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Posts Tagged ‘righteous’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advised is wisdom. – Proverbs 13:10

– Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! – Isaiah 45:9

The simplest definition of “contention” means being opposed to something or someone.  Carried out to extremes, it develops a zeal to emerge as the winner in arguments or debates with anybody – including with God.  Contentment usually only comes with victories – while losses often generate contempt.

Any contention in life develops an existence of strife, discord, or disagreement with any number of people. It does the same with our Father above.  Contentious opposition to His ways can birth enmity or bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), leading to discontent lives of always questioning Him in an air of conflict and quarreling.

It’s a sign of having a carnal mind still conformed to the world; not renewed and transformed by His truth yet (Romans 8:7, 12:2).  It creates spiritual stress, struggles, or stagnation – and a burdensome, heavy yoke (Matthew 11:30).  It often creates a confusion God is never the author of (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Contention is a state of dissention with heaven.  It keeps hearts far from it – even though lips may speak many feigned words to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  It’s not growing in God’s grace, but it gives place to the devil – and space for his many devices of devouring (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:27, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

It is sin – for only by pride does it arise (lead verse). It is being at odds with God – at any time, for any reason.  It is disobedient complaining coming from a lack of faith and trust – and this is displeasing to Him (Numbers 11:1, Philippians 2:14, Hebrews 11:6).  It is walking contrary to His ways (Leviticus 26:27-28).

To contend, or being in any contention with God is ungodly.  Some synonyms for both words reflect this, such as conflict and friction.  It’s hard to walk with anyone in such disharmony (Amos 3:3).  People can only disagree with others for so long, before they say “so long.”  The same goes with God (Hebrews 3:12).

Contention implies God does not know what He is doing.  It suggests He is unfair (Ezekiel 33:20), lying (Hebrews 6:18), or wrongly judging because violence, spoiling, and strife abound (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  Those contentious with God tend to perceive their goodness or innocence (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).

However, our Father is always right – His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Contention with Him says He is not – and makes mistakes.  If we say we’re Christians, then we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We’ve been reconciled back to God into one body by the Cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:16).

Reconciliation means being brought into agreement and alignment with something or someone.  If we are Christians, then it is God.  Contention prohibits any concurrence with Him.  If we claim belief, then we always agree with God.  If we don’t, we are devoid of the truth, despite any claims to the contrary.

Our Father’s commandments are not meant to be grievous, but to grow us up into mature Christians (1 John 5:3).  Contentions against Him grieve the Holy Spirit – and we’re warned not to do this (Ephesians 4:30).  When we do, it upsets and saddens God.  It shows we haven’t learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Remember, our Father causes and creates all things in life – light and dark, good and evil (Isaiah 45:7). However, He will never grieve or afflict us willingly without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  Griping or grumbling about troubles or trials in life is not the way to grow spiritually and in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

We must look within at sin still not confessed and corrected as the source of any difficulty with Him.  Sin angers God, especially when committed by Christians who cannot be ignorant about His command to repent (Acts 17:30).  Otherwise, complaining and contention with Him are bound to begin (Lamentations 3:39).

If contentious arguing arises against God, it is being lifted up in the same arrogant pride that got Satan cast out from heaven (1 Samuel 2:3, Proverbs 16:18, Luke 10:18).  Christian novices are prone to prideful contention – and this puts them in danger of falling into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

New believers are unlearned and unstable.  They still wrestle with Scripture and require a lot of spiritual milk.  The Bible is hard to understand (1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:16).  It includes those who should be teachers by now; but who have to keep being retaught the first principles of God’s oracles (Hebrews 5:12).

Contention can also be fostered by failing to speak or preach wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  Instead, it is putting a personal “spin” on Scripture.  With catchy quotes or phrases sounding very spiritual and godly, but being unable to affirm them with His Word (1 Timothy 1:7)

However, this is swerving from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), and being removed to another gospel (Galatians 1:6).  This is how people get deceived by vain words (Ephesians 5:6).  Contention has likely led to rewrites of Scripture into many new versions so they sound more agreeable to man (Revelation 22:18-19).

