Monthly Archives: December 2019

What is the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Dear brethren, we who understand and enjoy the Holy Bible rightly divided—namely, the “Pauline” or “mid-Acts” approach to the Scriptures—are able to realize how the organized religious system is deliberately and fervently opposed to what we believe and support. At least to some degree, Pauline dispensationalism has delivered us from denominational bondage, the empty traditions and idle speculations of men. Illuminating us with brilliant spiritual light, it allows us to escape the pitch-darkness of pagan religion (especially that which masquerades as “Christianity” but is anything and everything but). How marvelous is the Bible when delivered dispensationally! Those Divine words “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)—the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25)—can also rescue from spiritual ignorance anyone and everyone who shares our sincere desire to learn God’s Word God’s way.

Irrefutably, dispensational Bible study is absolutely critical to avoiding spiritual impotence and defeat. Satan himself fights it as best as he can, for he is quite aware that dispensational Bible study is the only means whereby God the Holy Spirit edifies, encourages, and enlightens us. It is the key to unlocking the Scriptures, to understanding God’s will for this present age, for the world to see Jesus Christ as Father God Himself sees Him today. Satan’s evil world system indeed attempts to stifle that doctrine—via governmental and ecclesiastical oppression, discouragement, conflicting teachings, and so on. However, there is a more nefarious and extremely subtle method whereby the “Grace Movement” is under vicious attack. This Bible study, this treatise, will expose it, that it may be guarded against in the future.

This study is special for two primary reasons. Firstly, it has been released to commemorate six full years of “For What Saith the Scriptures?” (It is Bible Q&A article #680, the final one of 2019.) Brethren, herein is the culmination of what we have covered thus far regarding Christian (grace) living. Secondly, this study is affectionately dedicated to our dear Christian brother—Dr. C. F.—whom our Lord Jesus Christ has used these past two years to be an invaluable spiritual counselor to me personally. A close friend of our ministry for four years now here on earth, we look forward to serving the Lord with this saint in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come!

With these opening remarks now expressed, we proceed to introducing the details concerning the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement. “For What Saith the Scriptures?”

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What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?

WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR FASTER SPIRITUAL GROWTH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In this Bible study, we will provide five critical (!), invaluable (!) tips that this author has discovered over the course of his Christian life these last nearly 25 years. This advice enabled him to escape the shackles of religious tradition (denominationalism) and exit the spiritual nursery. Doubtless, he is thoroughly honored and delighted to share that guidance with you now! (If he had the time to rewrite these statements 50,000 times, he would do so to drive these points home with you. They cannot be emphasized enough. They cannot be stressed enough. They cannot be underscored enough.) Dear saint, prayerfully consider these suggestions. They are well (!) worth (!) your attention!

1. DAILY (!), PERSONAL (!) EXPOSURE TO SCRIPTURE IS CHIEF!

Acts 17:10-11 reports, “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Our spiritual body should be growing as it consumes the Word of God daily (daily!): “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God(Matthew 4:4).

Daily (!) repetition (!) of (!) Scripture (!) is essential to proper spiritual growth. It is not enough to read the Bible once or twice a week. The only time many people read Scripture is when they attend church services—and, frankly, their ignorance shows. All they are able to do is quote their preacher, priest, or church/denomination. They cannot think about the Scriptures themselves, or teach it to others. It is an unfamiliar Book to them, far too mysterious and intimidating for them to handle. Hence, they are trapped in spiritual childishness. This is most unfortunate… and Almighty God is not to blame!

Christian friend, as an English-speaking person, you should read (!) the Authorized Version King James Bible every (!) day (!). It contains every verse that belongs in the Bible, every verse is based on the correct Hebrew and Greek texts, and every verse has been translated using the proper techniques. Older English, while more difficult to learn, is actually purer and more descriptive than modern English. Never forget that, regardless of who may tell you otherwise, the King James Bible is theologically and linguistically superior to modern English translations! It is your connection to your Protestant forefathers, going straight back to the Apostle Paul. Never forget that it is the text that the Roman Catholic Church so vehemently opposed during the Reformation, and resists still!

