The False Antithesis of Faith Versus Works

Introduction

Jesus Christ warned us to not be deceived, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mat 24:5). Jesus is our Savior and what He said about salvation is the truth while anyone saying something different is wrong. We must be very careful to not allow ourselves to be deceived.

By a corrupt theological system and skewed Bible translations, many have been deceived into embracing the message of salvation by sola fide or faith alone. For about 500 years it has been an extremely successful false narrative from our enemy imposed upon the New Covenant to delude many and lead them to destruction. Its effectiveness has been bolstered by another false narrative forced upon the Old Covenant, that justification under the law was about trying to merit righteousness by keeping the commandments perfectly without ever sinning. Being sold the bill of goods that God’s people just couldn’t keep His commandments, the message of salvation became that God’s people today only need to believe some facts are true. In short, it’s a false antithesis of faith versus works intended to hinder us from keeping God’s commandments so that we won’t be saved.

Jesus Christ stated that we must live according to the righteous standard He taught in His Sermon on the Mount or we won’t enter His Kingdom, “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 5:20). And He ended His Sermon with only two options—either doing or not doing what He said: “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). According to our Savior Jesus Christ, salvation isn’t about believing but about obeying.

He also stated several times: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn 14:15); “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (Jhn 14:21); “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (Jhn 14:23); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20). Our Savior said that we must keep His commandments. Let us take heed and be sober about being deceived by those that say something different.

The righteous requirements of the law

Jesus Christ said at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount that His teaching doesn’t overturn what was stated in the law and by prophets but fulfills it, “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.” (Mat 5:17-18). He later encapsulated His teaching on the law in one commandment, “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 didn’t invalidate or nullify the law but even restated and reinforced its two greatest commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mat 22:37-40).

Toward the beginning of His Sermon He said, “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 5:20). He then stated what the scribes and Pharisees had been teaching about the law, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time” (v. 21), followed by what He was now saying, “But I say unto you” (v. 22). And this is the repeated pattern throughout the rest of the chapter—what they said and what He was saying (vs. 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). Christ’s law isn’t a new code of ethics superseding the Old Covenant law but the proper interpretation—as opposed to what the scribes and Pharisees taught—of its moral righteous requirements. Righteousness under the New Covenant is the same as under the Old Covenant—we must live according to the same moral standard. Christ didn’t absolve us from any of the moral righteousness embodied in the Old Covenant law. It was the scribes and Pharisees that were trying to do that.

The proper perspective of the law

Probably the biggest hindrance with our understanding of how the Old Covenant and New Covenant relate to each other is our backwards perspective of the two. Since the Old came first chronologically, we think in terms of the Old having the preeminence and that the New must be understood in conformity to it. But the New was the end goal and purpose from the very beginning. Prior to either covenant, God had already shown both prophetically in an allegory of Abraham’s two sons by two different women, “Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman … Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants” (Gal 4:22, 24). Although Ishmael came first, Isaac was God’s purpose all along.

That Christ’s law under the New Covenant has always been God’s will and purpose is witnessed by Moses and the prophets: “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deu 18:15); “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luk 24:44); “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (Jhn 5:46); “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Act 3:22); “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Act 10:43); “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Rom 3:21); “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom 3:31); “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom 10:4).

Christ’s sacrifice of Himself and current High Priestly ministry at the right hand of God wasn’t patterned after the Old Covenant Levitical priesthood with its animal sacrifices but the other way around: “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exo 25:40); “And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exo 26:30); “And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick” (Num 8:4); “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen” (Act 7:44); “For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Heb 8:4-5), “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these” (Heb 9:23).

The law of the Old Covenant didn’t establish morality but codified it. It didn’t become morally evil to murder when Moses commanded “Thou shalt not kill” (Exo 20:13). It has been evil since the beginning, “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1Jo 3:12). It’s not so much an issue of the New enforcing the morality of the Old because both the Old and the New enforce the morality that has always been binding.

When Jesus taught, “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” (Mat 5:21-22), He was defining the intent of the Sixth Commandment that has always been true since the beginning—hatred in the heart is murder, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1Jo 3:15).

Mankind’s morality comes from having been made in the image of God, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:27). It’s morally evil for us to lie because “God, that cannot lie” (Tit 1:2), and we’re made after His image. Our morality issues from Him, not from what was carved on stone tablets.

The Ten Commandments or Decalogue of the Old Covenant didn’t establish morality but codified it. But we no longer live under the Old Covenant and its laws including the Ten Commandments. We live under Christ’s law of the New Covenant which upholds and enforces all the same morality that the Old Covenant laws upheld and enforced.

The dead actions of the law

The Greek ergon means “actions,” any kind of actions defined by the context in which it’s used. Referring to the high priestly duties on Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, the writer of Hebrews calls them nekros ergon or “dead actions” because they were ritualistic actions that never atoned for sins: “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year” (Heb 9:7), “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings [baptismos 909]” (v. 10), “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 [nekros 3498] works [ergon 2041] to serve the living God?” (vs. 13-14).

The high priest’s dead actions are what the writer of Hebrews meant earlier, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead [nekros 3498] works [ergon 2041], and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms [baptismos 909], and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Heb 6:1-2). Washing himself and laying his hands on the scapegoat were just two of the high priestly dead actions on Yom Kippur, “therefore shall he wash his flesh in water” (Lev 16:4), “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat” (v. 21), “And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place” (v. 24).

Dead actions prescribed by the law include such things as “baptisms [washings], and of laying on of hands” (Heb 6:2), “meats and drinks, and divers washings” (Heb 9:10), “the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer” (Heb 9:13). They’re also comprised of dietary requirements and observance of holy days including all of the various Sabbaths, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him” (Rom 14:3), “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom 14:5), “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” (Col 2:16).

The liberty by which Christ set us free

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:21-26)

Paul revealed to the Galatians the allegory God had hid in a mystery within the life of Abraham. His two sons Ishmael and Isaac symbolized prophetically what would come later in the two covenants—the Old Covenant under Moses and the New Covenant under Jesus Christ. The Old with all of its bondages of dead works—sacrificing animals, washing in water, eating a kosher diet, keeping the feast days, keeping the Sabbaths—centered in Jerusalem with the temple sacrifices and most holy place. But Jesus freed God’s people from the requirement of traveling to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father” (Jhn 4:21).

The Jerusalem currently in heaven will one day come down to the renewed earth, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb 12:22), “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” (Rev 21:2). Since “the Jerusalem which is above is free,” God’s people whose home is that city are free from the dead actions of the law.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” (Gal 5:1-3). Christ freed us from the bondages of dead actions under the law. When Paul said “I testify again … he is a debtor to do the whole law,” he was referring back to earlier when he testified of Moses’ own words about the law, “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12), “Ye shall do my judgments [mishpat 4941], and keep mine ordinances [chuqqah 2708], to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes [chuqqah 2708], and my judgments [mishpat 4941]: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5).

Ordinances and statutes under the law consisted of such dead actions as the Passover, consecration of priests, abstinence from ingesting fat and blood, and the Day of Atonement: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance [chuqqah 2708] for ever” (Exo 12:14); “And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute [chuqqah 2708]: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons” (Exo 29:9); “It shall be a perpetual statute [chuqqah 2708] for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood” (Lev 3:17); “And this shall be an everlasting statute [chuqqah 2708] unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year” (Lev 16:34).

Many of the judgments were stated in Exodus 21 after the giving of the Ten Commandments, “Now these are the judgments [mishpat 4941] which thou shalt set before them” (Exo 21:1). The judgments included the treatment and handling of: Hebrew servants (vs. 2-6), giving of a daughter in marriage (vs. 7-11), murder and manslaughter (vs. 21-15), kidnapping (v. 16), cursing father or mother (v. 17), injuries sustained from a fight (vs. 18-19), the beating of a servant (vs. 20-21), injuring a pregnant woman (vs. 22-25), injuring a servant (vs. 26-27), an ox or an open pit causing damage (vs. 28-36).

Eternal life under the law meant doing all of its requirements including the dead actions, “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12). And the promise was that if a man did all of its requirements, not perfectly but faithfully, he would live again in resurrection. There were, however, times when God made exceptions, not to the moral requirements of the law but to its dead actions, to meet a greater pressing need.

Jesus Himself recounted the time when God allowed David and his men to eat consecrated bread to meet the need of their urgent hunger, “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?” (Mat 12:3-4). He also pointed out that the priests routinely broke the Sabbath by circumcising on that day, “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man” (Jhn 7:22). If the eighth day from birth happened to fall on the Sabbath day, the priests broke one dead action to keep another. There was also a time when God hearkened to the prayer of Hezekiah to allow some people to partake of the Passover though they weren’t cleansed according to the requirement of the law:

For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one That prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. (2 Chronicles 30:17-20)

Although God required adherence to the dead actions under the law, when His people were living in moral unrighteousness, He hated their dead actions: “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1Sa 15:22); “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering” (Psa 51:16); “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Pro 21:3); “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hos 6:6); “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” (Isa 1:13-14); “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.” (Amo 5:21-22).

Several times we’re told that Jesus Himself “broke” the dietary restrictions under the law: “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” (Mat 9:11); “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luk 7:34); “And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Luk 15:2); “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luk 19:7).

Likewise, several times He “broke” the Sabbath day under the law: “How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other” (Mat 12:12-13); “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day” (Luk 13:14); “And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go” (Luk 14:2-4); “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day” (Jhn 5:16); “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them” (Jhn 9:16).

Of course Christ never sinned. That He “broke” the dietary laws and the Sabbath day of the Old Covenant in order to uphold a greater moral good indicates that neither of these laws were moral in essence. He freed us from any dietary requirements, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man” (Mat 15:11), “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him” (Mar 7:15). And He said “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mar 2:27). Man was made on the sixth day, then the seventh day was made. Therefore, the Sabbath day was made to serve man’s needs, not that man’s needs must be neglected to serve the Sabbath. Since we’re no longer under the Ten Commandments, we’re no longer under the Fourth Commandment, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo 20:8).

Christ’s law

Jesus summarized the entire law in one commandment, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31), “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 19:19, 22:39; Mar 12:31). Paul also stated “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14), and later called it “the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). Keeping this one law fulfills all the moral righteous requirements of the Old Covenant law, “for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12).

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Since keeping the one law “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” fulfills everything Christ requires of us, then we’re not required to also abstain from certain meats, keep any of the Sabbaths, observe the annual feasts, or even tithe. It’s not “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” plus keep the Sabbath day. All the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in one word not in two, three, or more.

Faithfulness to God

(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:  He staggered [diakrino 1252] not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Romans 4:17-22)

In this passage, Paul was extrapolating upon Genesis 17 where God redirected Abraham’s hope of an heir from Ishmael to Isaac. His promise to him years before was that “he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir … So shall thy seed be” (Gen 15:4-5). Abraham, therefore, considered all along that Ishmael was the fulfillment of that promise. But he would learn later that his hope in this promise would be fulfilled in another biological son but through his own wife.

The Greek diakrino means “to contend with” as shown “when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended [diakrino 1252] with him” (Act 11:2). Although Abraham didn’t contend with God about the fulfillment of His promise “He staggered [diakrino]1252] not at the promise of God,” initially he did: “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Gen 17:17-18). He contended with God for Ishmael to be his heir. The intended message Paul was revealing is that this event in Abraham’s life foretold of the conflict that God’s people in the early church would experience with remaining faithful to Him, “repentance from dead works [actions], and of faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1). Would they contend with God to keep “Ishmael”—the dead actions of the Old Covenant law? Or, would they remain faithful to Him by turning to “Isaac”—Christ’s shed blood of the New Covenant?

Abraham is the father of all those that follow the steps of his example of faithfulness, “And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith [faithfulness] of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom 4:11-12). His faithfulness to God was shown in turning his hope from Ishmael to Isaac while still uncircumcised earlier that same day, “And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him … In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son” (Gen 17:23, 26). Circumcision was the sign in his flesh that he wasn’t contending with God but submitting to the true hope of fulfilling His promise—Isaac and not Ishmael. This correlates to God’s people being faithful to Him in turning their hope of eternal life from the law to His Son, their promised Messiah.

Looking at just a few of Christ’s healings from the Gospel of Matthew: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [faithfulness], no, not in Israel … And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (8:10, 13); “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith [faithfulness] said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (9:2); “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (9:22); “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us … Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith [faithfulness] be it unto you” (9:27, 29); “O woman, great is thy faith [faithfulness]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (15:28).

Did Christ mean that these people were healed by their faith or belief? Notice that the two blind men were crying out “Thou son of David.” Jesus healed those that were faithful to God in receiving Him as their promised Messiah. This is what Christ taught, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance [metanoia 3341] from dead works [actions], and of faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1). Once Christ came, God required His people’s faithfulness in repenting or turning away from the dead actions of the law and turning their hope to Christ.

When Peter preached the first evangelistic message to his fellow Jewish brethren, he concluded it with the directive to “Repent [metanoeo 3340], and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Act 2:38). The blood of animals never remitted sins. They were to turn away from the dead actions of the law for righteousness and turn to the Lord for remission or forgiveness of their sins. The Greek verb metanoeo means “to turn away from” and epistrepho means “to turn unto,” and this was the continued message to them, “Repent [metanoeo 3340] ye therefore, and be converted [epistrepho 1994], that your sins may be blotted out” (Act 3:19), “turned [epistrepho 1994] unto the Lord” (Act 9:35, 11:21).

Righteousness under the law

Although everyone sins, there were righteous people living under the law: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man” (Mat 1:19); “a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luk 1:5-6); “Simeon; and the same man was just and devout” (Luk 2:25); “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just” (Luk 23:50). And Jesus Himself said there have been righteous people since the beginning: “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat 5:45); “That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see” (Mat 13:17); “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias” (Mat 23:35).

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:8-11).

Many use this passage from James to teach that righteousness under the law was only possible by keeping the law absolutely perfectly without ever sinning even once—meriting righteousness. But James was simply making the same point Paul made but from a different angle, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9). Paul said that keeping one law keeps all the laws, while James said that breaking one of the laws breaks all the laws. It’s the same conclusion reached two different ways. Since all the laws are one whole, then one broken is the whole broken. James wasn’t teaching that righteousness under the law meant keeping it perfectly without ever sinning. That line of teaching discourages righteous living so that we’ll quit, “Well, we can’t do it anyway, so why even try? Besides, we’re saved by faith alone!”

The man that doeth them shall live in them

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 19:16-19)

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (Luke 10:25-28)

On these two occasions Jesus affirmed that those under the law would have eternal life by keeping the commandments. Now, many take what He said as only hypothetical—that He wasn’t really telling these men that they could have eternal life by keeping the commandments. But that’s simply not the case. The wise way to take what He said is that He said what He meant and meant what He said. He wasn’t speaking theoretically. He meant that they not only could but must keep God’s commandments to have eternal life. This has always been true and still is. After having been seated at God’s right hand, Christ gave His Revelation to John, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1), and stated three times: “the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:17); “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev 14:12); “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14).

Moses said that eternal life under the law was by doing it, “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5). The prophets and apostles affirmed this as well: “And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;)” (Neh 9:29); “And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them” (Eze 20:11); “That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (Rom 10:5); “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12).

Paul taught, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom 2:7), “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom 2:13). Therefore, since he had already said here that “the doers of the law shall be justified,” he certainly wasn’t contradicting himself a little later by stating, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20), “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28). He truly meant that we must do, fulfill, or keep the moral righteous requirements of the law to be justified—not only under the Old Covenant but also under the New. That “the doers of the law shall be justified,” includes even the uncircumcised keeping the righteous requirements of the law, “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law” (Rom 2:26), “And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law” (Rom 2:27).

Paul cited David’s sin and repentance as his support, “That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged” (Rom 3:4), “I have sinned against the LORD” (2Sa 12:13), “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. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psa 51:4-5). Although arguably the greatest Jew in Israel’s history, David concluded that he was conceived and shaped by God in the womb uncircumcised. Therefore, in breaking God’s commandments, he was no better than the uncircumcised. His circumcision profited him nothing as Paul declared, “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision” (Rom 2:25).

In fact, Uriah’s righteous actions were an indictment against David, “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.” (2Sa 11:11). This uncircumcised Hittite was keeping the righteous requirements of the law while the greatest of the Jews was not, “Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2Sa 12:9).

What Paul taught in chapter three of Romans, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20), “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28), is that the actions of the high priest in offering animal sacrifices won’t justify any flesh in God’s sight. This is what David learned, “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 … For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering” (Psa 51:4, 16). The “deeds of the law” in chapter three are different from “the doers of the law” back in chapter two. One is dead actions while the other is the moral righteous requirements.

Faith versus works

The Greek ergon means “actions” but was translated as either “deeds” or “works” in “the deeds [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 3:20, 28), “the works [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 9:32; Gal 2:16, 3:2, 5, 10), to intentionally impose a false understanding of righteousness under the law. Romans chapter three is about God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ’s faithfulness, “the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ” (Rom 3:22 NET), “the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness” (Rom 3:26 NET). The Greek hilasterion means “mercy seat” where the high priest under the law would sprinkle the blood of animals once a year, “And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat [hilasterion 2435] … But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people” (Heb 9:5, 7). Therefore, when Paul said, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [hilasterion 2435] through faith [faithfulness] in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Rom 3:25), it was about Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood upon the true mercy seat as opposed to the actions of the high priest shedding the blood of animals.

Although “the deeds [actions] of the law” (Rom 3:20, 28) are specifically the high priest’s dead actions, it’s being taught that “deeds” or “works” are actions of trying to merit righteousness by obeying God’s commandments perfectly. By altering our understanding of what Paul said about the law, the message of salvation was corrupted to simply believing some facts are true without obeying God’s commandments, “justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28). However, it’s actually “justified by faith [faithfulness] without the deeds [actions] of the law,” because we’re justified by Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood without the actions of shedding the blood of animals prescribed by the law.

Under the Old Covenant law, there was no such concept of meriting righteousness by perfect living without sin. Everyone, including the high priest himself, was conscious of sin and therefore submitted to the ordinances of animal sacrifices: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself” (Lev 16:11), “made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel” (Lev 16:17), “the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people” (Heb 9:7). It was never about keeping God’s commandments perfectly but keeping them faithfully. Paul was teaching that it’s now about hearing of Christ’s faithfulness to God in shedding His precious blood for our sins.

The hearing of faithfulness

Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to His Father was to do the work His Father sent Him to do, consummated with dying on the cross for the sins of the world: “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 do always those things that please him” (Jhn 8:29); “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (Jhn 10:18); “I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do” (Jhn 14:31); “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (Jhn 17:4); “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); “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phl 2:8); “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb 5:8); “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Heb 10:7).

Paul taught the Galatians that we’re not justified by the actions of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, “yet we know that 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). We’re justified by His faithfulness to His Father in giving Himself for us on the cross, “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. I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!” (Gal 2:20-21 NET). He then continued this thought into the next chapter:

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works [actions] of the law, or by the hearing of faith [faithfulness]? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works [actions] of the law, or by the hearing of faith [faithfulness]? (Galatians 3:1-5).

This “hearing of faithfulness” is the Galatians initially hearing from Paul the true gospel message about Christ’s faithfulness as stated at the beginning of his letter, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6-8), “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Gal 1:11-12).

This true antithesis of “the actions of the law” versus “the hearing of faithfulness” concerns which we trust for salvation—the dead actions of the law, or Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to His Father? Paul challenged the Galatians, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works [actions] of the law, or by the hearing of faith [faithfulness]?” Which of the two messages they heard was confirmed with miracles, signs, and wonders that Jesus Christ said would follow?

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth [trusts] and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth [trusts] not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe [trust] … And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:15-17, 20).

Prior to their evangelization by the apostle Paul, the Galatians had been serving false gods through various means involving the material elements of this earth, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” (Gal 4:8-10). His point was that turning to the dead actions of the law for justification—including the keeping of the feasts and Sabbaths—is essentially going right back to idolatry. It’s the same thing he warned the Colossians about, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col 2:16-17). Under the Old Covenant, God allowed Himself to be worshipped through these dead actions that He prescribed for His people to keep. But once His only begotten Son came and consummated His plan of salvation, He requires His people to turn from these dead actions and to His Son for justification under the New Covenant.

The law was like a school teacher that taught God’s people about their Messiah to come, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith [faithfulness]. But after that faith [faithfulness] is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:24-25). The dead actions of the law foreshadowed as types and figures the true redemption that would come in Christ. But once He came, God’s people are no longer under the dead actions.

The gospel message Paul preached to the Galatians which was confirmed by miracles from the Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t at all against the moral righteousness of the law. In fact, his message affirmed the morality of the law entirely, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14), which is what Jesus Christ Himself preached, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 19:19, 22:39; Mar 12:31). And this one commandment summarized everything Christ taught in His Sermon on the Mount and everything in the law, “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).

Writing to the Romans, Paul stated that Christ ended the law’s requirements, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.” (Rom 10:4-5). He ended the requirement of keeping the dead actions of statutes and judgments, “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5). Paul then quoted again from Moses:

It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deuteronomy 30:12-14)

But the righteousness which is of faith [faithfulness] speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:6-9)

The righteousness which is by Christ’s faithfulness “speaketh on this wise.” In God’s wisdom, He hid in a mystery within the writings of Moses what He would later accomplish through His Son Jesus Christ. His Son would come and teach the moral righteousness of the law very clearly for us to hear and do it, “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). And baptism is the point we declare from our mouths that we’ve heard and will do all that He commanded, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20). Therefore, we can’t make excuses for our disobedience “that thou shouldest say.” We can’t say that we hadn’t heard or didn’t know because we already affirmed from our mouths that we heard and understood. This is salvation. It’s not believing some facts are true and we’re good to go. It’s confessing the Lord Jesus Christ—affirming from our mouths we have heard and will obey from the heart our resurrected Lord seated in heaven.

