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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Why Turning away from sin doesn't work
So you get upset at yourself for always giving in to temptation; and in the well of personal despair over your backsliding, you determine anew to stop giving into that old temptation, yet again. You tell yourself that this time will be for keeps, but deep down you know you're kidding yourself. You have tried to turn away from sin before, and always and ever, it comes back after you tire youself out resisting it.

Why is that? You tell yourself that the problem must be with your sincerity. If you could just really, realy want to be free, then for sure you'd nail it for good. Or maybe you tell yourself that while Christianity works for others, it hasn't yet worked for you, and probably never will because you're bad in some way that others are not - Jesus isn't as personally involved in your life as He seems to be in the lives of other believers. Maybe it's worse than that; maybe you're starting to think that every believer is supposed to fake their sanctification, such that Christianity is really a big farce; or again, maybe you just assume that as sincere as you are, their must be something wrong with your faith - if you could just believe harder, You could make it all work.

The fact is when things aren't going the way we expect them to go, few of us are willing to say so. We are afraid that those who 'get it' will judge us, or think less of us, or expect more from us than we really want to give. We would rather spend a decade slowly growing cold and hard than open ourselves up to being ostricized, or to being judged as less of a Christian than we imagine ourselves to be. Our own pride keeps us drowning, in that it insulates us in our ignorance like nothing else.

But I didn't write this post to simply tell "The Proud™" that the reason they don't get it is because they are proud. That's so self evident, it doesn't warrant further mention. No, I wrote this to offer some light with regards to the error that is often made when we sincerely try and turn away from our sins and fail to do so.

Here is the problem: we cannot turn away from our sins except by, or until we, turn towards Christ.

Turning away from sins without turning towards Christ leaves a vacuum where our temptation once held sway. It is like evacuating all the demons out of the house, then leaving the door to our newly emptied house open so that the moment we let our guard down all the demons and their buddies can come back in.

Listen: Unless Christ fills the place where your sin is presently holding ground, whatever victory you imagine yourself to be acheiving when you turn away from sin, is merely temporary. The problem is that many Christians are never taught that Christ saves you from sin - they just think of Him as a Savior from hell. They are told to resist sin and the devil but never told that unless you draw near to God, you will not, and cannot do either. Thus sanctification becomes something that either God zaps you with, or something you do in your own strength (but say, like a good Christian, that God is doing it "in and through**" you).

**Christianese for: "I do the work but tell myself that it is really God doing it mysteriously somehow...

However easy it might be to criticize those mistakes that baby believers commonly make, I only mention these by way of introducing a solution to the problem. If a person finally sees (for the first time) that he or she cannot turn from sin unless he or she turns to Christ, then the next question on his or her mind is probably going to be, "What does that look like, practically speaking?"

Frankly, when we drill down to specifics we risk turning the whole endeavor into a list of dos and don'ts. So what I offer here is not intended as a list, but as a very quick, and extremely truncated list of examples, intended, not to exhaust the ways in which one redeems the time, but rather that by illustrating a few examples the reader might begin to comprehend how one ought to apply this to their own faith.

First, one can redeem the time (or temptation) by filling up the difference in Christ.

Do you purchase things you shouldn't? Make it your act of worship to give every extra penny to Christ's work.

Do you eat/drink/smoke too much? Use those resources you spend on youself to serve the Lord instead.

Do you give into slackness? Do your work unto the Lord, everytime.

Do you use vulgar language? Give yourself to edifying others as an act of worship.

Find the path of the Lord and walk in it. Pray earnestly that you would not make the mistake of trying to stop sinning in order to satisfy an angry God, rather look for godly affections and indulge these rather than your sinful ones.

Talk to someone older in the Lord than yourself, preferably someone who has walked with the Lord for a very long time - be candid about where you're at, and seek the Lord directly rather than indirectly (don't try to get God to like you by being sunless; rather turn to Christ instead of turning to sin).

If you just keep on trying to turn away from sin, without turning to Christ, you are going to continue ininfancy, and never move onto maturity. If by this time you ought to be a teacher, but find yourself learning these things again - take special care that you do not continue thus, be a doer, and not a hearer only.

