|Ephesians 2 |
1 [Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus is one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Bible. People read this chapter and assume it applies to them too; but Paul is speaking to believers who have spiritually grown to have overcome sin, the world, and the devil. These believers have been raised with Christ to union and fellowship with him, to the heavens where they sit down in Christ. These people have experienced the true salvation by grace — freed from sin, raised with Christ to become a new creature, translated into the Kingdom of Heaven, where they have fellowship with Christ and the Father. See the footnotes below for extensive scriptural proof and clarification of grace and works.]
1 And he has brought you to life, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [We are all in Adam's fallen state, dead to the life of God, living in sin; until we have crucified the old man, and are renewed into the image, light, life, direction, and power of God.]
2 Where in times past you walked according to the ways of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], which is the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. [Until you are obediently guided by the Spirit of Christ in all thoughts, words, and deeds, you are a child of disobedience: a descendant of Adam, the disobedient, fallen man; and until you have crucified that selfish, Satanic spirit within you, you are walking according to Satan's direction, which is walking in lust, fulfilling the desires of your flesh and the thoughts of your carnal mind.]
3 Among whom we also all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts of our mind; and were by nature the children of wrath and the object of His indignation, just as the rest of mankind.1 [Notice! All mankind walks in sinful lusts, according to the desires of their flesh and thoughts of their mind, which is under Satan's direction. However, Paul is speaking to crucified believers, who are no longer controlled by the lusts of their flesh; who no longer think their own thoughts, whose sinful nature has been destroyed, including its carnal mind, replaced by the mind of Christ.]
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us,
5 And when we were dead in our sins, He brought us to life in union and fellowship with Christ;2 it is through grace that you are saved; [but you have not been saved by grace until you have been brought to life in union and fellowship with Christ, having been raised up together with Christ into heaven.]
6 And has raised us up together [with Christ], and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.3 [This is to have experienced being translated into the kingdom of heaven, where you are with Christ in sight and consciousness. From the Word of the Lord within: "I work with the blind; but if you think you can see, and you are not with me in heaven, I will make you a laughingstock.]
7 So that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not by yourselves. It [faith] is the gift of God.4 [Faith is not belief in Jesus based on the historical accuracy of the Bible; faith is hearing the word of God from within your heart, for faith is the gift of God and is authored by revelation from Jesus Christ.]
9 Not by works, lest any man should boast.5 [Paul is speaking of dead works, (from your own will), of the law: circumcision, washings, sacrifices, special foods, sabbath restrictions, days, feasts, tithing, etc.; but he is not excluding observing the moral laws written on every man's heart, nor works of loving obedience to the commands you hear spoken from God in your heart, which are energized by faith and are essential. Paul said: glory, honor, and peace, are to every man who works good. Rom 2:10. Paul said: To those who by perseverance in good works, seek for glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. Rom 2:7.]
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has ordained before that we should walk in [doing good works].6 [When you have been delivered (freed) from the sins and evil in your heart, God will guide your thoughts, words, and works. God makes us a fit instrument for His hand to show the world the love of God, to shake the nations, and to hold out the word of life. Walking under the Spirit's total control, we walk as Jesus walked, and we do works of righteousness as Jesus worked righteousness; then are we righteous.]
11 Therefore, remember that you were in times past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by those who are called the Circumcision [Jews] in the flesh made by hands.
12 At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope; you were in the world without God.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off, are made near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man, so making peace; [The new man is your purified soul, joining with the Spirit of Christ, to form an entirely new creature whose thoughts, words, and deeds are controlled by the Spirit of Christ; created in God's image of true righteousness and holiness.
The law only ends when a man's selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, and Christ Jesus is resurrected in him to totally control his thoughts, words, and deeds with the Law of the Spirit of Life. From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh." See the footnote 5 below for more understanding on why the moral laws must still be observed and are your schoolmaster until you have produced the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law, Gal 5:22-23, for you are then walking in love, fulfilling the law.]
16 And that he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity by it. [The inward cross of self-denial, which is to silently listen, hear, and obey Christ's commands, slays a man's selfish spirit and carnal mind, which is enmity to God.]
17 He came and preached peace to you who were distant from God, and to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and belong to the household of God.
