Sunday, October 24, 2010

If stars are stars, and sand is sand, the tree of good and evil is no tithe!

Have you heard it yet? People are saying that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is tithe, you know. Got such thing, meh! Not new, but even big-time grace preacher saying that, you know!

For those not having any idea of what I was referring to, for the first part of the title, “If stars are stars, and sand is sand”, you may want to read my separate article, “Stars are stars, sand is sand”. In this article I would like to address the saying that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is tithe.

The intention of this article is not to attack a person as such (I am only against teaching, not person, per se), and there can be, by now, many people subscribing to this saying. For understanding of my stance, let me re-quote a text I put up on someone’s “forum” where discussions were made concerning theologies and doctrines, even heresies of some preachers:

“To be fair, many of us who speak out against false teachings within the body of Christ, especially those teachings against the core tenets of the faith, are not fighting other believers. Jesus Himself did not like false teachings, the Apostles taught against it; the Apostle Paul was particularly vocal about it. Jesus, in His end-time messages, via the illustrations of the 7 churches, also warned of subscribing to false teachings.

Scripture gave us indication that the coming on of greater measure of false teachings as sign of time, but still it did not say we are not to resist them. I see things are happening as foretold in 2 Tim 4:3-4 - For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

The tree of knowledge of good and evil being referred to, according to the “doctrine”, is that same tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, which we read in the Book of Genesis. The purported doctrine is this: Adam and Eve can eat from all the trees, but not this one tree. And accordingly (?), this is the tithe, like this is money, and this is the money {tithe portion} you cannot use (you got to give back to God). What is this? To me, it is PURE speculation. As far as I know there are no verses that suggest such a “filling in the gap of this story” is tenable, i.e. there is not even partial support for such a doctrine from the Word of God.

That a glass, I can put marbles in it, does not necessary mean that all glasses are made for the purpose of putting marbles in them, likewise, when God said {concerning tithe} we cannot have all of our income, it does not necessarily mean that everything that God said we cannot have, are tithes! When God said you cannot have someone’s wife (against covetousness), it (the woman) is no tithe to God. Or when God said you shall not eat of the food offered to idols, is that tithe to God? Then why is it that it becomes tithe to God when God told Adam not to eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil! If God said it, I accept it, but God did not say or implied it, then we should not say such. The food to be offered for idol, is food made available by God, still it does not mean that the abstinence of it, is tithe to God; in the same way, the trees in the Garden were made available by God, the abstinence of one tree, did not mean it was tithe to God! I say this looks like one making up story anyhow! Go write a novel, perpetrator, or shoot a fiction movie, but do not adulterate the Word of God, with hidden agenda.

I want to make it very clear that I am not against tithing. But I know many overly grace believers, under the influence of their preachers, are; because in their view, tithing is of the law. Now, can you figure out what this is all about? When the tyre hits the road, we get to see who are the real champions of particular ideology. “Grace, grace, grace” they shout! “No law, no law, no law.” But wait a minute, no law means no tithe, no tithe means no money, and no money means ….

{Deep call unto deep?!, Well, deep in thought-lah} “Mm, Mm, Mm {deep in thought-what}, got to stick with no law, but must have tithe………….{Deep in thought, but MUNCHING…} Hey, where did my wife get this apple from, it is so sweet; ….. Aah, we were first, at the Gar… Gar… Guardian PharmaC Den… Den…. Then, we went into NTU-See. Aha! Apple, Gar…Den. I got it! The Holy Spirit has spoken – Apple and Garden, ….. and Adam and Eve, and the tree of (knowledge of) good and evil. Hallelujah, Hallelujah.” {Now, I am even more convinced that we have to be careful not to anyhow think the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. We continue} “The ‘First’ is always special, Guardian PharmaC is not,…. but ‘First’ is special. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The first law is special, I can say, it is not counted the same way with the rest, like the FIRST Sin was special, it has perpetualty. That’s right, the first law must have perpetualty, so tithing must continue. Yah! Yah! Yah!”

That is pure speculation of how it came about!? Sure. So is the saying that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the tithe! And so is the first prohibitive law being God’s command for tithe, a speculation. I rest my case!

As one from churches which believe that churches should be allowed to receive tithes, on behalf of God, I say thanks, but no thanks, to such teaching, which speculates on the Word with selfishness, and hidden agenda.

