Monthly Archives: May 2017

Should we “plead the blood of Jesus?”

SHOULD WE “PLEAD THE BLOOD OF JESUS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

It is a phrase wildly popular in Charismatic (“spiritual-gift”) groups. Decades ago, it was common to hear or read of someone declaring, “I plead the blood of Jesus!” Today, that expression has largely fallen into disuse—restricted to older people. You are most likely to hear the modern parallel: “Satan, the blood of Jesus is against you!” Another variation is, “I put the blood of Jesus against it!” To what purpose are these declarations made? Should we utter such pronouncements? Is there any biblical authority for this? Or is it merely religious fervor? We shall see!

SOME BACKGROUND—PAST AND PRESENT

“Pleading the blood of Jesus” goes back to the early 1900s, the beginnings of Pentecostalism. Adherents claim that God so wants to support us, we should call upon Him for help, protection, and deliverance. Yea, they contend that God will assist us by setting us free, guarding us, healing us of bodily illness, and so on. They argue that just as the hymn says, “There is Power in the Blood,” we need to claim that power and activate it by declaring, “I plead the blood of Jesus over ____.” They plead the blood of Jesus over sickness, poverty, “demon” spirits, spirits of fear and torment, et cetera.

“Plead the blood over everything, every aspect of your life,” they tell us. We are to plead the blood over our family, finances, house, health, car, church, and so on. They say we must make that declaration in order to erect a “hedge of protection.” “The devil cannot cross the bloodline,” they say. “It is like putting up a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, telling Satan he has no authority!” One such preacher talked about he and his wife, when moving into their new house, went into every room pleading the blood of Jesus, driving out the evil that the previous tenants might have engaged in! Despite their strange behavior, they are adamant that they have Bible verses for support. We now move on to addressing their primary “proof texts.”

IS THERE A SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR “PLEADING THE BLOOD?”

Various key Bible verses allegedly undergird the practice of “pleading the blood of Jesus.” Proponents contend that it is founded upon the passages of the Passover lamb in Egypt, and the consecration of the Levitical priests.

Exodus 12:13 says: “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” It is argued that this “blood for protection” typifies the alleged “New Testament” practice of “pleading the blood of Jesus to receive protection.” Yet, Scripture does not say that any Jew applied the blood to the door and then chanted incessantly, “I plead that blood on my door! Devil do not dare come in!” No, they applied the blood by faith and God took care of the rest. God would pass over them once He saw the blood” (Exodus 12:13). He was not interested in them “pleading the blood.” The very verse they claim supports their system actually weakens it—God was interested in seeing the blood! Furthermore, there was no prayer for deliverance. God had already promised them that He would deliver them.

Leviticus 8:30 records the ordination of Aaron and his sons into the Levitical priesthood: “And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.” This was the blood of consecration. Aaron and his sons were now divinely-appointed priests in the nation Israel. Where in the Bible did these priests “plead the blood?” There is no such verse!

In addition to the two main proofs, the “plead the blood” advocate appeals to various and sundry lines of thought. It is a mixture of verses and speculations, as you will notice. Since Satan constantly accuses us Christians of past sins and failures (Revelation 12:10), it is said that we must continually fight those condemning thoughts by “pleading the blood of Jesus.” Without pleading the blood, they say, we will have no victory over the Adversary. We must “plead the blood” to overcome temptation to sin. When we “lay hands on others for them to receive the Holy Spirit,” we are to “plead the blood.” We are to “plead the blood” for grace and mercy to be activated in our lives (1 Peter 1:2). We are to “plead the blood” to have a clean conscience (Hebrews 9:14). We are to “plead the blood” to come boldly into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-20). Yet, if we look at those verses, there is no person “pleading” or reciting anything. The blood of Christ is there, yes, but where in these verses is the pleading? Completely absent!

There is no clear formula anywhere in the “New Testament”—or even in the Old Testament—to “plead the blood.” The priests of Israel never said, “We plead the blood” (and yet, they were offering the animals’ blood that typified the blood of Christ!). On the night of the Passover in Egypt, the Jews had no such formula to pray. The blood was already applied, and they need not be concerned with doing anything other than trusting God to keep His promise. When we find the Apostles performing miracles in the “New Testament” Scriptures, never once does the Bible record them saying, “We plead the blood of Jesus over this evil spirit/sickness/difficulty!” Let us deal with this in greater detail.

THE SCRIPTURES THAT CORRECT THE ERRORS IN THE PRACTICE OF “PLEADING THE BLOOD OF JESUS”

Let us begin by saying that the power is not in our words, or in something we pray, or in something we repeat over and over as heathen (unbelievers) do. The Lord Jesus warned in Matthew 6:7: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Listen to the “plead the blood” crowd long enough, and you will see they are engaging in “vain [empty, pointless] repetitions.” Moreover, we never read about praying, “I plead the blood of Jesus,” anywhere in the Bible. There is certainly no power in words and phrases we make up. Bible verses must be quoted in context if they are to profit us. We can pray for God to give us strength and resources to build a boat, but will He give us them as He did Noah in Genesis chapter 6? It is Biblical to build an ark you know! Why should we not claim Genesis chapter 6 for ourselves too?

Just so there be no misunderstandings at this point, it is important to note the following. We are very much aware that Christ’s shed blood provides our redemption (buying back) and forgiveness (sin debt cancellation). Colossians 1:14 says to that point, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Through His Son’s shed blood, Father God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (verse 13).

Satan is already defeated; we just rest, or trust, in Colossians 2:13-15: “[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” As Jesus Christ was victorious over Satan at Calvary, so we are victorious over Satan at Calvary. There is no chant or prayer involved; there is simple reliance on (trust, faith in) the “cross of Christ” Bible verses we read.

Should we “plead the blood” when we are tempted to sin? No, we simply remember and believe Romans 6:7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:7). “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11). Verse 19: “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Finally, Galatians 5:24-25: “[24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. [25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

The power is in the Word of God, not in our prayers. Hebrews 4:12 is quite clear: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Holy Spirit will take those Bible verses we study and believe, and He will put them to work in our lives. The way we apply the blood of Christ to our daily lives is not to chant, “I plead the blood of Jesus!,” or to pray repetitiously day after day, “I plead the blood of Jesus over this, over that, over all!” Scripture will work in us who believe, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” We either believe these divine words, or we do not!

Ephesians 5:18-19 says to us members of the Church the Body of Christ: “[18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord….” Colossians 3:16 is the parallel passage: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” The way we are “filled with [controlled by] the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) is if “the word of Christ dwell[s] in [us] richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16).

Colossians 2:6-7 says that, however our Christian life began, that is how it will function on a daily basis: “[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did our Christian life begin? By we “pleading the blood?” No, “faith in Christ” (verse 5). Faith, not “pleading,” is the issue. Trust, not declaration, is what matters. Christ’s blood was imputed (applied) to our account for soul salvation unto eternal life, when we had faith in the justification verses that we heard or read.

