13 but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mark 13:13)
Salvation is such a simple thing. All we have to do is believe, and suddenly we have Eternal Life in blissful Heaven that we all know we deserve.
And to support our view, we have many Scriptures that tell us just that, as well as a multitude of churches and Theologians who anxiously thrust their books at us in effort to convince us of the same.
This study will attempt to pluck the truth from each platter and combine them with all the rest of the evidence that has been spilled on the floor and hidden in trash cans.
8And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
And in Acts 27:31 Paul uses the word to mean kept alive;
31Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
The above verses obviously do not apply to the Salvation of the Soul, which is our concern in this study. There are others, however, that are not as clearly exempt, but probably are. Consider this one for instance;
14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (1Tim 2:)
And even this;
41Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. (Luke 18:)
In the above case, the blind man was not looking for Salvation, rather just to receive his sight. Did Jesus mean that the blind man also received Eternal Life along with his eyesight? Or did Jesus mean that "Saved" means being healed?
More confusion is added when we consider that the word (in the Greek) used for "Saved" has also been variously interpreted as "Deliver;" "Protect;" "Preserve;" "Heal;" "Make Whole;" and "Do Well." As you can see, sorting these words and their full meanings is not going to be a simple chore.
Here is another verse that might lead to confusion;
42He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. (Mat 27:)
In this situation, are the Pharisees referring to saving His body, or His Soul?
And here is another verse that can be a bit mystifying;
11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1Cor 3:)
During the Tribulation that is yet to come, both Jesus and Paul spoke of being Saved;
21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (Mat 24:)
8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Rom 5:)
Here Jesus was quite apparently referring to the flesh being saved, not the soul (at least that is how I see it). Paul, on the other hand, is not so clear in his meaning. This verse is often used to prove that there is a rapture that will take the church out of the world before the Tribulation; but is Paul referring to the Tribulation ("Wrath") or to the Pit after Judgment?
The above demonstrates why some scriptures will be left out of this study because the word has a different meaning, and why some will be considered, but in a kind of "limbo" state, that is, neither proving one point of view or another, but may possibly serve as support for a particular view.
Now let's consider some specific verses and see what we can make of them. First of all, I will use the two lead-in Scriptures at the top of this page (Study).
16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
That certainly is clear enough, is it not? And that is what we have heard from just about every pulpit in the land for the past 20 years or so. But, just to be on the safe side, let's look at the rest of the scripture, shall we?
16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
According to the above, all we have to do to make sure we are one of those that Jesus was referring to is drink poison or play with venomous snakes.
Of course we are told that some of the earliest manuscripts did not include verses 9-20, so therefore, in the minds of some Theologians, snakes and poison does not really apply. I have to add another perspective to this; first - if some early manuscripts don't include these verses, it appears to me that some do include them. And for those who look at the don't side of the picture, that also means verse 16 is also missing, as well as the assurance that all we have to do is believe and be baptized.
Let's look at the other lead-in verse:
13 but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mark 13:13)
This verse (which is in actuality a half a verse) seems to indicate that only those who endure to the end will be in Heaven. What does "Endure" mean? To die? To attend church regularly? Is it like a marriage and endure means to be faithful unto death?
Let's look at the rest of the verse;
So, it's the Tribulation Jesus was referring to, not the Judgment.
That clarifies that, doesn't it? Now we are left with just being baptized and believing (and snakes and poison).
7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Rev 21:7)
Here Jesus seems to be saying the same thing, but with a clearer reference to Eternity.
But just what does "Overcome" mean?
33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:)
Well, we pretty well know how Jesus overcame the world, don't we? Do you suppose He means we are to do the same as He did in order to make it to Heaven?
Back to Saved.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:8)
It seems obvious that Paul is saying we are all saved by God's Grace and there is nothing for us to do. In fact, I have seen writings and websites that have taken this verse, and many others, and used them to prove that God no longer is judging the world, and that everyone is going to heaven regardless of how evil they are. According to this kind of reasoning you will be seeing Moses and Hitler with their arms around each other.
13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom 10:)
You can't get much clearer than that! Just say "Jesus" and you now have Eternal Life. Perhaps that is what every parent should teach their child as their first word, even if they are avowed atheists - just to be on the safe side.
Of course it's not as easy as the Doctrines of the above group of people who say that you don't have to do anything to be saved, but then, you can't have everything.
Come to think of it, with either of these scenarios, in Heaven we would see Hitler (if what I have read is true, that he once was a Christian), but we wouldn't see Moses since he was not a Christian, since Jesus had not yet died!