20 You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;
21 In whom the whole building is joined together, and it grows to a holy temple in the Lord.
22 In whom you also are built together for a dwelling place for God7 through the Spirit.
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1 Where in times past you walked according to the ways of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], which is the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. Paul is saying that all men start living according to the way of the world, which ways are the ways of Satan, and whose spirit is at work in all men who are not controlled in thought, speech, and actions by the Spirit of God. Now gentle reader, understand, until your selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, you too are walking through the control of Satan; he is the deceiver, and by still sinning, you serve him without realizing it. You can say any prayer you want, get baptized in water as many times as you can imagine, go to sect services continually, memorize the Bible; and you will still be serving Satan without you being aware. As Paul said: you are the slaves of whom you obey; whether of sin that leads to death, or of obedience that leads to righteousness? As you previously yielded your body to the slavery of uncleanness and from wickedness to wickedness; so now yield your body to the slavery of righteousness that results in holiness. Rom 6:16-19. Notice! Those who do not walk according to the promptings of God as to what to say and do are children of disobedience. Among whom we also all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts of our mind; and were by nature the children of wrath and the object of His indignation, just as the rest of mankind.
Paul is speaking to men who have crucified their selfish nature; you cannot read Paul's letters and assume they apply to you too. Those who have not been crucified, walk in lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and thoughts of the mind. To walk through life according to your own mind is worse than worshipping idols because you have made yourself god. To walk according to your own mind is exactly what Satan promised Adam and Eve — they would become wise like God and know good and evil; they would be able to decide for themselves what was good and what was bad. Their first decision was that they were naked and that was bad. When you walk according to your own mind, you are making your own decisions, based on your selfish rationalizations — at best, you are capable of only making the least evil decision; without God's direction, you have no idea what to do that is his will and truly good.
2 Paul is addressing people who have been freed from their sins: when you were dead in your sins. But gentle reader, if you are still sinning, you are a slave to sin and you are dead [to the Life of God] in your sins.
He brought us to life in union and fellowship with Christ. God does not take people still sinning, raise them to life [Life of God] in union and fellowship with Christ. There is no sin in Christ; why would he want the company of sinners in heaven? God expelled the fallen angels from heaven; he expelled Adam from Eden, and so he will ban men who still sin from heaven. Corruption does not inherit incorruption. He only wants the company of those whom he has cleansed - washed — purified — perfected and made holy; for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness, what communion has light with darkness. 2 Cor 6:14. He takes people who were dead (to the Life of God) in their sins; frees them from sin; then he raises these from the dead to life in God and Christ in union and fellowship with Christ.
3 Raised up together, is to be resurrected with Christ; Christ is resurrected in you, and then you, (in union with him), are raised up together to the kingdom of heaven. To be sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, one must be in the heavenly places; one must have been translated into the kingdom of Christ, as was Paul and others were in the kingdom: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, Col 1:13; who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Eph 1:3. Isaac Penington, an early Quaker who dwelled in the kingdom, writes of this sitting down in Christ in The Holy Truth and People Defended :
For none sit down in that full rest, before and without consideration of works of righteousness wrought by them. For that great judgment is a time of rendering to every man according to his works. Rest is the reward of the traveler, and his travels are not despised, but considered in his reward. Mark; everyone that improved the talent, had a reward from his lord. "And come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you: for I was an hungered, and you gave me meat," etc. Mat. 25. And the apostle is of the same mind with Christ, when he said, "It is a righteous thing with God, to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you rest," etc. 2 Thes 1:6-7. So that persons do not sit down in eternal blessedness in Christ, before or without consideration of any works wrought by them.
And then for sitting down in an heavenly, divine state of righteousness, rest, and peace in him here; it is a glorious state to be traveled to. There must be a translating out of the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of the dear Son first. The kingdom must first have come, and the soul prepared to enter into it, at the gate which the Spirit opens to him in the way of the gospel. For it is one thing to know somewhat of Christ, and to begin to become a disciple; and another thing to learn of him so to deny a man's own wisdom and will, as to come to receive and be born of what is true and living of him; and to learn to wait correctly for the opening of the gate, and entering into the kingdom and land of life, and to be prepared to sit down with him.
For there is a state of discipleship, by which a man hardly knows a settlement, so much as how to watch with Christ rightly and constantly; but it is a great matter to be able to dwell and abide with Him [Christ]. None can do this, but he that can dwell with devouring fire and everlasting burnings for the pure word of life is a fire, and he that sits down in the heavenly place in him, must sit down in that fire.
