Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why People Mock Christianity

I don't remember Jesus telling his disciples to police the world's morality. I don't remember Him telling His followers to express what they believed to be right & wrong (the tree of the knowledge of good & evil is what got us into this mess). I do remember Him telling them to spread the good news about what He has done & the good news that God is not counting people's sins against them (2 Corinthians 5:19).

It is no wonder why people lash out at Christians. Countless people have been hurt by religious people (many of those that were hurt were even Christians). I know of countless people that were hurt by the "Christian religion" yet I can count zero people I know of that were hurt by homosexuals (a group Christians are very interested in policing).

So when people mock Christianity they aren't mocking the real Jesus, they are mocking the false idea of God that religion has put out there. They are lashing back at the preachers that condemned them instead of preaching God's grace. They are mocking those who were intolerant towards them by every definition of the word. Christians, from my experience, are the least tolerant people on earth. I don't know of any other group of people (not even teenagers) that would abandon long friendships over intellectual disagreements, club (church) membership, or loyalty to human leaders.

Most people mock Christianity, not because they are wicked, but because what people know of as Christianity is wicked. The world criticizes Christians for being unloving.. the "Christian religion" is so wicked that many atheists know more about what love is than many professing Christians. The majority of atheists I've come across don't reject God based on science, they reject Him based on the picture churches & the bible (yes the bible) have painted of Him. They reject that god because to them, he is not loving enough!

And that's what churchianity, religion, Satan's substitute, the institutional church, the whore of Babylon, or whatever you want to call it, amounts to. People's reaction is "No thanks, your God isn't loving enough(!)"

"God is love" is such a universal truth that one of these three things are what happen most often:
1. When people don't see love they don't see God so they reject His existence.
2. People are lied to about what love is so they accept the existence of God yet embrace religions that misrepresent Him & His love.
3. People see His love & embrace it & live the abundant life Jesus promised.

Look at why Jesus said He came, "I made The Father known so that the love with which the Father has loved Me might be in people" (John 17:26). The reality is that God saves people so He can "forever show us the exceedingly abundant riches of His love for us, & the immensely extravagant riches of His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).

Monday, April 29, 2013

Come! Choose Life & Live!

Jesus defined eternal life in John 17:3, "This is eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent." John 3:16 says, "Whoever trusts in the Son of God will not perish but have eternal life."

If you do not know God right now you do not have eternal life. And if you never choose to trust Jesus you will never have eternal life.

So sorry folks, I do not believe that "everyone is already born again" or that "everyone is already saved." It is not true. There are people that do not know God & will honestly deny knowing Him or even honestly deny His existence. Those people are not saved, they are not born again. They can be saved at any moment from now until judgment day. Only those who know God, who have met Him & trusted Him in the spirit are born again.

You can pretend that all people are saved, you can pretend that people know God who honestly don't & will tell you to your face that they don't OR you can accept the reality that God is love & love does not demand its own way. Grace is freely available to all through trust in Jesus. Grace is so available that the "Holy Spirit is poured out on all people." The Holy Spirit is ON all people, drawing them & loving them, but the Holy Spirit is not IN all people. He is only IN those who have trusted in Jesus.

God doesn't birth you behind your back. Yes God "took away the sins of the world." But this was never about sin but what sin brings, death. This is about life & death. Jesus is life. Now that our sins are gone we can freely choose life & live!

"I have set before you life and death. Therefore choose life, that you may live!" God EVEN TOLD US WHAT TO CHOOSE but He did not choose for us. God presents us with two options as He did in the garden, sure life & sure death. In the garden God told them to not choose death. Now He tells us to choose life. Though warning against it God allowed Adam to choose death. God allows everyone to choose between life & death. If your doctrine of ultimate reconciliation has a problem with God giving people a choice then it should also have a problem with God giving Adam a choice in the first place. God does not demand His own way. Realize that God's way is life! God wishes that no one would perish. Death is not God's way, but death is an option for the free.

The second death is not a consequence. Death is a choice. Death is God's enemy therefore death is not something God imposes. Death is one of two options. Sin tried to kill us but Jesus took care of sin so we can freely choose between life & death without sin forcing us into death. People will have every opportunity to choose life right up until the day where they stand before God. Romans 14:10-12 reveals that Isaiah 45 foretells what God says to those who stand before Him on judgment day, "I created the heavens, I speak righteousness. Come, draw near. There is no other God besides Me. I am a righteous God & a savior. TURN TO ME AND BE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH; For I am God, and there is no other."

"As I live!" declares the Lord God, "I take no pleasure in the death of any person. I want all people to turn to My Way, Jesus the Savior, and live! I do not want you to die. I want you to live. I am telling you to choose life. Why then would you choose death?" (Ezekiel 33:11, New Covenant paraphrase)

"The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Whoever hears this, echo, “Come!” Come, whoever is thirsty. Drink freely of the Water of Life if you so desire. It will never cost anything." (Revelation 22:17)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

But God is also just...

There have been times when I said, "God is love" & the response is "Yes God is love BUT God is also just."
In this context they typically mean 2 things by "God is just."
1. God abuses & guilt trips His own children (called conviction & discipline).
2. God will viciously torture the vast majority of mankind for all eternity.

Consider this. The words "just" & "righteous" are the same word. Translations differ as to which word they use but they mean the exact same thing.

So then here are some questions:
Is it righteous to refuse to hold something against someone?
Is it righteous to remove another person's burdens?
Is it righteous to forgive?
Is it righteous to give people a second chance?
Is it righteous to do everything you can to not let someone's negative behavior stand in the way of your relationship with them?
Is it righteous to love?

Hopefully your answer was "yes" to those questions. All of those "righteous things" are also "just things." Religion has skewed our minds to see righteous & just as two different things. We think of justness as judging people based on their actions then we turn around & think of righteousness as not judging people based on their actions. God only views justness & righteousness through love. Religion has taught us to always counter love with a "but.."

How can you really love someone when you think they are, not just worthless, but so utterly wicked that they deserve to be tortured forever? The Christian religion makes mankind out to be the most vile thing that ever existed. It is like saying everyone you know deserves a life sentence in prison but instead of hanging out in a jail cell we all deserve to be painfully tortured the entire time. 8 year old girl? Life sentence! Cancerous teenager? Life sentence! Single mother? Life sentence! Who among us would think that is justice in this life time? Yet we've been taught that it is justice in the next life.

Religion teaches you to look at mankind, not through the eyes of Jesus, but through the eyes of sin. It teaches us to interpret "all have sinned & fallen short of the glory of God" as "all deserve to be horribly tortured forever!" It works great because they don't even quote the whole sentence from scripture which goes on to say "& all are justified freely by God's grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

Jesus is life & there is an ultimate consequence to rejecting life, death. But perverted religionists need to understand something, EVERYONE'S name starts out in the Book of Life. NO ONE deserves to die the second death in God's eyes. Jesus already handled the sins of the world. God's default is not, "You deserve to go to hell!" God's default is "I love you! Please choose to receive my life! I want us to get to know each other!"

The bulk of Christianity has royally screwed up pretty much everything. The world's viewpoint of what Christianity teaches is, "You're going to hell unless you apologize to God & serve Him." That's like saying to your child, "Son, I'm going to strap you to a table cover you with meat & then release the hounds unless you beg for my forgiveness & promise to do my exact bidding for the rest of your life." And that is a LIGHT example of what people think the "Christian" or "gospel" message is.

