Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why is The Preaching of The Cross Important?

The Missing Message In The Modern Church...
Phil 2:8 (NIV) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!

Mark 8:34-38 (NAS) And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Luke 9:23 (KJV) 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."

The Full Gospel
1 Cor 15:1-4 (Wey) But let me recall to you, brethren, the Good News [the gospel] which I brought you, which you accepted, and on which you are standing, through which also you are obtaining salvation, if you bear in mind the words in which I proclaimed it--unless indeed your faith has been unreal from the very first. For I repeated to you the all-important fact which also I had been taught, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that He was buried; that He rose to life again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

Luke 24:7 (NIV) "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again."

Mat 16:24 (KJV) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

But That's Condemning, Brother!
1 Cor 2:2 (Phi) ...It was my determination to concentrate entirely on Jesus Christ himself and the fact of his death upon the cross.

A.W. Tozer: "The old cross is a symbol of death. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again in newness of life. God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It always stands at the far side of the cross."

God Has Passed Sentence On The Carnal Man. Will We Agree?

Before God can give us new life "in Christ", we must participate in His death. God will not tolerate sin in the long run, so the carnal man is condemned. To be condemned is to be sentenced to death. While we all know this (what the "wages of sin" are) we'd just as soon not hear any more about it. It's sounds so negative! How are we going to attract people with this kind of offensive stuff? Let's skip straight to the encouraging part and mis-apply all the Scriptures to our flesh, instead of allowing the Spirit to be born in us through the condemning message of the gospel.
Rom 8:1,3 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus... For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man...

Those who are resistant to the gospel often quote the "no condemnation" part of the above verses, not reading on to how this is achieved: by "condemning sin in sinful man". The only way we can be "in Christ Jesus" is by experientially participating in His death, daily, so that we might receive new life.
2 Cor 1:9 (Wey) ...We had, as we still have, the sentence of death within our own selves, in order that our confidence may rely, not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead to life.

2 Cor 2:15-16 (NKJ) For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life...

Rom 8:1,3 (NRS) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For... to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.

A.W. Tozer: "Why do we build our churches upon human flesh? For we teach men not to die with Christ but to live in the strength of their dying manhood... If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it."

Save Yourself! Come Down Off That Cross... And We Will Believe!
Mat 27:40 (NIV) [the mockers to Jesus at the Crucifixion:] "...Save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"

Mat 27:42 (NIV) "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him."

Gal 6:12 (NAS) Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.

Luke 14:27 (Phi) "The man who will not take up his cross and follow in my footsteps cannot be my disciple."

Condemnation: Now Or Later?

Whenever God manifests himself to sinful man through the Holy Spirit, it means condemnation for the flesh. If we will quit squirming off the alter, there is new life offered--after death. The only way the Spirit can come alive in us--is through us agreeing with God's "death sentence" (what condemnation means) on our sinful nature now, rather than later.
Mark 8:35 (NAS) "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it."

1 Cor 11:31-32 (Phi) If we were closely to examine ourselves beforehand, we should avoid the judgment of God. But when God does judge us, he disciplines us as his own sons, that we not be involved in the general condemnation of the world.

A.W. Tozer: "There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross of judgment."
Phil 3:18-19 (Phi) For there are many, of whom I have told you before and tell you again now, even with tears, whose lives make them the enemies of the cross of Christ. These men are heading for utter destruction--their god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon.

The Old Rugged Cross Versus The New "Nerf Cross"

A.W. Tozer: "All unannounced, and almost undetected, there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles... The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. The new cross, if understood aright, is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure.

"That this world is a playground rather than a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians. They are facing both ways, enjoying Christ and the world too."
Mark 15:30 (NKJ) [the mockers] "Save Yourself, and come down from the cross!"

Following Christ, Or A New "Un-Condemning" Gospel?

A.W. Tozer: "The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect... Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name... We want to be saved but we insist Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Mansoul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility."
John 12:48 (NIV) "There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day."

Luke 24:25-26 (Wey) [Jesus:] "O dull-witted men," He replied, "with minds so slow to believe all that the Prophets have spoken! Was there not a necessity for the Christ thus to suffer, and then enter into His glory?"

Want To Know The Future?

The prophetic fact is, if we will not agree with God's sentence of condemnation to all that is sin within us now, then we will be condemned eternally later. We must choose the pain of temporary condemnation now, or permanent eternal condemnation later. If you want to save your life--you will lose it.

God has told us the end from the beginning, and the way to Him. It is the way of the cross. "Follow me" Jesus says, and He proved it worked. This is the gospel as we have received it, and we have been warned not to change or alter it. There is no other way to eternal life. God "encourages" us to participate with Him in a life of condemnation to all that is carnal. He promises new life--a very encouraging message, but only through death, a very condemning message.
Mat 23:33 (NIV) "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"

The ultimate prophecy about any of us is that we are either headed to heaven or hell. Will we continue to despise (1 Thes 5:19) the most personal of prophecies--that we are going to be eternally condemned if we continue to refuse the temporarily condemning message of the Gospel now? Will we continue to collect to ourselves teachers who "are not condemning" to our flesh? Will we reject the Spirit of prophecy, the Spirit of Jesus, telling us the truth--that condemnation is now or later, temporary or permanent? Who then will save us? Who then will be our advocate?
Luke 6:46 (NKJ) "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?"

One Way
Mark 8:34 (NAS) And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."

Mat 10:38 (NIV) "And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

A.W. Tozer: "The man who is crucified is facing only one direction... He [cannot] look back. The crucified man on the cross is looking only one direction and that is the direction of God, and Christ and the Holy Ghost... The man on the cross... has no further plans of his own... Somebody else made his plans for him, and when they nailed him up there all his plans disappeared... When you go out to die on the cross you bid good-bye--you are not going back!

"If we would preach more of this and stop trying to make the Christian life so easy it's contemptible--we would have more converts that would last. Get a man converted who knows that if he joins Jesus Christ he's finished, and that while he's going to come up and live anew, as far as this world is concerned he is not going back--then you have a real Christian indeed."
1 Pet 4:1 (Phi) Since Christ suffered physical pain you must arm yourselves with the same inner conviction that he had. To be free from sin means bodily suffering.

Been There, Done That?

