The Children of Light
“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)
You Are All the Children of Light
The word “day”, as used here by Paul, has no reference to the coming eschatological Day of The Lord which we studied previously. It is used metaphorically in association with Spiritual light. This verse guarantees the readers’ participation in a spiritual environment entirely different from that of non-Christians. I suppose the question should be, “How much are we taking advantage of this position afforded us by Christ?” The heading refers to knowing Jesus Christ Who is “...the light of the world...” (John 8:12). The believer is to always understand that everything we have from The Lord comes from and through Christ, and more particularly, what He did for us at The Cross. The Cross of Christ made it possible for God to do wonderful and glorious things for those who would have faith in Him. We are children of the light only in that capacity, and to be sure, that is a great capacity.
And the Children of the Day
The heading is pretty much the same as the former phrase but with some difference. First of all, we walk in the day simply because we have the Light. The Light, Who is Jesus Christ, affords the day. Otherwise, the individual walks in darkness. As we’ve said many times, the Bible is the only revealed Truth in the world today, and in fact, has ever been. Only those who know their Bibles have a grasp of the past, present, and future. Otherwise, as stated, no matter how much the education, the individual draws a blank. The Word of God tells us where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. There is nothing in the world other than the Bible that can boast of such information and knowledge. To be frank, if a person knows his Bible, he is educated, at least in the things of life. Conversely, if he has degrees from the greatest universities in the world and he does not know the Bible, as far as the things of life are concerned, he is ignorant. That’s a blunt statement, but it’s true. That’s the reason that millionaires, billionaires, and even the most educated, oftentimes make fools of themselves, and in fact, live miserable lives. I speak of those who do not know The Lord. They may know many things, but they don’t know how to live, simply because it is The Lord alone, through His Word, Who tells us how to live. If one doesn’t know how to live, irrespective of how much money one might have, or how much education, life, to say the least, is not what it ought to be. That’s the reason that Jesus said, “…a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)
We Are Not of the Night nor of Darkness
The heading presents the fact that the child of God is in a totally different sphere of operation. The believer is in the world, but we are to never be of the world. This must always be clear to the thinking of the believer. We have a distinct life to live and a distinct path to follow, in other words, the straight and narrow. We do not march to the world’s drum, neither do we function to its tune. Our excitement is elsewhere. Our joy and happiness are elsewhere. In other words, Christ, in totality, is our sufficiency. From Him, we derive all things and “…in him we live, and move, and have our being;…” (Acts 17:28) As well, all of this means (which should be crystal clear) that the great destruction that’s coming upon this world is coming upon the children of darkness and not the children of light. Behind all that’s being said, The Holy Spirit, through the apostle, is making this abundantly clear. The gist of all these statements gives credence to this Truth. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6) It is impossible for a child of God, who is consecrated to The Lord, to not understand, at least in some measure, the coming Day of The Lord that is going to burst upon the world. Of course, some know much more than others. Nevertheless, the very fact of the Divine Nature being a part of the child of God guarantees at least some knowledge of these coming events. However, from the manner in which Paul addressed himself here, I believe it is possible for a Christian to lose his way until even these things proclaimed by the apostle are denied. A believer can lose his way, cease to believe, and go into apostasy. In that case, an erroneous interpretation of The Word follows suit, at least in most things. As I have stated previously, and will continue to say, I personally believe that the Cross of Christ is going to be the great dividing line in these end-time days in which we live. I have found that if a believer understands The Cross of Christ, then most everything else falls into place as well. In other words, there is a surer grasp of what The Holy Spirit is teaching through The Word of God. If The Cross is denied or ignored, spiritual oblivion can be the only result. That’s how serious I personally believe all of this is. In fact, I believe The Lord has spoken that to my heart concerning The Cross being the criterion for our belief, the plumb line, so to speak, by which everything is measured.
