Chapter 2 – The Light
Isaiah 60:1-2, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” The darkness is past and the true light now shineth (1 Jn 2:8). In thy light shall we see light (Ps 36:9). John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. (Jn 12:35-36).
God is the Light (Truth)
The Lord God is the truth, which is the reality of how things are – the Word which governs and holds up all creation – the power (Jn 1:1-3, Ps 33:4, Heb 1:3). The Hebrew word for truth is “Emeth” (אמת) which means certainty (confidence, assurance), truth, faithfulness, and sure (indisputable, definite, unquestionable, guaranteed). The Greek word for truth is al-ay’-thi-a (ἀλήθεια) which means verity, proposition to fact, consonance of a statement. I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right (Is 45:19). My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure (Is 46:10). Deuteronomy 32:4, “He (God) is the Rock (dependable, sure immovable), his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment (truth over falsehood): a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he (also Ps 92:15).”
Iniquity would be violations of the truth – deviation from the exact conformity to truth (divine law). The Lord never violates His own truth/Word and thus has no iniquity (2 Chr 19:7, Job 34:10) – as many will suddenly realize at the Judgment (Job 34:10-12, Jn 12:48). Psalms 33:4, “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth (also Ps 111:7-8).” The Lord’s Word is truth (Ps 119:142, Jn 17:17, Js 1:17-18)! The Lord keepeth the truth forever (Ps 146:6, also Ps 100:5, Ps 111:8) and God’s Word stands (Is 39:8). God can neither deceive nor be deceived; Who is the source of truth from whom all wisdom and knowledge originates. Psalms 145:17, “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” 1 John 1:5, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light (truth), and in him is no darkness at all.” There is no falsehood whatsoever in the Lord – which is the act of lying (Ti 1:2, Heb 6:18) – God is the keeper of the truth (Ps 146:6) and light dwelleth with God (Dan 2:22).
God is the same yesterday and today and forevermore – always in truth(Heb 13:8, Ps 100:5, 102:27). God is always the same and His years fail not (Heb 1:12, Ps 102:27) – perfect, faithful and dependable! I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Is 44:6, 48:12). Romans 11:36, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” The Lord judges with His truth and faileth not (Ps 96:13, Zeph 3:5). If you are seeking to “know” the Lord, then you must come to the light. 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” AND 1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (also Rm 15:8).”
The Lord God judges righteously – a God of judgment (Is 30:18). This means that God properly applies the truth and the truth will always prevail over falsehood (Rm 2:2). Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” The Lord delights to uphold His Word! – for all his ways are judgment (Deut 32:4). Isaiah 5:16, “But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” The Lord is stedfast: Job 34:12, “Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.” There is coming a great day: Ecclesiastes 12:14, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Judgment begins in God’s own house (1 Pt 4:17) and then proceeds to the wicked. To those who love darkness, word (truth) of the LORD is a reproach; they have no delight in it (Jer 6:10). The wicked (those who violate God’s truth – obey not the gospel, 1 Pt 4:17) storeth up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Rm 2:5).
In God (Christ) is life, for He is the Giver of life (Pv 8:35, Ez 37:6), and the life is the light of men (Jn 1:4). In the darkness (Satan’s lie) is death, for this is separation from the truth (light, Word, Job 10:22). The light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not (Jn 1:5). The darkness could not seize or possess the light (apprehend – change the truth of God) – when light is present, darkness flees. The light (truth) could not be overcome by the darkness (lie). In order to come to the light (approach the truth), you must first forsake the darkness (lie). Darkness may not come into the presence of the light, for the light overcomes it – overpowers/prevails. Therefore: 1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world (darkness): and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (walking in God’s light).” This means that walking in the truth, which is the light, is the “only” way to overcome the darkness. The truth will always prevail over the lie. Matthew 4:16, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up (also Is 9:2).” Men sit in the shadow of death bound in affliction and iron because they have transgressed the Word of God (Ps 107:10-11). Psalms 107:13l, “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.” Rejoice Oh earth, for God hath sent His Son to bring the truth (Jn 18:37)! Luke 1:79, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (which is reconciliation with God, Eph 2:14).”
Christ brings truth (light) to those walking in Satan’s lie (darkness) and guides (leads) their path (out of the darkness, along the narrow way, Ps 119:1-3) to reconciliation (into the light, restoration) with God (eternal peace). Ephesians 2:14, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” That they might “know” the only true God and Jesus Christ (whom thou hast sent) – for this is eternal life (Jn 17:3, 1 Jn 5:11-12). Jesus proclaimed: John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Psalms 107:14, “He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.” Jesus looseth the prisoners and openeth the eyes of the blind (Ps 146:7-8). Those who “believe” (please consider the depth of meaning of the word “believe” as discussed in Chapter Four) or “follow” will not abide (continue in, remain in, dwell, stay) in darkness (the devil’s lie) – these will come to the light. This is the essence of the commitment we make and the way of salvation. John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Those who continue to walk in darkness (the lie) “believeth not” nor do they “follow.” They walk contrary to “The Way” of God, which is following Christ Jesus.
Those who remain in the darkness have rejected the light. Those that “follow” Jesus come out of the darkness for this is where Christ leads. Notice that Jn 8:12 and Jn 12:46 are very similar verses and that the words “believe” and “follow” have basically the same meaning. Please note that Christ has defined “following” Him as no longer walking in darkness. If the “many” who “profess to believe in Christ” could only grasp this understanding – Satan labors hard to see that you do not. Christ led by example and now we must “follow” by walking as Jesus walked(1 Jn 2:6). Jesus told us to “learn of me (Mt 11:29).” 1 Peter 2:21-24, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness (obedience to God’s truth): by whose stripes ye were healed (reconciled to God).” Jesus went back to God (the light) and this is where He leads us (Jn 14:12, 16-17, 28, 16:28, 20:17). He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth (Jn 12:35). Those who walk in “their way” are in the darkness and are blind to the light. They are walking in an opposite direction that “separates” one further from God (with every step). Our life is found by walking in the Lord’s truth; apart from God there is only death (cessation of life, Rm 6:23). You cannot sustain your life apart from God no more than Satan can – this premise is a big lie! Your way will soon cease or terminate, but God’s truth continues eternally. Be warned: Job 34:22, “There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.”
In this chapter we will understand that Jesus came into the world to bring the truth – Jesus is the truth, which is the light (Jn 18:37) to fallen man (Jn 18:37); to provide atonement resulting in forgiveness of past transgressions (Rm 3:25); to lead the way out of the darkness by example – Jesus is the way; and thereby restores man through being “born again” with a new heart and have God’s nature (new creature, 2 Cor 5:17); provides the Holy Ghost to teach and empower one to complete the walk; and reconciles (reunite, bring together) man back to God in peace – Jesus is the life(1 Jn 4:9). In doing so, Jesus became the only way (path) back to God (Jn 14:6, 28, Acts 4:12, 1 Jn 5:11). Hence: Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Christ (Jn 14:6). Jesus leads from death to life (Jn 5:24)! – from darkness to light! Our life is only in Jesus (1 Jn 5:11-13).
We will also understand that forgiveness has no meaning unless man acknowledges his wrong; forsakes the wickedness and comes out of the darkness; and comes into the light by walking in truth, which is obedience to the will of God – “fearing” God. You cannot be forgiven to remain in the darkness – having license to continue to disobey God’s will – this is an impossible scenario. The majority religious message of today is built upon doctrines or a foundation that allows man to stay in the darkness with the justification of a profession of Christ – a enormous (huge, immense, great, tremendous) error and great stumbling block. This is a “great lie” that says you can transgress the will of God and “ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4). This is a slight twist on what the serpent told man in Eden – amazing, isn’t it? The devil is the master deceiver! Christ came to restore and certainly not to bolster (strengthen, reinforce, encourage in, shore up) the great lie (1 Jn 3:8). What concord (agreement) does Jesus have with evil (2 Cor 6:15)? What fellowship is there with light and darkness; righteousness and unrighteousness (2 Cor 6:14)? Christ came to save you from your sins (Mt 1:21, 1 Jn 3:5)– to redeem from iniquity and purify(Ti 2:11-14, 1 Jn 3:3) – not to make provision to continue therein. Christ does not justify the darkness. He said Himself that a kingdom divided would surely fall (Mt 12:25-26, Lk 11:17-18). Jesus is a “light” for the truth, not a defender of darkness! We are not called to uncleanness, but to holiness (1 Thess 4:7). Uncleanness is defilement by sin; walking in Satan’s lie; unable to restrain lusts and passions of the flesh – incontinence; and disregard for God’s will. Holiness is the state of being pure; walking in God’s truth; fearing God and eschewing evil. Let us walk worthy for God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory (1 Thess 2:12).
Jesus is an advocate or one who pleads the cause of another, for those who forsake the darkness and not for those who remain therein. How could Christ possibly advocate that you stay in darkness and yet continue to uphold the truth? Jesus came and was filled with the Holy Ghost and led the way back to God – and said, “come follow me.” We must also be filled with the Holy Ghost (God gives to those who obey, Acts 5:32) and “follow” Christ, who is the faithful and true witness(Rev 3:14), back to God (Jn 14:16-17, 28). There is no other way and those who attempt such (enter not by the door, Jn 10:9) are thieves and robbers (Jn 10:1). They transform themselves into angels of light (2 Cor 11:14). They come as sheep (believers, followers), but are ravening wolves (Mt 7:15). They transform themselves as the ministers of righteousness (feigned); whose end shall be according to their works (2 Cor 11:15). Isaiah 50:10, “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” The fear of the Lord is our treasure (Is 33:6) – the one hid in the field (Mt 13:44).
As stated, Jesus is the only way back to God – a very narrow way – which few travel (Mt 7:14). This book will detail just how this narrow way is traveled through the Spirit – always requiring death to the flesh. We must forsake or forfeit our way and totally yield to God’s way in love by “sacrifice of self” and surrendered obedience. The narrow way is equivalent to the tree of life – for those who partake of it’s fruit gain eternal life. Christ has promised eternal life for those who “follow” in His way (1 Jn 2:25, Js, 1:2, Ti 1:2, 2 Tim 1:1). The devil would have you spend your whole life pursuing “your” way as per his lie, which could take a multitude of directions based upon or guided by the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life – the possibilities are endless. This might also include a multitude of religious directions, which are also mostly based upon the desires of the flesh with a form of godliness. These form a very “broad way” and as such is very well traveled (many, Mt 7:13).
Those on the broad way are mostly deceived about where they are going because those who walk in darkness do not know where they go – there is blindness(Pv 4:19, Jn 12:35). This is a way that is governed by the flesh and is suitable to most men. The closer you walk with the world or in the way of “self,” the further you walk away from God (1 Jn 2:16-17)! Do not be wise in the ways of this world, for they are foolishness to God (1 Cor 3:18-19) – they are founded in the flesh, which is in rebellion to God’s way. That which deviates from the truth is foolishness (unwise; imprudent; acting without judgment or discretion; want of wisdom or good judgment; void of understanding). The devil also promised life (ye shall not surely die, Gen 3:4) to those who followed him on the broad way, but the devil only delivered death. The broad way is equivalent to the forbidden tree – “it is pleasant to the eyes” (Gen 3:6) – to be desired. However, to partake of its forbidden fruit is poison and leads to death. Adam chose between the fruit of two trees. All men now choose between two paths. These things, the two trees and the two paths, are essentially the same choice – God’s will verses “your” will. So if you blame Adam for making a very unwise choice, then you now have the opportunity to choose differently and travel the wise path. God sets before you the way of life and the way of death (Jer 21:8). Will you be as Adam? This book may reveal to you where your heart is. Adam sought his way and the things of the flesh. You may find out that you are most comfortable doing the same – the majority do. Who will choose wisely?
Christ came for those who would receive Him and have a heart to follow. Jesus said, “everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice (Jn 18:37). Many reject the lord’s way and seek an alternative from which there are a multitude to choose. There are as many paths as there are opinions/sentiments, but these are forged in darkness and deception and are snares for those who seek fleshly benefit. There is only one way back to God and this is in following Christ. Romans 2:8-11, “But unto them that are contentious (headstrong, stubborn), and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness (the lie), indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry because it places your will (or other things) above God’s will (1 Sam 15:23).
Why Jesus Came
Man transgressed the will of God in Eden and incurred separation from God. Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Man’s transgressions against the will of God (commandments, authority, purposes) have separated him from the truth into the darkness, which is the shadow of death. This is a fallen temporary “corrupted” existence which ends in death – just one breath or heartbeat away. Christ leads us out of the darkness of the shadow of death and through its doors (Job 10:22, 38:17). The Lord is vigorously (with great force of strength) and implacably (with enmity not to be pacified or subdued) against all evil, and upholds His truth. Romans 1:18, 2:8, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,” The Lord hath foreordained (appointed before, predetermined) the penalty for transgression: “thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17). Man stands under the condemnation of death! – declared as guilty and doomed to punishment, sentence, or guilty verdict. This just wrath of the Lord hangs over man (Is 59:12). God’s Word is true, eternal and unchanging (1 Pt 1:23, 25) and must continue unaltered.
