Obedience From The Heart

Remember to think of Christ rightly because a bruised reed He will not break. Very often Christian who doesn’t have a right understanding of the Gospel puts Him forth as a hard master—as One that condemns and punishes: “Go and sin no more! If you love Me, keep my commandments!” Satan also assaults struggling Christians by transforming Christ before them into an angel of darkness. If he can’t get you to deny and forsake Him, then he will most certainly influence you to think of Christ wrongly.

So how do we think of Christ rightly? By rightly dividing the word of truth. To give an example, John [14:15], “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” This is not a threat but most Christians see it as such. Christ has given us many parables to teach us that our good works flow out of a heart transformed by the Gospel. We love Him because He first loved us. She loved much because she was forgiven much. The Gospel in the parable of the money lender is what motivates us to do good works! Yet for some strange reasons we forget all that when we come to John [14:15]. How quickly and easily we forget the Gospel when it comes to growth in holiness. Jesus shows us what He meant down in V.31, “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.” The Son did what His Father commanded so that the world may know that the Son loves the Father. It is here we have a right and proper understanding of submission and obedience: Love produces a desire to obey. We obey because we love.

There is a sense in which a person can obey and not love. The Pharisees obeyed perfectly but there was no love of God in them. That’s not the kind of obedience God is looking for. The key is not outward obedience since God looks at the heart. Sacrifices and burnt offerings means nothing if the heart is not right. This is why the Gospel is important. We see that in Colossians [1:3-11], quoting the NLT for clarity, V.6:, “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.” Notice that they heard and knew (understood) the grace of God. That’s what produces obedience from the heart (Romans 6:17).

If I can paraphrase it, “If you love Me, and I know that you do, keep my commandments. So that the world may know that you love Me. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” To Peter Jesus asks, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter knew that Jesus knew, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
—Psalms 27:8

The heart of His people hunger and thirst for righteousness. When He says, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” Our heart will say, “Your commandments will we keep, O Lord, because we love You.”

He Who Endures to the End Will Be Saved

Those that do not understand the Gospel or the way of the Spirit will often use Matthew [10:22] to scare people into submission or obedience, to give the impression that Christians are on their own to endure. As Christians that understand the Gospel, we do not see it as such. John Calvin says it best, “This single promise ought sufficiently to support the minds of the godly, though the whole world should rise against them: for they are assured that the result will be prosperous and happy. If those who fight under earthly commanders, and are uncertain as to the issue of the battle, are carried forward even to death by steadiness of purpose, shall those who are certain of victory hesitate to abide by the cause of Christ to the very last?”

We’re not running and fighting for victory but [from] victory. We have been saved and will be saved. Or to put it another way, “Beloved, NOW we ARE children of God” Right now at this very moment YOU are a child of God. You belong to Him if you have the Spirit. So what’s the problem? You are not what you ought to be, not until He returns! What John is basically saying in V.3 is this: “Since you know this, since you have this hope that you are His and that one day you’ll be like Him, then work out your own salvation. Purify yourself.” What’s the standard? What is the example? What is our anchor? Answer: “just as He is pure,” so look to Him, the Author and Finisher of your faith (1 John 3:1-3).

There are trials and obstacles to overcome for God’s people. That’s why Christ’s promise to be with us always, even unto the end of the world, is there to give us hope, strength and encouragement to endure (Matthew 28:20)! By “your endurance you will gain your lives” but He promised that “not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18-19 ESV)!

Yes, we are to endure. Yes, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. BUT GOD will carry us through. Let us not forget that. Let us not look to ourselves for endurance, but to His Spirit (Zech 4:6). For apart from Him we can do nothing. Had Peter prayed, “O Lord, grant me the grace to not deny you” instead of looking to his own strength, the outcome might have been different. Christ promises that not a hair will be lost, and exhorts us to endure (V.18-19), but then down in V.36, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass” or as the ESV puts it, “praying that you may have strength to escape…” (Luke 21:18-19,36).

Pray and endure, for God [is with us]. Press on. He is not against us but [for us]. Our God is like an earthly father teaching his child to walk, standing afar cheering, “Come on. You can do it. I know you can!”

Seeking God for the Wrong Reasons

No one seeks after God, and by this we mean that the unregenerate do not seek after the true and living God because He is Holy (Joshua 24:19). Some of you are probably thinking, “I know a lot of people who are seeking.” Look around you. Is it a holy God they’re searching? A God that takes sins seriously?