(Isaiah said, ‘Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?’ Isaiah answers his questions, and said, ‘He that walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he that despises the gain of oppression, that shakes his hands from holding of bribes; that stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from seeing of evil; he shall dwell on high, his place of defense shall be the fortress of rocks; bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure; your eyes shall see the king in his beauty, ... and your eyes shall see a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed,’ Isa 33:14-17,20.)
It is to be in the rest, sitting together in heavenly places, in the Kingdom. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and have sat down with my Father in his throne. Rev 3:21. Notice, to him who overcomes is this privilege granted. Overcomes what? Overcomes the world and its lusts, overcomes sin!
4 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not by yourselves. It is the gift of God. So if you think you have been saved by grace, then you also should have experienced to be in union and fellowship with Christ, raised with Christ, up to the heavens, to be sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. But if you are not sitting together with Christ in the heavens, then you have not yet been saved by grace. Paul defines grace: Grace teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; that he might redeem us from all iniquity [lawless deeds, sin], and purify for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. Tit 2:11-14. To be saved, is to be redeemed, purified, and delivered from sin; not just forgiven, but to be freed from sin. When you are delivered from your sins, that is salvation; and this deliverance from your sins is by his grace. Those who say that grace allows them the freedom to sin follow in the footsteps of those whom Jude described as men who have crept in unnoticed, whose condemnation was predicted long ago, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into a license for immorality. Jude 1:4. Paul makes it abundantly clear that sin disqualifies everyone from the kingdom of God or Christ:
So, based on reading the above scriptures, one of two things is in error, either: 1) the theory of the operation of grace, or 2) the Bible is totally unreliable. It is the theory of grace instantly granting you salvation and a free pass to continue in sin that is the error; the Bible is accurate and true. Grace is a teaching process that leads to freedom from all sin and purity. Tit 2:11-14.
Grace is not instant and is not salvation, as widely believed.
Regarding instant salvation by grace, from the Word of the Lord within:
"it is twisted, pernicious lies, a fatal flaw that turns aside the just."
Not only has salvation and grace been incorrectly defined by Christendom, but so has faith. Hearing about Jesus, him being crucified, him being resurrected, and believing those events to be true, is not faith and is not believing in Jesus; it is faith in the Bible or history. Jesus must author and perfect your faith by revelations. Faith is hearing the word of God, (and believing it to be the Son of God who is speaking); hearing the word of God that is in your heart, so that you may obey it,Rom 10:8,17, Deu 30:10-14. Faith is listening, hearing, and obeying. Faith comes when you are led by the Spirit of God. Until you are led by the Spirit of God, you are under the law, which is your schoolmaster; Paul says in Gal 5:18 : if (and when) you are led (prompted, ordered, commanded) by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3:24. When you hear the Word of God in your heart, and when you obey the Word of God in your heart, then you evidence your belief by walking in faith.
You are saved through faith, and by faith your hearts are purified; but obviously in the beginning of faith, you are not purified, neither are you saved. To be saved, is to be freed from sin. You must contend for the faith, grow in the faith, build up your faith, increase in faith, perfect what is lacking in your faith, fight the good fight of faith, until victory when your faith is finished by the finisher; faith is a process and a journey, the end of which is to see Christ bring your salvation, to bring your eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16. This is the most popularly quoted verse in the Bible, BUT it is quoted out of context without the companion verses that qualify its meaning to be totally the opposite of how people interpret it, when looked at alone. Many call this verse "an entire Bible in itself." Unfortunately they are wrong.
James corrected this shortcut of believing in Jesus, being all that is necessary for salvation, writing to the Jewish Christians: You say you believe that there is one God; you do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble. James 1:1,2:19; realize, he was writing to Jewish believers of — Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one. Deu 6:4 So James is in effect saying, "you say you believe in Jesus, you do well, the demons do too, but they tremble at his name — do you?" From the Word of the Lord within: "Everybody who believes the son, shall be made perfect;" note the Lord did not say "believes in the son ;" he said "believes the son." There is a huge difference between believing in the facts of the Bible, Bible-faith, and believing what the son speaks to you from within you heart, which is the Biblical definition of faith. To hear him speak to you, you must walk in the steps of faith as Abraham did; you must wait on God, listen in silence, hear, believe him to be the Son speaking to you, believe what he tells you to be true, and then obey whatever he commands. Do this repetitively with persistent dedication, and he will eventually make you perfect, which is to be delivered from even the desire to sin, which is to receive salvation.
