2 Corinthians 10:2-5 ESV
“I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Many of us who are believing the true gospel of grace, who are walking in it, and who are teaching it, as Jesus taught it, and as his New Testament apostles taught it, are being accused falsely of trying to earn our salvation via good works and of teaching “works-based salvation.”
So, basically, we are being accused of walking according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, even though we are walking in holiness and righteousness empowered by the Spirit of God, all for the glory of God. And, we are being accused of promoting a man-made gospel of works and of not proclaiming the true gospel of grace.
While it is true that we live in flesh bodies, as we all do, and that we are not perfect people, as none of us are, that doesn’t mean we are not walking according to the Spirit or that we are walking according to the flesh. It doesn’t mean we are teaching works-based salvation, either.
For, we do not wage war against our enemy Satan according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And, because our weapons of warfare are of the Spirit, and not of our flesh, we are able to be victorious over sin and the flesh in the power of God so that we can, by the Spirit, walk in freedom from slavery to sin and be enslaved to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24). All glory and praise to God!
And, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us we can refute every lofty opinion or belief raised up against God and against Jesus Christ and against his gospel and take those thoughts raised up against our Lord and make them obedient to Christ. And we do this by biblically showing what is false teaching and what is truth, teaching the truth of God’s word in context.
For, the false gospel of grace is formed out of Scriptures taken out of context to make them say what they want them to say, and it is via the twisting of these Scriptures, too, and the manipulation of truth to turn truth into lies and lies into truth in order to deceive naïve minds.
2 Corinthians 10:7-8 ESV
“Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we. For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed.”
The Lord Jesus gave me an image of what he wants us to see that is before our eyes in relation to this attack of the enemy that is coming against the true gospel of Christ and that is promoting a false gospel of grace.
He wants us to see that living in freedom from slavery to sin, which Jesus died for, has been put to death within the church and a funeral is being held for it. And, that is because the mind or the thinking that is embracing the idea of putting dying to sin to death is a mind that is united (bonded) with the world and with the flesh.
What used to be true only of the more liberal church has now reached the evangelical church, and they are also embracing this death of living in freedom from slavery to sin.
The purpose of a funeral is to honor the dead, but in this case, they are giving honor (esteem, respect) to the death of living in freedom from slavery to sin. They are giving honor to the death of the true gospel of grace which instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26).
For, they are teaching that one can believe in Jesus Christ and have his eternity in heaven secured, but that he doesn’t have to repent of his sins, follow Jesus in obedience, or surrender his life to the Lordship of Christ.
But Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. In his death he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) that we might now be God’s possession and that we might now glorify God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).
Coming to faith in Jesus Christ means we are crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we are no longer enslaved to sin but so that we are now slaves of God and of his righteousness. And, the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).
2 Corinthians 10:17-18 ESV
“’Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
But here is the twist. Although they are honoring the dead in this funeral, i.e. they are giving honor to the death of living in freedom from bondage to sin, they are concealing it as though they are truly honoring living in freedom from sin. But it is a performance. It is fakery. For, what they are actually promoting is unity with the flesh, and unity with sin.
So, rather than putting sin to death, which is what the Scriptures teach, they are putting to death living in freedom from slavery to sin, and then they call that “grace.” So, they are not truly free from sin. They just give an appearance of being free from sin. But they are still dead in their sins for they have not died with Christ to sin that they might live with Christ to righteousness.
So, they boast that they are “good to go” with God because of some words they said in a prayer or because of some public confession of faith or some acknowledgment of who Jesus is and of what he did for us on that cross. So, they confess that they are in agreement with God while they give themselves free license to continue living in sin without guilt.
They promote that they have God’s approval, but that is based in a lie, for the Scriptures are real clear on who has God’s approval. It is those who obey him, who do what he says, not in some legalistic ritual, following some set of external rules and regulations, but who honor God with their lives via obedience to his moral laws which is really the law of love.
For, we are not the ones to set the standard. God is! We are not the ones who decide who gets God’s approval. God is! We can’t make up our own gospel to fit our chosen lifestyles. We must obey the gospel as the Scriptures teach it, in context, which is the whole counsel of God.
Our God is very definite in the standard he set down for us and regarding the boundary lines he put in place. And, we must obey God rather than men if what men are teaching us is contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
There is nothing obscure or muddy in the Scriptures regarding what is required of us for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God. It is clearly spelled out for us if we will have eyes to see and ears to hear. We just have to read the Scriptures in context and let the Holy Spirit speak truth to our hearts, and then we must obey our Lord and do what his word says to do.
The Unclouded Day
J. K. Alwood, 1885
O they tell me of a King in His beauty there,
And they tell me that mine eyes shall behold
Where He sits on the throne that is whiter than snow,
In the city that is made of gold.
O they tell me that He smiles on His children there,
And His smile drives their sorrows all away;
And they tell me that no tears ever come again,
In that lovely land of uncloudy day.
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