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Christians & Rioting Part 3

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Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This sums up the root cause: “no fear of God”.

  • No fear of accountability
  • No fear of judgment
  • No fear of retribution or vengeance

Indoctrinate people and the fear of God disappears:

  • There is no God
  • You were not created, you evolved by time and chance
  • There is no judgment, there is no Hell, there is no after life
  • The Bible is false, the Bible is for the weak
  • Survival of the fittest, humanism

The Fear of God Restrains Evil

Our founding fathers in America knew that.

  • “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” (Benjamin Franklin)
  • “A Republic must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty.” (John Witherspoon)
  • “The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.” (Samuel Adams)
  • “I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is an [impossible] idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people, who are to choose them.” (James Madison)
  • “But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. Here therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.” (Samuel Adams)

The Rejection of God

Romans 1:18 (NKJV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

They suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Romans 1:19–20 (NKJV) 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.   20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

  • We can know God exists by using our reasoning ability.

Romans 1:21–23 (NKJV) 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.   22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,  23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Humanity Rejects the True God

  • True reason would lead people to the true God.

So, what does God do in response?

Romans 1:24–32 (NKJV)  24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,   25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.   26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.   27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.   28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;   29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,   30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,   31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;   32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

  • Wickedness – the continued state of wickedness; being evil by nature and in practice
  • Covetousness – excessively desirous of wealth, greed, and the lust to have the possessions of others
  • Maliciousness – deliberately harmful, spiteful, vicious and evil on purpose
  • Full of envy – a constant feeling of discontent, coveting another person’s good fortune
  • Murder – the taking of life by violence or force for any reason other than God- ordained justice and self-defense; abortion, euthanasia, gang violence, crime
  • Strife – bitter conflict and discord, quarreling, rivalry and antagonism
  • Deceit – the distortion of truth through misleading, exaggeration, fraud, trickery and cheating
  • Evil-mindedness – having a mind that is continually weakened, a bad character and being completely desensitized to sin
  • Whisperers – spreading gossip and rumors
  • Backbiters – people who slander and speak evil of other people, back stabbers and betrayers
  • Haters of God – those who actively and publicly defame God, blaspheme Him and denounce Him
  • Violent – those who are uncontrolled, who wish to cause injury and destruction, furious and unconstrained, unrepentant of any pain or damage they cause
  • Proud – people who have high opinions of themselves, having pride in their behavior and their own wisdom
  • Boasters – those who exaggerate about themselves, vanity and excessive pride, to actively promote oneself
  • Inventors of evil things – people will not only do the evil, they will sit around and think up ways to be evil, actively trying to invent and promote new ways to hurt others
  • Disobedient to parents – dishonoring, neglectful and refusing to submit to the authority of parents; rebellious
  • Undiscerning – people lack the ability to comprehend or recognize truth easily, accepting evil ideas and being unable to distinguish or discriminate right from wrong
  • Untrustworthy – people will not keep their word; they have no conscience about keeping vows or doing what they know they should do
  • Unloving – those who do not give love and affection, and except for selfish reasons, are incapable of it
  • Unforgiving – people with no mercy who are completely unwilling to forgive any wrong or offense, no matter how slight
  • Unmerciful – cruel and without pity showing no mercy for any reason, even pronouncing the very presence of mercy as a weakness and undesirable

Three times God says, “When you act like that, I will turn you over.” To a debased [reduced quality] mind

Debased Minds

It explains so much of what we see today. A debased mind is a “lower quality” mind.

  • The inability to think clearly, properly, reasonably, logically
  • The inability to discern truth from lies
  • The inability to be self aware, to avoid hypocrisy
  • The inability to be self disciplined, truthful, of high integrity
  • The inability to think “rightly” about what is important

Next time we will talk about what results in a culture/society when debased minds become the leaders…

To be continued…


Christians & Rioting Part 2

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Romans 3:10–18 (NKJV) 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

  • All encompassing, NOT ONE
  • We tend to think it applies to everyone else BUT MY PEOPLE

11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

  • NONE… and that is irrespective of political party, ideology or culture

12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Sin Nature Pathology (the cause of disease)

This is the truth about human nature. This is what we are dealing with. This is the root cause.

Essential Character

Ephesians 4:18 (NKJV) having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart

Even for Christians, generally speaking, about the best we can muster most of the time is “How much can I do and not actually sin?” (as opposed to how far away from sin can I get?)

