departed as a scroll when it is rolled together. What about when the false christ appears? Will the heavens appear to open as he makes his grand entrance?

When the antichrist and his army appear there will be a great show made of it that will cause many to fear. The mountains (a symbol for kingdoms) and their kings, great men, rich men, and all men, will hide themselves, thinking that Jesus has returned.

Keep in mind, we are looking at this as the natural result of our present-day interpretation of these seals. Jesus will fulfill this ultimately. When He returns, all of the oppressive “kings” and earthly authority of the false christ will be thrown down.

However, as mentioned earlier, the false christ must come first. He is that final fulfillment of the enemies of God as foreshadowed by old testament events and prophecies concerning the Assyrians and Babylonians. In-fact, in Revelation, we see the church described as the great whore of mystery Babylon.

As with the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the rule of this false christ has a purpose. The purpose is to chastise the people of God and to eradicate many who are not sincerely following Jesus. Those who are Christian in name only but do not take the teachings of Jesus to heart are as the foolish virgins with no oil in their lamp and those who are taken by surprise when the thief comes.

This will happen as Jesus taught in His parables. The sheep are separated from the goats, the wheat from the tares, and so on. Many professing Christians will be caught up in the false Christ deception because they lived their lives as one who is already blinded by the world and its “kings.”

Meanwhile, Jesus will do as God has always done. He will send prophets (the two witnesses aka the two candlesticks or churches in Revelation 2-3 not removed) to help us through this time. We will work together collectively and move towards perfection spiritually during this time. Many will return to the Lord also.

Ultimately, it is the “seal” of God that keeps us. We will not be deceived. We will hold on to the true testimony of Jesus Christ, even giving our lives for it if required.

Jesus will return at the seventh trumpet and we see that final application of the sixth seal. Once the people of God are sufficiently divided from the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon as they “come out of her my people,” Jesus will return and avenge the blood of His faithful remnant.

In Conclusion

Christians are supposed to follow Jesus, not the things of this world. Christians are also supposed to be diligent in their judgment of teachers, prophets, and pastors that come to us in the name of Jesus. There are many ministers of Satan, “kings” and “horsemen” out there. Western Christianity as a majority follows them in some capacity.

However, Jesus is merciful to those who belong to Him. If our hearts are sincere and want to follow Him, He will show us how and many misunderstandings we have are overlooked.

If we are not sincere but instead use Christianity self-servingly, then we will continue under the rule of earthly kings and false christs. The Jesus we follow is darkness and we ourselves are as blood.

As chastisement and ultimate deliverance from the kings of this earth and false christs, God sends deception. The blind continue in darkness and murder, and the faithful are given knowledge and strength that turns us towards the Lord, Jesus more fully.

We see shadows of this now. Being a Christian without giving into the world leads to problems socially and economically. Our Christian culture is being threatened. However, we need to understand something important. This is because we have fallen short. Instead of blaming the world for its evil, we need to search Christianity as a whole—and most importantly—search ourselves to see what has gone wrong. Many of us have, and many are taking the faith more seriously than ever.

If we don’t return to the Lord (and for the vast majority, we won’t), then the chastisement will continue in the form of the false christ.

Do you see the pattern? This is no new thing: God’s people have always done this.

It is human nature, and the scriptures will be fulfilled. Jesus said these things would happen, and what we have today is nothing new. Christianity has faced corruption time and time again throughout our entire history. Yet, as individuals, we can turn to the Lord, Jesus more fully. We can escape the rule of “kings.”

If going back and forth between differing interpretations of this seal is confusing, please leave a comment or send an email. In the next article, we are going to look at some passages from Revelation 7 and 8 concerning the seventh seal and the seal of God that is given to the faithful before the trumpets begin to sound.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 8)

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel (Revelation 7: 2-4).

Reviewing Key Ideas

As mentioned in previous articles within this series, we are told throughout the scriptures that Jesus can not come at just any time as some supposed today. First, the “son of destruction” must be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Mark 13:15-19).

