Faithfulness vs Actions (3 of 3)

The Roman Catholic Church imposed its false Trinitarian view of God upon the world by locking away the Scriptures and putting to death millions. With this false view of God and a false view of man as a spirit being that goes to heaven or hell after death, how could Martin Luther have attained the right gospel message? He understood “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17) to mean that we’re saved by faith or belief. But Habakkuk’s statement “the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness” (2:4 NET), “the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (2:4 NIV), isn’t about our faith but His faithfulness—Christ’s faithfulness to His Father in sacrificing Himself as He had been sent. Luther didn’t restore the true gospel message but concocted a new one that’s damning multitudes.

The Protestant gospel of sola fide or faith alone is that salvation is by believing and not by anything we do. To bolster this deception, throughout the New Testament the Greek pistis has been rendered “faith” instead of “faithfulness,” pisteuo as “believe” instead of “trust,” and ergon as “works” instead of “actions.” Furthermore, a false antithesis of faith versus works was contrived from Paul’s statements, “a man is justified by faith [faithfulness] without the deeds [actions] of the law” (Rom 3:28), “a man is not justified by the works [actions] of the law, but by the faith [faithfulness] of Jesus Christ” (Gal 2:16), “For by grace are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works [actions]” (Eph 2:8-9). But Paul wasn’t teaching our faith versus our works, but Christ’s faithfulness as our sacrifice versus the Levitical priests’ actions of offering animal sacrifices. We’ve also been taught to call ourselves “believers” even though the early church never did—they called themselves “servants.” Modern Bible versions mistranslate many statements such as: “In those days Peter stood up among the believers” (Act 1:15 NIV), “All the believers were together and had everything in common” (Act 2:44 NIV), “All the believers were one in heart and mind” (Act 4:32 NIV), “And all the believers used to meet together” (Act 5:12 NIV).

Protestant Trinitarians claim that “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3) is that their message of faith and system of theology was delivered to the church by the apostles. But Jude was talking about the message of faithfulness delivered to God’s people in the Exodus, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt” (v. 5). He delivered to them faithfulness to Him, “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exo 20:6). However, many were unfaithful, “they could not enter in because of unbelief [unfaithfulness]” (Heb 3:19). As God’s people today, we’re to earnestly contend for that same faithfulness to Him.

The true gospel message of which Paul wasn’t ashamed to proclaim is the message Jesus Christ Himself preached, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [trusts]” (Rom 1:16). Jesus preached trust in His sacrifice on the cross for our sins, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth [trusts] in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth [trusts] in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jhn 3:14-16).

Jesus didn’t teach salvation by faith but by righteousness to the moral standard set by the law and the prophets: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets … For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:17,20), “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12). He requires us to hear and do the moral righteousness of the law defined by Him, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24,26). Paul and James reiterated, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom 2:13), “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jas 1:22).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Co 5:17) supposedly means that we become some kind of new creature by a faith confession. But “he is” is italicized indicating it’s not in the Greek text but added. This isn’t about a person but the creation itself being renewed, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away … no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:1,4). The “old things” that are passed away are death, sorrow, crying, and pain. It’s all part of the false gospel message of sola fide.

The Actions of the Law (2 of 3)

The writer of Hebrews stated “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works [actions], and of faith [faithfulness] toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms [washings], and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Heb 6:1-2). The Greek ergon translated typically as “works” simply means “actions,” whatever actions the context requires. Here, it’s the actions of the high priest on the annual day of atonement. They were “dead actions” because they didn’t remit sins. In Leviticus chapter 16, the high priest would “wash his flesh in water” (vs. 4,24) before and after laying his hands on the head, “lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat” (v. 21). He would also sprinkle the blood of a bull and a goat upon the mercy seat, “And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat … Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat” (vs. 14,15). “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood … For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works [actions] to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:7,13-14). God’s people were to repent or turn away from these “dead actions” and trust in Christ’s “faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1) as the true sacrifice for their sins.