-- Posted from my iPhone (updated later, in IE8)

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posted by Daniel @ 11:13 AM  
44 Comments:
  • At 11:30 AM, September 08, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    Amen Daniel, when we set our focus on Christ, the allures of the flesh begin to weaken. The more we turn to Him the less we will desire the things of this world. This battle will continue as long as we breathe however, and we will never 'arrive' until the flesh has been terminated once for all. I have found personally that denying the flesh is a lot easier when I am enjoying Christ and finding my satisfaction in Him.

     
  • At 12:07 PM, September 08, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I think these things are not well known in the modern church because the gospel of our day has been truncated to "Jesus saves you from hell". The thought that Jesus helps us (and expects us) to mature in our faith is pretty much unheard of in our pulpits. How many sermons have we heard on "you should be doing this!" or "We aren't doing enough of that!" I should love to hear a sermon on sin and how even immature believers can still be delivered this very day out from under its bondage.

     
  • At 3:49 PM, September 08, 2009, Blogger donsands said…

    "..rather look for godly affections and indulge these rather than your sinful ones."

    Affections is the key. Do I love my wife more than myself? If I don't then I'll not love her as Christ loved the Church.

    I think we simply like ourselves too much. It's the high self-esteem thing.

    Low self-esteem would be the right ticket me thinks.

    Then the joy and peace will flow in a life of esteeming others more than myself.

    And of course as you taught us here, to have Christ first in affections.

    Thanks again for a refreshing exhortation.

     
  • At 8:37 PM, September 08, 2009, Blogger David Kjos said…

    Great definition of "in and through."

     
  • At 6:37 PM, September 27, 2009, Anonymous Joe said…

    This post really spoke to me today, as I have felt a bit isolated from my church and other brothers and sisters lately because of the same old sins weighing me down. I could see myself in the description of making those "resolutions" and promises not to ever do that one sin again, only to do just that not long after.

    Thank you for the practical examples you shared. This was an enormous help today.

    Blessings -

     
  • At 6:34 PM, November 06, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just more of the same, How to you focus on Christ? If I dont love my wife as God loved the Church how do i change that? &on &on and on .Its all the same you say do this or that but no one say this ids is how you do tha Sine is so much a part of my life .I have ask Christ in to my life &to forgive me but cant find obedence or true repentance.

     
  • At 6:54 PM, November 06, 2011, Blogger Daniel said…

    Anonymous,

    A lot of Christians struggle with the fact that they still sin no matter what methodology they try. They are looking for the silver bullet that once and for all vanquishes sin in their life, and they try this, and they try that, and they find that no matter what they try, sin comes back - in fact sin never left.

    One of the reasons people try anything and everything to overcome sin is because they believe that sin can be overcome once and for all - as though there is some secret formula that if you exercise faith in just the right way, or find the secret way to be a Christian, then suddenly obedience comes easy and repentance last forever.

    But the truth is that these "vessels" we are in (our bodies) are broken vessels which cannot hold water - in other words, they cannot be "cured" of sin. There is no silver bullet. We are going to have to make war with sin and fight it every day of our lives until Christ returns, or we die.

    In Ephesians 6 we learn that we are to put on the armour of God in order to stand against sin. But even in that metaphor the expectation is that the struggle against sin will be a continual thing.

    As you mature in Christ, you struggle more, and not less, with sin, because you become far more aware of just how sinful you are.

    Obedience finds its strength in faith, and not in self effort. These things become apparent only after a mountain of failure.

    I hope that helps.

     
  • At 6:43 AM, August 24, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Last post was 4 years ago so this is a long shot but I stumbled upon ur blog after googling turning from sin, which is something I know how to do but can never truly get done, Daniel if you respond id be interested in asking you a few questions in regards to this topic on religion, and am also glad to known you've found Christ. I'll wait to hear from you, regards Savvas.

     
  • At 6:48 AM, August 24, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    I'm still here - ask what you will. Maybe I can be of service

     
  • At 7:42 AM, August 27, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1:Excellent, do you believe that the world is 6000 years old or 40 million, the bible states no longer than 6000 years but scientist state they can carbon date data millions of years ago and there was human life, evidence being paintings in caves and what not. So that would mean dinosaurs existed 6000 years ago not 40 million because if it was 40 million it contradicts the bible.
    2:How do I truly turn from sin, I seem to continually ask for forgiveness but fall back into it, I feel terrible and wonder if God is going to punish me more for my contradictions?
    3: I am a greek orthodox raised, I have read the book of mormon as my uncles are mormons, they advise me unless I am baptised in the true church of Christ I will not be saved, the people are real nice, and mean well, and I appreciate the missionary work but as it is said in the bible anyone thats adds to this book or takes away from it will feel Gods wrath and any prophet after Christ is a false prophet, but there has always been prophets before Jesus and after, Moses, Abraham BC and Paul AD so I really find it difficult to work out whats the true religion of Christ, I wanna go to church but which one?

