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 yet truly 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 have 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. 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 3466], which was kept secret since the world began” (Rom 16:25); “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery [mysterion 3466], 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 3466], 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 3466] 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 3466] 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 3466]” (Rom 16:25); “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery [mysterion 3466]; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery [mysterion 3466] of Christ)” (Eph 3:3-4); “that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery [mysterion 3466] 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 ours.

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,” our Ruler or 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 [emuna 530]” (Hab 2:4), “the just shall live by faith [pistis 4102]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), is to simply believe and only believe. But the Hebrew emuna 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 facts 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 3180] 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 3180] to deceive” (Eph 4:14). The devil rules over flesh and blood people and 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 people, including ministers of 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 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 churches 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, Jesus is God Himself, 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 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 heading—destruction or eternal life—is how we’re 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, all the while assuming they’re heading 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); “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 to 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’re 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 these things. 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 what He preached 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.

The Faithfulness Once Delivered

Introduction

The message of faithfulness to God was declared from the beginning by the Son of God through the creation itself. It was later proclaimed to Abraham, and again to God’s people under Moses. And it was the message preached by the Son of God in the flesh. Salvation is by faithfulness to God in submitting to His only begotten Son Jesus Christ—obeying His commandments, trusting Him, agreeing with Him, and suffering for His sake.

The message of sola fide or “faith alone” conceived about 500 years ago during the Protestant Reformation isn’t the message the Son of God preached. Its purpose all along is to be just another means of keeping people on the broad way that leads to annihilation, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [annihilation], 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 7:13-14).

The message of faithfulness from the beginning

God’s message of salvation from the beginning is faithfulness to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. In the creation account narrative, He showed that He would choose a people to Himself, separate them from all other people, and seat His Son at His right hand to rule over them and advocate to God the Father on their behalf. His people would be saved by their faithfulness in submission and obedience to His purpose and plan from the beginning.

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 [bāḏal 914] the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis 1:1-5)

The Hebrew verb bāḏal means “to divide,” “to separate,” or “to sever.” These very first words of God 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 [bāḏal 914] you from other people … have severed [bāḏal 914] you from other people, that ye should be mine” (Lev 20:24,26). God’s people would be light which He called “Day,” and all other people darkness which He called “Night.” Then God proceeded to distinguish them both by the ruler over them.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide [bāḏal 914] 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 [bāḏal 914] 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 2032] 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 2032] 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 2032] 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).

Salvation, therefore, is by faithfulness. It’s becoming one of God’s people, separated from all other people by faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ at God’s right hand in heaven. It’s being ruled by Him in faithful submission—obeying Him, trusting Him, agreeing with Him, and suffering for Him.

Abraham’s faithfulness

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham” (Gen 22:1). Abraham’s faithfulness was tested and proven.

And the angel [messenger] 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. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [Yehovah Yireh]: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. (Genesis 22:11-14).

The Messenger of the Lord—the Son of God in heaven—saw Abraham’s faithfulness by his actions. James said, “shew me thy faith [faithfulness] without thy works [actions], and I will shew thee my faith [faithfulness] by my works [actions] … Was not Abraham our father justified by works [actions], when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (Jas 2:18, 21). The Hebrew Yehovah Yireh means “the existing One sees.” And this is what we were told in the beginning, “And God saw the light, that it was good” (Gen 1:4). God hid in a mystery the message of faithfulness—that He sees the light when He sees the faithful actions of His people. There was nobody on that mountain to see Abraham’s sacrifice except, of course, the existing One, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen 22:14). Faithfulness consists of sacrifices made that nobody but God sees.

And the angel [messenger] 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)

As God’s people hoping in the promises made to Abraham, we partake of the same heavenly calling when our faithfulness is tested and proven, “Wherefore, holy [separated] brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle [apostolos 652] and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house” (Heb 3:1-2). The Greek apostolos is someone that is sent. In this case, it’s the Messenger of the Lord—the Son of God sent from God the Father.

Five times in Hebrews the Son of God is said to be seated at the right hand of God: “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); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (8:1); “sat down on the right hand of God” (10:12); “and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2). That we’re “partakers of the heavenly calling,” is that when our faithfulness is tested, we’re blessed with the same calling from heaven as Abraham, “And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham” (Gen 22:11). Our Advocate at the right hand of God in heaven, calls us by name and blesses us, “So then they which be of faith [faithfulness] are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:9).

The faithfulness once delivered unto the separated

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace [favor] of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not. (Jude 1:3-5)

When Jude said, “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jud 1:3), he wasn’t talking about a body of doctrinal beliefs that was delivered to the early church by the apostles, but the faithfulness that had been delivered to God’s people in the Exodus, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt” (Jud 1:5). God delivered His people from slavery, separated them from all other people to favor them, and began teaching them faithfulness to Him as soon as they crossed the Red Sea.

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (Exodus 15:22-24)

This was the first of a series of hardships orchestrated by God to test and prove their faithfulness to Him, “and there he proved them” (Exo 15:25). However, they didn’t trust Him but continually complained: “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (Exo 16:2); “the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD” (Exo 16:8); “And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses” (Exo 17:3). These tests of their faithfulness continued a total of ten times until culminating with their failure to trust God to defeat their enemies in the promised land.

Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice … How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me. (Numbers 14:22,27-29)

Their unfaithfulness was cited as an example to us, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith [faithfulness] in them that heard it” (Heb 4:2). The vast majority of God’s people joined themselves with those that brought up the evil report and not with the faithful—namely Joshua and Caleb—that trusted God. This is “the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3).

Many times God proved or tested His people’s faithfulness to Him: “and there he proved [nāsȃ 5254] them” (Exo 15:25); “that I may prove [nāsȃ 5254] them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exo 16:4); “God is come to prove [nāsȃ 5254] you” (Exo 20:20). It’s the same Hebrew word nacah as when He tested Abraham, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [nāsȃ 5254] Abraham” (Gen 22:1). The difficulties He caused His people to suffer humbled them and proved what was in their hearts, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove [nāsȃ 5254] thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deu 8:2), “Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove [nāsȃ 5254] thee, to do thee good at thy latter end” (Deu 8:16).

God’s people today are saved by the same faithfulness that was delivered to them. Therefore, our faithfulness is also tested, “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), “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).

The good message of Jesus Christ

The Greek euangelion translated as “gospel” means “good message.” It’s the message that Jesus Christ Himself preached: “preaching the gospel [euangelion 2098] of the kingdom” (Mat 4:23; Mar 1:14); “gospel [euangelion 2098] of Christ” (Rom 1:16; 1Co 9:18; 2Co 4:4,9:13,10:14; Gal 1:7; 1Th 3:2); “Christ’s gospel [euangelion 2098]” (2Co 2:12); “gospel [euangelion 2098] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:8).

The message Jesus Christ preached is that we’re to obey His commandments: “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); “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); “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); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14).

His good message wasn’t sola fide or just believing some facts are true—it’s obedience to Him and His commandments: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel [euangelion 2098]” (Rom 10:16); “that obey not the gospel [euangelion 2098] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:8); “eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9); “what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel [euangelion 2098] of God” (1Pe 4:17).

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel [euangelion 2098] of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)

Paul taught that when God said “Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen 1:3), that it was figurative and prophetic of the good message Jesus Christ would preach 4,000 years later. The truth He taught and the commandments He gave made a clear division between God’s people and everyone else, “and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Gen 1:4-5). God’s people—the “Day”—would be ruled by His Son Jesus Christ, “the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen 1:16). The gospel message from the beginning is that we must be one of God’s people, separated from the world by the hagios pneuma or separated breath of God in our hearts and keeping the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being ruled by Him.

Paul quoted from Psalm 19 about the gospel, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel [euangelion 2098] of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things … Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom 10:15,18). The creation itself has been preaching the good message of the Greater Light ruling over the day and the lesser light ruling over the night, “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun” (Psa 19:2-4). Every day and night for 6,000 years—almost 2.2 million times—the gospel has been preached to all people regardless of language by the orbiting and rotation of the sun, earth, and moon. Salvation is a change of master, from being ruled by the lesser light to being ruled by the Greater Light.

This is also what the apostle John taught, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (Jhn 1:1,5). The light that shone in the darkness by Christ preaching His good message was in fulfillment of “Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen 1:3). He is “the greater light to rule the day” (Gen 1:16), “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe [trust]. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (Jhn 1:6-9).

Jesus Christ taught faithfulness

Jesus taught that we must be faithful servants to Him as our Lord: “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (Mat 10:24); “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: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21); “His lord said unto him, Well done, 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 25:23); “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46); “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” (Luk 12:42); “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” (Luk 16:12-13); “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); “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 taught faithfulness toward God, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1). He healed and forgave the people’s sins that were faithful to God in receiving Him as their Messiah: “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, 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); “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole” (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); “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, 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).

Jesus taught the fear of God, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28), “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luk 12:5).

Jesus knows our actions, “I know thy works [actions]” (Rev 2:2,9,13,19,3:1,8,15), and will render to us accordingly, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works [actions]” (Rev 2:23). As with Abraham, He sees our faithfulness by our actions.

Jesus was teaching faithfulness when He said, “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 … Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me” (Mat 25:40, 45). We’re going to be judged, not by how we treated those esteemed by society as more important but “the least of these.” As James taught, “My brethren, have not the faith [faithfulness] of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons” (Jas 2:1).

God routinely tests our faithfulness and ultimately what’s in our hearts, “to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deu 8:2). At the time it’s happening, we don’t even realize we’re being tested which is why we’ll say later, “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?” (Mat 25:37-39). He puts us in situations, for example, where two people cross our path—one is rich and influential while the other is poor and needy—and He is watching how we treat them both. Our hearts are shown in how we treated the least esteemed, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Faithfulness to Him is shown by how we treated them.

The just shall live by faithfulness

The Greek pistis appears about 250 times in the New Testament and is almost always translated as “faith” but should be “faithfulness” instead. The key statement that indicates this is Habakkuk 2:4, “but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness” (NET), “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (NIV). This is quoted three times in the New Testament but as “The just shall live by faith [pistis]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). But it’s not about our faith but Christ’s faithfulness, “his faithfulness.” Christ was faithful to His Father in always doing His will, culminating in His faithfulness to die for our sins on the cross.

In Romans, Paul quoted Habakkuk indicating that he understood “faithfulness” as the good message Jesus Christ preached, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel [euangelion 2098] of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [trusts]; 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). And he reiterated this at the end of his letter, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel [euangelion 2098], and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25).

Jesus taught that most people are on the broad way that leads to annihilation while only a few are on the way that leads to eternal life, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [annihilation], and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life [eternal life], and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:13-14). And the determining factor is either doing or not doing what He commanded, “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).

The word is near you

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 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 30:11-14)

In these last words to God’s people from Moses, he was referring to the instructions he had given them to carry out once they entered the land, “These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people … And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse” (Deu 27:12-13), “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deu 27:26). And this they did under Joshua, “half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law” (Jos 8:33-34). Since all the people said “Amen” to the commandments they heard, the word was now in their mouths! They couldn’t plead ignorance later for not doing because they had affirmed from their mouths that they heard with their ears and understood with their hearts. Paul quoted Moses and applied it to the faithfulness we are to have toward the Lord Jesus Christ:

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 hearing and doing of which Moses spoke, “that we may hear it, and do it … in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:11-13), was prophetic of hearing and doing the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, “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). Therefore, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” (Rom 10:9), isn’t a confession of faith but of faithfulness. We’re essentially saying “Amen” from our mouths that we’ve heard His commandments and we’ll do them.

Baptism is our commitment to do everything Christ commanded, “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” (Mat 28:19-20). Being baptized into His name means that we’ve died to our name and have committed ourselves unto death glorifying and defending His. It’s confessing our commitment to faithfulness, then keeping that commitment.

The Protestant Reformation

Paul’s last words about the time that would come have indeed become what we have today, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos 3454]” (2Ti 4:3-4). The Greek noun mythos is where our English “myths” is derived. The teaching of Protestant churches that God is a Trinity of Persons, man is an immortal spirit being, and salvation is by faith are simply myths.

The Protestant Reformation was an apparent split from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) about 500 years ago and is hailed as the point where the church finally returned to “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3). However, it wasn’t a reforming at all but a rebranding. The Reformation kept the same wrong view of God and man, then simply formulated another false gospel message from it. Protestant churches today are essentially the RCC rebranded under a new name and image with a new message—the same “product” but new packaging.

The Reformation also wasn’t a protest but was by agency and design of the RCC. Its own Martin Luther appeared to lead a dissent from the mother church after having come to the “enlightenment” that justification is by faith. The true intent of this event, however, was that in the course of diverting everyone’s attention to the noble endeavor of getting the gospel message right, it was covertly reinforcing the Trinitarian view of God as right! In other words, it was a deflection from the underlying issue while buttressing it in the process. Though both sides have been hotly debating for hundreds of years whether salvation is by faith plus works or by faith alone, hardly a peep has been chirped about the correct view of God. This was never in question. Fighting passionately against certain things that were wrong left the false impression that everything else was substantially right.

A false view of God and a false view of man can only result in a false view of salvation. The Protestant doctrine of justification by sola fide or “faith alone” is just as false and damning as the RCC doctrine of “faith plus works” because it’s based upon the same underlying false view of God and man. It only sounds more appealing because it’s the view that supposedly glorifies the finished work of Christ on the cross by excluding our meritorious “works.” But in reality, working versus believing is a fabricated false dichotomy—an artificial antithesis concocted to support sola fide. There is no working versus believing juxtaposition in Scripture because all three of the main passages used for support are about the Law of Moses versus the faithfulness of Jesus Christ:

“For no one is declared righteous before him by the works [actions] of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed—namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction” (Rom 3:20-22 NET)

“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 of the law no one will be justified.” (Gal 2:16 NET)

“and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness—a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness” (Phi 3:9 NET).

The doctrine of sola fide is a dangerous double-edged sword in that it not only falsely assures of salvation by simply believing some facts are true, but also discourages obedience to Christ’s commandments—the good message of salvation He preached—as trying to save ourselves by our merit. The doctrine of sola fide conjoined with once-saved-always-saved is aimed at diminishing the fear of the Lord and promoting unfaithfulness, because if salvation is by believing some facts are true and salvation can never be reversed, then there isn’t much reason to fear God as Jesus warned, “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28), “Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luk 12:5). Add to all of this the myth of being born with a depraved sinful nature that prevents anyone from living righteously, and the masses are kept marching devotedly down the broad way leading to destruction.

Initiatives to keep people on the broad way

The Reformation wasn’t about finding the way to eternal life but keeping people from it. As the Bible was beginning to be translated and released to the world, it was an initiative pushed to continue the containment of the truth under the fog of myths. Its goal was to expunge God’s people from the plan of salvation thereby leaving a vacuum to change the message of salvation from faithfulness to faith.

The Reformation effectively displaced God’s people from the New Testament by three main tactics. First, it suppressed and concealed “the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3), by turning it into the concept of a body of doctrinal beliefs delivered to the church by the apostles. And that body of beliefs is the systematic theology they teach—a system foreign and disconnected from the promise made to Abraham and hope of God’s people.

Second, it directed Bible translations that shrouded God’s people by rendering vocabulary about them with generic or inaccurate words: ekklesia as “church” instead of “assembly” or “congregation,” eklektos as “elect” instead of “chosen,” charis as “grace” instead of “favor,” pistis as “faith” instead of “faithfulness,” pisteuo as “believe” instead of “trust,” ergon as “works” instead of “actions,” hagios as “holy” or “saints” instead of “separated,” and pneuma as “spirit” instead of “breath.” It’s not that they just got a word or two wrong by mistake. The consistent pattern and genre of “mistakes” betrays their agenda.

Third, it formulated the ideology of Calvinism to suppress doctrines about God’s chosen people. God elected who will be saved rather than chose a people to Himself. God predestined each individual rather than predetermined to adopt children to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. God has foreknowledge of the future rather than knows His people in time past. And God chose in eternity past before the creation of the world rather than showing His chosen people in a mystery before casting down the system.

Besides these initiatives to remove God’s people from the Scriptures, Protestant leaders enforce their control by Trinitarian seminaries training and commissioning the pastors that oversee the churches, sending and supporting missionaries bound to their Trinitarian organizations, and maintaining Bible translation groups using only the Alexandrian tradition of manuscripts while ensuring the finished product conforms to their theological system.

Probably the most disheartening and discouraging undertaking is their missions efforts cloaked as a virtuous endeavor to bring the gospel to the unreached when it’s just a sinister scheme to poison the well. They arrive first with their myths so that the people will turn away their ears from the truth when it ever comes, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos]” (2Ti 4:4). They masquerade as chauffeurs of the narrow way only to drive people down the broad way.

Deceiving, distracting, and diverting doctrines

Protestant Trinitarian leaders—theologians, pastors, missionaries—keep people on the broad way that leads to destruction by falsely assuring them that they’re on the narrow way that leads to life. They give them everything they need to be thoroughly convinced they’re on the right road but withhold from them just enough to keep them on the wrong road. They teach many things that are true and helpful but not what’s necessary for eternal life. And they also teach a plethora of nonsense intended to keep them busy wasting their time and diverted from the truth.

The entire Calvinist and Arminianist war is a hoax. They’re both on the same side fighting the truth by feigning an internal conflict designed to do nothing but divert attention from God’s chosen people. It’s all about distracting, confusing, and wasting precious time and resources. The babbling practice under the pretense of the gift of tongues has been another colossal means of diverting and squandering time. And more recently the doctrine of the rapture has detoured people from the hope of eternal life at the return of the Lord to an escape to fly around in heaven.

They want people engaged in hearing and debating about all kinds of foolishness because it deceives, confuses, and distracts from doing God’s work. What they don’t want is anyone teaching the true view of God and man, or helping others keep Christ’s commandments because they don’t want them on the narrow way that leads to eternal life. They love having Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, and Unitarian churches around that they can cite as to what happens to those that aren’t Trinitarians—therefore, it’s best to stay home with them where it’s safe and cozy.

Hearing, and hearing, and hearing

Protestant leaders teach the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. They teach topically, expositorally, and verse-by-verse. They teach Theology, Christology, Soteriology, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Bibliology, Angelology, Harmartiology, Pneumatology, and Eschatology. They teach good things about marriage, family, and morality. They teach sermons, classes, podcasts, and webinars. They hold camp meetings, revivals, conferences, and retreats. They write books, commentaries, study Bibles, and magazines. It’s all about hearing, and hearing, and hearing but not doing Christ’s commandments. They’re always learning but not learning the truth, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Ti 3:7).

It’s very sobering and heavy to realize Jesus said that if we don’t keep His commandments, one day He will ban us from His presence, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:23-24, 26). Multitudes in churches are hearing and learning week after week but they’re not being taught Christ’s commandments. They’re being taught that salvation is by “faith alone” and that faith comes by hearing, “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). So they keep hearing, and hearing, and hearing but not doing.

Conclusion

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord” (Mat 7:22). Multitudes of people are going to be aghast to stand before the Lord one day and be told by Him that He doesn’t know them. They’re going to be crying, pleading, and begging “Lord! Lord! Please!” But He isn’t going to be showing mercy anymore, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

We must reach people with the gospel Christ preached. This begins with being unashamed of His good message, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel [euangelion] of Christ” (Rom 1:16). It’s being unashamed that salvation is by faithfulness to Him—keeping His commandments, trusting Him, agreeing with Him, and suffering for Him. It’s being unashamed of Him and His words, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). It’s being unashamed that there is one true God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God. It’s being unashamed to gather with and be associated with God’s people, and suffering for His sake, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner” (2Ti 1:8), “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain” (2Ti 1:16).

It’s being one of God’s people separated from the world by the hagios pneuma–the separated breath of God in our hearts—and obeying His Son Jesus Christ. It’s being on the same side of the truth as Jesus, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jhn 18:37 NIV). It’s being set apart from the world by Him, “For both he that sanctifieth [sets apart] and they who are sanctified [set apart] areall of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11). That we’re “all of one” is that we’re all in unity and agreement with Him about the truth. We must be faithful to Him as He is to His Father.

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Introduction

Why do many ministers discourage us from trying to understand the Bible ourselves? Why do they warn us that we’ll fall into error unless we learn from them and their system of theology? Could it be that the opposite is the case? Could it be that they’re knowingly teaching us error and don’t want us to find the truth by studying on our own?

It was a long and difficult process over the span of 30 years for me to come to the realization about the utter depth and expanse of deception being swayed over people by many and possibly even all Protestant Trinitarian churches today. Why won’t the leaders of these churches agree with what Jesus Christ taught about God and about Himself? How can they disagree with Him yet still be walking with Him, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amo 3:3)? It’s one thing to be ignorant of what Christ taught but quite another to know His teaching but willingly teach something different.