Whatever the cause, contention is never a good state to be in very long.  Satan roars around like a starving lion, waiting to lead us away in err (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  The devil is our 24/7 accuser (Revelation 12:10).  Stirring up contention with God is a deadly device he uses to devour souls.

This doesn’t mean we will never be contentious with others – even with believers.  We were all raised in the world first, and have various viewpoints, theories, and opinions about life we may still be entangled in (2 Timothy 2:4).  Jesus has to untangle these so we stop minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19).

These can lead to sometimes heated disagreements with each other.  In the book of Acts, contention separated two brothers in Jesus.  What happened would be similar to a group of church elders today unable to agree on who to send on a mission trip. However, why it happened merits some examination.

Paul and Barnabas were at an impasse about whether to take John Mark – the cousin of Barnabas – as a third companion to go visit brothers in cities they had previously preached in.  They wanted to see how these brothers were faring.  The contention was so sharp, they went separate ways (Acts 15:36-39).

Scripture reveals they never met face to face again. Still, Paul later makes favorable mention of Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6), and expresses a desire for John Mark to join him in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).  Even though Barnabas and Paul disagreed, they did not end up making a mountain out of a molehill.

Also, keep in mind their dissension did not involve Scriptural content or doctrinal issues.  They did not engage in profane or vain babblings about the Bible (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16).  The split between the two men involved a personal dispute based upon a judgement call on who to take with them.

To their credit, neither Paul or Barnabas permitted the contention to sideline them from personal efforts in spreading God’s Word.  Yes, it was prideful and partial (1 Timothy 5:21).  However, they didn’t allow their inability to arrive at a decision to get them angry enough to sin more against God (Ephesians 4:26).

There will always be times when brothers and sisters in Christ will not see eye-to-eye in matters of opinion. However, the important thing is how we respond.  Do we mope, sulk, and stew because somebody didn’t agree with our point of view – or do we stay focused on doing God’s will, regardless of disagreements?

Paul and Barnabas pushed forward, putting their hand to the plow (Luke 9:62).  As a result, more work was done for God because of how they handled their rift. They didn’t permit it to spoil them spiritually.  They didn’t let it fester and end up getting the best of them in ignorance of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

There’ll be several situations throughout life leading to potential strife, dissention, or disagreement.  It’s even understandable between Christians, depending on the progress of their spiritual growth.  We still have to live in the world, but we have to watch with caution what we’re filling our hearts with (Luke 6:45).

Even with the Spirit inside us, our flesh lusts against it, and vice versa.  We don’t always say or do things we want to or should (Romans 7:18-19, Galatians 5:17).  However, contention is strife, and strife leads to evil works (James 3:16).  Individually, or in the churches where it has no place (1 Corinthians 11:16).

God tells us to take heed because we can easily be consumed if we continue biting and devouring each other in any contention (Galatians 5:15).  This shows a total lack of devotion to God’s ways and discipline in our walk with Him.  There’s no rest in life (Proverbs 29:9).  Contention makes people tense and on edge.

This is why we are well-advised to learn godly wisdom (lead verse).  It is letting God tame our unruly and evil tongues by His truth (James 3:8) – learning like David how to ask Him to set a guard over our lips (Psalm 141:3).  So our words are few and we refrain from rash talk (Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 10:19).

Strife in life leads to a lot of wrong, unrighteous, and ungodly thinking (Philippians 4:8).  Precious time is wasted and mental energy is spent dreaming up ways trying to prove a point on any topic, even Scripture, to those we disagree with.  Giving them a piece of our mind can’t lead to peace of mind (Philippians 4:9).

No thought can be hid from our Father (Job 42:2) – God knows them all (Ezekiel 11:5).  Even if we may think our contention is hidden to the masses in our mind, it is immediately manifest before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We can fool others with feigned and fake faith, but not God (Jeremiah 3:10).