The Lord could not simply dismiss (set aside, disregard, ignore, forget about, look the other way) such a grievous violation by man – for that would make God a liar and His Word void – null, of none effect(Heb 6:18). The truth (Word) must stand (immutable – cannot be changed, Heb 6:17) or it becomes a lie. God cannot even change His Word, because then it would not be forever settled in heaven (as the Lord has declared, Ps 119:89) nor would it be unchanging (immutable, Heb 6:17-18) and this in itself would be a violation of His stated Word (Ps 119:160, Is 40:8, 1 Pt 1:25). If God allowed creation to transgress His Word and still live, then not only would it make His Word void and of none effect, but it would establish Satan’s word. Satan proposes that there is life outside the will and authority of God. The Lord is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Ex 34:6) – but will condemn the guilty – visits iniquity; no transgressor shall escape justice. God will not acquit nor justify the wicked (Nah 1:3, Ex 23:7, Is 5:23). God would mercifully offer forgiveness and reconciliation to man in such a way as would maintain the Lord’s righteous and blameless character – according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph 1:5, 9) – in keeping with God’s purpose for creating man(Rev 4:11). God’s will is always in harmony with His character, which is His truth. God has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (Ps 103:10), but has provided for mercy (Ps 86:15, see “Understanding Repentance” below).
God gives mercy, but only to those who surrender self in “the way” that God has provided (Jn 14:6). Man must now utterly reject the darkness. 1 John 4:9-10, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (or act of appeasing wrath) for our sins.” AND Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Consider the depth and nature of God’s love. God sacrificed of Himself by sending His only begotten Son for the benefit of man who had betrayed God in disobeying the Lord’s will to serve God’s enemy – Satan. Jesus was an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour (Eph 5:2, Is 53:10). In order to restore man, there had to be an atonement or propitiation. Atonement is reconciliation after enmity whereby reparation (amends, satisfaction for injury) is made by giving an equivalent for a wrong committed. Propitiation is the atonement or atoning sacrifice offered to God to assuage his wrath and render him propitious to sinners (disposed to be gracious or merciful; ready to forgive sins, Is 53:11) and allows the obligation of God to punish the crime to be canceled – results in satisfaction.
Adam had transgressed the will of God in Eden to seek self and thereby brought death into the world and separation from God. Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (also Rm 3:23, 5:8).” Disobedience to God always brings or reaps eternal separation into the lake of fire, known as the second death. Jesus would have to do the opposite of what Adam had done in order to bring about atonement for man. To accomplish this, Christ would first have to be born as a man with no advantage over us (Mt 1:23, Jn 1:14, Rm 1:3, Php 2:8, Heb 2:16-17, 2 Tim 2:8) and then absolutely perform the will of the Father. Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” This means that Jesus could not transgress the Word of God (law) even one single time – perfect obedience and thus no sin(Jn 8:46, 2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1 Pt 2:22). To compound this, Jesus would be placed in this fallen world and would be constantly tempted of Satan and challenged by rebellious (and religious) man (Heb 2:18, 4:15) – who would not receive Him (John 1:10-11). In other words, Jesus would be born into the consequences of Adam’s transgression (as are we) and would have to remain untainted (pure, clean, uncorrupted) by it due to His complete obedience to God.
The only way for this to be accomplished was for Jesus to completely die to the things of the flesh (that which opposes God, self seeking) and totally surrender to the authority of God – Christ could not seek “self.” Adam had sacrificed his perfect life to seek self and transgressed the will of God. To provide propitiation which is to appease God’s wrath against sinful and rebellious man, Jesus would also have to sacrifice His perfect life (Heb 1:3, 9:28) and assume Adam’s transgression (the sin of all men) and pay the penalty of transgression, which is death (the condemnation – “thou shalt surely die”). Obedience to God brings life and sustains it. Christ’s perfect life on earth merited eternal life – for Jesus was not under the condemnation of death, because He did not transgress God’s will at anytime. Jesus would make amends for man’s transgressions and bring about reparation (satisfaction, recompense, Is 53:11) before God by giving an equivalent for the wrong man committed. Jesus would exchange His perfect life for the sin of the world, taking upon Himself man’s transgressions, and suffering the penalty of death (Heb 2:9, Is 53:12). Colossians 1:20, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (also Acts 3:21).”
The “blood of His cross” was payment for man’s sins (thou shalt surely die, Gen 2:17). The life is in the blood and Jesus gave His (Lev 17:11)! Man’s flesh had exalted itself above God’s will, in Adam’s transgression and subsequent, and had to die. Jesus assumed man’s condemnation having exchanged His perfect life, and died in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” AND 1 John 3:5, “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” Jesus freely gave His life – laid it down for man (Mt 20:28, Mk 10:45, Jn 6:51, 10:11, 15, 17-18, 15:13, Gal 1:4, 2:20, 1 Tim 2:6, Ti 2:14, 1Jn 3:16, 4:10). “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…” (Is 53:10). Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Jesus suffered in place of man bearing the iniquity (unrighteousness – violations of God’s will) of man and thereby brought satisfaction to God and accomplished the propitiation (substitute for assuming our condemnation, Christ assumed our guilt, conciliate). Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Oh, what a precious Lord and Savior!!!
So it can be said: Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” This could be restated as: 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” To be in Adam (darkness, in the lie, self seeking) is to die. To be in Christ (light, in the truth, devoid of self) is to live. Jesus displayed perfect love in sacrificing self (dying for man) for the benefit of another – providing forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation. This is the nature of God and this is how man had to be restored. How did man, who lived in darkness, receive this Savior? Psalms 109:5, “And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.” Man sacrificed Jesus for the benefit of self – which is hatred. Christ’s light revealed the wickedness in man and those unwilling to receive correction chose to put out the light (Jn 7:7). Oh, what a blessed Savior: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rm 5:8).
Come as you are
Come to Jesus just as you are…but do not expect to remain as you are. You must come to Christ in repentance with godly sorrow and surrender being ready to forsake your old life. It is only when you die to the old that you can embrace the new. Jesus takes you as you are with the intent to transform you into what you are not. The following sections will attempt to explain this transformation process.
Christ’s sacrifice was a one time act for the forgiveness of iniquity with no more sacrifices required (Heb 1:3, 10:12). Romans 6:10, “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” Christ hath brought forgiveness! Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” AND Romans 3:24-26, “Being justified freely by his grace (Christ’s forgiveness and the divine influence in renewing the heart and its reflection in the life – working through your obedience)through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Redemption is to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage; the act of procuring the deliverance (repurchase) of persons (prisoners) from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent. This is deliverance from bondage, distress, or from liability to any evil or forfeiture, through Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus committed Himself to the Father: Psalms 31:5, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” God redeemed Christ, and Jesus redeems those who will “follow” Him (Ps 34:22, with His blood – 1 Pt 1:18-19). Christ redeems us and calls us out of the darkness by name (Is 43:1, Jn 10:3). For thou O Lord, wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood (Rev 5:9-10). Remission is forgiveness; pardon; that is, the giving up of the punishment due to a crime. The forbearance of God is His patience, longsuffering, and indulgence toward the injuries man has put upon His righteous character – command of temper and restraint of passions due to offense, and delay of punishment (the cessation or intermission of an act commenced). Jesus came to give his life a ransom for many (Mk 10:45). The ransom (what was paid for the redemption of a prisoner or slave) was the price Jesus paid in forfeiting His perfect life, for procuring the pardon of sins and the redemption of the sinner from punishment and thus releasing from captivity, bondage or the possession of the enemy. Jesus gave (laid down) His perfect worthy righteous and holy life for man’s corrupted and vile one and suffered our punishment (thou shalt surely die) for our transgressions. Only one individual (Adam) was responsible for corrupting all of man (Rm 5:19). Thus only one individual (Jesus) is necessary to correct and reverse the situation for those who will “follow (Rm 5:19, 1 Cor 15:22).” Hebrews 9:15, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, “they which are called” might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
Those who “are called” are the ekklesia (Greek word for “church”) meaning “called out ones.” These are those who heed Christ’s call to come out of the darkness and into the light (Jn 3:19-21). They are those who sincerely respond when Jesus says, “come, follow Me.” These come out of Satan’s lie (the seeking of self) and walk in God’s truth or light – being led of the Spirit of God(Rm 8:14). By thy Spirit they were created (Ps 104:30) and must now be re-created or “born again” (Jn 3:3, 7, 2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:10). Therefore we can conclude: Being justified freely by God working in us (through His Holy Spirit as we yield and obey) and transforming us to His will (to be conformed to Christ’s image) through Christ having made amends (suffering the condemnation for man’s transgressions) and bringing about reparation (satisfaction, recompense) before God by giving an equivalent for the wrong man committed (exchanging His perfect life for our sins and then suffering our condemnation of death) and thus procuring our deliverance (from bondage and darkness by paying an equivalent): Whom God hath set forth to appease His wrath (satisfaction for an offense, by which the guilt is done away, and the obligation of God to punish the crime is canceled, Is 53:11) through faith (love, surrender, honor and obedience) in Jesus’ blood (abiding in Christ’s testament, Heb 7:22, 9:15-20), to declare His righteousness and forgiveness and pardon of sins that are past, through the patience, longsuffering and indulgence of God toward the injuries man’s transgressions have caused. Let us always remember that grace is the divine influence on the heart as reflected in one’s actions or life. The Holy Spirit (Comforter) is the divine influence on our hearts, sent from Jesus, to lead, teach (unfold/reveal), convict, and bear witness of the truth (Jn 14:16-17, 26, 15:26-27, 16:7-8, 13). The Holy Spirit is God’s mechanism for grace (covered below). Romans 5:21, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We can now say that Christ came into the world as a man and lived a perfect life of obedience to the will of God. Jesus then freely laid His life down as an equivalent for the wrong man committed, thereby making satisfaction for the offense and thus allowing for God’s forgiveness (Acts 13:38). Jesus bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Is 53:12). 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Jesus laid His life down to restrain the just (suitable, proper) wrath of God against iniquitous and rebellious man. We must also understand that apart from Christ’s sacrifice, man could not have provided such an atonement (Rm 5:11, for all have sinned and are unworthy, Pv 20:9) for himself, which would have resulted in God’s forgiveness. Our “forgiveness” for iniquity is only found in Christ. Therefore, we enter the path of reconciliation to God by the forgiveness offered by Christ’s shed blood (Jesus is the strait gate, Mt 7:13, Lk 13:23-24). John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Christ’s blood maketh an atonement for our souls (Lev 17:11). Ephesians 2:13-14, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off (in darkness) are made nigh (brought into the light) by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace (with God), who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall (the sins that separate) of partition between us.” We must understand that without such forgiveness, restoration (replacing in a former state) and reconciliation (reconciling parties at variance; fallen man brought back into a state of favor with God after enmity) with God would be impossible. Having said that, we must now understand that “forgiveness” is just one part (a big part), the corner-stone, of this process of restoration – conforming to the image of Christ(Lk 6:40, Rm 8:28-29, 2 Cor 3:18, 4:10-11, Gal 3:27, Eph 4:13, 15, Col 1:20, 3:10, Heb 13:21). Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone – the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? (Eph 2:20, Lk 20:17, Mt 21:42, Mk 12:10, Acts 4:11). The corner-stone is the stone which lies at the corner of two walls (God and man), and unites them (reconciles); the principal stone, and especially the stone which forms the corner of the foundation of an edifice. Luke 20:18, “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder (also Mt 21:44).”
Jesus’ shed blood represented God’s undeserved mercy toward His creation of man. Man did not deserve, warrant (merit) or earn this gift of God. This was God making a way where there was no way. God was establishing a way that man might be recipient of His great mercy. The gift is freely offered to whosoever will (Jn 3:16, Rev 22:17), but there are conditions for obtaining it…many are called, but few are chosen (Mt 20:16, 22:14). The Holy Ghost is referred to as the good gift from the heavenly Father. Without such a gift, God’s fruit (purposes) will never manifest in you (Lk 11:13).
Let us first consider the value of forgiveness and then realize that forgiveness of sin has no purpose if one continues to remain in their iniquity – the darkness and transgressions. Slightly rephrasing that last statement: If you continue to seek your own way, lusting after the things of the world (walking in darkness, your will), then forgiveness has no real value to you because you continually violate the will of God, through iniquity, unrighteousness and unbelief (Eph 5:17), which is that which you supposedly (allegedly) sought forgiveness from. You thus ignore or disregard the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice in not coming to the light – after having been pardoned (Gal 1:4). In other words, you will not accept the “conditions” of your release and had rather remain in bondage.
Jesus told many that His Word had no place in them (Jn 8:37, 43, 45, 47). God’s truth had no effect on them or their lives – they disregarded it by not doing it. Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” In other words, they heard God’s truth, but did not apply it to their lives and live it (walk it), so it did not profit them. Dear reader, this book has only begun. Do you find yourself already disregarding the Word (truth) of God? Forgiveness must be coupled with repentance, which is a forsaking of wickedness and coming out of the darkness, to accomplish God’s purposes for restoring man. We must understand that Jesus did not come to absolve all guilt and punishment for continued transgression such that one can remain in the darkness, which is Satan’s house of bondage or prison. God has always stated: “I will not acquit the wicked” (Nahum 1:3) – Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty (Ex 34:7, Num 14:18). Christ provided a way out of the darkness – release from bondage and imprisonment. Jesus came and provided forgiveness; a path back to God through example; and the ability to follow that path through the Holy Spirit (to be discussed). Christ came to offer restoration (Ps 23:3) whereby a man can be “born again” (Jn 3:3) with the nature of God such that through obedience to the Spirit he can be transformed into the image of Jesus, who, as a man, was the very image of God(Jn 10:30, 14:7, 9, 2 Cor 3:18, 4:4, 6, Col 1:15, 2:9, Heb 1:3). Jesus stated: “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Jn 10:30, 12:44-45, 14:9). John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.” Jesus is God (Jn 1:1-14)!!!