The two litmus tests

Jesus told us two main ways to identify false ministers and false Christians, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Mat 12:30). Whoever is not in agreement with Jesus is against Him, and whoever is not working with Him is working against Him. Now, someone can be sincerely ignorant or confused about what Jesus Christ taught and not be overtly disagreeing with Him. God’s mercy and forgiveness is there when we come to the knowledge of the truth and repent, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luk 23:34). However, those that know and understand what Jesus Christ taught but teach something different are against Him and are working against Him.

Jesus Christ’s teaching about God and about Himself is very clear and straightforward. 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.” And neither of them called the Holy Spirit “God.” The Father and the Son aren’t co-equal because the Son said that His Father “doeth the works” (Jhn 14:10), “is greater than I” (Jhn 14:28), “the only true God” (Jhn 17:3), and that His Father is “My God” (Mat 27:46; Jhn 20:17; Rev 3:12). To be with Him, we must be in agreement with what He taught, otherwise we’re against Him.

Jesus told us to keep His commandments and to teach others His commandments to keep: “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” (Mat 5:19); “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); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14); “For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus” (1Th 4:2); “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1Jo 2:3); “Blessed are they that do his commandments” (Rev 22:14). To be working with Him for the good of His Kingdom, we must obey His commandments and teach others His commandments.

There are two reliable litmus tests that expose whether someone is with Christ or against Him: (1) Do they agree with His teaching about God and about Himself? (2) Do they teach His commandments to others? Ministers in particular that have been clearly shown the simple and straightforward teaching of Christ about God and about Himself yet stubbornly refuse to submit to Him aren’t with Him—they’re not ministers of God. And when they teach people anything except Christ’s commandments, particularly the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7, they bear the fruit of wolves.

We’ll know them by their fruit

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

Jesus said that their fruit is how we’ll know them—the only way we’ll know them. We might have known for years and even decades dear Christian ministers and fellow laborers that seemed the model and example of loving, serving, and teaching others. They poured their hearts out in tears and nurtured people almost as if their own children. They’re warm, kind-hearted, loving, and sacrificing. Yet they won’t agree with the clear teaching of Jesus Christ about God and about Himself, and they don’t teach others Christ’s commandments to help them walk in obedience. They’re not with Him and they’re not working with Him. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are extremely good at what they do! Let’s not be naïve in supposing we can spot them—because we can’t. As Jesus said, they can only be known by their fruit.

Jesus told the religious leaders that the words they speak betrays them, “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). Those that are evil cannot speak in agreement with the good things Jesus spoke, and they cannot teach others the commandments He taught. They won’t teach others to obey and submit to Him because they’re working against Him. Wolves don’t teach the flock His commandments because they’re purposely leading them down the broad road of destruction.

Jesus told us to not only hear but also do His commandments, “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). However, wolves want the sheep to only hear yet think they’re on the narrow road that leads to life. They want them hearing sermons, listening to podcasts, memorizing Bible verses, sticking to a daily Bible reading plan, meeting in small group Bible studies, reading Christian books, and on and on it goes. They love to quote, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17), because they want them hearing, and hearing, and hearing but not doing.

“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). They appear to be ministering righteousness—helping people to be right with God. But they’re not. They’re extremely subtle, cunning, and deceitful.

Which side of the truth are we on?

“Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37), “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jhn 18:37 NIV). When the truth comes to our knowledge and understanding, we’re forced to take sides. Those that choose the side of the truth listen to Jesus while those against the truth won’t listen to Him.

When we’re on the side of the truth, we’ll have adversaries on the other side, “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” (Phl 1:28-30). The opposite sides of the truth are evidence of salvation and destruction. Having adversaries helps assure us that we’re on the right side of the truth, the side of salvation.

Suffering for His sake comes with the territory—it comes with being on the side of the truth, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Mat 5:11). To affirm and stand for the truth that Jesus Christ taught and suffer the consequences is to suffer for His sake and His glory. When we stand for the truth Jesus taught, His adversaries become ours and God will bless us for it.

When Paul said, “Having the same conflict which ye saw in me,” he certainly didn’t mean that we’ll necessarily be beaten, flogged, stoned, and shipwrecked like he was. He meant that we’ll also experience the same conflict over the truth. We’ll have adversaries using the same kinds of tactics against us that they used against him. The particular conflict the Philippians saw Paul and Silas have is that they were falsely accused before multitudes of people which led to their punishment, “And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.” (Act 16:20-22). The people were told false things about them to stir up animosity, retaliation, and unjust punishment, “But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans” (Act 16:37).

This same conflict had happened to Paul earlier in other regions, “But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren” (Act 14:2), “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead” (Act 14:19). And this same conflict happened later in other regions, “Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.” (Act 17:7-8), “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).

When we’re on the side of the truth, we’ll experience the same conflict as Paul. We’ll have adversaries in positions of authority that will stir up people against us. We won’t always know what people are being told about us or why they have suddenly turned against us.

When we’re reproached for Christ’s name and His sake, it’s evidence that God’s breath is in us but not in them, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1Pe 4:14). These two “parts” or two sides of the truth reveal who belongs to God and who doesn’t.

Conclusion

“For I am not ashamed [epaischynomai] of the gospel of Christ” (Rom 1:16). Paul was not ashamed of the gospel Christ preached. He was not ashamed of Him and His words, “For whosoever shall be ashamed [epaischynomai] of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). Those that teach a different view of God than what Jesus Christ Himself taught should be suspect. If they’re sincerely ignorant by way of having been taught that view by men in seminary, then God will be merciful to them when they come to the knowledge of the truth and repent. However, when they’ve been shown the truth but refuse to change their teaching, they’re bearing the fruit of a wolf. They’re exhibiting the evidence of being ashamed of Him and of His words. Sanctification means “separated” or “set apart,” “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed [epaischynomai] to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11). Jesus separated His disciples from the rest of the world by the truth He taught them, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jhn 17:17). And He that separated them along with them that were separated by Him are “all of one,” they’re in unity and agreement about the truth. For that cause, for the cause of the truth, He’s not ashamed to call them His brethren, “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). And He’s not ashamed to call us His brethren when we’re not ashamed to call His Father our Father, and His God our God!

Reformation or Rebranding?

Introduction

Paul’s last words about the time that would come have indeed developed into the condition of the church today, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos]” (2Ti 4:3-4). The Greek noun mythos is where our English word “myths” is derived. The teaching of Protestant churches that God is a Trinity of Persons, man is an eternal spirit being, and salvation is by faith are myths. But because these beliefs have been taught consistently for hundreds of years, people have become acclimated and settled with them and now turn their ears away from hearing the truth.

This current plight is no accident. The devil is deceiving, confusing, and distracting with false doctrines to keep people from the truth so that they will perish. The Protestant Reformation wasn’t an initiative to return to the beliefs of the early church as it was acclaimed. It was a calculated and formulated deception by the enemy to infiltrate myths to the multitudes in a façade of the truth.

The Protestant Reformation

The Protestant Reformation was an apparent split from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) about 500 years ago and is hailed as the point where Christians finally returned to “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3). However, it wasn’t so much a reforming as it was a rebranding. A reform is an improvement upon what is wrong to something better which would have been the case if it was a matter of getting a wrong gospel message right. But the errors of the RCC were far deeper and more pervasive—it had a wrong view of God, a wrong view of man, and a wrong gospel message. But rather than discarding the entire mess and truly reforming, the Reformation kept the same wrong view of God and man, then simply formulated another wrong gospel message out of it. Protestant churches today are essentially the RCC rebranded under a new name and image with a new message. It’s the same “product” but in new packaging—a subtle and devious marketing strategy.

Similarly, as the Protestant Reformation wasn’t a reformation, it also wasn’t a protest—it was by the agency and design of the RCC. Its own Martin Luther appeared to lead a dissent from the mother church after having come to the “enlightenment” that justification is by faith. The true intent of this event, however, was that in the course of diverting everyone’s attention to the noble endeavor of getting the gospel message right, it was covertly reinforcing the Trinitarian view of God as right! In other words, it was a deflection from the underlying issue while buttressing it in the process. Though both sides have been hotly debating for hundreds of years whether salvation is by faith plus works or by faith alone, hardly a peep has been chirped about the correct view of God. This was never in question. Fighting passionately against the things that were wrong left the false and fatal impression that everything else was substantially right.

Making all of this the more disheartening and discouraging is the fact that both sides of the “faith” debate are also wrong! Protestant churches contending “faith alone” and the RCC defending “faith plus works” has been two false gospel messages duking it out and accumulating myriads of converts to boot. The entire ordeal has proven to be a sinister and successful campaign by the enemy to destroy us.

The mother of harlots

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Revelation 17:3-6)

Many have recognized and maintain that this woman is the RCC. She is decked in the pomp and pageantry of her popes and cardinals attired in purple and scarlet, gold and precious stones. She established the doctrine of the Trinity by anathematizing and putting to death those that stood for the truth taught by Jesus Christ. And she is “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS” by virtue of having given birth to thousands of Protestant Trinitarian churches all over the world committing fornication with a Trinity of Persons rather than knowing “the only true God” (Jhn 17:3) the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.

The seven heads of the beast carrying the woman could possibly be the seven largest Trinitarian organizations: the RCC, Reformed, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Baptist. We were told earlier, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Rev 13:1). If this is the true identity of the seven heads, then “the name of blasphemy” on the heads is the name “Trinity.”

In the end times, however, God’s people will come out from this woman, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev 18:4). Within the RCC and Protestant churches are many of God’s people that embrace the Trinitarian view of God in sincere ignorance—only because it was taught to them. But the day will come when they’ll no longer be ignorant of the truth and will be given a final opportunity to depart.

Now the Spirit [Breath] speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

Paul described the coming RCC quite descriptively. They forbid their priests from marrying and require abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent. And this is what the Breath spoke expressly or specifically would happen in the latter times.

Jesus Christ was sent by God and He taught that He is the Son of God and that His Father is God and even His God. The doctrine of a Triune God didn’t come from Him! Then where did it come from? What’s its source? Paul said that doctrines of devils come from those forbidding marriage and requiring abstinence from meat, and the doctrine of the Trinity came from the very organization that fits this description.

Vain babblings

The Protestant Reformation wasn’t about standing for the true gospel message, but about furthering the spread of the false Trinitarian view of God through another means. People seeking the narrow road that leads to life now had an option other than the RCC. And although this other option might have seemed more appealing, it’s still not the narrow road.

The subtlety behind the Reformation is that it continued the spread of the RCC false view of God and man primarily through diversion tactics. Its first and main diversion was that salvation isn’t by “faith plus works” as taught by the RCC but by “faith alone” or the Latin sola fide. But Martin Luther was wrong in this understanding of “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17) because Habakkuk wasn’t talking about faith but faithfulness, “because of his faithfulness” (Hab 2:4 NET) “by his faithfulness” (Hab 2:4 NIV). Paul even clarified this later in Romans, “This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness” (Rom 3:26 NET). The just live—have eternal life—by Jesus Christ’s faithfulness to His Father sending Him as the sacrifice for our sins.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not. (Jde 1:3-5)

Trinitarian theologians claim that “the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints” is a body of doctrinal beliefs that was delivered to the early church by the apostles. And this body of beliefs, of course, is their system of theology that they teach today! But Jude wasn’t talking about a belief system but the faithfulness God delivered to His people at the time of the Exodus, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt.” God disciplined them to be faithful to Him and trusting in Him—the same way we’re saved today! Jesus Christ taught us to be faithful servants to Him as Lord: “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24); “Who then is a faithful and wise servant” (Mat 24:45); “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).

The Protestant doctrine of justification by “faith alone” is just as false and damning as the RCC doctrine of “faith plus works.” It only sounds more appealing because it supposedly glorifies the finished work of Christ on the cross by excluding any of our own works. But this isn’t what it does. It’s just another false gospel message founded upon the RCC false view of God and intended to keep people from the truth.

By inventing the artificial issue of “faith alone” versus “faith plus works” and making such a racket about it, it underhandedly sold the bill of goods that the RCC had the correct view of God since that issue wasn’t even questioned. Paul warned Timothy several times about those spreading vain babblings or words to no profit: “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling” (1Ti 1:5-6); “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1Ti 6:20); “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers” (2Ti 2:14); “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2Ti 2:16).

The devil is a master distractor. Sola Fide, Calvinism, the rapture, Once Saved Always Saved, speaking with tongues and many other popular mainstream doctrines are simply smokescreens intended to confuse and deceive, waste precious time and resources, and divert people’s attention away from the real issues of the false Trinitarian view of God and the false view of man as an eternal spirit being. Much of what’s being taught in Protestant Trinitarian churches today is simply vain babblings intended to distract and divert people away from the narrow road that leads to eternal life so that they will perish. These churches are not trying to help us get saved.

Calvinism has proven to be a huge distraction that has wasted unfathomable amounts of time and resources over hundreds of years. It’s simply a cloak to divert people’s attention away from the true gospel message hidden in a mystery from the beginning, “in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3), “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven … the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen 1:17-16). Trinitarian theologians don’t want us to learn the truth hidden from the beginning, that becoming God’s child is by being joined to His chosen people in Christ Jesus, “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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Eph 1:4-5), “Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For thou art an holy 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 14:1-2).

The entire Calvinist and Arminian debate about whether “chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4) means God chooses which individuals will be saved, is simply a grand diversion to keep people from learning the truth that it’s about God’s chosen people. They don’t want people to learn that we’re saved by being joined to God’s people and faithfully serving their Lord and Messiah.

It’s an utter shock to come to the realization that Calvinists and Arminians are on the same side! They’re not trying to find the truth but fight the truth. They’re working together to keep people distracted from finding the truth themselves. In the process of endless debates endeavoring to debunk each other, they’re deliberately robbing our precious time from learning what Paul so earnestly wanted us to understand, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph 1:18). The entire Calvinism and Arminianism debate is a sinister ruse to keep us blinded from the truth. It’s a deluge of questions, debates, and controversies along with disputes about the meaning of words, “doting about questions and strifes of words” (1Ti 6:4). Does God choose who will be saved? Do we have a free will? What’s the meaning of foreknowledge, predestination, and election? Are you supralapsarian or infralapsarian? It’s wasting people’s time and damning them in the process.

Another shrewd distraction from the truth is the doctrine of the rapture. The intent is to detour people’s hope away from the Lord’s return and the resurrection by inventing an independent rapture event. Rather than the living being caught up with the dead at the Lord’s return, it’s now about looking to escape the Tribulation period by a rapture up to heaven. It’s just a digression from our true hope to a false one.

Probably the most nefarious divergence of all is the detouring of honest seekers away from striving to keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus told us to teach new converts obedience to everything He commanded, “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). But this isn’t what’s happening today in Protestant churches.

As an unscrupulous substitute, Protestant leaders devised “discipleship” programs where new converts are taught to memorize Bible verses on index cards, stick to a daily Bible reading plan, and participate in small group Bible discussions, but to get their understanding of the Bible from their sermons, books, and commentaries. This isn’t simply an oversight or misunderstanding about what Jesus told us to do. Theologians and scholars are highly intelligent men with no problem understanding His simple statement. Rather, it’s a deliberate and intentional misleading of honest seekers to the path of destruction. By diverting them to a lifestyle of such religious practices, they’re effectively keeping them from a life of faithful obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord. They’re preventing their salvation.

Jesus taught that we’re to not only hear but also do the commandments He delivered in His Sermon on the Mount, “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). He said that if we’re not doing His commandments, He will banish us from His presence and we’ll perish, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat 7:23).

Conclusion

Protestant churches are steeped in myths about God, man, and salvation purposely intended to keep its members deceived, confused, and diverted away from the truth taught by Jesus Christ. The pastors of these churches teach and preach anything other than what will get people on the narrow road that leads to life, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:14). They’ll teach topically, they’ll teach verse-by-verse, they’ll teach on marriage and family, they’ll teach apologetics, they’ll teach theology, they’ll teach against sin, they’ll teach on faith, they’ll even teach through the entire Bible, but they won’t teach the commandments of Jesus Christ and they won’t agree with what He declared about God and about Himself. Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Mat 5:37). If someone doesn’t answer a simple Yes/No question—also called a polar question—with a simple “Yes” or “No” answer, then evil is involved in their motives. If you feel so inclined, just ask your Trinitarian pastor this simple polar question, “Is God the Father, Jesus Christ’s God?” If he answers “Yes,” then he isn’t a Trinitarian. If he answers “No,” then he’s disagreeing with Jesus because He called His Father “My God” before His death (Mat 27:46), after His resurrection (Jhn 20:17), and after His ascension to His Father’s right hand (Rev 3:12). If he answers something other than “Yes” or “No,” then according to Jesus, there’s evil in his motives. Not answering “Yes” or “No” to a polar question is dodging the question as to not be identified with one side or the other. But why wouldn’t a pastor want to be identified with Jesus Christ?

The Truth is in Jesus

Introduction

The Protestant Reformation was a split from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) about 500 years ago. However, it wasn’t a complete break because it kept the RCC’s views of God and man—that God is a Trinity of co-equal Persons, and man is an eternal spirit being living inside a physical body that leaves the body at death and goes to live forever either in heaven or hell. Assuming these to be the true views of God and man, the reformers proceeded to develop the systems of theology that have become the foundation of Protestant Christian churches today. They claim that their systematic theology is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3), when in reality it’s simply a revamp of what was developed and delivered by the RCC.

The apostle Paul likened individual Christians to stones in God’s temple that are built upon its foundation, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:20-21). The main stone in the foundation is Jesus Christ Himself. And Paul said the same to the Corinthians, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ … Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit [breath] of God dwelleth in you?” (1Co 3:11, 16).

The Old Testament written by the prophets and the New Testament written by the apostles is our foundation with “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” The Scriptures can only be properly understood by starting with what Jesus Christ Himself taught. He is the foundation, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Co 3:11). But rather than beginning with the foundational doctrines of Jesus Christ and building upon them, the reformers used for a foundation the doctrines of the RCC and built upon them instead. The finished product is the systematic theology of modern Protestant Christian churches.

If we’ll pay close attention to the methodology of modern Protestant preachers we’ll notice they start with assuming their system of theology is true, then impose that system upon how the Scriptures are understood and taught. The result is much confusion and contradictions because they’re trying to harmonize their false system with the truth of the Scriptures. The correct approach, on the other hand, is to start with understanding the truth Jesus taught, then use the truth itself as the rubric for understanding everything else in the Scriptures. This is the only way harmony and agreement across the Scriptures can be achieved.

The devil is a master deceiver. He wants Christians confused and giving up hope of ever finding the truth. Therefore, he wants to keep us bound in the false systems of theology taught today. But we don’t have to remain confused and disheartened about the truth because “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21).

Religious leaders don’t want the truth

The Jewish people had been devoid of a Messiah or King for hundreds of years but their Scriptures promised that the Messianic line would continue again at some point with the King being a descendant and rightful heir to the throne of David, born in the town of Bethlehem. What they hadn’t understood from their own Scriptures, however, is that this King would be God’s only begotten Son from heaven! That their Messiah is the Son of God was what the religious leaders—priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees—didn’t want to acknowledge and confess because it meant repenting and submitting to Him. Since He is the Son of God, then everything He taught is the truth and final authority, thereby implicating their teaching as false and compelling them to either submit to Him or get rid of Him.

Christ’s Sermon on the Mount was particularly directed at exposing their lies and hypocrisy. What they had been teaching lowered God’s standard of righteousness, “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). Repeatedly He stated what they said followed by what He was now saying: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (Mat 5:21-22), “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time … But I say unto you” (Mat 5:27-28), “It hath been said … But I say unto you” (Mat 5:31-32), “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time …  But I say unto you” (Mat 5:33-34), “Ye have heard that it hath been said … But I say unto you” (Mat 5:38-39), “Ye have heard that it hath been said … But I say unto you” (Mat 5:43-44).

Saul of Tarsus had been one of those corrupt leaders, trying to rid the world of Jesus’ teachings by destroying His followers. However, his Damascus Road experience brought him face-to-face with the Son of God and with his own hypocrisy. He would later write about the extent of what he forsook to follow Christ, “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). His list doesn’t necessarily hit home with those of us far removed from his culture and historical setting. But what he had to renounce was essentially everything he had invested his entire life into achieving. Not only did he lose it all but he also exchanged it all for a life of suffering, persecution, and shame. Of course, the sacrifices he had to make is the farthest extreme, yet still serves as a model and example to us, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1Ti 1:16).

Only the apostles and a small remnant of the Jewish people were willing to forsake everything to gain Christ while the majority remained steeped in the false teaching of the religious leaders. And this schema has proven to have emerged today with mainstream Christianity bound by the false views of God and man compelled upon them from modern scholars and theologians. They want us listening to them, reading their books, studying their systems of theology, and graduating from their seminaries.

Like the religious leaders 2,000 years ago, the more invested into the system modern theologians have become, the harder it is for them to walk away from it. For fulltime ministers especially, denying the Trinity means not only being unemployed but unemployable. There’s nowhere to go! Therefore, they justify to themselves staying quiet and staying put. This is even more likely for those that believe the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved. They rationalize that they can’t lose their salvation, therefore it’s not worth losing their job and reputation. Besides, people are supposedly coming to salvation, marriages are being saved, and children are learning. They legitimize accomplishing more by staying than by leaving.