Anthony Chia – Incompatibility between grace and tithing? But this is NOT the answer! We still need to be careful with what we hear from such b i g – time preachers!

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @:
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Judges series - Judges 16 – Presumptuousness kills

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note/What we have learnt/can learn".
{For full listing of all articles in this series, click here}

{At Gaza}
1 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. 2 The people of Gaza were told, "Samson is here!" So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, "At dawn we'll kill him." 3 But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. [For what reason Samson went to Gaza, a big city of the Philistines, we do not know. He did nothing there except to sleep with a prostitute, and afterward, in the middle of the night got up, ripped apart the city gate and carried it to the top of the hill.

To me, it was a demonstration of brute might. It was as if Samson was saying, “See, I have come into your stronghold, enjoyed myself, and afterward, torn apart your city gate for all to see, what can you do to me?” But why this conduct? Moral character flaw? Or was it presumptuousness?]

{Samson and Delilah}
4 Sometime later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. 5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, "See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver." [Some time later, Samson fell in love with a woman called Delilah who was then bought over by the Philistine rulers to find out the secret to Samson’s great strength.]
6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued." 7 Samson answered her, "If anyone ties me with seven fresh thongs that have not been dried, I'll become as weak as any other man." 8 Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh thongs that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. 9 With men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he snapped the thongs as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied." 11 He said, "If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I'll become as weak as any other man." 12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads. 13 Delilah then said to Samson, "Until now, you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied." He replied, "If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I'll become as weak as any other man." So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14 and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric. 15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength." [Delilah proceeded to pester Samson to reveal the secret of his strength. We read here for 3 occasions, Samson lied to Delilah, and the Philistines could not take Samson. Tying Samson with fresh throng did not weaken him. Neither did tying with new rope, nor having the 7 braids of his head woven into a fabric.]
16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death. 17 So he told her everything. "No razor has ever been used on my head," he said, "because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man." 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, "Come back once more; he has told me everything." So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. 20 Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. [Delilah continued her nagging, finally Samson told her everything, that he was a Nazirite since birth; and no razor had ever been used on his head, and that his strength would leave him if his head was shaved. So, while Samson was asleep, Delilah shaved his head and had the Philistines come and successfully seized him, and had his eyes gouged out and took him down to Gaza, the city he had previously openly defied by needless show-off. Afterwards they shackled him and put him to work in the prison. Meanwhile in prison, his hair began to grow, but the sad thing was that he had already lost his eyes. This is my take, and you do not necessarily need to agree with me: Samson grew presumptuous and proud, became a show-off, did slacken on his morality {although, not right from the beginning, as thought by many}, again was not discreet with secrets, fell, got humiliated, humbled, and became repentant.]

The Death of Samson
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, "Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands." 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, "Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain." 25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, "Bring out Samson to entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. [The rulers of the Philistines began to celebrate the capturing of Samson. They attributed it to their god, Dagon, and had the celebration carried out at the temple premise. While in high spirits, they wanted to make fun of Samson and to have Samson to be brought to the open.]
When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, "Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them." 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, "O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes." 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. [With the loss of his eyes, Samson decided he shall die glorifying God.

While it is praiseworthy that Samson had glorified God by bringing down the temple and killing a few thousand Philistines, I feel I must say that one must not be too quick to imitate Samson. No point in time, no matter how difficult things may become, we must not end our own lives, unless God directs so. Our lives are not ours to take. Our first response should be to live and stay alive to glorify God. If all else failed, and we lose our lives to the enemies, so be it, but otherwise, we are to will and hope to live.]
31 Then his brothers and his father's whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years. [Samson’s family came and collected his body to be buried with his father, Manoah. Samson led the Israelites for 20 years.]

What we can learn here:

Some who wrote on Samson’s life, almost had nothing good to say about Samson. I believe some of the negativities were over-rated. Some writers tended to inject their own judgmental spirit into scriptures, despite in some places the plainness of matter was staring in their faces. For example, for the marriage of Samson with the Philistine woman in Timnah, it was clearly said that it was a stirring from the Lord (Judges 13:25 & 14:4), yet some writers just ignored that, and claimed that Samson did wrong to entertain the marriage with a pagan woman.

This tends to show the judgmental attitude in us all, to even judge others’ ministries. The Apostle Paul was very clear about judging another’s ministry. Put it very simply, Paul was saying that only the Master knew what He had assigned out, only He was in any position to judge His servant, not us, because we were not the ones who knew what the minister was to do, unless the Lord revealed to us what He had instructed the said minister.