Christ invites all men to: “come, follow Me.” Jesus leads in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps 23:3, away from the darkness). Righteousness is the conformity of your life to the will of God – yielding heart and life to divine law, faithfulness (Eph 5:17,). So, Jesus leads you to conform your life or daily actions to God’s will, which is to walk in His truth. This is what Jesus did when He walked the earth and has set “The Example” to be “followed.” This is active (applying God’s will to your daily walk, producing real effects) and passive (not resisting God’s will in your life, not opposing the Spirit’s working in you, enduring suffering, submission to the Lord) obedience to Christ. This is “doing” and not just “saying” (Mt 23:3) or “agreeing.” This is to have godly fruit (what your life produces) and not just leaves (what you “profess” to be).
Therefore: Jesus lived a perfect life of fearing God and eschewing evil and exchanged it for our sinful lives and suffered our condemnation, which is death. Jesus suffered our curse; being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (Deut 21:22-23, Acts 5:30, 10:39, Gal 3:13). We now exchange our sinful lives for the perfect life that Jesus gave (justification – to be born again, Rm 5:16, 18) so that we may have life and will not suffer condemnation, which is eternal death. We die to our old way (the darkness, living in the lie) and walk in Christ’s life (the perfect example He gave). We must now say, Lord I offer you my life (forsake my old way) for the life you give (Jn 5:26). Oh Lord my heart I give to thee with no restrictions placed by me. This is why Jesus said over and over, “he that loseth his life (hateth his life in this world), for my sake shall find/save/preserve it (keep it unto eternal life, Mt 10:39, 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:24, 14:26, 17:33, Jn 12:25).”
If you continue to walk in darkness then you cannot be forgiven of sin. Let us consider why: 1 John 1:6-7, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” If we walk in the light, then we have forgiveness! To walk in darkness is to walk in Satan’s lie which is opposed to God’s truth, for no lie is of the truth(1 Jn 2:21). So you cannot be in darkness and yet also “do” the truth. One can only have forgiveness when one leaves or forsakes the darkness and comes to the light, which is the truth. You turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that you may receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 26:18). Mercy and forgiveness are not earned, but rather given by God as per the conditions the Lord has set forth – see “Repentance” below(Is 55:7).
Mercy and forgiveness are procured (not earned) through sincere repentance. Repentance must precede remission (pardon, forgiveness) of sin (Mk 1:4, Lk 24:47). Forgiveness has no meaning unless you forsake the transgression for which you are being forgiven. To ask forgiveness for a wrong and then continue in the wrong would be absurd – ridiculous, ludicrous and illogical. What would be the reason for the forgiveness? For example, if someone forgave you of a theft, yet you continued to steal from them, then the forgiveness would have no value to you, the thief. Could a convicted murderer secure a pardon from the Governor if he purposed in his heart to go out and murder again? In like manner, if we call Jesus Lord (profess to follow Him), yet continue to seek our own way or walk in darkness, then we are not being obedient to Him and walking in His truth – there is no sincerity of purpose. You would be walking in Satan’s lie or nature and continually transgressing God’s will. Forgiveness would have no meaning because you are not walking in the light. However, if you start forsaking your darkness by dying to self and forfeiting your ways, and come to the light, then forgiveness has meaning and merit.
Jesus said, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:15, also Mt 4:17). The word “believe” is thoroughly discussed in Chapter Four of this book and the word “gospel” is Christ’s teachings and His life’s example. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Mt 9:13, Mk 2:17, Lk 5:32). The Lord will forgive iniquity, transgression and sin, but will by no means clear the guilty (Ex 34:7). The guilty are those who will not acknowledge and forsake their wrong and thus continue therein. You might mentally acknowledge the wrong (lips, no heart), but the “continuing therein” is the condemning action. This refusal is manifested as pride or self exaltation, whereby one continues to walk in their own way. Acknowledging wrong and seeking mercy and forgiveness requires humbleness – being self-abased; humbled by conscious guilt or shame. This is outwardly manifested in a change of direction – a forsaking of wickedness, evil and wrongs. Many people ask for God’s forgiveness about many things with no real intent to forsake their darkness – thus they continue following their own ways, living for self. Because they continue in darkness, they continually transgress God’s will. This is disingenuous and insincere and forgiveness would not apply. These would be seeking license (authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act), which in this case would be legal permission to continue in a wrongful course of action and to forbear (to abstain from) actual obedience (as opposed to mental agreement) to God’s will (commandments). Satan was not granted such ability and neither will you be.
Some continue to do things they know to be wrongful, thus violating God’s Word, and just continually asking forgiveness in seeking a form of justification. Others intentionally violate God’s will with the consideration that they will ask forgiveness later and clear themselves. Be assured that God is not mocked – teased and made light of. Can those that are accustomed to doing evil do that which is good (Jer 13:23)? The soul that sinneth willfully (presumptuously – with rash confidence) hath despised the Word of the Lord and his iniquity shall be upon him (Num 15:30-31). Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” AND Job 4:8, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”
You must forsake such behavior: Hosea 10:12-13, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground (forsake your darkness – lack of godliness): for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies (Satan’s lie): because thou didst trust in thy way…” If we truly and sincerely repent of our ways and forsake the darkness in coming to the light, then we may seek God’s forgiveness (Ps 145:18). 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus forgives and cleanses from “unrighteousness” which is the violation of God’s will – commands/Word/truth. Christ’s forgiveness is for past violations, never future (yet to be committed) violations. Jesus does not forgive in advance those that would plot to disregard God’s will.
Now perhaps you can see that when you walk in Satan’s lie (darkness) that you are continually living opposed to God and cannot be cleansed because this path is a total disregard for God’s way and isseeking your way. 1 John 2:3-5, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” The love of God is to sacrifice self for God first and then your neighbor (the two pillars of love).
Therefore, since the darkness seeks self and is opposed to God (the lie which is the opposite of truth), those walking in darkness, religious or not, are not found in the Lord. They do not keep His commandments (love the darkness and will not forsake it) which is unrighteousness and thus they cannot be cleansed or forgiven. Psalms 25:10, “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” We must do righteousness (faith, obey God’s Word) to be righteous (1 Jn 3:7). 1 John 3:10, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” He that does not do the will of God is of the devil! Love is not self-centered as is Satan’s nature (the lie, darkness), but is self-sacrificing! To walk in love is to die to self. You must become God-centered.
In conclusion, we are forgiven to come out of the darkness and not to remain in it. When most people realize what they must give up or relinquish to come out of the darkness (their lusts and desires) and into the light they are not so sure (count the cost, Lk 14:28-32). Religious man has thus devised means (twisting God’s Word and intent) to allow man through their man-centered doctrines to be forgiven to remain in the darkness. In other words, they say you can transgress the will of God and ye shall not surely die. Even so, God’s truth will prevail and you best be found in it. You alone will stand fully accountable before God. Deception only takes place in the darkness, not in God’s light. Therefore, those clinging to the darkness are the ones with no vision.
Throughout the New Testament reconciliation is always in terms of man being reconciled to God and not God being reconciled to man (Acts 3:21). This is a very important point. Man must forsake his way and return to God through the path the Lord has provided. This path is in keeping with God’s holy and righteous character and man must conform to it. God does not yield to man nor will the “truth” be changed in any way to accommodate evil. The path to God is one of righteousness (Ps 11:7, 15:2, 23:3, 45:7, 85:10, 106:3, 118:20, 119:42, Pv 11:19, 12:28, 15:9, 21:21, Rm 3:22, 4:13, 5:21, 6:13, 16, 8:10, 9:28, 30, 10:3, Gal 5:5, Eph 4:24, 1 Pt 2:24, 2 Pt 2:21, 3:13, 1 Jn 2:29, 3:7, 10). This path destroys the flesh (that which opposes God’s truth) – by design, with intent. God is abundant in mercy for those who will turn from their way (die to) and seek Him fully through His way. Psalms 86:5, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee (also Ps 103:8).” AND Psalms 86:15, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth (also Jer 3:12).” AND Psalms 103:11, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him (also Micah 7:18-19, Joel 2:12-13).” AND Luke 1:50, “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.”
God’s consistent message to man has been for man to repent. Isaiah 55:7, “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.” Repentance can only be realized through your actions, not your words. Are not actions the true indicators of the heart’s desire? The Lord is very merciful for those who acknowledge their wickedness and come back to God in the prescribed way (Acts 3:19). Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. The worst thing that you can do is try and shift guilt or blame to someone or something else – yet this is the tendancy of man (consider Adam and Eve as examples, Gen 3:12-13, Job 31:33, Pv 28:13). The Lord requires an acknowledgment (recognition, confession) of wrongs (Job 33:27-28, Ps 32:5, 51:3)! You cannot be forgiven for that which you do not acknowledge and God knows the truth of all matters. To cover sins or shift blame only harms you – God already knows!
The sinful man, who loves the darkness, cannot understand repentance because it goes against his interest of self. Denial of your wrongs will eventually result in condemnation – the carrying out of the death penalty (Jn 3:18). Psalms 145:18-20, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy (also Ps 25:14, 33:18).” Mercy belongs to those who sincerely repent.
What does it mean to repent? Repentance is to turn around and return. This is a forsaking of the darkness (lie) and coming to the light (truth). To repent is to regret your wicked actions, feel remorse for your transgressions against God, to be sorrowful and change your mind, to turn back and return – everyone turning away from his iniquities (Acts 3:26, Job 34:32, Ez 18:21-23, 27-28, 30-32, 33:11, 19). Psalms 119:59, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” You must rend your heart and turn to the Lord God (Joel 2:13). The essence of repentance is a turning around whereby you have a complete alteration of the basic motivation and direction of your life (Zech 1:3-4). This is to recognize your inability to live apart from God and to understand the total dependance you have on the Lord. Repentance must precede forgiveness and mercy. The early church termed this, “repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18).
Consider the account known as the “Prodigal Son.” This young man refused to serve his Father (i.e. God), but sought his own way – his will over the Father’s. He wasted his substance on self with riotous living and spent all that he had (Lk 15:13-14). Then he became in great need or want and was greatly humbled (Lk 15:14-16). When he was humble, lowly in heart (poor in spirit), he began to see his Father in a new light. He began to plan his repentance. Luke 15:18-19, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” This young man was regretful and remorseful of his actions toward his Father. He realized that “his” way only led to misery and continuance would bring death. He turned completely from “his” way and returned to his Father to live by the Father’s provision (way, will). How did the Father receive him? Luke 15:20, “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” The Father runs with mercy and compassion to meet him. Luke 15:21-24, “And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” The Father receives the repentant son with great mercy and compassion (consider: Lk 15:1-10). This young man was lost in darkness, but now is found (came to the light) – was dead, but is alive again (Lk 15:32).
In conclusion, we must strongly consider the message given by God to the greatest prophet to arise – John the baptist: Matthew 3:1-2, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We must also consider the message given by God to His own Son: Matthew 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (also Mk 1:15, 2:17, Lk 4:32, 13:3, 5, 24:47).” We must consider the message Jesus gave His disciples when He sent them out in pairs: Mark 6:12, “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” We must consider the message Peter delivered after being filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost: Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” AND Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” We must consider the message Jesus gave Paul to preach (years later): Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” AND Acts 26:20, “But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (also Acts 20:21).” We must consider the message Christ has given those who will “follow” Him: Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Finally, let us stronly consider Christ’s purpose which Paul was later commission to do: Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Jesus).”
Repentance is all about turning from and forsaking the darkness and power of Satan (enticements of the flesh through seeking your lusts) and coming to the light or truth of God. This is having a contrite heart, which is being broken-hearted over sin; being deeply affected with grief over having transgressed God’s will (Ps 51:17). Psalms 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Repentance is not repeating or parroting a sinner’s prayer, but is an entire change of life and direction. If one is truly sincere, then a prayer may be the start, but is not the end all – but this is not the general practice. Everything has a beginning, but the beginning is not the end. Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Repentance precedes or comes before the entering into the strait gate (Jesus Christ) of the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Repentance precedes receiving the promise of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). Psalms 147:11, “The LORD taketh pleasure (His good pleasure) in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” What does the Lord have no pleasure in? Psalms 5:4-5, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
Righteousness Must Prevail
The situation is that man transgressed the will (commandment) of God and now walks in darkness – seeks his own way. Christ provided forgiveness for the iniquity. However, man must now come out of the darkness into God’s truth if the Lord’s purposes are to be complete. Mercy and truth MUST meet for God’s purposes to be fulfilled (Ps 25:10, 57:10, 61:7)! Psalms 85:10, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The significance of this cannot be overstated. God could not provide mercy outside the truth. Righteousness is the ONLY path for peace with God – this is reconciliation between those at odds(Ps 96:13).
