In Romans 6:2,11 the Almighty (through the Apostle Paul) tells us that if we are truly converted (not saved–see Hope and Salvation) we are “dead to sin” and, because of this deadness, we will “live with Christ” in the hereafter (vs 8). Beginning with verse 11 Paul makes abundantly clear the fact that, following conversion, we are in charge of our spiritual choices–whether to obey God or Satan. There are no other alternatives. Sinners Saved By Grace declare that both before and after one’s “salvation experience” (completion of a prescribed ritual) one has no choice but to obey Satan due to Adam’s sin. God refutes this theology by commanding that those who embrace Him “RECKON” (decide for) THEMSELVES to be “dead (immune) to sin.” He has provided everything man needs (grace, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, His Word) in order to qualify for salvation upon the return of His Son. Man is in charge of his future. It is the old horse-led-t0-water idiom played out on a human stage. The Lord has provided His “water.” We must decide whether to “drink” it. Most, He said, will refuse, choosing rather to imbibe the devil’s cool aid. Jim Jones comes to mind.
That man chooses his master is brought out in Romans 6:12 and 13 where Paul tells US not to “LET” (allow) sin rule us, not to “LET” Satan entice us to obey him. In verse 13 Paul tells US not to “YIELD” to Satan. Rather, WE are to “YIELD” to God unto righteousness. In verse 16 we are told that the one to whom WE CHOOSE TO YIELD is the one whom we choose to OBEY and SERVE. The choices are ours to make. There are only two choices. Man chooses to either obey Satan unto sin which results in death, or to obey God unto holiness which results in eternal life. In verse 14 WE are COMMANDED to NOT ALLOW sin to dominate US. This is possible because God’s grace has made His Holy Spirit AVAILABLE to us. The Holy Spirit gives YOU the power to “Resist the devil and he will flee from YOU” (Jam. 4:7). Notice that man must do the resisting. God has provided the dynamite, we must light the fuse.
Obedience to God frees us from the Law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2) and places us under God’s grace, which makes justification, conversion and the Holy Spirit available to us. Those who embrace God are “under grace” and not “under the Law” of sin and death. Paul asks SSBG: “Shall we sin because we are under grace and not under the Law (of sin and death)?” His answer: “God forbid” (6:15). GOD FORBIDS HIS PEOPLE TO SIN BECAUSE THEY HAVE RECEIVED HIS GRACE. Church people claim that they must sin due to Adam’s miracle, that Jesus died so that they can sin and still receive eternal life. At the same time they assure us that if those same sins are committed by the “unsaved” the result is death. It all depends on faith. James tells us that faith without works (obedience to God) is dead–Jam. 2: 14,17,18,20,26. Dead faith will save no one. Someone, either God or professing Christendom, is dead wrong. We must decide which. It has been my experience that the overwhelming majority of church people point the accusative finger at the One they claim has saved them. I have had preachers admit that the Scriptures I presented were God’s Truth, then reject them and continue to preach church doctrine. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE SATAN’S POWER. With it he has turned the church into his playground.
In his second letter to the church at Corinth Paul stated that in order to receive the promises of God, including salvation, WE must: “CLEANSE OURSELVES OF ALL SIN” and must … PERFECT HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD” (7:1). Note that the cleansing and perfecting is done by “OURSELVES.” How? By obeying God. THE CHOICE IS OURS. Romans 6:18,19, and 22 tell us that making the right choice will result in justification which, if maintained, leads to righteousness which, if maintained, which leads to holiness which, if maintained, results in everlasting life. See Matthew 10:22 relative to “maintaining” one’s spiritual condition. What Jesus said to the disciples applies to all who follow their teachings–God’s true church.
Perhaps the passage that best summarizes God’s requirements for salvation is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. In that epistle he told those Christians (and us) that they (we) must perfect (grow in) holiness until “WE ALL come to the unity of THE faith, and of THE knowledge of the Son of God, to a PERFECT MAN (PERSON), to the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST” (4:13). The church rejects the Lord’s characterization of a true Christian (saint–“holy one”). Her description is much more self-serving. An episode recorded in Matthew 19 brings this attitude to light perfectly. A rich man asked Jesus what he must do in order to live forever. Jesus told him he had to obey the Ten Commandments. The man had obeyed them all of his life, except one. Jesus told him he had to be PERFECT in order to live forever (vs 21). The man refused, thereby turning his back on salvation. The man believed Him. Unlike him, SSBG reject Christ’s Words. Rejecting the possibility of sinless perfection, they adamantly cling to their god who tells them that they must sin. They also reject Christ’s words that sin prevents one from being saved. Where Christ said that one sin would keep a man out of paradise, church people say that no amount of sin can do that, that once one has performed the prescribed ritual, one’s place in heaven is guaranteed. Therefore, having been “saved,” they can sin with reckless abandon, “knowing” that they will be whisked up to heaven upon exhaling their last breath. Not one word of which is true, if, that is, we can take God at His Word.
The Romans 6:23 series have allowed us to view the Institutional Church (Catholicism/Protestantism) through God’s eyes. In His Holy Bible He condemns that Satan-controlled system in no uncertain terms. Jesus warns her parishioners in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but (only) he that DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven. MANY (vss 13,14) will say to Me on that (judgment) day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (preached) in Your name? and in Your name cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful (religious) works?’ And then I will say to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; depart from Me you who work iniquity (Lawlessness).'” These unwitting souls will have spent much of their lives in the sin-saturated confines the Catholic/Protestant system, all the while believing that God “knew” them on an intimate level. Jesus was right: “Satan has deceived the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). His greatest deception resulted in his takeover of that which calls itself “the church.” As a result, over two billion people now living in the valley of decision are oblivious as to their spiritual condition. There are two reasons why. One is ignorance of God’s Word. The other is rejection of His Word after it has been revealed to them. Ignorance is no excuse. God said: “MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE” (Hos. 4:6). If some of those in His remnant church are being destroyed because of ignorance of His Word, what does that say about professing Christendom which suffers from the same self-inflicted spiritual virus.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13,14 that few would believe His and His Father’s Truth, search for and find Their church, enter it and obey His Law unto salvation. For this reason He said that if as many as two true believers come together in His name, He would be in their midst. Having been in that situation for some 15 years, I am eternally grateful for His presence in that this church only has one minister and one parishioner. L.J.