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Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Yes, in the Bible, this verse has an exclamation point! No wonder!

1 Corinthians 1:9-10
9 God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Matthew 7:7-11
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

If you seek The Truth, you will find it. Pray to God to show you The Truth, then seek it out.

1 Corinthians 11:17-19
17 Now in this that I declare [unto you] I praise [you] not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

Among everyone who knows The Truth there is unity. There will never be unity for anyone who is unconcerned with error in his own beliefs. For every true view there is no limit to the number of corresponding erroneous views. As Christians, we are to have unity. The road to unity is travelled by seeking The Truth and brotherly peace.

We do not intend give the impression that we need to scorn people who are wrong about something, or we would need to scorn everyone, since no one is all-knowing but God. What we mean is this:

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Romans 15:1-7
1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind [and] one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Proverbs 30:5-6
5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

When a view is a matter of opinion, rather than The Revealed Scripture, then such a thesis must not be asserted as The Truth. It seems impossible to address the subject of unity without quoting John Amos Comenius, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” We don’t despise people who are incorrect, but we also don’t accept their false teachings as being as equally valid as The Truth. In order to grow in unity, we need to compare human teachings with God’s Word to prove them, to test them, to see if they are valid.

1 John 1:7 … if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The Scripture is not of any private interpretation, so there is only one correct view for each doctrine. So, one obvious aspect of unity is when two people have learned the proper biblical precepts about a certain topic, then they will be in agreement and unity about that topic.

However, I will never be able to learn all there is to know about true doctrine, so how can I ever have unity in doctrine? By not holding fast any doctrine that has not been proven by God’s Word and by allowing others to learn according to God’s divine schedule for that person, rather than my own. When I take this approach, then I am always seeking The Truth and I am always in unity with those who are seeking The Truth, those who are students of The Holy Bible. I am learning. I may share with you what I have learned. I may want to learn from you what you have learned.

Romans 14:1-4
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

The only people we would have occasion to correct, would be those who teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Biblically, this correction seems to be one of the duties borne by the role of the New Testament prophet, if you read 1 Corinthians 14, then take note of verse 29.

But, what about sophistry? There are times when we are misled into believing that a false teaching, or opinion, is biblical. The way it has been explained to us makes it seem to be supported by Scripture. There are three ingredients to the recipe that removes the effects of sophistry from your beliefs: humility, prayer, and seeking.

Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:11-16
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We have a choice to make between patience or strife. Patience is a key to unity and brotherly peace.

2 Timothy 2:23-26
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men,] apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

James 3:13-18
13 Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife [is,] there [is] confusion and every evil work.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Philippians 2:1-8
1 If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.
3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

James 5:9-11
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

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2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them;] and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing;] and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

1 John 5:16-18
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin [which is] not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

Jesus told His followers to be perfect, as God is perfect. That seems impossible. Maybe that is the point. We are to live holy lives, but we know that the Bible teaches that we are sinful. We could say that it would be miraculous for us to live in righteousness. Yes! Is that a reasonable expectation? Well, the Bible says that as we pray within God’s will, He hears us and gives us our request. Is it God’s will for us to sin, or is it God’s will for us for us to be holy? The Bible says to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart. It would be a godly desire for us to want to live a life of purity, wouldn’t it? The Bible says for us to cast all our cares on Him, because He cares for us, and it also says to pray without ceasing. If we care about living righteously, then that is approximately the amount of prayer it would take … without ceasing.

The Bible makes it clear that Job was a righteous man. It is also clear this is referring to his behaviour, not just his imputed righteousness that God sees through forgiveness. How can this be?

When we see the glory of God, in His power, in His love, in His knowledge, in His grace, on His throne, then we have no doubt that His way is the right way, the best way, to live. We want Him on the throne of our lives.

We do not need to live in defeat, assuming that there is no hope to avoid sinning. When you are tempted, or even before you are tempted, call out to God for His help. This is one request we can know He will answer, “Yes!” He will do miracles. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

1 John 2:5-6
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Hebrews 13:20-21
20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Titus 2:11-12
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Galatians 5:13-26
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these;] Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

2 Peter 1:1-15
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them,] and be established in the present truth.
13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance;
14 Knowing that shortly I must put off [this] my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.
15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

1 Peter 4:1-8
1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
3 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you:]
5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Romans 6:4 … like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

John 8:29-32
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

James 1:26-27
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Romans 12:1-2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

John 8:11 Go, and sin no more.

