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Joined: 2006/1/19
Posts: 1406

 No Concord Between Christ And Belial Part 1


by Daniel Musser

Part 1


“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16.

“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men: judge ye what I say.” 1 Corinthians 10:14-15.

As there is a principle underlying the command of non-resistance, so there is the same principle underlying every outward duty or command in the Gospel. Obedience to these outward commands does not bring us acceptance with God if we are not in possession of the principle that underlies them. This principle is the spirit and love of God, which we come to possess by conversion; and for this reason the Savior so earnestly urged the necessity of being born again. By the fall, man lost this principle and fell under the power of the flesh, or carnal will; and, by conversion, this evil principle of the flesh is overcome or destroyed, and the divine nature, or love of God, is again restored. So long as we are not converted, the flesh reigns supreme. We are carnal, but when we are converted, the spirit gets the ascendancy and the flesh is kept in subjection by the power of the spirit. “The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other.” If we are not in possession of this spirit, we have no promise of eternal life. Paul said in Romans 8, “So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwelleth in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Paul further said in the same chapter, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
Here the Word of God makes a very clear distinction, or separation, between flesh and spirit, or between the carnal and the spiritual mind. “The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can it be.” And “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” The Apostle Paul set forth the same principle that Jesus Christ advanced to the women of Samaria. Jesus said in John 4, “The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” It must be clear to everyone that no one can worship in spirit who does not possess the spirit, and according to what Christ teaches here, those who do not have the spirit cannot then be true worshippers. If they cannot be true worshippers, then they must be untrue, or false. Since all false worship is idolatry, then it follows that the worship of all carnal, unconverted, or spiritless persons must be idolatrous.
For this reason, truly converted persons, who are in possession of the spirit and love of God, as the principle that underlies all the commands of the Gospel, cannot unite to worship or commune with such as are carnal and walk after the flesh. Those who are converted and possess the spirit are called believers, and Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” Paul addressed these words to his brethren as fellow believers, and said, “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.’” It is very plain that Paul makes out the believer to be righteous, to be in the light, and to be in Christ; while he makes out the unbeliever to be unrighteous, to be in darkness, to be in concord with Belial, and to be an infidel who is in agreement with idols.
The principle of love, with which the believer is possessed, must then have the effect upon him so as to induce him to bear the strongest testimony against his unbelieving friends that he has in his power; and for this reason the Apostle told him to “come out from among them, and be separate, and not touch the unclean thing.” Again, he said, “Dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” If believers would join in worship with such unconverted idolaters, would they obey the command of Paul given here? Would it be fleeing from idolatry? Or would it be coming out from among them? Paul said that we shall have “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”
Among the nations of old, God never countenanced any idolatrous worship, or approved any service of the Israelites that was not in accordance with what he had instituted. They might be as zealous as they would in their exercises and sacrifices, yet God would not countenance any other than that which he had instituted. He called it abomination, and said they should do away with it. Neither did his faithful prophets and priests join in their idolatrous worship. They separated themselves, and would take no part with the multitude. When Elijah thought he alone was left of those who were faithful, the Lord told him He had yet remaining seven thousand men who had not bowed their knees to Baal, or kissed his mouth. Will our friends, who charge us with being self-righteous because we cannot unite with all other professed worshippers in their service, charge Elijah, and these seven thousand men, with being self-righteous and uncharitable? There is no difference between the two; the unbelieving or spiritless worshipper has not a whit more promise in the Word of God than the worshipper of wood and stone. Pure and undefiled love, or charity, constrains its possessor to deal plainly with all men, without respect of person. Those who profess, as well as those who do not profess, shall be reproved, rebuked, and exhorted with all long-suffering and doctrine. If an assembly of wicked and immoral men would be encouraged in their wickedness by our going in among them and being silent spectators of their games or frolics, then an assembly of unconverted men, who falsely profess to be engaged in worshipping God, would also be encouraged in their unconvertedness by our going in among them and being silent spectators – and much more if we were to join with them in their exercises. Would it not be more consistent with love or charity to protest against their course and reprove them so that, by the blessing of God, he might make them aware of their error, and lead them to repentance and life? The Lord told the prophet of old, to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Israel and the house of Jacob professed the same doctrine and worship as the prophet Isaiah did; was it then uncharitable for the prophet thus to declare?
