The Pain And The Joy Of Repentance!
True repentance can be one of the most PAINFUL of all mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences! It can also be the most JOYFUL, once the agony and pain have been endured! With world conditions the way they are, it behooves each one of us to look deeply inside our own minds and hearts, to see if we have ever truly experienced both the pain and joy of repentance!
The first words Jesus Christ spoke publicly were “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17). Millions think they have “repented” if they have “received Christ,” or if they have “come forward” in an evangelistic campaign. They believe being sorry for certain lapses of morality; having acquired bad habits of the flesh, and “living a life that is displeasing to God” is adequate to obey Christ’s command to repent. The truth is, millions of Church-going, Bible believing nominal Christians have never been told; have never known WHAT it is for which they were told to REPENT! You will be astonished to learn the real truth from your own Bible!
How many times have you heard impassioned sermons from evangelists and revivalists urging their listeners to repent? Usually, a scathing condemnation of many kinds of immoral human behavior are fiercely denounced!
The evangelist may condemn, in any order, drinking, gambling, smoking, adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, “honky-tonking,” or, as one old “country” song went, “Cigareets, and whiskey, and wild, wild women!”
I have, in my more than 45 years in the ministry of Jesus Christ, seen a number of such “evangelistic” campaigns, including several from world-famous evangelists.
I have watched as THOUSANDS of people, many of them young couples, have slowly made their way down from the upper levels of a huge outdoor stadium to stand before the famous evangelist as a massive choir sang “Just as I am.”
Such people wanted to repent! They had been MOVED by the eloquence and the ringing intensity of the evangelist’s voice. The sheer size of the performance; THOUSANDS of people gathered in a huge stadium, the many HUNDREDS of others here, there, all around them who were leaving their seats and making their way to the platform proved to be the tonic that caused them to forget their embarrassment; swallow pride; take their husband’s or their wife’s hand, and respond to the evangelist’s final invitation. Perhaps some had been having marital difficulties. Some had been contemplating divorce. Some had terrible financial problems. Others had been fighting over his or her drinking or smoking habits. Whatever their personal problems, the evangelist seemed to show them a way out! All they needed was to “receive Christ,” or “Come to the cross” and all would be well! When they went through this emotional experience, they then supposed themselves to be “saved.”
Millions say, “ I got saved when I was only 18,” or, “I was saved much later in life.” They assumed that “coming forward” and publicly “receiving Christ” was all that was needed.
That, coupled with the momentary shame, embarrassment and emotion of the experience was to them “being saved.”
Perhaps the evangelist used the word “repent” somewhere in his sermon. In many cases, the word is not used at all. And in ALL cases, the evangelist does NOT EXPLAIN WHAT REAL REPENTANCE IS!
One thing is sure, the penitent ones standing near the platform do not ask “What, specifically, is it for which I am to repent?” Of course, they want to change. They want to get rid of the guilt which made them come forward in the first place. They “want God in their lives.” But they were not told what Christ Himself said, nor what Peter said about repentance!
Remember, Jesus Christ commanded, “REPENT ye, and believe the good news!” But repent of what? And believe the good news about what?
The word of God is very specific about WHAT it is for which we are to repent! When thousands of stricken people cried out to Peter on the day of Pentecost, they were emotionally MOVED! They had seen each one of the twelve apostles mightily testifying about their own personal experiences with Jesus Christ. They had heard, probably for a couple or three HOURS about the many miracles they had seen Him perform; about how He walked on water; healed the blind and the deaf; how He was beaten, nailed to the stake, hoisted into the air, and how they SAW HIM DIE!
As they spoke, fiery tongues of FLAME leapt from their hair! The greatest “special effects” in HISTORY had occurred—but they were REAL, this was no hallucination, or man-made smoke and mirrors — a great MIRACLE was occurring from God!
A thunderous roaring sound had filled the room, almost deafening them! Then, materializing from the ceiling above their startled heads, they saw a brilliant ball of FIRE descending! As it came down, it split into TWELVE SEPARATE TONGUES OF FLAME, and then lit right on the heads of Andrew, Matthew, Thaddaeus, Bartholomew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Canaanite, James and John; brothers; the sons of Zebedee, Phillip, Thomas, Matthias, and Simon who was called “The Rock,” or Peter.
As each spoke, the thousands of pilgrims, representing at least 18 or more different dialects and languages, were dumbfounded! While they could not communicate with others near them, they saw that strangers from far off lands, such as Crete, Arabia, Media, Pontus, Asia Minor, Egypt, Rome, and other far-flung regions were listening intently!
They were exclaiming, nodding, looking at one another in amazement!
Gradually, it spread through the building that each one of the them were hearing each one of the apostles in their native tongue! This was not “unknown” tongues! It was not gibberish, or babble! No, it was intelligent speech; powerful witness; shocking, almost unbelievable words!
Some scoffed! As the final apostle prior to Peter finished speaking, Peter heard some saying, in their own tongues, “These men must be DRUNK!”
Finally, after each had spoken in his turn, it came time for Peter to speak: Here are excerpts from what he said, with a few inserted comments: “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day [early morning; wine shops were closed].
“…Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain [this shows incredible boldness and courage: he was plainly charging them with Christ’s murder!]
“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
“For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved…Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
“…This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
“For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saithhimself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
“Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:14-37, excerpted).
Peter, his hair seemingly blazing, had stood there with the other eleven, speaking in a stentorian voice, relating the prophecies and the facts. With amazing courage, facing a crowd of THOUSANDS, he laid the responsibility for the murder of the Son of God right at their feet!
Had it not been for the powerful miracles they were hearing and seeing; had it not been for the ROAR that had filled the room; the spectacular ball of fire, dividing into twelve tongues of leaping flame, settling atop the heads of the twelve apostles, the crowd might well have turned on Peter in mindless RAGE! He could have been murdered on the spot!
But God had sent the visible and audible POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT upon His chosen apostles! He had SHOCKED the thousands with this dazzling, spectacular display! Then had come all those personal testimonies from each man. Thomas had no doubt told of how he had said he would never believe Christ was alive unless he had seen the wound in his side, and the terrible wounds in his wrists and hands; how Christ had MATERIALIZED in front of them; how He had come walking right through a stone wall! No doubt, he related how the Savior had come directly to him, and told him to put his hand into Christ’s side; and put his finger into the holes where the spikes had been cruelly driven through his wrists! One cannot help but imagine that Thomas became overcome with emotion when he told how he had knelt down, and proclaimed “My Lord, and My God!” as he saw the great wounds inflicted upon Christ!
One by one the twelve had spoken. Each man related his own personal experiences. No doubt several told of their agony of repentance when they realized that every one of them had forsaken Him and fled!
Now, Peter had courageously laid the responsibility for the murder of Christ right on the heads of the huge crowd!
Never had there been a time, before or since, when a crowd of people had been SO MOVED; so READY to hear what they needed to do to GET RIGHT WITH GOD!
Did Peter tell them to “join the church of their choice”? Did he tell them to “put your letter in a church”? Did he tell them “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved”?
Did he say, “Only BELIEVE”? Did he say, “Oh, there is nothing you must DO to be saved — all you need is to BELIEVE that you have been a sinner, believe that Christ died to save sinners, and accept Him as your Savior”?
Here is what your Bible says: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Sprit” (Acts 2:38).
What did he mean? What IS repentance? The dictionary says: “REPENT: To feel sorry; regret. To feel sorry for sin and seek forgiveness.”
What IS Sin?
Feel sorry for sin? But what IS sin?
Believe it or not, it is this precise question, and the plain Bible answer to it, that has eluded literally MILLIONS of church-going, professing Christians. Millions have “come forward” in an evangelistic campaign; millions have “joined the church of their choice,” who have NEVER REPENTED OF SIN, for the simple reason they were never told what SIN IS!
The other day, as I waited for my wife who was tending to her mother in a nursing home, I saw a religious magazine in the reading rack. I paged through it. I came to a page which was entitled, “The ABCs of salvation.” The magazine emphasized that “getting saved” is SIMPLE!
