Part 1 of 2
26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Eph 4:)
26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Eph 4:)
Today I found myself very angry, and as far as I could tell, for no reason. I just knew I was angry. There are signs of anger that we experience on occasion that seem unattached to anyone or anything. We try to explain these feeling away, or we look around to see who or what it is that's causing our anger. If the cat's nearby, a swift kick rids us of the symptoms of anger. If the kids are closer than the cat, we give them a good spanking and tell them its for their own good, and to punish them for the things they never got caught doing.
I doubt (at least I should hope) you don't go to those extremes, but I'm equally sure such cures for your anger have crossed your mind a time or two.
Today I was angry, and since there was no cat around, I had to take a deep look into myself and see if I could discover the reason for my anger. There was nothing evident, nothing I could pin my anger on, not even thoughts to give me a hint as to the cause. But I was angry.
Then it hit me what was causing my anger. The way I can tell when I've found the cause of my anger is that when I think on the object of my anger, and I talk to myself about the cause (I talk to myself, or more pointedly to God, because being a bachelor there is no one else to talk to about what's on my mind), tears begin to flow and I become ever more the angrier.
Is this how you deal with your anger? We see that Jesus handled His anger about this way, all the while following Paul's admonition to sin not. He told the people, or at least us, He was angry, and He let us know the reason for His anger.
I'm going to show you something that I'm sure you're familiar with to one degree or another. Look it over and see if you can find a common thread:
10So 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. (Luke 17:)
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom 12:)
37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mat 22:)
28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:)
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. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, (John 14:)
Another item to take note of is the lack of a time limit to this oath. It doesn't stipulate "As long as I am in the scouts." or "Until I grow up." The oath appears to last "until death" as does the marriage contract. Look closely and I think you'll find this lack of time stipulation in the other oaths as well:
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (Eph 5:)
10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Rev 2:)
9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Cor 6:)
21How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. (Isaiah 1:)
We say that contracts are made to be broken. And such seems to be the practice nowadays. But should it be so? How do you suppose God looks upon such a theory and practice?
26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:)
8For 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: 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (Heb 8:)
Did you notice that this "New Covenant" is with the "House of Israel and Judah?" These words are quoted by Paul of the New Testament Church. Are they for us today? Or are they for Israel only? If they are for us, wouldn't it be wise of us to assume that the other Words of God to Israel, those written in the Old Testament might also be for us as well?
Just a thought.
"I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to the service of humanity; I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due; I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity; the health of my patient will be my Number One consideration; I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession; my colleagues will be my brothers; I will not permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between my duty and my patient; I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception, even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity; I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour."
Notice this line: "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception, even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity." Is this promise being broken daily, and openly, and with government approval and support by our medical profession? We wouldn't accept a Boy Scout's breaking his promise. We wouldn't accept our spouse breaking his or her marriage contract, yet in many cases we not only accept, but hail a doctor's breaking his contract regarding the sanctity of life.
We become quite blind to our own deviancies from the straight and narrow, all the while we eagerly point our accusing finger at others for their deviations. Recently my church held a sanctity of life "protest" where they did nothing but hold up signs on a street corner. They received all kinds of verbal abuse by the passers by. We can expect such behavior from those who disagree with us. However, I wonder if those who are so adamant in their support of abortion would feel as they do if their parents felt the same way at their conception.
20For 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. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2Peter 2:)
Notice if you will the promise to support and defend the Constitution. I wonder if our politicians and judges have to take such an oath? I think their oath must say it's their responsibility to change the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But then what can we expect when our church officials, those who instruct us in the ways of the Lord, feel it their job to reinterpret and change the Word of God?
"So help me God." Does an Atheist have difficulty getting into the service? And if he takes such an oath, when he doesn't believe in God, what then else in the oath is he likely to be taking lightly? We have this same situation in our courts when the court officials and the witnesses are swearing on a Bible they don't believe, and in the name of God who they disbelieve. Is it in our courts the only place we see this hypocrisy?