What About Religions

All other religions outside of Biblical Christianity attempt to make man “good” in and of himself.

Religions replace the need for God elevating man to be his own salvation by earning it through being good, or having the right ideas or being part of the right group

  • Isaiah 53:6 (NKJV) 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Man-originated religions are satanic counterfeits sending men in the opposite direction from God.

Romans 3:12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

  • Unprofitable, useless: the Hebrew equivalent is rancid, like rotten trash or sour milk or putrid meat

Human Nature in a Nutshell

  • None righteous
  • None understands
  • No one seeks after God
  • All have turned aside
  • All our corrupt and rancid
  • None does true good or righteousness, nothing acceptable to Holy God.

Deceitful Communication

What is the sum of man’s communication?

Romans 3:13–14 (NKJV) “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;  14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

What is in an open tomb: dead bodies. No matter how well you describe it in words, it is a pale imitation of the actual experience.

The communication of sinful humanity is like an OPEN TOMB, a pile of rotting rancid flesh in a pool of sewage in a landfill on a summer day.

  • Turn on the media and entertainment for a short while and any argument against this truth quickly disintegrates

Romans 3:13–14 (NKJV) “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;  14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

  • The term “deceiving” has as its root a word that means a fishhook.
  • They lie in order to catch you for the kill.
  • Think of how a fishhook works: it is baited with something desirable, slides into you easily, then gets snagged when you try to pull it out.
  • Deceit is packaged as a tasty morsel but ends up snagging you and pulling you to your death.

Filthy, rotten, deceptive, treacherous poisonous bitter cursing. This is the mouth of humanity. This is the summation of how sin-cursed humans communicate.

Default Conduct

Romans 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

  • Humans are murderous.
  • Wherever murder has been legalized or sanctioned, the mass of common people flock to it

Wherever man has legalized murdered, cheapened life, and dehumanized a certain group, the masses are quick to participate in murder.

Black Lives Matters, Really?

  • Every day, a thousand black babies are slaughtered in their mother’s womb, the one place that is supposed to be the most sacred and safe for a human life
  • Every year, 2000+ black males murdered (mostly by other black males who are then incarcerated for life, FBI stats)

Do black lives really matter? Then why are we focused on the very very rare deaths of blacks by white cops, instead of the daily onslaught of blacks being murdered by abortion doctors, gang violence, drugs and criminal activity?

  • Answer: because “lives” are not important, politics and power are

Romans 3:16-17 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.”

Murder, hatred and evil is the natural expression of the unredeemed human heart.

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Next time we’ll continue with:
Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

To be continued…


Christians & Rioting – Part 1

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Christians: Who Do We Blame for the Rioting?

Answer: Us.

But not in the way you think…

  • It’s not an answer based in white guilt or privilege or genuflecting to the reigning culture
  • It’s not buckling to the astonishing power one part of our society now wields that will cancel, crush and ruin anyone who not only criticizes the current accepted “correct thinking” but will do the same to those who won’t actively promote and support what is now pronounced “acceptable opinion”.

No, my answer of “US!” is based solely in the Truth of Scripture.

It’s Not About Politics Either

With all due respect and admiration for the accomplishments and influence of patriotic, diligent, law abiding talk radio and TV hosts:

  • All the optimism in the world about the American spirit, American exceptionalism and the “goodness of most people” is not going to keep our country from degenerating and imploding
  • Even the founding fathers of America declared that the government they had setup was only suited to a people who FEARED GOD and their ultimate accountability to him (more on this later).

People Don’t Change

Generally speaking. People don’t change. Apart from God, they only exist in various shades of the same form.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Matthew 24:37-39     But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage [hedonism, whatever they feel like, only “self” matters], until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

  • What has been true about people before the flood, is true after the flood and will be true until Jesus finally puts an end to it all.

Bizarre Times

We are obviously living in very bizarre times [compared to what we are used to, but not compared to most of human history] that have produced massive fear and confusion.

We have been lied to about everything and this is a sign of who is running things:

  • 2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. [his appearance is a lie to begin with]
  • John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The Truth

Truth can only be found in God:

  • Romans 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar…
  • John 14: 1, 6 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

Isaiah Speaks to the True Nature of Man

By determining the truth about the character and nature of mankind, we can truthfully determine what is wrong, who is at fault, how can it be fixed.

