Chapter 4 – Out of the Darkness
Proverbs 4:19, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” Proverbs 8:36, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” They that hate the Lord shall be clothed with shame (dishonor, disgrace, Job 8:22) and everlasting contempt (worthless, deemed vile, Dan 12:2)! To hate God is to disregard God in favor of self – your way over God’s will. Psalms 95:3, “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Psalms 10:16, “The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land (also Ps 46:10, 47:2, 7-8, 48:1).”
Jesus revealed the intent of God’s heart when He stated: John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (similar to Jn 12:46-47).” The Father was demonstrating “love” through the sacrifice of His Son for our benefit. Jesus willingly came to the earth and also demonstrated “love” through the sacrificing of His self for our benefit. This is the nature of God’s kingdom, the sacrifice of self for the benefit of another.
The fallen world in which we live operates on the principle of sacrificing others for the benefit of self – the opposite, which is hate. God reaches (past, present, future) out to rebellious man and offers a means of forgiveness and reconciliation. This offer is truly undeserved (Ps 103:10, and unique when considering the fate of the fallen angels) and reveals God’s mercy and longsuffering toward us – His creation. The Lord is offering to whosoever will, the means in which they can forsake their transgression and rebellion against Him and come back under God’s authority (Mt 7:24, 12:50, 16:25, Mk 3:35, 8:34-35, Lk 6:47-48, Rev 22:14, 17). God is calling us out of the darkness (the lie) and into the light (His truth). To reject such an offer would be foolish because you already stand condemned (thou shalt surely die, Gen 2:17) because you live in the nature of “the lie” rather than God’s truth. Even if you could somehow reform yourself from this day forward, you would still have a major concern – all have already sinned (1 Kg 8:46, 2 Chr 6:36, Eccl 7:20, Rm 3:23, 5:12, 1 Jn 1:8, 10)! One act of disobedience to the will of God evokes the decree: “thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17). This is why Christ’s sacrifice is so important – to atone for past sin (Rm 3:25) and bring reconciliation (peace) between God and man (Ps 23:3, 69:4, 85:10, 2 Cor 5:18-19, Heb 2:17). The sticking point for most people is understanding what, “believeth in Him,” means. This one point has been the reason for such great division in the religious world, which is now physically manifested as the hundreds of denominations, organizations, institutions and sects of today (such utter confusion, 1 Cor 14:33). By in large, the majority “opinion” of today is that belief in Christ is a mental acceptance (acknowledgment, association) of stated denominational (or religious) doctrines concerning Christ – perhaps with selective scriptures from God’s Word. This is a faith re-defined more as wishful thinking than observable reality (Rm 2:19). Contrary to popular religious thought, the statement that Christ made is very conditional and requires action on our part…
Jesus next, in continuing His purposeful statement, made a profound statement that actually bounds the entire thought, and most gloss this over (ignore) with little regard: John 3:19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God (also Eph 5:12-14).” Oh what a difference the full context of Christ’s declaration makes! Now we can understand what “believeth on Him” truly means. The condemnation is that men love the darkness! Men actually love the devil’s lie! After all, didn’t man choose to obey the devil (darkness), disregard God’s command, and follow Satan’s lie rather than God’s truth? Man lives in the fallen nature of the lie. The lie tells us that we can seek self – the lusts of the flesh. We can follow our own path. The lie tells us we can choose (independent of God and with disregard for His will – they despise the Word of the Holy One, Is 5:24) what we want to do in this life (career) and pursue our desires to their full extent – such as money, possessions, entertainment, relationships, etc. The lie says that you can decide if you want to have children (birth control) or not (abortion) and when you will have them (family planning) and perhaps what sex they will be – medical manipulation. The lie says that you can “do what is right in your own eyes” and that you can “seek after the imaginations of your heart” (Gen 6:5, Deut 29:19, Pv 6:18, Jer 3:17, 4:18, 7:24, 9:14, 11:8, 13:10, 16:12, 18:12, 23:17, Rm 1:21, Deut 12:8, Jdg 17:6, 21:25, Ps 36:2, Pv 3:7, 12:15, 16:2, 21:2, 30:12, Is 5:21) – do what makes you feel good. The lie further proposes that you can do all these things and, “ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4). Things will just ultimately work out for your benefit – your basically a good person – right? In other words the Lord will not require it of you (Ps 10:13). The lie says that you have the “freedom” or “right” (we hold these truths to be self-evident…) to do these things (maybe God given???) because, “ye shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5). The nature of fallen man is that of Satan which is pride. Pride is self exaltation – to seek self (the flesh, your way, Ps 119:21). Self seeks its way above all other for its benefit. This is what man loves! This is the darkness! The flesh is in control in the darkness! The power of the darkness is through the lusts or preferrences of the flesh.
Christ stated that man will not come out of the darkness (by and large given the opportunity, Mt 7:13) and into the light because man loves his way(s) and the light will expose the great error – this is what is revealed throughout God’s Word. This is an easily observable fact in the world today. The darkness is deception and blindness (dark = cannot see) to the truth (Lk 10:21). Don’t become alienated from the life of God through ignorance of truth due to blindness of heart (Eph 4:17-18). Coming into the light is comprehending and walking in the truth (1 Pt 2:21). The truth is that God is sovereign (supreme, absolute) and Creator of all things. The truth is that God is the giver of life and there is no life apart from Him. The truth is that the creation (i.e. man) must surrender “all” to the will (commands, rule of, authority) of God. The creation must love, honor and obey God in all things. The creation must walk in humbleness – decrease of self and meekness. Perhaps you can now see the great gulf between the darkness and the light? To come into the light, you must abandon (forsake, renounce with action) your will and totally surrender to God’s will. This means that you can no longer walk in “your way.” You can no longer do what is right in your own eyes or seek the imaginations of your heart. You can no more just do what makes you “feel good.” In short, you will no longer be as a god, but rather will be under the total authority of “The God” (Deut 4:35, 39, 1 Kg 8:60, Ps 95:3, Is 45:5, 18, 21-22, 46:9, Joel 2:27). These are two completely opposite (different) paths through this life.
Perhaps you can also see that you are now traveling one path or the other – there are no in betweens. To come out of the darkness and into the light reveals the utter error of the darkness – your eyes begin to see the truth. Now here is something that will be startling for most. The English word “church,” meaning “house of God” was actually translated from the Greek word “ekklesia,” meaning “called out ones.” In other words, everywhere in the Bible that “church” is used is really the Greek word (original language) “ekklesia.” In some instances ekklesia may refer to a gathering of “called out ones.” Hence a great error, most people think of (view) the “church” as a meeting place (building, temple, etc.) rather than individuals. Now consider the real meaning of “called out ones.” What are we called out of? We are called out of the darkness and into the light – that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Pt 2:9). We are called out of the world and into the kingdom of God. We are called out of the lie and into the truth. The ekklesia or called out ones (individuals that make up a larger body) make a temple: Ephesians 2:21-22, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Christ does the calling (Rm 1:6, 9:24, 1 Pt 2:9, 5:10). 1 Thessalonians 2:12, “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” AND 2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Who is the promise for? 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.” – the Lord does the adding/calling (Acts 2:47). AND Romans 1:6, “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.” Those who Christ calls, He justifies (Rm 8:30) – makes “just” through His Spirit! Therefore: 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (lifestyle); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” Therefore: I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (Jn 15:16). Remember: as in the parable of the wedding, many are called, but few are chosen (Mt 22:1-14, Lk 14:15-23).
Notice in the verse that you must come out of the darkness to be in the light. This requires action on your part! You cannot just remain in the darkness and mentally agree or acknowledge that there is light (Ps 107:10-11). You can’t just “believe” there is light. No, while you remain in the darkness, you also remain in the lie (great error) and continue in the deception and cannot see (blind). Those that remain in the darkness do so because they love the darkness and know that if they come to the light it will require action (tremendous change in your life) on their part – their deeds will be exposed and the necessity of required “change” will be apparent. It would be so easy to continue in the darkness (the lie, your fallen nature) if you just had to acknowledge the light and nothing more. However, what benefit is that to God? Do you really think that the Omniscient God (knowing everything), Creator of all (Ps 95:3, 96:4-5, 97:9, 100:3), is going to violate His own Word (thou shalt surely die, Gen 2:17) and grant eternal life to those who remain in the darkness (the lie) and transgress His will (are opposed to Him, enemies) in their rebellion? If God violates His own Word, then truth is no longer truth. Truth would no longer be tried, proven, pure and eternal. If this were true, then God would owe Lucifer an apology. This would be an absurd proposition.
Many say they “believe” in Christ, but disregard His commandments. 1 John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (also Jn 14:24).” These walk in the lie and not in the truth – its just that simple. The truth is that to leave the darkness (in coming to the light), you must start forsaking (dying to, abandoning) the characteristics of the darkness. This means that you must stop walking in “your way” and seeking “your will” (Ps 119:59, 101). Put away the evil of “your” doings and cease to do evil (Is 1:16). You must stop walking in disobedience to the will (commands) of God. Jesus tells us very clearly: John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In other words, to sacrifice self (your way, path, will, desire) for Christ’s benefit – the righteous fruit He desires in you(Jn 15:8); you must obey the Lord (Ps 103:17-18). Only when you begin to do this, will the darkness begin to lift so that you can see the truth. You cannot just hear or say, you must do (Js 1:22, 25). John 7:17, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” You will never know the truth until you start walking in the truth. Jesus said, “blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it (Lk 11:28).
The Lord hath promised a crown of life to them that love Him (Js 1:12) and this love is realized by keeping Christ’s commandments – walking in His truth. A man who believes the truth, but does not walk in the truth, is a hypocrite (false pretence, façade, thin covering, pretentious, phony, professes to be what one is not, counterfeit) and in darkness – deceived and deluded. 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” ALSO 1 John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” These two verses equate! If you walk in darkness, then you do not keep Christ’s commandments – and do not “know” or “fellowship” with Jesus. In both cases you walk in the lie and not the truth! So if you are still seeking the things of the flesh (world, your way), even with a form of godliness (religious profession), then you are walking in the lie (darkness) and certainly do not the truth. Those who come to the light can say: 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.” These will see the beauty of Christ and walk in His truth. The Lord will judge the world with righteousness, and His people with truth (Ps, 96:13, 98:9, His Word, Jn 12:48). Consider Christ’s example: 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. Arise, let us go hence.” Jesus demonstrated His love for the Father through obedience to His will.