Romans chapter 3 is about Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to give Himself as our sacrifice versus the actions of offering animal sacrifices mandated by the law, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith [faithfulness] without the deeds [actions] of the law” (v. 28). Christ’s faithfulness, “the faithfulness of Jesus Christ … Jesus’ faithfulness” (vs. 22,26 NET), was that He shed His blood upon the true mercy seat, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [mercy seat] through faith [faithfulness] in his blood” (v. 25). And Paul continued this thought into chapter 4 concerning the actions of Abraham and David.

“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works [actions], he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom 4:1-3). What was it that Abraham came to find, recognize, and understand? Having built altars to offer animal sacrifices after his pagan upbringing, “there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD” (Gen 12:8), “Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD” (Gen 13:4), “and built there an altar unto the LORD” (Gen 13:18), he found that righteousness came by trusting God, “And he believed [trusted] in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen 15:6). And we’re not told of him building another altar until the one upon which he was to offer his son in obedience to God, “Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood” (Gen 22:9). Thus, “justified by works [actions]” are Abraham’s actions of building altars for sacrifices.

“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works [actions], Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Rom 4:6-8). In Psalm 32 from which Paul was quoting, David said he was forgiven by confessing his sins, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psa 32:5). That “God imputeth righteousness without works [actions],” is that David said nothing in this Psalm about actions of animal sacrifices—only acknowledging and confessing sin.

Even when David sinned in the matter of Uriah the Hittite and Bathsheba, he not only acknowledged his sin but also said plainly that he did NOT offer an animal sacrifice, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psa 51:2-3,16-17). David understood that animal sacrifices were dead actions that never remitted sins.

In the contexts which Paul was teaching the actions of offering animal sacrifices, the Greek ergon has been translated “works” instead of “actions,” imposing a wrong understanding. Thus, the false gospel message of faith versus works is proclaimed—that we’re saved by believing and not by keeping God’s commandments.

Jesus Christ’s Faithfulness (1 of 3)

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him” (Heb 3:1-2). This “heavenly calling” in Hebrews refers to the Son of God calling to Abraham out of heaven, “And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto him out of heaven … And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time” (Gen 22:11,15). The Greek apostolos rendered as “Apostle” simply means “one sent.” In context, God’s Son is the Lamb sent that Abraham foretold, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 22:8). And that He “was faithful to him” is that the Son was faithful to His Father in sacrificing Himself for us.

Paul taught in Romans the faithfulness of Christ, “the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ … the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness” (Rom 3:22,26 NET). Through faithfulness in shedding His blood, He became the true mercy seat for the remission of sins, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [mercy seat] through faith [faithfulness] in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (v. 25). Therefore, when Paul concluded “that a man is justified by faith [faithfulness] without the deeds [actions] of the law” (v. 28), he meant that our sins are remitted by Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood, not by the actions the law required—the high priest sprinkling blood of animals on the mercy seat.

When Paul said “For by grace are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works [actions]” (Eph 2:8-9), he wasn’t speaking of our faith but Christ’s faithfulness, “in whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness” (Eph 3:12 NET). The grace by which we’re saved is through Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). The actions of the law were abolished when the partitioning wall of the temple was tore, “the veil of the temple was rent” (Mat 27:51; Mar 15:38; Luk 23:45), “hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph 2:14-15), “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Heb 10:19-20).

Christ spoke of His faithfulness to do the will of His Father sending Him: “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” (Jhn 3:16); “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (Jhn 4:34); “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (Jhn 5:30); “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (Jhn 6:38); “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (Jhn 10:17-18); “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mat 26:39), “not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mar 14:36), “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luk 22:42).

Paul contrasted the actions prescribed by the law with Christ’s faithfulness to give Himself for our sins, “no one is justified by the works [actions] of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works [actions] of the law, because by the works [actions] of the law no one will be justified” (Gal 2:16 NET), “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (v. 20 NET). Habakkuk’s famous statement “the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness” (2:4 NET), “the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (2:4 NIV), isn’t about our faith but Christ’s faithfulness. Therefore, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith [faithfulness]That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith [faithfulness]” (Gal 3:11,14), is that the blessing of Abraham comes to us, not by the sacrificial actions of the law, but by the faithfulness of Christ’s own sacrifice. Thus, the blessing of Abraham, “And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heavenThat in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Gen 22:15,17), is by the faithfulness of his Seed, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal 3:16).

