We Forgot Covetousness
We even train our children to covet - with Christmas wish lists!
The Gospel of Prosperity, so popular with tel-evangelists,
is nothing but covetousness,
and is an abomination to the Lord.
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness,
let it not even be named among you.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
If we have food and clothing, let us be content.
Men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth,
who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
From such withdraw yourself.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts,
adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness,
wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
All these evil things come from within and defile a man.
Light Bluebold Light Blue
The desire for more, wanting, is so inherent in our human nature that we cannot be rid of it by ourselves; it is only by the changing grace of God that we can be free of the slavery to always wanting more or one more thing. Too many of us have lived a life of "just one thing after another." To those of you who want to please God, or who are tired of slavery to their possessions, which give no lasting satisfactions, the grace of God promises to free you from these wants and desires, by abiding in his Living Word and Light, through the power of the inward cross of Christ - to arrive a quietness and confidence forever - lasting, satisfying, peace - at rest.
Strip yourselves of your former nature that controlled your conduct, which corrupts itself through lusts and desires that spring from delusion. Eph 4:24. Lust is a delusion, originally fostered by the devil. You lust for something because you think it is good, (like Eve was fooled by the devil that the fruit from the tree of knowledge would make her wise, and was good to the eye), and will make you happy. We are sold by word of mouth and advertising that if we had a new house, a new car, a new dress, a new cell phone, a vacation in Hawaii, a drink, a drug, a body, a special food, a special drink — if only we had this or that we would be happy; but then we get it, and immediately focus our attention on getting something else for satisfaction. The continual barrage of deluding temptations are fostered by the Spirit of Satan; by their lying promise, they create lust for something, which is delusion. There is no satisfaction in this life, until you join with the life of God; he is lasting satisfaction, eternal peace and joy. The joys of the earth are transitory, but the joy in the kingdom is eternal. The pleasures of the earth are not filling, and only create the hunger for more. Some people never stop to realize that however much they get, happy to be still looking for something more, expecting the world to provide it; to those the Lord said: woe to you who are full! For you shall hunger. Luke 6:25; if you are content with ever seeking the things and pleasures of the world, you will very discontent in the next life.
A Warning to all that profess Christianity, and others, to beware of Covetousness, which is Idolatry.
—By George Fox
From Vol. 5, The Works of George Fox, Doctrinal Books II
All people that do profess Christ, and christianity, this is a warning to you all, to take heed of covetousness; for covetousness was forbidden both in the Old Testament and the New, and by the law of God, and by Christ and his apostles.
For the apostle said, ‘covetousness is idolatry;’ [or greed], and both to the rulers, priests, teachers, and people in the Old and New Testament, that idolatrous practice was forbidden.
And Christ said, ‘it is one of those evils that defiles a man, that comes out of him.’
And the Lord said in his law, and ten commandments, ‘thou shall not covet your neighbor's house, thou shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor's.’
Now, if this covetous spirit is kept down, then the idolater is kept down, and that idol out of the heart.
Also, theft and stealing was forbidden in the old covenant, and so it is in the new; and all are to labor in the thing that is good.
Likewise, adultery was forbidden in the old covenant, and so it is in the new; yes, and more than outward adultery: for, ‘he that looks after a woman to lust after her,’ in the new covenant, Christ said, ‘he has committed adultery with her already in his heart.’
And ‘bearing false witness against his neighbor's,’ was forbidden in the old covenant, and so it is in the new! For all are to speak truth to their neighbor's, and lie not. And the Lord said, in the Old Testament, ‘thou shall not kill.’
The apostle said, in the new covenant, ‘they did not wrestle with flesh and blood; and their weapons were not carnal, but spiritual;’ and Christ forbids wrath in the new covenant..
And Samuel, who was a judge and a prophet, who judged Israel, 1 Sam 12:2-4. Samuel said, ‘I am old and gray-headed, and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day; whose ox or ass have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded or oppressed? Or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind my eyes therewith?’And the children of Israel answered and said, ‘thou hast not defrauded nor oppressed any of us, neither hast thou received ought at any man's hand.’
Now here was a prophet, and a priest, and a judge, clear from that idolatry of covetousness; and has not he outstripped many of them which now call themselves prophets and priests, judges and teachers, who profess the new covenant?
