Part of Jesus' ministry - indeed part of the gospel itself - and part of our responsibility as Christians is to testify of the world's evil and to expose deeds of darkness. Eph 5:11 "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Doing so enlightens the humble to their sin and to disqualifies the proud lovers of sin from receiving the gospel. John 3:19,20 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."
To the worldly Jesus said, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil." John 7:7 This was the main reason why Jesus was hated. It was what drove the world to crucify the Son of God. This series is devoted to consider what the Bible says about the nature and practice of sin.
The propensity (innate inclination) to sin is part of the human condtion into which all are born. In fact the New Testament uses the term "sarx", the Greek word for "flesh", when speaking of the sinful nature. In fact the NIV frequently translates "sarx" as "sinful nature" as you can see below.
Eph 2:3 "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath"A person sins and guilt is incurred when they comply with their sinful nature. Christians are instructed to resist gratifying their sinful nature by living in accordance with the Spirit. This study will help to enlighten Christians as to misdeeds of the body they may have to keep aware of and put to death.
Rom 7:5 "when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death."
Rom 8:13 "For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live"
Rom 13:14 "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
Gal 5:16,17 "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."1Peter 2:11 "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."
Sowing and Reaping
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature,
from that nature will reap destruction" Galatians 6:7,8aYou Sow: Rom 1:21 although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkenedWhat is implied from the fact that under certain circumstances God "gives people over" to the corrupting influence of sin is that God normally restrains sin from having its full effect. But if a person willfully and persistently embraces sin, God does at some point give them over to have their mind, their conscience, their heart corrupted by it.
You Reap: Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
You Sow: Rom 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator
You Reap: Rom 1:26a Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts
You Sow: Rom 1:28a since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God
You Reap: Rom 1:28b he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done
Rom 6:23a "the wages of sin is death"
Rev 21:8 "the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Even Christians are warned:
1Cor 6:9,10 "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Ephesians 5:5,6 "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient."
Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin."
John 19:11 Jesus answered (Pilate), "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
While Pilate abused his authority, he didn't do so out of personal malice against Christ, rather because of his God-appointed position he was unwillingly forced to deal with the situation by those who handed Jesus over to him. As such, those who handed him over may be likened to seducers who successfully tempted Pilate to sin. Such seducers commit a greater sin and thus incur a greater punishment.
Luke 10:13,14 "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you
John 15:22,24 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.... If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
The more you know, the more you will be held responsible for. And thus, for example, those who presume to be teachers will be more highly scrutinized in judgment. Jas 3:1 "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."
Perhaps the most insidious and harmful of all sins is pride.
Pr 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
Ps 10:4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Circumstances Conducive to Pride
Hosea 13:6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.Health
2Chr 32:24,25 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.Success
Ps 140:8 do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD; do not let their plans succeed, or they will become proudProminence
2Ch 26:16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.Beauty
Eze 28:17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.Wealth
Eze 28:5 By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.
That's why Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Mt 19:23See also Measuring One's Humility
Solution to pride - Submission and Humiliation
Sexual Immorality Part 1
Sexual immorality is the fulfilling of one's sexual desires in a way contrary to God's design. Sex is made for marriage alone.
Heb 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
There's only a few places where the will of God is state explicitly. This is one of them:
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Avoid, Abstain, Control - these are the Biblical solutions to the problem of sexual immorality. Let there be no excuses!
Much of the world's culture today is about toleration. But Jesus said, "I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols." Rev 2:20 Likewise Paul wrote, "I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner——not even to eat with such a person." 1Cor 5:11 But in contrast to the Biblical Jesus many Christians today have made up for themselves a different Jesus, a tolerant Jesus. Such people tend to tolerate anyone except for those who follow the Biblical Jesus.
The Christian community should not be about the toleration of sin, but about the elimination of sin. "Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people." Eph 5:3
Jesus speaks of Adam and Eve as the precedent for marriage. And upon that precedent he declared in Mark 10:11,12 "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." How can a remarriage after divorce be adultery? Because as God sees it, the divorced did not nullified the first marriage. Thus "by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress." Rom 7:2,3 For it's "until death do you part", not "until divorce do you part."