The Root Problem

Trinitarianism is a “Jesus” religion masquerading as Christianity by piggybacking on the Scriptures just like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists. And by persistently renouncing all others as false, it bolsters the deception that it’s the one that’s actually true. But the God of Trinitarianism isn’t the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17). And if our God is not the God of the Lord Jesus Christ, then the God of the Lord Jesus Christ is not our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ is not our Lord.

Trinitarianism is all about deluding people into thinking they’re Christians, then keeping them functioning in society as they speed headlong down the broad way leading to destruction. They give them a “Christian” Trinitarian God, “Christian” churches on almost every street corner, a “Christian” gospel message, endless streams of “Christian” sermons and “Christian” books, and “Christian” counseling along with prescribed medication for a whole slew of personal issues—abuse, anger, anxiety, codependency, depression, divorce, grief, loneliness, marriage, parenting, sexual, and trauma. It’s all about relieving the superficial symptoms of life without ever getting to the root problem—that the one true God is not their God, and they’re not keeping the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Trinitarian view of God was forced upon the world by the Roman the Catholic Church locking away the Scriptures, then executing millions of people that refused to conform. And Protestant “Christianity” is simply the offspring of her mother. Trinitarianism is all just part of this evil world system ruled by the devil: “the prince of this world” (Jhn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11); “keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jhn 17:15-16); “this present evil world” (Gal 1:4); “the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2); “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph 6:12); “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe [trust] not” (2Co 4:4); “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1Jo 5:19).

Eternal life is knowing the true God, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). But if we don’t know the true God, then we don’t have eternal life and anything we do has no eternal significance whatsoever. What does it matter that we go to church every week, listen to sermons, pray regularly, stick to a daily Bible reading, memorize verses, sing praise music, serve in various ways, and give financially?

Salvation begins with the one true God being the God of our lives: “I will be their God” (Gen 17:8; Jer 24:7,32:38; Eze 11:20,37:23; Zec 8:8); “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Jer 32:38); “ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Eze 36:28); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Eze 37:27); “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mat 22:32); “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17); “Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also” (Rom 3:29); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2Co 6:16); “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10); “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb 11:16); “they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev 21:3).

Paul told the elders at Ephesus, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Act 20:29-30). And at the end of his life he told Timothy, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me” (2Ti 1:15). Everything he had poured himself into was almost completely gone. Of Christ’s messages to the seven churches, although a couple of them He didn’t reprove, all the others He did. There were only a few people saved in Sardis, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy” (Rev 3:4), and all in Laodicea were in danger, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev 3:16). We’re greatly deceived if we think that for almost 2,000 years without the apostles, we finally have Christ’s church established! The sad reality is that there is no church in the world today. We’re almost at the end times when the true gospel will be preached again, and God will pour out His wrath upon this evil world.

The root problem is that “The Lord our God” is not our God, and we’re not keeping His commands, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength … Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mar 12:29-31).

I Will Be Their God

The question is sometimes asked about how people were saved before Christ came into this world and died on the cross. After all, if salvation is by faith in Christ or believing in Him, then how could anyone have had faith or believed? This dilemma is actually a big red flag that something is seriously wrong with the gospel message being preached. But once our message is right, there’s nothing left to question.

Several times Paul called “God our Saviour” (1Ti 1:1,2:3; Tit 1:3,2:10,3:4), “the living God, who is the Saviour of all men” (1Ti 4:10). Yet he also called both God and Jesus Christ our Savior, “God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ” (1Ti 1:1), “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:13), “God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 1:4). And Jesus Christ Himself taught that God is our Savior because He sent Him to save us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (Jhn 3:16-17). Although Jesus Christ certainly is our Savior because He did the work for which He was sent, ultimately God is our Savior for sending His Son to do the work.

Before Christ, God’s people were saved by God their Savior: “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt” (Psa 106:21); “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour” (Isa 45:15); “there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me” (Isa 45:21); “I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer” (Isa 49:26,60:16); “Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me” (Hos 13:4).