We also discussed that the coming of this son of destruction has a purpose—even a purpose that is ultimately for the good of God’s children. As with God’s people in the Old Testament, this affliction is brought on because of our disobedience. We either adhere to worldly and religious “kings” and “horsemen” or we become these ourselves.

We become blinded by pride, lack sound judgment, and communicate things or behave in ways that lead others towards spiritual destruction. As Jesus taught, “those who lead into captivity will go into captivity. Those who kill with the sword must be killed with the sword.” Consider this spiritually. Jesus is faithful to His word.

Christians who were supposed to be the light of this dark world have become bloody because the light we follow is not really Jesus, but darkness. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” We have followed the things of Satan—all the while thinking we are doing the will of God. All of this is demonstrated by the opening of the first six seals.

The coming of the false christ is the final fulfillment of all prophecy concerning the enemies of God’s people. Therefore, we can learn a great deal from Old Testament prophets and the history of God’s people in general. We can also see how mainstream Christianity is following the patterns of old to a large degree. More on that, as promised, in upcoming articles.

When we review our history, we can see that God sends affliction and captivity when His people go astray. We also see that there are His remnant who remain faithful and there are those who return to the Lord during these times of trouble.

When the false christ comes, it will be the same. However, since this time of affliction is more severe than any affliction this world has ever seen, the people of God will need help. If it were not for the mercy of the Lord and His knowledge, all would be deceived by the son of destruction (Mark 13: 19-20).

The knowledge of Jesus in Spirit will keep us safe from deception. This knowledge is the seal of God.

What is the Seal of God?

In Part 2 we discussed that opening a seal represents the giving of knowledge that was previously out of reach. As a Christian, what might a seal on our forehead mean? We know that the son of destruction brings great deception that overtakes the entire world. Those who are sincere and faithful children of God will not be deceived. Why not?

We will have the knowledge of Jesus and the gospel firmly rooted in our being. God will seal that knowledge up within us and no matter how confused the world gets, we will see the way. We will be the wise virgins who had oil in their lamps. When the world goes dark, we will be prepared.

What is the knowledge of Jesus? To know Jesus—or to pursue knowing Him—is to revere what Jesus taught and stands for. It takes more than reciting a prayer once in church or going through the motions within Christian society. It takes dedication and desire to grow in the things of the Spirit as one who is pleasing to God and pursuing a life remade in the image of Jesus. The horsemen and kings mentioned in previous articles work against this knowledge to a large degree, so it is good for us to learn about these things.

Who are the Sealed Tribes in Revelation?

There is debate among Christians in regard to the 12 sealed tribes or 144,000 of Israel in Revelation 7. When dealing with this, these scriptures should be considered:

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham (John 8:39).

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Matthew 3:9).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

I think it’s reasonable to think that the people of Israel in the literal sense will have some part to play in the last days. I do believe that many more Jewish people will accept Jesus as the Messiah. However, speculation aside, there are ideas that are true. Those who do the will of God are Israel. As Christians who are sincerely following Jesus, are we not Israel?

We become so focused on Israel the nation that we forget Israel in the spiritual sense, and it is important that we understand the distinction. Israel the nation is most likely where antichrist will set up his domain. As Christians, we are spiritually Israel. In Christ, it is the heart of things that matter. In Satan, we look to the world and the outward of things. Does this make sense?

If we can consider Christians as Israel—or at the very least as those grafted into Israel as other scriptures indicate—then why the mentioning of specific tribes?

There can be more than one true way look at this, but here are my thoughts.

Although there are many denominations or tribes, the true body of Christ is not divided. There will be Christians of all kinds who receive the seal of God before the time of deception comes. When persecuted, it will not matter whether we are Baptist, Apostolic, Catholic, and so on. What was once scattered will be united under the seal of God—and again—this is a spiritual unity given by the Holy Spirit. This is NOT a structural unity that is forced by man: or Babylon. This is NOT literal or worldly Israel. This unity IS Spiritual Israel.