On the surface it appears that people are seeking but Scriptures tell a different story. James 4:2-3 says, “…Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” In the case of believers, there is a right and wrong kind of asking. How much more then when it comes to unbelievers seeking God. The unregenerate do not seek God for God, but for things that God can provide. When we analyze Proverbs [1] carefully we see this clearly. Jesus stands and calls out: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” We see it in the parable of the wedding feast: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding” The problem with the outward call? “They would not come.” They were more concerned with “self,” “businesses” and the care of this world.

“Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
‘Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.’”

When distress and destruction comes, people tend to look for security and safety. They will call on God, but not for God Himself, but only for what He can provide. Their seeking is not genuine. It’s not out of godly sorrow and repentance, but self-preservation. It is not God that they are seeking, but what He can provide for them. In Mark 1:35-39, we read: “Everyone is looking for You.” But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may PREACH there also…”

If people do not come to Jesus through the Gospel then they come to Him for the wrong reasons. These people weren’t seeking Jesus for Jesus, but because they saw the miracles (Mark 1:29-34). We see it again in John [6:26]\: “Jesus answered them and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.’”

With that said, we must also keep in mind that God does use trials and sufferings to draw us to Himself. It is true that the ungodly will only seek for God (security and safety) when disaster strikes them. It is also true that God often use trials and suffering to get the attention of the ungodly and to save them. When we have plenty and are living our best life, it’s in our nature not to seek for God because it’s only the sick that needs a physician. So to get our attention, He allows sickness and suffering to enter our lives to get our attention.

Just like in a debate/discussion. A person could be asking questions not because he is genuinely seeking for understanding but so he can argue and sound smart. Then there are those who are genuinely asking questions because they truly want to know and understand. This is where discernment comes in.

Seekers of “gods”

According to Romans 3:11, “There is none who seeks after God.” Not some, but NONE. No human can make this absolute statement, but God can for He “looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God…” (Psa 14,53). His conclusion is that there is none.

This does not mean that people don’t seek after gods, lowercase “g.” It just means that without a New Heart, one can not serve the true and living God. A perfect illustration of this is found in Joshua 24:14-28, “…if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the [gods] which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the [gods] of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Note the contrast between LORD and gods. Those that can’t serve the LORD have plenty of gods to choose from.

“Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God…’” (V.19).

Obsidian for Biblical Studies

Last December I wrote a post talking about OmniOutliner and how I wished there’s a better alternative. Then earlier of this year I came across Obsidian! At first I didn’t see how it could be helpful with biblical studies, but after using and tweaking it, I must say it’s the tool I have been dreaming about. Now this make it a lot easier to leave macOS. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that can show you the basics of Obsidian so you should check it out. Here in this quick post I’ll just showcase what it looks like. Currently I’m trying to transfer all my notes (8+ years) to Obsidian, manually. This will take a lot of work. It took me a while to come up with a workflow that is ideal for taking notes for biblical studies in Obsidian.

The Great Reset [vs] The Great Awakening

In the world we’re living in, there currently is a battle going on between the left vs the right. As Christians that know the Bible we must not get involved and join in their rebellion because regardless of which side wins, Satan will use it to usher in his great deception. Our aim as Christians is to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel, and I don’t mean that in a lukewarmness way. I mean preach the Gospel along with civil disobedience (Acts 5:29). The Gospel not to those within the four walls, but to the world. And to believers civil disobedience (not to be confused with the rebellion of the Great Awakening) because this world is not getting better, even if the Great Awakening were to succeed! The Great Awakening is actually the Great Deception.

If there’s one thing we all can learn from the Global Flood account in Genesis is that external reformation does nothing to change the spiritual condition of a man. Men by nature are evil—every single one of us. Evil is in us. If you don’t get this, you will fight the wrong battle in all the wrong places. In a moment you’ll understand why they’re coming after churches because the only hope for the world right now is not the Great Awakening, but the Gospel.

Here’s the real problem: man is flesh (Genesis 6:3), born after Adam’s likeness and image (Genesis 5:3). Men didn’t get better after the flood, for God clearly states in Genesis [8] that, “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” After God cleared and wiped them all out, to start all over with righteous Noah, you would think that people get better, but apparently not (Jeremiah 4:14,9:3,16:12). For as long men are born after Noah (who was born after Adam), nothing will change. Only when a person is born of the Spirit will there be true transformation! That’s the point Jesus is making in John [3:6], “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The Pharisees were descendants of righteous Abraham, but the devil was their father.