  • Isaiah 1:2-23; Isaiah 5:20–23 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

The World is Upside Down

  • Right is wrong
  • Good is bad
  • Up is down
  • Virtue is evil
  • Evil is righteous

Lies, lies, lies… all is lies. Politics is lies. False religion is lies. Media is lies. Education is lies where is teaching on origin, worldview or politics. LIES… lies.

  • Isaiah 28:17 Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters will overflow the hiding place.

This is exactly what we are seeing today: REFUGE IN LIES

Lies become truth by simply declaring them relentlessly until there is no dissension

Isaiah 59:3–4 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with evil; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.  4 No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

Wow, if someone would have simply written that today about the world we live in, I would have never guessed it to be 1500 years old.

BUT… this sad state is not particular to Americans or the 21st century…

  • This is the nature of all of us, to believe lies, to follow the father of lies, to overturn right and wrong, and the current situation in which we live is just another historic manifestation and picture of the perversion of humanity.

It’s Happening Before Our Eyes

The world is turned upside down. Truth is a lie; the lie is the truth. Evil is reward, goodness, punished, Right is wrong, wrong is right.

  • Use the God ordained institutions of government and police to grind the world to a halt to stop a virus, then remove all restraint when a far more deadly virus sets out to destroy a whole nation (rioting, looting, destruction).
  • Demand justice when a man’s life is taken, and then applaud lawless mobs of criminals attacking the police.
  • Create a NO WIN situation for those who protect us – the police – where they are told to “stand down” to the need to protect property from rioting, but protect and defend rebel mobs who loot and destroy, then accuse them of racism, murder and call for their defunding.

NOTE: yes, there are racist cops; yes, there are cops who abuse their power. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. FACT: “justice for George Floyd”? who was NOT calling for justice? Who defended the cop? NO ONE.

The Guilty are Innocent and Innocent are Guilty

  • Charges being brought in these riots, not against the rioters, but against the police or church goers and hardworking business owners and employees
  • Celebrities and politicians who encourage violence, hatred and spew venom at those they disagree with are being promoted, celebrated and applauded while those who are speaking the truth about the lies, pointing out the facts, and condemning the hypocrisy are censored, cancelled and deluged with death threats
  • We have Leaders who lord over and become mini-dictators of the weak using fear about public safety and health, but refuse to confront or control the violent and the lawless because those same leaders are moral cowards and afraid motivated only by popularity, fear of the mob or getting re-elected.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

All the Wrong Reasons

We hear much from experts and pundits and political commentators about the root cause of our cultural demise.

  • It’s climate change…
  • It’s lack of education…
  • It’s lack of economic opportunity…
  • It’s social inequality…
  • It’s racism…
  • It’s whites… it’s blacks
  • It’s leftism, its al-right, its blue, its red
  • It’s imperialism… its colonialism.. its statism… its fascism… its Marxism
  • Its politics… the wrong party is in charge… the wrong ideology embraced… the Constitution is being ignored…

I have my own very strong opinions in each of those areas, and I believe that changes in all those areas would result in some temporary civic good

  • But they are NOT the answer, they are NOT the root cause of our disintegrating culture

We Need Truth

We need the truth, and the truth is in the Word of God.

  • My opinion doesn’t matter, no does the opinion of any other human when it comes to exposing the REAL problem.
  • The Truth, the real reason and source of societal ills can only be found in the one unchanging source of Truth

Romans 3:10–18 (NKJV) 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…

To be continued…


Christian Finances Are Not a Secret

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I have to admit I get a little wore out at all the “Christian” sites/books/programs that offer the “Biblical secrets to financial prosperity”.  Some are nothing more than the butchering of Scripture passed off as “promises” from God for abundance… others are more sensible but still present Biblical principles as if they are secrets or sure-fire formulas for financial success.

What the Bible says about money, income, finances, prosperity, etc is not a secret. A friend of mine recently asked for my discernment about a currently popular site touting yet another exciting presentation of “Godly principles that guarantee financial success”. So I wrote up a summary list of what I believe is a Christian perspective on the topic. The Book of Proverbs gives us many principles about finances and there are many general truths on this topic (money, finances, prosperity, etc) found in the New Testament.  Here’s my nutshell version (just some example verses from the Bible; there are tons more):