Romans 4:5 says: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Justification was not reckoned to our account by we saying, “I plead the blood!” God wants to see faith in what He says about His Son; He does not want to hear “magic” words uttered. Likewise, in daily Christian living, we have faith in those same verses. The death of Christ was our death to sin, and His resurrection was our resurrection to new life (righteous living).

Religious people desiring success, fortune, good health, and so on, “plead the blood of Jesus” to try to manipulate God to do what they want. They say Christians should not be sick, should not be poor, and so on. We are “plead the blood” to get ahead in every aspect of life. Are they correct in these assertions? What if God can use us mightily without giving us material riches, without providing us with good health, and without all the other things such “prosperity gospel” people say God ought to give us His children? Nay, we are not rebellious. We pray according to His rightly divided Word, what He is doing today, not what He did in time past or what He will do in the ages to come. The authority is in the Word of God. When we understand that the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, are what God is doing today, we will by faith claim those verses. There is nothing in Paul’s epistles about “pleading the blood” for healing miracles, exorcisms, prosperity, and so on. In fact, we read the exact opposite.

The Apostle Paul himself was poor. Paul himself was ill. Paul himself suffered immense persecution by evil spirits and wicked men. If anyone should have “pled the blood of Jesus,” surely it should have and would have been Paul! (Yet, as the Bible shows us, he did not do it.) Moreover, when writing to us Gentiles and the Church the Body of Christ, never once did the Apostle Paul instruct us to “plead the blood.” When he had difficulties in 2 Corinthians chapters 11 and 12, never once did he “plead the blood of Jesus.” Neither did he do it for ill Timothy, infirm Trophimus, or sick Epaphroditus. There was no “blood pled” for the devil-possessed girl at Philippi—and yet she was delivered. No blood was “pled” for the 12 Jews on whom Paul bestowed the Holy Spirit by laying hands on them. If the Charismatics were correct concerning this topic, all of these verses would read differently. Lest you take my word, take God’s Word for it!

The Bible says in Acts 16:16-18: “[16] And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: [17] The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. [18] And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” This devil-possessed girl was indeed delivered from satanic captivity, and yet, the Bible never says that Paul declared over her, “Devil be gone—I plead the blood of Jesus!”

Acts 19:4-7 says the following: “[4] Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. [5] When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [6] And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. [7] And all the men were about twelve.” Did Paul “plead the blood of Jesus” here? The verse is silent on that subject—yet, the Scriptures say these 12 men received the Holy Spirit. Evidently, “pleading the blood” was not on the Holy Spirit’s mind when He penned these verses. Why?

Read Paul’s directions to chronically infirm Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” Was there no blood pled for Timothy? Obviously not—if we believe the verse, that is. Was not Paul performing healing miracles? No, not anymore. As we can see, with the close of the Book of Acts, the healing miracles have passed away. Timothy cannot receive any type of physical healing from God; the Apostle’s pen, bearing the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval, says that he must resort to medication.

Philippians 2:27 says of Epaphroditus: “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” This Christian, Epaphroditus, was deathly ill, but Paul says that he recovered. Was there any blood pled for him? Again, if you have noticed the pattern forming, the Bible is silent on that theme. If “pleading the blood” were such an important issue, as the Charismatics claim, surely it should be appearing in the Scriptures. So far, we have not seen it in these most pertinent passages.

We read in 2 Timothy 4:20: “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” Why did Paul not “plead the blood of Jesus” for Trophimus? Is it because that practice is a tradition of men? Furthermore, how could Paul leave Trophimus ill? Could not Paul heal Trophimus here? No. Again, with the close of Acts, the spiritual gift of healing has passed away. With the Acts transition period concluded, Paul’s provoking ministry to Israel has been permanently suspended. By the way, the Book of 2 Timothy was Paul’s last epistle, written shortly before his death. Why did the Holy Spirit, in his final epistle to the Body of Christ, not exhort us to “plead the blood of Jesus?”

Second Corinthians 12:7-10 is the Apostle Paul’s own struggles with life’s difficulties: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

What did the Lord Himself tell Paul while he was suffering? “Plead My blood, Paul, plead My blood! You will be delivered from all your problems if you plead My blood?” Certainty not! Certainty not! Certainty not! Rather, dear friends, God gave Paul the grace, the strength/capacity, to endure those trials. Again, read: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (verse 9). No “plead the blood” was employed in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28—look at all that suffering of Paul there!

Second Timothy 2:24-26 says on the topic of Christians being delivered from satanic oppression and deception: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” According to the Scriptures, “ensnared” Christians are recovered not by “pleading the blood!” Such saints are delivered by being taught, instructed, to the intent that they use that gained knowledge of the truth to think differently. They should let sound Bible doctrine renew their minds; in doing so, they will relinquish false teaching and abandon faulty thinking.

Philippians 4:11-13 says of Paul’s contentment in all situations, good and bad: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Paul said Christ strengthened him to endure all circumstances, good and bad. There was no mention of a “magic” formula such as “plead the blood” in times of difficulty. Rather, there was instruction from Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9) and Paul was victorious because he believed those applicable Bible verses.

Second Thessalonians chapter 1 says: “[4] So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [5] Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: [6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels….” The Thessalonians were suffering immense pressure, extreme persecution, for being Christians. As you can read for yourself, friend, there was no “plead the blood of Jesus” here either. The Holy Spirit never instructed them to pray or chant in such a manner. Instead, they were to remember that God would pay back their enemies at the Second Coming of Christ.

Finally, we read in Romans 1:13: “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Satan hindered Paul from visiting the Roman saints. Once again, we see no “I will plead the blood so I can come to you at Rome.” Friends, if at this point we cannot see that “plead the blood of Jesus” is just a manmade idea, certainly not in the Bible, we have no interest in laying aside our traditions and embracing pure grace and genuine Christianity. We are therefore more loyal to fellow man than Father God!

CONCLUSION

The practice of “plead the blood of Jesus” is wrong in several points. Firstly, it is a cornerstone of Charismatic “worship,” the Charismatic Movement itself riddled with gross theological errors. Secondly, there is more emphasis on experience and emotions than on Bible verses. Thirdly, there is no clear apostolic practice of “pleading the blood” in the Scriptures; hence, it is nothing more than misguided religious fervor. Fourthly, people have reduced victory in the Christian life to nothing more than declaring a chant, “I plead the blood!” In such circles, there is no clear understanding of how the Christian life began and how it operates. Fifthly, these people should be walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)—demanding to see God’s visible workings is manifested unbelief. Lastly, they are mixing dispensations, grabbing Israel’s material prosperity and physical healing verses when they should be realizing that the Apostle Paul exclusively writes to and about us the Church the Body of Christ.