Having been made holy by participating with Christ unto death, by accepting God's condemnation of sin in us now, we are included "in Christ" and will escape God's eternal condemnation. But are we holy yet? Have we been through the whole treatment? Or are we deluding ourselves that we are completely "in Christ" while still partially "in the flesh"?
1 Jn 3:5-6 (NIV) ...In him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Rom 6:5-8 (NIV) If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

A.W. Tozer: "Our uncrucified flesh will rob us of purity of heart, Christ-likeness of character, spiritual insight, fruitfulness; and more than all, it will hide from us the vision of God's face, that vision which has been the light of the earth and will be the completeness of heaven."

Through The Cross...
Gal 6:14 (NIV) May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Rom 5:16,18 (Wey) And it is not with the gift as it was with the results of one individual's sin; for the judgment which one individual provoked resulted in condemnation, whereas the free gift after a multitude of transgressions results in acquittal... It follows then that just as the result of a single transgression is a condemnation which extends to the whole race, so also the result of a single decree of righteousness is a life-giving acquittal which extends to the whole race.

Gal 2:20 (Wey) I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me; and the life which I now live in the body I live through faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up to death on my behalf.

Gal 5:24 (NIV) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Good News?

A.W. Tozer: "The man who takes his cross and follows Christ will soon find that his direction is away from the sepulcher. Death is behind him and joyous and increasing life before."
2 Cor 13:4 (NIV) For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him...

John 5:24 (NIV) "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

Heb 12:2 (Phi) Let us run the race we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God's throne.

1 Cor 1:18 (Phi) The preaching of the cross is, I know, nonsense to those who are involved in this dying world, but to us who are being saved from that death it is nothing less than the power of God.

Ray Stedman On The Cross:
"[Crosses] had only one purpose... to bring an end to an evil man! Those who were crucified had no life in this world beyond that point... This is what God does with evil people: he puts them to death. Thus, in the cross of Christ, God took all that we are in Adam, all our natural life with its dreams and hopes and resources and brought it to a crashing end by the dying of Jesus.

"I must clearly understand that it is not up to me to put this natural life to death... I am only expected to agree with the rightness of that execution and stop trying to make it "live" again before God... Thus when I cease trying to justify myself and excuse the activities of the flesh and agree with God that it is rightfully under sentence of death, then I ...'carry in my body the dying of Jesus.'

"If I welcome the cross and see that it has already put to death the flesh... then I find myself able to say no to its cry for expression. [We must] agree with the implications of the cross in terms of actual experience.

2 Tim 2:11 (NKJ) This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.

"Throughout Scriptures the order never varies. First death, then life. Death [leads to] resurrection. When we consent to death, then the life of Jesus can flow unhindered from us. It is never the other way. We cannot claim resurrection life first, and then by means of that put the flesh to death. We must first bow to the cross, then God will effect the resurrection.
"The key to experiencing the life of Jesus is our willingness to accept the implications of his death. We will not discover the glory of the treasure and power within us until we are ready to accept in practical terms the result of the dying of Jesus."

Luke 24:25-26 (NIV) He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
Luke 9:23 (NAS) ..."Follow Me."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Should a Christian Marry an Unbeliever?

Unfortunately, some Christians hope that they can convert the person he/she is dating or marrying. They often think that their spirituality is strong enough and that they can witness to, or motivate the other person to convert through their patience and love. Why do they think this? Three reasons: They love the person and are emotionally blinded, they are naive, and they do not know God's word.
This may sound harsh, but something as serious as marrying an unbeliever needs to be dealt with properly and to-the-point. We are not to compromise the will of God and endanger our spiritual well being. All we need to do is look in the Old Testament to see why God says not to marry unbelievers. This is what God said to the Israelites.

“When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and shall clear away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, 2 and when the Lord your God shall deliver them before you, and you shall defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods," (Deut. 7:1-4).

The reason not to marry an unbeliever is that he/she can influence you away from the Lord. Don't be so naive to think that "you" will never fall. It happens all the time.


If you marry an unbeliever and have children, how will it effect their spirituality to have the parents divided over spiritual things? Is it a help or a hindrance to their spiritual health? Obviously, it is a hindrance.
Unfortunately, too many people do not take into account the extremely serious situation of children and their eternal destiny. Yet, because of "love" and because they listen to the hearts over the word of God, many people marry unbelievers anyway...and often suffer dire consequences.

What if you are already married to an unbeliever?

If you are already married to an unbeliever then you need to love him/her as best you can, set a good example of being a Christian as you can, and pray for your spouse's salvation. You cannot leave your spouse (unless there is physical abuse, adultery, or if you are abandoned). You need to stick it out. Seek the Lord.

We Must Forgive Ourselves?

If you look in the mirror and look yourself in the eyes but you don't like the person you see, then you need to forgive yourself and learn how to love the person that God has made in you! This is what we call a stronghold, or an incorrect thinking pattern that needs to be torn down in your mind. If you have repented of your sins, and taken them before the Lord, then you are forgiven... and now you need to come to realize the power of that. You need to stop associating your failures with your "new creation" image, for God's Word says...

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Can you honestly look in the mirror and tell yourself, "I love you" and mean it with your heart? I'm not talking about a prideful way, but a humble means of accepting who God has formed in you. We need to love and accept the person that Christ has made in us, and forgive ourselves as Christ has forgiven us!

The importance of forgiving yourself

When you look inside, you hate yourself, you could kick yourself over and over for your past failures and choices. You've came to Jesus and repented, but you haven't really accepted the truth about what Jesus has done for you yet. You still feel ashamed and guilty over your past and you keep holding it against yourself. The way you see yourself is not an accurate picture of what Christ has done for you. It is basically denying the work that Jesus accomplished for you on the cross! If your sins are forgiven, then you need to see yourself as separated from your sins... but no, the enemy will try diligently to remind you of your past and continue to beat you up over sins that were supposed to be nailed to the cross. You are wrapped up in guilt and condemnation my friend... and you NEED to forgive yourself. You can go through deliverance, but if you don't forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made, you won't experience the breakthrough that you need to be totally set free.

When the recipient of a gift receives it gladly and with joy, the giver is glorified. But when the recipient receives the gift, but ignores it, the giver is mocked, belittled and feels unappreciated. When we fail to forgive ourselves, we are like a child who is given a trip to Disney World for Christmas, yet he keeps complaining that he can't go... even after his parents have already packed the car and are waiting on him to get in! How would would you feel if you were that child's parents? Wouldn't you feel sick inside, knowing that you spend all that money on this trip, the tickets, the hotel reservations, etc., and your son refuses to go because he doesn't believe that what you gave him was real? Think how your heavenly Father feels when He looks down and sees His children walking around beating themselves up over things that He shed His blood so that they could be forgiven and set free from?