Now let us consider those who walk in the darkness in a religious context – with a form of godliness (2 Tim 3:5). In other words, religious people who “profess Christ,” but walk in darkness or great deception. The majority or prevailing message (generalities) of what calls itself Christianity today is actually a false gospel (most will not see this because there is much good and truth in the message, but a subtle re-direction). The reason it is false is because it actually allows for the transgression of God’s will. The hope and message of this book is to reveal the true gospel of Christ and shine the “light” of “truth,” which according to our lead-in verses will reveal the error of the darkness (Jn 3:19-21). This popular gospel of today is based upon the concept of “the total depravity of man” and was arrived at through various “teachings of man” (Is 29:13, Mt 15:8-9, Mk 7:6-7) through the centuries; such as Augustine, Eusebius, Luther, Calvin, etc.(Ps 118:8); and was not believed or practiced by the early church at all – meaning Christ’s original apostles as well as leaders such as Polycarp, Tertullian, Origen, Clement, Iranaeus, Cyprian, Justin Martyr, etc. – also men, but not as far removed from Christ. What is most relevant is that this modern gospel (what Paul feared – 1 Cor 11:4) does not line up with the teachings or lived out example of Jesus Christ (Jn 1:14). This message essentially states (there are many interpretations or variations of the concept such as predestination) that man is totally wicked and is incapable of doing anything toward his salvation aside from God’s complete intervention. In other words, man is incapable of obeying God. Yet God says: Psalms 119:2-3, “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways (also Ps 128:1).” The truth is that man is incapable of pleasing God aside from having and being led of the Spirit of God. Of course, those who have not the Spirit are not in Christ (Rm 8:9).
This gospel states that only God’s grace (which they incorrectly defined as simply unmerited favor) saves you and man has no role other than to believe – mentally accept or identify with by agreement. They say that faith and obedience (obedience is actually an element of faith) is a gift of God and is totally out of your hands/responsibility. These issues are confusing (red flag – take heed, 1 Cor 14:33) and complex (another red flag, 2 Cor 11:3) and have resulted in a “multitude” of religious splits into various denominations and sects – huge red flag – disunity and division(1 Cor 11:18). This religious thought goes something like this: Salvation is a free gift of God through grace and cannot be earned or merited by man and thus cannot be sustained or maintained by anything that man does now or in the future. Works do not save and everything becomes a work, even obedience. After all, if we have to obey then salvation becomes something we do and is not found in God’s mercy and grace. There is a big problem in defining and understanding words and terms, often leading to circular reasoning. This all degenerates into a “once saved always saved” mentality/outlook known as eternal security of the believer. Meaning that once you are saved, by their definition, that you cannot lose that salvation through your own actions – otherwise salvation would be something you earned (Ez 13:22, 24, 26, 33:12-13, 18). God’s grace is actually inacted through our obedience. Apart from God’s grace (Holy Spirit working in us, 2 Cor 3:18, 4:16, Rm 8:13), our obedience would be without merit (unacceptable fruit); apart from our obedience, God’s grace would not be possible (God works through our free will submission to his will). God’s grace gives our obedience proper direction and purpose (the Spirit teaches and leads – Jn 14:26, we thus have the mind of Christ – 1 Cor 2:10-16).
This doctrine in its purest form (as espoused by Augustine and Calvin) would include predestination, which is not practiced or adhered to by most religious groups. Predestination states that God foreordained who would be saved and who would not. This teaching maintains that there is no such thing as free-will (your ability to choose) and those that have been prior selected will ultimately persevere, known as perseverance of the saints, all others will not. All these modern “majority” religious groups (i.e. denominations, institutions) who are following the “doctrines of man” (rather than God’s Holy Spirit) pick and choose which tenants (derived logic of man) they will believe and which they will not as they often do with scripture. For instance some will follow the concepts of the total depravity of man and eternal security while denying the concept of predestination even though Augustine and Calvin taught all three as their theology. In order to believe these things, they must stumble over “enormous” amounts of scripture that reveal otherwise! For instance, God’s Word says of Christ: Hebrews 5:9, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (also 1 Pt 1:22).” How can you obey if you are incapable? Consider Christ’s future return after the Great tribulation: 2 Thessalonians 1:8, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, these doctrines teach that man cannot truly obey. Men that teach the aforementioned errors do not “know” God and certainly do not obey the gospel as intended. Who is the Holy Spirit given to? 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.”
Many of these same men (i.e. Martin Luther, John Calvin) who developed such theology also taught and practiced “infant baptism.” This means that they baptized one as an infant and they were never baptized again. In other words no faith or commitment to Christ was ever required from one. This totally circumvented the intent and purpose of baptism – to be a “believer” in “faith” with all due commitment. Yet, religious organizations/groups persecuted and killed thousands over this one issue.
Salvation is not possible apart from the Spirit (Rm 8:14, Jn 16:7). The Holy Spirit is the truth of God (Spirit of truth) that dwells within the believer (2 Jn 1:2). These are men most miserable because they see the wickedness of their actions (and feel conviction), but are unwilling to forsake their darkness, and would rather twist Christ’s gospel to allow themselves to remain in the darkness (Js 4:17). They spend their efforts justifying the darkness rather than coming to the light. They want to remain in error (love the darkness – cling to it) and live vicariously (share-in or undergo another’s experience through “imagined participation” – not found in action or practice) through Jesus. All of these errors allow one to live in the flesh (to continue to seek your own way, your will) and this is “unbelief.” Salvation is for he that “believeth” (Jn 3:16). Unbelief is to not walk in the truth, but rather the lie or darkness (Heb 3:12) – this is to disregard the truth and walk in the lie (Pv 13:13) – self seeking and worldliness, etc. These draw iniquity (sin, transgression) with cords of vanity (want of substance to satisfy desire), and sin as if were a cart rope (Is 5:18, Pv 5:22).
Those who walk in unbelief hate God’s way/truth: Proverbs 8:36, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” If you can’t cease from sinning (not in your ability), then why would God hold you responsible? The truth is that you can cease from sinning, but it will interfere with your desire for self. Belief is found in the truth, which is walking in the truth – this is what is in your heart translates into your actions. Those walking in such error call good evil and evil good; they put darkness for light and light for darkness (Is 5:20). Now lets dig into this aforementioned error just a bit to reveal the rather significant fallacy that is practiced (followed, adhered to) by the majority who “profess Christ.” Recall from Chapter One that Lucifer’s rebellion was to transgress the will of God (thereby establishing the lie) and thus incur a sentence of death – the second death, which is to be carried out at a later date (Rev 20:10). The devil later deceived man by proposing that he too could disobey or transgress the commandment of God and eat of the forbidden tree and not die. Satan said: “ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). In other words: “you can sin and not die.” What do these religious men tell us in their version of the gospel? They say: “once saved always saved.” They say that once you make a profession of Christ (which they equate to salvation) then you cannot lose your salvation through your own efforts (it’s a gift that cannot be earned or merited) – that you can sin and not die. The devil said you can transgress God’s will and “ye shall not surely die” and these religious men say that you can transgress the will of God and “ye shall not surely die” – they equate! Both the devil and this false gospel are saying the same things! This should be most startling to you. Anyone that suggest in any way that it is acceptable to transgress God’s will is a false prophet/teacher (Col 2:8).
Satan said you do not have to obey God and these doctrines down play obedience to God and take responsibility out of your hands (control) – they trivialize sin (make a mock of sin – Pv 14:9, Jer 8:12). The Lord would say: Malachi 2:17, “Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?” They essentially say that Christ died so that you do not have to take such responsibility regarding salvation. They further state that to “require” obedience for salvation would be to deny the cross – Christ’s sacrifice. Lets consider this in more detail. Man disobeyed God and incurred the penalty of death (thou shalt surely die, Gen 2:17). In his fallen condition, man was incapable of making atonement for his wrongs and thus unable to reconcile himself to God – reconciliation must be mutual or you are serving through compulsion. Man disobeyed God to seek the flesh or his way and his will. The flesh is at enmity (hostility) with God (Gal 5:17). Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” So man cannot return to God through the flesh, but the flesh must be bypassed through faith.
The flesh is man’s way which is an abomination to God (Pv 15:9, 26). One sin puts you into rebellion against God and all men have sinned (Rm 3:23). There is none righteous, no, not one (Rm 3:10). God would not simply overlook these transgressions and thus establish “the lie.” To overlook or dismiss the transgression would be to deny (make void) the Lord’s own Word of “thou shalt surely die.” So, God mercifully provided a way to forgive man’s transgressions and bring reconciliation as mentioned in our lead-in verses (Jn 3:16-18). Now this is what we must strongly consider: If man’s transgression was so grievous to God (and His established truth) that it could not simply be overlooked or swept away and resulted in God sacrificing His own Son to provide the path for forgiveness and reconciliation, does it make any sense that God’s Son (sent at great sacrifice to the Father) would come and die for you such that you could continue in the very same transgressions (darkness) that necessitated that He come to begin with? The ones that couldn’t be overlooked or dismissed? Do you really think that Jesus came to justify you to continue to transgress the will of God and provide a way that, “ye shall not surely die?” In other words, do you think that Jesus came to reinforce the lie of the devil (that which opposes God) for you to live in darkness? – is Christ your minister of sin (Gal 2:17)? Will you condemn God and His eternal truth that ye may be righteous (Job 40:8)? Is everything just pretend and make-believe?
Consider this: 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.” What this is clearly saying is that no man will come to the Father apart from the truth – God’s Word and the Lord’s way (2 Thess 2:13). Jesus is the very embodiment (personification) of the Word, which is the truth,(Jn 1:1-3, 14, Rev 19:13). Jesus said it like this: John 10:1, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” You cannot “profess Christ” and then live in a way that opposes Him. This is to do despite the Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29) – to grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30). What man presumes to direct the Spirit of the Lord (Is 40:13)? You must come out of the darkness (the lie) and into the light (the truth) or you will not come to the Father. Jesus Himself is the filter/gate – the winnower that separates the wheat from the chaff(Mt 3:12, Lk 3:17) for who enters. No liar (one who is an inhabitant of the kingdom of darkness) will enter into the kingdom of God, but shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev 21:8)” – is this not clear?