Paul then reached the logical conclusion, “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). This popular verse isn’t saying that the more we hear, the more we believe! That’s false doctrine intended to keep people hearing, and hearing, and hearing ad nauseam but not doing to be saved. Paul was saying that Christ’s faithfulness to His Father to come down from heaven into this world “that is, to bring Christ down from above,” and His faithfulness to go to the cross in trust that His Father would raise Him from the dead “that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead,” is the message he was preaching, “that is, the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach.”

“So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” is simply the logical conclusion of the previous statements. To be saved we must call on the name of the Lord, to call on His name we must first trust Him, to trust Him we have to hear about Him, to hear about Him there must be a preacher sent—a preacher sent from God with His words. Thus, the beautiful feet that trekked over the mountains of Asia and Macedonia are Paul’s, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa 52:7), “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom 10:15). “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Hearing about Christ’s faithfulness comes by the preacher sent from God.

Reformation or Rebranding?

The Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago led by Martin Luther was a counterfeit. It was instigated by the Roman Catholic Church itself as a means by which the Scriptures could be released to the world while still maintaining strict control over the truth. The truth being communicated through the Scriptures was corrupted through skewed translations and false teaching of Protestant Trinitarian churches. Protestant churches are essentially their mother Church rebranded under a new name with a new gospel message. Their core beliefs are still the same Roman Catholic false views of God, Jesus, and man: that God is a Trinity of persons, that Christ is an eternal spirit clothed with flesh, and that man is an eternal spirit that goes to either heaven or hell after death.

Not only did Luther continue to embrace these false views, but he was also horribly anti-Semitic. In the last couple years of his life he wrote the book “On The Jews and their Lies” which was even used by Hitler to help foment hatred for the Jews and justify the holocaust. Yet Luther is honored and praised by Protestant ministers! He held a blasphemous view of God, a false view of Jesus Christ, a wrong view of man and the destiny of man, and admittedly hated people. How could any such person possibly have attained and taught the right gospel message? Yet his “enlightenment” of sola fide or faith alone is hailed as a return to the true gospel preached by the apostles.

Luther’s wrong understanding of “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), is that we simply believe some facts are true. But it was all a devious deception to damn countless multitudes of souls. It was designed to keep people from obeying Christ’s commandments under the guise that they need only believe. This wrong understanding of “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17) laid the groundwork for taking such statements as “justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28) to mean justified by believing without our meritorious deeds. But it’s simply “doctored” translations fueled by false doctrine.

The just shall live by faithfulness

Habakkuk’s famous statement “but the just shall live by his faith [emuwnah 530]” (Hab 2:4), isn’t about faith but about faithfulness as it’s correctly translated in some versions, “but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness” (NET), “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (NIV). The Hebrew noun emuwnah appears around 50 times in the Old Testament and always indicates faithfulness in every context without exception. It’s rather fishy that in the King James Version, Habakkuk 2:4 is the only occurrence in 50 where emuwnah is translated as “faith.” The Greek pistis in “The just shall live by faith [pistis 4102]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38) is wrongly translated as “faith” in accordance with Luther’s false salvation message, then imposed back upon what Habakkuk said.

The Greek noun pistis appears almost 250 times in the New Testament and most all of its contexts allow it to be translated as either “faith” or “faithfulness.” There are, however, three places where the contexts require “faithfulness” as its meaning: “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith [faithfulness] of God without effect? (Rom 3:3); “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith [faithfulness], Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23); “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity [faithfulness]; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Tit 2:10). And although there aren’t any places where the contexts require “faith” for the meaning of pistis, this didn’t stop the translators from rending it consistently as “faith” rather than “faithfulness.”

This word also appears about 30 times in the Septuagint (Deu 32:20; 1Sa 21:12, 26:23; 2Ki 12:15, 22:7; 1Ch 9:22,26,31; 2Ch 31:12,15,18, 34:12; Neh 9:38; Psa 33:4; Pro 3:3, 12:17,22, 14:22, 15:28; Sng 4:8; Jer 5:1,3, 9:3, 15:18, 28:9, 32:41, 33:6; Hos 2:20; Hab 2:4), and all but two are rendered as “faithfully,” “faithfulness,” “truth,” “trust,” “loyalty,” “reliable,” “steadfast,” “assuredly,” and on one occasion the proper name “Amana.” And the contexts of the two exceptions (Deu 32:20; Hab 2:4) don’t force the meaning of “faith” but only allow it. In fact, the majority of its occurrences require “faithfulness” with only a couple of exceptions allowing “faith.” In short, the Septuagint translators understood pistis as “faithfulness” and used it consistently with this meaning.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith [faithfulness] to faith [faithfulness]: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [faithfulness].” (Rom 1:16-17). The gospel of Christ that Paul wasn’t ashamed to preach is the message Jesus Christ Himself preached, “the gospel of his Son” (Rom 1:9), “my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25). And He preached faithfulness.

The gospel message Jesus Christ Himself preached is faithfulness to Him as Lord: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Mat 24:45); “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21); “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luk 16:12-13); “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luk 19:17).

Jesus Christ healed those that were faithful to God in receiving Him as their Messiah: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [faithfulness], no, not in Israel” (Mat 8:10); “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith [faithfulness] said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mat 9:2); “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Mat 9:22); “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us … Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith [faithfulness] be it unto you” (Mat 9:27, 29); “O woman, great is thy faith [faithfulness]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Mat 15:28).

The statement “Now the just shall live by faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 10:38), is understood clearly by the entire chapter that follows it. Hebrews chapter 11 is all about those that were justified by their faithfulness to God: “By faith [faithfulness] Abel” (v. 4); “By faith [faithfulness] Enoch” (v. 5); “By faith [faithfulness] Noah” (v. 7); “By faith [faithfulness] Abraham” (v. 8); “Through faith [faithfulness] also Sarah” (v. 11); “By faith [faithfulness] Isaac” (v. 20); “By faith [faithfulness] Jacob” (v. 21); “By faith [faithfulness] Joseph” (v. 22); “By faith [faithfulness] Moses” (v. 23); “By faith [faithfulness] the harlot Rahab” (v. 31); “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (v. 32). Because they went to their deaths in faithfulness to God, “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (v. 13), therefore they will live in resurrection and never die again, “Now the just shall live by faith [faithfulness].” They diligently sought the reward of eternal life from God and remained faithful to Him unto death, “But without faith [faithfulness] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (v. 6).

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). Had the Son of God not come into this world and sacrificed Himself on the cross for the sins of the world, the faithfulness of all those men and women in the past would have been in vain. Their hope of eternal life would have been put to shame and they would never live again.

The pronoun “our” in “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]” is italicized indicating that it’s not in the underlying Greek text. But a definite article, however, is in the text. In other words, it should be rendered “the faithfulness.” Jesus Christ is the “author” or Orchestrator of the faithfulness of all those Old Testament saints, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (Jhn 1:1-2). He is the Word or Messenger of the Lord that spoke to them. And He is the “finisher” or Consummator of their faithfulness by His own faithfulness in dying on the cross, “Now the just shall live by faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 10:38).

The false antithesis of faith versus works

Faith or belief is best understood as simply one component of faithfulness. All good relationships, particularly marriage relationships, require faithfulness from both sides. And faithfulness includes faith because a couple can’t have a good marriage while not believing a word the other says! Good relationships, however, aren’t limited to only faith or belief but also include love, trust, obedience, unity, sacrifice, understanding, sincerity, and humility. But the doctrine of sola fide conceived by Luther claims that we’re in a right relationship with God by only one component of faithfulness—faith alone!

Justification by faith alone is a false narrative being pushed throughout the New Testament by a corrupt theological system and tainted Bible translations to keep people from being faithful to God and ultimately from living eternally, “The just shall live by faith [faithfulness].” By restricting justification to a single component of faith, people become apathetic toward faithfulness. After all, if we’re saved by faith alone, nothing else is even necessary. In fact, if we’re saved by faith alone, anything else is even detrimental. Obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ’s commandments is deemed our works that indicate lack of faith in His finished work. Obedience to Christ actually becomes a bad thing! It’s a horribly twisted logic that’s damning multitudes.

The “deeds [ergon 2041] of the law” (Rom 3:20, 28) are the high priest’s actions of shedding the blood of animals and sprinkling it on the mercy seat. And “the works [ergon 2041] of the law” (Gal 2:16) are Peter’s actions of breaking his kosher diet when “he did eat with the Gentiles” (Gal 2:12). But by translating ergon as “deeds” or “works” and teaching that it is attempting to merit righteousness by obeying God’s commandments perfectly, then “justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom 3:28), and “justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law” (Gal 2:16), becomes faith alone without meritorious works. There is no such antithesis of faith versus works in Scripture. It’s simply a false antithesis intended to limit faithfulness to only faith so that ultimately we’ll be unfaithful to God and perish.

Conclusion

Jesus Christ is our Savior and stated that we must live righteously according to the standard He taught in His Sermon on the Mount or we won’t be saved, “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 5:20). And He concluded His Sermon by contrasting two different people, illustrated by two different houses:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

The person that hears what Christ commanded and obeys is like a house built on a foundation that stands through the storm. But the person that hears what Christ commanded and doesn’t obey is like a house built upon sand that falls in the storm. The only difference between the two is either doing or not doing, obeying or not obeying. And He said nothing here of faith alone or even of faith at all!

The narrow way that leads to eternal life is keeping His one commandment of love, “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. Enter ye in at the strait 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 leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat 7:12-14). Our Savior taught us that obedience to His one commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 19:19, 22:39; Mar 12:31), is the narrow way that leads to life.

Our Savior told us to obey Him: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20); “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn 14:15); “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (Jhn 14:21); “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (Jhn 14:23); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “which keep the commandments of God” (Rev 12:17); “they that keep the commandments of God” (Rev 14:12); “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14).

Finally, our Savior warned us against being deceived, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mat 24:5). Faith alone is a false narrative interwoven through the New Testament by corrupt Protestant theology and skewed Bible translations. And faith versus works is simply a false antithesis intended to inhibit obedience to Christ and promote unfaithfulness. It’s a false gospel message deceiving and damning many.

Seated Together with Him

Introduction

Trinitarian ministers teach and preach extensively about Christ’s death on the Cross, burial in the tomb, and resurrection from the dead but hardly utter a peep about His ascension to heaven and current position as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator at the right hand of God. They push the doctrine of Sola Fide or “faith alone”—that salvation consists only of believing the historical facts of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. What they apparently don’t want us to know, however, is that salvation is contingent upon faithfully serving the living Lord seated at God’s right hand.

That salvation isn’t dependent upon believing some facts are true is easily debunked by what Jesus taught about forgiveness, “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” (Mat 6:14-15). Regardless of our beliefs, if we don’t forgive others, we won’t be forgiven by God. Jesus illustrated this by a parable about a king that forgave one of his servants, “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt” (Mat 18:27). However, the king later un-forgave him because he was found to be unforgiving, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” (Mat 18:32-34). This man was forgiven but later unforgiven. So much for Once-Saved, Always-Saved!

We can believe some facts are true until the cows come home so to speak but will perish if we’re not obeying what Jesus Christ commanded and taught. We must faithfully serve and obey Him as Lord because He is the Lord seated at the right hand of God in heaven. Salvation is about pleasing God the Father in heaven, and the only way to please the Father is to faithfully serve His Son.

In heavenly

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:14-18).

In the beginning, even before having created the first man, God showed figuratively in the heavens that His Son would be the Greater Ruler at His right hand. That He would “rule over the day” speaks of His Lordship over those called “Day” by God, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Gen 1:3-5). As foreseen by Him speaking “Let there be light” in the beginning, His Son came into the world and preached the truth to deceived humanity as if light was shining into the darkness, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 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. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (Jhn 1:1-5).

Profoundly, a staggering amount of matter is being prophesied and foretold in the concise statement “the greater light to rule the day.” The 4,000 years of human history that would follow had to have transpired essentially as it did for this statement to have been fulfilled and accomplished. The geographical, political, religious, and social state of humanity had to be precisely as it was for the Son of God to become human and consummate God’s plan from the beginning—His birth, life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at His Father’s right hand as the Greater Ruler! He is now the Lord, Master, and Ruler over the “Day”—God’s people that agree with the truth He taught and preached, publicly repent and confess Him as their Lord, and faithfully obey Him seated at God’s right hand in heaven.

This prophecy from the beginning is what Paul meant in the opening statement of his letter to the church at Ephesus, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). Since the Greek adjective epouranios rendered “heavenly” doesn’t include a noun for it to modify, the translators dutifully supplied “places” in its place. However, a different noun that helps our understanding of Paul’s intended message isn’t a place but a thing—the heavenly body of the sun, “There are also celestial [epouranios] bodies [soma], and bodies [soma] terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [epouranios] is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (1Co 15:40-41).

The subject of First Corinthians chapter 15, of course, is the resurrection of the human soma or body. But Paul ascribed the glory of bodily resurrection to that of the sun’s heavenly body—it rises and “rules” over the day by shining its light into the darkness. This lends to our understanding that the Son of God’s resurrected flesh and bone body now seated at God’s right hand in heaven is what is heavenly. The realm of the firmament of the heavens where the sun rules the day figuratively portrays the place of heaven itself where the Son rules from God’s throne at His right hand. Paul carried this thought on through his letter to the Ephesians:

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:16-23)

He had been praying earnestly that the Ephesians would come to understand these truths from the Scriptures, particularly from the creation account. The “revelation in the knowledge of him” is that Jesus Christ personally revealed to Paul the message about Himself that had been hidden within the creation narrative—that the Greater Light is Him ruling in the heavenly at God’s right hand over “all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.” At God’s right hand, His enemies are “under his feet” as David prophesied, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1).

Seated together with Him

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace [favor] ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace [favor] in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace [favor] are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

Twice in this passage, Paul said “by grace [favor] ye are saved” (v. 5), “For by grace [favor] are ye saved” (v. 8). This is the favor God bestowed on His chosen people over all other people, “According as he hath chosen us in him” (1:4). He favored them by sending His Son to shed His precious blood for their sins, “To the praise of the glory of his grace [favor], wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace [favor]” (1:6-7). Therefore, when he said, “For by grace [favor] are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]” (2:8), it’s not about our faith or belief but about Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access [prosagoge] to God because of Christ’s faithfulness” (3:11-12 NET). We were dead in our sins “Even when we were dead in sins” (2:5), but were saved by Christ’s faithfulness to His Father to come into this world and shed His precious blood for our sins, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace [favor]” (1:7).

Although salvation was accomplished for God’s favored people from which Gentiles were alienated, “being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph 2:12), but now Gentiles can be joined with them, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). Both now have access to God the Father, “For through him we both have access [prosagoge] by one Spirit [Breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “access [prosagoge] to God because of Christ’s faithfulness” (Eph 3:12 NET).

This access to God is by His Son seated at His right hand advocating, mediating, and interceding for us. Because we have access to God by His Son seated “in heavenly” as our Representative, Paul spoke of this as though we’re seated there ourselves together with Him, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace [favor] ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6).

Principalities and powers

In the beginning, however, God made not just one but two great lights that depict two rulers, “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also” (Gen 1:16). The first three times Paul used epouranios in his letter to the Ephesians, he was teaching about “the greater light” (Gen 1:16) seated at God’s right hand: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ” (1:3); “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places” (1:20); “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (2:6). Christ seated on God’s throne was given authority over all principalities and powers in heaven and in earth, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat 28:18), “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion” (Eph 1:20-21), “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

However, the last two times he used epouranios in this same letter, Paul was teaching about “the lesser light” (Gen 1:16) of principalities and powers: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [epouranios] places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (3:10); “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places” (6:12).

Principalities and powers are evil spirits operating through flesh and blood human beings primarily in positions of political and religious power: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities [arche], against powers [exousia]” (Eph 6:12); “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates [arche], and powers [exousia], take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say” (Luk 12:11); “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power [arche] and authority [exousia] of the governor” (Luk 20:20); “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities [arche] and powers [exousia], to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Tit 3:1).

It was the corrupt religious leaders that conspired together and persuaded the political powers to have Jesus Christ falsely sentenced to death. But His empty tomb and the outpouring on the Day of Pentecost publicly exposed and shamed their miscarriage of justice, “And having spoiled principalities [arche] and powers [exousia], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15). Also, the prophets in the Old Testament and apostles in the New suffered frequently at the hands of religious and political leaders on account of the truth they preached.

As we march headlong toward the end times, all over the world evil is escalating and heightening by principalities and powers working through religious and political authorities. What God has been withholding, He has increasingly been allowing, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2Th 2:6-7). God limits and sets bounds for what the devil and his cohorts are able to do. We see this illustrated with His handling of Satan in Job’s case, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand” (Job 1:12), “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life” (Job 2:6).

God allows us to suffer to a limited extent at the hand of the enemy to test our faithfulness to Him. During the end times, in particular, we will suffer for not taking the mark of the beast. However, as with Job we’re guaranteed a happy ending, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (Jas 5:11). Although we will suffer, we don’t have to fear principalities and powers when we’re faithfully submitted to the Greater Light seated at God’s right hand.

The whole armor of God

Of course, the “two great lights” (Gen 1:16) created in the firmament of the heavens by the Son of God are the literal sun and moon by which the temporal life-cycle on this earth is sustained and perpetuated. But He created them to also represent figuratively His message of eternal life, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). This woman is the corporate body of God’s people consisting of Jews joined by Gentiles—all nationalities and ethnic people groups. And it’s only because she’s clothed with the sun that the moon is under her feet. At God’s right hand, Christ has been given absolute power and authority over all principalities and powers, and the expression “under his feet” conveys that message: “thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psa 8:6); “For he hath put all things under his feet” (1Co 15:27); “And hath put all things under his feet” (Eph 1:22); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb 2:8).

Although the principalities and powers are under Christ’s feet, they’re said to be under the woman’s feet as well by virtue of her being “clothed with” or “putting on” Christ: “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet” (Rev 12:1), “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rom 13:12-14). What she is “clothed with” or has “put on” is the armor of God:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Paul had already laid the groundwork for teaching about this armor earlier in his letter, “And hath put all things under his feet” (1:22), “and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (2:6). Christ seated at God’s right hand has all principalities and powers under His feet, and the woman—the collective body of God’s people—when clothed with His armor, also has all principalities and powers under her feet as if seated together with Him. This is the essence of what it means for Christ to be our Advocate, Interceder, and Mediator.

Now obviously, this armor is only metaphorical and was intended by Paul to simply help our understanding of salvation, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (1:18). He was equating Christ’s advocacy in our defense to that of a protective suit of armor and even correlating specific spiritual truths to individual pieces of the whole: “having your loins girt about with truth … the breastplate of righteousness … your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace … the shield of faith [faithfulness] … the helmet of salvation … the sword of the Spirit [Breath] … Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit [Breath]” (6:14-18).

These pieces of armor toward the end of his letter are the aggregate of Paul’s teaching permeating throughout it. For example, he had already instructed, “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” (4:20-21), which is the sense of the first piece of armor, “having your loins girt about with truth” (6:14). The only way we are “able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (6:11) and overcome his deceptions, is by learning the truth Jesus Christ taught. If we don’t hear the truth from Jesus and live by it in faithful service to Him, we will be deceived and perish.

Our Advocate

Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (Matthew 22:42-46)

And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly. (Mark 12:35-37)

En route to the Cross, Jesus silenced the religious leaders with a conundrum from David’s writings, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1). He was making it known beforehand that this was a prophecy about Himself that would be fulfilled in Him. His ensuing death would be consummated by resurrection, ascension, and seating at God’s right hand.

John chapters 14-16 records Him teaching His disciples about His coming advocacy at the Father’s right hand: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [parakletos] to help you and be with you forever” (Jhn 14:16 NIV); “But the Advocate [parakletos], the Holy Spirit [breath], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jhn 14:26 NIV); “When the Advocate [parakletos] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [breath] of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [parakletos] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jhn 16:7 NIV).

The Greek parakletos for “advocate” was used only these four times by Christ and once many years later by John, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1Jo 2:1 NIV). An advocate is one that speaks in favor, support, or defense of another—similar to armor! Christ’s advocacy for us at God’s right hand means that we’re favored, supported, and defended by God when falsely accused or maligned. He is our Representative before God.

Of course, since Christ used the personal pronouns “he” and “him” for the Holy Breath in His discourse, it’s the favorite passage of Trinitarian ministers to support their claim of a literal third person. But Christ was only speaking figuratively as He said so Himself: “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs” (Jhn 16:25), “I have told you these things in obscure figures of speech” (Jhn 16:25 NET), “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (Jhn 16:25 NIV), “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language” (Jhn 16:25 NKJV). He was talking about His advocacy in the third person, not of a third person! It was only a figure of speech.

Regardless of what He said about His own words, Trinitarian ministers take Him literally, making Him say something else. The doctrine of the Trinity not only misrepresents the correct view of God but also the correct view of salvation. By turning Christ’s words about the parakletos into a teaching about another person rather than about Himself, His intended message of His position as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator at the right hand of God is cloaked. This leaves a vacuum for the message of salvation by faith or simply believing some facts are true to be taught.

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:7-11 NIV)

The apostle John, present when Christ taught about the Advocate, later identified Him as the Advocate, “But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1Jo 2:1 NIV). When Jesus said “about righteousness, because I am going to the Father,” He was indicating that the only means of righteousness before the Father is through His advocacy at His right hand. The outpouring of God’s Breath on the Day of Pentecost proved to the world His righteousness—it vindicated His unjust execution as a criminal by publicly displaying that He did indeed go to the Father and was now seated as the Righteous One at His right hand.