David said, ‘incline my heart unto your testimonies, and not to covetousness.’ Psalm 119:36
So, if the hearts of all who profess christianity, were inclined to the testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy, that would keep down the earthly spirit of covetousness, which is idolatry.
As Solomon said, in Pro 28:16, ‘he that hates covetousness, shall prolong his days.’ Then he that loves covetousness, which is idolatry, shall not prolong his days.
Jeremiah cried out against the Jews in the old covenant, and said, ‘from the greatest to the least of them, the prophet and the priest, every one of them was given to covetousness, and to deal falsely.’Jer 8:10, and Isa 56:11-12.
Yet, these priests and prophets, from the greatest to the least of them, could make a profession of the old covenant.
Let the priests, and prophets, and people, who profess the new covenant, see if they are not given to this idolatry of covetousness, which was hated and forbidden of God and Christ, and his people, prophets, and apostles.
Jeremiah further cries out against the Jew, in Jer 22:17, and said unto them, ‘your eyes and your heart are for your covetousness, and for shedding of innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence.’
Now this was the Jews condition in the old covenant, when they forsook God, and his law and spirit.
Now, let all who profess themselves christians, in whom Christ does not reign, and who are not guided by the spirit of God, as the prophets and apostles were, search and try themselves to see if the fruits of their eyes and hearts, and the fruits of the spirit that was in the Jews, does not appear, and is manifest in them; a spirit that lusts to do violence and oppression, and a spirit of covetousness, and of persecution, and of shedding innocent blood, which was forbidden by God and his prophets in the old covenant, and by Christ and his apostles in the new covenant, and by them abhorred and cried out against. But what was the end of the Jews which followed after that wicked spirit, and went from the Lord?
Do those called christians, think in their profession of the new covenant, that they must have liberty in these evil things now, which were forbidden in the time of the old law and covenant? No, no; they are much more forbidden in the new.
The Lord said unto Ezekiel, ‘that the Jews would come and sit before him as the Lord's people, and they would hear his words, but they will not practice them; and with their mouths they would show much love, but their hearts went after their covetousness.’ Eze 33:31
Now will not the priests and professors of Christendom, hear and say the words of the new covenant and gospel, and appear to show much zeal and love for the words of the New Testament, but they will not do them nor practice them; for their hearts and eyes go after their covetousness, which is idolatry.
For have not you, who profess the new covenant in words, done as those who professed the old in words; even coveted goods, fields, houses, and taken by violence, and oppressed a man in his heritage, and devised iniquity, and wrought evil upon your beds, and in the morning-light have practiced it, because you had power in your hands?
Was not woe pronounced against such, that professed the old covenant, and yet walked contrary to it; and much more against all such, as are found in these practices now, who profess the new. Micah 2
Habakkuk cries, ‘woe to him that covets an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of the evil,’ etc. Hab 2:9-11, he tells them, ‘the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam of the timber shall answer it against them.’
Therefore, let such covetous persons, that profess christianity, hearken and hear, if the stones out of the very wall do not cry out against you, and the beam of the timber does not answer it?
Christ said, in Mark 7:21-23, ‘that which cometh out of the man from within his heart, defiles the man, (namely,) evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, blasphemies, pride, foolishness, and an evil eye:’ now these are the evils that defile men, which the devil, the serpent, who is out of the truth, has wrought in man's heart, both in Adam and Eve, and the Jews, and the christians that go from God, and disobey his voice and command. For neither God nor Christ wrought any of these evil things in man in the beginning, nor since, who is the author of all good. Therefore, these evil things must be purged out of man by Christ's blood and baptism, and by the mortification and circumcision of the spirit of God.
And Christ said unto them, (namely, the Jews,) ‘take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he does possess.’ Luke 12:15
Oh! that all who are called christians, and all people, would consider this blessed doctrine of Christ the heavenly man; and that they might come to understand and know what their life [the life of God] does consist in; then they would take heed and beware of covetousness, which is idolatry.
The apostle Paul, who had the care of the churches upon him, he writes to the Corinthians, ‘not to keep company with any man that is called a brother, that is a fornicator, or covetous, or idolater, or railer, or a drunkard, or an extortionist;’ with such an one they were not so much as to eat,1 Cor 5:11; those who professed christianity, and followed such practices, the saints were neither to eat nor keep company with for they shamed their profession of christianity.