God knows better and He has shown us by wiping out the entire world that if it were possible for us to overthrow dictators and to remove all evil on the face of this earth, and to start again with another righteous Noah—if such were the case you can be sure that history will repeat as man begin to multiply on the face of the land. The same thing almost happened to the Israelites and Moses (Exodus 32:10)! For this reason, God has chosen not to wipe out the world again and is allowing the world to run its course with all its evil and vileness.

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

God is seeking to save those with ears to hear and eyes to see, and this is where the Gospel comes in. The way out is Christ, born of a virgin—our Second Adam. Anyone joined to Him by the Spirit will experience the New Birth—true transformation that will overcome the world (1 John 5:4) and the devil. If God wiped out the entire world, and started all over with only 8 people, what makes us think we can do better with the Great Awakening that does not awaken people to sins, righteousness and the Gospel?

See also: ConSPIRITcy

Bible Translation

I’m Pro-KJV but not a strict KJV-Onlyist. I enjoy reading and meditating on God’s words from various translations. Sometimes I carry the NLT with me to the park, sometimes the ESV. I’m also aware that verses are missing and sometimes certain passages are not properly translated. As a student of Scripture, this isn’t really a problem because when studying theologies and doctrines it’s good practice to check many other translations. For devotion and spending time alone with God I’m not picky when it comes to translation.

With that said, I want to bring something to your attention. I have both the ESV and NIV in my collection and I do read from them. In fact, I got the NIV Reader’s Bible not that long ago for going through another reading plan, and I’m also planning to get the The Psalms (ESV) for devotion later on. I’m not bashing the ESV or the NIV here, but as a Berean who studies doctrines I have to point out biases in translations. Biases in translations is not something I go looking for, but it’s something that enters my radar when studying biblical doctrines that are controversial. The lesson here is not to put all your trust in one particular translation. You have to put in the hard work of investigating and rightly dividing the word yourself. Don’t be lazy and blindly follow the ESV or NIV or _ (fill in the blank).

There are two doctrines that are extremely controversial if you’re a Christian living here in the West. The first is: Regeneration precedes Faith, and the second is Headcovering. I have carefully and diligently studied the doctrine of the New Birth and can say that the NIV is wrong with its translation of First John [5:1].

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” (NIV)

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” (ESV)

If you want to look more into this, start here with this PDF: Does Regeneration Precede Faith in 1 John? (Matthew Barrett) Even if you don’t believe that regeneration precedes faith, you will at least see that there’s inconsistency going on here:

It should be noted that in regards to 1 John 5:1, the New International Version (NIV) should not be followed. The English Standard Version (ESV) correctly translates the perfect verb as a perfect, but the NIV translates the perfect as if it were a present tense verb. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ [is born] of God,” could be taken to mean that one’s faith produces or results in regeneration. Strangely, the NIV translates the same perfect in 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; and 5:4 as a perfect tense verb (“has been born”). Why the NIV is inconsistent when it comes to 1 John 5:1 is unclear, but it gives the impression that faith precedes regeneration when that is not the case. —Matthew Barrett

I have written a post briefly explaining how I came to believe in headcovering. I can talk more about it in the future but right now not in this post. To see what’s really going on here with the ESV you will have to put in the time to really listen to both sides of the debate. The ESV starts off by making it about a married woman. Because of the way the ESV is being promoted and how it’s being used in a lot of churches, Christians that haven’t put in the time to investigate will automatically assume that the ESV got it right. There are a lot going on in the world and churches that most Christians aren’t aware. Things that are going on in the world do affect how doctrines like this are taught. On top of studying this doctrine exegetically, you also have to keep in mind of political correctness, feminism movement, 501(c)3 and Career Christianity to see the bigger picture.

1 Corinthians 11:3-6 (ESV) But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.

1 Corinthians 11:3-6 (NIV) But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.

“Trust the Science!”

It’s not wrong to trust the experts and those that are highly educated. If I ever need an operation you can be sure that I wouldn’t want an untrained person to do the job. We all want what’s best for us, and would look to the “experts” and those equipped for the task. This is good old common sense which is why we don’t just put anyone into a position of authority (1 Tim 3:6) when it comes to church government. A recent convert needs to be taught well before he can teach and lead others.

