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When Did the Gift of Tongues Cease?

by Pastor Dennis Kiszonas

No one was more “charismatic” than the Apostle Paul. He wrote to the Corinthian church that “they came behind no other church” when it came to the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 1:7)—no church had more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit than the Corinthian church, yet Paul says that he spoke in tongues more than all of them (1 Cor. 14:18)!

No one was more charismatic than Paul, yet the Lord revealed to him that those sign gifts were going to cease:

“whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away” (1 Cor. 13:8). 1

Here Paul writes of the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy and the gift of knowledge (see 1 Cor. 13:1-2) and states that the Lord Jesus had revealed to him (1 Cor. 11:23; 15:3; Gal. 1:11,12) that a time was coming when these sign gifts were going to cease to operate.

The question has always been: when? When would these gifts cease?

This study focuses on that question—when did the sign gifts cease?

Arranging Paul’s letters in the order that he wrote them

We begin by setting up a time line of Paul’s ministry. Paul was saved in Acts 9 when the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Paul would go on to write 13 letters in the New Testament—from the Letter to the Romans to the Letter to Philemon. When we remember that Paul is the subject of at least half of the Book of Acts, we realize that half of the 27 books in the New Testament are either about him (The Book of Acts) or were written by him (13 letters).

Paul’s letters are arranged in our Bible by two principles: The letters to the churches are put first—nine letters from Romans to 2 Thessalonians, then the four letters written to individuals—from 1 Timothy to Philemon.

The letters are also arranged by length—Romans is longest and is first, then the Corinthian letters, then Galatians, etc. Longer letters are first, shorter ones later.

But to understand when the sign gifts ceased, we need to read Paul’s letters in the order that he wrote them. When we arrange the letters in the order that they were written, all becomes clear!

Paul’s Letters in the order that he wrote them:

The first 6 of Paul’s letters can be fit into the Book of Acts—we can read Acts and then read Paul’s letters and we can see where Paul was when he wrote these letters.

THE LETTER TO THE GALATIANS IS FIRST

In Acts 13,14 Paul and Barnabas went on their first apostolic journey which took them into Galatia—cities like Antioch, Lystra, Derbe, etc. Soon after Paul returned from this journey he wrote the letter to the Galatians (see Galatians 1:6 where Paul writes to the Galatians and says, you are “so quickly turned.”). Galatians was written soon after Paul returned from that first journey—soon after Acts 14:27. That makes Galatians the earliest of Paul’s letters.

1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS

The next letters Paul wrote are the two letters to the Thessalonians. In Acts 17, Paul, on his second apostolic journey, came to Thessalonica and preached there. Many were saved, but Paul was driven out of town. Paul continued on to Corinth where he wrote the two letters to the Thessalonians. Timothy’s return from Macedonia mentioned in Acts 18:5 is also reported in 1 Thessalonians 3:6. And in 2 Thessalonians 2:5 Paul reminds the Thessalonians of his teaching, as if it had not been very long since he had been with them. So the writing of 1 and 2 Thessalonians can be placed into Acts 18 during Paul’s ministry in Corinth, and that makes them the second and third letters that Paul wrote.

1 AND 2 CORINTHIANS

The next two letters that Paul wrote are the two letters to the Corinthians. In Acts 18 Paul spent a year and a half ministering in Corinth—see Acts 18:11. He later returned to his home base at Antioch (Acts 18:22), and later in his third apostolic journey he arrived in Ephesus (his ministry in Ephesus extends all the way through Acts 19—a period of more than two years, see verse 10). It is here in Ephesus during Acts 19 that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians—see I Corinthians 16:19. Shortly after that Paul traveled to Macedonia (see Acts 20:1 and 2 Cor. 2:13) and that is where he wrote the second letter to the Corinthians.

ROMANS

In Acts 20:2,3 Paul arrived in “Greece,” i.e. in Corinth again, and spent three months there enjoying the hospitality of a believer named Gaius (mentioned in 1 Cor. 1:14). In Gaius’s home, in Corinth, Paul wrote the letter to the Romans (see Rom. 16:23).

This is the last letter written during the Book of Acts. In Acts 21:33 Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, and would spend the next 5 years in prison, right through the end of the Book of Acts.

So, to sum up what we have seen so far, from Acts 9 through Acts 28 we read of the earlier ministry of the Apostle Paul and find that during these years he wrote 6 of his 13 letters. The order of these first six books is:

Galatians—end of Acts 14
1 Thessalonians—Acts 18
2 Thessalonians—Acts 18
1 Corinthians—Acts 19
2 Corinthians—Acts 20
Romans—Acts 20
In Acts 21 Paul was arrested and remained a prisoner through to Acts 28, and beyond.

THE PRISON EPISTLES—EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, AND PHILIPPIANS

Shortly after the end of the Book of Acts, while he was still a prisoner, now in Rome, Paul wrote four letters—the “prison epistles”: Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians. In each of these letters he writes of his “chains”—see Ephesians 6:20, Colossians 4:18, Philemon 13 and Philippians 1:13.

THE PASTORAL EPISTLES—THE LETTERS TO TITUS, FIRST AND SECOND TIMOTHY

Paul was released from this imprisonment and continued his ministry for a few years, perhaps 3 years. During this time he wrote the three letters known as the “Pastoral Epistles,” because these letters were written to Paul’s co-workers—Pastor Timothy and Titus. Finally at the end of his life he is again in prison. This time he anticipates being beheaded for the Lord and writes the last letter, Second Timothy.