The Day of Pentecost

The main thrust of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost was the reality of Christ now seated at the right hand of God, “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” (Act 2:25), “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost [Breath], he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” (Act 2:33-35).

These statements Christ made before His death, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate” (Jhn 14:16 NIV), “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father” (Jhn 15:26 NIV), “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jhn 16:7 NIV), He fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost by sending the Holy Breath from the right hand of the Father. The Breath is called “the Advocate” because the Breath was sent from the Advocate. It isn’t literally another person but denoted as such by virtue of the person from whom it was sent. Since we have God’s Breath in our hearts by Christ’s advocacy before God, the Breath itself is equated metaphorically with the Advocate Himself. The presence of God’s Breath can be regarded as Christ.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul taught about those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]” (Rom 8:1, 4). This flesh versus breath antithesis isn’t material versus non-material but rather two distinct classes or categories of people differentiated by the indwelling Breath of God, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [Breath], if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9). Those that have God’s Breath in their hearts belong to God as one of His favored people. However, the Breath of God comes only through Christ, “Now if any man have not the Spirit [Breath] of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9). And the Breath of God can be called “the Breath of Christ” because it was sent by Christ from God’s right hand, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate,” “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,” “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you,” “having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost [Breath], he hath shed forth this.” Therefore, those that belong to God affirm and follow the message Peter preached on the day that Christ sent God’s Breath from His right hand.

The Day of Pentecost with the accompanying sign of tongues, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people” (Isa 28:11), is the foundation of Christianity, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa 28:16). Jerusalem is Zion—the city of David. Around 50 days after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, while Christ’s empty tomb itself was still preaching loudly just outside Jerusalem and while David’s tomb was still occupied with his remains, Peter preached the gospel message of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at God’s right hand. This was also the message of his first letter: “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost [Breath] sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1Pe 1:12); “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded” (1Pe 2:6); “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

The saving gospel message is the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, seating, and current advocacy of Christ at God’s right hand. This is the “sure foundation” that was laid on the Day of Pentecost. Trinitarian ministers, on the other hand, preach only part of this saving message. By delivering a message that stops short at the resurrection and proof-texted with various Scriptures, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), they make a convincing case that we need only to believe in His resurrection to be saved.

Christ our High Priest

That Paul didn’t mean we need only to believe in Christ’s resurrection as a historical fact by his statement “believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead” (10:9), is evident by his references to Isaiah’s prophecy about the Day of Pentecost preceding and following his statement, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth [trusts] on him shall not be ashamed” (9:33), “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth [trusts] on him shall not be ashamed” (10:11). The “Whosoever believeth [trusts] on him,” are those trusting on God that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand as Lord, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe [trust] on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (4:24). We must publicly confess Him as our Lord and from that point forward faithfully obey Him as Lord in a trusting relationship with God. That Paul didn’t mean to simply believe in Christ’s resurrection as a historical fact is also evident by what he taught earlier in his letter about Christ’s intercession for us at the right hand of God:

Likewise the Spirit [Breath] also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [Breath], because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. … Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:26-27, 33-34)

Christ’s intercession at the right hand of God is His current role as High Priest. This message of Him as High Priest at God’s right hand was interwoven throughout the letter to the Hebrews: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3); “Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (1:13); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (2:8); “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb 3:1); “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace” (4:16); “As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 5:6); Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 5:10); “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 6:20); “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb 7:17, 21); “seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (7:25); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (8:1); “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament” (9:15); “but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (9:24); “sat down on the right hand of God” (10:12); “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool” (10:13); “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19); “set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2); “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (12:24); “if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven” (12:25).

This statement in particular, “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:23-25), correlates with what Paul taught the Romans, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath].” (Rom 8:3-4). The Law of Moses, with its endless stream of animal sacrifices and priests sinful themselves that were continually replaced due to death, is what was “weak through the flesh.” However, “God sending his own Son” in the flesh to be the one and only perfect sacrifice for our sins, then seating Him at His right hand as our sinless High Priest that “ever liveth to make intercession” for us, is what is meant by “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us.”

Those “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath],” are God’s people that no longer live under the Law that was “weak through the flesh” but have turned to the Lord with God’s Breath in their hearts, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you” (8:9). Since the Breath of God was sent from God by Christ at His right hand, it can be called “the Spirit [Breath] of Christ” (8:9). Therefore, “if Christ be in you” (8:10) by God’s Breath being in us, then “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us” (8:26), “at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (8:34). This is also what Paul taught the Ephesians, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit [Breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [Breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith [faithfulness]” (Eph 3:16-17).

Faithful unto death

The messages to the seven churches in Asia recorded in Revelation chapters 2-3 are from Christ in His position of authority at the right hand of God. Speaking as our Advocate, Interceder, and Mediator, He called Himself “the Breath” seven times, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches” (2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22). And Paul had also called Christ “the Breath” in His intercession for us at the right hand of God, “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26), “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:34).

As Advocate at the right hand of God, Jesus demanded five of the seven churches in Asia to repent: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (2:5); “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (2:16); “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds” (2:22); “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent” (3:3); “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (3:19). It’s because He is our Advocate before the Father that we can be forgiven of our sin when we repent, “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” (1Jo 2:1).

When we disobey the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re being unfaithful to Him in our sin. But so long as He allows us to repent and continues to advocate for us before the Father, we remain in faithful service to Him as Lord and in a standing of righteousness before God. He said that eternal life is to those faithful to Him unto death, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev 2:10). He also commended one of His servants by name that had given his life in faithfulness to Him, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith [faithfulness], even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth” (Rev 2:13). And Paul’s last words before his death were that he had remained faithful, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith [faithfulness]” (2Ti 4:6-7), “I have remained faithful” (NLT).

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews warned them against being unfaithful, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief [unfaithfulness], 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 stedfast unto the end.” (Heb 3:12-14). Later in chapter 11, he cited many examples of Old Testament saints that were faithful unto death, “By faith [faithfulness] Abel” (v. 4), “By faith [faithfulness] Enoch” (v. 5), “By faith [faithfulness] Noah” (v. 7),

“By faith [faithfulness] Abraham” (v. 8), “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (v. 13). All of these examples of faithfulness culminate with Jesus Christ’s faithfulness unto death, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).

The reason we all need to be exhorted and warned to stay faithful to the Lord unto death is because it’s difficult to do. If it was easy there would be no need for warning. And if faithfulness to the Lord is unnecessary for salvation then the warnings themselves are also unnecessary. Why would anyone nullify these very warning passages in Hebrews given to help us remain faithful to the end? Yet that’s what many ministers do.

Since salvation is by faithfully serving the Lord and trusting God from our hearts, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), therefore the Lord searches and examines our hearts, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev 2:23). Anyone can say they’re trusting God and can appear to be trusting God, but truly trusting God comes from the heart and is discerned through overcoming trials, “that ye may be tried” (Rev 2:10), “to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev 3:10). James and Peter both said the same, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith [faithfulness] worketh patience” (Jas 1:3), “That the trial of your faith [faithfulness], being much more precious than of gold that perisheth” (1Pe 1:7).

The greatest assurance of salvation is when our faithfulness to the Lord is tested and we pass the tests. Tried and proven faithfulness is more precious and valuable than any amount of gold and riches on this earth. On the other hand, if salvation is simply by believing some facts are true, then suffering doesn’t make much sense and serves no apparent purpose. But when we begin to understand that our willingness to suffer in obedience to the Lord demonstrates what’s truly in our hearts, then suffering takes on a whole new perspective. And Jesus is our preeminent example by willingly suffering faithfully unto death, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (Jhn 10:17-18).

Furthermore, Christ said to each of the seven churches: “To him that overcometh” (2:7); “He that overcometh” (2:11); “To him that overcometh” (2:17); “And he that overcometh” (2:26); “He that overcometh” (3:5); “Him that overcometh” (3:12); “To him that overcometh” (3:21). And at the end of His seven messages, He defined what it means to overcome, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Breath] saith unto the churches.” (3:21-22). Salvation isn’t about simply believing some facts are true but about overcoming in a similar manner that Jesus Christ Himself overcame—to willingly suffer as He did, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (Jhn 10:18). We look to Him as our example of faithfulness unto death, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 12:2).

Conclusion

Trinitarian ministers don’t teach much, if at all, about Christ’s current position as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator at the right hand of God. Instead, they fill that void with the message that salvation is by simply believing some facts are true. It seems they don’t want us to know that salvation is contingent upon faithfully serving the living Lord seated at God’s right hand.

It was foretold in the very beginning, through the creation itself that the Lord Jesus Christ would be seated at the right hand of the Father as “the Greater Light” ruling over His people “the Day.” Human history was later orchestrated and caused to unfold the way it did to consummate the fulfillment of that prophecy. The salvation of mankind was accomplished by “the Greater Light” at God’s right hand and procured by our submission and faithfulness to Him.

The Day of Pentecost became the underlying foundation of Christianity. From His position at the right hand of God, the Lord Jesus Christ sent God’s Breath from heaven for those that repent and are baptized into His name, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Act 2:38). Those with God’s Breath in their hearts have turned from their former way of life unto faithfulness to His name until death.

When we live in faithful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, it’s as though we’re shod with a suit of armor in defense against our enemy the devil. And the very first piece of this metaphorical armor is the truth Jesus Christ taught. Without the truth from Him, we will be deceived and we will perish. Our salvation depends upon hearing the truth from Jesus and doing it, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them” (Mat 7:24), “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:26). It’s because Jesus is seated at the right hand of God as our Advocate that we’re said to be seated together with Him, “And hath raised us up together, and made ussit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). We overcome the deceptions and temptations of this world only by sitting with Him on His throne, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21). And when we’re seated together with Him, all things under His feet are also under ours.

Where Our Treasure Is

Introduction

Matthew chapter 6 is the middle chapter and heart of Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and the most definitive teaching in the entire Bible of how to enter His Kingdom and have eternal life. There’s an explicit characteristic distinguishing those on the two different paths in this life, “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction … narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Mat 7:13, 14). Christ taught us that it’s where our treasure is. What we treasure, value, or hold dear dictates the motives for our actions and ultimately our eternal destiny.

In this crucial passage, He revealed three polar opposite attributes dividing those onto the two paths: (1) whether the motives for our actions are to be seen by people or by God, “before men, to be seen of them … thy Father which seeth in secret” (vs. 1, 4); (2) whether our treasure is upon this earth or in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (vs. 19, 20); (3) whether we’re faithfully serving Him as Master or another master, “No man can serve two masters” (v. 24).

Praise from men or from God?

In the first half of Matthew chapter 6, Christ used the examples of giving, praying, and fasting to teach arguably the most fundamental distinction between those on the two paths: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven … That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (vs. 1, 4); “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men … pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (vs. 5, 6); “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast … 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” (vs. 16, 18).

What’s our motive for the things we do? We can do much good but with impure motives or intentions in our hearts, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8). God created us with natural and normal desires to receive praise, recognition, approval, honor, acclamation, and applause for the good things we do. It’s not wrong necessarily to receive praise from people for doing these types of things, only if it’s the reason we’re doing them. The motives in our hearts for our actions is a gauge of salvation.

Jesus questioned the corrupt Jewish leaders, “How can ye believe [trust], which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (Jhn 5:44). They wouldn’t put their trust in Him as their Messiah because they would be rejected by their fellow Jewish brethren for doing so. Because they didn’t want to lose the honor and acceptance they were receiving one another, they rejected Jesus instead and lost any honor and acceptance they would have received from God.

Hypocrites are those that pretend or feign serving God; whose actions contradict their public confession. According to what He had said earlier in His sermon “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” (Mat 5:20), Jesus was talking specifically about the scribes and Pharisees in His statements “as the hypocrites do … that they may have glory of men” (6:2), “as the hypocrites are … that they may be seen of men” (6:5), “as the hypocrites … that they may appear unto men” (6:16). In Matthew chapter 23 He exclaimed seven times “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (vs. 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29). And He described their hypocrisy in detail, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Mat 23:5-7). Hypocrisy consists not only of doing good deeds to be seen by people but also presenting oneself in such a manner as to be viewed by people, treated by people, greeted by people, and called by people in an elevated fashion. These ways of being regarded and treated by others can be summarized in the one word “praise.”

Paul began his letter to the Romans presenting its message as the gospel of Christ: “the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1), “the gospel of his Son” (v. 9), “preach the gospel” (v. 15), “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (v. 16). And a little later he made the statement, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). Circumcision is a sign or token of being in covenant with God and being counted righteous before Him. But the circumcision God recognizes and counts is that of the heart. It’s doing all things with a pure heart—with the motive of receiving praise, not from men but from God.

He also wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels [boule] of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God” (1Co 4:5). The Greek boule appears 11 other times in the New Testament: “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel [boule] of God against themselves” (Luk 7:30); “The same had not consented to the counsel [boule] and deed of them” (Luk 23:51); “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel [boule] and foreknowledge of God” (Act 2:23); “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel [boule] determined before to be done” (Act 4:28); “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel [boule] or this work be of men, it will come to nought” (Act 5:38); “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will [boule] of God” (Act 13:36); “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel [boule] of God” (Act 20:27); “And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised [boule] to depart thence also” (Act 27:12); “And the soldiers’ counsel [boule] was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape” (Act 27:42); “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel [boule] of his own will” (Eph 1:11); “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel [boule], confirmed it by an oath” (Heb 6:17).

This word speaks of something decided or determined beforehand that is to be done. It’s the purpose or reason something is done. When Paul said that God “will make manifest the counsels of the hearts,” it is that He will make known openly the purpose or reason we determined in our hearts to do the things we did. But it won’t be “until the Lord come” that He does this. It will be then “shall every man have praise of God” (1Co 4:5). This is also what Peter said, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:7).

Circling back to what Jesus taught in His Sermon, “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (v. 4), “pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (v. 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” (v. 18). If our motive for the good things we’re doing is to please God and not people, then we won’t be trying to draw attention to ourselves but doing those things in secret without anyone but God knowing what we did. If this characterizes our walk with God the Father, then when His Son Jesus Christ returns and gathers us to Himself we will receive praise, recognition, approval, honor, acclamation, and applause from God. All the good things we did in secret that nobody knew about will finally be disclosed openly for everyone to hear and witness praise being given to us by God Himself.

What is our treasure?

When we hear the word “treasure” we tend to think about a treasure chest full of gold or financial wealth and riches. But its meaning in Christ’s Sermon is that of anything we value or hold dear to ourselves. When He said “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He wasn’t talking about a wooden chest or a heavenly bank account but referring back to what He had said earlier, “your Father which is in heaven” (v. 1). It’s because our Father is in heaven that our treasure is said to be in heaven.

God told Abram, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Gen 15:1). He didn’t say that He would just give him a reward but that He is his reward. Both David and Jeremiah would later declare, “The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot” (Psa 16:5), “I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Psa 142:5), “The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him” (Lam 3:24).

What’s more valuable than God Himself? What should we cherish more than God Himself who gave us life and gives us eternal life? If He is our treasure, then pleasing Him and being right with Him will be the utmost important endeavor in our lives and the determining factor of which path we’re traveling. This is what Hebrews chapter 11 is all about. All of the “By faith [faithfulness]” statements are examples of men and women from the Scriptures that pleased God by their faithfulness to Him, “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). He rewards those that diligently seek to please Him. And what’s their reward? It’s Him! Just prior to this chapter the writer reminded his audience that their treasure is in heaven, “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb 10:34).

Where is our treasure?

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Mat 6:1), “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Mat 6:19-20). Treasure upon earth is because people are on earth while treasure in heaven is because God our Father is in heaven. If we’re seeking praise from people, then our treasure is upon earth but if we’re seeking praise from God, then our treasure is in heaven.

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest [phroneo] not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:21-23)

The Greek verb phroneo means “to seek” and “to desire,” or “to focus on” and “to attend to.” Peter was yielding to Satan’s temptation of desiring praise from men. He wanted to look big in the eyes of his fellow disciples by correcting Jesus in front of them. But, of course, it was he that got corrected in front of them and got put in his place.

Paul used this word when writing similarly to the Colossians, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2). Our desire, attention, and focus is to be on “things which are above.” It’s not that we’re to simply be “heavenly minded” in general but specifically focusing on “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Everything we do needs to be with conscience toward God—faithful obedience to our Lord who is advocating, interceding, and mediating for us at God’s right hand. We’re shown favor by our Father in heaven when we obey His Son seated at His right hand.

Paul used both the verb phroneo and its corresponding noun phronema when writing this same message to the Romans, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]. For they that are after the flesh do mind [phroneo] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [Breath] the things of the Spirit [Breath]. For to be carnally minded [phronema tes sarkos] is death; but to be spiritually minded [phronema tou pneumatos] is life and peace.” (Rom 8:4-6). In both “carnally minded” and “spiritually minded,” the noun phronema is possessive—it’s literally “mind of the flesh” and “mind of the Breath.” He used the exact same statement a little later in the chapter, “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [phronema tou pneumatos], because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:27), “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom 8:34). Jesus Christ is “he that searcheth the hearts” because He said so Himself, “and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev 2:23).

Unpacking all of this; the two converse lifestyles of either walking after the flesh or after the Breath, minding the things of the flesh or the things of the Breath, correspond to our treasure either being upon earth or in heaven. It goes back to what Paul had said earlier in his letter, “whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). Since Jesus Christ searches our hearts, He knows the motives of our hearts for the things we do—whether we’re doing things to be seen by people and receive praise from them or to be seen by God in secret and receive praise from Him. He “knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit [phronema tou pneumatos],” or who it is that’s seeking, desiring, and focusing upon the things of the Breath. And it’s those walking after the Breath, minding the things of the Breath that He intercedes on their behalf at the right hand of God.

In His personal messages to the seven churches in Asia, Jesus said “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18), but also said seven times “the Spirit [Breath] saith” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22). He called Himself “the Breath,” not just once or twice, but seven times! When we confess Him before men, then seated at the Father’s right hand, He confesses us and His Father obliges to breathe His Breath into our hearts. This reciprocity equates to the Son Himself being called the Breath. Since no human has God’s Holy Breath without the Son’s intercession for them at the right hand of God, the Son metaphorically is the Breath. It’s not some third Person but the Person of the Son of God by advocacy, intercession, and mediation.

Our treasure must be in heaven for Christ to intercede on our behalf at the right hand of God, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2). Since He knows our motives for the things we do and that our treasure is in heaven, He intercedes for us before God. Salvation is all about whether or not we’re one of those that the Son is presently and actively interceding for. It’s not about us believing but about Him interceding! The devil’s ministers don’t want us to know that. They want us deceived into thinking we’re saved simply because we believe some facts are true.

Our hearts are where our treasure is

One of the most profound statements in all of Scripture is “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21; Luk 12:34). The motives in our hearts correspond to the location of our treasure. Let’s repeat that again. The motives in our hearts correspond to the location of our treasure. If our treasure is on earth, we’ll have impure motives in our hearts for the things we do, but if our treasure is in heaven we’ll have pure motives in our hearts for the things we do. Therefore, for our hearts to be changed, our treasure must first be changed. Living the Christian life is all about keeping our focus on our treasure so that the motives in our hearts for the things we do will be pure.

“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 12:34-35). According to Jesus, nobody has a mixture of part good and part evil in their hearts but everyone has an abundance of one or the other. And the determinant of whether our hearts are good or evil is whether our treasure is good or evil, “the good treasure of the heart” and “the evil treasure”—treasure in heaven or on the earth. There’s no gray area, middle ground, or neutral territory. Either our treasure is in heaven, our hearts are good, and we’ll have eternal life, or our treasure is on earth, our hearts are evil, and we’ll perish.

We can become very skilled at saying all the right things to convince others that our hearts are pure. But giving this false impression goes right back to the underlying problem of seeking praise from people. It’s because we want to look good to people that we train ourselves to speak humbly, graciously, and kindly when we need to. This is what James taught, “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas 3:7-8). We train all kinds of animals to do things that aren’t natural to them. The snake charmer trains a cobra to sway and entertain people without biting yet its mouth is still “full of deadly poison.” And it’s similar with the tongue. We can “tame” or subdue our tongues to a certain point but eventually we’ll be in a situation where pressure or urgency will bring out of our mouths what’s truly in our hearts, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

What people say and don’t say identifies the location of their treasure—whether they’re seeking praise from people or from God. When we hear someone say “I don’t care what people think about me,” it means they do care what people think about them which is why they said that. If they really don’t care what people think about them, they wouldn’t have said anything. And why would someone say “God knows my heart” when we already know that? It’s because they’re concerned we think their heart isn’t right that they’re trying to convince us that it is. Our mouths betray our hearts. The main way to discern what’s in someone’s heart, and ultimately what it is they treasure, is by listening to how they talk. Do they say things to justify and defend themselves? Do they say things to make themselves look good or others look bad? Do they complain and talk negatively or are they thankful? Our mouths indicate what’s in our hearts and where our treasure is—seeking praise from people on earth or from God in heaven.

This same convention is what Jesus taught for identifying false ministers or wolves in sheep’s clothing, “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?” (Mat 7:15-16), “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.” (Mat 12:33-34). Trinitarian ministers refusing to agree with the Son of God’s teaching about His Father was the crucible in which I finally concluded that they’re false ministers or wolves in sheep’s clothing. It’s one thing for someone to be ignorant about what Christ taught but these men are highly educated with decades of ministry experience. What comes out of their mouths about God conflicts with what came out of the Son of God’s mouth about God. They’re known by their fruits—their mouths betray their hearts.

