Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Baptism On Trial: New Episode of Spiritual Court

New Episode of Spiritual Court: Scriptural Baptism on Trial

Introduction: Today we will hear the case/ arguments that much of the denominational world has against scriptural baptism.

A.  The Prosecution will try to prove that baptism is not essential or necessary to a person's salvation.
1.   Baptism is only a symbolic act and has no direct, or essential connection to receiving the    remission of sins.

2.   How a person is baptized: As a baby, sprinkled, poured, etc. is a unimportant and foolish
to debate, it is the thought that counts.

3.  The prosecution plans to prove that baptism for the remission of sins is a false teaching, a heresy    and a complete misunderstanding of baptism.

B. The Defense (Scriptural Baptism) will defend himself using only the Word of God, teachings of Jesus  and the Apostles as his witnesses. 
1.  He wants to acknowledge that God, in His great mercy has made salvation available to the world  through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
2.  He will attempt to prove that "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"; that baptism is "for
the remission of sins"; "that we are buried with him by baptism into death" and "that as many of you  as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ".
3.  He will attempt to show that God has made baptism His ordained way to request and receive the
salvation which has been made possible through the death of Christ.

C. Today, let us enter the courtroom where baptism is on trial and listen in as the prosecution attempts to  make its case against baptism for the remission of sins.
1.  Today’s Judge will be the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever (1 Pet 1:23; John 12:48).

John 12:47-50  ""As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.""

1 Pet 1:22-23  "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God."

 Bailiff to Baptism: Do you promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God??

Baptism: I Do

Prosecution: We intend to prove today that Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but that it is merely the outward sign of salvation which has already occurred at the point of belief alone.

Baptism: In my own defense, I do not claim that my water has any power to save a person, but I do assert that I am God’s ordained way for a believing sinner to request and receive salvation. As God and His Word are my witness. If I (Baptism) am the outward sign of an inward faith, then not being scriptually baptized is the outward sign of no inward faith in God's Word.

 Prosecution:  Let us begin by noting that perhaps the majority of the religious, who claim to follow Jesus, accept sprinkling or pouring water on a baby as God approved "baptism."  Would you cast doubt on this practice accepted by a multitude of people and suggest they have not complied with God's command to be baptized?

Baptism: I guess I could say "I Do" again and here is why.  First of all, the majority of scholars agree that my Greek name (baptizo) would be most accurately translated by the word "immersion."  Biblically speaking the word means to dip, to plunge or to immerse.  A few versions actually call me "Immersion" instead of "Baptism."  The Bible speaks of me also as a burial.  Is sprinkling dirt on top of a body the same thing as a burial?  God, in the scriptures, used a word which means immersion and this is easily proven.  The question is not what did God say, the question is will God accept men substituting something else in the place of what He has ordained?  The only reason why the English Bible contains the word "baptism" is because the original translators held to a religion which did not teach immersion. So instead of translating the word "baptizo" accurately, they did what is called "transliteration."  This means they brought a Greek word spelled with English letters into their Bible.  By doing this they essentially hid the meaning of what God's Word says so their human practice of sprinkling would not clearly contradict what God required.

I should also point out that God requires that to be baptized, one must believe (Mark 16:15,16). He must understand enough of God's Word (Rm 10:17) to make a personal decision to put his faith in Jesus.  There are no commands in the Bible to immerse those who do not believe.  Infants are not acceptable candidates for faith or baptism.

God said literally: He that believes in Jesus and is immersed shall be saved.  Millions have never done the very first thing God has required to demonstrate true faith.  It is a matter of simply believing what God has said or not believing what God has said.  Did God mean what He said?  The Bible teaches "believer immersion", not unbeliever sprinkling. 

 Prosecution:  We have witnesses who say that you are merely a Jewish ceremonial washing which the early Jewish Christians imposed on one another and then on the Gentiles. You are only symbolic and have no essential role in a person’s salvation.

Baptism: I must confess that I am very symbolic, but my role in God’s plan of salvation did not arise out of custom for I was sent directly from God who inspired men to baptize those who were ready to receive the kingdom of heaven:

1.  John first preached me because God told him to:
John 1:33:  "And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."

2.  Jesus, who only taught what God gave Him, taught and baptized even more disciples than    John.
John 4:1-2:  "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)"

 Prosecution: Aha! So Jesus did not do the baptizing Himself! That proves that it is not essential to salvation!