How about that? I think there is something missing here. Let's take a closer look at the context of this Scripture;
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 4:)
That makes a little more sense - we are expected to Walk in Good Works. I don't know if that means it is a condition for being saved or not, however.
. 46My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. (Luke 7:)
Here is an interesting twist;
12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Luke 8:)
In this illustration the devil is the one who keeps people from being saved.
13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Mat 13:)
But here it's Jesus who is preventing people from hearing the Word. This word "Heal" is not the same as "Saved," but rather it means to be "made whole." However, the idea that Jesus hides His Word is of interest to me.
2And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3Give us day by day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:)
"Deliver us from evil." In this case the word for deliver means to rescue. And rescuing is something Jesus has made abundantly clear we need a lot of.
7And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:)
Again we have the word "Deliver," and again the word means to rescue, or to save, or to preserve. And we all know how the story ends - with only two adults of the two million people "Saved" actually entering into the "Promised Land." Because of their unbelief and their disobedience, these rescued people only saw the "Saved" part of their deliverance, and died in the wilderness without even getting to see the Promised Land they were to inherit.
There are some mysterious passages in the Bible that appear to me to create a lot of confusion, especially among the Theologians. And as with many doctrines, the doctrine of Salvation makes pugilists of almost every denomination, not to mention the many cults and cultist off-shoots.
For instance; the conflict between Works and Grace. Just about every Fundamental denomination will concede that it is the work of Jesus that saves us. That is to say, it is by Grace we are saved because of Jesus' finished work on the cross, and not by anything we, ourselves can do.
However, beyond this bedrock foundation, churches disagree on just how much we, as converts, must do to "complete" our Salvation. Opinions range from the extreme that nothing can be added, and if anything is added that person will be sent to hell without passing "Go" -- to the other extreme of our having to fulfill every Mosaic law with the addition of don't smoke, dance, go to movies or chew gum in church.
It is not my purpose here to argue the merits or demerits of Works, I have covered this subject heavily in other studies. Rather my purpose is to try and reconcile certain Scriptures that seem to conflict with each other - at least they do not seem to fit the doctrine I have formed. Therefore, I wish to investigate and see if I must re-evaluate my doctrine; or cast it out and form a new doctrine. Or I might just have to be content with knowing that I don't know what God is saying, and won't until He reveals it to me (if ever).
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:)
"By Grace are ye Saved." Again, I see no dispute in that. By Jesus' work on the cross we are saved. Sin has been overcome, and we are no longer under the curse of Adam. We have been delivered from Egypt (the world). And, according to some, not just those "covered by the Blood," but all mankind has been redeemed. I see no particular problem with that concept - that is, I don't believe it changes things (Salvation) one way or the other. However, I have a question or two for those who take that view. Besides being condemned to death for their disobedience, Adam and Eve, and all who followed were cursed with having to till the ground by the sweat of their brow, thorns and thistles would pester us, and pain would be part of childbirth. Perhaps I have missed something, but it seems to me that if one part of the curse was lifted, so would the other parts.
When the Jews were Saved, that is, taken out of Egypt, they all ended up as food for the vultures. In other words, they died out there. Their rebellious, murmuring, complaining, faithless flesh was left half way between Egypt that kept them in bondage, and the land that God had promised them that flowed with milk and honey.
The flesh has to die. Flesh cannot enter the Promised Land.
(Are you getting a picture here?)
But!!! Some did enter the Promised Land. Only two, I grant you, but none the less, "flesh" did enter. Joshua and Caleb trudged for 40 years suffering the fate of the faithless, then entered in along with the "Children" of those who came out of Egypt.
That is - the "Newborns" entered into the Promised land along with a tiny group (two) who had proven themselves worthy while still in their "Flesh."
I am thinking of those who will enter in to the Millennium without having to die.
But Caleb, on the other hand, seems to have come out of nowhere and become a man respected by God and given essentially the same rewards as Joshua (Life and respect and land). Now, all Caleb did was stand in opposition to the people and help quiet them down - and showed great faith in the Word of God. Is this not what we are told to do as Christians? (He also obeyed the laws as well; this we know because if he didn't, the law required that he be stoned to death, or at least be sent out of the camp.) Could Caleb be a type of Christian believer? And if so, why did he not have to "die" in the wilderness? A type of Apostle, do you think? Oh well, yet another study for the future.