Moreover, you should also study (!) the King James Bible every (!) day (!). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If you are to gain the profit God the Holy Spirit put into His Word, you must compare verses with verses, and remember their dispensational settings as you go. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), the Lord Jesus Christ’s spokesman to us today in this “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1-2). Romans through Philemon, the Holy Spirit writing through the Apostle Paul, describes God’s purpose and plan for us today as members of the Church the Body of Christ. The most basic Book for Christian living today is Romans. Never forget that!

Remember, we are not in a competition with others. We do not aim to see if we can read or learn more Scripture than anyone else and everyone else. Some souls strive to read through the Bible two or three or four times a year—and this is often nothing but grounds for vain boasting. This author knows of people who have read through the Bible four times a year, for many years, and they are still beginners in the Scriptures and Christian living. He even knows a brother who read through the Bible nearly 200 times—and that man holds to some extremely bizarre doctrines. If you want to read the Bible through several times a year, fine, but that does not necessarily equal spirituality. Unless you are willing to first cast off your denominational biases and continue purifying your mind with Scripture verses, continual Bible reading will profit you nothing.

It is not enough to own a Bible; you need a King James Bible.
It is not enough to read a King James Bible; you need to study it.
It is not enough to study a King James Bible; you need to rightly divide it.
It is not enough to rightly divide a King James Bible; you need to believe it.
It is not enough to believe a King James Bible; you need to teach it.
It is not enough to teach a King James Bible; you need to guard it.
It is not enough to hold a King James Bible; you need to never (!) surrender it!

Never, ever forget that, dear saint! Never!

2. BE WILLING TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Do not hesitate to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) and “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). Let us pause for a moment here and clarify these terms that denominationalism has wholly abused. This is not (!) some fuzzy feeling, an emotional high, an occasion for jumping pews, an utterance or prayer of gibberish, a dancing episode, an inner impression, or a time for raising hands. Being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit are: (1) our submission to God the Holy Spirit as He teaches us when we read the Bible for ourselves, and (2) our yielding to Him so He takes those verses and makes them a reality in our lives. In short, it is our reckoning of our old identity or sin (Adamic) nature as having no control over us, and our recognizing our complete victory over sin as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of the principles of God’s grace.

Romans chapters 6–8 go into great detail about how we are “in Christ”—dead to sin and alive unto God. In your own time, read them carefully and prayerfully. As the Holy Spirit uses the Holy Scriptures to renew our mind (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-16), He will cause Christ’s life to be lived in and through us. That existence is described in chapters 12–16, among other places (Ephesians 5:19–6:9, Galatians 5:13–6:10, Ephesians 4:17-32, et cetera). Consult also the Book of Titus, which can be summarized in chapter 2, verses 11-15: “[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.”

3. LOCATE PREACHERS AND TEACHERS WHO ARE GROWING AT A STEADY, REASONABLE RATE!

One of the most ignored keys to increased maturation in the Word of God is the avoidance of preachers and teachers who themselves are not making steady, reasonable progress in their own understanding of the Scriptures. It is common sense to conclude that a preacher or teacher who is immature in the Word cannot mature anyone else in the Word. If he is maturing in the Word, but moving at a “snail’s pace,” you cannot expect him to help you grow any faster either. This author came to terms with that reality long ago.

For years, both in denominational groups and grace circles, this author sat under men who were growing far too slow for him or who had stopped growing entirely in the Bible. He hungered to learn more so he could then teach others more, so he had to break away from these ministries. These men brought him as far as they could in the Scriptures, and he will always be grateful to the Lord for them. However, they had (have) blind spots and he was (is) willing to see light they had (have) overlooked. He was (is) willing to study Bible passages they never seemed (seem) to touch. Moreover, he was (is) desiring to go deeper into the verses than they went (go). Once he separated from them, his spiritual growth skyrocketed. Even now, he yearns to grow more in the Scriptures, better understanding His Father’s purpose and plan for him, that he may tell as many people as he possibly can about how it is God’s purpose and plan for them too.