Our actions reveal what we treasure

Our actions in certain circumstances divulge what we treasure and therefore what’s in our hearts. James said that God tests our faithfulness to Him, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith [faithfulness] worketh patience” (Jas 1:2-3). He puts us in situations where there’s a distinct conflict of interest and we’re forced to decide one way or the other. What we do when pressured to obey God and suffer consequences or disobey God out of self-preservation, shows where our treasure is and therefore the motives of our hearts. James cited the time when “God did tempt [test] Abraham” (Gen 22:1):

Was not Abraham our father justified by works [ergon], when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith [faithfulness] wrought with his works [ergon], and by works [ergon] was faith [faithfulness] made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:21-23).

The Greek ergon translated here and in the majority of its 176 occurrences in the New Testament as “works” simply means “actions.” It rarely conveys meritorious actions of trying to earn righteousness before God under the Law of Moses. Only a few contexts impose that meaning while most of the time it’s simply about our everyday actions or the things we do. James was saying that Abraham’s faithfulness to God was tested when he was told to offer his son Isaac. And nobody else was on that mountain to witness what he was about to do, therefore he certainly wasn’t trying to be seen by people but only by God in secret. Of course, he was stopped short of carrying it out because it was only a test but he didn’t know that—he was going to following through with it. His actions, therefore, justified what had been said many years earlier, “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” He truly trusted God and it showed by his obedient actions, therefore justifying his righteous standing before Him.

We recognize this basic principle in everyday life. We say things like “Actions speak louder than words,” or “What you’re doing speaks so loudly that I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” Sometimes we’ll hear a sports team “trash talk” before a game but the other team responds with “We’ll do our talking on the field!” This is what James meant, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith [faithfulness], and have not works [ergon]? can faith [faithfulness] save him?” (Jas 2:14). What good is it to say we’re faithful yet we’re unfaithful? It isn’t what we say but what we do that counts, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith [faithfulness], and I have works [ergon]: shew me thy faith [faithfulness] without thy works [ergon], and I will shew thee my faith [faithfulness] by my works [ergon].” (Jas 2:18). If we’re truly being faithful, we don’t need to say anything—our actions speak for themselves.

Peter also said that our faithfulness is tested, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith [faithfulness], being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:6-7). And when we pass the testing of our faithfulness, we will receive praise, honor, and glory from God at Christ’s return.

God tests us regularly to build a case that will be used in the final judgment—either for us or against us. We must learn to appreciate these tests as opportunities to prove our faithfulness to Him and justify our entry into His kingdom. We have no idea the multitudes of situations we’ve been put through in our Christian lives that were orchestrated by God to test our faithfulness to Him. We thought things just happened the way they did or that people acted the way they did for no particular reason. We didn’t know that God was testing our faithfulness to Him.

The sheep and the goats

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:37-40)

When read in its plain sense, the “sheep and goats” judgment recorded in Matthew 25 sounds like some type of “social gospel”—that entering Christ’s Kingdom depends entirely on feeding and clothing the poor, taking in strangers, and visiting the sick or incarcerated. However, it all comes back to what Christ taught is the determining factor between those that are His and the hypocrites, or the sheep and the goats.

“That thine alms may be in secret [kryptos]: and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos] himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4). Those that are His give alms to the poor with conscience toward God the Father—to be seen by Him in secret. This principle is consistent with what He will say to the sheep in the judgment, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Mat 25:40). When the sheep do good deeds in secret toward God, they’re doing those deeds unto Him.

This is also what Paul taught, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets [kryptos] of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom 2:16), “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly [kryptos]; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). The “sheep and goats” judgment will be the day when Jesus Christ reveals what was done in secret, “That thine alms may be in secret [kryptos]: and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos] himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4). And what was done in secret with conscience toward Him will be rewarded with praise and recognition by Him in that day.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ was teaching God’s righteousness, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat 6:33). This is why the sheep are called “the righteous” in the judgment, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Mat 25:46). They’re righteous because their treasure was in heaven—they fed, clothed, lodged, and visited people with pure motives toward God to receive praise from Him.

Now, it’s not that the goats never did any of these same things that the sheep did but that their righteous deeds aren’t going to be recognized at the judgment, “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” (Eze 18:24). They’re not going to be rewarded for their good deeds because they were rewarded already, “Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Mat 6:2, 5, 16). The praise they received from people is the only reward they’ll ever receive.

It’s because the sheep and the goats weren’t aware they were being tested is the reason they’re going to ask Christ “When did we see you…?” God routinely puts us in situations that reveal what’s in our hearts by testing where our treasure is located. He imposes upon us conflicts of interest in which we must either make a sacrifice to remain faithful to Him or be unfaithful to reap a personal benefit.

Abraham’s sacrifice when nobody was watching proved His fear of God and trust in Him. And the same is true with us when we make sacrifices for others expecting and receiving nothing at all 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 again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” (Luk 6:34-35), “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” (Luk 14:13-14). This is what distinguishes the sheep from the goats.

No man can serve two masters

It was prophesied in a mystery from the very beginning, even before mankind had been created, that there would be two categories or classifications of people: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Gen 1:4-5), “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8), “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1Th 5:5).

These two classes would have one ruler or another over them, “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” (Gen 1:16-18).

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mat 6:24). Since every person belongs to one category or the other, ruled by one master or the other, then everyone not ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ is ruled by the devil. This is what it all comes down to. If our treasure is pleasing our Father in heaven, we’ll serve and obey His Son with pure hearts and be rewarded with eternal life. However, if our treasure is pleasing people on the earth, we won’t be serving and obeying His Son with pure hearts and we’ll perish.

Pastors of Protestant Trinitarian churches aren’t leading their flocks to eternal life but to destruction. They’re effective at this by teaching their definition of serving the Lord to convince their flocks that they’re serving Him. But their definition is not His. We can only serve Him, His way.

In Luke chapter 16, Jesus taught the parable of the Unjust Steward and concluded it with the same statement He had made in His Sermon on the Mount, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luk 16:13). The word “mammon” is an English transliteration of a noun from Aramaic origin. In the entire New Testament, it’s only used by Jesus and only in His Sermon on the Mount and His parable of the Unjust Steward. Lexicons and theological dictionaries define this word as “money,” “riches,” or “wealth,” but this isn’t how Jesus used it in His parable.

The parable is about a servant that was unfaithful to his master. He was given the responsibility of overseeing his master’s debts and collecting what was owed to him but was unfaithful in this duty by misappropriating the funds to make friends with his master’s debtors. He settled what they owed for pennies on the dollar for his own personal gain and benefit. This is the essential idea of mammon—it’s personal benefit at our mater’s expense.

A similar endeavor is true with Protestant Trinitarian elders, pastors, scholars, and theologians today. Rather than faithfully upholding the standard of righteousness our Lord commanded, they lower His standard by settling His debts for less than what is due. Such doctrines as original sin, a sin nature, sola fide, and once-saved-always-saved, lower the bar of what’s required to enter Christ’s Kingdom. And by keeping their flocks preoccupied with serving religiously—church attendance, a daily Bible reading plan, devotionals, journaling, memorizing verses, small group discussions, prayer groups, serving in positions, missionary trips—they delude them into believing they’re serving the Lord faithfully. They’re serving alright, but not necessarily serving the Lord.

A couple of life examples

My wife and I used to live in a condominium unit near an older Christian couple wanting to sell their unit to my wife’s mother. We had only known them passively for about a year but they were always warm and kind to us and attended a local church regularly. However, when it came to dealing with them over the sale of their property, they turned quite unpleasant very quickly. They pressured us to make an offer which we finally did but about a week after signing the contract and receiving their earnest money, another party made them a better offer. That was when things turned ugly. They began demanding to be released from their contract and for their money to be returned. We eventually did this. What I learned from the experience is that we get a glimpse into people’s hearts when their treasure is in jeopardy. Just start messing with people’s treasure and we’ll see pretty quickly where their hearts are at.

There’s a dear Christian lady my wife and I have known for many years that had a prolonged period where some family members were causing her problems. The times we would get together with her just to visit, she would inevitably bring up the latest things these family members were doing to her. And I never once heard her admit anything she had ever done wrong to them but it was always about what they were doing wrong to her. What she didn’t realize is that the entire situation could very well have been a test from God and she was apparently failing the test. James said, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell [geenna]” (Jas 3:6), “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). The little tongue in our mouths can lead our entire bodies to geenna or the Lake of Fire. Envying and strife from the tongue is “earthly, sensual, devilish”—it indicates we’re treasuring what’s on the earth, yielding to the flesh, and serving the devil.

Conclusion

Within the heart of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ taught the distinguishing characteristic of those that will enter His Kingdom and have eternal life, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them … That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (vs. 1, 4), “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (vs. 19, 20), “No man can serve two masters” (v. 24). They do good deeds to be seen by God their Father and therefore to please Him. And because they live to please the Father in heaven, their treasure is said to be in heaven.

There’s nothing more valuable than God Himself. Therefore, there’s no greater endeavor in life than pleasing Him and being right with Him. And the only way we can please the Father and be right with Him is to faithfully serve His Son seated at His right hand. Salvation or eternal life is all about the Son presently and actively interceding for us at the Father’s right hand in heaven.

Hypocrisy is pretending or feigning; it’s acting contradictory to one’s confession. It consists of doing good deeds to be seen by people and presenting oneself in such a way as to be viewed by people, treated by people, greeted by people, and called by people in an elevated manner. The word that best expresses this is “praise.” Hypocrites seek praise from people while genuine servants of the Lord Jesus Christ seek praise from God, “whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). The reason treasures are said to be upon the earth or in heaven is because people are upon the earth and God is in heaven. Therefore, the essence of laying up treasures upon the earth or in heaven is whether we’re seeking praise from people or from God.

The motives of our hearts coincide with the location of our treasure, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21; Luk 12:34). It’s whether our treasure is in heaven or upon the earth—seeking praise from God or from people—that we’ll have a corresponding abundance of good or evil motives in our hearts for the things we do and say, “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 12:34-35). Christ’s statement “the good treasure of the heart” is simply an abbreviated form of “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The only way the abundance of motives in our hearts can be changed is by changing what we treasure.

Our words divulge the motives of our hearts and what it is we treasure. As animals can be trained, we can coach ourselves to speak humbly and graciously to give the impression that we have good motives in our hearts. However, our idle words and small talk betray what we truly treasure.

God routinely tests our faithfulness to Him by putting us in situations with a conflict of interest to observe what we will do when pressured one way or the other. Our actions when tested justify our righteous standing before Him. Therefore, we’ll be judged by our actions, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works [ergon]” (Rev 2:23), “the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works [ergon] … and they were judged every man according to their works [ergon]” (Rev 20:12, 13).

Eternal life comes by being counted righteous by God. But to be counted righteous by God we must please God. The only way to please God is to confess His Son as Lord, then obey Him by our actions with the right motives in our hearts—genuinely, not hypocritically. And the determining factor of whether we’re genuine or hypocrites, righteous or unrighteous, sheep or goats, is the location of our treasure. What we treasure, value, or hold dear dictates the motives for our actions and ultimately our eternal destiny. Our trust in God is demonstrated when we’re willing to forego the praise, approval, recognition, and honor we could have received in this life from people in exchange for being criticized, mocked, belittled, and falsely accused instead. God is pleased when we’re willing to be shamed before people for His Son Jesus Christ’s sake—His glory, name, and honor. It’s difficult and discouraging to continue for years and even decades without getting any recognition or praise for the things we’re doing in secret. But Jesus Christ assured us that one day we’ll receive the treasure we’ve been seeking, “and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:4, 6, 18).

Learning from the Unlearned

Introduction

Trinitarian scholars, theologians, and pastors hold a tight grip over mainstream Christianity by masquerading as the purveyors of the truth and denouncing true teachers gifted by Christ as unlearned and uneducated. They’re full of tactics and schemes to magnify themselves and minimize others in the eyes of their followers. They persuade their followers against true teachers to keep them deceived and on the broad way that leads to destruction.

True teachers, on the other hand, are gifted by Jesus Christ and teach His message. They remain faithful to Him and His teaching regardless of being ridiculed, defamed, and silenced. While false teachers abound and can be easily heard, true teachers are few and they’re censored from public hearing.

Unlearned and uneducated men

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Act 4:13). Instead of “unlearned and ignorant men,” other versions have “uneducated and ordinary men” (NET), “unschooled, ordinary men” (NIV). Two of the greatest disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ were belittled by the religious leaders as unlearned and uneducated.

It’s true that Peter and John were uneducated when compared with the religious leaders of the day. They had both been fishermen before leaving behind the family business to follow Jesus. However, they became two of the three that were Christ’s “inner circle” of the 12, that witnessed His transfiguration on the mountain. Peter was the apostle that preached on the Day of Pentecost and established the Jewish body of Christians through the first half of the book of Acts. John was entrusted with the care of Christ’s mother and was the last living apostle to lead the Christians. Between them both, they wrote 7 of the 27 books in the New Testament.

Not only were two of greatest His disciples demeaned as unlearned but even Christ Himself, “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” (Jhn 7:14-16). If Christ Himself had “never learned” according to the Jewish leaders, then it’s no wonder Peter and John were esteemed unlearned as well—they learned from the unlearned! But Christ replied, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” He hadn’t learned from them but from God.

Christ and His apostles were scorned by the religious leaders as unlearned and nothing has changed. Essentially, this same dynamic is at work today where the doctrines of men are disguised and hailed as the truth while any nonconformists are discredited. Trinitarian scholars, theologians, and pastors with their systematic theology boast of being the experts in Christian doctrine while degrading any outside their circle that didn’t graduate from seminary. They perpetuate their false doctrines to the simple under the façade of being the learned and educated.

Corrupt seminaries

As with the media feigning objectivity in order to push their liberal agenda, Trinitarian seminaries likewise are corrupt. When students go to these seminaries to get a theological degree, the doctrine of the Trinity is incessantly drilled into them. Anyone raising questions or objecting to this view of God is dealt with and eventually pressured to leave or even discharged if deemed nonconforming. The bottom line is that those finishing seminary and receiving a degree are pledged and devoted to Trinitarianism. It’s not that they’re necessarily smarter or know more than those that didn’t finish but that they succumbed and bowed the knee: “bowed down to their gods” (Num 25:2); “they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them” (Jdg 2:17); “fall down and worship the golden image” (Dan 3:10); “bowed the knee to the image of Baal” (Rom 11:4).

This doesn’t mean that every person graduating from seminary has passed the point of no return and can never repent and turn back to God. For many, this is the case but some might still have hope although it’s extremely difficult for them to ever depart. Leaving Trinitarianism means essentially losing everything into which they’ve invested their lives, then setting out like Abraham not knowing where they’re going, “and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Heb 11:8). But this is what it means to walk in Abraham’s steps of faithfulness to God, “who also walk in the steps of that faith [faithfulness] of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom 4:12). Abraham was faithful to God in obeying Him and walking away from everything into what appeared to be nothing.

Moses forsook his name, position, and wealth in Egypt in exchange for a life of suffering with the people of God, “By faith [faithfulness] Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb 11:24-26).

Paul relinquished everything he had built his life upon, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” (Phl 3:5-7). He not only gave up his life of wealth, power, and prestige but exchanged it for a life of tremendous persecution and suffering:

Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:22-27)

Tactics of Trinitarian theologians

Rather than sincerely seeking the truth and submitting to it, Trinitarian theologians fight to defend their system of theology. They’re full of ploys to intimidate their followers and keep them dependent on themselves and their system. Their tactics alone should be enough to convince us that something is seriously wrong. They’re threatened by anyone trying to understand the truth from the Scriptures for themselves and will employ an arsenal of tactics against them.

They make their followers dependent on them. Their credentials and degrees are from Trinitarian seminaries and they’re endorsed by a strong support system of highly esteemed Trinitarians. Anybody not endorsed by them is a “nobody” and we shouldn’t listen to them. They use big words and theological jargon, “they speak great swelling words of vanity” (2Pe 2:18), “their mouth speaketh great swelling words” (Jde 1:16), to make their doctrines sound official and authoritative. They’re proficient in apologetics, not to defend the truth, but to defend their theological system.

They misuse the Scriptures. They start with their system of theology as their basis of “truth,” then impose it upon the Scriptures. They mistranslate certain words like pneuma as “spirit” rather than “breath” and pistis as “faith” rather than “faithfulness” to conceal what’s being said. They also find statements that sound like or can be made to sound like, support for their Trinitarian system such as “making himself equal with God” (Jhn 5:18), but ignore or explain away statements that disagree with their system such as the very next verse “the Son can do nothing of himself” (Jhn 5:19). And those sincerely trying to understand the truth from the Scriptures for themselves get scoffed that they’re not using sound hermeneutics or that they’re allegorizing the Scriptures.

They act as the arbiters of the truth. They appoint themselves to act as the “doctrine police” over everyone else to make it appear that they have the truth. They tell us which ministries and teachers to avoid. They tell us what beliefs are supposedly essential and non-essential for salvation. By fighting what’s false, they appear to be crusading for truth.

They make false claims. They claim that their system of theology is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3) and that the Trinitarian view of God is the historical view established by the early church. They also claim that Trinitarianism is essential for salvation and that blasphemy against the Spirit is denying that the Spirit is a Person. But these are simply false claims they’ve been largely successful at pawning as the truth.

They appeal to the majority. They point to large numbers and the majority as evidence of the truth. After all, they balk, hundreds of millions of Trinitarians couldn’t all be wrong, could they? But by the same argument, could one billion Muslims all be wrong? Of course! They’ll also appeal to great Christian men and women in history as being Trinitarians and that libraries and bookshelves are full of published works by Trinitarians.

They make false comparisons. By pointing to Arius as obviously wrong (and he was!), therefore the doctrine of the Trinity must be right. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are obviously wrong (and they are!), therefore the doctrine of the Trinity must be right. It’s simply a dishonest tactic posing as a champion for the truth.

They intimidate and instill fear. They make us fear falling into error by studying the Scriptures on our own when really they just don’t want us falling into the truth. We supposedly need a group consensus which, of course, must be a group of Trinitarians! They warn us that if we deny the doctrine of the Trinity we’ll be categorized with Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Unitarians. Also, we’ll be branded a heretic and seen as leading our family into a cult.

They silence and censor. They proclaim that the doctrine of the Trinity is a closed case not open for discussion and even questioning this doctrine is the danger of blasphemy against the Spirit for which they will never be forgiven. They acclaim and praise those that agree with them but won’t recommend, acknowledge, or support anyone that’s not a Trinitarian.

They belittle and mock. They appeal to their credentials and discredit those without. They’ll say, “Why should anyone listen to you? Did you graduate from seminary? Are you smarter than the scholars and theologians? Why would God allow you to understand the truth?” Their favorite saying is, “If it’s new it’s not true, and if it’s true it’s not new.” However, when the truth is finally taught it only seems new because they haven’t been teaching it!

They sway the people

Corrupt religious leaders don’t fear God, they fear the people: “And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet” (Mat 14:5); “But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet” (Mat 21:26); “But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed” (Mar 11:32); “And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way” (Mar 12:12); “And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them” (Luk 20:19); “And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people” (Luk 22:2); “Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned” (Act 5:26).

Because of their power and influence over the people, religious leaders persuade and move them to accomplish their agenda: “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus” (Mat 27:20); “But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them” (Mar 15:11); “But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people” (Act 17:13).

The same is happening in churches today—leaders are swaying people to keep them loyal to the system. The name Barabbas means “son of a father” while, of course, Jesus Christ is the Son of the Father. People today are being moved and stirred to retain teachers that are called sons of God but reject the sons of God. This principle is what the writer of Hebrews was warning his readers about, “they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:6). It’s tantamount to rejecting Christ when rejecting His gifted teachers that are delivering His message. But simple and trusting people in churches today are being told a narrative about the true teachers so that they’ll refuse them but keep Barabbas.

Christian bookstores are full of glossy paged books and commentaries that seem very appealing and helpful but ultimately communicate a different God and different message than the Lord Jesus Christ preached. It takes time and effort to find the truth. We love having study guides, outlines, modern translations, footnotes, devotionals, reading plans, and 30 days to this or that. But this is just another tactic of the devil and his ministers—to make his doctrine as easy, convenient, and appealing as possible. When speaking of false teachers Peter said “they allure through the lusts of the flesh” (2Pe 2:18). They appeal to our laziness by making things easy and comfortable. We work hard at our job to feed our stomachs yet don’t want to exert much effort for our soul. Our enemy is all too eager to make everything smooth and effortless so that we’ll stay blinded and belonging to him. If we’re not willing to work hard at finding the truth, to study for ourselves, and to ask God to help us, we’ll stay deceived and perish.

Letters of recommendation

We’ve been hoodwinked into believing that credentials issued by men is the main qualifier for teaching the Scriptures. But this is nothing new. The same trickery was peddled in the early church.

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:1-3)

The Corinthians had begun looking to “credentialed” men to teach them. But Paul’s qualifications as a true minister of God didn’t come from any man’s writing on a piece of paper whether it be a signed letter of recommendation from an upper-echelon or a graduate diploma from a theological school. The Corinthians themselves were his “writing” of qualification so to speak. The fact that they even existed as a church is on account of the Lord calling Paul to them, “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Act 16:10). This made them “the epistle of Christ” or Paul’s letter of recommendation from Jesus Christ Himself!

The persecution and resistance Paul experienced on his way through Macedonia to reach the Corinthians also qualified him as a true minister of God: “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely” (Act 16:23); “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea” (Act 17:10); “But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people” (Act 17:13). In general, delivering the truth requires suffering and sacrifice.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mat 5:11-12). Here at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was saying that the same pattern of persecution experienced by the true prophets in the Scriptures is what would also be endured by men of God in the church age. He carried forward this same idea toward the end of His Sermon when He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mat 7:15). These “false prophets” aren’t men professing to be prophets necessarily, but false teachers that don’t fit the pattern of the true prophets in the Scriptures, “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” And this is how Peter understood Christ’s words, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (2Pe 2:1). True teachers fit the mold of the prophets—they’re persecuted in the same way.