     
  • At 9:06 AM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Anon - I'll tackle these one at a time.

    You asked, "do you believe that the world is 6000 years old or 40 million" -

    Actually, the bible doesn't "state" that the world is no more than 6000 years old. That is a rough calculation some people make based on the number of generations recorded in the scriptures between Adam and Jesus.

    Those of us who believe the bible is entirely true (as opposed to those who think the bible is false either entirely, or on some few or many points), accept the biblical account of Adam, and reason from the scriptures that the world is not millions of years old.

    Like everyone else my age, I attended school and was taught that the dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, and this because we have found fossilized bones buried under layered strata of rock, etc. Dating techniques are only as accurate as the presumptions they are founded upon, and in dating dinosaur bones, we make a great many assumptions.

    Carbon dating, for instance, assumes that a uniform atmospheric ratio between two types of carbon has remained constant over millennia. Likewise, radio carbon dating depends upon the assumption that radioactive decay rates have remained consistently constant. Furthermore, the assumption that the earth's magnetic field - which protects anything in our atmosphere from extra-terrestrial radiations that would radically affect (inflate or deflate) Radiocarbon dating, has been constant, and again there is the assumption that the atmosphere itself has been constant in depth, density, and make up.

    If the bible is true, that means that there was a world wide flood. Something like that will change our atmosphere, it would likely affect a great many factors including, but not limited to, the ones I describe above.

    Why does anyone believe anything? We believe whatever we believe either because we have seen that it is true personally, or we have been told it is true by an authority we trust. Unless a person has a reason to doubt the accuracy of radiocarbon dating - they are going to accept radiocarbon dating as accurate - even if they don't understand how it works, or what assumptions are being made to produce the estimate.

    It is true, that in a given environment we can use radiocarbon dating to give us a very accurate guess as to how old some organic material might be - as long as we have something of the same material, from a known location and a known time - we can compare the two samples and say that one is as old, older, or not as old as the other - but what makes that measurement valid is the fact that we know from some other process that the one sample actually is so many years old (such as a document that is dated, etc.). When we lack this information, our guesses are going to be inaccurate (at best).

    (cont)

     
  • At 9:07 AM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…


    (cont)
    So, I don't have a problem with radiocarbon dating as long as it is dating something that existed after the flood -since we can say (more) safely assume that the world has been the way we found it (more or less) since the flood. When we try and date anything before the flood? The assumptions involved are astronomical. We simply have no idea what conditions were like upon the earth prior to the flood, as the only account that describes the antidiluvian environment is found in the scriptures - and they don't give us enough information to inform radiocarbon dating.

    So I don't believe the world is exactly 6000 years old. It could be. But I doubt that. I think it could be anywhere from 6000-20,000 years old - but certainly not millions of years old.

    As a follow up answer to an unasked question - I don't believe evolution happens. We have never witnessed a single species spontaneously "evolve" (i.e mutate) into anything better suited for it's environment. We have seen plenty of mutation however - and it is always, and always has been, devolution, rather than evolution. With each new generation, the original copy degrades, recent studies are concluding that our ancestors (whose DNA we can and have examined) actually had -more- DNA than we do. We are not getting better at anything, we are getting worse.

    So, as a man of reason, I conclude that evolution is not a viable theory, as it increasingly relies on more and more assumptions.

     
  • At 9:43 AM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Anon - to your second question, "How do I truly turn from sin?"

    Well, to turn from sin, you must first fully understand what sin is. A great many people think of sin as something you *do* - sin is the word we use to describe a rebellion against God's rule. It isn't something you do, it is rather a state of the heart.

    Now when I say the heart, I am not talking about the blood pump, nor am I talking about your emotions or feelings. I am rather talking about whether a matter is settled in your soul, or still unsettled -and the matter is whether or not God has the right to command your obedience. Are you His slave, or are you not?

    A slave obeys, because he is a slave - he doesn't "become" a slave through obedience, but demonstrates that he is a slave by and through his obedience.

