Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Matthew 7:21-23 By their fruits, you shall know them!


Matthew 7:17-24:

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock

The above verses are often twisted by religion to mean that salvation can be lost, or your behavior (fruit) determines whether you were saved or not. 

Who is the good tree that brings forth good fruit?  Who would be the tree hewn down, and cast into the fire?  I am shocked that Free Grace Theology teaches that believers are cast into this fire in John 15:6 when every other passage clearly addresses the tares, as the same phrases are used in those various passages.  None of those passages were addressing the fate of believers in the gospels.  Free Grace Theology assumes the fire is one and the same with 1st Corinthians 3:15:

15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The big problem with their position is that Jesus said that the “branch” was burned (John 15:6) and not the works (1st Cor. 3:15).  The children of the kingdom will be separated from the children of the devil in this world.  This is what the parable of the sower and the message to follow in Matthew 13 was teaching:

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are ‘GATHERED’ (compare to John 15:6) and BURNED IN THE FIRE; so shall it be in the end of this world (AGE)
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The good seed is the “good tree” of Matthew 7.  Compare Matthew 7:23, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity” to Matthew 13:41, “them which do iniquity.”  Notice how the “tares” are “gathered and burned” in Matthew 13:40, and one can see that it parallels Matthew 7:19, “hewn down and cast into the fire,” as well as John 15:6, “and men (the word “men” is not in the Greek) gather them, and cast them into the fire,” and this is the fires of Gehenna that destroys body and soul (the life breathed into it), as one is totally destroyed that I believe happened in 70ad.  One can also see that Matthew 3:10 mirrors John 15:6, Matthew 13:40 and Matthew 7:19:

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

To claim that John 15:6 is teaching that believers works will be burned in the Bema seat of Christ is just plain desperate.  I do not hold to Free Grace Theology.

The branch that bears fruit is the one that is cleaned according to John 15:3.  The Greek word for "clean" is katharos.  The Greek word for “purgeth” in verse 2 comes from the same Greek word for clean, and it is kathairĊ.  One is an adjective and the other a verb.  It is quite clear that God purges the clean, and the clean are purged.  If you belong to Him then you are indeed clean, and if you are clean, then it is you being purged (see my blog on John 15).  You can never be one without the other period.

The same Greek word for purged was used in Hebrews 10:2:

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

The passage in Hebrews 10:2 was teaching that those under the old sacrificial system were not purged once for all, as they had an annual reminder of sins.  If they were once purged then they would “have had no more conscience of sins.”  Consciousness of sins is always associated with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Law).  We have been made holy once for all (Hebrews 10:10) apart from Law.  We are the ones purged once for all.  Those purged are those who are clean simultaneously, so there is never a time a believer is not purged, and that would mean that there is never a time a believer is not clean.  If you see that verse as addressing your outwardly behavior then maybe you have some religion to be purged of yourself.   

The bad tree is the one who has not believed, as they were not made “clean” through His word (John 15:3).  If you recall, Judas was the only one described as not clean among the disciples (John 13:10). Actually, the bad tree is the knowledge of good and evil.  You are eating the wrong fruit.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil is what causes a person to say, "Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful WORKS?"

Those who “abide in Him, and He in them” are the ones that bear fruit.  Everyone bears fruit but one might be bearing the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or one bears the fruit of the tree of life (Jesus Christ).   

Religion has programmed the heads of many to assume that fruit is something always external that can be seen by humans, and this has caused so many to be obsessed with their own works (others too).  They are obsessed with the wrong tree.

Who is the one that abides in Him, and He in them?  John 6:56 reads:

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth (abide, same Greek word) in me, and I in him.

How do you know if you abide?  By good works?  No, 1st John 4:13 gave us the answer:

Hereby know we that we dwell (Abide, same Greek word) in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
 
We know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit.  If we know we abide because we have the Spirit then how long does the Spirit abide with you?  John 14:16 reads:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide (same Greek word) with you for ever

If the Spirit abides for ever as the KJV translated it then how long do you know you abide in Him, and He in you?  

