When we hear the word "inevitable" it seems to imply that the event is going to happen and that we our powerless to do anything to prevent it.
As we will see in this study, failure is inevitable, but born again believers are also given the spiritual power (John 15: 5) and skills to manage this critical area of discipleship.
Scripture (Romans 3: 23), human history, and our own personal experience, will all concur that we have all sinned, that many of us are presently entertaining what the Bible labels as sin, and that all of us will sin in the future. Sin and failure will be a part of our experiencre as long as we are here on Earth.
When the Bible calls us to "perfect (Matt. 5: 48)," it is not talking about sinless perfection. It is talking about spiritual maturity. Never-the-less, no matter how spiritually mature one becomes, there will still be sin and failures to be dealt with, here on Earth.
Spiritual maturity is the end result of learning and applying the Word of God to ALL that think, say, and do.
In the course of each and every day of a believer's post salvation spiritual life, our souls are challenged to make choices that either glorifies God by how we think, what we say, and what we do, or that denies God that same glory.
When all is said and done, we fail because of the negative choices we make. We either fail to learn what we are to do, or we fail to apply what we have learned.
The thoughts and actions of the devil and other people can greatly influence the decisions we make. For this reason we are warned to be aware of what or to whom we choose to listen. Never the less, it is still we who make the final choices.
Failing to perceive the spiritual issues behind ALL the choices we make is the result of wilful disobedience to such commands as found in 1Peter. 3: 18, and/or not gathering ( Heb. 10: 25) together in/with a local assembly/ministry that teaches accurate Bible Doctrine.
We ALL have within us, a sin nature that is inherently hostile (Romans 8: 7) towards God and things of God while being receptive to all the evil and alternatives that the devil's (Luke 4: 6) world has to offer. Man-made religion is among the alternatives that the devil promotes. Man-made religion can be found inside as well as outside of what is generally considered to be a part of the Christian Community at large.
Being predisposed to sin, we find ourselves living in a spiritual environment in which sin IS inevitable. It is inevitable because we inevitably CHOOSE to sin.
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In light of this inevitability, the first question that the devil brings to our rebellious minds is how can God hold us accountable when we, by nature (Romans 8: 7), are inherently predisposed to sin.
The short answer is that Man was/is given free will (and the accompanying responsibility and accountability). With this free will we make moral choices, inevitably reaping either the blessings or the consequences of those decisions.
For some, this inherent tendency to sin becomes the means to excuse the sin we commit. While finding a home in the realm of human viewpoint, such excuses will not hold water in the Court of Heaven. It will be in the Court of Heaven where the born again believer will give an account of him/herself (Romans 14: 12).
"So then each one of us shall give an account of himself to God (Romans 14: 12 NASB)."
Because it is born again believers being spoken of in Romans 14: 12, the judgment is NOT to determine who stays in Heaven. That was already determined during one's time on Earth (John 3: 18). The purpose for this Rom. 14: 12/1Cor. 3: 12-15) judgment (evaluation of deeds), is to reveal which born again believers will, and which born believers will not receive the rewards spoken of in such passages as 1Cor. 3: 12-15.
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True, as the devil will point out, we did not choose which dispensation (period of human history) we, as individuals, were to be born. That was God's choosing.
Our biological parents (John 3: 6) may or may not have had a baby in mind when they started the process that reproduced what became our humanity at birth (Gen. 2: 7).
It was/is God who creates and places the soul that He (John 3: 6) knowingly creates into the body of His choosing when the bodies that our biological parents reproduced and brought forth at birth.
"That (our bodies) which is born of the *flesh is flesh, and that (soul/spirit) which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3: 6 NASB italics mine).
*Depending on the context of the verse, the English word "flesh," in Scripture, can be refer to physical bodily substance (John 3: 6), or the manifestation of the sin nature (Gal. 5: 24).
In accordance with His plan for each one of us, He created us (our soul) placed us in the body of His choosing. In His omniscience, He had full knowledge of all the political, social, economic, education, labor/professional, and physical opportunities and limitations that went along with it.
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Just as God prepared and provided the specific body (Heb. 10: 5) that the Lord Jesus Christ needed to fulfill the plan that God the Father had for Him, so has He done the same for each one of us.
