Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Truths for which I would Die!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Truths for which I would Die!


Truths for which I would Die!
When we think of a militant Christianity, we must think of it in terms of self-sacrifice.  That is what defines a believer’s love for God.  What are we willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ?  Early Christianity was willing to sacrifice their lives rather than compromise the truth of the Gospel of grace or the purity of their worship to God alone.  This was how Jesus defined loving Him.  He defined loving Him by what He did to redeem our souls from Hell on the Cross of Calvary.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

The Gospel is the details of what Jesus has done to save our souls from condemnation AND what the believing sinner MUST do to receive the gift of that salvation.  Keeping these objective facts pure from corruption and distortion is the primary militant responsibility of all believers. 

          Even from the very beginnings of Christianity, there has been an endless battle to maintain the purity of the Gospel of grace and the purity of worship distinct from the influences of worldliness.  The real test of a militant Christianity is simple.  For what are you willing to stick out your neck out?  For what are you willing to put your life on the line?  In Acts chapter fifteen, this is what these men were doing as they stood militantly for the purity of the Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  The primary marker defining a militant faith is the willingness to separate from those preaching “another gospel, which is not another” (Galatians 1:6b-7a).  Galatians chapter one is a shouting condemnation against the corrupting influences of Ecumenicism and its acceptance of an anything goes Gospel

          In addressing this issue as Bible believing Christians, it is important to understand that almost every sect of Christianity believes that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, was bodily resurrected from the dead, and was bodily glorified by God.  Liberalism, Deism, and Arianism (denied the Deity of Jesus) all corrupt the Gospel by corrupting the virgin birth of Jesus and the supernatural aspects of the Bible by replacing miracles with Naturalism (explaining away the miracles of the Bible, and the denial of the Deity of Jesus Christ.  Believing in their corrupted Jesus cannot save anyone’s soul. 

However, the broadest and most acceptable form of the corruption of the doctrine of salvation came in the form of JudaismJudaism was corrupted with Legalism, which made salvation a process of achievement by “works of the Law” (Galatians 2:16; 3:2 - Moralism and Sacerdotalism).  Under Judaism, salvation was a work achieved rather than a gift received.  Salvation was a lifelong process not a momentary event.  Salvation as a process dominates most of professing Christianity.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

          Galatians 2:16 is a clear and concise Bible condemnation of “works of the law” and process salvation.  This idea had become a serious problem for early Christianity.  Had it been allowed to continue; the Gospel would have been totally corrupted within the first fifty years of the Church Age.  Militant, fundamental Christians continue to fight against this same type of corruption today. 

1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:1-18).

          This is the record of the first church split in history.  This was a very difficult time for the church at Jerusalem.  What defined a Biblical response to the Gospel was being challenged that threatened to split this church and all of Christianity from that day forward even to today.  Christianity would be divided into two factions. 

1. A religion of salvation by participation in religious rituals and ceremonialism (human accomplishment or process salvation)
2. A relationship with God begun with God gifting salvation to the believing sinner by grace through faith in the finished, substitutionary work of Christ (Divine accomplishment or event salvation)

Fighting for Truths for which we are willing to die (Acts 15:1 and 5)

          The issue of the purity of the Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is a Truth for which a militant Christian must be willing to die.  Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is essential truth in that only the true Gospel of Jesus “is the power of God unto salvation.”

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from {saving} faith to {living} faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).

     There is a rapidly growing movement among professing evangelical Christians to become inclusivistic and tolerant about what a person needs to trust in to be “born again.”  Ecumenicism and new evangelicalism have created a broad and sweeping tolerance of many false and unscriptural gospels and many evangelicals are getting on board the Good Ship Tolerance.  The Apostle Paul clearly addressed this tendency towards tolerance in his epistle to the Galatians.  Paul condemns it, understanding the motivation of Peter and Barnabas for tolerance was to “please men” and to maintain peace and unity at the sacrifice of doctrinal purity. 

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10).

          Historically, Christians (especially Baptists) have been willing to die very gruesome and horrible deaths rather than deny the true faith in the true Gospel by refusing to accept infant baptism (Pedo-baptism), baptismal regeneration, transubstantiation, consubstantiation, and all other such nonsense.