I do not look to my external behavior to know if I abide in Him, and He in me, but I know whom I have believed, and that I was given the promised Spirit to know that I abide in Him perpetually.  The evil tree is the one who rejects Christ (tree of life for the tree of knowledge).  The evil tree will be cast forth as a branch as it belongs to the other tree, as they will have no inheritance in God’s future kingdom, as the dead will remain that way until the 1000 years end (Revelation 20:5), but believers will reign in the kingdom of 1000 years (Revelation 20:6).  No, this is not hellfire forever nonsense!

What people fail to see in Matthew 7 is the context.  The context begins in verse 15:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Religion who preaches Matthew 7:23 to terrorize believers fail to realize that the passage is actually addressing them.  Religion makes Matthew 7:23 knowing who false believers are, but it is actually how we determine who the false teachers are that often are the ones today who give us the supposed external evidence of who the false Christians supposedly are.  The passage is clear that the focus upon "good works" is coming from the mouth of a false teacher. 

How can Matthew 7 be talking about external works to be judged when they (false teachers) outwardly are in “sheep’s clothing”?  Their appearance is as a sheep, so I do not see the passage as describing outward works, as most cults focus on the cleaning up the outward cup.  

Matthew 7:15 tells us that they are “INWARDLY” ravening wolves, so how do we know if a teacher is inwardly a ravening wolf?   The parallel passage to Matthew 7 is found in Luke 6:

43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (Compare to Matthew 7:17)
44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  (Compare to Matthew 7:16)
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?  (Compare to Matthew 7:21-22).
47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.  (compare to Matthew 7:24-25)
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.  (Compare to Matthew 7:27).

How do you determine the false teacher by its fruit?  “For of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).  The poison of asps is under their lips (Romans 3:13).  Jesus spoke of the Pharisees as outwardly “white washed tombs,” but “within” (inwardly) as the "full of dead men bones" that would be "wolves" (Matthew 23:27).  

Look at the context in Matthew 23 and notice the similarity to Matthew 7:15:

24 Ye blind guides (false teachers), which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward (as sheep), but are within (INWARDLY, same Greek word as used in Matthew 7:15) full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness (workers of iniquity).
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous (as sheep) unto men, but within (inwardly) ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

We know someone inwardly by the message preached.  Telling me that you do not get drunk, steal, kill, commit adultery, use profanity,  strive hard, give to the poor, and preach on Sunday’s does not mean that it reflects you inwardly.  You preach a message of condemnation to others causing them to worry about where they will spend eternity.  You have people examining whether their faith is made up of the right ingredients, and you preach of some angry god looking to swallow them up in hell flames.  This only tells me that outwardly you appear to THEM as a sheep, but to me, you are nothing but a ravenous wolf foaming at the mouth when preaching.  You are a snake offering the fruit from the tree we are to avoid.  

These ravenous wolves fail to see that Jesus was addressing them in verse 22:

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

If good works are a sign that you are a sheep in the above verse then how much more than the “many wonderful works” are required to know that you are a sheep?  The false teachers today address Jesus as Lord, as do their followers.  The people in pulpits today are preaching against those who are not seeing a pattern of good works in their lives.  They will tell their listeners that if they are not better than what they were a year prior then they might not be saved.  They will tell them that they will not be sinless when they trust Christ, but that they will sin--less.  They will tell people that we are not saved by good works, but we are certainly not saved without them (external fruits to them), as that comes from not one single verse of scripture in the NT.  They will tell you that there is nothing you can DO to be saved, but then they will tell you that YOU must turn from all sin to be saved, and that YOU must make Jesus Lord of every area of YOUR life to be saved, as such people are the ministers of death, and the blind leading the blind.  They are the pied piper leading many to their deaths.  They are preachers who fail to see that they are the ones saying, “Many good works I have done,” and it will be such pastors/teachers/followers that will hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  These are the false teachers in sheep’s clothing.  Outwardly, they appear as righteous, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Matthew 23:28). 