Now many people will say that they do not necessarily (completely) believe in concepts such as the total depravity of man, predestination, eternal security (once saved always saved), etc., but irregardless, most people live their lives this way, as if they do – see “What is Walking in Darkness” below. The way in which you walk is what you “believe,” whether in darkness or light. Jesus said: John 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” So, if God’s decree for disobedience is: “though shalt surely die,” then the decree for obedience (abiding in Christ – if a man keep My saying) would be: “thou shalt surely live” (he shall never see death). This is what the preceeding verse just revealed. Christ (our example) kept the Father’s sayings (Jn 8:55). Jesus warns us: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings (Jn 14:24).” John 15:14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
This particular discussion could go on endlessly, but the point has been sufficiently made. Therefore, we are absolutely required to walk in obedience to the Word of God – truth. The Lord works through our obedience (and surrender, yielding) to transform us into the image of His Son (Rm 8:29, Php 2:13, 1 Pt 2:21). 1 Peter 1:5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” The power of God is the Holy Spirit working the Lord’s grace in our lives – as defined in Chapter Two, “Putting Things Together.” As many as receive Christ, He gives them power to become the sons of God (Jn 1:12). This power works in conjunction (and aides) with your obedience. The purpose of this transformation (born again, Jn 3:3, 2 Cor 5:17, Eph 4:24, 1 Pt 1:23, 1 Jn 2:29, 5:4) is to destroy the nature of the lie in us, its characteristics and love of darkness, and to lead us into the light, which is the nature of God – to truth; total surrender and obedience to the Lord. God and man must willingly work together to accomplish this.
God inwardly writes His laws in our hearts and minds (Heb 8:10, 10:16) and this manifests outwardly as characteristics of the Lord’s nature (fruits, Gal 5:22, Eph 5:9). 1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” We were born into this world with a corrupted fallen nature like Satan’s due to Adam’s transgression against God, but must be re-born anew through God’s truth by living in the Word – things must be reversed. This only happens by God – not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man (Jn 1:13). We must change natures from darkness to light. There is a combination of our surrender and obedience to the Lord, and God making this happen – His grace working in us. The transformation cannot occur without God – apart from Christ and His Holy Spirit – abiding therein! No flesh will ever glory before God (1 Cor 1:29). This transformation also cannot occur without your willful heart of obedience (Is 1:19)! God will not force you against your will – that which opposes and resists the Lord. The point is that you must willfully surrender your will or that which opposes God, in obedience to be reconciled to the truth (Is 1:19). That which man disobeyed God to obtain, “your will” (path, way) must be given up to come back under God’s will – authority, path, way.
Many religious men (as most men are) do not want to come out of their darkness (love of) either, so they religiously maneuver (through doctrines, creeds, rituals, etc.) a way to seek “their way” (Is 9:16). By these the way of truth is evil spoken of (2 Pt 2:2). Men become very prideful and exalted in their religion – Lk 10:21 (consider the Jews who killed their own Savior – they are representative of all religious man). They swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel (or Jesus), but not in truth, nor in righteousness (Is 48:1). They may say: you can’t earn your salvation – meaning no effort of man required; or works don’t save – meaning no godly expectations for man; or say your denying Christ’s sacrifice – in seeking righteousness in your life; or you can sin and not die – but you may lose reward; or everyone sins – why try attempt to stop (Jn 5:14, 8:11). They will talk religious talk (with no real walk) and agree that God wants us to obey Him (aside from salvation issues), but if anyone begins to truly surrender in obedience (death to self) they will be labeled a bit extreme or fanatical.
The author understands that many make great religious boasts, but the actual practice of their religion is a very small part of their lives – usually taking a backseat to other priorities. Those that truly shine for Christ reveal the darkness in others and must be shamed into complacency – the wicked take away the righteousness of the righteous from him (Is 5:23). 1 John 3:7, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” These religious men/leaders speak evil of things they understand not while perishing in their own corruption – the darkness they love(2 Pt 2:12) – understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm (1 Tim 1:7). 2 Peter 2:19, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” The liberty they promise is to walk in darkness – they continue to seek they’re own way, sin and not die, worldliness, etc. To be a servant of corruption is to serve darkness or the lie, which is Satan’s rebellion. Isaiah 32:6, “For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.” These are overcome (by self, the world, the lie, Satan, the darkness) and brought into bondage. 1 John 5:4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” If you are “born again” of God, then you will overcome the world as the Lord works in you through your faith.
Christ came to deliver us from the works of Satan (the lie, the darkness, the fallen nature, 1 Jn 3:8) and the bondage (Heb 2:14-15). Yet these men walk after their own lusts (2 Pt 3:3). Their actions witness against them; they openly declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not (Is 3:9). They say God’s love is “unconditional.” Meaning that once you have professed Christ (maybe through a superficially repeated sinner’s prayer) that God must accept you as you are – that you are eternally saved. Unconditional means just that – no requirements for man. This allows man to set the “conditions” for reconciliation – in a broader sense it means that the rebellion has prevailed over God. God tells man he must love Him unconditionally, meaning total surrender. Man, through Satan’s lie, tells God that He must love him unconditionally – that “you can sin and not die.” Just like light and darkness these positions are opposed to one another – truth verses the lie. They think they have constrained and controlled God through the twisting of His own Word to accept the disobedient who love their darkness because of a mental association with Christ (Is 3:11). 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” These men come claiming to represent Jesus (Mt 24:5, Mk 13:6, Lk 21:8). These ravening wolves appear as Christ’s sheep – in sheep’s clothing(Mt 7:15).
We must understand what a false prophet ot teacher is. They are deceivers like their father the devil (Jn 8:44). A deceiver is one who leads into error or darkness and causes one to believe what is false (unbelief) – they are very crafty, meaning they are cunning and skillful in devising and pursuing a scheme or taking advantage of ignorance. Just as the Holy Spirit leads a believer into truth, through denial of the flesh. The devil leads his false prophets into devising error (heard through seeking the flesh) and then leading others into the lie. A false prophet/teacher always leads you away from God – maybe very subtilly. They prophesy lies (Jer 23:25-32), based upon the lie which Satan is the father of (Jn 8:44). This is always done through things of the flesh and is generally what you want to hear. The truth is so elusive (hard to pin down, mysterious, vague, obscure) to those who seek the things of the flesh. No one wants to hear that you must deny self (make great sacrifices), take up your cross (die to self, your way, your path) and follow – walk just like Christ walked including enduring the reproach (Mt 10:38, 16:24, Mk 8:34, 10:21, Lk 9:23, 14:27, Col 2:6, 1 Jn 2:6, 2 Jn 1:6). No one wants to hear that you must lose your life for Christ’s sake in order to find it (Mt 10:39, 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:24, 17:33, Jn 12:25, Rm 8:13, 2 Cor 5:15, Gal 2:20, Eph 4:24, Col 3:2-3). No one wants to hear you must forsake all and even hate your own life (way) in this world (Lk 14:26, 33). However, these are the things that Christ said and lived out by example. So, you can see that the job of a false prophet/teacher is not that difficult. They will speak smooth messages and keep you in the flesh (Is 30:9-10). They will just tell you what your itching ears want to hear anyway (2 Tim 4:3). You don’t want to be called fanatical or extreme do you or be unpopular? You do not want to suffer persecution do you (2 Cor 1:7, Php 3:10, 1 Pt 4:13)? 1 John 4:5, “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.”
Most people just want to be told what God’s Word says. Reading God’s Word, seeking the Lord through intense prayer, and following the Spirit require much more effort than the flesh is willing to give. Many consider that reaching beyond the flesh in true faith is best talked about (Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, etc.) rather than actually practiced. Those in the flesh hate what they cannot see, hear, feel, taste or touch. These want entertainment, such as rock and roll praise bands and musical productions. These want to hear that they will receive back twice as much as they may give. These would rather walk in blessings rather than stand in persecution. You can talk about Jesus all you want, but if you are not following Him in faith, as led by the Spirit, then you are not in the kingdom of God. The Lord said of these false teachers: Jeremiah 23:22, “But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” False prophets will walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness (Jer 23:14) – a vision of their own heart (Jer 23:16).
Telling the truth (you must turn from wickedness) will not gain a false teacher the popularity they seek. Luke 6:26, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Rather they say: Jeremiah 23:17, “They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” In other words, you can continue in Satan’s lie and seek self (disobeying God’s will) and “thou shalt not surely die” (Gen 3:4) – that God’s love is unconditional! Once again, consider what God’s prophets said over and over: Jeremiah 25:4-5, “And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever.” In other words, forsake the darkness and come obediently into God’s light and have the Lord’s promise of eternal life (1 Jn 2:25). Jeremiah the prophet also delivered the same message to the religious ones who presumed to know God, who religiously gathered in the Lord’s house or temple (Jer 26:2-6, 12-13).
A true man of God will always point you to God and away from the things of the flesh. A false prophet will speak of God, but make provision for the things of the flesh. Make no mistake, God will judge between the fat cattle and the lean cattle (Ez 34:20). Woe to those who are full, for ye shall hunger (Lk 6:25)! We must understand that anything that is based upon the lie, is not found in truth. This means that there could be lots of good works, charitable deeds and Christian lingo, but if its foundation is in the lie – it is rotten at its core and will be rooted up (Mt 15:13).
We have now established that coming out of the darkness and into the light requires obedience to the commandments of Christ. Psalms 112:1, “Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments (also Ps 119:1-2, 47-48).” These “called out ones” (ekklesia) become the basis of Christ’s body (i.e. church, 1 Thess 5:5). They follow Jesus and walk as He walked (Ps 119:3, Jn 12:26, 1 Jn 2:6, 1 P 2:21). Ephesians 5:8, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light (also Ps 97:11).” These freely and lovingly walk (live daily, practice) in the truth of God’s light. Psalms 119:30, “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.” Consider the benefit of your obedience or walking in the truth: John 14:23, “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.” Our obedience to the will of God draws us into relationship with the Lord and oh what a relationship. This is an intimate personal relationship whereby Christ knows your name (Jn 10:3). The whole purpose for which Christ came was to draw us near to God, never away (Heb 7:19). 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” Being “put to death in the flesh” has double meaning. Christ was dead to the things of the flesh while yet alive and so must we also be.