Summary:

We have surveyed the 13 letters written by the Apostle Paul, arranging them in the order in which Paul wrote them:

During the Book of Acts—6 letters:

1. Galatians

2. & 3. The Thessalonian letters

4. & 5. The Corinthian letters

6. Romans

Then after the Book of Acts ends—7 more letters:

The 4 Prison Epistles:

7. Ephesians

8. Colossians

9. Philemon

10. Philippians

Then the 3 Pastoral Epistles:

11. Titus

12. 1 Timothy

13. 2 Timothy

Now let’s read the letters in the order Paul wrote them

Finish Article HERE

Constance Cumbey wrote a book that greatly helped me understand the New Age Movement “The Hidden Dangers Of The Rainbow.”

There is a reason why researching New-Age thought is important to the Christian.  It is the plan of the evil one to infiltrate the Church with a “Cosmic Christ” and to prepare the world for the one-world leader.

I was delighted to learn on Facebook that two books of Constance’s can be downloaded for free. They are out of publication so this is a blessing.

Here are the links.

https://archive.org/details/HiddenDangersOfTheRainbow

https://archive.org/stream/APlannedDeception-StagingOfANewAgeMessiahleMessie/APlannedDeception#page/n18/mode/1up

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Progressive Disease of Spiritual Deception in Our Time

 

GREGORY REID·FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017

 

There was a time when ideas like yoga or eastern meditation in the church were only associated with Christ Science churches, Universalist Churches, and a few spurious non-biblical fringe places. In a few scant decades, the walls have been so completely torn down that we not only see no harm in these things, we promote them. This is exactly what Theosophist (Luciferian) leader Alice Bailey predicted would be part of the new age infiltration into the church: ““The three main channels through which the preparation for the new age is going on might be regarded as the Church (emphasis mine) the Masonic Fraternity and the educational field.” (The Externalization of the Hierarchy, Page 511.)

 

So, in fact, this has been underway for some time. It probably began to get a real foothold in our present time with Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” theology, quickly adapted by Rev. Robert Schuller who was really the first modern “megachurch” and “Seeker Friendly” church pastor. Their ideas were once considered a bit of an aberration from mainstream Christian doctrine. But here we are decades later, and seeker friendly and power of positive thinking is normal and unchallenged. The crack into Bible-based evangelical churches had begun to open just a little…

 

Fast forward: In the last three decades we have opened our doors to things like the laughter movement, barking like dogs and oinking like pigs and calling it the “anoinking of the Spirit,” and worse. A number of leaders challenged these things, but its promoters did not repent of it.

A few years later, spiritual formation, “be still” meditation, breathing techniques, “Christian” yoga, “the sacred feminine,” labyrinths, circle making – all an extension of exotic religions, eastern mysticism, and Buddhist/Hindu tools to reach “the divine within” – all began to creep into church media, books, music and movies. Even Father Thomas Merton came to be revered by many evangelicals – a man who said at the end of his life that he wished to ““to become as good a Buddhist as I can,” as well as Henri Nouwen, who influenced millions of evangelicals but at the end of his life denied that Jesus was the only way to the Father.

 

The door opened a little wider…where were the watchmen? Where were the Shepherds? One at a time, I began to see even pastors welcome these things. And as these things crept in, the Word of God began to become an addendum to our lives, a devotional nicety but not central in our walk with Jesus, and no longer our final determination of truth.

 

Slowly, the poison seeped into our ranks…one book, one DVD, one movie at a time. Everyone ignored the subtle twisting of the Word of God in Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis,” hailing it as “groundbreaking.” And indeed, it was, but not in a good way. His next book, “The Sex God” raised a few eyebrows, but youth pastors everywhere still adored him and emulated him and bought glasses and cool clothes just to look just like him in an attempt to “relate to youth.” Millennial youth pastors began diluting the Word of God and preparing little mini-messages to justify their increasingly party-like youth group atmosphere which was strong on entertainment and weak on the Word of God.

 

 

Then Rob Bell wrote “Love Wins,” denying hell and proclaiming universalism – the idea that everyone gets saved. And now, he is speaking at conferences alongside New Age guru Deepak Chopra at conferences titled things like, “The Seduction of Spirit.” [1]

 

When he was exposed as being truly a non-evangelical false teacher, I heard nothing but crickets from all those who formerly sang his praises. But by then, everyone was off chasing the next big thing anyway, the next bestseller, the next circle-making, ear-tickling, scripture-diluting thing. We had begun forming a pattern of going after the latest “it,” or hot speaker, or bestselling book, and then when it turned out the thing or person was fraudulent, in error or full of deception, almost no one took responsibility for originally supporting or promoting them – least of all the Christian media and those who peddled their products – even when these false teachers were fully exposed. Very few took responsibility for an evangelist’s crazy, ungodly antics in Florida that hundreds of thousands of believers flocked to see, while behind the scenes he was conducting an affair that shredded his wife and kids. (For the record, I deeply believe in restoring fallen servants of the Lord.) They gave him a short time-out (“restoration process”) and bam! He was back on the circuit – new wife, new life. And few took responsibility for calling him – no, for laying hands on and anointing him – as the “world apostle” in front of an international audience.[2]

 

Very few called a well-known “prophet” to account for his 1998 prophecy that Obama would be a mighty man of God – a Christian – who would set everything right. They just said, “Oh well, nobody’s perfect” and kept supporting and following his ministry anyway.

Rarely do people say, “we were wrong.” Rarely do leaders say, “We were in error.” And because of that, unrepentant error in discernment has led to greater and greater error, because deception is a PROGRESSIVE DISEASE.

 

The more error we receive, the more the ability to discern goes numb and then dies in us. It applies to us as individuals. It applies to churches.

 

Nobody was alarmed that Roma Downey was still attending a new age college at the same time she was working on their television series “The Bible” or that she never renounced her new age beliefs, despite the fact that these concerns were brought to some of the highest levels of leadership in the church and corporate Christian world possible. They gave her a pass on those issues because, as I was told, the benefits of how it would reach people outweighed the theological problems. And nothing kept several bits of clear gnostic teaching from being inserted into their movies, including giving a prominent role to Mary Magdalene, whom new agers consider the “thirteenth apostle.” And to be honest, by the time these concerns were raised, even certain denominations had invested far too much money in promoting the movies to retract, recall product and repent at that point. In the end, I believe financial concerns were more important than truth.