Matthew 7:21 reads:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Do you do the will of the Father in heaven?  Look at John 6:39-40:

39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

1st John 3:23 reads:

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

It is not the “many wonderful works” who enters into the kingdom, as we must remember that God justifies freely (freely = without a cause Gal. 3:24).  The one who does the will of the Father is the one who believes and "worketh not" as Paul defined believing.  We already have an inheritance (Eph. 1:11). 

The one who believes is the one God purges; the one God purges is the one made clean (John 15).  The one made clean is the one that bears fruit.  The one that bears fruit is the one God purges to bear more fruit, but the corrupt tree is hewn down and removed, as he or she was never clean, never purged, and never bore fruit.  You cannot bear fruit when connected to the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  

If fruit is external good works then all unbelievers have bore fruit before (many unbelievers have more good works than believers), but this shows the danger of making "fruit" external good behavior all the time. We must remember that this is dealing with the kingdom of heaven, and not some after death experience of floating upward to some other dimension.  The kingdom is that of 1000 years, as this is not immortality, but age-during life.  Immortality comes at the end of the kingdom (1st Corinthians 15:22-29), as all in Adam die, but all shall be made alive in Christ, as death will be destroyed. 

I shared in my blog on the parable of the sower that the fruit there was the understanding.  God will increase the fruit of your understanding.  We are to grow in grace and KNOWLEDGE of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2nd Peter 3:18).  Our understanding should not be unfruitful, but thanks to religion, many are bound to fleshly oriented thinking, and are seeking behavioral modification techniques to hopefully find victory when victory was already won at Calvary. 

I never judge a man by the outward, as most Lordship Salvation advocates would blend in just fine with a fellow Pharisee.  It is always the message they preach that reveals that they are indeed ravenous wolves.  There is more than one type of fruit in the bible, as the bible does mention that there is the "fruit of the lips."  It is clear that Jesus was addressing "false prophets" in Matthew 7.  What you hear spewing from their lips will reveal (inwardly) that they are wolves (fruit), so do not go looking for their conduct, as they might appear righteous (Matthew 23:28).  Out of the abundance of the heart these false teachers speak. Remember, the Corinthians externally were carnal, but confirmed unto the end (1st Corinthians 1:8).  They were washed, justified, and sanctified (1st Cor. 6:11).  The Corinthians were having sex with prostitutes, but Paul still affirmed that they were "joined unto the Lord" (1st Cor. 6:15-17).

The fruit of the gospel is love, joy, peace, liberty, forgiveness, and the abundant life.  I have said before, if the gospel you hear produces fear, uncertainty, fleshly resolves, conditions to be met, and frustration, then what you heard was never good news.  Religion perceives the performance especially in others, but the believer "perceives the love of God" (1st John 3:16).  The grace believer receives "one another" as Christ received them (Romans 15:7), but religion is quick to reject one based on behavior.  

Religion tells you, "If you are habitually sinning then you never believed," as they are focused upon the "many wonderful works."  Religion says, "God is angry.  God will damn you to hell forever IF there is reserve in your obedience.  IF you will but turn from ALL of your sins, and IF you will but make Jesus Lord of every area of your life, and IF you see a pattern of good works then only can you rejoice.  You cannot be rejoicing IF you are entertaining a single sin right now.  You should be weeping and mourning your condition.  You should be upon your knees crying out to God for the filth that you are in His sight.  How dare you think you can carelessly handle His grace?  How dare you think God would let you get by unnoticed?  Shame on you!  Jesus came to save us from our sins, and look at you living in your sins.  Are you sure you trusted Him?"   This appeals to the flesh.  The religious approach makes people aware of themselves, and that "within" them, there is a sense of being "full of dead men bones."  Those who listen to such fleshly oriented teaching will often say, "I feel distant from God.  I feel so cold and dead spiritually.  I feel guilty.  I feel so sinful.  I don't feel saved."  This is condemnation religion preaches to their hearers to keep them bound to darkness (lie). 

