Theological Counselling

The following downloadable articles on a variety of theological counselling topics are available for purchase.

Bible Separation Day-To-Day

Posted in Theological Counselling on March 29th, 2011 by Chris – Be the first to comment

What Is Biblical Separation?

There is much debate about what is meant by “separation” within Christianity. We will find that the Bible speaks very clearly to this topic. If a person has been saved from hell (which is what all people deserve by nature) then God has made it clear as to what He expects from those who are destined to spend eternity in heaven with Him through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

For the most part I plan to simply let the Bible speak by listing Scriptures that discuss this subject so that it becomes very clear. From time-to-time I will give an example to offer further clarification.

To start the list of verses, it’s important to mention that if an unbeliever invites us out to an event like a dinner (given that it is not at a strip club) God does not preclude us from going “if we want to go” (1Corinthians 10:27). Other than this, though, there are prescribed details that the Holy Scriptures mention concerning how a believer should interact with those who are not followers of Christ and the Trinity. Let’s take a look.

“Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals”. Become sober-minded as you ought… (1Corinthians 15:33)

“…those who do not acknowledge Jesus coming in the flesh (as God incarnate in human flesh- the God/man) is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2John 7).

Should a believer spend time in fellowship or prayer with someone who denies the Trinity and the Deity of Christ? The answer is no. Such a person is an antichrist.

The New Living Translation, which is an excellent “thought for thought” translation on most occasions, puts it very well. Here John the apostle says of those who do not bring the teaching of Christ and the apostles: “anyone who encourages such people becomes a partaker of their evil work” (2John 1:11). They are not to be encouraged at all.

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).

Should a Christian spend days or weeks in fellowship outside of an employment relationship, for example, with someone who is openly a homosexual offender, a drunkard, or a fornicator who has perverted the gospel and who does not take seriously the message of Christ?

This verse tells us that a believer should point out sin and not be a partaker of it- this in the hope that the ones practicing it might repent.  The next verse below tells us that we should expose sin with a spirit of gentleness.  We are not called to water down God’s message, but where possible, we should try to be at peace with others.  Once we understand God and his holiness and that we are no better than others, we should have a humble spirit…

“Pursue peace with all men and sanctification (or holiness) without which no one will see the Lord… that there be no immoral or godless person” (Hebrews 12:14-16).

Living a life without sanctification (or holy living) means that one’s ultimate destiny will not be heaven. It does not matter what previous experiences with God a person might have had. One time decisions don’t matter much. That’s why this writer does not believe in the “alter call” approach. That can be an emotional act or one based on peer pressure, lack of understanding etc.

“Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self condemned” (Titus 3:10-11). Those who are non submissive to the teaching of Christ, who are self willed and divisive, should be expelled from fellowship.

“Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1Corithians 6:9).

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you… If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast and not moved away from the hope of the gospel… (Colossians 1:21-23)

This verse again is telling us that it does not matter what experience in salvation you think you had or might have actually had. You must persevere in your faith in order to be saved. If you haven’t been, it’s time to turn once more to Christ and repent.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…” (Galatians 5:22).

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in due season…” (Psalm 1).

The Question Of Origins

Posted in Theological Counselling on July 25th, 2010 by Chris – 2 Comments

Many scientists believe that the earth evolved over a period of 4.5 billion years. This is common science textbook teaching in high school. Much has been written and researched on this topic. It is not the intention of this article to provide readers with an exhaustive research paper on the subject. However, the intent is to provide concise compelling information on the subject of creation versus evolution. We will accomplish this by analyzing the following topics: apemen, uniformatarianism, the earth’s decreasing magnetic field, radio carbon dating, and dinosaurs.

The first topic we will look at is geographic sedimentary “uniformatarianism”. This is the idea that that there are various layers of sediment that accumulated over millions and billions of years (some scientists decided to give them special names indicating the period in which they were formed over billions of years). In each of these layers, certain fossilization is indicative to the time period in which the layers were laid down. For example, certain forms of supposed “early” life would be at the deepest layers.

