Belief In Truth As a Sign Of Eternal Life…I John pt 15

I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me.(John 14:6)

We have been studying the threefold sign of eternal life, as taught by the Apostle John in His First Epistle. We have stressed that Eternal Life is a gift of God, it cannot be merited, it can only received freely by faith.

But how does one know whether or not he has received the gift of eternal Life?

After all, in our day as well as in John’s there were many teachers, and prophets who were redefining the knowledge of God, and claiming a new, secret, unique and mystical relationship with God, that was much more experiential and elaborate than the salvation taught by the Apostles.

By their “spiritual warfare”, prophecies, “Words” and supposed “Anointing” the new prophets had so confused and beguiled the believers, that some departed from orthodox christianity, seeking the “new and improved” version of the “Knowing ones”,ie the gnostics.

Confusion and demoralization reined among the remnant believers as to what is the true spirituality, who should they be listening to, and how does one know that they have known God?

The Apostle John’s task was not to bring something new, but to restore their original faith, and to contrast the true knowledge of God as opposed to the false. He does it by re-iterating three simple theological propositions;

* God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all…(I John 1:5)

* God is Love…(I John 4:8)

* Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh…( I John 4:2)

Out of these John extracts three simple tests of those who claim to have the Life of God. A test of Righteousness, a test of Love, and a test of belief in truth. Eternal Life being the cause of all three of these in a person’s life.

Eternal Life is a cause and not an effect. In other words, I am not turning from sin so that I can obtain eternal life…it is because I have obtained the gift of eternal life, that I now hate sin. Eternal life in me hates sin and won’t allow me to abide in it!

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.( I John 3:9)

Furthermore it is because I have received eternal life that I now love the brothers, not the other way around! God’s gift of eternal life causes me to love, forbear, forgive, and seek to build up my christian brothers.

“Everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God,He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is Love”.( I John 4:8)

In the same way, eternal life causes me to believe the doctrine of Christ, and to continue in that belief. I have been led astray before, but eternal life didn’t allow me to remain in the doctrines of Kenneth Copeland, because they contradicted the doctrine of Christ.

The Life of Jesus in me led me to see through the teaching that we are all just “little gods” and that “any believer is as much an incarnation as Jesus was”. Adherence to the Truth is a major sign of eternal life.

What does the Bible mean by the constant expression, “the Truth”? We are told that “the Truth” will make us free, and that many will be damned because “they received not the love of the Truth”. Jesus said of himself “I am the Truth…” . What does the expression, “The Truth” actually mean?

“The Truth” is not meant to be understood generally, as in all reality, the reality of Geometry, algebra, history, etc. Nor is it a reference to “veracity”, truth telling.The biblical sense is that The Truth is not naturally obtained but can only come by revelation.

We often hear the misguided cliche “All truth is God’s truth”, which misses the point of the biblical expression entirely, because it assumes that there is truth everywhere available, even in false religions. Yes all men indeed do have general truth, a kind of natural revelation, but “The Truth” is something other than that.

When the apostles and Jesus speak of “The truth” they refer to the only reliable disclosure of the spiritual and eternal world. It involves The true nature of God, how God sees man, the plight of mankind, the plan of Salvation, eternity, and primarily, Jesus, who he is why and how he came (incarnation),and what lies ahead for humanity and for the world.

Jesus is the truth, in the sense that He is the ultimate revelation of God, and of the true nature of God. His evaluation of mankind is the eternal evaluation, He is the plan and working of God’s salvation, the future of everything is in His hands. Everything he says is the Truth.

Those genuinely born again are said to be “of the Truth”. That is, eternal life has given them an inward affinity to truth, they resonate with it, feed on it and crave it. They cannot follow the antichrists, because they don’t resonate with anti-christianity. They have to follow the Truth wherever it is proclaimed and lived out.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.( John 18:37)

Those who aren’t born again constantly oppose or resist the truth. They must of necessity, it is deeper than intellectual it is moral and spiritual. There has to be a Ken Copeland and a Benny Hinn, because there is such a large constituency for them, there are so many who crave what they offer, that if there weren’t a Hinn, Dollar or Copeland, someone would have to invent one!