Hosea (from the Book of Hosea), for example, was told by the Lord to go and take an adulterous woman with children as his wife! Nothing is foolishness if that is what the Lord has wanted done! Bible is filled with many more of such things, which men would have labeled as foolishness, if not for them being said to be asked of, or done, by the Lord.

Nonetheless, we have to ask ourselves whether or not there is anything to be learnt from the passage that talked about Samson’s episode at Gaza (vv 1-3).

In verse 4, of Judges 14 (previous chapter), where we read of Samson’s wanting to marry a Philistine woman at Timnah, it was said that the LORD was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines who were oppressing the Israelites then. Was this episode at Gaza, another of such occasions sought by the LORD? Should we be kind and understanding, and just assume it?

My own view is that the 2 episodes were clearly separate occasions and matters. Much time might have even elapsed between the 2 episodes; do not forget that Samson led for 20 years (v31), altogether. Without mentioning of time, just the mention of these 2 episodes, and even the one that followed - Samson’s association with Delilah, which led to the secret of his strength exposed, and he being captured, blinded, and eventually died, one might be tempted to think that the events occurred consecutively, one following another, but I believe that was not necessarily the case.

For the former (marriage at Timnah), God had allowed it to be written into scripture that it was His idea; to me, if the latter (at Gaza) was also His idea, He would have also inspired the author to pen it in as well, unless the latter clearly patterned after the former. Do you think it was fair for Samson, and for us, too, to assume it being the case? I think not, and so, my view is that for this occasion, Samson had been presumptuous to do the thing he did, sleeping with a Philistine prostitute and thereafter, demonstrated His strength in deviance of the enemy. It is tempting to argue, it was an attempt by God to “do it back” to the Philistines for the latter’s dishonoring of God by ridiculing a chosen man of God at Timnah. But, the dishonor had already been avenged, many Philistines had paid the price, we read that in Judges 14, Samson even killed 1,000 men with a jawbone at Lehi. I do not think this is the right argument.

It is obvious that Samson was chosen of the LORD, even before birth, to be a judge for the Israelites, to lead them in the face of the Israelites’ suffering under the oppression of the Philistines. After the events at Timnah and Lehi, we can be sure that Samson by then realised that he was called (to service) by the LORD; the only thing was, what were the more precise things that he was to do?

I am inclined to think that Samson thought what he did was what the LORD would be pleased with. And so, I do not think it was a moral character flaw (at Gaza), as such {but that event might have led him to suffer decline in morality}; but rather it was presumptuousness on the part of Samson.

If it had been a case that Samson had wanted to have fun, and afterward, was remorseful and repentant as some commentators put it (saying that he laid AWAKE until middle of the night for that reason; but not necessarily the case, I believe, it could just be that he stayed on, until middle of the night!), do you think he would then go and do something that very obviously would “hit the headline”, by pulling out the gate and waving it around on the top of a hill? Why couldn’t he have fun in Israelites’ territory? He was a judge, and would be afraid to be seen visiting prostitutes in his own territory, that he had to go to the enemy’s city to do it? If it were the case, do you think he would want to publicise it by the subsequent show of might?

I believed Samson planned to confront the Philistines, and it entered his mind that those acts would be what he would do. And so, I believe he was not believing that he would be judged as being of loose moral character; more I think, he was thinking that he would bring honor to God’s name by being able to say, “I have gone into the enemy’s stronghold, enjoyed myself, and afterwards, torn apart their city gate for all to see, and the enemy could do nothing to me!”

Was God glorified by what Samson did at Gaza? Obviously, many of us do not think so, especially those who argue that Samson was already of loose moral character, for he slept with the prostitute at Gaza. Can this possibly be the way of God? A later event, in history, shaded some light on this, and the event was that of Philistine’s Goliath’s ridiculing of the Israelites in the Valley of Elah during the reign of King Saul (1 Sam 17). God did not take kindly to what Goliath did, day after day, encroached into the Israelites’ border in deviance, in the presence of the Israelite army; and He engineered David to confront the giant enemy, and had the enemy fallen by a sling stone from the shepherd “boy”, David. Could God have resorted to those acts which Samson did at Gaza, with no apparent reason except to boast? I do not think so. I believe the lesson to learn in this, is that we are to be careful not to be too presumptuous in whatever manner of service calling of God.