God must be worshipped in spirit and truth (Jn 4:23-24). Proverbs 16:6, “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” When man truly fears the Lord, he will walk away from the darkness and into the light. Until we come to the truth, there can be no mercy! We must love God and hate evil (Ps 97:10). Do not let mercy and truth escape you – write them upon the table of your heart (Pv 3:3).
The Lord came to earth as a man and led the way by example that we are to follow. We must now literally follow a God who we have never seen. Faith reaches beyond the flesh (senses, experiences, etc.) and yields totally to that which one cannot perceive in the flesh (Heb 11:1). God speaks to us and guides us through the Spirit. This cannot be adequately explained, but can be experienced – you must start walking. The only way to be led is through yielding to the Spirit and the Word in your daily life. Cumulatively, day by day, situation by situation, thought by thought, you will begin to change (Rm 1:17). You walk in the light (truth), which is the nature of Christ. You will never understand the truth until you start walking in it. This is how we stand: 2 Corinthians 6:7, “By the word of truth, by the power of God (Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8), by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” The Word and the Spirit produce righteousness by our faith (Rm 4:5). If you want to “know” the truth, then start taking God at His Word and walking it. Anything short of this, the truth will always elude (escape, evade) you – for God has deemed it so. Faith will prevail, but the flesh is a great hindrance – it profiteth nothing (Jn 6:63). When you walk in the light, the darkness must cease.
Those who walk unrighteously, in darkness, are snared of Satan and await the condemnation of death. Proverbs 14:27, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” God is life and life is found in Him. To walk after “self” and thus be separate from God is to cut “self” off from its very source of life. There is no life apart from God. You may presently walk in “your” own will as a god (Gen 3:5), but you have no power to sustain life independent from “The God.” Once your presumed god-like life of self determination is over, you will stand before the true Creator and Giver of life – The Great I AM. How will you stand on that day? Having taken God’s glory by walking as a god, how will you contend with the Almighty? The author of this lie will be in the lake of fire (as those who followed him). To whom will you lean? Be prepared to weep and wail.
The Holy Spirit
Jesus set the example that we are to follow. Christ walked the earth as a man totally yielded to God through the filling and direction of the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:10, Lk 4:1-2, 14-15, Is 61:1). Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” AND Isaiah 11:2, “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” Jesus did not serve God through the flesh – meaning His opinions, efforts, knowledge, ability, way, works, desire, etc. – the flesh profits nothing (Jn 6:63). Had Christ sought His way at any time, He would have been guilty of what Adam did and would have been corrupted. No man can please God through the flesh (Rm 8:6-8). Jesus yielded completely to God’s direction, through the Spirit, at all times. Christ was justified in the Spirit (1 Tim 3:16). Christ’s wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel were of the Spirit (Is 11:2, Jn 7:38-39).
Jesus had totally died to self on this earth and served God, thus the Spirit was given to Him without measure (Jn 3:34). The Holy Ghost is the very essence of who God is – the mind of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” So, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and did the will of God. In like manner, a “follower” of Christ must be filled with the Holy Spirit and must also do the will of God (Mt 7:21, 12:50, 1 Jn 2:17, Mk 3:35, Lk 8:21, 11:28, Rev 22:14). In other words, Jesus went before and those who follow come after – for they walk as He walked (Ps 119:3, 128:1, Hos 14:9, Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6, 2 Jn 1:6).
We just considered how Jesus laid down His perfect life to secure forgiveness for those who will follow Him (1 Jn 3:16). Christ does not forgive us to remain in the darkness, nor does He leave us to find our own way out (Jn 14:18). Jesus’ sacrifice not only procured forgiveness, but also the “promise” of the Father. Consider the following very carefully: Acts 2:33, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Christ provides the Holy Ghost (Baptism of – immersion) – the same power that He walked in (Jn 14:16, 23, 26, Lk 24:49). The blessing through Christ is that we might receive the “promise” of the Holy Spirit through faith, which is love, surrender, obedience and trust to God (Gal 3:14). The just shall live by faith (Hab 2:4, Rm 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38). Christ said: Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The Holy Ghost was sent at Pentecost, known as the feast of the Harvest (offering of the firstfruits), which was fifty days after the Passover – seven days after Christ ascended to the Father, which is the number of completion (Acts 1:3 = 50 – 40+3 = 7). Therefore, Christ’s great sacrifice enabled man to be forgiven and to receive the Holy Ghost! – so incredibly important to understand. Christ abides in us through the Spirit He gives us (1 Jn 3:24, 4:13). Recall that those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Rm 8:8). Jesus sent His precious Holy Ghost from the Father (Jn 14:16, Acts 1:4-5, Gal 4:6) to those who will follow in the example that He set (the Spirit of truth, Jn 15:26, Rm 8:11). Who is the Holy Ghost given to? Acts 2:39, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” In what way does the Lord call? Out of the darkness and into the light (truth) – through obedience in His name (Jn 6:44, 12:32). Acts 5:32, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him (also 1 Jn 3:24).”
The promise of the Spirit is through faith, which must produce obedience to God’s will (Gal 3:14). Therefore: 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” What this is saying is that when you come out of the darkness (regardless of your unique situation), you are baptized of the Spirit (Mt 3:11, Mk 1:8, Lk 3:16, Jn 1:33) into Christ’s body (church, ekklesia – called out ones) to be led of the selfsame Spirit. The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth, for it lies in wickedness – disobedience to God (Jn 14:17, 1 Jn 5:19). God will certainly not give His very Spirit to those who obey darkness and remain in it (Jn 14:16-17).
We discussed in Chapter One that all men will be influenced by the Spirit (a restraint of wickedness), but not all will be filled. Those who obey Christ find such a personal relationship with God, who actually dwells within them (Jn 14:23). Our bodies are clay vessels that our spirit temporarily dwells within (Gen 2:7, Eccl 12:7, see Potter and Clay below). There is no reason that the Lord God cannot also dwell within us. Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (also Jn 5:24).” Notice that there is no “condemnation” or “death sentence” (thou shalt surely die, Gen 2:17, 2 Cor 1:9-10) for those who abide in Christ (Jn 15:10, 1 Jn 2:28, 3:6) and walk after His Spirit. So it can be said: Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The condemnation is for those who walk after the flesh (Rm 8:13) – they mind the things of the flesh (Rm 8:5). The condemnation is that light has come into the world, but men will not walk this path (Jn 3:19). Jesus said: “and ye will not come to me that you may have life” (Jn 5:40, 6:40, 45). Their love is not to do Christ’s commandments, but rather to obey the darkness (Jn 3:19, 14:15).
To walk after the Spirit is to yield to the Spirit’s working in your life (Rm 8:13, Ps 25:8) – you mind the things of the Spirit (Rm 8:5). Those in the flesh are disobedient to God’s will cannot have the Spirit (Rm 8:9). Jesus is the light of the world and those who “follow” Him will not walk in darkness (Jn 8:12). If you are walking in your way, then you are walking in darkness and following another – other than Christ. The condemnation is for those who will not yield their way – to completely die to it. We discussed in Chapter One how the devil places baited traps to snare you through your own lusts. When you are blind to the Spirit by being led about by the desires of the flesh, you will surely be ensnared and taken captive (at will) by the evil one (2 Tim 2:26). The snares are always baited with what appeals to one’s flesh – the lusts and desires. We must become blind to the world and the ways of the flesh and be led about by God’s Spirit (Pv 3:5-6). This is faith! Not walking by sight (the flesh), but by the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts (Zech 4:6). Those who walk by faith rely upon God’s direction and not their own – their way, actions, opinions, thoughts, etc. (Pv 15:26). We must be blind to “self” and keenly sensitive to the Holy Ghost. We must be led through this world, yet be blind to it – the enticements to wickedness and evil. We must be wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil (Rm 16:19). We do not perceive or receive the things of God through the flesh, but only through the Holy Ghost (1 Cor 2:12-16, 12:4-13).
Jesus said: John 16:7-8, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” It was to our advantage (expedient, advantageous, favorable, profitable – to a given purpose) that Christ die such that the promise of God could be manifest (Lk 24:49 = Acts 1:4-5). Before the Spirit could be given, Christ had to be glorified (Jn 7:39) and complete His purpose so as to secure the covenant, See Chapter Four, “Into the Light.” God’s Holy Spirit could not be given to man until Christ first made peace between God and man – peace through the blood of His cross (Col 1:20). In other words, Jesus had to first atone (reconciliation after enmity whereby reparation is made by giving an equivalent for a wrong committed) for man’s transgressions and assuage God’s wrath so as to render Him propitious (disposed to be gracious or merciful; ready to forgive sins, Is 53:11) to sinners. Therefore: The Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified (Jn 7:39). Now that Jesus has secured the covenant (Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost), the Holy Spirit has been shed abroad (Acts 2:33).
Compare what the Holy Spirit does with what the Lord reveals of Himself: Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight saith the Lord.” Judgment concerns making righteous decisions based upon the truth. Psalms 33:4-5, “For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth (knowing right from wrong). He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (also Jer 4:2).” This is the foundation of the kingdom of God. John 16:13-15, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you (also Jn 14:16-17, 15:26).”
The Spirit guides us to the “light” which is God’s “truth.” Psalms 25:5, “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day (also Ps 25:4).” Consider also: 1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” The Spirit teaches you and the lessons are in truth, with nothing to do with Satan’s lie. The truth will condemn the lie and work to destroy the principles of the lie in you. To live in truth is to depart from evil and do good (Ps 34:14, 37:27, Pv 3:7, 27, 8:13, 14:16, 16:6, 17). Ephesians 2:18, “For through him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (also Eph 3:11-12).” We must come out of corruption (the darkness) by forsaking the lie (seeking self, being your own authority) and obeying the truth by the Spirit as shown, taught, revealed, and unfolded. Peter 1:22-23, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” The Spirit and the Word (Jesus) will always be in agreement. Jesus said: John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” The Word is the truth and so is the Spirit!
We have salvation through sanctification (set apart – “called out” from the darkness) of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2 Thess 2:13-14). The Spirit will write the epistle (instructive letter, message) of Christ in the fleshly tables of your very heart (2 Cor 3:3).John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (also Eph 1:17-18).” Jesus continues to refer to the Holy Ghost as the “Comforter.” A comforter is one who strengthens; soothes in distress or eases misery, infirmity, and grief; helps, aides, and encourages. Therefore, the Holy Spirit teaches, strengthens, soothes and aides us in coming to the light and traveling the narrow way. Christ would not leave us comfortless (Jn 14:18) and provides the Spirit to abide with us forever (Jn 14:16). Romans 8:26-27, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (also 1 Cor 2:16).” Infirmities are weaknesses of mind, failings and faults. Intercession is interposition (within God’s will) between parties at variance, with a view to reconciliation. The Spirit works within you as you yield and obey, to restore you and bring reconciliation to God. This is a surrendering of your will from which God reaches out in mercy and forgiveness. If you do not have the Holy Spirit then you are not Christ’s and are walking in your own way – maybe religiously, but disobedient and in darkness(Jn 14:15-17, Rm 8:9, 2 Cor 1:22, 5:5, 1 Jn 3:24, 4:13).
The relationship that God desires and the obedience required to receive the Spirit(Acts 2:38) can be summed up strictly with verses from the books of John and 1 John as follows: John 14:15-17, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:20-21, 23, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you (how personal and incredibly beautiful!). He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” 1 John 2:3-4, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 3:24, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” 1 John 4:13, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Those who forsake the darkness and obey God receive forgiveness – and then those who ask, receive the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13) -discussed in Chapter Four, “Into the Light”.” Jesus said quite matter-of-factly: John 15:14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Therefore, it is as the Lord spoke through Moses: Deuteronomy 8:6, “Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him (also Deut 6:4-5, 10:12-13, 20).” This is the message of the Bible!
When God purposes to do a work, the Holy Spirit makes it happen. For instance: Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” In like manner, the Lord now purposes to do a restoration or transformation work in fallen man and sends His Spirit to accomplish this. Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
In scripture we are told of the “promise” of God and the “gift” of God. The promise is the “Holy Spirit” (Lk 24:49, Jn 15:26, 16:7, Acts 1:4) and the gift is “grace” (Rm 5:15-18, Eph 2:8). The Holy Spirit is sent to produce God’s grace in you and the two are essentially the same – the gift of grace is the Holy Spirit working in you. Scriptures also refer to the Holy Ghost as a “gift” (Jn 4:10, Acts 2:38, 8:20, 10:45, 11:17, Heb 6:4). Therefore, the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29). God called us out of the darkness with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 1:9). Grace also teaches, as does the Holy Spirit(Jn 14:26, 16:13-15), that we are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Ti 2:12). The Holy Ghost working God’s grace in you produces eternal life (Rm 6:23). In keeping with God’s purposes and truth, you must be a willing vessel for the Spirit to complete the Lord’s desire (good pleasure) in you (Php 2:13, 1 Thess 3:13, 2 Thess 1:11-12).