The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:31)

The reason some people will always go from the “Prayer of Jabez” to the “Purpose Driven Life” to “Good Morning Holy Spirit” to the false prophecies of a Rick Joyner , to Paul and Jan Crouch, to whatever other form of twisted and distorted christianity emerges, could be because they are Just “Not of the Truth”.

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Syria’s Agonizing Future Foretold…Isaiah 17

The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.(Isaiah 17:2)

To get an idea of just how apocalyptic our times actually are, consider recent events of heartbreaking and shattering significance , in the Middle East , just since the 2011 Arab Sring , which I wrote about in my book A Sword On The Land: The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy ,

Egypt went from being a relatively stable nation run by Hosni Mubarek, an ally in the war on terror and a hard headed realist, then descended into a time of bloody unrest and even civil war, due to Washington DC’s insertion of the once banned Muslim Brotherhood into Egypt’s politics. It took a coup to take the country out of the grip of the brutal Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi , but the country remains in tension.

Libya was also a stable Arab country, which offered her citizens amazing benefits for all of her citizens; full health care, full education, a monthly share of the nations oil revenues, and government help in housing, and basic needs. Libya was Africa’s richest and perhaps most stable Muslim country.

Though he admittedly had participated in terrorism in the past against the West, Gaddaffi co-operated in the war on terror also, and voluntarily relinquished his nation’s nuclear stockpile when the Gulf war 2 began in 2003.

But all of that ended when the Obama administration and the European Union decided Gaddaffi had to go.  The nation’s leader  was paraded through the streets and tortured on live television by a baying Muslim mob, then slaughtered. Libya has descended into a hellish chaos of warring factions, terrorism, corruption, rape, murder and violence to this day.

The hasty withdrawal of the US military from the hard won Iraq theater of war, virtually turned that nation and parts of Syria also into a hell scenario as well, leaving a vacuum which is being contested by factions such as the Kurds, the Shiites of Iran and Iraq, and ISIS, the Sunni militia which seized an area the size of the state of Indiana,and declared the resurrection of the Caliphate, the Sunni central authority which had been disbanded in 1922. This has released a reign of terror, Sharia imposition, sexual slave markets, Christian and Yazidi persecution, the resumption of beheading and crucifixion as punishments throughout the area.

Iraq had been the home of (recently 2,000,000) Chaldean Christians for 2000 years, going back to the days of the Apostles! Their number now, after US and western intervention and hasty withdrawal? Less than 200,000 remain. This is nothing less than genocide.

Then the West turned their attention to Syria, a nation of 22 million people, (almost ten million of which have gone into exile). Do we realize the magnitude of the suffering?  Half of a modern nation’s population has had to leave their homeland? ill ions flowed into Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and now up into Europe and America. (None into the Sunni oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia).

The double proxy war between Russia and the United States, and between the Sunni and Shiite world of Islam is so savage, whole cities have been deserted and ten million people have been displaced. Almost a million have been killed, and countless others have been maimed or wounded.

These are just four countries, I could go on and on! Egypt, the largest Arab nation in the world, Libya, Iraq, and Syria,   decimated! Dissected and bombed and crushed, with millions streaming throughout the world, uprooted, homeless and battle hardened in many cases.

We often are so overwhelmed by one apocalyptic scenario crowding out the previous and the previous one before that, we are almost benumbed.

But all of this was foretold by the Prophets of the Bible, and what we are seeing is a portent of even more astonishing and nightmarish scenarios.

 

Damascus shall be a heap of rubble, it shall no more be a city…

Damascus is known as the oldest continuously occupied city in the world. The prophets Elijah and Elisha went there to minister to Assyrian Kings. The blinded Saul of Tarsus was led by the hand to a home on Damascus’s Straight street, where he found his Christ, and recovered his sight. That very street still exists in Damascus.

This Ancient city has a rich history spanning thousands of years, encompassing influxes of Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, Crusaders, Byzantines, and Muslims. The population of Damascus currently is about 85 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian, and 5 percent other.