We can carry that thought through Revelation 7:9-14.

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

How we interpret the tribes is not what’s most important. What’s most important is that we pursue the knowledge of Jesus that will keep us from deception. Although the world will be swept away, many will be sanctified during the great tribulation. Christians will suffer and many will be killed, but Jesus will return, wipe away all tears, and lead us to everlasting life (Revelation 7:15-16).

How Do We Receive the Seal of God?

The knowledge of Jesus in truth that keeps our minds and hearts safe can only be given by God. The Lord sends us teachers and prophets to instruct us, but only Jesus can open our hearts to Him. If we love Jesus, put Him first, and sincerely want to know what is true, then the Lord will guide us towards that knowledge. He will cause things to happen in our lives that bring us closer to Him. He will send people to help us grow. He will help us become free from the “kings” aka “horsemen” of this world and within Christianity.

If we love sin, if we love ourselves, if we are blinded by pride and loyalty to our “kings,” then there are things standing in our way. Jesus can remove these things, but we have to want it. We have to take His sacrifice on the cross seriously and begin to pursue sanctification of the Spirit as promised by His resurrection. We have to die to self and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 2:12).

Closing Scripture for Thought

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 (2 Thessalonians 2 8:17).

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 9)

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour (Revelation 8:1).

The Seventh Seal: What Does the Silence in Heaven Represent?

First, let’s recap a little. The sixth seal can represent the coming of the false christ. This represents a time in which Satan is given a more present dominion over the earth.

As mentioned in previous articles, the Son of Perdition or Destruction must be revealed first, and his coming is the natural result of the first 5 seals. For more read, We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 7).

In the final sense, the sixth seal represents the coming of Jesus, the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

What does the silence in heaven represent for each case?

Maybe it is best if we think events through depending on the way the sixth seal is interpreted.

The sixth seal as the coming of Satan:

The first five seals represent a spiritual state of depravity that occurs when Christians follow “kings” other than Jesus. As a result, when Satan comes as king many follow him. Before Satan comes, the servants of God are sealed. Once the servants of God are sealed, the first four trumpets sound. Satan inhabits the earth at the fifth trumpet. You can also see this event portrayed in Revelation 12.

If we look at the sixth seal as Satan, then the silence in heaven that occurs during the seventh seal could indicate God removing Himself while Satan has his hour of dominion, also known as “the hour of temptation.”

When Satan has dominion over the earth, will Jesus be found? Will the kingdom of heaven be heard? It seems that during this time, it will be as if God has turned His back on the world. However, this period of time is limited.

An hour is used in the scriptures to indicate a specific time that is ordained for a purpose. When the hour of Satan is come—or half hour—because “for the sake of His chosen, He has shortened the days,” it is as if God has forsaken the world.

Of course, those who remain faithful to Jesus are not forsaken. Any who call on the name of Jesus with sincerity will be heard, but since the majority of mankind will follow after Satan, it is fitting to say that heaven is silent.

Some scriptures that come to mind:

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood (Isaiah 1:15).

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble (Jeremiah 11:14).

The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29).

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:31).

The sixth seal as the coming of Jesus:

The first five seals represent a spiritual and literal state of the earth that results from following the false christ. The servants of God are already sealed at this point. This false christ is Satan, who comes during the fifth trumpet. The sixth trumpet could represent the army of Satan. Jesus returns at the seventh trumpet to overthrow Satan and to raise the faithful from the dead. This marks the event we call “the resurrection” and also “the transfiguration” which are ideas confused by “the rapture.”

For more on the resurrection, you can read, Considering the Resurrection.

What is the silence in heaven that the seventh seal represents? Before Jesus returns, the last of His faithful witnesses have been slain (Revelation 11). This silence in heaven could mean a couple things. The silence could again have to do with heaven being silent because the last who speak of heaven are killed. This silence could also be a calm before the storm, so to speak, marking the period before Jesus returns to avenge the blood of His prophets and saints.

