“Fruit Inspecting” Really Means Grading on the Curve

tree

Fruit inspecting. ie, passing judgement on someone based on sins that are observed.

The way it exists today, always ends up grading on the curve.

Take as an example, the following list of passages from a recent article on desiringgod.org regarding the topic of foolishness and who not to vote for.

  • The foolish look with haughty eyes (Proverbs 6:17).
  • The foolish engage in slander (Proverbs 10:18).
  • The foolish joke about their wrongdoing (Proverbs 10:23).
  • The foolish make great boasts (Psalm 12:3).
  • The foolish are stubbornly right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15).
  • The foolish are quickly annoyed by insults (Proverbs 12:16).
  • The foolish lash out in rash words like sword thrusts (Proverbs 12:18).
  • The foolish express no shame over their folly (Proverbs 13:16).
  • The foolish speak and act with recklessness and carelessness (Proverbs 14:16).
  • The foolish spew folly from their mouths (Proverbs 15:2).
  • The foolish despise instruction and reproofs from those who are wiser (Proverbs 15:5).
  • When the foolish try and speak in a dignified manner it feels artificial (Proverbs 17:7).
  • Rebukes just bounce off of the foolish (Proverbs 17:10).
  • The foolish love to boldly pronounce their opinions (Proverbs 18:2).
  • The foolish have repeatedly been ensnared by their words in their past (Proverbs 18:7).
  • The foolish are often characterized by quarreling (Proverbs 20:3).
  • The foolish frequently disregard wisdom (Proverbs 23:9).
  • When others stoop to engage the foolish according to their folly, they end up looking foolish themselves (Proverbs 26:4).
  • The foolish have a history of repeating their folly (Proverbs 26:11).
  • Those known to be wise are concerned and burdened by the words and actions of the foolish (Proverbs 27:3).
  • The foolish rage or mock when arguing with others (Proverbs 29:9).
  • The foolish love to give full vent to their spirit (Proverbs 29:11).
  • The foolish are quick to speak (Proverbs 29:20).
  • The foolish are often characterized by shouting (Ecclesiastes 9:17).
  • The foolish may consider themselves religious, but their unbridled tongues show that religion to be worthless (James 1:26).

Now, at first, you may be inclined to think these passages apply to a certain candidate but the more you read through them, you have to concede that most of them not only apply to every candidate running, but actually, to every person alive.

So now what?

Well, since we can’t locate anyone who is not guilty of these, we gotta go another route. And the chosen route is that we have to start asking “who sins more compared to the rest of us?” Which is where the grading on the curve comes in.

But this actually gives rise to another conundrum:

Since a large portion of sin cannot be observed, we ultimately end up asking who hides it better?

By the way, have we ever considered that the people who are the most honest would inevitably be the ones who seem to have more sin? They’re transparent. They’re not trying to hide it for fear of other’s opinions. So think about it . . . This means the process of, “fruit inspecting” is designed in such a way as to punish honesty, and reward deceit.

Just Ignore Christ’s Words?

Obviously this does not mean we disregard what Jesus said about knowing people by their fruit. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.

“Either we apply it in a questionable and completely subjective way, or we’re ignoring what Christ said.”

Wrong.

The best approach is to recognize that the current application is deeply flawed and therefore we need to work on a better, more biblically accurate way of applying it. And until we do, we need to realize we are dealing with some very delicate issues of judgement, here. Issues, that, if we’re wrong (and remember, you fit that list of foolish characteristics, too), we are the ones in sin.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

Living In Sin: An Accusation That Really Just Means, “I’m Better at Hiding My Sin Than You”

hiding

 

So I think we’ve all heard the term. It’s a label pretty closely resembling the Scarlet Letter. A sentence that gets passed upon unfortunate souls who we feel have strayed from the paths of righteousness: Living in Sin.

 

I don’t really know why more Christians are not concerned about this topic.  I mean, the claim has been that if you’re, living in sin and die that way, you’ll go to hell. Others aren’t willing to say you’ll go to hell, but they’re also not willing to say with any certainty that you won’t. Then you have some folks who will tell you that as a Christian, you can’t lose your salvation at all—-comforting, right?  I thought so too . . . Until I found out that there is often a fine print disclaimer on this one that basically says, “oh, by the way, if you sin too much, you probably never were saved to begin with . . .  So you’re going to hell anyway.”

However one wishes to pronounce, “tomato” or, “potato”, the train of thought here is:

“living in sin” = “soul in jeopardy”

So, I think it’s time we stopped giving this subject the, under the rug treatment, and got some real answers.

 

M.I.A.

 

The issue I ran into almost immediately when investigating this topic in the Bible is that some of the greatest dynasties we have erected—-doctrines that are fundamental to our Christianity, are largely Missing in Action:

For instance,

The Bible really doesn’t mention or refer to a, “Hierarchy of Sin”–where some are worse than others.