We can also go out and speak the most convicting words about God – then come back home and rail accusations against Him behind closed doors about something we think He is doing wrong.  However God knows our abode; when we come and go.  If we rage against Him like this, it can’t be hid (2 Kings 19:27).

Many things increase vanity in this life and contention with God is one (Ecclesiastes 6:10-11).  It is counter-productive to bringing forth spiritual fruit meet with our commandment to repent of sins (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  Who are we to contend with God and command Him (Job 40:2)?

Contention with God shows Him we desire to establish our own righteousness and then declare it as such – just as the Israelites did.  However, it’s not submitting to His righteousness (Romans 10:3).  Instead, it is subversive and condemns Him.  If we do, we disannul His judgment, just so we can be righteous (Job 40:8).

Contention is everything but peace.  It is sin and it is ungodly.  We are to follow peace with all men, and holiness or we won’t see God (Hebrews 12:14).  If we should stay ungodly by blaming Him for our problems in prideful contention, and fail to repent of our ways, we will not stand in the judgement (Psalm 1:5).

Therefore, God tells us to avoid foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law. They are unprofitable, and vain (Titus 3:9).  Starting strife is like opening floodgates to release dammed up water.  So we don’t meddle with contention, we’re to walk away from it, before it begins (Proverbs 17:14).

However, there is one thing we all have to contend for – and earnestly, meaning intently and seriously.  It is the faith once delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  It is the kind Jesus wonders about; if it will be found upon returning (Luke 18:8).  It means we have to be in contention with the devil (Proverbs 28:4).

It means we have to hold fast.  It is keeping our souls from straying by having them firmly secured by the anchor of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  This is so we hold fast to instructions from God (Proverbs 4:13), the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23), and all that is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

It is so we can hold fast to the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).  So we hold fast and repent unto salvation as commanded – or perish (Revelation 3:3, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:3,5).  If we don’t it will be easy to backslide into contentious ways – and hold fast to deceit (Jeremiah 8:5-6).

Prideful deceit is the state of our heart from the start of life (Jeremiah 17:9, Obadiah 1:3, 1 John 2:16).  If we should keep slipping (Hebrews 2:1) back to it as believers, we swerve from a good conscience, to contention again with God (1 Timothy 1:5-6).  It’s how we veer off the straight path (Matthew 7:14).

Straying in any contention too long is staying in uncorrected sin.  It’s failing to consider the eternal consequences of disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If we remain in contention too long, we will have no excuse if God says to us when we meet Him, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. – 2 Timothy 3:1

– The first steps to apostasy are forgetting the true and adoring the false. – from Charles Spurgeon

Apostasy is the willful abandonment or renunciation of a belief.  It comes from the Greek “apostasia.”  It means a defection, departure, revolt, or rebellion.  A person cannot become an apostate without holding some sort of belief to begin with.  God warns about the approaching Christian apostasy of man’s last days in many New Testament verses.  Believers will depart from their faith and rebel once again.

No Christian is ever immune from apostasy; and becoming an apostate does not require any open declaration.  The first step on abandonment’s avenue starts in a heart no longer abiding side-by-side with Him (John 15:1-6).  Despite feigned belief within, apostasy can be masked with public proclamations of love and praise for Him – often to gain or maintain worldly admiration or advantage (Jude 1:16)

Internal apostasy in one Christian may not be noticed by others for years.  The believer may be maintaining such a convincing show of external Christianity – it is never suspected.  Although they might be abounding in several open works, the real work of believing God left their heart long ago (John 6:28-29, Romans 4:5). Such a departure can fool the masses for a long time; but never Him (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A warning signal of apostasy approaching or being present is when ears are dull of hearing about God and His Word (Hebrews 5:11).  A hardened heart is not far behind.  Or, one has already been formed – maybe by God (Exodus 7:13).  In such a state, it’s hard to prick them again with talk about truth (Acts 2:37).  Passive belief permeates the being.  Apathy is soon to follow – with apostasy hot on its heels.