Baptism: All it proves is that Jesus devoted Himself to teaching the people their need to be baptized for the remission of sins and assigned His disciples to do the actual baptizing. Jesus may also have been trying to avoid the tendency for people to place too much significance on who it was that actually baptized them, like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians chapter 1.

 Prosecution: So you became very popular in the days of John the Baptist, but didn’t John tell the people that your days were numbered when he said that he baptized with water, but that the one who came after him would baptize with the Holy Spirit. This meant that you were to step aside and be replaced by Holy Spirit baptism!

Baptism: Yes, it is true that Jesus would immerse His disciples with God’s Spirit, which John could not do. But, John did not say that water baptism would come to an end or no longer have a place in God’s plan to save mankind. In fact, Jesus Himself preached water baptism for the remission of sins after His resurrection from the dead, He commanded that His disciples preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Mat 28:19-20:  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

In Mark, Jesus commanded that the Gospel be preached to every person in the world, adding that those who believed and were baptized would be saved. Jesus gave His disciples a clear command that they were to continue practicing baptism all over the world. His instruction is simple: Belief plus Baptism were made essential to receiving Salvation.

Mark 16:15-16:  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

 Prosecution:  Objection!  He did not say that those who believed and were not baptized would be damned?

Baptism: But He did say that those who believe and submit to baptism shall be saved. Could you add the word “not” and still have an accurate statement from Jesus: “He that believeth and is NOT baptized shall be saved.?”

Prosecution: (Speechless).

Prosecution:  Let us move on to the day of Pentecost, where you again showed up to confuse the disciples into thinking that you had something to do with the remission of sins, when in fact the people were already forgiven before they were baptized!

Baptism: Things did not happen that day as you say. In reality, the Apostles were simply preaching the message that Jesus had commanded them to preach. They told them that Jesus was the Christ who God raised from the dead and exalted as King. When the people heard and believed in Jesus, they asked the Apostles what they should do now that they understood who Christ was. The Apostles told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins, promising them that God’s Holy Spirit would be with them. That  day three thousand souls gladly received the divine instructions and were baptized, God adding them to the church as they were saved.

Acts 2:38-41:  "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

Acts 2:47:  "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

 Prosecution:  We have expert witnesses in the Greek language which say that “for” the remission of sins should really read “because of” the remissions of sins, meaning that baptism was only a symbol of the remission of sins that they had already received.

Baptism:  Starting with John, the Bible clearly says that the purpose of baptism is “for the remission of sins.”

Mark 1:4:  "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

The prophet Ananias told Paul that he should be baptized to wash away his sins in Acts 22:16:

Acts 22:16:  "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

No major translation of the Bible, old or modern translates this passage with the words “because of.” To show that you are twisting the scriptures consider what would happen if you translated the same Greek word (eis) to say “because of” in Matthew 26:28.

Mat 26:28:  "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

Did Jesus shed His blood “because of” the remission of sins or because their sins had already been forgiven? Not hardly. Acts 2:38 simply reveals to believing sinners God’s ordained way to receive remission of sins in Jesus Christ by being baptized in His name.

 Prosecution: Those who are deceived into thinking you are essential to salvation have often been accused of preaching the plan and not the man! God does not want us to preach baptism, He wants us to preach Jesus. You have become more important to some than Jesus Himself.

Baptism:  The truth is that you cannot “preach Jesus” without telling people how to receive the remission of sins through His blood. Consider how Philip “preached...Jesus” to the Ethiopian Eunuch. After hearing an inspired version of the Gospel, the Eunuch immediately desired to be baptized in water and the inspired teacher baptized him, sending him on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:35-39:  "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

 Prosecution: Baptism is not necessary for salvation. It is well documented that most denominations do not see the necessity of baptizing people immediately and require that the person desiring to be baptized go through some sort of training. This delay in baptizing them surely does not place them in danger of being lost!

Baptism: I must differ with your opinion. If a person is led to believe that they have received remission of sins without submitting to Christ in baptism, they have put their faith in a false gospel and even when they get around to being immersed, it would not be a scriptural baptism. In every example of conversion recorded for us in the Bible, the believing sinner is immediately baptized for the remission of their sins. Consider the Phillipian Jailer who was baptized “the same hour of the night.”