So here the apostles and saints, the true church, had a judgment given them, and did judge out the covetous idolaters, fornicators, drunkards, railers, ... from having any fellowship with the saints, the true church, not as much as to eat with them, nor to keep company with them of that spirit for he said, ‘neither fornicators, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor covetous idolaters, railers, nor extortionists, .. shall inherit the kingdom of God.’
The apostle told the Corinthians, that ‘such were some of them, but they [the true Christians] were washed, sanctified, and justified from these things [sins], in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the spirit of God.’ So these were washed from their fornication, covetousness, idolatry, drunkenness, railing, and extortion, and justified in the name of Jesus, and by the spirit of God.
So the apostle here does not speak of the fornicators, and covetous idolaters, and extortionists of the world, who were outside the church [not claiming to be Christians]; for God judges such. But the saints, the apostles, and the true church were to judge those who practiced such things within the church, showing the true christian's church had a power; and not to keep company nor to eat with such, professing Christ, that were of such practices, knowing that the unrighteous should not inherit the kingdom of God, nor drunkards, nor fornicators, thieves, railers, extortionists, nor covetous idolaters; they that lived in these evils, were not like to inherit the kingdom of God; for they were defiled, unwashed, and not sanctified nor justified. So that if the saints did keep company, or did eat with such unwashed, unsanctified, unjustified persons, or have fellowship with them, they took the members of Christ and joined them to an harlot; for he that is joined to an harlot, is one body; ‘for two,’ said he, ‘shall be one flesh.’ And therefore, the saints' bodies are members of Christ; God forbid they should be joined to harlots, or that they should make them members of an harlot. ‘He who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.’ And the saints' bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, which proceeds from God and Christ, and being bought with a price, the blood of Christ, and washed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus Christ by the spirit of God, they are to glorify God in their bodies, souls, and spirits, which are God's which he has given to them to glorify him withal; glory to his name forever.
Therefore, all this old leaven of fornication, adultery, theft, covetousness, idolatry, drunkenness, reveling, extortion, and all unrighteousness, envy, malice, and wickedness, must be purged out, which is the world's god the serpent has wrought in, that they may be a new lump, and keep the feast of unleavened bread of sincerity and truth; for Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us, as you may see in 1Cor 5:7, the practice of the church in the apostles' days, and which should be so now, to keep this heavenly passover with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Further, the apostle tells the church of Corinth, in 2 Cor 6:14-17, and explains himself with a great care of the church, that they must not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. So this is an unequal yoke, to yoke believers and unbelievers together; and gives his reason, and said, ‘what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?’
Now, those who go contrary to the apostle's doctrine in these things, have lost their sense, and sight, and feeling; for here is no fellowship, nor unity, nor concord; here is no agreement, nor part with such aforementioned, that are out of the truth; but they are unequally yoked with such who are the temples of the living God, that join with them; they in whom God does dwell and walk, and he is their God, and they are his people.
‘Wherefore, come out from amongst them, and be ye separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, said God Almighty.’ Here you may see, what the saints, the sons and daughters of God, are to forsake, and not to touch, nor make agreement with, nor be yoked to, but be separated from, that the Lord God Almighty may receive them.
*Obviously you are also not supposed to fellowship with people who call themselves Christians, but who still practice sin with no shame, some even bragging of their license to sin with no penalty from God.
Again, the apostle writes to the Ephesians 4:25-29, ‘that they should put away lying, and every man speak the truth to his neighbor's; for they are members one of another: and him that had stolen, steal no more; but let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good. And let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouths, but that which is good, tending to edification, which may minister grace to the hearers: and all filthiness, foolish talking and jesting, which was not convenient, was to be put away.’ And the saints, the church of Christ, was not to have any fellowship with such things, the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. ‘And fornication, and all uncleanness, and covetousness, let it not be once named amongst you, as becomes saints. For this you know, (namely, the saints, the church of Christ,) that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, (mark, covetous, that is an idolater,) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.’ Here the church of Christ had their knowledge, and had their judgment to judge out these things, that kept people out of the kingdom of God. And now mark, ‘if a covetous man is an idolater,’ as the apostle said, then all ‘covetous men are idolaters, and shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’
Now, let all those who are called priests, teachers, ministers, and prophets in Christendom, see if their fruits do not declare them to be covetous, and so idolaters, who preach Christ and the apostles' (and seem to have a zeal for their) words; but how many of them will preach without tithes and hire? And if people will not give it unto them, then to spoil their goods, and cast them into prison, yes, till death, as many have been, because they would not hold up and feed that idolatrous spirit of covetousness in them. When as the apostle commands the church, not ‘so much as to have fellowship, nor company, nor to eat with a covetous person, which is an idolater.’