 

By the time The Shack came around, we had already been prepped through years of “felt need” theology, experiential-based faith and cherry-picking scriptures we liked while ignoring the ones we didn’t.

 

 

As the internet grew, I began to understand the power of the appeal to our emotions. More than once, I had seen almost an entire five to ten-minute video on some issue and found myself in tears before I found out at the end that not only was it not a Christian video and did not have a Christian message, but it was produced by people and represented a view that was unbiblical, new age and worse. I got emotionally hooked before I learned the truth. Those without a biblical foundation of truth just get hooked.

 

People loved The Shack because it replaced the God of the Bible (which deep down they possibly didn’t feel comfortable with, because His ways are beyond our understanding and bad things happen, and it upsets our sunshine version of Christianity) and gave them a God who made them feel good, who took the God of the Bible and said, “That’s not really God, this is what God is like…” and gave them a diluted, false version of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and a dose of Sophia, Greek goddess of wisdom.

 

I was sure that anyone with even a modicum of discernment would throw the book in the trash. I had underestimated how wide the door of deception had opened. I lost friends who were pastors who were furious at me for questioning the book. One pastor railed at me, “I haven’t had a relationship with God for years, but now I have my ‘Papa’ back! You can’t take that from me!”

Nothing jarred me more than seeing grown men of God just abandoning clear truth because something tugged their heart, justifying the scriptural butchering by saying, “It’s just fiction, it’s not the Bible!” I confronted someone on this the other night. “What about the satanic Necronomicon. Can I read it? It’s just fiction. Can I read pornography? It’s just fiction.” They thought that a bit extreme. Of course it was. My point was, where what was their criteria, where was their own event horizon they were not willing to cross because it was just too obviously wrong? How much scripture bending or ignoring would they accept and justify as ok because it was “just fiction” before they had enough and said no more? The demonic genius of The Shack is how cleverly it has clothed itself in a loose and nebulous garment of scriptures – just enough to justify the complete butchering of the true nature of God and morphing Him into a Trinitarian hybrid god that represents whatever will make you feel better about your horrible tragedies and “great sadness.” The fact is, though, God will not appear as whatever we want. One person said, “God appeared as a fiery bush, but I know he’s not a bush!” But He appeared in the bush. He wasn’t a bush. God will not appear as Shiva, Buddha, or Sarayu, because He is “I AM WHAT I AM.”

 

We can say God is like a rock, but we cannot say God is like Baal. It’s not about imagery, it is about the nature and character of God. And The Shack gives a false representation of both of those.

 

Look, I get it. I’ve suffered innumerable losses my entire life, and every one of us at some point cries out, “WHY, GOD?” And in those moments, people either reject Him as uncaring, or He brings us into His Kingdom, and we learn to trust Him in the midst of, sometimes in spite of tragedies that seem to have no reason. And we may find ourselves once again crying out in pain, “WHY, GOD?” And His response is, “You don’t need to know all the answers. Trust Me, trust My Word. Trust in My love.” It’s called FAITH. But The Shack is a shortcut to feeling better, a panacea, a spiritual drug that allows you to embrace a conception of God that may temporarily take away the pain but leaves you with an open door to deception because it is not the God of the Word. IT IS NOT THE REAL JESUS.

 

Is The Shack the God portrayed in scripture? Is God a woman? Is Jesus a clumsy Jewish kid with a hook nose? Is the Holy Spirit a Japanese girl named after a Hindu river? Is the judge of our lives Sophia? Is everyone saved? Is Jesus just the best way to the Father, as the book suggests, or is He what the Bible says – the only way?

 

“But they’re just parables! Stories! It’s not the Bible!” some argue. So is it acceptable to distort the truth in the guise of fiction just to make a point? How is that ever acceptable? Someone said, “CS Lewis did The Chronicles of Narnia, they were spiritual allegories! It wasn’t scripture!” True, that; but unlike The Shack, when Lewis did touch on the nature of God or Jesus, he kept it fairly consistently in line with scripture and the biblical character and nature of God. The Shack has a radically different version of God: One who does not judge, one who can change, one who suggests Jesus is simply a better way to God, not the only way. But feeling trumped truth, and the book has become a multimillion bestseller. To simplify the responses I have heard, “Don’t confuse me with biblical facts. It made me feel good!”

 

It did not bother leaders and publishers that Young’s second book, Eve – a “reimagining” of the Adam and Eve story – was laced with kabbalistic themes and occultic, gnostic fairy tales. “It’s just a story.” The door opened wider….

 

You see, Satan keeps pushing the goalpost deeper and deeper into the center of the church, and every time he sees no resistance, he is emboldened and takes it to “the next level.”

Now, the movie is out. The arguments as to why it’s such an amazing life-changing story despite the clear unscriptural aspects that were brought up when the book came out are the same. The difference seems to be that those who support it are much angrier at those of us who pose the crucial questions. “You’re so judgmental! Who do you think you are? You must be looking for a book deal or something. You’ll never lead anyone to Christ, and I doubt if you ever did before.” I’ve had it all thrown at me the last few weeks as I tried to reason it out with folks on Facebook. And I realize that the level of deception had gone so deep that not only were people willing to embrace a lie and ignore the error, but worse – they saw themselves as fully biblical believers who were completely loyal to the Word of God, while at the same time promoting a story by a man who claims that everyone is “in Christ” already. And you cannot reason with that level of delusion. It seems to bother devoted Shack followers not at all that the author is a universalist.

Universalism, the “all paths lead to God” religion, is exactly what is needed to turn the Christian church into part of the one-world antichrist mystery religion that Alice Bailey wrote about and all Luciferian world leaders are counting on.