Acts 16:33:  "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway."

 Prosecution: Salvation is a free gift of God, if a person is required to do something (like being baptized) it is no longer a “free” gift and they are trying to earn their salvation through some work.

Baptism: Sorry to differ again, but baptism is not a work we do to earn salvation, it is simply the point of time in our faith when we humbly submit to God, asking Him to forgive us of our sins. How can you believe that you have no part in your receiving salvation? Do you not have to believe? Is not repentance also something you must do? Faith is not saving faith until it has received the remission of sins in the waters of scriptural baptism.


Prosecution: Baptism is not essential to salvation! What if a person learned of the Gospel in the desert and there was not enough water to be immersed, would they be lost?

Baptism: If God has established that baptism is for the remission of sins and His revealed way to receive salvation in Christ, then I could not scripturally offer any alternative, God would have to judge such a situation. I would recommend to all who have not received baptism for the remission of sins, that they obey the Gospel now while they have the opportunity.

Though I do not like to be emphasized so much, I must stand up for the place that God has given baptism in His ordained way of receiving salvation. I conclude my case by noting some other important things which occur at the point of baptism.

1.  It is at the moment of baptism that a person enters into the death of Christ and is raised to a new life:
Rom 6:3-6:  "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."

2.   It is at the moment of baptism that a person is put “into” Jesus Christ.
Gal 3:26-27:  "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
a.   Note that “all spiritual blessings” are to be found “in Christ.” (Eph 1:3).

3.  Immersion in water is the point of time when we are buried with Christ and forgiven of our sins.
Col 2:11-13:  "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

 With the scriptures as my witness, I have shown that God has made baptism the point of faith where salvation is granted to the repentant believer. Satan (accuser) is surely behind the teachings which reject baptism for the remission of sins. The truth is that those who gladly receive the Word of God will be baptized immediately just like those three thousand souls who were saved on the day of Pentecost. Remember the Words of Jesus when He said:

Mat 7:21:  "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.”

 Baptism: Each individual must choose what they believe about me.  Does God mean what He says, thus requiring all true believers to be baptized as He has required for the remission of sin.  Or, will they put their trust in the teachings of men which have refused to comply with God's Word.  One choice demonstrates trust and confidence in God and His Word.  The other demonstrates trust in the ideas of men more than the Word of God.

 Mark  7:7-9: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  (9)  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."









Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Conversation with Sin: Part 2 (Sin talks about Jesus)

A Conversation With Sin: Part 2

Review of Previous Conversation:
Sin:  Here are the facts.  I am always created by disobedience to God's law, brought on by selfish human desire  usually combined with believing  some kind of lie/ untruth.  When I enter a life I always separate that soul from God and eternal life.
Adam, Eve and all their descendants were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26; James 3:9; 1 Cor 11:17).  No person was ever born separated spiritually from God because of something Adam did  (physically separated from Eden, Yes).  I only stain the souls who have by their choice somehow invited me into their lives.  James explains my arrival very well.   "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren. (Jas 1:14-16). 
I would add to this several analogies the Bible used to describe me in a person's life.  I become a stain on that person's soul (though your robes be like scarlet…though they be red like crimson…Isa 1:18). I am like bondage or slavery from which no one can be freed without God's help.

Rom 6:16: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

Joh 8:31-34: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

RJ:  Okay, now we understand more about what the Bible has to say about your permanent stain.  Is there anything a person can do to remove you from their life and be restored to a good relationship with God?  This would be the single most important piece of information that anyone could ever learn.

Sin:  I can give you the answer to that question in one word:  Jesus.  Not a single person will ever be freed from my stain and bondage without the blood of Jesus. From the first sin, the pronounced penalty was "death."  Everyone who allows me into their life deserves to die physically and spiritually. But, since the first sin, God has also taught the idea of allowing another to die in the sinner's place.  He did this by allowing the best and purest animals to be put to death to give man a reminder and temporary atonement for their sin.  Then, when the time was right, God made the ultimate sacrifice to make a way so the lost could be free from me at last. The Bible could not make this simple fact more clear.

"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:   But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Gal 4:3-5)

Joh 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Heb 10:16-19 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus."

Eph 2:13   "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

Rev 1:5 "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."