Faith is a journey. It has a beginning and a finish [or a perfection of your faith]. Faith is a series of revelations. Listening to, and obeying Jesus, is him being the author and finisher of your faith. One does not hear the Lord speak to you once to be justified. You must keep hearing and obeying until your sinful nature has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, to then receive faith at part of the fruit of the Spirit, which frees you from the law and justifies you. Faith must be authored by Jesus, and he authors faith by revelation, but not just by your belief that the Bible truly states Jesus to be the Son of God; that is Bible-faith. From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you can witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law. Until you witness the law fulfilled in you, you are under the law."
One does not hear the Spirit of Christ speak to you once to be saved or justified. You must keep hearing and obeying until your sinful nature has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, to then receive faith as part of the fruit of the Spirit, which frees you from the law and justifies you.
Jesus finishes [perfects] your faith when you see him bring your salvation:
he will appear the second time, not to bear sin, but to bring full salvation to those who are waiting for and expecting him. Heb 9:28
For the grace of God that brings salvation .. Tit 2:11
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring eternal life. Jude 1:21
Receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet 1:9.
The end of grace is the revealing, the appearing in your heart, of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ:
5 Not by works, lest any man should boast. Look at the next verse (we are his workmanship); but gentle reader, unless you have experienced the purifying grace of the work of Jesus, you have no salvation. We are not saved by our works, lest any man should boast; we are saved by the operations and process of grace. But grace will charge you with sin in your heart, and then you must repent in obedient faith to have any hope of salvation. Per Paul: Grace teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; that he might redeem us from all iniquity [lawless deeds, sin], and purify for himself a people who are his very own with a zeal for good works. Tit 2:11-14. This statement has been twisted by the false prophets to rationalize doing nothing, but believing.
True, works of the law count for nothing. Works of the law are the cereal offering, the lamb offering, the bull offering, washings, not eating certain foods, circumcision, tithing, sabbaths, celebration of days, feasts, etc.; these are dead works of the law, decided when to be done by the carnal mind of man.
But what about the moral commandments of the Law: love your neighbor as you love yourself; and don't steal; and don't commit adultery; and don't lie; and don't covet; and don't murder; and honor your father and mother? Clearly to observe these commandments is not works of the law; a work is not to cease murder today, or to not commit adultery tonight, or to not lie this afternoon, or to love your neighbor today, or take an hour to love God, etc. These commandments are the moral core of the law and are a part of the law written on every man's heart, whose conscience bears witness, while their thoughts accuse or excuse them, and by which God will judge them. Rom 2:14-16; these commandments have not been annulled by faith in Jesus or grace and must be kept in mind by any who wish to please God.
Do you not know brothers, (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? Rom 7:1.
While Christ's blood sacrifice made the Mosaic law obsolete, the inner law on every man's heart is still alive, never cancelled, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law); and for you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws.
Until you lose your life by crucifying your sinful nature, your carnal mind, and your evil spirit, you are still under the law; until then you are still walking in restricted flesh; until then the law is your schoolmaster. Until Christ replaces your nature, mind, and spirit with His so that your fleshly nature is dead, you are under the law. When Christ controls your thoughts, words, and deeds, then the law no longer has dominion over you because the selfish "you" has died. Even those who know no law have the inner law on their hearts by which a man is judged and which has dominon over him until the death.
The inner law on every man's heart makes us feel bad when we lie or steal. This law includes the external moral laws:* do not steal, do not lie, do not covet, do not murder, do not commit adultery, (and all sexual immorality), honor your parents, do unto others as you would have them do to you, etc. The inner law's moral laws exceed the external, Mosaic moral laws for as Jesus said, he came to fulfill the law; and then He told us how it was to be strengthened, which the inner law reflects. This strengthened inner law can be understood to have been violated anytime you exhibit a fruit of the flesh, which includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness. Any of these disqualify all men from heaven. A man innocent of all these fruits of the flesh is in full compliance with the rigid requirements of salvation stated in the scriptures: be perfect as the Father is perfect, Mat 5:48; be righteous as He is righteous, 1 John 3:7-10; be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36; become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3; as he who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15; walk as he walked, 1 John 2:6; and as he is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17.
