When Life Becomes Unbearable – Part 3

In I Corinthians 10, verse 13, we read this dogmatic statement: “There has no temptation (or trial) taken you (or, overtaken you), but such as is common to man (many others have faced and conquered what you now face), but God is faithful, who will not suffer (or allow) you to be tempted above that (which) you are able (to bear), but will with the temptation (at that same exact moment in time) also make a (God-made) way of escape (hence, a perfect escape route), that you may be able to bear (any trial, any temptation, any problem of life).”  Please note that all words or statements contained in parentheses are comments added by the author hopefully to make clearer what is being said in some scripture.
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Other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest sufferer in all the Bible was a man called Job.  Job’s sufferings are proverbial.  In the 10th verse of Job 23, Job cried out, “He knows the way that I take…”  There is not a sparrow that falls to the ground without our heavenly Father taking note of the same.  (See Matthew 10:29).  And, of course, some cynic might add, ‘Yes, but it falls to the ground nonetheless.”  But the Holy Spirit left the scenario incomplete.  Perhaps the tiny sparrow fell into some soft grass where the mother sparrow immediately went to its rescue.  But whatever the completed scenario might have been, the passage is actually directed toward God’s interest and care for human beings, not sparrows.  The next two verses read: “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (verses 30-31).
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Some years ago the Holy Spirit opened to my mind the profound truth that Jesus uttered when He said, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”  Look at your comb, or hairbrush, or pillow.  The hairs of your head are continuously changing in number from one moment to the next.  When Jesus said “the very hairs of your head are all numbered,” He was actually saying God’s attention on us is continuous, undeviating, unwavering.  Satan would have the would-be suicide think, “God doesn’t care about me.”  Yet scripture states quite clearly that “God is not willing that ANY should perish” (See 2 Peter 3:9).
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I have heard many a preacher say, “If you had been the only human on earth that needed saving, Jesus Christ would have still come to earth and died for you.”  In that assessment they are right.  You alone and all by yourself are intensely loved by God and valuable to His kingdom plans.
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Barry Manilow wrote a song he entitled “One Voice” and, in the lyrics of that song, he speaks of “one voice singing in the darkness.”  Troubled one, will you not listen to that one voice softly speaking, even singing, in your darkness.  That voice is the voice of your Creator, if you will but listen.  And that voice cries out in your anguish, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  Turn a deaf ear to any and all voices that speak to the contrary.  God loves you and assures you – it’s a promise – “You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart” (See Jeremiah 29:13).  Seek the Lord and find Him for He is not far from every one of us.  (See Acts 17:22-31).
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Christ’s servant (Galatians 1:10),
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Donald Wiley

 

 

When Life Becomes Unbearable – Part 2

The taking of one’s own life – suicide – is self murder.  Make no mistake, it is a sin and it is a crime.  About the only way a suicide could be punished in this life was to refuse them burial in what was known as sacred ground.  Relatives of the deceased had to find somewhere else to bury them.  Gradually that ban was lifted and those who died by their own hand were permitted burial among the rest of societies dead.

If one accepts the scriptures as authoritative in such matters, then a passage in Genesis Chapter 9 seems to clearly give God’s mind on the matter of taking one’s life: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man, whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man, shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man” (See verses 5 and 6).  God will require that justice be satisfied in the taking of one’s life even if one takes his own life.  But do not read into that text more than it says.  It does not say that such an unfortunate is forever lost and consigned to hell fire.  Just what God will require of the suicide is actually left unsaid.

When life becomes unbearable one needs to seek another avenue of escape other than ending one’s life.  There is a burden bearer – Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “Come unto me ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I WILL give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Notice that the summons is extended to all – all without exception.  And the promise is that Jesus Christ WILL give such rest from the burden of depression, loneliness, fear, anxiety, a bad marriage – whatever.

And there are two great truths that every would-be suicide needs to keep ever in mind: 1) One never knows what is around the corner of time.  Perhaps the most fulfilling, happy, glorious days of life lay yet ahead, and 2) One can always hold out a little longer.  Even those who say they cannot endure one more hour or one more day, if they would but put down the gun, step back from the river’s edge, take the noose from around their neck, they would find that they can indeed hold out a little longer.

There is a Christian song that says “Tears are a language God   understands.”  And that is true.  God’s promise is to wipe away all tears from our eyes.  We are not to stop the tears from flowing by killing ourselves.  That really is no solution at all, for the suicide is then faced with the terrible sin of murder, self murder – and there will be a day of reckoning.  “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ….every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (See Romans 14:10,12).