Therefore, he that obeys God and doeth truth comes to the light (Jn 3:21). When he comes to the light his deeds (actions, manners, conduct, lifestyle, practices, walk in life) are made manifest (obvious, apparent, evident, noticeable, clear, visible, discernable) that they are wrought (shaped, fashioned, produced) in God. What this is saying is that when we see our wickedness (Ps 119:59), repent and forsake the evil (in obedience to God’s truth) that God works in us to produce His will (1 Pt 1:5). Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God works through our willing obedient surrender to Him. Thus, Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” God does not force or compel the reluctant – those who are disobedient, rebellious and who love darkness (Pv 4:19) to conform to His will – this is not God’s nature or purpose. One day, you will be brought into God’s light and the evil you cling to will be a great shame. When all the wickedness of your heart and actions is then revealed, do you presume to think you may justify it in Christ? You’ve missed the whole point of His coming! Jesus did not come to call us into darkness nor does He placate us there.
Therefore, using the full context of Christ’s statement (Jn 3:16-21) we can now answer the question, “What does “believeth in Him” mean?” This means to come out of the darkness (the lie) and into the light by obediently walking in the truth, which is God’s Word. Christ said: John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” This means that if you truly “believe” in Jesus, you will not stay or dwell in the darkness – you are “called out” as Christ’s body. Jesus said, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die (Jn 11:26).” You must liveth and believeth the light (Jn 11:26, 12:35-36)! John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Iniquity is unrighteousness which is violating the will of God – transgressing His commands/Word/truth – disobedience. So to be found in iniquity or unrighteousness is to disregard God’s Word/truth or to be in “unbelief.”
Now consider the opposite: righteousness is faith which is loving surrender and obedience (trust) to the will of God. This is high regard for God’s Word/truth and is known as “belief.” You actually do as you say. This is not a mere profession or acknowledgement that there is a God or a Jesus – even the devils believe this and tremble (mentally acknowledge, Js 2:19). A profession with no walk or application would be “unbelief,” but we must “believe.” The devils know the reality of God, but are living in the lie, are opposed to God and in the darkness. How about you? 1 John 2:29, “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” The Lord must become your very life in everything you do as you fully surrender to God. 1 John 5:11, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (also Jn 6:47, 8:51).” You seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness (Mt 6:33). God conforms you to His will through your surrender and obedience – thus we may now understand the true meaning of grace. Grace is the divine influence on the heart as reflected in one’s actions or life. This will be manifested as God’s nature of righteousness and holiness. Please strongly consider these verses: Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Lets fully consider these verses that define grace. Denying (reject, refuse, renounce) ungodliness (impiety; wickedness; disregard of God and his commands and neglect of his worship; or any positive act of disobedience or irreverence) and worldly lusts (the nature of darkness resultant from the lie) is coming out of the darkness. Living soberly (moderately, restraint of excess, without indulging in appetites or passions, live seriously, having self control), righteously, and godly (living in obedience to God’s commands, from a principle of love to him and reverence of his character and precepts; conformed to God’s commands as a godly life), in this present world (the here and now) is coming to the light. Our faith (love, surrender, humbleness, obedience, loyalty, and trust) in Christ is our righteousness (Rm 1:17, 3:22, 4:5, 9, 11, 13, 9:30, 10:6, Php 3:9, Heb 11:7, 2 Pt 1:1). How are we purified? 1 Peter 1:22, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned (genuine, sincere) love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (zealously, fanatically, passionately, and ardently).” Notice that Christ gave Himself for us that he might redeem (to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage; ransom) us from all iniquity (sin, transgression of God’s will) and purify (to free from the defilement of sin that is resultant from transgression against the will of God; act of restoring – no longer corrupt) unto Himself a peculiar people (odd in the eyes of the world – do not live the same as).
This peculiar people is the ekklesia (called out ones, i.e. church) who have been called out and purified from the darkness (cleansed, 1 Jn 1:9) – just men made perfect (Heb 12:23). No one is pure while walking in darkness. These are zealous (engaged or ardent in the pursuit of an object) of good works – doing the will of the Father. 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Those who come out of the darkness are the ekklesia, which is the true church – its not a building, denomination or religious institution – these things are of man. Now consider what was said of Christ: John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Did Jesus walk in grace? Yes, He was filled with the Spirit and denied all temptations and never walked in the way of the flesh. Did Jesus walk in truth? Yes, He absolutely did the will of the Father (Ps 40:7, Jn 5:19-20, 30, 6:38, 8:28-29, 54-55, Heb 10:7, 9); spoke the Father’s Words (Deut 18:18, Jn 3:34, 7:16-17, 8:28, 38, 12:49-50, 14:10-11); and performed the Father’s works (Lk 2:49, Jn 5:17, 36, 9:4, 14:10-11, 31, 17:4-5). Is Christ our example? Yes, we must follow in His lived out example (Mt 10:38, 16:24, Mk 8:34, 10:21, Lk 9:23, 14:27). Jesus said: John 7:18, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” In other words, if you are seeking your selfish way, you desire your own glory and walk in the lie (ye shall be as gods, Gen 3:5). Those who seek God and want to bring the Lord glory walk in the truth which is righteousness – they doeth the will of God. Jesus had no unrighteousness (violation of God’s will) in Him (Ps 92:15) and thus perfectly kept the Father’s will.
Therefore, if you “believeth in Him,” then you will have everlasting life (Jn 3:16) – Christ promises (Jn 2:25). Jesus says: John 11:26, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” First you do the will of God and then receive the promise (Heb 10:36). Hebrews 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” Lastly: 1 Peter 1:9, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” Faith is that walk of love, surrender and obedience to God that does not look to the flesh, but to the Spirit (2 Cor 5:7). God hath chosen those rich in faith (loving, honoring and obeying Him) to be heirs or beneficiaries of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him – i.e. keep His commandments (Js 2:5, Jn 14:15, 23, 15:10)? In summary: 2 John 1:6, 9, “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” In conclusion: John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (also Jn 6:47).” To believe is to follow God’s designated path (through Christ) for reconciliation back to Himself. This is a path of righteousness where mercy and truth meet per the Lord’s holy character (Ps 85:10). Those who do not “believe” and follow God’s path remain under the original condemnation, “thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17).
To further illustrate the truth of “believeth” on Christ, let us consider what Jesus said: We must first come to Him and hear Him. Then, “do” His sayings! Luke 6:47-48, “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” This is what Jesus did! Christ “knew” God and “kept” His sayings (Jn 8:55). Jesus did that which He had seen of His Father (truth). Man does that which he hath seen of his father – the devil whom he chose to follow (Jn 8:38). If we come to Jesus from out of the darkness, we will hear His sayings or truth. We must then do them and then we will no longer be under the Father’s condemnation for all transgressors – which is “thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17). John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”AND John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
The opening verse to this chapter stated that “God gave His only begotten Son.” God the Father gave all (sacrificed Son) for your benefit (Jn 3:16). Jesus the Son gave all in sacrificing Himself for your benefit (1 Jn 3:16). This relationship is reciprocal and you must now give all to God. You must offer up in sacrifice your life, meaning “your way.” All your self-centered hopes and dreams. All the things you want to manage, control and aspire to. You must yield and surrender all to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You must now live in obedience to the direction of the Lord. You must now base your life upon the foundation of Christ’s Word and die to personal desire. You must stop living to the ways of the world, which is driven by fleshly lusts and worldliness. You must look beyond the flesh and walk in faith (2 Cor 5:7). When you humble yourself and walk in love, the Lord will lift you up (Js 4:10). The Lord gave all in preparing a path of reconciliation for you. You must now give all to walk this path back to God. –Though many trials and tribulations be on this way, the Spirit will strengthen to endure everyday.–
Now if you are not totally grasping all of this or perhaps just don’t want to consider the implications (tremendous changes required, see “Change” below) on your “self life,” know this: as long as you walk in darkness (don’t obey the truth) you will not be able to clearly see – blindness, deception(Mt 13:14-15, Lk 8:10, Is 6:9-10). 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Do you understand what this is saying? To “believe not” is to continue walking in the darkness – Satan’s lie, his kingdom, the god of fallen man. As previously stated: to be in darkness = cannot see. Satan blinds your mind to the truth of God. How does he do this? As explained in Chapter One, the devil keeps your focus on the lie. He keeps your time and attention focused on self – seeking your own way. What you want to do – the pride (self exaltation) of life; the things/cares/pleasures of this world; the lusts of the flesh/eyes, etc (Mt 13:22, Mk 4:19, Lk 8:14, 1 Jn 2:15-17). This is the inclination or tendency of your fallen nature – what comes natural. Satan keeps you in “love” with the darkness (Jn 3:19). He constantly tempts you to seek your way (path) and do what makes you feel good. The truth of God is opposite of the darkness and thus you will never see it. To accept the truth would be to die to the darkness that you love.
Now here is some great wisdom: the more you come into the light the greater your vision (perception, understanding, insight) will be – the more your eyes will be opened. The more you come into the light also means the further you have to travel away from the darkness. So, the more you die to self, this world, and the things of man, the more your eyes will be open to the things of God. Practically speaking, you will either be blind to the things of the world or blind to the things of the Spirit – your eyes will be opened to one or the other, but not both. God gives us ever increasing sight as we take our focus off of self and the world (the darkness) and direct it to doing the lord’s will, which is the light. Satan will convince (beguile, deceive) many others that they can serve God through the flesh – that they can both “profess Christ” yet walk in darkness. Satan loves “religion” – a religiously deceived person is the hardest to reach with the truth. If the devil can convince you that you are serving God while living for self (in the darkness, lie) then he has taken you captive athis will into his house of bondage(2 Tim 2:26). By keeping your focus on self and remaining in the darkness, the light of God cannot “shine” upon you – your not receptive to it because you think all is well. By constantly seeking the flesh, you will naturally interpret God’s Word through the flesh (benefiting the flesh, reinforcing the lie) and will never truly understand the “glorious gospel of Christ.”