Paul’s Book to the Romans is meant to establish the believer in the grace of God in the Dispensation of Grace of God. Romans 1:11-12 says: “[11] For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; [12] That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Justification (chapters 1-5), sanctification (chapters 6-8), basic dispensational principles (chapters 9-11), and practical Christian living (chapters 12-16) all discussed in the Book of Romans. If “pleading the blood” was so integral to victorious Christian living, why did the Holy Spirit not mention it in Romans? Yes, the blood/death of Christ is mentioned (Romans 3:25; Romans 5:6-11; et cetera), but it is never offered in Romans (or any other part of Scripture) as a formula to pray or declare in order to escape problems and receive material blessings from God.

Yes, victory is in the cross of Christ, we do know that to be true. Trusting day by day in that finished crosswork in our key to success in the Christian life. However, victory is not in us repeating rote magic formulas (whether it be the rosary, or the pleading of the blood, et cetera). In the Dispensation of Grace, God is not interested in manipulating our circumstances. He is more interested in transforming us from the inside out, the doctrine renewing our mind, and our heart believing that doctrine. Will we let God the Holy Spirit change our mind, or will we continue in our religious error? It is our choice!

One final comment is worth sharing. A proponent of “pleading the blood of Jesus” actually warned that, if not approached correctly, the practice can become “a superstitious exercise in which we are depending on the words rather than on the understanding that gives the words their power.” I would say that, right from the start, the very practice of “pleading the blood of Jesus” was invented and is advocated by those who have an extremely poor understanding of the Bible. Thus, inherently, “pleading the blood” is a “superstitious exercise”—it cannot “become” what it already is! There can be no “understanding” in something has misunderstanding as its very foundation! It certainly is not done in faith. There is no clear verse to support a daily repetition of that prayer, a continual declaration of that expression over every aspect of our lives, and so on. It is religious fervor masquerading as truth. Do not be deceived!

Also see:
» Can you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
» Is a Christian a “poor testimony” for taking medication?
» How does Satan operate today?

What are “emerods?”

WHAT ARE “EMERODS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Emerods” appears eight times in the King James Bible text. What are they? Let us “search the Scriptures!”

The first occurrence is Deuteronomy 28:27, God warning Israel if she does not obey His laws by faith: “The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.” In keeping with the principle of Bible hermeneutics known as “the law of first mention,” we see that “emerods” has a negative connotation. It sits in the context of various bodily illnesses, horrific medical conditions. This is the first clue in helping us identify “emerods.”

Notice the remaining instances in Scripture:

  • 1 Samuel 5:6: “But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.”
  • 1 Samuel 5:9: “And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.”
  • 1 Samuel 5:12: “And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.”
  • 1 Samuel 6:4: “Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.” (This would not be a literal medical condition here, but rather physical representations made of gold.)
  • 1 Samuel 6:5: “Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.”
  • 1 Samuel 6:11: “And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods.” (This would not be a literal medical condition here, but rather physical representations made of gold.)
  • 1 Samuel 6:17: “And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;” (This would not be a literal medical condition here, but rather physical representations made of gold.)

According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, “emerods” in Hebrew is either טְחֹר; tĕchor (#H2914) or עֹפֶל; `ophel (#H6076). The Hebrew root word rendered “emerods” carries the idea of “swelling” or “mound.” It is the “tower” of 2 Kings 5:24. It is the “fort” of Isaiah 32:14. It is the “strong hold” of Micah 4:8. So, it is becoming clear that “emerods” are some type of bodily affiction that resemble “towers” or “swellings.”

In light of what has gone before, the closest word to “emerods” with which we would be familiar is “tumors.” A “tumor” is “a swelling of a part of the body, generally without inflammation, caused by an abnormal growth of tissue, whether benign or malignant.” The following subentry is also found in The Oxford English Dictionary: “(archaic) a swelling of any kind.”

Without getting too graphic, we want to further comment on 1 Samuel 5:9: “they had emerods in their secret parts.” The “secret parts” are actually the genitals, so the idea here would be hemorrhoids. Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary (#H2914) says: “from an unused root meaning to burn; a boil or ulcer (from the inflammation), especially a tumor in the anus or pudenda (the piles):—emerod.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines “haemorrhoid” (U.S. “hemorrhoid”) as: “a swollen vein or group of veins in the region on the anus. Also (collectively) called piles.” Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon has the following: “pl. tumours of the anus, haemorrhoidal mariscae, protruding from the anus, protruding through tenesmus in voiding.” “Tenesmus” is defined as “a continual or recurrent inclination to evacuate the bowels, caused by disorder of the rectum or other illness.”

Like “the botch of Egypt,” “the emerods” are something you do not want!

Also see:
» What is “the botch of Egypt?”
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» What was wrong with Leah’s eyes?

What is “the botch of Egypt?”

WHAT IS “THE BOTCH OF EGYPT?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Deuteronomy 28:27 is one of God’s warnings if the nation Israel fails to obey all His laws: “The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.” What exactly is this “botch of Egypt?” We will search the Bible for answers!

We can begin by using context clues. The “botch of Egypt” is associated with other bodily afflictions; evidently, it is some type of infirmity.

According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, the Hebrew word for “botch” is: (#H7822) שְׁחִין shechîyn, shekh-een’; “from an unused root probably meaning to burn; inflammation, i.e. an ulcer:—boil, botch.” On 11 occasions, our King James translators rendered it “boil.” They twice interpreted it as “botch.” The idea is some type of eruption of the skin, as in leprosy. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says: “shĕchiyn masc. an inflamed ulcer, a boil… used of a kind of black leprosy endemic in Egypt, called by physicians elephantiasis, from the skin being covered with black scales, and the feet swelling up.” (Do an internet search for images of “elephantiasis.” Horrific!!)

Notice how shechîyn was handled in the King James Bible—either “boil” or “botch:”

  • Exodus 9:9: “And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.”
  • Exodus 9:10: “And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.”
  • Exodus 9:11: “And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.”
  • Leviticus 13:18: “The flesh also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed….”
  • Leviticus 13:19: “And in the place of the boil there be a white rising, or a bright spot, white, and somewhat reddish, and it be shewed to the priest….”
  • Leviticus 13:20: “And if, when the priest seeth it, behold, it be in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white; the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil.”
  • Leviticus 13:23: “But if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.”
  • Deuteronomy 28:27: “The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.”
  • Deuteronomy 28:35: “The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.”
  • 2 Kings 20:7: “And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.”
  • Job 2:7: “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”
  • Isaiah 38:21: “For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.”

In Deuteronomy 28:27, when God warned unbelieving and disobedient Israel that He would strike them with “the botch of Egypt,” the reference to Egypt caused them to remember His harsh judgments on that nation some 40 years earlier. If Israel did not want to experience that horrible round of boils, skin disease of leprosy, they had better keep His laws! Fear of chastisement was their motivation to keep the Law!

Notice how God struck Egypt with this “botch” in Exodus 9:8-12, some four decades prior to Deuteronomy: “[8] And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. [9] And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains [inflammatory pustules or skin eruptions] upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. [10] And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. [11] And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. [12] And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.”