Christianity not only embraces but PROMOTES the guilt & shame that Jesus DESPISED & came to free us from. It gets this message across to the world, "You should view yourself as sin does, worthy of death & eternal torture." Then to Christians they teach this, "I should view myself as sin does, worthy of death & eternal torture but then be thankful that Jesus saved this worthless bile that I am." The word saved means rescued & made whole. And the reality is that we are saved the first time we trust God. But do you know what the bulk of Christianity honestly teaches? It teaches that "Saved means God didn't flush you, you turd! Now you've gotta polish yourself, the turd that you are, to please God."

The real gospel starts with "God so loved the world." The "Christian" gospel starts with devaluing mankind to the utter..UTTERmost.
In the real gospel God says, "I love you for you." The "Christian" gospel says, "God loves you even though you don't deserve it." While it is true that we cannot earn such a priceless love, ask yourself, "WHO says we don't deserve love?" Does an infant "deserve" his or her parents' love? The parents think so! Then WHO IS sin, Satan, or anyone to say to any child of God, "YOU DON'T DESERVE THE FATHER'S LOVE"!!??!! WAKE UP! EVERYONE OF US IS CHERISHED BY OUR FATHER BEYOND ANYTHING WE COULD EVER IMAGINE!

For related posts see the page Choose Life & Live!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Examining The Didache & Finding Out Most Falsehoods Have Been Around Right from the Start

The Didache is said to be "The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations." It is likely the oldest document of Christianity not found in the bible (written somewhere around 50-120). The Didache is very law centered & sin focused, so much so it starts off focusing exclusively on rules & sins. It quotes a lot of scripture as many preachers do today. The problem comes with the focus & selectiveness of the scriptures/teachings they choose. Of course some of these ideas are inherited from Judaism but we see this earliest group of Christians miss the cross, not even making mention of it or the blood even when speaking about the Eucharist!!! At the end you'll see a list of false ideas that were presented in the Didache that are still prevalent today. First I break down the good :), bad :(, funny :D, confusing :/, & disgusting :x

Examining Chapter 1
Focuses on commands mostly given by Jesus & claims that keeping His commands "give you life." It calls keeping the commands the "way of life." The truth is that Jesus is the Way & Jesus is The Life & God is Eternal Life. Jesus Himself said two of those things yet only keeping His commands are said to be "the way of life" here.
It says guilt is removed by "giving according to the commandment."
It says those "receiving without having a need shall pay the penalty."
Most of the commands were given by Jesus.
"Let your gifts for the poor sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give."

Examining Chapter 2
Focuses on abstaining from sins, listing as many as it could again sometimes quoting scripture/Jesus.
"Some you shall love more than your own life."
Some harmful things are listed here not quite found in scripture.
    "You shall not take things by force."
    "You shall not commit pederasty (pedophilia)."
    "You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born."

Examining Chapter 3
Focuses on more sins to abstain from.
Poses an extreme fear of falling into idolatry by looking at things.
"Always tremble at the words you have heard."
"Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass."
"Do not be a purifier"??

Examining Chapter 4
"For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord." As if the lord isn't everywhere or inside of you.
"Do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions."
"If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins."
"Teach them the fear of God from their youth." Jesus was the end of fear. Jesus' coming was prophesied as a time to not fear (John 12:14-15).
"You slaves shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear."
"You shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience." Says you must avoid God if your conscience condemns you, boy did that idea last!
It again calls these commands "the way of life."
"Do not long for division."
"Share all things with your brother."
"You are partakers in that which is immortal."
"God comes not to call according to the outward appearance."
"In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions" but ONLY good if it is to reconcile with people you've hurt.
"Do not add or take away from the commandments of the Lord." Funny because this writing adds many commands claiming they are from the Lord & obviously leaves things Jesus commanded out like, "Do not be called leaders" & "You shall not exercise authority over one another." Possibly because elsewhere it teaches slaves to treat their masters as "a type of God" & the next quote below.
"Honor him who speaks the word of God to you as you do the Lord."

Examining Chapter 5
All about sins being the "way of death." Sad that good works are "the way of life." People following these teachings so far are screwed.
"Not knowing Him Who made them" is one of the "ways of death." I support this one because if you don't know Him who saves you from death you will die.
Being "advocates of the rich" is a bad thing? Sounds like bitter class prejudice.

Examining Chapter 6
"If you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect. but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able." This makes His yoke sound hard & heavy rather than easy & light as Jesus said it is. Suggests some may not be able to bear it. Also yokes are made for two. We are never expected to "bear the entire yoke." Includes the "as long as you try your best God is pleased with you" idea so prevalent in churches as if trying or working is needed to please God.
"Don't eat meat sacrificed to idols." Paul's teaching that idols are fake so what you eat doesn't matter is nowhere to be found in this ultra legalistic writing.
"Against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods." "Dead gods?" There is only one true God.

Examining Chapter 7
Baptism rules are discussed here.
"Before the baptism let the baptizer, baptized, & whoever else can fast; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before." People were baptized on the spot in Acts. No time to fast there. What a dumb rule.
They take "living water" literally. Where are you to find this physical living water to baptize in?
"But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm." Only promotes a sprinkling type of baptism if you have no living, cold, warm, or "other" water.

Examining Chapter 8
Repeats the Lord's Prayer
Says to pray the Lord's Prayer "three times each day." Vain repetition anyone?
Says to only fast on certain days of the week.

Examining Chapter 9
Rules about what to recite during the Eucharist.
Calls the unbaptized "dogs."
"We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus"
Makes no mention of Jesus' blood for the cup of wine!!!
Makes no mention of Jesus' body for the broken bread!!!

Examining Chapter 10
"We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever."
"Make your people perfect in Your love"
"Permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire."
"Remember, Lord, Thy Church." Goes from saying "God's name" is in our hearts to asking God to remember them. Christian double-mindedness like we see in most churches today. We don't have to ask God to remember us, He "always lives to participate in our lives." (Hebrews 7:25)
"Let grace come" but grace has come, "Grace & truth came through Jesus Christ."

Examining Chapter 11
Rules, rules rules about how apostles & prophets are supposed to be some of these are hyper-legalistic & silly.
"Don't try or judge prophets who speak in the Spirit." A very dangerous idea that also goes against Paul's teaching on the matter in 1 Corinthians 14:29.
"Every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet." This sounds good but suggests that "truth" only consists of what you do, thus the prophets in view teach laws.
"apostles shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet." I sorta like this because it keeps them from hanging around & taking authority. However it also prevents relationships from being established. The 3rd day thing is pretty goofy too.
"Every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet." I told you these rules were silly.

Examining Chapter 12
"Receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward." Good call in getting to know a person first.
Rules about what to do when coming into contact with travelers. Man made rules = not listening to the Spirit. While similar to 2 Thessalonians 3:10, which addresses locals, it makes Christian hospitality limited.

Examining Chapter 13
Equates prophets to high priests. Jesus is our only high priest now.
Suggests a mandatory giving to support local prophets which goes against 2 Corinthians 9:7's "don't give under compulsion."
"Take the first-fruit of every possession, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment." not sure what they mean "as it may seem good to you" when they are being commanded to do so.

Examining Chapter 14
"confess your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure." What a Christless idea. The Eucharist was apparently considered a "sacrifice." Funny that considering how there is no mention of the sacrifice of Jesus even while addressing the Eucharist in this writing.

Examining Chapter 15
"reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel."
Requires apology before forgiveness among brothers, demanding no association with a person until he repents.

Examining Chapter 16
"then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning." Similar language to Revelation regarding an anti-Christ type of person. Also speaks of "the sign of the sound of the trumpet" & "the resurrection of the dead."
"The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven."
"the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time." Perhaps a loss of salvation concept is being taught here?
"Let not your loins unloosed but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come."