Furthermore, we must be careful associating with ministries led by people who “cannot see the forest from the trees.” In other words, they become so bogged down or involved in details that they lose sight of the whole matter. How unfortunate it is that we have church leaders going into so much detail that they spend five or more years teaching a single Bible Book (a task that should have taken less). At that rate, their congregation will not finish the entire canon of Scripture within their lifetime! In fact, a brother in Christ just shared with this author the fact that a pastor he knew spent 10 hours (10 Sundays) introducing his latest sermon project. By the time the pastor finished the introduction, the brother could not even remember the point of the project!

To any church leaders who are reading this, let us provide a word of caution. Over the years, through personal preaching and teaching (audible and written), this author has learned to deliver sermons and pen Bible studies that stay on-topic and get to the point. Clarity and conciseness are absolutely critical when it comes to the Bible, for enough people are frustrated and confused in the Scriptures. Indeed, it can be quite tempting to detour into all kinds of tangential or unrelated matters. While a joke or illustration will indeed lighten and brighten the mood, they can get out of hand rather easily, so greatly limit jokes or illustrations unless they are absolutely necessary. Some men in the pulpit gain a reputation for telling numerous jokes and/or relating countless stories, and precious time is wasted on foolishness when the eternal words of God could have gone forth and strengthened weak souls and enlightened darkened minds!

We turn to Ephesians chapter 4 to learn the purpose of the local assembly: “[11] And he [the ascended Lord Jesus Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Precious Christian friend, if you sit under the ministries of teachers and preachers who are growing slowly in the Word, do not expect to fare any better in your understanding. Should you choose to remain in that assembly and abide in that atmosphere, you will have to do your own personal Bible study if you expect to reach spiritual maturity. Attending such assemblies will eventually become counterproductive, so be advised if you prefer to stay there.

4. AVOID AS MANY STUMBLINGBLOCKS AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!

Get as far away as possible from people who will hinder your spiritual growth—and that would include denominational Christians and even some so-called “grace” people. Their carnality or fleshliness will serve as a stumblingblock to you, an occasion to sin in doctrine and/or deed. Mark these words, dear friend, and never forget them: you will eventually be ensnared (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). Do not take this lightly, or you will live to regret it. Continue uniting with these groups or individuals at your own spiritual peril!

First Corinthians chapter 5 cautions us to avoid unruly, sinful Christian brethren, lest they inspire us to join them in their ungodly activities. Local churches should especially deal with sin in their midst; otherwise, it spread to infect the whole group. “[1] It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. [2] And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. [3] For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, [4] In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, [5] To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. [6] Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

“[7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. [9] I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: [10] Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. [11] But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. [12] For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? [13] But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Not only must we watch out for people who will negatively impact us with their wicked behavior, we have to exercise caution not to fellowship with people who will negatively influence us with their false teaching (denominationalism, church tradition). If it is not the Bible rightly divided, it is bad doctrine, and we have no (!) business (!) whatsoever (!) getting involved with it or its supporters!! Mark these words well, dear Christian friend, mark them well.

Galatians chapter 5 contains God the Holy Spirit’s rebuke of grace believers following false teachers (legalists, people who use the Bible [Moses] but do not rightly divide it): “[7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. [10] I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.” Bad doctrine is like leaven or yeast; it spreads to contaminate the whole group! If we are not vigilant, non-dispensational Bible study will not only destroy our local assembly, it will obliterate our spiritual edification and Christian life. Never underestimate the great lengths Satan will go to thwart God’s work!

5. LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO WORLDLY WISDOM! 

King Solomon expressed his frustration in Ecclesiastes 12:12: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” The entire Book of Ecclesiastes is a record of how Solomon dabbled in a variety of philosophical observations and speculations. He had investigated the world through human (fleshly) eyes. Solomon sought happiness and fulfillment in all kinds of places. Upon the conclusion of his experiment, he wound up throughly disoriented and utterly disappointed. He witnessed events he wished he had not. Solomon got involved with all sorts of temporary pleasures—only to end up completely confused and immensely disturbed. Wholly exhausted and immeasurably burdened, Solomon is now an old man. Having wasted his life with nonsense, he is frail and dying, attempting to reason with his son not to repeat his mistakes. Many Christians, had they learned this lesson, would not be in the spiritual mess they are currently in.

Friend, “weariness” will afflict you too if you spend too much time thinking like a lost person when you should be concentrating on the Scriptures. In today’s world, so many authorities and sources of information competing with the Bible for our loyalty. There are myriads of distractions at every turn and around every corner, all vying for our attention. Here again is Satan’s evil world system, attempting to seduce us as it did Solomon 3,000 years ago. We must be on guard, or our edification will be ruined. Be careful!

When this life is over, the average Christian will have squandered years upon years—yea, decades upon decades—watching television, surfing the internet, gossiping on the telephone, reading theology books, and so on, when they could have been studying their Bible. Their inner man will be so polluted with spiritual garbage. Ignorant of the things of God, they will be experts in conspiracy theories, rumors, opinions, speculations, amusement, hunches, and so on. Hopefully, dear Christian friend, you will not be one of these miserable souls! You may not realize it now, but it will greatly help you if you heed these warnings. One day, you will look back on this and be so thankful that you paid attention here.

As we started off this article, so we draw it to a close. Reading and studying the Bible itself are vital. This cannot be emphasized enough. Familiarize yourself with your Heavenly Father’s words, especially the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Start in the Book of Romans. Read—and most importantly, believe in your heart—what you read! It will make a positive difference in your thoughts and life if you let it!

SUPPLEMENTAL: SOME PARTING COUNSEL

Philippians chapter 3 tells us to press onward in spiritual growth: “[8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; [11] If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. [12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 

“[13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. [16] Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

“[17] Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. [18] (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: [19] Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) [20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Philippians describes the Christian life as a race being run. We Christians see the finish line—the prize or goal (Jesus Christ living His life in and through us)—and we want to reach it. That is, we are athletes in the spiritual world and we must therefore cast off whatever weighs us down or holds us back from attaining that goal—“heavy clothing,” “junk food,” “obesity,” et cetera. The circumcision saints, Israel’s believing remnant, are encouraged to do the same in Hebrews chapter 12: “[1] Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [2] Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

First Timothy chapter 4 is the Apostle Paul writing to and about us members of the Church the Body of Christ: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. [9] This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. [10] For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. [11] These things command and teach.”

It is absolutely imperative (!), Christian friend, that you train yourself in the right doctrine (what produces “godliness”), or your inner man will be malnourished and unable to run the race of Philippians chapter 3! If you do not divorce yourself as much as possible from the aforementioned encumbrances—spiritual junk food (denominational teaching, false doctrine) and bad spiritual influences (immature or carnal believers, as well as lost people)—you will regret it. Your Christian life will die, unable to function. God’s best to you, friend! 🙂

Also see:
» What are “evil communications” in 1 Corinthians 15:33?
» Can you explain Philippians 3:14?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?
» How do I know if I am maturing in the Word of God?

What are “swaddling” clothes?

WHAT ARE “SWADDLING” CLOTHES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Luke chapter 2 is a passage read and heard every Christmas. It opens with the following: “[1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) [3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: ) [5] To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. [6] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

We surely know of the “swaddling clothes” with which Mary the virgin wrapped around the body of her Child, the Baby Jesus. The angel of the Lord relays the message to the vigilant shepherds off in a nearby pasture: “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (verse 12). But, what in the world are these “swaddling clothes” of which we hear so often at Christmastime?