Here was the magazine’s “simple” formula: “A. Admit you have sinned. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).” This is not an exact quote from Romans 3:23, which says … “sinned and come short of the glory of God,” but it gives the correct sense of the verse.
So one is to admit that one has SINNED! What does that mean? Did you ever do that? Did you ever “get saved” at a revival, or an evangelistic campaign, or at a Christian youth meeting? Did you ever sign one of these magazine or tract ads which give you the so-called “ABCs of Salvation”?
If you “admitted you have sinned,” to what did you admit? Did you admit to drinking too much, or running around on your spouse, or neglecting the kids? Did you admit you need to cut down on smoking, or quit cussing? Did you admit you have been a “bad person”?
The way the churches tell it, there are dozens of unacceptable acts which constitute “sin” and which “fall short of the glory of God.” As mentioned above, there are sometimes lists of evil-doing which might include “cigareets and whisky and wild, wild women,” or such things as fighting, stealing, lying, cheating, and running around on a spouse.
And, make no mistake about it, all those things are indeed SIN!
But can one “repent” of all such things, and STILL BE LIVING IN SIN?
The answer is a resounding YES, if you do not know WHAT SIN IS!
The magazine formula then said, “B. Believe in Jesus. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life’” (John 3:16). Again, the quotation is incorrect, but the sense is retained. John 3:16 actually says, “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.”
But what does it MEAN to ”believe in Jesus”? To millions of church-going professing Christians, it means, simply, that the figure they see in Bibles, on altars, in statuary, and in pictures sold in Bible book stores; a man with flowing brown locks, spade beard, sad eyes, with a halo, carrying a lamb in one arm,, and a shepherd’s crook in the other, wearing a white robe with open-toed sandals was the Son of God. To “believe in” Jesus is to believe that He was the Son of God. This ”Jesus” they are told to ”believe in” is the traditional “Jesus” of the Catholic and Protestant world. But wait! Do they truly KNOW the real Jesus Christ of Nazareth of your Bible and mine?
Consider these shocking facts!
1) Millions DO NOT KNOW the method of Christ’s birth.
2) They do not know when He was born: he was not born on, or anywhere near, December 25th!
3) They do not know to what race He belonged.
4) They do not know WHY He came. They suppose He came to “nail His father’s LAW to His ‘cross’!”
5) They do not know WHAT HE TAUGHT! They suppose the Gospel is a story ABOUT Jesus, and do not know it is the MESSAGE HE BROUGHT to this earth from the Father!
6) They do not know WHY He commissioned His disciples.
7) They do not know what He looked like. They do not know the Bible says He did not have long hair; that He “had no form nor comeliness” and that he looked like any average Jewish young man of His day.
8) They do not know He was the firstborn of a large family; that He had several brothers and sisters; that His brothers are NAMED in the Bible!
9) They do not know that He came to ESTABLISH and MAGNIFY the Ten Commandments, lifting them to a spiritual plane, so that they reach into every human action and thought! They think, instead, that He came to do away with God’s law!
10) They do not know HOW HE DIED! Millions suppose He died of a broken heart!
11) They do not know IF HE WAS REALLY DEAD! Believe it or not, the Roman Catholic Church and the major denominations teach that Christ was ALIVE IN HELL! They say he was preaching to “spirits in hell” during the time He was supposed to be in the tomb!
12) They DO NOT KNOW HOW LONG HE WAS IN THE TOMB! Millions suppose He was only in the tomb for two nights and one day! They think He was entombed on “Good Friday” and resurrected on “Easter Sunday morning.” But Christ specifically said He would be THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the tomb (Matthew 12:40).
13) They do not know WHEN He was resurrected! Millions suppose He was resurrected on Sunday morning. Yet, the Bible says He was GONE “while it was yet DARK, as it BEGAN TO DAWN TOWARD the first Day of the Week!”
14) They do not know WHY He was resurrected! If we are “saved” by Christ’s DEATH, then why was He resurrected?
15) They do not know WHAT CHRIST IS DOING TODAY!
That is an ENORMOUS amount NOT TO KNOW about someone!
Yet, millions passionately say, “Isn’t it NICE to ‘know the Lord’?” If you have not yet read my book entitled The REAL JESUS, by all means call, or write for it immediately! You will be sent your FREE copy by return mail! Also, ask for my sermon tape entitled, “The Jesus You Never Met.” It is astonishing when you come to realize that this world is worshiping a FALSE CHRIST, and not the real Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
In the final category, the magazine said, “C: Confess and leave your sin. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Again, the religious magazine misquoted the King James Bible, which says, “If we confess our sins [notice the PLURAL], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
How strange that the people who publish this religious magazine DO NOT KNOW WHAT PETER SAID are the true “ABCs of salvation!”
What did Peter say? He said, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
The true “ABCs of salvation” are VERY DIFFERENT from those presented in the religious magazine!
THE BIBLE DEFINITION OF SIN
There is only ONE SCRIPTURE in the entire Bible which tells us WHAT SIN IS!
It is found in 1 John 3:4, which says, “Whosoever committethsin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
There is not the slightest doubt that “the LAW’ means God’s Ten Commandments!
Notice some important proofs from this same letter from John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved:”
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 1:3, 4). Millions say, “Isn’t it NICE to ‘know the Lord.’” Yet, they break His commandments continually, not knowing what sin is!
John wrote, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). People like to say they “LOVE the Lord!” They speak of the love of God, and love of the Holy Spirit. And what does John say IS the love of God? “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
The “transgression of the law” means the breaking of God’s TEN COMMANDMENTS!
In order for anyone to understand WHAT SIN IS, one must understand it is LAW breaking; the breaking of God’s LAW! Then, one must understand what the law says!
Here, verbatim, is what God’s law SAYS, which I have numbered for convenience:
(1) “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
(2) “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
“And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
(3) 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.
(4) “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
(5) “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
(6) “Thou shalt not kill [NOTE: The Hebrew word is Rawtsach, and means, “do no murder”].
(7) “Thou shalt not commit adultery.
(8) “Thou shalt not steal.
(9) “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
(10) “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thyneighbour’s” (Exodus 20:3-17).
Shockingly, only a very small percentage of professing Christians — people who “believe on Jesus” can remember FOUR of these Ten commandments, and even then, cannot remember them in order! Do YOU know them by heart?
Millions are convinced Jesus Christ came to destroy God’s law; to “nail it to His cross,” as they put it. First, you need to know WHO WROTE THE LAW. Who was the “God” who spoke to Moses? Who was it who said, “Let US make man in OUR image?”
THE GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
Jesus Christ shocked the Jews, who, knowing what He was claiming, were so outraged they tried to kill Him on the spot! He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
“Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, BeforeAbraham was, I am.
“Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:56-59). Do you understand what Jesus was saying to them? Obviously, He was saying He was the very one who had appeared to Moses! He was saying that He had existed BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS ALIVE!
The Jews were very, very familiar with the account of Moses and the burning bush. They knew Jesus was claiming to be the very Person of divine Elohim who SPOKE TO MOSES!
“And Moses said unto God [Hebrew: Elohim], Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
“And God [Elohim] said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:13, 14). Remember, the Hebrew word Elohim which is translated into the English word “God” is a PLURAL word. It means more than one! This is why your Bible says that “God” (Elohim) said, “And God said, Let usmake man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
Now, notice how PLAINLY the apostle John explained the pre-human existence of Christ: “In the beginning was the Word [Greek: Logos, meaning “Spokesman”], and the Word was with God [Greek: Theos, synonymous with the Hebrew Elohim”], and the Word was God.
“The same was in the beginning with God.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3). So the CREATOR of the universe, the solar system, this earth and all life upon it was the “WORD” or the member of Elohim who DID THE SPEAKING!
It was He who said, “Let the dry land appear,” and who said, “Let US make man in OUR image!” Now, notice how John clarified this astonishing truth: “He was in the world, and theworld was made by him, and the world knew him not.
“He came unto his own [the Jews], and his own received him not.
“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 (John 1:10-12). All theologians know that this last verse refers to receiving Jesus Christ as Savior! It is one of famed evangelist Billy Graham’s favorite scriptures! And of WHOM is it speaking? Why, the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE! The GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT!
Can you doubt your own eyes? Do you doubt your own Bible?