The first problem, however, is that [Evil] exists, and Evil knows that we look to leaders, experts and those of great influence. It’s in our nature to follow and be led—a picture of Christ the Shepherd and His sheep—which is why when evil comes to us, it comes masquerading and disguising itself as very “good,” even an “authority figure” (2 Cor 11:14-15). It comes as medical experts, celebrities and people with influence tickling our ears, “with her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life.” (Prov 7:21-23). As Christians we are trained to discern evil, and we are not the “simple” who “believes every word” but the “prudent” who “considers well his steps” (Prov 14:15). Our attitude should be that of Paul when it comes to people of great influence, “those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me” (Gal 2:6 cf. Matt 22:16; Luke 20:21; 1 Cor 1:26-29, 3:18-23). God does not judge according to appearance (1 Sam 16:7), and neither should we! Those that do are not wise (2 Cor 10:12) because the characters, motive and intention of the heart are often hidden (1 Tim 5:24-25; Prov 20:5). We learn of this in First Samuel [16:7]. Samuel saw only Eliab’s (David’s brother) appearance and physical stature. God was right in rejecting Eliab as we learn in the next chapter (17:28). We must look beyond the physical, and what people present themselves as and judge not according to appearance but truth and righteousness (John 7:24).

The second problem is that not all “experts” agree on everything. When this is the case we allow them to have an open discussion and or debate. But Evil in charge of big techs and mainstream media do not want discussions and debates, because Evil knows that it can’t thrive where there is light and counsel (John 3:20; Prov 11:14). Proverbs [18:17] teaches us that the “one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (ESV). Evil is right in its own eyes, and does not like to be examined and will paint itself as “the authority.” It will censor and suppress all others because it knows that people can discern and choose what’s best when both sides are presented fairly and honestly. It is after considering and weighting both sides that understanding comes, and as Christians, it is the Lord who gives us discernment and we know that He has our best interest at heart (2 Tim 2:7; Php 3:15).

As Christians we are to be discerning and not quick to believe whatever that is out there or even within our own circle (Ex 23:1-3; Ac 17:21; 1 Tim 5:13). Notice that I said “not quick to believe.” We are to be quick to listen as James would say (Jam 1:19; Prov 18:13), but we are not quick to believe! Eve was quick to believe when she should have been quick to hear. She got outsmarted by Evil (cf. 2 Cor 2:11) because she didn’t check in with Adam before believing that Deceiver (Gen 3:4). It is right to seek the advice and counsel of the learned, but it’s not wise nor discerning to believe that titles and credentials are everything. By all means, “Trust the Science.” But be aware that when Evil says “Trust the Science” what it means is “trust my experts’ [interpretation] of the Science because they have my best interest at heart, not yours. Don’t listen to anyone else.” That, my friends, is the danger! God and His word are above all things (Psa 138:2) and Evil wants to take that place, and “Trust the Science” is one of its ways of getting there.

Here are a few examples of why it’s prudent to not be quick to believe what the “experts” are saying:

Notice the blatant contradiction with the last two links.


Who, which group or organization runs the world? To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. If you research and ask around you might have a list: Illuminati, Freemason, Life Insurance etc… But is that really accurate? And how do you know you’re not being tricked into believing so and so is running the world? What if it’s all a distraction? When we ask the lost world who JESUS is they’ll come up with many conflicting responses. It’s no difference when we ask them who’s pulling the strings. Depending on who you ask, there will be many conflicting answers as well. Some will even say Aliens or Reptilians!

What if I told you that it doesn’t matter, and that labels, groups and organizations are there to distract and keep you blind from seeing the real Enemy who is not flesh and blood (Eph 6:12)? God in His wisdom didn’t put a label or name names in His Book because He knows our Enemy much better than we do, and He doesn’t want us to be fixated on a certain or specific group because they could easily change their identity. Instead, He gets right to the root: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood,” and this helps us to discern the spirit behind every group or organization under the Sun. It doesn’t matter what the name or label is because behind them all it’s the same spirit of the antichrist because, “He who is not with Me is against Me.”

We can’t see the wind, but its effect can be seen and observed (John 3:8). Similarly, we can’t see the spirit(s) that is operating behind all these groups, but we can see and observe its doctrines and influences in society. The god of this world has an agenda and will form groups and organizations to bring about it. A group, even an individual, might appear to be harmless on the surface but in reality could be carrying out the agenda of the Evil one that the Bible speaks of—either knowingly or unknowingly! In other words, from a human’s point of view, many groups can appear to be unrelated and even opposing one another but in reality could be serving the same master when looking at it spiritually. Left vs Right paradigm, for example, are two wings of the same bird.