The measure of faithfulness

For I say, through the grace [favor] given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith [faithfulness]. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace [favor] that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith [faithfulness]; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8)

In the statement, “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith [faithfulness],” the Greek pistis is mistranslated, as in almost 250 other places throughout the New Testament, as “faith” instead of “faithfulness.” It makes no sense to have been given a measure of belief. What has been given, however, are different measures or portions of the Lord’s “goods” over which each of His servants have the responsibility of faithfulness, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” (Mat 25:14-15), “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21).

God’s people are shown common favor through His Son Jesus Christ over all other people on the earth—He forgives their sins and counts them right with Him. But within the collective body of His favored people, God also bestows varying measures of favored gifts to each individual member, “But unto every one of us is given grace [favor] according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph 4:7), “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:11). Obviously, the apostles and prophets were highly favored and uniquely gifted with more “talents” than the rest of us. Consequently, Christ required more from them, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luk 12:48).

Those that teach the Scriptures will be held to a higher standard of judgment than other Christians, “My brethren, be not many masters [didaskalos], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (Jas 3:1). Personally speaking, teaching isn’t something that I chose to do or particularly care to do but it’s what I’ve come to recognize that I’ve been gifted with. I don’t relish the responsibility but approach it very seriously and soberly. I enjoy studying the Scriptures and teaching either in writing or speaking more than anything else in life. And I’ve learned that Christ has gifted me with being able to understand the truth communicated through the Scriptures beyond what others are capable of. It’s not a matter of intelligence or credentials but of gifting. I’m simply following the example of other unlearned men of God such as Peter and John.

True teachers are silenced

True teachers gifted by Christ are hard to find mainly because there aren’t very many—relative to the plethora of false teachers lurking everywhere—and they’re censored from public hearing by all of the false teachers. It’s similar to what’s playing out today in United States politics between conservatives and liberals. President Donald Trump continually denounces the liberal media for silencing and attacking him in order to push their agenda. The only viable alternative he has found to communicate to the people is through Twitter. It’s not that he prefers to do this but that he has been left with no other choice.

Likewise, those that bow the knee to the Trinitarian theological system get endorsed, supported, funded, and praised while the true teachers get derided, suppressed, and silenced. I’m not a fan of the internet at all. I would love to go back to the days during the first 25 years of my life when it didn’t exist. However, these are the times in which we now live and I’m left with no choice but to use the internet as my main tool for communicating the truth.

Conclusion

Peter and John, two of the greatest disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, were derided as unlearned and uneducated men by the religious leaders of their day. And the same pattern is at work today—Trinitarian theologians, scholars, and pastors tout their credentials while belittling teachers truly gifted by Christ. Trinitarian leaders are full of tactics and ploys to exalt themselves and debase those esteemed as threat to their message and agenda.

We should be listening to the teachers Christ has gifted. These are men that have refused to bow their knee to the false view of God and false doctrines coerced by the Trinitarian leaders of mainstream Christianity. They fit the mold set by the prophets in the Scriptures, “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Mat 5:12). They’ve walked away from everything into nothing, “and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Heb 11:8). They don’t need to commend themselves or to be recommended by others, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” (2Co 3:1). Their credentials aren’t in writing on paper—a diploma hanging on the wall or affirmation by other ministers. Their credentials are from Christ Himself by the gift He bestowed upon them.

The Good Message of Jesus Christ

Introduction

The euangelion or “good message” that the Lord Jesus Christ preached is the same message His apostles preached. There’s no difference whatsoever in message because the apostles were sent by the Lord to preach His message. And the message of the Lord is faithfulness to Him: “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24); “No servant can serve two masters” (Luk 16:13); “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Mat 24:45); “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Mat 25:21); “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luk 16:10); “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luk 19:17).

About 500 years ago the Protestant Reformation introduced a new message—that we’re saved by faith or belief. And Bible translations have been “doctored” ever since to support and further this deception. It isn’t the message of faithful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ that He preached.

The good message

The Greek noun euangelion is derived from the adverb eu for “good” and the noun angelos for “messenger.” It literally means “good message.” However, rather than transliterating it into English as “evangel” or something similar, it’s widely translated into the coined meaningless word “gospel.” When asked what “gospel” means, the typical answer is that it’s “good news.” What happened is that the broader meaning of euangelion has been diminished by replacing this word with something meaningless that could be instilled with a narrower definition. While “news” is strictly a report of information, “message” not only communicates news and information but other ideas as well—it has a broader meaning.

By limiting euangelion to simply “good news,” such statements as “But they have not all obeyed the gospel [euangelion]” (Rom 10:16), “them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel [euangelion] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:8), are puzzling. Obey the news? When we pick up the newspaper from our driveway in the morning, we don’t think to ourselves about obeying it. In translating euangelion as “gospel” and ascribing the definition of “good news” to it, the directive of obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord has been expunged from the message He preached. Therefore, we’re taught that all we must do to be saved is receive the good news and believe the information.

The Messenger of the Lord

The Greek noun angelos transliterated as “angel” is the root of the noun euangelion for “good message.” This word angelos, and its Hebrew equivalent mal’ak, means “messenger,” one that is sent by another to deliver a message. Messengers can be celestial beings called “angels” in accordance with their primary created duty, or they can be human beings functioning as messengers. Although used as the name for the celestial messengers of God, angelos and mal’ak isn’t a type of being but a role, service, or function.

In the following passage, the same word mal’ak is used for celestial beings sent by God to Jacob, and for human beings sent by Jacob to Esau, “And Jacob went on his way, and the angels [mal’ak] of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. And Jacob sent messengers [mal’ak] before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.” (Gen 32:1-3). In these next two verses, angelos is used for John the Baptizer sent by God as His messenger to His people ahead of Jesus, “As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger [angelos] before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Mar 1:2), and is also used for celestial beings sent by God to minister to Jesus, “And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels [angelos] ministered unto him” (Mar 1:13).

In Abraham’s days, we’re introduced to a particular Messenger called “the angel [mal’ak] of the LORD [Yehovah]” (Gen 16:7, 9, 10, 11, 22:11, 15). This Messenger isn’t mentioned again until He appears to Moses in the burning bush, “And the angel [mal’ak] of the LORD [Yehovah] appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Exo 3:2). This, of course, is the pre-incarnate Son of God sent by the Father as His Messenger.

However, the Jews that rejected Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah and as the Son of God, claimed that “the angel of the LORD” in their Scriptures was simply a great celestial being—one of God’s created angels. This is what the writer of Hebrews was disputing particularly in the first chapter, “For unto which of the angels [angelos] said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Heb 1:5), “But to which of the angels [angelos] said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Heb 1:13). The Messenger of the Lord isn’t an angel because God called Him “my Son” and said to Him “Sit on my right hand.”

The writer of Hebrews went on to say, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle [apostolos] and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb 3:1). The Greek apostolos is someone sent as a messenger. In this case, it’s the Messenger of the Lord that called to Abraham from heaven, “And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven” (Gen 22:11), “And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven” (Gen 22:15). He also later quoted from the passage where the Messenger of the Lord called to Abraham, “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee” (Heb 6:13-14).

And the angel [mal’ak] of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That 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; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:15-18)

The message that the Messenger of the Lord was sent to deliver to Abraham was that of praise for his obedience to God through this test, “God did tempt [test] Abraham” (Gen 22:1). God was testing or proving Abraham—if he would do what he had been commanded though stopped short of carrying it out.

James cited this event as an example of faithfulness, “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith [faithfulness] without works [actions] is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works [actions], when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith [faithfulness] wrought with his works [actions], and by works [actions] was faith made perfect?” (Jas 2:20-22). The Greek pistis translated here as “faith” is actually “faithfulness,” and ergon translated as “works” is simply “actions.” He was saying that Abraham’s obedient actions showed his fear of God and faithfulness to Him, “And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Gen 22:11-12). That he was “justified by works [actions],” is that his fear of God was validated by this actions of obedience.

This same message of obedience delivered by the Messenger of the Lord to Abraham is the euangelion or “good message” delivered by the Lord in His ministry. The message delivered by God’s pre-incarnate Son is the message delivered by God’s incarnate Son—the good message of obedience to Him in the fear of God.

Obey the good message

The Greek verb hypakouo means “to obey” as with a servant obeying his master, “Servants, be obedient [hypakouo] to them that are your masters according to the flesh” (Eph 6:5), “Servants, obey [hypakouo] in all things your masters according to the flesh” (Col 3:22). Derived from the preposition hypo for “under” and verb akouo for “to hear,” this word carries the idea of “under the hearing” of someone. A servant is “under the hearing” of his master in the sense that he’s obligated to do whatever he hears his master say. Paul used the noun form hypakoe in these two parallel verses that form the bookends of his letter to the Romans, “obedience [hypakoe] to the faith [faithfulness] among all nations, for his name” (Rom 1:5), “made known to all nations for the obedience [hypakoe] of faith [faithfulness]” (Rom 16:26).

Paul stated several times that his writing to the Romans is the euangelion of God and of Jesus Christ which he was sent to deliver as his own message: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel [euangelion] of God” (Rom 1:1); “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel [euangelion] of his Son” (Rom 1:9); “For I am not ashamed of the gospel [euangelion] of Christ” (Rom 1:16); “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel [euangelion]” (Rom 2:16); “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel [euangelion] of God” (Rom 15:16); “I have fully preached the gospel [euangelion] of Christ” (Rom 15:19); “I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel [euangelion] of Christ” (Rom 15:29); “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel [euangelion], and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25).

Romans is the most detailed and thorough discourse on the euangelion or good message of Jesus Christ ever penned. From the introductory statement “obedience [hypakoe] to the faith [faithfulness]” (Rom 1:5), to the concluding one “the obedience [hypakoe] of faith [faithfulness]” (Rom 16:26), it’s all about faithful obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord. This is the good message of Jesus Christ.

Chapter six in particular defines obedience to Jesus Christ as His servants, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey [hypakoe], his servants ye are to whom ye obey [hypakouo]; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience [hypakoe] unto righteousness?” (Rom 6:16). He clearly stated that we’re servants of whom we obey, not necessarily of whom we claim to obey. Just calling Christ “Lord” doesn’t make Him our Lord if we’re not doing what He said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46). While it’s true that we obey the Lord Jesus Christ because we’re His servants, it’s not true that we’re His servants if we don’t obey Him. We obey Him because we’re His servants, but if we don’t obey Him we’re not His servants.

In chapter ten, confessing Jesus as our Lord isn’t empty speech or a magic formula, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9). Just confessing He’s our Lord doesn’t save us. The implication is that our confession of Him as Lord obligates our faithful obedience to Him as Lord. Our confession is our commitment to loyally and faithfully obey Him for the rest of our lives. This is also evident by Paul quoting from Moses earlier in this same chapter:

It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deuteronomy 30:12-14)

By confessing Jesus as Lord, we’re stating from our mouths that we’ve heard Him and are committed in our hearts to do what He said. It’s a confession of commitment to Him, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word [rhema] of faith [faithfulness], which we preach” (Rom 10:8). Faithful obedience to the Lord is what Paul and his companions were preaching.

Obedience to Christ as Lord is also evident by the conclusion Paul drew from Isaiah’s prophecy, “But they have not all obeyed [hypakouo] the gospel [euangelion]. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” (Rom 10:16), “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (Isa 53:1), “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa 53:4). The arm of the Lord is God’s power to work miracles, signs, and wonders. The healings Jesus performed in His ministry proved He was Israel’s Messiah in fulfilment of what Isaiah said, “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Mat 8:16-17). Although He proved to be their Messiah, yet they esteemed Him stricken and smitten by God in His crucifixion as a common criminal.

The conclusion is that He can only be one or the other—the living Lord at the right hand of God, or just another dead criminal in the grave. If He is alive today at God’s right hand, we should obey the good message He preached while on earth, “But they have not all obeyed [hypakouo] the gospel [euangelion]” (Rom 10:16). Otherwise, why obey what an executed criminal preached?

Trusting and committing

The Greek verb pisteuo appears almost 250 times in the New Testament. It’s consistently translated “believe” except in only seven verses where the contexts forced it to be rendered either “commit” or “trust”: “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit [pisteuo] to your trust [pisteuo] the true riches?” (Luk 16:11); “But Jesus did not commit [pisteuo] himself unto them, because he knew all men” (Jhn 2:24); “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed [pisteuo] the oracles of God” (Rom 3:2); “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me [pisteuo]” (1Co 9:17); “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust [pisteuo] with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1Th 2:4); “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to [pisteuo] my trust [pisteuo]” (1Ti 1:11); “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed [pisteuo] unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour” (Tit 1:3).

The point is that the contexts of these seven verses attest that pisteuo means “commit” or “trust.” However, in the 240 other places where there’s not a context that forces this meaning, the translators took the liberty of rendering it inaccurately as “believe.” This is one of the means by which we’ve been sold the bill of goods that salvation consists of only believing some facts while the directive to commit our trust in the Lord is suppressed.

The following verses all from the Gospel of John speak of trusting on Him: “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed [pisteuo] on him” (Jhn 2:11); “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth [pisteuo] in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jhn 3:16); “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe [pisteuo] on him whom he hath sent” (Jhn 6:29); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth [pisteuo] on me hath everlasting life” (Jhn 6:47); “He that believeth [pisteuo] on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (Jhn 7:38); “As he spake these words, many believed [pisteuo] on him” (Jhn 8:30); “And many believed [pisteuo] on him there” (Jhn 10:42); “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth [pisteuo] in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (Jhn 11:25); “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed [pisteuo] on him” (Jhn 11:45); “Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed [pisteuo] on Jesus” (Jhn 12:11); “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed [pisteuo] not on him” (Jhn 12:37); “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe [pisteuo] in God, believe [pisteuo] also in me” (Jhn 14:1); “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe [pisteuo] on me through their word” (Jhn 17:20).

We’re not saved by just believing Jesus Christ existed, believing some facts about Him, or even believing He rose from the dead. That isn’t what Paul meant by “shalt believe [pisteuo] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9). It’s trusting Him to save us from death because He was saved from death. But we can only trust Him when we fulfill our commitment of obeying His good message, “But they have not all obeyed [hypakouo] the gospel [euangelion]” (Rom 10:16).

The two complementary Great Commission passages convey this same understanding, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:19-20), “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel [euangelion] to every creature. He that believeth [pisteuo] and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not [apisteo] shall be damned.” (Mar 16:15-16). After hearing the good message of Jesus Christ, “preach the gospel [euangelion] to every creature,” we declare our trust in Him to save us by being publicly baptized, “He that believeth [pisteuo] and is baptized shall be saved,” and we commit ourselves to Him as our Lord to obey everything He commanded, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

In addition to deceiving us into believing that we’re saved by believing, we’ve also been duped into calling ourselves “believers.” But there are only two verses in the KJV that include the term “believers” and both are mistranslations. In the first case, “And believers [pisteuo] were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (Act 5:14), the verb pisteuo is mistranslated as a noun. A few versions do render it correctly as a verb, “Yet more and more people believed” (NET), “Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed” (NIV), but still incorrectly as “believed.” It’s not saying they believed but that they trusted. In the second case, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers [pistos], in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1Ti 4:12), the adjective pistos for “faithful” is mistranslated as a noun. Paul wasn’t telling Timothy to be an example of the believers but of the faithful—faithful obedience to the Lord.

There’s no record in Scripture that Christians ever called themselves “believers.” There are, however, several places where they called themselves “servants”: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:1); “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ” (Phl 1:1); “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ” (Col 4:12); “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Jas 1:1); “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2Pe 1:1); “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” (Jde 1:1).

We’re also told that they were called and called themselves “Christians,” “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Act 11:26), “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1Pe 4:16). Christians are Christ-like. Since Christ didn’t just believe some facts were true but always did the will of His Father, likewise we’re to always do the will of Christ.

Trusting in the Lord

Because we’ve all sinned, we can’t approach God on our own terms or merit. The only way God can be reached is through the one means He provided and will accept—His Son Jesus Christ. We must trust His Son to Justify us before God.

Justification under the Law of Moses meant that God’s people were trying to merit right-standing before God of themselves. They were endeavoring to establish their own way to Him rather than submitting to His, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth [pisteuo].” (Rom 10:3-4). And His way is trusting in His Son Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God justifies us before God when we faithfully serve and obey Him. The Father will accept whoever the Son confesses before Him. Therefore, it’s all about doing what the Son says so that we can trust Him for access to the Father, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph 2:18). Trusting and obeying the Son justifies us before the Father.

Conclusion

The Son of God was sent into this world by His Father to deliver His message and to sacrifice Himself for our sins. The good message He proclaimed isn’t strictly news. It certainly includes news but also is comprised of His commandments that we must obey to be saved, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9).

Obedience to the Lord has been obscured by translating euangelion as the coined word “gospel” then limiting the meaning of this word to that of news or information that only needs to be believed. Also, commitment and trust in the Lord has been shrouded by translating pisteuo as “believe.” We’re taught that all we need to do to be saved is become a “believer” by believing some facts are true. But this isn’t the good message that our Lord Jesus Christ preached. He preached obedience to Him as Lord, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46).

The Circumcision of Christ

Introduction

Circumcision in the flesh is literally the cutting-off of the foreskin of flesh from the body, “Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law” (1Sa 18:27). But the Old Testament also taught a figurative circumcision which is that of the heart: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart” (Deu 10:16); “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart” (Deu 30:6); “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart” (Jer 4:4).

The circumcision of Jesus Christ is this figurative circumcision. It’s not a literal cutting-off of flesh from the body by men’s hands, but a figurative cutting-off of sinful actions from our daily living. A cutting in the flesh has nothing to do with having a right relationship with God. However, a cutting-off of sinful acts of the flesh has everything to do with our relationship. We can’t clean up our sinfulness ourselves. But by the Holy Breath of God in our hearts, Christ performs circumcision on us without hands that removes the sins of our flesh.

We must live righteously

Toward the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount, Christ stated, “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 5:20). Now, if Christ was speaking only of an imputed, reckoned, or counted righteousness as some claim, then for what purpose is the rest of His Sermon? Why teach this Sermon at all if we don’t need to live according to the standard of righteousness embodied within it? Not only that, Christ ended His Sermon with an analogy of two houses subjected to a storm that conveys the same message of obedience. The house that remained standing through the storm is the person that not only heard but did Christ’s sayings or commandments, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them” (Mat 7:24), while the house that fell is the person that only heard but didn’t do, “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:26).

Moses prophesied that God’s people were to hear the Prophet that would come, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deu 18:15). And he went on to say that they were to not only hear this Prophet but do what He said, “… that we may hear it, and do it?that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:12-14). Paul quoted from that passage and declared that this is the message of faithfulness he was preaching, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word [message] of faith [faithfulness], which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:8-9). Paul’s gospel message, therefore, is faithfulness to Jesus Christ as Lord—not only hearing but also doing everything He commanded.

We love to hear Paul saying “Being then made free from sin” (Rom 6:18), “But now being made free from sin” (Rom 6:22), but not quite as thrilled when hearing his other statements from the same passage, “ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom 6:18), “servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Rom 6:19). And Peter relayed the same message, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1Pe 2:24). The point is that because Jesus Christ freed us from our sins, we’re now duty-bound to live righteously.

Because we’re no longer under the Old Covenant Law of Moses, it’s wrongly assumed that we’re absolved from keeping God’s commandments: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom 2:13); “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1Co 7:19); “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1Jo 2:3); “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1Jo 3:22); “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (1Jo 5:2); “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14).

Christ’s law is “written” on our hearts

Because Paul taught that we can’t be justified in God’s sight by our works under the Law of Moses, “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20), “a man is not justified by the works of the law … by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal 2:16), it’s considered and even taught by many that we just can’t live up to God’s moral standard of righteousness. However, Paul also taught that under the New Covenant, by the strength of God’s Breath in our hearts, we not only can but must live according to the standard He requires. To be justified before Him, we must be doers of the Law and not just hearers.

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature [physis] the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work [ergon] of the law written in their hearts … Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature [physis], if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? (Romans 2:13-15, 26-27)

The Greek physis translated in this passage as “nature” speaks of the natural state of uncircumcision in which all male babies are born, “uncircumcision which is by nature [physis]” (Rom 2:27). That uncircumcised Gentiles “do by nature the things contained in the law,” “keep the righteousness of the law,” and “fulfil the law” indicates that they’re actually living according to the righteous standard of morality the Law of Moses requires and even in their natural uncircumcised state. They demonstrate in their ergon or actions, “Which shew the work [ergon] of the law written in their hearts,” the morality the Law requires without having a codified law external to themselves. The law they’re keeping or fulfilling in their actions is “written” internally in their hearts.

The commandments given through Moses under the Old Covenant were written literally on stone tablets while the commandments given by Jesus Christ under the New Covenant are “written” figuratively on our hearts by God’s Breath, “written not with ink, but with the Spirit [Breath] of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart … Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit [breath]: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones” (2Co 3:3, 6-7). And Paul called this law on our hearts “the ministration of righteousness” (2Co 3:9). In our human strength we can’t live according to the standard of righteousness God requires but by the strength of His Breath in our hearts, we not only can but must.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Jeremiah prophesied of the New Covenant under which God’s law would be “written” in the hearts of His people. The writer of Hebrews quoted from this prophecy twice, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Heb 8:10), “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb 10:16).

The good that we would

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I … For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom 7:15, 19), “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath] … For as many as are led by the Spirit [Breath] of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:1, 4, 14).