The way this works is as follows: When you surrender your life to the Lord in obedience (genuinely forsake the darkness) known as faith and the Lord gives you the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). The Holy Spirit works through your surrender and obedience to produce God’s works in you, known as grace. When God’s works are manifested in you, then you become pleasing in His sight. Faith is a bypass of the flesh (self denial) and draws you to God through obedience. Faith “conciliates” which draws together, unites, and reconciles those at variance. The Holy Spirit works “grace” by tearing down all those wicked things in your life – lusts of the flesh, idolatry, high places, false gods, etc., that oppose God’s will with the intent to conform you to the image of Christ (Rm 8:29) – for we are only changed into the same image of the Lord by the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18) – day by day (2 Cor 4:16). This can only be accomplished as you yield and obey the Spirit’s leading. The Spirit quickens your mortal bodies not to live after the flesh, but to mortify (die to) the deeds of the flesh (Rm 8:11-14) – not to be conformed to this world (Rm 12:2).
The power of darkness is the seeking of self and thus walking in your way which is the great lie of the devil. God’s power, the Holy Ghost, tears down the things of “self” and delivers you from the darkness and into the kingdom of His Son – the light – walking in truth (2 Cor 4:16, Col 1:13). The Holy Spirit reveals our secret faults (Ps 19:12). You are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Pt 1:5). Your faith (surrender of the will to God) coupled with Christ’s redemption (through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, Col 1:14) and God’s grace (Spirit working in you) produces reconciliation and eternal life (Ti 3:5, 7). 1 Peter 1:9, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” Your faith and the Spirit’s grace is your righteousness and justification of life (Rm 5:18). Grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life (Rm 5:21).
So, perhaps you can now understand how it is impossible to be saved apart from your “obedience” and receiving of God’s gift of the “Holy Ghost?” Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” You will never be able to boast before God that “your” will or ability alone made it happen (1 Cor 1:29). The Spirit works and leads, and you yield and follow – for you know not the (narrow) way. Your hope is through the power of the Holy Ghost – the Spirit’s ability to change you (Rm 15:13, Acts 1:8). The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power (1 Cor 4:20) – transforming power (Rm 12:2). You purify your soul by obeying the truth through the Spirit (1 Pt 1:22). The Lord worked His “grace” in Jesus that He should taste death for all men (Heb 2:9). You must examine your heart and determine if your faith stands in the wisdom of man or the power of God – the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:5). Your only justification is through Jesus and by the Spirit of God – being set apart; called out (1 Cor 6:11). Living in “your” will is sin and darkness and will always produce death (Rm 5:21, 6:16, 7:5, 8:13). The lord God deals with you in two distinct ways, He will either show mercy to you or will harden you. The Lord’s mercy is reflected in His grace, which is the extent which the Spirit is given to one (Rm 12:3, 6, Eph 4:7) – In Christ, the Spirit was given without measure (Jn 3:34).
We discussed how the Holy Spirit influences all men (most refer to as their conscious), but that all men are not filled with the Spirit (those who walk in disobedience and darkness cannot be filled). The Lord hardeneth by withdrawing the influence of the Spirit in one’s life. If the Spirit’s influence in one’s life is withdrawn, they will seek their selfish lusts to a higher extent thus disregarding the things of God entirely. Continued sin hardens your heart. The way in which God deals with you will most probably result from your response to Him. Those who will not yield to God and grieve His Spirit (headstrong, stubborn, stiff-necked, froward) will only find themselves hardened to a greater degree (Eph 4:30). Nevertheless, the Lord works to restrain the wickedness or keep it in check for His own purposes. Stubbornness is as iniquity (transgression of God’s will) and idolatry – placing your will above God’s(1 Sam 15:23). Those hardened also become more spiritually blind and in bondage to the darkness to a greater degree. Romans 9:18, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Consider how the people reacted to Christ: John 12:37, 40, “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
We must present our bodies as a “living sacrifice” meaning we are dead to self while yet alive (Rm 12:1) – for it is no longer “I” (self) that lives. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ (living sacrifice): nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” For what purpose do we sacrifice self? So that we are not conformed to the world (the nature of Satan’s lie), but are transformed (through God’s Spirit working in us) by the renewing (restore, make good, make good) of the mind to prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rm 12:2). Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” So, if you live in the Spirit, you must walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). Romans 8:13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Therefore, we can now conclude that when we repent and forsake the darkness and obey the truth (Word) of God (in submission to Jesus Christ), we receive two crucial (vital) things – forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. The forgiveness is for past transgressions or iniquity such that we may enter the strait gate – Jesus(Mt 7:13, Lk 13:24, Jn 10:9). To ask forgiveness of future transgressions, yet to be committed, would be a mockery of God and reveals a rebellious heart bent on transgression. Those forgiven are “called out” (ekklesia – the church, called out ones) of the darkness. The Holy Spirit leads, guides, teaches, intercedes for, and comforts us as we come into the light (truth) and walk the narrow way to God (Mt 7:14). Forgiveness has no meaning for those continuing in the darkness or iniquity. God will not give His Spirit to those walking in darkness which are at enmity with Him. The Spirit is truth and will not abide or dwell (fill) in the lie. Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Please consider the depth of “believe” as detailed in Chapter Four, “Out of the Darkness.” Notice that we are sealed with the Spirit! Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Disobedience to God can bring dire consequences. Psalms 51:11, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”
Consider the case of Israel: Isaiah 63:10, “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” Continued disobedience (frowardness – refusal to yield to what is required) to the Spirit’s working in your life would be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and will not be forgiven (Mk 3:29, Lk 12:10). The Lord God may take His Holy Ghost from you (Ps 51:11). He certainly took His Spirit from Saul: 1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” Saul was rejected of God (1 Sam 16:1, 1 Chr 10:13). God then placed His Spirit upon David – a man after God’s heart: 13, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” Disobedience to God’s direction would be a denial of God’s work in you. If you profess to be in the light, then you must walk in the light (Jn 8:12, 11:9-10, 12:35, Eph 5:8, 1 Jn 1:7). 1 John 5:8, “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit (the promise of the Father which is the Holy Ghost), and the water (death to self and new life in obedience to Christ, Rm 6:6, 2 Cor 5:17, Eph 4:22), and the blood (God’s forgiveness, Rm 5:9, Eph 1:7, 2:13, Col 1:14, 20): and these three agree in one.”
The author wants to make it very clear, so that there is no misunderstanding, that forgiveness could not have taken place or be granted apart from Christ’s sacrifice and we must abide in Him – through obedience to Jesus (Jn 14:31, 15:10). Also there is no way we could walk in faith apart from God’s Spirit. You can do nothing of yourself – in and of(consider what Christ said: Jn 5:19, 8:28, Eph 2:8). This is God making a way, a narrow way, for man to be reconclied that is in keeping with the Lord’s holy and righteous character. It is equally true that Christ’s forgiveness cannot be procured apart from sincere repentance on the part of man. The Holy Spirit cannot be given apart from obedience on the part of man. If man does not yield or surrender in obedience to God, then the Lord’s work (transforming) will not be accomplished in you and no fruit will result – see Chapter Three, “The Fruit” concerning the significance. The Lord God gives you a free-will. This free-will comes with great responsibility because your decisions and resultant actions will ultimately vindicate or condemn you before God. We will be judged by our works/deeds – every man’s work will be revealed according to his ways (Job 34:11, Eccl 3:17, 11:9, 12:14, 2 Kg 8:39, Ps 62:12, Pv 24:12, 29, Is 59:18, Jer 17:10, 25:14, 32:19, Ez 7:3-4, 8-9, 27, Oba 1:15, Zech 1:6, Mt 12:36-37, 16:27, Jn 5:29, Rm 2:6, 16, 14:12, 1 Cor 3:13, 4:5, 2 Cor 5:10, Col 3:24-25, 2 Tim 4:1, 1 Pt 1:17, 4:5, Jude 1:15, Rev 2:23, 20:12-13, 22:12). God will not force your will, but you will be held accountable for your actions – even the secret things (Lk 12:2-3). God made a provision and man must walk in that provision – this is faith. So, if you think you can walk in “your” way and just claim a “free gift” of salvation through a hollow profession – best think again. You will most definitely have to blindly climb over a mountain of scripture (immutable truth, Heb 6:17) on your Romans road to salvation (hand picked verses that are strung together to present a cheap or easy type of faith). God’s gift cannot be earned through the efforts of man, but we best understand how the Lord imparts or grants that “gift” and walk therein (Ti 3:5).
Putting Things Together
We have now reached the undeniable and inescapable conclusion that God’s grace is enacted through the forgiveness that Christ procured through His shed blood (our redemption, Col 1:14) and the gift of the Holy Ghost (which Jesus received as the promise of the Father), who is shed forth to those who follow (Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24, Lk 24:49, Rm 5:9, Acts 2:33, Rm 5:9, Gal 3:14). Our faith in Christ, which is the putting aside (forsaking) of the things of the flesh, in love, surrender, obedience and trust in the Lord, procures God’s grace. This is a gift that cannot be earned (Rm 3:27), yet cannot be received apart from God’s condition of faith (Hab 2:4, Rm 1:17, 3:28, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38, 11:6). This is also a gift that keeps on giving as long as one is yielding. The righteousness of God is by faith (Rm 3:22, 4:13). God gives grace to those who come out of the darkness (through repentance) and yield to His authority; and faith is the only path to the light (Rm 4:16).
Our righteousness is only found in love, surrender and obedience to God, which equates to faith! What else do you possibly have that you can offer God? So it can be said (as discussed earlier): Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace (Christ’s forgiveness and the Holy Ghost working in your life) through the redemption (Jesus delivering you from the bondage of the darkness by His shed blood) that is in Christ Jesus.” Faith worketh by love (Gal 5:6). All the law is fulfilled through love, which is the sacrifice of self for the benefit of God foremost and then others – otherwise known as charity (1 Cor 13:2, 13, 16:14, Gal 5:14, 1 Pt 4:8). Charity is universal love, benevolence, good will toward your fellow man (including enemies) and a supreme love toward God. Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith (our love, surrender and obedience) into this grace (Christ’s forgiveness and the Holy Ghost working in us) wherein we stand (our only righteousness), and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rm 5:5) and whereby we are sealed (Eph 1:13). The Holy Spirit is the essence of God’s grace inacted because the Spirit transforms you (through your faith) from the fallen state, which walks in darkness (the lie) and unrighteousness, into the restored state to walk in light (the truth) and righteousness (Ps 23:3, Pv 8:20, 15:9).
God cannot forgive us to continue in sin or stay in the darkness/lie (this would undermine and destroy the truth), so we must have the Holy Ghost transforming us into Christ’s image (2 Cor 3:18, Php 2:13, 1 Thess 3:13). In other words, we must start walking in the truth (light) and exhibiting the nature of God. This is why it can be said: Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh (walking in your own way), but in the Spirit (yielding to God), if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you (Gal 5:16). You are kept by the power of God (the Holy Spirit) through faith (surrendering to God in love and obedience) unto salvation (1 Pt 1:5, also 1 Pt 1:9). Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
The gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (Rm 5:15). In other words, it was Christ’s death that procured “forgiveness (Eph 1:7)” and the “promise” of the “Holy Ghost” from the Father for whosoever will (Acts 2:33) – drink of the Spirit/water of life freely (Rev 22:17, Jn 7:38-39). By the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous (Rm 5:19). How? By the Holy Spirit teaching, leading and transforming you through your obedience (Acts 5:32). Some might ask: “Well, can’t I be forgiven and made righteous through no effort of my own (i.e. it is a free gift, Rm 6:1-2)?” The answer is No! Because then you will remain in the darkness (living under the precepts of the lie and serving Satan, Rm 6:11-13) and you will not be walking in faith (Rm 6:6). We have not been given the spirit of the world (1 Cor 2:12). Faith is not just mental agreement, but action (Rm 2:13, Js 1:22, 2:19). If you believe God’s Word, then you must walk it (practice it, live it) by being a servant of righteousness (Rm 6:18). Titus 3:5-7, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” So the Holy Spirit working on us is God’s grace and this justifies us. You must walk in newness of life (Rm 6:4-5). Everything is not pretend or make believe what is not really is.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil in your life (1 Jn 3:8). This cannot happen if you continue to walk in darkness (opposite of the truth) and serve the devil. Romans 6:16, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” You are to overcome the darkness, and not have the darkness overcome you! Romans 5:21, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Sin is the transgression of God’s will and the condemnation is, “thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17).” The fruit or wages of sin is death (Rm 6:21, 23, 7:5). So, sin rules over those who walk in darkness until God carries out the sentence of death. Surrender, love and obedience toward God is our faith, which is our only righteousness (Rm 6:22, Php 3:9). This faith procures the Lord’s grace which is forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. So, forgiveness and the working of the Holy Spirit reign through our faith unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. By so abiding in Christ, you will bear much fruit – herein is the Lord glorified (Jn 15:8).