The gospel of Christ will destroy the things of the flesh or works of the devil(1 Jn 3:8) through faith. Faith bypasses the flesh by denying its control – its way. To walk in faith is to deny the flesh – to cease from your way in surrender to God’s way and find life (Pv 21:21). To despise God’s way, and thereby seek your way, brings death (Pv 19:16). Notice in the lead-in verse to this paragraph (2 Cor 4:4) that Christ is the image of God. As a man (in His walk on earth), Jesus perfectly reflected the image (or nature, truth) of God, and the Father was well pleased (Mt 3:17, 12:18, 17:5, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:22, 2 Pt 1:17). Jesus walked in faith through total surrender to the will of the Father – speaking God’s Words, doing the Father’s works, dying to self, living in “love” – obedient unto death (Php 2:8). Man was also created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). Through one act of disobedience, man took on a different image or nature, that of Satan – who man obeyed (Jn 8:44). Fallen man no longer reflects the image of God (man is in darkness, dwelling in the devil’s lie). Now it is imperative (crucial, essential) that we understand this: Jesus (God) came down to this earth as a man and lived the truth by example and always said: “come, follow me.” Where was Jesus going? Christ went back to the Father. Jesus calls us out of the darkness (ekklesia, the church) to follow Him in truth (the nature of God) and be reconciled to the Father through Christ. We must obediently follow in Christ’s steps, conforming to His image (the reflection of God’s nature, what man was before the fall) and walk as He walked. God (through His Spirit) transforms us along “The Way.” The whole “key” to eternal life is in obediently following – practicing daily in your life. You learn by practice.
What is walking in Darkness?
The darkness is bounded by the nature of Satan which is opposite of God’s truth and was espoused in the serpent’s lie. This is an exaltation of self through the seeking of your will – way, path, desires, lusts. The darkness disregards God’s will in order to fulfill your own. The self-centered foundation of the darkness is blasphemy to God. Blasphemy would be to speak or act irreverently toward God – have contempt for God’s will through your daily actions and mannerisms. God’s truth is revealed in His Word (Bible) and unfolded by His Spirit as one “follows” in “The Way” put forth by Christ. The darkness would be anything opposed to such truth (light). Most walk in the darkness with no real effort due to a like nature and propensity for things of the flesh.
Practically speaking, what is walking in the darkness? This would be going about your daily efforts without acknowledging God in all your ways (Pv 3:6). Acknowledging in this sense would be in terms of having such high regard for God (opposite of blasphemy) that you yield to the Lord’s direction in all things at the expense of your own will (self sacrifice) – placing God foremost in all your actions and rejecting (abstain from) that which is contrary to Him. The Lord leads us in paths of righteousness for “His” name’s sake (Ps 23:3). Walking in darkness is being led (by Satan) in paths of unrighteousness for selfish benefit and “your” name’s sake. Unrighteousness is defined as the violation of the will of God. This is “unbelief” which is a daily walking in your ways rather than being submitted and walking in Christ’s truth. To “not believe” is to not take Christ’s Words seriously enough to actually live them – apply and walk in them daily. It doesn’t matter whether or not you just agree with Christ’s Words, what matters is if you live them.
This life is filled with potential stumbling stones and one must be wise. The children of Israel continually defied God’s direction and warnings in seeking the idolatry and ways of the wicked peoples around them. The Lord said they had a “whorish heart” because they departed from God and sought the things of the world – the cultures around them (Ez 6:9). They came into the house of the Lord and said we are delivered to do this wickedness (Jer 7:10). In other words, they said that God understands these things – you know an “unconditional” love God. To be whorish would be incontinence, which is indulging lust in violation of God’s Word – not restraining the passions. In this modern rebellious world it may seem strange to restrain yourself from anything, particularly when “everybody’s doing it.” Let us now take these generalities and offer some very specific examples.
Example 1: Taking pleasure in unrighteousness – A tremendous part of most people’s lives is the television. The programming is almost exclusively opposed to God’s truth. Sin and iniquity are glorified and evil behavior is endorsed and promoted. Most seeking fleshly entertainment (pleasure) routinely rejoice in such unrighteousness (2 Thess 2:12). 1 Corinthians 13:6, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” This would also include movie rentals, most popular music, much of what is in magazines, romance novels, and most video games, which are filled with violence, sensuality and the occult. Such darkness and disregard for God’s truth is a great blindness to all who partake. 1 Corinthians 3:18, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.” Being wise in the things of man or the world is to be a fool before God.
A perfect man will fear God and eschew (abstain from, abhor) such evil (Job 2:3, 28:28, Pv 3:7, 4:27, 8:13). Jesus said: Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” How? Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world (the ways and things of): but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove (demonstrate) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Now many (including very religious people) will take great issue with the thought of having to forsake such things as television, movies, pop music, magazines and most video games? This is the darkness! Jesus came to deliver you from the darkness (from iniquity – Ti 2:14; from this present evil world – Gal 1:4; from abiding in the darkness – Jn 12:46) that you may live unto righteousness (1 Pt 2:24). Now who wants Christ’s deliverance? Perhaps you can see why men love the darkness and will not come to the light (Jn 3:19-21)? Perhaps you can also see why many a religious man has redefined the gospel and/or the darkness? We must be: 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (also Php 4:8).” All forms of worldly entertainment are full of high things that exalt themselves against the truth of God. What shall we say about entertaining the flesh? It is seeking the will of the flesh – doing what is right in your own eyes; seeking the imaginations of your heart.
If you cannot see how entertaining self (most must have constant entertainment) is seeking the flesh (your will), then it only proves the blindness and deception which are pillars of the darkness. This is why most modern “worldly” churches are now so entertaining everyone with rock bands, smooth speakers, fun activities, worldly celebrations, etc. – to get your attention – in so doing, they have missed the gospel altogether. To be as the world is to be in the darkness. We should be: Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Those that live in pleasure are dead while they yet live – under condemnation (1 Tim 5:6). Titus 3:3, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Do not become entangled in the affairs of this life (2 Tim 2:4).
Its like this: Many will acknowledge that most of what is on television is ungodly, in an honest comparison with God’s Word. Many will also acknowledge that their lives, and their children’s, would probably be more godly without the television. However, the majority of these will not remove this idol from their lives or their children’s. This is the difference between those who love the darkness and those who come to the light. Those who come to the light will forsake such evil in a sincere heart and will conform themselves to God’s truth – regardless of sacrifice. Granted this is a small minority. This concept or devotion applies to all things that interfere (get in the way, hamper, impair) with your walking in the Lord’s truth – such as movies, entertainments, books, magazines, – whatever.
Example 2: Covetousness and the lusts of the eyes – Most people in the world are seeking after possessions. This could be anything such as houses, cars, electronic gadgets, clothes (designer), tools, luxuries, recreational things, furniture, collections, etc. There is a consuming (strong, intense, overwhelming) drive to own – more and better. Luke 12:15, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” This is a strong warning from God – the wise will heed it. All of these “things” or “possessions” take your attention and focus off of God and place it upon self. The lust for things is self-centered and will exalt self above God and others (contrary to Christ’s two great commandments). Things become great idols in your life. This is great darkness! Psalm 10:3, “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire (always wanting things), and blesseth the covetous (their ideal), whom the LORD abhorreth.”
We are told to be content with such things as we have (1 Tim 6:8) – be known for your moderation (Php 3:15). Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation (lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Psalms 37:16, “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.” Surely man walketh in a vain show; he heaps up treasures (monies and possessions) and he knows not who shall gather them (Ps 39:6). Wisdom seeks first the kingdom of God and other things shall be added as the Lord provides (Mt 6:33). A follower of Christ may be in possession of some things, but those things will not be in possession of him. If we love the world, we are an enemy of God (Js 4:4). If we seek the things of the world, the love of God is not in us (1 Jn 2:15-17). If our mind is on the flesh, we cannot please God (Rm 8:6-8). 1 Timothy 6:6-7, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” If we could only understand this coupled with: Man’s carnal life is as a vapor or fading flower (Js 4:14, 1 Pt 1:24-25, Job 8:9, 14:2, Ps 78:39, 103:15-16, 144:4, 1 Chr 29:15).
Just what is really important? Where should your time and energy be spent? Psalm 90:9-10, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” All these possessions will be links in the chains that bind you in the bondage of darkness. Ephesians 5:3, 5, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” AND Colossians 3:5-6, “Mortify (put to death) therefore your members (appetites and passions leading to sin) which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” AND 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
The power of the gospel is the Holy Ghost enacting God’s grace in one’s life as they yield and are transformed. Conversely, the power of the kingdom of darkness is Satan enacting the lusts of the flesh in one’s life as they are tempted and capitulate (give into the temptation) in seeking their own way. In conclusion, Jesus said: Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Example 3: The love of money – The thing that is probably desired most by men is money because it gains most other things – little slips of printed paper, stamped metal tokens and plastic cards or perhaps electronic digits in a data base. Money is eternally worthless (no redeeming value), yet most are consumed with the drive to obtain it. In this evil world, money (insignificant and useless in God’s eyes) is the primary motivator of people – please consider this thoughtfully. People will literally do the unthinkable when enough money is involved. Most people have much greater faith in money than they do in God – it’s a great idol! Consider this: men will lay down enormous sums of money in the stock market with “misplaced faith” that it will produce even greater amounts of money – giving them more of that which they love, worship and trust in. However, most men will not be willing to put such faith in God for eternal merit. Your faith is manifested in who/what you sincerely seek after in your actions.
People will sacrifice much to obtain money and little to obey God. Why? Because money benefits the flesh and obedience to God denies the flesh. Those motivated by the flesh place its concerns foremost. – its not that hard to understand and is easily observed. For example (using the above example of television) if the author offered a large some of money to stop watching television for a year there would be many takers. However, if the author told you that abstaining from the television for a year would greatly improve your relationship with God, there would be few if any takers. The former proposal gains fleshly benefit and the latter denies fleshly benefit. Man seeks the flesh and your actions reveal your heart.
The fallen nature of man (darkness) always seeks a selfish benefit! The reason that people are so consumed in the lust for money (deceitfulness of riches) is because it provides such a wide range of selfish benefits. 1 Timothy 6:9-11, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” Again, the love of money is self-centered and righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience & meekness are self-denying and God-centered.
Many would like to serve God and money: Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon – money.” This is a gospel of the flesh and is in keeping with man’s selfish rebellion against God – beware! Luke 18:25, “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The rich rely on themselves – their ingenuity and skills (Ps 49:6, 17-19) and their money or resources rather than God – These things they serve! The rich desire the ways and things of the flesh. God will never lead someone who is seeking His will down such a fleshly self-centered path. This would defeat the Lord’s purposes. Please consider carefully: Proverbs 13:7, “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” You can have temporal riches now with much misery or you can be poor now with the expectation of eternal riches – although they will not be lust driven. Proverbs 11:4, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.”