Now as Jesus utilized the precedent of Adam and Eve in arguing against divorce, there are even more obvious applications of that precedent. For example Jesus noted, "at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.'" Mark 10:6 Thus homosexual marriages are illegitimate. And as sex is reserved for marriage, the practice of homosexuality is sexually immoral. But not only homosexuality, all sex outside of marriage is sexually immoral. Furthermore as God made the one woman for the one man, polygamy is likewise illegitimate and another form of adultery.
However I previously mentioned the subject of degrees of sin. In this case it may be noted that under the law of Moses while the overt form of adultery was punishable by death (Deut 22:22), along with homosexuality (Lev 20:13), and incest (Lev 20), there was no punishment under the law for remarriage after divorce, nor for polygamy, nor for lust, as I will mention next. Thus while all forms of sexual immorality are sin, some are reckoned less severe than others.
See more on Marriage,
Jesus said, "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."Mt 5:28 And this should not be a new revelation to those familiar with the 10 commandments, the last of which states, "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Ex 20:17 The desire for what is not meant for you, that is sin. But some may point out that for it to be adultery there has to be a marriage. A single person who looks at another single person to lust for them don't commit adultery. They commit fornication, which is not much better. No Jesus didn't have to state that explicitly, for the implication is obvious to all, except perhaps for those who are intent on living a sexually immoral lifestyle. Pornagraphy is such a form of sexual immorality.
And as for solutions to alleged "addictions" to pornography, of which the Bible never speaks, Avoid, Abstain, Control, and no excuses please. Much of the culture in Western society today is sexually indulgent, and there's far too much tolerance and sympathy for such indulgence both on a public and private level.
The Bible categorizes homosexuality along with other forms of sin
Tim 1:9,10 The law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, (NASB)Such people do inherit the kingdom of God.
1Co 6:9,10 do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (NASB)Homosexuality is ultimately a result of rejecting God and giving in to sexual depravity.
Rom 1:24-27Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator— who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.See more on Sex and Sanctification
As was mentioned previously those who tempt and seduce others to sin are guilty of a greater sin and incur upon themselves a greater judgment.
Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin."
For example, women are guilty of this kind of thing when they dress provocatively, which is why Paul commands, "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety" 1 Tim 2:9a and likewise Proverbs warns of wayward women, "Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)"Prov 7:10-12
Eph 5:5 "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
You may have heard of the "Prosperity Gospel". That's a gospel which celebrates avarice; avarice being "the immoderate desire for wealth." But "people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1Tim 6:9,10 So as Jesus said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15 And "no servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:13
Therefore "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" Heb 13:5 For"A greedy man brings trouble to his family" Pr 15:27a "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint."Pr 23:4 And Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Mt 19:23
Fortunately the solution to greed to very simple and measurable. The solution is simply to practice generosity! In fact wasn't this what Jesus proposed to the greedy rich man? See also Christian Generosity.
Php 2:3-8 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Paul is not saying here that you should be absorbed in other people's worldly or fleshly interests, but rather to look out for their best interest - that is, what is good for them. For often what others are interested in is not in their best interest. Christians should have on their minds as to what is in the best interest of others. Many could care less about the problem of sin. But Jesus saw it in their best interest to deal with that problem.
As with Jesus, looking out for the best interest of others does not mean that you'll be appreciated for doing so. But then again while the selfish are only in it for their own personal benefit, the selfless are willing to face what they must for benefit of others.
Envy and selfish ambition go hand in hand with every evil practice. So "let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." Gal 5:26
The solution to Selfishness is Selflessness through service. Look to benefit others without regard as to what you get out of it. Rather than seeking your own success, try to make someone else successful. Some of John the Baptist's disciples came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan— the one you testified about— well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him." To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. ... He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:26,27,30 Don't try to make a name for youself. Try to make a name for someone else.