Now, if the saints, the true church of Christ, must not eat, nor keep company with such, then how must they hear them, or be compelled or forced to hear such? Knowing that Christ said to his ministers, whom he sent forth ‘freely they had received, freely they were to give;’ and they were ‘neither to provide silver nor gold, nor bag nor scrip; but to enquire who was worthy of their message; and what was set before them, that they were to eat; and such as were unworthy, that would not receive them and their message, they were to shake the dust off their feet, which should be a witness against them at the day of judgment.’ The apostles did not cast those unworthy ones, that would not receive them, and set meat before them, into prison, as some of your ministers do the people of God, because they cannot uphold your covetous, idolatrous spirit, in giving you tithes and hire.
Now, all you that will not preach Christ's and the apostles' words, nor pray among people, or give them psalms to sing, and sing among them, and baptize children, (as you call it,) or sprinkle them, without the tenths of people's increase of their labors [tithes], and without the tenths of the increase of their cattle and goods, and have set wages by the year for these things; are not you the covetous idolaters? Yes, and cast people into prison, and spoil their goods, and excommunicate them whom you do none of these works for, neither have they set you at work, nor hired you to do any of these things for them; for do not most people, everywhere, generally hire you, and agree with you for so much in the year? Or do not you make friends with great persons, to put you into fat benefices [incomes]? Instead of inquiring where the worthy people are, are not your priests inquiring, where is the greatest benefices, and most tithes and incomes? Then, when you are settled, do not you spoil the goods, and cast into prison, those who never hired you nor hear you? Is this not contrary to the general command of Christ to his disciples, both to the twelve and the seventy? ‘Freely you have received, freely give,’ etc. So is it not manifest here, that you are covetous idolaters that the apostle speaks against, ‘that shall not enter into the kingdom of God.’
For Peter in his second general epistle, 2 Pet 2:2-3, speaks of the false prophets and false teachers, and how ‘many should follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth should be evil spoken of;’ which truth the apostles preached freely, as they had received freely, according to the command of Christ. And these false prophets and teachers through covetousness should with feigned words make merchandize of people. For how often have the teachers changed their places and ways? The apostle compares such with the old world, and Sodom, and fallen angels that kept not their habitation. And therefore, let the teachers in Christendom, who cast into prison and spoil people's goods for their bellies, examine and see if they are not the men [of whom the Apostle accused].
Also, the apostle writes to Timothy, in 2 Tim 3, of such ‘covetous proud boasters, and false accusers, and fierce despisers of them that were good, and which were heady, high-minded lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; that had the form of godliness, (which was the form of christianity,) but denied the power thereof; from such the saints, (the true church,) were to turn away.’ For he likened them to Jannes and Jambres, who withstood Moses, who were men of corrupt minds, and did resist the truth, and were reprobate concerning the true faith; these led such captive who were laden with sins, and led about with divers lusts, always learning, and were never able to come to the knowledge of truth;’ and how should they, being destitute thereof themselves, and men of corrupt minds, bring any into the truth and the faith, when they are out of the true faith themselves, and tell people, ‘they must carry a body of sin and death to the grave with them;’ and others say, ‘they must have a purgatory when they are dead:’ and such are reprobate from the apostle's doctrine and faith, which is the victory, and in the damnable heresy. But the apostles exhorted the saints, ‘to walk in the light, and the blood of Jesus Christ should cleanse them from all sin.’
The apostle told the church, ‘that they were washed, cleansed, sanctified, and justified,’ etc. and this was while they were upon the earth. And he tells the Ephesians, the saints, ‘you that were sometimes darkness, now are you light in the Lord.’