But according to scripture, the city is doomed to utter destruction in the last days, as are several other Arab cities.

Presently Damascus is the capital of Syria, which is ruled by Bashir Assad, a secular Arab leader, but also an implacable enemy of Israel. Assad’s Ba’athist ruling party is a relic of the Pan Arabist, fascist, secular experiments of the 1960′s and 70′s. The other notable Ba’athist government was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which has since been dismantled.

Assad is an Alawite Muslim, but his rule has been secular. Assad’s Syria has been a harshly ruled police state, with the Alawite minority ruling over the Sunni majority, breeding much resentment .

Bashir’s allies are the Iranian shiite regime and the Russians, as well as the Shiite south of Lebanon(Hezbullah) and the Shiites of Yemen and southern Arabia.

He is opposed by the Sunnis of Syria,Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and their patron the United States,and the EU.

The Syrian regime has waged a decades long war against the Muslim brotherhood, at one time even cordoning off large sections of Hama(Syria’s fourth largest city, and a long time Muslim Brotherhood stronghold), and carpet bombing entire sectors where Brotherhood sympathizers lived.killing 20,000. Bulldozers leveled the rubble of what were once teeming neighborhoods.

Israel sees Bashir, the Russians and the Iranians as the more dangerous coalition, although they have recently been menaced by ISIS, which is a Sunni expression of terror.

Israel has recently sent air sorties up to Damascus and bombed Syrian stores of weapons  of mass destruction, just outside of Damascus.

A dreadful thing which has not ever happened in history is about to occur, Damascus will cease from being a city, no longer will it be a seat of Government, a heap of rubble is it’s future.

Jeremiah implies that shortly before her destruction, Damascus will be surprised that Jerusalem is not “deserted” as she expected, this causes Damascus to lose heart herself.

Damascus has grown feeble; 
She turns to flee, 
And fear has seized her.
Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor. 
Why is the city of praise not deserted, the city of My joy? 
Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, 
And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day,” says the LORD of hosts. 
“ I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, 
And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.”( Jeremiah 49:24-27)

Whatever the provocation, the destruction of Damascus will reflect badly upon Israel in the court of world opinion. The world will turn on Israel, blaming her for what happens to Damascus. What little favor Israel had enjoyed up till then will shrivel up, it will resemble the last few olives left after the shaking of the olive tree by the reapers.

“ In that day it shall come to pass 
That the glory of Jacob will wane, 
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean. 
It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, 
And reaps the heads with his arm; 
It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain 
In the Valley of Rephaim. 
Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, 
Like the shaking of an olive tree, 
Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, 
Four or five in its most fruitful branches,” 
Says the LORD God of Israel.(Isaiah 17:4-6)

Damascus shall be obliterated in the context of a wider war, which will be destructive of other Arab cities as well, such as the area we call Gaza, which is a terrorist state designated as part of the U.N.imposed “two state solution”, but which God calls, “the nation not desired”…

Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together,
O undesirable nation, 
Before the decree is issued, 
Or the day passes like chaff, 
Before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, 
Before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! (Zechariah 2:1-2)

For Gaza shall be forsaken, 
And Ashkelon desolate; 
They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, 
And Ekron shall be uprooted. 
Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, 
The nation of the Cherethites! 
The word of the LORD is against you, 
O Canaan, land of the Philistines: (Zephaniah 2:4-5)

The one positive aspect of these terrible times, is that even the hardest of men will begin to seek the living God,

In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 17:7)

Zechariah echoes Isaiah,

The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.(Zechariah 9:1)

The international outcry that will be raised against Israel will be unprecedented. The nations line up to register complaint in the U.N., newspaper headlines will scream, pundits will wax eloquent with moral indignation, religious leaders will pontificate against Israel, her former lovers will leave her, and it will be extremely unfashionable to stand with God’s chosen people in that day.