Major problems/falsehoods that exist to this day:
Main focuses are sins & commandments
No focus on (or mention of) the cross or resurrection of Jesus & thus no focus on His finished work on our behalf.
Filled with tons of man made rules like nearly all doctrines, sermons, & books today. This is bad because man made rules = not listening to the Spirit.
Teaches God is only present in certain places or at certain times.
Teaches that God allows all evil & harm.
Teaches to have no respect for a person when reproving (rebuking). This isn't typically taught today but it sure is practiced.
Teaches you must avoid God if your conscience condemns you. Similar to today's teachings of "God won't hear your prayer if you have unconfessed sin" & "God breaks fellowship with you when you sin." Also similar to today's tendencies to run from God because of feelings of shame but that traces back to the garden of Eden.
Says to treat men who are over you as "types of God." While few would say it so literally today it is very evident that this is still done. Also says to honor preacher types as much as you honor God because they speak the Word of God.
Makes the burden of Jesus' yoke sound heavy instead of light. People today are always talking about how hard difficult & burdensome the Christian life is & the "cost of discipleship."
Promotes the idea of 'as long as you try your best God is pleased with you,' as if you must always try hard to please God.
Teaches perfection (holiness) comes by performance.
Demands the Lord's Prayer be recited 3 times a day. The vain repetition of that prayer is still heavily done today.
Asks God to "Remember His people." This old covenant practice is everywhere today. What a sad idea that the children have to tell their Father to continue to act like a basic father.
Tells you not to judge prophets. Likewise today many are shamed if they question a Pastor's teachings. "Touch not God's anointed" they say.
Sees truth as primarily consisting of commands God has given that you should keep rather than being about who God is & how He loves you.
Promotes non-relational teaching/discipling/mentoring.
Promotes over the top fear of idolatry. In this case just by looking at creation & yet still that is not as bad as today's false teaching on idolatry that you can make the people you love the most into idols, sickening.
Places limits on hospitality. This is prevalent today especially within church walls.
Claims prophets are high priests. Jesus is our only High Priest. Catholics still have priests that are "higher" than the congregation & the rest do too, they just use a different title than "priest" because somehow that makes it all better right?
Promotes mandatory giving.
Promotes sin confession among Christians for purification.
Suggests the loss of salvation is possible. Ultimately suggesting that faith doesn't save you, it just keeps you around until you screw up.
Promotes fear & trembling before God, y'know instead of boldly coming to the throne of grace.
Requires the offender apologize before forgiveness is offered. Also demands you not associate with that person until they "repent." This is shunning which is done in many ways today. One of the main ways is if you leave a church (especially the church system all together) people refuse to relate to you.

Less common problems/falsehoods that exist to this day:
Acts as if grace has not come.
Promotes strange fasting rituals.
Seems to promote bizarre abstinence.
Promotes literal self-righteousness saying keeping commands "give you life."
Says you must "give ransom for your own sins."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gnostic Writing Excerpts that Don't Suck

I'm not saying these are true quotes or true accounts but I wondered if there were some truths that could be culled from these as there is from any book today. Most of these writings are crap or nonsense. Some easily show you the exact teachings John was writing against in 1 John. If you're not looking to understand the Gnostics don't bother reading these because below are the only good things I could find. Don't think, "Boy there are some wise, graceful things here. Maybe I should check these writings out" because I assure you these are the only wise, graceful things I've found in these writings. Brackets denote paraphrasing or changes made by me. All sub-bullets are notes by me.

From The Apocryphon of John:
  • Be not afraid. I am with you all always.
  • A saved soul receives eternal rest.
  • I am the providence of everything. I became like my own human children.
  • I completed everything and you have heard it.
From The Gospel of Mary:
  • Beware that no one lead you astray saying look here or look there! For the Son of Man is within you.
  • Do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.
From The Sophia of Jesus:
  • The Father is unchanging good. He is faultless. He is eternal. He is blessed. He is immeasurable. He is perfect, having no defect.
  • God is full of ever-imperishable glory and ineffable joy. His people are at rest in him, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy in his unchanging glory and measureless jubilation.
  • They ever delight themselves on account of their unchanging glory and the immeasurable rest.
  • I came here that you might be joined with that Spirit and Breath, and might from two become one, that you might yield much fruit and go up to Him Who Is from the Beginning, in ineffable joy and glory and honor and grace of the Father.
  • Those who have the untraceable wealth of the Spirit may take from his goodness, even the wealth of their rest.
  • I came to remove them from their blindness, that I might tell everyone about God.
From The Gospel of Thomas:
  • The treasures of God are unfailing and enduring.
  • The one who lives from the living one will not see death.
  • His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" Jesus said, "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
  • Jesus said, "The kingdom of the father is like a certain woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking on the road, still some distance from home, the handle of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did not realize it; she had noticed no accident. When she reached her house, she set the jar down and found it empty."
    • The parable of the empty jar from the Gospel of Thomas strikes me as a true teaching of Jesus that found its way into the gnostic writings.
    • My Interpretation:  The meal is sin. Home is heaven. This refers to Jesus taking away our sins here on earth but the majority of us do not realize that they are gone. When we get to heaven all of us will find that our sins had been emptied out. This does fit the experience of the kingdom for most Christians. Many of us think we are taking the meal (sin) home (to heaven) & will be judged for it but we do not realize Jesus has already removed our sins from us.
From The Gospel of Truth:
  • The established truth of Jesus as the Savior is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.
  • Jesus is the expression of God's desires.
  • The Son reveals the Father so that through the compassion of the Father people may know him & end their wearying search for the Father and rest themselves in him, knowing that He is rest.
  • When you are unified with the Father you are complete. Those who do not know the Father are incomplete but when they know the Father, incompleteness, from that moment on, will cease to exist. As one's ignorance disappears when he gains knowledge, and as darkness disappears when light appears, so also incompleteness is eliminated by completeness. You understand yourself when you understand your unity with the Father.
  • Say in your heart that you are [in] this perfect heavenly day of salvation, rest, & endless light. Say in your heart that in you the light which does not fail dwells.
  • Make sure-footed those who stumble and stretch forth your hands to the sick. Nourish the hungry and set at ease those who are troubled. Foster men who love. Raise up and awaken those who sleep.
  • Do not be concerned with that which you have cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed [sin]. Do not return to them to eat them. Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten, for you have already shaken it off. Do not be a place of the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen your last obstacles.
  • The Father is sweet and his desires are good. He knows the things that are yours, so that you may rest yourselves in them.
  • God came and destroyed the division and he brought love.
  • They have not been deprived of the glory of the Father nor have they thought of Him as small, nor bitter, nor angry, but as absolutely good, unperturbed, & sweet.
  • They rest in him who rests, without wearying themselves. The Father is in them, and they are in the Father, since they are perfect, inseparable from him who is truly good. They lack nothing in any way, but they are given rest and are refreshed by the Spirit.
  • The Father is good and his children are perfect and worthy of his name, because he is their Father.
From The Gospel According to Philip:
  • The son is not only a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. The dead are heirs to nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit?
  • He who has believed in the truth has found life.
  • Jesus said "He who shall not eat my flesh and drink my blood has not life in him." What is it? His flesh is the word, and his blood is the Holy Spirit. He who has received these has food and he has drink and clothing.
    • This is an interesting possibility.
    • Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the removal of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28)
      • Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
      • Do not get drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
  • The father makes a son, and the son has not the power to make a son. For he who has been begotten has not the power to beget, but the son gets brothers for himself, not sons.
  • Faith receives, love gives. No one will be able to receive without faith. No one will be able to give without love.
  • When the pearl is cast down into the mud, it becomes greatly despised but it always has value in the eyes of its owner. Compare the Sons of God: wherever they may be, they still have value in the eyes of their Father.
  • An ass which turns a millstone did a hundred miles walking. When it was loosed, it found that it was still at the same place. There are men who make many journeys, but make no progress towards any destination.
  • [You are all equally loved but do not see it]. When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.
    • When you have knowledge of God's love you will see it as it is & rejoice but when you have an inaccurate view of who God is & how He loves you you will not recognize His love even while it is being poured out on you or in you.
  • If you fear the flesh it will gain mastery over you.
  • Through the Holy Spirit we are indeed begotten. We are anointed through the Spirit. When we were begotten, we were united.
  • Adam's separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them [to Himself].
  • Men make gods and worship their creation. It would be more fitting for those gods to worship men!
  • To those who so desired, Jesus gave life, that they might not die.
  • The law was the tree of knowledge. It has power to give the knowledge of good and evil. It neither removes from evil, nor does it set men in the good, but it creates death for those who eat of it.
  • These are the ones which will not be able to rise above the heart of flesh. If they do not know themselves they will not enjoy what they possess. But those who have come to know themselves will enjoy their possessions.
  • [Those who are better at abstaining from sin] become arrogant. Even their knowledge gives them a sense of superiority over the whole world. But "Love builds up." Those who are really freed through the truth are willing to live as slaves because of their love for those who have not yet been freed by the truth.
  • Spiritual love is [like a] fragrance. All those who love take pleasure in it. Those who are nearby also profit from their love. [Love those who are nearby & they shall be able to love as well because] love heals wounds.
  • Knowledge is the light through which we ripen.
  • It is not proper to cause anyone distress - whether the person is great or small, unbeliever or believer - and then give comfort only to those who take satisfaction in good deeds. Some find it advantageous to give comfort [only] to the one who has fared well.
  • Truth is stronger than ignorance and error. It gives freedom. The Word said, "If you know the truth, the truth will make you free." Ignorance is a slave. Knowledge is freedom. If we know the truth, we shall find the fruits of the truth within us.
From The Book of Thomas the Contender:
  • Since you are called my brother learn who you are, in what way you exist. It is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself.
  • Blessed is the wise man who sought after the truth, and when he found it, he rested upon it forever and was unafraid of those who wanted to disturb him.
  • It is useful & good for you to rest.
  • Their mind is directed to their own selves, for their thought is occupied with their deeds.
From The Apocryphon of James:
  • I came down to dwell with you, so that you in turn might dwell with me.
  • You are the beloved; you are they who will be the cause of life in many.
  • Rejoice, and be glad, as sons of God.
  • For your sakes I placed myself under the curse of the law, that you may be saved.
From The Letter of Peter to Philip:
  • Why are you asking me to hear you? I am Jesus Christ who is with you forever.
  • Be not afraid, I am with you forever.
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ is the author of our rest.
From The Prayer of the Apostle Paul:
You are my treasure house open for me!