 

We did not accept Rob Bell’s universalism. But now we are willing to ignore William Paul Young’s. That is the malignancy of deception unchecked.

 

This movie comes at a time when the next level of eastern meditation techniques under the guise of “mindfulness” are being pushed into the educational system,[3] and now are coming into the church. (Mindfulness is a Buddhist technique of detachment, leading to realizing the “divine within,” which eventually leads to Nirvana – nonexistence. There are several new “Christian” books promoting meditation and mindfulness practices with devotional books and coloring books, and a new book on spiritual formation and meditation called The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age by Tricia McCary Rhodes which “reintroduces us to the classic disciplines of Scripture reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.” In other words, it’s just more repackaged eastern religious teaching and techniques for the church which will further it on the road to the new age goal of “east meets west,” where we all become one under a false one world religion and we all recognize the “Christ spirit” or godhood in each other (Namaste – the divine in me bows to the divine in you.)

 

Add to that, a new book is being used in Christian youth groups called, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God by Ken Shigematsu, who “draws on both eastern and western perspectives in writing and speaking.” Those are buzzwords for introducing a mixing of eastern religion thought processes with Christianity and bringing it into the church.

 

All of this is producing Christian minds that are malleable, soft, undiscerning, half-drugged, feeling good, and completely open to the power of suggestion from…whoever, and whatever. That is what eastern meditation techniques do. You empty your mind and accept that whatever comes must be good and right and from God.

 

The church has become an entity seeking to have their ears tickled. Seeking to feel better about their painful lives. Seeking to be successful, happy and prosperous. What is it you seek? Step right up folks…we’ve got it all now.

 

Everything except the whole truth of the Word of God, the way of the cross, the power of the blood to save and heal and forgive, the altar of God where we come to be broken and changed, healed and set free. Everything which made the Gospel powerful has and is being systematically removed by the enemy of our souls – not because it is not powerful, but because we no longer wish to bow to its demands, its holiness or its truth.

 

We are seeing the fruit of nearly thirty years of dumbing-down and de-prioritizing the Word of God, giving it a mini-place in our lives while shiny things and baubles and the newest “move” catch our attention and send us off on a fruitless quest for the next experience. The seed of the Word of God has corporately fallen on stony ground, without depth, where it grows up quick, shrivels and dies.

 

I know I am very passionate about this, reluctant to even use the word passionate, so overused it is. I have a right to be. I grew up in the occult, a world of delusions, lies, and darkness. Even when I tried to turn to new age thought to dispel the darkness, turning to Hinduism, Buddhism, and becoming an avid follower of Paramahansa Yogananda in my little bedroom devouring his every word as “truth,” I ended up deceived, wrecked and in utter darkness, even though some of it temporarily numbed my pain and made me “feel good.”

 

I understand many of these Christians who are so emotionally bound to The Shack that they have thrown caution to the wind and ignored the dangerous reality that it in fact promotes unbiblical lies and is being promoted by someone who has rejected Biblical truth about hell and salvation. I was one of those Christians after I was saved. I was totally brainwashed. I was a universalist. Then came this “mean man,” this “judgmental Christian” Bible study leader named Dave Malkin, who dared to get out the Word of God and without holding back challenged me about my beliefs. This “judgmental, mean man” saved my spiritual life. (I thank God for Dave, may his memory be blessed!) I needed a hard word to break through the lies.

 

In all my dealings with everything from Rob Bell to The Shack, I understand that simple logic and reason isn’t working with people who are emotionally invested in the teachers or the stories. People need a wake-up call, and that may not feel good or seem loving. But I cannot apologize for my approach because I see that in the end, The Shack is not just a book or a movie but a game-changer that is extinguishing some of the last lights of discernment out of the hearts of thousands of believers. I know how they feel. I have been there. And I thank God that someone cared enough to hurt me with the truth. When a house is burning down and people are asleep inside, one cannot afford to meekly whisper, hoping the people hear. You have to shout at the top of your lungs, “Get out, quickly!” In dealing with these new delusions, it may be necessary to jar people awake.

 

Jesus said in Matthew 24 that all of this would happen. Paul said, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. (1 Tim. 4:1) The great falling away is at hand. But a remnant will remain faithful. I can only pray humbly not to be one who falls for the lies in a moment of vulnerability, or weakness, or pain or giving up, for we are all vulnerable. That is where I understand the motto of the French foreign legion that a friend shared with me. “If I falter, straighten me out. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.” Blunt, but as a spiritual warrior it resonates in my heart. None of us are exempt from having to diligently guard against the lies of this age, outside and inside the church.

 

I believe all these progressive deceptions over the last few decades have been just the build-up to the next great delusion, which could be the final one. God help us to turn away from the slow poisoning of the church through breath-prayers, eastern meditation, mindfulness, yoga, etc. God help us to surrender our soulish ways of perceiving God based on a book that was written by a wounded man, William Paul Young – unhealed from abuse and bitter church hurts – whom those seeking to make a profit have promoted regardless of his spiritual fragility and woundedness – who rejected the God of the Bible for a god who would somehow ease his pain – one that eases your pain as it kills your soul. The Shack is the spiritual Jack Kavorkian of our age.

 

Pray for William Paul Young, that God would pull him out of this most dangerous and deadly strange fire. Pray for the multitudes who are believing lies. And may God deal with those mercenaries and moneychangers who care more about what sells and profits them then about the care and protection of the flock of God.

 

Alice Bailey’s plans are about to come to full fruition. The greatest lie is just around the corner.

Stay strong, saints. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28) He is coming soon!

 

Gregory R Reid

 

[1] http://www.carlsbadlifestylepubs.com/…

 

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkr…

 

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/newapostolic.html#bjohnson

It seems that many of us know someone who has been negatively influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation.