As I pointed out in our last discussion; one of the main purposes of the Bible is to point out my existence and how I bring eternal separation from God.  But, the Bible's greatest purpose is to reveal God's plan to bring sinner's back to himself through Jesus Christ. Speaking of Jesus, Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."  (Act 4:12).   

RJ:  The Bible is pretty clear that Jesus is the only way mankind can be rid of you. But, does that mean that you will be removed from the souls of all people by His sacrifice?  Some say that God's grace is universal and unconditional? I have heard many people say that a good God would not allow anyone to go to hell.

Sin:  Salvation is certainly not universal.  God has made the way of salvation very clear. Just as I cannot condemn a soul without their own selfish personal decision to disobey or to ignore God.  No person can be saved from me without a personal decision to obey Jesus.  No one will make it to God's presence without me  by accident.  Jesus is "the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Heb 5:9).
Those who choose not to obey Jesus will face the full consequences of my presence in their lives when Jesus  returns in the judgment.

2Th 1:7-9 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,   In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:   Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

There is only one group of people who will not take me with them to the judgment.  Only those who live and die putting their trust in what God has revealed to them in their time.  This trust,  proven by obedience to the Word of God, is called "Faith."  Faith comes by hearing and obeying the Word of God (Rom 10:17). The Grace of God has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11) and God wants all men to come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).  But, God requires that each person accept His offer of forgiveness by having faith.  Paul said it this way, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Eph 2:8).  Those who live by faith will be freed from me and my consequences forever. God demonstated His love for man by offering a way of salvation to those who deserve to die with me on their souls.  Forgiveness is never deserved or earned, but God only offers this gift to those who choose to practice faith as it is explained in the Bible (Biblical Faith).

RJ:  I have a quick question for you.  If Jesus is the only was way to get rid of you, then what about all the people who lived before He died on the cross?  They did not know about God's plan to get rid of you through Jesus.

Sin: Well actually, there is a saying in both the Old and New Testament which says it all.  "The just shall live by faith."  (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:7; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38).  The "just" means those who God views as "justified."  God sees the justified, just as if they did not have me in their lives. Remember that this is not possible without the blood of Jesus.  As for the people who lived before Jesus, the prophets did speak of Jesus and what God would accomplish through Him.  They spoke of an everlasting King. They spoke of a time when God would remember their sins and iniquities no more. The people were told of a great servant who would take the punishment they deserved, be killed and be raised from the dead. There are hundreds of prophecies foretelling Jesus' work.  For example :

Isa 53:4-11: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.   But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.   He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.   And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.   Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Abraham was told that one of his descendents would bless all nations. "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." (Gen 22:18). 
Israel was told to expect a new covenant with God.  "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer 31:34). 
Anyone who believed God's Word and Promises and obeyed Him had what is called faith. If they died with faith made alive by their obedience (James 2:20), this left them in a sort of dry river bed.  They were not yet saved, but were positioned in death and ready for the promise of God when it was fulfilled.  When Jesus died on the cross, his blood flowed backwards in time to wash me out of their lives forever, opening the way back to God.  Jesus blood also flows forward from the cross to all who have had faith since the cross.  So you see, it is only by the blood of Jesus that a person can be free from the stain I put on their soul.  Those without faith will face God without  this cleansing. My presence will cause them to be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Rev 21).

RJ:  Sin, this conversation has been truly helpful.  The Bible has verified your existence and revealed the remedy for the condemnation you bring into every life. Thank God for His wonderful love and for the gift of His Son on the Cross.  Do you have anything  you would like to add as we finish our conversation?

Sin:  Yes.  Let the whole world know that I am real.  The awful consequences of my presence in a human life are real.  There is only one way that I can be removed from a human soul, it is by faithful obedience to Jesus Christ.  God offers salvation freely to all, but gives it only to those willing to accept it by the simple terms of faith He has revealed.  If a person truly desires to have me removed from their life, they must obey the Gospel like Peter taught in Acts chapter two.  Those who believed the message about Jesus asked what they should do.  Peter told them the simple truth which is still true today.

Act 2:38-41:  "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.   For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Saving faith also involves following through and trying to live as Jesus has commanded:

1Jn 1:6-10:  "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:   But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
Living by faith as revealed in the New Testament (Biblical Faith) is the only way to be free from the consequences of my existence in a human life.