Additionally, the more highly educated and scholarly they become, the harder it is for them to submit to the truth when it comes. As the saying goes, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” They have a Doctorate degree in Theology, they’ve written published books and commentaries, they’ve taught in seminaries, they’ve taught thousands of lessons, and they’ve even pastored for decades. They just can’t contemplate having to go tell everyone, “Oops! I was wrong about God. Sorry!”

It’s the quandary of what to do with the monster that was created. If they keep feeding it, it’s just going to get bigger and stronger. On the other hand, if they stop feeding it, it’s going to feed on them. Therefore, out of self-preservation, they keep feeding the monster. We would be quite stunned to learn just how many people in mainstream Christian churches, including even the pastors and elders themselves, have serious doubts and frustrations about the doctrine of the Trinity and many other confusing doctrines. But it’s comfortable and convenient to stay, and difficult to depart. Therefore, they just keep feeding the monster.

The truth is in Jesus

Truth is reality. It’s the actual state of existence. It’s the way things really are. Truth always comports with logic and sound reason. Therefore, illogical and unreasonable teachings implicate themselves as untrue. Truth is consistent and harmonizes the whole. Therefore, inconsistencies, absurdities, and confusion are indicators that what’s being taught isn’t true. Truth is generally simple and easy to understand. Therefore, complex and sophisticated arguments using big words and theological jargon are red flags that what’s being argued isn’t true. Jesus teaching with parables about farming, feasts, and fishing, testifies to the simplicity of truth.

The truth is found in Jesus Christ: “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jhn 1:17); “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn 8:32); “And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (Jhn 8:46); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6); “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (Jhn 18:37); “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21).

The teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ is the truth. It’s the required starting point and basis for knowing God, ourselves, and everything else in life. None of us are the arbiters of the truth and neither is any system of theology. Jesus Christ has the absolute power and authority to decide all matters of dispute. What He says is the final word.

“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.” (Gen 1:1-3). The very first words of Scripture narrating the creation account were also prophetic about the ministry of Jesus Christ. God showed from the beginning what the spiritual condition of mankind would be 4,000 years later—darkness would be upon the hearts and minds of humanity but the Creator Himself would come into the world and shine light through His teaching, “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 1:3-5).

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2Corinthians 4:3-6)

Paul taught the Christians at Corinth this same truth. God commanding the light to shine into the darkness in the beginning was prophetic of the gospel Christ preached to the world. And this was also Paul’s message to the Christians at Ephesus.

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 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. (Ephesians 4:18-21)

When we don’t understand something or we’re ignorant of certain knowledge, it’s like being blind and in the dark. The solution is to attain understanding and obtain the correct knowledge so that we’ll no longer be confused and ignorant. Because we’ve all been blinded by the deceptions of the devil through false teaching, coming to the understanding and knowledge of the truth is like having light shine into our darkened hearts and minds, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Co 4:6), “Having the understanding darkened … through the ignorance that is in them … the blindness of their heart … the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:18, 21). Our goal with studying the Scriptures is to no longer be confused and ignorant but to come to the understanding and knowledge of the truth taught by Jesus, then govern our lives by it.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the false systems of theology dominating modern Christianity because it’s precisely what Paul foretold would happen, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [myths]” (2Ti 4:4). The concepts of God as a Trinity of co-equal Persons and man as an eternal spirit that goes to heaven or hell after death are simply myths. But if we love Christ we’ll stand on the side of the truth and live by it, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jhn 18:37 NIV). And if we love people, we’ll teach them the truth.

Jesus taught the truth about God

The correct view of God is what Jesus Christ taught about Him, not what any theological system alleges. Nobody but the Son of God has seen God, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (Jhn 1:18), “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (Jhn 6:46). Since He is the only one that has seen God, then what He declared about Him is the truth and the final word. Anything contradicting what He taught is false.

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 while excluding Himself from the only true God.

Jesus called His Father “my God” before He died, after His resurrection, and after having been seated at His right hand, “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: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev 3:12). According to Jesus Himself, His Father is the one true God and His Father is His God.

Jesus affirmed the Shema written by Moses, “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord [kyrios 2962] our God is one Lord [kyrios 2962]” (Mar 12:29). The Greek kyrios appears about 750 times in the New Testament and is a lord, master, or ruler. Since Jesus taught that “The Ruler” is “one Ruler,” then God is not three co-equal Rulers as Trinitarian theologians teach, but one Ruler.

Jesus taught that God is one Person. The Greek word theos for “God” or “gods” is grammatically singular or plural depending on the number of persons. One person requires theos to be singular while multiple persons requires 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 2316]? If he called them gods [theos 2316]” (Jhn 10:34-35). He even used this word in both plural and singular form within the same statement, “I said, Ye are gods [theos 2316]? If he called them gods [theos 2316], unto whom the word of God [theos 2316] came” (Jhn 10:34-35). And the apostle Paul also used both forms in the same statement, “For though there be that are called gods [theos 2316], whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods [theos 2316] many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God [theos 2316], the Father” (1Co 8:5-6). Paul even emphasized that the plural is “many” but the singular is “one.” Both Jesus Christ Himself and His apostle understood and taught that theos is either plural or singular based on the number of persons. Therefore, the singular Theos can’t be multiple Persons. But Trinitarian theologians claim just that! They contradict what Jesus Christ taught and even must violate simple rules of grammar to do so.

Jesus taught the truth about Himself

Jesus taught that He is the Son of God: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Jhn 3:16); “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (Jhn 9:35); “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (Jhn 10:36); “that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (Jhn 11:4). He never called Himself “God the Son” as Trinitarian theologians do. In fact, the term “God the Son” isn’t found anywhere in Scripture. Jesus Christ called Himself “the Son of God” which is not calling Himself “God” but His Son. God is not His Son but has a Son, and His Son is not God but is His Son. This is simple and easy to understand because truth is simple.

Jesus taught that He was begotten of God and came out from God: “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 … 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 3:16, 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). Trinitarians teach that Jesus has always existed, therefore they deny His begetting to deny His beginning.

Jesus taught that He was with the Father in heaven before coming into the world: “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven” (Jhn 6:33); “For I came down from heaven” (Jhn 6:38); “Before Abraham was, I am” (Jhn 8:58); “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (Jhn 16:28); “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (Jhn 17:5); “for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (Jhn 17:24).

Jesus taught that His Father is greater than Himself and that His power and authority are derived from Him: “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); “for my Father is greater than I” (Jhn 14:28), “and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev 3:21). Jesus never taught that He is co-equal with the Father as Trinitarian theologians do.

Jesus taught that He couldn’t perform miracles of Himself but that His Father did the works: “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). Peter that witnessed many of His miracles testified the same, “miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him” (Act 2:22), “healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Act 10:38).

Jesus taught the truth about God’s breath

Jesus taught that the Greek haagios pneuma is 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 [haagios 40] Ghost [pneuma 4151]” (Jhn 20:22). It’s not a Person but simply breath. Much confusion could have been avoided by simply translating the Hebrew ruwach and Greek pneuma throughout the Scriptures as “breath” instead of “spirit.” 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. This is also the root word of “pneumatics” which is the scientific study of compressed air.

In John chapters 14-16, Jesus spoke about Himself as the holy breath in His future role as our Advocate, Intercessor, or Mediator at the right hand of God (Jhn 14:16,26,15:26,16:7). And He qualified His own words as figurative, “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs” (Jhn 16:25), “Though I have been speaking figuratively” (NIV), “I have spoken these matters in figures of speech” (NLT), “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language” (NKJV). Although Jesus Himself said that He was speaking figuratively, Trinitarian theologians say otherwise and take Him literally instead. Of course, they do take Him figuratively when He called the holy breath “rivers of living water” earlier, “He that believeth [trusts] on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit [breath], which they that believe [trust] on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost [breath] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (Jhn 7:38-39). Apparently, they take His speech however it works in their own best interest.

Although He had been speaking figuratively of the Father’s breath before His death, He told His disciples that the time would come when He would “shew you plainly of the Father.” That time came after His resurrection, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [breath]” (Jhn 20:21-22). It was now that He taught His disciples plainly about the Father’s breath by literally breathing on them. Paul and John would both later affirm that Jesus Christ Himself is indeed the Advocate or Interceder of which He had spoken, “the Spirit [breath] itself maketh intercession for usIt 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), “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jo 2:1).

Many years after His ascension and seating at the right hand of God, Jesus gave seven messages to seven churches, concluding each one 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” not just once or twice but seven times! And Paul said the same, “Now the Lord is that Spirit [breath]” (2Co 3:17). Trinitarian theologians, however, teach that the holy breath is another Person entirely.

Jesus taught the truth about eternal life

Jesus never taught that we go to heaven after death. In fact, there’s nowhere in the entirety of Scripture that teaches we ever go to heaven. It’s simply an RCC doctrine. Since Jesus didn’t teach this, then it’s not true. What Jesus did teach is bodily resurrection from the grave to live forever: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life … Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 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 5:24, 28-29); “raise it up again at the last day … I will raise him up at the last day … I will raise him up at the last day … Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life … Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jhn 6:39, 40, 44, 47, 54); “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:24-25).

Jesus taught the truth about death

The Scriptures speak of life as seeing light and death as darkness: “To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living” (Job 33:30); “He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light” (Psa 49:19), “that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psa 56:13); “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Jhn 1:4); “to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever” (2Pe 2:17), “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jde 1:13).

Jesus taught light or darkness in conjunction with the body: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Mat 6:22-23); “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” (Luk 11:34-35). He taught that if we’ll commit the light we see now with singleness of heart and loyalty to Him, then our whole body will be full of light forever. But if we’re using this life and the light we see for evil, then our whole body will be full of darkness. Therefore, we should take heed to not squander the precious light we have and end up in darkness.

He taught that humans are physical beings either alive seeing light or dead in darkness bodily. He never spoke of man as a spirit being that can live disembodied after death. Rather, life and death are in conjunction with the body.

Jesus spoke of death as darkness: “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat 8:12), “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat 22:13), “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mat 25:30). It’s called “outer darkness” because the dead are cast outside the renewed Jerusalem, banned from the tree of life, “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. For without [outside] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Rev 22:14-15).

The Greek geenna is the word translated as “hell” in the New Testament. Jesus spoke about this place in six different passages (Mat 5:22-30,10:28,18:9,23:15-33; Mar 9:43-48; Luk 12:5). He taught that it’s a material place where people are thrown bodily:

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 [geenna 1067] fire. … And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell [geenna 1067]. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell [geenna 1067]. (Matthew 5:22,29-30)

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [geenna 1067]. (Matthew 10:28)

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell [geenna 1067] fire. (Matthew 18:9)

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell [geenna 1067], into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell [geenna 1067], into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell [geenna 1067] fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:43-48)

This place geenna where people are thrown bodily is the lake of fire where the resurrected dead are cast: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [the grave] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [the grave] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:13-15)

Jesus also contrasted eternal life with annihilation: “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish [apollymi 622], but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish [apollymi 622], but have everlasting life.” (Jhn 3:15-16); “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish [apollymi 622], neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jhn 10:28); “He that loveth his life shall lose [apollymi 622] it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jhn 12:25). According to Jesus, the two destinies of man are either eternal life or annihilation. And He taught that the majority will be annihilated while relatively few will have eternal life, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [apōleia 684], 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 7:13-14).

Jesus taught the truth about salvation

Jesus taught that to enter His kingdom, we must live to the standard of righteousness He commanded, “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). His standard is His teaching in this very sermon. We must hear Him and do what He says, “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).

Jesus taught faithfulness to Him as Lord: “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); “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” (Mat 10:24-25); “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt” (Mat 18:27); “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: enter thou into the joy of thy lord … His lord said unto him, Well done, 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 25:21,23); “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Luk 12:42-43); “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. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” (Luk 16:10-12); “Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.” (Luk 17:9); “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luk 19:17); “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (Jhn 12:26); “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (Jhn 13:16); “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (Jhn 15:20).

Jesus taught that we must deny ourselves and lose our life for His sake, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mat 16:24-25), “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luk 9:23-24).

Conclusion

Jesus taught that we can’t be ashamed of Him or ashamed of His words, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). What will we do with the doctrine of the Trinity? If Jesus Christ is truly our Lord and we’ve come to the knowledge of what He taught about God and man, how can we continue to embrace modern systematic theology founded upon RCC doctrine? How can we be ashamed of His words and still be serving Him?

It’s one thing to embrace something false that we sincerely believe is true, but quite another to learn the truth Jesus taught yet continue to embrace what is false. How can Jesus Christ be our Lord when we’re refusing to humble ourselves and submit to His teaching? We can be sincerely deceived and God will forgive us when we repent. However, we’re in grave danger when we’ve come to know the truth Jesus taught but willingly fight against it.

Jesus taught that the religious leaders of His day worshipped God in vain by teaching their own doctrines as commandments, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mat 15:9), “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mar 7:7). Trinitarian theologians teach that the doctrine of the Trinity is essential for salvation and that it’s a closed case, not open for discussion. They’re commanding unquestioned loyalty to their doctrine to be saved. But why don’t they want to discuss it? Why don’t they want it questioned? Why do they hush and censor those that disagree with it? Could it be that they don’t want it exposed as false? Truth doesn’t demand silence—truth silences, “And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions” (Mat 22:46).

Salvation, Eternal Security, and Assurance

Introduction

A false view of the essence or composition of man—mankind or human beings—will always lead to a false view of the salvation of man. The mainstream Protestant Christian understanding is that man is an eternal non-physical being living inside a physical body, and at death the non-physical being leaves the body and continues living eternally either in heaven or hell. And since man lives eternally regardless, salvation must consist of something other than living eternally. Therefore, the concept of salvation is that the eternal non-physical being becomes transformed from an unsaved state to a saved state before death.

On the other hand, if man is a mortal physical being destined for annihilation after death, then salvation isn’t a change in state but getting victory over death to live eternally as Scripture teaches, “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); “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jhn 10:28); “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

Our conclusion about the essence of man—whether man is an eternal non-physical being or a mortal physical being—has great implications on our understanding of salvation and assurance or lack thereof. In the view that man is an eternal non-physical being, salvation is a change of state the moment a confession of faith in Jesus Christ is made—the person passes from an unsaved state to a saved state as a born again new creature. But Jesus’ teaching, “Ye must be born again” (Jhn 3:7), and Paul’s statement, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2Co 5:17), are simply misunderstood and misapplied. The entire concept that salvation is a change in the state of being and that this change is a new birth to a new creature is bogus.

This wrong view of man, and consequently man’s salvation, is the reason Christians contend with each other about security—whether salvation can or can’t be forfeited—and wrestle with themselves about assurance. It’s the fruit of the doctrines of devils originating with the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). The reformers essentially kept the RCC view of man and developed a modified version of man’s salvation. Although the reformers intended to get it right, but since they were still beginning with a wrong view of man, they inevitably arrived at just another wrong view of salvation.

The faulty foundation of the RCC

Deceiving people into believing that man is an eternal non-physical or spirit being that continues to live disembodied after death was necessary for the RCC to sell indulgences. They invented a temporary place called purgatory where departed spirits are kept in limbo for a long period unless their loved ones gave financially to get them out sooner. But to round out this delusion, there had to also be two alternate places of permanent residence. There needed to be a permanent abode of bliss for the saints that bypassed purgatory altogether and for the others that finally got out. And there needed to be a permanent place of suffering for everyone else that perished. This is where the concepts of heaven and hell were introduced as man’s permanent destinies. The RCC essentially modified heaven to be not only God’s residence but also man’s and invented a spiritual place of suffering called hell distinct from the physical mass grave called the lake of fire (see my writing “Man and Eternal Life”). Thus, with man perceived as a non-physical being that continues to live disembodied after death in one of these three places, the stage was set for the money to begin pouring in.

The reformers were successful in protesting against the selling of indulgences and refuting the existence of purgatory. However, their efforts didn’t go far enough. They still kept the same view of man along with his two permanent destinies of either heaven or hell. Consequently, they couldn’t arrive at the correct view of salvation. The RCC and Protestants continue arguing today about which has the correct view of salvation. Is it faith plus works, or faith alone? The answer is neither! Though Protestants vehemently claim their teaching and preaching is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3), it’s just “a faith” they devised from what was once delivered by the RCC.

For dust thou art

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). When we read the account of Adam’s creation, we just assume he knew all along that he had been formed from the ground. But how could he have known? He didn’t know what he was until God told him, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:19). He learned from his Creator that he is dust. Like Adam, we also need to learn from our Creator that we are dust—mortal physical beings that were taken from the ground and will return to the ground.

Who knows better what we are than our Creator? He said “dust thou art.” Who can say otherwise? That we are dust is also evident by our lives being inextricably bound to the biological system of the planet. Plants grow from the ground, animals eat the plants or each other, and we eat the plants and the animals. When the plants and animals die, their lives cease and they return to the ground. Likewise, our lives cease at death and we return to the ground to never live again unless resurrected from death.

Abraham and David both confessed that they were dust, “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes” (Gen 18:27), “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). And Jesus Christ is the Seed or Son of both, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mat 1:1).

He is the Seed of Abraham: “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Gen 15:5); “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” (Gen 22:17-18); “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal 3:16); “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (Heb 2:16).

He is the Seed of David: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom” (2Sa 7:12); “His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me” (Psa 89:36); “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us” (Mat 9;27); “Is not this the son of David?” (Mat 12:23); “O Lord, thou Son of David” (Mat 15:22); “Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.” (Mat 22:42); “That Christ cometh of the seed of David” (Jhn 7:42); “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus” (Act 13:22-23); “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom 1:3); “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel” (2Ti 2:8).

He became a man exactly like we are: “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” (Rom 8:3); “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phl 2:7-8); “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren” (Heb 2:16-17).

Since Jesus Christ became a man just like we are, and since man is dust, then He became dust. He is not some kind of dual being consisting of both non-physical and physical combined but is strictly a physical being. As a physical being His death meant that He was no longer alive but dead, and His resurrection meant that He was no longer dead but alive.

The Protestant view adopted from the RCC is that God is a Trinity of Persons and man is an eternal non-physical being living inside a body that will live forever either in heaven or hell. And to be consistent with this view of God and man, they must claim that the Son of God became a dual-being in His incarnation—both a 100% divine being and a 100% human being—an eternal non-physical being living inside a physical body. This supposed hypostatic union of two beings into one Person in the incarnation is necessary to maintain their Trinitarian view of God. Therefore, as a dual being, only the physical part of Jesus Christ died on the cross while the non-physical part was still alive, and His resurrection was simply the non-physical part re-entering the physical part. Furthermore, since His resurrection is the exemplar of man’s, this wrong view of the Savior results in a wrong view of the saved. If the Savior is an eternal non-physical being that simply re-entered His body in resurrection, then man is also an eternal non-physical being that re-enters his body at the resurrection.

The problem with this view of man as an inherently eternal being that lives forever somewhere is that it forces a redefinition of eternal life. When annihilation is denied, eternal life must be redefined because if everyone, even the unsaved, live forever then everyone by definition has eternal life. Therefore, to maintain this wrong view of man (and ultimately the RCC wrong view of God as a Trinity of Persons), an entirely fictitious concept of eternal life had to be invented. It had to be something man obtains and already has right now in this life.

Scripture is replete with teaching that eternal life isn’t something we already have but are trying to obtain: “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? … and shall inherit everlasting life” (Mat 19:16, 29); “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Mat 25:46); “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luk 10:25); “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jhn 3:15-16); “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal” (Jhn 4:36); “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life” (Jhn 5:39); “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (Jhn 6:27); “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” (Jhn 6:40); “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jhn 10:28); “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jhn 12:25); “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (Jhn 17:2); “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Rom 2:7); “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21); “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:22-23); “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:8); “for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1Ti 1:16); “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1Ti 6:12); “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); “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (1Jo 2:25); “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jde 1:21).

In the Protestant view of man adopted from the RCC, if everyone lives eternally regardless, then eternal life can’t mean living eternally. Therefore, the redefining of eternal life became necessary. But to accomplish this, it couldn’t just be life that was redefined but also its antithesis—death. We understand death as the cessation of life, that when a living being is no longer alive, it’s dead. However, consistency within the RCC system of the Trinity of God and the eternality of man requires a different understanding. Rather than death as “the end of life,” it was redefined as “separation” and also partitioned into multiple types—physical death (separation of the non-physical being from the physical body); spiritual death (separation from relationship with God); eternal death (eternal separation from God).

In this system of life and death, Adam was supposedly created inherently eternal and in a state of spiritual life that changed to spiritual death when he sinned, “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 spiritual death state of being was consequently passed down to his descendants, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). Although man is still inherently eternal as he was created, but because of Adam’s sin everyone is born in a state of spiritual death that must change to spiritual life to have eternal life in heaven with God.