However, the problem that evolutionary science has is that many of these supposed more ancient life forms have now been discovered to be above more recent layers of sediment, and in some cases, mixed in with these supposedly more recent life forms. Some say it is because the lower rock layers must have faulted and shifted up over these more recent fossils. However, there is no faulting abrasions that indicate there has ever been this type of shift. Instead, these life forms were around at the same time and quickly fossilized together at the same time (fossilization must occur quickly or else decomposition takes place and no bones remain).

This fossilization often shows a mixture of various life forms that one wouldn’t expect to see together, like a dog skeleton along with shellfish fossils. This type of mixture is consistent with massive flooding. In fact, many scientists now admit there must have been massive flooding on the earth. This is the only way to describe what we are seeing. Nevertheless, they will not concede that it was one giant flood; They state, instead, it was several “floods”.

Radio carbon dating is another problem for evolutionary science. This is perhaps the most common method of dating fossils that scientists use. I will quote directly from Dr. Josh McDowell:

Carbon 14 is produced in the upper atmosphere when an atom of nitrogen 14 is struck by a cosmic ray. This changes the nitrogen to carbon 14. The carbon 14 then disperses throughout the atmosphere and is absorbed by the plants by photosynthesis. When an animal eats a plant, part of the carbon 14 is then incorporated into its body. A carnivorous animal eating that animal also gets carbon 14 into its body. This process continues, so the theory goes, until every living creature is radioactive to exactly the same degrees.

When a plant or animal dies it quits assimilating carbon 14 into its body. As time passes, the carbon 14 decays back to nitrogen 14. This means that the older the organic material is the less carbon 14 it will have. Thus one can date the object if certain conditions are met. Usually the assumption is made that the level of atmospheric carbon 14 has been constant over the last 20 to 30,000 years. But in order for this assumption to be true, the level of atmospheric nitrogen and the rate of cosmic ray bombardment also must have been constant over 30,000 years. The last assumption seems rather bold since the first measurements of the cosmic ray flux began in early part of the twentieth century…

The final assumption is that the rate of radioactive decay of carbon 14 dating does not change. The inconsistent aspect of the rate of carbon 14 decay is that it can be changed in the laboratory. John Lynde Anderson set up an experiment in which he altered the electric charge on a plate containing carbon 14… The rate of decay was radically altered by applying different electrical potentials to the carbon 14. The implications of this are far-reaching. For example, every time an electrical storm passed over an object in the ground, it could alter the rate of decay of the carbon 14. The electrical charge in the clouds and on the earth at such times would produce the same effect as Anderson produced in the laboratory.

So much for the theoretical considerations. There is no better way to illustrate the problems in carbon 14 than to show some examples. Yale University dated an antler three different times and got three different ages- 5,340 years, 9,310 years, and 10,320 years. The University of Michigan dated two specimens from the same stratigraphic positions (which means they should date the same) as being 1,430 and 2,040 years old (Mcdowell, J. 1981. Reasons Skeptics should consider Christianity. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers).

Another consideration is that the earth’s magnetic field is decreasing. The earth’s magnetic field has been measured since the mid 1800s. Since that time it has shown a steady and consistent pattern of decrease to this day. If conditions were the same prior to the time of first measuring this, and we can assume that they were quite similar, at least within the last several thousand years, we can determine that there is no way that the earth could be older than 10,000 years. In fact, it is more likely that it is around 6,000 years old, just as the Bible teaches when we analyze genealogies and time frames from the book of Genesis onward. The earth’s magnetic field would simply have been too strong to support life, based on the consistent increments of change we have measured in the past two hundred years.

The next subtopic is the idea that mankind evolved from primordial sludge, by chance, over billions of years from a lower evolutionary form into modern man… This idea, suffice it to say, requires more faith than anything we could likely think of. How do complex organisms come into being from nothing? This is impossible and flies in the face of rationality. If there is a design and a genetic code, there must be a designer. Furthermore, Charles Darwin’s “Black Boxes” (the transitionary fossils he said would bear out his theory someday) do not exist. The DNA of a monkey is that of a monkey and the DNA of a human is that of a human. There are no missing links. The “apeman theory” is one of frauds, fiction, and fantasies.