Notice further corroboration: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3). Clearly, Jesus Christ was the “Creating Agent,” the “Executive,” or the “Spokesman” through whom God [Theos/Elohim; plural names] MADE THIS EARTH!
Now, think of the vast significance of this truth!
This means that the One who dealt with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was none other than the One who became Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary! It means He was the person of Divine Elohim who WROTE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WITH HIS OWN FINGER!
This simple truth is utterly DEVASTATING to the doctrines of the majority of the churches of this world who teach that Jesus Christ came to DO AWAY with God’s law!
Christ said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19). The word “fulfil” is not a synonym for “destroy”! When one fulfills a promise, or an obligation, one does not DESTROY the obligation. One accomplishes, or performs the promise or obligation.
Jesus Christ KEPT the Ten Commandments perfectly, in the spirit as well as in the letter. His entire life was OUR EXAMPLE that we should follow: “ For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:20, 21).
Christ said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Millions give lip service to a “Jesus Christ” of their imagination; the FALSE image of Christ which has been presented to them by the mainstream religions. But they will not follow His example, nor will they do what He commanded!
The God of the Old Testament is usually indicated by the capital letters “LORD” in the King James translation. This English word is taken from the Hebrew YHVH, which contains no vowels. Some pronounce it “Yahveh,” and some, “Jehovah.” Whatever the English pronunciation, it means the One of divine Elohim IN COVENANT RELATIONSHIP with His people Israel — it means the One who BECAME CHRIST!
Did Jesus Christ come to destroy the law? Millions think He did! But this is a lie, and is at the root of many other lies and false doctrines! He says, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed (Malachi 3:6). Did Jesus Christ come to CHANGE what He Himself had written in the Ten Commandments? Did He come to DO AWAY with the law? He says NO! The reason He says “therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” is because If He CHANGED, He would have abandoned the unconditional promises He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel), and would have destroyed the sinning Israelites long before!
It is only because He BOUND Himself by a promise, and that He will NOT CHANGE that binding promise that the Israelites were not destroyed.
Now, notice how Paul says Christ never changes: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Christ remains STEADFAST! He DOES NOT CHANGE!
Yet, you have been told all your life that Jesus Christ was like a young man who came to this earth to do away with everything His FATHER (who people ASSUME to be the “God of the Old Testament”) put in place!
Remember, SIN is the transgression of the law; the breaking of God’s Ten Commandments as Christ magnified them. To repent means to be deeply sorry over having BROKEN GOD’S LAWS! Millions DO NOT KNOW THIS! They believe sin is merely a vague series of deeds or thoughts which are displeasing to God, but they do not know that sin is defined as breaking the Ten Commandments!
Notice how Paul urged the Romans to quit living in sin: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:11-13). Never forget as you read these words WHAT SIN IS! Sin is the breaking of God’s Ten Commandments! It is the breaking of God’s LAW!
And what is “righteousness”? Here is the Bible definition: “My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Psalms 119:172).
Paul continued to show how a life of breaking God’s Ten Commandments is like being a slave to sin! He said, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:15). And what is GRACE? Millions have been deceived by the phrase “we are not under the law, but under grace.”
The false anti-law teachers delude people into believing that “grace” is a condition in which the Christian dwells! To them, “grace” means you DO NOT HAVE TO KEEP GOD’S LAWS! But look at the plain MEANING of the words Paul wrote! He asks, “shall we BREAK GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS because we are not UNDER THE PENALTY of the law?”
Notice his own answer immediately following: “God forbid! Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:15-19). Of course! Once one has REPENTED of having broken God’s Ten Commandments, one is made FREE from sin! The penalty need not be paid, for it has already been paid by the death of Jesus Christ! Christ died because WE HAVE BROKEN GOD’S LAW! He died to pay the “wages of SIN” (Romans 6:23) which is DEATH!
To become the servants of righteousness means we begin to LIVE WITHIN the Ten Commandments of God; we begin to OBEY them!
Notice how Paul expounds this vital principle: “What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin,but by the law [The Ten Commandments show what sin IS]: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead [that is, without his knowledge of the difference between right and wrong; sin and righteousness, he was unaware of sin; did not know what it WAS].
“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [to his consciousness], sin revived, and I died [we are counted as “dead unto sin” because Christ has paid the penalty in our stead].
“And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
“For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:7-12).
Here, Paul explains the very purpose for the Ten Commandments. Without God’s specific ten commands, we would not know what sin IS! It is only because the LAW says, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” that we know such acts constitute SIN! The law does not PREVENT sin, it defines what SIN IS!
Jesus Christ died to SAVE SINNERS! He died to save them FROM their sins, not IN their sins! He did not die so they can saucily say “I believe on Jesus,” and then go back to living the same life of SIN they have always lived. Imagine the following scene: A man is brought before a judge for a felony. He has embezzled thousands of dollars from his company, and is facing a huge fine, and a long jail sentence. However, his employer is present in the courtroom, and is aware of the broken-hearted repentance of his employee, who has sobbed out his guilt; has asked for forgiveness, and has promised to repay all he owes.
The employer asks to speak, and is granted the opportunity: “Your honor,” he says, “John here has been a good, hard-working employee. He was tempted, and gave into temptation, and stole from me. But he has repented with tears. He is embarrassed and ashamed; he is aware that his reputation has been virtually destroyed. I have forgiven him. I see nothing to be gained by fining him, or by sending him to jail. Therefore, I am withdrawing the charges against him, and I move that this case be dismissed.”
Faced with no charges before him, the judge relents, and agrees that the embezzler may go. Now that John has been forgiven, is he free to go back to his company and steal again?
Paul says, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!” (Romans 6:15). Our embezzler is now UNDER GRACE! He has been FORGIVEN for his theft! Grace is unmerited pardon. It is undeserved, unearned forgiveness! It is a QUALITY OF THE CHARACTER OF GOD, and it is NOT a “state” in which a person dwells which gives him or her license to SIN!
Remember, forgiveness is for SINS THAT ARE PAST, and “grace” is God’s graciousness; His forgiveness, His pardon extended toward us which we do not deserve, and have not earned!
Millions of sincere people have been brought, emotionally, to the place they were really WANTING TO REPENT! But the evangelist and his helpers had no idea what repentance really is, and did not tell then WHAT SIN IS!
For example, were YOU told, if you “came forward” in such a campaign, or “joined the church of your choice” and tried to “put God in your life,” that sin is the breaking of God’s Ten Commandments? Were you specifically shown that the FOURTH commandment is exactly on a par with every other one? Were you told that Sabbath-breaking is exactly the same thing as MURDER?
No, you were NOT! That is not YOUR fault — it is the fault of the misguided, deceived preachers who are either deliberately or willingly ignorant of the truth of God! For a thorough understanding of how the fourth commandment is in full force and effect today, call or write for my free booklet, Why Keep Saturday For Sunday? Or, you can find it on our web site at www.garnertedarmstrong.org/, and print it from the site. It is astonishing, fascinating! You will be amazed.
Notice how Paul wrote of the STRUGGLE which ensues in the life of every Christian; how that, even though forgiven, our human natures continually strive against the spirit of God and His laws. I will paraphrase this passage for easier understanding: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
“For that which I do I wish I wouldn’t do, and that I want to do I don’t do, and what I hate, that do I.
“If then I do that which I really don’t want to do, I consent unto the law that it is good.
“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
“For the good that I want to do I do not: but the evil which I don’t want to do, that I do.
“Now if I do the things I don’t really want to do, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
“I find then a law, that, when I want to do good, evil is present with me.
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members [human, physical appetites].
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:14-25).
The man who said he DELIGHTS in the law of God; that he SERVES the law of God DID NOT TEACH AGAINST IT!
The thrust of his words are clear; that each of us is involved in a daily struggle AFTER we have repented of sin (breaking the Ten Commandments)! We must overcome our own human carnal natures with all our physical appetites; we must overcome the world around us — Satan’s world, not God’s — and we must overcome Satan himself!
This daily struggle is like someone with a smoking habit, or a drinking habit, or a person who is a compulsive gambler!