    The problem, as we see in the scriptures, is that we are all desperately wicked, and inclined to our own rule - even to the damning of our own souls. This propensity to follow our own rule doesn't disappear when we become Christians. Even after we are saved, our "old man" continues to rebel against the notion that anyone (even God) has the right to truly rule over us.

    A lot of false religions bank on this very principle of wanting to retain our autonomy. Their "salvation schemes" all resemble one another in that they call upon the believer to "do good" with the promise or hope that in doing so, they will merit a better eternal reward.

    In other words, the motive for obedience is greed. We want a better reward so much that we're willing to do things we don't want to do in order to please the one whom we regard as having the power to reward our obedience or punish our disobedience. We respond in a way that gives us our "best" outcome - we do it, because we believe it will be beneficial to us - that is =not= how Christianity works - but there are a great many hucksters and well meaning, but woefully misinformed people who would encourage that sort of "obedience". Unfortunately, no manner of reward nor deterrent of punishment can long tame an un-surrendered will.

    (cont)

     
  • At 9:43 AM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)
    The truth is that the Christian, in the moment of their salvation, is joined to the life of Christ - a life that (unlike their own) is incorruptible. Christ did not obey God in order to gain something for Himself. He was perfectly selfless, and perfect selflessness (or "love") does not desire anything for itself, but desires everything for others.

    The "old man" will never desire to do anything selfless, as it is corrupted, and incurable. God's plan is not to make the old man "better" - but rather to regard the old man as dead - having been judged by God already, and put to death in Christ. You are therefore not supposed to obey your own desires, because they will always be corrupt, but you are to obey the desires of Christ within you.

    In order to do that, you have to be believe that you are truly God's slave.

    Can I tell you a story to help explain that principle? The man who is caught and sold as a slave, and who is constantly thereafter looking for a way to get out of his slavery - that man hasn't become a slave in his heart, but remains a freeman in bondage. But when that man begins to love his master, and begins to know his master, and begins to understand that his master is actually serving him, and not vice versa - that man may surrender in his heart to the master - and accept him *truly* as his master. When it is a settled matter in that man's heart, obedience is natural - until then, obedience is begrudging, and false.

    The truth is, when you become a believer you become a slave to Christ - but if you don't believe that, you will never experience it. This is what it means to walk by faith - believe that you are Christ's slave, and you will be. Believe that he is simply your ticket to heaven, and that you should do good things since he was so nice - and you'll have no power whatsoever.

    Sanctification is all about learning that Christ is your king. Your flesh will never accept him as king -but the new life you have received - the life of Christ - accepts his rule perfectly. Your job is to trust that you're truly his slave, and to act in faith upon that truth by being obedient. To do this you must treat your old self (your desires) as being foreign to the life that will persist after you die - and disregard them as the desires of a dead thing that no longer has dominion over you.

    We walk by faith. An immature believer is usually one who has never been taught the first truths of being a Christian - and the first thing a Christian needs to understand is that they are Christ's slave.

     
  • At 9:53 AM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Anon - as to your final question, you don't become a Christian by joining a church - you become a Christian when you understand that the price for denying God's rule in your life is death - both physical and the second death as described in the scriptures (being cast forever into the eternal lake of fire).

    When you understand that you are someone who has disobeyed God, and that you are condemned already because of that (in other words, when you understand that God isn't going to decide on the day you die whether you were "good" enough to get into heaven, but that he will send you directly to the lake of fire if you have disobeyed his will even once in your entire life), then and only then will you understand that you cannot be saved by doing good works, or by any subsequent (and miserably imperfect) obedience. You must understand you are already damned before you will understand your need for Christ.

    When you get that, you will wonder how can anyone be saved? We're all sinners - we have all pursued our own ways since the day we were born, and we have all done something worthy of the condemnation we have earned, and not a single one of us can undo what we did. Just as a virgin cannot reclaim their virginity after it has been lost by subsequent abstinence, so we also cannot make ourselves fit for heaven by being "good" once we've condemned ourselves through being "bad".

    Since no one can be that good - it mean that all of us are condemned.

    That is a sobering truth - that is what the bible teaches, and anyone who believes the bible, understands that they deserve hell because that is the wage God has determined to pay to sinners.

    (cont)

     
  • At 10:02 AM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)

    When a person understands that they are damned, they will understand that they cannot save themselves, and that they need a saviour.

    The only Saviour God has given is Jesus Christ, and the manner in which He saves us is by offering to do so to anyone who asks Him to be restored back into the only relationship a creator can have with his Creator - that of a slave.