Therefore, Let Us Not Sleep as Do Others
The heading presents the apostle continuing to use a metaphor regarding spiritual things, even as he did in the previous verses. Sleep suggests indifference or indolence. In Ephesians 5:14, in a similar context, it connotes spiritual death. The point is, it is possible for a believer to fall into such a spiritual stupor as to ultimately lose one’s soul if he continues in that direction. In fact, I think that the sleep of which Paul here speaks is possibly the greatest danger of all for the child of God. In a sense, sleep suggests apathy, which is somewhat like a person drifting with the current. To do such, one really has to do nothing. To go against the current requires much effort on the part of the individual. It is not that we can earn anything from The Lord, but it is the struggle against the very forces of evil that are in the world. Sin and satan’s way are not limited to mere acts, but rather, are spirits, and by spirits, we actually mean “spirits of darkness (demon spirits).” Even though demon spirits cannot possess a child of God, they can definitely oppress believers and can cause their influence to be felt in about every capacity. It is this struggle, as real as it is, if the child of God does not keep up his prayer life, stay in The Word, and above all, keep his faith in The Cross of Christ, understanding that there all victory is found, spiritual sleep will be the result.
But Let Us Watch and Be Sober
The exhortation given by Paul is actually not to backsliders but to encourage Christians to sustain their relationship by continued watchfulness. As Christians, we belong to a future Kingdom of Light where darkness will be forever banished, and although that day has not yet come, we are walking already in its light. Consequently, all who walk with Christ in the light will not be unprepared for the Rapture or lacking in understanding concerning end-day events, i.e., the Day of the Lord. To be a child of light involves open-hearted obedience to the Truth, coupled with trust in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross (John 12:36 1 John 1:6-7). As sleep suggests indifference or indolence, watch suggests a wise, awake alertness. Sober caries the meaning of “calm and collected in spirit, temperate, dispassionate, circumspect.” Together they imply that to be a child of the light is more than a formal relationship. There must be ethical connection with the light, meaning that what we profess has a bearing within our lives, which then develops righteousness. “For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:7) A particular direction is proposed in this verse just quoted. In fact, the Holy Spirit constantly gives us such instruction that, if heeded, it will make our way much easier. Consequently, this passage serves as a barometer, one might say.
For They Who Sleep, Sleep in the Night
The heading, in effect, tells us that those who walk in darkness are those who sleep. Consequently, this should not be the attitude or position of the child of God. We are not of darkness, and we are not of night, so why should we sleep? The idea is that one will sleep only if one begins to walk in darkness. The question becomes, what does it mean for a Christian to walk in darkness? To do so means that one is not alert to what is happening, actually being in a spiritual stupor. That of which we speak is deception. Unfortunately, it characterizes many many Christians. Before one goes completely to sleep, one first gets drowsy. In as much as The Holy Spirt had the apostle to use the metaphor, then this that I have just said continues to hold true as well. A drowsy Christian, spiritually speaking, is not aware of danger and not aware of things that are happening all around him, which are the portents of great danger.
How Does a Christian Get in this Condition?
Well, that’s a great question. During my time as a Christian, I’ve learned some things about working for The Lord and about living for The Lord. Over the years, I have done my very best to diligently serve The Lord and be what He wants me to be. I’ve always had a strong prayer life as well as a strong love for The Word of God. Preaching the Gospel faithfully over the years, I found to my sorrow, at a given time, that my knowledge of The Cross was somewhat deficient. Actually, The Cross of Christ is the very foundation of The Faith. Yet, I did not understand its importance. I understood The Cross strongly as it regarded the initial salvation experience. I preached it boldly and powerfully and saw hundreds of thousands brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, I had never been taught, and neither did I know, the part that The Cross plays in our everyday living before God. I did not know or understand that The Holy Spirit functions and works entirely within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ (Romans 8:1-2). I did not understand faith in The Cross for sanctification, and if one does not understand faith in this capacity, one automatically resorts to works. In fact, there is no alternative.