32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Mat 10:)
17Obey 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:)
7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain ["Useless, destructive, idolatry"]; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex 20:)
36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Mat 12:)
Not demonstrated here are many other oaths, such as the oath our president and our congress must affirm before taking office. Also the oath of allegiance to the nation a person is attempting to become a citizen of.
Is there an oath required to become a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven? By the common view of the churches, at least the Fundamental churches and their ilk, it appears not. Let's see it such is true. See if you can remember this:
Let me see now, we have a lot of oaths here. Did you take any of them? I did. We have the oath we took when we were Boy (or girl) Scouts. We have the oath we made when we were inducted into the military. What other oaths have we taken? Do we remember any of them? Are we still keeping our oaths? Do oaths pass away when we're no longer in the situation we were in when we took the oath? Can we "Un-oath" ourself, or can we "Re-oath ourselves?
I once knew a man, and let me say I was close to this man, and I trusted this man, and he was an ordained minister, albeit he bought his ordination through the mail. But then again, so might your pastor have done the same for all you know. Many have. This man who I trusted had health issues through which I helped him many times. After a few years of this we made an agreement, an agreement mind you that required little of him but meant a great deal to me. After those years of helping him (not part of any agreement) it came time for him to fulfil his part of the agreement. He declined to do so, and as for the reason for his decline he said: "I don't feel like it."
Can we decline our part of an agreement because we no longer feel like doing what we said we will do, and what is expected of us? Would your spouse accept such an explanation? How about your children? Your boss? Your teacher? How about God? Let's see if God has anything to tell us about His feelings in regard to fulfilling one's part of a contract:
33Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? (Mat 21:)
34For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Matt 13:)
6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:)
And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Heb 4:)
13If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 15:)
"Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man." The Sabbath is not for us to be spending time on us, but to spend time with God and helping others.
He also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. These words, and others spoken to a similar effect, have been construed to mean we shouldn't work. That is not so. If I am accepted as a mechanic in a garage, I am expected to work. In fact, if I don't work, I don't get paid, and I don't eat. But the boss comes over to me and tells me to stop the work I'm doing, even though I'm working very hard and doing a good job at the work I'm doing, which is fixing a car. Does the boss's orders conflict with the orders I had been given when given the job as a mechanic? It would seem so, but they do not. I'm working, and I'm doing what I have been instructed to do: Only it's on my own car I'm doing it. God wants us to cease work, not His work, but our own work. God is going to rest on the seventh day, during the millennium. How is He going to rest? Who will fill in for Him and keep this earth going in the direction it is going without blowing itself up? God at that time will have a "people, a holy nation" of priests and kings that have worked to perfect themselves and proven themselves worthy and faithful, as has Jesus and the Apostles, to take over for Him.
Does this make sense to you? It does to me.
29The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. (Prov 15:)
Oh yes, I forgot. You were told that once you said these words and was dunked you were forever above such things because God can no longer see your faults. I hope you're right. But somehow I don't see that concept in the Bible:
18We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (1John 5:)
2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth HIMSELF, even as he is pure. 4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8He 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. 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1John 3:)
When we deal with sin, it's like losing weight or beginning an exercise program, or just about any other endeavor. Once we begin the road, we want to travel more of that road. We plan on losing 50 pounds just to satisfy the doctor. Then soon after we begin what our body resists so strongly, we abandon our goal of simply reaching a tolerable stage and we take up a new goal of perfection. Tell me if this is not so.
When we make the oath of a soldier it's likely we had no idea we would immediately have a foul-mouthed, hard-nosed sergeant breathing down our back every moment at boot camp making us do everything we least want to do. That doesn't change our oath or our commitment however. After a while, having learned a great deal about the job we've taken on, and as our body overcomes the pain incurred through training, the new body and the new strength we find in place of that pain causes us to feel it was all worth it. If we do as little as we're able to get by with during our initial training, trying to avoid the hard parts, we cheat ourself out of the rewards that hard work brings.