    The man who asks God to forgive his rebellion against God's rule, and who in his heart determines to obey God, as he ought, and as he was created to do, that person places his trust in God to forgive him - on the strength of God's character - that person is saved, and becomes a Christian regardless of what religion he happens to subscribe to.

    Thereafter, the devil will do whatever he can to make the new Christian ineffective in the kingdom of Christ.

    He'll attack truth - the bible, convincing the new believer that the bible isn't true, or that it is full of errors. He will attempt to convince the new believer that the scriptures are full of errors, or cannot be faithfully understood, or whatever - and in this way cripple not only the new believer, but to the extent that this becomes rampant in the church - to cripple the church.

    There may be a variety of Christian denominations, but there is only one way of salvation - some denominations do not preach the true way of salvation - these are cults or counterfeits. Mormonism falls into that category.

    I hope that helps

     
  • At 7:53 PM, August 27, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow thankyou for your detailed response and taking the time and effort to respond, you remind a bit like Ray Comfort without the r you a good person script more the wisdom and knowledge part is similar, you have been a big help,, my last few questions being you said the devil makes us not believe in the bible or believe that there's errors in the bible, and I believe this because ive had times of doubt, how is that so Daniel, can he read our thoughts? From my understanding its our bodies that make us sin, not our souls? So how does the evil one put those thoughts into our minds? Can he only place a thought but not see what im thinking like my Father in heaven? And also do I need to go to church? Im confused as to which one to attend? I believe im full of sin and I need to turn from my sin, I believe Jesus is the Son of God and he is my saviour and only through him will I get to my Father in heaven, I always try and repent, meaning im aware of the sin im doing and try not to fall back into but its almost like its not enough and im not sure since everyone seeems to have there own ideas on what a true Christian needs to do to return to Christ, some days when I pray and im sincere and im doing the right thing i get this tingling warm senstation throughout my body head to toe, and I can never re inact it I can never make it happen again, I believe its a spiritual thing maybe Christ showing me hes pleaaed, through the holy ghost I dunno, ive spoken to others some say from above some say its in my head to the point where I start to doubt whats real whats not and if it is or isnt in my head. Is the orthodox religion a cult like some of the others? If so elaborate please. Also in Levictus I read something in regards to which animals we should not feed of, and it mentioned swine, does that mean the muslims where right and we arent supposed to eat pork? Ill wait tto hear from you, thanks heaps. Regards, Savvas.

     
  • At 10:06 PM, August 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas, sorry for the late reply. I was out on business, and it's too late to reply this evening. Look for something tomorrow?

     
  • At 6:02 PM, September 04, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Daniel can you answer my most recent questions if possible thanks. Savvas

     
  • At 7:49 AM, September 08, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas,

    Sorry about the delay; We had some family stuff this weekend, and my time was spoken for.

    Your question is really, if I may paraphrase, is "how" do fallen angels influence people?

    I say fallen angels, so that we're clear about what a demon or devil is. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus reminds us, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (c.f. Ephesians 6:12 [ESV])

    By "powers and principalities" etc., he was referring to what the Apostle John records in the last book of our bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ in chapter 12:3-4, "And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it." [ESV]

    Because in passages such as Job 38:7, stars are used to metaphorically describe the angels, most interpreters understand the reference in the Revelation concerning a third of the stars to be a reference to a third of the heavenly host following the Dragon (Satan) in his rebellion against God.

    So we conclude that even as Satan was created by God to be a spiritual being, and rebelled against God's rule, so also about one third of all the spiritual beings created by God joined Satan in this rebellion.

    After the fall, that is, after Adam and Eve were driven out of God's presence, God began to speak to mankind through these powers and principalities. The word for messenger in Greek is "Angelos" from which we get the word "Angel". Angels were heavenely messengers - spiritual beings whom God created. Some of these beings rebelled, and now are called devils or demons - but it is just a label, even as the word "Angel" is a label. They are all alike in that they are spiritual beings created by God.

    It's important to understand that they are created by God, because their very life is sustained by God, even as our own is. If God should decide to suddenly stop sustaining their existence, they would cease to exist. Thus the imagery in popular culture of the devil and God being equal adversaries is not biblical - the devil is a creature created by God, whom God has all power over. The devil is powerful, but he is just a creature, and presents no more of a threat to God than an ant or an inanimate rock.