The Word of God
By resorting to works, even though doing so sincerely, no matter how dedicated one might be, the end result is going to be failure. The Holy Spirit, Whose help is absolutely necessary, will simply not function in that capacity. In other words, when we resort to law, whether ignorantly or otherwise, we are strictly on our own. Consequently, failure will be the result, irrespective of who we are, or what type of call of God might be in our lives. As a result, there was failure, despite the fact of doing all I knew to oppose the powers of darkness in that arena. As a result of that failure, I cried to The Lord as I had never cried to Him before. I have always had a very strong prayer life, but now I cried to The Lord in acute desperation. I did not have the answer to a victorious, overcoming Christian life, but I knew the answer was in The Word of God, and in fact, no place else. I also knew that if I sought The Lord long enough, He would hear and answer my plea, and that He did. The answer did not come as quickly or as soon as I would have liked, but in looking back, I know that, whatever delay there was, the fault was definitely not of The Lord, but rather, mine. Also, I in no way blame failure in anything other than myself, but yet there is a difference in one failing because of not knowing what The Word of God teaches regarding a certain matter than to fail deliberately. To be frank, I’m not sure if any one of us knows our hearts as we ought to. We think we do, but I’m not sure if what we think is always right. Irrespective, if we are sincere before The Lord, no matter what the problem, He will always answer. In fact, I sought His face earnestly for about six years, even with tears, and as Paul said, “day and night” before the answer finally came.
It’s not a very pleasant thing to have almost the entirety of the church think of you in very debilitating terms. This is especially true when you’ve tried so very hard but failed just the same, and you don’t know the answer, and then above that, you don’t really know anyone who does know the answer. I’m sure some few do but not many. In such a situation, the only thing that one can do is take the matter to The Lord. One has no other recourse. I know the reason, but then, I did not know. So, what could I say? When people call you a hypocrite, or at the very least, look down on you as something to be pitied, you can say nothing. And then to make matters worse, if the truth wasn’t bad enough, lie upon lie was added to the truth and still, I had no defense whatsoever. I should warn the reader that what one perceives things to be, most of the time it is not. That’s the reason Jesus very succinctly told us, “Judge not,…” (Matthew 7:1-3). One doesn’t really know how it feels to be judged in such a negative way until one has been in that position. It’s a position wherein I pray you never find yourself.
What The Lord Told Me
When The Lord answered my prayer, after seeking His face for several years, He answered me strictly from The Word of God. It was a revelation of The Cross. He took me to the Book of Romans and explained to me the meaning of Chapters 6, 7, and 8 of that great epistle. He showed me what it meant to be “in Christ.” In other words, he showed me my position as a believer, a position, incidentally, that never changes and a position that is maintained by faith and not by works. As well, He told me that The Cross of Christ held the answer to every question I had, the solution to every problem, and the resource for every need. In as much as that is true, I was to place my faith in the Finished Work of Christ and understand that this is where all salvation and victory are. The Lord then showed me the manner in which The Holy Spirit works. In fact, I had cried to Him many many times asking why The Holy Spirit was not helping me. To be sure, He was helping me with many things, and I speak of preaching the Gospel, winning souls to Christ, and seeing lives gloriously and wondrously changed by the Power of God. However, after The Lord showed me the manner in which The Holy Spirit works, He then began to help me in my own personal life in a way that I never dreamed was possible. The victory that I preached, I now have in a way that is beyond anything I could ever begin to imagine. I now know what this more abundant life actually is (John 10:10). I now know what this glorious “rest” in Jesus actually is (Matthew 11:28-30). Once this revelation began, it continued to come ever enlarging upon that which The Lord had given me. In fact, I don’t think it will ever stop. It has completely revolutionized my life and completely changed my life in every respect. I now know what victory is in a way that I’ve never known before. In this, there is a consuming desire for all other believers to know exactly this that I say and experience this that I say. I realize that some few have, but I also know that most have not. This great revelation of The Cross is not something new. It is actually that which was given to the Apostle Paul, which he gave to us in his 14 epistles. One might say that Jesus Christ is the New Covenant, and The Cross of Christ is the meaning of that New Covenant.