The writer of Hebrews stated, “Now faith [faithfulness] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.” (Heb 11:1-2). The repeated “By faith [faithfulness]” phrase for the people listed—Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel, and others not listed—is that the accounts of their faithfulness to God recorded in the Scriptures is the “good report” from Him. God witnessed that their deaths in hope of resurrection to eternal life will be substantiated or actualized because they were faithful to Him.

Salvation is about pleasing God, “But without faith [faithfulness] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe [trust] that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6). And this faithfulness to God our Father is what Jesus taught: “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4), “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:6), “That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:18). God will reward those faithful and pleasing to Him.

God progressively revealed Himself since the beginning, and faithfulness to Him before Christ came meant submitting to whatever He had revealed and required at that time. But faithfulness to Him after Christ has come means submitting to His requirement to submit to His Son. Submitting to His Son is faithfulness to God. After healing people, Jesus would sometimes say “thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole” (Mat 9:22; Mar 5:34,10:52; Luk 8:48,17:19). This wasn’t about faith or belief but faithfulness to God in receiving Him as the Prophet foretold by Moses, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren” (Deu 18:15,18); “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” (Jhn 6:14), “Of a truth this is the Prophet” (Jhn 7:40).

Salvation is ultimately about the one true God being the God of our lives: “I will be their God” (Gen 17:8; Jer 24:7,32:38; Eze 11:20,37:23; Zec 8:8); “will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33); “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Jer 32:38); “ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Eze 36:28); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Eze 37:27); “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2Co 6:16); “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb 8:10); “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Heb 11:16); “they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev 21:3); “I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev 21:7). And being the God of our lives is that because we’re obeying the commandments of His Son Jesus Christ and living by the truth He taught, then we can trust God to provide for us, protect us, defend us, and save us. It’s living faithfully to please to Him.

The Sower, the Seed, and the Soils

Christ’s very first parable was that of the Sower: “Behold, a sower went forth to sow” (Mat 13:3), “Behold, there went out a sower to sow” (Mar 4:3), “A sower went out to sow his seed” (Luk 8:5). He is the Sower in this parable and the seed is the message He preached: “Jesus began to preach”  (Mat 4:17); “preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (4:23, 9:35); “he departed thence to teach and to preach” (11:1); “the poor have the gospel preached to them” (11:5); “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mar 1:14); “that I may preach there also” (1:38); “And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee” (1:39); “he preached the word unto them” (2:2); “preach the gospel to the poor” (Luk 4:18); “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also” (4:43); “And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee” (4:44); “to the poor the gospel is preached” (7:22); “he went throughout every city and village, preaching” (8:1).

The soils, of course, are four conditions or states of people’s hearts that hear His preaching: way side; stony places; among thorns; good ground. Way side hearts are people who never have the correct understanding of the message, “understandeth it not” (Mat 13:19). It’s because the devil hinders and obstructs it, “then cometh the wicked one” (Mat 13:19), “Satan cometh immediately” (Mar 4:15), “then cometh the devil” (Luk 8:12). Through false doctrines, corrupted Bible translations, religions and denominations, wolves in sheep’s clothing, confusion, division, and isolation, the devil keeps the masses from ever understanding the message in the first place. So long as we’re deceived, we’re kept on the broad way that leads to destruction.

Stony places are those who understand the Lord’s message yet have a shallow commitment or loyalty to Him, “hath he not root in himself” (Mat 13:21), “have no root in themselves” (Mar 4:17), “have no root” (Luk 8:13). When conflicts come, “tribulation or persecution ariseth” (Mat 13:21), “affliction or persecution ariseth” (Mar 4:17), “in time of temptation” (Luk 8:13), they don’t endure but fall away. Flavorless salt, even salt that once had flavor, is useless. Therefore, salt that has lost its flavor isn’t retained but thrown out, “if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out” (Mat 5:13), “if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? … men cast it out” (Luk 14:34,35). Likewise, unproductive soil is left as wasteland.