Mary c-o-n-c-e-i-v-e-d what became the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ by supernatural (Luke 1: 35)means, but gave birth by the natural process that God established for that purpose.
It was at birth (Luke 2: 11) that the eternal (John 1: 1) God the Son took on human form.
"For today in (Bethlehem) the city of David (not 9 months earlier in Nazareth where and when Mary conceived) there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2: 11).
It was at His circumcision that He took on the name Jesus, in compliance with the instructions given by angel Gabriel (Luke 1: 26).
The truth about the conception of our Lord's humanity is an important point of doctrine. ANY humanity (body) that was conceived through sexual intercourse involving a male sinner would have failed to qualify as the spotless Lamb of God. It is at conception (Psalms 51: 5) that the sin nature is passed down to the next/incoming generation. (Psalms 51: 5) via the male partner (1Cor. 15: 22).
Accordingly, neither Joseph nor could any other male be used of God to produce what became the Lord's humanity at the First Advent.
No one should dispute the part and the personal contribution that Mary had in the plan of God, but neither should she (or any other sinner) be elevated to equality, in status or function, with deity. Mary was a self-acknowledged (Luke 1: 47) sinner. Mary acknowledged God as her Lord and her personal ("my") Savior. Mary was in need of the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ as much as ANY (James 2: 10/Romans 3: 23) other sinner.
The Lord Jesus Christ loved His earthly mother. One of the last things He did while on the cross was to provide for her logistical care after His departure (John 19: 26, 27). His humanity was living proof of the part that Mary played in God's plan for salvation.
At the same time, Mary had received the fallen sin nature that was passed down to her via her biological father when her biological mother conceived what later became her humanity. The fact that the sin nature is passed down through the male partner (1Cor. 15: 22) is why God could and did use Mary to conceive and to bring about the sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The physical bodies of all humans house the soul that is placed into it at birth Gen. 2: 7). At the physical death, the soul with never-ending life, departs, and the body (in time) turns to dust (Gen. 3: 19). The dust or decaying bodily remains of believers will be raised up again in the form of a resurrected body when the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 16, 17) takes place. Souls of believers that depart BEFORE the Rapture takes place, are in Heaven-2Cor. 5: 8) and dwell in interim bodies (2Cor. 5: 1) until the Rapture does takes place.
The departed souls of unbelievers continue to go to the Torments section of Hades where they suffer (Luke 16: 24) until ALL unbelievers are summoned to the Court of Heaven, judged, and sent to the Lake of Fire for all of eternity (Rev. 20: 13, 15). The "eyes" of Luke 16: 23 and the" tongue" of Luke 16: 24 indicates the departed souls of unbelievers also receive some type of bodily form upon leaving tier natural bodies behind at physical death.
Here in the Church Age, IF and when one is born again (John 3: 5, 7), his/her body THEN becomes the temple of God during the believers' time here on Earth (1Cor. 3: 16).
"Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God indwells in you (1Cor. 3: 16 NASB)."
God's choice of the body that we (our souls) were placed (by God) in at birth sets the stage for much of what our individual experiences here on Earth will be.
True, as the devil would point out to us, we did not choose our biological parents. God did. Such things as the social, economic, or political environment in which most of us will spend all of our appointed time here on Earth. There are rags to riches cases, and visa versa scenarios, but even secular sociologists and human history will concur that for the overwhelming majority, one will not leave the social, economic, or political environment in which we were divinely place into at birth.
True, as the devil will point out, we did not choose to come into this world in the status of being spiritually dead. This is a condition and status that became a reality for the human experience in the Garden of Eden.
We did not choose to receive a nature that is inherently hostile towards God and/or the things of God.
The s-p-i-r-i-t-u-a-l-l-y dead status was first received by Adam and Eve on the day they sinned (Gen. 2: 17). The spiritually dead status they received was later passed down to their offspring, and in turn, to all the generations of human history to come.
Along with spiritual death, the inherently hostile (towards God and the things of God) nature (Romans 8: 7) was also passed down at conception (Psalms 51: 4) to the generations of Man, as well.
Spiritual death and the hostile sin nature is passed down through the male (1Cor. 15 22) partner during the reproductive process to the humanity of the incoming generation at conception (Psalms 51: 5).