For you to be free from this inner law, by which all men shall be judged, you must submit to God condemning the sins in your flesh, with commands tailored to your life's circumstances and that you hear when waiting on Him; those commands are established as additional laws in your heart, in which are all the laws you must obey and continue to obey until you are completely crucified, to then walk in love and liberty under no laws.
From the Word of the Lord within:
- "You must have a devotion to the law that is on every man's heart; you must listen; and you must obey.
- Restraint of sin is not enough; salvation is being freed from even the desire of your sins.
- Only a heart that is purged of sin is acceptable to God.
- Be on your guard at all times to be sure your words do not reflect the fruits of the flesh."
Paul makes it very plain that if you do not obey the moral laws, you have no salvation and no inheritance in the Kingdom of God:
Clearly the moral laws cannot be dead, when disobedience to the law keeps you out of the kingdom and salvation. The law is not dead and a believer in Jesus is not exempt from being banned from heaven when still sinning at death. The moral commandments have not been annulled by faith in Jesus or grace. We must strive to obey all the moral commandments until we are under total control of the Spirit of God; then we fulfill the law walking in obedience to the God's promptings. Until you have been freed from all sin; until you have been translated into the Kingdom of God, until you are an entirely new creature, until Christ has been revealed in you so that you behold his face, you must strive to obey the moral laws.
God judges every man by his words and deeds; every man means no exceptions — every man, even those who believe in Jesus:
You cannot be saved and justified by trying to observe the commandments or by doing works of the law. Salvation and justification come by faith that purifies your heart and soul through his grace. It is impossible to completely love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, or to love you neighbor equally as you love yourself until the power of God actually circumcises your heart from all selfishness and evil. But trying to observe these moral commandments, turning from evil as best we can, is a prerequisite to sincerely seeking God and his salvation; in the beginning you can't control your mind yet, you can't totally control your mouth yet, but you can control your hands and feet from running to and grasping evil. If you think you are saved, simply because you believe Jesus is the Son of God, was resurrected from the dead, etc., or because you were also baptized in water, then you have a form of godliness without the power of God to cleanse you, purify you, circumcise your heart, and make you holy; which when completed, the love of God is perfected in you and you fulfill the law.
Christendom's ignoring the moral commandments as a works of the law is ridiculous; that makes a work of the law include someone who decides to "cease adultery;" when clearly God looks with favor on someone who repents of evil.
Even worse, since whoever of you tries to be justified by the law has fallen from grace, and Christ has become of no benefit to you, Gal 5:4; then, following the faulty logic, (that observing the moral commandments of the law is works of the law), should you decide not to steal, you have lost your salvation through grace and faith in Jesus. Christendom's twisted logic of just "faith in Jesus," ignoring the moral commandments and classifying their observation as works, makes Jesus the author of lawlessness; it makes the blood of Jesus an unholy thing, an excuse for continuing in sin and ignoring all laws, a license for immorality; and in teaching this doctrine, the blind guides of Christendom have led billions of their "believers" into the pit of destruction. From the Word of the Lord within: "they totter to the slaughter;" drunk with their lusts, passions, pride, and pleasures. This is a doctrinal error of colossal magnitude; it is a breakage of the covenant of God.
Until we can hear the Spirit of God teach us by grace to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, the inner law on the heart of every man, which includes moral core of the outward law, is our schoolmaster that reminds us of our shortcomings and motivates us to go to God for his changing grace.
Works without faith in obeying what you have heard commanded, counts for nothing; but faith, which is energized and demonstrated by works through love, is of great benefit. Faith without works, counts for nothing. You cannot just say "I believe" and live in your sinful nature without obedience. Works of faith energized by love, are esteemed and required by God; those first works of repentance that you hear commanded by God are energized by your love for God.
Works of your own will are dead works; and unless your selfish spirit is crucified on the cross of Christ, to have the Spirit of Christ take its place on the throne in your heart, you will not be prompted by God what good works to do.