The State of The Modern Church
From experience, I feel that the church has, by and large, lost its moorings as far as it regards true foundation. I speak of The Cross of Christ. There has been so little teaching and preaching on The Cross in the last several decades that most believers have little understanding of their only source of victory. So, what am I saying? I am saying that most of the preachers have no idea about this of which I speak. Many of them are Godly and preach all the light they have, but when it comes to The Cross of Christ, they have little knowledge of its veracity and its place and position at the very foundation of all that we are in Christ. In fact, their knowledge, at least for the most part, begins and ends with the initial salvation experience. Some time ago, I was addressing a group of preachers. I asked them “What do you tell your people when they come to you and have experienced spiritual failure?” I then went on to ask “What do you tell them to do? What kind of advice do you give them?”
Of course, I knew the answer to the questions even before I asked them. These pastors would tell their people that they need to consecrate more to The Lord. They would tell them to get in the altars and seek God. They would tell them to be more faithful to the church, more faithful in their giving to the work of The Lord, more faithful in witnessing to lost souls, etc. If the pastor is more spiritual than usual, he will tell his people that they need to pray more or develop a greater study of The Word of God. The only difference in the preachers in the United States and those in Africa is that some preachers in the United States would probably recommend a psychologist, which is worse than nothing. This would little be done by Africans. Concerning all the other things we have said, they are good, and to be sure, believers should be engaged in these things constantly. Nevertheless, these things that pastors recommend, as right as they may be in their own way, will not give the believer victory. In fact, they can stay in the altars and be so very sincere before God, and in fact, be blessed greatly in many ways, but they will not find victory within their lives in this manner. That may come as a shock to many Christians, but it just happens to be true. Jesus said, “…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The sad fact is, most believers simply don’t know the Truth, and one cannot act upon that which one does not know.
An Endless Treadmill of Extreme Activity
Consequently, most Christians are living an endless treadmill of extreme activity but with no visible results. Many are confused; many are hurt. Most come to think that everyone else has victory. Consequently, something must be personally wrong with them, they surmise. The truth is, most of the others are not walking in victory either, and there’s nothing any more wrong with you than there is with anyone else. The problem is that most Christians do not know God’s prescribed Way of Victory. Consequently, they fail, and in fact, many, if not most, live lives of spiritual failure in some way. They try to hide the fact, try to tell themselves that it’s not so, and confess loudly the very opposite, but the truth is, most are not walking in victory. When the pastor or anyone else begins to tell the individual how that The Cross is the answer to his sanctification, just as it was for his initial salvation experience (for this is really what we’re speaking about), then he will be giving truth to that individual. This will lift him up above the shadows and plant his feet on higher ground. In fact, that’s what Paul is talking about in Galatians 6:1. The Christian who is trying and failing, doesn’t need someone to condemn him. He’s already condemned. He needs someone to tell him the right way of victory that is found only in The Cross. The state of the church is such presently that I don’t think most know this way of victory, in fact, the only way of victory. Regrettably, most preachers don’t know either, so that leaves most Christians in a very precarious position.
How Can One Tell if One is Walking After the Flesh or After The Spirit?
Paul said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) To anyone who has studied Romans 8, it is obvious that Paul is giving here the secret to a victorious Christian life. It is accomplished and brought about by walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh. The idea is this, although saved and even a new creation in Christ Jesus, which means that old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17), still the believer cannot live a Christian life as he should without the help of The Holy Spirit. Therefore, understanding that, this that Paul says in this chapter is crucial to our life in The Lord. The key is walking after The Spirit. But how does one do that? Many pentecostals and charismatics have the erroneous idea that, when one is baptized with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, the work of The Spirit is then automatic in one’s life. If that were true, why do Spirit-filled Christians still fail? In fact, if all of this was automatic, there would be no Christians with problem areas in their lives, no failures, no carnality, no flesh, etc. The Holy Spirit would just take over and perform what needs to be performed. However, the truth is, every single Christian in the world, even Spirit-baptized Christians, face the struggle of the flesh and the spirit constantly. In other words, there is a war that’s going on in the heart and life of the believer with the sin nature ever attempting to gain supremacy. That’s what Paul was talking about when he said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). So, the apostle here tells us that we are definitely engaged in a war, but the trouble in most Christian lives is that the war is being lost. The reason is that the believer is not walking after The Spirit, i.e., The Holy Spirit.