Thorns in the heart are “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” (Mat 13:22), “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things” (Mar 4:19), “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luk 8:14). John delineated three main categories of sin, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Jo 2:16). These are primarily sexual deviations, coveting riches and possessions, and loving the praise and approval of people. As in the beginning, “And Adam was not deceived [apataō 538], but the woman being deceived [apataō 538] was in the transgression” (1Ti 2:14), the serpent entices us with “the deceitfulness [apatē 539] of riches.” Coveting and lusting deceives us from the truth Christ taught, “But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful [apatē 539] lusts” (Eph 4:20-22). Sin is deceitful because we think we can handle it—that we can sin and still be fruitful to our Lord and right with God.

Good ground, however, “heareth the word, and understandeth it” (Mat 13:23), “hear the word, and receive it” (Mar 4:20), “having heard the word, keep it” (Luk 8:15). These aren’t deceived by false doctrines but correctly understand God’s message preached by His Son, then keep and retain it. As good soil bears fruit for a planter, these hearts produce for the Lord His intended result. They worship the one true God, “The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mar 12:29), “the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (Jhn 4:23), “the only true God” (Jhn 17:3). And they obey the Lord, “heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them” (Mat 7:24), “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded” (Mat 28:20), “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46).

Having ears to hear, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Mat 13:9), “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Mar 4:9), “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Luk 8:8), is using our ears to hear and understand Christ’s message. After all, if we’re not using our ears for the greatest endeavor, what good are they really? Christ’s message in His preaching on earth is the same from the right hand of God in heaven, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches” (Rev 2:7,11,17,29, 3:6,13,22). And our hearts are still the soils today. We must hear the truth He preached about God and about Himself, and obey what He commanded. But if we won’t listen to Him, we have no hope.

Harden Not Your Hearts

When Jude wrote “ye should earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints” (v. 3), he was referring to God’s people in the Exodus, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not” (v. 5). God commanded faithfulness to Him, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exo 20:3), and obedience to Him, “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exo 20:6). Yet His people didn’t trust Him and were destroyed.

While still in Egypt, God declared to His people the land inheritance promised to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised” (Exo 12:25), “which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exo 13:5). But God began testing their faithfulness and trust as soon as they crossed the Red Sea, “So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water … And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” (Exo 15:22,24). “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron … ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exo 16:2-3). They weren’t trusting Him for their daily provision as His Son would later teach, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on … Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Mat 6:25,31).

The writer of Hebrews defined the gospel as the message God preached to His people in the Exodus, “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 [faithfulness] in them that heard it” (Heb 4:2). That they were “not being mixed” is that “they were not united with those” (HCSB, LEB, TLV), “they did not join in with those” (NET). Ten of the twelve spies “brought up an evil report of the land” (Num 13:32), but Joshua and Caleb exhorted the people, “If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not” (Num 14:8-9). The people didn’t join themselves with Joshua and Caleb’s faithfulness and trust, “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed [trusted] not?” (Heb 3:18).

The people failed to trust God at that crucial moment because they had already been sinning and hardening their hearts against Him, “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13). And Paul listed their sins, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them … Neither let us commit fornication as some of them committed … Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted … Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured … Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition” (1Co 10:6-11). Those events were written as our examples because that is the gospel message by which we’re saved.

When we sin against God by lusting, idol worshipping, fornicating, testing, and complaining, our hearts harden and we’ll find it difficult to trust God even for the basic necessities of food, water, and clothing. But when we’re keeping His commandments, He breathes into our hearts the confidence to trust Him. It wasn’t that Caleb just had positive thinking but that he had another spirit or breath, “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit [breath] with him, and hath followed me fully” (Num 14:24). The majority, however, were in bondage to evil spirits because of their sins.

When God told Joshua, “that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee … This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein” (Jos 1:7,8), it wasn’t about memorizing Scripture but exhorting each other daily to keep His commandments, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13), “the deceitful lusts” (Eph 4:22).

The gospel isn’t a system of theology given to the early church by the apostles that is simply to be believed, “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” It’s the message of faithfulness and obedience to God in keeping His commandments, and trusting Him to enter the inheritance we have through Christ.

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Mat 7:15-20). Jesus said that wolves are exposed by their fruits.

“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Mat 12:33-35). The “fruit” by which wolves are identified is the words that come out of their mouths from their hearts. The reason it’s “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” is because what we say to ourselves in our hearts regularly, one day will come out of our mouths publicly!