Concerning Samson and Delilah, the important point to note was that Samson started to know of his power, and an inkling of God’s service calling on his life during the time of God’s stirring of him to go to Timnah and marry a Philistine woman. Although, there might be a certain peculiarity to Samson’s service calling, as indicated by what he did and accomplished with clear sanction of God, in the inaugural acts connected to the marriage at Timnah, still the overwhelming issue is whether or not, Samson had been too presumptuous thereafter. It could be that one initial isolated event that he got involved with enemy’s woman, with sanction of God, did not mean that his ministry for the LORD was to be inevitably tied to women of the enemy (but which Samson probably thought so).

Indeed, Delilah was possibly a Philistine woman {enemy woman}, or at least she was not an Israelite. Even if she was not a Philistine woman, she would have been one of the local inhabitants who easily would have aligned herself with the Philistines, owing to the root issue of Israelites being conquerors of the land, taking the Canaan Land from the locals, including the Philistines. Now, Delilah was a woman in the Valley of Sorek. This place was not in the Israelite territory. In fact, it is believed that Timnah, where Samson had earlier on, wanted to marry a Philistine woman, was in Valley of Sorek, making it all possible that, that territory was a territory of the Philistines. Even if Delilah was not born of the Philistines, she lived under the rule of the Philistines.

To fall in love, per se, is not wrong, but Samson fell in love with an “enemy woman”. Was that what the LORD had wanted? The scripture is silent on this. Again, the issue is that, whether or not, Samson was again presumptuous to think, since his inaugural episode from the LORD was connected to an “enemy woman” (even marriage), that he would receive God’s blessing to fall in love with Delilah. We, of course, know that Delilah brought about Samson’s downfall, and scripture did not attribute any good done by Samson from that relationship with Delilah, except, afterward, after Samson’s secret of his strength was leaked, and he was blinded, and imprisoned, he did exercise his strength for a last time and killed a couple of thousand Philistines.

It is all possible that Samson grew presumptuous {maybe even too presumptuous} and proud, became a show-off, did slacken on his morality {although, not right from the beginning, as thought by many}, again wasn’t discreet with secrets, and fell. But I believe his biggest mistake was possibly that he was too presumptuous. He was one earmarked for much more, and much greater exploits for the LORD, but because of his presumptuousness, he might have short-circuited the exploits that God could have accomplished through him. Nonetheless, in line with Romans 8:28, in everything God still works thing out for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. Despite Samson’s presumptuousness and failings, God did not withdrew His hand completely, but had still performed miracles when Samson had needed it, for the sake of His name, and as a grace to Samson.

Concerning Samson taking of his own life, my comments are in the body of the commentary. I just want to say that I believe it is a sin for believers to take their own lives, and MUST NOT be attempted, unless instructed by God.

There is also a side point to note, and that is that we are to learn from our mistakes. Samson did not learn that from his mistake of not being discreet with secrets or confidential matters. He was deceived once by his bride at Timnah, and yet, he did not learn, and got deceived again, and this time by his lover, Delilah.

While I have said that generally we do not judge people concerning their ministries, it does not mean that we cannot engage such ministers if we think that something might be amiss. And for the ministers, be humble, be prepared to hear people out, and talk to God, ask Him, so that we do not end up like Samson, dishonor God, be ourselves humiliated, and miss the greater exploits that God has intended for our lives. That we start well, we should want to continue on to do greater exploits, and end well.

My Prayer (you can pray this, too):
Lord, the life of Samson, as recorded for us, is difficult to decipher, yet, overwhelmingly, I sense that I am being taught not to be presumptuous as to what is to be done for you, especially, what is to be done, borders into darkness.

Lord, I am not young anymore {you may adapt this!}, yet, I am still not very sure about what you want me to do, but I am quite sure that some inaugural acts have happened in my life.

Lord, I want to read correctly your service calling for my life. Though late in life, I have started, maybe, even started ok; although, it was nothing compared to what Samson had done at Timnah or at Lehi, but

Lord, I want to continue on to do greater exploits, and end well.

Lord, help me to be sensitive to your Holy Spirit, for only with favor and sensitivity to your Spirit, will I be able to do great exploits for you. Amen.
Anthony Chia

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @:
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Please, 1 John 3:9 does not mean a believer cannot (unable to) sin!