I’m not a conspiracy researcher and I consider myself uneducated, according to worldly standards (1 Cor 1:26). But I can tell you this: If you study and know your Bible then you won’t be deceived that easily (1 John 2:14). This is why we must pay close attention to doctrines and test them. Satan can put on many different hats but his doctrines can’t be hidden for long because out of the abundant of his heart he will speak and evangelize the lost world through the sons of disobedient, and fill this earth with his doctrine (Revelation 12:9).

“If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.” —Chinese Proverbs

“The tongue exists to reveal our hearts.” —John Calvin

The doctrine will reveal the true nature of any group or organization. They might say they have none, but don’t be deceived. Everyone is preaching a “gospel,” and that gospel either points us to or away from the true and living God.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world…” (1 John 4)

Notice how spirit is mentioned first and then “false prophets.” This is because false prophets are guided by seducing spirit(s) (cf. 1 Kings 22:21-23; Micah 2:11 NKJV; Ac 16:16-18). False prophets are operating under “another spirit” which preaches “another Jesus” and “gospel” (2 Cor 11:4).

“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God…” The point is: Get to know God and His doctrines so that you can discern! Do not waste time going down rabbit holes. Yes we can look into things a bit to get an idea, but be watchful that you’re not consumed by it. The way we go about fighting this is not by exposing and researching all these organizations, but to bring the true light of the Gospel into this dark world. It’s what Jesus and Paul did. Wherever they went, they filled the place with their doctrines. In a confused world, what is needed most is truth and clarity. As Christians, we must know God and His truth if we are to be a true guide to the lost and confused. Demons manifest and reveal themselves when the true Christ shows up. True Light exposes darkness. To give a few practical examples:

  • MGTOW: This group seems to be harmless. They just want to mind their own business and go their own way. But when you pause and observe carefully, there is a hidden “doctrine” that it’s promoting. The people in this group aren’t aware that they’re being led by the spirit of antichrist, “forbidding to marry” (1 Timothy 4:1-3). “Stay away from marriage!” is the beating drum of this group.
  • Veganism: There’s nothing wrong with not eating meat, but when a movement or group is formed around and promoting this hidden “doctrine” of “meat is bad” you can be sure that something is going on. Again, see 1 Timothy 4:1-5.
  • UFO/Alien: What are Aliens? Who are they? I’m not a ufologist, and didn’t spend years studying or researching it. But let me ask you: What is the hidden “doctrine” of these so-called Aliens? Once you have the answer to that, you’ll begin to see that it’s the same spirit behind MGTOW, Veganism and many others.

There are many more examples I can list, but the point is this: All conspiracies are conSPIRITcies. To reiterate what I said earlier: It doesn’t matter what the name or label is because behind them all it’s the same spirit of the antichrist, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” Whether they realize it or not, secret Groups and Organizations are formed for that very purpose: To wage war against Christ and His people (Dan 7:25; Psa 2).

In these last days, what we need is not more information, but discernment. Satan is the great Deceiver and he works through the sons of disobedient—unbelievers (Ephesians 2:2). Pause for a moment and really think about the ramification of that. Really think about it. We do not war against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but against spirits and ideologies. In other words, doctrines of demons (2 Timothy 4:1). This is why we need to have the mind of Christ. This is why we need to bathe ourselves in the Scripture of Truth. This is why we need to search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so.

Related: “Trust the Science!”, Great Reset vs Great Awakening

Thoughts on Water Baptism

This series is ongoing… Originally posted on Gab, and I’m still in the process of fleshing out my thoughts on this topic.

Infant_Baptism: You and Your Household [P1]

I’m currently thinking through and mapping out the doctrine of Infant Baptism (IB). This series will allow me to slowly flesh out my thoughts and to see if there’s any objection and counter-arguments. If there are, I’ll be able to refine my thoughts and to think more deeply about this confusing topic. Let me start off by saying that I approach this topic on IB exegetically. I have listened to many discussions / debates and it’s clear to me that the only way to make IB works is by imposing OT’s paradigm onto the NT, with some assumptions because nowhere in the NT does it say infant are baptized. Here’s the gist: Circumcision was the sign of the OT covenant and Infants were circumcised. Likewise, Baptism is the sign of the NT covenant and infants are to be baptized.