There are those who are currently picking up roots and leaving for Redding, California to attend Bethel Church. May some of these articles serve as red flags. I am praying.

There are those who are currently attending and have fallen in love with teachings that may seem to glorify God but instead glorify man. Bill Johnson teaches that Jesus laid aside his divinity and did his miracles merely as a man. This paves the way for men and women to perform such false signs and wonders. There are many accounts and videos of deceived young people elevating themselves instead of teaching about Jesus Christ and His purpose of providing a way we can be forgiven of our sin. May some of these articles serve as red flags. I am praying.

There are those whose eyes have been opened, yet experience controlling manifestations in their body. They seek help and find none in faulty deliverance methods. May I encourage those who suffer in this way that returning to the  true Lord Jesus Christ in repentance of  following a false Christ and false teachers will start you on a path back to spiritual truth. Read these articles and share them with others. I am praying.

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/newapostolic.html#bjohnson

 

by Jeremiah Johnson

source 

By now it is unlikely that you have not heard of Jesus Calling. That book—a daily devotional by Sarah Young—has sold more than 15 million copies, along with several sequels, children’s storybooks, and mobile apps. Today the Christian world is thoroughly saturated with Young’s writing, as her little devotional has exploded into a phenomenal success.

However, I wouldn’t call it unprecedented success. Christian publishers excel at creating these types of fads. Like its predecessors The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose-Driven Life, Jesus Calling has managed to find the sweet spot of mass appeal: man-centeredness.

In the case of Jesus Calling, the devotional entries are presented as the actual words of Christ, with Him speaking words of encouragement and hope directly to the reader. Here’s how Young explains it in her introduction:

I have written from the perspective of Jesus speaking, to help readers feel more personally connected with Him. So the first person singular (“I,” “Me,” “My,” “Mine”) always refers to Christ; “you” refers to you, the reader. [1]

Young pushes back against the notion that her book is inspired. But that distinction seems to be nothing more than a semantic façade. Here’s how she describes her writing process:

The following year, I began to wonder if I could change my prayer times from monologue to dialogue. I had been writing in prayer journals for many years, but this was one-way communication: I did all the talking. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God might want to communicate to me on a given day. I decided to “listen” with pen in hand, writing down whatever I “heard” in my mind. [2]

Only Young understands the balance she’s attempting to strike between divine revelation and her own imagination. In that sense, her books have a lot in common with modern prophecy—we’re told to believe they are the words of God without assigning them the authority of the Word of God.

And whether it’s a daily reading from Jesus Calling, an outburst of tongues, or a personal revelation from the Lord, there is a consistent and troubling theme gaining influence in the church today: The Bible is not enough.

In an earlier, unrevised version of Jesus Calling, Young made that point abundantly clear.

I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. Increasingly, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day (emphasis added). [3]

This desire to hear personally from the Lord is nothing new to the church, but it may be enjoying unprecedented acceptance among God’s people. Lately I hear phrases like “the Lord told me,” “God revealed to me,” and “I heard God say” from a wide variety of Christian ministries—it’s no longer the exclusive territory of the charismatic church.

The truth is God has already said everything He intended to say to us—His Word makes that clear. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible we have is neither incomplete nor inadequate—we already have all the revelation we need from God. As our good friend Justin Peters says, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear Him speak audibly, read it out loud.”

I’ll admit, I don’t fully understand this desire to receive personal messages from the Lord. I’m enough of a Bible student to know that if I did truly hear God’s audible voice, it would likely knock me off my feet, or worse (cf. Matthew 17:5-6; John 18:6).

Instead of chasing special revelation from the Lord, we need to recommit ourselves to the sufficiency and authority of what He has already said. Moreover, we need to consider the special care the Lord took in recording and preserving His Word. As the apostle Peter wrote, “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Regarding that passage, John MacArthur writes,

By contrast, true prophecy does not come to mind through psychic intuition or New Age mysticism, and it is not discerned by guesswork. . . . Those who equate their own personal impressions, imaginations, and intuition with divine revelation err greatly. [4]

The great danger of books like Jesus Calling is that they drive a wedge between God’s people and His Word, encouraging them to look beyond the scope of Scripture for additional words from the Lord. In simple terms, they devalue the Bible and elevate emotional experiences and imaginary voices to the level of divine authority. And when anything you hear or feel could be the Lord speaking, you leave yourself open to all sorts of heresy and satanic lies.

God’s people need to be warry of anyone who assumes to speak for Him. We need to defend the authority of His Word against all pretenders. And we need to help shepherd other believers away from the popular desire for special revelation and back to the all-sufficient Word of God.

New American Standard Bible
“But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;”
Matthew 10:17
Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary


10:16-42

Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent’s wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God’s opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God’s love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ’s work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God’s people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ’s disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.

Whiplash is an awful and painful condition. After being rear-ended by a pick-up towing a boat….our car was demolished. Our insurance allowed chiropractic treatment and also therapeutic massage.

The massages were fine till one day the therapist said she was going to try something new on me. I was face down so I imagine she started to place her hands on my neck….Suddenly she yelped and jerked back. She said, “I just got shocked. I won’t try that again.”

I had no idea of the implication at the time. Later I realized she had been trained in Reiki and the certificate on her wall then made sense. I did not know at the time  what Reiki was and what a Reiki master was trained in.

Looking back I realized that the Lord was sending her a message “Hands Off” and was protecting me. To this day I wonder if He would have still sent her an electrical shock if I had not been witnessing to her. My testimony I believe set me apart. Please read the following article from Way of Life.

Reiki

April 12, 2016 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,

fbns@wayoflife.org)

New Age Health Care

The following is excerpted from New Age Health Care, available in print and free eBook editions from Way of Life Literature:
__________

A study on alternative medicine in the January 2008 report in U.S. News & World Report focused on the rapid growth of Reiki (pronounced ray-key). The report says the number of Reiki practitioners worldwide is in the millions, with half a million in the United States and over a million in Germany.

