God and His Gospel Do Not Change

James 1:16-18 ESV

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His word does not change and his gospel message does not change. But many people are changing who he is into someone else and they are changing his gospel message into something else, and so this serves as a warning to us so that we are not deceived by these clever enchanters who are altering the gospel to make it and God more socially acceptable to our world today.

And the primary way in which we avoid deception is that we need to be students of the Scriptures who study the word of God in its context under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit and who then do what it says. And we need to be those who are testing what we are hearing coming from the mouths of other humans against the Scriptures (in their context) and by comparing Scripture with Scripture to get the whole big picture.

James 1:19-21 ESV

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

Now, when this says that we all need to be quick to hear, what this is saying is that we need to be speedy or prompt (ready) to hear the word of God without unnecessary delay. It is not suggesting that we be quick to hear in the sense that we just give the reading of the Scriptures a cursory glance and then we move on to our own business. Especially if what we are listening to or reading are the words of another human we must not be too quick to receive what they say as truth, but we must test what we read.

Sometimes people are quick to anger because they are too quick to listen and thus they are not really listening. They hear a few words and then they jump to wrong conclusions sometimes and then they are quick to jump on others and to accuse them wrongfully without hearing them out. Or they are too quick to listen and then they are not really discerning of what they are hearing or reading and so they are easily persuaded to what is false. Social media feeds this kind of listening with its quick memes.

So, we should be prompt to listen to the Lord and to the Scriptures but not quick in the sense that we read so fast and then we close the book and so we don’t really retain what we read at all and so we don’t really apply what we read, either, to our daily lives. We need to read slowly enough to where we are actually learning and applying the word to our lives. And if we are reading what others write we should read slowly enough to where we are able to discern lies being inserted inside the truth which is being twisted.

James 1:22-25 ESV

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

Reading the word of God each day is not to be an intellectual exercise nor a religious performance or ritual we go through so that we can say that we read the Bible or that we had our devotions for that day. And although pre-printed or pre-published devotions have their place we should not rely on the teachings of other humans to be our teaching from the word each day. We should go into the Scriptures each day prayerfully, seeking to hear from our Lord what he wants to say to us personally each day.

For, not everyone who writes devotions is listening to the Lord. Not everyone who writes devotions is telling the truth, either. Many people who are supposedly teaching the Scriptures are teaching lies created in the minds of humans who alter the gospel and who change the character of God in order to appeal to human flesh. Many people today are teaching an altered (cheap grace) gospel which alters the grace of God and makes it a license for immorality and sensuality. They are not teaching death to sin.

So, for us to be doers of the word we need to make certain first of all that we are studying the word itself. And I would recommend that you read from reputable literal translations of the Scriptures and not from paraphrased and transliterations which can easily be manipulated to appeal more to the flesh. For the English language I recommend the NIV’84, the ESV, the NASB and the KJV. They are all translations and so none of them are absolutely perfect in every way so we still need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Also, not everything in the Scriptures is going to apply to Christians. For example, we who are believers in Jesus Christ are not under the Old Covenant. We do not have to obey the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial, purification and dietary laws and restrictions of the Old Covenant. But we do still have to obey the commands of God which Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught that Christians must obey. And we do have to die with Christ to sin and live to God and to his righteousness, by God’s grace.

But the New Testament teachings often parallel the Old Testament teachings when it comes to God’s moral laws and what constitutes true salvation from sin and which promises eternal life with God. Both the Old and the New Testaments teach death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. They both teach that we must forgo our lives of living in sin to now follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. And they both teach that faith is obedience and that disobedience is unbelief.

For sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, lying and faithlessness are to be replaced with moral purity, true worship of God alone, faithfulness, honesty and integrity. We are not to read the Scriptures and what they teach us and then walk away and go right back to living the way that our flesh dictates. We are to be those who study the Scriptures and then who apply them to our daily lives, in practice. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. So, be doers of the Word of God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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