Mark 16:15-16

“You seem to disagree with the words of Jesus when He says ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved’”

No Christian in his right mind would disagree with anything the Scriptures says. Usually it’s our interpretation and understanding of the text that people disagree with. And when we disagree, we must give good reasons for why which I will do my best. When it comes to being saved, the emphasis is on “belief” first and foremost, this is because the Gospel is what saves us. Nothing is more clearer than Mark 16:15-16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; [but he who does not believe] will be condemned.” Note the emphasis on “believe.” This is clearly illustrated in Acts 16:25-34, “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? … [Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ], and you will be saved…” And speaking of baptism, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?.. Philip said, ‘If you [believe] with all your heart, you may…’” (Acts 8:36-38)

Drawn by God

How did God the Father drew Paul to Himself? By pointing him to the Law? By telling him that he fell short here and there, and that he needed to try harder? No, but by revealing His Son to Paul (Galatians 1:15-16), by way of illuminating the heart (2 Corinthians 4:6). To say it another way: Paul was taught by God (John 6:43-45). Apart from the excellence knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:8), men can not know God as He truly is (John 17:3, 8:19, 14:6-7; 1 John 2:23), and therefore can not worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). In other words, apart from the knowledge of God, he can not live rightly as he ought (cf. 1 Peter 1:14; Luke 23:34; John 16:3; 1 John 5:20-21). Those ignorant of God (Romans 10:3-4) will naturally focus on their so-called “good works” (John 6:28) that can not save (Isaiah 64:6).

Before his conversion, Paul was blameless according to the law, and above reproach in the eyes of men. He was circumcised in the flesh (Philippians 3:5), but there was one problem: His heart wasn’t (cf. v.3), because a Jew is not one who is outwardly circumcised and physical, but inwardly, a matter of the heart, by the Spirit (Romans 2:28-29). Paul was one of those “who handle the law” but “did not know Me” (Jeremiah 2:8). And “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:5-7). He had zeal, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). He was taught by men (cf. 2 Timothy 3:7), and not by God (John 6:45 [cf. Galatians 1:11-12; Matthew 16:17]).

This is why we must be born again, and receive the kingdom of God as little children (Mark 10:15), and not as learned men, or religious men. Come as a child, abandoning what we know and were taught by men about being right with God. Lay aside all filthiness (cf. Isaiah 64:6) and as newborn babes let us desire the pure milk of the word so that we may grow! (1 Peter 2:1-3). We become what we treasure the most in our hearts; we become what we set our eyes upon (cf. Psalms 115:4-8), what we think, study and trust in. In other words, we conform to the image that we are seeking after. For this reason, we must set our eyes upon Christ and seek to grow in our knowledge of Him if we are to be like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Jesus says in John 17:3, that eternal life is to know God (first and foremost), and down in V.17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” We are sanctified by His truth, and a sanctified life flows out of a right relationship with God, a true knowledge of Him, and not by rules and regulations (Matthew 15:1-9,13), but proceeds from a loving Father-Child relationship (1 John 4:19).

Be Not Quick to Conclude

Things are not always that simple when doing theology. Regardless of which theological system you subscribe to, there is [always] a verse or passage that seems to oppose or contradict your system. As faithful students of Scriptures, we must not hide verses that go against our system and pretend that they don’t exist, but rather, we must work out the nuances and do our best to reconcile them. It is abundantly clear that salvation can not be lost, but what do we do with warning passages, and verses that seem to teach otherwise? On the other hand, those that oppose the Eternal Security of true believers will be quick to point out all the warning passages, but then conveniently ignore the faithfulness of God and His promises to preserve those that are His. A lot can be said on this topic, but the point here is that we must do our best to reconcile them (for and against passages), and to give an answer for why we arrived at such a conclusion after having looked at both the [for and against].

We who know better should not be quick to condemn other Christians. One can teach truth that is incomplete, and if so, take him aside (Acts 18:24-28) and explain the way of God more accurately and fully.

It is also written

There was a time when I read through the book of Matthew and noticed how Christ defeated Satan: “It is also written.” We must take these four English words to heart! Why is this? Proverbs 18:17 counsels us, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examine him.” (ESV). This is one of the ways for us Christians to be wise as serpents in the realm of truth (Matthew 10:16). People tend to present only one side, and this is why it’s beyond foolish to draw a conclusion (notice I didn’t say listen) based on what the mainstream media is telling us, considering the fact that they’re censoring all the other voices.

