|Acts 26:15-18 |
15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said, 'I am Jesus whom you persecute.1
16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in which I will appear to you;
17 Delivering you from the [Jewish] people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I [Jesus] now send you,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, release from sin's slavery, and an inheritance among those who are purified by faith in me.'2 [Paul also wrote in the book of Galatians: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed [anathema, sentenced to eternal punishment]. As we said before, so I say again now: if any man preaches any gospel to you other than what you have received, let him be accursed." Gal 1:8-9. And so the preachers and teachers of today's Christianity would be eternally cursed by Paul for preaching an entirely different gospel than the true gospel.]
2 Paul was sent to preach by Jesus as follows: "I [Jesus] now send you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins, release from sin's slavery, and an inheritance among those who are purified by faith in Me." Acts 26:17-18. Paul speaks of faith as: being obedient to the leading of the Spirit.
they may turn from darkness to light
Until a man is crucified, he is cursed, living in darkness of the world and his heart without the guidance of God's light, sitting in the earth's prison of darkness, groping the wall like blind men, guessing what to do and say, even unaware that they are in prison, until they attempt to get free, when the prison guards begin their afflictions to offend and discourage him from even trying to get free and be restored to the image [Christ] of righteousness and holiness, walking in the light, guided by God with every word to say and everything to be done.
and from the power of Satan to God
What power of Satan? Paul answers again: "Where in times past you walked according to the ways of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], which is the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience....in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts of our mind; and were by nature the children of wrath and the object of His indignation." Eph 2:2-3.
What power of God? The first power of God is to believe this gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes. Rom 1:16. The second power of God is to exercise your belief in the gospel by bearing the inward cross of self-denial; and though the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, to those who are being saved, it is the power of God. 1 Cor 1:18. The third power of God is Christ, "to those who are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor 1:24. After you are in union with God, you have God's power to: 1) protect you from ever sinning again, and 2) do his commanded and energized works that are your great joy and bring glory, honor, and pleasure to God:
- For it is God who brings forth in you, both the will (to work) and the works (as commanded), according to his good pleasure. Phil 2:13.
- But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God. John 3:21.
- Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Heb 13:20-21
that they may receive forgiveness of sins
In the beginning if you turn from evil as best you can, those things you have remorse for having done and stop doing are forgiven. From the Word of the Lord within: "Turn from evil as best you can and set you sight on heaven." Then as you wait on God, the Lord will order your further repentance and show more of what are your sins. Unless you agree* to God's charges of your sins and then forsake them, (repent, stop doing them), there is no forgiveness.
release from sin's slavery
As Jesus said, "Truly, Truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin." John 8:34. What is sin? Sin includes: sexual immorality, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, profanity, adultery, lack of restraint, sorcery, hatred, arguments, jealousies, rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries (partying), evil thoughts, fornications, wickedness, deceit, blasphemy, pride, anger, boasting, flattery, immodesty, immorality, and foolishness; any of these disqualify any man from heaven.
How are you freed from sin? By bearing the inward cross of self-denial, which is daily to wait on God, by sitting in silence, as you listen and watch for his understandings and words that command your repentances from your behaviors, which if you obey, each sin is removed, (even the desires for sin is removed). With patience and persistence to the end, when you see Jesus bring your salvation, you will be washed, purified, perfected, and renewed to the image of righteousness and holiness of Jesus.
(and receive) an inheritance
What inheritance? To be born again as a son of God. To enter the kingdom of God while on earth and be there forever. To even be a brother to Jesus: "For both he who makes holy and those made holy are of the same family for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers." Heb 2:11
among those purified by faith in me [Jesus]
Exactly what faith is Jesus saying can purify you? The faith that the Apostles preached was not an outward faith, but an inward faith. The object of both faiths are the same, but the differences are crucial to realize the promises of God. The two faiths are:
- to concur with history in the Bible that Jesus was the son of God, born of a virgin, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, etc.; that is outward Bible-faith,
- to hear the Word of God, which word is in your heart to obey — this is the word of faith that the Apostles preached. Hearing and obeying Jesus speak to you from within your heart is operational faith, inward faith, faith given to you by Jesus himself. With persistent obedience to the commands heard from God within your heart, this faith within purifies. Turn inward for inward faith. From the Word of the Lord within: "Faith within purifies. Unless I purify you, you will have no part of me." "And every man who has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He [Jesus] is pure." 1 John 3:3"
George Fox wrote of this inward faith and focus necessary:
"The Father is in you all, Christ is in you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is in you; there, in your hearts, is where you will find them all. Know him there searching your hearts, and find him there trying your minds and hearts; incline your ears, and give ear to him there, who will render to everyone of you according to your words and works whether they are good or evil."