Grace preaching says, "We have been justified freely APART from any works (before, during, and after). We have been given life and peace in the Spirit, we were not called unto bondage (law), so why live as those in religion who are fearful, always doubting, angry, agitated, frustrated, and always judgmental?  Why live like them (religion) that by their very language show that they are absent of the peace of God given to those that are justified?  Why focus on sins when they are pardoned?  Jesus truly has taken away the sin of the world (John 1:29), as He has indeed saved us from our sins entirely (Matthew 1:21).  God has been reconciled to this world, and is NOT imputing sins to our account (2nd Corinthians 5:19).  We have been made holy once for all, and perfected forever (Hebrews 10:10,14). Why not be obsessed with the new creation we have become in Christ Jesus (2nd Cor. 5:17)?  Why not bathe in the love of God who loves us just as much as He loved His Son (John 17:23)?  Rejoice that you have been washed, justified, and sanctified!  Why live like those who live as having no hope?  Why resort to behavioral modification, as that was never a prescribed way to live?  Cast out that bondwoman and her son, and live free as you were called (Galatians 4:30-31).  We are to enjoy the abundant life that is sorely absent in religion, as they ever go about seeking it through their efforts.  Why subject ourselves to ordinances and religious programs that have an appearance of wisdom, but it certainly cannot control or stop the indulgences of the flesh (Colossians 2:18-23)?  Why are you trying to be pleasing to God in your efforts when you are NOW "accepted (well-pleasing)in the beloved" (Eph. 1:6)?  Why not make every effort to know that you are well-pleasing to Him, as that is the only way you can be a "workman that needeth not to be ashamed" (2nd Timothy 2:15--See the New Life Version)?"  This message appeals to the heart.  One is now aware of His (Jesus Christ) good works.  One is aware of no condemnation, forgiveness of all sins, and justification from all things.

If you are uncertain of your salvation then how was that good news you heard?  Could it be that you have been entertaining the words coming from a man dressed in finest of sheep’s clothing?  Do you not find that such pastors/teachers keep giving you advice on what to do to find assurance, but you only discover yourself further in the slough of despond?  Have you not found that they have given you more “many wonderful works” to perform, but you are discovering that it still has not worked? Do you not have the nagging feeling of, “Why bother trying anymore?  If it hasn’t worked by now then it probably never will”?  How many more altar calls are you going to go through to supposedly rededicate your life to God until you can see that it NEVER works?  I went down that route for nearly 20 years, and their instruction NEVER worked.  Trust me, these pastors are smiling on the outside, but foaming at the mouth inwardly.  I have discovered many pastors confessing the facade they felt they were living telling others what to do to have peace and assurance when they were always lacking such things.

If you (perpetual doubter) were made pastor next week of a church then how would you be talking to the congregation, and how would you be counseling those in doubt?  You will discover that what has NOT worked for you will be passed down to others by you, as your words will be a well without water.  The nonsense passed down to you will be for you to pass it down to others.  You will find that others will have the same questions, same fears, and the same doubts that you have, as they will be bearing the same fruit as you.  However, you will be pretending that you are above your doubts and sins to them.  Religion leads to hypocrisy.  Just because your pastor smiles and appears to be nice (sheep) does not mean that inwardly, he is not a ravenous wolf filled with his own sense of condemnation.  If his message is leading you into endless efforts of frustration, and you doubt your assurance of salvation from what he has preached then know that he most likely is suffering the exact same problem as you.  You are bearing the same fruit that he is by what he preaches on Sunday.  

Get out of “wolf in sheep’s clothing” religion!!!!

Let me quickly share one additional point.  Every tree to me is pointing to two types of trees.  One is the tree of life and the other the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Law).  I do not judge a tree by the externals but by what it offers. I can tell the fruit by the tree it comes from.  The tree of "thou shalt not" produces fleshly oriented fruit that ends in corruption/death.  

When I hear someone say, "We are still under the moral law but not the ceremonial law" then I quickly recognize that tree by its fruit as it comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  I do not eat its fruit.  Those that do eat from that tree will give it to others and will bid them to eat so they can suffer the same death instead of enjoying the abundant life that comes from the Tree of Life.  