Woe to the multitude of many people 
Who make a noise like the roar of the seas, 
And to the rushing of nations 
That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! 
13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; …(Isaiah 17:11-12)

But the outcry will merely be the prelude to the outpouring of Divine wrath upon all nations . Tribulation such as never occurred upon the earth, the wind and the sea raging, and men’s hearts failing them for fear…

But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, 
And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, 
Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.(Isaiah 17: 13-14)

But it is as in the evening, which seems always darkest before dawn, such is the tribulation and time of Jacob’s trouble, as Isaiah says,

Then behold, at eventide, trouble! 
And before the morning, he is no more. 
This is the portion of those who plunder us, 
And the lot of those who rob us.(Isaiah 17:14)

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Christ Or Cain…I John pt 14

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.( I John 3:11-15)

Love is the fruit of eternal life. The Love of God, for God and man is born in the heart of the believer. The presence of indwelling love for the brethren is one of the three signs of eternal life, it is how we “know that we have passed from death to life”.

There are only two types of people, God lovers or God haters. This is the teaching of the Bible all the way through, to the end. This concept is found in the Ten Commandments, notably in the second commandment of God,

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.(Exodus 20)

There is no third category of humanity, there are and can only be either God haters, or God lovers. Neutrality is impossible, for indifference to God is the acme of ungodliness, it is pride and hatred according to the Word of God.

In his teaching on the tests of eternal Life, concerning the second test, which is the evidence of love, John echoes this teaching. To the Lord’s apostle there are only two paradigms for all of humanity ; Christ or Cain.

Love one another, is what we have been hearing from the start, ie the onset of our Christian walk. Love pervades the gospels, the epistles, the story of Jesus, indeed, in the whole concept of God seeing us in our sin and misery and sending his Son to suffer in our place as a substitute, Love permeates Christian spirituality.

Yes Love is commanded, but even if not it is so implied that since we have been so loved, in such an unworthy state, how could we not gratefully Love one another? The paradigm for those who have truly received the gift of Life is Jesus, whose love for God and for us was acted out in the Incarnation, and on the cross in the giving up of his own life, and in our subsequent adoption into His family.

But John suggests a second paradigm, one which he warns us not to emulate, for it is the sure sign of spiritual death and darkness, that is Cain. We are told that Cain was “of the wicked One”, that is, he lived out his life at the disposal of and in the character of the Devil.

Cain “slew His brother”. The word “slew” here has a religious and sacramental significance. In other words there is a sense in which Cain offered up his brother as a sacrifice, just as Abel offered up a lamb as a sacrifice. Abel “slew a Lamb”, Cain “slew His brother”.

The whole story of Cain and Abel centers around sacrifice, remember? Both brothers worshipped, both acknowledged God, and both “drew near” with gifts. But God openly accepted Abel’s offering, and openly rejected Cain’s. What was the difference between these two offerings and why was one accepted and the other rejected?

Offerings to God are theological statements. When Abel came before the God appointed altar, with the broken body of a bleeding lamb of the flock in his hands, he was making a statement, “Dear Creator, I have sinned against you and deserve to die for it, under your judgment. But you have appointed a substitute to die in my place and this lamb is a token of that substitute, receive me in the name of the substitute you have appointed”.

This is the theology of the first martyr, substitutionary death, the presupposition of sin and wrath, the necessity for a sacrifice for sin, the humble dependence on the God appointed sacrifice for forgiveness and acceptance, and the patient endurance of persecution for the truth.

But what was the theology of the first murderer? Cain was willing to acknowledge God as his Creator, thus he offered the fruit of the ground which God had blessed, but refused the bloody substitute offering, and rejected the presuppositions that underly it, ie, wrath of God, guilt, death as a penalty for sin, and judgment for sin, satisfied only in the God appointed sacrifice. Unlike Abel, he saw no need for Redemption.

But notice that though perhaps he felt he was above slaying a lamb to offer to God, he didn’t hesitate to slay his brother. In other words, sacrifice is inevitable, someone is going to have to pay for sin, someone is going to be offered up on an altar to a god, if not the true sacrifice to the only true God.

Cain offered Abel up to his own rage, on the altar of his hurt feelings, envy, and rebellion. Thus Cain”slew” his brother. He wouldn’t kill a lamb but he killed his brother. He wouldn’t offer to God but he offered to himself! For humanity sacrifice is going to be offered no matter what!