Also see:
» What are “emerods?”
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» What was wrong with Leah’s eyes?

How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?

HOW DO WE NOT LIVE AFTER THE FLESH IF WE LIVE IN BODIES OF FLESH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“How do you not live after the flesh but after the Spirit? I think I live after the Spirit, but I struggle I think. I am in Christ, but I am also in a mortal body of flesh. You know what I mean?”

Friend, I know what you mean. There seems to be a contradiction, an impossibility. The truth is there really is no conflict here. Firstly, I believe you are referring to Romans 8:12-14, which we read now: “[12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. [13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

We would do well to start at verse 1 to get the thought-flow of the passage about which you are inquiring. Notice how Romans chapter 8 begins: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

The clause walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (verses 1 and 4) points to the idea of live not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (verses 12-13). To wit, “walking” and “living” are the same issue—conduct. To “walk” is the same as “live,” and, as we will see shortly, they are associated with another word—“mind.” There is yet another word—“led”—but that will come at the end. If we can see the relation between all of these words, the issue will become clear to us. We just have to keep the context in mind.

By the way, people needlessly struggle with verse 1 in the King James Bible. They wrongly conclude that it is talking about lost people can escape the condemnation of Hell by walking after the Spirit instead of after the flesh. In a sincere attempt to remove a reference to what they assume is works-salvation, they remove the last 10 words from the verse so that it reads: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” They omit the clause, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Verse 1 is not talking about soul salvation unto eternal life—that topic was already settled in chapters 1-5. Romans chapters 6-8 are all about daily Christian living. The “condemnation” of Romans 8:1 is not eternal hellfire; it is self-condemnation, a life of which God disapproves. If the Christian is not walking in a clear understanding of the identity issue covered in chapter 6, he or she will wind up under the Law (chapter 7). Chapter 7 is the Apostle Paul totally miserable in the Christian life because he has legalism in his mind instead of grace in his heart. The word “therefore” at the beginning of Romans 8:1 points back to the previous verses.

Notice the close of Romans chapter 7: “[24] O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [25] I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” This is a Christian wallowing in, consumed by, self-condemnation. This actually describes many Christians today—so defeated and utterly depressed. The answer is chapter 8—Christians (not lost people) are to follow verse 1 onward. Never forget, friend, that Romans chapter 8 is victory in Christian living, not lost people becoming Christians. This chapter will tell us how, as Christians, we are to “mind the things of the Spirit” instead of “mind the things of the flesh.” How does the Christian have victory over sin?

Romans chapter 8 continues: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Why do people “live after the flesh?” Why do they “walk after the flesh?” Verse 5 tells us that they mind the things of the flesh.” The term “mind” is being used here in the sense of “regarding, thinking about, paying attention to, obeying.” By the way, “flesh” is the same as “carnal” in verses 6-7. The “fleshly” (or lost person’s) mind is anti-God, so it does not make sense for a Christian (God’s child) to think like a non-Christian. Whenever there is fleshly thinking in the life of a Christian (that is, Romans chapter 7), there is sure to be sin (the flesh and sin are one and the same). How can a Christian live like a lost person? When the Christian thinks like a lost person!

Pardon me for adding a few extra notes here. “They that are in the flesh cannot please God” (verse 8). Lost people have no ability or power whatsoever to please God because they do not have His Word working in them. They have a sin nature, an innermost being that is anti-God, and that controls them. This “carnal mind” is “enmity against God” (verse 7)—this is also true in the Christian’s life. Christians subject to a “carnal mind” are just as useless to God’s cause as unbelievers! If lost and saved people thought differently, relying on God’s Word instead of bad doctrine, they could please God. For lost people, they would come to understand their need for the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and then place their faith in Him and His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins. They would thereby become Christians. For saved people, they could walk by faith in that crosswork on a daily basis, the Holy Spirit bringing about Christian living in their life.

Romans chapter 8 continues: “[9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [10] And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [11] But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

We are “in the Spirit” because we are saved in Christ (verse 9)—lost people are “in the flesh” (verse 8). If we are “in the Spirit,” and we are because we trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, then we should think like the Spirit thinks. If we are “in the Spirit,” we need to mind the things of the Spirit, instead of minding the things of the flesh. It is understandable that those “in the flesh” think fleshly—we cannot expect them to be anything other than people controlled by their flesh. However, it does not make sense for Christians to behave like this. Christians should think like the Christians that they are, instead of thinking like the lost people that they are not! The Spirit of God has given us new life in Christ (Romans chapter 6). Thus, we need to think in accordance with that new identity. Notice how this is expanded upon in the coming verses.

The Bible says in Romans 8:12-14: “[12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. [13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

There is the tendency for the Christian to say in his or her defense, “But I have to sin because I am related to Adam!” No, we do not have to sin. Verse 12 says: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” We have no obligation to follow our position “in the flesh” because we are no longer “in the flesh.” We are “in the Spirit.” Romans 8:8-9 again: “[8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” And, verses 10-11: “[10] And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [11] But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” In light of this, “we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh” (verse 12).

Rather than “the flesh,” “living after the flesh,” causing the Christian life to be functionally dead, we choose “the Spirit,” and the Spirit will revive us so that we walk in newness of life (verse 13). This is the “led by the Spirit of God” of verse 14. The Spirit of God will resurrect us to new life just as He resurrected Jesus Christ to walk in newness of life. Let us go back to Romans chapter 6—you can read all of the chapter, but we will read just a sampling of verses.

Romans 6:9-12 says: “[9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.(See, had Paul had this in mind, the things of the Spirit, he would not have wound up in his “fleshly” dilemma in chapter 7. Romans chapter 6 is the Christian identity, chapter 7 is the failure to see that identity, and chapter 8 is a reaffirmation of that identity. Christians today would not have wound up in the misery of Romans chapter 7 had they believed the truths set forth in chapter 6!)

You are correct. We do live in fleshly bodies, bodies connected to Adam. However, that does not contradict “live after the Spirit not the flesh.” The “flesh” here is not our literal body of flesh and blood, but rather the natural capacity of a fallen man (sin nature). To “live after the flesh” (verses 12-13) is the idea of “following” the old sin nature and fulfilling the desires of the old sin nature. In other words, we are living contrary to who we are in Christ. We are living like we were before we came to Christ. Sin dominates us—we get confused, we fail, we get discouraged. Following a performance-based system, legalism/law, is how to have sin rule over us (recall Paul’s problem in chapter 7—living the Christian life under the Law). If, however, we “through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, [we] shall live” (Romans 8:13). The “body” there is the flesh-and-blood body.

The way we “walk after the flesh” is to think about things other than the grace of God. Using our own opinions, church tradition, rules and regulations, and the speculations of theologians, we make the Christian life futile and frustrating. This is how we wind up in sin. However, if we mind the things of the Spirit, the Christian life will be brought into our life. The key here is to think on the things of the Spirit. These “things of the Spirit” are the principles of grace already presented earlier in the Book of Romans—see chapters 3-7 especially.