If the position is made out, that it is consistent with love, and is the duty of a child of God, to reprove, in the most pointed manner, those who they know are destitute of the spirit of God, and yet ignorantly or hypocritically pretending to worship God, it only remains to enquire whether we have any criterion whereby we may know that they are such.
God has withheld from man both the power and the right to judge. Nevertheless, Christ has told his disciples the way in which all men should know that they are such; and he also gave them a rule by which they should know whether those who profess to be, really are disciples. These rules must be infallible. Christ said to his disciples, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” It must be the will of God that both these facts should be known – known to the world that the believer is a disciple, and known to the disciple that the tree is not good, or the wolf in sheep’s clothing is a false prophet.
The world loves its own also, and Christ said that the publicans and sinners love and do good to those who do the same to them. The love that the disciples bear to each other must then be something different from what the world shows; otherwise, it would not distinguish them from others. Love can only be known to exist in others by their deeds and actions. Nothing can convince one man that I love another, but my conduct towards him. John said that we shall “not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth;” and, so that we may not be deceived in regard to what constitutes true love, Christ and the Apostles have given us such precepts, by which we can distinguish between true and feigned love. Christ knows that we are weak and erring creatures, that one brother would trespass against another, and that the enemy of all good would take advantage of this to tempt and excite us to breaches of love. Therefore, he gave the plain directions that “if thy brother trespass against thee, tell him of his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And, if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but, if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” Paul said, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” John said, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” If brethren walk faithfully in this rule, they show a distinguished love, and man must close his eyes to the force of reason and truth if he does not recognize a principle in them that the world does not possess. Paul’s command here makes it the duty of one brother to labor to restore another, whether the fault was committed against himself, or whether it in any way concerned him personally, or not. The world does not usually concern itself to reform one who commits an error. They may talk about it and spread the fault abroad, but they do not labor to recover the erring; and, if the fault is committed against themselves, they usually complain and speak to others about it, much rather than to the offender; and, if they speak to him at all, it is rarely in a meek and gentle spirit. The believer, who is in the true love of God, cannot pass by; and, however much it may go against his natural feelings, he is constrained by love of his brother’s soul to address him in such manner and spirit as he deems most likely to win him, or work conviction on his mind. John said, “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Therefore, when they do good, communicate, and suffer for their brother, even to the laying down of their life for him, they show the fruits of love, and men can comprehend it as such.
This spirit, faithfully and honestly obeyed and carried out, must work conviction in the heart; for it is said that by it all men shall know that we are his disciples. The world may reproach, defame, malign, and persecute the children of God as much as they will. They cannot help it, and in their hearts they do still bear witness to the power of truth; for Christ has said that all men shall know, therefore they must know.
Christ further told his disciples to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
Christ must have intended that his disciples should know false prophets, or he would not have told them to beware of them. And to beware of them, they must also know them, or they could not do this. To know them, they must have evidence by which to do so; and in so important a matter, this test must also be a certain one. Therefore the Savior gave them an unerring rule. “Ye shall know them by their fruits; a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.”
In saying to the disciples that they should beware of false prophets, Christ must have intended that they should make some distinction between them and the true prophets. The prophets taught the people what was the will of God, and if the disciples knew any to be false, and were told to beware of them, what would be more natural than to withdraw themselves from hearing them? And especially as Christ further said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” The fruit that the Savior here speaks of as being the test of its producer’s quality must evidently be the fruits of the spirit. “Every tree (the Savior said) is known by his own fruit.” “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil.” By nature we are all evil and carnal, walk according to the flesh, bring forth its fruits or works, and are represented by a corrupt tree. We fell from the spirit and under the flesh by the transgression of our first parents; and we are in the flesh as long as the works of the flesh manifest themselves by our words, deeds, and actions. The evil treasures of the heart are our self-love, carnal affections, and will, which have emanated from the Devil and forbid the carnal mind to be subject to the law of God. From this principle or spirit, the works of the flesh flow, or are brought forth, and are called its fruits. In those who are converted, this spirit or principle of evil is subdued; and the spirit and love of God, which was lost in the fall, is restored and now controls the believer. This is the good treasure of the heart, and now, since the Holy Spirit has the control of the heart, and has power to overcome the evil treasure, the good fruits of the spirit must be brought forth.