  • Work hard
    • Proverb 12:11   Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
    • 2 Thessalonians 3:10  For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
  • Be generous and giving
    • Proverbs 11:24  One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
    • 2 Corinthians 9:7  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • Acknowledge it all came from God and all BELONGS to God
    • 1 Corinthians 4:7  For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?
    • Psalm 50:10  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
  • The only truly lasting investment and sure thing is investing our money in God’s Kingdom, or in truly unselfish righteous deeds
    • Matthew 6:19-20  Do not store up for yourselves treasures upon earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.
    • 1 Corinthians 3:12-14   Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
  • Everything is temporal, fleeting and can be taken from you a hundred different ways; ex-wives, government, thieves, catastrophe… sorry for the redundancy 🙂
    • Matthew 6:19  Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
    • Psalms 144:4  Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
    • Ecclesiastes 2:22  What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
  • Christians are never promised personal prosperity in Scripture. What we are promised is that God will give us what we need to be the MOST Christlike… for some that means less money, for others who can use money to God’s glory, he makes some Christians wealthy. Ironically – despite the preaching of today – what the Scripture does promise is persecution not affluence.
    • 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
    • Philippians 4: 11-13  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
    • James 4:3  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
  • The secret is being CONTENT with what you have while understanding it is perfectly “holy” to work , save, achieve and build wealth when you do so for the glory of God and TRULY are ready to be a good steward of it, hold on loosely to it, invest it in what matters, and always remember you would have NOTHING if God did not give it to you.
    • Hebrews 13:5  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
    • 1 Timothy 6:6-8   Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
    • Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
    • 1 Timothy 6:10-11 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

Those are the open “secrets” the Bible gives us about being 100% fulfilled and content financially; as Paul says, whether in “want” or “plenty” be content. That’s a far cry from the prosperity message of much of western Christianity today who – even the “poor” among us – are WILDLY rich compared to the rest of the world, and the rest of history. Remember the Biblical definition of “rich”: having more than enough for TODAY; not having to worry if we will have food, clothing or necessities tomorrow.  Even our welfare dependent, fixed incomes and lazy are crazy rich by the Biblical standard (which is by the way, the standard for the vast majority of humanity throughout all history).

I pray this:

“Lord, thank you for everything you’ve given me and our family… it’s more than we ever deserve. Help me to work hard, make smart business decisions, increase my income, increase my generosity and always acknowledge you as the source of my blessings or success. Help me to be CONTENT RIGHT NOW with exactly what I have knowing that you have given me THIS MOMENT exactly what I need to do your will, and exactly what I can handle spiritually without money distracting my attention from you. Lord, if it is your will, increase my income and business success THEN show me how you want me to use it to your glory.”

That’s what I have prayed for many years…  no matter how much money we make, if we cannot truly be content in this moment, right now, with what God has given us, we will never find rest or fulfillment with regards to finances. I always pray for more income following by praying that income will 1) never distract me from God and 2) will always be used the way God wants me to use it. I think it is only with that mindset that IF prosperity comes, it won’t come with regret and failure.  Let me close with a couple of things I often teach and repeat when it comes to money:

  • “God, give me exactly the amount of money You want me to have to do Your will but never distract me from it… grant me the desires of my heart (one of which is abundance) as long as they don’t keep me from being near Your heart.”

And this statement of faith I fully believe:

  • “I’m never anxious about money because God owns it all and I believe without doubt that if I needed a million dollars TODAY according to God’s will, a million dollars would show up today.”

Are the Soul and Spirit Two Different Things?

A reader asks:

Is there a difference between spirit and soul? Someone told me that the spirit is your life, the soul is your mind, will, and emotions. They told me that the spirit that is saved by salvation and you must “work out your souls salvation”. I’m not thinking this is true. What do you say?

My answer:

That’s a common thing people say but in reality, in Scripture, the spirit and soul and synonymous… it is the eternal part of man, or the living, animated part of animals. Animals have a spirit or soul in the sense that they are alive, or aware, but not eternal and not created in God’s image.

Perhaps that’s why the Bible uses the terms together sometimes in the same passage when describing people, to differentiate humans from animals. Animals are “alive” (unlike plants that are living but animated) but not eternal like humans. Animals “live and breath” but are not a special creation in God’s likeness with an eternal spirit.

Many teachers try hard to define “soul” from “spirit” but in the end, the Bible really speaks of them as one and the same. In the verses where they are both listed, I believe it is to emphasize the special nature of humans over any other living creature.

“Working your salvation” (Phil 2:12) speaks of transforming your behavior and life into the image of Christ (ie. Sanctification).   To make that apply to some separation of soul and spirit is conjecture and simply not found in Scripture.