Remember, the Spirit of God teaches spiritual things (Bible doctrine), as 1 Corinthians 2:10-14 says: “[10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The “natural man” (verse 14) is the lost man we made reference to earlier, the person “in the flesh” (Romans 8:8-9).

Romans 8:14 is the capstone, a further explanation, of the passage about which you are inquiring: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” So, we went from “walk” (verse 1), to “mind” (verse 5), to “live” (verse 13), to “led” (verse 14). To “live after the Spirit” (verse 13) is to follow (or “follow after”) the Spirit of God’s leading in sound Bible doctrine. The Holy Spirit will take the rightly divided Scriptures that we read and believe, and empower us to experience the life of Christ described in those verses. It all starts with a renewed mind, thinking the way God would have a grace believer/Christian think. Romans 12:1-2 will go on to say: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Going back to Romans 8:13 to tie up some loose ends: “[13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” The “dying” here is not dying and going to Hell; it is the failure of the Christian life. We can either function as God intended Christians behave, and experience God’s life. Or, we can ignore the principles of grace, cause our Christian life to fall apart, and that will bring nothing but failure (sin) and despair.

Romans 8:12-14 once again: “[12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. [13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” However, if we are “led by the Spirit of God,” we will reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ (see Romans 6:11 once more). That will enable us to behave as full-grown, mature sons of God. We will do what He does in us because He gives us that ability in the doctrine stored in us.

Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

Also see:
» Does “walking in the Spirit” mean the same thing as “living in the Spirit?”
» Which counts the most—how you start or how you finish?
» “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable?”

What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DISCIPLE AND AN APOSTLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Christian literature and sermons, we are constantly exposed to the terms “disciple” and “apostle.” What do these titles really mean though? How does the Bible define and use them? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

DISCIPLE

The word “disciple” (and its various forms) appears nearly 270 times in our King James Bible. In Greek, it is manthano, meaning “to learn or understand.” Our English word “mathematics” is derived from it.

“Disciple” first appears in Scripture in Matthew 10:24: “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” As a “disciple” would follow his “master,” so a “servant” would obey his “lord.” A disciple is one who follows a master (or teacher) in order to learn or receive training. In other words, disciple is another word for student. Stated another way, the word “disciple” is a general reference to a student or follower of Jesus Christ. A disciple is willing to hear the Lord Jesus Christ, and His servants, preach and teach His Word. This is in stark contrast to unbelievers—namely, skeptics, Bible rejecters and scoffers. There is one instance of “disciple” in the “Old Testament,” which we will look at without commenting. Isaiah 8:16 says: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” The rest of the occurrences in the Bible are in the “New Testament.” We will get to them now, limiting comments for brevity’s sake.

We read about Joseph of Arimathaea being “Jesus’ disciple” (Matthew 27:57; John 19:38). The Pharisees ridiculed and harassed the blind man whom Jesus had just healed: “Thou art his [Jesus’] disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples” (John 9:28). We read about “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in John 19:26-27, John 20:2, and John 21:7,20. The writer of the Book of John called himself “the disciple which testifieth of these things” (John 21:24). Ananias was a “disciple” of Jesus (Acts 9:10). After his salvation, Saul of Tarsus (Apostle Paul) attempted to meet with other “disciples” (Acts 9:26). Timothy was a “disciple” (Acts 16:1). Acts 21:16 speaks of “disciples of Caesarea.” There are general references to Jesus’ “disciples” in Matthew 5:1, Matthew 8:21, Matthew 8:23, et cetera. The term appears throughout the Books of Matthew through John, as well as the Book of Acts.

It is noteworthy that the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch of Syria. Acts 11:26 says: “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” We see how “disciples” refers to followers of the Apostle Paul’s ministry as well—Acts 11:29, Acts 13:52, Acts 14:20-22, Acts 14:28, Acts 15:10, Acts 18:23, Acts 18:27, et cetera. Its last appearance is Acts 20:1, never being mentioned in the Pauline epistles, however.

Moreover, there are special “disciples.” Notice them mentioned four times in Scripture:

  • Matthew 10:1-2: “[1] And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. [2] Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;” (Notice their title changed from “disciples” in verse 1 to “apostles” in verse 2.)
  • Matthew 11:1: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.”
  • Matthew 20:17: “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,”
  • Luke 9:1: “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.”

These four references transition us into discussing the office of an apostle.

APOSTLE

The term “apostle” (and its related forms) appears some 80 times—only in the “New Testament.” First and foremost, these would be the “twelve disciples” mentioned in Matthew 10:1, Matthew 11:1, Matthew 20:17, and Luke 9:1 (what we just read). “Apostle” is from the Greek apostolos, meaning “sent away from.” The idea is preserved in Matthew 10:1-6: “[1] And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. [2] Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; [3] Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; [4] Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. [5] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Luke 6:13 adds: “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles….” Notice how Jesus took the disciples and, then out of them, He chose 12 Apostles. In the Bible, all disciples are not apostles, but all apostles are disciples. The Apostles were given special authority of God—over sickness, evil spirits, and so on. They were also to preach the Gospel valid for their dispensation. Let us look at some verses.

Matthew 10:7-8, for example: “[7] And as ye [12 Apostles] go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [8] Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” In addition to miracle-working power, the Apostles were granted a teaching office, as Acts 2:42-43 tells us: “[42] And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. [43] And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” Acts 4:33 adds: “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Also Acts 5:12: “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.” And 2 Corinthians 12:12 (Paul writing): “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

Peter claimed apostolic authority in his two epistles. First Peter 1:1: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia….” And, 2 Peter 1:1: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ….”

Later, years after the 12 Apostles were ordained, Barnabas and Paul (Saul of Tarsus) are called “Apostles.” Acts 14:14: “Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,….” In Romans 11:13, Paul says: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”

The reason why Paul claimed to be an Apostle was because of what Jesus Christ had told him in Acts chapter 9 (historically). We do not read about what happened in chapter 9 until chapter 26: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Paul claims to be an apostle throughout his epistles, especially in the introductory verses—Romans 1:1, Romans 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 1 Corinthians 4:9, 1 Corinthians 9:1-2, 1 Corinthians 15:9, 2 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 11:5, 2 Corinthians 12:11, Galatians 1:1, Galatians 2:8, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:6, 1 Timothy 1:1, 1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:11, and Titus 1:1. He does not do this in Philippians, 2 Thessalonians, or Philemon.