In this view of salvation, since everyone lives eternally whether or not they’re saved, the distinction between the saved and unsaved is if they’re spiritually alive or spiritually dead. Therefore, salvation is a change from a state of spiritual death to spiritual life as a new creature by a second birth. Those that have been born again will live forever with God in heaven, while those that didn’t experience the new birth will be burned alive forever in hell. But this view of salvation is wrong because it’s necessitated by a wrong view of man.

Are we born again as new creatures?

The teaching that salvation is a new birth from spiritual death to spiritual life as a new creature is based upon the false assumption that man is an eternal non-physical being living inside a physical body. With this view of man, the new birth is understood as a re-birth of a supposed inner being. But if the correct view of man is that he is a physical being, that he is dust, then there’s nothing inside to be reborn! The new birth of an inner being into a new creature is simply a false concept concocted to proof-text and support a false view of man and his salvation.

Jesus was speaking to the Pharisee Nicodemus when He taught, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jhn 3:3). And John emphasized on three different occasions that Nicodemus had come to Jesus by night, “The same came to Jesus by night” (Jhn 3:2), “he that came to Jesus by night” (Jhn 7:50), “which at the first came to Jesus by night” (Jhn 19:39). This must have been important to repeat it. Like Gideon, it seems Nicodemus feared man more than God, “Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night” (Jdg 6:27). But Jesus explained to him that he must be “born of water and of the Spirit [Breath]” (Jhn 3:5). He must be baptized in water where he would no longer be ashamed but make a public confession of Jesus Christ in broad daylight for everyone to witness.

He went on to explain the new birth with an analogy, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit [Breath] is spirit [breath]” (Jhn 3:6). All creatures “born of the flesh,” are of the same flesh from which they were born—horses have horses, and dolphins have dolphins. This is also what Paul taught about the resurrection, “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (1Co 15:39). Since the only way to get a horse is from a horse, the correlation of “born of the Spirit [Breath] is spirit [breath],” is that the only way to get eternal life is from someone else that has eternal life, “I am the resurrection, and the life” (Jhn 11:25), “because I live, ye shall live also” (Jhn 14:19); “in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Co 15:22). We’ll be raised to eternal life by the same Breath that raised Christ, “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). The new birth, therefore, isn’t some kind of internal change from spiritual death to spiritual life, but resurrection from death to eternal life.

In Paul’s statement, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Co 5:17), the words “he is” are italicized indicating they’re not in the Greek text but added by the translators with the intent of clarifying what was being said. However, this is simply a case of bias and imposing upon the Scriptures something Paul didn’t say. Because the view of the translators was that man is a non-physical being that becomes spiritually alive to a saved state at conversion, they understood this statement to be describing man transformed into some kind of a new creation. However, it’s not about man but about the creation itself being renewed from the curse.

Jesus Christ later revealed to John, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea … And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:1, 4). The “old things are passed away” are death, sorrow, crying, and pain, while the “all things are become new” are the renewed heavens and earth.

Eternal life means no more death

We must begin with a correct view of man to be in a position to apprehend a correct understanding of man’s salvation. Since man is a physical being, he’s no longer alive when he dies. Life and death are quite simple and easy to understand. When living beings die, including human beings, they’re no longer alive. Therefore, we don’t have eternal life right now because we all will die and no longer be alive. Death is the cessation of life, and eternal life is living perpetually without ever dying again.

Paul defined eternal life in Romans, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord … Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him … For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21, 6:9, 23). Jesus Christ died but was raised from the dead to never die again. This is eternal life! He said of Himself, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Rev 1:18).

Many times we’re told that there will come a day when there is no more death: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isa 25:8); “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues” (Hos 13:14); “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection” (Luk 20:36); “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1Co 15:26); “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1Co 15:54); “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (2Co 5:4); “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2Ti 1:10); “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14-15); “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev 2:11); “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power” (Rev 20:6); “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death” (Rev 21:4).

Eternal life is no more death. It’s living perpetually without fear of ever dying again. And this correct view of eternal life comes from the correct view of man, “for dust thou art” (Gen 3:19).

Death from the beginning

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:19). Adam’s life began from the ground and ended by returning to the ground. Returning to the ground meant that he would no longer be alive because he wasn’t already alive before being created from the ground. This is how life and death were defined from the beginning and this is also what Paul taught:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 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.) (Romans 5:12-17)

In the view that man is an eternal non-physical being, this passage must be understood that it was some type of spiritual death that passed upon mankind as the result of Adam’s sin. Therefore, the corollary is that Jesus Christ saved us from spiritual death. But Paul drew this same parallel between Adam and Christ when writing to the Christians in Corinth about the resurrection from death, “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). It’s not some abstract concept of spiritual death that Christ saved us from, but the only type of death there is—returning to the ground. And it’s within this context and understanding of life and death that Paul defined eternal life, “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord … Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him … For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21, 6:9, 23). Christ saved us from death that passed upon us from Adam—returning to the ground from which we were taken.

The dead that take part in the first resurrection when Christ returns will not die a second time, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev 20:6). They will have eternal life at this point because they will never die again. It will be after the millennium that the entire creation itself will be renewed from the curse of death pronounced upon it, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea … And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:1, 4).

Salvation is future

Salvation is simply deliverance or rescue from danger or peril. The Greek noun soteria for “salvation” and verb sozo for “save,” are used in the New Testament for deliverance from various afflictions such as sickness, demon possession, drowning, and deliverance from enemies, slavery, and prison: “Lord, save [sozo] us: we perish” (Mat 8:25); “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole [sozo]” (Mat 9:22); “He saved [sozo] others; himself he cannot save [sozo]” (Mat 27:42); “and as many as touched him were made whole [sozo]” (Mar 6:56); “That we should be saved [soteria] from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us” (Luk 1:71); “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save [sozo] life, or to destroy it?” (Luk 6:9); “They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed [sozo]” (Luk 8:36); “And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved [sozo] thee” (Luk 18:42); “For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver [soteria] them” (Act 7:25); “Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health [soteria]: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you” (Act 27:34); “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation [soteria] through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phl 1:19).

When used for the salvation we have in Christ, sozo and soteria mean deliverance from death. Since we’re delivered from death at the resurrection, then that’s the point we’ll be saved. It’s not Scripturally correct to call ourselves “saved” right now because we all still die. Salvation isn’t an internal change that happens in this life, but the event of deliverance from death when Christ returns.

And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:19-21)

Peter preached the first evangelistic sermon and started by quoting from the prophet Joel about our future salvation. Our salvation “shall come to pass” after the sun is turned to darkness and the moon to blood. Since the sun hasn’t turned to darkness or the moon to blood, then none of us are saved yet. He wasn’t teaching that we’re saved the moment we call on the name of the Lord, but rather that it’s those that call on the name of the Lord that shall be saved when the Lord returns. These end-time events must transpire before the event of our salvation from the dead is consummated. And this very first evangelistic salvation message set the precedence for the correct view of salvation ever since. Paul quoted the same prophecy of Joel concerning salvation:

For with the heart man believeth [is being trusted] unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made [is being confessed] unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth [trusting] on him shall not be ashamed [kataischyno]. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call [calling] upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:10-13)

The verbs in this passage are present-continuous, “is being trusted,” “is being confessed,” “trusting,” and “calling.” Paul was indicating that we continually trust and call upon the Lord until the day we’re finally saved, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13). The Greek kataischyno in his quote from Isaiah, “Whosoever believeth [trusting] on him shall not be ashamed [kataischyno],” means “to put to shame,” “to disappoint,” or “to let down.” He was saying that those trusting in Him for salvation from death will not be put to shame, disappointed, or let down. Salvation is the resurrection where our hope of eternal life will not be disappointed or let down.

Earlier in Romans, Paul said that the redemption of the body is our hope of salvation, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved [sozo] by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Rom 8:23-24). Later he will say, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed [trusted]” (Rom 13:11). It’s not that we became “saved” the moment we trusted God, but rather that we’re trusting God until the day we’re saved. Though our salvation is in the future, it’s drawing nearer every day. Peter also taught that the salvation of our souls will be at the return of Christ:

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: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing [trusting], ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith [faithfulness], even the salvation of your souls. (1Pe 1:7-9)

The writer of Hebrews said the same, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb 9:27-28). Salvation from our appointment with death will be at Christ’s appearing. And when were we appointed to die? It was at the time of the curse, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:19). He had taught earlier that this salvation will be in the world to come when all things are finally put under Christ’s feet:

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:3-8)

Paul told the Corinthians that it will be at the resurrection when all things are put under Christ’s feet, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1Co 15:25-26). Our salvation, therefore, will be at the resurrection when death is forever put beneath our feet through Christ. Paul also taught this to the Ephesians, “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:7-9). He placed our salvation at the time of “the ages to come.”

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. … But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:8-10)

Paul taught the Thessalonians that salvation is what we hope to obtain when the Lord returns. When the Lord comes, the dead in Christ will be raised first and those alive will be caught up together with them. The helmet of salvation, “And take the helmet of salvation” (Eph 6:17), “and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1Th 5:8), is our hope of salvation from death at Christ’s return. It’s the heads of the devil’s children that will be bruised because they’re not wearing the helmet, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15).

We need forgiveness of sins and salvation from death

Everyone has sinned against God: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecc 7:20); “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23); “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin” (Gal 3:22); “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1Jo 1:8).

Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:5); “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mat 20:28); “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jhn 1:29); “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom 4:25); “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6); “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1Co 15:3); “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2Co 5:21); “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph 5:2); “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb 9:28); “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10); “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).

Scripture is consistent from beginning to ending that death—not living eternally in a place of fire—is the penalty for our sins: “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17); “every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deu 24:16); “but every man shall die for his own sin” (2Ch 25:4); “he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin” (Eze 3:20); “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze 18:4, 20); “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (Jhn 8:24); “and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12); “That as sin hath reigned unto death” (Rom 5:21); “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23); “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1Co 15:56); “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” (Rom 8:13); “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas 1:15); “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Rev 20:14); “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8).

Christ’s resurrection from the dead and His return to raise the dead is our victory over death: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jhn 6:40); “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me” (Jhn 6:57); “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (Jhn 11:25); “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also” (Jhn 14:19); “But if the Spirit 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 that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11); “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power” (1Co 6:14); “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1Co 15:22-23); “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Co 15:55-57); “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2Co 4:14); “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1Th 4:16).

Salvation consists of two separate events: (1) forgiveness of our sins to be in a right relationship with God now, (2) obtaining eternal life at Christ’s return. But the Protestant view conflates the two—that salvation is forgiveness of our sins to be in a right relationship with God now and also obtaining eternal life by an internal change from spiritual death to spiritual life now. It’s this false view of man and salvation that’s the cause for the confusion and false teaching about eternal security and assurance.

Our sins separated us from God

Our sins severed our relationship with God and made us His enemies: “And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods” (Deu 31:18); “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith” (Deu 32:20); “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous” (Pro 15:29); “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa 59:2); “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings” (Mic 3:4); “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10); “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom 8:7); “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Col 1:21); “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (Jas 4:4).

Because our sins are against Him, it’s His prerogative to decide how our relationship with Him can be reconciled. We’re not in any position to “call the shots” so to speak and decide how we can be made right with Him again. He provided the only way of restoring that relationship and it’s through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. The Lamb that He provided, “God will provide for himself a lamb” (Gen 22:8), “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jhn 1:29), is the only sacrifice He will accept. This is why there’s only one way of salvation.

We’re forgiven now and have peace with God

God forgives our sins: “and it shall be forgiven” (Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; Lev 5:10, 13, 16, 18; Lev 6:7); “Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now” (Num 14:19); “and it shall be forgiven” (Num 15:25, 26); “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psa 32:1); “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities” (Psa 51:9); “Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin” (Psa 85:2); “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psa 130:4); “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Mic 7:18); “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mat 9:2); “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mar 2:5); “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee” (Luk 5:20); “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Luk 7:47); “to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Act 5:31); “through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins” (Act 13:38); “that they may receive forgiveness of sins” (Act 26:18); “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” (Rom 4:7); “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7); “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph 4:32); “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:14); “having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col 2:13); “and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (Jam 5:15); “your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake” (1Jo 2:12); “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev 1:5).

God reconciled us to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ: “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1); “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10); “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2Co 5:18); “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross” (Eph 2:16); “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Col 1:20); “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb 2:17); “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).

Faithfulness and trust

The Hebrew noun emuwnah in the famous statement “but the just shall live by his faith [emuwnah]” (Hab 2:4), means “faithfulness” not “faith” as it’s translated. Several Bible versions, however, render it correctly: Complete Jewish Bible, God’s Word, Lexham English Bible, Names of God Bible, New English Translation, New International Version, New Living Translation, and The Voice. Habakkuk’s statement, of course, was quoted three times in the New Testament, “The just shall live by faith [pistis]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), and was instrumental in Martin Luther’s protest against the RCC in the Protestant Reformation.

The Greek noun pistis in “The just shall live by faith [pistis],” appears almost 250 times in the New Testament and is always translated as “faith” in the King James Version except in just three places where the contexts forced it to be rendered “faithfulness” or “fidelity”(Rom 3:3; Gal 5:22; Tit 2:10). Likewise, its verb form pisteuo also appears almost 250 times and is almost always translated “believe” except in just a few places where the contexts forced it to be rendered “trust” or “commit” (Luk 16:11; Gal 2:7; 1Th 2:4; 1Ti 1:11; Tit 1:3).

The point is that in almost 500 occurrences—other than a few times when the contexts forced the meaning of faithfulness or trust—the translators took the liberty of rendering pistis as “faith” and pisteuo as “believe.” But why? It’s because of an erroneous view of salvation based on a false view of man. Since Luther continued to embrace a wrong view of man as taught by the RCC, his effort to attain the right view of salvation was doomed to failure from the beginning. His faulty conclusion was that “The just shall live by faith [pistis]” means salvation is by faith or belief.

In the view that man is already inherently eternal, salvation cannot be living eternally but must be something else. That something else is an internal change from spiritual death to spiritual life. Rather than hoping to have eternal life at Christ’s return to raise the dead, eternal life is a change in the state of being before death—that we have salvation now and faith or belief is the criterion for having it.

In this mainstream Protestant Christian view, we’re saved simply by believing some facts about Jesus Christ are true, and even call ourselves “believers” in distinction from the unsaved. Salvation has essentially been dwindled-down to a formula—do ‘A’ to have ‘B.’ All we must do is make a faith-confession and we’re now saved, “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).

Since faith is the criterion for salvation in this view, then faith must be the security and assurance of salvation. If we’ve done ‘A,’ then we have ‘B.’ If we doubt having ‘B,’ we just remind ourselves of having done ‘A.’ And since God does ‘B,’ then we can’t lose ‘B’ if we’ve done ‘A.’ The formula is simple and convenient. But the problem arises about those that did ‘A’ but no longer have ‘B.’ What about them? In response, the concepts of “believing in the heart” versus “mental assent,” or “heart faith” versus “head faith” were contrived. Though it seemed they did ‘A’, they didn’t, therefore never had ‘B.’ Those that believed all along never did, therefore they never were saved.

The problem with this view of salvation by faith is that it’s based on the false assumption that man is an eternal non-physical being. Therefore, salvation consists of a change in the state of being and whether or not we’ve truly had that change. It’s more focused on the saved than the Savior—who we are, what we have, and what we can do, rather than who He is, what He has, and what He can do. And assurance of this salvation comes by affirming who we are: “I’m a believer,” “I’m born again,” “I’m a new creature,” and “I’m the righteousness of God in Christ.” But the salvation taught in the Scriptures isn’t a change in who we are but whose we are!

It’s not who we are but whose we are

The theme of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is the mysterion or mystery. It’s about the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ that had been hidden by God within the narrative of the creation account itself but was now made known: “Having made known unto us the mystery [mysterion] of his will” (Eph 1:9), “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), “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), “This is a great mystery [mysterion]: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32), “to make known the mystery [mysterion] of the gospel” (Eph 6:19).

The hidden message within the creation that Paul featured in Ephesians is the Lordship of Jesus Christ shown figuratively within the heavens, “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). God created light and called it “Day” and the darkness “Night,” “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Gen 1:5). He then set two great lights in the heavens to rule over one or the other, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven … And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen 1:14, 16). The mystery that was “made known” to Paul was that this represented our transition from one ruler to another, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8).

The Greater Light in the epouranios or heavenly is the Lord Jesus Christ represented by the sun during the day, while the lesser light is the devil represented by the moon during the night, “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” (Eph 6:11-12).

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace 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 in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace 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 2:5-9)

Now we can understand what Paul meant in this passage by “saved through faith [faithfulness]” (Eph 2:8). He wasn’t saying that we’re saved by our faith, but by Christ’s faithfulness! This is what he will reiterate a little later, “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, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith [faithfulness] of him” (Eph 3:10-12), “because of Christ’s faithfulness” (Eph 3:12 NET).

It’s because Christ was faithful to His Father in shedding 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” (Eph 1:7), that the Father raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). And when we submit to Him as our Lord and Ruler, He represents us at the Father’s right hand as though we were seated there ourselves! This is the gospel message of salvation. This is the “mystery [mysterion] of the gospel” (Eph 6:19), as Paul concluded his letter. It’s Christ’s faithfulness to die for our sins, and our faithfulness to now serve Him as Lord—the Greater Light ruling the Day.

It’s not a change in us, but a change of us. It’s a change from out of one lordship or kingdom into another: “to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Act 26:18); “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13); “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Pe 2:9). Salvation isn’t an internal change of being but a positional change in standing.

The problem isn’t that we’re spiritually dead with some kind of sinful nature within us that must be changed. The problem is that we need a change in ruler over us. Because we’ve all sinned against God, we’re all under the lordship of the devil unless we submit ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re not autonomous beings, “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Rom 14:7).

Salvation is belonging to Jesus Christ and being known by Him: “For I know him” (Gen 18:19); “I never knew you” (Mat 7:23); “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them” (Jhn 10:27); “And all mine are thine” (Jhn 17:10); “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom 8:9); “And ye are Christ’s” (1Co 3:23); “But if any man love God, the same is known of him” (1Co 8:3); “they that are Christ’s” (1Co 15:23); “as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s” (2Co 10:7); “And if ye be Christ’s” (Gal 3:29); “ye have known God, or rather are known of God” (Gal 4:9); “they that are Christ’s” (Gal 5:24); “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2Ti 2:19).

Salvation from death at Christ’s return comes to those that belong to Him and go to their deaths in faithful service to Him: “whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8); “fallen asleep in Christ” (1Co 15:18); “in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Co 15:22); “they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1Co 15:23), “the dead in Christ” (1Th 4:16); “the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (2Ti 1:1); “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 11:13); “be thou faithful unto death” (Rev 2:10); “the dead which die in the Lord” (Rev 14:13).

Many times Paul used variations of the terms “in Christ,” “in him,” or “in whom” to express the concept of salvation as belonging to Jesus Christ. He used these terms about a dozen times in the first two chapters of Ephesians alone. Salvation isn’t a change of nature within us, but a change of position into Him. The only nature we have is human nature because we’re dust! Being “in him” is safety, security, and salvation.

Confessing the Lord Jesus

“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). Confessing with the mouth the Lord Jesus isn’t some kind of magic formula that takes us from point ‘A’ to ‘B,’ that instantly changes us internally into a saved state of being. It’s a public confession of our commitment to faithfully serve Jesus Christ as Lord and obey everything He commanded. Understanding this statement within context, Paul had just quoted these words from Moses concerning Jesus Christ:

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 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 30:11-14)

God was taking away all excuses from His people for disobedience. Earlier Moses had given them instructions for what they were to do once they crossed the Jordan, “And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Deu 27:2), “These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali” (Deu 27:12-13). After the reading of all the blessings and curses the people were to affirm they had understood the consequences for not keeping the commandments, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deu 27:26). And this is what they did under Joshua’s leadership, “And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law” (Jos 8:34).

By making His people affirm “Amen” out of their own mouths that they had heard His commandments and understood the consequences for not keeping them, they would be left without excuse. It’s similar to waiver agreements we sign today releasing liability from another party—it puts the responsibility back on us. His people wouldn’t be able to say later, “You never told us,” “You didn’t make it clear,” “Your commandments were out of our reach.” The bottom line was, “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:14).

Paul taught that all of this was prophetic of what God would do through His Son Jesus Christ, “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.)” (Rom 10:6-7). This statement covers the gamut of Christ’s mission to mankind on the earth—His incarnation to His resurrection. He is our example of faithfulness and He also takes away all excuses from us—because He was faithful, we must be faithful. We’re to have His same mindset and go to our deaths in faithfulness, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phl 2:5), “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).

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4). To be baptized or immersed into His death means that baptism is committing ourselves to die as He did. It doesn’t mean necessarily that we will be put to death but simply that we will suffer after the same image—being falsely accused, maligned, and reproached. God the Father raised His Son from the dead because His death glorified Him, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (Jhn 17:1). Likewise, we’ll be raised from the dead if we go to our deaths glorifying His Son. This is what it means to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phl 2:12). It certainly doesn’t mean that we save ourselves. It’s that our salvation from death is patterned after His by having the same mindset as Him.