I believe it is clear that failing to forgive ourselves from our past mistakes is denying the work of the cross and the shed Blood of Christ in our live. When God's Word tells us that we've been washed clean with the Blood of Christ, and our sins are removed through the atoning work that Jesus did for us... yet we still "could kick ourselves" for our mistakes, then we are basically saying, "I don't care what the Blood of Jesus has done, I still hate myself for what I've done!" It's stagging to think such a thing, but that is what really happens when we refuse to forgive ourselves.

If you don't see yourself as a new creature in Christ, then you have a serious problem. You will be hindered and held back from freely and confidently living out who you really are in Christ! You will be hesitant and feel unworthy to approach your Heavenly Father, because you feel you're a failure and unworthy... this is why it is vital for your conscience to be cleansed of dead works (your past failures)...

Hebrews 9:14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Failing to forgive yourself will put blinders on your spiritual eyesight quickly. It will cause you to see things through the eyes of guilt, shame and condemnation. It will ruin your faith, and cause you to go blind spiritually:

2 Peter 1:9, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

In the following verse, we are told to forgive one another, but did you know that the root word for the phrase "one another" actually includes yourself? The Greek root word Heautou refers not only to others, but also to ourselves!

Colossians 3:13, "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."

Unforgiveness is a known door opener to torment from demonic spirits. Matthew 18:23-35 tells us how the unforgiving person is turned over into the hands of tormenters (that is, tormenting spirits). If we are unforgiving towards ourself, we open that door for tormenting spirits to come against us because we are not really accepting the work that Christ did for us on the cross. Another key to the demonic is bitterness, and when we become bitter with ourselves, we become defiled spiritually:

Hebrews 12:15, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

God's Word tells us that Jesus purged (that is, removed) our sin (Hebrews 1:3, "...when he had by himself purged our sins..."), but if we fail to forgive ourselves, we are in essence, calling God's Word a liar! We are saying, "I hate myself because I did that sin... I won't forgive myself of it!" when God's Word tells us that the sin has been PURGED or REMOVED from us... who are we to say that it is still part of our past? We are in essence, calling God's Word a LIE!

I can't tell you how important it is to realize that when the recipient of a gift (you and I) receives a gift (of Jesus' shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins) with joy and enjoys it to the fullness, the giver of that gift (that is Jesus) is glorified! Failing to forgive ourselves is denying or rejecting the gift of God and brings no glory (actually dishonor and humiliation) to what Jesus did for us.

What Hebrews chapter 10 has to say...

Hebrews 10:1-22, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

Step #1, be honest with yourself

Realize that down deep inside, you're not happy with the person of your past. If you are in denial, then forget trying to treat the root of your problem. You need to see the problem before you can apply the solution. It might even be helpful to list all of the things that you hate about your past, and one-by-one, give them to the Lord and release yourself from each failure.

Step #2, you need to realize that your debt has been PAID

The only way that you can beat yourself up, after Jesus has paid your debt, is if you aren't accepting the gift that He has given you. If He's paid the debt, and you keep denying that fact, then you are rejecting the very gift that God has given you! You need to accept what Jesus has done for you by faith.

Galatians 2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

The blood of Jesus was shed for the payment of your sins:

Matthew 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

Because of the powerful work that Christ did for us on the cross, God's Word tells us to come boldly unto the throne of grace, so that we can obtain mercy:

Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

The price for your redemption has been paid in full. It's up to you receive it and realize that the blood of Jesus actually removes the sin from your record. Now you need to see yourself as being forgiven and justified (which means, "just as if you've never sinned").

In Luke 7, Jesus took a very sinful woman (likely a prostitute) and freely washed her clean without hesitation...

Luke 7:47, "Wherefore 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."

The above verse is just one example of how freely Jesus would forgive a person of their sins. It is true that if we take our sin to Jesus, He will freely forgive us without hesitation:

Romans 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"

There is also no sin that you can take to Jesus, which He will not forgive... for the Bible tells us that He is prepared to cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness if we will turn to Him with our failures!

1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Step #3, allow the Holy Spirit to heal your soul

You need to let God heal you... as long as you keep holding something against yourself, you are blocking the Holy Spirit's power from entering and healing that area of your mind and life! You need to open up your heart, and allow the light of Christ to shine into the darkness of your soul.

Step #4, begin to see the "new creature" of Christ within you

You are not seeing yourself as you really are. If you've repented of your past, and sought God's forgiveness, then you are forgiven or justified (which means "just as if I've never sinned"). It's not that you should try to forget what happened (don't remind yourself of it either though), but the important key is to see your past through the Blood of Jesus. You need to see your past as "paid in full" by the work that Christ did for you on the cross! Seeing things with this perspective changes everything! You need to begin seeing yourself through the blood of Jesus.

One day, when the enemy was trying to beat me up over my past, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me and said, "You need to KNOW that you're clean... your faith depends upon it!"

Some Bible verses to meditate on

I encourage you to repeat these scriptures out loud, for there is indeed power in the spoken confession of God's truth. Do this on a regular (daily) bases and it will begin to renew your mind according to the truth found in God's Word.

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Say to yourself, "I am a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away and all things become new."

1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Say to yourself, "When I confess my sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive me it, regardless what kind of unrighteousness I may have committed."

Collisions 3:13, "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."

Say to yourself, "I will love and forgive myself, as Christ has forgiven me."

Psalms 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."

Say to yourself, "My sins are not simply covered, but they are removed from me... taken so far from me, that there is no way that they can be considered a part of me anymore!"

Revelations 1:5, "And from Jesus Christ, who... washed us from our sins in his own blood."

Say to yourself, "I am washed from my sins by the Blood of Christ Jesus Himself."

Matthew 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (The NT Greek tells us that the word 'remission' here means, "Forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty.")

Say to yourself, "Because the Blood of Christ was shed for me, I am let go as if I have never sinned."

Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Say to yourself, "I have been justified (made right, as if I have never sinned) by faith and have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ."

Galatians 2:16, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

Say to yourself, "I cannot be justified by works of the law or acts of righteousness, but by my faith in Christ Jesus."

Romans 3:22, "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference."

Say to yourself, "Because I believe, the righteousness of God is upon me."

Romans 4:3-8, "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 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."