Being spiritually dead and having a nature that is hostile towards God and the things of God is what predisposes us to inevitably choose to engage in sin.
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The type of body that the Lord Jesus Christ received at birth was like the bodies that Adam and Eve had prior to the Fall. Adam and Eve were NOT born, they were created. In their created status, they were spiritually alive and without a sin nature. They were, however, given free will with which they made negative choices and eventually failed. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His humanity, also had free will, was tempted, but chose obedience in order to preserve the integrity of His humanity as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
One aspect of the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ that is often overlooked is the fact that He had to remain sinless throughout His lifetime here on Earth in order to preserve the purity of the His sacrificial humanity in order to accomplish His atoning Work on the cross. What makes this such a great accomplishment is that He accomplished much of this in the limited ability of His humanity, and not the unlimited power of His deity.
Some rationalize this away, taking the position that, as God, He couldn't have sinned. In His deity (divine nature) this IS true, but when one acknowledges that what He did, He did within the limitations of His humanity, we can see a much different scenario.
The Lord Jesus Christ was/is BOTH God (retaining His eternal deity and status as God the Son) and human (taking on the human form with all its limitations) at the First Advent.
In order to fulfill the plan of God, He CHOSE not to make use of His divine power, except when called for by the plan of God, such as when He performed the miracles He did.
Other than when it was a part of the plan of God, He chose to do all that He did within the Self-imposed limitations of His humanity.
In order to understand and truly appreciate what took place during the time He was on Earth, it is important to understand when He functioned in His deity, and when He functioned in His humanity.
"God" does not get tired; but He, functioning in His humanity, did get tired (John 4: 6). "God" does not get hungry; but He, functioning in His humanity, did get hungry(Luke 4:2). God does not get thirsty; but He, functioning in His humanity, did get thirsty (John 19: 28). God can not be tempted (James 1: 13); but He, in His humanity, was tempted is every way that we are (Heb. 4: 15). "God" can not die; but He, functioning in His humanity, died (John 19: 30). Note that in His deity He remained alive, and that with His departed human spirit (John 19: 30), He went to the Paradise section of Hades (Luke 23: 43) until He was reunited with His resurrected body three days later.
God could not fail. He, functioning in His humanity could have failed, but did not fail (Heb. 4: 15).
On the other hand, "Man" can not forgive sin; but He, functioning in His deity, He did forgive sin (Luke 7: 58). "Man," without the enabling power of deity (Matt. 14: 29), can not walk on water; but He, functioning in His deity, did walk on (Matt. 14: 25). "Man" can not raise the dead; but He, functioning in His deity, raised persons from the dead (John 11: 43, 44, etc.).
Trying to motivate Him to use His divine attributes independently of the plan of God was what the primary diabolical objective that was behind the temptations that the devil imposed in Matt. 4, Luke 4, and later on during His time here on Earth.
Stop and think about it. Is there anything, in of itself, sinful about providing food (Matt. 4: 3) via supernatural power, or providing proof (Matt. 4: 6) that one has the power to perform miracles, when there is a divine purpose in mind?
(Exodus 16:35/Matt. 14: 13-21/John 10: 38) says, "No!".
The sin, in our Lord's case (Luke 4) would not have been in the acts themselves, but the independent use of His deity.
Why would have ANY sin on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ been so important to the devil?
Because if the devil had been able to motivate Him to sin by using His divine power other than when required to fulfill the plan of God, it would have been an act of disobedience (sin) on His part.
James 2: 10 teach that the one who sins by breaking any one of God's commands, he/she stands as guilty as the one who has broken them all!
If the Lord Jesus Christ, in His humanity, had sinned, His status and qualification to be the "spotless" Lamb of God and His ability to atone for the world's sin debt (1John 2: 2), would have been compromised, rendering His atoning work on the cross null and void.
The devil would have secured a greater victory that the one he achieved resulting in the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden!
In His d-e-i-t-y, the Lord Jesus Christ could not sin, nor could He be tempted to sin (James 1: 13), but in His humanity He was tempted and could have sinned, but did not (Heb. 4: 15).
"Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself does not tempt anyone (James 1: 13 NASB).
But in His h-u-m-a-n-i-t-y, Scripture (Heb. 4: 15) teach that the Lord Jesus Christ was, "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4: 15 NASB)."