Corrupt communication – Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” AND Psalms 141:3, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Many routinely use foul language in their communication with others perhaps to the extent that they would find it very difficult to stop. Psalms 109:17-19, “As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.” Many also participating in course (risqué) joking around (were just having fun), story telling (its innocent) or e-mailing jokes and silliness. Followers of Christ are told not to do these things. Ephesians 5:4, “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Exodus 20:7, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (also Deut 5:11).” You are not to use God’s name profanely (not hallowed or consecrated, Lev 19:12) or irreverently (to desecrate, defile, blaspheme) showing disrespect or contempt (less worthy) – to put to base or improper use. You can always tell a person’s heart by the things they say. Matthew 15:18-19, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” We live in a time when most people routinely use God’s name in vain and dishonor God through the things they say – blaspheme. To most God’s name has become an expression of accentuation (emphasis) – to drive the point home. They will irreverently use God’s name to emphasize a moment of excitement, disapproval, tension, surprise, near mishap or tradgedy, etc. – expletives. This shows no respect or fear of God. The author will not list the many and seemingly innocent ways people do this – for fear and respect of the Lord. Colossians 3:8, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” These ungodly attributes result from seeking self (often at the expense of others) and not denying it.
Example 4: Drawing attention to self – A follower of Christ must avoid self exaltation (pride), which is often manifested as desiring attention for self. This is vanity, which is a fruitless labor that produces no good – emptiness and untruth. Further, this is empty pleasure, vain pursuit and idle show. Vanity is hollow pride, inspired by an overweening conceit of one’s personal attainments or decorations – the food of fools (our necessary food must be every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, Deut 8:3, Job 23:12, Mt 4:4). Most people desire to be popular and well received by the others around them. This of course is to exalt one’s standing or acceptance with regard to one’s self. It is really impossible to seek such notoriety in a fallen world without compromising the will of God (Lk 6:26). A follower of Jesus must be decreasing and certainly not increasing (Jn 3:30).
There are many ways to draw attention to self, let us consider a few – note: some of these may seem to mostly apply to women, but they all also apply to men: The clothes you wear may say a lot about you. Some may dress provocatively by wearing sensual clothing that accentuates particular parts of their bodies. This is shamefully done to entice desire in others and thus exalt themselves as an object of desire. For those women who profess Christ, are you dressing in a certain way to induce lust or want in men (maybe married men, Mt 5:27-28)? How does this honor the Lord you profess? Some dress in designer name brand clothing to denote status and exalt themselves above others or become an advertising billboard for the world. Others exalt themselves through the use of jewelry, perfumes/colognes, hair styles, and the use of cosmetics (1 Tim 2:9, 1 Pt 3:3). Some exalt self through the use of titles (doctor, reverend, VIP, college degrees, etc.), position (manager, director, president, boss, etc.) or salary. In an office environment it may be whether or not you have your own office; where it is located; what type of furniture is in it; what meetings you attend; and where you sit in those meetings. Some exalt themselves and garner attention by the kind of car they drive; the home or neighborhood in which they live; perhaps the type of businesses in which they shop or eat; and maybe even the type of pure breed pet they own.
Some put others down so as to exalt themselves, which is hate (sacrifice of others for the benefit of self). Some exalt self by belonging to a certain group (lodge, club, association, etc.). Some may religiously exalt self by their function in their religious organization (soloist, deacon, head usher, treasurer, grandfather built this church, etc.). Others may exalt self through the talents they may possess such as musical ability (instrument or singing), artistic skills, athletic ability, or intellectual reasoning. Maybe you seek to impress others through the type of electronic gadgets you own – cell phone, laptop computer, stereo, etc. Many build altars to self by displaying awards and achievments on the wall or having an area for trophies or photographs. The point is that all of these things are prideful and exalt self over others. Followers of Christ must be humble (Mic 6:8, Mt 5:5, 18:4). This means that we must avoid such things entirely. This is part of dying to self! This is crucifying that old nature that walked in darkness. If you protest such advice it only shows you love of the darkness and embrace its ideals. Pride is the main pillar of the darkness! To exalt self is to transgress the will of God. You must be directing others to glorify God and not take the glory from others for self (Ps 96:7-8). If you desire personal glory, then you are getting it at God’s expense. We must point or direct others to God and not self. You must sacrifice self to serve God and others. Matthew 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
The One you Love
The reality of the situation is this: when you walk in the darkness you develop a love for the darkness (Jn 3:19). Now it may be a love-hate relationship such that you moan and complain about some things, like how awful the television is getting as the wickedness portrayed on it is increased all the time. However, you will ultimately defend your love (i.e. the darkness) when confronted with frank truth such as this book. Very few will forsake their love, but will justify her, and compromise for her, until the bitter end – and it will be exceedingly bitter. Is this not true for you dear reader? Conversely, scripture makes it very clear that to love Christ, one must walk as He walked. This is where the love and relationship develop – experiencing the same things. Therefore, the one you walk with is the one you ultimately love – whether darkness or light.
Don’t be so naïve, deluded and brash as to think that you will just walk with the darkness for a period of time or until things cross your imaginary and ever shifting line of supposed morality. No, no, no, you will develop a relationship of love along the way and find that you are ultimately quite unwilling to leave your real love no matter how bad things seem. Those who love the darkness are ultimately devoted to the darkness. You are what you are my friend. The only way you will ever leave the darkness is to die – that is to self or the flesh. No reformation, just death. You must be “born again” of God and start walking with your new love in the light (Jn 3:3, 21, 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15). John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” To abide is to dwell comfortably therein – to continue in the same state; to be; stand firm; to endure. Those that believe on Christ leave the darkness and this my friend is the distinguishing factor.
Man always seeks what “self” wants! – the motivation of “me.” Many come to God with this same perspective – “I don’t want to go to hell” or “I want to live in eternal bliss.” To “know” God is to put “self” aside and seek what God wants with a full heart. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee (Ps 143:8). 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.” The land of uprightness is far from the darkness or region of “my way” and its highway is to depart from evil (Pv 16:17)
This must be a surrendering of “your” will, which is “your” desires. This is the very essence of faith – to live opposed to self. Another way to say this is to reject reliance on that which can be seen/felt (i.e. self) and put full confidence and reliance on that which cannot be seen (the Lord). God does not become just another interest in your life. The Lord’s will becomes your life as you lose your life in Him (Mt 10:39, 16:25, Mk 8:35, Lk 9:24, 17:33, Jn 12:25). Please be aware that if you sincerely ask God to show you the right way in which to walk – the Lord will! Once the Lord shows you there is an obligation on your part to obey and walk therein. If you do not, then you have disregarded God’s direction; so do not expect that more or future guidance will be forthcoming – until sincere repentance. God does not cast his pearls before swine to be trampled underfoot (Mt 7:6). You either regard or disregard through your actions. Some will think it impossible to live such a life and this is the essence of unbelief. Jeremiah 18:12, “And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.” This is what most people do! – particularly religious people with a form of godliness. They think it is impossible to do what the bible literally reveals is required, so they disregard it (and truth fails in them, Jer 7:28). They are then given over to the darkness which is blindness to the truth. They then consider in their doctrines that surely God understands the way “I AM” and they walk after their own devices.
What seems impossible to man is possible through the Lord (Mk 10:26-27). Matthew 19:25-26, “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Faith denies the wisdom, speculations and perturbations (worried mental state, confused, nervous, and upset) of the flesh and trusts solely in God. Jesus only requires that you “follow” Him (Lk 9:23, Jn 10:27, 12:26). He does not expect you to figure everything out and certainly not try and usurp the lead. Your obedience to the Lord’s convictions and direction is what will set you free from the things of self. Holding-on to the things of flesh will only prove a love of the darkness and a disregard for the work that the Lord wants to perform in your life. The Lord asks you to live one day at a time in Him (Mt 6:34) – for you have no guarantees for tomorrow (Js 4:13-15). Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Be faithful in this day and stop trying to sort out the future – it is beyond you. Recognize your weakness and fall upon the Lord’s strength. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The Lord strengthens you to walk in His will and not your own. Never attempt to use the things of the Lord to strengthen the flesh or your will/way (Js 4:3-4). This will only lead to confusion and end in failure. You will never truly understand any of this until you start walking in the Lord. The Lord leads, we obediently follow and the flesh is torn down along the way. Surrender and put your full trust in Jesus: 2 Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”
The author receives many requests to supply the nitty gritty details of how one walks in faith – all the specifics. The author has been given no such authority to establish a “new law” – a list of do’s and don’ts. This would be usurping the Holy Ghost’s function. The more salvation requirements, the bigger the tablet of stone. The very essence of faith is to walk blind to the flesh while trusting and obeying God. The flesh wants to know exactly what is required. The Spirit says follow and it will be shown to you. We all come from unique circumstances and the Holy Spirit works effectively in each life to lead all to the same place – in paths of righteousness for Christ’s name sake (Ps 23:3). The Spirit conforms us to the perfect image that Jesus demonstrated in His walk of faith. The Holy Ghost tears down the things of the flesh and self to make this happen. What is required? The author cannot give a detailed understanding, but the Spirit can. Come, follow, and you will see (Jn 1:39). Become blind to the things of the world and be led about by the Holy Ghost. Knowledge, understanding and wisdom will be gained along the way, but not until you follow. The Lord requires active participation in His kingdom.
The examples sited above relay how the Spirit unfolds God’s Word in it’s application to the circumstances most face. The Spirit of truth guides you into all truth (Jn 15:13). We must follow the Spirit and not rules. The Spirit must be willingly obeyed, rules are compulsory (coercive and obligatory). Jesus said: John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” The truth is what separates us from the lie.
When one sincerely recognizes the wrongfulness of their actions and the wickedness of their life (their transgressions and disregard for a truly righteous God) and genuinely cries out to God (through Christ) for mercy and forgiveness, together with an actual forsaking of evil (cease to do evil, Is 1:16; Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good, Rm 12:9; Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good, Rm 12:21), something wonderful happens. John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” You become “born again” (Jn 3:3) or a “new creature” (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15, Eph 4:24) whereby God writes His laws in your heart and mind (2 Cor 3:3, Heb 8:10, 10:16). Colossians 3:10, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (also Col 1:20).”