And the apostle writes to Timothy, 1Tim 6:8-11, ‘having food and raiment, let us therewith be content; and godliness with contentment is great gain: but they that will be rich, fall into temptations and snares, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition: for the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. This is the man of God's path, and to flee covetousness, and the love of money, and such as make gain their godliness; for such are destitute of the truth: and this should be the practice of all true christians now.
Do not the men of the world, with the covetous priests and teachers, and others, fly after riches and money, instead of fleeing from them? And after gain supposing it to be godliness? Is not this a mark, that such have erred from the true faith, and are fallen into hurtful lusts, which drown them in destruction and perdition, by falling into a temptation and a snare, in coveting after riches and the love of money, which is the root of all evil? Has not the root of this evil been manifest by the teachers of the world, and other people? The priests and teachers by destroying people for their bellies; and the people by coveting and encroaching other people's goods, and so destroy their own and others too; the teachers and others showing, that they are erred from the faith which Christ is the author and finisher of, who said, ‘freely you have received, freely give; and beware of covetousness.’ For the apostle said, ‘a bishop must not be a striker, nor greedy of filthy lucre, nor a brawler, nor covetous; but he must hold fast the faithful word, and be blameless:’ and such bishops and elders, teachers and deacons, were Timothy and Titus to ordain, as you may see, in 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus1:6-9.
And they were to hold the mystery of faith in a pure conscience; and therefore, how can any bishops and teachers, elders or deacons be the succeeders of them, that the apostles, and Timothy, and Titus ordained, that are strikers, persecutors, covetous and greedy of filthy lucre, yes, and cast people into prison whom they do not oversee, nor teach, nor preach to? Are not such erred from the faith, the evil beasts and slow-bellies, that suppose gain to be godliness, that serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, which the apostle bid Titus, ‘rebuke sharply.’ Now you may see such as coveted to be rich, and were persecutors and strikers, and greedy of filthy lucre, such Timothy and Titus were not to ordain bishops and teachers, elders and deacons; for such were erred from the faith; then they were not like to hold the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, which Christ is the author and finisher of, who said, ‘freely you have received, freely give.’ For the apostle, in Acts 20:26-34 said, that ‘he was pure from the blood of all men;’ he took the church to record, ‘that he had coveted no man's silver, gold, nor apparel;’ and said, ‘that the church knew themselves, that his hands had ministered unto his necessities, and them that were with him.’ Now here was a clear free minister of Christ. Let the bishops, priests, and teachers, etc. in Christendom, try themselves and their practice by the scripture, and the apostle's example, and the command of Christ, who said, ‘freely you have received, freely give.’ Can you say, that you have coveted no man's silver, gold, nor apparel, either of your own people, nor others, whom you have not preached to? Can you say, you are clear from the blood of all men, as the apostle said, and call the christians to record? If you do say you are; will not the jails testify against you, and the courts, and your own hearts and consciences also will witness against you? And how many have been persecuted and imprisoned by you until death, for not giving you money and tithes, whom you do not work for? What persecuting and hauling before courts have you made? You cannot call the christians to record, ‘that you are clear from the blood of all men, that you covet no man's silver, gold, nor apparel, and that you labor with your hands for your own necessities and others, and that you are not greedy of filthy lucre, and are not strikers and persecutors, nor are they that covet after money and the riches of this world; and that you do not give freely,’ as Christ commands, manifesting that you have not received freely from him; but that you are erred from the faith of Christ, (by which the apostles lived,) and from the conversation of the saints in the primitive times. For the apostle said to the church, ‘let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.Heb 13:5 and Josh 1:5. And so, this should be the conversation of all that profess Christ Jesus, and then they would covet after the best gifts, and not after the earthly things, and follow after love and charity.
And the apostle said, ‘be ye followers of me, even as I am also of Christ.' And so it is clear the church of the true christians is not to follow any teacher, but as he follows Christ in his life, faith, practice, and doctrine. And if they make a profession of the form of godliness, without the power, and spirit, and truth, they were to turn away from them, and not to follow them; but as every one has received Christ Jesus, so walk in him in humility.
The 5th month, 1679
Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat?
or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right),
and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions]
and be satisfied with your present
for He Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.
Not, not, not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.