There have been one or two fossils discovered which lay claim by some to be perfect “missing links”. Further to be noted, there were only about one or two fossils reported and not large numbers. Even these one or two fossils did not have any connection to being missing links. One of the most notable examples of the monkey ancestry theory is that of the Java man. The original evidence on which Java man became accepted as an ape-man amounted to nothing more than one leg bone, three teeth and part of a skull. The leg bone appeared human, while the skull resembled that of an ape. However, these two fossils were found 45 feet apart at a level in the rock, which also contained true human skulls. This latter fact was suppressed for many years.

Dubois, the man who discovered these fossils, announced at the end of his life that they were not the remains of an ape-man at all, but rather that the skull belonged to a giant gibbon (a type of monkey). The evolutionist world refused to accept what he said and “Java Man” was incorporated into school textbooks anyway. “Peking Man” and the “Piltdown Man” are two more fabrications that are an embarrassment to the theory of evolution. Incidently, it is this part of the theory of evolution that is the nemesis behind racism and white supremacist groups. The claim is that dark skinned people are less evolved and they try to draw parallels in appearances to “chimps”. We can see, however, that an evolutionary construct could draw this type of conclusion when everything else it claims is also fictitious.

The dinosaur issue is the last one to be discussed. Firstly, the term “dinosaur” did not originate prior to the mid 1800s. If a person looked up the term dinosaur in the dictionary prior to this time they would not have found such a word. Instead, the definition for the word dinosaur used to be “dragon”. Before the mid 1800s the “dragon” was a dictionary term, stating: “some still exist”. Evolution has attempted to place these creatures in a time frame that corresponds to it’s agenda- one that attempts to negate the Creation account.

The Bible clearly mentions dinosaurs, or “dragons” in several places as having lived at the same time as people (Job 40:15-24, and Job 41:1-21). Interestingly, when the Bible mentions that the Lord speaks to Job in the second of these Scripture references, in particular, the “Leviathan” breathes “fire” from its nostrils. Why are there so many accounts in ancient folklore of fire-breathing dragons? The answer lies here in these Scriptures. Furthermore, these creatures have actually been seen and hunted in remote parts of Africa up until recent decades.

Dinosaurs were reptiles. They share ancestry with contemporary reptiles and amphibians- only now, they have become much smaller. Some of their genetic ancestors still existed within the last hundred years and some still likely exist to this day.

Dinosaurs have become smaller due to the dynamics involved within the earth’s atmosphere prior to the flood. Prior to that time the earth did not have rain. The earth was encompassed in a canopy of ice. The Bible explains that God released this canopy in the form of heavy rainfall during the time of Noah. There was also water released from within the earth. Prior to this time, Earth’s atmosphere and atmospheric pressure was very different than today.

The atmospheric pressure was immense during the time prior to the flood. Plants grew bigger, animals grew bigger, and some people apparently grew bigger (there have been fossils found that show some ancient peoples were as tall as ten feet). This may account for what Genesis says in chapter 6: “there were giants on the earth in those days”… The atmospheric pressure would have been like that of a hypoberic oxygen chamber that is used for medicinal/healing purposes at certain hospitals, thus enabling some people and some animals to become quite large.

The Bible also states that people lived to be 900 years old during early portions of the Old Testament. Reptiles and amphibians or “dinosaurs” grew much larger also. And because the genetic makeup of these particular animals enabled them to grow very large, this continued in some of these reptiles or “dinosaurs” even after the flood. Eventually what was left of this genetic makeup was hunted to extinction. In the same way, many other animals have been made extinct over the years… There can be little doubt that dinosaurs were also on Noah’s ark.

Why has all this information been kept away from the public for so many years? It is because of slow and systematic brainwashing:

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying ‘where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep (died), all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men” (2Peter 3:3-6).

“Outside (of heaven) are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying”. (Revelation 22:15).