Christians can, and do, sin! The word sin means “to miss the mark.” Every day, in some way or another, we miss the mark of perfection. John acknowledged this, and wrote of this daily struggle against sin: “If we say that we have no sin [John includes himself! He is writing to Christians!], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 1:8-10; 2:1-4). Strong words, indeed. How many times have you heard people engaged in “praise worship” saying “Oh, how wonderful to know the Lord”? Yet, millions who say they “know” the Savior WILL NOT DO WHAT HE SAID, and they WILL NOT FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE!
Obviously, both Paul and John said we are engaged in a daily struggle with ourselves! It is because of this “law” of carnality which exists within us that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven as our daily High Priest!
Millions believe Christ died for the sins of the world. But those same people DO NOT KNOW WHY HE IS ALIVE!
The High Priesthood Of Jesus Christ
I am not a priest. The ministry of God’s true church are not priests! There is no human “go between” on this earth who is authorized to stand between you and God your Father in heaven above!
The entire book of Hebrews was written to the scattered Jews (diaspora, or “dispersed”) to show the efficacy of the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ! The book shows what Jesus Christ is doing on a daily basis NOW!
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
“And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:14-18).
How plain! One of the major purposes for Christ to live here on earth for 33 years in the flesh was to EXPERIENCE the same temptations, compulsions, appetites, desires and pulls of the flesh as you and me! The difference is HE OVERCAME THEM ALL!
Millions think we are saved by the DEATH of Christ! This is not true. We are RECONCILED (forgiven) to God by His death, but we are saved because He is ALIVE! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:8-10).
So Christ’s saving work was not finished when He died! Millions believe the statement, “Christ died to save sinners.” But they do not know what Christ has been doing ever since His resurrection, nor do they know what He is doing TODAY! Few know that Christ is WORKING FULL TIME on our behalf!
Notice, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
“Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity” (Hebrews 4:15, 16; 5:1, 2).
Jesus Christ is your High Priest! He is at the right hand of the Father in heaven. When you or I stumble, fall short, and “miss the mark,” we must get on our knees and go before that “throne of grace” and ACKNOWLEDGE our sins, and ask for God’s merciful forgiveness!
Christ then turns to His Father, having had the experience of struggling against sin and overcoming, and makes intercession for us! Read that beautiful quotation from 1 John again!
The “once saved always saved” concept in the minds of many is simply FALSE!
Jesus Christ said, “Enter ye in at the strait [stringent; narrow; difficult] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadethunto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13, 14).
Notice how Peter spoke of how DIFFICULT it is to overcome, and enter God’s kingdom: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
“And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17, 18). Is this the way you have heard it? No. You have heard, instead, how EASY it is! Millions are told “only BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved!”
Because salvation is a daily struggle, we have a faithful High Priest who DAILY makes intercession for us! Satan is called “the accuser of the brethren!” Notice, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:9-11).
Satan acts like a prosecuting attorney, constantly indicting, charging, blaming, accusing God’s people! When we sin, Satan saucily sneers about us to God, accusing us!
But Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is like the counsel for the defense. Turning to God the Father, he points out our tears; our broken-hearted repentance, and asks His Father to forgive us!
Now, review what you have learned:
God demands that we REPENT! The first words Jesus Christ spoke publicly were, “REPENT ye, and believe the Gospel!” Peter said, “REPENT, and be baptized…” (Acts 2:38).
Now, you know that repent means to be deeply SORRY; to be SELF-ABHORRENT; to be ashamed, embarrassed, chagrined atone’s SELF!
Paul showed how the Ten Commandments point out WHAT SIN IS! It is only when we realize that the breaking of ANY ONE OF THE TEN merits the DEATH penalty—death in Gehenna fire— unrelenting death for ALL ETERNITY, and only when we broken-heartedly acknowledge our sins before God and beg Him for forgiveness that we have truly repented! James wrote, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
Now we come to the TEST commandment! The one commandment which is HATED by millions of professing Christians is the FOURTH commandment!
The Law of God Was In Force Before Sinai
There are many references to God’s laws and the points of the Ten Commandments, including the fourth one, prior to the codification of the Commandments at Sinai. When the One who became Christ wrote the Ten Commandments in stone, and handed them to Moses, He was codifying the law, not inventing it, or bringing it into existence!
From time immemorial, even pagan kings and people living in the Middle East KNEW about God’s laws. Here is a major example: “And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister [this was a lie; she was his half sister, so to him it was a “little white lie,” but it was deception, nevertheless]: and Abimelech king of Gerarsent, and took Sarah.
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.
“But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
“Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
“And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her [what IS sin? Sin is the transgression of the LAW; in this instance, the law against adultery]:
“Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that arethine.
“Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.
“Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done” (Genesis 20:1-9).
You cannot simply ignore this, and tear it out of the Bible! This occurred LONG before Sinai, long before there WAS any nation of Israel or Judah; long before Moses, and long before theLevitical priesthood! Here, the one who became Christ PERSONALLY kept Abimelech from committing a “GREAT SIN!” Abimelech, in that ancient time, knew more about God’s laws than thousands of so-called Christian preachers today! He knew God exists. He knew God had the power of life and death over him. He knew God’s fourth commandment meant what it says.
He knew the penalty for sin was death. He knew WHAT SIN IS, which is more than millions of professing “Christians” know today!
Notice another outstanding example—one which enrages the “Gay rights” people: “Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
“But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly” (Genesis 13:12, 13). Sodomy and homosexuality are great SINS! Read Genesis the 19th chapter to see how Elohim (the Person of the Godhead who became Jesus Christ) sent his powerful angels to utterly burn to the ground the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins! Like a microcosm of Gehenna fire, God rained FIRE upon them — a horrifying, painful way to die!
Now, notice what God said of Isaac, Abraham’s son: “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
“Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:3-5).
Now, notice how God showed sinning Israelites that Sabbath-breaking was punishable by death; how the fourth commandment was in full force and effect prior to the giving of the two tablets of stone at Sinai: “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
“And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily” (Exodus 16:4, 5).
Then came the plague of the quails, in which many died because of their murmuring and complaining about manna! Notice what happened next: “And he [Moses] said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
“And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
“And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD [it was not a “Sabbath of the Jews!]: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
“Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
“And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Exodus 16:23-28). WHEN did this occur? Read from Exodus 16 to Exodus 20, about the sojourn of the Israelites in the Sinai desert, and how God eventually CODIFIED His Ten Commandments, by giving them to Moses engraved in stone!
But this codification of the Commandments did not bring them into existence! As you have seen proved from your own Bible, God’s Ten Commandments were in full force and effect LONG BEFORE Sinai!
God’s Ten Commandments have been in effect since the creation of Adam! Even the laws concerning clean and unclean meats were in effect many, many centuries before Moses! God told Noah, “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thyhouse into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female” (Genesis 7:1, 2). Those who argue that “the law has been done away” usually equate the laws concerning unclean animals, such as catfish and pork, with the Levitical priesthood! But the laws concerning clean and unclean were in full force in NOAH’s day!
Now, review what you have learned. God’s Ten Commandments were known by ancient kings during Abraham’s day. It was a “great SIN” to commit adultery. The men of Sodom were “sinners exceedingly” before God. It was a SIN to go to work to gather food on the Sabbath day! God provided double for them on the sixth day, the day of preparation, so they would not work on His holy Sabbath!
Chiding the rebellious Israelites, God said, “How long refuse yeto keep my commandments and my laws?” No amount of arguing, reasoning, or trying to set aside these plain truths from your Bible is going to exonerate Sabbath-breakers! The main TEST commandment was the Sabbath!
Think about it! Not a single one of the other nine commandments require you to stand out in your community. Not a single one impacts your job, club, lodge, family or friends! To honor your parents is praiseworthy in our society. To avoid stealing, lying, and murder is considered the thing to do. Of course, no one can tell if you are inwardly coveting, thus breaking the tenth Commandment, for you could sit in church services and let your mind lust for something which is not yours.
But not a one of the nine Commandments, omitting the fourth one, requires you to abstain from work on a certain day; not a one threatens your job, your profession, your affiliations and associations. Not a one would make you an object of scorn from any Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian or Pentecostal person. All churches believe in nine of the commandments!
