民訴記(155) - 貫徹全本聖經
Date: 1st February, 2013
I went to a winter retreat in December and uploaded the speaker's messages to the web. Some Christians immediately complained because the pastor said one who calls Jesus Lord, has faith in one's heart (Roman 10:9), was baptized (Mark 16:16) and leads a respectable life (James) may not be saved unless one follows all the teachings in the entire bible. Well, if following all the teachings in the bible were wrong, do you suggest practicing only part of the bible? Why are some Christians so upset about following all the teachings in the bible? They must have misunderstood some of the popular verses in the bible. They probably don't even read the bible. I'm familiar with these verses too. Their favorite is
Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is given by God. Not by works, so that no man may take glory to himself. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
They take it that grace is free and they don't need to do anything.
For the reward of sin is death; but what God freely gives is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.(Romans 6:23)
They think Jesus paid for their sin and they don't need to do anything.
Because by the works of the law no man is able to have righteousness in his eyes, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.(Romans 3:20)
They think the law is just to prove men sinful and they don't need to follow the law.
惟有不作工的, 只信稱罪人為義的 神,他的信就算為義。(羅馬書4:5)
But to him who without working has faith in him who gives righteousness to the evil-doer, his faith is put to his account as righteousness.(Romans 4:5)
They must love the without working part. Their only verses that suggest any work at all are these.
所以弟兄們,我以 神的慈悲勸你們,將身體獻上,當作活祭,是聖潔的,是 神所喜悅的;你們如此事奉,乃是理所當然的。不要效法這個世界;只要心意更新而變化,叫你們察驗何為 神的善良,純全可喜悅的旨意。(羅馬書12:1-2)
For this reason I make request to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you will give your bodies as a living offering, holy, pleasing to God, which is the worship it is right for you to give him. And let not your behaviour be like that of this world, but be changed and made new in mind, so that by experience you may have knowledge of the good and pleasing and complete purpose of God.(Romans 12:1-2)
Paul was requesting them to do something and there's no consequence if they didn't. Summarizing their favorite verses, three things are key to salvation, grace, faith and being in Christ. Their most favorite verse concludes their requirement for salvation.
Because, if you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and have faith in your heart that God has made him come back from the dead, you will have salvation.(Romans 10:9)
When they read "you will have salvation," they stop right there and say Hallelujah and don't bother reading a few verses afterward.
But how will they give worship to him in whom they have no faith? and how will they have faith in him of whom they have not had news? and how will they have news without a preacher?(Romans 10:15)
It's still talking about grace, faith and being in Christ. What does it mean by calling Jesus the Lord? What is faith? If you don't even know who Jesus is, how can you have faith in him? The Old Testament is all about the prophecy of Jesus and the New Testament is all about Jesus' life and teachings. If you don't follow all the teachings in the bible, how can you call him Lord? Since all these verses mention grace, let's see what grace is all about. By grace you have salvation through faith; not because of yourselves or works, it is given by God. Grace is free. That's only part of its meaning.
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:3-4)
Though God's grace is free, it also leads you to repentance. You would repent after receiving grace unless you despise God's grace. You may think these verses were meant for the Jews but teachings meant for Jews are also meant for you.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, an olive-tree of the fields, were put in among them, and were given a part with them in the root by which the olive-tree is made fertile, do not be uplifted in pride over the branches; because it is not you who are the support of the root, but it is by the root that you are supported. (Romans 11:17-18)
If the original branches could be chopped off, the transplanted branches could be cut off too. Grace is free but you must stop sinning after receiving grace. Observing the law is mandatory whether there's grace or not and therefore won't earn you anything extra. Thus, salvation is entirely from God's grace. However, remember that grace leads you to repentance unless you despise grace.
Many people claim that Jesus' blood paid for your sins from the past as well as the future, like a life time warranty. It's a warranty that I cannot find in the bible. Did I buy my bible from the grey market by mistake? They use this as their proof.
因為世人都犯了罪,虧缺了 神的榮耀。如今卻蒙 神的恩典,因基督耶穌的救贖,就白白的稱義。(羅馬書3:23-24)
For all have done wrong and are far from the glory of God; And they may have righteousness put to their credit, freely, by his grace, through the salvation which is in Christ Jesus.(Romans 3:23-24)
Of course salvation is free but they forgot to read the next verse.
in his pity, God let the sins of earlier times go without punishment;(Romans 3:25)
Does "let the sins of earlier times go without punishment" sound like a life time warranty? Jesus also said the same. When the Pharisees brought an adulterer, which was caught in the act, to Jesus,
Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee. go, and sin no more.(John 8:11)
Jesus forgave her out of grace and yet told her not to sin anymore. How can Christians expect their intentional sins to be forgiven?