From The Prayer of Thanksgiving:
From the Father to everyone and everything comes the fatherly kindness and affection and love, and any teaching there may be that is sweet and plain

From The Treatise on the Resurrection:
  • We have received rest through our Savior, our Lord Christ. We received it when we came to know the truth and rested ourselves upon it.
  • We have known the Son of Man, and we have believed that he rose from among the dead. This is he of whom we say, "He became the destruction of death, as he is a great one in whom they believe." Great are those who believe.
  • The mind of those who have known him shall not perish.
  • We have received salvation from end to end. Let us think in this way! Let us comprehend in this way!
  • The resurrection is the truth which stands firm. It is the revelation of what is, and the transformation of things, and a transition into newness. For imperishability descends upon the perishable; the light flows down upon the darkness, swallowing it up. Why not consider yourself as risen and already brought to this?
  • Do not be jealous of anyone who is in your number when he is able to help.
From The Exegesis on the Soul:
  • It is by being born again that [lives] will be saved. And this is due not to rote phrases or to professional skills or to book learning. Rather it is the grace & gift of the [Father].
  • The Father is good and loves humanity, and he hears the soul that calls upon him and sends it the light of salvation.
  • He is long suffering and abundantly merciful.
From The Testimony of Truth:
  • Many have sought after the truth and have not been able to find it; because there has taken hold of them the old leaven of the Pharisees and the scribes of the Law. For no one who is under the Law will be able to look up to the truth, for they will not be able to serve two masters.
  • For one who is in ignorance, it is difficult for him to diminish his works of darkness which he has done.
  • The foolish - thinking in their heart that if they confess, "We are Christians," in word only (but) not with power, while giving themselves over to ignorance, not knowing where they are going nor who Christ is, thinking that they will live, when they are (really) in error - hasten towards the principalities and authorities. They fall into their clutches because of the ignorance that is in them.
  • This is the thought that they have within them: "If we deliver ourselves over to death for the sake of the Name we will be saved." These matters are not settled in this way.
  • This is the perfect life, that man know himself by means of the All.
  • We have been released from the flesh.
  • He who has found the life-giving word, and he who has come to know the Father of Truth, has come to rest; he has ceased seeking, having found.
  • A free man is not envious.
From Eugnostos the Blessed:
  • The Father is unchanging good. He is faultless. He is everlasting.
  • The Father is ever full of ineffable joy. They are all at rest in him, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy, over the unchanging glory and the measureless jubilation of the Father.
  • The kingdom of the Son of Man is full of ineffable joy and unchanging jubilation, ever rejoicing in ineffable joy over their imperishable glory.
  • They ever delight themselves on account of their glory that does not change, and the rest that is not measured.
  • He will speak all these things to you joyously and in pure knowledge.
From The Secret Gospel of Mark:
We are children of Light having been illuminated by the dawn of the Spirit of the Lord from on high, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty for all things are pure to the pure.

From The Living Gospel:
The Savior Jesus [is] the head (source) of all these gifts. May he be praised!

From Second Treatise of the Great Seth:
  • They put on the new man since they have come to know that perfect Blessed One of the eternal Father, which is I. I came to my own and united them with myself.
  • We were hated and persecuted, not only by those who are ignorant, but also by those who think that they are advancing the name of Christ, since they were not knowing who they are. They persecuted those who have been liberated by [Christ]. They weep & groan because they did not fully know [Christ]. Instead, they served two masters, even a multitude.
  • We are innocent, pure, & good.
  • They have bruised the noble pleasure of the Assembly because they revealed a mixture of ignorance in a counterfeit since they are untaught & have not understood that light [God] has fellowship with light [children of light]. They made an imitation of truth, having proclaimed a doctrine of lies so as to resemble the freedom and purity of the perfect Assembly. It was ludicrous. It is I who bear witness that it was ludicrous. They join themselves with their doctrine to fear and slavery and worldly cares. [They see themselves] as small. They hate the One in whom they are, and love the one in whom they are not. For they do not know the knowledge of the greatness that it is from above and from a fountain of truth, and that it is not from slavery & fear. They freely use the [laws] which are not theirs. They desire a law from themselves over whatever they will wish.