In Conclusion

Does the silence in heaven shown in the seventh seal mean that heaven has turned away? Maybe not, but that’s how I see it. What about now?

If we turn our back on God, bow down to earthly powers and ideals, and deny the teachings of Jesus, then why should God hear us? Our minds are full of wickedness, so even if heaven did speak, we would not hear it.

I do believe there will come a time when it seems as though God is not found. Think of the Great Whore who says, “I sit a queen and am no widow.” Our God will seem to be dead. However, Jesus is not dead. He is alive and faithful to those who belong to Him.

In any case, we do not want heaven to be silent, do we? We want to pursue a relationship with Jesus that is meaningful and fruitful.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 10)

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2:2-6).

If you’ve followed this series, then you might remember that we’ve been considering the horsemen depicted by the first four seals in Revelation 6.

For analogy of these horsemen or “kings,” the horses they ride upon, and the destruction they bring, you can look at Parts 1-5 of this series. Here are some quick links:

What are some examples of “kings” we can think about?

In this article, I want to stir up some thoughts about modern-day “kings.” The point is not to discourage or cause anyone to feel condemned, but to encourage productive reflection so that we can seek Jesus to prepare our hearts for deliverance from these forces.

In the most basic terms, a “king” is any being or idea we exalt above Jesus Christ. A “king” will want us to look to him instead of encouraging faith in Jesus. A “king” will encourage us to deny the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, cause pride to overshadow love for the brethren, and blind us on our journey towards obtaining the promises of Jesus through the gospel. This can include many things such as:

  • Christian denominations (including “non-denominational”)
  • Christian leaders, i.e. pastors, prophets, teachers, and priests
  • Political affiliations and government
  • Worldly ideas of morality
  • Sin and Self

Christian Denominations

How can a Christian denomination become like a “king?” Belonging to a particular denomination isn’t necessarily wrong, although there are those that are considered to be heretical by many. In any case, there are many sincere Christians found in all denominations.

What makes a denomination a “king” is when loyalty to our denomination becomes more important than a real love of what is true according to Jesus.

A “king” will do whatever it has to in order to remain an authority. This includes:

  • Discouraging Questions: What if we are faced with an issue of doctrine or Christian living that contradicts our denomination? Will we question what we are being taught or will we ignore the conviction we feel that tells us something isn’t right?
  • Poorly Answered Questions: In many cases, questions are not answered adequately and honestly. Contradicting scriptures are overlooked or explained away without considering the idea fully. Those who raise questions are often shunned and made to feel as if there is something wrong with them.
  • Leaders Bound by Tradition: What if you were a church leader and became aware of a teaching commonly held by your denomination that was untrue? Will loyalty to Jesus and truth win, or will you deny the truth in order to retain your position? Questioning the common practices of your denomination could be devastating for a church leadership career.
  • Division: A “king” will go to war with other “kings.” All other denominations are wrong, yet this one has the “truth.” This denomination contains the “real” Christians while the others are not. This denomination finds fault with others without considering their own short comings.
  • Self-Righteousness and Hypocrisy: All Christians have room to grow in righteousness, but some choose to single out certain outward sins while denying sins that are more easily hidden like pride, vanity, dishonesty, lust, and so on. This encourages Christians to put on an outward show of righteousness, justify their hidden sins, and look at the sins of others too harshly.
  • Justifying Sin: A “king” must keep his subjects happy. Why bother with pesky sin when we can take advantage of ideas like grace and forgiveness? Give the people what they want so they will come back and keep our bank account full. Who cares about all of the teachings of Jesus that warn against taking His sacrifice lightly?
  • Faithlessness: While sin is being justified, freedom from sin is seen as unobtainable. The Holy Spirit is denied. Trusting in Jesus is replaced by trusting in the church leaders. Many church leaders are more interested in money, status, and power rather than Jesus. Many church leaders are unbelievers.
  • Ordination by Man: Church leaders go to school to learn the ways of their “king.” They lead a church and their followers elect various “princes” to perform tasks within the church. Instead of men who are taught of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, our “kings” are products of man’s systemic approach to the church—a system that is riddled with false teachings, traditions, legalism, and various other forms of corruption. Are there sincere and good men of God within these structures? Absolutely.