But oh, that fourth one! They HATE the fourth commandment! They will use every trick scripture, every possible “proof text” they can to delude people into believing the WHOLE LAW IS DONE AWAY so they can set aside the SABBATH!
But notice! “Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
“Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
“Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
“For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
“Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
“Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain [the Kingdom of God!], and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:1-7).
Here, ETERNAL LIFE is a part of the reward for those who KEEP GOD’S SABBATH DAY HOLY!
The two major crimes and sins of ancient Israel and Judah were Sabbath-breaking and idolatry! Every time an evil king took the throne, and abandoned the Sabbath and set up idols, the nations were plagued, attacked, and often taken captive!
When a righteous king took the throne, and RESTORED the laws of God, God BLESSED the nation! Read the 23rd chapter of 2 Kings about Josiah’s reforms—about how he reestablished the PASSOVER on the 14th of Abib, and broke down the idols.
In summary then, the Ten Commandments did not come into existence at Sinai when Moses was handed the two tables of stone. The Ten Commandments were known by pagan kings. It was a GREAT SIN to break one of them. The sodomites were “sinners exceedingly” before God! Abraham KEPT God’s commandments, His statutes and His laws! Abraham is called “the father of the faithful,” and Jesus Christ told the Pharisees, “You shall SEE Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out!”
The Sabbath was not an afterthought. It was not capriciously “imposed” on the Israelites as a yoke of bondage! Almighty God (Elohim, including the One who became Christ) CREATED the Sabbath day!
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3). God’s WORK was finished, but His CREATING was not! By resting on the seventh day, He created the Sabbath.
The fourth commandment is DETAILED. It shows how the Sabbath is the memorial of creation itself; how it acknowledges God as Creator: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
“For in six days the LORD [JHVH] made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). The Sabbath both looks back at creation, and looks forward to the millennial reign of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth.
The time of God’s kingdom on earth is called God’s REST! Now, notice a wholly ignored and deliberately obscured scripture from your own New Testament which enjoins Sabbath-keeping on all Christians:
A Sabbatismos Remains To God’s People
Paul, in reminding the scattered Jews of their roots; of the exodus and the overthrow of the older generation in the wilderness, called upon the orations of Joshua as a type. The name Joshua in Hebrew is identical to “Jesus” in the Greek.
Joshua is a type of Christ. As the one who led the younger generation of Israelites across Jordan into the promised land, he appears as Christ, conducting us from this life in this world into His glorious kingdom.
Paul wrote, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
“When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
“Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, Theydo away err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
“So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:7-14).Why do you suppose the translators knew to place capital letters on references to “To day,” even separating the word, unlike our modern English, which is “today”?
It is because Paul was referring to the oration of Joshua as the Israelites prepared to enter the promised land: “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
“Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your Godgiveth you to possess it.
“And to the Rabbinates, and to the Godwits, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,
“Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
“Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
“Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising” (Joshua 1:10-15). No longer would they be undergoing the arduous trek in the wilderness. No longer would the hardships of dust, poisoned springs, snakes, heat, and every privation assault them. Now, they would enter a land of plenty; a land with grapes as large as grapefruit; flowing “with milk and honey.” Now, they could settle on this verdant, beautiful land, and build permanent homes. The entry of Israel into the promised land is a type of Christians being inducted into Christ’s kingdom.
It was pictured as REST. Every week, the Israelites were reminded to REST on God’s Sabbath day.
Joshua’s oration to the Israelites is used by Paul to the Hebrews as a reminder, not only of the type of the Israelites entering into the promised land as a “rest,” but also a reminder of the six “work” days of creation, and the setting apart of the Sabbath day: He said, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest [metaphor for the Kingdom of God], any of you should seem to come short of it.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
“For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest [put as a question: “shall they enter into my rest?”]: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:1-3).
What did Paul mean by saying “we which have believed do enter into rest”? As you shall soon see, he is referring to the weekly Sabbath rest, and the fact that all early Christians kept God’s Sabbath day, as detailed in the fourth Commandment!
Note the SUBJECT of this entire passage! It is nothing short of a comparison between Sabbath-keeping and the millennial reign of Christ; a reminder of how the older generation of Israelites DID NOT QUALIFY to enter into “His rest,” the promised land, which was a type of the Kingdom of God! Paul wrote, “And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
“Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief [the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai]:
“Again, he limiteth [sets apart; points out; isolates] a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:5-7). Read Psalms 95:7-9, where David refers to Joshua’s oration.
So Paul is saying God points out, specifies, or “limits” a CERTAIN DAY when He says “To DAY if you will harden not your hearts!”
And WHAT DAY IS THIS?
“For if Jesus [the translators saw the identical word for “Joshua” and substituted “Jesus” instead. But the entire context refers to Joshua’s oration, and the entry of the Israelites into the promised land] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day” (Hebrews 4:8).
Another DAY? What is this “day” referred to so often? What was the special “To Day” included in Joshua’s oration, repeated by David, repeated by the apostle Paul?
Let your own Bible answer: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). I have before me my old large type “studio Bible” I have used for over 40 years. It is the Authorized King James version, published by the National Bible Press, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the margin beside the word “rest” in Hebrews 4:9 is a note. It says, “Or, keeping of a Sabbath.” The word in Greek for “rest” which is used repeatedly in Hebrews 3 and 4 is katapausis. This Greek word means “a reposing” or a “downsitting; a reclining.” The prefix kata means down in place or in time, and the suffix pausis you will recognize from our English word “pause.” A “down pausing” is meant; or simply a “rest.” or you will find katapausis in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, in the Greek dictionary section, under number 2663. By looking up the word “rest” as it is placed in Hebrews 3 and 4, you will see the number 2663 beside it.
But when you come to the word “rest” in the expression, “There remaineth therefore a REST to the people of God,” you see a different number. It is number 4520 in Strong’s, and is Sabbatismos! Strong’s says: “Sabbatismos: from a derivative of 4521; a Sabbatism, i.e. (Fig.) The repose of Christianity—rest.”
The root from which Sabbatismos comes is the very next word, number 4521, which is Sabbaton, and means: “The Sabbath (i.e.Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observation or institution itself).”
No wonder, then, that the publishers of the National Bible Press King James Bible chose to place a note in the margin of Hebrews 4:9, to show that the word “rest” is NOT katapausis, as it is elsewhere in those two chapters, but a wholly DIFFERENT word, Sabbatismos, which means, literally “A KEEPING OF THE SABBATH!”
The passage should read, “Again, He limiteth a CERTAIN DAY, saying, in David, To Day, after so long a time: as it is said, To Day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.
“For if Joshua had given them rest [katapausis], then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
“There remaineth therefore a KEEPING OF THE SABBATH to the people of God.
“For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his [at creation, when God created the Sabbath day by RESTING on that day] .
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest [BY KEEPING THE SABBATH, AND STRIVING TOWARD THE KINGDOM OF GOD, WHICH IT REPRESENTS], lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:10, 11).
Jesus Christ plainly said, “And he said unto them, The sabbathwas made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
“Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was not made “for the Jews!” It was made THOUSANDS of years before any person called a Jew was born! It was made AT CREATION. Which day, then, is “the Lord’s Day”? Why, the SABBATH of course! Christ is “Lord of the Sabbath Day.”
You need to read my extensive book, Why Keep Saturday ForSunday? look up every scripture in your own Bible, and prove this absolutely VITAL truth to yourself!
But, CAUTION! Read this next section!
How To Approach The Word Of God
Millions of professing Christians see themselves as judges and critics of the Bible. There are countless “amateur theologians” who “interpret” the Bible to suit themselves. I have known dozens of people in my nearly fifty years in God’s work who are suspicious, doubting, critical concerning “doctrine.”
Some voice it this way: “Well, you have convinced me about this point, but I just don’t see that other point!” Many “accept” certain points of truth grudgingly, suspiciously. I have received dozens of letters, and heard many, many personal testimonies from people who tell me, “It took me years to see the Sabbath law, and I am still looking into this idea about no ever-burning hell!”
What these people do not realize is that they are approaching the Bible with a CARNAL MIND! They fail to understand that it is REPENTANCE, baptism, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit which opens their minds to the truth of God! I have expressed it this way: “It is as if you were looking through a keyhole, and suddenly someone threw open the door!”