Apostasy has many causes – but the results are always the same.  Evil hearts of unbelief are born. Unbelief is no longer drawing back from one’s faith (Hebrews 10:38), but a departure from the living God (Hebrews 3:12-19).  It might begin by getting too complacent and comfortable with one’s Christianity.   A convenient faith is formed – one fitting in nicely with worldly plans, pursuits, and activities.

Going to church on Sunday and/or attending a weekly Bible study; but following and loving the world for the remainder of the week (1 John 2:15) – is having a convenient faith.  It isn’t consistent with steadfast belief.  Apostasy could be knocking on the door if one approaches belief in God like this.  If the extent of one’s life with Him remains restricted to weekly sermons and Bible studies, it may have been let in.

God does not recommend our committed love of Him. It is commanded before loving anything or anyone else (Matthew 22:36-38).  We can’t sit down to drink and dine with God and Satan at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21).  This makes us all about the Word one second – all about the world the next.  When the world gets favored, the Word has been temporarily abandoned.  If so, guess what seeds are taking root?

Even if we are completely devoted to God with our heart, mind, and soul – much of what goes on in the world today can make us question many things about God and His heavenly court system.  Apostasy can begin brewing if we don’t know where to find answers in His Word.  We may stew over why evil seems to be on the increase, and why God doesn’t appear to be doing much about it (Exodus 34:7, Nahum 1:3).

With spoiling and rioting abounding all around the globe now – it’s easy for some to see God’s laws as being slack, and wrong judgements proceeding from heaven (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  It is an understandable mindset when the righteous and merciful are taken too soon, while evil ones seem to keep getting away with too much wickedness (Isaiah 57:1, Ecclesiastes 8:11-13, Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3).

This can lead even the most devout Christians to doubt the eventual return of Jesus.  Causing some to ask, “Where is this promise of Christ coming back (2 Peter 3:3-4)?  Such uncertainty is the mark of an evil and apostate heart – one saying “My Lord delays His coming (Matthew 24:48).”  Implying God’s prophecies are lies or far off – it permits one to easily justify continuance of sinful living (Ezekiel 12:22-28).

Although inner apostasy is hard to detect by humans – outward apostasy is not.  It is apparent in the lives of Christians just by observing their actions, and listening to their words.  Apostasy appears to be speaking louder and clearer across a wide swath of the Christian landscape lately.  It doesn’t take inner spiritual discernment to decide it is happening, or external guessing or supposing.  It’s plainly exposed.

It comes across in Sunday sermons when preachers strut all over a stage puffed up in pride (1 Corinthians 4:6,19).  It comes across when TV pastors spend portions of a broadcast pitching their latest book and trying to get viewers to buy it (2 Peter 2:3).  It comes across when believers publicly boast about all their amazing works for God (Galatians 6:4) … or call constant attention to their faith (Romans 14:22).

Mostly through Timothy, Jude, and the book of Hebrews, God gives us a preview of all the signs pointing to apostasy’s existence – and proof its roots are being produced.  One of them is pride.  Pride will likely keep anyone lifted up in it – in a destructive state of denial about apostasy.  They will keep falling for Satan’s lies and into his condemnation – and resisted by God (1 Timothy 3:6, James 4:6).

Along with arrogant pride (1 Samuel 2:3), here are some other signs:  Men will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, and blasphemers.  They’ll be disobedient to parents, unholy, and unthankful (2 Timothy 3:2).  They will be truce-breakers and false accusers without natural affection.  Incontinent (lacking restraint and self-control), fierce and despisers of those who are good (2 Timothy 3:3).

They will be traitors.  They will be heady and high-minded – loving pleasure more than God (2 Timothy 3:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Timothy 5:6, James 5:5). Having a form of godliness – but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).  Ever learning, and never able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).  Still minding earthly things with their belly as god (Philippians 3:19, Colossians 3:2).

Others will no longer contend for the faith, but will turn God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (offensively and overt sexual desire) – and denying Him by doing so (Jude 1:3-4).  There will be those despising dominion or speaking evil of dignities (Jude 1:8).  God will be mocked as people walk after their own ungodly lusts (Jude 1:18).  Sensual – having separated from the Spirit in doing so (Jude 1:19).