The would-be suicide has perhaps tried everything else.  Why not try God?  Why not surrender your life to the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit and enjoy that peace that surpasses all understanding?  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).  The would-be suicide’s mind is fixed on self, one’s own problems and hardships.  Fix your mind on God and on His goodness and eagerness to help, to bless and console.

Fear God and keep His commandments.  One of those commandments is “Thou shalt not kill.”  “Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are but dust…..But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him” (See Psalm 103:13-14, 17).

God knows what you are made of, friend.  He knows your emotions, your personality, your physical and mental strengths or disabilities, and He still says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.”  Take Him up on His gracious offer and live.

Christ’s servant (Galatians 1:10),

Donald Wiley

GETTING THE JOB DONE

There is an event recorded in the New Testament that most theologians refer to as the Mount of Transfiguration experience or miracle. It is recorded in three of the four gospel accounts, John being the one exception. In Matthew’s gospel account it is found in the 17th chapter, verses 1 through 13. In Mark’s gospel account it is found in chapter 9, verses 1 through 13, also. In Luke’s gospel account it is found in chapter 9, verses 27 through 36. In all three of these accounts a voice is heard speaking out of an overshadowing cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.” Matthew adds the phrase, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.” This is, of course, God the Father, since the One speaking calls Jesus His beloved Son. But it is the COMMAND that is uttered to which we had better take heed: “Hear him” or, as we might say, “LISTEN TO HIM!”

I can understand the world at large ignoring that command. Billions do not know such a command was ever uttered. Those who do not believe in the inspiration of the scriptures, especially the New Testament scriptures, do not believe such a voice was ever heard and, therefore, for that reason, ignore the command to listen to Jesus Christ’s statements, teachings, instructions, etc. What I find quite troubling is that there are literally MILLIONS of professing Christians who believe such an event occurred but still ignore God’s plain, clear, easy-to-understand COMMAND. They do NOT listen to what Jesus said and do not obey Him in many areas.

Jesus said, “EVERY ONE that is of the truth, hears my voice” (See John 18:37). He didn’t mean hearing what He said in such a fashion as for it to go in one ear and out the other, but to hear what He said with such interest and eagerness as to OBEY what He said, to do what He said we are to do! He warned, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (See John 6:63). And He said, “He that believes on me has everlasting life” (See John 6:47). To believe ON Jesus Christ is not merely to believe facts about His life, that He died for our sins, was buried and rose again. To believe ON Jesus Christ is to believe what He said and to act upon what He said – to OBEY HIM in all things.

Again Jesus said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say???” (See Luke 6:46). Such conduct and behavior is ludicrous, senseless, absurd – and leads to eventual judgment and possible eternal death!

A short time before Jesus Christ was arrested and almost immediately crucified, a young man approached Him and asked what he must do that he might have eternal life. Jesus answered him, “If you will enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!” The spiritually blind argue, “Well, that’s how you got saved before the cross. Now, on this side of the cross, all we gotta do is believe.” Yet after the cross the apostles told those seeking to be saved that they must repent. (See Acts 2:38). Repent of what? Sin! And what is the Bible definition of sin? “Sin is the transgression of the law” – God’s law, the Ten Commandments. (See I John 3:4). So if sin is the transgression of God’s commandments, and one repents of sin, then that means one begins keeping God’s commandments. So Jesus did know what He was talking about when He told the young man he must keep the commandments in order to inherit eternal life!!!

Most folks don’t have much trouble believing we should keep nine of the commandments, agreeing wholeheartedly that true Christians should not lie, or steal, or kill, or commit adultery, or worship idols, etc. It’s that fourth commandment that sticks in their craw, you know the one that says, “Remember the Sabbath day to KEEP it holy….” That’s the one they want to jack hammer out of the tablets of stone, re-writing it to say, “Remember Sunday and make it holy.” Try to keep that fourth commandment and they will say you are a legalist, or that you are trying to put believers back under the law, or that you are trying to earn your salvation, or some such satanically inspired argument.

Yep, I believe I have got several years of life ahead of me. There’s just not that many of us left that can articulate the truth, who know the Word of God intimately well, who are now living godly lives, and who bow to Jesus Christ as our absolute LORD. That’s why when illness strikes us He heals us in record time, but He lets us know, “You’ve got a job to do and you better do it!”