Say to yourself, "The righteousness of God is upon me, not as a result of works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, and the grace of God. I did not earn it, yet He gave it to me, and I receive it by faith in Christ Jesus."

Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Romans 6:4, "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."

Say to yourself, "The old me has been crucified and my old man has been buried with Christ. Now my life is in Christ as I have been raised to life with Him and I am free to walk in the newness of life."

Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."

Say to yourself, "My Heavenly Father chose to forget my past sins for HIS sake. When He looks at me, He doesn't want to see my sin... He wants to see His precious creation which was purchased and justified with the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ."

Hebrews 9:14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Say to yourself, "Because of the Blood of Christ, my conscience can be purged of dead works (your past failures) so that I can serve the Living God."

Hebrews 10:22, "...draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."

Say to yourself, "Not only did God chose to forget my sins, but He also wants me to forget them as well. He wants me to draw near to Him with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, being sprinkled clean from an evil conscience."

Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Say to yourself, "I am in Christ Jesus, and therefore free from condemnation."

Closing thoughts

Failing to see yourself as God's Word sees you is denying the very work that Jesus did for us when He suffered and died on our behalf. Don't let this continue in your life another day... accept the free gift of God and begin to see yourself as a new creation in Christ Jesus, who's past failures have been purchased with the precious Blood of Jesus!

If you hate the person that you are, but God's Word tells us that you are a new creation that's been washed clean with the Blood of Christ, who "past" has been purchased with the work that Christ did for us on the cross... do you hate that person? Do you hate the new creation that God's made you? Or are you still a sinner in need of salvation? Are you in Christ or not?

Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Do you want to bring glory and honor to Jesus? Then accept His gift with great joy, and begin to see yourself as that new creation... begin to see your past failures as being "paid in full" by the great sacrifice that Christ made for you. Begin to see you the same way that your Heavenly Father sees you!

How Are Strongholds Pulled Down?

There is, according to Scripture, no doubt that Satan rules over a hierarchy of evil spirits who inhabit the earth’s atmosphere and who assist him in ruling the kingdom of darkness. That those evil spirits are “territorial,” ruling over certain geographical areas, is a concept that is also contained in the Bible (see Dan. 10:13, 20-21; Mark 5:9-10). That Christians have the authority to cast demons out of other people and the responsibility to resist the devil is scriptural (see Mark 16:17; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). But can Christians pull down evil spirits over cities? The answer is that they can’t, and to attempt to do so is a waste of their time.

Before we expose the error of this particular myth, it would be helpful for us once again to consider another common-sense rule of sound Bible interpretation. Let’s begin by looking at an example of some Christians in the Bible who misinterpreted, because of an assumption, a statement Jesus once made. Our example is found in John’s gospel, and occurred after Jesus’ resurrection. Upon learning from Jesus about future persecution he would suffer, Peter questioned the Lord about his fellow disciple, John:

Peter therefore seeing him [John] said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” This saying therefore went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:23-21).

Here is a classic example of some Christians who misinterpreted Jesus’ words because they read into His statement more than He intended. Jesus never said that John would not die; He only said that if He wanted John to be alive at His return, it was His own business, and none of Peter’s!

I’m sure you can see how it would have been tempting to read into Jesus’ words and assume that John would not die. But we must be careful that we don’t make a similar error when we interpret any of God’s Word. We must be cautious in making any assumption that cannot be clearly proven from what the Bible says, or else we could find ourselves believing something that is not true.

This kind of misinterpretation is often made, however, by many Christians. Just because we can cast demons out of people, we should not assume that we can pull down evil spirits over cities. There are numerous examples of casting demons out of people in the gospels and the book of Acts, but can you think of even one example in the gospels or the book of Acts where someone pulled down an evil spirit that was ruling over a city or geographical area? You can’t because there are no such examples. Can you think of one instruction anywhere in the epistles about our responsibility to pull down evil spirits from the atmosphere? No, because there are none. For this reason, we have no biblical basis to believe that we can or should be waging “spiritual warfare” against evil spirits in the atmosphere.

Extrabiblical or Unbiblical?
Errors of assumption are often justified by the argument, “I may not be able to prove what I am doing is correct according to the Bible, but you can’t prove that it is incorrect either.” Claiming that there is vast difference between what is unbiblical and what is extrabiblical, they justify their practice, classifying it as not necessarily supported by Scripture, yet not refuted by Scripture either.

This is a weak argument indeed. If God wants us to know something or do something, He makes it quite clear in Scripture. Why would anyone want to practice a kind of spiritual warfare for which there is no instruction or example in the Bible? Why not rather practice that which is clearly revealed as God’s will in Scripture, such as casting demons out of people, preaching the gospel, making disciples, and praying scripturally?

Moreover, as we study Scripture closely, that which may be classed by some as extrabiblical is often exposed as being very unbiblical. Such is the case with the concept of pulling down territorial spirits.

Pushing Parables Too Far
Reading more meaning into the Bible than God intended is an error Christians often make when they read scripture passages containing metaphorical language. The Bible is full of comparisons, because they help us understand spiritual concepts. When Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven is like,” He took something His listeners did understand to explain something they did not understand. Metaphors are extremely helpful in aiding the learning process.

We must not forget, however, that every comparison is imperfect, because the two things compared are not usually identical in every respect. A metaphor is defined as a comparison of things basically unlike but having some striking similarities. For this reason, we must be cautious that we do not force a meaning upon a metaphor that God never intended. For example, Jesus once said:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away (Matt. 13:47-48, emphasis added).

What did Jesus mean in this comparison? Like most of His parables, He wanted to convey one point. In this case, He wanted us to know that not everyone will automatically get into the kingdom of heaven, but that there will be a separation into two categories, good and bad. But that is where the similarities between His story of the gathered fish and the kingdom of heaven end.

Certainly Jesus was not trying to teach us that the kingdom of heaven will consist of fish! Or that the good fish in heaven will be put into containers! Or, if you are smart enough to realize that the fish in the story represent people, Jesus does not want us to think that those people are going to be caught in a big dragnet or that their judgment before God will take place on a beach! Moreover, Jesus was not trying to teach us, as “good fish,” that our good works earns our salvation. Any of these conclusions would be reading more into His parable than He intended.

Yet how often this is done by some who try to read meaning into every minor detail of Jesus’ more lengthy and detailed parables. They end up confused, because they fail to realize that in every comparison, at some point, similarities turn to dissimilarities.