Hypocrisy goes hand in hand with pride, and as such is commonly found among the prominent. Thus Jesus said of the religious elite of his day, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Luke 12:1 And said to such people, "on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." Mt 23:28
Thus to avoid the trappings of hypocrisy in carrying out religious duties Jesus instructed, "when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Mt 6:2 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Mt 6:5 For Jesus is not impressed with words and deeds if one has ulterior motives. Jesus observed, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ’These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'" Mark 7:6
Hypocrites tend to see in others what they themselves are guilty of but not willing to face. Hypocrisy is quite easy to spot in others. So rather than having others point out your hypocrisy, buy a mirror. When you criticize others, consider whether in some measurable way you may be guilty of the very thing of which you accuse others.
Prejudice is a form of hypocrisy. It's treating people differently who don't deserve to be treated differently. The apostle Peter had been guilty of such hypocrisy in his mistreatment of Gentile Christians. Thus Paul writes, "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray." Gal 2:11-13 This was despite the fact that Peter had previously come to the revelation saying, "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism." Acts 10:34
While this is an example of cultural/racial prejudice, there is also prejudice based upon wealth or social status."God does not show favoritism." Rom 2:11 and so we are commanded "to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism" 1Tim 5:21
As for a solution to prejudice - learn to appreciate the legitimate diversity that exists in the body of Christ. "For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body." 1Cor 12:14,15 "And there are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." 1Cor 12:4-6 Yet the prejudice inherent in an elitist denominational mentality continues to plague the body of Christ.
People in society often view murder as the ultimate sin. They may say, "I may have done some bad things in life, but at least I'm not a murderer." But in fact murder may be a much more socially acceptable practice than people generally make it out to be, though they simply call it something different.
For example to date American women have murdered over 50 million of their own babies through abortion. From the early days of Christiantiy abortion was explicitly condemned as murder. A second century Christian wrote, "And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder?"And the Didache says, "thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born."
Furthermore, in the Islamic Middle East murder is practically mandated as a religious duty. And what about those who condone their actions? Are they not also culpable? What of those who support a woman's right to choose to murder her baby? And what of Muslims who condone the murder of others in the name of Islam? Seems the world is filled with murderers.
Jesus said to those who were out to kill him, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning" John 8:44a And if not the overt form of murder, even an illegitimate hatred for others is reckoned murder. "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." 1John 3:15 Regardless of how one is involved in the murder of others, murderers do not have eternal life.
Now if one is prone to murder and hatred of others, they must learn to respect others as God's creation, even when such respect for human life may be an inconvenience to themselves.
The Law of Moses speaks of negligent homicide where it says, "When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof." Deut 22:8?
Whether an individual is renting out realestate and disregarding issues of safety, or whether a large corporation disregards the safety of its employees, its customers, or neighbors, there are many such cases of negligent homicide. "Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life." Lev 19:16b
Often these are either a function of greed in which the safety concern is known, but the risk taken for the sake of profit, or they're just do to plain laziness, as it is written, "One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys." Pr 18:9
Yet we can also say that by neglecting the work of the kingdom, many Christians are also involved in negligent homicide, as it says, "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" Prov 24:11,12
The solution to negligent homicide is to learn to love your neighbor as yourself. And in particular to consider what safety concerns you should deal with of which you would be concerned if you were in their situation.
Much as binge drinking has of recent days been reckoned socially acceptable on college campuses, the Bible says, "Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks." Isaiah 5:22 "Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise." Prov 20:1
Drunkenness and Gluttony, being sins of overindulgence are related having similar outcomes. Pr 23:20,21 "Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags."
Gluttony and drunkenness go hand in hand along with other sorts of
It says in Eph 5:18 "do not be drunk with
wine, in which is dissipation." "Dissipation" means
In fact today getting drunk is spoken of as "getting wasted". But along
with drunkenness there are other ways people are involved in wasting
lives and their possessions.
And there were severe penalties under the law for drunkenness and
gluttony. "If a man has a stubborn
and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the
voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not
heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and
bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city.
And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is
stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton
and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to
death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and
all Israel shall hear and fear." Deut 21:18-21
See more on Drinking
Private Property and ownership is a Biblical principle. Therefore respect others as equals with regards to their substance which God has provided to them. To take what legitimately belongs to others without an agreed upon compensation is theft.
Ex 20:15 "You shall not steal."
Ex 22:7 "If a man gives his neighbor silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if he is caught, must pay back double."
Joh 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy"
Eph 4:28 "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need."