The carnal mind is ANTAGONISTIC toward God! Paul wrote, “Because the carnal [physical; fleshly, devoid of the Spirit of God] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).
There are many who “search the scriptures to see if these things are NOT SO!”
In other words, many who are SHOCKED by what they hear me say on television, or what they read in my writing, hastily look into their Bibles trying to PROVE ME WRONG!
But notice the approach used by the Bereans, who heard the preaching of the apostle Paul: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
“Therefore [because they searched the scriptures in a POSITIVE manner; “whether these things were SO”, not “whether these things were NOT so!”] many of them believed; also ofhonourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:11, 12).
God says, “ Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:1, 2). Do you TREMBLE before the divine word of God?
Most people place themselves ABOVE the Bible! THEY will decide! THEY will determine. THEY will “prove all things.” Instead, people should see the Bible as FAR, FAR ABOVE them, and God above the Bible!
Jesus Christ said speaking of little children, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15).
Recently, a member of God’s church told me how he had wanted a family member to read the booklet Why Keep Saturday ForSunday? But the person simply threw it down angrily, and REFUSED TO READ IT!
God plainly shows that only those who are CALLED can understand: Jesus Christ said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
It requires a miracle from God to open an antagonistic, resentful, carnal mind!
Thousands have been shocked when they attempted to explain new truths which to them were WONDERFUL; truths which were beautiful, comforting, and which relieved them of old, fearful superstitions, only to find their loved ones angrily rebuffed them! This is why Christ said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
One should never attempt to “cram one’s religion down someone else’s throat!” All it does is alienate loved ones, family members and friends. Rather, one should be quietly exultant and thankful over learning God’s truth, then strive to live a shining example of “goodness, meekness, gentleness, faith” before others. Repentance means to CHANGE. It means “turn around and go the other way.” When loved ones see remarkable CHANGE in the lives of converted people, they are impressed by the examplethey see, and will not be impressed by any amount of preaching, arguing, or attempting to explain new truth to them.
Repent, and Be Baptized Every One Of You In The Name of Jesus Christ
Such were the inspired words of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). Now you know what it is for which we are told to repent! We are to repent of SIN, which is the breaking of God’s Ten Commandments as Christ elevated them to a spiritual plane! In other words, we are to repent even of evil THOUGHTS as well as evil actions. We are to repent of SABBATH-BREAKING as much as we would repent of lying, cheating, stealing, or murder!
Once we have truly come to self-revulsion over the things we have said, thought, and done which were contrary to God’s laws, we are commanded to be baptized!
The Greek word for “baptize” is almost identical to the English word. It is baptizo, and means to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet). It means to “immerse” in water! Notice Bible examples of baptism. One of the first is that of John the Baptist when Christ came to him to set us the example of water baptism: “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan [the Jordan River],
“And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:5, 6).
The word baptizo means “to plunge into,” and “to immerse,” so that the person being baptized is “fully wet!” It does NOT mean to sprinkle a little water from one’s finger tips into the face of a startled infant of six weeks! It is not a “christening!” It does NOT mean sprinkling, or pouring a little water over one’s head! Nor does it mean cavorting beneath a huge spray of water from a fire hydrant in the streets of New York, as one false religious leader obtained permission to do many decades ago, and call it “baptism.”
Ludicrously, many ancient paintings and woodcuts show imaginary pictures of John the Baptist standing knee deep in the Jordan River, with the penitent before him, as he uses his cupped hands to pour a bit of water over their heads! But notice, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16, 17) .
Notice that John resorted to those places along the Jordan which were DEEP enough to provide sufficient water for complete immersion: “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
“And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized” (John 3:22, 23).
Now notice the beautiful TYPE, or PICTURE that baptism represents: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin [shall we continue breaking the Ten Commandments?], that grace may abound?
“God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:1-5).
When a person dies, one does not simply tie the corpse to a tree, and throw a handful of earth in its face! No, the dead are BURIED. Baptism pictures the death and burial of the “old man,” and the resurrection of the “new man,” or the “new creature in Christ!”
As Christ was BURIED in the tomb, so, as a type, or picture of His death for our sins, we are temporarily BURIED for a few seconds in water! Paul uses the words “buried,” and “planted” to illustrate this point. Paul explained how an entirely NEW WAY OF LIFE begins once one is baptized, and receives God’s Holy Spirit: “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:10-12). When we commit sins, we come under the penalty of DEATH, for the “…wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). But when we repent, and are baptized, we are humbly accepting Christ’s death IN OUR PLACE! We are DEPICTING the death, burial and resurrection of Christ by our outward willingness to repent, and then be completely IMMERSED in water! Baptism symbolizes OUR DEATH as a result of sin, and pictures Christ’s death in our stead!
Now, think of the JOY of knowing what happens when one comes up out of the water of baptism! The rite of baptism WASHES YOUR SINS AWAY! It BURIES the sinful “old man” or “old woman.” When you come up out of the water, you are, at that moment, wholly SINLESS!
When God Forgives, He Also Forgets!
God says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12). When God FORGIVES, He FORGETS!
Men almost never truly forgive, and almost never forget! God promises us, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:10-12). Almighty God says HE WILL NEVER MENTION our past sins to us again! “Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turnfrom his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
“If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
“None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live” (Ezekiel 33:14-16). Just HOW WONDERFUL is that promise? To think that, at the time of our agonizing self-condemnation; our painful, embarrassed cries to God for forgiveness, we can eventually come up out of the waters of baptism, and know that EVERY SIN, from the bad things we did as children to the things we did in our teen age, to the sins we committed as adults, will be WASHED AWAY, and never again MENTIONED to us!
This should be the most JOYOUS news we could ever hear!
We now embark on a NEW life. We turn over a new leaf; a new page. We are as clean as a field of white, driven snow! Is that not cause for REJOICING?
But wait! IF THERE COMES A TIME when you become ANGRY with a fellow Christian, and decide to throw up his old sins at him, what happens to you?
Jesus Christ said, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors [in other words, exactly proportionate to our willingness to forgive others who have sinned against us!] .
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:12-15). Many thousands of professing Christians have GREAT TROUBLE with Christ’s commands concerning forgiveness! I want you to read a profoundly serious, sobering, and even shocking booklet about how professing “Christians” will use the knowledge of other persons’ sins! It is entitled Buried Sins And Spiritual Graves’ Robbers!
There are MANY people who believe they have been forgiven, but who WILL NOT forgive others! Unknowingly, they are headed toward a LAKE OF FIRE instead of the glorious Kingdom of God! You need to MAKE SURE you obey, from the heart, Christ’s commands concerning FORGIVENESS!
“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
“And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shaltforgive him.
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:3-5). How utterly CONTRARY to judgmental human nature to forgive someone seven times in the same day! No wonder the disciples asked Christ to “increase their faith!”
Peter asked Christ, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21, 22). Peter probably thought he was being very generous when he asked “‘till seven times?” He was shocked when Jesus Christ said, “Until SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN!”
If you take that literally, that means FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY TIMES!
But there are those who WILL NOT forgive their brothers or sisters in Christ unless their brothers or sisters repent TO THEM, in the exact manner, with the exact amount of broken-hearted, tearful remorse that they DEMAND of them!
Such people not only fail to see a vitally important biblical principle, they have no idea they stand in jeopardy of LOSING SALVATION and being thrown into a lake of fire! Once a person asks for forgiveness, saying “please forgive me,” it is NOT UP TO THE OFFENDED PARTY TO JUDGE THE DEPTH OR SINCERITY OF THE PROFESSED REPENTANCE!
No, it now becomes GOD’S responsibility! It is OUR responsibility to FORGIVE!
But what if we think the person is not really repentant? Should WE be the judge of their profession of repentance? God says NO! We have the responsibility to FORGIVE them! After that, it is God’s responsibility, not ours!