Because Scripture so often contains metaphorical language, we must be careful that we don’t fall into that trap, as unfortunately, many who teach about spiritual warfare have done. Satan is a master at twisting Scripture (see Matt. 4:5-7). He loves it when we misinterpret what God says.

“Pulling Down Strongholds”
The Bible does sometimes use military terminology when describing the Christian’s responsibility. Yet, in those cases, we must ask ourselves if we are “pushing the parables too far,” by reading more into metaphorical language than was meant. For example, a classic text that is often misinterpreted is 2 Corinthians 10:3-6:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

The King James Version, rather than saying “we are destroying speculations,” says we are “pulling down strongholds.” From this one metaphorical phrase, practically an entire theology has been built to defend the idea of doing “spiritual warfare” in order to “pull down the strongholds” consisting of evil spirits in the atmosphere. But as the New American Standard Version clearly conveys, Paul is speaking, not of evil spirits in the atmosphere, but of strongholds of false beliefs that exist in people’s minds. Speculations are what Paul was destroying, not wicked spirits in high places.

This becomes even clearer as we read contextually. Paul said, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (emphasis added). The battle of which Paul symbolically writes is a battle against thoughts, or ideas that are contrary to the true knowledge of God.

Using military metaphors, Paul explains that we are in a battle, a battle for the minds of people who have believed the lies of Satan. Our primary weapon in this battle is the truth, which is why we’ve been commanded to go into the entire world and preach the gospel, invading enemy territory with a message that can set captives free. The fortresses we are destroying have been built with building blocks of lies, joined by the mortar of deception.

If you will take the time to read all of the tenth chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, you will see that he makes no mention there of wicked spiritual powers, even though we know (and he knew) that wicked spirits are involved in spreading lies. Therefore, in this particular passage, evil spirits were not the “strongholds” of which He was thinking when he wrote. To say that Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 prove that we can and should practice pulling down evil spirits in the atmosphere is an obvious misrepresentation of what Paul actually meant.

If Paul did mean that we should pull down evil spirits in the atmosphere, we would have to wonder why he himself never practiced what he preached, as there is no mention of him ever doing it in the history of his ministry as recorded in the book of Acts.

The Whole Armor of God
Another passage in Paul’s writings that is often misinterpreted is found in his Ephesian letter:

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:10-17).

May I initially point out that although this passage is definitely about the Christian’s struggle with the devil and evil spirits, there is no mention of pulling down evil spirits over cities. As we study the passage closely, it becomes clear that Paul is primarily writing about each individual’s responsibility to resist Satan’s schemes in his personal life by applying the truth of God’s Word.

Notice also the evident metaphorical language of the entire passage. Paul obviously was not speaking of a literal, material armor that Christians should put on their bodies. Rather, the armor of which he speaks is figurative. Those pieces of armor represent the various scriptural truths that Christians should use for protection against the devil and evil spirits. By knowing, believing, and acting upon God’s Word, Christians are, figuratively speaking, clothed in God’s protective armor.

Let’s examine this passage in Ephesians verse by verse, while asking ourselves, What was Paul really trying to convey to us?

The Source of Our Spiritual Strength
First, we are told to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). The emphasis is on the fact that we should not derive our strength from ourselves but God. This is further brought out in Paul’s next statement: “Put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11a). This is God’s armor, not ours. Paul is not saying that God Himself wears armor, but that we need the armor that God has supplied for us.

Why do we need this armor that God has supplied? The answer is, “that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” ( Eph. 6:11b). That is the reason. This armor is primarily for defensive, not offensive use. It is not so we can go out and pull down evil spirits over cities; it is so we can stand firm against Satan’s schemes.

We learn that the devil has evil plans to attack us, and unless we are wearing the armor that God supplies, we are vulnerable. Notice also that it is our responsibility to put on the armor, not God’s.

Let’s continue:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).

Here it becomes crystal clear that Paul is not talking about a physical, material battle, but a spiritual one. We are struggling against the schemes of various ranks of evil spirits whom Paul lists. Most Bible students assume that Paul listed those evil spirits as they are ranked from bottom to top, “rulers” being the lowest class and “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” being the highest class.

How can we struggle against spiritual beings? That question can be answered by asking, How can spiritual beings attack us? They attack us primarily with temptations, thoughts, suggestions, and ideas that contradict God’s Word and will. Therefore, our defense is knowing, believing, and obeying God’s Word.
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:13).

Notice, once again, that Paul’s purpose is to equip us to stand against Satan’s attacks. His purpose is not to equip us to go out and attack Satan and pull down evil spirits from the atmosphere. Three times in this passage Paul tells us to stand firm. Our position is one of defense, not offense.

This is not to say that we never take an offensive stand, but that this passage is primarily speaking of maintaining a strong defense. When we proclaim the gospel, for example, we are definitely “invading enemy territory” in an offensive measure.

Also, notice that it is our responsibility to take up the armor and to stand firm. God will not do it for us.

Truth—Our Primary Defense
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth...(Eph. 6:14a).

Here is what keeps our armor in place—the truth. What is the truth? Jesus said to His Father, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). We cannot successfully stand firm against Satan unless we know the truth with which we can counter his lies. Jesus beautifully demonstrated this during His temptation in the wilderness as He responded to Satan’s every suggestion with, “It is written...”

Paul continued:
“...and having put on the breastplate of righteousness...(Eph. 6:14b).

As Christians, we should be familiar with two kinds of righteousness. First, we have been given, as a gift, the righteousness of Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:21). His righteous standing has been imputed to those who believe in Jesus, who bore their sins on the cross. That righteous standing has delivered us from Satan’s dominion.

Second, we should be living righteously, obeying Jesus’ commands, and that is probably what Paul had in mind regarding the breastplate of righteousness. By obedience to Christ, we give no place to the devil (see Eph. 4:26-27).

Firm Footing in Gospel Shoes
“...and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace...” (Eph. 6:15)

Knowing, believing and acting upon the truth of the gospel gives us firm footing to stand against Satan’s attacks. The shoes that Roman soldiers wore had spikes on the bottom that gave them a firm grip on the battlefield. When we know that Jesus has died for our sins and been raised from the dead for our justification, Satan’s lies are unable to knock us off our feet.

Paul specifically refers here to “the gospel of peace.” We now have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). We are no longer enemies with God.
“ addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one (Eph. 6:16).