Also, is it possible that Moses dying in the wilderness after all the work he did for his people and the Lord is a foreshadowing of Jesus dying so that we (Joshua, Caleb and the "Born Agains") could enter in? Remember how Moses was offered the opportunity to enter in by himself without the burden of a whining, back-biting, rebellious multitude? (Ex 32:10; Mat 4:8-9)]
27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb 9:)
1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Mat 7:)
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For 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: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:)
13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom 8:)
42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1Cor 15:)
3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:)
So it appears to me that all those who have truly accepted the Lord, are following Him in Faith, Obedience and with His Holy Spirit as a guide (see the studies on the Shekinah Glory and the Holy Spirit) are on the DIE NOW, DON'T PAY LATER rather than the live now and pay dearly plan offered the World and the Flesh. (What does that tell you about the "Prosperity" messages touted by many of the Mega churches and other such Get Rich Quick Schemes?)
The Fall of Adam, it seems, was not only an event that took place long ago; but rather a perpetual experience that leads all mankind into a vortex of eternal doom. Most of the World, like those Jews who were miraculously led out of bondage, desire the worldly life and resent anyone, even God, telling them where they should go, what they should eat, and what they should do. Especially when not doing what they are told means death.
Most of us would rather wander our own way, lost in a wilderness or bound in slavery, as long as we can keep our fantasy of plenty (Ex 16:3). God's offer of Bread and Water in a Wilderness (Ex 16:15, 35; Mat 6:11,13) does not appeal too much to our fleshly desires, even if at the end of it lies a vague eternity of plenty (Ex 3:8; Rev 21:1-2,7).
But there is something in us, at least in many of us, that seeks to be rescued from the masses as they free-fall like an avalanche into oblivion - even if it means sacrificing worldly comforts in this life. There are even those who will blow themselves to oblivion along with anyone who disagrees with them as long as they believe it will afford them a bountiful life in the next world (see Persecution of the Saints).
These seekers of Salvation will grab on to any rope offered to them, as long as there is some hope of rescue attached - and especially if they don't have to give up too much of their lifestyle here on earth, or have to follow rules - especially God's. They would much rather follow someone who Claims to be God's spokesman, or the Messiah, than follow Jesus through the only door that leads them to God and Redemption.
I wonder why that is? I suppose there are a billion reasons - none of which God will accept on Judgment Day.
Here's a picture, or a parable if you please:
We have two men walking side by side. Both look alike - maybe even twins. But the similarity ends with their appearance, as they are neither from the same world, nor are they heading toward the same destination.
One man is made of clay. His name is Adam (Eve was also called Adam - it was Adam who called his mate and better half Eve (Gen 2:22-23; 3:20; 5:1-2). This man is of the earth, earthy; attractively displayed and well educated earth, but earth none the less. He is not only made of clay (dust), but destined to return to that dust from which he was created. In his present form he is but an empty vessel (pot), broken and unable to hold anything but puffed-up air which is his own Ego and self will (Mat 7:22; 1Tim 3:6).
This man is not a bad man; in fact he could be the finest example of manhood that has ever walked this earth. He may be the most generous, unselfish, loving man that flesh is capable of producing.(1Cor 13:1; Luke 18:10). But he is destined for the same garbage heap as the very worst man who has ever walked this earth. (Rev 13:4; Rom 3:23; John 10:9).
Does that seem fair? Not from our perspective it doesn't. But you and I did not make the rules; nor did we do the creating - so it is not up to us to do the judging, just to follow the directions of our Creator, and accept His judgments.
This man is despised by his parents, a social reject, unwelcome in any church - and destined for Glory.
This man, though ugly as a mud fence, is a whole vessel. Yes, he has leaks, many of them. But those leaks (unproductive limbs to be pruned in the parable of the Vineyard (John 15:1-11) he recognizes as they are made evident to him, offers them up to be healed, and accepts the discomfort or torment (along with the joyful outcome) that accompanies this healing (1Pet 2:5; Rom 12:1).
He is learning to be obedient. Perhaps barely so in the beginning (like a child has to learn obedience; it doesn't come naturally), but as he stumbles and falls, he rises again still heading in the direction he was instructed to go (James 1:2-4; Prov 24:16).
And he has received the Holy Spirit, which allows him to have communication with the Lord, and to acquire the faith and trust needed to heal the vessel of honor he is allowing himself to become (Eph 2:18; Acts 9:15; Rom 9:21; 2Tim 2:21; 2Cor 4:7).