There can be no temptation if what is being offered is not possible.
Failing to distinguish when the Lord Jesus Christ functioned in His Humanity, and when He functioned in His Deity, opens the door to many false doctrines that are popular with human viewpoint and supported by many "religious" circles.
Many, for instance, support the idea of an "historical" Jesus, or that Jesus was among other prophets who spoke or acted in behalf of "a" god, or God, but deny His divine nature and equality with God the Father and/or God the Holy Spirit (John 10: 30).
Failing to acknowledge all that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished within the (self-induced) limitations of His Humanity can cause us to fail to appreciate the struggle He had in order to preserve Himself and to accomplish what He did for us, before, and while on the cross.
If our Lord, in His humanity could not have sinned or have been tempted to sin, then all the passages (Luke 4/Matt. 4/Heb. 4: 15) are false, misleading, and a farce. Such a viewpoint is not only incorrect, but is an insult to all that our Lord endured for our benefit.
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Remember that His enemies, went as far as to attribute the miraculous activity that He did perform (within the plan of God) to demonic activity (Matt. 12: 24).
His enemies could not very well dispute the public miracles that He perform. When one rejects the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, one must then offer an alternative explanation.
Unlike us, in His humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world with the same type of humanity (void of a the sin nature) and spiritually (alive) status, as did Adam and the woman (Eve). No other type of (sinless) humanity could qualify as the Lamb of God.
As the Biblical account of the Fall of Man (Genesis 3) confirms, even though one is spiritually and alive and without a sin nature, one can still be deceived and/or choose to use his/her free to engage in sin. Add to that reality, a spiritually dead soul with a nature that is inherently hostile towards the God and/or the things of God, it should be clear to us why sin and failure on our part is inevitable.
The woman (Eve) was deceived and Adam chose to sin. The Lord Jesus Christ was tempted, but was not deceived, and did NOT sin.
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As if our own fallen nature were not enough for us to deal with, we (independent of God-1John 4: 4) are no match for the devil and/or his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil who live for the day that he/they can destroy (1Pet. 5: 8) souls that were created for the glory of God..
This "destruction" does NOT involve or result in the "end" of the soul's existence. In the case of unbelievers, this (1Pet. 5: 8) type of destruction involves the continuation of the spiritual death status in which the soul entered with world. In the case of believers, this destruction involves the quality of what should be a productive post salvation spiritual life.
Here in the Church, the devil and his (Eph. 6: 12) forces of evil continue to promote false gods (Psalms 96: 5), as they did during the Old Testament dispensation, and by denying/disputing the Gospel Message of the Bible. They promote false gospels and religious rituals as alternative means to make or to keep oneself "right" with God, or with the "gods" (note: small "g") spoken of in Psalms 6:5 NASB." Such false Gospels and alternative "religious" rituals can be found inside and outside of the Christian Community at large. "Religious" teachings and rituals are the products of Man that are void of Biblical substantiation.
When a soul chooses to believe, that is to place his/her full trust and confidence in a presentation of the Gospel Message, the devil and his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil have been defeated in their primary objective, but they by no means are finished attacking the "saved" soul.
The salvation of the soul sets the stage for the secondary objective of the devil and his forces of evil, which is the "destruction" of the quality of the saved soul's post salvation spiritual life. Note it is not the post (after) salvation spiritual life itself, but the quantity/quality of the divine good being produced (John 15: 5/1 Cor. 3: 12-15.
It is the production of divine good in the believer's post (after) salvation spiritual life that glorifies God.
The deceitful part of religion is that it is designed to appear to have come from God and it appears to be what God desires. In the case of all successful counterfeiting, the product must appear to be the real thing if it is going to be accepted and circulated. The best defense against counterfeiting is not by keeping up with the latest versions, but with the ability to identify the genuine product. Once one we know what the truth is, counterfeits are easily detected, and we will not be deceived by what appeals to fallen nature.
"For that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God (Luke 16: 14).
Any teaching or practice that denies the glory that God alone is entitled to can be placed on the Luke 16: 14.
Much of the spiritual combat (Eph. 6) of the Church Age is centered around learning and applying accurate Bible Doctrine while eliminating false doctrine and "religious" alternatives.