    They lead astray those who possess the truth of their freedom. They buy them for servitude & constrain them by cares and fears. Yet they are in slavery themselves. But he who is brought by constraint of force and threat has [still] been guarded by God. Those who are from Him [always] belong to Him. He has made them perfect through the living water. They are perfect & worthy & established & united with Christ. There is no enmity [between them & God but the offer] of good friendship. O those who do not see, you do not see your blindness. The blind ones are always being slaves of law and earthly fear. He who lives in harmony and friendship of brotherly love, naturally and not artificially, this person is truly the desire of the Father who is perfect love.
    • This has some interesting & exact language that can apply to Christians & Christian leaders who live under law, how they treat those who are under grace, & how God loves & values both groups regardless. I've gussied it up a little by light editing, reordering, & paraphrasing. So don't go thinking the Gnostics were persecuted grace people. This same document denies Jesus' death & other terrible things.
  • I accomplish everything through the Good One.
  • Through our fellowship we grasped his teaching.
  • He is life & perfect Truth, since he came from the Father. The Father is the union of peace and a friend of good things, and life eternal and undefiled joy. [We know Him by] a great harmony of life and faith.
  • [Your union with God will be a] joyful union [when you trust that He] is trustworthy and [you] faithfully listen to [Him].
  • The Father is in fatherhood and motherhood and brotherhood and sisterhood and wisdom.
  • Union, peace, & love are perfected in Christ.
  • They have been blended into the one through the Living Word.
  • I am in the spirit and the truth of motherhood.
  • I am among those who are united in the friendship of friends forever, who neither know hostility at all, nor evil, but who are united by my knowledge in word and peace. These are in friendship with each other in the spirit.
  • All these are from a single Spirit.
  • You are perfect and incorruptible ones because [you are born] of the incorruptible and perfect One.
  • Present the knowledge of incorruption from the spiritual union. [If you] do not know it, [it is] because the fleshly cloud overshadows [your mind].
  • The bosom of the Father is the place of the sons of the Truth. Rest then with me in His bosom, my fellow spirits and my brothers, forever.
From The Three Steles of Seth:
  • You have saved, you have saved, you have saved us, O crown-bearer, crown-giver! We bless you eternally. We are perfect on account of you. We became perfect with you who is complete, who completes. You are Perfect! You are Perfect! You are Perfect!
  • You have empowered the eternal ones in being; You have empowered divinity in living; You have empowered knowledge in goodness.
  • You have come forth to these and from these.
  • Salvation has come to us; from you is salvation. You are wisdom, You are knowledge; You are truthfulness. On account of You is life; from You is life.
  • Unite us as You have been united. Teach us those things which You do see.
  • You have heard! You have heard! You have saved! You have saved! We give thanks! We bless You always! We shall glorify You!
  • We bless You Father of divinity and life, creator of mind, giver of good, giver of blessedness!
  • We bless You because we were saved. Always we glorify You. We have blessed You, for we are empowered.
From The Teachings of Silvanus:
  • Do not flee from the divine and the teaching which are within you, for He who is teaching you loves you very much.
  • Cast your anxiety upon God alone.
  • A foolish man puts on shame like a garment of sorrow.
  • [Partake in] your divine nature. Regard Christ, this true friend, as a good teacher.
  • God, the holy Father, the true Life, the Spring of Life
  • The divine which is within you will purify you & make you become self-controlled in your soul and body. He will give you a great light & you will become a throne of wisdom.
  • Know your birth. Know yourself.
  • The created, however, is the [spirit], which has come into being in [the likeness of] the image of God. Live according to the [spirit]. Do not think about things pertaining to the flesh. Acquire strength, for the [spirit] is strong.
  • The Adversary comes as a true friend, saying, "I advise good things for you." But you did not recognize the deceitfulness of this one when you received him as a true friend. For he casts into your heart evil thoughts as good ones, and hypocrisy in the guise of true wisdom, eagerness in the guise of conservative frugality, boastfulness and pride in the guise of great self-control, and godlessness as great godliness. And he casts false knowledge into your heart in the guise of mysterious words. My son, how will you be able to comprehend the schemes of this one, or his soul-killing counsel? For his devices, and the schemes of his wickedness, are many.

    Accept Christ, who is able to set you free, and who has taken on the devices of that one, so that through these he might destroy him. For this is the king whom you have who is forever invincible, against whom no one will be able to fight nor say a word. This is your king and your father, for there is no one like him. The divine teacher is with you always. He is a helper, and he meets you because of the good which is in you.
  • A wise man does not blurt out every word, but he will be discerning toward those who hear.
  • Entrust yourself to God as father and as friend.
  • Christ is the true light and the sun of life. For just as the sun which is visible and makes light for the eyes of the flesh, so Christ illuminates every mind and the heart.
  • Do not think in your heart that God exists in a place. If you localize the Lord of all in a place, then it is fitting for you to say that the place is more exalted than he who dwells in it. For that which contains is more exalted than that which is contained.
  • It is necessary to know God as he is. You cannot know God through anyone except Christ, who has the image of the Father, for this image reveals the true likeness in correspondence to that which is revealed.
  • Indeed, it is good to ask and to know who God is.
  • He who is in darkness will not be able to see anything unless he receives the light.
  • Do not cease walking in the way of Christ. Walk in it so that you may receive rest from your labors. If you walk in another way, there will be no profit in it.
  • You [are] a temple, (but) you have made yourself [out to be] a tomb. Cease being a tomb, and [know that you are] a temple, [Behold] uprightness and divinity remain in you.
  • The Tree of Life is Christ. He is Wisdom. For he is Wisdom; he is also the Word. He is the Life, the Power, and the Door. He is the Light, the Messenger, and the Good Shepherd. Entrust yourself to this one who became all for your sake.
  • The Life died for you when he was powerless, so that through his death, he might give life to you who have died.
  • Give yourself gladness from the true vine of Christ.
  • Do not pierce yourself with the sword of sin. Do not burn yourself with the fire of lust. Do not surrender yourself to barbarians like a prisoner, nor to savage beasts which want to trample upon you. For they are as lions which roar very loudly.
  • The [spirit] which is a member of God's household is one which is kept pure, and the [spirit] which has put on Christ is one which is pure. It is impossible for it to sin. Now where Christ is, there sin is idle.
  • Let Christ bring to naught all powers which have come upon you.
  • Know who Christ is, and acquire him as a friend, for this is the friend who is faithful. He is also God and Teacher. This one, being God, became man for your sake. It is this one who broke the iron bars of the Underworld, and the bronze bolts. It is this one who attacked and cast down every haughty tyrant. It is he who loosened from himself the chains of which he had taken hold. He brought up the poor from the Abyss and the mourners from the Underworld. It is he who humbled the haughty powers; he who put to shame haughtiness through humility; he who has cast down the strong and the boaster through weakness, so that humility for God's sake might be highly exalted; (and) he who has put on humanity.
  • God bears patiently with man always.
  • Christ has exalted man to become like God, not in order that he might bring God down to man, but that man might become like God.
  • The Life of Heaven wishes to renew all, that he may cast out that which is weak that everyone may shine forth in heavenly garments in order to make manifest the command of the Father (who) is exceedingly brilliant, and that Christ may crown those wishing to contend well. Christ, being judge of the contest, is he who crowned every one, teaching every one to contend. This one who contended first received the crown, gained dominion, and appeared, giving light to everyone. And all are made new through the Holy Spirit.
  • O Lord Almighty, how much glory shall I give Thee? No one has been able to glorify God adequately. It is You who have given glory to Your Word (Son) in order to save everyone, O Merciful God.
  • Christ is illuminates the power of God, and he is an emanation of the pure glory of the Almighty. He is the spotless mirror of the working of God, and he is the image of his goodness. He is the eye which looks at the invisible Father, always serving and forming by the Father's will. He alone was begotten by the Father's good pleasure. He is Wisdom and Life. He gives life to, and nourishes, all living things and powers. For he is the beginning and the end, watching over all. He is troubled on behalf of everyone, and he rejoices and also mourns.
  • Raise yourself up when you have left your old man behind like an eagle.
  • O this patience of God, which bears with every one, which desires that every one who has become subject to sin be saved!
  • For God does not need to put any man to the test. He knows things before they happen, and he knows the hidden things of the heart.
  • Open the door for yourself, that you may know the One who is. For he is the Ruler of Faith and the Sharp Sword, having become all for everyone because he wishes to have compassion on everyone.
  • If you have Christ, you will conquer this entire world.
  • Do not wish to acquire honors which are insecure, nor the boastfulness which brings you to ruin.
  • Accept the wisdom of Christ, (who is) patient and mild, and guard this, O my son, knowing that God's way is always profitable.