Christian Leaders

You can see some examples of “king” Christian leaders above. In general, these leaders have their own interests in mind. What has attracted them to this position of authority in the first place?

Is it a love for Jesus and the brethren or is it power, status, and money?

Do they have a servant’s demeanor or are they prideful and act as if they have some kind of special relationship with God that others do not have?

Do they create well-formed Christians that are encouraged to grow into spiritual adulthood and fruitful relationship with Jesus, or do they create dependents who cannot think for themselves but look to the “king” for everything?

What is the fruit of their work in Jesus’s name? Do they encourage people to live a more righteous life that mimics Jesus himself, or do they grow rich and famous by diluting the gospel and the truth to make their preaching more lucrative?

Political Affiliations and Government

Should loyalty to a political group cause a Christian to forget love and compassion? No. Should loyalty to a political group cause angry discussions, name calling, and finger-pointing without personal accountability for wrong-doing? No. Should political affiliation be a source of pride? No.

Should political loyalty cause Christians to elect corrupt leaders? No. Should righteousness be forced upon the public using law? Jesus teaches otherwise, so no. This only leads to further rebellion and laws being passed in the opposite direction. This leads to a war on righteousness, not a furtherance of it.

Should trust in the government override trust in Jesus? No.

Worldly Ideas of Morality

Calling evil good and good evil is something the scriptures warn us about. What Jesus deems righteous will usually go against what the world wants because the world wants to gratify the flesh while Jesus wants to build us up in the things of life in the spirit.

There are many such cases of evil as good and good as evil in society today, even among Christians. These ideas become a kind of “king” because failure to adhere to these ideals can come with serious social consequences. Many Christians speak out against these evils, but there’s usually problems they are not addressing that led to the moral decline we see today in the first place.

In any case, the best person’s sin to look at is our own. We have a lot of Christians taking a stand against commonly praised sins and we have a lot of Christians enabling these sins. What we do not have a lot of is personal accountability and repentance. Instead of blaming the world for being worldly, we need to get our own life in order. We need to look at our sin honestly and seek Jesus to help us do better instead of looking at everyone else as worse sinners than ourselves.

More on this in the next article.

Sin and Self

Who is the biggest “king” of our lives? Sin. Sin is bondage and it is the strongest, most deceptive, most alluring leader of our life. Sin is also the most dangerous and damaging to our relationship with Jesus. All of the above “kings” encourage sin in some form, and few if any of them encourage freedom from it.

Why is that?

These worldly “kings” are not of Jesus, but of Satan. These “kings” want to destroy you, not lead you to life everlasting.

Jesus forgives sin, but he also provides freedom from it. As Christians, we are supposed to put Jesus first as the King of our life. In so doing, He will free us from all forces of destruction—especially the forces of sin.

Any “king” of this world that refuses this important and fundamental Christian truth is not of Jesus, but of Satan.

More on this in the next article.

In Conclusion

Any “king” that twists good into evil and vice versa, encourages pride, divides the brethren, takes the sacrifice of Jesus for granted, sugar coats the gospel or the teachings and character of Jesus, discourages the pursuit of sinless living through sincere change of heart, encourages righteousness through legalistic means that neglect the inner-self, or sets itself up as an authority in the place of trust in Jesus is not a king we should be following.

All of us have some kind of “king” in our life. However, we “cannot serve two masters,” so we should strive to be rid of these earthly “kings” and seek freedom that only comes when we submit ourselves to Jesus.

Considering the “kings” that rule us is important, but how do we escape them? We will consider that idea in the next article.

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 11)

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12).

How does a Christian find freedom from the “kings” of this earth? For starters, we recognize that we are made free by the blood of Jesus Christ. The grace of God (the favor of God) provides us with all things necessary to overcome all destructive powers in this world.