Spiritual combat involves both offensive and defensive activity. Of all the "spirirtual armor" listed in Eph. 6, there is only one (sword) offensive weapons. The sword is the Word Of God. Like any other weapon, it is only as effective as the skill level of its user. It is through indoctrination and exercise that the Christian soldier masters this skill. Without either one, defeat in the realm of DAILY spiritual combat is inevitable.
One can be religious, but one cannot identify nor execute the post salvation spiritual life without spending ongoing time meditating on the Word of God.
"The book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it...(Joshua 1: 8 NASB mine)."
In the Church Age, the book of the law is expanded to the completed Canon of Scripture (The Bible).
The advancing disciple identifies his/her individual place (1Cor. 12: 18) and function (1COr. 12: 7, 11) in order to carry out the marching orders that were given to the Church at large.
The marching orders given by its Head (the Lord Jesus Christ) to the Church that God designed is clearly outlined in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:, 19, 20), which is to proclaim the Gospel Message to unbelievers, and make disciples (students and appliers of the Word of God) out of those unbelievers after they are born again (John 3: 5, 7).
The devil promotes all kinds of alternative areas of activity (political action, social reform, humanitarian projects,, special ministry groups, environmental groups) in order to distract the Church's attention, time, and resources from its primary mission.
Its a win-win situation for the devil if he gets a helping hand to improve his world (Luke 4: 6) if the spiritual need are neglected.
Reforming or gaining the whole world will prove to be worthless (in eternity) if the spiritual needs are not addressed in the process. When a nation, society, or an individual gets it spiritual act together, there would be no other domestic, social, or political reforms necessary.
The Lord Jesus Christ was not being insensitive (1John 3: 17) to the logistical needs of the poor; nor was He opposing giving them aid (James 2: 16) when He said, " For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me (John 12: 8)."
He was prioritizing spiritual needs.
The marching orders given by the devil to his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil call for opposing the true Gospel Message while promoting false Gospels. The marching orders given by the devil call for opposing the teaching of accurate Bible Doctrine among those who have been born again and promotes the teaching of false doctrine. Most of the devil's objectives are accomplished through organized religious institutions under the leadership of those he has already deceived.
Failure to identify and participate in the Great Commission will greatly diminish the quality of one's post salvation spiritual life.
While the gift and function assigned to each individual Church Age believer is different, they ALL contribute to the marching orders that were given to the Church at large.
Virtually EVER soul of ever generation has asked him/her self for what reason did God create me?
The short answer is that the human race, and each and every soul within it, was created to glorify God. Precisely how one is to glorify God is determined by the plan that God has for each dispensation (period of time) in the overall plan of God.
Presently, we are living in the dispensation (period of time) of the Church Age that began in 30-33 AD at the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Israel, and will come to its end when the Rapture (1THess. 4: 15, 16)takes place.
Here in the Church Age, the first time one glorifies God is IF and when he/she chooses to believe (place his/he full trust and confidence) in a presentation of the Gospel Message. Not BEFORE, but after one is born again, the saved soul is given the daily opportunity to glorify God by learning and applying the Word of God to EVERYTHING he/she thinks, says, and does. THIS was the primary reason that God created each and every soul He created. NO exceptions. The one who does so is a success in the eyes of God.
The religious, political, financial, social, educational, professional, medical, athletic, sexual realms haves totally different viewpoints of what it takes and means to be successful.
Eternal failure, as a result of rejecting the Gospel Message will, in accordance with God's timing, land one in what the Bible calls the "lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15) where he/she will spend all of eternity.
Failure in one's post salvation spiritual does not diminish the integrity of one's salvation (Romans 8: 1), but does result in diminished glory being brought to God, and a diminished reward to be received by the believer in Heaven (1Cor. 3: 12-15). God does not reward work that was not done.
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To establish a prosperous kingdom that is i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t of God has been the stated agenda of the devil since eternity past (Isa. 14: 13).
To their own hurt, this has been the political agenda of many great nations, past and present.
All of the sin and violence that takes here in the devil's world is actually proof positive of the devil's inability to establish and maintain, either directly or indirectly, such a kingdom.