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit [Breath], and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit [Breath], ye are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:16-18).

Paul was teaching the same truth to the Romans and Galatians in both of these passages that the end goal of our walk with God isn’t to simply stop doing the things we shouldn’t, but to be proactively doing the things we should. Whereas the Law of Moses focused mainly on the former, the one commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14), on the latter.

Christ’s one commandment, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would [thelo] that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would [thelo] that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31), makes us first consider what we would have done to us, then do the same to others. And His commandment is what Paul had in mind when he said, “for what I would [thelo], that do I not” (Rom 7:15), “For the good that I would [thelo] I do not” (Rom 7:19), “when I would [thelo] do good” (Rom 7:21), “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would [thelo]” (Gal 5:17). The Law didn’t help us to do unto others the things we would have done to us—it simply commanded us what not to do unto them.

Paul explained to the Romans: “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom 13:9-10). Except for a few positive injunctions such as “Remember the sabbath day” (Exo 20:8), “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exo 20:12), the Old Covenant Law of Moses consisted primarily of negative “Thou shalt not” commandments. It told God’s people what not to do. But the law of the New Covenant written on our hearts is embodied in the one positive “Thou shalt” commandment—what God’s people are to do. Living according to the righteous standard God requires isn’t accomplished by striving to not do what we shouldn’t but by striving to do what we should! It isn’t about looking to an external code of ethics to tell us how we shouldn’t treat others, but looking at ourselves to know how we should treat them, “these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts” (Rom 2:14-15).

Looking at ourselves as the law we’re to obey is what Christ commanded, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12), “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31). Since we were all created with the same essential needs, we know what we should do to others by looking at ourselves first. James likened Christ’s “word” or commandment as though we’re looking at ourselves in a mirror, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass” (Jas 1:23).

Early in his letter to the Romans, Paul said that we “do by nature the things contained in the law” (Rom 2:14), “keep the righteousness of the law” (Rom 2:26), and “fulfil the law” (Rom 2:27). He then explained later how this is accomplished, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [Breath]. For they that are after the flesh do mind [phroneo] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [Breath] the things of the Spirit [Breath].” (Rom 8:4-5). And he said the same to the Philippians and Colossians, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind [phroneo] earthly things” (Phl 3:19), “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo] on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2).

To mind “the things of the Breath” as opposed to “the things of the flesh” is to set our affection or desire “on things above” instead of “on things on the earth.” This is what Christ taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mat 6:19-21).

Where your treasure is

Christ’s statement “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:19-21), gets to the very root of the problem. Since our hearts will be wherever our treasure is, our hearts are changed by changing our treasure. The “things of the flesh” (Rom 8:5) are essentially “that they may have glory of men” (Mat 6:2), “that they may be seen of men” (Mat 6:5), “that they may appear unto men” (Mat 6:16). When we treasure or value the praise, attention, recognition, approval, and affirmation of people, our hearts won’t be pure, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8). We’ll be doing good things with the impure motive of getting glory in some way from people. The solution for this wrong condition of heart is changing our treasure.

Paul also said, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly [kryptos]; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). The Greek adjective kryptos means “secret” or “hidden.” He was teaching what Jesus taught, “That thine alms may be in secret [kryptos]: and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos] 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 [kryptos]; and thy Father which seeth in secret [kryptos] shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:6), “That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret [kryptos]: and thy Father, which seeth in secret [kryptos], shall reward thee openly” (Mat 6:18). The name “Judah” from which “Jew” is derived means “praised.” Therefore, the Jew that’s truly living up to his name is the one who doesn’t treasure being praised by men but by God. That God will “reward thee openly” is that there will come a day when God Himself will praise, recognize, and affirm us openly and publicly in front of everyone. Those good things we did in secret that only God saw won’t be secret anymore! When our treasure becomes receiving praise from God on that day, then the motives of our hearts for the things we do will be pure.

The circumcision of Christ

We become Circumcised in the heart by changing our treasure, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit [breath], and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:29). When we’re no longer seeking praise from men but only from God, our hearts will change, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (Jhn 5:44).

Circumcision in the flesh is made by hands, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands” (Eph 2:11). But the circumcision of Christ is without hands because it’s a figurative “cutting off” or “putting off” of the sins of the flesh, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:11). Paul will say a little later “put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col 3:8). Christ circumcises our hearts by “cutting off” these kinds of sinful actions from our lives.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit [Breath], and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal 5:14-16). If we’ll “Walk in the Breath” and keep this one “Thou shalt” commandment, we won’t “fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The lusts of the flesh will be “cut off” and we won’t be doing what the “Thou shalt not” commandments in the Law of Moses were against.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit [Breath] is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:19-23)

The “Thou shalt not” commandments were against the works of the flesh. But not so with the fruit of the Breath for which “against such there is no law.” God’s Breath in our hearts produces fruit so that we’re not fulfilling or doing such works of the flesh. There’s no need for “Thou shalt not” injunctions against anything we’re doing when everything we’re doing is “Thou shalt.”

It was a negative “thou shalt not” commandment that was the first ever mandated, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17). This was figurative and prophetic of the Law of Moses to come with all of its “Thou shalt not” commandments. And as with the first man, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Gen 3:7), so it is with mankind because of the Law, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom 3:19). The Law exposed mankind’s guilt, leaving us “naked” or without excuse before God’s judgment.

“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom 13:9-10). Because “Love worketh no ill,” it doesn’t violate any of the “Thou shalt not” commandments but fulfills or keeps the righteous moral standard the Law required. Our “nakedness” is “clothed” by “putting on” the Lord Jesus Christ, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:14). And we “put Him on” by obeying His one commandment: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12); “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luk 6:31); “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 22:39; Mar 12:31).

Paul told the Ephesians, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another” (Eph 4:25). The cure for lying is speaking the truth! We would want our neighbor to always be truthful to us, therefore we should always be truthful to our neighbor. And the solution for stealing is working, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph 4:28). Working enables us to give rather than take. The circumcision of Christ is that we do the things we would resulting in that we won’t do the things that we wouldn’t.

Conclusion

We not only can but must live righteously to have eternal life. Christ stated it emphatically, “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 5:20). Paul taught it explicitly, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom 2:7). Eternal life isn’t by abstinence from wrong doing but continuance in well doing! God’s Breath in our hearts is the means by which we live righteously, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit [Breath] do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom 8:13). We fulfill the righteous moral requirements of the Law by the strength of God’s Breath in keeping Christ’s one “Thou shalt” commandment. By keeping this one commandment, the works of the flesh are effectively “cut off” or “circumcised” from our lives. This is the circumcision of Christ from the heart.

The Law of Christ

Introduction

It can be confusing trying to distinguish how the Law of Moses relates to Christ’s law that He gave primarily in His Sermon on the Mount. Is Christ’s law completely new and distinct from the Law given through Moses? Do the Ten Commandments or any of the commandments given through Moses still apply to God’s people today? Since God’s people couldn’t merit righteousness before God under the Law of Moses, how is Christ’s law any different? Why the need to keep Christ’s law if righteousness can’t be merited anyway?

Christ’s coming 2,000 years ago is the end purpose and consummation of the Law of Moses, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom 10:4). The Law was never intended to be an end in itself but a means to an end—God’s righteousness through His Son Jesus Christ. Paul said that the Law and the prophets even witnessed and attested to this end, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Rom 3:21). God’s righteousness or being right with Him by the way He ordained, is what Jesus Christ taught, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat 6:33).

The Sermon on the Mount

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. 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)

The repeated pattern through the rest of the chapter is Christ quoting what the scribes and Pharisees had said and taught to God’s people about the Law of Moses, contrasted by what He was now saying and teaching about it, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (vs. 21-22), “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (vs. 27-28), “It hath been said … But I say unto you” (vs. 31-32), “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (vs. 33-34), “Ye have heard that it hath been said … But I say unto you” (vs. 38-39), “Ye have heard that it hath been said … But I say unto you” (vs. 43-44). The scribes and Pharisees, like unjust stewards selling their master’s debts for pennies on the dollar (Luke 16:1-8), had been teaching a lower standard of moral righteousness than the Law required. Christ, on the other hand, upheld the moral standard of the Law in His Sermon and defined it succinctly as it pertains to the very thoughts and intents of the heart.

Christ wasn’t teaching a new moral law that supplanted or replaced the moral requirements of the Law of Moses. He was defining the morality in the Law and commanding that morality by His sayings, “these least commandments” (Mat 5:19), “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them” (Mat 7:24), “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:26). His sayings weren’t in contrast with the moral righteousness of the Law, but in contrast with the lower standard of moral righteousness that the scribes and Pharisees had been saying.

Christ didn’t come to destroy the Law and the prophets to establish something completely different, “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.” (Mat 5:17-18). He is the end purpose and consummation of the Law, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom 10:4). Christ fulfilled the Law and the prophets in three primary ways: (1) He fulfilled or embodied the morality required by the Law within His own law, “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); (2) He fulfilled the prophecies concerning Him, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luk 24:44); (3) He fulfilled or satisfied the curse upon God’s people for having broken the Law, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal 3:13).

He didn’t destroy the moral righteous standard of the Law but expounded, defined, and confirmed it. His two statements “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets” (Mat 5:17), “for this is the law and the prophets” (Mat 7:12), formed the bookends of His own commandments all summarized by, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Mat 7:12). It’s not “the golden rule” as it’s flippantly and irreverently called by many. It’s Christ’s holy commandment.

Early in the Sermon He stated, “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 5:19-20). The moral standard of righteousness by which we live must be to the level of what Christ taught and commanded in this Sermon or we won’t be entering into His Kingdom. And He said there will be no cases of exceptions.

Three times in His Sermon, Jesus used the Greek word nomos for the Law of Moses, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law [nomos], 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 [nomos], till all be fulfilled.” (Mat 5:17-18), “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law [nomos] and the prophets.” (Mat 7:12). And toward the end of His Sermon, He stated that He will deny knowing those that worked anomia or lawlessness:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [anomia]. (Matthew 7:21-23)

He made a similar statement later in His ministry, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity [anomia]” (Mat 13:41). He was upholding the moral righteous standard commanded in the Law of Moses and restating it as His law and commandments. And it’s His commandments that we’re to teach new converts to obey, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:19-20).

The Law of Moses codified morality

The Law of Moses didn’t create morality but codified it. For example: it didn’t become morally evil to kill once the sixth commandment was given from Mount Sinai—it has always been evil since the beginning, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1Jo 3:12). When Christ quoted “Thou shalt not kill” (Mat 5:21), He wasn’t placing us under the Law of Moses. He was defining, upholding, and enforcing the very moral righteousness of loving one another that had been true since the beginning. And that morality isn’t just the action but the very thoughts of the heart, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer” (1Jo 3:15).

Paul alluded to the message of love given in the beginning, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Gal 5:14-15). Snakes bite and devour their prey. The serpent was cursed with eating dust, “upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Gen 3:14), and man is dust, “for dust thou art” (Gen 3:19). The message from the beginning is that we’re the devil’s children when we don’t love one another as ourselves—we’re biting and devouring like snakes and moving on our bellies.

Jesus Christ commanding the moral standard of righteousness embodied within the Law of Moses makes it His law. If Christ defined and restated the moral righteousness contained within the Law as His law, then those same moral commandments are now His commandments. Essentially, all of the morality contained within the Law of Moses is also embodied within Christ’s law and imposed upon us as His servants. Submitting ourselves to the moral righteousness of the Law of Moses in obedience to Christ doesn’t place us under the Law of Moses but under Him.

Jesus, Paul, and James all affirmed the commandment of loving our neighbor, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 22:39; Mar 12:31; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). Paul even restated and summarized the latter half of the Decalogue in the one commandment of love, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Rom 13:9). And by charging the Fifth Commandment upon the Ephesians, “Honour thy father and mother” (Eph 6:1-2), he obviously didn’t consider this as placing them under the Law of Moses.

We can’t be under both Covenants at once

The Law of Moses was the law of the Old Covenant while Christ’s law is the law of the New Covenant and nobody can be under both Covenants at once. In fact, we can no longer even be under the Old because it was replaced by the New, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb 8:13). The former Covenant became “old” by virtue of the “new” superseding and replacing it. But Christ’s law itself isn’t new or unheard of—it’s the very morality that had been true since the beginning and later codified within the Old Covenant Law of Moses.

Paul told the Romans, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace [favor], but of debt” (Rom 4:4), “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace [favor]” (Rom 6:14), “And if by grace [favor], then is it no more of works: otherwise grace [favor] is no more grace [favor]. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace [favor]: otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom 11:6). God’s favor as contrasted with works of merit under the Law of Moses are mutually exclusive. If we’re right with God by His favor through Jesus Christ, then our works of merit had nothing to do with it, otherwise it wasn’t by His favor. On the other hand, if we’re right with God by our works of merit, then His favor through Jesus Christ had nothing to do with it, otherwise it wasn’t by our works of merit.

Paul told the Christians in Rome and Galatia that nobody is justified before God by the Law of Moses, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom 3:20), “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal 2:16). He also told them both that they’re not under the Law, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14), “But if ye be led of the Spirit [Breath], ye are not under the law” (Gal 5:18).

The problem in the early church was the false teaching that Gentiles needed to be circumcised with the intent of keeping the Law of Moses, “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (Act 15:5), Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment” (Act 15:24).

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace [favor].” (Gal 5:1-4). It’s as though Paul was saying, “Look at who’s talking to you. If anyone could have been justified by the Law of Moses it would have been myself! And yet you Gentiles think you can do it?” He warned them that if they get circumcised with the intent of seeking justification under the Law, they’ll be rejecting Christ and “fallen from favor” or no longer favored as one of God’s people. They can’t be under both covenants at once. To seek justification by the Law was to reject justification by Christ and no longer belong to God.

Statutes and judgments

Paul quoted Leviticus 18:5 in two of his letters indicating that eternal life by the Law of Moses required keeping all of it, “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (Rom 10:5), “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal 3:12). And “those things” that had to be done included all of the statutes and judgments, “Ye shall do my judgments [mishpat], and keep mine ordinances [chuqqah], to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes [chuqqah], and my judgments [mishpat]: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5).

The statutes were comprised of such things as: the annual Passover, “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance [chuqqah] for ever” (Exo 12:14); the consecrating of the priests, “And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute [chuqqah]: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons” (Exo 29:9); abstinence from ingesting fat and blood, “It shall be a perpetual statute [chuqqah] for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood” (Lev 3:17); the high priest abstaining from alcohol before entering the tabernacle, “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute [chuqqah] for ever throughout your generations” (Lev 10:9); the annual Day of Atonement, “And this shall be an everlasting statute [chuqqah] unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year” (Lev 16:34).

Many of the judgments were stated in Exodus 21 after the giving of the Ten Commandments, “Now these are the judgments [mishpat] which thou shalt set before them” (Exo 21:1). The judgments included the treatment and handling of: Hebrew servants (vs. 2-6), giving of a daughter in marriage (vs. 7-11), murder and manslaughter (vs. 21-15), kidnapping (v. 16), cursing father or mother (v. 17), injuries sustained from a fight (vs. 18-19), the beating of a servant (vs. 20-21), injuring a pregnant woman (vs. 22-25), injuring a servant (vs. 26-27), an ox or an open pit causing damage (vs. 28-36).

The law of liberty

Paul taught that Abraham’s two sons Ishmael and Isaac born of Hagar and Sarah respectively were intended by God to be allegorical and prophetic of the coming Old and New Covenants, “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.” (Gal 4:23-24). Paul would go on to say, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal 5:1). Abraham’s own family from which Israel descended showed that Christ’s law of the New Covenant had been God’s plan all along. God declared beforehand through Abraham and his two sons that His people would be given the Law of Moses along with all of its bondages, but Christ would come later and give to them His law that would free them from those bondages.

Paul and James both restated the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8) upon God’s people and called it “liberty” within the same contexts, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal 5:1), “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty” (Gal 5:13), “the perfect law of liberty” (Jas 1:25), “the law of liberty” (Jas 2:12). It’s “liberty” because Christ set us free from all of the statutes and bondages that accompanied the Law of Moses such as abstinence from certain meats, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man” (Mat 15:11), and circumcision, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (Act 10:15). And he freed us from the requirement of traveling to Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts, “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father” (Jhn 4:21). That Christ freed us from the statutes and bondages of the Law implies that He did not free us from its morality but upheld it.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and 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; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

Christ Himself became the object of the enmity that separated Jews from Gentiles. When His flesh was torn,  “the middle wall of partition” between these two classes of people was also torn: “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” (Mat 27:51); “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Mar 15:38); “And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst” (Luk 23:45); “Having therefore, brethren, 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). God Himself tearing the veil of the Temple showed that the annual Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and all other sacrifices had officially ended.

The writer of Hebrews alluded to Yom Kippur commanded in Leviticus, “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works [nekros ergon], and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms [baptismos], and of laying on of hands” (Heb 6:2), “therefore shall he wash his flesh in water” (Lev 16:4), “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat” (Lev 16:21), “And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place” (Lev 16:24). He called it “dead works” because the blood of animals could never atone for our sins, “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 [Breath] offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works [nekros ergon] to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:13-14). Animals don’t live again after being sacrificed but God’s own Son now lives forever by “the eternal Breath.”

His law is written in our hearts

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a new covenant with His people that would be written, not on stone tablets, but on their very hearts. The writer of Hebrews quoted this twice, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts” (Heb 8:10), “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb 10:16). Paul also alluded to Jeremiah’s prophecy in two of his letters, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom 2:14-15), “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit [Breath] of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2Co 3:3).

Christ commanded morality as it pertains to the heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat 5:8); “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mat 5:28); “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21); “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mat 15:18-19); “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Mat 18:35); “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Mat 22:37).

Morality from the heart that Christ commanded isn’t something new that hadn’t been heard before—it’s what the Law and the prophets had always taught. The Old Testament is replete with teaching about the heart. Here is a short list of some of the more familiar statements: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5); “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him” (Lev 19:17); “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deu 6:5); “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:14); “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you” (1Sa 12:24); “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1Sa 16:7); “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2Ch 16:9); “If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door” (Job 31:9); “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart” (Psa 15:2); “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa 51:10); “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Psa 95:8); “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Pro 3:5); “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:10); “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer 31:33); “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh” (Eze 11:19); “And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart” (Zec 7:10).

The Old Covenant Law of Moses required obedience and morality from the heart. But rather than keeping their hearts pure in God’s sight and obeying Him with the right motives, God’s people kept His commandments to the extent they appeared obedient in the sight of their fellow brethren. Therefore, their hearts became hard like the very stones upon which their commandments were written. Under the New Covenant however, God’s Breath in our hearts gives us the strength and ability to keep the moral righteousness required since the beginning, then codified in the Law of Moses, and consummately commanded by Christ. As God literally wrote His commandments on stone tablets, He figuratively “wrote” them on our hearts by His Breath, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit [Breath] of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2Co 3:3), “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament [covenant]; not of the letter [writing], but of the spirit [breath]: for the letter [writing] killeth, but the spirit [breath] giveth life” (2Co 3:6).

Christ taught us a “form” or “body” of doctrine that is to be obeyed from our hearts, “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” (Rom 6:17). But He didn’t address every possible situation and circumstance we might encounter. He gave us a general or overall pattern of teaching to follow and now actively leads us by the Breath, “For as many as are led by the Spirit [Breath] of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14), “But if ye be led of the Spirit [Breath], ye are not under the law” (Gal 5:18). He’s speaking His commandments into our hearts by His Breath every day. As the sons of God serving His Son Jesus Christ, we don’t just obey the “form of doctrine” He gave while on earth but also what He’s actively speaking into our hearts today.

We must be faithful servants to the Lord

One of the main keys to understanding God’s righteousness is acknowledging and distinguishing between how we relate to God the Father and how we relate to His Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Salvation comes only through the Lord Jesus Christ—relinquishing our freedom and becoming His servants or slaves. Because we’ve all sinned, we all owe a sin debt to God the Father that we can never repay. It’s like making interest payments on a loan without ever paying down a penny of the beginning principal balance. Christ paid-in-full our sin debt on the cross and therefore has the authority to forgive our sins that are separating us from God the Father. When we make Jesus Christ our Lord, He owns us as His servants along with all of our sin debt and frees us from it. For example: when someone purchases a company, they not only own all of its assets but also assume all of its liabilities. We’re freed from our debt of sin toward God the Father, but are now completely indebted to His Son the Lord Jesus Christ who now owns us as His servants. We’re no longer free to live how we want because we’re servants of Christ and indebted to live righteously according to His law and commandments. It’s the paradox of becoming completely indebted to become completely debt free.

Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luk 17:9-10). The Lord doesn’t thank us for obeying Him—we’re not doing Him any favors. Our obedience to Him is out of duty for what He did for us and the favor He granted us before God the Father.

The confusion with understanding righteousness before God comes from blurring the distinction between merit and duty. Being right before God by the Law of Moses was attempting to merit that standing by righteous living. But being right before God by Christ’s law is fulfilling our duty of living righteously for that standing we’ve already been freely given by Christ’s merit before God. We are to live righteously, not attempting to gain favor we don’t have, but fulfilling our duty for the favor we do have. An employee of a company is free and works to earn or merit income to pay his own debts. A servant is owned by his master and works out of duty for his debts that His master already paid.

We’re indebted to our Lord to do everything He commanded, and since He commanded us to love one another, we owe each other the debt of love out of duty to our Lord, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Rom 13:8-9).

