By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There is something interesting about the way demons interacted with Jesus Christ. Demons appeared to live a life of instant gratification, answering to no one. If they wanted harass someone, they would possess them without resistance. They would make the person perform acts against their will and there was little anyone could do to stop them. Yet, when they saw Jesus, they always understood He was the Son of God and they would have to answer to Him on the Last Day.
James 2:19 (ESV): You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Like many of us, a fear of consequences is not enough to keep us from misbehaving. As children, we understood the consequences of disobeying our parents, but we accepted the risk because we thought there was a chance we would not be caught. Demons on the other hand know there is no escaping the final judgment, and it terrifies them. So why do demons continue to live a life that brings destruction?
1 Timothy 4:1-3 (ESV): Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Demons understand their fates are sealed, but they want to bring as many of us as they can down with them. Demons, like Satan are jealous of God’s love for us and they want to separate us from Him. It is important to remember that demons win whether we are too lax or too restrictive with God’s word. Whether we are adding rules by forbidding things God has allowed (such as marriage) or we are taking away from God’s law; and redefining marriage. The Apostle Paul says Jesus has liberated us from the bondage of slavery, yet many of us remain in the chains of man’s traditions (Galatians 5:1). Though some traditions appear to be a good idea; if they are restricting in places God is not, they should be reconsidered. Like the demons, we need to have a fear of the judgement as it is something no one can escape. We will all be required to answer for our actions, and the best way to live is a life in line with the will of God. God doesn’t need us to help Him by adding to His words, and He certainly does not need us to ignore His will. Let us be mindful and obedient of God’s will and never deter from it.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
It is one of those questions we likely know the answer to, yet it is always good to confirm. This is especially true when we come across a passage that appears to contradict another. As we continue to study the word of God this is bound to happen at least once; though it should not be a point of concern. When we find what appears to be a contradiction, we first need to understand the word of God is inerrant and without error. We then need to study and reflect on our conclusions to see where we may have strayed from God’s word.
1 John 5:16 (ESV): If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.
When reading 1 John 5:16, it appears the Apostle John is saying there are some sins that do not lead to death. If this was the case, that would mean John does not agree with the Apostle Paul who said the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Paul did not limit or exclude sin in any way; his statement is laying out the consequences of all sin. In similar fashion, Paul says that all have sinned and as a result of our sin we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Separation from God’s glory for eternity is what spiritual death is and Paul states it is the result of sin. We also know God told Adam and Eve if they transgressed by disobeying Him and eating of the tree of knowledge, they would “surely die” (Genesis 3:3).
If the wages of sin is confirmed throughout Scripture as death, then what is John talking about? There are many differing opinions on this topic, but with certainty he is not saying some sins do not cause a Spiritual death. The consensus is John is talking about a physical death. The differing opinions is in regard to which type of event caused the physical death. For example, under the Mosaic Law there were sins like murder that were punishable by execution (Numbers 35:30).
Numbers 35:30 (ESV): Suppose a person kills someone. Then that person must be put to death as a murderer. But do it only when there are witnesses who can tell what happened. Do not put anyone to death if only one witness tells what happened.
Others believe it could be speaking on sins that cause fatal diseases for the sinner.
1 Corinthians 11:29-30 (ESV): For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
Whether the physical death was brought by disease or the government; John is not contradicting Paul by saying some sins do not cause Spiritual damnation. Let us be mindful and diligent in our studies as we continue to follow the will of God.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The body of Christ is expected to be honest with each other because of the benefits the truth provides. When we tell each other the truth, it provides an opportunity to defend or correct an action.
Ephesians 4:25 (NIV): Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Speaking the truth in love also motivates us to make sure we are accurate in our questions and critiques. When we are silent and avoid the truth, the process of correction is nullified. Those who would make a change for a better if provided the opportunity are never afforded one. The preparation we would undertake to make sure everything we said was accurate is also voided. As one body, it is our responsibility to make sure we are all right with God. It is our responsibility to love others more than we love ourselves, and that often means leaving our comfort zone. There is a misconception that telling people what they need to hear is worse than accepting someone no matter the issue. When we accept someone no matter the issue, we are essentially saying we don’t believe they have the potential to be better. We believe they are going to hear our words, get offended and the only thing that will change is their perception of us. Even if that is the case, if we love others more than we love ourselves we will be willing to put our relationship on the line for their wellbeing. That was a problem the church in Corinth was unwilling to face. The Apostle Paul was bewildered by the fact the church allowed a member to be married to his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5:1) without anyone correcting him. The problem with an unwillingness to correct each other is we are allowing the only opportunity for correction to be the Judgement Day, and by then it will be too late.
1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV): The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
When we love each other the way Christ loves us, we will be willing to do anything to save them from destruction. The Apostle Paul describes it as keeping a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. When we know something that can help someone and we don’t offer to help them, it should weigh on us. It should be difficult for us to keep a good conscience knowing what awaits the unfaithful. The Bible says it is a sin when we know right and do not make an effort to live righteously (James 4:17). With this being the case, how can we keep a pure heart if we are sinning when we are not honest with each other? A pure heart is one that is aligned with Christ, walking the path of righteousness in truth and Spirit. Our faith and hope is Jesus Christ and His return for us. If we are sincere in our faith, we will proclaim the Gospel until his return; and that requires us to honest and truthful with each other.
Proverbs is full of practical insight and divine wisdom that can be used to better one’s life. On the practical side, it teaches us how to sustain and repair relationships; as well as things like work ethic and prosperity. In relation to divine wisdom, we can learn about love, the majesty of God and the benefits of being a believer versus a nonbeliever. When learning about unbelievers, we often find ourselves learning about how difficult it is for evil people to understand God and His justice.
Proverbs 28:5 (ESV): Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
There are multiple reasons why evil people are ineffective when it comes to understanding and obeying God. The Bible speaks on the hardening of the heart that takes place when one lives a life of willful sin. This hardening of the heart makes it difficult for someone to believe the truth, even when the truth is the only available option. Liken it to the Pharaoh when Moses and Aaron told him God wanted him to let His people go (Exodus 9:1). To the average person, we probably find it hard to comprehend why anyone would continue to disobey the will of God when His justice is so absolute. For someone to need ten plagues and the destruction of most of his army to understand God’s justice, it only confirms the difficulty evil people encounter.
Psalms 25:14 (NIV): The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Believers are able to understand God’s justice because they seek to understand Him and God rewards their diligence. 1 Corinthians 2:11 says; “no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God”. It is the Holy Spirit of God that inspired the creation of the Bible by the hands of men. Without the Bible we would not know or understand nearly as much as we do. Jesus Christ told His disciples that the Spirit of Truth will guide them into all the truth, “for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Unfortunately, evil people who willfully sin will begin to lose their ability to discern right and wrong. They will lose their ability to see the light and understand the truth. As Isaiah said, God will give them over to their evil desires by blinding their eyes and hardening their hearts (Isaiah 44:18). Let us be diligent in our studies to make sure we understand God and His will.