Therefore, the question should be asked as to how one can know if one is walking after The Spirit or after the flesh. If one has to ask that question, then one is not walking after The Spirit. It’s just that simple. Believe me, when one is walking after The Spirit, there will be no doubt and no question about it simply because the individual will be living victoriously. In other words, sin will not have dominion over him or her (Romans 6:14). So, asking that type of question is like asking whether it’s daylight or midnight. The Holy Spirit, Who, incidentally, is in our hearts and lives because of what Jesus did at The Cross, works exclusively according to a particular law.
The Law of The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus
Paul continues and says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) Consequently, we have two powerful laws mentioned here in this verse just mentioned:
The only way the believer (Paul is speaking to believers here) can have victory over the law of sin and death is by the law of The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. To have victory, and that means victory in any and every capacity, we must walk after The Spirit, Who is functioning according to this law. What is this law? It is not the law of Moses. It is the law of The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. First of all, as is obvious, it is The Holy Spirit of Whom is being spoken, and as well, He guarantees life to the believer. Is this life resident in The Spirit? Of course, all members of the Godhead are the source of life. However, the life spoken of here is a life all its own, in fact, that which comes from Jesus Christ exclusively. More particularly, it is life which comes from Him as a result of what He did at The Cross. Most Christians think that walking after The Spirit constitutes doing Spiritual things such as prayer, the study of The Word of God, going to church, and witnessing to the lost. While those things are good and necessary in the heart and life of the believer, that is not walking after The Spirit. Walking after The Spirit is the believer placing his or her faith exclusively in Christ and maintaining it exclusively in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross. In fact, that’s what Romans 8:2 actually means.
Walking After The Spirit
Before The Cross, due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, The Holy Spirit could not come into the heart and life of any believer to dwell permanently. He would come into the hearts and lives of some prophets, etc., and help them carry out tasks assigned to them such as David killing Goliath. However, when the work was completed, The Holy Spirit would then leave. The blood of bulls and goats not being able to take away sins means that the sin-debt was still in the believer, which greatly hindered The Holy Spirit, as should be obvious. That’s the reason that when believers died before The Cross, they did not go to Heaven to be with The Lord but were, rather, taken down into paradise where they waited for The Cross to become a fact, which would lift and erase the terrible sin-debt. In fact, if Jesus had not gone to The Cross, which took away the sin-debt, then the believer would have remained in that place forever. However, thank God He did go to The Cross. The moment He died, He went down into Paradise and liberated those souls and made them His captives. Before The Cross, despite the fact that they were saved, they were still captives of satan, but when The Cross was a fact, satan had no more claim on them. Sin is the claim that satan has, but with sin atoned, which Jesus did at Calvary’s Cross, it completely did away with sin for those who will believe. Now, that doesn’t mean that the Christian can’t sin. But it does mean that such sin can be washed clean by The Precious Blood of Christ and done so immediately. As we’ve already said, there is no way the believer can live a victorious life without The Holy Spirit. We are facing the concentrated powers of darkness, which is the reason that Paul said, “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood,…” (Ephesians 6:12). Please believe me that there is no mere mortal that is any match for satan or any fallen angels or demon spirits, at least within ourselves. We have got to have The Holy Spirit to get this job done. The way that we have Him is to place our faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross and maintain it exclusively in Christ and The Cross. The tragedy is that most modern Christians do not have the slightest idea of the great part that The Cross of Christ plays in our sanctification, how we live for God on a daily basis, how we grow in grace and knowledge of The Lord, and how we have victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. They simply do not understand that, so they walk in failure and defeat. Of course, satan will do everything within his power to keep you from understanding and knowing this great Truth in The Cross.