RJ:  Thank you for having this conversation with us.  We might have a few more questions for you later if that is okay.

Sin:  Sounds good to me.  I will be around.

















Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Conversation With Sin

A Conversation With Sin:
An Interview With Sin (A History/ Biography of Sin)
     For just a moment, let us think of sin as if it were a person (personification).  We understand that sin is simply a word used to describe mankind's rebellious behavior against the will of God.  But, for just a little while, imagine having a conversation with Sin as if it were a person. What insights could we gain from such a conversation?
RJ: Hello Sin, we cannot say we have not seen you for a while, but thanks for having this conversation.  It seems you are pretty popular in the world right now. Is there anything you would like to say to begin our discussion?
Sin:  Well, I would like to begin by saying that there is a lot of bad press out there about me.  I get a lot of blame for the problems of the world and for the problems people have with God. I readily admit that I ruin everything I touch.  But keep in mind that I only exist because God's creation has chosen to ignore and disobey Him. So please do not think of me apart from the people who give me  power and ability to do so much harm.  Man is the creation of God. I am the creation of man.  I mention this because throughout history my creators have consistently tried to deny me or blame my existence on others.  I am always an invited guest in the lives of my creators.   It would be far less confusing if people would just take responsibility for their own decisions to bring me into their lives.  God will hold all people accountable for their own actions.  God said through Ezekiel, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." (Ezek 18:20).  I know I bring death and destruction to this world, but I am never the one who pulls the trigger.  I have no say in man's decisions, I just appear when he creates me.
RJ:   I can see how this kind of behavior  makes things confusing.  People can never overcome a problem if they deny its existence or refuse to take responsibility for it. I agreed that those who create you must accept  their role in your existence.  But rest assured that many of us recognize that you are real and want to understand you better.
Sin:  I appreciate your understanding. Now what would you like to ask me?
RJ:  Okay, let us go back to the day you first appeared in the human world.  I believe you remember Adam and Eve.  Can you explain to us what really happened that day?
Sin:  I will try, but keep in mind that I was not there until Eve actually ate the fruit of the forbidden  tree. It is only when she broke God's command that I came into existence.  What I know is that God had created them and set them up in a paradise  called Eden.  He gave them everything they needed and asked them to tend to the garden.  They could eat of the tree of life which would have allowed them to  live forever. But, God desired that they  love and obey him because they wanted to, not because they had to.  To give them this freedom of choice, He created the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  He told them that if they ate of that tree, they would surely die.  I guess I would not exist if it had not been for that tree. 
Anyway, as I have learned since that time, humanity has a tendency to be self centered and dissatisfied with their lot in life no matter how blessed they might be.  I suppose that  Adam and Eve (especially Eve?) were curious about something they might be missing out on.  In their imaginations, rebellion must have promised them something good.  I think that is what Paul was thinking of when he warned the church about the "deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13).  People universally invite  me into their lives thinking  I will bring them something good, but boy are they always wrong about that.  While I might bring some pleasure or fun with me, it is always temporary and has terrible consequences.  One fellow described this false expectation  very well when he said, "Sin always promises more than it can deliver, costs you more than you planned to pay, takes you farther than you planned to go and keeps you longer than you plan to stay." 
RJ: Excuse me, I hate to interupt, but  I am surprised that you have quoted the Word of God several times.  I never thought of you as a student of the Bible.
God's Word Identifies and Verifies Sin: 
Sin:  You should not be surprised, but your reaction is understandable.  I (sin) am synonymous with rebellion, wickedness, evil and corruption.  But, I have a very close connection with the truth.    In fact, if it were not for the truth of God, I would not even exist.  Don't forget that "sin is a transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4).  If there was no law (knowledge of right and wrong from God's perspective), there could be no sin. Paul said that without the law he would not have known sin (Rom 7:7).  One of the most beneficial purposes of the Bible is that it reveals my existence and my identity to the world so they can avoid me.  Some think of God's law as a bad thing because it condemns their behavior.  But, one of its main purposes is to reveal the reality of my existence.  As Paul said,  "Was then that (law of God) which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."  (Rom 7:13).  The Bible clearly reveals and proves my  existence and the problem I bring to each human life.
