So many times, as I read some of the write-ups and comments of my brothers in the Lord, whom we shared similar convictions while in school, I am a little bit non-plussed at the perspectives with which life is viewed these days, and it really scares me. The influence of social media can be quite felt in the way people are beginning to see and view life.
Some time ago, I began to follow a young man because of a particular write-up he did, challenging preachers to begin to live like Christ. I thought I had seen a young man who was having a grasp of the word of God the way it is supposed to be. However, as the days went by, I began to see him for who he was- a Christian version of Daddy Freeze- filed with insults, and no regards for the persons of Christian elders. Now, I have no problems with that, after all, no matter how much you criticize God’s men, they keep on doing what God asked them to do, and expecting His judgment on the final day. According to David Oyedepo, “No apologies to the devil”.
However, it was not even this attitude that disturbed me as much as the fact that this young man began to preach a so-called “Christ-centered” Gospel, that was merely licentious, irresponsible Christianity. His pet project was Samson, who he always labored to let us know that he was an immoral man, a ‘porn-star’, and all that, and yet he is a ‘hero of faith’, and then he will say, ‘that is the power of Grace’. I used to marvel at such ignorance of the word of God on his part, and the way people will be making all kinds of comments hailing the ‘rhema’. It made me really marvel. Did it ever cross this young man’s mind that Samson repented of his sins before God showed him mercy? Does it ever cross this young man’s mind that with regards to God’s purpose on the earth concerning Samson, he was a failure? For the 20 years of his reign, Israel remained captive to the Philistines. Recently, I saw him make a post on Apostle Peter, and he wrote that Peter was a moral failure, yet the Lord made him the leader of the saints, and of course people will always like the post and hail the power of Grace.
I so much was disgusted with his posts that, I am ashamed to admit, as liberal as I was, he was the second person I ever had to unfollow or unfriend from my Facebook account (the first was a young man who was so vocal about the Biafran agitation to a point that he started insulting the person of my Lord Jesus Christ, and making stupid statements against the Bible). Permit my strong use of words.
I write this post in order to speak firmly on what I believe are the foundation truths of Christianity. I know that many of my ‘brethren’ then in school are scattered here and there, and we are now coming under different preachers with different perspectives on God, Salvation, Grace, the Law, Christian dressing/lifestyle, etc., hence, I do not expect all of us to still share exactly the same perspectives concerning every issues of life. I have great allowance for that, trust me. However, there are some things that are foundational to Christianity such that if you begin to move away from them, you are becoming a false teacher, or denying the faith entirely. It is these foundational realities that I wish we will consider. For the sake of space, I will only consider one in this post.
FREEDOM FROM SIN: 2 Tim. 2 vs. 19 says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
God knew we will come to this point where we will have diversities of opinions and beliefs about many issues of the Christian faith, and he made allowance for that. We can disagree over certain demands of the laws of Moses, and even the demands of the prophets. We can disagree over marriage, food/drink, dressing and many other issues of life. No matter how hard we try, we cannot help but disagree. However, God almighty set for Himself the foundation (Gr.- ‘themelios’ meaning substructure, beginnings, first principles) of the Christian faith. Not only did He set the foundation, he sealed it with a seal (Gr.- ‘sphragis’ meaning signet (as fencing in or protecting from misappropriation); by implication the stamp impressed (as a mark of privacy, or genuineness)); hence it is not possible for anyone to stand on the foundation which does not have this seal and claim he/she is standing on the foundation of Christ. No. If indeed you are standing on the foundation of Christ, this is the seal- THE LORD KNOWS THEM THAT ARE HIS – (meaning, the Lord is not confused, deceived by our claims of rhema, and our noise-making, and commitment to church activities, and other ‘bla bla blas’; He actually knows them that are truly His own, and He knows those who are not, but claim to). I will not dwell much on this part of the seal, because it is a knowledge that rests with God Almighty.
However, the second part of that seal says, “Let everyone that nameth (Gr.- ‘onomazo’ meaning to name, that is, assign an appellation; by extension to utter, mention, profess: – call, name) the name of the Lord depart (Gr.- aphistemi, meaning to make a standoff, cause to withdraw, to remove, to excite to revolt, to stand off, to stand aloof, to go away, to desert, to shun, flee from, to withdraw one’s self from, to fall away, to keep one’s self from, absent one’s self from) from iniquity (Gr.- ‘adikia’,meaning injustice of a judge, unrighteousness of heart and life, a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness).
Your name may be Samson and you have your moral failures, no problem with that. You may be a Samaritan woman with 5 husbands, or a woman caught in adultery, you may have denied Jesus (like Peter), and could even be a murderer (like Paul), your name may be Rahab, and you are a high class prostitute. No problem.
This is Grace- no matter how bad we have fallen, or how deep in the pit of sin we are into, God will accept us, if we turn to Him, if we truly believe. God will receive us if we truly repent.
This is why we cannot judge anyone. Because, you may be counting a man unworthy to stand before the Lord, but if that man at any point in his life turns to the Lord, the Lord has no apologies to give to you before he receives such man/woman, and even use him/her in the highest places.
However, this is the Gospel- if it is truly the Lord you encountered, if it is truly Grace you encountered, it must change you. There are no other ways to look at it. He that professes the name of the Lord must depart from iniquity.
You cannot be naming the Lord’s name and continue in unrighteousness. You must depart! Does it mean a Christian cannot fall into sin, he may definitely, but a true Christian is never at home with sin. He consciously engages his spirit and the Grace of God inside of him to fight the reign of sin in his life. The challenge is not ‘sin-consciousness’ or ‘guilt-consciousness’, the challenge is that we ought to live a life free from sin. This is what Jesus came to do. If it is not so in your life, you have a problem. Even men who did not have the Grace we have through Christ Jesus, in the old covenant days, walked in such purity and holiness of life; why is it that we Christians who claim to have the best of it all cannot live a simply holy life? Why is it that we have to keep looking to ‘the righteousness of Christ’, and all those excuses we give, for pleasing the father? If all it took to please the father is just to have the ‘righteousness of Christ’, why did Paul make it his aim to be well-pleasing to God (2 Cor. 5 vs.9)? Why did he have to discipline his body (not his spirit, or his faith, but his body) so he will not be a cast away (Gr.- ‘adokimos’, meaning unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication worthless (literally or morally): – castaway, rejected, reprobate)? (1 Cor. 9 vs.27).
So, whatever you may believe about Christ, Grace and the perseverance of the Saints, I will not be perturbed if only you will be conscious to walk in holiness; but if I see you constantly calling out the ungodliness in the heroes of faith, so you can comfort yourself and find ‘peace’ in your sinfulness, you are no longer believing in Christianity, but something else.
“LET HIM THAT NAMETH THE NAME OF CHRIST DEPART FROM INIQUITY”. This is foundation Christianity.
IN HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE
J. M. OBODOZIE
P/S: Permit my strong use of the Greek letters. It is not to show off, but to bring out the meaning clearly, just in case some people are not seeing clearly. I appreciate my e-sword app for the help, and most definitions are from Strong’s and Thayers’ Dictionaries. I will lay out other truths in subsequent posts.