Circling back to Romans, Paul drew this conclusion, “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Hearing about Christ’s faithfulness to His Father—that He came down from heaven, always did His Father’s will, went to His death in obedience, then was raised from the dead—this hearing came by the apostles being sent by Him to preach, “the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach” (Rom 10:8), “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Rom 10:15).

Now, we can’t make excuses, “that we may hear it, and do it?” (Deu 30:12, 13). When we “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” (Rom 10:9), the word is “in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:14). Salvation consists of affirming from our mouths that we’ve heard of Christ’s faithfulness and we’ve heard His commandments. We’re now committed to faithfully serve Him as our Lord unto death. We’ve heard it and we’ll do it.

Repentance in baptism is the prescribed point of conversion

Jesus preached repentance: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 3:2); “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 4:17); “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mar 1:15); “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luk 5:32); “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luk 13:3).

He commanded repentance and water baptism, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47), “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). He didn’t command an altar call, a sinner’s prayer, or a faith-confession but repentance and baptism.

In conclusion of the very first evangelistic sermon, Peter told his hearers to repent of their sins and be baptized, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Act 2:38). He said nothing about believing or having faith. Of course believing is certainly involved, but conversion to Christianity isn’t about going from unbeliever to believer but unforgiven to forgiven. Peter’s second sermon recorded in Scripture was also about repentance and forgiveness of sins, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Act 3:19). Conversion isn’t about becoming a believer but becoming forgiven. And he continued to preach and teach repentance and forgiveness, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Act 5:31), “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2Pe 3:9). According to Peter, repentance is the point of conversion, not believing.

Paul also preached and taught repentance: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Act 17:30); “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Act 20:21); “But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Act 26:20); “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom 2:4).

Conversion isn’t an internal change from spiritual death to spiritual life, but a change in relationship—from an enemy of God to right with Him. The Greek dikaiosyne, translated throughout the New Testament “righteousness,” denotes a right relationship with God. And to be right with Him, our sins must first be forgiven, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Rom 4:6-8). God imputes or counts us right with Him when He no longer imputes or counts our sins against us. Thus, conversion is repenting of our sins and being forgiven by God on account of the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ. We’re not saved at this point but only forgiven of our sins and in a right relationship with Him. Our salvation from death will come later when Christ returns to raise the dead.

Baptism is the turning point from a life of sin to a life of obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ as Lord, “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” (Mat 28:19-20). Paul also taught that baptism is the point at which we obey from our hearts the teachings of Jesus Christ, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?’ (Rom 6:3), “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).

Being baptized into Christ

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom 6:3), “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:14), “For ye are all the children of God by faith [faithfulness] in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal 3:26-27). Baptism “into Christ” means that we repent of our sins and commit ourselves to faithfully serve Him. And when we’re living faithfully to Him, He clothes the shame of our nakedness, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Gen 3:7), “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21).

Baptism is our commitment to live as He did and die as He did, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom 6:3). And the Lord’s Supper is the continued reminder of our commitment, “For by one Spirit [Breath] are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit [Breath]” (1Co 12:13), “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1Co 11:26), “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt … O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Mat 26:39, 42).

Peter said that Noah’s flood was figurative and prophetic of water baptism, “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 3:20-21). Before baptism, the imaginations and thoughts of our hearts were evil, “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). Baptism is the turning point where we purify the imaginations and thoughts of our hearts in His sight, “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). We commit ourselves to serve Jesus Christ with a good conscience toward Him recognizing that He sees everything.

Earlier Peter wrote that having a good conscience toward God means that we suffer wrongfully knowing that He sees it and will justify us, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1Pe 2:19). It’s following the example of Christ’s suffering, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1Pe 2:21-23). When falsely accused, He didn’t open His mouth in His defense but trusted His Father and committed His defense to Him. This is what Peter meant by “baptism doth also now save us … a good conscience toward God” (1Pe 3:21).

Jesus Christ died as a convicted criminal yet never tried to defend Himself. And before He breathed His last breath, He committed His life into His Father’s hands, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [breath]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [exhaled]” (Luk 23:46). Isaiah prophesied that He would commit to His Father the vindication of His wrongful execution, “He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.” (Isa 50:8-9). As He committed His breath to His Father, we also commit our breath to Him, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit [breath]” (Act 7:59).

It’s because we’re dust—physical beings animated by God breathing into us—that salvation is having life breathed back into us at the first resurrection. Because the “saved” are dust, the Savior had to become dust. He had to become just like we are, so we could become just like He is. Paul taught a parallel between our initial creation to life and our subsequent resurrection to life, “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit [breath]” (1Co 15:45). As the first Adam was raised from the dust and quickened by God’s Breath, we’ll be raised from the dust and quickened by God’s Breath at the return of the last Adam.

Christ trusted His Father to breathe life back into Him, and we also trust, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed [trusted], and therefore have I spoken; we also believe [trust], and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2Co 4:13-14). He spoke His trust in His Father to breathe life back into Him, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [breath]: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [exhaled]” (Luk 23:46). To be raised after the likeness of His resurrection, we must also be conformed to the likeness of His death, “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phl 2:8), “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Phl 3:10-11).

Water baptism itself only gets us wet. It’s simply a tangible act or event that serves as the turning point of our lives. It’s not getting wet that saves us but what we do after getting dried off. The commitment of faithful service to the Lord that we make in baptism isn’t what saves us, but it’s the fulfillment of that commitment through a life of faithful service to the Lord that does.

Paul likened this turning point as though we’re now a completely new person from the old person we used to be: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom 6:6); “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph 4:22-24); “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col 3:9-10). But nothing changes in our state of being. We’re still the same dust! What changes is that we now have God’s Breath in our hearts giving us the strength to turn from a life of sin to righteousness. In all three of these passages, the new person is no longer living a life of sin but has put away the former lifestyle with its lusts and deeds.

Some fear their family or friends perished when they died without ever getting baptized. My dear mom came to Christ just a few months before her death from cancer but wasn’t baptized. We take great comfort reminding ourselves that the thief on the cross didn’t perish.

God won’t allow anyone to perish on a technicality. This isn’t relegating baptism to a mere formality nor is it alleging it to be unimportant. It’s very important because Jesus Christ commanded it. But this is simply recognizing its proper place and purpose. For example, if someone repented and was serving Christ as Lord but didn’t get baptized before death for various reasons—they were sincerely ignorant that Christ commanded it, they were in the desert, they died in a car crash on the way to be baptized—that person didn’t perish. On the other hand, someone that knew Christ’s commandment to be baptized and had the opportunity but stubbornly refused, how can we have confidence that they’ll be raised when Christ returns? If they wouldn’t even obey His initial commandment to be baptized, how could He have been their Lord? It’s not our place to judge their salvation but it certainly doesn’t make us feel very good about it.

God doesn’t need baptism to save us—it’s for our benefit not His. It serves as a public confession that we’re not ashamed of Jesus Christ but acknowledge who He is and commit ourselves to turn from a life of sin to serve Him unto death. It’s the turning point of living as if a new person distinct from the old person we used to be.

Being born from above

What has become known as the new birth or being born again is more correctly stated as being born from above, “Except a man be born again [anothen]” (Jhn 3:3), “He that cometh from above [anothen] is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all” (Jhn 3:31). And Paul taught the same about the resurrection when the Lord returns from heaven, “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1Co 15:47). It’s not some kind of internal change from spiritual death to spiritual life, but birth back to life when the Lord “cometh from above” or “cometh from heaven” to raise the dead. It’s being born from above when the Lord returns from above.

Jesus used the wind as an analogy of those born from above, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again [from above]. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit [Breath]” (Jhn 3:7-8). Like it is with the wind, we must recognize where Jesus came from and where He went, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (Jhn 3:13). If we’ll live our lives in conformity to the truth of who He is and where He is right now at the right hand of God, then we’ll be born to life when He returns.

In the view that we’re already born again right now from a state of spiritual death to life, statements like this are problematic, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1Jo 3:9). Once we’re “born of God,” we cannot sin. Of course this has to be explained away as if the apostle didn’t know what he was talking about. Therefore, what John really meant is that we don’t habitually sin. But he said in the prior verse, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1Jo 3:8). The works of the devil haven’t been destroyed yet because he’s still working now. But once we’re “born of God” at Christ’s return, we won’t be tempted or deceived any further because the devil will be locked up and eventually destroyed: “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev 20:3), “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev 20:10). It’s when we’re no longer being tempted and deceived that we cannot sin. That’s eternal security!

Faithfulness to the Lord

Many have noted an obvious disconnect between the “saved through faith” (Eph 2:8) gospel taught by the apostle Paul and what the Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught about faithfulness to Him as Lord: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant” (Mat 24:45), “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Mat 25:21), “Who then is that faithful and wise steward” (Luk 12:42), “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luk 16:10), “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little” (Luke 19:17). The apparent discrepancy is caused by the translators rendering the Greek noun pistis throughout the New Testament as “faith” instead of “faithfulness” to be consistent with their view of salvation. Because Paul’s writings are mostly doctrinal in the genre, it’s fairly easy for the translators to accomplish this undetected. But Jesus Christ taught parables about faithful servants which force a context that can’t be effectively mistranslated. The bottom line is that if we’ll just replace “faithfulness” for “faith” in all occurrences of pistis, we’ll see that Paul indeed taught faithfulness. His gospel of “saved through faith [faithfulness]” (Eph 2:8), is the truth he learned from Jesus Christ, “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” (Eph 4:20-21).

Now, “faithfulness” doesn’t exclude “faith” at all. That’s not even possible because there’s an element of faith or belief in any good relationship. We can’t have a faithful and trusting relationship with someone yet not believe a word they say! But the reformers made “faith” the sine qua non of salvation—that everything stands or falls with “faith.” We’re saved by “faith alone” or sola fide and anything that’s not faith is supposedly our works, or trying to save ourselves. However, the three main passages used to argue this “faith” versus “works” contention say nothing of the sort.

For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:20-23 NET)

We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that no one is justified by the works 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 of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. … 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! (Galatians 2:15-16, 20-21 NET).

More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things – indeed, I regard them as dung! – that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness – a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness. (Philippians 3:8-9 NET)

There is no “faith” versus “works” issue in Scripture. It’s simply an artificial distinction necessary for supporting sola fide. Because if we’re saved by faith alone, then there must be a term to call everything else that’s not faith—that term became known as “works.” But this isn’t what Paul was teaching in these three passages. He was arguing that righteousness is by Christ’s faithfulness to give Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, not by the works of the Law of Moses. The real issue is Christ’s faithfulness versus the works of the Law. Therefore, it would be more Scripturally accurate to say sola fidelitas! Salvation is by “faithfulness alone” because Christ’s faithfulness to die for our sins is the only way to be right with God.

The absurdity of sola fide becomes apparent when introduced into the context of human relationships. Take the workplace as somewhat of an example of our walk with God. Our time belongs to our employer. We abide by the company rules. We do the work we’re told to do while being dependable, honest, and faithful. We don’t always know why our employer wants us to do specific things but we trust that they know the bigger picture and how it will positively affect the overall health of the company and the community. We also know that since we’re simply doing what we’re told, we trust that our employer has our back if we were to experience any repercussions from doing an assignment. If we’re doing a good job we’ll be rewarded but if we’re doing poorly, then it can result in disciplinary action and possible termination. All of that makes sense.

Now, let’s interject “faith” or “belief” as the sole requisite for employment. Employees get hired because they express belief in their employer. After getting hired many of them argue among themselves about whether they were hired because they believe the employer, or if they believe the employer because they were hired. Some even dare to claim that their employer gave them the belief they needed to get hired. They also squabble about whether they do a good job because they believe the employer, or if they believe the employer because they do a good job. Of course some claim that job performance has a direct bearing on their security but others claim Once Employed Always Employed. Therefore, when someone quits or gets let go, those that embrace OEAE have to say, “Well, I guess they never really were employed, because if they had been they would have continued to be employed. Therefore, they never truly believed the employer!”

Trusting God

As with the noun pistis almost always translated as “faith” instead of “faithfulness,” the verb pisteuo is consistently rendered throughout the New Testament as “believe” instead of “trust.” Why is this? It’s because of bias toward the doctrine of salvation by faith or belief. When Paul cited Abraham’s righteousness before God, “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom 4:3), it wasn’t to claim that he simply believed what God said but that he trusted God to do what He said. James wrote that his trust in God was displayed by obeying what He commanded, “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 [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.” (Jas 2:21-23).

Abraham’s actions of obedience, “because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:18), justified what had been said about him years before, “And he believed [trusted] in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen 15:6). This is what James meant by “justified by works [actions].” It accomplishes nothing to say we’re faithful yet not be faithful, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith [faithfulness], and have not works [actions]?” (Jas 2:14). It’s better to say nothing at all and let our actions speak for themselves, “I will shew thee my faith [faithfulness] by my works [actions]” (Jas 2:18).

That Abraham “believed [trusted] in the LORD” (Gen 15:6), isn’t that he simply believed whatever God said—sure he did. It was that he put his trust in God and obeyed Him. It took tremendous trust to follow through with what God told him to do to his son Isaac, and not understanding how it was all going to work out. We’re even told, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Heb 11:19). It’s the preeminent kind of trust Solomon would later pen, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Pro 3:5).

That pisteuo should be translated “trust” rather than “believe” is also consistent with the Psalms being replete with injunctions to trust God: “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psa 2:12); “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD” (Psa 4:5); “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice” (Psa 5:11); “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust” (Psa 7:1); “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee” (Psa 9:10); “In the LORD put I my trust” (Psa 11:1); “Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust” (Psa 16:1); “O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee” (Psa 17:7); “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust” (Psa 18:2); “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings” (Psa 61:4); “He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him will I trust” (Psa 91:2); “My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust” (Psa 144:2); “O my God, I trust in thee” (Psa 25:2);  “let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee” (Psa 25:20); “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed” (Psa 31:1); “I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD” (Psa 31:6); “[Psa 37:3, 5, 40 KJV] 3 “Trust in the LORD, and do good” (Psa 37:3); “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him” (Psa 37:5); “he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him” (Psa 37:40); “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust” (Psa 40:4); “I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever” (Psa 52:8); “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust” (Psa 56:3-4) “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psa 56:11); “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him” (Psa 62:8); “The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him” (Psa 64:10); “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion” (Psa 71:1); “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth” (Psa 71:5); “I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works” (Psa 73:28); “Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield” (Psa 115:11); “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psa 118:8); “But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust” (Psa 141:8); “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust” (Psa 143:8).

When Paul said, “and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9), he meant that we’re to believe Christ’s resurrection happened as a historical event. That’s a given. However, his predominant point was that we’re to trust God that raised Christ, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 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” (Rom 4:23-24). God counted Abraham in a right relationship because he trusted Him, “Abraham believed [trusted] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom 4:3). To “believe [trust] in thine heart” is to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Pro 3:5). Salvation is not by belief but by trusting God with all our hearts.

“For with the heart man believeth [trusts] unto righteousness” (Rom 10:10). We’re right with God by a continued trusting relationship with Him. If we can’t trust Him for our necessities of daily life, how can we trust Him for eternal life? If we can’t trust Him for our lesser needs, how can we trust Him for our greatest need—salvation from death? If we spend our lives taking matters into our own hands, then when the day of our death comes, how can we commit our breath into His hands, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [breath]” (Luk 23:46)?

Paul went on to say, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth [trusts] on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom 10:11). And this is what David did, “O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me” (Psa 25:2); “O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee” (Psa 25:20); “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed” (Psa 31:1). Salvation is living our lives and finally going to our deaths trusting that we’re not going to be put to shame or let down. It takes trust to suffer wrongfully with only God seeing it, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1Pe 2:19). But He’s not going to let us down—our hope of the resurrection isn’t going to be put to shame, “And hope maketh not ashamed” (Rom 5:5). When we recognize that salvation is getting victory over death when Christ returns to raise the dead, then we’ll trust God unto death with confidence that we won’t be let down but will be raised to eternal life.

It’s faithfulness and trust that pleases God, “But without faith [faithfulness] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe [trust] that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6). All of the “By faith …” examples in Hebrews chapter 11 are really “By faithfulness …” examples. Their faithfulness to God consummated with Christ’s faithfulness, “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). Christ’s faithfulness to endure the cross is the beginning and ending purpose for the faithfulness of everyone before Him. There’s no explanation for their faithfulness apart from His.

The distinction of a Christian

At the conclusion of the first evangelistic message of the church age, Peter said, “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 [Breath]” (Act 2:38-39). The distinction of a Christian is that our sins have been forgiven, and that we have the gift of the indwelling Holy Breath as a pledge of salvation from death. Our salvation is twofold because we need to be saved from two things—sin and death. We need our sins forgiven so we can have a right relationship with God, but we also need victory over death so we can live forever with God. Of course Christ saved us from both sin and death but we only have forgiveness of sins right now. We have yet to experience salvation from death for the obvious reason that we all still die.

True Christians 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); “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2Co 6:16); “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit [Breath] of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6); “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 he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit [Breath] which he hath given us.” (1Jo 3:24).

Since we’re physical beings, there is no internal change from some kind of spiritual death to spiritual life at conversion. Nothing changes inside because there’s nothing to change. We do, however, begin receiving God’s Breath into our hearts at conversion. His Breath is not a one-time deposit as if dropping a quarter into a jukebox. But as with our natural breathing, it’s a continual breathing and infilling in our hearts: “Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Luk 1:41); “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Luk 1:67); “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Act 4:8); “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Act 4:31); “that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Act 9:17); “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost [Breath]” (Act 13:9).

God’s Breath in our hearts is the earnest, guarantee, or pledge that we will be resurrected from the dead: “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); “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); “ye were sealed with that holy Spirit [Breath] of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance” (Eph 1:13-14).

We continue in Him by His Breath continuing in us

In his first letter, John spoke of the anointing or Holy Breath continuing in us, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth [continues] in you” (1Jo 2:27), “And hereby we know that he abideth [continues] in us, by the Spirit [Breath] which he hath given us” (1Jo 3:24), “Hereby know we that we dwell [continue] in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit [Breath]” (1Jo 4:13).

Jesus’ parable of the Vine and Branches was a directive to the remaining eleven disciples to continue in Him, “Abide [continue] in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide [continue] in me” (Jhn 15:4). Judas Iscariot didn’t continue in the Son, therefore the Breath of the Father didn’t continue in him, “If a man abide [continue] not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (Jhn 15:6). Jesus had said that he was a child of the Father by His Breath, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit [Breath] of your Father which speaketh in you” (Mat 10:20), “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit [Breath] to them that ask him?” (Luk 11:13). But the Father’s Breath left him and the enemy entered, “And after the sop Satan entered into him” (Jhn 13:27).

When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit [breath] is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits [breaths] more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (Luke 11:21-26)

Because we’ve all sinned, we’ve all become slaves to sin: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (Jhn 8:34); “For when ye were the servants of sin” (Rom 6:20); “I am carnal, sold under sin” (Rom 7:14); “for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2Pe 2:19); “He that committeth sin is of the devil” (1Jo 3:8). Because we’re slaves to sin, we have an unclean breath in our hearts and we’re held by this “strong man” that’s stronger than ourselves. We’re simply powerless to overcome this bondage. But when we come to Christ, God gives us His Holy Breath that is stronger than the unclean breath and drives it out. His Breath in us is greater than the unclean breath in the rest of the world, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1Jo 4:4).

We depend on the strength of His Breath continually to overcome the enemy: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph 3:16); “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Eph 6:10); “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phl 4:13); “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Col 1:11).

However, if we don’t continue in Him, then God’s Breath won’t continue in us and that unclean breath will return and bring more: “I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits [breaths] more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Luk 11:24-26); “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2Ti 2:25-26); “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (2Pe 2:20).

Jesus said that blasphemy against the Breath will never be forgiven, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost [Breath] shall not be forgiven unto men” (Mat 12:31). This is what happened to King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1Sa 15:23), “But the Spirit [Breath] of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit [breath] from the LORD troubled him” (1Sa 16:14). God knows our hearts and is merciful to sincere ignorance of the truth. But once we’re no longer ignorant yet stubbornly rebel, we’re in danger of blaspheming against His Breath for which there will never be mercy or forgiveness. David knew that this is what happened to Saul and feared greatly that his sin would result in the same fate, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit [breath] from me” (Psa 51:11).

John wrote that until Christ returns, remaining or continuing in fellowship with the Son and the Father is conditional, “If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain [continue] in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1Jo 2:24), “And now, little children, abide [continue] in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (1Jo 2:28). However, once we’ve been “born of God” at His coming, remaining or continuing is unconditional, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth [continues] in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1Jo 3:9). We absolutely will remain and continue in Him at that point because we can never sin again.