The Grace of God Teaches Us

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12).

You might remember something Jesus teaches. If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. The mountain symbol is used to represent earthly powers and kingdoms in the scriptures. With faith in Jesus and the power of His grace towards us, there is no mountain we cannot remove.

Sometimes great mountains are cast into the sea in an instant, as Jesus teaches. Sometimes we have to ascend these mountains with strength from the Lord, learning and growing as we traverse the rocky terrain and overcome obstacles. Though hard, we will reach the top. We will overcome these “kings” because Jesus is faithful and He has promised it. That is our faith.

The Problem with Kings

We are given power to overcome through the Son, Jesus. If we love Jesus, then we love the Father also. If we love the Father and the Son, then we want to be pleasing to God. We will want to keep the commandments of God—and this is His commandment—that we love one another.

The problem with “kings” is this: they love themselves, they love this world, and they hate the true things of God.

The tricky part is when these “kings” appear to be of God. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” They can quote the scripture. They can even speak of love—yet without revelation from Jesus—we don’t even know what love really means. Man’s ideas of love are self-gratifying, mingled with lust, and confused by the deceptiveness of sin in general.

You might consider some of the “kings” mentioned in the last article. Are these “kings” placing the love of Jesus and of the brethren first? What comes first are their ideas about what is true or best for others, not what Jesus really teaches. What comes first are their bank accounts, their status, their personal and career agendas, their pride. What comes first is themselves.

It’s so easy to see the “kings” that rule others. It’s so easy to blame the “kings” for doing that which is only in their nature to do. What’s most productive is to look at our own wrong doings and face the “kings” of our own hearts. With “kings” reigning over us, we are serving a master other than Jesus, and very often that master is sin and self. So, let’s not worry so much about what this world is doing and instead focus on Jesus. Let our “eye be single” so that our “whole body is full of light.”

Come into the Light of Jesus with Confidence

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming (1 John 2:28).

Here’s the thing. All of us have a self-serving nature to greater and lesser degrees. With the understanding that Jesus is faithful and He is gracious to fulfill His promises to us by “giving us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” then we have confidence to enter into the dark places of our hearts. We have the confidence to look at ourselves honestly. We have the confidence to know that no matter how big our “kings” are, the love of Jesus will not depart from us—but will guide us and strengthen us—so that we can overcome these “kings.”

I write to those who have the love of Jesus. Many claim to love Jesus, but it will be revealed that they do not. There is no love of God in many professing the faith. However, if you’re reading this, then do not consider yourself as one who God does not love. Know there are those out there, but there is nothing good that can come from assuming this of ourselves. Respect God. Respect the sacrifice of the Son. Put your trust in Him.

In any case, to think that we are greater than these “kings” is to deceive ourselves. To think that we are not capable of fulfilling all the undesirable sides of Jesus’s parables is to deceive ourselves. In-fact, most of us have at some point.

At some point in our Christian walk, we have been like one who receives the knowledge of the Lord on stony ground or among thorns. At some point we have had the “kings” of this earth take the good things Jesus teaches and snatch it away. At some point we have been a sort of foolish virgin with no oil in their lamp. At some point we have resembled tares instead of wheat. At some point we have gone astray or begun to bury our talent in the earth.

Facing our potential for denying the things of Jesus and looking to “kings” instead is not pleasant, but it is powerful. Why?

The truth will make us free.

How can we be freed from “kings” if we do not recognize our captivity, or at least have an appreciation for our human nature that is so prone to following these “kings?”

Jesus is light, and in Him is no darkness, right? If we step into Jesus—if we step into the light—we will see all manner of sin. We will see the “kings” within ourselves. We will also see the “kings” of this earth so that we can avoid them.