David prayed heartbrokenly for forgiveness after the affair with Bathsheba. He cried out, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
“Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalms 51:1-4). David was not required of God to go to the family of Uriah the Hittite, or the family of Bathsheba, and “make things right.” No, David repented before God! But there was a terrible PENALTY to be paid. The child which had been engendered died! David had to undergo horrible shame, embarrassment, and humility! Yet, God forgave him! Because David was a REPENTER when he had sinned, he was called “a man after God’s own heart.” He will be the KING over all Israel in the millennial reign of Christ!
But what if some in the “palace guard” who were close to David refused to forgive him?
What if some of them, so outraged over his licentious behavior, became filled with self-righteous wrath? After all, they had not heard his prayer. He did not repent before THEM! They did not know he WROTE the prayer he had prayed, and that God would preserve it for all time!
All they had to go on was the sight of their eyes and the hearing of their ears.
What if they decided to plot against David, and use his sin as proof that he was unqualified for his position as King? Would God have honored such a plot? Interesting questions, aren’t they?
God FORGAVE David! Now, anyone who JUDGED David was judging GOD, and not David! We have no record of any who did this, but, knowing human nature, do you doubt that there were those who judged him?
By all means, call or write for the booklet mentioned above!
Now, look at the fabulous, breathtaking CHANGE that occurs once we have repented, and been baptized!
“And Ye Shall Receive The Gift Of The Holy Spirit”
When Jesus Christ fulfilled His promise to send the “Comforter,” He did so with awe-inspiring miracles! First, a loud ROARING filled the large room where thousands were assembled! Then, right before their startled eyes, FIRE began to appear, coming through the ceiling! As the brilliant flames came nearer, they split into twelve equal parts, and each of the twelve fiery flames settled right on the heads of the apostles! (Acts 2:1-3).
Then, people representing at least EIGHTEEN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES began hearing the apostles, one by one, relating their experiences with Christ; how they had seen His miracles; what He had said to them about His impending death, burial, and resurrection; how they had seen Him die, and then seen Him ALIVE again!
Remember, each of these pilgrims came from one country or another from hundreds of miles in all directions! Present were “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
“Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
“Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:9-11). Count that list! Here, at a minimum, were people representing at least eighteen different languages and dialects. The apostles were not speaking in “unknown” languages! No, they were speaking, by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit, from their own minds and hearts, in their own tongue! Yet, God performed the MIRACLE of causing each individual to HEAR what was said in HIS language, or tongue! They said “we do hear THEM speaking IN OUR TONGUES” the wonderful works of God!
This great miracle was VISIBLE! It was AUDIBLE! It was for a great sign to unbelievers; a miracle from God to grab their attention, and give divine POWER to the words of the eyewitnesses to Christ’s ministry; His death, burial, and resurrection!
These people did not see a ghostly apparition, like an obscure wraith, hovering about!
They did not see a “PERSON” walk into the room and perform this great miracle! Millions have been deceived into believing that God is a “trinity!” They are told that God is “three in one, and one in three.” To them, there is the “Father,” and the “Son,” and the “Holy Spirit”—each being a separate (yet together) individual of the Godhead!
You need to read my booklet entitled, Is God A MYSTERY? It completely demolishes the false doctrine of the “trinity.” God’s spirit is likened to fire, air, water, power, and life!
It is said to be “poured out,” and is said to have the power to “beget.”
The Holy Spirit of the Father is His life-giving power; His mind, His nature, His life!
Jesus Christ was the FIRST BEGOTTEN of the Father (Hebrews 1:6).
Remember, divine Elohim (more than one; the “Spokesman,” who became Christ, did the speaking) said, “Let US make man in OUR image!” But creation was not completed in the Garden of Eden, it was only BEGUN!
Consider the example of Jesus Christ Himself! He was able, through His divine power, to enter the microcosm, and become the life-giving seed which fertilized the egg in the womb of a God-fearing, righteous virgin named Mary! The angel had told Mary: “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:30-35). Yet, though the angel plainly said it was the HOLY SPIRIT which would come upon Mary, Jesus was to be called “the Son of God!” But IF the Holy Spirit is the THIRD PERSON of a “trinity,” then Jesus was NOT the son of God the Father, but the Son of the HOLY SPIRIT!
The truth is there IS NO TRINITY! The ancient “AthanasianCreed” adopted by an apostate church at the Council of Nicaeain 324 AD, claiming God is an “hypostasis,” and a “mystery,” is absolutely FALSE! God reveals Himself to us through His word! Everywhere, you see DUALITY in His creation: North and South poles; positive and negative magnetic forces, night and day, two sexes; male and female; two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet!
Plainly, God the Father is called the FATHER of Jesus Christ! Christ prayed to His FATHER continually! He said, “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bearethwitness of me.
“Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:18, 19).
This is a VITALLY important point! You need to know what it means to receive the Holy Spirit of God! It is not “spiritual salt and pepper” to make one feel good. It is not just theological double-talk, or sanctimonious nonsense to speak of receiving the Holy Spirit! What you must understand is WHAT HAPPENS at the moment you receive God’s Spirit. What change takes place?
Notice how often we are called children of God once we are begotten with God’s Holy Spirit in the Bible: Look up the following scriptures in your own Bible and read them: Matthew 5:9; 8:12; Luke 6:35, 36; 20:36; John 11:52; Romans 8:16, 17, 21; Galatians 3:26; Hebrews 2:13.
Here is one of the most profound passages of scriptures in the Bible: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption [Greek: sonship], whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:14-17).
THINK deeply about what you just read. Too many people read the expression “they are the sons of God” as if it were so much “sanctimonious” language; a kind of spiritual phrase which means we are Bible believing, church-going people, or that God likes us. But if you read that you are the son or daughter of your PARENT, you would know it is a literal statement of fact!
To become a son of God means exactly what it says! When you are BEGOTTEN of the Father, then He becomes your LITERAL Spiritual Father — the Father who has begotten a NEW CHILD OF HIS inside your human mind, by uniting HIS Holy Spirit with YOUR HUMAN SPIRIT! Notice that the Greek word for “adoption” means more than legal adoption. You do not become God’s adopted child, and He does not become your foster parent! No, He becomes your REAL SPIRIT FATHER, and you become a “new creature in Christ!” Notice how Paul puts it, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Few professing Christians understand the REALITY of this scripture!
Here, in summary, is what it means: It required both of your parents to produce YOU.
Your father’s seed united with your mother’s fertile egg, and, at the instant of conception, YOU were in existence! You did not come into existence a split second prior to conception, nor did you come into existence a split second later! You did not suddenly become you on the third or sixth week from conception, but at the EXACT MOMENT of conception!
Now, inside the womb of your mother, a NEW HUMAN BEING was living! Do you see the clear analogy? After all, God (Elohim) said, “Let US make man in OUR IMAGE.” Christ, who was the Logos who did the speaking was the FIRST BEGOTTEN from the Father among all humans! He is also called the FIRSTBORN among many brethren, and the FIRST BORN FROM THE DEAD: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
Since there are to be MANY BRETHREN who will also be BORN OF GOD, Christ is called the FIRST born, not the only born!
You and I have a human spirit. God’s word says, “…there is a SPIRIT in man” (Job 32:8).
Solomon wrote, “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (Proverb 20:27). God gives us our human spirit: “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1). When Christ died, He said, “…Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
The human spirit is that which lifts man far above the level of animals. It is where our conscience, our volition, our decision-making capacity, our personality, and our deepest, innermost psyche resides. The SPIRIT of man is directly connected to the brain of man, which gives us what we call MIND. The spirit is NOT CONSCIOUS APART FROM A LIVING BRAIN! When the brain dies, the spirit is ASLEEP!
Notice several proofs: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy [you and I are the “express image” of our human parents], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [We are created in the image of our HEAVENLY Father IN SPIRIT!].
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God [we can only enter His great FAMILY KINGDOM in our glorified SPIRIT bodies!]; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:49-52). Study the entire fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. It clearly points out the vast difference between our human, earthly existence, and our future, spirit existence as a part of the very family of God! Notice that Paul says, ‘we shall not all SLEEP,’ meaning die!
Here is additional proof: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus [elsewhere called “the dead in Christ”] will God bring with him.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14).