Why did he slay his brother? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous…

Cain actually hated his brother for doing rightly, for coming to God in the God appointed way! It was because his brother’s righteousness showed up his own faux righteousness that Cain Killed Abel. He “slew” him for being good, and because He was a sinner!

It was because we are sinners, and Jesus is good, (sinless) that Jesus was slain and offered to God for us.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.(Isaiah 53:9-10)

I sat on a plane next to a Lebanese Muslim, a very nice man named Michael. ( He explained to me that often Muslims take “christian” names when immigrating to “fit in”. His real name was Muhammad!). Michael and I began discussing theology, but when I explained to him that Jesus died for us on the cross, he slammed his hand on the little table and proudly declared “We Muslims need no sacrifice!”.

I cautiously replied, “What do you call 9-11 if not a sacrifice to Allah (the god?)” Why are all of these terror acts being perpetrated by people named Ahmed, Mohammed, and Mehmet? Cain is still “slaying” people.

All people worship someone or something, and of course all worship requires sacrifice, there is no question of it, it is inevitable, the only question is, will it be the God appointed sacrifice, or the humanistic , self-serving sacrifice? Humanity is incurably religious in spite of the best efforts of atheists.

Humanists in our nation have disavowed God, the Bible, worship, prayer, and spirituality. They believe the message of the cross is degrading to man’s dignity, with its underlying presupposition of the wrath of God, Divine justice, and the sacrifice of Jesus as a substitute. How degrading to man! Man has “evolved past such primitive and barbaric religion!

But these same secularists have just passed the milestone of the 50 millionth “legal” abortion in the United States alone! Abortion is definitely a sacrifice to a false god.

There are only two paradigms for humanity, Christ, who offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins, to avert the wrath of a Just and Holy God against sin and sinners. He laid down his Life for us! He poured out his life as an offering! He took nothing from us , rather he gave us his life.

Or Cain, who is above and beyond all of that , too “humane” to kill a lamb, too proud to concede guilt and the danger of wrath. Cain wouldn’t own God as anything more than Creator, he needed no redeemer substitute.

But someone had to pay, therefore Cain “slew His brother”, he offered his brother’s life as an offering to his own rage, jealousy, and insecurity.In little and big ways the world is full of Cains, making others pay by killing them.

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Eternal Life Evidenced By Love…pt 13

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.( I John 3:14)

We have been discussing the theme of First John , which is the threefold test of eternal life, based on three simple theological propositions.

Firstly, because God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all, those who share in the gift of the life of God, hate evil and sin. Eternal Life is opposed to all that is false and evil, unceasingly exposing and repudiating it . Those who have eternal life confess their sins to God, they neither deny them or seek to hide them, rather they live in the light of God.

Secondly, because God is Love, those who have a share in the life of God , love the people of God. Eternal life causes us to love one another. Beloved, let us love one another, for everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God for God is Love.(I John 4:7-8) The one who consistently hates his brother, lacks evidence of eternal life.

Finally, in the proposition Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh, we are given the doctrine of Christ, the revealed teaching of who Jesus is and what he came to do. Eternal life gives us an inward affinity to the truth. Why do we believe in the Incarnation of Jesus? Because we have received eternal life! The third test is a test of adherence to revealed truth, to doctrine.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (I John 2:9-11)

To God there are only two kinds of people, those who Love God supremely and everyone else equally, or those who hate God and as a consequence hate their fellows. There is only love or hate for God , but there can be no neutrality. As the Law of God states in the ten commandments,

…for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.(Exodus 20:5-6)

So it is with our fellow-man, in the I John passage above. One either loves his brother, or hates him. One is either in the light of God, or remaining in darkness. The evidence for either is in Love or the absence thereof.

Any confessing Christian who can with impunity hate his brother, is fooling himself, he is certainly not in the Light of God, but remains in darkness. This means that regardless of what he thinks of himself, he is still estranged from true communion with God, unable to comprehend what God is saying and even set in opposition to God.