Notice again Paul’s emphasis here on our defensive posture. He is not talking about our pulling down demons over cities. He is talking about our using faith in God’s Word to resist the devil’s lies. When we believe and act upon what God has said, it is like having a shield that protects us from Satan’s lies, represented figuratively as the “flaming missiles of the evil one.”

How Do We Know It's God Talking?

Hearing Things...

God speaks to us through our minds and hearts. God occasionally speaks audibly to His children when He has placed them in situations that require great faith. Thus, the miraculous aspect of a physical voice coming from nowhere allows us to believe in situations that are beyond us.
John 12:28 (NIV) [Jesus prayed,] "Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine."

Why did Jesus go out of His way to point out that the voice was not for His benefit? Because He heard God all the time. He was in constant communion with the Father. But the disciples needed to hear it, so they could have faith to believe. Remember, Jesus was about to be rejected by the religious establishment, taunted and humiliated, and executed. So God spoke audibly. God knows when we need a sure word, and works around our lack of maturity in times of great need.
2 Pet 1:16-19 (NIV) We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

God Will Do What He Says
Rom 4:17 (NIV) As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Gal 4:22-23,29 (NIV) For it is written that Abraham had two sons [Ishmael first, and then Isaac], one by the slave woman [Hagar] and the other by the free woman [Sarah]. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way [the flesh]; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise [the Spirit]... At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.

You know the story. God promised Abraham a son in Gen 15:4. The problem came when after receiving this promise, Sarah suggested an idea to move ahead in the flesh and "assist" God. The "Ishmael" mistake of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is not uncommon. We are often deceived into thinking that God needs our help. What is praiseworthy of Abraham and Sarah is that after this false start, they remembered God's promise and got back to simple faith and obedience, believing that God would help them... and not vice-versa.
Num 23:19 (NIV) God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

God calls Isaac "Abraham's only son" in Gen 22:2,12,16. From God's point of view, "the flesh counts for nothing" (John 6:63). God did not remember Abraham's sin, only his faith, which was credited to him as full righteousness before God (Rom 4:3). His mistakes were forgotten (Micah 7:19). Like Abraham, we need to enter into God's rest, knowing that what God says He will do. For he who enters into rest has ceased from his own works (Heb 4:10).
Isa 55:1-11 (NIV) "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live..." Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon... "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Discerning God's Voice
Isa 42:1-2 (NIV) "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets."

Mat 17:5 (NIV) While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

Outside of miraculous visitations and audible voices, our general problem is one of hearing God's "still small voice". What would the Spirit have us do next? This leadership comes through "promptings" to our hearts or minds, which are generally low-risk until we mature. God tells us to call someone late at night; to give someone the money in our pocket; to offer to pray with someone about something very specific that we couldn't have known. Often, we'll go wrong, but if we humbly reflect on our errors we can gain confidence for future promptings.
Prov 14:15 (NIV) A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.

The problem is that we are on a hostile channel. Our minds can be prompted by God, from our own carnal desires, or from unclean spirits. Some ignore this and naively believe that anything they think or feel is from God, without humility or reflection. This may seem a silly error, but it can become serious when such a person thinks God has told them to "go kill someone". Manson, who still claims to be a Christian, heard from his "god" in this fashion many times.
2 Cor 11:3 (NIV) But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

2 Tim 3:13-17 (NIV) ...evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it... you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Beyond demonic promptings, our routine problem is the flesh. We want to look spiritual, we covet something, we want to defend ourselves. These often get blamed on God, and acted upon. These seemingly silly errors can lead to as much spiritual mayhem and abuse as Manson's delusions did physically. We must learn to walk a straight line before attempting to tightrope across Niagara Falls. Our problem is lack of reflection on past performance.
Rom 7:21-23 (NIV) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

2 Cor 10:3-5 (NIV) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

If we have learned to discern God's voice in small things by acting on God's low-risk promptings and finding them validated with fruit that lasts, then God may prompt us to "tell that person I am going to heal them". At this point of maturity, those practiced at knowing God's voice need not pretend or merely hope. They can speak with authority, conviction, and results (Rom. 12:2). They need not be double-minded or resort to psychological gymnastics (James 1:5-8). They can pray in real faith (James 5:15). For "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

Are Black People Cursed?


It is often claimed that the black race resulted from a curse that Noah placed on his son Ham because Noah became drunk with wine and Ham "looked upon his father's nakedness." Some scholars interpret this as a euphemism and believe that Ham had homosexual intercourse with his father; others believe the reason for the curse was the disgrace Ham caused by telling others. The claim is that the curse turned Ham black on the spot. In any event, Genesis 9:25-27 records that in fact Noah cursed Ham's youngest son, Canaan, not Ham: [25] he said, "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers." [26] He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. [27] May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave."

Canaan's descendants founded Sidon and, among others, were the ancestors of the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. There is ample historical evidence that indeed they were cursed with moral depravity including temple prostitutes and human sacrifice. One scholar, Lenormant, said of the Canaanite religion: "No other people ever rivaled them in the mixture of bloodshed and debauchery with which they thought to honor the Deity." (per Summary of Near Eastern History, cited below.)

Shem's descendants became the Semitic peoples who settled parts of the Arabian Peninsula, including what is now Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. They were of a generally medium-brown complexion with facial features roughly mid-way between typical negro and typical Caucasian and the languages they spoke included Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic, Jesus' native language.

It is important to realize that in Old Testament times Egyptians were black, not Arab. Arabs first conquered Egypt when Moslems invaded Egypt shortly after the death of Mohammed.

Justification and Sanctification

Understanding the difference between justification and sanctification can be as important as understanding the difference between salvation and damnation. Rightly dividing between the two is of crucial importance. When you understand what they are, you can then draw a line in the sand and say, "This is what saves. This is not what saves."
Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law (Rom. 4:3; 5:1,9; Gal. 2:16; 3:11). This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved. Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life. It is based completely and solely upon Jesus' sacrifice on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and is received by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9). No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification. Otherwise, it is not a gift (Rom. 6:23). Therefore, we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).
Sanctification, on the other hand, involves the work of the person. But it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified (Phil. 2:13). Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone. The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God's will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Gal. 5:22-23). Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification. That is, even if we don't live a perfect life, we are still justified.
Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible. In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

Does this mean that those justified by grace can sin as much as they want?