Honest discussion, honest truth seeking requires that both sides be presented faithfully and honestly and leave it to the seeker to decide. Very often we have to do the hard work of seeking for the other side ourselves because the MSM is not doing its job, and our opponent(s) in a theological debate didn’t consider the passage(s) that contradicts his view. And seek we must because “the simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15).

God very often speaks in ways that seem to be difficult or contradictory. This is to get our attention, and to draw us in. To make us ponder and to think deeply about His truth. It is in the process of considering both sides that the Lord gives us understanding (cf. 2 Timothy 2:7). The unfaithful will either walk away (cf. John 6:65-66) or twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Don’t be duped by the god of this world, and his servants of righteousness, nor the MSM. It is also written!

Phenomenological Believer

“Phenomenological Believer” describes a person who gives every [appearance] of being a “Christian” but in reality isn’t one. There are phenomenological believers in the Body of Christ, which is why warning passages such as [2 Peter 2] uses “Christian language” to describe these phenomenological believers.

In case you’re wondering, we do use phenomenological language today (cf. Psalms 104:19) when we say “Sunrise” or “Sunset” (for example), even though the Sun is stationary. Yet when we observe with our eyes, it gives the [appearance] of being in motion. The writers of the NT were inspired and could speak with precision, but sometimes spoke phenomenologically. This is needed because it sets an example for us since we’re not inspired and could not speak with divine authority. When it comes to dealing with “Christians” in general, take the advice of Conrad Murrell:

“Some people are obviously lost. Others are manifestly saints of God. But there are multitudes of marginal cases in which it is impossible for mortal man to discern or detect what their state in grace may be outside of special divine revelation. When a person is obviously a child of the devil, he ought to be treated and witnessed to as such. When a person is an obvious child of God, he ought to be received as a brother. When we have no definite proof either way, we are to receive one who professes to be a Christian as one until he gives reason to believe otherwise. And then we are not bound to make conclusions, but to warn him to forsake the error of his way and to give diligence to make his calling and election sure.”

No minister or Christian today can know the hearts of men fully. This is one of the reasons why the Parable of the Four Soils and many warnings, admonitions, and exhortations are given. The key to understanding apostasy, or any kind of falling away, lies in the Parable of the Four Soils: “And He said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable [the four soils]? How then will you understand all the parables?’” (Mark 4:13)

“Why Are You Complicating Things?”

Q: Why are you complicating things? Can’t you just read it and accept what it says? ‘the world’ means ‘the world.’ How hard is that? Or how about this: Believe in the Son and you will have Eternal life. Belief comes first, then Life/Regeneration. See? Not that hard. Read John 20:31.

One of our main goals as students of Scriptures isn’t to complicate things but to clarify through the careful handling of God’s word faithfully. When Christ says “This [is] My body,” you might not take that literally but the Catholics do. And if you think the word [is] is not a big deal, you’ll find out when you have a discussion with them. Men of the past have fought over one single letter, the letter ‘i’: homoousios vs homo[i]ousios in defending the Deity of Christ (think about that for a moment). Scriptures is of divine origin, and it’s to be handled as such—carefully and diligently studied. And that takes a lot of work, which is one of the reasons why your pastor or elder who [labor in the word and doctrine] is to be counted worthy of double honour (1 Timothy 5:17).

The Sadducees rejected the resurrection of the dead because they failed to notice what God said to Moses: “I [am]” (present tense) “the God of Abraham…” He did not say “I [was]” (past tense). This is a prime example of what can happen to us when we don’t pay close attention. Paul makes a distinction between “seed” (singular) and “seeds” (plural) in Galatians 3:16 when he says, “He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.” There are plenty more Scriptures that can be shown to prove my point, but all this is to say: We’re not out to complicate things, but to carefully and rightly divide the word of truth with precision, by God’s grace.

Being a Witness

I have been in churches, and have seen how Christians are taught to evangelize. It all seems very mechanic: People are taught a formula, steps to memorize and go through, get into a small group and practice the formula, and some probably forget it all a month later. I am not saying that formulas are useless, but it does in a way condition and move us toward pragmatism. Spurgeon is right on when he said, “A man who is really saved by grace does not need to be told that he is under solemn obligations to serve Christ. The new life within him tells him that.”