Most would agree that It is always good to obey God.  We also know that God has revealed His will through the scriptures (2 Tim 3:16,17).  As you know, when people choose not to do that which is good (obey the will of God),  I appear. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (Jas 4:17).  I do not have a problem with the truth.  It is truth that verifies my existence.  In fact the number one way my creators deny my existence is to deny the truth of what God says in the scriptures.  When this happens, it does not mean I am not present, it just leads to my not being recognized. I can always do more damage when I am denied and not recognized.
RJ: Very interesting. Thanks for that explanation, can you now continue telling us about that day in the garden?
Desires, Rebellion and Lies Create Sin:
Sin: Okay.  While Eve was obviously struggling with her human tendencies, Satan showed up in the form of a talking Serpent.  Sounds unusual to us now, but who knows how long Eve had existed?  How was she to know that all serpents did not speak?  As you know, Satan is known for his hatred of God and everything that God loves.  Kind of like a rebellious and hateful child with his father.  That is why he is constantly seeking to do harm to the human race.  Some say  Satan is proud and obsessed with his own importance.  Some say he is jealous of the love God has for the human race.  I cannot explain all his motivations for sure.  But,  he is always trying to prove that God is unworthy of love, respect and obedience.  There are always plenty of humans willing to help him with his obsession.  Satan can never defeat God, but he takes great delight in bringing Him dishonor.  The problem with his obsession is that there is nothing true he can say against God for God is good and pure.  So Satan has transformed himself into  the "father of liars." (John 8:44).  You might think that people would want to avoid lies and liars at all costs.  But, it has been my experience that they are so often ready and willing to believe a lie when they are trying to justify their disobedience to God.  The stage was set for my entrance into the human world. There were two people tempted to disobey God and a liar there to tell them everything they wanted to hear.
Now Satan approached Eve and pretended not to know what God had said.  He asks if God had prohibited them from eating of all the trees of the garden.  Eve corrected him, saying they could eat of all the trees of the garden except one in the middle of the garden.  Eve also shared  her knowledge of God's will by telling Satan of the promised consequences of eating of that tree.  She said if we eat of that tree, "we shall surely die." (Gen 3:4).  Satan then boldly lied to Eve and said "you shall not surely die."   Satan was the first to suggest that God did not mean what He said and that He would not do what He said He would do.  Already Satan was twisting God's Words (he just added one word: "not"). Satan probably  knew there was more than one way to "die".  There is physical death (when the human soul is separated from the body, James 2:26) and there is spiritual death (when our soul is separated from a close relationship with God by me,  Isa 59:2).  Did Eve understand the seriousness of being separated from God's presence and favor?  Did she know she might be separated from the tree of life which would put her on the path to physical death?  Surely  she understood at least some of the consequences.  But she wanted to eat the fruit of that tree so much she was ready to believe Satan's lies. 
Satan then tells Eve that God was keeping  this fruit from her, because He did not want her to know as much as Him.  Satan said that if she ate, she would become like a god herself, knowing good and evil (Gen 3:5).  Then the three big desires of mankind tempted Eve ("Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life" 1 Jn 2:16).  "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Gen 3:6).  In an instant, I now existed.  A product of lust (human desire)  and lies. 
At first, I did not understand how a couple of people snacking on some fruit could have brought me into existence.  But, as I began to understand the bigger picture, I realized that what had happened was horrifying.  The first two people on earth had just put their trust in a lying God hater. They  had made their choice to rebel against their Holy and Loving  Creator,  all for the temporary pleasure of a piece of fruit and the false hope of benefits it would bring them.  When I fully got it, I actually felt sad that the Good Lord had been so dishonored and rejected.
RJ:  Thank you so much for explaining  your arrival on Earth. Sin, now that you are in the world, tells us your thoughts about your place and purpose here.
I Separate People From God Eternally:
Sin: Well, the first thing I  realized was that I was really bad for mankind.  I learned immediately that my presence in a human life brought them serious consequences. It turns out (I learned this later from Habakkuk 1:13), that God is too pure to be in my presence.  Because of me, Adam and Eve could no longer live in the presence of God and were cast out to live in a world separated from God's closest presence.  They destroyed their close relationship with God and lost their access to the tree of life.  The Bible would later describe their soul's  spiritual condition as death.  Because they chose to invite me in, life for them and all their descendants would now be difficult and painful.   God also cursed the serpent to crawl on his belly in the dust.  God promised Satan that one day a descendant of Eve would crush his head.  I remember Satan was so proud that he had helped bring me into the world.  He did not seem at all worried about God's promise concerning  his future  defeat.  All he could say as he crawled away laughing was, "I knew I could prove to the humans that God is not worthy to be obeyed." 