Our English word “swaddling” is the frequentative (recurring, repeating form) of another English term—“swathe.” The idea here is binding with strips or layers of fabric. In a crude sense, we can picture the ancient Egyptians wrapping a body to make a mummy. When Mary took the little Christ Child and wrapped Him with swaddling clothes, she was following an Oriental or Eastern custom of the day. This procedure provided warmth to His small body. Moreover, parents in this culture wrapped their newborns tightly with cloth to make their bones grow straight. There, in a tight, tiny bundle was the Saviour of all mankind!

Imagine! The Almighty Creator God took upon Himself human flesh, and reduced Himself to such a weak, fragile state. He entered Mary’s womb, taking on fleshly “clothes.” Growing little by little every day, He was finally delivered after nine months. His first cries were heard as air was forced into His lungs. He let Himself be wrapped in strips of cloth. For the next 30 years, He matured into a Man… born just to die for our sins!

Philippians chapter 2: “[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Also see:
» Was Jesus actually born on the 25th of December?
» Were there really three wise men?
» What is the real “Immaculate Conception?”

Exactly what is “eternal life?”

EXACTLY WHAT IS “ETERNAL LIFE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Just as death is not the cessation of existence, eternal life is not simply living forever. Lost people live in eternal hellfire forever, yet they are eternally dead. The word “death” in Scripture means “separation.” While there are various types of death in the Bible, they all have that basic definition of separation. Once we understand this, then we are able to comprehend what life—especially true life, or eternal life—entails.

For example, consider Romans chapter 4: “[18] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. [19] And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: [20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;….” Abraham and Sarah were both certainly alive in Genesis chapter 17. Yet, their old age had resulted in sterility and barrenness. Abraham’s body and Sarah’s body were separated from their procreation ability. It was not that they lost their reproductive organs; those organs, while present, were functionally dead, separated from their purpose.

Physical death occurs when the spiritual body (soul and spirit) separates from the body of flesh and blood. Genesis 35:18 describes this as such: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Physical death does not result in becoming nonexistent; it is a separation of the human spirit and soul from the physical body. Again, death is separation.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We would do well to notice that “wages” is a plural noun; sin causes two deaths. One death is physical death, which is what we already covered. The other is spiritual death, when the spirit of man (as an individual) is unable to commune with the Spirit of God. Here again is a type of separation: man is spiritually separated from his Creator. There is no unity or fellowship between the two. You may read 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 to learn how sin has made the spirit of man incompatible with the Spirit of God.

Ephesians chapter 2 speaks to this point of spiritual death: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” You will see, here also, the issue of eternal life. When a lost person trusts Christ as his or her personal Saviour, the person can connect with Almighty God as Adam did before the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3.

There is also positional death. As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4); we have been crucified with Him and been raised again with Him. Romans chapter 6 speaks about positional death: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

We are “dead to sin” in that we are no longer “in Adam.” God has reckoned us separated from Adam’s damnation; we are now a “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new nature produces good works, as opposed to the old nature of sin that could produce nothing pleasing to God. Again, this is positional death. Through personal faith in Christ’s finished crosswork, our position “in Adam” has been exchanged for our position “in Christ.” Now, we have the ability to be vessels of God’s power and exhibitions of His grace!

There is one final “death” (separation) in the Bible. We have covered functional death, physical death, spiritual death, and positional death. The last “death” is “the second death,” and it is connected to spiritual death. While a lost or unsaved soul on Earth is spiritually dead—separated from God’s life—that can be remedied by personal faith in the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If that spiritual death is not replaced with eternal life before physical death arrives, that spiritual death will be replaced with the second death. As the spiritual body separates from the physical body, now the spiritual body separates from God’s Spirit forever. All hope of ever gaining a right standing before God is now permanently gone. The second death occurs when the lost souls in Hell are judged, and then tossed into the Lake of Fire.

Revelation chapter 20 mentions “the second death:” “[11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Also, Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

With all that said, we can now define what “eternal life” is all about. Again, “eternal life” is much more than “life without end” or “living forever,” for lost people under God’s eternal wrath live forever. They are not consumed in Hell, but are transferred to the Lake of Fire to serve out their sentence without end.