The tree that is hewn down is the tree of knowledge of good and evil and God has done that.  We are no longer under the Law.  Jesus called religious leaders, "Snakes" and "Vipers."  Remember, the snake was associated with the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Snakes are the ones bidding you to eat their fruit but their fruit is what makes you aware that you are naked.  It causes you to hide your shame with fig leaves (efforts, self-righteousness).  

Do you find yourself feeling guilty and full of shame before God?  Do you find yourself questioning His love and acceptance to you?  Have you been told that maybe you have unconfessed sin in your life as being the reason for your struggles?  Were you told to pray more or even join ministries to help your situation?  Were duties added to you in order to find assurance?  You are listening to a snake who is offering you fruit that looks appealing from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Get out of that church or away from that person!   You are eating the wrong fruit!

11 comments:

  1. I love how you talk about how to know if we abide - that it's by the presence of the Spirit in us, who will be with us forever, - and that it's not by our works/behavior! What a relief!

    Hey, can you fill me in on what Free Grace Theology is? I am pretty simple-minded about things and need a little explanation on what that is..

    Thanks and have a great day!
    Sparrow

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    1. Hello Sparrow,

      We tend to think that "abide" is a command that we do, and this is why religion will tell you things to do in order to abide. They will tell you to pray or read your bible to abide, but abiding is a reality we have as a believer. No verse tells you things to do to abide, as only religion makes such claims. If you have eaten His flesh and drank His blood (believed) then it is you that "abide (reside) in Him, and He in you." Jesus told the Pharisees that they did not have His word "abiding" in them, but what we heard is that which abides in us. 2nd John 1:2 says that the truth abides in us forever.

      The Holy Spirit was given to us to abide forever. The verse in 1st John 4:13 teaches that as long as we have the Holy Spirit is how long we abide, and forever is a long time :) I never have to look at my feelings or works to know if I abide. If I were to slip in a coma would be for me to know that I would still abide in Him, and He in me because of the abiding Spirit. I rejoice and rest in a promise.

      I will send you an email in a day or two on Free Grace Theology, as I do not think I would be able to share what they believe in this little box. I basically find their teaching to be fleshly oriented, but the only difference is that they do not attach the eternal death threats that Lordship Salvation would add. How they make verses to teach that a believer can be in darkness is quite sad in my opinion. Instead of breeding assurance, I find some of their teaching to rob people of it. Their position on 1st John had me scratching my head even back when I used to believe in Free Grace.

      I'll share more with you later.

      Lord bless,

      Dave

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  2. Dear Dave,
    For a long while I have asked myself:
    "How would I react if I stood within the earshot of Jesus Christ and heard his words - 'Not everyone who says unto me Lord Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven'"?
    My immediate response would have been,
    "Then what must I do to fulfil the will of the Father???"
    That is why I believe that it was very plausible for his hearers to have asked him this, to which he replied, "This is the work of God, that you believe on him who he has sent."
    This is just an idea, but I believe it was possible for Jesus to have spoken the words found in Matthew 7:21-23, to be followed by those found in John 6:28-29. Both set of verses were spoken while he was in the Capernaum area.
    An excellent post.

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    1. Hello Frank,

      Your last paragraph was very interesting, as you have given me something to look into, thank you!

      We simply know the passage was not about external works, as such people were flaunting it. The Pharisees were described as beautiful on the outside. Sheep outwardly cannot be distinguished from anyone else, as neither can the wheat from the tare. This is why we need to hear what flows from within them. Paul said that if anyone preach any other gospel is to be anathema. We know a lot by what others share with us.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Lord bless,

      Dave

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Thank you JustaFriend for sharing that!

      Reckoning ourselves dead to sin is an impossibility in religion that teaches you a bunch of techniques that supposedly starve the "sin nature" that they call it. All of the confessions of sins to God, and all the behavioral modification techniques they spew out has accomplished nothing. It makes mankind aware of his/her sins, and acutely aware of failure that leads to frustration. For a person to not know that they are truly dead to sin leads to fleshly resolves to defeat it. When we truly believe we ARE dead to sin then we will not be living our days fussing over our sinfulness, but rather glorying in our God and Savior instead.