We think of Jesus and the Apostles as healing (making whole, redeeming) people freely (Grace) with no strings attached. Here again, it is easy for us to miss the command part of the healing that demonstrates the faith of the one who has been offered the healing (Mat 9:2; 8:4; 14:28; Luke 6:10; John 9:7).
And we can't judge what our Lord wishes us to do by observing other people, because He will often tell one person to do something that is just the opposite of what He tells another (Luke 8:38; 18:23). We have to be in constant communication with Him to hear what we are expected to do. And the only way by which we can do that is through constant prayer by way of the Holy Ghost (Heb 13:15; Acts:6:4; John 5:17; Eph 2:18).
Nor, in the same vein, could they recognize their Father (God) because they were so absorbed with being the Children of Abraham, who they also venerated (John 8:33).
Nor again could they identify with the True Temple of God, who they were (or should have been) just as Jesus is, because they were too busy worshiping the Temple that Herod built.
[Unfortunately many of the churches, and far too many of those who call themselves Christians also worship the building, or assembly, or the regulations - even the Bible, instead of the One who all that represents.]
In the '50's our nation had much the same mentality. It was an "Ozzie and Harriet World." Everyone tried to be innocent and wholesome like the TV families we watched. Of course in the heart we were different, but we at least tried, which made for a safer and saner society. But then, we had just gone through a horrible war, and for the most part, we were a nation glad to still be alive, and still practicing the prayerful and God Fearing rituals we had practiced in hopes of bringing back the boys, or coming back if you were one of the boys off fighting the war.
But like Israel did over and over, we soon forgot our pledges and our dependance on God - especially so the younger generations that were too young and foolish to have learned to fear God.
So in the '60's we had a superficial kind of rebellion (that actually started in the '50's) that mostly involved music, cars, dance, dress, movies, haircuts and clothing (and of course; always slang).
Which led to the '70's Flower Children with their "free love" and "free sex."
And the '80's and the Anti-Establishment, anti-authority, and anti-everything attitude (which also began and continued [continues] to grow).
Until the '90's on into the new Millennium where we have "Everything Goes" except Morality and Jesus. (The word "God" is allowed in some areas as long as it isn't attached to "Jesus"). And much of the "church" has either become cults, or has backsliden into what one could call a sugar-coated marshmallow kind of organism.
Ozzie and Harriet to Ozzie Osborn. Fantasy World to End of the World. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
God said that He desires Mercy (Love) and not sacrifice. He wants to Inhabit us, not just have us visit Him once or twice a week with a short phone call in between asking for goodies like an irresponsible child.
And God wants something that is rarely preached in the pulpit today because it makes people uneasy which might cause them to slack off on their tithing, and maybe even leave the church.
But to our knowledge it is the very first words out of the mouth of John the Baptist (Mat 3:2), and the very first thing Jesus began to preach when He started His public ministry (Mat 4:17) In fact, it was God who used the word first - and because of the lack of it almost all mankind was wiped out (Gen 6:6,7).
Repent is the word, in case you hadn't guessed, or had not heard it before.
God wants us to stop living in and for the Flesh; and to start living in the Spirit.
He wants us to cease being human; and to begin letting Him turn us into one like Himself (John 3:6; 15:26; 16:7; Rom 8:13; Rev 3:20).
That missing element is Spirit, which is what we do not have any morein this unredeemed carnal flesh, in spite of popular belief to the contrary (Gen 3:11, 21; Ex 34:33; Lev 16:27: Mat 17:2; 1Cor 15:45; 2Cor 6:16; Heb 12:10; 2Pet 1:4; Rev 3:5,18; 21:3).
Those who are led by the Spirit are Spirit encased in a fleshly vessel (One New Man; the Body of Christ, the Church).
The two men walking side by side, yet at war.
And the war rages on all fronts. You (we) must fight the World, which is that unredeemed man who walks beside you and hates you because you are no longer like him. And the fact that you are not like him is a constant reminder that he is not who he wants to believe he is, and very likely pretends he is. Be alert! If you are certain that you are being led by the Spirit, and you find that you are having to fight those in your church, check to make sure that you are not dealing with Tares (spies who are checking out your liberties and wanting to tear you down); or a worldly organization meeting under the banner of a Church; or that your own spirit isn't yelling louder than the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit.