Also know that we are not alone. All things we struggle with are common among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Once we overcome our “kings,” we have those “beams removed” from our eyes. We can then help others. We should seek to our own salvation and grow in freedom through Jesus so that we can be useful for establishing His everlasting kingdom. Then, when Jesus returns, we will not be ashamed or cast out of His presence.

Again, it all comes down to the commandment of Jesus. We should love God with all our might, and we should love one another.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:36-40).

If we love Jesus with all our might, we are in His light. If we are in His light, then we learn what love really means. If we learn what love really means, then we see that there is no love in these “kings.” We find freedom from them.

Again, finding freedom from these “kings” can be a long and tedious process. Like climbing a mountain, it takes time, energy, and a lot of work. There will be obstacles. There will be forces working against us, especially if the mountain is very tall and dangerous. Unlike ascending Mt Everest, however, we have an unshakable assurance and confidence found in the One who will ensure our success—so keep climbing.

Keep striving and one day, Jesus will return and all “mountains and islands are moved out of their places.” All of the “kings of the earth” will fear before the Son of God. We will be victorious over them, and we ourselves will be appointed as kings and priests unto God.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9-10).

We Are the Four Horsemen (Part 12)

A lot has been covered within this article series, and there is a lot more that could be said. As a kind of conclusion to this series, I would like us to focus on trusting in Jesus Christ.

If we trust in Jesus and the ability of the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, teach us, and strengthen us towards righteous doing, then why do we need “horsemen” and “kings?”

It is so easy to place regulations on people that mimic what we think righteousness is, but doing so is a lack of faith and it is foolishness because such a mindset neglects the liberty we are given in Christ—a liberty that allows us to better serve one another in love.

If we trust in Jesus and strive to put Him first, we will naturally learn what is most important for Christian living and we will grow in these things. We will cast off sin, little by little. We will cast off loyalty to all manner of “kings” as we learn humility and love that transcends these rulers. We will understand that God is in control of all things, even these “kings,” and all things are working together for our ultimate good.

We might not like what is happening in this world, especially within the Christian world. We might find it all confusing, become full of unrighteous zeal, and start taking matters into our own hands in an unproductive way. Instead, trust in Jesus and find the peace and patience of His good will and perfect timing.

Think about David and Saul.

Saul is the first “king.” Saul was not a king that God would have ordained, but he ascended to power as one appointed by men who wanted a wordly king instead of trusting in God. However, God did anoint Saul as king. David knew this. So, even when Saul was persecuting David, David trusted in the Lord. David even had an opportunity to kill Saul but refused because He knew that God had a purpose in Saul.

As sincere Christians, we should do the same. We do not want to be like Saul who is appointed of men and desires to take up kingship for ourselves according to the wisdom of men. We do not want to be like Saul who disobeyed God. We do want to be like David whose inner man contained a heart after God, who trusted in the Lord, who repented of sin, and who was appointed king after God destroyed Saul according to His perfect timing.

There will come a time when Jesus—the king of David—returns. He will overthrow the kings, and we will reign with Him as sons and joint heirs of the kingdom.

All things have a purpose. Instead of worry and fear or trying to fight what God has ordained, seek to our own growth. When we do this, we come into better union with the Spirit—not in denomination or some other worldly structure created by man.

Christian unity does not require the abolition of denominations because that likely results in a Babylonian, Whore-like church. Consider the distinction of Spiritual Israel and Physical Israel given in Part 8 of this series.

Our unity is given by a greater power, and though we do not easily see our unity, we know that all things are under the feet of our King and we are His people. We can disagree on things and have the same larger focus: growing in the things of Jesus and helping our brothers and sisters do the same.

We will help one another grow, not exalting some above others as “kings” over us, but as brothers and sisters in Christ we will build each other up according to the gifts we are each given.

We will patiently wait on the Lord to help us on our journey of spiritual growth, and we will patiently wait on the judgment of God towards those who are among us but not of us. We will not fall for the devises of Satan: The Accuser and Destroyer. We will follow after mercy, judgement, and faith as we continue to be examples of Jesus to a world that hates Him. Jesus will raise us up and defend us.