Unlike God, to the devil, we are merely pawns in the chess game of the spiritual combat. Our individual spiritual destiny is of no concern to the devil. The rewards and blessings that the devil offers are no more than investments to achieve a greater objective in the realm of spiritual combat. Once his tfollowers has served their purpose, they can literally go to Hell, which after all, is exactly where the devil himself will be spending all of eternity (Rev. 20: 10).
Even an entire lifetime of earthly prosperity and a relatively calm departure will be regretted for all of eternity if one finds him/herself in the lake of fire with NO change of escape or termination (Mark 8: 36). Earthly prosperity with God is a blessing, whereas earthly prosperity without God is vanity.
Its not so much our Earthly success or failure that interests the devil. What the devil is interested in is how either one can be used to deny God the glory that He would have otherwise received. Our own lack of what we consider success, our envy, our jealousy, our coveting, and the "prosperity" of the wicked are all used by the devil to drive a wedge between the believer and God or the things of God.
Independence from God appeals to the fallen nature that is in all of us.
The desire (Isa. 14: 13) to be prosperous, but be independent of God, was the first recorded sin in the universe that was committed long before Man ever walked on the face of the Earth.
Wayward children want all the benefits they get out of their parents, but rebel against their supervision, control, or input.
In many ways, we as God's children, often do the same.
Many of us are willing (or are pressured by fear) to establish and maintain somewhat of an affiliation with God and/or the things of God, but making God and the things of God our top priority on a 24-7 level is another matter. The "many" vs. the "few" principle of Matt. 7: 13,14, and even a passive evaluation of the Church at large, reveals the only a minority of each generation of Man is ever born again, and that only a minority of those who are born again ever engage and/or remain in true discipleship!
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The pressure to sin can from many internal and external forces, but virtually every sin comes from our own decisions.
The devil knows this and is why he deceives us by appealing to our hostile, independent, self-centered, fallen nature. He prefers to achieve his goals though deception. This is so that when we inevitably fail, we blame God, ourselves, other people, other things, but fail to see the hand of the devil that worked behind the scenes, engineering our destruction.
In some cases, the devil convinces unbelievers and/or weak believers that they are actually doing the will/work of God (John 16: 2).
"They (being deceived) will make you (advancing disciples) outcasts from the synagogue (places where Scripture is taught), but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think he is offering service to God (John 16: 6 italics mine)."
The "Church" that God created has been, and will continue to be, attacked from forces within and from without the so-called Christian Community at large.
The devil seldom engages in a frontal attack, as he did in Matt. 4/Luke 4. He chooses to conceal his own identify and true motives, accomplishing his ultimate objectives through people (clergy/parents/"friends") that he has already deceived, and who are in a position to impose much influence.
The devil's record of accomplishments w-i-t-h-i-n the Christian Community reveal that he and his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil are most effective when his agenda is u-n-w-i-t-t-i-n-g-l-y promoted by well intending, but misguided, "religious" leaders (John 8: 44/1Tim. 4: 1/2Cor. 11: 14,15).
No religious leader, parent, family member, or friend is going to deliberately lead one spiritually astray, but a bullet fired in ignorance can be just as lethal as the one that is fired with malicious intent.
One would not normally think of their well-intending religious leaders, parents, family or friends as being tools in the hands of the devil, but this is exactly how, through deception, he accomplishes much.
Once deceived, one can become the blind leading the blind (Matt. 15: 14) while being convinced that he/she is serving the interests of God.
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With this in mind, one can see that, independent of God, the cards have clearly been stacked against us, setting the stage for inevitable failure of one type or another.
The key phrase here is "independent of God."
Independent of God, NO ONE can be saved (Matt. 19: 25), and NO born again believer independent of God can execute the life of post salvation discipleship (John 15: 5).
"And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" And looking upon them he said to them, With men this (salvation) IS impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matt. 19: 25, 26 NASB italics mine)."
"I am the vine, you (Church Age believers)are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit (saved/edified souls); for (but) apart from Me you can do n-o-t-h-i-n-g (John 15: 5 NASB italics mine)."
Trust me, there's a whole lot of "nothing" going on in this apostate (1Tim. 4: 1/2Tim.4: 3, 4/Matt. 15: 9) phase of the Church Age in which we are living.
