Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Third Class – Part II

Let us quickly summarize what we have discovered thus far.  In our initial examination of Romans 8:1, we determined that there appeared to be two groups, those who where in Christ Jesus (the believers) and those who were not in Christ Jesus (the non-believers), even though the passage only mentions one group.  We also placed these two groups or classifications on a finite line with two extreme endpoints, with those in Christ Jesus to the extreme far right and those not in Christ Jesus to the extreme far left.  We placed everyone else somewhere in between, depending on their association to the two extremes.  We also determined that Satan would go after those toward the extreme far right; them who be in Christ Jesus, the believers because them toward the extreme far left had already committed themselves to him.

We re-examined Romans 8:1 to discover that there are some who are in Christ Jesus that believe there is nothing they can do to lose their salvation and be plucked from the hand of Christ.  They live a lifestyle of their choosing and regardless of what they do; they believe they will always be forgiven as long as they get on their knees and confess their sins.  The phrase, carnal Christian was coined to define the believer who confesses and believes in Christ Jesus, but lives a lifestyle that does not appear to glorify God while claiming the forgiveness and acceptance of God.  Could this be that other group, that third classification we discussed earlier?

But before any of you get on that high horse and start labeling people, we need to determine if this term is biblical or something that man created.  According to the Encarta Dictionary, the word carnal is defined as relating to the physical needs or strong desires of the body or the flesh in contrast to all that is spiritual.

For we are conscious that the law is of the spirit; but I am of the flesh, given into the power of sin.  And I have no clear knowledge of what I am doing, for that which I have a mind to do, I do not, but what I have hate for, that I do.  But, if I do that which I have no mind to do, I am in agreement with the law that the law is good.  So it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me.  For I am conscious that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good: I have the mind but not the power to do what is right.  For the good which I have a mind to do, I do not: but the evil which I have no mind to do, that I do.  But if I do what I have no mind to do, it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me.  So I see a law that, though I have a mind to do good, evil is present in me.  In my heart I take pleasure in the law of God, but I see another law in my body, working against the law of my mind, and making me the servant of the law of sin which is in my flesh.  How unhappy am I! who will make me free from the body of this death?  I give praise to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  So with my mind I am a servant to the law of God, but with my flesh to the law of sin (Romans 7:14-25 – The Basic English Translation).

Here we have biblical evidence supporting the carnal part of our phrase carnal Christian, but can this be applied biblically to the definition of a Christian?  Now that be something to think about.  According to the Encarta Dictionary, the word Christian is defined as a person who believes in Jesus Christ as his or her savior.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10).

According to this passage, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, then you will be saved because it is with your heart that you believe and obtain righteousness and it with your mouth that you make your confession and obtain salvation.  By definition, once you have followed these instructions, you are believed to be a Christian, called a follower of Christ, and considered to be saved.  And yes we can hear the gears turning because many of you are thinking that there is more to being a Christian and being saved then what has been mentioned here, but that is just not the case.  We are aware of other passages that appear to equate Christianity and salvation with other acts or deeds, however, this passage is very specific as to what one needs to do to obtain righteousness and to obtain salvation.

One of man’s biggest problems is his ability to misinterpret the things God has said in his word.  We sometimes want to add to his word and other times, we want to take away from his word.  We see evidence of someone adding to his word, when Eve said what God supposedly said about the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden,

“Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Genesis 3:3).

You see, God never mentioned anything about touching the tree, but Eve added that to original word.  But more interesting than anything else is the catch phrase, God hath said that Eve used to validate what she told the serpent.  The problem is this is not what God said.  It may be close but when it comes to God’s word, close does not count for anything.  God has said that his word will not return to him void (Isaiah 55:11).  When we repeat God’s words, then we need to make sure that we do just that and not add to what he has already stated in his word because once altered, they be not his word anymore.

We see in Romans 10 that all you have to do is confess with your mouth and believe in your heart and you will obtain righteousness and salvation.  It does not say there needs to be anything else done for one to obtain righteousness and salvation.  But before you get yourself in a tiff and swear that we mistaken and do not know what we are talking about, let us show you something that just might open your mind to a whole new way of thinking.  We have already examined Romans 8:1 according to some of the more popular translations, but let us examine the King James Version of this passage.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1 - KJV).

While some translation make note of the omitted text, many have dropped it from their translation completely.  This be one of those examples where someone has taken away from God’s word.  ….to be continued.

Enjoy your blessings – KW

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