    (cont)

     
  • At 8:22 AM, September 08, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)

    So the devil, and those spiritual beings that followed him in his rebellion against God, can be assumed to possess all the powers ascribed to the angels in the scriptures - and may likely possess other abilities we know nothing about.

    The bible refers to angels as ministering spirits, meaning that God has created them and given them duties to perform on our behalf. Angels strengthened the Lord during his prayer at the garden of Gethsemane before Christ was arrested. If they were able to reinforce our Lord in what He was determined to do, they have some ability to do so. In fact Paul describes this sort of reinforcing when he describes those rebellious powers and principalities as working to produce sinful "strongholds" in the believer - that is, to reinforce us in a sinful way, rather than in a righteous way.

    It is clear that most, if not all these rebellious spirits follow Satan's lead, as He is referred to as the "god" of this world - not that he is a god, but that he rules over the rebellious spirits in the same way that God rules over all creation.

    Angels certainly have the ability to harm people physically - as a single angel in scripture is recorded as slaying over an hundred thousand men in a single night (c.f. 2 Kings 19:35), but they cannot harm people without God's permission (c.f. Job 1:6-12, esp. v.12).

    Likewise an angel spoke to Joseph in a dream in Matthew 2:13, telling him to flee to Egypt to save the life of our Lord whom Herod hoped to destroy by putting to death all the male infants in the area.

    Angels cannot be in more than one place at a time - they are like humans in this way. We know from the book of Daniel, that one angel was delayed in coming to minister to Daniel because another angel - a rebellious one - withstood him.

    Given this much (and there is more that can be said, but I leave that to your own study), we can see that devils can influence people in a variety of ways. Satan tempted Adam to sin - and it is a sure bet that one of the primary works of these rebellious spirits is to tempt mankind to sin against God. Being able to influence dreams, appear as human to some, or simply reinforce a sinful disposition, they are able to work directly against a believer, in many ways, but may work indirectly by simply interfering with the work of those good Angels who would otherwise be ministering to believers.

    I would wager that the greatest work done by these fallen angels is not the one on one stuff - but the promotion of institutionalized sin. Using what is good, to promote evil. There is nothing inherently evil about the video medium - but television has promoted more evil in the world than any other medium. We may not think of sitting and watching television as something that reinforces our tendency to laziness - but for many people, the productive years of their lives are swallowed up being "entertained" at home as they sit and grow fat.

    (cont)

     
  • At 8:23 AM, September 08, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)


    Again, television doesn't merely entertain - it moralizes. Without television, it would have been almost impossible to "normalize" homosexuality in a single generation in the "first" world. The enemy certainly uses television to influence people.

    The same can be said for public schools. Education is not evil - it is very good - but when education turns to a vehicle for secular moralism, it is clearly being influenced by those forces which stand opposed to God.

    So to answer the first follow-up question, the devil influences our culture, he influences individuals, and works through various means to either provoke personally, or to provoke culturally, hearts that desire to do their own thing at all costs - that is, to promote rebellion against God's rule: sin.

    On to your next question

    (cont)

     
  • At 8:39 AM, September 08, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas,

    With regards to warm feelings and tingles - that's not spiritual. You don't "experience" spiritual phenomenon viscerally, God doesn't tickle and warm us when we behave. Our Lord gave a parable wherein a servant worked the whole day in the field, and came in after the work of the day to serve his master the evening meal, even before he himself (the servant) had fed himself. After he had worked all day, and came in and served his master before looking to his own needs - our Lord pointed out that the servant hadn't actually done anything worthy of praise. The things that he did were not meritorious - they were the things that are expected of a servant. To do anything less would make you a useless (or at the very least a "poor") servant, but to do what is expected of you - that isn't something to be praised, that is the barest minimum expected.

    Remember this is our Lord speaking this parable (c.f. Luke 17:7-10) and he told it directly after his Apostles had said to Him, "Lord, Increase our faith".

    I expect that what our Lord was dealing with was this propensity to believe that unless we get feedback from God, we can't be sure that God is really there. If we do what God requires of us, and we get no (immediate) reward, how will we know that God is really pleased with us, or that he is even there?

    I suspect that their faith problem was really a theology problem. Their faith was shaken by the fact that momentary acts of obedience were not resulting in tangible, measurable "blessings" - our Lord's answer was that obedience doesn't merit reward, so why is your faith shaken when you fail to get what you have no reason to believe you should receive?