Titus 2:9,10a "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted"
Neglecting to Pay Wages in a timely fashion
Jas 5:4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
Deut 24:15 Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.
Deut 25:15,16 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.
Pr 20:17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
False advertising is fraudulent. But also in haggling there's often fraud on both sides.
Pr 20:14 "It’s no good, it’s no good!" says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase.
Lev 19:11 "’Do not steal. "’Do not lie. "’Do not deceive one another."
1Co 6:10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Extortion can come in the form of Illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage. or An excessive or exorbitant charge for one's product or services.
Ps 62:10 Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Hab 2:6 Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
A person's eternal destiny is contingent upon their faith in Christ. "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." John 3:18 And given that God is just and as such does not hold people accountable for things they have not control over, faith in Christ is a matter of obedience. It's a matter of cooperation. For "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." 2Thess 1:8
There's an obedience that comes from faith, and thus faith and obedience go hand ain hand. Paul says, "Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."Rom 1:5
Thus "to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief." Heb 3:18,19 Thus to believe a person must be obedient. And the faith that saves is the faith that obeys.
When people hear the gospel and don't believe it, it's because they are unwilling to obey God. And "anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar" 1John 5:10b For those who allege to be in the faith, "see to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God." Heb 3:12
Re 21:8 "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Interesting that cowardice is the first in the list of those who will get thrown into the lake of fire. I would imagine on the judgment day God calling out the cowards and putting them in the front of the line.
There are many instructions in the Bible concerning cowardice which are often overlooked. For example Jesus said, "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more." Luke 12:4 That is not simply a word of encouragement. That is a command. To disobey such commands is cowardice. Women, being the weaker sex (1Peter 3:7), are particularly prone to cowardice, which is why Peter commanded to follow Sarah's example of submission. "You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." 1Peter 3:6b
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." Pr 29:25 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Heb 13:6
De 1:26 "Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God;"
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.
Isa 30:1 "Woe to the rebellious children," declares the LORD, "Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin"
Isa 30:9 For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen To the instruction of the LORD
Rebelliousness occurs when one refuses to comply with one's
authority figures in those areas in which they have legitimate
God is of course the legitimate authority figure of us all. But also he
has given human authority in a number of role relationships.
De 5:20 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
Ps 41:6 "Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad."
Jer 9:4 "Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer."
Ps 38:20 "Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good." (Case in point: Muslims in Iraq slandering and murdering Americans who are there for their benefit)
It is slander to misrepresent a person's meaning and intention. Case in point: Mr 14:58 "We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’" In my personal experience I have comes across many critics whose intention is not to listen but rather to try and find a way to misread what is said so as to spread slander. Therefore in criticizing others make sure your assessment is accurate. For "every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment." Mt 12:36
Rom 1:29 "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips"
Pr 11:13 "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."
Pr 20:19 "A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much."
Pr 25:9 "If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another man’s confidence"
Pr 17:9 "He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."
Woman are particularly prone to gossiping. Thus they are to be kept busy being useful and productive else "they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not." 1Tim 5:13
Among other things, Gossips violate one's God-given right to privacy
It is said that idle hands are the devil's workship. Much sin can come inadvertently from being lazy and idle.
1Ti 5:13 "Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to."Idleness is particularly an issue with those who are unemployed, be they retired, affluent or poor. For example among the poor one may turn to theft whereas Paul instructs, "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." Eph 4:28 But even among those who have wealth, with idleness comes temptation.
2Th 3:6 "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us."
2Th 3:11 "We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies."
Col 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
Joh 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father‘s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Lev 19:11 "’Do not steal. "’Do not lie. "’Do not deceive one another."
Re 14:5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Re 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
And by the way, lying involves not only the intention to deceive. A lie occurs when one says anything which is false regardless of whether one does so intentionally to deceive or not. Thus Christians should be diligent to check out the facts as to what is actually true and false and not gullibly rely upon mindless indoctrinationand end up lying concerning things of which they are ignorant. Then they can be more confident when they claim they are "speaking the truth in love" Eph 4:15a
Mic 6:12 Her rich men are violent; her people are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.
Ps 101:7 No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
1Pe 3:10 For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Tit 1:10 For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.