Under Paul (Romans 11:13—“the apostle of the Gentiles”) were various secondary apostles in the Church the Body of Christ. These apostles are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28-29, Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 3:5, and Ephesians 4:11. All of those spiritual gifts faded when the Bible canon was completed about 2,000 years ago (see Ephesians 4:11-13 and 1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

SUPPLEMENTAL #1: JESUS CHRIST, THE APOSTLE OF ISRAEL

As noted earlier, “apostle” is from the Greek apostolos, and means “sent away from.” While we normally do not consider Jesus Christ as an Apostle, the Bible says He is. Notice Hebrews 3:1: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus….” If “apostle” means “sent one,” and it does, then exactly who sent “Christ Jesus the Apostle?”

On nearly 40 occasions, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of “him that sent me” (Matthew 10:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 4:18; Luke 9:48; Luke 10:16; John 4:34; John 5:24,30,36-37; John 6:38; John 6:39-40,44,57; John 7:16,28-29,33; John 8:16,18,26,29,42; John 9:4; John 11:42; John 12:44-45,49; John 13:20; John 14:24; John 15:21; John 16:5; John 17:18,21,23,25; John 20:21). This is the idea of an apostle—a “sent one.” Jesus said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Who sent Jesus Christ to Israel? He tells us 15 times in Scripture:

  • John 5:30: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
  • John 5:36: “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.”
  • John 5:37: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”
  • John 6:39: “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
  • John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
  • John 6:57: “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”
  • John 8:16: “And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.”
  • John 8:18: “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.”
  • John 8:29: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”
  • John 8:42: “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.”
  • John 12:49: “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”
  • John 14:24: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
  • John 17:21: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
  • John 17:25: O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.”
  • John 20:21: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (Notice this last verse. We will use it as a “jumping-off” point for a further development.)

God the Father designated His Son, Jesus Christ, as His Spokesman—namely, Jesus Christ speaks on behalf of the Godhead (made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Colossians 2:9 says: “For in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Since God the Father sent Jesus Christ to Israel during His earthly ministry, whomever refused to hear the words of Christ was actually refusing to hear the words of Father God! But, there is more.

The Lord said to His 12 Apostles in Matthew 10:40: “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” And, John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Whoever rejected the preaching of an Apostle of Jesus Christ, rejected the doctrine of Christ—nay, they ultimately rejected Father God’s Word. Remember, Paul is our “apostle,” God’s spokesman to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13). If we reject Paul, we reject Jesus Christ who sent Paul to us, and we reject God the Father who sent Jesus Christ to speak to us on behalf of the Godhead!

SUPPLEMENTAL #2: FALSE APOSTLES, SATAN’S IMITATIONS

Friend, in keeping with his devious nature, Satan has counterfeits at his beckon call. Beware! Whatever God does, Satan mimics it. Beware! From Genesis through Revelation, Satan copies God as much as possible and as closely as possible. Beware! The Bible is very instructive at this point. Beware! We need to pay close attention to the passage we will now quote. Beware! Second Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

I will tell you something that may very well shock you. Today, there are thousands upon thousands of “ministers” who are not serving the God of the Bible. Sure, they talk about “Jesus,” “grace,” “God,” “the Bible,” “the Spirit of God,” “holiness,” “Christian living,” “the Lord,” “salvation,” “truth,” “righteousness,” “evil,” and so on. They claim, “The Lord wanted me to tell you this…. I have a word from God to deliver to you from the pulpit!” However, they are not what they appear to be. Remember the passage we just read! We should not be surprised that looks are deceiving; Satan is “the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Satan knows the Bible better than all of us put together, and yet, would we let Satan teach us the Bible? The Bible must be “studied rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). Most preachers are not doing this. Beware! They are preaching Law instead of Grace; they are preaching “Galatianism” (Law and Grace) instead of PURE GRACE. Beware! They are confusing the Church the Body of Christ with the nation Israel. Beware! They are mixing prophecy and mystery. Beware! This is why people get confused concerning the Bible. Beware! It is not being used God’s way—dispensationally delivered and believed. Beware! They claim to be sent by God, but they are harming God’s people because they are mishandling God’s Word. Beware!

Brethren, let us take our stand by faith, as English-speaking people, on the Authorized Version King James Bible. More specifically, let us take our stand by faith in the principles of grace that God’s Apostle to us Gentiles, Paul, wrote in the 13 Bible Books of Romans through Philemon. They are the standard whereby we gauge truth and error. As we better familiarize ourselves with them, we will see who is speaking on God’s behalf and who is not, who is following God and who is not!

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”
—the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37)

Also see:
» What is the “that which is perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10?
» What is the difference between a minister, a pastor, and an evangelist?
» Was an apostle merely one who had seen Christ’s resurrection?

Can you explain Galatians 6:11?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN GALATIANS 6:11?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:11: “Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.” What can these words teach us about him?

Over half of the Book of Acts (chapters 13-28) documents the efforts the Holy Spirit wrought through Paul the Apostle. Paul’s ministry during that time abounded with various and sundry miracles. We read of his first miracle in chapter 13—the temporary blinding of a satanically-inspired Jew (picturing sinful Israel’s temporary blindness during our current Dispensation of Grace). Chapters 14, 16, 19, 20, and 28 highlight some of his other major miracles—bodily healings, exorcisms, at least one man being raised from the dead, Paul surviving a venomous snake bite, and so on. The Epistle to the Galatians, including Galatians 6:11, was likely Paul’s earliest Book. It not only vehemently defends his unique apostleship (separate and distinct from the 12 Apostles), but also underscores his unique message (grace as opposed to law/legalism).

In the opening 10 verses of Galatians, we grasp the epistle’s purpose and urgency: “[1] Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead; ) [2] And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: [3] Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, [4] Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: [5] To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. [6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [9] As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. [10] For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

False teachers have surreptitiously entered the grace churches of Galatia (central Turkey); they are using the Bible (Law of Moses), but not rightly dividing it. They are mixing Law and Grace, and thereby deceiving the Galatian saints. Hence, instead of employing a secretary (or amanuensis—see Romans 16:22), Paul himself is hurriedly penning Galatians. He must warn the brethren to immediately cease from fellowshipping with doctrinal perverts!

The Apostle writes in Galatians 6:11 that he has composed “how large a letter.” Yet, when we examine Galatians, in English, it only has 3,098 words and six chapters and 149 verses (King James Bible). Ephesians is approximately the same length, yet it is never called “large.” In fact, the Book of 2 Corinthians is nearly double that, yet never referred to as “large.” The Books of Romans and 1 Corinthians, each weighing in at nearly 9,500 English words, are enormous, but Scripture never calls them “large” either. What made Galatians such a “large” letter? An additional question we pose is—could the Holy Spirit have had a secret reason for it being “large” in that sense? Please take some moments to think about it!

As we said earlier, Paul usually employed a secretary to physically write his epistles; he would sign his name at the end as a sign of authority (see Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). However, Galatians was unique. Its autograph—or original manuscript—was physically written entirely by Paul. The Apostle was in such a hurry to “sound the alarm” for the Galatians to beware of the doctrinal error besieging them. He had no time to wait for a secretary to come and assist! Since Paul penned Galatians entirely by himself, that original manuscript was exceptionally striking. It easily grabbed the attention of its readers.