Jesus gave an account in Luke’s gospel of someone who did not repent. It was used by Jesus as a universal application. It stated what a person would experience immediately following his or her death. The quote is as follows: “I am in agony in this flame” (Luke 16:19-31)…

Jesus also made a great statement surrounding the unfortunate deaths of several people in the collapse of a tower near Jerusalem. Due to the tragic horror of the events, Jesus’ followers presumed those involved must have led particularly wicked lives to have encountered such a terrible fate. In his teaching, Jesus simply stated this: “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). In this statement, Jesus was not teaching about physical death, which we all will face, He was instead bringing a spiritual message- where the soul will go after death; whether we will go to eternal life with Him, or whether the body and soul will perish in hell (Matthew 18:8; Jude 1:7, 2Thessalonians 1:9).

Taking the preceding subject matter together as a whole, one particularly pointed verse from the New Testament jumps out at us: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ; make no provisions to fulfil the lusts of the flesh” (Romans 13:14). Many individuals say this type of teaching is no longer for today. However, having now reviewed the theory of evolution in an objective manner, he or she who does not believe the Bible is indeed the one to be pitied most of all, especially in light of the manuscript evidence, archeological evidence and the predictive prophecies that have come to pass.

God’s Sovereignty- Man’s Responsibility; A Subject That Everyone Should Be Familiar With

Posted in Apologetics on February 2nd, 2009 by Chris – 5 Comments

Is God in control, or does man have a choice? This is a quotation from the book Chosen But Free, written by theologian Dr. Norman Geisler. I read this book some time ago and felt it was a good topic to look at in terms of God’s inerrant and infallible Word. Norman Geisler offers perspective on the Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. I do not necessarily hold to his view, nor do I reject it. His book and this topic is important. This article will also look at the institutes of John Calvin.

Norman holds a Doctorate degree in both philosophy and theology and has written many books. He is especially noted for his contributions to the subject of Christian Apologetics (defending the faith). This article will address the subject of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in salvation, and will quote directly from Dr. Geisler’s book “Chosen But Free” on occasion. The article will also look at the five points of Calvinism as they are addressed within the acronym TULIP. TULIP stands for: Total Depravity (of sinful man), Unconditional Election (instilled by God upon His elect), Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints (God’s elect will perservere till their end and will not die living in a life on unrepentant sin).

Before this subject is addressed, it should be noted that we can demonstrate that the Bible is divine rather than human in origin. We can establish this by means of the manuscript evidence that has been discovered over the past centuries, the archeological evidence, the predictive prophecies which have been fulfilled, and the science of statistical probabilities- that the Bible was written over a 1500 year period, on different continents, by different individuals and all of it pointing to man’s redemption by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. The Bible is the only book in the world, which can make this claim.

The Bible indicates that all are sinners (Romans 3:23, Genesis 2:17, 1John 1:8). Because God is unchanging and cannot accept sin, He cannot accept a sinful person in His all consuming presence. All people get what they deserve, which is to be sent to Hell (Revelation 21:8, Matthew 5:29-30). However, in God’s infinite mercy He has provided a way of salvation for those who receive it. The only way is through God the Son, Jesus Christ, He is imputed to the sinner as righteousness and acts as a substitute for the sinner when the sinner repents from all sin and places his faith in Christ alone (Acts 4:12, John 14:6, 1Corinthians 3:11, Luke 3:3).

To begin with, let’s look at the five points that Bible theologian John Calvin discussed based on what the Bible says about the Sovereignty of God. The first point to be discussed in the acronym is the letter “T”, which stands for Total Depravity. A traditional Calvinist perspective sites Romans 9:16 to establish that it is not man at all who has anything to do with his/her salvation but that salvation is brought about only by God. The verse states the following: “So then it is not of him who willeth, nor of him who runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy”. This seems unmistakable evidence that salvation “does not… depend on man’s desire (will)” (NIV). Sometimes, however, only emphasizing this one verse and others like it without consulting with the whole counsel of God can pose a stumbling block and this may be especially evident within evangelism.