"But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Matt. 15: 9 NASB). In context, the Lord Jesus Christ was referring to the "religious" teachings and practices that had been added to or perverted the worship taking place while He was here on Earth, but things have not changed all that much today.
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1Timy. 4: 1 NASB)."
Now read what the majority of the generation of the Church Age was prophesied (2,000 years ago) to be like in the "end times," and tell me that this prophecy does not read like the headlines in any credible news source today. (*Notes its connect with Church Age believers).
"But in the last days (of the Church Age) difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; *holding to a form of godliness (practicing "religion"), although they have denied its power......(2Tim. 4: 1-5 NABS."
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A lifetime of good human deeds and/or "religious" activity can NOT generate or sustain as much as a nanosecond (one billionth of a second) of eternal life needed to spend e-t-e-r-n-i-t-y with God.
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EVERY soul, as of the moment that God creates it, has "everlasting" life. It is the soul that is created in the image (likeness) of God (Gen. 1: 26).
Life after (physical) death (of the body) is NOT a matter of IF, but a matter of WHERE and HOW it WILL be experienced.
As of the Church Age, IF that experience is to be with God, the soul must RECEIVE eternal life (John 3: 16), by believing in the Person (who He is) and the (atoning) Work (on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe means to place one's full trust and confidence, to the exclusion of ALL other means, including those promoted by Man-made "religion."
Good deeds and spiritual (not religious) activity is a part of the post (after) salvation spiritual life.
The post salvation spiritual life takes place HERE on Earth. It begins AFTER one has already been born again (John 3: 5, 7), and ends when one departs this world and enters into the eternal state.
Once saved, there is no power on Earth that can, or in Heaven that will, "undo" the salvation of a born again believer. In order for this to happen, God would have to disregard the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross the cross and the "sealing (Eph. 4: 30 )" and the "regenerating (Titus 3: 5) Work of God the Holy Spirit that took place at the moment of salvation. God would have to go back on the promises He made to see us (born again believers) through (Romans 14: 4).
If that is the god or the type of god that you have been introduced to, allow me to introduce to you God of the Bible!
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There are consequences (Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 12-15) for post salvation sin, but the loss of salvation is NOT one of them.
The devil knows this, but he also knows the damage that raising doubts about the integrity of one's salvation can have in the post salvation spiritual life of a weak believer.
Once saved, the hostile, fallen, nature does NOT go away. The Apostle Paul wrote of his struggle with the sin nature in him almost 30 years after he was saved, and towards the end of his rather outstanding ministry and contribution to the establishing of the Church, here on Earth.
In fact, not only does the fallen nature remain with the born again believer, the devil's attacks (attempts to deceive/mislead) the born again believer will increase, keeping pace with whatever progress is being made to identify or to execute the true post salvation spiritual life.
Never experiencing such attacks is not a good indication, and is cause for one to engage in a 2Cor. 13: 5 SELF examination and to make the necessary adjustments. No attacks means that one is "not worth the bullet" the devil has to spend, or worse, an indication that he is satisfied to leave you right where you are!
There are NO rest areas or plateaus along the road to spiritual maturity. One is either moving forward, or is in retreat at ANY given time.
The closer one comes to reaching an objective, the more resistance and counterattacks he/she will receive from the enemy.
Enemy held territory in the spiritual realm is any area of thought or action that opposes the, "... mind of Christ (2Cor. 2: 16 NASB)."
The mind of Christ, consisting of how God views any given issue, is revealed to us in the Word of God.
The primary weapon that the devil will use in his attempt to neutralize the impact of the Word of God are the principles and practices that Man has engineered in the name of religion.
In doing so, those who practice Man made religion are deceived into thinking that they are doing what pleases God, thereby earning the temporal and eternal blessings of God.
Enemy held territory can be as near as one's own soul structure, or anywhere that evil is promoted in the devil's (Luke 4: 6) world. The alternate Church(es) and/or the false doctrine and practices they promote, that Man has established in the name of religion are no exception to this "anywhere" principle.
The "true" Church, consisting of born again believers can be found inside and outside of the walls of the houses/places of worship within the "Christian Community" at large. If the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 15, 16) should take place in the middle of worship services, there will be many (Mat. 7: 13) who are seated in the pews and standing behind the pulpits hat will be left behind (Luke 17: 34, 35). Luke 17: 26, 27 teach that for many, it will be life as normal right up the split second (1Cor. 15: 52) when the Rapture takes place, being totally oblivious of their spiritually dead status. Many will be practicing a form of religion, but void of spirituality.