Once we’ve been resurrected after the same likeness as Christ’s resurrection, we’ll be in the same state of righteousness. In other words, there’s no more possibility of us sinning than Him sinning. We’ll truly be that secure! For something to happen to us, it would have to happen to Him too which is what He meant when He said, “By myself have I sworn” (Gen 22:16). He is the promise and guarantee of our eternal life.

Paul taught that resurrection from death is like a seed springing from the ground to life, “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1Co 15:36-38). A seed produces after its kind and it’s in the fruit, “the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself … the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind” (Gen 1:11-12). Therefore, like a seed, if we’re faithful to death “after his kind,” we’ll be resurrected from the dead “after his kind.” Our security will be in Him forever because the seed is in the fruit, “his seed remaineth [continues] in him” (1Jo 3:9).

Finishing the race in faithfulness

Salvation from death at Christ’s return comes to those that belong to Him and go to their deaths in faithful service to Him: “whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8); “fallen asleep in Christ” (1Co 15:18); “in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Co 15:22); “they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1Co 15:23), “the dead in Christ” (1Th 4:16); “the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (2Ti 1:1); “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 11:13); “be thou faithful unto death” (Rev 2:10); “the dead which die in the Lord” (Rev 14:13).

Several times Paul likened salvation to running a race: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1Co 9:24); “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Gal 5:7); “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Phl 2:16); “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith [faithfulness]” (2Ti 4:7).

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14)

Here in Philippians, Paul didn’t count himself to have apprehended the resurrection but viewed it as a prize that he was striving to attain. He had said earlier in his letter, “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Phl 2:16). The prize at the finish line is resurrection “in the day of Christ.”

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]: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

Although earlier in his life Paul didn’t count himself to have apprehended, before his death he did. He considered at this point his race to be finished and had been faithful to death. And he saw his reward coming on the day of “his appearing.”

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The men and women in the Old Testament “died in faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 11:13). They had a race set before them and finished by being faithful unto death. Of course Jesus Christ Himself is the quintessential example of dying in faithfulness which is why we should be “looking unto” Him.

God designed the creation itself to teach us about salvation, “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it” (Psa 19:4-6). From man’s perspective, the sun rises in the east and shines its light, then sets in the west leaving us in darkness. It’s seemingly on a fixed course of travel from beginning to end. And this is similar to a race. The course is set and strong men or athletes must run the entire circuit and cross the finish line at the end.

Salvation isn’t so much about how we start as it is how we finish, and the finish line is the same for all of us—death. We must cross the finish line in faithfulness. This doesn’t mean necessarily that we must die a martyr. We’re told “These all died in faith [faithfulness]” (Heb 11:13), yet some of them—even the greatest of them, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David—died natural deaths. It’s that we live in a faithful and trusting relationship with God until the day we die.

Once Saved Always Saved is dangerous

The doctrine of unconditional eternal security or Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) is the fruit of an erroneous view of salvation based on a faulty view of man. If man is an eternal non-physical being that is spiritually dead, then salvation and eternal life is a change from spiritual death to spiritual life that we have now. And since we have eternal life now, then we’re eternally secure now. After all, as proponents of OSAS jeer, since eternal life is eternal, how could it be forfeited or lost? It’s eternal by very definition.

Advocates of OSAS are right that salvation can’t be lost but wrong about what and when it is. Salvation or eternal life isn’t an inner change from spiritual death to spiritual life now. It’s resurrection from the dead to eternal life at the return of the Lord. It’s at that point we’ll truly be OSAS! It’s correct to recognize that eternal life truly is eternal, but incorrect to suppose we have it right now.

Jesus’ statement, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (Jhn 10:28), is a favorite those championing OSAS. And He was speaking of eternal security but once we have eternal life. It’s because we can never die again that nobody can ever harm us again, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do” (Luk 12:4). Eternal security is being in the presence of the Lord forever, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1Th 4:17). Once we’re born of God, we’ll continue in Him forever, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth [continues] in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1Jo 3:9). And this security is unconditional because we cannot sin ever again.

Salvation isn’t a formula. It isn’t doing ‘A’ to get ‘B.’ Yet a faith-confession formula is essentially what’s being taught today in mainstream Protestant Christianity. But if salvation is by a formula, then assurance of salvation is by the same formula. If we’re saved by 4 Steps to Peace with God, then assurance comes by stressing to ourselves that we completed the 4 Steps.

Salvation comes to those that have a right relationship with God, and relationships don’t function by formulas. Just try using formulas on your spouse. I found it doesn’t work! In this life Christians are forgiven and have a right relationship with God that will consummate in salvation from death when Christ returns. Since we’re not even saved at this point, there’s no such thing as losing or forfeiting salvation. We can’t lose what we don’t have. What we have is a right relationship with God and relationships can be severed or broken.

Some hold a misconception that God is obligated to save us—not just that He can but that He must. If we’ve performed the faith-confession formula, then we’re saved and always will be. It’s almost as though we’re now in control and God must always nod in agreement. But it’s God that saves us and He is in control. He sent His only begotten Son to sacrifice Himself for our sins so that we could be forgiven and have a right relationship with Him. But we’re still at His mercy even after we’ve been forgiven. He doesn’t have to do anything for us.

Wisdom begins with fearing God, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa 111:10; Pro 9:10). It’s the fear that He absolutely will exact the punishment for our sins that prompts our obedience to His Son Jesus Christ. The reason the false doctrine of OSAS is so dangerous is that it diminishes the fear of the Lord. If we’re already saved right now and can never lose it, then the consequences for our sins have forever been removed. Why fear God anymore? If we’re eternally secure right now, then there are no more consequences for our sins. It doesn’t matter if we sin, or how we treat each other. Nothing we do or don’t do ultimately matters because we’re “getting in” no matter what. Now, of course, few Christians would ever admit thinking this way.

The fear of possibly falling away from Christ is a good thing not a bad thing. The warning passages in Scripture, most notably, “If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:6), “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” (Heb 10:26), are for our benefit to help prevent us from falling away. God doesn’t want us to ultimately perish and gave such warning passages to help prevent this from happening. They act somewhat like a safety net. But OSAS is dangerous because it voids and nullifies the warnings and contributes to Christians falling away. Those who teach OSAS are unwittingly helping facilitate the falling away of Christians!

The real question we should ask isn’t if we’re OSAS but rather if we’re Once Forgiven Always Forgiven. In Matthew 18, Jesus told a parable about a king that forgave one of his servants a tremendous debt but then later put all of the debt right back on his account, “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt” (Mat 18:27), “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him” (Mat 18:34). Jesus then stated that this is likewise how God the Father will do to us, “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). We can be forgiven and at peace with God but then later no longer forgiven and become His enemy again.

Though we’ve been forgiven by God, He won’t continue to forgive us if we don’t forgive others: “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); “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mar 11:25-26); “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph 4:32); “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col 3:13); “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (Jas 2:13).

We do a disservice to people by simply helping them feel at ease and more comfortable about their salvation. We should be helping them be saved even if they have to be made quite uncomfortable and possibly fearful. It’s not about making people happy but keeping them from perishing.

Our salvation from death in resurrection is contingent upon a continued right relationship with God unto our deaths. Proponents of OSAS like to badger that if salvation can be lost, then at what point does it happen? But that question is a ruse because we’re not even saved. We can’t lose what we don’t have. As far as the possibility of our relationship with God being permanently broken—at what point it happens, what causes it to happen, how it can be known that it happened—there’s no simple answer because relationships aren’t simple! It’s God’s prerogative to allow our relationship to continue, or to severe it at any point along the way. He can decide to cast us from His presence and take His Breath away, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit [breath] from me” (Psa 51:11).

Assurance of salvation

Many Christians are desperate for assurance of salvation because they’ve been wrongly taught that the destiny of the unsaved is eternal burning alive. When the consequences of being unsaved are that unimaginably horrifying, assurance becomes highly critical. But learning the truth that annihilation is the antithesis of eternal life puts assurance or lack thereof in its proper context and perspective. Annihilation certainly isn’t a desirable destiny either yet is far more palatable.

When it comes to assurance, the first thing we need to concede is that having it isn’t always a good thing because of false assurance. Being falsely assured of having something we don’t have is not only unconstructive but also destructive. Because wrongly supposing we already have what we want prevents us from ever getting it. False assurance we’re already saved almost guarantees we never will be.

People belonging to false religions and cults many times have an assurance of salvation but it’s false. Assurance is good only when it’s true. Rather than seeking assurance necessarily, our pursuit should be for further knowledge of the truth. The more truth we gain—knowledge of reality or the actual state—the better off we’ll be.

The main reason many Christians struggle with assurance of salvation is because they’ve been taught a wrong view of man and his salvation—a false view of reality or its actual state. Therefore, they’re trying to gain assurance of something that isn’t true and get something that can’t be had. The first step toward having the kind of assurance God intends for us to have is acknowledging the truth that man is a physical being whose final destiny is either eternal life with Christ in His Kingdom or complete annihilation from existence. Next, we must recognize that none of us are saved right now but will be saved and have eternal life once we’re raised from the dead at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The starting point of assurance, therefore, is identifying exactly what we need assurance of. Since salvation isn’t an inner change in the state of being, we shouldn’t be pursuing assurance of that. We simply can’t have true assurance of something we don’t have. What we do have is forgiveness of sins and a right relationship with God the Father. And the assurance that we’re right with Him and belong to Him as dear children, comes only from Him.

It’s walking with God daily in a faithful and trusting relationship that strengthens our assurance that we’re forgiven and right with Him. Jesus told us, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on … Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Mat 6:25, 34). Trusting God to sustain our daily lives assures us He’s going to give us eternal life. Experiencing Him is the greatest assurance! We can know we’re His children when we trust Him and He takes care of us as our loving Father.

I’ll share a personal experience that bolstered my assurance tremendously. There was a time when I was in a dire situation that I had tried and tried to fix myself rather than trusting God. Finally, the day came that everything was about to fall apart and I was greatly disturbed and shook up about what was going to happen. At the end of my ropes so to speak, I was sitting in my car and just cried out in tears for God to help me. At that very instant He spoke this verse to my mind, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Mat 6:34). It was the most real encounter with God I’ve ever experienced. There was no doubt that He spoke to my mind. It made me realize that I hadn’t been trusting God with all my heart, or even very much at all. At that moment I committed to start trusting Him every day and no longer worry about tomorrow. What’s more is that for the rest of that day, He gave me peace inside that passes all understanding, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phl 4:7). It didn’t make sense that I could have peace through that particular situation yet I wasn’t the least bit worried. In the end, the entire circumstance worked itself out without doing anything myself. The assurance I received that day, as well as many other times since, were from God Himself.

On the negative side, God’s discipline also assures us of being His children, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Heb 12:6-7). I could also tell of a time when I went through a long period of His discipline because I wasn’t living right before Him. Enduring that span of difficulty certainly wasn’t pleasant yet was effective at not only getting me back on track but also assuring me of being His child.

God tries and tests our faithfulness to Him, and proven faithfulness is great assurance: “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10); “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts” (Pro 17:3); “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried” (Zec 13:9); “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); “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 1:7).

Our prayer life is another tremendous source of assurance. Of course I’ve had times when my prayers weren’t answered, but other times they were answered and even almost immediately. I can remember numerous occasions when I needed an answer to something urgently and it was given to my mind and heart right away in answer to prayer. But then there have also been times when the answer wasn’t needed urgently and God gave it to me days, months, or even years later when I wasn’t even thinking about it. What great assurance of belonging to Him when we receive the right answer to something and we weren’t even trying to get it.

The final means of assurance we’ll mention is forgiveness when we repent of sin. That feeling of the burden of guilt lifting and having a clear conscience is a great assurance that God is continuing to count us right with Him. Of course the ideal scenario is to not sin in the first place. However, a clear conscience after repenting of a sin is a great assurance of our continued relationship with God.

Conclusion

Pastors watch for the souls of the flock they oversee, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Heb 13:17). If they truly love Jesus Christ and His flock, they’ll make every effort to be sure they’re teaching the truth about salvation. It’s not their fault they were taught a false view in seminary. However, they become culpable once they come to the knowledge of the truth.

Saul of Tarsus was shown mercy because he had been sincerely ignorant, “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1Ti 1:13). But after he came to the knowledge of the truth, Christ required him to embrace it along with the accompanying sufferings. With knowledge comes a decision that we’re held accountable for. We can decide to either continue teaching what we’ve come to know is false, or begin teaching what we now know is the truth.

Christians are confused, fearful, and deceived about salvation. They’ve been taught truthfully that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ, but falsely about what they are and what salvation is. They’ve been taught that they’re an eternal non-physical being that will leave the body at death and go to either heaven or hell forever, and the prospect of burning alive forever is unthinkable. Therefore, since they’re saved by faith alone and they’ve made the faith-confession, they’re good to go! They’ve had the internal change in the state of being from spiritual death to spiritual life—born again to a new creature. They’re now saved and always will be. But if doubts creep in about their salvation, they only need to remind themselves that they made the faith-confession.

If we love the Lord Jesus Christ and we love people, we’ll tell people the truth about salvation, “But speaking the truth in love” (Eph 4:15). We’ll tell them what the Creator Himself said that they are, “for dust thou art” (Gen 3:19), and we’ll tell them what salvation is—that it’s being forgiven and right with God now, then getting the victory over death at Christ’s return. We’ll tell them that being right with God comes by repenting of their sins and declaring that Jesus Christ is their Lord in public water baptism. At that point they’ll begin receiving God’s Breath into their hearts to live by His strength as if they’re a completely new person from the old. They’ll live in faithfulness and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, and a trusting relationship with God as their Father. Their assurance will come from their continued relationship with God—remaining in Christ and God’s Breath remaining in them. But along with this blessed relationship also comes suffering for Christ’s sake, for His name and glory. Their faithfulness will be tested many times but if they’ll remain faithful and die “in Christ,” if they’ll finish this “race” they started, they’ll be born from above—raised to eternal life at Christ’s return from above. They’ll be with the Lord forever in His Kingdom on this earth in the renewed creation. They won’t go to live with God, He will come to live with them, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev 21:3).

God’s Favored People

God’s favor

The Greek charis [5485] typically translated as “grace,” simply means “favor.” Therefore, it should have been translated consistently as “favor” rather than “grace” throughout the New Testament. Why use the generic word “grace” to obscure its more specific and descriptive meaning?

In translation work, it’s easier for subjective bias to creep into Paul’s doctrinal letters but not as easy in the four Gospels and Acts. This is because the historical narratives of the Gospels and Acts many times force a context which binds the translators’ hands so to speak. But doctrinal writings, unfortunately, can allow them more freedom superimpose their own doctrinal bias by fudging certain words. Some of the biggest culprits are rendering the Greek pneuma as “spirit” rather than “breath,” pistis as “faith” rather than “faithfulness,” pisteuo as “believe” rather than “trust,” and charis as “grace” rather than “favor.”

Many have noted an inconsistency in the gospel message Paul preached as compared with what Jesus Christ Himself preached. In his two books “The Gospel According to Jesus” and “The Gospel According to Paul,” John MacArthur made an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile this issue. But the true cause is simply translator bias in Paul’s letters. Christ’s parables about faithful servants set a context in which there’s no doubt as to the message of the gospel. But rather than being true to Christ’s message and rendering pistis as “faithfulness” in Paul’s doctrinal teachings, the translators cloaked it with “faith” instead. Now they can claim that Paul taught we’re saved by believing some facts are true rather than being faithful servants to the Lord as the Lord Himself taught.

In the King James Version, charis is translated as “favour” several times in Luke and Acts: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour [charis] with God” (Luk 1:30); “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour [charis] with God and man” (Luk 2:52); “Praising God, and having favour [charis] with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Act 2:47); “And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour [charis] and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house … Who found favour [charis] before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob” (Act 7:10, 46); “And desired favour [charis] against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him” (Act 25:3). However, in the epistles charis isn’t translated “favour” even once! Why not? It’s because the doctrinal genre of the epistles allowed the translators this liberty.

This word is used 78 times in the Greek Septuagint and more than half of its occurrences speak of someone being favored in the eyes or the sight of another. These quotations are from the KJV but they contain charis in the Septuagint: “But Noah found grace [charis] in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen 6:8), “My Lord, if now I have found favour [charis] in thy sight” (Gen 18:3), “that I may find grace [charis] in thy sight” (Gen 32:5), “These are to find grace [charis] in the sight of my lord” (Gen 33:8), “if now I have found grace [charis] in thy sight” (Gen 33:10), “let me find grace [charis] in the sight of my lord” (Gen 33:15), “Let me find grace [charis] in your eyes” (Gen 34:11), “And Joseph found grace [charis] in his sight” (Gen 39:4), “and gave him favour [charis] in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen 39:21), “And God Almighty give you mercy [charis] before the man” (Gen 43:14), “let us find grace [charis] in the sight of my lord” (Gen 47:25), “If now I have found grace [charis] in thy sight” (Gen 47:29), “If now I have found grace [charis] in your eyes” (Gen 50:4), “And I will give this people favour [charis] in the sight of the Egyptians” (Exo 3:21), “And the LORD gave the people favour [charis] in the sight of the Egyptians” (Exo 11:3), “And the LORD gave the people favour [charis] in the sight of the Egyptians” (Exo 12:36), “and thou hast also found grace [charis] in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace [charis] in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace [charis] in thy sight” (Exo 33:12-13), “For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace [charis] in thy sight?” (Exo 33:16), “for thou hast found grace [charis] in my sight” (Exo 33:17), “If now I have found grace [charis] in thy sight” (Exo 34:9), “wherefore have I not found favour [charis] in thy sight” (Num 11:11), “if we have found grace [charis] in thy sight” (Num 32:5), “she find no favour [charis] in his eyes” (Deu 24:1), “If now I have found grace [charis] in thy sight” (Jdg 6:17), “in whose sight I shall find grace [charis]” (Rth 2:2), “Why have I found grace [charis] in thine eyes” (Rth 2:10), “Let me find favour [charis] in thy sight, my lord” (Rth 2:13), “Let thine handmaid find grace [charis] in thy sight” (1Sa 1:18), “for he hath found favour [charis] in my sight” (1Sa 16:22), “I have found grace [charis] in thine eyes” (1Sa 20:3), “if I have found favour [charis] in thine eyes” (1Sa 20:29), “Wherefore let the young men find favour [charis] in thine eyes” (1Sa 25:8), “If I have now found grace [charis] in thine eyes” (1Sa 27:5), “I have found grace [charis] in thy sight” (2Sa 14:22), “if I shall find favour [charis] in the eyes of the LORD” (2Sa 15:25), “I may find grace [charis] in thy sight” (2Sa 16:4), “And Hadad found great favour [charis] in the sight of Pharaoh” (1Ki 11:19), “And Esther obtained favour [charis] in the sight of all them that looked upon her” (Est 2:15), “she obtained grace and favour [charis] in his sight” (Est 2:17), “she obtained favour [charis] in his sight” (Est 5:2), “If I have found favour [charis] in the sight of the king” (Est 5:8), “If I have found favour [charis] in thy sight” (Est 7:3), “if I have found favour [charis] in his sight” (Est 8:5).

The translators of the Septuagint used this word for Moses’ statement about God’s favor toward him and His chosen people, “For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace [charis] in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace [charis] in my sight, and I know thee by name.” (Exo 33:16-17). Our English “cherish” hints at its etymology from the Greek charis. God favors and cherishes His people!

God’s chosen people found charis or favor in His sight, and Moses defined this favor as them being separated from all other people on earth: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exo 19:5); “For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num 23:9); “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?” (Deu 4:7); “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?” (2Sa 7:23); “For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD” (1Ki 8:53); “He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psa 147:20); “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2Co 6:17).

To be favored in God’s sight is to be treated differently by Him in comparison with other people. God sees His chosen people distinctly from all other people. They are His peculiar treasure. He doesn’t reckon them among other nations and doesn’t deal with them like He does with other nations. They are separate and favored by Him.

God’s favored people

Once we recognize that charis is simply favor, then in the context of salvation, it’s about God favoring His people above all other people. Recorded in Acts chapter 13 is the time when Paul and Barnabas went into the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia and taught the Jews forgiveness of sins through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These Jews then had to embrace this truth to continue as one of God’s favored people, “Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace [favor] of God” (Act 13:43).

God’s favor is what John meant by, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace [favor] for grace [favor]. For the law was given by Moses, but grace [favor] and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (Jhn 1:16-17). Other translations have, “grace [favor] upon grace [favor]” (DBY), “grace [favor] in place of grace [favor] already given” (NIV), “grace [favor] over-against grace [favor]” (YLT). The Law of Moses itself didn’t bring God’s favor—Jesus Christ did. God’s chosen people were favored under the Old Covenant. However, those alive when the Messiah came had to receive Him for favor in place of favor already given. Rejecting God’s own Son would be rejecting His favor and no longer being favored as one of His people.