From The Gospel of Judas:  Nothing worth keeping
From The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles:  Nothing worth keeping
From The Apocalypse of Paul:  Nothing worth keeping
From The Thought of Norea:  Nothing worth keeping

From The Apocalypse of Peter:
  • Those who oppose the truth & are the messengers of error will set up their error and their law against the pure thoughts of God, thinking that good and evil are from one source. They do business in my word and what they spread will result in harsh outcomes.
  • I ransomed them from the slavery in which they were to give them freedom.
  • They think they are in the spiritual fellowship of those united [by Christ's death & life]. But instead they are in the imitation. Where [brothers] oppress their brothers.
  • There shall be others of those who are outside our number who name themselves bishop and also ministers, as if they have received their authority from God. People will bend themselves under the judgment of [these] leaders.
  • There are multitudes that will mislead other multitudes of living ones, and destroy them among themselves. And when they speak your name they will be believed.
    • This is a picture of all of church history. On the violent side like the Catholics killed those who opposed them for centuries & the protestants killed those such as the anabaptists.
    • All that is needed is for people to speak (in) God's name & others will follow them regardless of how ungodly they lead.
  • In proportion to their lies they will rule over the little ones.
  • He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus.
  • He whom they crucified is the first-born. He stands joyfully looking at those who did him violence
  • Be courageous and do not fear at all. For I shall be with you in order that none of your enemies may prevail unto you. Peace be to you, Be strong!
From The First Apocalypse of James:
  • For you descended into a great ignorance, but you have not been defiled by anything in it. You walked in mud, and your garments were not soiled.
  • Now since you are a just man of God, you have embraced me and kissed me. Truly I say to you that you have stirred up great anger and wrath against yourself [from men].
  • They seize people & sit there as toll collectors. Not only do they demand toll, but they also take away souls by theft.
  • A just man will perish through injustice.

From The Second Apocalypse of James:
  • This Lord who is present came as a son who sees.
  • I hasten to make them free and want to take them to the Father who wants them.
  • I am the beloved. I am the righteous one. I am the son of the Father. I speak even as I heard.
  • Understand and know the Father who has compassion.
  • I tell you judges, you have been judged. And you did not spare, but you were spared.
  • Renounce the difficult way, which is so variable, and walk in accordance with Him who desires that you become free men. God will not judge you for those things that you did, but will have mercy on you. He is not a wrathful one, He is a kind Father. But you have judged yourselves, and because of this you will remain in chains. You have oppressed yourselves [thus] you will repent but it will be of no benefit to you at all.
    • When you judge yourself & oppress yourself you put chains on yourself, keeping you from experiencing the freedom God wants you to have. In this bound state repenting (trying to sin less/turning from sins) never works out. That was my experience before I saw the freedom God had given me. I would repent for the same things pretty well every day & nothing ever improved. It didn't benefit me because I was judging myself as a sinner struggling in chains instead of knowing God had removed the real chains long ago. The idea of repentance that I grew up with was "feel really bad (ashamed) & promise God I'll never perform that particular action again." It wasn't just of no benefit, it was also additional self-oppression because I was relying on my performance & promises instead of God's on my behalf.
  • I am the Just One. I do not act as your master but I act as your helper.
  • My God and my Father saved me from dead hope & made me alive.
  • Love is alive in me.
  • I trusted in you with all my strength, because you are the life of the life!
  • Because I am alive in you, your grace is alive in me.
From The Infancy Gospel of Thomas:
Let those bear fruit that were barren and let them see that were blind in heart.

From The Acts of Paul and Thecla:
  • Paul's companions Demas & Hermogenes were then full of hypocrisy. But Paul looked only at the goodness of God and did them no harm, but loved them greatly.
  • We arose again when we came to the knowledge of God.
  • God stands in need of nothing but the salvation of his creatures. He wants to reclaim them from their corruptions, from sin & death.
  • Jesus Christ the Son of God alone is the way to eternal salvation and the foundation of eternal life. He is a refuge to those who are in distress, a support to the afflicted, a hope and defense to those who are hopeless, and in a word, all those who do not trust on him shall not live, but suffer eternal death.
From The Gospel of Nicodemus (aka Acts of Pilate):
  • They which speak the truth are judged by them that have authority upon earth.
  • Blessed be the Lord God, who has redeemed Israel from shedding [the] innocent blood [of Jesus].
  • The most beloved Son of God will come upon the earth to raise up the body of Adam and the bodies of the dead. He shall anoint with the oil of lovingkindness all that trust him, and that oil of lovingkindness shall be unto all generations of them that shall be born of water and of the Holy Ghost, unto life eternal.
  • Satan the prince of death said, "Jesus has much been mine enemy, doing me great hurt, and many that I had made blind, lame, dumb, leprous, and possessed He has healed with a word: and some whom I have brought to death, them he has taken away."
  • Jesus who was able to raise the dead is God, strong in command and mighty. He is the saviour of mankind. He will set free all that are shut up in the hard prison and bound in the chains of their sins that cannot be broken, and will bring them unto the life of his God forever.
  • The Lord looked down from heaven that he might hear the groanings of them that are in fetters and deliver the children of them that have been slain.
  • The Lord of majesty appeared in the form of a man and lightened the eternal darkness and broke the bonds that could not be loosed: and the help of his everlasting power came to us that sat in the deep darkness of our transgressions and in the shadow of death of our sins.
  • In majesty unblemished Jesus in wrath condemned the power of Satan.
  • Jesus, so great and so small, both humble and exalted, both soldier and commander, a marvelous warrior in the shape of a bondsman, and a King of glory who bore the cross & was slain upon it.
  • Jesus sets free the prisoners that are held bound by original sin and restores them into liberty. Jesus sheds his divine & bright light upon them that were blinded with the darkness of their sins.
  • The world of earth has been always subject unto death & sin until Jesus. By His death on the cross He tries to take all men out of the bonds of sin [& give them His life].
  • The King of glory in His majesty trampled death & drew mankind to Himself, unto His own brightness.
  • Jesus made all the darkness of death flee by the brightness of his majesty & has broken the strong depths of the prisons, and let out the prisoners and loosed them that were bound. And all that were sighing in torment do rejoice. The captives which never could be joyful now threaten the powers of darkness.
  • From the beginning until this day they have despaired of life and salvation, BUT NOW none of their usual roarings are heard, neither do any groan, nor is there any sign of tears upon the face of any of them.
  • O Satan, the riches which you had gained by the tree of transgression and the losing of paradise, you have lost by the tree of the cross, and all your gladness has perished.
  • Satan is the author of death and head of all pride.
  • Satan [has been given over to eternal torture] in the stead of Adam and his children.
  • The Lord stretching forth his hand, said, "Come unto me, all my holy children which bear my image and my likeness. You that by the tree and the devil and death were condemned, behold now the devil and death condemned by the tree."
  • Life is in the Lord's good pleasure.
  • O Lord, you have set the name of your glory in the heavens and set up your cross for proof of redemption upon the earth.
  • The Lord has made known his saving health, before the face of all nations has he revealed his righteousness.
  • God is the Lord and has showed us light. Amen, Alleluia.
  • What God is like you, O Lord, taking away iniquity and removing sins? And now you withhold your wrath for a testimony that your are merciful of free will, and you do have mercy on us, your remove all our iniquities and have sunk all our sins in the depths of the sea, as you swore unto our fathers in the days of old.
  • All the saints said, "This is our God for ever and ever, he shall be our guide. Amen, Alleluia."
  • He brought them all into the glory and beauty (grace) of paradise.
  • Blessed be the Lord Almighty, the Father of eternal good things, the Father of mercies, you that has given such grace unto sinners & has brought them again into the beauty of paradise & into your good pastures.