Nobody but God knows what’s in our hearts but others will know once they hear it come from our mouths. God will put us in situations that pressure us to speak out loud the abundance of good or evil we’ve been speaking to ourselves in our hearts. The heart is to the mouth what a tree is to fruit.

This is also what Jesus meant by “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Mat 6:31). If we’re serving God, we can’t be questioning to ourselves about His provision for our lives, or planning for our provision tomorrow, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow” (Mat 6:34). Jesus taught a parable about a rich man who spoke in his heart to himself, “And he thought within himself, saying” (Luk 12:17). He concluded His parable by teaching, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on” (Luk 12:22).

James taught extensively about the tongues, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs?” (Jas 3:8-12). His questioning “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs?” parallels what Christ Himself had asked “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” The heart is known by the tongue as a tree is known by its fruit.

James went on to say, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (Jas 3:14-15). Envying and strife in the heart is from the devil. The phrase “from above” hearkens back to earlier in his letter, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas 1:17). What’s “from above” is Christ Himself, “He that cometh from above is above all” (Jhn 3:31), “Ye are from beneath; I am from above” (Jhn 8:23). Therefore, the wisdom “from above” is the teaching of Christ who came from above, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (Jas 3:17-18). The “fruit” of being right with God is a pure heart that makes peace with others.

Trinitarian Pastors fighting against the true view of God taught by His Son reveal what’s in their hearts. They betray themselves as wolves by what they say, “by their fruits ye shall know them.” And I found the same proved true with some fellow “Christians” whom I knew for many years. We were in each other’s homes, enjoyed meals together, met for worship and group prayer, and joined in many Bible studies and group discussions. Yet these same gentle and loving people would sometimes speak harsh words—talking despitefully about others, falsely accusing, arguing, causing divisions, and ultimately rejecting what Jesus Christ taught about God.

We don’t know what’s in anyone else’s heart. But when someone is bearing “evil fruit” by speaking evil, we can know their heart for certain, that they’re an “evil tree.” Hypocrites are very skilled at acting favorably in public—wearing sheep’s clothing. But when pressure is applied or when they think nobody is listening, we’ll hear from their mouths what’s truly in their hearts. By their fruits we know them.

Close Enough Isn’t Good Enough

God sent His only begotten Son into this world to teach us about Him and to sacrifice Himself for our sins. Christ’s teaching about God and about Himself isn’t just close enough to the truth but is the truth. He pledged His name, His glory, and His life upon the truth He taught. And since He suffered and died for us to get it right, therefore we must get it right. Close enough isn’t good enough.

The Father and His Son know each other and agree with each other completely: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Mat 11:27); “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him” (Luk 10:22); “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (Jhn 8:18); “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father” (Jhn 10:15); “I and my Father are one” (Jhn 10:30).

Only the Son of God has seen His Father God, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (Jhn 1:18), “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46). The Son’s teaching about His Father and about Himself is the truth and anyone teaching differently either doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or they’re purposely teaching differently. Highly educated ministers are smart enough and knowledgeable enough to get this most essential right. If they’re teaching it wrong, however, then the only reasonable conclusion is that it’s willful and intentional—they shouldn’t be heard.

Jesus Christ said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jhn 17:3). And John taught, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1Jo 5:20). Eternal life is knowing the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ—getting it wrong means perishing. Close enough isn’t good enough.

God became the Father by virtue of having begotten His Son. And He sent His only begotten Son into this evil and sinful world having appointed His sufferings, sending Him into those sufferings, then witnessing every moment of His sufferings. Can any parent imagine such? God loves us that much, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Jhn 3:16), “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world” (1Jo 4:9). Since the Father gave the most for us, do we think that giving back less will suffice? Do we think that close enough will be good enough?

Furthermore, it’s also about our unworthiness to be loved, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:7-8), “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself” (Heb 12:3). The immense chasm between His great love and the objects of His love further attests that close enough won’t be good enough.