When writing to the Galatians, Paul expressed that the Jews are rejecting God’s favor if righteousness comes by the law, “I do not frustrate [atheteō 114] the grace [favor] of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal 2:21). The Greek atheteō translated as “frustrate” is rendered several other places in the New Testament as “reject” or “despise.” He wrote later, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace [favor]” (Gal 5:4). We could say the last phrase as “fallen out of favor.” His point was that Gentiles were now being favored by God as His people, but if they became circumcised with the intent of placing themselves under the Old Covenant, they would be rejecting God’s favor.

Recognizing that charis simply means favor opens our understanding of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in particular because God purposed from the beginning the salvation of a chosen people to Himself, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). He would favor these people above all other people and save them by sending His Son Jesus Christ to shed His blood for their sins, “To the praise of the glory of his grace [favor], wherein he hath made us accepted [favored] in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace [favor]” (Eph 1:6-7).

God’s only begotten Son was seen figuratively and prophetically in Adam, while His chosen people the ekklesia (church, assembly, congregation) were seen in Adam’s wife taken out of him, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:23-24). Paul quoted from this passage and said it was a mystery that foretold of Christ and the church, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church [ekklesia 1577].” (Eph 5:31-32). This is what he meant by, “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4).

The church is a Jewish body

The Greek ekklesia is an assembly, gathering, or congregation of people. This word was used once in the New Testament for God’s people under the Old Covenant, “This is he, that was in the church [ekklēsia 1577] in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Act 7:38). The very first time Israel was called a congregation or assembly was during the Exodus on the first Passover, “Speak ye unto all the congregation [‘ēḏȃ 5712] of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house” (Exo 12:3), “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly [qāhēl 6951] of the congregation [‘ēḏȃ 5712] of Israel shall kill it in the evening” (Exo 12:6). Thus, the true Passover Lamb shed His precious blood for this assembly of God’s people.

We’re told several times that Gentiles partake of the salvation God provided for His chosen people: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (Jhn 4:22); “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree” (Rom 11:17); “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.” (Rom 15:27); “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:19); “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph 3:6); “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12); “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Heb 8:8).

Salvation was provided for the Jews, and the gospel message was sent to them first: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47); “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Act 1:8); “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Act 3:26); “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Act 13:46); “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” (Rom 1:16); “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile” (Rom 2:9-10).

Christ’s faithfulness

“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.” (Eph 2:8-9). Here Paul was not speaking of our faith but Christ’s faithfulness. We can be sure of this because he will go on to say a little later, “by the faith [faithfulness] of him” (Eph 3:11-12), “because of Christ’s faithfulness” (NET). He was teaching salvation by Christ’s faithfulness, not by the works of the law, “through faith [faithfulness]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works” (Eph 2:8-9). This corresponds to what he also taught the Galatians and Romans:

We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that no one is justified by the works 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 of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15-16 NET).

For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. (Romans 3:20-22 NET)

The gift of God

“For by grace [favor] are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). Calvinists insist that we believe because we’re saved and not that we’re saved because we believe. This is because in their soteriological system it’s necessary to get the cart before the horse to stay logically consistent. Therefore, they must maintain that “the gift of God” in this verse is our faith. But Paul wasn’t even talking about our faith but Christ’s faithfulness. Therefore, all of this wrangling about faith being a gift is a complete non-issue that distracts and wastes our time, “strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers” (2Ti 2:14).

Paul himself settled what he meant by “the gift of God” later in his letter: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace [favor] of God which is given me to you-ward” (Eph 3:2); “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace [favor] of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace [favor] given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” (Eph 3:7-8); “But unto every one of us is given grace [favor] according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph 4:7). He stated several times that the gift is God’s favor—His favor toward His people.

Christ pleads in our favor

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [paraklētos 3875]” (Jhn 14:16); “But the Comforter [paraklētos 3875], which is the Holy Ghost [breath]” (Jhn 14:26); “But when the Comforter [paraklētos 3875] is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit [breath] of truth” (Jhn 15:26); “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [paraklētos 3875] will not come unto you” (Jhn 16:7).

Just before His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back to His Father, Christ taught His disciples about the Advocate which is the holy breath. Most English translations render the Greek paraklētos either as “Comforter,” “Counselor,” or “Helper,” but the New International Version renders it best as “Advocate.” John later wrote that the paraklētos is Jesus Christ Himself in His role as our Advocate with the Father, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [paraklētos 3875] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1Jo 2:1).

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the noun advocate as “one who pleads the cause of another,” and the verb advocate as “to plead in favor of.” Dictionary.com defines the noun as “a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor,” and the verb “to speak or write in favor of.” As God’s people, the favor we’re shown is that His Son advocates or intercedes for us at His right hand. When we sin and confess it, He advocates on our behalf and the Father forgives us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sinsAnd if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (1Jo 1:9, 2:1). Also, when we’re falsely accused and condemned by our enemies, He intercedes and the Father justifies or vindicates us from the charges, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect [chosen]? 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.” (Rom 8:33-34). God’s people are blessed with this favor before Him.

This is also what Paul taught the Ephesians, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph 1:20), “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 places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-6). It’s by God’s favor that we’re saved—the favor of being represented by His Son seated at His right hand. Paul then went on to reiterate this favor by which we are saved, “For by grace [favor] are ye saved through faith [faithfulness]” (Eph 2:8). God’s people are saved by God’s favor through Christ’s faithfulness to die for their sins.

Conclusion

Bible translations have effectively expunged the idea of God’s favor toward His chosen people by rendering charis as “grace” throughout the New Testament. Rather than salvation coming to the world by God favoring His people and sending His Son to die for them, the gospel has become a generalized salvation to everyone that is severed from the promises made to Abraham.

Jesus Christ was talking about Himself as the Advocate through God’s holy breath (Jhn 14:16,26,15:26,16:7). An advocate pleads in favor of another and this is what He does. He doesn’t intercede for the rest of the world but only for God’s people. Therefore, His people are shown favor over everyone else. But the good news is that all nations and ethnicities of people can join themselves to this assembly of people and partake of this favor!

Paul’s statement, “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” (Eph 2:8), is taken to mean that people are saved by God’s grace through faith—through believing some facts about Jesus are true. However, Paul was saying that God’s people are saved by His favor through Christ’s faithfulness to shed His blood for them—that they’re saved by the gift of His favor.

God Can’t See the Future

Introduction

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col 2:8), “But ye have not so learned Christ” (Eph 4:20). Many “theologians” are simply philosophers in disguise that cloak their philosophy as Christian doctrine, thereby deceiving many. Rather than gleaning the truth from the Scriptures and submitting to it, they use the Scriptures to proof-text their philosophy. Their doctrine is “not after Christ.” Therefore, it isn’t Christian doctrine.

By philosophical reasoning, theologians have created for themselves a “God” that is an impossible being. He sees the past, present, and future concurrently and simultaneously just the same. He has always known and always will know everything there is to know and even knows every possible outcome of every contingency of everything that never even happens. He “can’t not know anything” or ever come to the knowledge of anything He didn’t already know or else He wouldn’t be God. He never changes, never learns anything, and never even has a new thought. But this is only the philosophical definition of God from theologians, not the Scriptural definition. God revealed Himself to us through the Scriptures and it’s what He told us about Himself that should form our view of Him.

Philosophers embellish God to the ‘nth degree so that any other view—including the true view of Him—pales by comparison. Therefore, any “lesser” view of God must be a wrong view of God. And a “lesser” view also disappoints because we want God to be as impossible as He possibly can be! We aren’t too excited to hear that God can’t even see the future. We don’t want sound doctrine but what satisfies our lusts and desires, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2Ti 4:3).

The view of God that glorifies Him, however, is the truth about Him—the truth He revealed to us through the Scriptures and through His Son Jesus Christ. It matters not that this view measures up to the teaching of philosophers, and it matters not that this view caters to our selfish desires. If we’re truly following God, then we’ll eagerly follow the truth about God.

Impossibilities

Because of the natural limitations we were created with, there are many things that are impossible for us but not for God. For example, we can’t know each other’s thoughts but God certainly can and does. We can’t instantly heal someone or raise someone from the dead but God can. The gifts of the Spirit in the early church were supernatural abilities from God to do what wasn’t naturally possible for us. The things that are impossible for human beings are possible with God: “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Gen 18:14); “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2); “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jer 32:17); “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jer 32:27); “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luk 1:37); “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luk 18:27).

Besides natural impossibilities, there are also logical impossibilities that even God Himself can’t do. For example, it’s been asked by some, “Can God create a rock so big that He can’t lift it?” or “Can God make a square, circle?” These are logical impossibilities that even God can’t do. Another example is the Trinitarian doctrine of hypostatic union—Christ can’t be a 100% divine being and a 100% human being at the same time yet still be just one person. The logical possibility is that one person is one being while two beings are two persons.

When we read “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luk 1:37), this was not a blanket statement that absolutely nothing is ever impossible with God. This was about the virgin birth which certainly is impossible with human beings but not with God. These types of statements in Scripture are about things that are impossible for us, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luk 18:27). However, truly impossible things are impossible even with God.

The future doesn’t exist

When it comes to knowing or seeing the future, we’re dealing with another area of impossibility—not just for human beings but even for God Himself. Since the future hasn’t happened, there is nothing to know about it. There’s no such thing as the future. It doesn’t exist because it hasn’t happened, and once it’s happening then it isn’t the future but the present. There is, therefore, no knowledge of the future. It can’t be known because there is nothing to know. There is no such knowledge. Likewise, seeing the future assumes there is something to see but there is nothing to see because nothing is happening.

Also, the past doesn’t exist either because it’s not happening but has already happened. We have memories about the past, we have historical documents about it, we have audios, photos, and videos of what happened, but all of these things are only records of what happened. Actions and events only happen in the present.

All that happens—actions, activities, events, motions, processes, and situations—only happens in the present. Therefore, only the present exists. What was going to happen tomorrow while it was yesterday is what is happening today. Today was tomorrow yesterday. This very moment was the next just a moment ago.

The future is simply a concept of our minds that we think about and imagine. Jesus said “Take therefore no thought for the morrow” (Mat 6:34). It’s a very real action to think about the future but the thinking is still in the present. The main reason we should “Take therefore no thought for the morrow” is because what we do today greatly affects what’s going to happen tomorrow while thinking about tomorrow accomplishes virtually nothing. Therefore, rather than squandering our precious time today thinking about tomorrow, we should spend it productively making a better tomorrow. Also, taking thought for tomorrow expresses a lack of trust in God. Furthermore, we have no guarantee of even being here tomorrow anyway. All we have is today because the present is all that exists.

God can only know what can be known, and can’t know what can’t be known. Knowledge that doesn’t exist can’t be known even by God. Since the future doesn’t exist then there is no such knowledge, and since there is no knowledge of the future then even God doesn’t know the future. If there was something to know or see in the future, then certainly God could know and see it. But since there is nothing to know or see then even God can’t know or see it.

The passing of time

God can’t see the future because there is no future! Well, there is a future as long as the present continues.

But the next thing to happen in the continuation of the present isn’t the future but just more of the present. We never reach the future because there is no such thing. It’s simply a concept of our minds. The passage of time is just the present continuous, and the present is continuing with God the same as with us. The difference is our perspective of time because with God the present has always continued and always will.

The philosophy of theologians is that God somehow lives outside the passing of time so that eternity past and eternity future is exactly like the present. They boast the crazy idea that somehow the past, present, and future are all the same to Him. But this isn’t what Scripture teaches, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Psa 90:4). Time lapses the same for Him as with us because “in thy sight” time passed is in the past “when it is past.” He lives in the present just like we do. The present is all there is and the present is the same for all, including God.

However, God’s perspective of time is unique compared to ours, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday” (Psa 90:4) “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2Pe 3:8). Because God has always existed and always will exist, with Him the passing of a thousand years doesn’t seem very long at all. But since our life expectancy is only seventy or eighty years, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years” (Psa 90:10), a thousand years is an extremely long time period to us. Similarly, every moment is valued and treasured by someone who knows that today is their last day to live, whereas the rest of us tend to take each moment of today for granted because we assume there will be many more days ahead. It’s a similar phenomenon with the saying “Time flies when you’re having fun!” Time elapses at the same rate regardless, it just seems like it passes by more quickly at times.

The actual passage of time is consistent and unchanging but the perspective of time is relative to its subjects. Take for example the perspective of time with death. When we die, we’re not still alive in heaven but truly dead until we’re resurrected back to life. But our perspective of the passage of the time, while we were dead, will be the same regardless of its length—death will have seemed like just a moment whether we were dead for only one day or a thousand years. This is why sleep is used many times in Scripture as an analogy for death because it seems like just a moment or a blink of the eye whether we slept for eight hours or just one, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Co 15:51-52).

And God saw the light

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good” (Gen 1:3-4). According to what God revealed to us about Himself, He saw the light after He created the light. We could make an argument from silence that it doesn’t say that God hadn’t already seen the light from eternity past. But we should understand God by what He did reveal about Himself and not speculate about what He didn’t reveal. Maybe before the creation He very well could see the future and already saw everything He was going to create. But He told us, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Once everything could be seen, that’s when He told us He saw it. It seems He couldn’t see it until He saw it!

Why speculate that God has always seen everything before it could be seen? In fact, the conservative approach and default view is to consider that He can’t see the future until proven otherwise. If there’s nothing in Scripture that necessitates Him needing to see the future, and He hasn’t revealed to us that He can see the future, and seeing the future hasn’t been proven possible even for God, then why believe this? If He doesn’t need to, and He hasn’t revealed it, then why suppose it?

Fulfilled prophecies

Of course the reason we just assume God knows and sees the future is because of all the fulfilled prophecies in Scripture. When taking into account specific prophecies including types, figures, and shadows, there are hundreds and more likely thousands of prophecies in Scripture. And the Old Testament records multitudes of already fulfilled Messianic prophecies, particularly in the writings of Moses, David, and Isaiah. If there is nothing to know or see in the future, then just how has God known and seen the future to accurately foretell it in advance?

The issue is that we suppose the only way the future can be accurately foretold is for it to exist and therefore be seen in the present. But there’s another way it can be accurately foretold—make it happen the way it was foretold! Putting this in human terms, I could say “I’m going to pick up the pencil on my desk five seconds from now,” then in five seconds I pick up the pencil on my desk. It has nothing to do with me being able to see five seconds into the future. It’s only that I did what I said I was going to do and nobody stopped me from doing it. Putting this in God’s terms, He can bring to pass everything He says He is going to do because He is powerful enough to do it and nobody is powerful enough to stop Him.

After Adam sinned, God didn’t look 4,000 years into the future and see that His Son was going to become human and die on the cross and therefore told us what He saw was going to happen, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). Rather, in the beginning God set His plan of salvation into motion through which He later sent His Son to become human and die on the cross. This wasn’t about seeing the future but rather causing the future to be seen. And if this is true about the greatest events ever foretold—Christ’s incarnation, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at God’s right hand—then we should at least consider that this is the case for all other events He prophesied or foretold.

There is no such thing as knowing or seeing the future. It’s not that God just didn’t foretell the future by seeing it, but that He couldn’t foretell the future by seeing it. He has always foretold future events by causing those events to happen the way He foretold them. He simply causes the present to happen the way He said it would in the past. Therefore, He declares what will happen then makes it happen.

God brings to pass

Here are a few key Scriptures indicating that God does, works, and brings to pass what He declared, spoke, and purposed: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num 23:19); “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isa 46:10-11); “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Act 4:28); “That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Act 15:17-18); “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11).

God performs what He said and does what He spoke, “Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (1Ki 12:15), “Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah” (2Ki 10:10).

John wrote that when Jesus said, “I thirst” it was to fulfill the Scripture, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psa 69:21), “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.” (Jhn 19:28-29). It’s not that God had seen this event would happen in the future then spoke this prophecy through David but that He spoke this prophecy through David and Jesus caused it to be fulfilled by saying “I thirst.”

Prophecy is not foreseeing but foretelling. Fulfilled prophecies are the result of God’s word being accomplished, standing, and taking effect: “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psa 33:9); “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isa 40:8); “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Isa 45:23); “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa 55:11); “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mat 24:35); “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Rom 9:6); “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1Pe 1:25).

God accurately foretells the future because He is powerful enough to do it and nobody is powerful enough to stop Him: “Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?” (Job 9:12); “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.” (Job 23:13), “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD” (Pro 21:30); “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him” (Ecc 3:14); “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isa 14:27); “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isa 43:13); “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan 4:35); “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Act 5:39); “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Act 9:5); “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” (Act 11:17); “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1Co 10:22).

Knowing previously or beforehand

Statements in Scripture using the Greek verb proginosko or its noun form prognosis such as, “For whom he did foreknow [proginosko 4267]” (Rom 8:29), “Elect according to the foreknowledge [prognosis 4268] of God the Father” (1Pe 1:2), are cited by theologians to teach that God foreknows the future because He can see the future. However, both Paul and Peter used this word simply for people knowing someone previously, or knowing something beforehand, “My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; Which knew [proginosko 4267] me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee” (Act 26:4-5), “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before [proginosko 4267], beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2Pe 3:17). People certainly can’t see into the future and this isn’t how the apostles used it with people knowing someone or something beforehand.

There are also five places where Paul and Peter used proginosko or prognosis with God knowing something beforehand: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge [prognosis 4268] of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Act 2:23); “For whom he did foreknow [proginosko 4267], he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29); “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew [proginosko 4267]” (Rom 11:2); “Elect according to the foreknowledge [prognosis 4268] of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied” (1Pe 1:2); “Who verily was foreordained [proginosko 4267] before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1Pe 1:20).

These statements have nothing to do with God seeing into the future. Take the first of these five statements for example: “Him, being delivered by the determinate [horizo 3724] counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Act 2:23). His “determinate [horizo 3724] counsel” is about God determining Christ’s crucifixion, not about seeing into the future that it was going to happen then acclimating His plan of salvation to it. And the determining of something to happen is how the Greek horizo is used in all other places it’s used in Scripture (Luke 22:22; Act 10:42, 11:29, 17:26, 31; Rom 1:4; Heb 4:7). Thus, the “foreknowledge of God” of which Peter spoke is God knowing something because He determined something. He knew beforehand that His people would deliver their Messiah over to death because He determined it to happen. It’s not about seeing or knowing the future.

When Paul used this word in Romans, it concerned God knowing beforehand that He would have a people of His own because He predetermined to choose a people of His own conformed to the image of His Son, “For whom he did foreknow [proginosko 4267], he also did predestinate [proorizo 4309] to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29), “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” (Rom 8:33); “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew [proginosko 4267]” (Rom 11:2). It wasn’t that He was able to look into the future and see that He was going to have a people of His own. He didn’t see what would happen but caused what would happen. Therefore, He knew beforehand because He determined beforehand. He knew from the beginning that He would have a people of His own following His Son, conformed to His image because He predetermined it.

God hardens hearts and turns hearts

God hardens people’s hearts: “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Exo 7:13); “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand” (Exo 14:8); “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day” (Deu 2:30); “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Jos 11:20); “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Rom 9:18).

The main example of God hardening hearts is, of course, the controversial hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. The reason this is such an issue is because we have a problem with God hardening people’s hearts against their will—except, of course when it’s in our own best interest for Him to do so. It’s not that we necessarily mind Him hardening other people’s hearts, just not ours! But do we think that any of the Israelites that escaped slavery in Egypt had a problem with God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart? What about our salvation from the slavery of sin? Do we have a problem with God hardening the hearts of His people to bring about the crucifixion of His Son? If He hadn’t hardened their hearts, Christ wouldn’t have died for our sins and we all would perish. Do we still have a problem with God hardening hearts? We need to get beyond our myopic vision of seeing things from the selfish perspective of our little world rather than from God’s perspective of the entire world.

Why keep hardening Pharaoh’s heart and sending round after round of plagues when God could have easily destroyed Egypt in one fell swoop? But had He destroyed Egypt entirely, the events of the Exodus that followed wouldn’t have happened. The previous plagues were necessary for the Passover and the final plague. Therefore, as with the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart to bring about the Passover, He sent His Son and hardened His people’s hearts to bring about the true Passover.

And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho … And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish … And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein … And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king … And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining … And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire … And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe. (Joshua 10:30, 35, 37, 39, 11:8, 11, 14)

How could a loving God command the genocide of every man, woman, and child in the Promised Land? Not only that, we’re even told that He hardened the hearts of those people so that they wouldn’t seek peace but be utterly destroyed, “There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Jos 11:19-20). But we need only consider that had God not done this, nobody would be saved. The establishment of the Davidic Kingdom in the land was necessary for the Son of God to come into the world and be anointed as the Messiah and die on the cross for our sins. It’s because God so loved the world that He had to do this to save the world, “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).

Not only does God harden hearts but He also turns hearts and puts desires into hearts: “He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants” (Psa 105:25); “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Pro 21:1); “And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel” (Ezr 6:22); “Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem” (Ezr 7:27); “And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon” (Neh 2:12); “And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein” (Neh 7:5); “But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you” (2Co 8:16); “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (Rev 17:17).