John 17:3 is the best definition of “eternal life” in the Bible: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Here is a personal relationship with the one true God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is the demolition of the barrier that sin has erected between sinners and their Creator. Romans 6:23 once again: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Whereas we were once separated from God, we are now united with Him forever through Christ! With that new nature, we can now experience “eternal life” on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, eternal life is not dying and going to Heaven; it is experiencing God’s life right now on Earth!

Romans 5:21 says of victorious Christian living: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Chapter 6, verse 23, is actually about victorious Christian living also: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Moreover, 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” And, verses 19-20: “That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” This is daily Christian living, a reflection of the new nature we have been given in Christ!

Read Mark chapter 10 now: “[28] Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. [29] And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, [30] But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” In Israel’s prophetic program—her earthly kingdom program—the word “eternal life” takes on a slightly different meaning than it does concerning us. “Eternal life” for them is the entrance into that earthly kingdom of God. They do not experience communion with Almighty God to the fullest extent until the Millennium (1,000-Year Reign of Christ), when Israel is under the New Covenant, nationally resurrected, and God causes them to enjoy His life to the maximum.

Ezekiel chapter 36 says of this New Covenant for Israel: “[25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (See also Jeremiah 31:31-34.)

Like us Christians today, believing Jews in Israel’s prophetic program (whether in Acts or beyond our dispensation) have eternal life as a present possession—otherwise, they would be Hell-bound! Notice these verses from the epistle of 1 John: “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (2:25). “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (5:11). “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (5:13). “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (5:20). Yet, there is a national eternal life they will enjoy as well… and this is their earthly kingdom. Jude 21 is redeemed Israel waiting for Christ’s Second Coming, when they receive eternal life nationally: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

One more thing about “eternal life:” it is the life of Jesus Christ, the life that God Himself lived during His earthly ministry. This is the same life He wants to live in Israel by faith, and what He wants to live in us by faith. Eternal life is living as God lives, enjoying His life. Both redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ will be the vehicles whereby He exhibits that life throughout the endless ages to come!

“[1] That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; [2] (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; ) [3] That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3).

Also see:
» What happens after death?
» Will living in Heaven forever be boring?
» “So shall we ever be with the Lord?”

Should we pray to “bind evil spirits?”

SHOULD WE PRAY TO “BIND EVIL SPIRITS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

This practice is associated with Charismatic and Pentecostal groups. (“Pentecostal” refers to the denomination whereas “Charismatic” applies to the denominations that adopt Pentecostal ideas and behaviors.) Despite what such individuals tell us, there are several reasons why “praying to bind evil spirits” is certainly not Christian and totally unnecessary for us.

Chiefly, while plentiful and varied, the prayers for binding evil spirits are often repetitious in and of themselves. For example, the phrase “in the name of Jesus Christ” may be uttered over and over in a single prayer. Other words may be attached to this, and they are, in turn, repeated over and over as well. Read the following lines excerpted from actual such prayers: “In the name of Jesus Christ and by the merits of His precious blood,…” and “In the name of Jesus Christ I forbid and bind all evil spirits from manifesting.” These expressions can appear numerous times in one prayer.

Praying to bind evil spirits is basically reading a chant or reciting a mantra. This mindless practice, like praying the Roman Catholic rosary, is rooted in Oriental or Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Such “vain repetitions” are found among people under Satan’s control. According to the Lord Himself, it is a “heathen” practice that has nothing to do with the God of the Bible. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8). Prayers to bind evil spirits are nothing but the occult!

Someone would immediately respond, “But, what about Jesus speaking of ‘binding’ and ‘loosing?’ Did He not talk about ‘binding the strong man?!’” Two primary Bible passages are therefore offered—Matthew 16:19 (parallel Matthew 18:18) and Matthew 12:29 (parallel Mark 3:27). We will be glad to examine these proof texts now and shed light on them.