We should not try to define terms found in Scripture by any other definition than what is found in Scripture. The Bible uses soul and spirit interchangeably so there is no need for us to force some sort of separate definitions on the terms.  I’ve heard a lot of Scripture tortured by trying to declare this difference between soul and spirit: man is like God in three parts (body, soul and spirit); the soul is the thinking, emotional part of man and the spirit is the regenerated eternal part. Many heresies and false teachings and plain silliness have come from trying to force definitions on “soul” and “spirit” that simply cannot be found in Scripture.

In the end, we should always simply let the Bible speak where it speaks, and accept what is not revealed or defined. Given all of  Scripture as a whole, soul and spirit are basic interchangeable, and no separate definition exists for them. So we have no reason to force clarification beyond that.


Confused About Divorce While Unsaved

A reader asks (condensed):

angrycouple2I have spoken to many Pastors hear different answers about my situation: raised as Catholic… never new the meaning of Christ. I was married at 21 im going to a non believer… he cheated, I cheated… divorced.  Years later we get back together… he cheated, I cheated… divorced.

In 2009, I accepted Christ and was truly saved… asked my ex-husband for forgiveness.  I’ve been told I cannot remarry because I was unequally yoked, because I am divorced. I want to marry a Christian man and do all things for the glory of God and honor him in my new marriage but I want to make sure I’m obeying God’s Word. I want to feel comfortable about this issue.

My Answer:

First, I rarely write an answer to make someone feel “comfortable”.  I want you to be CONFIDENT that you know God’s Word, and if not, I WANT you to be uncomfortable. However, I appreciate that you are interested in obedience to the degree that you are seeking out good counsel instead of just doing what you feel like doing. Before we are genuinely saved, we have no choice but to act like sinners and ignore God’s commandments. When you become a Christian, you are responsible to do what God leads you to do as a new Christian from that moment on.

Divorce is allowed for Christians for 2 reasons: abandonment and adultery. Both occurred in your marriage by both of you BEFORE you were saved. You were acting like what you were: UNSAVED. Now, as a Christian, you have two responsibilities: 1) do what God’s Word says, and 2) do what God leads you to do by your Spirit-led conscience.

You are divorced. God hates divorce. You did that as an unsaved person, a slave to sin. You are now a Christian. My pastoral advice is for you to first consider this: is there any chance that my previous marriage can be reconciled into a CHRISTIAN marriage? If he is remarried, then the answer is an easy “no”. Otherwise, you would not want to remarry him as a non-Christian because then you are certainly “unequally yoked” to an unbeliever. God never tells us to commit sin in order to obey another command or correct previous sin. So, if your ex-husband is now a Christian too (and never remarried), and wants to reconcile as Christians in Christian marriage, then I would say that is your first consideration.

If that is not possible, then your responsibility is now to have God’s mind and God’s heart about marriage. You could not have that as an unsaved person. You were incapable of it, and with regards to “Christian living” not responsible to live that way. Now you can and must. So if you remarry, you must remarry a sincere and authentic Christian only. BUT… and there’s always a “but”… you have to listen to your conscience. If God is saying clearly in your heart “no, do not remarry” then you have to be willing to obey God’s voice. I am telling you what I believe is the Truth objectively on the “outside”. Only you can know what God is saying INSIDE your heart.  Remember, as a Christian our priorities are this:  1) obey God’s Word… 2) obey our conscience that is in harmony with God’s Word and led by the Holy Spirit.

I do not believe the Bible prohibits you from remarriage at this point because you were unsaved when you sinned in your previous marriage. We can expect nothing more from sinners than SIN. We cannot bind God’s commands to Christians on the unsaved. They are incapable of keeping them. Yes, they are accountable to God’s law in the sense they will be condemned  for their sin if they reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ… but in the daily Christian life, we only become responsible to follow Christian teaching once we become a Christian (that is the issue of salvation not sanctification). We certainly still have consequences to deal with from our unsaved life after we become a Christian, but I find nothing in Scripture that tells us the principles/commands for the Christian life are binding and consequential to anyone BEFORE they become Christians (past the issue of being saved or not saved, heaven or hell).

You are a Christian now. Learn God’s commands by reading the Bible and do them. Obedience is the primary indicator of authentic salvation. Pray, and learn to follow your Spirit-led conscience (ie. don’t do something you KNOW God is saying “no” about…).  Your responsibility as a Christian is to start RIGHT NOW doing what God tells you to do which involves learning His Word, praying and obedience.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.