Before you can hear the Word of the Lord within your heart to guide you, the first works are repentance, which John the Baptist told us were the prerequisite to seeking the kingdom of heaven, by showing your sincerity in seeking God's further teaching and change by grace:
Repent: think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct. Matt 3:2
Share from your excess with those who are without the necessities of life. [This is very key to your success in receiving God's favor.]
Be honest in all your dealings, never exaggerating or overreaching anyone.
Don't oppress people or frighten anyone, don't lie, don't want more, don't complain. Luke 3:10-14
And before you can hear the Word of the Lord within your heart to guide you, the inner law on every man's heart that is still alive, (which inner law includes the moral core of the Mosaic law), is our schoolmaster.
The moral core of the law is: don't steal; and don't commit adultery; and don't lie; and don't covet; and don't murder; and honor your father and mother; do for others as you would have them do for you, etc.
Clearly to observe these moral commandments as best we can, while waiting for the Spirit's direction, is not doing works of the law.
The moral laws remind us of our shortcomings and motivates us to go to God to receive his heart and soul purifying grace,
— to become free of all sin, even the desire to sin,
— to be able to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might, and
— to be able to love your neighbor as yourself.
When you can hear the Spirit of God from within your heart, as you wait on the Lord and listen to the Lord, he will command further repentance in your life.
The commands you hear him speak to you are to be kept, remembered, and obeyed; if he orders you to deny something in your life, you are to keep denying it.
The commands you obey and keep are then written in your heart and mind, supplementing the inner law already on every man's heart;
thus the scripture is fulfilled: I will put my laws into their hearts, and I will write them in their minds [inward understanding]. Heb 10:16
As you continue to obey His commands to you, you are eventually purified by his grace that teaches you how to live righteously, soberly and godly in this present world, until you are redeemed from all sins and purified to be a peculiar people with a zeal for good works. Tit 2:11-14
From the Word of the Lord within: "We go to him, and he rains help on us; well does this exercise of God purify those who do."
We seek, watch, listen, hear, and obey God's voice. The words we hear him speak to us impart the life of God to us, John 6:63.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Everybody who believes the son, shall be made perfect." To believe him speaking to you is true faith. True faith purifies.
Doing this repetitively over time is how we are able to comply with the Bible's stated requirements that Christendom ignores to protect their false doctrines:
— be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, Mat 5:48
— be merciful as He is merciful, Luke 6:36
— become pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
— as He who has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conduct, 1 Pet 1:15
— so that we walk as He walked, 1 John 2:6, and
— as He is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17
This is how we rid ourselves of the fruits of the flesh that disqualify us from any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ.
This is how to mortify the sins in your body and become totally free of sin, even the desire to sin.
This is how to carry your cross and follow Jesus, by denial of your own will and obeying the commands he speaks to you.
This is how to witness passing from death to life (of God), to experience Jesus bring to you your salvation and the eternal life of God.
After purification, then God prompts you to do good works to his glory and your joy.
Faith, which does not motivate, energize, and produce works, is dead.
Works of love, energized and prompted by God are essential.
James said, "faith without works is dead." James 2:17.
James further said, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." James 2:24.
Many people think Paul conflicts with James; but of course James and Paul don't conflict, and never would conflict.
In the below scriptures, Paul is speaking in context of works of the law: sacrifices, tithing, washings, Sabbaths, feasts, restrictions of foods, circumcision, etc.
——Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, Gal 2:16, (hearing him, believing him, and obeying him)
——A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Rom 3:28.
Paul has disdain for works of the law, but he is grossly misunderstood to include all the law, including the moral commands.
——No man is justified by the law in the sight of God. Gal 3:11. This verse alone, without looking at its context with the previous verse, is part of the error.
——For all who rely on works of the law are under the curse Gal 3:10.
But Paul makes it very clear that the consequences of sin still apply to every man, and works of love energized by obedient faith are required and esteemed.
Paul says obedience to the moral commands of the law are required until you are totally led by the Spirit of God:
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:18
The law is your schoolmaster until faith has come. Gal 3:24-25
A mature Christian is filled with love and fulfills, even exceeds, the the moral laws, continually walking in obedience to God's commands that he hears.
From the Word of the Lord within: "There are no laws when you are under complete control of the spirit; you walk in love in obedience as prompted — you don't walk in restricted flesh." Faith that frees from the law comes with the receipt of the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law. Gal 5:22-23.