That’s why Paul said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Then he said, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Then, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” It all comes down to this, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23; 2:2) Paul preached The Cross. Paul lived The Cross. Paul believed The Cross. And Paul understood The Cross. And all of that comes from proper meditation in Christ and The Cross by the Power of The Holy Spirit. So, walking after The Spirit is simply placing one’s faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross and understanding that all victory over sin, which is the problem, is found exclusively in The Cross of Christ. There is no other victory, only The Cross.
What Did Christ Do at The Cross?
Of course, the totality of what Jesus did for us at The Cross will probably never be fully known, at least this side of glory, or I should say, one that will never exhaust its potential. However, the following will hopefully give us a general idea:
To understand it even better, the atonement refers to what Jesus did at The Cross and in His Resurrection, even including His exaltation (Romans 6:2-6; Ephesians 2:6). It is a legal work somewhat like the Constitution of the United States. Regarding the Constitution, all citizens of the United States are guaranteed certain rights. Consequently, every single judge, law enforcement officer, or legal representative of any kind, including Congress and the President of the United States, are supposed to function totally and completely within the binding precepts of the Constitution. It is the same with the Atonement. The Lord works strictly within the confines of that which Jesus did at The Cross, and satan must abide by that as well. As would be obvious, The Holy Spirit, Who is God, functions completely within the confines of this great work, this substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, all on our behalf. So, when it speaks of the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, this is the law of which it speaks and what Paul is talking about.
How Does this Law Affect the Christian?
It affects the Christian in every single way. The reason is simple; as The Lord and the entirety of the spirit-world, both good and bad, must function according to this law, the believer must function accordingly as well. This is what most Christians don’t know. Satan, knowing that we do not know this, takes full advantage of our Scriptural ignorance and causes us untold problems and difficulties. The facts are, most believers do not know or understand the benefits of the Finished Work of Christ as it regards our sanctification. Actually, most Christians know and understand somewhat concerning The Cross as it involves their initial salvation experience. In other words, they know that one has to believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and what He did at The Cross to be saved. Beyond that, most Christians draw a blank as it regards the effects of The Cross on our daily living. Walking after The Spirit involves allowing The Holy Spirit to perform the work of Sanctification in our lives and to do so in totality. In other words, He doesn’t need any help. And in fact, other than our faith, if we attempt to help Him, we only succeed in doing the very opposite, which is to frustrate the Grace of God (Galatians 2:20-21). This means that God will give us all kinds of good things, but He will do so only on one basis: the basis of what Jesus did at The Cross and our faith in that Finished Work. The Holy Spirt guarantees all of this, but only if He is allowed to do it undisturbed and uninterrupted by our own efforts. How do we bring that about? We bring all of these good things about by simply understanding that, first of all, we cannot do it ourselves and that The Holy Spirit alone can accomplish this task, and He does so strictly according to our faith in Christ and The Cross.
The Object of Our Faith
Now, this of which I say is so very important. All that The Lord demands of us is faith. However, just having faith is one thing. All Christians have faith, but it’s the object of one’s faith that is the key. What do I mean by the “object of one’s faith?” I’m speaking of that in which we place our faith, in which we place our confidence, that to which we look, and that in which we believe. The object of one’s faith must be in The Cross of Christ in totality before The Holy Spirit will work and function on our behalf. However, that needs some explanation. There are so many who will read these words and will sense the truth in what we say, but they will only render a head faith, of sorts, toward this of which we speak. That won’t work. We must understand, even as we have laboriously gone into detail, that everything one receives from The Lord is exclusively through and by what Jesus did at The Cross and in His Resurrection. We must understand that, believe that, and not allow ourselves to be pulled away to other things. In fact, many Christians have what one might call “divided faith.” That won’t work either. This speaks of having faith in The Cross for one’s initial salvation, which all must have, and then having faith in self or something else other than The Cross as it regards our sanctification. That is divided faith, and it is faith that God cannot recognize.