According to the American Hospital Association, 15% of hospitals were using Reiki in 2007.

A report in The Washington Post for May 16, 2014, was entitled “Reiki Goes Mainstream.”

The practice has been praised by Oprah and Dr. Oz.

Reiki is an occultic practice that allegedly channels “universal healing energy” for human benefit such as relaxation and physical healing. The word “reiki” is Japanese for “spiritually guided life force energy.”

It was developed in Japan in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui. During a 21 day program of fasting, meditation, chanting, and other pagan contemplative practices he allegedly experienced “the great Reiki energy entering” into him and found that he could use the energy to heal others. It came in the form of a light that moved toward him and entered the middle of his forehead (Mohan Makkar, The New Reiki Magic, p. 5). Usui allegedly began to heal with his touch and to initiate others into the “energy.” Reiki was established in Hawaii in the 1930s and from there spread to North America. The American International Reiki Association was formed in 1982.

The International Center for Reiki Training says:

“Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. … Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect.”

That sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it?

Reiki has three levels or degrees of initiation, the third level being the master level. The degrees are called “attunements” whereby the student is brought into harmony with the reiki energy and taught how to channel it. The initiations are thought to create channels for the flow of Reiki. Paula Horan says, “Through this channel Reiki then flows in through the top of the student’s head, down through the body and out through the hands” (Abundance through Reiki, p. 18).

Reiki masters initiate people into the various levels.

Reiki is transferred or initiated by the laying on of hands. The Reiki manual is subtitled “The healing touch.” The Reiki practitioner places his hands on the same spot of the body for three minutes at a time, and the energy is supposed to be mystically drawn out by the recipient. Horan says, “… if I lay my hands on you to do a treatment, your body will naturally draw the appropriate amounts of energy it needs, and to the proper places” (p. 20).

Reiki is largely Hindu in its philosophy. It is described as “an energy incomprehensible to the intellect which flows through everything, transforming all realms of life … Reiki is oneness” (Horan, Abundance Through Reiki, p. 10).

Reiki is founded on the Hindu concept that God is everything and man is part of God. One Reiki Master says that “Reiki will eventually guide you to the experience that you yourself are Reiki or Universal Life Force Energy. … you and I are that same Universal Life Force Energy” (Abundance Through Reiki, pp. 9, 23).

Reiki is thought to open the chakras of the “astral body,” which is a Hindu doctrine.

Paula Horan said that her Reiki teacher gave her a new name, Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. He said to her, “I am giving you the name Laxmi, because in this lifetime, you will fulfill all of your desires” (p. 152).

The recipients of Reiki describe it as a powerful sense of warmth and security, “a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you.” It is not only supposed to provide healing but also to initiate the recipient into higher levels of spiritual transformation. The International Reiki Center says that “many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.” This is the mystical approach that bypasses thinking with an experiential connection with God or the “higher power.”

Reiki involves not only “life energy” but also spirit guides. The International Reiki Center web site says:

“Occasionally witnessing miracles. Feeling the wonder of God s love pass through you and into another. SENSING THE PRESENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS, feeling their touch, knowing they work with you. Being raised into ever greater levels of joy and peace by simply placing your hands on another. Watching your life grow and develop as your continual immersion in Reiki transforms your attitudes, values and beliefs. Sensing that because of your commitment to help others, BEINGS OF LIGHT ARE FOCUSING THEIR LOVE AND HEALING ON YOU AND CAREFULLY GUIDING YOU ON YOUR SPIRITUAL PATH. This is the promise of a developing Reiki practice. … THERE ARE HIGHER SOURCES OF HELP YOU CAN CALL ON. ANGELS, BEINGS OF LIGHT AND REIKI SPIRIT GUIDES as well as your own enlightened self are available to help you. … There must be congruence, an alignment within you in order for the Higher Power in the form of Reiki to flow through you in a powerful way and in order for THE ANGELS, REIKI SPIRIT GUIDES AND OTHER SPIRITUAL BEINGS TO WORK WITH YOU.”

The Reiki practitioner is taught to get in tune with these spirit guides, to pray to them, and to yield to their control.

“Try the following prayer: ‘Guide me and heal me so that I can be of greater service to others.’ By sincerely saying a prayer such as this each day, your heart will open and a path will be created to receive the help of higher spiritual beings. They will guide you in your Reiki practice and in the development of your life purpose.”

Reiki is even said to open up “psychic communication centers”:

“During the Reiki attunement process, the avenue that is opened within the body to allow Reiki to flow through also opens up the psychic communication centers. This is why MANY REIKI PRACTITIONERS REPORT HAVING VERBALIZED CHANNELED COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SPIRIT WORLD” (Phylameana Desy, The Everything Reiki Book, 2004, p. 144).

The Reiki Journal suggests that message therapy is an excellent tool for spreading Reiki.

Lighthouse Trails observes:

“If US News & World Report is correct in their assessment that Reiki, Yoga, and other types of healing practices are now mainstream, then Reiki is here to stay. One can only wonder if Reiki is going to become as popular in Christian circles as Yoga now has. If it does, then as with contemplative spirituality, the spiritual lives of countless people will be jeopardized and the Gospel of Jesus Christ seriously compromised.”

Following is another warning about Reiki:

“My mom is into the New Age movement and has had Reiki done on her for years; recently she started practicing Reiki. She does it on friends and family members (I am the only Christian in the family). I live with back pain, and she has wanted to do it on me. I have always said no, but after researching Reiki I finally decided to tell her that my beliefs conflict with Reiki and that the ‘energy’ is actually demonic (that was a difficult conversation). … she regularly meditates and talks to ‘her angel,’ whom she credits with anything good happening. She is getting deeper into this. My mother says she prays to ‘Jesus’ before doing Reiki.  … She does not believe in the Bible or most of it anyway, nor Jesus’ deity, but rather He came to point the way to God.  … Obviously this is a false Jesus. … one of her angels is ‘like a best friend’ and has a name)” (“My Mother Is Doing Reiki,” Lighthouse Trails, Feb. 9, 2016).