The Gospel has both the [objective] truth and the [subjective] experience. To be saved, one must affirm and stand on the objective truth of the Gospel—that Christ died for our sins, was buried, was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Not everyone who affirms the Gospel truth will have the same experience. But those that affirm and believe in it will be saved (regardless of our educational background). For the porn addict, he might no longer be a porn addict. For the one with a hot temper, he might no longer has a hot temper. Both are saved and [experienced the Gospel] differently, and personally. We must keep this in mind lest we wrongly judge another believer for not having the same experience or zeal as ours.

What’s in you will ultimately flow out. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The key to being a witness is not a specific formula or doing it out of guilt, but the Gospel: “Whoever [believes in me], as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38). As our faith in Him increases (“whoever believes in me”), out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water. Or to put it another way, “to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke 7:47). Paul Washer once said something along this line: A reporter came up to me saying, “why you always talking about sins.” I said, “because I want you to love God.” He said, “what do you mean you want me to love God?” I said, “have you never read ‘she loved much because she was forgiven much’? Sir, you don’t love God much because you don’t know how much you have been forgiven. And the reason you don’t know how much you have been forgiven is because no one ever told you have sinful you are.”

It’s not possible to have the living Christ in us and not have a heart that is flowing with rivers of living water. That’s what we have forgotten, and when that happens, we turn to the wisdom of man and pragmatism. We need to give people the biblical Christ in all of His glory so that the Spirit can move in his or her life organically. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak. A person whose heart is filled with Christ won’t be able to keep his or her mouth shut. It will come out, one way or another, sooner or later (Jeremiah 20:9).

How the NT Quotes the OT

There are times the NT quotes the OT directly, and to give just one example: John 6:45 quoting Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:33-34. We should get into the habit of asking for a Bible verse, but we also must keep in mind that the Scriptures sometimes don’t quote directly when referring to the other parts of Scriptures. For example, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silent in the churches… as the law also says.” Which law? Where in the OT can we find this teaching? You won’t find a single passage that teaches this in the OT. Reason? The OT [taken as a whole] teaches this. This is why sometimes it’s not possible to give a single reference. Apostle John understood this when he writes 1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, [that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all].” What John is doing here is summing up the essence of Christ’s message that they all have heard. If we take everything that Christ taught and summarize it into one short sentence, it would be 1 John 1:5! God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If God is light, then we are darkness because we’re not God, which means we are sinful. And if there’s no darkness in Him, not even a small hint of it, then sinful men can never be near this God, and on and on it goes.

I can give plenty more examples, but let me get to the point: It’s not enough to just ask for a biblical passage (even though we should) because anyone can do that, even a fool and lunatic. We need to know our Bible, and this comes by daily reading, meditation and studying.

The Flesh is the Obstacle

When we approach the Scriptures, we must keep in mind the reality of our sinful flesh. We must be fully aware that the Scriptures is not the problem, but us and that we are quick to forget and slow to understand (Luke 24:25). The heart is the problem, that’s why Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures… But you are not willing to come to Me… I know..that you do [not have the love of God in you].” (John 5:39-42). That’s why Peter exhorts us to deal with our hearts, “laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,” and then, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word…” (1 Peter 2:1-3). James says the same, “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive [with meekness] the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (1:21). The author of Hebrews agrees, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.” (12:1-2).

When our hearts bend in the wrong direction, it will toss us to and fro and be carried by every wind of doctrine that is out there. Why will some depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2)? Paul tells us, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” that’s why “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7). Remember the Pharisees in John 5:39-42—they didn’t have the love of God in them? Loving money leads a person away from the truth (1 Timothy 6:10), because one can not serve both money and God. Paul makes all this clear in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “but according to [their own desires], because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth…”

We’re dictated by our hearts, for better or for worse: “they have walked [according to the dictates of their own hearts] and after the Baals…” (Jeremiah 9:14). “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but [followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts], and went backward and not forward…” (Jeremiah 7:21-27). “each one [follows the dictates of his own evil heart], so that no one listens to Me.” (Jeremiah 16:12). “This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, [who follow the dictates of their hearts]” (Jeremiah 13:10). “So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one [obey the dictates of his evil heart].” (Jeremiah 18:12).

So God will send a strong delusion, and those without the love of God in their hearts will follow the dictate of their wicked hearts. Let us be fully aware that our hearts is the problem when we approach the Scriptures, knowing that we are dependent on God for clarity, we cry out, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law… Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to covetousness.” (Psalms 119:18,36), “Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,” (Psalms 141:3-4).