James plainly said, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8) How much clearer can it be? But yet, that’s where most Christians are. They are double minded in that they have faith in The Cross for their salvation and faith in themselves for sanctification. This was the great problem with the Galatians, and it is the great problem with many today, in fact, most. Such won’t work, which is plainly evident in the failure rate regarding Christians. The object of our faith must be totally and completely in what Jesus did for us at The Cross, through which all blessings come. When our faith is properly placed, properly understood, and there properly remains, The Holy Spirit will then work on our behalf in great and glorious ways. Please understand that these things of which I say are not mere rhetoric. They are The Word of God. As well, everything I’m telling you, every erroneous direction, as well as every right direction, I have been down both paths. I know what it means to not have my faith in the proper object for my sanctification and to suffer terrible failure. I also know what it means for my faith to be properly placed and to experience victory in such proportions that it defies all description.
Salvation by Faith and Sanctification by Self
That heading I have just given you is where most of Christianity is now. Most are doing exactly as the Galatians of old, trusting in Christ for salvation by faith but trusting self as it regards sanctification. This means that such a person places his faith in what Christ did at The Cross as it regards salvation and then shifts his faith to himself as it regards sanctification, which caused Paul to say to the Galatians, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit (faith in The Cross in which the Spirit works), are ye now made perfect by the flesh (attempting to sanctify yourselves by your own efforts)?” (Galatians 3:3) Foolish is an apt word, exactly as The Holy Spirit, through the apostle, said. We are so foolish to attempt this, but that’s where most of us are. Why? How? Satan has been very very successful in the last few decades at steering the church away from The Cross of Christ. He has done so through a series of manners and tactics.
More than likely, unbelief is one of the greatest facets of all. This means that many Christians, and especially so-called religious leaders, simply do not any more believe in what Jesus did at The Cross as it regards salvation and sanctification. Hence, they have gravitated toward humanistic psychology. In fact, this drift toward psychology is one of the most awful signs of all of the spiritual drift into unbelief. The very nature of this ungodly action blatantly and openly states that what Christ did at The Cross was not enough. In fact, one “pentecostal” writer said, “Men are facing problems today which were not prevalent in the past, and therefore, along with the Bible needs the help of secular psychology.” Such a statement is either a gross ignorance of The Word of God or actually a repudiation of The Cross of Christ. One cannot have it both ways.
The Cross Alone is The Answer
Jesus addressed this very succinctly when He spoke to the sadducees, “…Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29) I’ll say it again, either what Jesus did at The Cross and His Resurrection suffices for every single need of suffering of hurting humanity, or else it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, then we need to abandon The Word of God and look to the likes of Freud and others similar. However, I want it to be known, and I want to say it loud and clear even as Joshua of old, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) Considering that the leadership of almost all the pentecostal denominations in the United States and Canada have opted totally and completely for the psychological way, you now understand why they do not too much very like what we preach.
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come
Into your freedom, gladness, and light
Jesus, I come to Thee
Out of my sickness, into Your health
Out of my want, and into Your wealth
Out of my sin, and into Thyself
Jesus, I come to Thee
Out of my shameful failure and loss
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come
Into the glorious gain of Your Cross
Jesus, I come to Thee
Out of earth’s sorrows, into your balm
Out of life’s storms, and into your calm
Out of myself to dwell in your love
Out of despair, into raptures above
Out of distress, in jubilant psalm
Jesus, I come to Thee
Psychology is one way of satan, but actually, he has many ways. The faith way, which sounds right, seems right, and looks right, but in fact is not right, is another one of those ways. In the last several decades, the church has been inundated with faith teaching. Some small amount of it has been very good, but the general direction of most of it has been totally false i.e., unscriptural. It fools people because faith, in fact, is the very ingredient through which The Lord works through humanity, and it is that ingredient alone. So, understanding that, how could any teaching on faith be wrong? Most of the teaching given in these last few decades has been wrong because the object of the faith has been improper. The faith that has been proclaimed has not been faith in The Cross but rather faith in other things. It is called “faith in the word,” but in actuality, it is merely faith in faith. What do we mean by that? To be brief, it refers to people wanting or desiring something, and then looking up a particular Scripture that seems to go with their desire. They, then, use that particular Scripture to get what they want. They are, then, to begin to confess what they want by confessing what The Word of God says. They do this over and over attempting to wed the two.