Increasingly, because of the overly grace believers unrepentant push for their erroneous core theology of all sins, past, current, and FUTURE ones, are forgiven of a believer at the time of his born-again, many believers are beginning to re-interpret scriptures, often in most ridiculous manners, just to tie with erroneous core doctrines of such grace theology.

While I am not opposed to (in fact, I encourage) studying and receiving of revelation and understanding of scriptures for ourselves, too many grace preachers are too casual with their accusations of churches lying to congregations, causing believers everywhere to abandon established interpretations of scriptures, to re-interpret scriptures with skewed lenses, instead of approaching scriptures with an open mind, and weighing out the established interpretations. The danger of every Tom, Dick, and Harry doing their own interpretations, and then teaching them to others, without weighing out established interpretations properly, is that such characters might not have been poring over all of Scripture enough to have grasped the overall counsel of the Word. Piecemeal interpretations of scripture without regard to context, and thematic flow, often only result in wrong interpretations. Sometimes, context is brief or a text lacks details, to interpret such, we need to employ the technique of scriptures-interpret-scriptures, and weigh any interpretation against the overall counsel of the Word. The overly grace belief movement has generated a pattern of scripture-interpretation haughtiness, on a scale, I believe, had not been seen before. It might be a sign of time, but even so, false teachings are to be resisted in the body of Christ.

1 John 3:9
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (NKJV)

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. (NIV)

The above verse of 1 John 3:9 should never be interpreted as a believer cannot, as in unable to, or impossible for him to, sin (whatever the sin may be). The author, John, DID NOT have that notion whatsoever. The same goes for 1 John 5:18a - We know that whoever is born of God does not sin (NKJV); We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin (NIV).

Experiences AND overall counsel of the Word negate it
Our own experiences in our Christian walk tell us that it cannot be true; AND the overall counsel of the Word tells us it cannot be true. If we have read enough of the Bible, over and over again, and choose to be honest with ourselves, The Word would not admit such interpretation of a believer is unable to sin.

One article I read recently narrowed the sin to the renunciation of the faith, and said that a believer is unable to renounce his faith in Christ Jesus. No, the overall counsel of the Word does not teach such even, that a believer can never (impossible for him to do so) renounce his faith. These verses below are enough to show that it is possible for a believer to renounce his faith:

32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. (Matt 10:32-33)

Again Jesus’ words, and here, it shows that it is even possible for a believer to blaspheme the Holy Spirit {not that we should do it} –

8"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:8-10)

Jesus to the Ephesus Church, end-time message –

I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. (Rev 2:13)

The above illustrated clearly “scriptures-interpret-scriptures”, and the overall counsel of the Word does not permit such interpretation of 1 John 3:9 to say that it is impossible for a believer to sin (be it, renunciation of his faith, or other sins).

Context – so that you will not sin, and if you do sin ….
Contextually, the author, John already stated his position for us, very clearly in 1 John 2:1-2:

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NIV)

John specifically mentioned that the purpose of his writing to the children of God was so that they would not sin. In other words, John was exhorting believers to make every effort not to sin, but if anybody does sin, he should know that we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, and He is Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

When John said, “… so that you will not sin”;
And he also said that,“...but if anybody does sin”. What do these 2 phrases tell us? They are pointing to John NOT having the notion that believers cannot (unable to) sin. He would not be exhorting believers to make effort not to sin if it was not possible for them to sin.

One of the right ways of interpreting scripture is accept what is clear and without ambiguity, and use it to weigh out “disputed” scripture, as what I have done here, weighing 1 John 3:9 and 1 John 5:18a against 1 John 2:1-2.

So what was John trying to say by 1 John 3:9?
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (NKJV)

John was exhorting believers not to sin. He was saying that a believer (a born again) SHOULD NOT sin or continue to sin. Why? Because the Spirit of Christ (which is also the Holy Spirit) {God’s seed} is in us; the holy God is in us. At born again, God put deposit of his Spirit in us. In Jesus’ words, at born again we are not only born of water, but born of {so, the use of the word, “seed”} the Spirit. The “cannot” was not to be taken as “unable” or impossible” to do, but as “SHOULD NOT”.