He doesn’t know what causes him to stumble , for hatred blinds his spiritual eyes to the true cause of his constant fall. Hatred has within it the seed of its own destruction, for bitterness, malice, envy, emulation and unforgiveness which is not repented of actually darkens and skews perception.

It is in knowing and believing the love God has to us, and responding in Love to God that clarity comes to us. Loving God as a response to His saving love, is the only deliverance sufficient to rescue us from Self Love, which is the ultimate cause of the loss of reality in our own lives.

In the gospel we can see that our deepest problems have consisted not merely in our various environments, nor of the multiple wrongs and injustices we have suffered from others. Rather it has been our own sinful alienation from God which has caused our deepest and truest sorrows.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.(I John 2:7-8)

The commandment to Love one another is not new, it is basic to humanity. We all know we should do it. It is the summation of the Law of God, Love God supremely and all else equally, If we would merely do that, we would never sin!

But we are told by the Lord’s apostle, that “The true light now shineth” upon the oldest commandment,(To Love one another), for in Jesus love has been fully demonstrated for all to see. To see Jesus is to behold love as it is meant to be. Jesus himself is “eternal life”, for the gift of God is a share in Jesus life.

As a man, Jesus has put God above all else, even his own life! This man who “knew no sin” was willing to be “made sin” as an offering for us that we might be reconciled to God! This man never broke faith with God, He is the embodiment of the commandment for man to Love God with all of his being!

In Jesus we are given the model, those who have eternal life, want to follow Jesus’ example, they now want to Love God, and to lay down their lives in large and small ways, as Jesus has done for us. Those who can hate, and nourish malice, envy and spite without spiritual anguish and conviction, are only demonstrating that they don’t truly have eternal life.

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If We Walk In The Light…I John pt 12

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.( I John 1:5-7)

In John’s epistle, which concerns itself with the true Knowledge of God as opposed to the false, there are various expressions used to describe the same thing. Knowing God is refered to as Remaining in Him, Knowing Him, Being begotten of Him, having eternal Life, and walking in the light, among others.

Remember that the entire epistle is formed around the three simple theological propositional statements ; God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all… God is Love… and Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh. Out of these statements come a threefold test to determine the reality of eternal life, the Test of Holiness, because God is Light. The Test of Love , for God is Love, and the test of belief in the doctrine of Christ.

Knowing God is a walk. Being reborn is only the beginning, it is the start of an ongoing journey , a pilgrimage. The Walk is in the Light of Him who is the true light, and in whose presence all things are revealed in their true nature. When a man truly comes to Christ he comes to the Light.

What does it mean to walk in the Light? It couldn’t mean a sinless walk because verse 7 tells us that if we walk in the light, “…the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin…”. Walking in the light is not the same as walking in perfection, God knows who we are and where we are at.

Walking in the Light of God means walking in the Light of exposure. The man who walks in the light is the man who has given up all pretense, he is committed to reality. He is the one who has come to God and is willing to be known for who he truly is, no fig leaves, he remains in the light of exposure.

When a man receives eternal life, he craves light from God. “In your light shall we see light”. The truly born again man wants to know who God is, He desires strongly the truth about himself ( no matter how painful). He is willing to see himself as God see’s him and to part with his former self-serving illusions about himself. He loves the preacher that shows him his sins.

The true work of the Spirit in a man’s life causes him to be totally honest about his sins and his sin nature. He has been brought to the point where he constantly confesses his sins to God. Confession means to say the same thing about them as God says, taking God’s side against them, and depending on God to forgive and cleanse them.

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

The Gnostics on the other hand are in denial, for they walk not in the true Light. They deny that sin is real,

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.( I John 1:10)

or they deny the sin nature, (sin in the singular)…

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.( I John 1:8)

They deny that sins of any kind can alter their relationship with God.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:( I John 1:6)

On the other hand, those who walk in darkness work hard to suppress all sense and conviction of sin. This is the very essence of darkness. they prefer a cloud of obfuscation, speculation, vain philosophy to the glaring light of God as revealed in Jesus, the Word of God. In His light all is seen as it is in truth.