How do you avoid condemnation? Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh (in darkness), but after the Spirit (in God’s grace).” To be in Christ Jesus is to be forgiven by His blood and led by His Spirit (Rm 8:14). Romans 8:4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” In other words, our faith is our righteousness which is demonstrated as we daily yield to the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives. The Holy Ghost will actually be tearing down those things of the flesh in us (Rm 8:5) to conform us to Christ’s image (Rm 8:29). Why? Because they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Rm 8:8). The Spirit’s work in you is a restoration whereby you are transformed to walk completely in the will of God and die to the things of self. To be in the Spirit is to forsake the flesh – opposites. You must mortify or die to the deeds of the flesh (Rm 8:13). 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”
Does anyone imagine that those in heaven walk in their own will? If you do, then re-read Chapter One and consider what happened when Lucifer attempted to do just that. Whom Christ calls, meaning out of the darkness and into the light (the called out ones – ekklesia, church), he justifies through the workings of the Holy Spirit (Rm 8:30). He (Christ) who calls is holy and those who heed the call must also become holy (1 Pt 1:15-16). What has just been discussed could be thought of as the “true” Romans road to salvation – and it is a road that must be walked, a very narrow way, that requires a lifetime of devotion to complete. Of course the roads of ancient Rome were lined with martyrs (one, who by his death, bears witness for the truth of the gospel) for Christ. This is not the “easy-believism” presented by modern religious man (see Chapter Four).
In conclusion, Romans 5:18, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” You are now under the condemnation of death (Gen 2:17)! Christ made it possible for you to receive the free gift of forgiveness and the Holy Ghost. This gift can produce life in you. Sanctification is the act of making holy; the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God. Salvation is through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2 Thess 2:13-14) – made possible through the forgiveness obtained by Christ’s blood (Heb 10:10). No one ever comes to God apart from His truth! Therefore, it can be said: Colossians 2:10, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Jesus, by the grace of God, tasted death for all men (Heb 2:9). God’s grace always overcomes the flesh – great victory! God resisteth the proud (the self exalting), but giveth grace unto the humble (the self denying, Js 4:6). Yield and obey! – your necessary duty (Eccl 12:13-14)
We have covered repentance unto the remission of sins and receiving the “promise” of the Holy Ghost, Who reveals truth and leads out of the darkness (lie, great error) and into the light, which is the truth. John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Baptism is the token for Christ’s covenant as was the rainbow for God’s covenant with Noah (Gen 9:13)and circumcision for the Lord’s covenant with Abraham(Gen 17:10-11). Baptism is the outward sign of the inward work the Lord is doing in your life. This is your formal solemn commitment (serious promise, vow) to make Jesus the Lord of your life and walk in His gospel – woe to him who disregards the pledge.
Jesus said we must be born (born again, new life, Jn 3:3, Rm 6:3-4, 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15, Col 3:10, 1 Pt 1:23) of water and of the Spirit to enter His kingdom – through the strait gate(Mt 7:13-14, Lk 13:24, Jn 10:7). Being born of water is the baptism of repentance and was first preached by John the baptist in preparing the way for Christ (Acts 13:24). We must repent before we come to Christ. In water baptism, the old man who transgressed God’s will (sin, iniquity) and lived for self in rebellion (disobedience, disregard) dies, and the new man in Christ Jesus arises – born again(Jn 3:3, Rm 6:3-4, 1 Pt 1:23). This is baptism of repentance and is a literal dying to self and “your” way, never to be sought again. Romans 6:6-7, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” To be baptized in Christ is to put on Christ (Gal 3:27). Ephesians 4:22-24, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is saying that you put off the darkness (Eph 5:3-7, 11) and put on the light (Eph 5:10, 13). Ephesians 5:8, 14, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
John the Baptist told those whom had repented through water baptism of Jesus: Mark 1:8, “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost (also Mt 3:11, Lk 3:16).” There is baptism of water and baptism of the Spirit. The baptism of water and the baptism of the Spirit are clearly two separate events (read Acts 8:15-17 below). Jesus said: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5).” Water baptism or baptism of repentance is the preparatory work that prepares you for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Believing on Christ (Acts 10:43, 11:18), acknowledgement of sins and the forsaking of such (bringing forth fruits meet for repentance, Mt 3:8, Acts 26:20) procures forgiveness. Your subsequent obedience to the Lord prepares you to receive the “promise,” which is the Holy Spirit or Comforter. The Holy Spirit leads and guides you the rest of your life through your faith – along the narrow way. This equates to John the Baptist first preparing the way for Christ (Mal 3:1, Mt 3:3, 11:10, Mk 1:2-3, Lk 1:76, 3:4) and then Jesus perfectly obeying the will of the Father to obtain the Spirit of promise for those who would “follow” Him (Acts 1:4-5, 2:33, Jn 15:26, 16:7). This is why John said: Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (also Lk 3:16, Acts 11:16).” Jesus later said: Acts 1:5, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” The water brings you to Christ (strait gate, door, Mt 7:14, Lk 13:24, Jn 10:7-9) and the Holy Ghost enables you to “follow” Him (Rm 8:1-14, Gal 5:18).
Jesus’ disciples, who had been baptized in water, awaited the promise of the Spirit at Pentecost (Jn 16:7): Acts 1:4-5, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” The baptism of the Holy Ghost can be received when you become obedient unto Christ (Jn 7:38-39) – thus bringing forth evidences of repentance (fruits worthy of, Mt 3:8, Lk 3:8, Acts 2:38, 5:32, 26:20). Consider: Acts 8:15-17, “Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost (also Acts 13:52).” AND Acts 19:2-6, “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And (separate event) when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” These men were baptized unto repentance, but also needed the baptism of the Holy Ghost in Jesus’ name. The evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues (Mk 16:17, Acts 2:4, 10:44-46, 19:6, 1 Cor 14). When the Holy Ghost fell upon the Jews, they spake in tongues (Acts 2:4). When the Holy Ghost fell on the gentiles, they spake in tongues (Acts 10:44-46). Obey Christ and then ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13). Therefore, we can conclude that we must first repent (baptism of repentance – water) before we come to Christ – as John prepared hearts to receive Christ when He came. Having repented, we obediently enter into a solemn covenant with Christ and receive the Holy Spirit – baptism of the Holy Ghost. Water baptism is evidenced by new life in Christ. Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Please consider the depth of the word “believeth” as discussed in Chapter Four, “Out of the Darkness.” Apart from new life in Christ, one does not enter the strait gate.
In the opening scriptures to this section, it was noted: John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” That which is born of the will of the flesh (Jn 1:13) is born with a fallen nature that seeks the things of the flesh. This is a seeking of self or your will, which transgresses God’s will and is under condemnation (though shalt surely die, Gen 2:17). To continue in this fleshly nature is to surely die – the nature of Satan’s lie. To seek God through this fallen nature is fruitless – will of man(Jn 1:13) or your works. You must completely die to this fleshly nature which seeks self. You must be re-born of the Spirit which is only accomplished by God (Jn 1:13). This is what water baptism is representative of. Baptism of the Holy Ghost is also done of God and is for the purposes of walking in the Spirit which is God’s way – being taught and led of. The Spirit is God’s seal upon you (2 Cor 1:22).
The Potter and the Clay
Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Consider the clay in the hand of the Potter. The clay must be pliable (flexible, bendable, supple, workable, pliant, compliant) and yield to the desire of the potter for an acceptable work to come forth. The clay is transformed from one shape (form, profile, character, nature) to another. The clay must retain (hold, preserve, maintain) its shape once the work is complete. The Potter’s purpose would not be complete if the clay would not change shape or once molded, returned to its previous shape. Similarly, the Lord God sends the Holy Spirit to do a work in a believer’s life (Php 2:13). You must be surrendered, yielded and obedient (pliable) for the Spirit’s work to come forth. Through the Lord, you are “born again” (Jn 3:3) into a new creature (with a new nature) and God writes His laws in your heart and mind (Heb 8:10, 10:16, 2 Cor 3:3). Thus, you are changed from one form to a work of beauty. You are renewed in the image of Him that created you (Col 3:10). The Lord’s work in you must retain its character and nature (shape) in you, steadfast and enduring to the end – faithful, devoted, loyal, resolute, unwavering (Mt 10:22). The Potter is the Creator and His purpose is to mold and form. The clay is man (clay vessels from the dust of the earth, Job 4:19, 13:4) and his function is to yield and obey. If the lump of clay does not “change” shape, then no work comes forth – it is as it was. Our lives must yield change which conforms to God’s truth. Now consider a hardened lump of clay. It is rigid (unbending, stiff, firm) and will not yield to the hands of the Potter. This hard clay will not “change” its shape, but remains stubbornly in its original form. To force this clay will only result in fracture and will not produce a desired work. Hardened clay is quite useless for any good work. Hardened clay lacks moisture. The Holy Ghost is the living water that is needed to make it supple (Jn 7:37-39). Depending on the hardness, it may never become supple and useable again. Similarly, those who are stubborn (obstinate, stiff-necked, pertinacious) in their way will not surrender or yield to God so that the Lord may do a work in their lives. These refuse to change their nature and die to the old to become born anew. Tread careful, Oh man! The Lord is the Potter and He has power over the clay (Jer 18:3-6)! Of the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor (Rm 9:21-22)! The Lord can build up or tear down and destroy (Jer 18:7-11, Rm 9:22). Does the clay think to dictate to the Potter (Is 29:16, 45:9, Rm 9:20)? Whose will shall prevail, the Potter’s or the clay’s? Will the clay be a vessel fit for use (2 Tim 2:20, 2 Cor 4:7) or ground to powder (Mt 21:44, Lk 20:18)? The clay must yield and obey for there is no other way!
Jesus is the Way
When Jesus walked upon the earth as a man, He was filled with the Holy Spirit and only sought the Father’s will. Jesus did not walk in the ways of the flesh. He did not ever seek “self.” Why? Because God could not be approached or pleased that way! The ways of the flesh are darkness. Jesus lived a “perfect” life with no sin (Jn 8:46, Heb 4:15, 1 Pt 2:22)! The way in which Christ walked produced “perfect” results. Jesus led the way back to the Father by example. Jesus is the way to God! The Greek word for “way” is – ὁδὸς, meaning – route, road, path,(Jn 14:6). We have been instructed to “follow” and come out of the darkness (Ps 107:14, Is 9:2, 42:7, 16, Mt 4:16, Lk 1:79, Jn 8:12, 12:35, 46, Acts 26:18, 2 Cor 4:6). Those who do, enter into covenant with Christ – discussed in Chapter Five, “Into the Light.”. We have also been given the Holy Spirit to comfort, teach, guide and lead – discussed above. Therefore, we must also “die” to the ways of the flesh and stop seeking “self.” We cannot come out of the darkness by any other way. Perhaps you presume to know a better way than Christ (the devil deceives with a multitude of paths)?
Some may say that Jesus lived such a perfect life so that we would not have to, and that it is impossible for man to follow in such a way. Such a statement is no more than a defense of the darkness and a justification for “self.” This Jesus did not do! However, this is what religious man often does. What this is presuming is that you do not have to follow and may remain in darkness – a rejection of Christ’s calling – not receiving Christ’s message. You are telling the Holy Spirit there is no need for His workings in your life – you are quenching, grieving and blaspheming(Mt 12:31, Mk 3:29, Lk12:10). You are suggesting that Jesus came to justify those in darkness and to put out God’s light, which is “truth.” Those who think such things have no understanding and do not “know” God, but are certainly defending Satan’s lie. For those who are sincere and see the absurdity (illogicality, irrationality) of such thought, let us proceed on and briefly examine the example Christ set for us to follow. Consider a “perfect” life lived that was devoted to God…
Jesus Did the Father’s Will
The Lord Jesus came to the earth with purpose from the Father. John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” I can do nothing of “self” (Jn 5:19, 30, 8:28, 50). Jesus came to live the life that Adam, the first man, failed to do. He would have to live perfectly in the Father’s will and not transgress His commands at any time. Christ would have to surrender to God’s will over his own way at every instance. Jesus also came to earth to set the example that God would have all men to follow (2 Cor 3:18, Rm 8:29). Jesus was the perfect (express) image of the Father and proclaimed that if you have seen Him then you have seen the Father (Heb 1:3, Col 1:15, 2 Cor 4:4, Jn 14:9). Christ said that He and the Father are one (Jn 10:30, 17:11, 21)! We have already discussed how Jesus came to be the unblemished sacrificial lamb to atone for the sin of the world and in so doing procured the “promise” of the Holy Ghost (Jn 1:29, Rm 5:11, Acts 2:33, Rev 7:17). Christ demonstrated a complete sacrifice of “self” in coming to the earth at the Father’s direction and then by totally submitting to the Father’s will – He pleased not Himself (Rm 15:3). This life-time sacrifice of self was for man’s benefit and the is “love.” If Christ were to live for self and/or try and serve God by His own means (as most religious men do), then He would be following His will and not the Father’s. Hebrews 10:7, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (also Ps 40:7-8).” Jesus was focused on doing the Father’s will whatever it may demand. This is a surrendering of self totally to God. John 8:28-29, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Christ often said, “I can do nothing of Myself” (Jn 5:19-20, 30). Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus walked the example as a man. We are to now follow Christ’s example and thus “do the will” of Jesus and the Father. Without Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). We do the things which please God, which throughout His Word, has consistently been a surrender of self to God’s absolute authority – just like Jesus did! We walk in faith (blind to the flesh) under the guidance of the Holy Ghost (led about) and allow the Lord to work in our lives through our obedience. We are conformed to the image of Christ along the way, who is the express image of God (Col 1:15). John 14:20, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” Wow! Can you see how all this works out! Christ’s life produced perfect results and we certainly must pay close attention to this if we are seeking Him. We are to do nothing of ourselves, but are to do those things Christ did, as led by His Spirit – to follow Him! To know a man is to walk as he walked – to experience the same things.