In the Church you will experience peace, unless you are not at peace with yourself and your relationship with God. But outside the doors of the Church you will experience turmoil. Even your home will very likely be a place of stress, especially if you are allowing the influence of the World to creep in through unsecured conduits into your fortress; such as TV, magazines, computers, radio, newspapers, unconverted friends, games and other such tools used by the enemy's forces.
1I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
2I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
6Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And 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. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Cor 6:)
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Phil 4:)
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:)
[See also 2Tim 2:22-23; Titus 3:9-11; Rom 13:12-14:1]
The devil has control of every aspect of this world, and he is making more and more use of those advantages as we near the end of this age. It only takes a quick look at any newspaper to see how rapidly we as a nation of supposedly "Godly" people are deteriorating into a mass of self-centered, sinful piles of filth.
"Everybody's doing it," "Everybody wants it," and "Everybody can get it" are the arrows used by Satan and his followers (the world) to keep everybody in the walls of his concentration camp until he is ready to do with them as he will. Like Pinochio in the house of pleasure, we mindlessly indulge in all the "feel good" experiences offered while looking for new and more appealing ones, oblivious to God's Word or how deeply we are getting involved or how radically we are becoming effected and decimated by it all.
The devil has his limits, however. He can do whatever he wants with those who are his own, that is, those who are still made from dust (Gen 3:19, 14; Job 1:6-12; Luke 22:31-32). But if you are no longer dust, but Spirit, he must ask permission of God (with your consent) to deal with you. And he will receive permission, but his purpose is no longer to use you, but to try you (purify and strengthen) in order to make you worthy of being in the presence of God. (Ps 26:2; Isa 54:16; Mat 4:1-3; Luke 22:31; 1Cor 3:13; 5:5; 2Cor 12:7; 1Pet 4:12).
The devil did not jam the apple down Adam's throat, he only appealed to Adam's ego and senses, that is, he told Adam what he wanted to hear (sound familiar?) and Adam took over from there. If Adam had been forced to eat the apple, he would not have been disobedient, but rather "raped" and not held accountable.
We are our worst enemy - our flesh. It was once said, "We have found the enemy, and it is us."
It's so much easier to blame someone else for our problems than to accept them, and therefore have to do something about them. "It's his fault that I am mad." "It's my kid's fault that I'm upset." "It's my parent's fault that I'm a mess." And if none of these pass under the bar we have these two to fall back on: "It's the devil's fault that I committed the crime." And finally: "It's God's fault that I'm this way; He made me like this."
And with the world fouled up as it is, we can often get away with these cop-outs, because everyone else is using them to justify themselves as well.
But I wonder how they will fare when used before the Judge on Judgement day? (Mat 7:21; Rev 22:14).
And without repentance, we cannot be altered into that person we are supposed to become, and hopefully desire to become.
We need to repent, but what is repentance?
Both in the Greek and in the Hebrew the word "Repentance" means to change one's mind, or/and to turn away. There is also the thought of to Agree with God, which to my way of thinking would also mean to disagree with our self - that is, to deny ourself of that which we desire, but is in contradiction to that which God wants from us.
[That is, the sincere churches have that, or some such attitude (those who do, not all do, of course). But there are many, many insincere churches that are run as a business to lure in people who are seeking spiritual guidance but are not at all willing to sacrifice themselves (other than their tithing and purchase of overpriced and often useless materials) in order to get it. Such churches are in name only and have no place in a study such as this.]
And works have no place in Salvation, which is the subject of this study. Salvation is offered to all, and it is free and clear of anything we can do or have done in effort to obtain it. In fact, the more you do to try to buy Salvation, the farther from it you will be. For evidence of this, take another look at the Pharisee and the Tax Collector at the alter of prayer (Luke 18:10).
Salvation is in the opposite direction of works. The closer you feel you are to being adequate and worthy of God, the farther you are from God's presence, and the closer you are to your own Ego and the reason man was kicked out of Heaven in the first place.
Only the worthless are worthy of Heaven. If we recognize our unworthiness and our rebellious nature, we will then be able to appreciate all God has to offer, and joyously take advantage of it (which means giving up all we are and all we have. But like the thief on the cross, the poor and downtrodden, that is very little).
The more we have to lose, especially if it involves our reputation or our self-image, the less likely we are to oblige. More often than not, those who say they have surrendered, yet are still rich or famous, are either liars or self-deceived. Like the TV Evangelists who say they support the poor, yet drive expensive cars and own mansions bought with money given by their followers intended for the cause which they supposedly support. Quite a contrast between them and Jesus and the Apostles who gave up everything for the Word and the poor, don't you think?