Considering all the Father and the Son sacrificed and suffered so we could know them in truth, will they accept what’s close enough as good enough? Jesus said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit [breath] and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (Jhn 4:23). Since the Father seeks those that will worship Him in truth, He sent His Son to teach us the truth. And since His Son accomplished what He was sent to do, will the Father accept worship of Him that’s any less than the truth? His Son Jesus Christ ensured that we would get it right, therefore close enough isn’t good enough.

Today especially, with the wide availability of Bibles and study tools, we have more than enough help to get the right view of God and no excuses for getting it wrong. Throughout history many people got it right about God with far less resources and advantages than we have. Why would it be acceptable for us to get it wrong with more when they got it right with less? This evil world system with all of its problems, distractions, and entices, lulls us to lethargy—we just don’t have the time or the desire to search the Scriptures and seek God prayerfully with all our hearts. Since any view of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ that’s not entirely right is wrong, will we stake our eternal destiny on close enough being good enough?

Like God or Coequal?

Trinitarianism asserts that the Son of God is coequal with His Father God and use these two statements as support: “making himself equal [isos 2470] with God” (Jhn 5:18); “thought it not robbery to be equal [isos 2470] with God” (Phl 2:6).

The Greek adjective isos is where our English isosceles—a triangle with two equal sides or legs—is derived along with skelos the Greek word for “leg.” It means “agreed,” “equal,” or “like” as it’s used in five other places in the New Testament: two groups of people being paid the same amount, “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal [isos 2470] unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day” (Mat 20:12); the agreement of eyewitness testimony, “For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not [isos 2470] together … But neither so did their witness agree together [isos 2470]” (Mar 14:56,59); receiving a like favor in return, “And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much [isos 2470] again” (Luk 6:34); receiving a like gift from God, “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like [isos 2470] gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” (Act 11:17); the heavenly city of Jerusalem having equal or like dimensions, “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal [isos 2470]” (Rev 21:16).

To understand in what way Jesus is “equal [isos 2470] with God” (Jhn 5:18; Phl 2:6), it must first be acknowledged that the Greek theos for “god” is simply a position of authority and not a kind of being. The Father is God because of His status as the highest ranking authority over all, including over His Son Jesus Christ. That theos isn’t a kind of being is evident by Jesus and Paul both using this word for different kinds of beings: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods [theos 2316]? If he called them gods [theos 2316], unto whom the word of God [theos 2316] came” (Jhn 10:34-35); “For though there be that are called gods [theos 2316], whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods [theos 2316] many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God [theos 2316], the Father” (1Co 8:5-6). Since a kind of being and a rank of authority are two different things, thus the Son can be “equal to” or exactly like His Father yet “not equal to” Him as God or rank of authority.

The Son was begotten in the exact likeness of His Father as the same kind of divine being, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son … the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jhn 3:16,18). As the same kind of being, He had the power of God to create everything from nothing: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (Jhn 1:3); “God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph 3:9); “all things were created by him, and for him” (Col 1:16); “by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb 1:2).

As a human son is like his father in humankind but not equal in rank of authority, so it is with the Son of God and His Father. In the statement “but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal [isos 2470] with God” (Jhn 5:18), Jesus Christ’s claim of likeness with God was consistent with His earlier claim of having been begotten of God as His Son, “his only begotten Son … the only begotten Son of God” (Jhn 3:16,18). He was like God by virtue of having been fathered by God.

A little later Jesus stated “I and my Father are one” (Jhn 10:30), and was understood as claiming to be more than other men, “thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (Jhn 10:33). He claimed to be the Son of God sent into the world, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Jhn 10:36). Like Adam, all men originate from this earth, but like God, the Son of God was sent to earth from heaven, “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1Co 15:47).

Dictionary.com defines the adjective like: “of the same form, appearance, kind, character, amount, etc.” This is how Paul used isos here: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal [isos 2470] with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phl 2:6-7). While in the form of God, He was like God. But having taken upon the form of a servant, He is now like men.

Trinitarianism, on the other hand, teaches “equal [isos 2470] with God” to mean coequal: “equal with another or each other in rank, ability, extent, etc.” as defined by Dictionary.com. It denies the way in which He is like God and confesses a way in which He is not. It denies His true likeness of having been begotten as the same kind of being and confesses a false coequality in rank of authority.