Christ’s Servant (Galatians 1:10),

Donald Wiley

The Greatest Promise In All The Bible

Ask the average believer, “What is the greatest promise in the whole Bible?”  I doubt seriously if one in a hundred could give you the correct answer – probably not one in a thousand, even if it is a hundred preachers you ask that question.  Most would probably say, “God’s promise to give us eternal life,” or “God’s promise to forgive us of all our sins.”  Those ARE mighty promises.  But neither is the greatest promise in all the Bible.  Only someone intimately acquainted with the Book of Revelation would know the answer.  Here is the answer: “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne (says Jesus Christ), even as I overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne” (See Revelation 3:21).  THAT is the greatest promise in all the Bible.  There is no greater, there can be no greater promise than that – the promise made by the One who CANNOT lie, that He will grant the true overcomer the right, the privilege, the fantastic, mind-boggling reward to sit with Him on His throne – the throne that rules the universe, the throne that would grant one power and authority second only to God the Father.  THAT is “the mark…the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” the apostle Paul speaks of in the Philippian letter and for which he was striving with every atom of his being.  (See Philippians 3:14).
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In that one short paragraph you have just received some of the most fantastic Bible revelation you will ever receive in this lifetime, revelation hidden from the minds and understanding of most other believers – believers now living in this age or believers who have lived in any previous age.  Can YOU think of a promise of God greater that the one I just gave you?  No you cannot.  Don’t tax your mental powers needlessly.  There IS no greater promise.  Of course the next most logical question to ask, since the promise is given to “him that overcomes,” is overcomes what?  And what does it mean to overcome “even as Jesus overcame?”  What IS the Bible definition of an overcomer?  Can any believer make the grade?  Is the promise a blanket promise made to one and all?
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To be continued……

 

FORGIVEN!

Now there’s an appealing doctrine: FORGIVEN!  The true God of glory is merciful beyond human comprehension.  Allah, the arch-demon posing as the Eternal, lacks mercy.  Deceived Muslims call their moon god “merciful,” but he is not.  That is why they show no mercy, brutally killing even children and mothers in labor.  In committing such atrocities their blinded minds cannot see that the “god” they serve and worship is without mercy and actually the author of death, not life.

Forgiven!  Decades of sins wiped out!  Decades of bad choices obliterated from the mind of one’s Creator!  Forgiven!  The true God avows, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (See Isaiah 1:18).  Now there’s a comforting doctrine that IS true, that has the support of scripture in abundance.

A tongue that uttered a thousand lies now speaks the truth.  The hand that once stole now gives.  The thoughtless is now considerate.  Some noted wit of the past once said, “Facts are stubborn things.”  And as some often say, “It is what it is.”  The touch of the Master’s hand makes all the difference.  Has He touched you in a wondrous way?

When I suffered from acid reflux, it was what it was.  When God healed me it was no more.  This is true of several other ailments and maladies.  They were what they were, and they are no more.  The only thing special about me is that I was an especially great sinner for an especially long period of time.  I am merely an object of God’s grace, His limitless, measureless, incomprehensible grace.  Let Allah put that in his pipe and smoke it.

Christ’s Servant,

 

Donald Wiley

THERE IS A JOB TO BE DONE

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (See Jeremiah 33:3). Of course that promise was made specifically to Jeremiah the prophet. Still there is no respect of persons with God. As the old “gospel” song says, “What He’s done for others He’ll do for you.” Of course one must have a vital, on-going relationship with God first. One must meet the conditions for answered prayer first.

Here is another scripture that proves the inspiration of scripture: “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me” (Jeremiah 33:22). More than one ancient writer thought they had numbered the stars. (I have written about this in an earlier article I penned some time ago). God is not given to exaggeration. He assured His faithful prophet Jeremiah that He would eventually multiply the number of princes and kings, as well as priests, to billions, trillions, a countless number! He is in the process of doing that right now, but is only in the very beginning of fulfilling that promise.

Folks, we are on the ground floor of God’s great plan of the ages. We are at the start of this plan, not the tail end. When Jesus Christ returns He is not going to say, “Gentlemen, it’s closing time. It’s over.” He is going to say, “Now let us begin to get the Father’s job done.” Most preachers have it wrong, because they “quote the party line,” so to speak. Putting a handful of scriptures together, while overlooking scores and scores of other inspired texts, they erroneously think God is trying His best to get the world saved right now. Why can’t they see that if that is the case God is failing miserably in what He intended to do???