Christians should not intentionally deceive others, even when they think good would come of it, but rather to walk as Jesus did, who "had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth." Is 53:9 It's bad enough when people intentionally deceive one another. But the fact that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperate to be wicked makes it easy for one to deceive oneself. And once deceived, a person may lead others astray. Fortunately God has given us the Bible and the Holy Spirit to keep us from being led astray.
Among the things which the Lord hates: a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. Pr 6:19
Pr 6:12-14 A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart— he always stirs up dissension.
Gal 5:20 mentions "discord" as one of those characteristics which he mentions in Gal 5:21 that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Of course these are referring the stirring up of illegitimate discord. Just living the Christian life itself will stir up discord, as we can see in the lives of Jesus and his aspostles, and as Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn '’a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’" Mt 10:34-36 In fact sometimes Christians are too tolerant and should be involved in stirring up discord in a sense. Thus Jesus rebukes a church saying, "I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality." But illegitimate discord does not edify the church. Such discord is like that of Diotrephes of whom John wrote, "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church." 3John 1:9,10
Instigation and discord can be difficult to deal with in a church in that both sides could claim the other to be the instigator. And it doesn't really help when institutional authority invokes its own authority in Diotrephean fashion to allegedly settle the matter. Some institutions deal with discord simply by shutting everyone up and shutting down all avenues of fellowship, which is a very bad idea. In contrast, like in Corinthians and Galatians, Paul deals with the substance of the issues rather than simply with the fact of discord. But also he dealt with the issue of attitude - namely love for one another. For concerning the end times Jesus says, "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other." Mt 24:10 So if there is controversy which you may want to stir up, make sure you do so out of love and with a view towards the edification of the Christian community.
Num 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. (As a result Miriam suffered leprosy)Prejudice based upon Social Status or Wealth
Le 19:15 "’Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly."Jesus was noted even by his enemies for being impartial:
Luke 20:21 So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth."And those who minister as Christ did must see to it that they likewise do nothing out of favoritism but remain impartial in dealing with people.
1Tim 5:21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
A person is unfaithful when they do not live up to their agreements when it was in their power to do so. For example many have taken the marriage vow saying, "Till death do us part", but then prior to death doing them part they end up having sex with someone else.
Likewise in the Old Testament Israel had a covental relationship with God, but nonetheless were characteristically unfaithful to His covenant. Thus for example He says, "Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow." Ps 78:57
Or consider the marriage analogy God makes in Jer 3:7-10 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, "Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense," declares the LORD.
So "If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin." De 23:21
And for those who excuse themselves saying the simply made a mistake, Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, "My vow was a mistake." Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?" Ecc 5:6 Or they may say that they hadn't considered the implications of their agreements. But it is written, "LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? ... he who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts ..." Ps 15:1,4
Ex 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
Pr 23:17,18 "Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."
Envy is characteristically of the world. Prior to salvation Paul describes our natural condition where "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another." Tit 3:3
The poor envy the rich, and the rich envy the richer, and no one thinks anything wrong of such desires. But God says that envying your neighbor is itself sin. It doesn't even require any action for it to be sin. One will be judged just for being envious - just for having the attitude.
Thus Paul warns, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal 5:19-21
One basis for envy is discontentment.
When some soldiers asked John the Baptist what they should do he replied, "Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely— be content with your pay." Luke 3:14
Heb 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
There are those "who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1Tim 6:5-10
Jude 1:16 These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
Examples from the Exodus:
Num 14:36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it—Warning to Christians:
Deut 1:27 You grumbled in your tents and said, "The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.
Num 21:4-6 the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
1Cor 10:9,10 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did— and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did— and were killed by the destroying angel.In contrast to grumbling is the character quality of meekness. Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.
Heb 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Jas 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Pr 3:27 "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."
On the judgment day we will not only be called to account for what we have done, but also for what we have neglected to do.
Lu 12:47 "That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows."
And remember what the Lord said concerning the servant who buried his talent in the ground, "throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt 25:30
1John 2:22 "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist— he denies the Father and the Son."
2Thess 1:8,9 "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power."
A person will not be saved rejecting belief in the LORD Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." John 3:36 For "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 Thus Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6