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Before our main topic today, we would like to give you one last reminder about our Leviathan Story Writing Contest. The end of this month, the 30th of September, is the final entry date.


Word Studies

WordStudies

This word has a broad meaning and usage, but this study will focus on a calling of God, when a person knows Our Lord is guiding him in a specific path. A separate post addresses the sweeping call of God to salvation.

God gives wisdom to all who request, believing they will receive, but this is not a calling. A calling is personal guidance and direction, and God will grant us the wisdom we need to achieve our calling. Yes, there are several callings of God that apply to all Christians in general; calling to holiness (1Thessalonians 4:7), calling to suffer for living righteously (1 Peter 2:18-25), and calling unto liberty (Galatians 5:13). But the focus of this study is about specific callings. Romans 1:1 says Paul was called to be an Apostle. Ephesians 4:1-16 speaks of specific church ministries to which people are called. Hebrews 5:4 says Aaron was called to the office of High Priest. Ezekiel was called to be a watchman.

It doesn’t seem precisely accurate to say that we “feel” called, or “feel” led of the Spirit in our ministry. The word “feel” implies either physical touch or emotional effect. A calling of God is neither physical nor emotional, though it will have occasion to influence some emotions. It is sensed spiritually, rather than with the physical senses or emotions. It seems like the “sense of calling” could be categorized with the senses of peace, love, hope, and joy. These are sensed by the spirit, rather than the emotions, though they cause emotions, at times. All of these are facets of who you are, elements of your inner being.

Sometimes we have innate gifts, or talents, that will help us carry out our mission, our calling. Other times we will need to grow and change to become the right person for the job. So, the gift, itself, is not a calling. There will also be many occasions when our life’s work will require us to do tasks that are unsavoury, or for which we are ill equipped; almost the opposite of a gift. Our calling is not always our favourite thing to do, though we are driven to do it.

If I happen to see an opportunity arise, also known as an “open door,” that does not equate to a calling. Yes, God will do His part to make a way for me to fulfil His calling in my life, whether He opens a door, or helps me break through barriers. I cannot find my calling just because of some coincidence where it seems easy for me to proceed. On the contrary, taking such opportunities may be a distraction that hinders me from fulfilling my calling.

Another distraction can be a burden that you feel for a cause. Yes, you will be burdened for your calling. However, as a caring person, you would have many burdens for various concerns. You cannot pursue them all. Pray for wisdom and guidance to prioritize the time, touch, talent, and treasure, that you will devote to each of these ministries.

Each person has a deep need to have a purpose in life. God has a purpose for each of you who are reading this. From an earthly perspective, your purpose, or calling, may seem insignificantly small, or it may look overwhelmingly huge. We can be sure that neither of those extreme views are God’s perspective.

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I am a Christian. More precisely, I am a follower of The Way, The Truth, and The Life, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word of God, so I am a student of the inerrant Scriptures, the Holy Bible.

a-christian

You may have been told that you need to do good to become a Christian. That is backwards. Yes, Christians do good, but that is not how they became Christians. Rather, Christians do good because they are Christians.

There are many who say they are Christians, but they live an evil life. There are three possible reasons for this:
1) Maybe they are not Christians. I am not accusing them of lying. Maybe they have been misled to believe they are Christians.
2) Perhaps they are ignorant of the teachings of Christ.
3) Or they have fallen.

As Christians, we have inside information. We know the Designer and Creator of the universe. He has decided what would be good for everyone to know about the way the universe works and how to live our lives in accord with this design. He put all of this information in a Book, The Holy Book, The Holy Bible. It would be wise for us to live in harmony with the teachings of this Book, wouldn’t it? Christians are those who follow Christ. So, we learn what the Bible says, and do it, so we do good.

So, if reforming one’s behaviour is not how one becomes a Christian, then how does one become a Christian? Repent and believe the gospel. You might be thinking that “repent” means to do good, so I am contradicting myself. Again, that is backwards, repentance results in doing good, but repentance is not an overt action.

So, if repent does not mean doing good, then what does it mean? To repent, first I must see how extremely bad my sins are to God. Each sin is rebellion against a Holy God. My sins are so bad, Jesus had to suffer horribly, and die unjustly, to pay the penalty for my sin. Yes, it is that bad. Before I can repent, I must come to the realization that I do not deserve to be in God’s presence, and that there is nothing I could ever do to merit such an honour. That is the bad news. If I don’t agree, then I cannot repent.