God says He is going to return Sodom and Gomorrah, and all like peoples, to their former estate, bringing them back to life to a world not unlike the world they knew when they first lived on this earth so that they won’t suffer mind-boggling culture shock. (See Ezekiel 16:55). Those ancient people are not roasting in hell right now, having been in such a place for thousands of years already. They are DEAD and await a resurrection to life. God’s Word says these ancients will remember their ways and be ashamed (verse 61, same chapter). They will realize how deceived and wrong they were. This holds true for all others who lived and died gripped in inescapable deceit and confusion.

To say that God is fair is a gross understatement. God is much more than fair. He is much more than just equitable and reasonable. He is a Creator of unparalleled goodness and mercy. As I have stated so many times before, none will ever be able to shake their fist in God’s face and say, “I was never given a fair shake. I never even heard of such a thing as salvation or a possibility of living eternally.”

God’s Spirit limits visitors to my website as He knows I write on matters few can receive. Why try to explain the theory of relativity to a three year old child. He cannot receive what you are saying. Most ministers cannot receive what I am saying. That is why out of the hundreds I wrote and to whom I sent articles only a handful responded and some of them said, “I don’t agree with what you write.” When one is steeped in error the truth sounds like falsehood to such a mind. A Roman Catholic priest cannot accept what a Methodist minister believes and vice versa. What I write is not for all, but for a very few. That is why Jesus Christ Himself spoke in parables, NOT to make Himself clearer to those who heard Him, but to actually conceal what He was actually saying to all but those earnestly desiring and searching for the truth. (See Matthew 13:10-17). Most preachers believe the very opposite of what Jesus is saying in this text. They think Jesus spoke in parables to make His meaning clearer, using language the common folk could grasp and understand! WRONG!

I awakened some time ago with the compulsion to write and expound on a few scriptures. God prolongs my life, my health, my energy for a reason. His Spirit demands that I do what He has called, anointed and equipped me to do and that is to teach the Word of God faithfully and correctly. And I am sure as I lay dying one of the last thoughts that will be in my mind is the thought, “Why ME, Lord?”

Christ’s servant (Galatians 1:10),

Donald Wiley

Let The Dust Settle

The first major truth our Creator shared with the human family was this: “Dust you are and to dust you shall return!”  He let Adam and Eve know up front that they were mortal beings and would someday die, returning to the earth from which they were taken.  He further told them that if they were disobedient to Him and His instructions and counsel that they would someday surely die, that is they would die a death from which there would never be a resurrection.  God then built upon that sure foundation of eternal truth generation after generation through enlightenment given His prophets and chosen spokesmen.  Revelation was progressive and never contradictory.  If and when one hears a doctrine, a teaching that runs counter to the foundational statements of truth uttered early on by our Creator, then Satan has “entered the garden,” once again, so to speak, and is sowing seeds of confusion.
In the mind of God, as well as in the mind of every truly informed believer, death is nothing more than a profound sleep – a sleep from which the one at rest will someday be awakened by none other than His Lord and Savior!  Why fear sleep?  Sleep is the welcome rest at the end of a long and trying day.  Life, to those of us who have been granted many years, is nothing more than a long and trying day.  We look forward to taking our rest in sleep, knowing that when we awaken we shall be clothed in immortality and enjoying incorruptible spirit bodies far more real and lasting than our failing physical frames.  We know, also, that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And, just as in the flesh we sometimes have a bit of trouble in falling to sleep, so, too, some may have some difficulty in entering their final rest.  But God gives grace and strength to meet every pain, every discomfort, every difficulty along the way.
Our Creator wants us to trust Him, to rely upon Him, to depend upon Him, and to believe Him even when every one of our physical senses is leading us to doubt and to fear.  It took me many decades to learn that perfect trust comes from perfect obedience.  The more obedient we are to our Lord, the more real He becomes in our life.  Daily, or continual, disobedience pushes the spirit world further and further away and reduces Jesus Christ to nothing more than an historical figure.
Those of us who are in or have passed our seventh decade of life have much to be thankful for.  Billions never made it this far!  At the judgment God will want to know, “What did you do with the added years?  Did you realize their value and their scarcity?  I invested much time in you; where are my dividends?”  I, for one, want to answer Him well.
Christ’s Servant (Galatians 1:10),
Donald Wiley

Jesus Christ’s Apostles Agreed With Him

Would it surprise you to learn that Jesus Christ’s apostles never once contradicted Him in their doctrinal stand and teachings, that they all spoke with one voice and saw clearly eye-to-eye in all matters of faith and truth?  One might quickly reply, “Well, that goes without saying.  Of course all the apostles fully agreed with all that Jesus Christ said and taught.”  And, of course, that is true.  They did fully agree with everything Jesus Christ taught as divine truth.  But would it surprise you to learn that many “Christian” ministers and preachers today contradict Jesus Christ in their teaching and spiritual instruction?
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I give you a prime example of where many ministers and preachers flatly contradict something Jesus Christ taught as eternal divine truth: “And, behold, one came and said unto Him ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do that i may have eternal life?’  And He said unto him….’If thou wilt enter into life KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS'” (See Matthew 19:16-17).  Surely no apostle would agree with that statement, would they?  Jesus Christ must have been way off base with that remark.  After all, isn’t that working for one’s salvation?  And salvation isn’t of works, is it?  Isn’t that what the apostle Paul plainly declared in his letter to the Ephesians?
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Most of the confusion in this matter enters in when one misunderstands NOT what Jesus said, but what Paul wrote.  Remember, Peter warned that Paul wrote some things not easily understood by the spiritually unstable and by those who were ignorant of the scriptures.  (See 2 Peter 3:15-16).  Here is the statement of Paul many misunderstand: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast” (See Ephesians 2:8-9).  Now here is what many mistakenly THINK Paul said: “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; NOT OF OBEDIENCE, lest any man should boast.”
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The “works” to which Paul refers is not obedience to God’s holy, eternal commandments, but fleshly works such as keeping the Jewish laws and customs, such as circumcision, animal sacrifices, and the like.  In this same letter to the Ephesians, Paul urges the keeping of the fifth commandment “Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise” (See Ephesians 6:2.  And in the previous chapter (chapter 5), Paul had written “But fornication (violation of the seventh commandment)…or covetousness (violation of the tenth) commandment, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (verse 3, chapter 5).  In other words, don’t break either of these commandments, not even once, at any time!  “For this ye know that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator (a violation of the first and second commandments), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (verse 5, chapter 5).  Or, in other words again, one must keep God’s commandments in order to receive the gift of eternal life.
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So what is Paul clearly saying?  He is saying that one must KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS in order to have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, the major part of that inheritance being the inheritance of eternal life.  Paul shows himself to be in total agreement with Jesus Christ’s statement to the one who asked Him “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
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“For by grace are you saved through faith….”  Faith in what, in whom?  Faith in Jesus Christ, believing what Jesus said and taught and acting upon that belief, not merely believing He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
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To the believers in Galatia, Paul wrote: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (lewdness), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (contentions, quarreling), emulations (stirring up envy or jealously in others), wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkeness, revellings, and such like, of the which I  tell you before, and I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things (and notice how many are the breaking of the Ten Commandments), SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (See Galatians 5:19-21).
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Paul states plainly and clearly, break these commandments and you will not inherit the kingdom of God, that is, we must keep God’s commandments in order to be granted the gift of eternal life.  Some will argue, “Well, if one must DO something in order to be granted eternal life, then it is not really a gift!”  Well, friend, some gifts do require the recipient to DO something in order to obtain the gift.  One must accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to obtain the gift of eternal life.  One must believe Jesus died for our sins in order to obtain the gift of eternal life.  Where does one get the erroneous idea that a gift cannot require the recipient to do something?  God GAVE ancient Israel the Promised Land, but they had to DO something to obtain that gift.  (Read Deuteronomy Chapter One).
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One must OBEY Jesus Christ in order to obtain the GIFT of eternal life.  “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom God has given TO THEM THAT OBEY HIM” (Acts 5:32).  One MUST have God’s Holy Spirit in order to inherit eternal life and God’s Spirit is given ONLY to those who obey Him, for without and apart from having God’s Holy Spirit one cannot possibly obey both the spirit and the letter of the law.
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And, of course some will now argue, “But we are not under the law,” ignorant of what the apostle Paul meant when he employed that
phrase in his letters to the believers in Rome and Galatia.  When using that phrase in the letter to the Romans, Paul means believers are not under THE PENALTY of the law since Jesus Christ has died in our place, taking the penalty upon Himself.  When using that phrase in the letter to the believers at Galatia, Paul means we are not obligated to keep the Mosaic customs of circumcision, animal sacrifices, and the like.  To be continued….
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Christ’s servant (Galatians 1:10),
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Donald Wiley
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Do We Have To Sin?

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John says he writes this letter of I John “that you sin NOT” (See I John 2:1).  And goes on to say, “Whosoever abides in Him sins NOT” (See I John 3:6).  This does not mean a believer cannot, or will not sin.  It means a believer need not sin.  The apostle Paul presents this magnificent hope in I Corinthians 10:13 when he dogmatically affirms: “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.  But God is faithful, who will not suffer (permit) you to be tempted above that (which) you are able (to bear), but will with the temptation (at that exact moment in time, simultaneously) also make a way to escape (a GOD-made way of escape, hence a PERFECT way of escape) that you may be able to bear it (bear up under the temptation without sinning).”  Paul agrees with John that a believer need not sin.
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Then why is Paul, of all people, used as an example to prove that a believer cannot be completely delivered from committing sin in this life?  Again, as with John, it is due to a misunderstanding of what Paul wrote in Romans 7.  In the 7th chapter of Romans, beginning with verse 14, Paul wrote these words: “I am carnal, SOLD UNDER SIN, for that which I do, I allow not: for what I would (or should do) that do I not; but what I hate, that do I….Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing, for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I FIND NOT” (See Romans 7:14-18).
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Now do you really think this apostle is saying he doesn’t know how to get the victory over sin, because right before penning those words Paul had urged these Roman believers, “Reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin?”  (See Romans 6:11).  And again, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof” (verse 12).  He had just assured them, “Sin shall not have dominion over you” (verse 14).  Does he then turn right around and confess that in his own life he found none of this to be true?  How absurd to even think so!
The KEY to a proper understanding of Paul’s clearly defeatist statements in Romans 7 is what Paul says in the 19th verse of Romans 6: “I speak after the manner of men (spiritually defeated men at that) because of the infirmity (weakness) of YOUR flesh.”  Notice, Paul is not speaking of any weakness in his own flesh, but of the weakness of these Roman believers.  Previously Paul had written the believers at Corinth, “I keep under (control) my body, and bring it into subjection (to the Spirit, thus to Jesus Christ and God’s Word)…”  (See I Corinthians 9:27).  Paul hadn’t lost the victory between the time he wrote the Corinthians and the Roman believers.  In writing, “I speak after the manner of men,” Paul was merely saying, “I am going to put myself in your shoes and address this problem from your viewpoint, your perspective, and show you the way to victory – Jesus Christ!
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Putting himself in the place of another in order to address THEIR problem was a tactic used by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians.  (See I Corinthians 4:6).  It’s the tactic he uses in Romans 7.  Don’t be thrown by his use of the personal pronoun “I”.
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Approximately six years before writing the Romans, Paul wrote the Thessalonian believers, “You are witnesses, and God also (God Himself will attest to the truthfulness of what Paul is about to write), how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe” (I Thessalonians 2:10).  Did Paul, and his companions, live holy, just and blameless lives among the Thessalonians while being carnal and sold under sin among the Romans?  Of course not!
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Paul told the Galatian believers it pleased God to reveal His Son to them through Paul.  (See Galatians 1:15-16).  Paul exhorted the Corinthians, “Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ” (See I Corinthians 11:1).  Also, in his defense to the believers in Galatia, Paul declared dogmatically, “Christ LIVES IN ME!” (See Galatians 2:20).
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How could Paul seriously and without hypocrisy exhort the Philippian believers to be “blameless, and harmless, and without rebuke” if he, himself, was ever giving in to the pulls of the flesh? (See Philippians 2:15)
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Paul wrote the Corinthians, “I know of nothing against myself” (See I Corinthians 4:4), or, as the New International Version words it, “My conscience is clear.”  Paul knew of NO SIN in his life.  In fact, he wrote that “a bishop (a pastor) must be BLAMELESS, JUST, HOLY” (See Titus 1:7-8).  He wrote similar words to Timothy.  (See I Timothy 3:1-7).  Are we to believe that Paul admitted to the Roman believers that he did not fit these qualifications himself?
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Paul exhorted the Thessalonian believers, and by extension you and me, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly (utterly, completely, through-and-through), and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body (the total YOU) be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you (to this continuous walk of holiness), who also WILL DO IT” (See I Thessalonians 5:22-24).
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How could Paul be so sure the Living Lord Jesus Christ would bring these believers to such a continued walk of holiness?  He had done it for Paul, THAT’S WHY!  Let Him do it for you, friend.
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Christ’s Servant (Galatians 1:10),
Donald Wiley
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Satan’s Gospel or The Prosperity Gospel

03/28/15 at 6:04 AM