Nor is there a, “Sin-O-Meter” which measures whether or not the number of sins exceed the, “allowed daily amount” by grace.

There’s also that weird Variety thing that no one has ever spoken out loud but sounds something like, “A variety of sins here and there is fine. We all do it. But when one sin is committed in a higher frequency than all the other average sins, well then I’m afraid you’ve crossed over into, living in sin.”——- In other words, diversity of sins won’t damn you but a concentration of any will.

So, apparently with this idea, you just need to make sure your vices are proportional to one another.

Then you have probably the most popular of these ideas; what I call the, “Heart Monitor.” This is where we convince ourselves that if we are sorry for our sin, or feel bad when we do it, that this is somehow different from a person who sins without feelings of remorse . . . Once again, this is seems to be an artifical distinction not actually made in Scripture.

 

 

So Then —What’s The Bible Really Say?

 

 

All of these concepts are actually quite difficult to find and extract application from in the Scriptures. I mean, sure, they are kind of . . .  sort of———— ish in there. But they are certainly not as clearly outlined as most of us have been led to believe. And they are not anywhere close to being a measurable criteria for us to live by.

No, instead, it would seem that upon searching God’s Word what we find more than anything else is simply that sin is sin—- Either you do it or you don’t.

Some may point to Scriptures that talk about, practicing sin  such as 1 John 3:9 as if this is the dividing line between believers and non believers. But then gloss over the other part of the same verse which says a born again person cannot sin—–period. Not just practice sin, but sin at all. Even if that part wasn’t in there (or you decided to avoid the versions that translate it that way), there’s another problem we run into with this. And that’s the fact that nearly every professing Christian on the planet says they sin multiple times each day. One minister I recently heard on the radio said we sin, “constantly.

Yet . . . We’re suppose to believe this does not constitute practicing sin?

A little hard to swallow.

Now, some will wonder if we all violate this passage that speaks about practicing sin, then what does it mean?  Why would God write such a thing to us? It’s not the subject, but God actually tells us why He said what He did—- Chapter 2 reads, “I write these things to you so that you won’t sin.”  That kind of sounds like what Paul said in Romans 6, doesn’t it? He tells the believer they are dead to sin, and then says therefore, do not let it reign in your mortal body. He tells us to reckon and act, as if it’s true, because it is true. John tells us those who are born of God do not sin, then says he writes these things so we don’t sin. We are to act in line with the reality that those who are born of God, do not sin.

 

What’s it all About?

 

This being the case, where does the whole, living in sin, thing come from? As previously pointed out, the Hierarchy, Sin-O-Meter, Heart Monitor, and Variety doctrines are largely bunk.

My theory?

I’ve  noticed that as I progress in my Christian walk, I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding my sin——-Come on . . . You know what I mean. Us seasoned folk have learned to talk the talk and walk the walk— in front of the right people.  In other words, sin tends to go underground and undercover over the life span of the average believer. We get so good at playing the game that we can be overly critical, judgmental, lustful, hateful and selfish—— inwardly, without skipping a beat (or should I say a, “Hallelujah”?) outwardly. As we become experts in this field, it seems we also become more aware of those who aren’t. 1 Corinthians mentions folks who compare themselves with and among themselves.  So if you think about it, the only way the, “living in sin” thing really works is if we compare ourselves with another human being.  I mean, we’ve already admitted to sinning, “constantly” and on a daily basis, so we certainly can’t compare ourselves to Christ and come away feeling like we’re not living in sin, can we? At least not without a couple hundred theological jumping jacks.

But when comparing ourselves to one another, it inevitably creates a lesser-of-two-evils type scenario. Then those who sin different from us, and aren’t quite the pros at hiding it that we are, will stand out. And let’s face it, there is a part of us that enjoys pointing these folks out. Just like looking at someone who is fatter than you (yes, I’m going there) makes you rationalize how fat you are, so this makes you feel better about your sin.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I have a feeling the Holy Ghost has been dealing with a lot of us about this. Maybe finally hearing it out loud will cause us to think twice before accusing others of what we ourselves are still guilty of on a, “daily” and, “constant” basis.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

The Achilles’ Heel of the Grace Movement: Why Many Won’t Survive it

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What has come to be known as the Grace Movement/Message holds a very special place in my heart. For years I felt like a lone voice heralding the life changing power of Grace, through faith, apart from works.

Long before most had ever heard of Andrew Wommack, Joseph Prince, and others, I was having Bible studies in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s teaching what I had found by myself with nothing but the Holy Ghost, and a Bible. As far as I knew I was the only one on the planet preaching this message.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of things I don’t know. There’s plenty that I have learned and continue to learn from other grace preachers. But I mention this so that folks understand that what I’m about to say does not come from a critic of this message. Nor does it come from a person who has just caught wind of the doctrine. On the contrary, I’ve been beating this drum longer than most.