Jesus Spoke the Father’s Words
Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” When Christ came to the earth, He was born of flesh as a man (Jn 7:42, Rm 1:3, 2 Tim 2:8, Heb 2:14) – a partaker of flesh and blood as all men (Heb 2:14). Jesus grew up in this fallen world, but was led of the Holy Spirit (Mt 4:1, Mk 1:12, Lk 2:40, 4:1, 14, 18). The wisdom of the world is corrupted. 1 Corinthians 3:19, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness (also 1 Cor 1:20, 2:6).” The world in its wisdom did not even “know” God (1 Cor 1:21, Jn 1:10). So, Jesus did not come speaking foolishness, but the Words of God (Jn 12:49-50). The words Christ spoke were from above, and He spoke not with fleshly wisdom – earthly logic or intellect (2 Cor 1:12, Ps 78:1-3). God’s truth could not emanate or come forth from corrupted flesh (Jesus was uncorrupted)! – meaning the learning and wisdom taught from man. John 7:16, “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine (teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me.” The Lord told the children of Israel that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live (Deut 8:3). This means that man must completely die to his way and surrender to God’s way. In doing so the Lord becomes your very live and provides for your every need. Psalms 18:32, “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” Jesus had died completely to His way (including His earthly wisdom) and even repeated God’s purpose to the devil during a time of temptation to seek His own flesh or will: Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus was doing that which rebellious man had always failed to do. Christ was being completely led of the Spirit in surrendering to God’s will.
Man must understand that you must become blind to the things of the flesh to see in the Spirit. Conversely, if you seek the things of the flesh, then you will become blind to the things of the Spirit. God is a Spirit! – and must be worshipped in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24)! The Father seeketh such to worship Him (Jn 4:23). So, to seek the flesh, you sacrifice the spirit and your relationship with God. Woe! Christ sacrificed the things of the flesh and totally sought the Father through the spirit. The Holy Ghost led Christ in the Father’s will (the right way) and gave Jesus the Father’s Words to speak. Christ stated very boldly: John 12:49-50, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” Jesus always obeyed the Father and God’s will always brings life. Jesus said: John 8:38, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” Man typically does that of his father, the devil (the one he chose in Eden), and that is to seek his selfish way. Satan’s will brought death – and always shall. Christ did not desire His own knowledge of good and evil as Adam had done – for that is in God’s hands. Jesus trusted in the Father for knowledge, as Adam should have done. God’s knowledge brings life and Adam’s brings death. John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” For it was prophesied of Jesus by Moses: I (God) will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him (Deut 18:18). Acts 3:22-23, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” That prophet was Jesus and He came speaking God’s Words. John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”
All men will be held accountable for these Words that Jesus spoke from God. John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Let us re-state: those that seek the things of the flesh cannot please or “know” God (Rm 8:8, Jn 7:17). 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man (those living in darkness) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” We must hear God’s Words and then “receive” them. To “receive” is to apply. In other words, if you truly grasp and believe what is being said, then you will start living your life accordingly. John 7:16-17, “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” This is saying that to “know” God’s will (that from above, God’s purposes), you must walk or live God’s will. Faith is to be practiced, not considered, debated or talked about. Faith can only be understood through application. Those that do not “receive” Christ’s Words and walk in faith will be destroyed from among the people. This is because they refused the Words (method) of pardon which absolves or releases them from the condemnation: “thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17).
Jesus lived the Words He spoke – by example! This is the mark of a sincere and genuine person. The miracles that Christ performed gave credibility or proof to His Words. John 14:10-11, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” For example, Matthew 9:2-3, “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.” Jesus told the man his sins were forgiven, yet the religious thought He had no such authority. So, the situation was Christ’s Word verses their opinion or religious authority. How would the truth be known and whose authority would be trusted? Matthew 9:4-7, “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.” Christ’s undisputable actions or works proved His authority (similar accounts in Mk 2:2-12, Lk 5:18-26). Matthew 9:8, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”
Jesus did the Father’s Works
Jesus came to the earth demonstrating the Father’s love. He had great compassion on all those around and healed them of their diseases and delivered them from unclean spirits. Throughout His ministry Jesus sacrificed self for the benefit of others – His neighbors. Christ demonstrated the nature of the kingdom of God through such love and self denial. Jesus humbled Himself and became as a servant. Philippians 2:7-8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Love, humbleness and obedience are pillars in the kingdom of God. To become great, you must become least and a servant to all (Mt 23:11, Mk 9:35, 10:44, Lk 9:48). To be anything else is to be prideful (Mt 23:12) and exert self over others – exercise lordship or authority over them (Mt 20:25-26, Mk 10:42-42, Lk 22:25-26). Those who lead must lead by example (1 Pt 5:3). To serve others absolutely requires one to humble themselves. Humbleness is meekness and submission. What is being submissive? To submit/yield to the authority of another without objection or resistance. To be ruled by the decision, will or judgment of another. This encompasses meekness, obedience, surrender, yielding, and humbleness. Jesus submitted to the will of the Father: John 8:29, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” To give of yourself for another is love. To place God above all is to be obedient unto God. This is the very essence of the kingdom of God. 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Through the sacrifice and submission of Jesus, we now can have reconciliation with God and eternal life. Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom (to liberate, set free) for many.” We have benefited greatly! – if we “follow.”
Jesus came in the Father’s name and not His own (Jn 5:43, 10:25). Jesus’ love (sacrifice), peace, compassion, sacrifice, obedience (submission/surrender), doctrine, mercy, forgiveness, signs and wonders, healings, deliverances, forbearance under injuries, wisdom, and self control bore witness of Him – who He was. John 10:25, “Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.” AND John 5:36, “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” Christ rarely told anyone who He was, but rather revealed it through His life – His walk. Similarly, the greatest witness a follower of Christ has is his everyday life – how he conducts himself. Jesus was always about the Father’s business (Lk 2:49) – what could be more important? Jesus always obeyed the Father: John 14:31, “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do…” Similarly, Jesus has instructed His followers: John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Sacrifice of self to obey the will of another is love! Jesus demonstrated such love for all to see. Christ’s followers will do likewise! Jesus placed the Father’s work above all things. John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Christ was focused: John 5:17, “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”Christ completed all the work the Father gave Him to do: John 17:4-5, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Jesus led by first walking the walk. The Lord now says: John 20:21, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Jesus first spoke His gospel and validated it through the works He worked. Let us go forth and do likewise. Jesus stated emphatically: “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (Jn 14:10).” Does the Lord God dwell in you (Jn 14:17, 23)?
Jesus was Tempted
Jesus experienced temptation of the flesh just like every man. Recall from Chapter One that the power of the darkness is through the lusts of the flesh. This is how the devil brings one into bondage, by getting them to follow his path through the desires of the flesh. Luke 4:1, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” The reason Christ had fasted was to deny the flesh in seeking God’s will through the Spirit, in an isolated wilderness away from all distractions. Satan’s purpose was to tempt Christ into seeking his will as he had done with Adam through Eve. Luke 4:2-3, “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.” The devil’s temptation was to fulfill the lust of the flesh – bring satisfactiojn to your great hunger (craving of the flesh). Luke 4:4, “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” In other words, God’s will takes precedence over the flesh – even if you must physically perish. Man desires to live by the will of the flesh, but must live by the will of God! How many would say: “God would not want me to perish from hunger?” If so, then you would have “failed” the temptation my friend through exalting “your” opinion above the will of God. God sustains through man’s obedience! Jesus did not fail, but submitted totally to the will of God. Nothing is innocent – God’s will shall be done in all areas of one’s life!!!
The devil again tried to tempt Jesus with “the lie:” Luke 4:5-7, “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine (also Mt 4:8-10).” The devil tempted Christ with the world – literally! God says to love not the world or the things therein (1 Jn 2:15-17). The temptation was through the flesh. Satan was asking Jesus to choose His “own way” and seek the desires of the flesh – to seize the glory of the world for “self.” This would be submission to the devil’s way of self seeking and independence from God (the lie) – and to become a part of the rebellion. This would give Satan the worship he desires and would literally make God his servant (Is 14:13-14). The selfish benefit (enticement) would be to instantly rule the world. This would take glory from God! Christ knew that the Father would give Him all these things, but first He must perform the Father’s will – through self sacrifice (Ps 2:7-8, Jn 13:3, Mt 28:11). The devil’s way would have placed self first – above God. If Jesus had taken Satan’s offer, then He could have omitted the path of the cross meaning no self denial or sacrifice – no submission to God. This would have been an easier path – a broad way (Mt 7:13).
Consider Christ’s response: Luke 4:8, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus was submitted to God and His purposes; He lived by God’s every Word (Lk 4:4) – God’s way. The devil also tempts man through the flesh – maybe with fortune and fame (as was the case with many a rock star). Maybe with a shiney new sports car? Maybe with prestige and position? Maybe a few percentage points increase in your 401K account? Perhaps the devil takes your soul with something as trivial as a bowl of soup (Gen 25:30-32, Rm 9:13, Heb 12:16)? Jesus always denied self in such circumstances! John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” Consider this case in fact: Jesus had been healing and feeding the people and great multitudes were coming. John 6:15, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” The people were of a mind to make Jesus the king! However, Jesus did not seek His will or the things of the flesh and immediately departed and removed Himself from the situation. How many who profess to “know” Christ do just the opposite with the things and opportunities of this world??? Satan stands ready to tempt you with such things. How will you choose my friend? A trinket for your soul?
The devil is always persistent and you must be determined to serve God. Luke 4:9-11, “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” The temptation was for Christ to prove who He was – to exalt “self.” When one attempts to make God his servant then he exalts himself above God. Jesus walked humbly and did not seek such glory. Luke 4:12-13, “And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” Satan left, but is always looking for opportunity – there were many other temptations (Lk 22:28). We can conclude that Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost, denied self, walked humbly, and surrendered to, obeyed and served God. We have now established that Christ eschewed (avoided, shunned, abstained from) all evil – as in Satan’s temptations. Jesus loved the Father and set the perfect example. This is how followers of Christ must walk.
Jesus was Persecuted
Jesus went about only speaking the Father’s Words and doing the Father’s works, always in the Father’s will, showing love and compassion to all, yet was often persecuted. This persecution came from the religious people who claimed to know and serve God. These men actually sought the praise of self (Mt 6:2, 5, 16, 23:6-7, 14, Lk 20:46, Jn 11:48, 12:19, 43). These religious men were more than willing to sacrifice Jesus (or anyone else, Jn 12:10-11, 16:2-3) for the benefit of themselves as per the nature of Satan’s kingdom (Jn 11:49-53). The darkness always opposes the light! Jesus said: John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” Christ’s Words convict and those who love darkness, religious or not, will be unable to tolerate them. Men love the darkness and Jesus reveals the truth about what men love – He told the truth and exposed the lie.
Jesus was demeaned, mocked, derided and belittled(Mt 13:55-57, 21:15, Mk 5:40, 15:29, 31, Lk 16:14, 20:2, 23:35, 39); His educated was questioned (Jn 7:15); His sanity was questioned (Jn 10:20); He was falsely accused and called names (Mt 9:34, 12:24, 26:60, Mk 3:22, 14:56, Jn 7:20, 8:48-49, 9:16, 24, 10:20, 18:30); He was accused of being possessed of unclean spirits (Mt 11:18, 12:24, Mk 3:22, Lk 11:15, Jn 10:20); He was accused of violating God’s law and of being a sinner (Jn 9:16, 24); His authority was questioned (Mt 21:23, Mk 11:28, Lk 20:2); and He was threatened, watched and the object of tricks, plots or attempted manipulation (Mk 3:2, 12:10, 38, 17:24, 19:3, 21:23, 22:15, Mk 3:2, 6, 10:2, 11:18, 12:13, Lk 6:7, 11:53-54, 14:1, 20:20, Jn 8:6). They tried to seize Jesus (Mk 12:12, 14:46, Lk 20:19, Jn 5:16, 7:32, 10:39, 11:57). They sought to kill Christ everywhere He went (Mt 12:14, 21:46, 26:4, 16, 27:20-22, Mk 12:12, Lk 4:28-29, 19:47, 22:2, Jn 5:18, 7:1, 25, 8:59, 10:31, 11:8, 50, 53-54). Christ suffered many things at the hands of these religious ones and was set at nought (Mk 9:12). Jesus was persecuted (Jn 5:16)! Jesus did only good all the time. Psalm 35:12, “They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.” The devil used the lusts of men (envy, jealousy) to attempt to cause Jesus to lash out or develop a heart of resentment (animosity) or dislike toward others – to quench His love. Christ endured such contradiction of sinners against himself (Heb 12:3). Had Jesus given in to these temptations, He would have submitted to the devil (sinned). Can you see how difficult this was? Jesus did not hide out, but was always about the Father’s will even to His own personal detriment.