Geisler’s response to this is that the Greek idea “of” in this verse can mean “out of” (John 1:13). It is a reference to the source of salvation, not the means by which we receive it, he states- and the Bible does tell us it is an act of our will in receiving it (John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8, etc). This happens in conjunction with the work of the Holy Spirit, Who impresses Himself upon everyone (John 16:7-11). The Bible clearly states that God is the one who initiated salvation, even before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). Only God can be the source of God’s saving mercy. However, as the Bible indicates later in Romans 9:22, we can reject God’s mercy. This is also stated in 2peter 3:9 and Acts 7:51.

The next point in the acronym is the letter “U”, which stands for Unconditional Election. Ephesians 1:5-11 states the following: God “predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” Also, “he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…” Again, “in him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…” (1:5, 9, 11).

It is true, says Geisler, that there are no strings attached to the gift of salvation-it is unconditional. When election occurred-before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)-the elect were not even created yet. God elected on His own, without any conditions that needed to be performed on the part of the elect. However, the question is not whether there are any conditions for God giving salvation; the question is whether there are any conditions for man receiving salvation.

Here the Bible seems to be very emphatic that faith is the condition for receiving God’s gift of salvation. We are “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1). We must “believe” on the Lord Jesus Christ” in order to be saved (Acts 16:31). “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). In response to Geisler, however, the Bible is also clear that our faith is “not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). However, this should bring us comfort knowing that God is sovereign and also gracious…

Some have rightly stated it might be foolish to get caught up in concerning ourselves with God’s Sovereignty and asking the question “am I really one of the elect; do I deserve to be”? The answer to this is no, because none of us deserve to be when we understand the holiness of God. Nevertheless, the command is to: “Believe (or follow) the Lord Jesus Christ”; “Whosover believes” (and continues to believe) will be saved (John 3:16).

This is our responsibility being exercised within the context of God’s sovereignty. If our inner being has been awakened to make a decision to cast ourself upon Christ, we must do it. In Romans we are told not to look into certain mysteries of God, His purposes and pleasure, but rather, in all things, we are to be thankful (Romans 9:17-21). It is also a mandate that we also ask of God and trust in God and that we not trust in ourselves (Matthew 7:7, Jeremiah 17:9).

The next part of the acronym is “L” which stands for limited atonement. Jesus said in Mathew 20:16, “Many are called, but few chosen”. While God knew that only the elect would believe (Acts 13:48), He desires all to be saved (2Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4). Thus, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16) to provide an atoning sacrifice for the sins of “the whole world” (1John 2:2). Since God called all, He provided salvation for all and commanded all to repent (Acts 17:30) and believe (Acts 16:31).

The “I” in the acronym stands for Irresistible Grace. One of the texts that comes to the forefront is Exodus 7:3-4, where we read: “I (God) will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and…he will not listen to you”. We can also look at the account in its entirety by studying other passages. The Bible says Pharaoh’s heart “grew hard” (Exodus 7:13, 7:14, 22). It also states that Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 8:15), and that “Pharaoh’s heart grew hard the more God worked on it” (Exodus 8:19). While it is true that God knew it would happen (Exodus 4:21), God’s Word also indicates Pharaoh hardened his heart first and God also hardened Pharaoh’s heart later (Exodus 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27). This demonstrates that Pharaoh was responsible for his actions.

Some say that God only hardens people’s hearts if they go on in continuous unbelief (John 12:37). Finally, parallel passages by Paul the Apostle, support the idea that it is man doing the initial hardening, not God. Romans 2:5 asserts, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself…”. Another point brought out by Geisler is that things that eventually seem “irresistible” may not have been so to begin with. For example, sin only becomes unavoidable when one freely rejects what is right and the conscience becomes hardened or seared. This is referenced in 1Timothy 4:2. Likewise, righteousness becomes irresistible when we yield to God’s grace.

Another verse that can be rightly brought forth is 1Corinthians 2:14, which states: “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them”. The word “receiveth” in the Greek (dekomai) means “to welcome”. It simply affirms that while persons do perceive the truth (Romans 1:20), they do not receive it. There is no welcome in his heart for what he knows in his head. A person has the truth, but is holding it down or suppressing it (Romans 1:18).