In Galatians chapter 4, verses 13-15, we see the following: “[13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. [14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. [15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” These few verses actually allow us to learn about Paul the man. Doubtless, our beloved brother suffered severe vision problems. We can imagine his eyes straining to see to write. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit superintended, so that not a word or letter was lost as Galatians was literally drafted on papyrus.

Dear friends, had we seen the original manuscript of Galatians, the first thing to grab our attention would be its text. It would have been very large Greek letters. It would be no different from today’s large-print Bibles—whose fonts are designed for easy readability. However, in the case of Galatians, the words were not written large for the sake of visually-impaired readers. No, those large letters were for the benefit of the visually-impaired writer, so he could see exactly what he was penning. Then again, there is a strong indication that those large letters were written for the readers’ benefit as well. How so?

Once more, Paul’s physical vision was greatly hindered. Consequently, he wrote in large, block letters (especially with Galatians). What caused his vision issues? Various explanations have been offered. Perhaps it was permanent damage caused by the bright glory of Jesus Christ that he saw in Acts 9:1-9. After all, he had spent the next three days blind! While God through believing Ananias miraculously restored Paul’s vision, there could have been lasting effects. Another idea was that Paul suffered chronic “conjunctivitis” (commonly called “pink eye,” “ophthalmia,” or eye inflammation). Yet another possibility is that his poor eyesight was the result of abuse, physical violence inflicted by ruthless unbelievers. While conducting his “Acts” ministry, performing miraculous demonstrations, Paul himself battled physical infirmities (Galatians 4:13-15; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Regardless of why Paul had poor eyesight, the text of Galatians, likely his first epistle, was quite LARGE (Galatians 6:11). It was not without benefit to the Galatians, saints caught in Satan’s snare (2 Timothy 2:26) and needing the Holy Spirit to send them a clear, attention-grabbing correction. Galatians’ GIANT letters screamed of Paul’s unique apostleship (1:1,11,12,16,17,19,22; 2:8; et cetera) and screamed of his special Gospel message (2:2,7,9,16,20,21; et cetera). “You are to follow Paul, not Moses!” “You are under Grace, not Law!” “Paul is not an extension of the 12 Apostles!” “Paul’s Gospel is your Gospel message!” “You are Gentiles in the Body of Christ, not members of the nation Israel!”

Saints, while neither time nor space permits us to discuss it in-depth, read the conclusion of Galatians (verse 11 to the end—only eight verses): “[11] Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. [12] As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. [13] For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. [14] But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. [15] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. [16] And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. [17] From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. [18] Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

In these closing verses of the Epistle to the Galatians, you can see the Holy Spirit through Paul urging the Galatians one final time to leave the stipulations of the Mosaic Law, works-religion, and enjoy God’s grace, peace, and victory. Paul had limited physical sight, but this epistle to Galatia is a real “eye-opener,” giving great insight to us today, that we may have the same stunningly clear spiritual sight he had! (In one last twist of irony, people in religion today often enjoy physical sight, but are blind to the blatant teachings of Galatians.)

Also see:
» Is Galatians 1:6-7 contradictory?
» Was the Apostle Paul a false prophet?
» Has God’s Word failed?

Is grieving the Holy Spirit forgivable?

IS GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT FORGIVABLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Recently, I heard a denominational preacher say that grieving the Holy Spirit was not forgivable. Is he correct? Or, is he one of the many pastors leading our churches today who does not have a clue about what the Bible really says? We will investigate and see “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Only one verse in the Bible talks about “grieving the Holy Spirit.” That Scripture is Ephesians 4:30: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Actually, if you noticed, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit has sealed—branded as God’s property, preserved or secured—us Christians until “the day of redemption.” Romans 8:23 defines that “day of redemption” as follows: “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The “day of redemption” is the bodily resurrection of Christians—commonly called the Rapture. It will occur to close this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, that Israel’s prophetic program resume where it paused nearly 2,000 years ago.

Ephesians 4:30 says that the Holy Spirit will never leave the Christian. The warning in Ephesians 4:30 is not “grieve not the Holy Spirit or He will forsake you.” Ephesians 4:30 does not read, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit, lest you not be forgiven.” This would imply a loss of salvation, which is evidently what that aforementioned denominational preacher believed. He did not give his church members any assurance or confidence. All he did was generate doubt in their minds. I was not surprised because the man has been an apostate on a variety of subjects for decades. Had he had a better reputation for Bible handling, I would have given him the benefit of the doubt that he had merely misspoken. Knowing what I know about his theology, however, I am quite convinced that he meant just what he said—“It is hard to do, but when you do it, grieving the Holy Spirit is unforgivable.”

How could this well-known preacher be so wrong, though? Friend, you would have to ask him and let him tell you. I do know that he does not approach the Bible dispensationally—that is his main problem. He, like many, is so denominationally minded that religious tradition means more to him than the words of the Almighty God. This very topic would be a case in point. What happened here is that he confused grieving the Holy Spirit with blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. The latter is often called “the unpardonable sin,” and rightly so. Jesus Christ Himself warned His audience that if they spoke against (blasphemed) the Holy Spirit, it would never be forgiven them. Notice the Bible’s two references to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Do not take my word for it. Look at the verses—and notice where they are in the layout of Scripture!

Firstly, the Lord Jesus affirmed in Matthew 12:31-32: “[31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [32] And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Secondly, Mark 3:28-30, the parallel passage: “[28] Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: [29] But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. [30] Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”

People do not know how to handle verses dispensationally so they try to make them all fit together, applicable to and descriptive of one event. Instead of approaching the Bible dispensationally, they mix Israel’s verses with verses about the Church the Body of Christ. That is, they take the “grieving” of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and equate that with “blasphemy against” the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30). This will not work—this is why church people get confused. God’s Word is not being rightly divided. Dispensational boundaries are not being respected. Second Timothy 2:15 says: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Paul in Ephesians 4:30, and Jesus in Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-30, are talking about totally separate matters, in totally separate dispensations, to totally separate audiences.

Never once does the Apostle Paul, in his Books of Romans through Philemon, warn any of the Gentile believers that they (or we, the Church the Body of Christ) should be careful not to speak a word against the Holy Ghost. We are never told that blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is something Christians can even do in the Dispensation of Grace. Again, check the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon. Never once is any member of the Body of Christ guilty of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit; nor is there a warning that a Christian can commit such a sin. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was a sin that unbelievers committed. More specifically, it was what unbelieving Israel was guilty of doing in her prophetic program: ultimately, it was a national sin. Remember, Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry—including Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-30—were spoken to and about the nation Israel and her prophetic program (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 9:5; Romans 15:8). Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us Gentiles, Paul being the man to whom God entrusted the mystery program, the Dispensation of the Grace of God, and the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-11).