And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen.

For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.

And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them (Isaiah 1:26-31).

Sheep and Goats

Jesus said that He would one day divide the just from the unjust, and part of that dividing has to do with our response to those in need.

Jesus said, “insomuch as you did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, you did it not unto me.”

When we shut compassion out of our hearts for people in need around us, Jesus says He will divide us as goats from the sheep.

You would not think this to be a problem in our country. We have social assistance programs, and it’s not uncommon to hear a heart-warming story of how a community came together to help someone in need.

Yet, for some, there is no help.

I know of someone who lost their job due to Coronavirus cutbacks, and it has been interesting for this person to observe the response of people around them. This person has children and a spouse, but this spouse has a very modest income—too modest to support even the most basic of lifestyles.

This person does not feel entitled to the help of others, and never wants to guilt anyone, but they also know that they have always done what they could for others, even when they had little. This person is a Christian, so they cannot help but think of the parable of the sheep and the goats.

One said, “download an app on your phone, and I’ll send you some money.” The person in need did not have a new cell phone, so they could not download the app. No further mention of help was made, yet on more than one occasion there was talk of money spent on improving their own living situation, without regard to how that would make the person in need feel.

One heard that the person in need was in trouble but went to someone else for advice—not money or a solution—just advice. The person in need does not trust this goat with their problems, due to a history of exploiting their pain for selfish reasons. When the person in need failed to open up to the goat, the goat attacked out of jealousy, walked out of the person in need’s life, and to this day acts like the person in need is the one to blame for the failed relationship and proceeds to tell others that this person in need is not a real Christian; if they were, they would not be living in poverty.

Another offered some words of condolence, then never passed an occasion to brag about the good things they did for their kids, some new thing they just bought, or the extravagances they were having with their own family.

Others said nothing and did nothing.

There were some who helped. Clothing was purchased for the children before winter came. Food was brought to the house. An unexpected donation was made, for no reason, just when the last dollar was spent on rent.

Others offered prayers and reminded this person that sometimes suffering is unavoidable, but this life is short and Jesus is good.

God is good, and this person in need trusts in Him. There is no money left, and though this person tries to find work, there is little to be found.

Though this person trusts in the Lord and is thankful for the few who have helped, the callousness of people is somewhat astounding.

We do live in a land of abundance, but those with abundance keep it for themselves. Maybe they are hardened by robbery of taxation, not considering that those who try to live a godly life do not get the benefits our government offers. These are for immigrants and single mothers, not struggling families.

Some might feign help, but when they cannot help on their terms or to receive praise and leverage over the person in need, they won’t.

Others won’t even take a second thought as they enjoy their lives of decadence and openly brag about it to the poor.

Others trust in the Lord, but offer callous words that do not comfort, but only bewilder and make the person in need feel ashamed.

Lord, have mercy on the goats and soften their hard hearts. The family they rejected would have done anything for any one of them if they were able, and in-fact, they did a time or two in their own small ways.

This world is taking a turn for the worse, or so it seems, and even the wicked will find themselves “casting their idols of silver and their idols of gold to the moles and to the bats.”

No wealth will save them, especially when they knew that others were in need and they did nothing.

The Lord does indeed preserve those who trust in Him, and He will preserve this person and their family also. I have faith in this.

Take this as an object lesson: Don’t be a goat.

This life is hard for many, and many people are in poverty right now. Yes, even United States poverty is wealth, but we have certain standards here too. You have to have a car. You have to have running water and electricity. You have to have a roof over your head that meets certain health standards—especially if you have kids. And if a woman in need stays with a spouse who cannot support the family, she gets little to no help from the government.

This standard might change if our nation continues to decline, and we might indeed be able to say, “if you have food and clothing, be content.”

In those days, the Lord will provide. In those days, many will indeed suffer—either as goats or as faithful servants who suffer for the name of Jesus.

However, if we must suffer, let it be for well doing, not because of sin.

Matthew 25:31-46

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.