BINDING AND LOOSING (MATTHEW 16:19; MATTHEW 18:18)

Matthew 16:19 (directed to the Apostle Peter only): “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18 (directed to all 12 Apostles): “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This matter of “binding and loosing” is the Lord Jesus Christ imparting His authority to His 12 Apostles so they can act in His absence. Since He is leaving and returning to His (their) Heavenly Father, He grants them the ability to make decisions in His stead. The Holy Spirit will come upon them in Acts chapter 2,enabling them to carry on the work of the ministry until Christ returns for them. They are to continue what Christ started.

It is important to realize, dear friends, what the 12 Apostles did with their apostolic authority in chapter 15 of the Book of Acts. Peter and John, along with James (not John’s brother, for that James was executed in Acts 12:2, whereas this James is an elder in the Jerusalem church), loosed themselves from their “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19 and gave the world’s conversion over to the Apostles Paul and Barnabas.

Matthew chapter 28 famously records: “[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Here are Christ’s directions to Peter and the 11, to be carried out as the latter part of the Luke 24:47 and Acts 1:8 component of their “Great Commission.”

Luke recorded the Jerusalem Bible Conference in Acts chapter 15, whereas Paul’s account is Galatians chapter 2: “[6] But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: [7] But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [8] (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: ) [9] And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”

Verse 9 of Galatians chapter 2 could not be clearer. Peter, James, and John used their apostolic authority that Jesus Christ personally gave them (cf. Matthew 18:19-20) and they endorsed the ministry of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas. All five men agreed to the following conditions: Peter, James, and John would restrict their ministry to and remain with redeemed Israel (the “circumcision,” the “Little Flock” [Luke 12:32], the Messianic Church [Matthew 16:16-18]) whereas Paul and Barnabas would minister to the rest of the world (all lost Jews and all lost Gentiles).

If we thus desire to learn God’s words to us Gentiles (non-Jews), we do not—as Christendom does so often—consult the Books of Matthew through John, or the Apostle Peter’s sermons in Acts, or John in his Gospel Record or little epistles. We must read Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon. In those 13 Pauline Books, we find not one reference to “binding and loosing” anything in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:1-2). While we are Christ’s “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20), never once are we granted apostolic authority. The “binding and loosing” of Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 is the 12 Apostles of Israel exercising their apostolic authority, power on Earth completely unrelated to us today. We must “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), mindful of the dispensational boundaries in the Holy Bible!

BINDING THE STRONG MAN (MATTHEW 12:22-30; MARK 3:22-29)

Matthew chapter 12: “[22] Then was brought unto him [the Lord Jesus] one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. [23] And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? [24] But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. [25] And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: [26] And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? [27] And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. [28] But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. [29] Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. [30] He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (See the parallel passage, Mark 3:22-29.)

The issue of “binding” here is definitely in the context of binding Satan (the “strong man” of verse 29). Satan has polluted the nation Israel with false religion. Messiah Jesus has come to demonstrate He can cleanse God’s earthly people—and God’s earthly domain—of satanic influence (see Zechariah 13:2). By having his own “kingdom” of evil spirits occupying Israel’s land, Satan is preventing God’s earthly kingdom from being established. As long as the land of Palestine is defiled, God’s earthly kingdom cannot be brought to pass. “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matthew 12:28). In order to prove He has the ability to bring in Israel’s earthly kingdom, Christ casts out devils from Israel’s citizens. “The Jews require a sign,” 1 Corinthians 1:22 says. Again, this is a Jewish passage, connected to God’s dealings with Israel. Never one time do Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, instruct us to cast out devils.

HOW GOD WORKS TODAY AND SATAN WORKS TODAY

When we “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), not only do we see what Almighty God is doing in this the Dispensation of Grace, we see what Satan is doing as well. We also see what God is not doing, and what Satan is not doing. All too often presumptions dominate modern “Christian” thinking. People assume Satan is doing this today, but he is doing something else. People assume God is doing this today, but He is doing something else as well. Not only is there misinformation about spiritual warfare, there is practically misunderstanding about every Bible topic!