Through your obedience (Acts 5:32), God will give you His Holy Spirt to lead, guide and teach you (Jn 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7, Rm 8:14). The Spirit dwells within you (Rm 8:11, 1 Cor 3:16-17, 6:19). Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Holy Spirit works through your obedience to transform you into the image of Christ. This transformation produces something that is very evident known as “change.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image (Christ’s) from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” You begin to change from the inside out. You are renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16). This change will start reflecting the nature of God. What is in your heart manifests outwardly in your actions and produces visible evidence or “fruit.” Noticeable fruit would be “love” (sacrifice of self for the benefit of others) and “humbleness” (self denial, submissiveness) toward God (foremost) and others. God works in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight (through Jesus Christ) to do His will (Heb 13:21). The life of Jesus is manifest in your mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:11) as you put on Christ (Gal 3:27, Jn 3:30). As you obey the Spirit and put aside the flesh, you are changed into Christ’s image (Rm 8:28-29, Lk 6:40, 2 Cor 3:18). The characteristics of the new man are righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24). Righteousness is the conformity (likeness) of your heart and life to Christ’s will and holiness is purity from iniquity and sanctity (godliness, reflecting God’s nature in your life) – coming out of the darkness. If you are not yielding and obeying then no transformation is taking place and you grieve the Spirit (Eph 4:30). Disobedience will quench (repress, subdue, restrain, stifle) the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19). Some identify (believe) with Christ’s image, but the real (genuine) will conform to His image.
This change in you will be quite noticeable for all to see. How can one truly “change” unless they forsake or die to “their” way. We discussed how Satan’s lie is the opposite from God’s truth. Those who have submitted to God’s truth will now begin to reflect the opposite characteristics of the darkness or lie they once walked in. Much of what you once did you will no longer do because you now “fear” God (surrender inlove and obedience to His will and want to please Him, will not transgress) and abstain from all evil. This will be a great witness to others. Their reaction may seem quite negative, but rest assured an impact is being made. 1 Peter 4:3-4, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” Rejoice when those who walk in darkness separate from your company (Lk 6:22). When you are no longer accepted by the world it only proves that you are one of God’s “peculiar” people – called out of the darkness (Ti 2:14). 1 Peter 4:16, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”
You will soon come to the realization of the questions: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness (2 Cor 6:14)? Those who walk in darkness have a totally different outlook on life – “THEIRS.” Those who walk in light have a new outlook – “GOD’S.” One seeks the flesh and the other seeks the Spirit (Rm 8:13). You cannot blend things which cannot be mixed! Some will say what about the gray areas, not everything is black and white (light and darkness?). Those found in the gray areas are particularly nauseating to the Lord and He will vomit them out of His mouth. The Lord says, “I would that you were hot or cold, but the lukewarm are distasteful to the point of vomiting or spewing out of the mouth (Rev 3:15-16).” Therefore: Your new life will be marked by significant change (of nature and lifestyle) and will be peculiar (unusual, odd, different) when compared to the world or popular culture. There will most likely be family problems (Mt 10:35).
In the land of Shinar, man came together of one language and one accord to do a very wicked thing (Gen 11:1-2). Genesis 11:3-4, “And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The intent of man was to exalt himself to the very dwelling place of God. Their hearts were lifted up as a god (Ez 28:2) – the devil’s lie had stated, “ye shall be as gods” (Gen 3:5). The attitude was: Isaiah 14:14, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Let us make us a name – self exaltation! The Lord confounded their understanding and brought confusion. Wickedness is always marked by confusion. Genesis 11:9, “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” All the nations of the earth proceeded out from Babel. All the nations of the earth have also been self seeking and idolatrous. This is why God built a separate nation out of faithful Abraham; to teach this “peculiar” nation (Israel) His laws such that it could be an example to all nations. These were to be a people of faith.
The multitude of wicked nations represented the multitude of wrong paths which make up the “broad way” where the majority of mankind is found. These were a people of “self.” The nation of Israel represented the one “narrow” path to God where the minority of mankind is found. These were a people of “faith.” From the nation of Israel came Jesus Christ the Messiah. Shinar is a land of wickedness (Zech 5:7-11). From Babel in the land of Shinar sprang forth a great and evil city called Babylon (Dan 1:2). Babylon was known for pride and material excess – worldliness. Nebuchadnezzar was a great king of Babylon and he represented its character when he stated: Daniel 4:30, “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Due to His prideful self exaltation (Dan 5:18-21), the Lord God greatly humbled him (Dan 4:16, 23, 32-33) until he knew the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men and appointeth over it whomsoever he will (Dan 4:17, 25, 32, 34, 37). After literally being brought to his knees, Nebuchadnezzar did give God glory. Daniel 4:34-35, “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” God will be exalted (Ps 46:10)!
Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, did the same thing in exalting himself: Daniel 5:22-23, “And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this (i.e. what happened to his father); But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” The Lord took him from the earth that very night (Dan 5:30). Babylon’s wickedness is found in it’s seeking of self and refusal to acknowledge and glorify the Lord God! Babylon is a reflection of the devil’s great lie (Gen 3:4). The book of Revelation refers to this wicked nature which has manifested through the ages as Mystery Babylon. Revelation 17:1-2, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
The kings of the earth have been seduced and have partaken of her nature and reflected her image. Waters represent peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues and Mystery Babylon sits upon them (Rev 17:15). Recall that all the nations preceeded from Babel in the land of Shinar – which is Babylon. Revelation 17:3-5, “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Notice that Babylon is decked with the things of the world – the lust of the flesh; the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:15-17). The tower of Babel was presumably a temple and there was also a religious component. This was a religion of man (let us make a name for ourselves) and not of God. Man’s religion exalts self and this is noted by the self seeking aspects of Babylon and the fleshly things it desires – gold, royal apparel, precious stones, pearls – big buildings. This religion fornicates with the world, which represents Satan’s nature – self. Since these things are directed at “self” or the glory of man, they are an atrocity to God – hence, the abominations of the earth.
God’s way destroys the flesh and the things of the world and leaves one humbled and obedient to God – giving the Lord all the honor, glory and praise. Revelation 17:6, “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” The wicked nature of the great whore is opposed to God and Christ. She kills God’s people (whether physically or through deception)! – even so, she seduces marvellously (wondered with great admiration). The whole world follows after the beast (Rev 13:3-4) – its nature through the principles of the lie. Those in the flesh will be drawn to this Babylonian nature, which is a reflection of Satan. Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The beast she rides upon is the antichrist spirit. To be “anti” is to be opposed to (Rev 17:14). Babylon is opposed to Christ and the beast is the very nature of Satan! Revelation 18:24, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” There is only the truth (God’s Word) and the lie (Satan’s word). Those found in the lie hate those found in the truth (Ps 37:12). Those who refused God’s truth, murdered His prophets and saints that came speaking the Lord’s Words (2 Pt 1:21). They slew them! The darkness hates the light for it exposes its wickedness and great evils (Jn 3:19-21). The darkness seeks to put out the light.
Jesus said: John 16:2-3, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” Religious men have been killing God’s servents throughout history over issues such as ecclesiastical authority, infant baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s mother, etc. They assume they are doing it for God, but don’t know the Lord as revealed through their actions. Christ said His sheep would be known for their love for one another (Jn 13:34, 15:12, 1 Jn 3:23, 4:21, 2 Jn 1:5-6) – not for killing one another.
Therefore, Babylon represents the seeking of self (pride) and the love of the things of the world – that which embellishes and caters to self. She fornicates with the world! Babylon does not give the Lord God His due glory and honor, but is opposed to Him – Babylon took His glory. God tells us: Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” AND 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing (the forbidden thing); and I will receive you.” Satan told man to partake of the forbidden thing (fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) and man sinned a great sin. God now tells man to “come out” of this darkness (separate yourself) and touch not that which is forbidden – a reversal of direction. We must come out of Satan’s nature and stop seeking self. We must love not the world or the things thereof (1 Jn 2:15-17). We must turn to God (forsake Babylon), surrender self, and submit and obey the Lord. A great judgment is coming. Come out, come out, out of the darkness and into the light. Revelation 18:2-3, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
The fornication was seeking the abundance of her delicacies (for self) rather than submitting to God (denying self). Babylon is the seat of Satan’s authority and the power is the lust of the flesh! It’s the habitation (dwelling place, abode) of devils and the hold (place of confinement, stronghold) of every foul spirit. Satan has enticed all the men of the earth to seek their lusts – to seek self, their way or path. This is fornication against God the Creator. Man was created to love, honor and obey God. Man loves, honors and obeys Satan through his lie to seek self and be as a god. Most men do not sacrifice self for God’s benefit (love) and thus hate God, because they sacrifice God for their benefit. Most men seek their own honor and glory through self exaltation. Most men disobey God to seek their own selfish lusts. This is Babylon! This is the darkness! This is the lie! They committed fornication and lived deliciously (Rev 18:9). They lusted after merchandise (Rev 18:16). Revelation 18:7, “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” This rebellion will be put down (Rev 18:8-11, 17-19, 21)! Woe to “most” men on that day!
Most people are very interested in the “end times” because they are concerned for self and do not want to suffer or die (thus pre-tribulation rapture fantasies, etc.). Yet they are not so interested in living for God day to day? – a paradox. If one is not right before God, then the Great Tribulation can only be all the more worse and ultimately you will be separated from the Lord. We must face the reality of the difficult things first, and then all other things shall seem easier. The flesh wants to preserve itself at all cost. Dying to self or the flesh is all encompassing. Jesus physically died to the flesh and wrought a great victory. We are told to love not our lives (and be faithful) unto death (Rev 2:10, 12:11). In other words, we are to die for God’s truth if it becomes necessary. You must come to terms with loving God more than life in this flesh. This is the whole message of the bible. Our love for God must prevail over our love of the flesh (self) – whether living or dying. We must overcome. Once you come to peace with this understanding, then all things will start falling into place – and you can begin to see the truth of God’s Word – including the truth of the “end times.” Jeremiah 23:20, “The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly (also Jer 30:23-24).” The Lord’s anger is reserved for those who love the flesh rather than submission to God. We must honor God by overcoming the flesh and the world in total submission to Him regardless of what is required.
Do you Justify Self?
