Last Wednesday night after ministering, we had a “question and answer” session. These sessions are to address biblical doctrines, theology, bible questions about what a verse means, false doctrines, things that folks are struggling with, etc.
A man raised his hand and I called on him to ask his question. But he didn’t have a question, per se. He made an astonishing statement that led to a hundred questions by others. To my amazement, this is what he said: “Robert, you’re teaching us to abstain from all sin, and that if we do sin and don’t repent of it, then we are separating ourselves from fellowship with God. But just last week I listened to a man that taught that it’s okay for a Christian to sin, and that Christians are going to sin because they just can’t help it.”
He went on to say that this bible “teacher” taught how Paul was struggling with sin in Romans chapter seven. And of course, I knew where this was going…where it always goes; to the last section of Romans chapter seven. This is a portion of scripture, which in my humble opinion, has been so misconstrued, that people have used it as a license to sin for a few thousand years now. If you give people the slightest idea that it’s okay to sin, they will run with it.
Why is this? Because people love sin, the pleasures of it; and they love living in it. Hebrews chapter 11 even says that sin is pleasurable for a season. But Romans bears out that the end of sin is death. And that word “death” in the Greek means eternal death.
After the service, I and another brother were talking about this phenomenon. And he informed me that he had actually had another pastor teach him this same principal. He further went on to tell me that he had heard this teaching numerous times in several churches, and even on the radio and television. And as I don’t own a television set or listen to the radio, I don’t really keep up to speed as to what is being disseminated among Christians. But this brother informed me that this is quickly becoming the norm.
I tell you by the Lord, and by the authority of His Word that people that espouse this false teaching are serial killers…spiritually speaking. Run from them as fast as you can. They are killing more people than any BTK or Ted Bundy combined would ever think of killing. They are “soul-murderers” in the first degree.
Romans 7:5 sets up the rest of the chapter when it says, “For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit unto death.” This verse is all in the past tense: were… were… were. The very next verse teaches us that we died to it (the law), and Romans chapter six teaches us that we died to sin. So then, in Romans six we died to sin, in Romans seven we died to the law, and in Romans eight the new man emerges.
Jesus said over and over and over again, “Let no man deceive you.” Men are the cause of people being deceived. We know that ultimately satan is behind the scenes working all manner of deception. But I have learned through the years that the men (and women) who espouse these lies are usually hiding a hidden sin that they enjoy. And the only way to hide a sin is to try and justify it away by watering down the judgment of God against sin. And if they can deceive others into thinking that sins aren’t as bad as God makes them out to be, then somehow it appeases their conscience, and their own culpability in their crimes against a holy, just and moral Judge and God. But in all reality the Word of God teaches that their consciences are being seared over as with an iron.
What happens to you when you get burned on a certain area of your body? You lose the feeling in that area because the nerve endings have been burned off. Sin is like a fire to the conscience. It burns the sensitivity of the conscience away. Proverbs 28:14 NLT says, “Blessed are those who have a tender conscience.”
Read very carefully the following verses found in 1 Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith (you can’t depart from the faith unless you were first in the faith), giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
Now let’s ask ourselves this question: How did their conscience become seared over with a hot iron? We can find the answer in Hebrews 3:13 which says, “But exhort (this word “exhort” means to warn, instruct, and admonish) one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” So we can see here that sin deceives people to the uttermost. And therefore if a person is deceived, then he cannot be walking in the truth. And if he is not walking in the truth, then he is walking in darkness. And if he is walking in darkness, then he will want others to walk in darkness with him (her).
Friends, it’s very simple…we are no longer in the flesh. If you are walking in the flesh the you are not a child of God. Consider carefully Gods view of the flesh:
- So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8
- They who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God. Romans 9:8
In Matthew 24:5-12 you will find the word “many” mentioned six times. Three of those times say: “…and will deceive many” – “And then many will be offended” – “…the love of many will grow cold.”
But notice how Jesus began His narrative on the last days. He started with saying, “LET NO MAN DECIEVE YOU!!” Many will be deceived in these last days. It’s happening all over the place right now. And “many will be offended.” This word “offended” in the Greek is scandalize (it is where we get our English word “scandal” from) and one of the very first definitions of this word from my Thayer’s Greek Lexicon is, “to entice to sin.” Hmmmmmmmmm…interesting, isn’t it?
In looking up this word in my Kittles Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (regarded by most scholars to be the most accurate biblical Greek dictionary in the world), I find that it means, “cause of ruin” – “a trap that is set for a man” – “the syncretistic background (from the Septuagint) infers a table for demons” – “going astray” – “those who are led into sin and apostasy” – “to cause the loss of faith” – “The loss of eternal salvation and eternal perdition.” And there is another 17 pages of explanation on this one word…but I think you get the gist of what it means.
We will come back to these passages in Matthew in a moment. I feel led at this juncture to try my best to explain something that I have seen in God’s Word. Follow this very carefully, as it may help you in the deepest way to see a very powerful truth. Let’s begin with Luke 22:44 which says, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Most have taught that He was agonizing over going to the cross. I totally disagree because Hebrews 12:2 says, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.” There are other verses, which bear out that He willingly laid His life down. Jesus was not afraid of dying…just as any man would trade his life for his wife’s life or his child’s life, etc. People have given their lives for a whole lot less. People have given their life over the principle of a matter, to defend their land, their family, and their rights. Men are not afraid to die for what they believe in. Jesus was not afraid of going to the cross. He was afraid of going to hell for three days and being separated from God.
So then, what does “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” really mean? We have to go to Hebrews 12:3-4 to find the answer: “For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin.”