Your obedience to the commands you hear requiring your repentance, makes you a little more pure with each obedient act of repentance. So wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. Do this repeatedly, follow his commands, and his words that you hear him speak to you will impart the life of God to you, as he removes the sins from your heart, one by one.
In addition, Jesus is also recorded as promising that you can become one with him and God and that you can enter the kingdom of heaven while you are still on the earth; see John 14 with footnoted commentary (click) and then John 17 with footnoted commentary (click). Have you ever been told that you can and must enter the kingdom while you are still on the earth? Have you ever been told you can become one with God and Jesus, which is necessary for salvation to be achieved? Yet both events are part of the good news Jesus came to preach; and then he died on the cross to show us the extent of our obedience required to attain: 1) freedom from the slavery of sin, 2) purity, 3) the kingdom of heaven, and 4) to become one with him and God.
The gospel is the ministry of the Spirit to totally free you from sin, as you repent from your old ways of selfishness on the inward cross of self-denial; to be washed, cleansed, and purified; to then be translated into the kingdom of Christ; and then to live in union with Christ and God, on earth and forever.
Jesus never said you could be saved if you say the sinners' prayer, or be baptized with water, or eat bread and drink grape juice; this is just heathenish ritual, the wide and broad way of that leads to destruction. Today's deficit sects, still captive to sin and the power of Satan, believe in a God whose favor is presumed to be granted due to their heathenish ritual and form of godliness. They deny a God of power, who can and is eager to free us from the oppression and captivity of sin, so that we can secure his promises, which require our holiness and purity. These deficit sects have defined a false gospel that promises an escape from Hell after death to those still sinning, and a false Jesus, who supposedly accepts sin, disobedience, and disregard of his own commands. Jesus said, he who doesn't love me, will not obey my teaching. As Paul said, "cursed is anyone who brings you a different gospel," a different gospel and different Jesus from what Paul preached. The deficit sects falsely preach a different gospel and a different Jesus than Paul, while completely ignoring, totally dismissing, and failing to believe the Good News that Jesus announced he had been sent by God to proclaim.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the gospel to the poor [in Spirit];
he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
[who mourn due to their slavery to sin]
to preach release to the captives [of sin],
and recovery of sight to the [spiritually] blind,
to deliver [free] those who are oppressed [in slavery to sin],
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
[Jesus] Saying: "The time has come,
and the kingdom of God is at hand [very near];
repent and believe the gospel of God."
Notice, the time of the kingdom's beginning was then, when Jesus was alive. The New Testament is full of references to the second appearance of Jesus being then, not thousands of years later. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded saying that some then standing with him, 2000 years ago, would see his glorious coming in the clouds with the Kingdom before they died. Paul, Jesus preaching, Jesus in Revelation, Peter, James, and John, — all said, soon, the time is near, a little while, he stands at the door. Christendom blithely ignores this gaping incongruity between what the Bible plainly states vs. what they are taught by their blind guides. It would be a cruel hoax to be waiting on Him to appear if the past one hundred generations of believers actually had no hope of ever seeing Him. From the Word of the Lord within: "Six attestations prove the reign's existence. The second coming is a personal experience. The second coming is in the hearts of purified believers. The King is where He is king."
The gospel within this site argues for purity and a sinless state. Doesn't the gospel you have heard excuse sin, immorality, impurity, and ungodliness? Which gospel seems more godly? Which gospel seems like the narrow way that few will find, and many will try but not be able to enter through the narrow gate? Which gospel seems like the broad, easy way that leads to destruction where many go? Can you see Christ arguing for sin, imperfection, impurity, and unholiness? So which gospel is the true one; the one promising freedom from sin, or the one that offers freedom to sin without guilt, but which says that you have to carry your "sin to the grave?" Isn't this just making grace a license to sin?