This is the infallible test that the Savior has given to his disciples, by which they shall know the false prophets and everyone who professes faith – for “every tree is known by his own fruit.” The false prophets to whom the Savior alludes cannot be of a lewd, vicious, and immoral character. They “come to you in sheep’s clothing.” That is, they appear in the garb of sanctity. They are decent, moral, and upright in their dealings and association with man; but still there is an infallible test in their fruits, by which the disciples “shall know them,” and yet, they are forbidden to judge.
The purpose of the enemy of all good is to hinder the work of God from prospering by every way he can, and he has no better way to accomplish this purpose than by preventing obedience to the commands of the Savior. Therefore, he seeks to screen his false prophets from the light in which they may be known, by hiding them behind the command not to judge. What is the reason that there is so much holy horror expressed at the thought of judging, and never a warning given to beware of false prophets? The Devil is the prince of darkness, and his object is to keep man in darkness, for there he can carry on his work to purpose; but as the light makes manifest, he shuns this, and tries to keep his emissaries from coming to the light, so that their deeds are not reproved. Christ said, “Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
To “know a man by his fruits,” cannot be judging him, for Christ commanded the one and forbade the other. There must, therefore, be a distinction. Paul said of Timothy, he “professed a good profession, before many witnesses.” Thus, a man might make a good and sound Gospel profession that no one could object to; but, if we would know that he was immoral in his conduct or led a life inconsistent with that profession, we would know by these fruits that he could not be what he professes. [19] By saying so, or telling him that, in the course of life he is leading, he cannot be saved, we would not be judging him. By his fruits we would know him, as the Savior has commanded. But if there was nothing in his walk and conversation inconsistent with this good profession, and we would yet undertake to condemn him, or say he is not a disciple of Jesus, then we would judge and transgress the command of Christ. But if one comes to us and is moral and of good deportment, so that he might in his outward conduct resemble a disciple of Jesus, and would yet profess a doctrine that is not according to godliness, or would not profess the doctrine of Christ, we must know that Christ has not sent him. The fruit of his lips would prove that he is a false prophet, and we would not be judging him by shunning him; for God’s word has already judged him, and we would only be obeying what Christ has commanded. A little reflection must convince every candid mind of the importance of rightly understanding the intention of the Savior in giving these two commands. If his disciples should undertake to make themselves judges of motives or intentions, much evil and injustice might be done to innocent persons. And the door of his house would be shut, or closed against some of Christ’s little ones. Again, if they did not observe the precaution to take heed to the doctrine and life of those who profess, what leaven would be introduced into the church! And the wolf in sheep’s clothing would soon kill, destroy, and scatter the lambs of Christ.
But it is objected that we thus make ourselves judges of what Christ does teach, reject the opinion of all other men, and say we are right and all others wrong. But what then did Christ mean when he said, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them”? Paul said to the Romans, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. For they are such as serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” The Lord Jesus Christ taught, prayed for, and insisted on unity in the Church, and such a unity as could be comprehended by the world; for, in his prayer to His Father, Christ desired that his disciples should be one, as He and the Father are one, “that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” John said that Christ “died to bring together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad.” Any doctrine that would cause division is contrary to Christ’s doctrine. Therefore it is false, and Paul told his brethren to avoid them. Why? Because such do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ! They are none of His. In our day, the popular church is very much divided, and the teachers are very numerous who countenance it, and say that it may be so, and still be right. They tell people only to embrace religion, and unite themselves with any of these numerous “branches,” as they are called. Is this not contrary to Christ’s doctrine? And, according to Paul, they should be marked and avoided. Paul also charged Timothy to instruct the Ephesians to “teach no other doctrine,” and he himself would “take heed unto himself, and to the doctrine.” And John said, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.” Does this not agree with what Christ said? And show how John understood Christ? “Beware of false prophets, which come to you,” said Christ. John said “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not.” This shows how John taught us to “beware,” and what the consequences will be to such as greet them with God speed. In order to carry out these instructions of Christ and the Apostles, we must have a sure rule or guide, so that we may certainly and surely know what the doctrine of Christ is.
That evil principle, which I have observed is the cause of bringing forth the fruit in the unbeliever, is self-love. It is the cause of our obeying the lusts and desires of the flesh and the mind. Jesus Christ was manifested to destroy the work of the Devil, and this principle being one of the chief of his works, and antagonistic to the work of the Lord, he levels some of his chief denunciations against this principle. Christ did not deal much with special sins, but leveled his shafts against the principle that is the parent of sin. In denouncing the principle, he denounced every species of irregularity that arises from that source.