Faith That is Not in The Cross of Christ
As should be obvious, such faith is not faith in The Cross of Christ. Actually, it’s not really even faith in the Word of God. It is an attempt to use The Word of God according to one’s own likes and dislikes completely ignoring the will of God in all matters. In other words, the teachers of this error claim that they automatically know the will of God, and the will of God is always for them to be rich, wealthy, great, strong, etc. To be frank, it is heady stuff simply because there is a lot of greed and self-will in all of us. Consequently, it draws a large audience. Most people like to be told how great they are, or even to tell themselves over and over how great they are.
Such teaching completely ignores The Cross. This is an attempt to manipulate The Word of God which, as should be obvious, cannot be Scriptural. In other words, God will never allow His Word to be used against Himself. While it is definitely true that His Word is His Will, it is just that, His Will and not our will. There is a vast difference in the two. The secret of The Word of God and all of its great and wonderful promises is that our will will be brought totally and completely into the Will of God in all things. In fact, this is what The Cross does. And this is what, alone, can be done in The Cross. Faith in Christ and The Cross breeds humility in the child of God, which, in fact, is the only manner that humility can be gained. The other way of which we have been speaking, which claims to be true faith, but in reality is anything but true faith, breeds the very opposite, arrogance and pride. Coupled with psychology, the so-called faith teaching, among other things, has steered the church away from The Cross of Christ until it presently little knows where it’s been, where it is, or where it is going. In the last chapter of this book, we have purposefully dealt with that which every believer should desire, which is to walk strong in The Lord. This can only be done by the believer placing his or her faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross and maintaining it exclusively in Christ and The Cross. We are to be looking for the Rapture of the Church and desiring to be our best when the Trump sounds. This short chapter, hopefully, will be very helpful, but as we close, there is one more question that we should ask.
What Are the Requirements for Going in the Rapture?
Really, there is only one requirement and that is to be born again. There is no such thing as a partial justification. One is either totally justified or not justified at all. Every person who is truly born again will go in the Rapture. This is despite the fact that they may not be as close to The Lord as they should be and despite the fact that their consecration may not be what it ought to be. As I said, if they are born again, they will go in the Rapture. Paul said concerning this very thing, “…and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The two key words in this portion of the verse is “in Christ.” If a person is saved, he is in Christ, and he is ready for the Rapture. We’ve all experienced coming up in a particular church, which may have been a good church in many respects, but there were some things taught that were error. For example, I heard teaching that claimed that a believer had to be baptized with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues to be ready for the Rapture. There is nothing in The Word of God that substantiates such thinking. Then, there was a strange teaching that claimed the five foolish virgins would not go in the Rapture, whatever in the world that meant. While every believer should strive to walk closely to The Lord, should strive to be what we ought to be in Christ, and should strive to get closer and closer to Him, still, let me say it again, if one is truly saved, that means that one is truly and fully justified simply because there is no such thing as a partial justification. Let us close with the following verses, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
On the Cross of Calvary, our Blessed Savior died
Gave His life to save the world from loss
His pain and agony for every sin to hide
Shed the Blood that stained The Old Rugged Cross
To The Cross, The Rugged Cross, they nailed His precious hands
And in death, He fully paid the cost
There is pardon in His Love for everyone who stands
For the Blood that stained The Old Rugged Cross
What an awful death He died to pardon you and me
All alone in agony, He tossed
In a world once lost in sin, can now be wholly free
By the Blood that stained The Old Rugged Cross
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT
The Rapture of the Church