It is like my friend telling his son, Bu Lee, “You cannot beat up (or continue to beat up) your schoolmates. You are now in the country’s most prestigious school (Raffles Institution)”. Obviously, it does not mean that Bu Lee is not capable of beating up his schoolmates anymore. He did that before, in his previous school, and he can still bash someone up with no problem. The father was trying to get him not to do it since now that Bu Lee has managed to get into a very reputable school, it is just not right and proper (not that it was right and proper, previously) to disgrace the name of such a school by engaging in bullying. It is along this line, that John was saying, the holy God, by His Holy Spirit, is indwelling in us, we should not sin or continue to sin. Scripture said that when we are born-again, we become a temple of God, where God is to be enthroned.

In all visions in Scripture, where God allowed men to catch a glimpse of His dwelling or throne-place, it was always that everything around the throne was holy; sandals must be taken off, or holiness was felt or experienced. Moses, Isaiah, and even the author, John himself, had had such experiences. John was therefore saying we cannot sin, because minimally, the holy God must be given the reverence due Him.

Clearly, John was painting to us that believers are capable of sinning, but we should not sin, and there are problems with us sinning; sinning by believers are NOT non-issue.

Anthony Chia – Lord, there is now a class of false teachings within the body, misleading your children, to sway from your commands and ways, robbing you of the reverence due you, by saying that it is alright, when it is not, and by misquoting you in your saying of “It is finished.” Lord, protect your children. Help us, in our attempts to overcome, against all false teachings, especially those from within. May you help me to proclaim only your truth, and nothing, but your truth. Stop me, Lord if I am NOT speaking your truth, for I can bear NOT, “the blood of your children on my hands”. Amen.

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @:
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Luke 6:46 - Part II – As Christians, we are to obey His commands

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

The sister went on to say that in the past she did not know that following Jesus was not about “doing” the laws, and that she did get confused between obedience to God and “doing” the laws. She said there did not seem to be any difference to her.

In part I, we ended with such saying, “Sure, it is possible to be like what the Lord has remarked in the above verse, that there are those among us who just call Him, Lord, Lord, but do not do what He say or said”. The consequence of that was allegorically depicted by the Lord in one’s attempt to build a house, one, on the foundation of His Lordship, and another, without {such} foundation; one will stand, the other, a wash-out, when water of testing comes.

Doing laws? Obey His commands
So now, is following Jesus about “doing” the laws? Now, if the “doing the laws”, here, means obeying the commands of God, then, yes! To be a Christian is to live a life in obedience to the commands of God or to live a life in submission to His Lordship. As a Christian, if you are not going to live your life that way, then you should not be surprised when the Lord poses Luke 6:46 to you. To me, the allegory of Jesus is referring to our homes, our homes or, no homes, in Heaven! If I be very blunt about it, if you are not going to live out your life in submission to His Lordship, it is possible you will have no home waiting for you in Heaven, even though you thought you have one built.

Luke 6:46 is to be taken seriously
My advice for people, not that I have arrived, is not to reason away Luke 6:46 and the allegory of Jesus that followed it. Do not listen to people who say that salvation has nothing to do with Lordship of God, or think out all kinds of excuses, including grace, etc, etc, to say that it is alright if the commands of God are not followed so long as one has accepted Jesus as his Savior. I too find it difficult to obey some of the commands of God, but still it does not necessarily mean that obeying the commands of God is not the thing to do. The spirit must be one, of us submitting to the Lordship of God. There might be isolated failures which we have to ask for forgiveness from the Lord, but we must endeavor to live in submission to His Lordship.

To obey God is to obey His commands
Again referring to the sister’s remark, does obeying God imply obeying his commands? Yes, but if you find it very difficult to obey a certain command of God, you can talk to God. God is not legalistic, but the spirit should be that we are to obey Him and His commands.

New lens – obey out of love
The word, “transformation” has become such a catchy jargon that it is used in all sorts of settings to talk about changes that are to take place in the hearts and minds of believers concerning many matters, but it was rarely used to point to what God said concerning how we should view the obedience to his commands. Jesus said those who love Him obey His commands, and those who obey His commands are the ones who love Him. This is the transformation that we must catch; we have to change our mindset in our viewing of obedience to God’s commands. From obeying out of fear, we are to change to obeying out of love for God. Our submission to His Lordship should be, out of love, and not out of fear. When the obeying and the submission are out of love, it will cause lasting change in us. If it is out of fear, when the “stick” is taken away, the attitude disappears. If it is out of love, with or without the “stick”, the attitude remains. God first loves us. How can we love Him back? Obey Him and His commands, is one sure way!