Conclusion

Christ didn’t come to destroy the Law or the prophets but fulfilled them in three primary ways: (1) He fulfilled or embodied the morality required by the Law in His own law; (2) He fulfilled the prophecies concerning Him; (3) He fulfilled or satisfied the curse upon God’s people for having broken the Law. Christ defined and upheld the morality of the Law. Commanding the moral standard of obedience from the heart embodied within the Law of Moses doesn’t place us under the Law but under His. It’s circumcision with the intent of seeking righteousness by the Law that places someone under the Law and severs them from Christ and consequently from God’s favor.

Righteousness by the works of the Law required not only keeping all of its moral requirements but all of its statutes, judgments, and bondages as well. Christ freed us from all of the bondages of the Law which is why His law is called “liberty.” That Christ freed us from the statutes and bondages of the Law implies that He did not free us from its morality but upheld it.

We obey Christ from our hearts. Seeking righteousness by the Law of Moses results in a heart as hard as the stones upon which its commandments were written. Christ’s Law is “written” on our hearts in the sense that we’re not obeying a code of ethics external to ourselves but obeying the Lord Himself dwelling in our hearts by the Breath of God. The confusion with understanding righteousness before God comes from blurring the distinctions between merit and duty. Being right before God by the Law of Moses was attempting to merit that standing by righteous living. But being right before God by Christ’s law is fulfilling our duty of living righteously for that standing we’ve already been freely given by Christ’s merit before God. We’re indebted to our Lord to do everything He commanded and He commanded morality from the heart that’s been true since the beginning.

No Man Can Serve Two Masters

Introduction

There’s only one way to eternal life and it’s through the only way God provided—His Son Jesus Christ. But even knowing and embracing that truth, we can still be falsely assured that we have the Son of God and that we’re on the way to eternal life yet headed for destruction, “Enter ye in at the strait 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 leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:14).

The popular gospel message preached today is that we have the Son if we’ve confessed Him as Lord and believe some facts about Him—essentially that salvation is by faith or belief in Him. But the true saving gospel is the message the Son Himself preached to the world. It matters not what millions or even billions of people say but only what one Person said. What He said is the truth and the final word and He told us what we must do to have Him and eternal life. We must listen to Him.

Now, the latter half of this writing isn’t intended to give inordinate attention to the devil but is simply addressing necessary issues so that we’re not ignorant of his devices. The more covertly he’s allowed to operate under the radar without detection, the more successful he is. Therefore, our souls depend on discussing and recognizing his sinister activity so that we won’t fall prey to him.

The Creator preached the message of salvation

The true message of salvation is known by what the Creator preached in the beginning in a mystery, and what the Creator preached again when He came into this world and revealed the mystery. The Son of God is the Creator: “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); “For by him were all things created” (Col 1:16); “by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb 1:2); “for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev 4:11).

Within the creation account narrative itself, the Son of God interjected the message of salvation but kept the understanding of it hidden from us in a mystery: “according to the revelation of the mystery [mysterion], which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom 16:25); “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery [mysterion], even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1Co 2:7); “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery [mysterion], which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph 3:9); “Even the mystery [mysterion] which hath been hid from ages and from generations” (Col 1:26).

The Creator Himself came into this world and revealed to our understanding the message of salvation He had hid in a mystery: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries [mysterion] of the kingdom of heaven … I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Mat 13:11, 35); “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [mysterion]” (Rom 16:25); “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery [mysterion]; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery [mysterion] of Christ)” (Eph 3:3-4); “that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery [mysterion] of the gospel” (Eph 6:19).

The true message of salvation preached by the Creator

In the beginning, the Son of God preached the message of salvation but hid it from our understanding in a mystery—the creation of the sun and the moon contained a figurative message, “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night … And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness” (Gen 1:16, 18). The message contained in these heavenly bodies before man had even been created is that there would be two rulers over humanity and one would be greater than the other. Salvation is about which lord or master is our ruler.

About 4,000 years later the Son of God became a man and preached this same message of salvation—faithfulness to Him as our Lord and Ruler: “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24); “Who then is a faithful and wise servant” (Mat 25:45); “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Mat 25:21); “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46); “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luk 16:11); “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luk 17:10); “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am” (Jhn 13:13).

The apostle John began his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word [Message], and the Word [Message] was with God, and the Word [Message] 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” (Jhn 1:1-3), “And the Word [Message] was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jhn 1:14). When the Son of God became a man, He exemplified the message He preached in the beginning. His life and preaching embodied that same message to such an extent that John spoke metaphorically of Him as the Message.

Later in his Gospel, John recorded Jesus foretelling of His Advocacy for us at His Father’s right hand: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever … But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit [Breath]” (Jhn 14:16, 26 NIV); “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [Breath] of truth” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you” (Jhn 16:7 NIV). The message the Son of God preached in the beginning, “the greater light to rule the day” (Gen 1:16), is the same message He later preached of His Rule and Advocacy at the right hand of God.

Because of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He is now “the greater light” or Ruler and Advocate at the right hand of God in heaven: “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psa 110:1); “he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mar 16:19); “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “who is even at the right hand of God” (Rom 8:34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 3:1); “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12); “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2); “is on the right hand of God” (1Pe 3:22); “am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21); “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:3).

The message of salvation has been detoured

The entire issue of salvation preached by the Son of God since the beginning is which lord, master, or ruler we’re serving. And since “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24), if we’re not serving the Lord Jesus Christ, then we’re serving the devil and his cohorts. But to impede people from being ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore maintain his rule over them, the devil diverts the message preached to anything else. As long as people aren’t hearing the message of faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ as Advocate at God’s right hand, they’re not being ruled by “the greater light” but by “the lesser light.”

The Protestant Reformation about 500 years ago was supposedly an enlightenment that the statement “the just shall live by his faith [emuwnah]” (Hab 2:4), “the just shall live by faith [pistis]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), is to simply believe and to only believe. But the Hebrew emuwnah and Greek pistis translated as “faith” means “faithfulness” which agrees with what was preached in the beginning—faithfulness and loyalty to the “the greater light.” The Reformation wasn’t a return to the message from the beginning but the beginning of a new message! It transferred the message preached to an entirely different context—from “faithful service to the Lord” to “faith or belief in the Lord.”

Within the context of faithful service to the Lord, water baptism is the point of change in lord, master, or ruler over our lives. We repent of our sinful past and commit ourselves to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—to serve and obey Him faithfully to death. God breathes His Breath into our hearts and His Son becomes our Lord and Advocate at His right hand. We live daily obeying Him, submitting to Him, and agreeing with Him. And when we die in faithfulness to Him, we’re assured of being raised to eternal life at His return.

On the other hand, in the context of faith or belief in the Lord, an altar-call or sinner’s prayer is the point of “salvation.” We repent of our sins and make a confession of faith or belief in Jesus Christ. At that moment we’re born again as new creatures with eternal life inside—our spirit person changes from spiritual death to spiritual life. We’re saved right now and assured of going to heaven after we die.

Christians today call themselves “believers” but the apostles and early Christians called themselves servants: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:1); “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ” (Col 4:12); “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ” (Phl 1:1); “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Tit 1:1); “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Jas 1:1); “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (2Pe 1:1); “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ” (Jde 1:1).

Christianity has become a “Jesus” religion. By quoting Paul’s statement out of context, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), salvation has become simply confessing Him as Lord and believing things about Him.

However, Jesus said that we must serve Him as Lord and do what He said: “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24); “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); “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46). And Paul agreed, “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?” (Rom 6:16). We’re not servants of whom we confess as Lord but of whom we obey as Lord! Therefore, what he said later, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” (Rom 10:9), wasn’t merely a confession but a commitment.

Although it’s good and necessary that we’re taught to believe the facts of Jesus Christ’s divinity and humanity, virgin birth, life and ministry, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection, hardly anything is being taught about His position and function today at the right hand of God. This isn’t by mistake but by design. Principalities and powers—the devil and his minions—don’t want the message preached about Christ’s position at the right hand of God with all power and authority over them: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21); “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it … If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 2:15, 3:1); “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

We wrestle not against flesh and blood

Paul revealed that flesh and blood isn’t what we’re ultimately struggling against, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [methodeia] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:11-12). The “rulers of the darkness” are “the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen 1:16) preached in the beginning. Paul had used the same Greek word methodeia earlier when speaking about the deceptions of men, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait [methodeia] to deceive” (Eph 4:14). The devil rules over flesh and blood people, then uses them as instruments to spread his wiles and deceptions.

The devil not only wants us to believe there is no God but also that there is no devil! He’s not trying to make himself known but exactly the opposite. His strategy is for us to forget all about him, live as though he doesn’t exist, and assume people just act from their own initiative. He gets us fighting with each other rather than against him.

He uses all people, including the very ministers in churches, as his instruments, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2Co 11:14-15). We’re quite naïve if we think this isn’t even more of a problem today than it was in the very churches established and overseen by the apostle Paul himself. If wolves ravished the church in Ephesus as soon as he left, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Act 20:29), then they’re certainly wreaking more havoc almost 2,000 years later.

The devil understands salvation better than we do. He knows that as long as he’s ruling over us, then we’re on our way to destruction, “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction” (Mat 7:13). And he knows very well what to have his ministers teach in church to keep people under his rule yet think they’re on their way to eternal life, “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Mat 7:14).

Protestant Trinitarian pastors are quite confident and relaxed that they’re doing a good job. But the “job” they’re doing depends on who they’re working for. Of course if they’re working for God, then their flocks are headed to eternal life. But if they’re working for the devil, then their flocks are bound for destruction so long as they keep them following their teaching. And since they’re teaching that God is a Trinity of Persons, man is an immortal spirit living in a body, and salvation is by believing, then it’s obvious who they must be working for. These highly intelligent men are embracing and advancing false views of the three primary and most important subjects. How can every one of them be wrong about what’s most crucial? Jesus Christ didn’t teach these things and if they won’t submit to what He taught, what other conclusion can be drawn about them?

One of the most accurate indicators of which “way” we’re going (to destruction or eternal life), is how we’re being treated by the devil’s ministers. Since the devil knows who is under his rule and who isn’t, his ministers conduct themselves differently toward both groups. Those under his rule are treated well in church to keep them going the wrong way while assuming they’re headed the right way. On the other hand, since those under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ are seen as a threat, they’re dealt with in various ways including shunning, discouraging, intimidating, mocking, belittling, reprimanding, and employing an array of setups and stumbling blocks intended to make them fall or at least slow them down.

The devil’s ministers plot and scheme various traps for the godly to be entangled and snared thereby: “And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him” (1Sa 23:9); “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth” (Psa 37:12); “They also that seek after my life lay snares for me” (Psa 38:12); “They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul” (Psa 56:6); “The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me” (Psa 140:5); “Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah” (Jer 18:18); “All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him” (Jer 20:10); “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom” (Dan 6:4); “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk … But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” (Mat 22:15, 18); “And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words … But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me?” (Mar 12:13, 15); “Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him” (Luk 11:54); “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words … But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?” (Luk 20:20, 23); “But their laying await was known of Saul” (Act 9:24); “in perils among false brethren” (2Co 11:26); “by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:14); “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in” (Gal 2:4); “For there are certain men crept in unawares” (Jde 1:4).

They set up stumbling blocks and snares to cause the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ fall into sin and fall away. And if they can’t get them out of the way entirely, they’ll at least work at slowing them down from effectively doing God’s work. They have an arsenal of tactics intended to distract them, discourage them, and discredit them.

However, the souls of those in church that simply flow with the system and don’t rock the boat are obviously in danger since they’re treated well by comparison. They’re recognized, encouraged, honored, esteemed, and placed in prominent positions. Sadly, it’s ominous evidence of the way they must be headed. As long as the devil’s system is flowing smoothly, his ministers are confident of the end result.

Conclusion

Our salvation isn’t just about faith or belief. It’s ultimately a spiritual battle that requires depending on God’s strength to overcome the evil spirits bent on destroying us. Jesus Himself exhorted all seven churches in the book of Revelation, “To him that overcometh,” “He that overcometh,” “Him that overcometh” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21). It’s about staying faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ through the deceptions, temptations, and oppositions that come against us. It’s about being ruled by Him and not by “the god of this world” (2Co 4:4).

The devil doesn’t want us to know that. He wants us thinking that salvation is simply by believing some facts are true. But the main logical conclusion of a salvation that’s by “faith alone” is that ultimately we’re secure no matter what we do or don’t do—the very opposite of what Jesus taught, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (Mat 7:24, 26).

The devil doesn’t want us to know the depths of his involvement in our lives. He wants us thinking that we just make wrong choices and mistakes, and that we’re the victims of circumstance. He wants us thinking that the beliefs and teaching of his ministers is the fruit of their intelligence and academic achievement when it’s mainly out of their loyalty to him. After all, how can they be ministers of God while disagreeing with the teaching of the Son of God? If shown the truth that Jesus Christ taught, the fear of the Lord should compel them to change what they’re teaching. Otherwise, what other conclusion can be drawn? As long as the devil keeps us from serving the Lord Jesus Christ, he keeps us serving him. This is what the message of “faith alone” is intended to do. It’s meant to detour us from the message preached from the beginning—faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of God. The true message that leads to eternal life is what was preached in the beginning by the Son of God and again when He came into this world.

10 Reasons the Doctrine of the Trinity is False

  1. Only God the Father and the Son of God know each other, and only the Son has seen the Father.
    • Only the Father and Son know each other: “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); “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (Jhn 8:19); “Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying” (Jhn 8:55); “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jhn 10:15); “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me” (Jhn 17:25).
    • Nobody but the Son has seen God the Father: “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); “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (Jhn 5:37); “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46); “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (1Ti 6:16); “No man hath seen God at any time” (1Jo 4:12).
    • The Son called Himself “the Son of God” and the Father called Him “My Beloved Son.” The Son never called Himself “God” and the Father never called His Son “God.” Furthermore, the Son did call His Father “God” and even called Him “My God.” Finally, neither of them called the Holy Spirit [Breath] “God.” What the Father and Son said about each other is the final word. Who dare say otherwise?
  2. Jesus Christ taught that God is one Person.
    • Speaking to His Father, Jesus called Him the only 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). He identified and categorized His Father as the only true God, and excluded Himself from the only true God.
    • Jesus affirmed what Moses wrote, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord [kyrios] our God is one Lord [kyrios]” (Mar 12:29). The Greek kyrios appears about 750 times in the New Testament and is a lord, master, or ruler. Since “The Ruler” is “one Ruler,” therefore Jesus Himself attested that God is not three co-equal Rulers but one.
    • The Greek theos for “God” or “gods” is grammatically in the singular or plural form depending on the number of persons. One person requires theos to be singular while multiple persons requires it to be plural. This is simple grammar. And since Jesus always used theos in the singular when speaking about God, then God must be one Person. This is further bolstered by the fact that when He spoke about men as gods—more than one person as theos—He used the plural, “I said, Ye are gods [theos]? If he called them gods [theos]” (Jhn 10:34-35). Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul both used this word in plural and singular form even within the same statement, “I said, Ye are gods [theos]? If he called them gods [theos], unto whom the word of God [theos] came” (Jhn 10:34-35), “For though there be that are called gods [theos], whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods [theos] many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God [theos], the Father” (1Co 8:5-6). Paul also emphasized that the plural is “many” and the singular is “one.” Since both Jesus and Paul understood and used theos as either plural or singular based on the number of persons, then the singular Theos is one Person.
  3. Scripture is replete with statements identifying the Father as God with many of these same statements also distinguishing the Son in distinction from Him as the Lord Jesus Christ: “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); “but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (Jhn 5:18); “for him hath God the Father sealed” (Jhn 6:27); “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46); “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God” (Jhn 13:3); “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (Jhn 16:27); “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17); “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” (Act 2:33); “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 1:7); “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6); “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co 1:3); “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1Co 8:6); “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father” (1Co 15:24); “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (1Co 1:2-3); “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not” (2Co 11:31); “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” (Gal 1:1); “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Gal 1:3-4); “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:2-3); “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph 1:17); “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:6); “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20); “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 6:23); “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phl 1:2); “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phl 2:11); “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Phl 4:20); “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Col 1:2-3); “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col 3:17); “unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 1:1); “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father” (1Th 1:3); “Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you” (1Th 3:11); “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1Th 3:13); “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:1-2); “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2Th 2:16); “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Ti 1:2); “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (2Ti 1:2); “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 1:4); “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phm 1:3); “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this” (Jas 1:27); “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God” (Jas 3:9); “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1Pe 1:2); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:3); “For he received from God the Father honour and glory” (2Pe 1:17); “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2Jo 1:3); “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (Jde 1:1); “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:6).
  4. The throne of God is the Father’s while the Son is seated next to Him on His right hand. We’re never told that the Father is seated on the left hand of the Son and we’re never told of a third Person seated on the throne with them: “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psa 110:1); “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luk 22:69); “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “who is even at the right hand of God” (Rom 8:34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 3:1); “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12); “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2); “is on the right hand of God” (1Pe 3:22); “am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21); “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:3).
  5. The Father is Jesus Christ’s God.
    • Jesus Christ Himself called His Father “My God” twice before He died, once before He ascended to heaven, and four times after He had ascended to heaven: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat 27:46; Mar 15:34); “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jhn 20:17); “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God” (Rev 3:12).
    • The prophets and apostles wrote that the Father is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? … O my God, I cry in the daytime … thou art my God from my mother’s belly” (Psa 22:1-2, 10); “I delight to do thy will, O my God” (Psa 40:8); “God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6); “And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1Co 3:23); “the head of Christ is God” (1Co 11:3); “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Co 11:31); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:3); “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory” (Eph 1:17); “God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Col 1:3); “therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Heb 1:9); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:3).
  6. The Father and Son aren’t co-equal. The Son derives His power and authority from the Father: “until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa 110:1); “All things are delivered unto me of my Father” (Mat 11:27); “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat 28:18); “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luk 22:69); “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (Jhn 3:35); “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands” (Jhn 13:3); “for my Father is greater than I” (Jhn 14:28); “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “Him hath God exalted” (Act 5:31); “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1Co 15:27-28); “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22); “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phl 2:9); “he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Heb 1:4); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb 2:8); “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22); “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev 5:12).
  7. The Trinitarian claim that Jesus was eternally begotten is an oxymoron. The normal and reasonable understanding of a father and son relationship is that a son begins existing at the time he is begotten or brought forth. The Son of God hasn’t always existed but had a beginning when He was begotten or brought forth by His Father before the creation of the universe: “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth” (Pro 8:24-25); “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:14); “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); “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); “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jhn 3:18); “If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (Jhn 8:42); “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (Jhn 16:27-28); “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (Jhn 17:8); “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:19).
  8. The miraculous works Jesus Christ performed were not by any divine power He retained when He became fully human, but were by God the Father performing the works through Him.
    • Jesus Himself said that He couldn’t do the miraculous works but that His Father was doing them: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God” (Mat 12:28); “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mar 13:32); “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (Jhn 5:19); “I can of mine own self do nothing” (Jhn 5:30); “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (Jhn 14:10).
    • Jesus Christ performed miracles as the Prophet foretold by Moses, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet … I will raise them up a Prophet” (Deu 18:15, 18). God performed the miracles through Him as the Prophet: “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Mat 21:11); “That a great prophet is risen up among us” (Luk 7:16); “no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (Jhn 3:2); “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” (Jhn 6:14); “When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? … Of a truth this is the Prophet” (Jhn 7:31, 40); “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” (Act 2:22); “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Act 10:38).
  9. The Holy Spirit [Hagios Pneuma] is not a personal being but the Breath of God. The Greek pneuma should have been translated throughout the New Testament as “breath” not “spirit.”
    • The Greek pneuma is simply the noun form of the verb pneo which means “to blow” (Mat 7:25, 27; Luk 12:55; Jhn 3:8, 6:18; Act 27:40; Rev 7:1).
    • The Greek pneuma is where our English word “pneumonia” is derived which a respiratory infection in the air sacs of the lungs that causes difficulty in breathing and can be life-threatening. Another word is “pneumatics” which is the scientific study of compressed air, not of spirit beings!
    • Jesus Himself defined Hagios Pneuma as “breath” by literally breathing on His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [Hagios Pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22).
    • It’s the Breath of God the Father: “the Spirit [Breath] of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2); “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit [Breath] of your Father which speaketh in you” (Mat 10:20); “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit [Breath] to them that ask him?” (Luk 11:13); “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit [Breath] of truth, which proceedeth from the Father” (Jhn 15:26); “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9); “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwelleth in you?” (1Co 3:16).
    • It’s because Jesus Christ has been given full agency and proxy over God’s Breath that the presence of the Holy Breath in our hearts is the equivalency of Jesus Christ: “if so be that the Spirit [Breath] of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit [Breath] of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you” (Rom 8:9-10); “the Spirit [Breath] itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered … It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “Now the Lord is that Spirit [Breath]: and where the Spirit [Breath] of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2Co 3:17); “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [Breath] of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6); “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [Breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Eph 3:17); “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).
    • Many years after His ascension and seating at the right hand of God, Jesus gave seven messages to seven churches in Asia. He declared “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18), and concluded each message with, “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). He called Himself “the Breath” not just once or twice but seven times!
  10. The doctrine of the Trinity is illogical: the one God consists of three co-equal Persons; Jesus is “God the Son” but also “the Son of God”; Jesus is both a 100% divine being and a 100% human being at the same time; Jesus was eternally begotten; although God can’t be tempted, Jesus is God and was tempted in all points; although God can’t die, Jesus is God and did die.

The Separated Breath

Introduction

Ask several Christians their view of the Holy Spirit and you’ll likely get an array of different answers. Most aren’t very confident in what they know and believe about this subject. Some say that it’s a force or a power while others maintain that it’s a personal being. The primary cause for the confusion is the Trinitarian teaching that the Holy Spirit is a person and the mistranslation of the Hebrew word ruwach and Greek word pneuma as “spirit” implying that it’s a person.