      Lord bless,

      Dave

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  4. Bam! You hit the hammer on the head with this one. Looks like you are on a roll Dave, excellent stuff! I really really enjoyed this one. Not only does it help me see the lies of religion (some of which I hear every week but never stopped to question) but also how amazing the gospel truely is. Thank God for the Truth!

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  5. very scary (not that your message is wrong)to jump into these waters,
    but it means I have to let go of my role in this and simply trust him......

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    1. A life of faith in the reality of who you are truly does seem scary at first, as it goes against everything we feel to be true and were taught by religion to be true. We now have to trust absolute forgiveness and absolute grace 100%, as we have nothing now we can offer in ourselves. We trust in His faithfulness!

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  6. You are a tremendous blessing! This is the good news that sets people free from Religion! I love how you tell the truth,without a hint of cowardice.
    I remember God revealed that scripture,about the good and bad tree. So many stresses repentance,good works,performance,etc. THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL! The Gospel is what Christ has done for you. He is the initiator.
    I don't know about you,but I am tired of religion. Preach the real Gospel and not a performance!
    This was life changing,love you man;keep sharing the good news.

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  7. Hello Brother Mike,

    I am with you on the religion. It is almost impossible to find churches to attend that do not make additions to the gospel or that are not obsessed with your behavior.

    I like what one preacher said about religion. He said that religion creates "human doings" rather than "human beings." Instead of enjoying a life "being" loved by God is when religion has people "doing" things to experience God's love.

    I am all for repentance if it was worded correctly. It seems that "rePENANCE" has not wandered far from the word "rePENTANCE." Instead of offering money is now for religion to offer sorrow, confessions, and efforts against sin to receive God's love, forgiveness, and mercy.

    I liked what another preacher had said, "Man missed God's mark (sin=fell short) not because he tried to meet it; man has missed God's mark because he setup another target." Religion has always set up their own standards (targets) to meet God and you will always find their standards are set up around their word "If" and "Do."

    Religious repentance is always self-correction before God. It is where one is supposedly to fix themselves up. It is where a person attempts to bandage up (sow on fig leaves) the areas they deem as shameful. Man still falls short of God's glory because man is still shooting for what he thinks is God's glory. Their arrows of repentance and self improvement always fall short.

    Repentance is where our eyes behold the goodness of God. It is where we see God had already done something about our sin. It is seeing a God of love. It is seeing our inclusion in Christ. It is beholding the forgiveness of sins. It is where our thoughts now align with God's thoughts concerning us. It is no longer us projecting our negative self opinions and assuming God agrees with them. We now see "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand...."

    I'm all for good works but as expressions of the God we love. Forgiving others is an outward expression of God. The love of God shed abroad in our hearts. Loving others (something religion cannot do) is an expression of God. How dwelleth the love of God in a man/woman who sees a brother/sister in need and they shut up their bowels of compassion. Religion is great to never help another person outside their denominational name and they seldom help those from within.

    My good works do not prove I am saved. Jesus Christ is the one who proves I am saved. He redeemed us by His blood and not by my good works. I never stop to see if my good works proves my redemption. I simply know my Savior lives. God is not beholding me by my behavior but by His behavior instead. To behold myself as a piece of spiritual garbage is when I sin, as my thoughts fall short of God's glorious thoughts concerning me.

    Religion has corrupted good works as some sort of validation of salvation. Their foolishness would vindicate any legalistic religion or cult today by such thinking. Pharisees would be great friends of theirs.

    Our good works to others is simply where we allow God to love others through us. Religious love is fake as they only "try" to love others because they think they have to do it or that it may prove they are not saved.

    I appreciate your stand against religion and all of their additions of repentance, good works, and performance to the gospel that causes people to experience fear and doubt concerning their salvation. We are loved, forgiven, and accepted apart from a single tear or a single lifting of a finger we do. We were loved when we were enemies. It is living loved and being a "human being loved" is when we now have the freedom to live out that love to those around us.

    Lord bless!

    Dave

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