Romans 6:1-2 says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it?"
1 Thess. 4:7 says, "God has called us not for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification."
The Scriptures teach us that we are to live holy lives and avoid sin (Col. 1:5-11). Just because we are saved and eternally justified before God (John 10:28), that is no excuse to continue in the sin from which we were saved. Of course, we all sin (1 John 1:8). But the war between the saved and his sin is continuous (Rom. 7:14-20) and it won't be until the return of Jesus that we will be delivered from this body of death (Rom. 7:24). To continually seek sin and use God's grace to excuse it later is to trample the blood of Christ underfoot (Heb. 10:29) and to reveal the person's true sinful, unsaved nature (1 John 2:4; 2:19). (Other verses worth checking out are: Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; and 1 Pet. 2:21-22.)

What the cults do with justification and sanctification

The cults consistently blur the meanings of the two terms and misapply the truths taught in God's word. The result is a theology of works righteousness, of earning their salvation which only leads to damnation. This is because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Gal. 2:16). Man cannot contribute to his salvation (Gal. 5:1-8). Because man is sinful even his best deeds are stained and filthy before God (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, making a person right before God can only be God's work (Gal. 2:20).
Typically, in cult theologies, a person is not justified (declared righteous in God's eyes) until the final day of judgment when his works are weighed and a reward is given or he is found worthy of his place with God. Thus, a person with this errant theology can not claim 1 John 5:13 as their own which says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God."
Contextually, "These things" refers to loving God, being obedient to Him, belief in Christ, and eternal life in Jesus. Therefore, 1 John 5:13 can be considered a test. If you are believing and doing the right things, then you will know if you have eternal life. Can a cultist know he has eternal life? No. He cannot. But a Christian can.
People in cults don't understand the difference between justification and sanctification. Therefore, they must depend upon a cooperative effort with God to have their sins forgiven which is, essentially, combining the filthy works of man (Isaiah 64:6) with the holy work of God. They don't mix. They can't. Hence, salvation is by grace through faith, alone. To believe anything else is to miss salvation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Are The Properity Preachers Right?

Some Prosperity teachers equate wealth with godliness and faith. The Bible says otherwise.

"This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth." (Psalm 73:12)

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matt. 6:24)

"He said to them, 'You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight." (Luke 16:15)

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matt.19:23-24) Note: It is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days." (James 5:1-3)

"But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape." (Mal. 3:15)

"They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD's wrath. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it, for it has made them stumble into sin." (Ezk. 7:19)

"But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business." (James 1:10-11)

"You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." (Rev. 3:17)

Most Prosperity teachers boast about their wealth saying that God has blessed them. Their wealth usually comes from donations.

"For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world." (1 John 2:16)

"As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:16-17)

Prosperity teachers will tell you that you can expect a BIG return on your "donation". They create greed and discontent by saying that God wants you to be wealthy and that you will become wealthy if you give to them and have faith. The Bible teaches the opposite.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:2)

"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things." (Phil. 3:19)

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Tim. 6:6-10)

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)

"A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him." (Prov. 28:22)

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matt. 6:19-20)

"Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, 'Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay." (Luke 3:14)

"Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." (Prov. 30:8)

Giving to Get is Unbiblical and can result in the opposite happening.

"When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:3)

"So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be." (1 Kings 3:11-12)

The Prosperity doctrine teaches that God wants you to be wealthy and have big houses, cars, etc. They teach that if you lead a godly life, you will get these things. Again, the Bible teaches different.

"If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." (1 Tim. 6:3-5)

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." 1 Tim. 3:2-3)

"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve..." (1 Peter 5:2)

"You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts." (Jer. 12:1-2)

"Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." (Mark 4:18-19)

NOTE: Read the parable of the Sower. (Mark 4:3-20)

Many Prosperity teachers will tell you that prosperity is a part of salvation.

Lazarus the beggar went to heaven. (Luke 16:22)

"Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2:5)

"Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15)

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers..." (1 Peter 1:18)

"Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." (Luke 6:20-21)

Prosperity teachers often wear expensive clothes, gold, and jewelry. Here's what the Bible says about this.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:3-4)

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." (1 Tim. 2:9-10)

"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long...Woe to you..." (Matt. 23:5, 13)

The Prosperity Doctrine teaches that you will be rewarded now while you are living for your giving. It teaches that you will get a "100 fold" return on your donations. The Bible differs.

"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." (Matt. 16:27)

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:13-14)

"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven..." (Luke 6:23) (See also: Luke 12:33 Matt. 5:12 Matt. 6:20 Matt. 19:21 )

"Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matt. 6:1)

"Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Matt. 19:28-29)

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Rev. 22:12)

Here's some verses that Prosperity teachers use:

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)

"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." (2 Cor. 9:11)

This verse is self-explanatory. The key words are: "so that you can be generous on every occasion". God gives so we can give. If we give because we think our own pocketbook will grow, that’s being greedy. As we found out (James 4:3), selfish motives will get you nowhere. Also the use of the word "rich" is only referring to needs, not wants. (See verses 8 and 12)

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9)

This verse is only referring to a spiritual or heavenly "rich" not an earthly rich. Jesus had a spiritual "rich" in heaven and became earthly poor so that we can become spiritually "rich" in heaven. You can find a good example of this spiritual "rich" in 2 Cor. 6:10. "...sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything." Notice also that the disciples didn't hoard, they gave everything away. (See 2 Cor. 8:3)

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:33)

The key words here are "these things". Prosperity teachers never tell you what "these things" are. Basic needs only, food, drink, clothing. Not wealth and riches. (See verse 31)

Spiritual Adultery

Eph 5:31-32 (NIV) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.

God uses a strong human urge, sex, to describe His relationship with us. Israel is "the Wife" of Jehovah. We, the church, are called "the Bride" of Christ. Most Christians understand that Scripture uses sexual desire to represent the longing and excitement God feels for us, and we should feel for Him. But do we see how God also uses sexual imagery to describe how we "whore" after false religions, worldly "wisdom", and the idols of this world?
James 4:4-5 (Phi) You are like unfaithful wives... never realizing that to be the world's lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to be the world's friend is thereby making himself God's enemy. Or do you think what the Scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality?

Do we recognize how intense the desire is within us to chase after the latest religious fad, to believe comforting lies, to embrace the world? Scripture uses sexual imagery to show how strong our passions are for these things. God is a jealous God; we are His; and He takes a dim view of our "horneyness" to fellowship with lies, sophistries, and the world. The word of God, the truth--even if painful--will set us free. Brace yourself.
Eze 16:30 (NIV) "How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute!"