But to answer your question, I actually felt pretty bad. From that day till now, my presence in human life guarantees that they will be condemned and separated from God forever.  Satan has done everything he can to downplay this awful consequence.  He likes to deceive people into thinking that a little "sin" is not such a big deal. One church even decides if I am "mortal" or "venial" depending on what was done to create me.  Others think in terms of big sins, little sins, many sins or few sins.  But, Adam and Eve are proof that any sin at all separates souls from God. I hate to be the bad guy, but do not be deceived.  If I am in your life at all, you are lost and separated from God. And If you are old enough to make moral choices, I am certainly in your life.  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23).  I am like a fatal worldwide epidemic which everyone eventually chooses to invite into their life.  As you said in the beginning, I am universally popular.  But please understand this.    You should not think of me as big or little, but maybe more like a virus or an infection.  Once you are infected with me, even once,  you cannot enter into God's holy presence. 
To answer your question, my presence separates people from God.  I guess you could say that my purpose and place is to be a visible symptom,  or sign here to identify this terrible separation. 
RJ:  We understand that your presence in a human life is spiritually fatal. But some say that after you came into existence, you are automatically inherited at birth by every human descendant of Adam and Eve.  They call this original sin or total hereditary  depravity.  Can you explain this to us?
Sin Is Not Inherited:
Sin:  Yes, I have heard of that belief.  It does not make any sense when you look at my  original arrival which I just explained.  I am a permanent stain on the human soul which separates them from God.  But, like the original sin, I only become a part of a person's life when they choose to rebel against God.  It is true that every person since Adam has been born into a world infected and dominated by my existence in the lives of so many.   Some have decided that since this infection is so widespread that it must be something that all humans have received at birth.  That is bad logic. If the whole world was infected by some fatal disease, would that prove that all people had been born with it?  No.  It would prove that the disease was very contagious.
My presence in this world and the awful consequences of my presence are quite  overwhelming and universal in people old enough to know better.  King David, while overwhelmed with his own horrible sin, once said, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:5).  David could have been thinking about a lot of different things.  He could have been referring to a curse imposed on his family for several generations because of an ancestor's sin.  He could have been referring to the fact that both his mother and father were themselves sinners.  But in the context, He was probably just  overwhelmed at my universal and awful presence everywhere and all the time. I assure you that I was all around David at his birth, but I did not affect his relationship with God until he was old enough to invite me in himself.  David in this verse is grieving over his bad decision and my overwhelming presence in this world.
Here are the facts.  Adam, Eve and all their descendants were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26; James 3:9; 1 Cor 11:17).  No person was ever born separated spiritually from God because of something Adam did  (Physically separated from Eden? Yes).  I only stain the souls who have by their choice somehow invited me into their lives.  If every human since  Adam was born a sinner, then Jesus was also born a sinner for He "became flesh (human) and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).  Jesus was the only human that ever lived who did not invite  me into his life when He was tempted. (Heb 4:15).  Babies are not sinners, stained and separated from God spiritually.   But when they grow up they all invite me into their lives for the same reasons Adam and Eve did.  They share the human tendency (some say nature) to be selfish and self centered.  Everyone is affected by the consequences of my presence in this world, but I have never permanently stained one soul in God's eyes until they  have exercised their freedom of choice and dishonored their Creator.  Man was and is created in the image of God.  I am not present or a part of any man's creation.  It may be the human tendency to be selfish and easily tempted which people mistake for my presence.  But, being tempted is not the same as actually acting on the temptation which brings me into a person's life.  James explains my arrival very well.   "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.   Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren. (Jas 1:14-16).  Now does that sound like  I am present with every baby, or am I born out of human choice and actions?
RJ:  Wow, how you explain that makes it seem so simple.   Thanks for talking with us.  Next time can we talk about how to get you out of our lives? Is there any way we can be restored to a close relationship with God?  We look forward to the answers to these questions.
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