Millions call the spirit in man the “soul.” They have been deceived into believing each of us has an “immortal soul” which remains CONSCIOUS when the body dies. But the words “immortal soul” are nowhere in the Bible! The word “immortal” occurs only ONCE in the Bible, in 1 Timothy 1:17, and speaks of Jesus Christ, who is immortal! The word “immortality” is found only five times. Paul, writing of God, said to Timothy, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16).
The spirit of man is NOT CONSCIOUS when the body dies, but is ASLEEP! Your Bible says so, over and over again! When the person dies, the “new creature in Christ” is still there, but IN A PROFOUND SLEEP! There is no consciousness; no awareness of the passing of time; no pain, no anxiety, no suffering! This is why Paul characterizes the sleep of the creature in Christ as being so SHORT a time as to be like a mere MOMENT, like the twinkling of an eye. He said, “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead [they are DEAD, unconscious, NOT ALIVE!] shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
We are to be changed from flesh to spirit! From human to divine! From the children of our fleshly parents to the children of GOD HIMSELF! Christ is the FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY BRETHREN!
Now, read these profound words again, and understand: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption [sonship!], whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
“The Spirit itself [God’s Holy Spirit] beareth witness with ourspirit [our human spirit; the “spirit in man”], that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:14-17). And what has Christ INHERITED? He is the FIRST born of the Father by a resurrection from the dead!
You need to understand these words exactly as they are written! Millions “spiritualize away” the profound content of these words. To them, being a “child of God” is merely a spiritual-sounding phrase that means we are loved of God; that we are in His good graces; that we are a “Christian.” But they fail to understand that we are to be BORN OF GOD OUR FATHER in the SAME WAY as was Christ at the resurrection!
They fail to see we are to become a PART OF THE FAMILY OF GOD!
Your last name connotes your family ties. You are the son or daughter of your parents.
You were conceived by them. You were produced by them. They were recreating in their own HUMAN image! You were born of your mother. You became a member of their family!
The same thing occurs in the SPIRIT realm when you repent, are baptized, and receive the begetting Spirit of your HEAVENLY FATHER! He is not your heavenly Father in name only. When you pray, “Our Father which is in heaven,” you are not merely recognizing a title of God, but identifying yourself as HIS SON OR DAUGHTER!
When He BEGETS you as a “new creature in Christ,” you are HIS SPIRIT CHILD!
Just as your mother “hosted” your microscopic life at conception; just as you grew within her womb, so your own physical body is merely a temporary TABERNACLE in which the “new creature in Christ” dwells! Now, following repentance, baptism, and the begettal by your Heavenly Father, a NEW SPIRIT BEING has been engendered!
His Spirit has come to connect with your human spirit! The TWO spirits become ONE NEW SPIRIT. In your physical beginning, your father’s seed connected with your mother’s fertile egg, and YOU WERE THEN IN EXISTENCE! A NEW, NEVER BEFORE, NEVER TO BE AGAIN, UNIQUE HUMAN BEING was on the way!
When God the Father begets new children with His Spirit, a new, never before, never to be again SPIRIT BEING is on the way!
God’s church is analogous to the spiritual “womb” where each “new creature in Christ” is nurtured, protected, and fed. It is where the new creature GROWS toward maturity!
Paul wrote, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Now, look at the TRUE MEANING of what Christ told Nicodemus!
“You Must Be Born Again!”
It was the first time in history anyone had ever heard the phrase. Nicodemus, a leader among the Jews, was incredulous. To him, it sounded like Jesus Christ was suggesting that each human had to accomplish a wholly impossible act. Christ had told him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
As commonly known that former President Jimmy Carter was a “born again Christian.” People who say this about themselves are generally members of one or another of the “fundamentalist” Protestant church organizations. To them, “receiving Christ,” or “getting saved” is the equivalent of “being born again.” There is no way any thinking human being could come to such a ridiculous conclusion by reading what Jesus Christ actually said to Nicodemus, nor from Nicodemus’ incredulous response.
He told Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”(John 3:4). Did Nicodemus think Jesus Christ was using language which indicated a “spiritual experience”? Did Jesus’ plain statement, “You must be born again” indicate to Nicodemus that he should “pray the Spirit down”? Did Jesus Christ indicate that Nicodemus should “speak in tongues”? Of course not! No, the language Jesus Christ used was plainly speaking of real BIRTH! The birth of a human being is hardly an indication of something “spiritual,” or “Pentecostal,” or concerns “tarry meetings,“ or “praying the Spirit down!”
Christ used the same words He would have used had He spoken of any birthing process; whether human or animal! The Greek word is gennao. It means “to generate,” or “to engender,” or “to procreate,” or “to reproduce.” The Greek word means the entire process from conception to parturition, or birth! In English, we use “conception” for the moment of the creation of a new human fetus (or “zygote” as biologists call it), and “birth” for the moment of actual birth. But in the Greek language, the word gennao means the entire process!
Now, notice how Jesus Christ explained what he meant: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).
You and I were born of our fleshly parents. We are flesh. Neither you nor I, speaking of our physical bodies, are SPIRIT! We are physical, human, FLESH!
But Jesus Christ said when one is BORN OF THE SPIRIT he or she BECOMES SPIRIT!
Read it again. Clearly, when He said, “that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT,” He meant it exactly as it sounds! He went on to explain to Nicodemus that, when one is born of the Spirit, one becomes INVISIBLE TO HUMAN EYES. He likened the spirit world, and being born of the Spirit, to becoming LIKE THE WIND! He said we can hear the sound of wind, but cannot tell where it comes from, or where it goes.
How PLAIN! How SIMPLE when one sees what Jesus Christ actually SAID, and sees now Nicodemus knew Christ was NOT referring to some kind of emotional, sentimental, “spiritual experience.” Here is additional Bible proof: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [die; the Bible continually describes death as a deep, unconscious sleep], but we shall all be changed,
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed [BORN AGAIN; changed from human to divine!].
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, and is therefore called “…the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
When you receive your Father’s Holy Spirit, you are begotten of Him. Then, you are to GROW in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ!
Study the entire fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. It plainly shows the vast difference between our HUMAN existence and the great CHANGE which is to occur either at the moment of Christ’s return, or at the resurrection of the dead!
Acts 2:38 In Summary
Now, review what you have learned. To repent means to be deeply, broken-heartedly SORRY you have BROKEN GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS as they were spiritually MAGNIFIED by Jesus Christ! Remember, Christ said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-23).
To become enraged against a fellow human being, and to say “you worthless FOOL” is the SAME THING AS MURDER, according to Christ! This makes the Ten Commandments FAR MORE BINDING than the letter!
Repentance should include being deeply sorry for everything we have ever said, thought, or done which was in any way contrary to God’s law!
Real heartfelt REPENTANCE is PAINFUL! It is the agony of seeing ourselves as if a worthless piece of junk; a form of life lower than a worm! It is SELF-REVULSION; self-disgust; and complete SURRENDER to God and Jesus Christ! Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [changed! Repentance is a change of heart; a change in direction!] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1, 2).
Repentance will invariably involve TEARS! It is heart-rending! It is PAINFUL! No one sees one’s self as a worthless filthy rag; something one would find under a garbage can, without a real BLOW to the vain, egotistical, pompous, carnal-minded person we were before repentance!
Then, when we have really repented, Christ demands that we receive the rite of water baptism. This pictures the death and burial of the old, carnal, vain person; the “washing away of all sin” in the water, and the resurrection of a new and different person! It is an outward symbol also of our acceptance (in great thanksgiving and humility) of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When, hands are laid upon us for the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit, we are BEGOTTEN of God, who becomes our SPIRITUAL FATHER! He places His Holy Spirit together with our human spirit, thus CREATING within our minds A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This tender, innocent, pure, forgiven little spirit creature IS REAL! It is not merely an imaginary something which makes us “better persons.” It is as REAL, in the spiritual realm, as was that moment in time when your father and your mother caused your conception!
Now, you know there is much, much more to the command to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
May God grant you real repentance, and make you a “new creature in Christ,” a new, never-before, unique SPIRIT being within your physical body, daily receiving the spiritual nutrition which will eventually allow you to be BORN OF GOD! When you are finally born of God, what will you be? Let the Bible answer: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18). Exactly!
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