God spoke through Jeremiah about His people returning from the 70-year Babylonian captivity, “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jer 29:10). He didn’t say that He looked into the future and saw what would happen but rather that He would perform what would happen, “I will visit you, and perform my good word.” And true to what He said, we read in Ezra that He performed His word, “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying” (Ezr 1:1). God “stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” in order “that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” This was not seeing what would happen but causing what would happen.

Joseph’s life

Most Christians recognize that Joseph’s life is allegorical and prophetic of the life of Jesus Christ—that his life was a microcosm of God’s plan of salvation to come. God demonstrated through Joseph that He could bring to pass what He planned and stated beforehand. It’s not that He saw into the future what would come to pass but showed that He could bring it to pass.

He caused the sons of Jacob to envy and hate their younger brother Joseph by giving him dreams that he would one day rule over them, “And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words” (Gen 37:8). They tried to thwart God’s will by conspiring to kill Joseph but ended up selling him into slavery instead, “Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams … Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt” (Gen 37:20, 28).

In slavery, Joseph prospered because God was with him, “And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian” (Gen 39:2). As an image of the sinless and suffering Savior to come, Joseph was falsely accused of a crime and thrown into the dungeon. But God later gave dreams to Pharaoh and the interpretation of those dreams to Joseph so that he would be delivered from the dungeon and set in authority over the people, “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou” (Gen 41:40).

God then brought seven years of plenty and seven years of famine just as He had foretold through Pharaoh’s dreams, “And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread” (Gen 41:53-54). Again, it wasn’t that God saw this would happen and adjusted His plan accordingly, but that He caused this to happen in conformity to His plan, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread” (Psa 105:16). The prosperity in Egypt and worldwide famine then became the catalyst for bringing Joseph’s brothers to him and fulfilling the dreams they had tried to prevent. Right after their father Jacob died, they all bowed and served him, “And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants” (Gen 50:18). But Joseph recognized that all of this had been accomplished by God, “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?” (Gen 50:19).

God showed that He could use the evil intents of Joseph’s brothers against themselves to unwittingly carry out and bring to pass exactly what He intended, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen 50:20). If God could work through people and this creation to bring to pass these events in the life of Joseph then He certainly could do similarly in the life of His Son Jesus Christ. This had nothing to do with seeing the future but rather causing the future. And if this was true in the events of Joseph’s life and Christ’s life then why would it be different in any other events He prophesied or foretold? God brings to pass what He foretells.

God’s purpose

Paul also taught the Ephesians that God predetermined and purposed from the beginning to choose a people to Himself, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world … being predestinated [proorizo 4309] according to the purpose [prothesis 4286] of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:4, 11). These chosen people would be how He would bring His Son Jesus Christ into the world to save the world, “According to the eternal purpose [prothesis 4286] which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph 3:11). All of this was “after the counsel of his own will” (Eph 1:11).

God’s counsel is His purpose and will. His pleasure is what will happen in the future and what will ultimately stand: “Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters” (Job 33:13); “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2); “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psa 33:11); “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psa 115:3); “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psa 135:6); “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Pro 19:21); “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD” (Pro 21:30); “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isa 14:24); “This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working” (Isa 28:29); “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” (Isa 40:13-14); “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11); “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Act 2:23); “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done” (Act 4:28); “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Act 15:18); “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath” (Heb 6:17).

And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose [prothesis 4286] of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Romans 9:10-13)

Before Abraham had any sons, God told him beforehand about the Exodus of his descendants from slavery, “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Gen 15:13-14). While Jacob was in the womb, God told his mother, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23).

The people that descended from Jacob indeed were stronger and mightier than the Egyptian people, “And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we” (Exo 1:9). This became the catalyst for them being forced into slavery as had been told to Abraham, “shall serve them; and they shall afflict them” (Gen 15:13), “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens … And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour” (Exo 1:11, 13).

This exodus of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, however, had been set up by God bringing to pass “the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen 25:23; Rom 9:12). He brought Jacob and his sons into Egypt by the elder brothers serving their younger brother Joseph, “And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Gen 50:18-20).

God’s last words to His people about 400 years before bringing His Son into the world, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Mal 1:2-3). Paul’s point was that “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom 9:13), indicated that what God foretold Rebecca about Jacob and Esau was coming to pass just as He said. God’s purpose in choosing His people would stand, “that the purpose of God according to election might stand” (Rom 9:11). That purpose was for His Son to come into the world and that the world through Him would be saved. Therefore, salvation is “not of works, but of him that calleth” (Rom 9:11). God’s people are not saved by keeping the works of the Law of Moses, but by Him that called them out of slavery to sin and into the service of His Son.

God is not a victim of circumstances

Although God can’t see the future since there is nothing to see, He is far more powerful than just being able to see the future because He can declare the future thousands of years beforehand then cause it to happen just as He declared. If prophecy is simply seeing into the future and declaring it beforehand then God is a victim of circumstance. He just goes with the flow and plans His purpose and counsel around what He sees is going to happen.

Philosophers, however, wrangle about all kinds of crazy concepts such as God foreseeing what will happen then changing what He saw will happen by making something else happen. But what’s the purpose of that? If He is always going to make happen what He wants to happen then what good is it to be able to foresee what would have happened? What would have happened doesn’t even matter because it didn’t. If what would have happened didn’t happen then it isn’t what would have happened. There is no such thing as what would have happened. The only thing that matters is what does happen which is what is happening right now—the present.

It’s wrong to suppose that the greater power is seeing the future—the greater power is causing the present. God is more powerful than being able to see what is going to happen because He causes what is going to happen. He created this universe and has full control over every aspect of it. This doesn’t mean necessarily that He controls exactly what will happen with every molecule that exists. But He governs an unfathomably complex creation in which He orchestrates events to ultimately come to pass as He purposed—all the while allowing us a certain amount of free will to be used by Him as vessels.

In human relationships, we recognize that true power is not absolute strict control over every decision and action. A good husband trusts his wife and gives her freedom and flexibility to make decisions within certain contexts. They both sometimes make wrong decisions but they’re confident they’ll work together through whatever problems and consequences arise. The same is true at a place of employment. A good boss isn’t a controlling micromanager. Rather, they trust their employees within reason and allow them a degree of freedom to make decisions. Good leaders know how to use the gifts, talents, skills, and abilities of those they lead to bring about the desired outcome for the organization as a whole.

This is similarly how it is with God. True power is not utter dominance and absolute strict control: it’s love and mercy; it’s trust and faithfulness; it’s discipline and judgment; it’s laboring together toward the same purpose and goal. Our 6,000 years of human history has been fluid in which God has constantly adjusted circumstances to happen the way He purposed from the beginning and worked through people to do it. That’s true power! God’s wisdom and power is to thwart the plans of the evil and use them to accomplish His plans. He allows them to think they’re doing what’s in their own best interest all the while doing what’s in His.

God thwarts the plans of the wicked

God sees every thought in our minds and intent in our hearts: “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:2); “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psa 44:21); “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psa 139:2); “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); “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (Rev 2:23).

Because He knows everything we’re thinking and everything we plan or intend to do, God can easily prevent us from doing something we intend to do if He so chooses. He can “change the future” so to speak, not because He sees the future then changes it from happening the way it would have, but because He causes the present to happen the way He wants. Much of the time what we do in the present depends upon what we were thinking, planning, and intending to do in the not so distant past. God can easily thwart our plans and prevent us from doing what we intend.

The people in Babel were endeavoring to build a tower to make a name for themselves, “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen 11:4). And they likely would have accomplished this had God not stopped them by confusing their language and scattering them abroad, “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” (Gen 11:7-8). God didn’t change the future but changed the people’s plans and intents for the future.

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran. (Genesis 27:41).

Because God saw the pre-meditated murder Esau had in his heart that He set into motion Jacob’s rescue. He warned their mother Rebecca so that Jacob could flee. This had nothing to do with God seeing Jacob being murdered in the future then changing the future from happening that way. It was simply that He thwarted what Esau planned to do in the future.

The wicked plot and conspire against the righteous but God overthrows their plans: “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him” (Gen 37:18); “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us”  (Psa 2:2-3); “For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life” (Psa 31:13); “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.” (Psa 37:12-13); “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity” (Psa 64:2); “For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together” (Psa 71:10); “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones” (Psa 83:3); “Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings” (Psa 140:4); “Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord” (Pro 6:14); “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mar 3:6); “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death” (Jhn 11:53); “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them” (Act 5:33); “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him” (Act 9:23).

God is infinitely wiser than the wise people in this world. His wisdom is to allow people to think they’re accomplishing their will when in fact they’re vessels being used by Him to accomplish His: “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen 50:20); “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.” (Job 5:12-13); “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD” (Pro 21:30); “And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards” (Isa 19:3); “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (Isa 19:3); “The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer 8:9); “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” (1Co 1:19); “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1Co 3:19).

God has regrets and changes His mind

By the time of the flood, God regretted that He even created mankind, “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. And it repented [regretted] the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Gen 6:5-6). This is a genuine statement from God Himself about His inner feelings and indicates that had He been able to see the future before creating mankind, He wouldn’t have created mankind. By this time, seeing all of the horrible wicked and evil things people were doing, He sincerely grieved and regretted the whole thing! Many people accuse God of not caring about the suffering of people but this isn’t true at all. Even He hadn’t realized just how wicked people would become yet was faithful to finish what He started. After all, He had already foretold that His Son would come, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). And godly people such as Abel, Enoch, and Noah still needed to be saved by His Son’s death on the cross. He couldn’t just destroy the entire creation as if it never happened.

Philosophers teach that God never has a new thought or changes His mind—that He could never intend to do one thing but then end up doing something different. However, at various times through Israel’s history, God relented, held back, or changed His mind about what He was going to do: “And the LORD repented [relented] of the evil which he thought to do unto his people” (Exo 32:14); “And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented [relented] him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand” (2 Sa 24:16); “And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented [relented] according to the multitude of his mercies” (Psa 106:45); “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent [relented] of the evil that I thought to do unto them” (Jer 18:8); “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented [relented] of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jon 3:10).

In response to these examples of God relenting, philosophers have to fabricate a convoluted explanation of how God can see the future and therefore already knew what He would do yet say that He was going to do something different then make it appear that He changed His mind to do what He was going to do all along. But that isn’t genuine and sincere. If God is truly like that then He can’t be trusted. He just plays mind games with us while always doing what He was going to do anyway.

God does relent and change His mind at times about what He intended to do. He is merciful and pitiful toward us, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psa 103:13-14). Since mankind was created after the image of God, the relationship we have with our children helps us understand how God relates to us as our Father. There are times when we’re upset with our children for something they did but then calm down once we remind ourselves that they’re just kids. They don’t have the maturity to do things the way we would have done them. Similarly, this is how it is with God toward us. He remembers that we’re dust—finite and limited, weak and frail, tempted and deceived. His anger toward us is pacified by our fear of Him and remembrance of our weaknesses and all the evil and suffering we’re struggling within this world. In other words, at times He changes His mind for our benefit because He truly loves us.

God is compassionate and merciful when we repent which consists of Him not doing to us what He would have done. This is about the changing of outcomes—causing things to turn out differently than they would have turned out. It has nothing to do with changing the future because since the future doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to change! Only the present can be “changed” so to speak. Although the present can’t be changed because what happens is what happened but the present can be changed in the sense that what would have happened can be altered so that something different happens. It’s simply the changing of outcomes. But the whole philosophy of seeing the future then changing the future is simply rubbish.

God spoke through Jeremiah that the evil things His people committed didn’t come into His mind or heart that they would ever do: “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart” (Jer 7:31); “They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind” (Jer 19:5); “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin” (Jer 32:35).

That something never even came into God’s mind certainly doesn’t jive with the philosophy of theologians claiming that He has always known everything, can never not know anything, and has never had a new thought. But since He told us Himself that this never came into His mind, He couldn’t have been able to see the future otherwise this would have come into His mind. But God didn’t think about His people doing such evil which is what love does, it “thinketh no evil” (1Co 13:5).

We are vessels used by God

When God created Adam, He formed his body from the clay as a potter forms a vessel for His purposes, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7), “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isa 64:8). Human beings are living vessels created to be used by God for His purposes. He didn’t create us to do what we want and to live how we want. He is perfectly just in using us however He wants because He is our Creator—and He created us to be used by Him for His purposes. He can override our will at any time, or He can allow us to do our own will.

Isaiah and Jeremiah reminded God’s people that they had been created to be used by Him in whatever way He pleases: “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isa 29:16); “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isa 45:9); “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” (Jer 18:6). However, His people were not submitting to His will but arguing and striving against Him.

Paul taught that we are one of two types of vessels God uses, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Rom 9:21), “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Ti 2:20-21). It’s not a question of whether or not we will be used as a vessel, but rather of which type of vessel that we will be used. God uses everyone as a vessel for His purposes but allows us to decide which type of vessel we will be—either a vessel of honor or a vessel of dishonor.

In a great house of that day, like the mansion of a wealthy and powerful man, there were all types of vessels made for his personal use such as golden cups and silver utensils, fine dishes and bowls, vases for flowers and plants, vessels for valuable documents, pottery for storage of grain and water, and containers for trash and conduits for sewer. Some of his vessels were valuable and used for honorable purposes such as hosting a dinner for important guests. Other vessels, on the other hand, weren’t so valuable and were used for dishonorable purposes like holding the garbage until it could be thrown out, or even a vessel used as a bedpan!

The good news is that we don’t have to be used as a trashcan, we can be used by God for noble purposes, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2Ti 2:21). He will use us for honorable purposes if we’ll purge sin and all of the unprofitable and vain pursuits from our lives, “strive not about words to no profit … shun profane and vain babblings … depart from iniquity … Flee also youthful lusts … But foolish and unlearned questions avoid … And the servant of the Lord must not strive” (2Ti 2:14, 16, 19, 22, 23, 24). We must stop wasting our time with words to no profit, vain babblings, and unlearned questions. If we’ll purge from ourselves all of the vain philosophy of theologians about God, man, and salvation, and instead, acknowledge, embrace, and live by the truth then God will use us for honorable purposes.

Earthen vessels used for dishonorable purposes weren’t valuable but were eventually broken and shattered to pieces: “But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water” (Lev 6:28); “And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it” (Lev 11:33); “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psa 2:9); “And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces” (Isa 30:14); “And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again” (Jer 19:11); “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev 2:27).

Valuable vessels made of gold and silver, on the other hand, are purged by fire to remove the dross and imperfections: “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer” (Pro 25:4); “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts” (Pro 17:3); “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin” (Isa 1:25); “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness” (Mal 3:3); “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 1:7). Thus, God subjects his valuable vessels to trials to test their faithfulness and to purge the sin and vain pursuits from their lives.

God uses vessels of dishonor to accomplish His purposes by speaking through them. Moses killed an Egyptian after ensuring nobody was around to see it, “And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (Exo 2:12). However, the very next day one of his Hebrew brethren confronted him about it, “And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.” (Exo 2:14). The fact was that nobody but Moses and God knew what he had done. But God spoke through that Hebrew man to make Moses think it was known so that he would flee from Egypt. God used that man as a vessel of dishonor for His purpose while that man likely had no idea that he was being used or that even said what he did.

Trusting God

When we begin recognizing that this is how God operates—that at times He works through everyone as vessels to accomplish His purposes—our confidence and trust in Him becomes strengthened. It’s easier to trust Him once we realize that He can easily use people around us as vessels of honor or dishonor to work situations in our favor. He can turn people’s hearts, or make them say and do things that are to our advantage. For example, if He wants one of us to get a job we applied for He can easily turn the heart of the hiring personnel toward us rather than to someone else that was even more qualified. On the flip side, He can do just the opposite and turn people’s hearts against us to test our faithfulness to Him. He can put difficult people across our path so that He can observe how we’ll treat them. He can make people say and do things they don’t even realize they’re saying and doing.

We also need to recognize that God’s overall plan for this creation is much bigger than our little world. None of us lives in a vacuum—what we do or don’t do affects other people around us. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers because it would adversely affect other situations He is working and bringing to pass. Paul had just taught about the sufferings we’re enduring under the cursed creation in Romans 8:18-25 then said, “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought … And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:26, 28). God has been working since the beginning to bring about the ultimate good from the curse He placed upon this creation. Along with this consummating good comes much suffering through which we just don’t always know how or what to pray. This is why we must trust God. He is going to bring His purpose to pass and will use us as vessels of honor in the process if we’ll submit ourselves to Him.

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Mat 6:7-8). Sometimes we misunderstand this statement to mean that the Father knows what we’re going to pray before we pray it—that He sees the future. However, upon closer examination Jesus was simply saying that God knows the needs in our lives before we pray for those needs. His point was that praying isn’t informing God of anything He doesn’t already know. Since He already knows our needs, we don’t have to digress into myriads of details, rehashing, and repeating—we just simply need to ask!

Trusting God means doing today what He wants us to do today and not concerning ourselves with tomorrow: “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Pro 27:1); “Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant” (Isa 56:12); “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Mat 6:34); “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” (Luk 12:17-18); “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:13-14).

God proves our faithfulness

Although God certainly knows our hearts, but because He can’t see the future He doesn’t know what we’ll do until we do it. Therefore, He submits us to various tests and trials so that our fear of Him and faithfulness to Him will be proved: “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham … 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 22:1, 12). If He had already known what Abraham was going to do then why did He declare “for now I know that thou fearest God”? The Messenger of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Son of God. He knew Abraham’s heart because earlier He told him to name his son Isaac after having laughed at Him in his heart, “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 God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac [laughter]” (Gen 17:17, 19). Although He knew every thought in his mind and intent in his heart, yet He still didn’t know what Abraham would do until put to the test.

God proves and tests His children: “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exo 20:20); “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deu 8:2); “Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deu 13:3); “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, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:7).

Paul said that servants must be found faithful, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1Co 4:1-2). And Paul himself had been trusted by God with the preaching of the gospel because he had been counted faithful, “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (1Ti 1:11-12). Paul didn’t immediately become an apostle after his Damascus road conversion. He spent many years preaching the gospel before being sent by Jesus Christ on his missionary journeys. As we prove ourselves faithful in smaller tasks, God will trust us to be faithful in larger, “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).

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Gen 18:19). After walking with God for many years in a faithful relationship, not only had Abraham come to know God but God had also come to know Abraham. Because of all the philosophical rubbish from modern “theologians” that God has always known everything and never can come to know anything, we think God can’t come to know us any better than He already does. But this isn’t true. Relationships take time to get to know each other better and to build trust.

God uses people to carry out His plans and purposes for this creation. He did this throughout history to bring His Son into the world to save the world and is doing this right now to bring the end times to consummation as He foretold in the book of Revelation. However, He doesn’t trust all of His children equally—He trusts some more than others because some have proven themselves trustworthy more than others. God gains trust in us by testing us. He knows what we intend to do but not what we will do. Therefore, He tests and proves us first before trusting us in critical situations. Because God can’t allow failure in critical situations, He tests us first in non-critical situations. He proves His children in scenarios that don’t matter to know which ones He can use when it does matter.

Conclusion

Philosophy about God adversely affects our walk with Him and our assurance of salvation. Calvinism is a prime example of “philosophy and vain deceit … not after Christ” (Col 2:8). It’s not after the teaching of Jesus Christ but is a confusing ideology that leaves many Christians confused about their salvation. Of course there are variations of beliefs within Calvinism but essentially it posits that God already knew in eternity past every person and their final eternal destiny—even choosing which ones would be saved. Therefore, what is going to happen with every person is what is going to happen anyway. Those that will be saved will, and those that won’t be saved won’t. Many Christians then live in fear that although they consider themselves to be one of the chosen, it could turn out that they’re not and will fall away someday with no hope of salvation. On the other hand, if they truly are one of the chosen then they’ll be saved no matter what they do or don’t do—their lifestyle ultimately doesn’t matter. Of course most won’t admit that their lifestyle doesn’t matter but counting that their salvation is forever settled certainly skews it.

Learning the truth about God helps to advance our walk with Him. Since there is no future to know, then God doesn’t know beforehand who will be saved and who won’t. Our salvation is in the present. We must walk with Him now by trusting Him and obeying His Son Jesus Christ as our Lord.

When it comes to our daily walk with Him, if we suppose that He already knows what we’re going to do then whatever we do is what we were going to do anyway. If I play rather than pray, God already knew it and expected it. Why try to do differently? It’s a convoluted thinking that what I do is what I was going to do. But the truth is that since He doesn’t know the future, He doesn’t know what we’re going to do but believes the best in us, “believeth all things” (1Co 13:7). This motivates us to live up to His expectations and walk worthy of Him, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10), “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1Th 2:12). God forgives our sins against Him through the precious shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ. He counts us right with Him and at peace with Him unless we prove otherwise. He expects the best in us—to walk worthy of our relationship with Him. And we have everything we need to be successful: “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); “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Eph 6:10); “All scriptureis given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2Ti 3:16-17); “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2Pe 1:4).