I was a Trinitarian the first 25 years of my Christian life, believing that the one God exists in three co-equal Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I didn’t reach this view of God through my own study of the Scriptures. Rather, it was imposed upon me by the teaching of my local church and theological books. Although it’s illogical that one God could exist as three Persons, I learned to just swallow that bitter pill and move on.

Eventually, I began studying the Scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit and concluded that it isn’t a person but God’s breath. The Hebrew “ruwach of God” in the Old Testament and Greek “pneuma of God” in the New Testament is the breath of God. It isn’t a personal being—a living, self-conscious, rational, and moral agent. It’s simply the breath of God or God’s breath from His mouth.

Concluding that the Holy Spirit isn’t a person is where my journey of learning the truth about God began. Once I came to that knowledge, then the entire doctrine of the Trinity was suspect. If Trinitarian teachers—scholars, theologians, and pastors—are wrong about one of the “persons” of the Trinity, then everything else they teach about God is on the table. In fact, everything else they teach about anything else is open for discussion. The doctrine of God is the most important subject of all. If highly intelligent and educated Trinitarian teachers are wrong about what’s most important, how can they be trusted to be right about anything else?

Introducing God’s breath

The first mention of God’s breath in the Scriptures is within the very first words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruwach] of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2). In its initial introduction through God’s revelation, the ruwach of God is identified as something belonging to Him as His possession. It’s “the breath of God” or His breath. In the beginning, there wasn’t a person flying over the water like superman! God was blowing from His mouth, His breath across the surface of the water.

The next occurrence of ruwach in Scripture, it’s the wind, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool [ruwach] of the day” (Gen 3:8). Other Bible versions render it, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing” (NLT), “at the time of the evening breeze” (CSB), “at the breezy time of the day” (NET), “at the breeze of the day” (YLT). There’s no mistaking from the context that ruwach is simply air, wind, or breath.

The third time ruwach appears, God Himself is speaking about His breath, “And the LORD said, My spirit [ruwach] shall not always strive with man” (Gen 6:3). In its introduction it was “the breath of God” and now it’s Himself calling it “My breath.” Therefore, ruwach is of Himself, not an entirely separate being from Himself.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth occurrences of ruwach are about the breath of life from God in the nostrils of all living beings, “wherein is the breath [ruwach] of life” (Gen 6:17, 7:15), “All in whose nostrils was the breath [ruwach] of life” (Gen 7:22). This is referring back to the creation of man to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). This is how God imparted life to man. We’re even told later in Scripture that the ruwach into man’s nostrils is simply God’s breath from His mouth, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth” (Psa 33:6). It’s not a Person. It’s His breath from His mouth!

The ruwach and pneuma of God

In the Old Testament, the translators rendered ruwach as “breath,” “blast,” or “wind” when the immediate context forced it upon them: “And with the blast [ruwach] of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together” (Exo 15:8); “at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils” (2Sa 22:16); “By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:9); “by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth shall he go away” (Job 15:30); “all the host of them by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth” (Psa 33:6); “he causeth his wind [ruwach] to blow” (Psa 147:18); “with the breath [ruwach] of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isa 11:4). However, when various contexts allowed the translators a degree of freedom to render ruwach as “spirit” to imply a person, they always took that liberty. It’s simply translator bias—rendering statements to comport with their beliefs and what they wanted communicated.

In the New Testament, the Greek pneuma translated consistently as “spirit” is the noun form of the verb pneo which means “to blow.” The contexts of all seven occurrences of this word agree: “And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [pneo] … And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew [pneo]” (Mat 7:25, 27); “And when ye see the south wind blow [pneo]” (Luk 12:55); “The wind bloweth [pneo] where it listeth” (Jhn 3:8); “And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew [pneo]” (Jhn 6:18); “and hoised up the mainsail to the wind [pneo]” (Act 27:40); “that the wind should not blow [pneo] on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree” (Rev 7:1). There’s nothing inherent in the word pneuma that implies a conscious personal being. It’s simply breath or wind as its verb counterpart attests. Also, pneuma is neuter in gender, not masculine or feminine which would be required if referring to a person.

Furthermore, the Greek pneuma is where the English word “pneumonia”—a respiratory infection in the air sacs of the lungs that causes difficulty in breathing and can be life-threatening—is derived. Also, “pneumology” which is the medical study of the lungs and respiratory organs. And “pneumatics” which is a branch of engineering using systems of compressed air.

Lastly, Jesus Christ Himself is the highest authority with the final word and He defined pneuma as breath by literally blowing from His mouth onto His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22). He also likened the new birth, “that which is born of the Spirit [pneuma] is spirit [pneuma]” (Jhn 3:6), to the wind blowing, “The wind [pneuma] bloweth [pneo] 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 [pneuma]” (Jhn 3:8). Jesus Christ Himself said that pneuma is like the wind blowing.

God’s Breath is our life

Man isn’t an autonomous immortal spirit being that can live outside the body. That’s simply Roman Catholic Church doctrine rooted in Greek philosophy and appropriated by the Protestant reformation. Man is simply a physical being formed from the earth and brought to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7).

The Hebrew verb naphach simply means “to breathe” or “to blow” as it’s used in all eleven of its other occurrences in Scripture: “a fire not blown [naphach] shall consume him” (Job 20:26); “I have caused to breathe out [naphach]” (Job 31:39 YLT); “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething [naphach] pot or caldron” (Job 41:20); “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth [naphach] the coals in the fire” (Isa 54:16); “I see a seething [naphach] pot” (Jer 1:13); “She hath breathed out [naphach] her spirit” (Jer 15:9 YLT); “to blow [naphach] the fire upon it … I will gather you, and blow [naphach] upon you in the fire of my wrath” (Eze 22:20-21); “O breath, and breathe [naphach] upon these slain, that they may live” (Eze 37:9); “I did blow [naphach] upon it” (Hag 1:9); “ye have snuffed [naphach] at it” (Mal 1:13).

The Hebrew noun neshamah in “the breath [neshamah] of life” is used synonymously with ruwach in several other places of Scripture: “All in whose nostrils was the breath [neshamah] [ruwach] of life, of all that was in the dry land, died” (Gen 7:22); “at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast [neshamah] of the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils” (2Sa 22:16); “By the blast [neshamah] of God they perish, and by the breath [ruwach] of his nostrils are they consumed” (Job 4:9); “All the while my breath [neshamah] is in me, and the spirit [ruwach] of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3); “But there is a spirit [ruwach] in man: and the inspiration [neshamah] of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8); “The Spirit [ruwach] of God hath made me, and the breath [neshamah] of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4); “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit [ruwach] and his breath [neshamah]” (Job 34:14); “O LORD, at the blast [neshamah] of the breath [ruwach] of thy nostrils” (Psa 18:15); “he that giveth breath [neshamah] unto the people upon it, and spirit [ruwach] to them that walk therein” (Isa 42:5); “for the spirit [ruwach] should fail before me, and the souls [neshamah] which I have made” (Isa 57:16).

Since man is from the earth and brought to life by God’s breath in his nostrils, then death is the departing of the breath and the returning of the body to the earth: “If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit [breath] and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust” (Job 34:14-15); “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psa 104:29); “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psa 146:4); “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [breath] shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc 12:7).

Taking this further, since life and death consists of the imparting and departing of God’s breath in man’s nostrils, then resurrection from the dead to eternal life is consistent with this. God raises the dead by breathing life back into the body: “It is the spirit [breath] that quickeneth” (Jhn 6:63); “the Spirit [breath] of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2); “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); “a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45); “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18); “the Spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them” (Rev 11:11).

The Son of God became fully human just as we are—a physical being with God’s breath in His nostrils. He isn’t a dual-being but a human being. The breath in His nostrils returned to God when He died, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [pneuma]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [exhaled]” (Luk 23:46). And God’s breath returned to Him when He was raised, “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11), “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18).

Our hope is eternal life

The hope of God’s people has always been bodily resurrection to eternal life: “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD” (Lev 18:5); “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26); “my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psa 16:9); “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psa 17:15); “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death” (Pro 14:32); “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isa 26:19); “And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them” (Eze 20:11); “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2); “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Hab 2:4); “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (Jhn 5:29); “of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Act 23:6); “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (Act 24:15); “the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers” (Act 26:6); “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Act 28:20); “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:17); “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Co 15:21-22); “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phl 3:21);  “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” (1Th 4:13); “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit 1:2); “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit 3:7); “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power” (Rev 20:6).

The consequences of God’s breath as a person

God’s breath as a person isn’t the truth and isn’t reality. By making His breath into something it’s not, it encroaches upon His glory—that His breath is not only a person but even a person that is co-equal with Himself! Trinitarianism is somewhat analogous to the people of the United States affirming that the President’s son is co-equal with him and even the President’s breath from his mouth and nose is another person that’s also co-equal with him.

The primary ramification of misrepresenting God’s breath as a person is that it not only allows but also requires a different message of salvation. Because if ruwach and pneuma isn’t God’s breath, then it isn’t God’s breath in our nostrils that makes us alive—we’re inherently immortal spirit beings living inside a body. And if we’re inherently immortal spirit beings, then death isn’t the cessation of life and perishing isn’t annihilation. And if we’re inherently immortal spirit beings, then eternal life isn’t resurrection by God’s breath in our nostrils to never die again but an internal change of the immortal spirit being from spiritual death to spiritual life. Therefore, Christianity isn’t a life of faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ in hope of eternal life at His return but a one-time faith confession to go to heaven after death. The consequence of a wrong view of God and a wrong view of man is a wrong message of salvation which is no salvation.

The Greater Light ruling the Day

A favorite saying of many is, “If it’s new, it’s not true!” Well, it doesn’t get any older than “In the beginning”! The gospel message of salvation was shown in a mystery from the very beginning to leave us without excuse.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided [badal] the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis 1:1-5)

The Hebrew verb badal means “to divide,” “to separate,” or “to sever.” These very first words of God in the beginning were figurative and prophetic of what He would later perform by dividing, separating, or severing His people from all other people, “I am the LORD your God, which have separated [badal] you from other people … have severed [badal] you from other people, that ye should be mine” (Lev 20:24, 26). God’s people are light which He called “Day,” and all other people are darkness which He called “Night.” Then God proceeded to distinguish them both by a ruler over them.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide [badal] the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide [badal] the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)

This is what Paul meant by “in heavenly” at the beginning of Ephesians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Eph 1:3-4). God’s chosen people were shown by the Greater Light in heaven ruling over them while all other people are ruled by the lesser light, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places” (Eph 6:12), “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8).

The Greater Light shown in the beginning is now sitting at the right hand of God, greater and far above all principalities and powers, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21). Paul earnestly wanted us to understand these things, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph 1:18), but those ruled by the lesser light don’t want these things to be understood.

God’s people are saved by God’s favor, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace [favor] ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-6). God divided His people from all other people, and extends favor to them by His Son Jesus Christ advocating for them at His right hand. Christ’s advocacy as our Mediator and Interceder is as if we’re sitting there ourselves! But the Greater Light only advocates for us when we’re being ruled by Him—we must obey His commandments.

John chapters 14-16 is Jesus Christ speaking figuratively of Himself in His future role as our Advocate at God’s right hand over all principality and power, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10). Yet it’s being taught that this is an entirely different Person than Jesus Christ—another Person that doesn’t even exist! Is this just an honest mistake? Well, it doesn’t agree with the message from the beginning. If it’s new, it’s not true!

The separated people of God

The Hebrew adjective qadowsh translated primarily as “holy” or sometimes as “saint” in the Old Testament means “separated,” “divided,” or “set apart.” God chose His people Israel and separated them from all other people: “For thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deu 7:6); “For thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deu 14:2); “Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God” (Deu 14:21); “And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy [qadowsh] people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken” (Deu 26:19); “The LORD shall establish thee an holy [qadowsh] people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways” (Deu 28:9).

Throughout the New Testament, the Greek adjective hagios is translated as either “holy” or “saints” but means “separated” or “set apart.” The Hebrew qadowsh for “holy” is simply the adjective form of the verb qadash for “sanctify,” “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify [qadash] yourselves, and ye shall be holy [qadowsh]; for I am holy [qadowsh]” (Lev 11:44). God’s people were to be divided and separated from the sinful people around them because God is separate—He was not their God and He was not among them. Peter quoted this statement with its Greek counterpart hagios, “But as he which hath called you is holy [hagios], so be ye holy [hagios] in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy [hagios]; for I am holy [hagios]” (1Pe 1:15-16).

When used for God’s people in the New Testament, the translators rendered the adjective hagios as “saints” rather than “separated” which obscures the identity of the subjects. The “saints” are simply God’s people, separated or set apart from all other people in the world: “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints [hagios] which slept arose” (Mat 27:52); “thy saints [hagios] at Jerusalem” (Act 9:13); “the saints [hagios] which dwelt at Lydda” (Act 9:32); “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints [hagios] did I shut up in prison” (Act 26:10); “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints [hagios]” (Rom 1:7); “Distributing to the necessity of saints [hagios]” (Rom 12:13); “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints [hagios]” (Rom 15:25); “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints [hagios]” (1Co 1:2); “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints [hagios]” (1Co 14:33); “Now concerning the collection for the saints [hagios]” (1Co 16:1); “unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints [hagios] which are in all Achaia” (2Co 1:1); “and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints [hagios]” (2Co 8:4); “For as touching the ministering to the saints [hagios], it is superfluous for me to write to you” (2Co 9:1); “All the saints [hagios] salute you” (2Co 13:13); “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints [hagios] which are at Ephesus” (Eph 1:1); “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints [hagios], and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19); “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints [hagios]” (Eph 5:3); “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints [hagios] in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi” (Phl 1:1); “All the saints [hagios] salute you” (Phl 4:22); “To the saints [hagios] and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse” (Col 1:2); “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints [hagios] in light” (Col 1:12); “Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints [hagios]” (Phm 1:5); “in that ye have ministered to the saints [hagios], and do minister” (Heb 6:10); “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints [hagios]” (Heb 13:24); “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [hagios]” (Jde 1:3); “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [hagios], and to overcome them” (Rev 13:7); “For they have shed the blood of saints [hagios] and prophets” (Rev 16:6).

Since hagios means “separated,” then hagios pneuma translated consistently as “Holy Spirit” should be “separated breath.” It’s not a holy spirit being or a reverent person. It’s God’s breath in the hearts of His people that separates or sets them apart from all other people.

The people of God have God’s breath dwelling in their hearts: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [breath], if so be that the Spirit [breath] of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9); “But if the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit [breath] that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11); “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit [breath] of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15); “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [breath] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1Co 6:19); “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit [breath] in our hearts” (2Co 1:22); “God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit [breath]” (2Co 5:5); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [breath] of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6); “ye were sealed with that holy Spirit [breath] of promise” (Eph 1:13); “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit [breath]” (Eph 2:22); “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost [breath] which dwelleth in us” (2Ti 1:14); “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit [breath] which he hath given us” (1Jo 3:24).

Jude urged God’s people in his days to “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3). They were to continue being faithful to God and distinct from all other people “having not the Spirit [breath]” (Jde 1:19). They were separated unto faithfulness by God’s breath, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy [separated] faith [faithfulness], praying in the Holy Ghost [separated breath]” (Jde 1:20).

The anointed one

Israel’s political structure became a Monarchy at the time that Samuel anointed Saul as their first King or Messiah by pouring oil upon his head, “Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed [mashach] thee to be captain over his inheritance?” (1Sa 10:1). Saul’s anointing was also the point when the breath of God came upon him, “And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit [ruwach] of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them” (1Sa 10:10). Saul was later rejected as King and David was anointed in his place with the breath of the Lord coming upon him, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed [mashach] him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit [ruwach] of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1Sa 16:13).

The Hebrew word mashach is the verb form of the noun mashiyach which is transliterated into English as messiah. Messiah is the man that was anointed as king as David was called, “Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed [mashiyach], to David, and to his seed for evermore” (Psa 18:50), “For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed [mashiyach]” (Psa 132:10)

Both the verb and noun forms were used by Daniel when prophesying of Jesus the Messiah:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint [mashach] the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah [mashiyach] the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah [mashiyach] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24-26)

The Son of God was anointed by God as the King or Messiah at His baptism when the breath of God came upon Him: “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 [pneuma] 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” (Mat 3:16-17); “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit [pneuma] like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mar 1:10-11); Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost [pneuma] descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luk 3:21-22).

Isaiah had prophesied that the breath of God would be upon Him: “And the spirit [ruwach] of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isa 11:2); “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit [ruwach] upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isa 42:1); “The Spirit [ruwach] of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed [mashach] me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isa 61:1).

The Spirit [pneuma] of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed [chrio] me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luk 4:18), “How God anointed [chrio] Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost [pneuma] and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Act 10:38).

Jesus Christ is our Advocate at the Father’s right hand

The Father has given all things to His Son: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father” (Mat 11:27), “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mat 28:18); “All things are delivered to me of my Father” (Luk 10:22); “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (Jhn 3:35); “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (Jhn 5:22); “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands” (Jhn 13:3); “As thou hast given him power over all flesh” (Jhn 17:2); “For he hath put all things under his feet” (1Co 15:27); “And hath put all things under his feet” (Eph 1:22); “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phl 2:10); “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb 2:8); “angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1Pe 3:22).

Since all things have been given to the Son, the Son has been given full agency and proxy over God the Father’s breath. The Father will breathe life into whoever the Son confesses before Him: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 10:32); “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6); “I will confess his name before my Father” (Rev 3:5). Therefore, the Son makes the final decision of who will be raised to eternal life.

It’s because Jesus Christ has full agency and proxy over God’s breath that it’s His prerogative for God’s Breath to dwell in our hearts. Therefore, the presence of God’s Breath in our hearts is the equivalency of Jesus Christ Himself: “Now if any man have not the Spirit [breath] of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you” (Rom 8:9-10); “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for us … It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “Now the Lord is that Spirit [breath]: and where the Spirit [breath] of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2Co 3:17); “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [breath] of his Son into your hearts” (Gal 4:6); “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit [breath] in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Eph 3:17); “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

An advocate is one that intercedes and pleads on behalf of another. Jesus Christ is our Advocate, Interceder, or Mediator at the right hand of the Father: “Sit thou at my right hand” (Psa 110:1); “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luk 22:69); “being by the right hand of God exalted” (Act 2:33); “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for us … who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:26, 34); “set him at his own right hand” (Eph 1:20); “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5); “Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 3:1); “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3); “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “he is the mediator of a better covenant” (Heb 8:6); “he is the mediator of the new testament” (Heb 9:15); “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12); “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2); “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (Heb 12:24); “is on the right hand of God” (1Pe 3:22); “am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21); “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:3).

Prior to His death, Jesus spoke of His advocacy at the Father’s right hand, but figuratively of Himself as the breath: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate [parakletos] to help you and be with you forever … But the Advocate [parakletos], the Holy Spirit [breath], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (Jhn 14:16, 26 NIV); “When the Advocate [parakletos] comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit [breath] of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (Jhn 15:26 NIV); “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate [parakletos] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jhn 16:7 NIV); “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (Jhn 16:25 NIV). That He was speaking of Himself as our Advocate before the Father, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6), “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (Jhn 16:10), Paul and John would later write, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit [breath] unto the Father” (Eph 2:18), “And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jo 2:1).

After His seating at the right hand of God, Jesus gave seven messages to seven churches concluding each message with, “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). He was calling Himself “the breath.” Of course He was speaking metaphorically because He also called Himself the Son of God literally, “These things saith the Son of God” (Rev 2:18). His agency over the Father’s breath is likened to Him having “the keys of hell [the grave] and of death” (Rev 1:18). Therefore, His salutation at the end of each letter, “hear what the breath saith unto the churches,” was as if to say, “Hear what I’m telling you to do because I’m the one that makes the final decision whether or not the Father will raise you to eternal life by His breath!”

Conclusion

The very first words in Scripture attest to God’s breath, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit [ruwach] of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2). And Scripture is consistent in teaching this view throughout. The only passage where a “person” can be construed is John chapters 14, 15 and 16 where Jesus spoke figuratively of Himself as God’s breath. However, He later defined it literally by blowing from His mouth onto His disciples, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [pneuma]” (Jhn 20:22).

God’s breath gave us life and will give us eternal life. Man isn’t an autonomous immortal spirit being that can live outside the body. He’s simply a physical being formed from the earth and brought to life by God breathing into his nostrils, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [naphach] into his nostrils the breath [neshamah] of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). And God raises the dead by breathing life back into the body: “It is the spirit [breath] that quickeneth” (Jhn 6:63); “the Spirit [breath] of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2); “the Spirit [breath] of him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); “a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45); “quickened by the Spirit [breath]” (1Pe 3:18); “the Spirit [breath] of life from God entered into them” (Rev 11:11).

The consequence of teaching that God’s breath is a person is that it compels a false view of man and the message of man’s salvation. Because if ruwach and pneuma isn’t God’s breath, then man isn’t alive by God’s breath in his nostrils but is an inherently immortal spirit being living inside a body. Therefore, death isn’t the cessation of life and perishing isn’t annihilation. And eternal life isn’t resurrection by God’s breath in the nostrils to never die again but an internal change of the immortal spirit being from spiritual death to spiritual life. It becomes something we already have now rather than what we’re hoping for at the return of the Lord. The message from the beginning is that God would have a people to Himself, separated from all other people by His breath in their hearts and submission to the Lordship of His Son. The hagios pneuma isn’t “Holy Spirit” but “separated breath.” It’s not a holy or reverent person. It’s God’s breath in the hearts of His people that separates or sets them apart from all other people.