Those who follow Christ and walk as He walked will naturally encounter the same persecution that Jesus did – partakers in Christ’s sufferings and the afflictions of the gospel (Php 1:29, 1 Pt 4:13, 2 Tim 1:8). John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Sincere and devoted followers will enter into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings (Php 3:10, 1 Pt 4:1, 5:10). Psalms 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” AND 2 Corinthians 4:9, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” This was certainly demonstrated in the lives of men such as Peter, John, James, Stephen, and Paul. These men were greatly resisted and persecuted; and were beaten, imprisoned, executed, and exiled. Matthew 10:25, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub (devil), how much more shall they call them of his household?” The life of a believer will have persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” This is not lack regarding self-centered things or difficulties in life due to this fallen world. This is persecution attributed to your life and witness in Christ – persecution for the cross of Christ (Gal 6:12). 1 Peter 3:14, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled (also 1 Pt 4:16).”
If you do not encounter such persecution, then perhaps you are not living godly in a way that confesses Christ before men (Mt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9). 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” This verse is saying that if you avoid persecution for Christ’s sake, such as through compromise, then you have deny Jesus. For those who are persecuted know this: 1 Peter 5:9, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Jesus said: Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (also Lk 6:22-23).” When we expose the darkness that men love, we can expect retribution – reprisal (retaliation) from those who seek the flesh (Jn 15:19-20, 17:14). The foolish reject the light, and fools lash out at those who try and correct them (Pv 3:35, 9:7-8, 10:8, 12:15, 14:16, 15:12, 17:10, 18:2, 23:9, 27:22, 28:26).
Jesus is the Example – the Alpha and the Omega
Jesus Christ was/is the very embodiment (personification) of the truth. Jesus was/is the express (precise, definite, explicit, exact) image of the Father (Heb 1:3). God the Father was well pleased with Jesus, the man (Mt 3:17, 12:18, 17:5, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22, 2 Pt 1:17). Recall, that man was created for God’s pleasure. However, due to man’s transgression and rebellion, the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth…for it repenteth me that I have made them (Gen 6:7).” Jesus lived in the truth and God realized (obtained) His original purpose for man in Christ. What was this original intent? God’s intent was that a perfect and upright man is one that feareth God and escheweth evil (Job 1:1, 8, 2:3, 28:28, Ps 19:9, 25:12, 111:10, 112:1, 128:1, Pv 1:7, 3:7, 4:27, 8:13, 9:10, 14:6, Acts 13:26). Christ “feared” God by walking in perfect obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus eschewed evil by clinging to God’s Word and rejecting Satan’s temptations to seek His flesh. Christ said, “for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me (Jn 14:30).” This meant that Jesus never sought self and thus did not allow Satan a foothold in His life. The power of the kingdom of darkness is through the lusts of the flesh – seeking self (your way or will). Jesus never pleased Himself (Rm 15:3). Therefore, Jesus was a perfect and upright man with no transgressions against the will of the Father.
Jesus was filled and led of the Holy Ghost in serving the will of God everyday. Perfect obedience to the Holy Ghost yielded a perfect life. The Father showeth the Son what He doeth (Jn 5:20). The Son showeth man what He doeth – by example. Jesus has invited us to “follow” Him and has provided the same Holy Ghost (Mt 6:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23, 18:22-30, Jn 10:4, 27, 12:26). When we “follow” the Lord works in us through his Spirit to will and do (perform) His “good pleasure (Php 2:13).” God takes that transgressing and rebellious man that He repenteth that He hath created, and now thinks to destroy – who is under the condemnation of death (thou shaly surely die, Gen 2:17) and transforms him (new creature, 2 Cor 5:17, Col 3:10) into one that feareth God and escheweth evil. In other words, the Lord conforms you into the image of His Son (Rm 8:29, 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18, 1 Pt 2:21), who is the express image of God. You were created to be in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27) and thus you must be. Those not found in God’s image will be separated from Him (Mt 25:32-33). These are those who do not “fear” God nor eschew evil (Pv 14:2, 6, Eccl 8:13). You must always be dying (to self) so that the life of Christ can be manifested in you (2 Cor 4:10-11). In other Words, when you die to the things of the flesh, you are walking in the life of Christ – the example He set. If Jesus died for all, then we are all dead and must no longer live for “self,” but rather for the one who died for us (2 Cor 5:14-15). When you surrender and obey the Lord’s workings in your life, one day the Lord will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Mt 25:21, 23). Isaiah 50:10, “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” The truth is found in the light, and Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). Those who walk in darkness or Satan’s lie are not found in the truth and these will be destroyed – for it repenteth God that He made them. Jesus left instructions for His body – the called out ones (ekklesia, church). We are to teach and observe (do, perform, apply, live) ALL the things Christ commanded (Mt 28:20). Jesus lived by example the very things He taught and we have record of all things in His Word. How many are ready to apply Jesus’ example and live as Christ? Psalms 128:1, “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.”
Jesus says: Isaiah 48:17, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” Christ requires that we forsake all to follow Him. Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Let us consider one real life example. Mark 10:17-22, “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
This man seemingly had all the bases covered in that he observed the commandments. Jesus goes right to the intent of the commandments. All of these commands were to teach man to sacrifice self for the benefit of others. Notice how Jesus destroys “self” in this man by telling him to “sell whatsoever thou hast” (make great personal sacrifice) and “give to the poor” (for the benefit of others). The Lord then invites him to take up the cross (meaning, death to self) and to “follow” in His example. This also destroys the religious argument of Jesus having done what He did so we would not have to. We will only go where Jesus went (back to the Father, Jn 16:16-17) by walking as He walked (1 Jn 2:6). This man had great possessions! Wealth and things elevate or exalt oneself above others – these things separate. The accumulation of monies and possessions are found in the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, which is Satan’s lie (1 Jn 2:15-17). Christ was telling this man to destroy the fruits of darkness in his life and rather show love for others. Wealth gives the flesh the control and command of situation it desires. God says to trust in Him through faith, which must reach beyond the understanding of the flesh. To part with all his wealth would mean the flesh would no longer rule. His life would be soley in God’s hands.
So, what was the original question? What must I do that I may inherit eternal life? How many ask the question, but are of no mind to embrace the answer? This man went away grieved because he loved the darkness – all his possessions. In other words, he loved the desires of the flesh, rather than submission to God. In the introduction of this book, the author posed the question – what is truth? This chapter has conveyed what is truth and reality! How many want to hear? How many who call themselves by the name of Christ are willing? Jesus said to His disciples after this man left: Mark 10:23-25, “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Do you trust in riches? The things self desires? Are you seeking the fruits of the flesh – wealth and possessions? OR the fruits of the Spirit – righteousness through surrender to God? Mark 10:26-27, “And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Some may presume a sort of “loophole” here by placing the burden upon God. What Jesus was alluding to was the Holy Spirit (the promise which was yet to be given) working in your life, through your surrender and obedience, to destroy the things of the flesh. The Spirit will bring those who will submit, to the place where they will forsake all. The Spirit will tear down all those things in your life which exalt themselves above God.
This man walked away from Christ (the light) back into the darkness. He decided to obey the lie rather than the truth – just as Adam had done. How many do the same? Satan will always provide justification to continue in “self” – even religious justification. Perhaps the greatest deception is a religious man who through doctrines serves the flesh, but assumes he is right before God. Satan is the great deceiver and does this all the time. The question persists: what shall I do to inherit eternal life? The answer is you stop looking to self and then totally and completely surrender to God in obedience to His Word. You forsake the darkness and all its principles. Fall upon God’s mercy, walk in His truth and receive the Holy Spirit and yield. Note what Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (i.e strait gate), than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” It is impossible for those who trust in anything of “self” or the “flesh” rather than God to enter in at the strait gate. Christ said that the reason is, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Mt 7:14, like the eye of a needle).”
Jesus further explained, “for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Lk 13:24).” Jesus is the strait gate (Jn 10:9)! This man was told a great truth; you must forsake all so that you may squeeze in. There is no room for “your” way or the things “self” desires. This man was told to forsake all, yet he was unwilling. Therefore, he could not enter into the strait gate. He realized the impossibility (given his own will) and went away grieved. His grief was found in his love of the darkness. When a choice had to be made, he ultimately chose self over God. His limitation was found in “self” and the things the flesh desires. The power of darkness is in the lust of the flesh. How many will gladly serve God until there is a price to pay? Jesus was actually offering this man the key to unlock that which Satan had bound him with. If we could only have the faith to see beyond the flesh, then the darkness would lose its hold. Faith will bring us to the light! The flesh will never come to the light otherwise, because it will expose its wickedness and enmity with God (Jn 3:19-21).
Jesus once spoke a great eternal truth: Luke 14:11, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Those who exalt themselves (pride) take and shall be cast down. Those who humble themselves (deny) are given and are lifted up. Jesus had humbled Himself throughout His earthly walk always obeying the will of the Father. Christ had never sought self, only that which the Father required. Jesus now faced the cross and would freely and lovingly lay down His physical life for the purposes of God. John 13:31-32, “Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” What did Jesus mean by this statement? Luke 22:69, “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.” Jesus glorified the Father! Philippians 2:8-11, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Christ has been greatly exalted and sits at the right hand of God (Mk 14:62, 16:19, Acts 2:33-35, 5:31, 7:55-56, Rm 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3, 1:13, 12:2, 1 Pt 3:22).
Now consider what Jesus said regarding those who are called out of the darkness to “follow” Him: Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Do you comprehend the magnitude of this? Jesus walked in faith lovingly surrendering to God in all things as led by the Holy Ghost – God’s grace. To accomplish this, He completely died to self (His way, what self desires). In doing so, God exalted Him to His right hand. When we walk in faith (lovingly surrendering to the will of God), we also procure God’s grace (Christ’s forgiveness, redemption-Rev 5:9, and the Holy Ghost) such that we may walk as Jesus walked. In so doing, Jesus exalts us to sit with Him in His throne at the right hand of the Father. Can you see how a true believer is precisely following His Lord in all things? 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” Ultimately, the Lord exalts us to reign with Him (Rev 20:6).
Jesus lived a perfect life and great example for us to follow. We are told to follow in His steps of truth and righteousness (1 Pt 2:21-24, 1 Jn 2:6, Col 2:6, 2 Jn 1:6). Psalms 85:13, “Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.” Psalms 25:5, “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Christ died to self and absolutely surrendered to the will of the Father. Jesus walked in total obedience, speaking the Father’s Words and working the Father’s will. Christ was humble and a servant to all, full of love and compassion. He always sacrificed self for the benefit of others – God foremost and then His neighbor. Jesus resisted all temptations through His death to the things or lusts of the flesh and His devotion to God. In dying to the world, Jesus was persecuted by the world. The world loves its own, but has little tolerance for those who oppose its darkness (Jn 15:19). Jesus accomplished this by being filled with and led of the Spirit. Jesus said, “I can do nothing of self” – the flesh profiteth nothing (Jn 5:19, 30, 6:63, 8:28, 50).
You must be “born again.” The old man cannot be reformed and must die. The old man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Eph 4:22). One can only be “born again” through sincere repentance, which is a forsaking and death to your old way. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” The old man walked after his own desires and lusts. The new man walks after the will of God (doing the will of God from the heart, Eph 6:6) – as Christ walked. This is the difference between darkness and light. In other words, you become the opposite of what you were as manifested through genuine “change.” Ephesians 5:8-10, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” To “prove” is to demonstrate through your daily walk.
We have been “called” out of the darkness and offered forgiveness and the promise of the Holy Ghost (Gal 1:4). In other words, we have been given the means and ability to follow Christ and complete the course – but not through the flesh. The Holy Spirit leads according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph 1:11). The narrow way is not a path of ease and will surely tear down the flesh, but we now have the ability to follow the Lord to the end – which is reconciliation with God. Its time to stop loving the darkness and saying it can’t be done. Its time to deny yourself daily, take up your cross and follow (Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23). We must now stop loving our life in this present darkness and lose it for Jesus’ sake (Mt 10:39, 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:24, 17:33, Jn 12:25, 2 Cor 4:11, 5:15). If you cannot then: Luke 14:27, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” You must forsake all – everything (Lk 14:33). If you think that is going a bit too far then you cannot be Christ’s disciple (Lk 14:26-27, 33). Choose whom you will love – the darkness or the light. Jesus greatly humbled Himself and the Father greatly exalted Him to have a name above all names (Eph 1:20-22, Php 2:9-11) – to become greatest, you must become least. We must understand the following truths: Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” To exalt self and seek your own will shall result in your own destruction – condemnation. The way of the ungodly shall perish (Ps 1:6). The proud are an abomination to God (Pv 16:5) and the Lord will resist them (Pv Js 4:6, 1 Pt 5:5). However, Proverbs 15:33, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” When we love and obey the Lord, we walk in wisdom and our humbleness produces honor. God will give grace to the humble (Js 4:6, 1 Pt 5:5).
Jesus was greatly honored after His faithful obedience (1 Pt 5:6) – even unto death. Now go forth and show Christ your devotion through your actions. Psalms 143:10, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” Righteousness keepeth the upright (Pv 13:6) and he that walketh in uprightness feareth the Lord (Pv 14:2). To be upright is to be honest and conform to God’s truth.
Proverbs 12:28, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” This “way” leads to God and he that finds God findeth life (Pv 8:35). Psalms 86:11, “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name (also Ps 31:3).” AND Psalms 25:4-5, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Psalms 1:6, “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish (also Ps 37:23).” Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” In heaven, everything is alive and that life emanates (issues from a source) from God.
To walk in the truth (light) will cost you all that opposes the truth. This will be such a decrease in you that it will bring death (to self) and will necessitate re-birth (through Christ).