Many have heard the Word of God and understand what is required, but refuse to live it. Most reading this book will realize the truth, but shall be unwilling to give up “self.” Luke 10:25-29, “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” This lawyer had great understanding into what God required of man – the two Great Commandments. Jesus told him that he had answered correctly and that if he did this he would live – have eternal life. Notice that this man’s objective was to tempt (persuade) Christ. He then wanted to justify “self.” How many people know what the Lord requires, but want to justify “self?” – the very thing that opposes God. How many want God to see things “their” way?
Jesus responded to the man’s question with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:30-32, “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” These two men were religious, but how did this religiosity translate into their daily walk. They both saw the injured man, but rather than offer assistance they made extra efforts to avoid him by passing by on the other side of the road. Perhaps to stop and offer help would delay their journey or require something of self? Maybe they would be late for some religious meeting? These religious men were more than willing to sacrifice the injured man for the benefit of self – this is hate. This is the darkness! These men’s love was as dead as their religion.
God often uses those who seem least likely. Luke 10:33-35, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” The Samaritan sacrificed of his time, he sacrificed of his provision and he sacrificed of his money to help this injured man – he had compassion. The Samaritan sacrificed self for the benefit of another (a stranger) – this is love! The Samaritan provided for the injured man’s health, lodging and meals. Jesus then said: Luke 10:36-37, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
That was a hard answer for the lawyer because the Jews hated the Samaritans (Jn 8:48). Christ was telling this man that his religion is dead if he does not put it into practice from the heart – with love and compassion. Jesus was telling this man that you must sacrifice of self for the benefit of others. Christ was also telling this man that he must love his enemies – those despised. Now, how many say they love Jesus, but walk in the path of self? How many mentally agree with God’s Word, but do not practice or “do” it? How many spend the greater part of their time justifying self rather than walking as Jesus walked? Be warned: Luke 12:47, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Lk 12:48). After having read this book, how faithful will you be with the knowledge that you now possess? Jesus said: Luke 6:47-48, “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” Luke 11:28, “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”
Man has always devised and served gods (idols) for his own benefit – that which he hopes to gain whether now or in the future. Unfortunately, the same can be said of man’s relationship with the one true God. Man mostly looks to God through the flesh rather than true faith (Heb 11:6). Satan will gladly somewhat cater to selfish benefits (for those seeking their way) if this will keep your heart away from serving the Lord – in his bondage. When the flesh is exalted there is always blindness concerning your own actions and the truth. Proverbs 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” Let us consider some typical perspectives of heart regarding how man views God: What can I do for God verses what can God do for me?
What can I do for God? – This is an attitude of humbleness that recognizes the authority of the Lord. The statement reveals a heart that serves God and is willing to sacrifice self in order to accomplish this. This proclamation displays a heart ready to obey the will of God. This is also one who seeks to “know” and to please His Lord. Therefore, this declaration suggest one who wants to know and serve His Lord (place foremost) and is willing to sacrifice self and obey the will of God in order to please Him and submit to His purposes. In other words, this is the attitude of one who “fears God.” The Holy Spirit can dwell and work in the heart of such an individual to transform them into the image of Christ (Acts 5:32, Php 2:13, Rm 8:29, 12:2). Hearts must freely yield to the Lord for His grace to work its purpose. Everything we do must always seek to bring God praise, honor and glory over self. This is an individual that comes to the light.
What can God do for me? – This declaration exalts self (pride) over God while seeking fleshly benefit. This is not necessarily a conscious thought, but an attitude of heart. This type of individual attempts to make God his servant by placing self over the authority of the Lord. This assertion would have God sacrificing to obey and serve your will. This individual only wants to “know” God in terms of selfish gain or benefit. Therefore, this assertion suggest one who exalts self over the authority of God to seek selfish benefit and thereby attempts to make the Lord his obedient servant. This would be one who is always desiring (praying for, 1 Pt 3:12) God’s blessings – such as personal gain (money, jobs, position), possessions (houses, cars, things) and health (healing from illnesses or conditions, recovery). This is one who lives for self daily (perhaps with a form of godliness) in disregard for God’s will (not applying it to their life), yet always expects God to be there (to perform) for their various maladies (problems, difficulties, troubles, woes). Perhaps they serve God because they do not want to go to hell? Maybe for anticipated heavenly rewards or benefits? Their relationship with God always considers self. To them self denial, sacrifice, obedience, and suffering are things to be avoided because they do not soothe the flesh. These walk in darkness, maybe religiously. They live in the nature of the devil’s lie.
We must realize that man almost always views the Lord as “what can God do for me?” You must seek first (foremost) the kingdom of God, and then the Lord provides for your needs (Mt 6:33). What man “wants” and what the Lord “provides” may be at variance – disagreement and conflict. We are to love God with all our heart, mind soul and strength and then place our neighbor (others) above (ahead of, in advance of) ourselves (Mt 22:37-38, Mk 12:30-31, Lk 10:27). This places “self” very last. First we honor God and then we honor others, before we think of self – this leaves little for self! When things are in right (correct) order, then the Lord does want us to petition Him for our needs (Pv 15:29). John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Abiding in Christ is loving Him by obeying His Words (commandments – Lk 14:23). At this point we are less likely to ask amiss (to consume upon your lusts, Js 4:3) and the point is to learn trust and reliance upon God – being weak in flesh and strong in faith. If we doeth His will, then the Lord hears us (Jn 9:31). Therefore, our prayers must be for correct motive: 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” AND 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
Man loves God when things are going well for “self.” Change the circumstances into a difficulty and things will quickly change. Initially all focus will be upon God to remedy the situation – the adversity to self, which becomes the real focus. If relief does not immediately come (as expected), then one begins to question God (why are you not serving me?) or feel sorry for self. God allowed Satan to inflict Job with great difficulties to test his faith (Job, chaps 1 and 2). The devil wrongfully accused Job of only loving God for selfish gain/benefit. So, God allowed Satan to remove the fleshly benefits and inflict him with maladies and illness to determine his true heart – character or nature. Job 1:22, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 2:9-10, “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Job’s response raises some very valid points. Many serve God for gain rather than a true heart of faith and a devotion to see God glorified. Many praise God in the good times, but do they give God even greater honor, praise and glory in the bad times? Lets consider a couple of perspectives on how most view Christ.
Jesus restores and reconciles man to God – These are individuals that welcome and yield to the Lord’s workings in their lives. This is a transformation process whereby all that offends God (self seeking, idolatry, etc.) must be torn down as one is conformed to the image of Christ – Who is the perfect image of God (2 Cor 4:4, Col 1:15). These want to be lovingly surrendered in obedience to the absolute will of God – just as Jesus had done. After all, this is the way things must be for those who are granted eternal life in Him. Your self-will must be focused on bringing God glory, rather than be set on bringing glory to yourself – the flesh. This is a process of restoration whereby one is “born again” with the nature of God and lives daily according to this nature (truth, Jer 31:33, Heb 8:10, 10:16). These are those who follow Jesus out of the darkness and into the light. This is accomplished by being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit – the promise of the Father(Lk 24:49, Acts 1:4, 2:33). You develop a great love for Christ as you experience the things He experienced – you intimately relate to the Lord. The Spirit dwells inside you and you have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:10-13, 16, 6:19). You walk in Christ’s ways (The Way) everyday and this puts you at odds with a fallen world that walks in Satan’s ways.
Jesus saves me from hell – Eternal separation and torment is the consequence of violating (disobeying, transgressing) the will of God. Most are focused on the consequence and not the cause of the condemnation. The condemnation results from seeking your own way (will, path) over God’s. Those who are concerned about hell are continuing to focus on self. The same can be said about those who are focused on a fleshly type notion of eternal bliss and great rewards in heaven. The Lord God will both save from hell and reward the faithful, but only because of their love and devotion to Him. Relationship with Christ cannot be based upon selfish benefit. A true loving relationship is based upon sacrifice. Each sacrifices for the benefit of the other. Lets assume there was no penalty for violating God’s Word. Would you still follow God’s will and serve the Lord solely due to your love for Him? Do you ultimately serve for the fear of the penalty – be honest? Sincere people may struggle a bit with this proposition because they might question their “love” for a God they have never seen. Love for God develops through relationship as you walk as Jesus walked and yield to the Lord’s working in your life. This is similar to a marriage. The love develops as you follow and trust in the Lord and experience the same things Christ did (when He walked on earth as a man); the ups and downs – trials, tribulations and difficulties. Love develops as you experience the truth of God’s Word as it unfolds in your life.
Most religious organizations have done away with the penalty of violating God’s Word (i.e. ye shall not surely die) through justification of Christ’s blood covering past, present and future transgressions – license. In other words, if you repeat a sinner’s prayer; make profession; join a denomination; etc., then you are free to violate God’s Word and remain in the darkness. It may not be presented just this way, but this message does come across and most by and large live this way. Do you really “believe” this was God’s purpose in sending His Son? – to justify you to continue to violate His will and live in darkness? These religious organizations tend to reflect the image of the world around them (the darkness) much more than the Jesus described in the Bible. Please consider that this must be due to a disregard (or downplaying the necessity) of living God’s Word – i.e. doing the will of the Father. No doubt, there is a great love of the world as visibly manifested. The required transformation process is found in forsaking the darkness and coming to the light – denying self daily (just like Jesus), taking up your cross (just like Jesus) and following – walking as Christ walked.
Much (not all) of what is practiced in the visible religious world is superficial and lacking substance or depth. This is more like identifying in theory with the things Christ said (mental agreement or association), but not in practice – walking as Jesus walked. This is easily verified. Just consider all the religious buildings and facilities, organizations, institutions, etc. in this country that identify with Christ, then consider the great darkness of the culture at large – and be honest. Now, consider all the Christian denominations, sects, schisms and groups and consider why there is little true love, likemindedness and unity. 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.” The question from Chapter Three (“The Few”) persists: Just what makes you any different from the dark world around you? Are you a “peculiar” person (unusual, odd, noteworthy) when compared with those at large (in general)? Are the religious masses really all that different (in deed) than the world around them? Chapter Five, “Into the Light,” of this book will consider just what a peculiar person is.
Come out of the darkness. 1 Corinthians 13:6, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity (the darkness), but rejoiceth in the truth (the light).” Ephesians 5:12-14, “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Colossians 3:25, “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Psalms 43:3, “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.”