No, No, No, …
Is it alright for one to disobey God or to sin, just because Jesus had already died for us, and His work was completed; and all our sins have been forgiven of us at our born-again? The answer is no. It is not alright. At our born-again, our FUTURE SINS, relative to the time of born-again, were NOT yet forgiven, simply because it had not happen. It is reading words into Scripture to say that our FUTURE SINS were already forgiven. Jesus’ blood was capable of cleansing future sins, but it does not necessary mean that at our born-again, the blood of Jesus cleansed at that moment, even the sins of our future, relative to the born-again moment. Subsequently, when we, believers, sin, we just have to practice 1 John1:9. We are not made perfect at born again, that we are incapable of subsequent sinning. It is a lie that 1 John 1:9 is not believers; and those believers who think that they have not sinned subsequent to conversion is calling God a liar. I encourage readers to read my separate article on “1 John 1:9 is for believers” to correctly understand that indeed 1 John 1:9 is for believers.

Godly sorrow leads to repentance
That we have been reconciled to God at born-again through the work done by Jesus on the Cross, does that mean that everything is alright between God and a believer? Yes. Then does it mean that a believer is no longer condemned, and his guilt has been removed from him? Yes, at his born-again, when he was forgiven and cleansed of his sins. What if he sins after his born-again, does he become condemned, and be guilty? Unless you can find Scripture saying that a sin by a believer is not a sin, and the wages of sin is not the same as that of a sin before born-again, a sin brings on condemnation, and rightly that believer is guilty and should be sorrowful for it. It is a lie that a believer is not condemned on sinning, not guilty, should not feel guilty, and ought not be sorrowful about what he is doing or has just done. The Apostle Paul said in his epistle to the Corinthians brethrens (2 Cor 7), that believers ought to be sorrowful for sins they had done. In fact, Paul was saying that he did not regret his letter caused them sorrow, because godly sorrow was to bring on repentance. If you ignore godly sorrow, or numb it again and again (and that includes the pricking of your conscience by the Holy Spirit), you will not repent, and when you do not repent, and will not ask for forgiveness, how are you going to be forgiven, and the condemnation from the sin be lifted you?

Please, a sin is a sin
Are you insisting that God had forgiven you of your FUTURE sins, and therefore, there is no consequence to whatsoever sin that you may commit now or in the future? Is sin not a sin anymore? Where is it written in Scripture? Or are you expecting the blood of Jesus to operate like an auto-wipe anti-virus program for the believers, the very moment you commit a sin, it is automatically wiped off you! These are presumptuous interpretations of Scripture. Scripture only said that Jesus died more than 2000 years ago, yet his blood is available and capable of cleansing of the sins of any future person, relative to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Died once but propitiation is available for appropriations into future. People should stop saying a believer is persecuting Jesus all over again if he feels condemned or guilty. No, Jesus died once and was persecuted before His death and resurrection; even if you want it He will not die again or be persecuted anymore. This cannot be used to justify the position that one should not be sorrowful about his un-confessed sins, on the pretext that, that would persecute Jesus all over again. He should only not feel condemned, guilty or sorrowful if he has confessed his sins, as in 1 John 1:9. It is right to explain to such believers who had confessed, that they are not to feel that way {guilty, condemned}, but it is surely NOT right to tell believers that they should not feel condemned, guilty and sorrowful when they are indeed in sin, and have NOT wanted to confess or ask forgiveness. At times, we should not be too harsh to people, but surely reinforcing the “it is alright to do wrong/sin” mentality is NOT acceptable.

Our God is a holy God, be holy as He is holy
Brother Anthony, you mean I have to do it {confession} again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and …? You don’t like that, then, refrain from sinning. You don’t like it, but Scripture said the Holy Spirit is grieved (by your sinning). If you say you love God, stop grieving His Spirit. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TRYING. We should not dissuade people from trying to be better, rather we should persuade it, and exhort it. Satan will tell you to forget about trying, that it is too difficult; do not fall for it! We are all on a journey, we do fall, but we are to get up, and when we fall again, we get up again, and whether we are up or down, we are to help others along, not discourage them, on the Highway of Holiness. Those who are interested to know where Scripture talked about this Highway, and my exposition thereof, read my separate article, “Way of Holiness”.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – Lord, I will try, and try, and try, because it is my love for you.

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @: ... {click on it to reveal complete address}
Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.