Dealing with sin is no different. We may say we want to change, but what is it we want to change about ourself? What is it God wants out of our life? The chances are we don't give this a second thought, thinking (if thought about at all) that's it's up to God to deal with our problem if He wants it dealt with. But when He does deal with our problem, we balk, murmur and complin about how mistreated we are, and we complain to, and about, the very One, God, who is doing the changing of us.
There were a lot of young men in boot camp with me who were writing letters home crying on momma's shoulder that they wanted to go home. I suspect I was one of them.
If our life isn't changing for the better, if we're not feeling more and more uncomfortable with the "little" sins we not long ago accepted as ok, and as a part of us, then we haven't even passed the starting gate of the road to perfection we promised to see to the end.
Is this the type of forgiveness you seek? I see far too many churches teaching this very thing when they say all you have to do is repeat these words and God will let you sin all you want and say nothing about it. It's God's problem now, and in spite of how much you disobey or sin, He has to accept you into His Mansion because you did your part, was baptized and said the words when you were three years old.
7Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. 8And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9And 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: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. (Zech 13:)
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:)
12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1Peter 4:)
10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; (Rev 2:)
Those who endured the testing fires passed on to the true fire of service. Those who slacked off, who wormed their way out of the testing by one means or another, were not fit for service.
Anyone who has taken on a program of an intense nature knows that we first must endure the resistance of doubt, of bodily rejection, and of friendly fire as those who should be our supporters try to talk us out of what we have set our mind to do. But once we have overcome these obstacles, and we've accomplished what we set out to do, our outlook changes, and we declare that the task is easy, and that anyone can do it.
But first comes the trial by fire before the rewards are forthcoming.
The Scripture above is used to support the concept that once saved, always saved, and all that can be lost is some rewards? What rewards? We're not struggling for rewards but to overcome. The rewards are given to the overcomers, not to those who have taken the oath and not attempted to fulfill that oath. Paul is referring to Jesus' parable of the 30, 60, 100 fold. If a plant, a stalk of wheat, does not produce it is cast in the fire. If it doesn't produce "fruit," it is useless. Fruit is measured by the amount of work that a person puts into serving the Lord. We see in the parable of the talents that those who produced 30 fold, that is who doubled their 5 talents, were given the same rewards as those who doubled their ten talents. They were given the responsibility according to what the Master saw them as possessing. He did not expect more of a person than what he could endure. The one who had nothing to show for himself, who's work produced nothing but selfish stubble, had nothing left after he was passed through the fire that was to try his works. He was cast out. Again we see this in the parable of the unfaithful servant and in the parable of the sower and the seed. Not everyone who began the journey, who was baptized and made their commitment, endured to the end. The beginning is not the end as we are so frequently taught in the churches. The porch is not the door. And the door is an entrance, not an end in itself. Those who enter the door are supposed to expect trial and fire, not a life of leisure. Jesus promised those who follow Him persecution and separation from all the things the world has to offer. If we're not experiencing those things He promised us, then as we see, we are illegitimate children and not sons and daughters.
22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29For our God is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:)
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:)
3Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 4And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:)
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1John 1:)
I might point out here that there are at least two types of expectations; there's the expectations we place on people they haven't asked for or demonstrated a justification for. This we see when we judge a person according to their color or their family background and such. In Luke 14:14 we learn that we're to give expecting nothing in return. When we give with the idea that we will receive, we build an expectation, placing a burden on someone they didn't ask for. Then there's the expectation that a person creates, that they have given reason for. One such example is the obvious, that is they have said we can expect a certain thing or reaction in return for something we did for them. Another is an expectation caused by their past behavior or their position. For instance a person with an honest reputation we expect to be honest with us. A person who is given authority such as a judge we expect to be fair. When a judge shows himself not to deal fairly we feel cheated and abused. Parents are a class of people we have a high degree of expectations placed on. Children, on the other hand, we hope will behave like little adults, but we expect children to act like children, whereas we balk when adults act like children.
