James 1:16-18 ESV
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
We read in Ephesians 2:8-10 that it is by God’s grace that we are saved through faith. And this is not our own doing. It is the gift of God and not the result of our own fleshly works, so that not one of us should boast that we somehow did something to earn or to deserve our own salvation. For our salvation and even the faith to believe in Jesus are gifted to us by God (Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1).
Many people today have twisted and distorted this Scripture to say something it is not saying, and in order to deceive people into believing a big fat lie which is leading people by the masses to turn away from following Jesus Christ with their lives. For they are teaching a gospel message absent of genuine repentance, absent of turning from our wickedness, absent of submission and obedience to our Lord, and absent of the fear of God.
But God has not changed. He all of a sudden didn’t change his requirements for salvation. He has always equated obedience with faith and disobedience with unbelief (See 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13). And please know that this faith is not from ourselves but it comes from God, therefore it is going to align with God’s holiness, righteousness, and godliness. So it is not going to grant you permission to keep on in your sin habitually.
Please stop listening to humans as your total source for truth, for many liars exist out there. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing are pastoring church congregations and are feeding them lies straight from hell. Read the Bible for yourselves, but read it in context, one verse, and one chapter, and one book at a time. For many false beliefs stem from removing Scriptures from their context to make them say something they do not say.
We do indeed have to turn from our sins and walk in obedience to our Lord in order to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. This is not us doing this in our own flesh, though, because this can only be done in the power of God and by his Spirit. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, not so we would go on living in deliberate and habitual sin in direct disobedience to our Lord (1 Pet 2:24).
And do you know what verse 10 says in Ephesians 2? “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So, works are required of us, but they are the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them by his Spirit and in his power. They include repentance and obedient submission to Christ. And we will be judged by our works.
[Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; 2 Co 9:8; Gal 5:6; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:9-14; 2 Thess 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit 2:11-14; Jn 15:1-11; Tit 3:8; Jas 2:17; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27]
James 1:19-21 ESV
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Sin, no matter what it is, is to be put out of our lives. We are not to walk any longer according to the flesh, but now according to the Spirit. Sin should no longer be our master for Jesus delivered us out of our slavery to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. For if we keep on making sin our practice, obeying it and not God, we will not inherit eternal life with God but we will die in our sins (see verses referenced above).
James 1:22-25 ESV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
If we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, that means we have to obey the Lord and what he teaches us. We have to do what the word says, i.e. the parts directed towards us who are following Jesus Christ with our lives. We do not have to obey all the Old Covenant ceremonial, liturgical, sacrificial, and purification laws that the Jews of old had to obey. We are free from those, but not from God’s moral laws which are summed up in two:
And he (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 22:37-40; cf. Rom 13:8-10; 1 Co 13:4-8; 1 Jn 5:2-3).
And this love is not human love, which is based on feelings, but this love prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, upright, honest, morally pure, faithful, and obedient. So when we love with this kind of love, we walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands, and we do not deliberately and habitually sin against God and our fellow humans. For love does no deliberate harm to its neighbors.
Thus, if we truly love God, we are going to be doers of the word and not hearers only. We are not going to be those who hear the word of the Lord and then walk away and completely forget what he showed us about ourselves. And what he showed us from his word we must then do in heart response to him based upon what he showed us. For the perfect law of liberty, the gospel of our salvation, teaches us to obey the word.
Thus, if we are those who do walk in obedience to our Lord – not that we are completely perfect, but that we are not living according to the flesh but according to the Spirit – and if we persevere in these walks of obedience to our Lord and if we do not turn away from him and return to our vomit, then we will be blessed of God in what we are doing in obedience to our Lord, and for the glory of God, which will result in eternal life with God.
Sweet Beulah Land
By Squire Parsons
I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore.
I’m looking now, just across the river
To where my faith, shall end in sight
There’s just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.
Beulah Land I’m longing for you
And some day on thee I’ll stand
There my home shall be eternal
Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land
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