Up to this time, as you are hearing the Spirit of Grace within convict you of sin and teach you about righteous living, you are in the Ministry of Condemnation, yet to receive the ministry of righteousness, yet to receive the end of grace, still subject to the Law of Sin and Death, still walking after the flesh and carnal mind, yet to receive the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, yet to be in Christ, yet to be dead to the law through the law, and yet to walk after the Spirit's prompting of your thoughts, words, and deeds.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6. (works activated and energized through loving obedience to what God directs you to do)
And let us consider how to encourage one another to love and good works. Heb 10:24
Paul is not saying that you can ignore the moral laws — to be unloving, immoral, covetous, given to pleasures, angry, etc.
Paul said: I declared.. that they should repent and turn to God, and do works consistent with repentance. Acts 26:20
Paul said, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12
Again Paul said, grace, results in a people zealous for good works. Titus 2:14
Paul said: Charge those who are rich in this world not to be high minded,
nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy;
[Charge] that they do good, to become rich in good works, to be generous, sharing with others. 1 Tim 6:17-18
If you live in a prosperous, industrialized nation, you are rich, compared to the rest of the world. So be rich in good works.
Paul said: glory, honor, and peace, are to every man who works good. Rom 2:10.
Paul said: To those who by perseverance in good works, seek for glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. Rom 2:7.
Peter said: whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. Acts 10:35
Peter again: make every effort to add to your faith virtue.. knowledge.. self control.. perseverance .. godliness. 2 Pet 1:5-6
Jesus said, Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3. Repentance requires effort on your part.
And, As many as I love, I chastise [rebuke, discipline]. Be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev 3:19 (Zealous means filled with ardent desire, enthusiastic).
Jesus further said, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. Mat 11:29
Jesus said, If any man desire to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
In His messages to the seven churches, Jesus mentions to every church how their works are key.
Jesus said, I have not found your works perfect before God. Rev 3:2-3. He wants perfect works, energized by faith.
Hear! Jesus said: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Luke 13:24
The doctrine of no works would have you believe striving is unnecessary, yet Jesus ordered us to strive, (to make every effort),
Jesus further says, the gate is narrow and compressed which leads to life, which few will find,
and many I say to you will seek to enter and will not be able to. Mat 7:14, Luke 13:24. (Don't Jesus' warnings seriously conflict with just believing in Jesus?)
Gentle reader — heed what Jesus is saying. Your having said a sinner's prayer and gotten wet is not hard to find or do.
But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [effected, formed, prompted, energized] through God." John 3:21.
Those who have been experiencing the Spirit's removal of sin from their hearts, love the light and eagerly come to the light for further destruction of sin.
Those who have been freed from sin, eagerly come to the light to be directed by God to do works of love, to their joy and God's glory:
for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Eph 2:10.
A man comes to the light by waiting on God in silence, watching and listening in hope of change by Jesus.
Those who come to the light, love Christ, as evidenced by their obedience to the truth.
God judges every man by his words and deeds; every man means no exceptions — every man, even those who believe in Jesus:
Faith without works is dead. Those without works, energized and prompted by God, will have their souls destroyed and their spirits banned from heaven. The first works of a true believer are works of repentance.
6 we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. We are purified by Jesus — his works — his workmanship, not our works. But he purifies us so we can then do good works, prompted and energized by him. Men are purified and perfected to become sons forever, but also so that they can demonstrate the love of God to the world. A major purpose of Christ giving his life for us, was that he could purify for himself his own peculiar [special] people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:13-14. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. Dan 12:10. The wicked, (those who sin), will not understand; Christendom, (still in sin), does not understand.
7 In whom you also are built together for a dwelling place for God through the Spirit. That is God's desire, to dwell in his people, to dwell in the Body of Christ.
You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Pet 2:5.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 3:16.
God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people. 2 Cor 6:16
The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. Rev 21:3.
And what kind of person do you think God is going to dwell in his fullness? Do you think he wishes to dwell with people who still lie, get angry, lust for things, lust for people, are envious, greedy, hate, etc.; or do you think he will only dwell in a purified heart, a purified soul, a person of peace, holy in their conduct? Christ is holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. Heb 7:26. Do you think he will defile himself by joining in a marriage to defiled people?
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