    By showing that their expectations were unfounded he was actually strengthening their faith, by removing the error that had been weakening it.

    Now, onto your final question

    (cont)

     
  • At 8:59 AM, September 08, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)

    The first schism in the church produced two branches of Christianity - the Eastern Orthodox branch, and the Roman Catholic branch. Later, the Roman Catholic branch had its own schism, producing what we would call modern day Evangelicals, but which at the time was called Protestantism.

    The Orthodox church is certainly not a cult. There are points of agreement between that church and what is believed in Evangelical Christianity, but just as many points of contrast. Not a cult - but not evangelical Christianity either.

    Finally - with regards to the eating of certain foods. Christians are not under the Mosaic covenant with Israel, because that covenant is no longer in effect, and we are not Jews.

    Eat whatever you want. The dietary restrictions under the Mosaic covenant were there to make a hard line of separation between Israel and the Gentile world. That line of separation ended in Christ, and ever since Gentiles have been welcomed into God's family. So the laws that reinforced the separation - the dietary laws, were not included under the new covenant.

    Bottom line - eat all the bacon you want.

     
  • At 9:01 AM, September 09, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cool because I love bacon, hope your family stuff worked out man thanks for getting back to me, beentrolling this site for days lol. Your good man, real good, we need more educated minds and souls like yours here in Adelaide. How do I grasp a better understanding of scriputres as you have?, ive read scriptures you ve mentioned but until youve outlined a well versed explanation for them I do not take from them as much as say you would have, Ive been reading the Orthodox Study Bible, which is translated to modern English and has meanings and explanations of verses at the bottom, I thought I would start with this because they advised that the original bible was translated from the greek language, I am interested in reading other sound books that are biblically correct like the bible to better my knowledge but dont know where to start and almost believe the bible is enough? And how do I know if what I am being educated and fed is not purposely put there to denounced God, sublimely, for example carbon dating and the existence of dinosaurs 40million years ago, amd theres a missing bible they found recently in gold writing written in Aramaic saying Jesus had a wife and rubbish like that, its all evil just like Tv and what is programmed in our heads from a young age is all for an alterior motive and its not a good one, I agree totally. I try not to run with to much and keep an open mind always even after all the conspiracy theories I have read and learnt about how wicked people are. My cousins are mormons ive been studying the book of mormon and there are alot of contradictions, from my understanding they believe in a different Jesus? Is this true? Because in the bible it says to believe in a different God is a dreadful unforgivable sin, does that mean regardless of how nice they are because of their occult belief they will be cast into a pit of misery and fire? Do you go to church? Do you consider yourself an evangelist? And did you have a mentor that helped guide you on the right path? Because every religions seems to have mentors that think their path is right and just, but I think everyones confused and it confuses me as to whats expected of me as a Christian, is faith prayer repentance, my actions and reading scriptures enough? As always thanks for your time, your words help more than what you would know, as evil as the internet is there is some good to it, Savvas...

     
  • At 9:51 AM, September 09, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas,

    There is no secret to understanding the scriptures. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul writes that the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God; he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. What Paul means by the "natural man" is a person who doesn't trust that what he is reading is true. It is no secret, therefore, that if you believe the bible is wrong on any point, you won't understand it, because what you need for understanding is a settled trust (faith) that what you're reading is actually true.

    If the bible has even a single error in it, then how do we know if there aren't other errors? If there are other errors, how do we know what is an error and what isn't?

    Frankly, unless the bible is entirely true, it is completely useless, since we would have no way of knowing what parts are true and what parts are not - and honestly, if God cannot keep His word pure/true, then is he really God?

    So the first principle to understanding the scriptures is to make sure that you don't set yourself up as a judge over the scriptures - deciding what is true and what is false. People who do that (and there are many) end up believing only what they want to believe, and rejecting what they don't want to hear. This doesn't open their understanding, it closes it.

    I've done nothing special or out of the ordinary. Having simply believed that God isn't a liar, and that His word must be entirely true if any of it is true, I committed myself to prayerfully read, consider, and apply the word of God each day of my life.

    When I read the bible, I always ask God in prayer to cause me to understand what I read. I ask Him to correct any misunderstandings, and I trust Him to do these things. I don't look for signs and wonders - I just trust God, and He has answered this prayer again and again and again.