A Disturbing Trend

Having said this, I’m beginning to see that as the Movement progresses, it is encountering what seems to be the inevitable fate of every sound doctrine—a mutation, or perversion of the authentic.  Many, with little knowledge of what God’s Word has to say on the subject, are jumping on board and attempting to teach it. But even more alarming than these folks who lack biblical knowledge is the fact that they don’t appear to even care that they lack it.  As a result, we are now seeing large amounts of, “grace” people who don’t want to talk about other important aspects of God’s Word. Sin, judgement, hell, wrath, and the devil have all but been completely removed from the vocabulary.

God is Not a Two Thousand Year Old Book

Upon inquiring about the seemingly lack of respect for the Bible, I have heard variations of the tired cliche’, “God is much bigger than a collection of two thousand year old manuscripts. My allegiance is to Jesus, not a book “

So, let’s explore this idea a bit . . .

There are some things that we, as Christians, have been practicing for so long that many don’t know why there was a necessity for them in the first place. So it’s pretty much inevitable that there’s going to come a point in time for people who were not around when the foundation was laid, to challenge these practices. Which is fine. I’m all for the challenge of long held traditions. And it sounds great to say, “Jesus is a real Person, not an old Book. If you want to know about Him, just ask Him.” Seriously, such a statement sounds revolutionary, right?  Man, lets get rid of the way these old farts in stuffy suits have been doing it for centuries and lets get back to Jesus!

So why is it so important for people who have Jesus living on the inside of them to follow the Bible?

Well, anyone who has even a basic understanding of the history of Christianity knows that almost the exact moment Jesus ascended to heaven, false doctrine began to infiltrate the Church. The Bible speaks about different gospels, and even a different jesus that slowly crept into the fellowship of believers and began leading people astray. When we look at the New Testament, we see nearly every book is jammed packed with warning after warning against false doctrine and exhortations to hold firmly to the original teachings of Jesus and His Apostles.

So you see, as nice and fluffy as it sounds to claim you don’t follow a book because all you need is Jesus, it really makes no sense. If first century Christians who personally knew the apostles needed their supervision and constant course correction, why would we think we don’t?

Well, we have the Holy Ghost and so He leads us into all truth.

All of the first century Christians had the Holy Ghost too. But even more than that, many of them received the Spirit directly through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, themselves. Are we supposed to believe that these Spirit-filled, tongue-talking, believers, who rubbed shoulders with Jesus and the apostles, somehow required more oversight than us?

. . . I mean——really?

“The Bible isn’t the Answer”

All of this usually segues into the objection: “Well, obviously following the Bible is not the answer. There are thousands of denominations and no one can agree on the right interpretation.

But we can all agree you don’t need to be circumcised to be saved, right?

We all agree you shouldn’t get drunk at communion, right?

We all agree you shouldn’t curse Jesus, right?

All of these things and many, many more, first century Christians were confused about.

See, it’s easy to point to the diversity in the Body of Christ now and say, “They’re all reading the same book but they can’t agree on anything” but you’re not comparing it to the time before the apostle’s doctrine was widespread.

Christians literally needed to be told that a person isn’t inspired by God if they say, “Jesus is accursed.”

They literally needed to be told not to get drunk at communion.

They literally needed to be told that a man having sex with his father’s wife is not something you should be proud of.

Think about it . . .

Spirit-filled Christians!

Tongue-talking Christians!

Direct disciples of Peter, Paul, James and John!

Yet they needed clarification on things that you and I wouldn’t think twice about today.

No, if you think the diversity is bad now, you have no idea what the Body of Christ would look like if we didn’t have the Bible. You think you do, but all the evidence points to absolute and total chaos.

Ol’ Faithful

Another unfortunate and bizarre element to this whole thing is the treatment these, “Grace Christians” show towards those who disagree with them. You’d think that for a people who promote grace there would be a lot of patience, understanding, and love toward those on the outside. But half the time they treat you like an enemy if you’re not willing to go along with everything they say. They’ll scorn, ridicule, and mock you. And rather than attempt to combat your ideas with reason and logic, they take the ol’ faithful route of  simply shunning you from their groups.

It’s a shame. What they heralded as a revolution is slowly turning into just another divisive group in the Body of Christ.

The Beginning of the End

So here is my prediction: There are many riding the bandwagon of this message that will be destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Because the Bible isn’t central to their understanding of the Gospel, they’ll leave themselves wide open for false and erroneous doctrines with no means of detection. There will be no way to prove or disprove what is being said in their fellowships. And the certainty of truth will slowly decay into New Age Thought, where anything goes, and every person simply does what is right in their own eyes.

Yet, in spite of all of this, the True Gospel of Grace must, and will continue to prevail and become more and more widespread as it leaps forward on the backs of men and women who know God’s Word.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/