The main problems with the gnostic writings I read are 1. They often depersonify God making him into an incomprehensible thing rather than a loving Father to relate to. 2. They create the idea that certain people are superior to others. 3. They are filled with non-sense with Jesus speaking about things & in such a way that we never see Him speak of elsewhere nor do we see the writers of the NT speak of such things. They support each other some but they find no support in the letters of the NT. 4. Its religious fan-fiction play time. Except for the fact that some narratives have Jesus giving out the information most of these purely resemble man made mythology.

On the plus side they seemed to grasp the idea of spiritual union with God & God's people being created perfect from their rebirth (spiritual identity), something taught by John & Paul yet almost absent from all of Christianity today. They also emphasized resting in God.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being Changed by Love

God doesn't have to guilt trip you to make you change your behavior. Romans 2:4 says it is His kindness that leads us to change our minds for the better. You never have to feel guilty about anything you've done. But understand having empathy, sympathy, hurting feelings, etc for someone you've hurt isn't guilt, its compassion. Guilt & shame are when you turn in on yourself & make everything you do wrong about you & your goodness or performance instead of it being about anyone else. It is also when you feel like you've lost favor with God because of what you've done.

Titus 2:11-12,14 says, "God's love for us trains us to reject godless ways & worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. His love for us makes us eager to do what is good. He gave Himself for us to restore us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people who belong to Him as His very own dearly loved children."

God doesn't change us by demands, punishment, & guilt. He changes us by walking with us in love. If you're evaluating your life as to what you should change about yourself you need instead to listen to God for what He wants to change first. He knows you may need to learn things & unlearn other things before you could ever be ready to legitimately stop behaving certain ways.

So don't approach your life as, "that's a sin, I need to stop doing that sin." Instead ask God everyday, "What do you want to do with me today Lord?" And don't assume what He always wants to do with you will involve making you sin less often. We can have a rich journey with God but we limit the richness by our beliefs, assumptions, & expectations.

God holds nothing against you (2 Corinthians 5:19) so don't hold anything against yourself. Consider yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11), that means you stop keeping track of sins (dead men can't count) & just focus on being alive to God by listening to Him & talking to Him. "Trust in God at all times. Pour out your heart before him." (Psalm 62:8)

We Are No Longer Victims of Sin

Romans 7 describes a severe struggle where you can't do what you want & where you do what you don't want to do. Not "struggling with sin" isn't the same as never manifesting those actions.

I can tell the difference between making a choice to do or continue something vs. me being a victim of the power of sin. I am never a victim of the power of sin. Why? Because I know Jesus has had victory over it. But you have to share in His victory for you to experience the benefits & leave the battle field. How do you leave the battle field? Live focused on God's gracious love for you rather than keeping commands.

Romans 6:14, "Sin will have no power over you, because you aren't under Law but under grace." Do we have to struggle with something powerless? No, but you give sin power when you put yourself under law. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57, "The power of sin is the law. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!"

When I wasn't living under grace I was a victim of sin because I put the power in its hands by believing its power. I gave it the gun & the ammo. Doing that led me into shame spirals, long stretches of sinful behavior, & made me very hesitant to engage God.

Here is something that is true that Christians aren't "supposed to" believe,
You can be totally free from sin without having to behave sinlessly.

We can "throw off the sin which so easily entangles us." How? By "Focusing on Jesus & thinking about Him" (Hebrews 12:2-3).

In short, we punk ourselves out by thinking sin is a worthy opponent & not knowing that Jesus already has the victory over it. All sin can do when we refuse to empower it is dizzily lay on the canvas grabbing at our ankles. But what does that analogy mean in practicality? It means sin will lie to us to encourage us to justify our poor choices. Even after impulsive reactions the thought of "I should stop doing/saying this" comes to our minds by our loving Father. We then choose whether or not to listen to our Father or to sin's lie of "you're justified in doing what you're doing."

The person Romans 7 pictures is someone who is under the law &/or walking by the flesh, it paints that person as a victim & rightly so. But once your mind is renewed to trusting in God's love for you, you are never a victim. It is always your choice. You never struggle as if you were a victim but you're still not someone who loves perfectly every time the opportunity arises. The slave who lives under the law is oppressed. The saint, the son, the daughter who lives under grace is free & where there is freedom there is opportunity.

Things that will victimize you (make it harder for you to control yourself):
1. Feelings of guilt & shame (sin consciousness)
2. A Sense of obligation (law mindset)
3. Feelings of fear/insecurity

All 3 are fixed by gaining knowledge of God's love for you.

Your beliefs shape your experiences. When you let go of the idea that you have to struggle you'll see those struggles fade away. When you let go of the idea that God charges us with sin you'll realize sin is not the focus of the Christian life, Christ is.

Related Posts
Freedom from Struggling with Sin
Romans 7, Rebirth, & Renewed Minds
Our New Creation in Christ & sin

Monday, April 15, 2013

Made in the Image of Love

Even those who haven't had good fathers or haven't been loved well by human beings have an idea of what a good father is like & have an idea of what love is like. Every person knows what true love is despite the fact that they may have some false ideas mixed in with it.

How do I know this? Because the unloved & those with bad fathers say, "he should have done this.. he should have done that.." & they are right. This is why Jesus said, "treat people the same way you want them to treat you." Even if you've never received or given true love everyone has a decent idea about what it is & everyone longs to receive it & ultimately to give it as well. We are made in the image of God & God is love. Humans aren't inherently bad, we are inherently love. There are just falsehoods in an imperfect world that keep us from being that love. This is why God doesn't erase your personality when you are reborn. He makes you into a new creation while leaving you as the same person. He sanctifies us, which literally means He purifies us. You can't purify something if there was nothing good there to begin with.

Just as orphans & adopted children long to know their biological parents, people search for love & long to know it. Every search for love is a search for God because God is love. Think about that for a while.

Seeing God as Father: Grace Comes with Counsel

Is a father who utterly refuses to disown his child a bad father? If your actions make God stop "accepting" you then He is not a good Father & He doesn't love you. If people actually thought of God as a Father this whole "grace is a license to sin" goofiness wouldn't even come up.

Here is the truth:
YES YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT & GOD WILL STILL LOVE YOU because THAT IS WHAT GOOD FATHERS DO! Good fathers also try to help walk you out of harmful behaviors because good fathers don't want you to hurt yourself or others!


Sadly people aren't supposed to consider or relate to God as a Father or even as an actual living being. They are just taught doctrines about God that say, "If you do this then God will do this." Thus you "relate" to an imaginary God. You convince yourself that God feels a certain way based on what other people have told you. You can do this with anyone, imagine their thoughts & feelings & convince yourself that your assumptions are reality.

Churches & preachers & pastors & even bibles have replaced the Spirit of the living God who lives inside of us. The religion of Christianity doesn't need a living God to operate. All you need to create a religion is a book, a boss, & a boast. Families have fathers. Religions make you out to be orphaned, abused, or in constant danger of either one of those.

Please understand that just because God loves you without condition that does not mean He leaves you without counsel. "His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Please don't just see Him as Mighty God, please. Trust in His name. Understand that grace is a Father's love. In His love He counsels as well as comforts.