Let’s look at this portion of scripture veerrryyyy carefully. I think that many just read over it quickly and don’t really glean what God is really trying to get them to see.
Who is being referred to in this passage? The Lord Jesus is the one being referenced here as the entire chapter begins with talking about Jesus. Now look at this part of scripture with the utmost attention…“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Paul is referring us back to the previous person listed in the previous verse; which in turn refers us back to the Garden of Gethsemane where this event of Jesus “resisted unto blood” occurred. Just what was Jesus resisting? The rest of the verse gives us the answer…”striving against sin.” KJV
This is why Jesus agonized in the garden and sweated great drops of blood. It had nothing to do with going to the cross. Another gospel bears out that Jesus had set His face (an idiom for fixing and determining in ones heart to follow through with something) to go to Jerusalem. He was undergoing the greatest temptation of His life. All of the temptations in His life put together could not put one down-payment on what He was being tempted with in the garden.
So when someone tells me that they’re struggling with sin, I simply say to them, “The Bible teaches that you died to sin. How can a corpse struggle? No dear friend, you are not struggling with sin, you are struggling against sin.”
Can you see the truth here? The verse ends with saying “You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin.” The “bloodshed” being referred to here is talking about—> “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”
Our struggle is not with sin, but against sin!!! Friends, it has everything to do with temptation. That’s it…nothing more. We are being tempted. Satan is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thess. 3:5. He can’t make you sin, he can only tempt you to sin. Okay…now back to our Matthew 24:4-13 portion that I mentioned earlier on in this article. Jesus said that many would be deceived, that many would fall away, and that many would grow cold in their love towards Him (Revelation 2:4 says that they had left their first love, which was Christ). But now notice how this portion in Matthew 24 ends: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
“…he who endures” what? In just meditating on the Lord being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, you will see that the whole purpose of this was so that He might be tempted to sin. Luke 4:2 brings out the point that He was tempted the entire 40 days (not just at the end of the 40 days). The scripture says, “He was led into the wilderness (for what reason?) to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1
The last 3 temptations were just a culmination of the previous 40 days. I have really seen a deep truth here. Satan had been with Him in the wilderness the entire 40 days! Luke 4:2 says so. And the ONLY THING satan was trying to do was to get Him to sin by tempting Him. Think about that.
We are tempted once in a great while; whereas He was bombarded every moment for 40 days!!! He must have endured thousands of temptations!! The last three were an attack on His identity. I wrote an article about this entitled Identity Theft (http://roberthammondministries.org/2012/12/identity-theft/).
And even when satan FINALLY did leave Him, it was only for a more opportune time. Please notice in Luke 4:13 that satan left Him for a season. He was coming back!! Another translation says, “…until a more opportune time.” He was waiting AND looking for just the right time to come and tempt the Lord again. We need to really meditate on this stuff.
The whole purpose of His wilderness experience was to be tempted…and He passed the test. The whole purpose of Israel’s wilderness experience was to be tempted…and they failed the test. So…the next time we find ourselves in the wilderness, GET A CLUE!! We’re there for one reason and one reason only…”Blessed is the man who ENDURES TEMPTATION! For when he has PASSED THE TEST, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Matthew 24:13 says, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” So…I ask the question again…“…he who endures” what? “Blessed is the man who ENDURES TEMPTATION…”
Are you putting the pieces together here? “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” is synonymous with “he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” If you really love Him, then you will do whatever it takes to resist temptation…even to the shedding of your blood if that’s what it takes. And the number one way to resist temptation is to simply put God’s word in you. “Thy word O Lord have I hidden in my heart, so that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119;11
So beware of these wicked (I repeat…wicked) teachers who teach anything contrary to the truth. Avoid these men at all costs. If you’re going to a church where sin is condoned or even tolerated, I warn you by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to flee from there, before your very spiritual clothing is contaminated with their sin and you become a partaker of their evil deeds.
These men are serial killers to the souls of men. They lurk in dark places in their minds and in their hearts. I don’t care if they call themselves “Pastor” or “Brother” or “Minister.” Paul said they are self-deluded.
If you hear any person water down the truth about sin, sins, or sinning…know that they are speaking from a wrong spirit. Some might say that they are just ignorant of the truth. Not so at all!! Because the Word of God shows all, tells all, and explains it all. And if they were for the truth, then they would be walking in the truth as it is laid out in the New Testament. The New Testament has some very strong things to say about these types of men and their “damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1). This word “damnable” in the Greek means (and I quote): “utter destruction” – “to perish in misery” – “a man doomed to eternal perdition” – “a destruction which consists in the loss of eternal life.” (Page 71 of the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – Strong’s #684).
These issues are very serious. If you knew that a serial killer lived next door to you, what would you do? But many are going to churches where serial killers not only live, but they teach others how to become a serial killer of men’s souls.
Your very soul depends on seeing the truth about giving in to temptation. Do not take this lightly. It’s very serious!! I don’t want to hear about you being the next victim of a spiritual serial killer. The gift of God upon my life is to warn people about what is coming. This is me warning you…flee from all sin. Say no to temptation. The gloom, sorrow, and blackness of darkness forever awaits those who live their life contrary to God’s Word. When the bible talks about people losing their reward in 1 Corinthians chapter three, this deals with your works of service and how you built upon the foundation of the apostles doctrine. But your living and how you conduct yourself before God is what determines if you make the rapture…or even make heaven.
As Paul said in Hebrews 4:1 TLB, “Although God’s promise of entering his place of rest still stands, some of you ought to tremble with fear, because some of you may be on the verge of failing to get there after all.”