The two in one bed example (Luke 17: 34) shows that persons sharing the closest of personal relationships will see one taken up in the Rapture, whereas the other is not.
The two working side by side example (Luke 17: 35) shows that people can be involved in the same area of labor in which one is taken up in the Rapture, the other remain.
Thee diverse examples, reveal that when Rapture takes place, for some it will be in the middle of the night, whereas for others it will be in the midst of their daily activities. Anyone living anywhere on the Earth at the time of the Rapture who is not already born again will be left behind. Those left behind will still have the opportunity to be born again, but will be subject to the horrific events that will take place just prior to the Second Advent when the Lord returns to the Earth with His Church, and establishes His 1,000 year kingdom (Rev. 20: 6).
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True, the inevitable failures that we encounter must be acknowledged, confessed, and forsaken. True one must learn from past failures if one is not to become like the proverbial dog that soon returns to its vomit (Prov. 26: 11).
At the same time, past and future failures can not be allowed to stand in our way of our progress in the plan that God has in mind for each one of us.
Restless sleep, declining heath, engaging in ungodly "escape" habits such as drugs and/or alcohol abuse, meaningless activity to fill our time, living with guilty consciences, fear of divine discipline here on Earth, false fear of divine rejection when we come face to face with the Lord, can all be the result of sin that we have not addressed.
Note that such things as restless sleep, anxiety, fear, depression, can be the result of psychological and/or biological disorders that may have nothing to do with sin. A 2Cor. 13:5 SELF examination will reveal (to us) if the negative experiences we are experiencing are due to a spiritual issue that we need to address.
Not all negative experiences are the result of sin, and some may have come from God (Job 2: 10) in order to achieve a divine objective.
God can send, for example restless sleep, to a soul with whom He wants to speak, since that (for many of us) is the only time that God is given our undivided attention!
This can be for the purpose of direction or correction. It is for direction when the time has come for us to change course or priorities in our daily walk with the Lord. It is for correction when there is sin in our life that we need to address.
Our failure to address (1John 1: 9/John 8: 11) our own sin and/or to address (Col. 3: 13) the sin and/or the pain that sins of others have brought to us will only result in additional suffering on OUR part. NO sin, including the sin of refusing to forgive others, is worth compromising our own walk with the Lord.
It would be abnormal to like the consequences of our sin or the consequences of the sin of others that impact us, but learning to accept the things that we can not change is an important step in developing both mental and spiritual maturity.
When God's answer to our prayers for relief is,"No," or "Not right now," He has a divine objective in mind.
Whatever God does not remove, He intends for us to endure with a divine purpose in mind.
God NEVER promised His disciples a life free of adversity. The rewards awaiting a disciple in Heaven are great (Matt. 5: 12), but so is the suffering to be experienced here on Earth.
God has made it clear that ALL who choose to live a godly (Christ-centered vs. self-centered) life WILL be persecuted (2Tim. 3: 12) and will suffer (Phil. 1: 21/) for it.
We have NO control over the sin of other people, but we have FULL control over how we choose to RESPOND. We can REACT emotionally, or we can restrain ourselves and RESPOND as God would have us do.
God sends or allows adversity to get our attention.
We can choose to engage in some form of defensive action. We can choose to live in denial. We can choose to engage is some kind of escape activity. Or, we can discern the spiritual issues at hand and address them (1John 1: 9/John 8: 11.
Fear is the antithesis of faith. Faith can consist of WHAT it is that we believe OR the action of applying what we know to how we think and to what we do.
Faith (what we believe) without application won't get you to far along the road to spiritual maturity. Lack of faith (accurate doctrine) and/or failing to apply the faith we do have greatly contributes to inevitable failure on our part.
"...Whatever (we think, say, or do) is not from (based on ) faith (accurate doctrine and application) is sin (Romans 14; 23 NASB italics mine)."
Sin and failure go hand in hand.
Understanding the inherent tendency to sin, and how to address our sin and the sins of others that impact us is an important part of post (after) salvation discipleship.