At a time older and mature Christians should be teachers and speakers of sound doctrine – they will have need of being taught the principles of God’s oracles once again.  Unskilled with Scripture – and still requiring spiritual milk they should have been weaned from long ago (Titus 2:1, Hebrews 5:12-13, 1 Peter 2:2).  Never having their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

All in all, apostasy will cause countless Christians to depart from their inner faith in Jesus – despite any external claims to the contrary.  Giving heed to the doctrine of devils and to seducing spirits (1 Timothy 4:1).  It’s all part of the falling away to occur on earth prior to the revelation of perdition’s son.  The one who will show he is God to all who did not receive the love of truth (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3,10).

Once faith and belief in life are established in another person – then lost – it is impossible to regain such in any unwavering fashion again.  There’ll always be a level of doubt or distrust.  The same goes with God. We can only fall away so far from our belief in Him before apostasy sets in.  If it does, all that is left to believe in, and be in bondage once again to – is the world (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 John 2:15).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– God is angry with the wicked every day. – Psalm 7:11

– This is your wickedness.  Because it is bitter – because it reaches unto your heart. – Jeremiah 4:18

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just wipe out wickedness in the world once and for all?  Wouldn’t our lives then be no trouble at all, and evil would never befall us again?  There would finally be the world peace pursued by so many prophets, poets, and politicians alike – for so long?  However, if it were all so easy, wouldn’t our human intelligence and inventions have eliminated evil by now?

If you’re reading this right now, you may already be asking yourself questions about the lead verse. Maybe one such as: “If Christ is the Prince of Peace, then where is the peace (Isaiah 9:6)?”  Perhaps the query is, “Why do bad things always seem to happen to good people (Isaiah 57:1, Daniel 9:5-14, Mark 10:18)?”  Or, “If He is angry with the wicked daily, why isn’t He doing anything about them?”

Well, He is.  However, our Father handles wickedness from heaven with long-suffering, and the mercy He abounds and delights in every morning we are able to wake up (Exodus 34:6, Lamentations 3:22-23, Micah 7:18, 2 Peter 3:9),  How often does man deal with evil the same way, with such patience and much pardoning?  How often do we want someone to get what we think they deserve?

God is always ready to pardon, if we return to Him when we err and go astray.  Our Father is gracious and merciful – being slow to anger and of great kindness (Nehemiah 9:17).  It means every evil work or wicked act is not going to be met with heavenly discipline.  If God did punish us each time we messed up, who among us would be able to stand the pain for very long (Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3)?

Still, some just can’t stand letting others get away with the evil God seems to permit freely.  They can have attitudes of  “I have to do something about this matter here on earth – because it does not seem to matter very much in heaven.”  Many movie and TV show story lines these days seem to be centered on characters seeking vengeance.  This is never wise with God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

However, maybe this is you.  Have you ever thought, “Where is this loving God I hear about?  Where is this God of justice?  Everyone who does evil is good in His sight – why He even seems to delight in such people sometimes.”  Or, “God’s law is slack and His judgement never goes forth.  The wicked surround the righteous – therefore, wrong judgement has to be proceeding from heaven.  I must fix it.”

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Some felt like this in Biblical times (Malachi 2:17, Habakkuk 1:4).  However, projecting the wickedness problem on others is not the solution.  It is easier – for it keeps us from pointing the finger of fault at our hearts.  But – God did not fashion them to be wonderful.  If He had made perfect hearts, He never would have had to sacrifice Christ.

Our hearts were designed to be desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  So we would not foolishly trust them (Proverbs 28:26). So we could not pave our own path to heaven – proclaiming our own goodness or innocence as the way to get there (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).  So we would have to get there how God designed before this world began (Titus 1:2).

Next Sunday:  Why the road to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:14), why the righteous scarcely get saved (1 Peter 4:18), and where we can err and go off course so many times along the way – even as Christians.

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