The last point in the acronym is Perseverance of the Saints. This means that the Christian who is truly was saved or being saved, will persevere in the faith. The Christian will not simply be a Christian for a little while, but will persevere in his/her faith.

There are several verses to consider, which provide insight into this subject. Jesus says of those who are truly saved “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned” (John 5:24); “By this gospel you are saved if you hold firmly to the Word I preached to you” (2Corinthians 15:2).

Jesus speaks of Himself and His Word when He teaches in Matthew 13. He states the following in verses 4-9: “Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had little earth: and afterward they sprung up and they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because of the lack of depth in their root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and overtook them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some one hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who has ears to hear, let him hear”.

Everyone in the world has a responsibility to Jesus Christ and His message, even if one may think they do not. Romans chapter one tells us that everyone has the light of creation and the light of conscience- this holds true for anyone, anywhere in the world… When people do not respond to these two elements (regardless of what cult they may be involved with), they will not be revealed the truth of Christ. Jesus illustrates this further in the parable above and I will make reference to the study notes of Theologian Dr. John MacArthur to illustrate what Jesus meant in His parable. It is represented in the following points:

1) The gospel never penetrated the souls of the first people mentioned in the parable; the Devil snatched it away right from the start (seed on the side of the road). One might think of African headhunters, those steeped in family religion or traditions, or cultural practices that lead to blindness. God can override this, of course, but these are typical examples that come to mind.

2) These next people made only an emotional decision- they remain followers of Christ only until there is a sacrifice to be made or are persecuted, then they fall away (seed on the rocky places).

3) The third professors of the faith make a superficial commitment also, but they can’t break from the love of money, love of the world and winning the favor of people- James 4:4 (seed among the thorns).

This verse is communicating that those who will truly be saved and persevere through tough times will be those who have forsaken all they have in life to put Christ first and have everything flow from Him. Christianity cannot merely be a shallow profession, it must be one that affects your entire life forever. All sin in life must be rooted out. You cannot make any agreements with sin.

Revelation 2:26 states that the “overcomer” will be the one who is truly saved: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations”. Revelation 3:5 says: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life…”. There is no question that the Christian will still sin (1John 1), however the Christian will not stay in a pattern of habitual sin continuously.

The Christian will be someone who knows they are weak and that they are utterly corrupt and prone to sin in thought, word and deed. They will be meek (they will not have an arrogant attitude, nor will they filled with concern for their own personal rights), they will also be humble (giving thanks to God for all things), and they will be also have a gentle attitude (Matthew 5:1-12).

They will not remain in an habitual practice of fornication, which is sex outside of one partner marriage, or any sexual union outside marriage, including pornography- Matthew 5:28. Nor will they be an extortionist for the love of money (like Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus). Further to this, they will not continue in a life of habitual drunkenness, drugs or pleasure seeking (1Corinthians 6:9). Those who go on and on in these sins demonstrate they have not repented and put their faith in Christ. This is the mark of someone who is not walking in love (filled by the Spirit-Ephesians 5). Simply put, this is someone who is not right with God and who must find repentance by coming to the end of self and casting their trust upon the compassion and grace of Christ alone.

Being “Spirit Filled” is another consideration that is often misunderstood. The Word tells us that the believer is to live a “peaceful and quiet life” (1 Timothy 2:1-2); and to give all an answer for their hope in Christ with “meekness and fear of the Lord” (1Peter 3:15). These directives are absent in many church circles today.

There are many people who believe that approaching a Christian life this way is not one of being “Spirit filled”. This is shocking, but true. Those who embrace this perspective are slipping into apostasy from the faith. Amusements and entertainments in the church and outside the church characterize the lifestyles of many who attend a church today. There is also an emphasizes on a “Pentecostal Movement” or the return of the “Charismata” (miracles, speaking in tongues, signs and wonders etc). This has been referred to as the “Charismatic Movement”, popularized recently from the 1960s onward.