When seeking forgiveness we have to take notice of the slippery words provided in the above Scriptures. These words are "Repent," "Confess," and "Ask for." Why would such words be skipped over or omitted from the pulpit? They contradict the message the pastor is trying to get across. Confess and repent is the same as "ask for" in that when we confess we're acknowledging our guilt and asking for mercy. When others come to us and ask for forgiveness they are confessing their guilt and asking for mercy. We must ask in order to receive. That's part of the law of reciprocity, at least as far as forgiveness is concerned. We are to love to be loved, but forgiveness comes after the fact, not before the act.
Repent means we stop doing the thing we're asking forgiveness for. So many of the churches teach that after one has made the initial confession, they are no longer to confess and repent because all sins, past and present, are under the blood and God can't see them. If this were so, then why are our works going to be judged? We have been given the picture that Jesus is going to stand by our filthy side and say "He (or she) is one of mine and their sins no longer count against them." Jesus gave us picture after picture demonstrating how this is true only so for those who are actively taking up their cross and following Him, walking the sacrificial path He walked. If we count on what we're told to get us through the pearly gates, we're just asking for trouble that will be very long lasting.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Self-deception is a natural trait of mankind. And to assist us in our self-deception we have many other deceived people to help us along in our self-deception.
If we think we no longer have to concern ourselves with sin once we're saved, we call God a liar, and we provide ourself the reason not to fulfill our contract with God. Remember, part of the Sinner's Prayer is a request that He rid us of our sin. If we believe we zapp, have no more sins, then how is God going to help us rid ourself of the sin we no longer have? I can't speak for you, but for me I'm loaded with sins I'm still struggling with. Pastors have a hard time dealing with my refusal to admit I'm now perfect and sinless as they see themselves to be. How about you? Are you now sinless?
You say your church doesn't preach that you are now sinless because you've been "converted" and are now a child of the King? Pay close heed to the underlying message being preached. I dare say, unless you belong to a church on the list designated as cult, you're being taught such a message. I must stipulate however that I have seen a church where the pastor taught otherwise, but the next pastor to stand behind the pulpit followed the traditional path of sinlessness for the believer.
"And ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." God wants to have in His world a people just like Himself. God is kind and merciful to the undeserving, the wicked, as well as to the righteous, the deserving. We must have the same godly nature if we hope to be with Him in eternity. We have to look beyond our present situation and see the eternal plan of God for us if we hope to be a part of that eternal plan.
"And help me avoid sinning again." When you said these words, were you acknowledging that sin still exists for you and that you have to so something about it? Or were they just words you were told to say? As described above, you can now believe yourself free of sin and forget this part of your pledge and still be well within most church doctrines concerning the sin question. However, such a concept contradicts the pledge we've taken stating we want to stop sinning. Sin is sin, whether we justify it or not.
1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Heb 4:)
"Any of you should seem to come short of it." We can come short of entering into God's rest? How can that be? Aren't we assured of those chariots swinging low for us simply because we were baptized and went to all that trouble to repeat those words we can't remember saying? Didn't they make us an instant overcomer, ready for Heaven and our golden wings when God chooses to take us home?
Paul has some strange ways of expressing himself at times. He'll talk to a group as if they're all true saints of God, then he'll turn around and say something like what we just read, not only about us, but about himself. Consider his statement that he feared being a castaway. Peter said something about Paul's way of looking at things, let's see what Peter said:
Belief is the same thing as faith. What we hear about belief, we are accepting to apply to faith as well. We read this about belief and faith:
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 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. 13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, KEEP IT, AND BRING FORTH FRUIT with patience. (Luke 8:)
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, BUT HAD PLEASURE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. (2Thes 2:)
9That 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. 10For WITH THE HEART MAN BELIEVETH UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS; and with the mouth CONFESSION IS MADE UNTO SALVATION. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall NOT BE ASHAMED. (Rom 10:)
1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. (1John 5:)
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:)
26And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Mat 14:)
12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:)
6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7That 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: (1Peter 1:)