When adultery and prostitution are applied to Israel, Babylon, etc., clearly it is the symbolic / spiritual sense. But because the images are so shocking and descriptive, it may take some effort not to miss the point by getting caught up in the "lurid" aspect of these texts. Please keep in mind that except where referring to specific people, adultery is being used in the spiritual, figurative sense in these studies.
Jer 2:20 (NIV) "Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute."

While much of God's revelation is on this subject, the following verses should make the point that God is serious about us being loyal to Him with our affections, and Scripture uses the strongest, most graphic language to warn us not to "play the harlot".

The Truth About Us, Revealed By God
Jer 3:1-3 (NIV, all, except where noted) "If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers--would you now return to me?" declares the Lord. "Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness... Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame."

Jer 3:6-10 ..."Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the Lord.

Looking For Someone Who Loves The Truth
Jer 5:1-6 "Go up and down the streets... If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city..." O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?... You crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. I thought, "These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God." But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds... their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.

Jer 5:7-13 "Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man's wife. Should I not punish them for this?" declares the Lord. "Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the Lord. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me," declares the Lord. They have lied about the Lord; they said, "He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine." The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.

False Religion Is Worthless; Our Shame Will Be Exposed
Jer 7:8-11 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. "Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, 'We are safe'--safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord."

Jer 9:2-3 ...For they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people. "They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me," declares the Lord.

Jer 13:22-27 "And if you ask yourself, 'Why has this happened to me?'--it is because of your many sins that your skirts have been torn off and your body mistreated. Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind. This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you," declares the Lord, "because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods. I will pull up your skirts over your face that your shame may be seen--your adulteries and lustful neighings, your shameless prostitution! I have seen your detestable acts on the hills and in the fields. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you be unclean?"

The following two "parables" should be as well known as any in Scripture, but few have even read them. They are the big-picture story of God's relationship to man in history.

Parable 1: The Adopted Prostitute
Eze 16:1-5 The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem... On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.'"

Eze 16:6-8 "Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, 'Live!' I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked and bare. Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine."

Eze 16:9-14 "I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Eze 16:15-17 "But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. You lavished your favors on anyone who passed by and your beauty became his. You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution. Such things should not happen, nor should they ever occur. You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them."

Eze 16:22,25-26,28-30 "In all your detestable practices and your prostitution you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, kicking about in your blood. Woe! Woe to you, declares the Sovereign Lord... At the head of every street you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, offering your body with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and provoked me to anger with your increasing promiscuity... You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable; and even after that, you still were not satisfied. Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia, a land of merchants, but even with this you were not satisfied. How weak-willed you are, declares the Sovereign Lord, when you do all these things, acting like a brazen prostitute!"

Eze 16:25 (NAS) " spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry."

Worse Than A Prostitute, WE PAY For This Abuse!
Eze 16:31-34 "...You were unlike a prostitute, because you scorned payment. You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you."

Eze 16:35-41 "Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your wealth and exposed your nakedness in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols... therefore I am going to gather all your lovers, with whom you found pleasure, those you loved as well as those you hated. I will gather them against you from all around and will strip you in front of them, and they will see all your nakedness. I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery... I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger. Then I will hand you over to your lovers... They will strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry and leave you naked and bare. They will bring a mob against you, who will stone you and hack you to pieces with their swords. They will burn down your houses and inflict punishment on you in the sight of many women. I will put a stop to your prostitution, and you will no longer pay your lovers."

Eze 16:42-43,47 "Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry. Because you did not remember the days of your youth but enraged me with all these things, I will surely bring down on your head what you have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?... You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they."

Eze 16:58-60,62-63 "You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you... So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Parable 2: Oholah and Oholibah
Eze 23:1-7 The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth. In that land their breasts were fondled and their virgin bosoms caressed. The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine; and she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians--warriors clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men, and mounted horsemen. She gave herself as a prostitute to all the elite of the Assyrians and defiled herself with all the idols of everyone she lusted after."

Eze 23:8-13 "She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust upon her. Therefore I handed her over to her lovers, the Assyrians, for whom she lusted. They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword. She became a byword among women, and punishment was inflicted on her. Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. She too lusted after the Assyrians--governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way."

Eze 23:17-20 "Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her nakedness, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses."

Eze 23:21-23,25-27 "So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled. Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will stir up your lovers against you, those you turned away from in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side... handsome young men, all of them governors and commanders, chariot officers and men of high rank, all mounted on horses... I will direct my jealous anger against you, and they will deal with you in fury. They will cut off your noses and your ears, and those of you who are left will fall by the sword... They will also strip you of your clothes and take your fine jewelry. So I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you began in Egypt. You will not look on these things with longing or remember Egypt anymore."

Eze 23:28-31,34 "For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to hand you over to those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you naked and bare, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity have brought this upon you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand... You will drink it and drain it dry; you will dash it to pieces and tear your breasts. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Eze 23:35-37 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution." The Lord said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, for they have committed adultery... They committed adultery with their idols..."

Eze 23:40-41,43-44 "They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry. You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and oil that belonged to me... Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, 'Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.' And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah."

Eze 23:46-49 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses. So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord."

Hosea Lives Out The Painful Truth About Us
Hosea 1:2 When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord."

Hosea 3:1-3 The Lord said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods..." So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver... Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you."

Hosea 7:11-13 "Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless--now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria. When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like birds of the air. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them. Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak lies against me."

Hosea 4:10-12 "...They will engage in prostitution but not increase, because they have deserted the Lord to give themselves to prostitution... They consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God."

Hosea 7:4,6-7 "They are all adulterers, burning like an oven whose fire the baker need not stir from the kneading of the dough till it rises... Their hearts are like an oven; they approach him with intrigue. Their passion smolders all night; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire. All of them are hot as an oven... and none of them calls on me.'"

Hosea 2:2-3,5-7 "...Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst... She said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water...' She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'"

Hosea 2:8-10,13 "She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold--which they used for Baal. Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands... I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot," declares the Lord.

Hosea 2:14-17,19-20,23 "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day," declares the Lord, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.' I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked... I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord... I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'"

See also Jer 3:11-4:4 for encouragement to repent from spiritual adultery.

Christ Is Returning For A Pure, Spotless Bride. Will You Be Part?
Mat 16:4 "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.

Mark 8:38 "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Rev 19:7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready."