The Danger of Altering God’s Word

Bible, lying, sin No Comments

Aubrey Johnson states, “It is no small matter, therefore, to modify a divinely established institution or practice” (Music Matters in the Lord’s Church, p. 58).  Johnson was addressing the attitude that some have towards the Word of God that they can modify it in order to suit them.  Consequently, they add to it or take away from it in order to support their views.
However, we cannot change what God has said and still be pleasing to God.  Mankind does not have the authority to alter God’s Word, yet, this is attempted almost daily.  There are false claims made by individuals who say that God spoke to them and gave them additional information different from God’s Word.  There are false teachers who alter the meaning of the words of the Bible and the grammatical context in order to make the Scriptures say what they want them to say rather than understanding what God meant by what God said.  Then, there are false Bibles that alter the very words of God in order to convey the doctrines that support a particular religious viewpoint.
God Has Protected His Word
God protects His word by expressing the severest penalties for altering it in any way.  The severest penalty is to be eternally damned.  Consider the following passages:
1.  Deut. 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
2.  Deut. 12:32, “What things soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
3.  Prov. 30:6, “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
4.  Rev. 22:18-19, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book.”
God Empowers His Word
If we alter God’s Word, we render it powerless.  Unbelief results in condemnation, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  The unbeliever is lost.  If we do not believe the truth, then we believe a lie and will be damned (II Thess. 2:10-12).  Altering God’s Word produces “lies” that cannot save.  God’s Word imparts life (John 6:63; James 1:18; I Pet. 1:21-23).  God’s Word saves (James 1:21).  If we alter God’s Word we change it and negate its spiritual power.
God Will Vindicate His Word
Paul states, “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).  God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18).  His Word is infallible.  To alter God’s Word is to call God a liar.  Satan did this in Gen. 3:4 when he contradicted what God had plainly stated in Gen. 2:17.  Satan added one word–the word “not.”  The statement Satan made was a lie.  Eve believed the lie, while rejecting the truth, and sinned against God.  When we call God a liar, we blaspheme.
God vindicates His Word in life.  Paul writes, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).  When we choose to disobey God in this life, we will suffer the consequences of our sin.  When we obey God, we shall receive a just reward.
God vindicates His Word in judgment.  Jesus taught in John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”  This means that we must know the truth and not alter it in any way lest we be found to contradict God and fall under His condemnation.

Are You Smarter Than Eve?

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In Genesis 3:1-7, we are given the biblical narrative concerning the fall of man.  The characters are:  Eve, Adam and the serpent (Satan).  The transition that takes place involves the relationship between Eve, Adam and God.  It is a transition from a spiritual state of innocence to a state of guilt before God due to sin.  Satan is the tempter.  By a series of seductive appeals and direct contradiction of God’s Word, he appeals to the mind and flesh of Eve (Eph. 2:3).  The Bible indicates that Satan is subtle, i.e. crafty, deceitful.  Eve is drawn away by her own lusts and enticed.  Satan uses the avenues of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.  Satan’s nature and methods have not changed for over 6,000 years!  Eve was the first to sin and then Adam followed Eve, who became a temptress, in disobedience to God (Gen. 2:17).
Eve sinned against her own soul.  She sinned against God.  She sinned against her husband (by tempting him).  She failed to be morally responsible.  She believed a lie.  She rejected God’s Word and by doing so, she rejected God.  She permitted her own thoughts and desires to guide her instead of God’s Word.  She made a choice to act while disregarding the consequences of her actions.
Eve shows us that there is a fundamental difference between human beings and animals.  Human beings are created by God.  They are created in the image of God.  Human beings have free will (the power of volition and so free moral agency); intellect (rational thought and a conscience); emotion (feelings such as guilt); and a soul (a spiritual aspect to their nature).  Human beings are dualistic.  Each person has an “outward man” (physical aspect of his/her being) and an “inward man” (spiritual aspect of his/her being).  The fact of sin in human beings means that there is a fundamental difference between humans and animals.  Animals are never charged by God with sin.  There is no moral law that restricts the conduct of animals.  However, human beings are responsible to God’s laws and God holds them accountable for disobedience to those laws.
There were consequences to Eve and Adam’s sin against God.  They both felt shame and guilt.  They both came to know sin by experiencing it.  They both feared God and hid themselves from God.  Both were separated from the tree of life in the midst of the Garden of Eden and were banished from the Garden of Eden.  Both began to die physically.  Both dies spiritually at the time of their sin.  Both lost the intimacy of fellowship with God.
The consequences the serpent suffered involved: (1) a curse by God involving a change of form; and (2) enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of Satan whereby the seed of the woman would destroy the power of Satan (Heb. 2:16).
Eve suffered the following consequences:  (1) she was placed in subjection to her husband; (2) she was told that she would have pain in child birth; and (3) condemnation due to sin and death entered the world, Rom. 5:12).
Adam suffered the following consequences:  (1) God cursed the ground so that it brought forth thorns and thistles; (2) Adam’s work would be more demanding and (3) he would die physically (from dust thou art, unto dust thou shalt return.
Are you smarter than Eve?
Do you know the enemy?   In John 8:44, we are told, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”  Satan lied to Eve, but Eve did not discern the lie and reject it.  How about you?  Are you smarter than Eve?
Do you know yourself?  Every temptation is a lie.  Temptation is the enticement to sin either by the external presentation of evil allurement or the internal desire to participate in that which is forbidden by God or both.  James states that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed (James 1:14). Temptation to sin involves appeals to the mind and the body.  Eve did not practice self-control in the face of temptation.  How about you?  Are you smarter than Eve?
Do you know God?  God knows all and sees all.  We cannot sin without God knowing about it.  We are accountable to God.  God will punish the evil doer.  God means exactly what He says.  We sin when we disobey God.  Eve disregarded God and God’s Word when she sinned.  How about you?  Are you smarter than Eve?
It is possible to be smarter than Eve.  James states, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).

Transformation From Sinner To Saint

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Paul declares, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Transformation!
Transformation is change.  It is a complete, radical, change under the power of God that finds expression in character and conduct.  The change impacts every aspect of a person’s being.  The change is in God’s direction motivated by both faith in Him and love for Him.  The direction of the change is based upon conformity to God’s Word.  The change involves resistance to the forces of the world that would attempt to assimilate us to the sinful aspects of the culture in which we live.
The Change Begins With The Renewal of the Mind.
You and I must change our thinking and bring it into conformity to God’s Word.  The goal is to conform to God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will.  The human mind must come into contact with God’s revealed and inspired Word (Rom. 10:17). Faith in God comes by hearing His Word.  We must begin to see ourselves as God sees us with no masks and no excuses.  Looking into the perfect Law of Liberty (James 1:25) will confirm our need for change from a life of sinful conduct to one of righteous conduct.
The Change Continues With A Change of Heart.
Repentance is a change of heart with regard to sin.  We turn away from sin and turn to God (Acts 3:19, 17:30).  Repentance is a universal command of God.  Each person must realize that he/she is lost (eternally doomed to hell) because of sin.  Our sin places our soul in peril.  Each person must realize that salvation is only through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).  Every soul in eternal peril must change their hearts by renouncing sin and setting out on a new course as a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:16-17).
The Change Continues With a Change of Our Spiritual State.
In sin, we are lost.  In Christ, we are saved.  The transition from sinner to saint is not complete until we have confessed Christ and been baptized into Christ (Acts 8:37-39; Gal. 3:26-29).  We must undergo a new birth.  We must be born of water and Spirit in order to become a part of God’s kingdom–the church.  The new birth produces a new creature and a new life (John 3:3-5; Rom. 6:4).  We stop being the servants of sin and we begin being servants of righteousness.
The Change Continues With A Change of Life.
Paul states, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18).  The image (eikon) of Christ is summed up in all of the moral excellencies found in the character (impress) of Jesus Christ.  We represent and manifest these qualities by imitation of His example.  We must put on Christ.  We are transformed into His image by following/obeying His Word, imitating His life, and duplicating His work in as much as it is possible for us do so (preaching God’s word, compassion for the lost, the poor, the suffering, etc.).  We must put on the new man which is created in Christ Jesus unto righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).  Pursue the sacred (Col. 3:1).  Put to death the former lusts of the flesh (Eph. 4:22).  Put on Christ in all His moral excellencies.  The Christian life involves a perfecting of holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1).
Change is Possible.
Change is possible, but it requires a change of thinking, a change of heart, a change of spiritual status, and a change of life.  Are you ready for a change that will bless your life now and secure the promise and hope of eternal life?  This change is possible by obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16).

 

 

A New Low

abortion, morals, sin No Comments

Steven Ertlelt wrote an article for lifenews.com titled, “Planned Parenthood CEO Confirms It will Not Stop Selling Body Parts From Aborted Babies” (Sept. 30, 2015).  In this article, he reveals that Cecile Richards admitted in her testimony before Congress that she is ‘proud’ of Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts harvesting program.  Planned Parenthood is responsible for expanding late-term abortions and  selling of baby body parts.
David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, which was responsible for the series of 10 videos showing the abortion giant selling baby body parts states that the organization is not worthy of taxpayer funding.  Here are some excerpts from the ten videos:
1.  In the first video:  Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing.  “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
2.  In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
3.  In the third video:  Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
4.  In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200.  A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”  She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
5.  In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest i the United States.”
6.  In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted.  And these mothers don’t know.  And there’s no way they would know.
7.  In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “You want to see something kind of cool,'” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating.  And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
8.  In the eighth video:  StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits Planned Parenthood sells “a lot of fully intact aborted babies.”
9.  In the ninth video: catches a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing how the abortion company sells fully intact aborted babies–including one who “just fell out” of the womb.
10.  The 10th video: catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts–including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies.  The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby parts for profit.
The total disregard for the value and sanctity of the lives of the unborn reaches a new low in these videos.  Certainly, such conduct is an abomination to the God of heaven.

The Reality of Apostasy

Apostasy, holiness, sin No Comments

The English word apostasy is not found in the KJV. However, the concept/idea certainly is:  “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (II Pet. 2:20).
Apostasy means “abandonment of what one has voluntarily professed; total desertion of principles or faith.”  Many deny the possibility of apostasy, but Peter specifically addresses the possibility of apostasy in the verse cited above.
There are three words that begin with the letter “e” in this passage that we want to consider:  escaped, entangle, and end.
Escaped
One has to escape sin and its consequences before there can be a return to sinful living.  The word escape means: “to flee away from as a fugitive.”  The Christian has escaped several things:  (1) Corruption.  II Pet. 2:19, “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage.”  Lust is the means of corruption.  “…having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (II Pet. 1:4).  The avenues of lust are the eye, the flesh and the pride of life (I John 2:15).  (2) The Christian as escaped from “old sins.”  “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (II Pet. 1:9).  (3) The Christian has escaped “worldly pollutions.”  II Pet. 2:20.  Evil pollutes the mind and body of all people.  The escape from sin is the work of God through His plan of redemption provided in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to atone for man’s sin.  When we obey the truth, we are purified (I Pet. 1:22).  We escape the hold that sin has on us.  Before there can be apostasy, there must be an escape from sin.  Then, apostasy involves a return to a life of sin and disobedience to God.
Entangle
The word entangle means, “to be ensnared, trapped, or woven in,” as fish are entangled in the fabric of a net.  There are several ways that this can occur:  (1) A Christian could return to the Old Covenant forsaking the law of Christ.  Gal. 5:1.  “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  Those who do so are characterized by Paul as “fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).  (2) A Christian could return to sinful living.  II Pet. 2:10.  Alexander Pope said, “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien.  As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”    Apostasy begins in the heart.  When love for God grows cold, iniquity abounds (Matt. 24:12).  Love for the Lord is manifested in resisting temptation, faithfulness in attendance at the worship assemblies, willingness to work for the Lord, pursuit of holiness and many other good things that God directs us to pursue.
End
Peter states, “…the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.”  There are several reasons for this.  First, the apostate has turned his back on the holy commandment (II Pet. 2:21).  The words of Jesus Christ will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).  The apostate has rejected his only hope.  Second, the apostate has hardened his heart in sin and is difficult to restore (Heb. 3:12 and 6:4-6).  One study of those who have fallen away reveals that only about 10% are recovered and restored to faithfulness.  Third, the apostate has known the best but chosen the worst.  He has sinned in the full knowledge of what he was doing and will bear greater responsibility because of it.  Fourth, the apostate brings greater shame and guilt upon himself/herself.  In II Pet. 2:22, Peter describes the apostate as a dog eating its own vomit and a sow that has been washed returning to the mire.  The pictures are startling.  Every Christian should consider the “end” of apostasy before ever starting down that road.
The antidote to apostasy is Christian faithfulness and growth (II Pet. 1:10-11). After listing eight of the Christian virtues, Peter states, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Seduction and Sin

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James 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth for death.” Temptation follows this order: enticement (external), lust (internal), sin, and death. Let’s focus on “enticement.”
The English word “entice” comes from the Greek word which literally means “to lure by bait.” In James 1:14, the word is used metaphorically. Synonyms of the word entice include: seduce, allure and beguile. In 2 Peter 2:14, Peter writes of those who “beguile unstable souls.” In 2 Peter 2:18, he writes of those who “allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness (lasciviousness-DS).”
What is involved in seduction? The answer to this question can be seen in two examples. The first example comes from the writing of Marilyn Lancelot in her new book, Detour, as she describes the effects of gambling casinos on her. The casino affected her physically with the repitition of sounds, bright colors, and pleasing atmosphere. It affected her emotionally as she describes herself being in a “love affair” with gambling. She felt tremendous excitement. She also had some fear because of the risk involved (the risk of losing large sums of money). She was also jealous. When someone else occupied “her” slot machine, she was jealous and resented it. There were psychological affects of gambling. She told herself that she never lost, but always “almost won.” She deceived herself. There was further seduction from without. The employees of the casino were always very helpful. They offfered her drinks. They offered to cash checks for her. They gave her VIP treatment. They gave her free meals and free lodging. She writes, “In my entire life, I have never been treated more grandly” (Detour, p. 89). She thought to herself, “how could this place be evil or dangerous?” She also thought, “If it looked good and felt good, I wanted more of it.” Clearly, she had fallen prey to seduction. She developed an addiction to gambling that cost her her job, her homes, her reputation, her freedom (she spent time in prison) and put her soul in jeopardy.
A second example of seduction is found in Numbers 25. The children of Israel committed sin by joining themselves to Baal-peor. They forsook God and worshipped idols. Baalam was instrumental in bringing out this trespass by beguiling the people (Numbers 31:16; 25:18). In the latter passage, the Bible says, “they vexed you with their wiles.” They were seduced! To worship Baal is to become involved in one of the fertility religions. Baal’s female counterpart was Asherah. The fertility religions represented by Baalism perverted fertility which wa a gift from God in makng sex a mysterioius ritual (the seed of your body in exchange for the multiplication of your crops) which revived Satan’s rivalry with heaven. Temple prostitutes served the worshippers. Sexual sin always involves the presentation of one’s body (and, therefore, of our whole selves) to the dark powers that wish to control it (John White, Eros Redeemed). Sexual sin enslaves us to the “gods” to whom we unwittingly yield ourselves. Every time we sin by misusing the sexual parts of our bodies, or by indulging in sexual fantasies, by pursing pornography or paying for time on erotic phone numbers, their power over our behavior increases. Sexual seduction is a powerful force for evil in our world today. God was displeased with Israel and punished them for their sin. Twenty-four thousand were slain by a plague. The wages of wickedness are severe.
The fall of every person into sinful conduct involves the same pathway: enticement/lust/sin/and death.
The only remedy once we have sinned is God’s grace and our faith working by love (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 5:1-6). Idolatry can be anything to which we give extreme devotion. Idolatry is to hear the words of darkness and to act upon them. When we do this, we sin against God. Because of our sin, we must turn to God, repent and obey His will.

God’s Pursuit of Man

reconciliation, sin No Comments

Thirty-year-old Christiana Hines stopped by a gas station early Tuesday morning in Casselberry, FL, but left a $50 bill on the counter when she left the convenience store. A clerk tried to give it back, but Ms. Hines was already driving away. As it turned out, a Seminold County sheriff’s duputy had just arrived. When he learned that the cleark was trying to give the woman back her $50, the deputy offered to go after the woman and return the money himself. The deputy caught up with Ms. Hines, but before alterting her to his presence, he decided to check her tags. He discovered Ms. Hines’ license had been suspended. He put on his lights and sirens and that’s when Ms. Hines sped off. Casselberry Police set up a spiked strip to stop Hines, and though it deflated the car’s right-side tires, she still managed to speed away and lose the police. It wasn’t until she had driven into a gated community that police sergeant with the Casselberry Police spotted her and arrested her. Beyond leading the police in a car chase and having a suspended license, Hines had heroin and hypodermic needles in her car. The Sentinel reported that, “She is being held in John E. Polk Correctional Facility on charges of resisting an officer, heroin possession, driving while license suspended and possession of drug-use equipment.” All because she had forgotten a $50 bill at a gas station. (Yahoo.com, “Woman Leads Police on Chase After She forgets $50 on gas station counter (4/15/2014)).
In Genesis 3:1-10, we read the account of Adam and Eve’s sin against God when they ate of the forbidden fruit. Both of them hid from God. God pursued them, “where art thou?” Adam replied: “I heard”; “I was afraid because I was naked”; and “I hid myself.” Adam hides from God as God pursues him. Adam hides because he has sinned. God pursues him to help him. Most of the time when we run from God, we are attempting to hide our sins. God only desires to do us good. He knows we need redemption. He alone can provide it. Sin separates us from God. Yet, God seeks us through His Son Jesus Christ in order to reconcile us to Himself (II Cor. 5:17-19). When will we stop running from God?

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