Grace doesn't make you pretend that you are not hurting yourself or other people. Grace gives us the the opportunity to engage God about our faults without fear, shame, guilt, or condemnation. Grace gives you a Father to share life with. Those who attack grace mistake grace for freedom. Grace sets you free but grace is far far more than freedom. Grace comes with counsel & everything else a loving Father provides because grace is your Father's love for you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Most Dangerous People on Earth

Leaders in the church (pastors etc) are the most dangerous people on the face of the earth. Because of their titles, positions, & education they are perceived as those who hear from God, are closer to God, & know the truth regarding God. These things allow them to perpetuate falsehood (usually because they themselves are deceived) to dozens, to hundreds, to thousands of people. There is always discussion about whether women or homosexuals can have leadership positions in the church but the fact is, there shouldn't be leadership positions in the body of Christ at all. Jesus clearly forbade exercising authority over our brothers & sisters. He clearly forbade use of honorary titles. He clearly said, "Christ is your only leader."

There are also discussions about accepting certain people with certain lifestyles into churches. But the truth is no one short of a gun wielding murderer firing off rounds who comes through the door of any church can do greater damage than that church's leaders. Let's be honest, the real goal of most churches is to "motivate" people into "better" behavior by making them feel like God loves them less because they don't do good things good enough or often enough or because they do too many bad things. Sin is taught as being in the way of our relationships with God where any sin equals no relationship. But the truth is Jesus took away sin as a barrier between humanity & God. We cannot be separated from God's love or presence. Knowing God loves us & is always with us motivates us to work WITH God by the spirit instead of working for God by the flesh.

Good men with good intentions & many good deeds can still utterly wreck or throw wreckage on people's lives. Those who intend to lead well still intend to lead. Christians think leadership is this wonderful & honorable thing, pretty much the most godly thing you can do. But the mere existence of official leaders over the body of Christ is the most destructive force in all of Christian history. Falsehood is the most dangerous poison in this world & church leaders have the biggest hoses to spray out that poison. People will gladly swallow the poison, come back for more, & defend its goodness to the point of severing relationships. Yes many leaders know God well but they often keep you from knowing Him better. You can teach & preach without having to usurp the leadership of Christ Jesus the Head of the body. But when Christ is left as the only Leader church institutions fall apart because Christ never created, commanded, or condoned them. Church leadership is always the blind leading the blind because if they could see they would stop being leaders & start walking alongside people leading only as the Spirit directs.

Leadership positions are bad because they are the ultimate medium to promote falsehood, silence demanded during sermons prevents the body from interacting with one another & sharing Christ with one another, they are seen as in charge of people, they are mediators between men & God (Jesus is the only mediator), their position makes people leery in trusting their ability to hear God, & much more. They also hurt themselves, as I said most people in these positions are good men with good intentions. But good intentions cannot counteract falsehood & likely makes it look more appealing.

When authority & credibility are given out (ordained) using titles & positions people feel like it is godly to subordinate themselves to the big shots. That is when the problem comes, when I feel inferior to someone & that I have to defer to their spirituality, relationship with God, education, or expertise over or in lieu of my own. It is wonderful to be able to share the love & truth of God with one another but the moment I'm required or compelled to take someone else's word whether it be a pastor, author, theologian, or even the  doctrines & opinions of church history I have utterly put a sign outside of my brain that says, "Open to Falsehood."

Jesus said, "I will build My assembly." (Matthew 16:18)
"Unless the Lord is the builder of the house those who labor to build it labor in vain." (Psalm 127:1)
The Lord God declares, "I myself will shepherd my sheep and give them rest." (Ezekiel 34:15)
Jesus says, "Do not be called leaders because you only have one leader, Christ." (Matthew 23:10)
Jesus says, "You shall not have authority over one another. You are all equal brothers." (Luke 22:25/Matthew 23:8)
All who are in Christ are equally in Him. (2 Corinthians 10:7)
You do not need anyone to teach you. The Spirit teaches you about all things. (1 John 2:27/John 16:13)
No person is to act as your judge in regards to what you do. God accepts all of His children. He died for all of them. Don't judge your brother, only be careful not to stand in his way or cause him to stumble. All of you have been made complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10,17/Romans 14:13,15)

See our Leadership page for in-depth, scripture based looks at the topic of leadership.

How to Create a False Doctrine in Christianity

Find anywhere between 0-6 (yes zero is possible) verses from the bible. It is much easier if you look for verses with imperative statements. Never consider what the verse(s) means in context. You don't need the whole verse, you don't even need the entire sentence, you can just use a phrase.

For example, the "you must go to a church building every week" doctrine uses a sentence fragment from Hebrews 10:25, "forsake not the assembling." Remember if you use a sentence fragment to never quote the rest of the sentence or verse or it could screw up your whole doctrine. Hebrews 10:25 also says, "Encourage one another" & the previous verse says to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." These things define what "assembling" is, something that each & every person participates in or is free to participate in. They also go against the idea that frequenting a building as an audience member is what is in view. So you can see how context & even full sentences work against your false doctrine.

If you're using more than one verse you can even get away with only pointing out a single word as long as a similar word appears in the other verse(s).

Now that you've gotten your scriptures just make up whatever you want. You can also do this in reverse, make up whatever you want & then find verses that seem to back up what you've made up. Also, if you are a preacher or a church leader some people are certain to swallow your false doctrine. Its that easy!

In Context: "Forsake not the assembling.."
In Context: "Forsake not.." & "I can do all things.." Revisited
Leadership page

Monday, April 1, 2013

Did God have to save us? We don't deserve to be saved? We're Unworthy?

Did God have to save us? Let me ask this, if someone was attacking my family would I have to try to save them? That's the wrong kind of question to ask because it is a given that I would do anything I could to save them. Why do we think God is different? Why do we think, "God didn't have to save us" or "we don't deserve to be saved?" If someone you loved were in danger would you think, "They don't deserve to be saved but I'll save them anyway because I love them." Does love think that way at all?

When we think humans are unworthy of salvation we are looking at humanity through the lens of sin, we are determining the value of mankind based on their behaviors. Jesus came to reverse that kind of thinking. That is what the poorly translated phrase "repent & believe" meant, "Change your mind regarding sin trumping God's love. God's love for you trumps your sin! Trust Him!" If we look at humanity through the eyes of Jesus He had no question of, "Do I have to save them Father?" He came to "save the world." Jesus wasn't thinking on the cross, "They sure are unworthy of what I'm doing for them." The love God has for humanity makes them worthy. Love gives worth to that which lacks value. There are objects that we treasure that wouldn't be worth a few bucks if we tried to sell them. When you treasure something that makes it valuable, that makes it worth saving. When you deeply treasure something you'll do whatever it takes to save it.

So stop looking at humanity through the lens of sin, behavior, & performance in regards to doing good & evil. Doing so will also make you devalue people. You cannot imagine how much God loves & values every person to ever live in this world. Jesus took away the sins of the world so sin would not stand in the way of His love & our opportunity to receive it. Look at humanity through the eyes of Jesus where everyone is a treasure valuable enough, worthy enough, & deserving enough to go through the uttermost suffering for to save. Yes, God absolutely had to save us, it was never a question because that's what love does.

We take a verse like, "the wages of sin is death" & say, "See, 1 sin makes you deserve death in God's eyes." Hold on there partner.. that says the wages OF SIN is death, not “the wages OF GOD is death if you sin.” Our shame over ourselves & our distaste for others makes us want to devalue mankind so badly that you rarely ever see even that whole verse quoted, “The wages of sin is death but the free gift OF GOD is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God doesn't want to kill you because of your sin. Sin kills & God wants to give you an everlasting life eternally protected from sin & death. Let me repeat that, God does not want to kill anyone because of their sin. God wants to save everyone from their sin because He loves everyone.

Related Posts
Lie: You Don't Deserve to Be Saved
Lifted Up to His Glory