Once, this author was speaking to a fellow Christian (actually a Charismatic) about witnessing to an unsaved person who refused to hear the Gospel of Grace from his lips. The lady replied, “Maybe there was an evil spirit hindering her from listening and believing. Perhaps you needed to pray for that spirit to be bound!” Frankly, this is nothing but Bible ignorance and superstition (and she is not the only one who suffers from it). When the Apostle Paul commented on Satan’s activities today, God’s work today, never once was there given in Romans through Philemon a prayer to recite or declaration to utter in order for us to be victorious over Satan and his policy of evil.

Ephesians 6:12 is perhaps the key verse for the “spiritual warfare” proponents: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Yet, even here, nothing in this context exhorts us to pray to bind evil spirits. If the Holy Spirit wanted us to fight spiritual battles by reciting “binding prayers,” why did He not take that opportunity to tell us in Ephesians chapter 6? It would have been pertinent to mention—if we are to believe the “binding-evil-spirits” people, anyway. The Holy Spirit did not do that because He is doing something different today.

In this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the battle is not on the Earth as it was during Christ’s earthly ministry. Currently, there is “spiritual wickedness in high places.” The term “high places” is interchangeable with “heavenly places” (same Greek word—see Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, and Ephesians 3:10). For this reason, we do not read about Satan or any other evil spirits possessing people today. There are never any instructions given in Paul’s epistles about exorcism (casting out devils). However, this does not mean that Satan is not active today in some capacity. Most definitely, Satan is alive and well… wise and sneaky as ever!

First Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” Notice the “doctrines of devils” in verse 1. How do evil spirits operate today? Possessing people? No, the evil world system of which they are a part has deceived preachers and teachers everywhere—and those preachers and teachers then deceive others with their denominational tenets and church traditions.

Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “[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.” How do people escape Satan’s trap of deception today? What can we do to fight Satan as Christians? Why, dear friends, read the passage!!

We teach anyone and everyone sound Bible doctrine—and they believe it and they deliver themselves from the deception in which they find themselves. There is nothing here about praying that evil spirits will leave them alone, or binding evil spirits so these people can be liberated. The issue is teaching not praying. In other words, frankly, those who claim to be using prayers to free people from spiritual bondage are really doing nothing meaningful with these “binding-evil-spirits” prayers. Victory is found in believing sound Bible teaching, not reciting prayers that superstitious and denominational people have written.

CONCLUSION

The “binding-evil-spirits” prayers are spiritually dangerous because they are: (1) based on Scripture verses ripped from their contexts, and (2) rife with superstition. Dispensational Bible study will unfetter us from spiritual confusion. Spiritual warfare prayers are often non-dispensational. They are thus utterly ineffective because they do not reflect what God is doing today. It may very well have been something God did in the past—such as during Christ’s earthly ministry—but it is not His current dealings with us. The doctrine does not fit the Lord’s words through the Apostle Paul, His spokesman to us Gentiles today (Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1-2; cf. Acts 26:16-18). It is information that does not belong in our dispensation.

Never forget, dear friends, it is possible to quote the Bible, to follow a Bible passage, and be completely outside of God’s will. For instance, Psalm 91 is another common proof text thrown around in the “spiritual warfare” circles. It is believed that God will send guardian angels if we ask Him. This is exactly how Satan handled these same verses in Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4. Operating apart from God’s will for us, we are urged to quote and follow Psalm 91 (just like Satan encouraged the Lord Jesus in His temptations). Again, never once does the Lord through Paul speak of guardian angels having any ministry in this the Dispensation of Grace.

According to 2 Timothy 2:24-26, the key to escaping Satan’s influence today is teaching people sound Bible doctrine and urging them to believe it, not praying to bind evil spirits that afflict them. We must “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), paying special attention to Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon. Herein is the information that will free us and those we reach, from Satan’s deceptive teachings.

“[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Should we “plead the blood of Jesus?”
» How does Satan operate today?
» Does Satan whisper evil words to us?