 

The Dead End of Sexual Sin


Unbelievers don’t “struggle” with same-sex attraction. I didn’t. My love for women came with nary a struggle at all.

I had not always been a lesbian, but in my late twenties, I met my first lesbian-lover. I was hooked and believed that I had found my real self. Sex with women was part of my life and identity, but it was not the only part — and not always the biggest part.

I simply preferred everything about women: their company, their conversation, their companionship, and the contours of their/our body. I favored the nesting, the setting up of house and home, and the building of lesbian community.

As an unbelieving professor of English, an advocate of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and an opponent of all totalizing meta-narratives (like Christianity, I would have added back in the day), I found peace and purpose in my life as a lesbian and the queer community I helped to create.

Conversion and Confusion

It was only after I met my risen Lord that I ever felt shame in my sin, with my sexual attractions, and with my sexual history.

Conversion brought with it a train wreck of contradictory feelings, ranging from liberty to shame. Conversion also left me confused. While it was clear that God forbade sex outside of biblical marriage, it was not clear to me what I should do with the complex matrix of desires and attractions, sensibilities and senses of self that churned within and still defined me.

What is the sin of sexual transgression? The sex? The identity? How deep was repentance to go?

Meeting John Owen

In these newfound struggles, a friend recommended that I read an old, seventeenth-century theologian named John Owen, in a trio of his books (now brought together under the title Overcoming Sin and Temptation).

At first, I was offended to realize that what I called “who I am,” John Owen called “indwelling sin.” But I hung in there with him. Owen taught me that sin in the life of a believer manifests itself in three ways: distortion by original sin, distraction of actual day-to-day sin, and discouragement by the daily residence of indwelling sin.

Eventually, the concept of indwelling sin provided a window to see how God intended to replace my shame with hope. Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

As believers, we lament with the apostle Paul, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:19–20). But after we lament, what should we do? How should we think about sin that has become a daily part of our identity?

Owen explained with four responses.

Finish HERE

Except Ye Repent
By Dr. Harry Ironside

Pastor Harry A. Ironside

Chapter 17 – BUT IS REPENTANCE DESIRABLE?

And now I come to discuss, in this closing chapter, what many will feel should have been the first question raised and settled: Is repentance after all desirable?

According to much of the humanistic thought of the day there is no occasion whatever to call upon mankind in general to repent. In fact, we are told, he who does so shows that he fails to appreciate man’s innate dignity and praiseworthiness. The evolutionist points with pride to the abysmal depths of bestial ancestry from which man has struggled upward to his present exalted position. What some call sin is but the slowly conquered animal traits which, it may be hoped, will be outlived in future centuries. It is not for this magnificent thinking creature to repent of anything, certainly not of his upward progress. If he condemns himself as a “miserable sinner” he fails to appreciate his glorious heritage. He is the child of all the ages; he has come the long, long way from a tiny speck of protoplasm to the dignity of a cultured twentieth century genius. Shall he repent that he is not what he once was? Does he not know that every fall has been a fall upward? Was it not by unceasing struggle with superstition, ignorance, and unwholesome environment that he has reached his present high estate? To command him to repent and to do works meet for repentance is to insult him to his face.

And then there are those who have given their adherence to various highly lauded religious cults of widespread acceptance, all of which are based upon the proposition that man is but a manifestation of God and that what the Bible calls sin is merely an “error of mortal mind.” The realization of man’s own Deity in order that he may ever be “in tune with the Infinite,” and so declare confidently, as Jesus did, that “I and my Father are one” will, we are told, enable us all to demonstrate the essential unity of the human spirit with the divine. But if this be so, there is no place for repentance. Repent of what — that I am one with God? Surely not. So these teachers, however much they may quarrel among themselves as to terms, all insist that the path of life and the way of peace are to ignore all that seems to be evil and to be occupied alone with the good and the true. “Condemn not thyself,” is a favorite saying. And the devotees of all these systems consciously or unconsciously seek to build themselves up in spirituality and to rise to higher moral and ethical planes by means of constant repetition of the Coué formula,

“Every day, in every way,
I am getting better and better.”

Of course, this kind of argument is only another form of the old and very familiar philosophy of the bootstrap. We do not have bootstraps on our shoes, but many act as if their minds had something of the kind and they were diligently trying to lift themselves to higher heights by pulling on them.

Often we are told that it is degrading and belittling to cry “Repent!” We should rather shout, Advance! and forgetting the past reach forth to the better things the future has in store. Did not St. Paul tell us this in his Philippian letter? The answer is, he did not. He himself tells us in that very Epistle how he once gloried in his fleshly religion until the vision of the risen Christ brought him to repentance, so that what things were gain to him he now counted but as offal and as dross in order that He who had manifested Himself to him might henceforth be magnified in him whether by life or death. Now he could forget the things behind and reach forth in holy expectation to the things beyond, “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

For nearly a century the world has been drinking at the fount of these strange philosophies, and one might have thought that by now, if they were true at all, we would see a great improvement in the human race. But lust, cruelty, corruption, and violence were never more prominent than in these strangely unsettled years since the close of the World War — the war that was to end all war and henceforth make the world safe for democracy. But the nations are still in turmoil as the iron of imperialism and the miry clay of Sovietism struggle for the mastery. The horrors of the Ethiopian massacres, the unspeakable cruelties of Russian Bolshevism, the bloody strife in Spain, the desperate conditions still prevailing in China, together with ominous forebodings of coming class conflicts all over the so-called civilized world, show that the nations are far from realizing the idealism in which their salvation is supposed to be assured.