          Many pages of Baptist history have been written with the blood of faithful martyrs who were tortured and murdered simply because they refused to believe in anything else but salvation as a gift of God’s grace received through faith in the finished work of Christ and totally apart from any good works by the individual and totally apart from any religious ceremony or ritual.  Apart from the supernatural preservation of the Word of God, it has been God’s grace manifested through the lives and testimonies of the faith of such remarkable individuals that the truth of the purity of the Gospel has been preserved for all these centuries.
          There is not one recorded historical incidence where a Baptist ever persecuted or killed anyone because someone did not believe the way he believed.  Yet throughout the centuries, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Congregationalist, and even the Puritans sought the annihilation of individual Baptists and Baptist congregations over the issue of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  The Baptists chose imprisonment and often death over compromise.

     The questions we must ask ourselves are simple.  Do we have the kind of militancy that is willing to die rather than compromise God’s message of salvation (the Gospel)?  Would we be willing to be tortured and murdered rather than accept a manmade way of salvation?  The test of our militancy is the price we are willing to pay to maintain a pure testimony of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  If we are not willing to die to maintain that testimony, we have abandoned the Apostolic faith.

6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you {local churches meeting in households}, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed {do not seek to encourage in any way}: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker {koinoneo; working partner} of his evil deeds” (II John 1:6-11).

          The word “doctrine” used in II John 1:9 and 10 is from the Greek word didache (did-akh-ay’), meaning teaching or instruction.  “Doctrine” is the Bible word for God’s content of teaching the Word of God to make disciples (followers of the teachings of Jesus; Ephesians 4:12).  The intent of the statement is a warning to Christians (“look to yourselves”) about being very cautious about being deceived into following false teachers.  The intent is that to follow the false teaching of false teachers makes a person a false disciple in that such a person is not following the teachings of Jesus.
“Whosoever” (II John 1:9) not governing his life and living his life according to all the teachings of Jesus, “hath not God.”  In other words, he “is not saved.”  One cannot accept Jesus and then reject any of His teachings.  To reject His teaching is to reject Who and What He is.  Secondly, anyone teaching contrary to this is not to be welcomed into the Church fellowship (II John 1:10-11).  The is a command for separation from those that minimize or reduce the commandments of Christ (liberalism or neo-evangelicalism).

          The fact that people believe Jesus is the Messiah is not sufficient evidence to the reality of their salvation.  Here is a primary dividing line of truth between true Christianity and apostate Christianity.  The dividing line is that apostate Christianity believes that Jesus is the Messiah of God and they believe He died on the Cross, but they do not understand what He accomplished on the Cross for them (the propitiation of God and the gift of the justification of sinners).  The word Christian became another word for a person who was a follower/practitioner of the teachings of Jesus.  The word Christian was given to disciples of Jesus because they were willing to sacrifice their lives rather than compromise the teachings of Jesus. 

       Many people, especially Jews, believed in Jesus, but rejected the Gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  Acts 15:5 says this “sect of the Pharisees. . . believed.”  That means they believed Jesus was their historical and promised Messiah.  However, the facts in the rest of Acts 15:5 reveal to us they did not understand the Gospel and therefore continued to rely upon their religious ceremonies and rituals to be saved.  They continued to believe that religious rituals (such as circumcision) were necessary to salvation.  This is clear evidence they did not understand the Gospel and therefore could not, by faith, rest in the truths of the Gospel. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews addressed this false kind of faith.  The Epistle to the Hebrews was written about 64 A.D., six years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman Empire.  Many professing Jews were being persuaded to return to offering sacrifices at the Temple and the necessity of keeping all the holy days of the Jewish liturgical calendar.  They were being told they still needed to circumcise their sons and pay tithes to the Temple priesthood.  All of this was a contradiction of the teachings of Jesus in the abrogation of the Mosaic Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant of the Church Age.  The Epistle to the Hebrews confronts this false teaching and equates it with the unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea where Israel’s unbelief brought them into a thirty-eight-year funeral procession where every Jews over the age of twenty (except Caleb and Joshua) died in the wilderness.  Therefore, corruption of faith is a serious failure with eternal consequences.
7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day {a new opportunity to be faithful} if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation {the children of Israel persisted in provoking God to anger and wrath with unbelief over want of bread, water, meat instead of manna, golden calf worship, and finally at Kadesh where they believed the enemies who occupied the Promised Land were more powerful than God} in the day of temptation {a test to prove the reality or genuineness of something} in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God {in returning to Mosaic Covenant practices thereby denying a finished work of redemption}. 13 But exhort one another daily {plead with one another}, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief’ (Hebrews 3:7-19).