Israel had rejected John the Baptist whom Father God had sent to them (John 1:6). They had rejected Jesus Christ, God the Son, by nailing Him to Calvary’s cross (although that was forgiven—Luke 23:34; cf. Matthew 12:32 and Mark 3:28). When the Holy Spirit came down from Heaven in Acts chapter 2, and filled the 12 Apostles, unbelieving Israel began to persecute those men for preaching Jesus Christ. Time and time again, Israel demonstrated her complete disinterest in becoming God’s people. By Acts chapter 7, Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost, condemned Israel for repeatedly rebelling against God. Israel took Stephen and stoned him, the culmination of the nation’s refusal to listen to the Holy Spirit’s testimony during the Acts period. Israel would blaspheme the Holy Spirit no longer. She fell before God nationally, and her prophetic program was paused, albeit temporarily (see Romans chapter 11). For more information, see our two related studies linked at the end of this article—“Have I blasphemed against the Holy Spirit?” and “Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?” Time and space do not permit us to discuss these in-depth topics here.

“GRIEVE NOT” THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD?

Now that we understand that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not apply to us in this the Dispensation of Grace, whereas grieving the Holy Spirit does apply to us, how specifically do we “grieve” Him? “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Let us do a brief word study, surveying related verses.

The same Greek word for “grieve” (lopeo) is elsewhere rendered in our King James Bible as—Herod “sorry” for having to behead John the Baptist to please Herodias’ daughter (Matthew 14:9), the Apostles “sorry” upon hearing of Jesus’ death (Matthew 17:23), the “sorrowful” and materialistic rich man who went away after refusing to sell his possessions (Matthew 19:22; Mark 10:22—“grieved”), the Apostles “sorrowful” when they learned of Christ’s betrayal (Matthew 26:22; Mark 14:19), Christ “sorrowful” on the night before His death (Matthew 26:37), Christ said His disciples would be “sorrowful” when He would leave them (John 16:20), Peter was “grieved” when Jesus asked him the third time if he loved Him (John 21:17), the weaker Christian is “grieved” when the stronger brother uses his liberty to offend him (Romans 14:15), Paul’s writing to Corinth made these wayward Christians “sorry” (2 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 7:8-9,11), Paul did not intend to “grieve” the Corinthians by reproving them for all their mistakes (2 Corinthians 2:4-5), Paul and his ministry companions being as “sorrowful” and yet alway rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10), we are encouraged to “sorrow not” concerning those Christians who have died and gone on to be with the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:13), and the circumcision believers during the Antichrist’s reign will be in “heaviness” (1 Peter 1:6).

In light of the above verses, when Scripture says “grieve not the holy Spirit of God,” we appreciate the gravity of the term “grieve.” It carries the meaning of intense sorrow, sadness, or distress—very strong language. When we walk contrary to what the indwelling Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us, we make Him immensely sad or sorrowful. Why? We are living contrary to who we are in Jesus Christ. By the way, we see that, contrary to what cults teach, the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a “force.” Only something living could be “grieved” (a force does not experience emotions). Let us look at some other related verses.

We are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:19: “Quench not the Spirit.” The idea here is “hinder not the Spirit.” Philippians 2:13 explains: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” When we stop the indwelling Holy Spirit from working in us, then He is displeased (in the words of Ephesians 4:30—“grieved”). That is, when we refuse to take a stand by faith on the grace doctrines committed to the Apostle Paul, we are devoid of God’s power. The Holy Spirit needs that sound Bible doctrine to work in us; otherwise, we will fall back on the flesh and engage in worldly behavior. Sin will dominate us if we ignore God’s grace given to us in Christ (and communicated to us by the epistles of the Apostle Paul).

First Thessalonians 2:13 adds to what we have already discovered: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” Faith/trust in the rightly divided Word of God is the key to have God’s power working in and through you, friend! This is how you avoid grieving the Holy Spirit. First Thessalonians 4:1 says: “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” This is the opposite of grieving the Holy Spirit. Grieving the Holy Spirit is when you displease God in your Christian walk, when your conduct does not match your identity in Christ. You are living like a sinner when you should be living like a saint!

The “grieving” of the Holy Spirit, while tragic, is most certainly forgivable. In fact, if it were not forgivable, not even Christians would ever go to Heaven. There has never been a Christian believer on Earth who lived a sinless life. All Christians past or present have been guilty of preventing the Holy Spirit from working in their lives at some point. It could have been instances of bad thoughts, times of lying or gossiping, cases of idolatry (self-worship, people-worship, education-worship, et cetera), phases of pride, instances of violence, times of profanity, situations of denominational doctrines, and so on. These were all future when the Lord Jesus Christ died. We have been forgiven them for Christ’s sake (Ephesians 4:32—forgiveness is in the context of Ephesians 4:30 I might add!). Now, we need to learn from those mistakes, walking daily in the forgiveness that Father God has given us.

We read the following in Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The implication is that, while all Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit, He does not control them at all times. To wit, they frequently “quench” Him (1 Thessalonians 5:18). They are “grieving” Him at those times (Ephesians 4:30). When the Spirit of God is not guiding the Christian, the condition is called carnality (“carnal” meaning “fleshly”)—see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. This is certainly forgivable, though, as we have already stated. But, let us take it a step further.

You can see the two extremes of carnality by looking at Paul’s two epistles to Corinth and his epistle to Galatia. The Corinthians were motivated by human wisdom whereas the Galatians were motivated by human works, the Mosaic Law. Corinth embraced the wisdom of men; Galatia embraced the Law of Moses (non-dispensational Scripture). Both groups of Christians were operating apart from God’s grace; therefore, their lifestyles were not pleasing to Him. They were all “grieving” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30)—they were all hindering and saddening Him. “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13). The Holy Spirit does not use man’s wisdom to teach spiritual truths. Additionally, the Spirit of God will never lead a believer in the Dispensation of Grace to be under the legalistic demands of religion (including the Law of Moses). “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). But, does that mean we can live however we please? No!

The Law has no place in our lives as righteous people (1 Timothy 1:9)—a law system only shows us that we need a Saviour, and we already recognized this truth when we came to Christ as Saviour. As Christians, God’s grace teaches us how to live—unlike the Law, Grace equips us with the power necessary to walk in the ways of righteousness. Titus 2:11-15 says: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [15] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

Though we are not saved by works, we are saved unto (the goal being) good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 sets forth this simple truth: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God does not save us just to keep us out of Hell. He wants to live His life in and through us. This is accomplished by we learning of the provisions He has given us in Jesus Christ His Son. We study the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, and we believe what we read. Then, we apply by faith the verses to the details of our lives, and the Holy Spirit brings to life in our lives those verses we read and believed. This is how we “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby [we] are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Since He has “sealed” (preserved) us until the day we go to Heaven, it only makes sense that we, until we leave this planet, cooperate with Him by faith! When we make a mistake—and we will—He will be grieved but we will be forgiven. How do we recover? We renew our minds and trust with our hearts the grace principles found in the Pauline epistles!

Also see:
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Spirit?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?