Since works have nothing to do with Salvation, does works have anything at all to do with our Christianity?
I have other long studies about Works and Grace, so I will not go into them here. However, I began this study using an example of how the Exodus of the Jews foreshadowed Salvation. Perhaps there is another such example that foreshadows how Works and Grace fit into Salvation.
Consider the story of Jacob. This story is used often as an example of Law and Grace, but not as often used as an example of Works. But let's see if Works applies at all.
The story of Jacob is a long one, but we are only concerned with Chapters 29 to 31 where he spends 21 years in Haran with his uncle.
Our story begins with Jacob falling in love with Laban's youngest and most attractive daughter, Rachel. But in order to marry the love of his life, he is told that he must (agrees to) work for 7 years for her. As you read this, or any other Bible story, keep in mind that 7 means and represents "Fulness" and/or "Completeness."
At the end of his servitude to Laban, Jacob found that he had not been given that woman for which he worked and waited, but was now married to the older sister that he did not want or love. The picture here is that he had worked for love, but had been given Law, since there was a law on the books that stated the oldest daughter must be married before the younger. Under the Old Testament Covenant, we must perform our work perfectly in order to fulfill the Law (Works), and yet, even then not receive that for which we worked, which was Love and Grace (which is what Jesus brought to the world, and which was rejected by those who could not give up their works for the Grace offered to them).
Then Jacob signed a New Covenant (Testament) with Laban for 7 more years in order to wed the love he desired, Rachel, who represents to us Grace.
How, you might ask, does Rachel represent Grace? Jacob had to work for Rachel just the same as he did Leah, so wouldn't they both represent the same thing, if anything at all?
The difference is that in order to marry his first wife, Jacob had to work before he could marry her. But not with Rachel. For Rachel (Grace and Salvation) he worked after he married the Bride of his heart (Phil 2:12; Eph 2:8-10; Rom 10:8-10).
If this story carries any weight, we can see by it that according to the New Covenant, we not only must work (be an indentured servant is what the contract implies, which is essentially what we sign on to when we become Christians: (Luke 14:28; Rom 1:1; James 1:1; 2Pet 1:1; Jude 1; Rev 1:1) for our Salvation after we receive it, but at the same time we have taken on the Law of the Old Testament that we didn't want or expect.
The Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees were not the only ones who missed the picture; so did the Disciples and even John the Baptist once he heard of Jesus' healing ministry instead of gathering an army. And if you look at the history of the Jews, it's those who came riding on white horses claiming to be the Messiah that they followed after.
As does the church of today; (as well as churches we call cults). Only, unlike the Jew who only saw the God of war and vengeance Who needed to be appeased, we only see the God of Peace and love Who would never hurt any of His own (and everyone, no matter how little they obey God is considered as "His own"). These have been lulled to sleep and will miss recognizing the God of Vengeance when He returns for His own, as they will be directed to look to the False Messiah who better fits their pre-conceived picture.
The scenario of the Jews all over again.
* * * * *
My conclusion at this time is that the Law can only be lived by the Righteous through the Holy Spirit. And to obtain that Righteousness and the Holy Spirit we must come prostrate to the cross of Jesus and submit all we are and all we have with a humble and contrite heart. We must realize that we are no more than dust that only has a value when it is used by our Lord for His own purposes, and not our own. We must recognize and admit that there is nothing we can say or do that will make us more acceptable to God, but rather all our "good works" of the flesh must be pruned so that the Excellent Works of the Holy Spirit may be brought forth.
But use caution "Let no man beguile you" (Col 2:4, 18). When you study, let the Holy Spirit be your instructor, because without Him there is no way that you will find the Truth.]
John 5: 25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.
Luke 14:26If any man cometh to me, and hate not his father, and mother and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 18: 18And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God. 20Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, 30Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Matt 6: 19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Gal 6: 14:But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
John 17: 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou. Father, art in me; and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Matt 7: 12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13Enter 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: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
2 1Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
Eph 2: 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Phil 2: 12work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and my father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide 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 in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide 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. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Psalm 79: 9Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.
Matt 5: 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matt 6: 22The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darknes. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
John 8: 12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 1: 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 3: 12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
Mark 16: 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Matt 7: 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
John 14: 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things,
1Cor 12: 7But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withall 8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
Mark 13: 9But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
13And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Rev 20: 4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,
6Blessed 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.
2 Tim 2: 11It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
John 6: 33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Phil 4: 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Rom 8:5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
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