          It is also clear that the leadership of Israel, in their corrupted priesthood, had very selfish reasons in seeking the death of Jesus.  They would rather kill this innocent man then risk a revolution against Rome thinking the followers of Jesus would make Him King.  It would seem they understood the prophesies regarding the death of Messiah, but completely misunderstood what Jesus’ death was intended to accomplish.

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death” (John 11:49-53).

“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1).

         This false gospel of surgical salvation was soon replaced by salvation by ritual purgation (baptismal purging of sin).  This initially made ritual baptism the means of the purging of sin, but would degenerate into other false doctrines to aid in the purging of sin over the centuries.  The Cross of Christ is the only acceptable purging place of sin and the only place of purging (Purgatory) mentioned in the Bible.  That purging is a finished spiritual reality.  This is a truth every true Christian should be willing to die rather than compromise.

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

          The whole premise of salvation by ritual purgation of sin is a denial of the finished work of Christ, blasphemy against God, and an insult against the grace of God, which reaches out in love to save us.  The person who rejects the once for all sacrifice of Christ at Calvary, by looking to religious rituals for purging of sins committed before or after he professes to trust in Christ, must understand “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.”  Baptismal cleansing of sin is a horrendous lie against which every true Christian should fight to opposed with his last breath. 

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy {common} thing, and hath done despite {an insult} unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:26-31).

          Secondly (Acts 15:1 and 5), these propagators of the “another gospel which is not another,” not only wanted tolerance for their false gospel, they wanted their false means of salvation to become the requirement for all.  It always amazes me that those who seek tolerance of their false doctrines are the most intolerant of those who are unwilling to compromise truth for false unity.  It was these “false brethren” who were intolerant.  They were willing to accept anyone into their circle of compromise, but they have historically sought to annihilate anyone who was not willing to compromise to accept them.

3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Galatians 2:3-5).

          Before God can revive His Church and bless the way He wants to bless, that local church must determine it will die rather than compromise the Gospel, die rather than become tolerant of false doctrine, and die rather than join hands in partnership (“fellowship”) with those preaching salvation by ritual purgation in any form.  That is the challenge of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:1-9.

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law {false faith}; ye are {already} fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven {the smallest amount of trust in the ‘works of the law’} leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:1-9).

          “Stand fast” in Galatians 5:1 is from the Greek word steko (stay'-ko) meaning to persist.  The idea is to be uncompromising regarding the true way of salvation.  “Persuasion” in Galatians 5:8 is from the Greek word peismone (pice-mon-ay'), which can mean a treacherous or deceptive persuasion.  People will go to Hell for eternity if we do not boldly stand against this “persuasion” of corruption.
          The “little leaven” of Galatians 5:9 refers to allowing the acceptance of any kind ritual conference of grace to be saved or cleansed from sin.  To allow this or tolerate this corruption is to compromise the purity of the Gospel of grace, regardless of how insignificant it might seem.  Allow any amount to be part of this corruption to be part of your faith and you leaven the whole of your faith with false doctrine making your profession of faith false and unprofitable (Galatians 5:2). 

          The introduction of surgical purgation of sin (circumcision) or salvation by ritual purgation of sin (water baptism) into Christianity are tragic heresies that continue to deceive people into a false hope of eternal life.  Salvation by the works of the Law (regardless of how insignificant these “works” appear) is an insult against the grace of God.  Whatever a person trusts in, besides the finished work of Calvary, is what keeps that person from wholly trusting in Christ.  If he is ever going to be saved, he must turn away (repent) of that “dead” work (Hebrews 6:1) and trust solely and wholly in the Person of Jesus Christ and His finished work of the Cross (Acts 4:12 & John 14:6).  This is a truth for which a real faith will be willing fight and die.

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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