Among the first of Christ’s declarations, or at least prominent among them, is “Deny thyself, and take up thy cross. He that would save his life shall lose it, but he that will lose it, for mine and the Gospel’s sake, shall find it.” Not a single command did he give, but what is at variance with self-love. Not a single sentiment did he utter that will in any way harmonize with this principle.
The good principle, which constitutes the good treasure of the heart, from which the good fruit flows, is the love of God shed abroad in the heart of those who are converted by the Holy Spirit. Upon this principle, all the commands of Christ are based; and, as Christ does not deal so much in special sins, so He does also not dwell so much on special virtues, but a great deal on the principle that commends the virtues to God. The same act may be sin and abomination to God in one person, and pleasing and acceptable to Him in another. One person may contribute to relieve the necessity of another from a motive of vanity, to be seen by men and have their esteem. This proceeds from the reprobate principle of self-love before alluded to, and it is displeasing to God. Another may contribute to relieve the same necessity from a motive of love to God, and its consequent fruit of good will to men, and the act is a sacrifice with which God is well pleased. Those who possess this good treasure, or Divine principle, do by its influence detect every approach of Satan through their flesh, by which he would influence them with this evil spirit, and by the power of the Holy Spirit they are able to overcome the deeds of the body, keep it in subjection, and take their thoughts captive under the obedience of Christ. Self-love is the cause of all strife, quarrelling, contention, war, and bloodshed. James said, “From whence come wars and fighting among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” And Peter said, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” All extravagance in fashions, and fashionable diversions, are for the gratification of this principle, and proceed from the flesh. Let anyone pause and reflect: what is the ground that causes people to adopt modes or fashions of dress, which serve no kind of useful purpose, but are oftentimes exceedingly inconvenient, and besides so expensive as to make their cost inconvenient also, and burdensome? Is it not the principle of self-love, which the Savior has said we must deny? This is certainly a command of the Savior, and when we violate it, we show an evil fruit! When we see men do those things which cannot be prompted by anything else than this evil principle, we cannot help but know them to be such, as the Savior has commanded us to beware of. Those who, by painful experience, have learned to know this evil principle cannot fail to know what its fruits are, for Christ has said they shall know them.
As love is the evidence by which all men are to know the disciples of Christ, “All men shall know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” As I have said, this love must have something to distinguish it from carnal love, and must and will convince the world of the truth also, however much they may desire the contrary conviction; then the contrary must convince, or prove the opposite. The absence of this love must prove that they are not his disciples! When one brother can see another err, and not use the means of love which Christ has given for the purpose of restoring him, he cannot love him; and the disciples of Jesus may know, by this fruit, that he is not in possession of the spirit of God. When Christ has commanded us to love our enemies and do good to them, and we see men, contrary to this command, fighting and killing them, there can be no difficulty in determining that these are fruits which flow from the evil treasure of a man’s heart.
The Apostle Paul, in his epistles, was more specific in naming the different acts that constitute violations of the principle that underlies the chief commands of the Gospel. That which the Savior termed the “evil treasure of the heart,” the Apostle usually called the flesh; and the “good treasure of the heart,” he called spirit. In other places, they are distinguished by light and darkness. Paul said in Romans 8, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit do mind the things that are spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God; neither, indeed, can it be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And, if Christ be in you, the body is dead, because of sin; but the spirit is life, because of righteousness. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die, but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For the Holy Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And, if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
If we read this testimony of Paul, and believe it to be true, we can have no question in our minds that those who are destitute of the spirit, or live after the flesh, cannot be disciples of Jesus Christ, nor can be true worshippers. There is no question but what the Apostle intended we should know, and prove both others and ourselves by the directions he here gives. For our conduct is to be entirely different towards the two classes. The one we are to have fellowship with, the other we are to avoid because the flesh causes divisions and offences. The one we are to comfort, encourage, build up, and confirm; the other we are commanded to reprove, rebuke, exhort, and warn. How could we obey these commands, if we cannot distinguish? Or what purpose would they serve us, if we cannot know by them what our own and the relation of others is towards their God? Here is the fruit to which Christ has called our attention, by which all men shall know the disciples, and by which the disciples shall also know the false prophet. But the Holy Spirit has left nothing to uncertainties. He has left the enemy no advantage over those who are seeking for truth with a truly upright heart, and hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
Paul, in Galatians 6, said, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.” In the 5th chapter of the same epistle, he said, “This I say, then: walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary, the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that we would. But if ye be led by the spirit, ye are not under the Law. The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like – of which I told you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another and envying one another.”