Do we, then, through faith make the law of no effect? in no way: but we make it clear that the law is important.(Romans 3:31)
What may we say, then? are we to go on in sin so that there may be more grace? In no way. How may we, who are dead to sin, be living in it any longer?(Romans 6:1-2)
What then? are we to go on in sin because we are not under law but under grace? Let it not be so.(Romans 6:15)
Jesus also said the same. He said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." in Matthew 5:17. He also said not the smallest letter or part of a letter will in any way be taken from the law, till all things are done. Jesus didn't rebuke the Pharisees for what they said but for the fact they didn't practice their own teachings. What will happen to Christians who continue to sin? Let's read the bible.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?(Romans 6:16)
Sin leads to death. The bible has a lot of teachings about how Christians die. Christians don't talk about these verses. The less we talk about them, the more people will die.
因為隨從肉體的人,體貼肉體的事;隨從聖靈的人,體貼聖靈的事。體貼肉體的就是死;體貼聖靈的乃是生命平安。原來體貼肉體的,就是與 神為仇;因為不服 神的律法,也是不能服。而且屬肉體的人,不能得 神的喜歡。(羅馬書8:5-8)
For those who are living in the way of the flesh give their minds to the things of the flesh, but those who go in the way of the Spirit, to the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)
Those who live in the way of the flesh are God's enemies and cannot please God. Many people say God hates sins but loves sinners. Does it even make sense?
You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is in you. But if any man has not the Spirit of Christ he is not one of his.(Romans 8:9)
If you're not one of Christ's, are you a Christian? Some Christians argue with the following.
For this cause those who are in Christ Jesus will not be judged as sinners. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.(Romans 8:1-2)
If you cared to read the previous chapter, you'd know what "free from the law of sin and death" really means and you'd see why "those who are in Christ Jesus will not be judged as sinners."
Many people cite Paul's words that he had "the mind but not the power to do what is right" (Romans 7:18) as an excuse to not do what is right. Further down in chapter 7,
In my heart I take pleasure in the law of God, but I see another law in my body, working against the law of my mind, and making me the servant of the law of sin which is in my flesh.(Romans 7:22-23)
When he wrote in chapter 8 that he was "free from the law of sin and death," it meant he was able to follow the law of God and he did not sin anymore. Therefore, he would not be "judged as sinners." That's what he meant by "those who are in Christ Jesus."
Salvation is from grace and faith and one must live in Christ. One must also follow all the teachings in the bible. A few misinterpreted verses won't save anyone. You've heard that Christians are the salt and light of the world. Salt is the product of sodium and chlorine, each poisonous on its own, but useful when combined. You must know the meaning of the verses that you quote. Otherwise you'll be like sodium and chlorine poisoning people around you. You must study the entire bible thoroughly, repeatedly and without ceasing, and live according to the teachings of the bible. Then you'll be salt and light to the world. It's not going to be easy but you can set a target and do it step by step. At least you'll be heading in the right direction. You can start by not being repulsive to the idea of following all the teachings of the bible. If Christians protest whenever the pastor tells them to following all the teachings of the bible, Satan will surely be profusely laughing.
Who, though they have knowledge of the law of God, that the fate of those who do these things is death, not only go on doing these things themselves, but give approval to those who do them.(Romans 1:32)
Don't be like these people. That's a free ticket to hell.
You may have accepted Christ by faith and never expected to have to do all that. Sure you can't change overnight but you can do it one step at a time. If you've been a Christian for a year or two, it's understandable that you haven't fulfilled what Jesus asks of you yet. If you've been a Christian for 10 years and you still behave like a new believer, you're probably closer to hell than heaven. You're just wasting your own time as well as the pastors'. You may think that nobody would follow Christ had they known of such high expectation. Of course few would believe in the truth. There is only one version of the truth and very few people like it. It's much easier to make lies sound convincing. Crooks say that giving money to the idols could cure cancer. Multi-level marketers say that you can make easy money by finding other subordinates. Governments say that spending money would help make money even when you have to borrow money to spend. Many people believe these lies. If you want people to believe what you're preaching, maybe you should preach for the crooks. As soon as I posted he messages from the retreat onto the web, someone actually took the time to dislike the post. Well, a minister's job is not to say something that most people like. A minister's duty is to preach the truth. If there's a pastor whose messages are liked by everyone, like Joel Osteen, who is a best seller author and a minister of a mega church, you should really question whether he's preaching the truth. Sure God forgave some adulterers. For example Abraham sent his wife to the kings, Judah hired his daughter-in-law as a prostitute. David and Solomon were even worse. Did God show favoritism? I think so but God was not unrighteous.
For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and pity on whom I will have pity.(Romans 9:15)
Take note that you're not Abraham or David. Secondly, God isn't obligated to pity anyone. Yet it's not your business to whom God shows his mercy. When Jesus told Peter about the hardship ahead of him, Peter asked Jesus about John's prospect. Jesus told Peter that it wasn't his concern.