The good news, the gospel, is that Jesus’ sacrifice means He can and does now offer me a pardon for my sins. That is why repentance, and believing the gospel, must both go together. To repent, I am turning from my sinful ways, I am turning from my own way of running my life, I am turning away from rebellion against God. But, I am not just turning away, I am also turning towards. I am turning from death to life. I am stepping off the throne of my life and receiving Christ as my king.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man this thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

So, you see, repentance does not consist in a change of my behaviour, but a change in my mind, having faith, believing, trusting. There is no virtue in believing on Christ. All of the virtue is in what He has done. I am trusting in His virtue, not my own virtue.

Acts 26:20 … they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

After I have repented, now that Jesus is on the throne of my life, there will be several virtuous things I will do, also known as “works meet for repentance.” In other words, God sets a standard of virtue for me that I can meet, but only with His help. I will love the One True God and no other gods. I will not bow down to images. I will get baptized. I will love others. I will build the structure of my life on the foundation of my love for God and others. Those are some examples, and there are many others, but I do not learn everything at once. Over the course of my life, God will keep teaching me, through His Word, about the truths that I did not know, that I misunderstood, or about which I had been misled. In other words, God will raise the standard of virtue, over time, that I can meet.

1 John 2:3-6
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

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Jesus preached repentance (Mark 1:15).

John the Baptist preached repentance (Matthew 3:2).

The twelve apostles preached repentance (Mark 6:12).

What did they mean? What is repentance that saves?

Repentance must include admission of sin. But, this is not enough. If we confess sin, but do not turn away from it, forsake it, then we have not repented. The the basis of the Greek word that Jesus used for “repent” is to “turn.” If we confess sin, simply to be forgiven, this is not repentance. We are still facing squarely toward our sin and the only admission we are allowing is that we don’t want to be punished. If all you can say about your sin is that you don’t want to be punished, you are still with the world, on the wide road that leads to destruction. When God forgives you, He does not excuse your sin. As John the Baptist said, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.” Luke 3:7-8

So, what is the difference between an unsaved person who sins, but is unhappy about it, and a saved person who falls? This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it is the contrast between life and death. The change is as radical as being born … again. Also, you who are saved, now have a well of living water within you. The difference is that profound.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Yes, repentance will include emotions of remorse, guilt, sadness. That is the root of the English word. But, those emotions will not save you. There is more to saving repentance than remorse.

When we repent, we don’t just turn away from something, we also turn toward something. We change the direction of our lives.

Isaiah 55:6-7
6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

In fact, it is only through the power of God that we can hope to live in righteousness.

Romans 8:6-9
6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We cannot see the air, but we can see the effect of the movement of the air, sometimes subtly, sometimes powerfully. Can you see the effect of The Spirit moving in your life? (John 3:8) Are you drawing on the power of The Spirit? Or are you just trying to be good?

Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

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WordStudies

In any communication, it is helpful to establish some common ground among the participants. That is one of the objectives of this blog; to provide some framework to our creed, as a catalyst to draw together friendly project members of like precious faith. At the deepest level, this common ground would include the definitions of the words used and their connotations in the context of the message. Some words have a very broad meaning and several others have very little latitude.

For example, maybe Fred thinks that the word “religion” simply means rituals and traditions. And perhaps Ivan is thinking more along the lines of helping “the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). If Ivan and Fred are not talking about the meaning of the word, but simply use the word, then this would be miscommunication. Whatever one said, the other would “hear” something else.

Our plan is to include some word studies in future blog posts. Not that we want to dictate the meaning of words, as an authority in English lexicology, but just to clarify the nuances of how we are using some key words in relation to this project.

List of word study articles:

Religion

Repentance

Christian

Calling

Holiness

Unity

James 1:16-27
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein,] he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain.
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

In the first two chapters, God points to Job as being devoted to the pure religion. In the final chapter, God reveals that Job’s three friends had been followers of defiled religion. See Folly … In The Bible?

Saul’s (Paul’s) religion led him to persecute the church (Galatians 1). Many today think of religion as rituals and traditions. Those Christians who claim to hate religion, we hope, are referring to defiled religion. I can understand why they would say that, since many of the rituals and traditions are merely a distraction from 1 Timothy 1:15 This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

WordStudies