No, man is not Godlike. He is not at one with the Infinite mind. He is not a great, heroic figure dominating the ages. He is a poor, needy, sinful creature who will never find the path of peace until he humbles himself before high Heaven and repentantly confesses his manifold iniquities and looks to the cross of Christ and to the Holy Spirit of God for twofold deliverance, justification before God and practical sanctification of life, through the power of the Word applied by Him who alone produces a second birth and comes to indwell all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to the salvation of their souls.

Applied psychology, psychiatry, and ethical culture, will not bring this about. Whatever value there may be in the wise use of these systems, so far as combating certain conditions of the mind is concerned they are utterly powerless to change the heart of man or to produce a new life. J.R. Oliver in a recent volume entitled Psychiatry and Mental Health, which is well worth reading, frankly confesses that after all the varied needs of mankind can best be met by “the divine Psychiatrist, the one great Physician of the soul.” He rightly declares that if we but know Him and walk with Him, all books on mental science, moral theology, marriage and birth control, with all the well-meant regulatory laws which have been tried or proposed to curb the evil desires of men and nations, could be safely discarded, for in Christ is found all that is needed to give us moral and spiritual health. To turn to Jesus as the Great Physician is to repent, for He came to heal — not the well — but the sick. His message was for those who had lost their way. What His enemies said of Him in derision and contempt is blessedly true and the cause for everlasting praise, “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.”

But so long as men insist on attempting to justify themselves and their behavior they are under the divine condemnation. It is concerning him who cries, ‘I have sinned and perverted that which was right and it profiteth me not,’ that the voice of God exclaims, “Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom.” (See Job 33:14-30.) We are told in Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” It is another way of saying that all confessed sin shall be made to serve in the working out of God’s eternal purpose. Where recognized guilt leads to repentance, the forgiven man rises to a consciously higher plane than he would otherwise have attained. Our sin becomes the dark background that better displays the lustrous jewel of divine grace. We know God better as forgiven sinners than Adam knew Him, as unfallen in that first earthly Paradise. It is this that makes the joy of heaven so great as the redeemed adore the Lamb and sing His praises who was slain in order that He might wash us from our sins in His own blood. Not one voice in that wondrous choir will attribute merit to other than Christ Himself.

In a recent book, in which one was objecting to expressions such as these, the writer challenged those who habitually confess themselves miserable sinners and acknowledge that they have left undone the things they ought to have done and done the things they ought not to have done, to dare to say such derogatory things of themselves when applying for a position of trust in some reputable firm, and the implication was that if such language was not suited as between man and man, it was not proper between man and God.

One does not have to be a “deep thinker” to see the fallacy of this. A man is hired by a firm because of his supposed ability and trustworthiness. But men’s standards are altogether different from those set forth in the Holy Scriptures. Righteousness is emphasized in our dealings with our fellow men; holiness when it comes to relationship with God. A man’s life may be outwardly correct and righteous, while his heart is corrupt and unholy. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” He desires truth in the inward parts.

It is the pure in heart who shall see God. Therefore the absolute necessity of the new birth, apart from which there can be no spiritual enlightenment. The heart of the natural man is as a nest of every unclean and hateful bird; all sorts of evils come forth from it. The mind of the unsaved man is incapable of grasping heavenly realities. His understanding is darkened because of the ignorance that is in him. When he accepts God’s testimony he takes the position of repentance, and is in an attitude where God can reveal to him the wonders of redeeming grace. In no other way can guilty man be reconciled to God, who beholdeth the proud afar off, but is nigh unto every broken and contrite heart.

If these pages fall into the hands of any anxious, troubled soul, desirous of finding the way of peace and earnestly seeking to be right with God, let me urge such a one to give up all struggling. Just believe God. Tell Him you are the sinner for whom the Saviour died, and trust in Christ alone for salvation. His own word is clear and simple: “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

To hear the Word is to receive God’s testimony, and this is the very essence of repentance. When he who has spurned that Word bows to its message, even though it tells him he is lost and undone and has no righteousness of his own, he turns from his vain thoughts and accepts instead the testimony of the Lord. It is to such a one that the Holy Spirit delights to present a crucified, risen, and exalted Christ as the one supreme object of faith. He who trusts Him is forever freed from all condemnation. (See John 3:18). He is henceforth in Christ, and “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

This is not to say his own conscience will never again condemn him, for that is not true. The nearer he lives to his Lord, the more tender his conscience will be. But it does mean that God no longer sees him as a sinner exposed to judgment, but that He counts him henceforth as a child, a member of the heavenly family, accepted in Christ, the beloved of the Father.

In this blessed relationship he has by no means done with repentance. He is called upon daily to judge himself in the light of the Word of Truth, as it is opened up to him by the Spirit, and so to repent of anything that he learns to be contrary to the mind of God. Otherwise he will have to know the Father’s chastening rod. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1st Corinthians 11:31-32.) It is in view of this that He says, “Be zealous therefore, and repent.”

But I must bring these remarks to a conclusion. I need not multiply words. This book is, perhaps, already much too lengthy for busy readers, though I hope many will take time to examine carefully, in the light of the Holy Scriptures, every position taken. The conclusion of the whole matter is simply this: Repentance is not only desirable, but it is imperative and all important. Apart from it no sinner will ever be saved. God Himself commands all men everywhere to repent. Our Lord Jesus declared, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” That which it is so perilous to neglect should be faithfully preached to all for whom Christ died. And when men receive the message in faith and judge themselves in the light of the cross, they may know that all heaven resounds with gladness for “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

The glorified throng in heaven will all be there, not because they were holier or in any wise better in themselves than other men, but because, as repentant sinners, they “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” He alone will be extolled as the Worthy One. All others who are ever saved will be saved through His merits alone.

The End

[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948]

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