Those who teach this movement refer to the first book of 1Corinthians in particular and reference speaking in “tongues”. In context, however, this passage is referring to speaking in another “language”. While there was a time during the book of Acts and during the first century time of Pentecost that God enabled miracles, the ability to understand foreign languages, and other supernatural phenomena to build the early church, this was not to continue after a certain time.

What is commonly referred to as “cessation” is explained by the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 13:8 where he states the following: “Love never fails, but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues (the sudden ability to understand and speak a foreign language), they will cease; if there is knowledge (extra Biblical words of knowledge), it will be done away… This of course, stands to reason.

Do we see people who suddenly grow new limbs? Or who the ability to understand and explain to others a foreign language they have never learned? The answer, of course, is no- as much as some Pentecostals hype themselves up, imagine or hope that this may be true.

The Apostle Paul spent a long time discussing this topic with the church in Corinth because it was a church in chaos (just like much of the Pentecostal Movement today is in chaos). The Corinthian Church had been affected by the sorcery/sex cults of the region. Part of those cult movements involved babbling incantations. Notably, this is what many modern Pentecostals do also. These characteristics are not attributable to being “Spirit Filled”, but are actually quite the opposite, which will be explained later on.

Another element that went along with the church in Corinth was that there were even more blatant indications that there were individuals in the church who were not Spirit filled. 1Corinthians 6:9 states: “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (cross dressers), nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. In the book of 2Corinthians we find out that some eventually repented of those sins, but others did not and went on to damnation. Are all Pentecostals unbelievers then? This is not the suggestion. However, the movement as a whole should be avoided because it is one of confusion.

Being “spirit filled” is based on a special relationship one has with God through repentance from sin. It has nothing to do with “speaking in tongues”, “healing” or having so-called supernatural visions. The believer’s pattern of life is to look a certain way and this is the key element. This is nowhere better explained than in Ephesians 5 where we read the following:

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

Notice the “silly talk”… “filthiness”… “coarse jesting”. What is the nemesis of this? The answer is pride and sin. It is the work of fallen man under the influence of the devil. And it will lead to damnation. This type of preaching on holiness, true repentance and sorrow for sin must be emphasized, while Pentecostalism should be avoided as a false teaching of confusion.

In bringing this part of the discussion to a conclusion, the best way to ensure that a person has made an appropriate profession of their Christian faith and is “Spirit filled”, is to emphasize that one must believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh who lived, died, and rose again on the third day, and is a substitute for the penalty of sin. The person must receive Jesus Christ by faith as their own Savior and demonstrate their trust in Him by forsaking all sin with God’s help. Also that this forsaking of a sin must be a lifelong commitment, asking for God’s grace to do so- even to the point of death, if needs be. It must also be explained that failure to do so will bring the “second death”- being cast into Hell by God (Matthew 10:28, 2Peter 2:4, Revelation 22:15).

After having taken a look at this topic, we come to the conclusion that our loving God has sent His son to die for the sins of the whole world. No one is ever be able to say that God does not love the world. He offers His salvation freely to those who will receive Him and repent from their sins. However, the believer will understand that in light of God’s holiness and his own depravity, Christianity is not a soft option. Many people have been and continue to be condemned (Romans 1:26) because of the hardness of their own hearts (1Timothy 4:2).

However, for us who are being saved and sanctified it is imperative to follow what Jesus said: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and then looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. (Luke 9:62). Abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him at His coming. “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of him” (1John 2).

A Christian will not go on and on in an unbroken pattern of sin in their life. There will be repentance and faith in Christ. The true believer will also believe in the correct nature of who Christ is: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God” (1John 2-3). Both the full humanity and full Deity of Christ must be maintained.

It is not us that does the saving, it is Christ. Jesus says: “without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). And without the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, through the proclamation of the Word of God, everyone would go to Hell… Man is born with a sin nature. Everyone must be “born again” (John 3:3). A popular quote is John 3:16, but is just as important John 3:19, which says: “And here is the condemnation, light has come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil”. “Today if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart” (Hebrews 3:15).