If the born again man wants to know his condition in the light of God, the one who remains in darkness is marked by his steadfast refusal to know. Instinctively he shuts the curtains and closes the door to God, he doesn’t want to “go there” under any circumstances. He will not admit or acknowledge God, the glory of God or the reality of his own sin. That is the biblical meaning of darkness.

Jesus tells us that the basis for the final judgment of all men, is God’s light, and the rejection or acceptance of it. Men either love or hate the Light, neutrality is impossible. “Doing evil” is the same, to Jesus, as “hating the Light”.

“Doing truth” according to Jesus isn’t being perfect, or arriving at sinlessness, rather it is the simple willingness to come into the light of Life in the sight of God, and remain there with the rest of the fellowship, no matter how uncomfortable at times. On this issue hinges nothing less than Heaven and hell.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. ( John 3:19-21)

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Eternal Life Proven By Righteousness…I John pt 11

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.( I John 3:7-11)

The first epistle of John is a series of tests, the threefold tests of eternal life or the absence thereof. John wants to clear up the confusion engendered by counterfeit versions of christianity. Gnos`tics had redefined the knowledge of God, to the point that the real christians doubt`ed their own experience.

The Gnostics were so spiritual, they had constant dreams, revelations, ecstatic experiences, encounters with angels, etc. They seemingly enjoyed an exalted spirituality, far beyond the simple bible based fait`h of the ordinary christian. These people really seemed to know God in a deeper way!

The Apostle therefore, sets out to remind us of who the “only true God” really is, in three simple theological propositions. God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all…God is Love… and Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh. This is the “true God and eternal Life.

Those who truly have known this God will manifest the Life that He gives them, for eternal Life becomes the fountain of true Righteousness, true Love and truth in doctrine, notably the doctrine of Christ himself.By these tests, of Righteousness, Love and Truth, we can “know that we have eternal Life”.

Why does John call us not to be deceived about Righteousness, telling us something as self-evident as this, that “He that doeth Righteousness is Righteous even as He is Righteous…”?

Because the gnostics had succeeded in spiritualizing righteousness. One of the beliefs of gnostics, ancient and modern, is that all that really matters is the spiritual, not the physical. Who you are “in Christ” was supposed to be more significant than what yu may or may not do with your body, because the physical is irrelevant.

Therefore the conclusion was drawn that physical acts of unrighteousness are meaningless, they cannot possibly affect your relationship with God. All that supposedly matters is who you are “in the Spirit” and whether or not you have the “Gnosis”.

This is the deception John was addressing in the first chapter;

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:( I John 1:6)

There were those who believed because of the teaching of the gnostics that the walk was unimportant, and who denied that sin existed in the believer, or that it could ever harm our relationship with God!

if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.(I John 1:8)

This is a teaching that is very much with us today, the denial of original sin. Note that in verse 8 we claim to “have no sin” that is sin as a principle within us. Denial of original sin is self-deception, and evidence that the truth does not abide within.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.(I John 1:10)

In this case sin is a verb, the gnostics were saying they hadn’t sinned. This is rebellion against the light, calling God a liar and proof that the Word isn’t in us.

All of these are manifestations of the spiritualization of righteousness, which is deception. In our own time we have outrageous examples of this, for currently there is a charlatan healing evangelist named Todd Bentley.

This deceiver has been prophesied over by leaders of the so-called prophetic movement, as the next great move of God, all the while knowing that he would within two weeks leave his wife and children to marry his secretary, and to continue on with his much acclaimed and received “ministry”.

Such is the damage wrought by “Spiritualized righteousness”, evidently to Rick Joyner and the other deceivers who anointed and endorsed this adulterer, Bentley’s “anointing” and the “revelations he brings” are so vital to the cause of christ, that it doesn’t matter that Bentley trampled upon his own wife and took another.

This is the sort of confusion that John wrote to clear up. “He that sinneth is of the devil”, for the works of evil originate with the devil. Those who receive Todd Bentley knowing his immorality, demonstrate either that they themselves are devoid of eternal Life, or that they are in a state of utter spiritual confusion.