The Apostle here made a very clear distinction and separation between the flesh and the spirit, self-love and the love of God, the evil treasure of the heart and the good treasure of the heart. He pointed out numbers of special acts, which he designates as proceeding from the flesh, and said that they “are manifest.” Whatever is manifest is and may be publicly known. So the works of the flesh may be known, and the Apostle desires us to know that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. It is evidence that they do not possess the spirit of God, for Paul said, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its lusts and desires.” Then, when they do such things, it is evident that they have not “crucified the flesh, with its lusts and desires.” As a consequence, they cannot be Christ’s, for they are not led by the spirit, and “they that have not the spirit of Christ, are none of his.”
Everyone knows that numbers of the sects of Christendom live in open violation of what Paul teaches here. I am not aware that any of the so named churches openly avow that there is no harm in adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, murders and drunkenness; but it is well known that numbers of those of high standing in the church are guilty at least of being drunken very frequently, and there is no notice taken of it by the church or its minister. In regard to hatred, variance, wrath, strife, and the like, the common occurrences are too well known to need more than merely to refer to them. How far are they from bringing forth the fruits of the spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and temperance? Paul said, “If we are in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.” Emulations and reveling are here named among these works of the flesh, or fruits of the evil heart, and that those who do them “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Emulation is defined as a desire to “equal or excel.” It is, therefore, emulation that leads persons to follow the fashions of the world. If we look at the style of dress, mode of life, luxury and extravagance among the wealthy and fashionable churches, the style of their houses and furniture, and even the churches and decorations, who can doubt that pride and vanity do not have a large share in the motive which prompts them to such a course? If persons should even argue that they have no pride in their gay, fashionable, and expensive dress and equipage, and deny the desire to excel, they must at least have the desire to equal, or they would not follow fashion when it is so often attended with great inconvenience. Paul said in Romans 12, “Be not conformed to the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of the mind.” The carnal mind seeks conformity to the world, but the spiritual mind is transformed in its renewal. Besides this, the Apostles have given us express commands, showing clearly their view of the spirit or principle that induces persons to pursue such a course of life. Besides the manifest violation of the spirit of the Gospel, which everyone who has the least desire to ascertain the design of its expressions can see, Paul expressly said in the 1 Timothy 2, “I will, therefore, in like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety; not in broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” The Apostle Peter also bore the same testimony, in nearly the same words, in 1 Peter 3.
The word “reveling” is defined to mean “feasting with noisy mirth.” It is well known that many members of the popular churches attend parties and balls, and dance and play, where there is usually eating and drinking to excess, noisy mirth, and nothing but vain amusements and frivolity. This is well known to the whole congregation, countenanced, or at least connived at, by their ministers, and is advocated by many as innocent or harmless.
The Apostle, at the conclusion of this catalogue of vices, which he enumerates as proceeding from the flesh, intimates that these are not all the violations of the principles of the Gospel that might be named. After naming those as he did, he added, “and such like,” plainly indicating that all actions or deeds, prompted by the same principle which prompts those there named, are under the same reprobation. Paul also said, in Ephesians, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit.” He also said, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Again he said, “Filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting shall not once be named among them, as becometh saints.” These are of the same “like” as those named in Galatians. And now, let any candid mind reflect upon what the Apostles and Christ taught in those Scriptures here quoted, and they must admit there is no comparison between the children of God as represented in the Gospel, and these popular churches. Let everyone ask himself, how can we obey those Scriptures, which command us to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers? How can we withdraw ourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, if we are not to know a corrupt tree from a good one? If it was not the intention of Christ and the Apostles that the believers should know the true from false prophets, and a true believer from one who is only nominally so, why did they give such directions and commands?

[19] May we make a distinction between someone who has rejected the truth and someone who is ignorant of the truth – someone who simply has not understood it yet? Not everyone is suddenly infused with all Christian knowledge and understanding at the moment they become a Christian. Some people learn at a painfully slow rate – but they do eventually learn. Is it fair to shun them until they do? We live in a society that glorifies the military and that is saturated with violence. Is it any wonder that some might become Christians without immediately understanding the truth of non-resistant principles?

 2007/8/22 18:47Profile

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