Monday, June 5, 2017

UPGRADED GOSPEL

In the process of examining our faith to ensure that it's genuine (2 Cor. 13:5), we now come to a concept that has been all but discarded in the modern church.


For many, it is as if the Word of God has been "upgraded" so that we now have a completely new system by which to guide our faith and lives.
"Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us." (1Jo 3:24 NLT)
The upgrade of which I speak is found in the second half of the above verse. The first half has been essentially eliminated by the hyper-grace teachings of the past few years, while the positivity of the second half has been given top priority in our experience-oriented world.

Make no mistake. Both parts of this verse are true and applicable for today.

I have dealt extensively with the misapplication of the second half of the verse in many prior articles, so I will not give much of a picture here. Suffice it to say that those who misapply this in their lives are sense-based believers—"if it feels good/right, it must be God."

It is the first part of the verse, however, that balances such a subjective approach. A subjective, sense-based "proof" of 'God' removes all boundaries, allowing anyone to claim membership in the family regardless of their DNA.

Would it be too much of a stretch to suggest that the first part of the verse validates the second? We know the Spirit lives in us because we obey His commandments?

Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians that we are not to "grieve the holy Spirit of God (KJV)."

For many Charismatics and Pentecostals, that means "don't refuse the operation of the gifts in church." However, taken within its context, that verse is sandwiched between verses telling us what to do and how to live. Therefore, it speaks more to our daily life than to our one-hour life on Sunday as is brought out by the New Living Translation—
"And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption." (Eph 4:30 NLT) (emphasis added)
The idea of the assurance of salvation that we are considering in this series, then, is also based on knowing whether we keep God's commandments.

Yes, this is one which can be abused and used by the enemy to mislead us. Satan can, and often does, point to the fact that we keep the commandments, and therefore there is nothing else we need to do. We are "obviously" saved and belong to the Lord.

In fact, there are whole denominations built on the deception that all we really need to do is live a good life and not hurt anybody, and we will go to heaven.

Let us NEVER forget what Jesus told Thomas—
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (Jhn 14:6 NLT)
There is no other way. You cannot possibly be good enough—ever.

Yet, when you examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith, one thing you should look for is your obedience to the Lord's commands.

  • do you keep His commandments?
  • does it just seem to "come naturally?"
  • are you aware of the times you fall short?
If you are keeping His commandments as a result of being born again and given new life, then you can assure your heart that you belong to Him.

All that has been said thus far in this article and those previously, can be summed up with the following passage from John's first letter—
"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us." (1Jo 3:18-24 NLT) (emphasis added)
Our actions, if they are in line with the Word of God, are proof for ourselves and for those who watch us that we belong to the Lord and that His Spirit dwells within us.


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