Those who sin blatantly and unashamedly are of the devil! It seems like a no brainer doesn’t it?

Those who have eternal Life, cannot sin with impunity, for eternal life will not allow it. Eternal life becomes within us the cause of the utter hatred of sin, all sin, indwelling and otherwise!

We don’t deny that we on occasion sin, , for John himself said “If any man sin, WE have an advocate with the Father…”. But the one who possess a share of the Life of God, who is light, and in whom no darkness can abide, hates and resists sin for the rest of his life.

The test of eternal Life is that it causes in us the hatred and resistance to sin. Tnose who do not have this, have no reason to believe that they have eternal Life.

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The Threefold Test of Eternal Life…I John pt 10

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. ( I John 5:13)

The apostle John’s ministry is one of restoration. The true knowledge of God had been supplanted in the minds of many believers by mystics and gnostics, whose visions, dreams and exotic spiritual experiences undermined confidence , in their own simple faith in Jesus Christ.

The issue is the knowledge of God; Who truly knows God? Who is truly Anointed? What does it mean to know God? Who is Jesus? Was a believer who obtained secret knowledge which elevated him, or is Jesus God ? Did he only seem to be “in the flesh”? What does it mean to be spiritual?

The Apostle John takes us back to the very beginning, giving us three simple statements concerning the nature of “the only true God”. God is light and in him is no darkness at all…God is love…and Jesus Christ has come(and remains) in the flesh. The identity of the only true God is the only thing that matters, for eternal life is “…knowing you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”.

From these three simple theological confessions, John draws three corresponding tests of eternal life. Do you say that you have eternal life? Since God is light…Do you walk in the Light? (The Righteousness Test). Since God is Love…Do you Love the brethren? (The Love Tests). Finally, a belief test, for the saving doctrine is that “Jesus Christ has come and remains in the flesh”. What do you believe about Jesus?

God himself is eternal life. As John says, “This is the true God and eternal life”(I John 5:20-21). Knowing God and sharing in His life are synonymous. Therefore those who possess eternal life can know it by the presence of these three qualities, affinity with Righteousness,Love for the brethren, and adherence to truth.

Eternal life is the cause of these three things in a believer’s life, and not the effect. In other words, it is because I have eternal life that I want to be truly righteous, I want to obey God, I hate sin in myself and am at war with it. I am not doing all of those thing to obtain eternal life, rather, eternal life has brought this condition about within me.

Having been born again, I now have a love for the brothers. I can’t hate them, turn my back on the church, hold onto petty grievances, eternal life will not allow it. Because I have eternal life, I must forgive, give, and seek the good of those God has put into my life. Eternal Life is Love, because God is Love.

We know we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.”(I john 3;14)

Finally I have to believe the truth about Jesus, eternal life causes me to , and to continually hold to the doctrine of Christ. Many christians have periods where they are led astray by this heretic or that, but eternal life doesn’t allow them to abide in error for long. eternal life fosters within us an affinity with “the Truth”. Jesus told Pilate,”…all who are of the truth will hear my voice”(John 18:37).

This three-fold test of eternal life; Righteousness, Love and doctrinal integrity, shows up over and over again in the Epistle, sometimes individually, and at others with all three in the same passage, as John patiently reiterates just who it is that truly knows God, and who is only fooling himself.

For example;

* Righteousness/Light, because God is Light… If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.( I John 1:6)

*God is Love, and God is Light therefore…He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.(I John 2:9-10)

*Because God is Love…We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.(I John 3:14)

*Affinity with the Truth, especially concerning the person of Jesus…They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.(I John 4:6)

* All Three tests are included in this one, Righteousness, Belief and Love as evidences of eternal Life…Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.( I john 5:1-3)

These are the things John wrote of “that you may know you have eternal life”, the presence of them are not to be seen as the way to obtain eternal life,(Eternal Life is the gift of God), but as the consequences of it!

The absence of these qualities are indicators also. Those who do not hate sin, or who can with impunity hate the church, or christians, and who are ready at the drop of a hat to follow the latest heresy, have no reason to believe that they know God.

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