    If you aren't willing to study the original languages (Koine Greek, and Hebrew), then you should be reading the most literal translations you can get your hands on - the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the English Standard Bibld (ESV) are both quite good, though I favor the former for study, and the latter for reading.

    Once you're familiar with the whole bible - which usually happens after reading it all the way through at least once - but for some not until you've read it a few times - you will not be subject to the sort of huckster-isms that others fall prey to. You will know what the bible says, and just as importantly, you will know what it does not say.

    (cont)

     
  • At 9:51 AM, September 09, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…


    (cont)
    Conspiracy theories and whatnot are all things that people can get into when they are ignorant of the truth. If you know what a $100 bill looks like, you're not going to believe that a bubble gum wrapper is an hundred dollar bill no matter who tries to sell you the lie. In the same way, once you know what the bible says, and believe it - you're not going to be persuaded of any passing fancies or the like.

    The truth is, you cannot understand and believe the scriptures unless God grants you that - and when He does, you cannot "un"-believe what you *know* to be true, because you will not be persuaded that something is true by an argument - you will simply know it is true because God will cause you to know it.

    The book of mormon is not Christian, it is presented as a latter day addition (and -gulp!- correction) to the scriptures, and as such is full of garbage. People believe it because they are deceived.

    I do go to church, in fact I am a pastor. I consider myself a Christian, and it is the duty of every believer to do the work of an evangelist - and I have led others to Christ, but I don't feel that is my primary calling - I believe I am called to be a pastor/teacher, or a "teaching elder" since that seems to be my inclination and where I am of most use to the Lord.

    I was mentored by several Christians along the way, the proverbs speak of iron sharpening iron - and this is a picture of how people of genuine faith grow in their faith by helping each other to see more truth, to walk closer to their God, and to pursue those things which make for genuine joy and to avoid all that would hinder that.

    I hope you'll begin to study the bible - reading it from cover to cover, and believing it to be true (all of it). That will probably go a long way to strengthening you in the path you ought to go. Likewise find yourself a church where the bible is believed to be true and (most importantly) is held as the highest authority on earth in matters of faith and conduct. There are all kinds of churches that believe the bible is true, but they believe their own opinions or creeds, or denominational distinctives are "truer" - you'll do better in a church that believes the whole bible is true, and represents the final authority on matters of faith and conduct (as I mentioned above).

    Hope that helps.

     
  • At 10:11 PM, September 21, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Daniel, hope your well, Ive got a question, if Adam and Eve had two sons how were the rest of us created? Through incest? Why was God in the Old Testament stating an eye for an eye and in the new testament Jesus advised us to turn the other cheek? Is that a contradiction? And all the people who wrote the bible, do you believe that they wrote the bible from their own experiences and thoughts or with the help of God did the scriptures get written? Thanks, Savvas.

     
  • At 5:52 AM, September 22, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Sav,

    The children of Adam and Eve began to populate the world by marrying one another. This wasn't a sin at the time because God hadn't made any commands against it. In fact, it was obviously God's intention to begin to populate the world in this way. Sin brought death and corruption into the world - including genetic mutations. Since genetic flaws were passed on to children, over time, and especially following the flood (when the gene pool was radically reduced) these flaws began to become troublesome. It may be that Noah was chosen to survive the flood because the gene which allowed long life was flawed in either him or his wife. It was certainly God's stated intention that men should no longer live to the great ages Noah's forefathers had attained. By the time the law was given people weren't living as long. Allowing siblings to continue to marry would have increased genetic corruption - and so God at that time forbid it from that time forward - as perhaps a merciful command to stave off the rapidity of our genetic decline. Ultimately it was God's plan to eventually disallow sibling unions, and that is when and why it became a sin. Before that it wasn't evil because you weren't doing something God forbade.

    (Cont)

     
  • At 6:09 AM, September 22, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    The Law of Moses laid out a system of Law and Government for Israel. The law stated, as a general instruction, that the punishment for a crime in Israel, should be equal to the crime. A man wasn't to be put to death for causing another to lose an eye or a tooth. If you caused another to lose an eye, the limit of the punishment was an "Eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" etc. This was the formal Law given to the nation of Israel intended to give wisdom to those whose job it was to judge the people of Israel - to give them sound judgment.

    Jesus was not talking about changing the Jewish laws, perhaps because He knew that the nation of Israel was about to end shortly after His death. He was speaking to individuals about how the New Covenant worked. Under the old "national" covenant, the authorities were told how to give judgments (eye for an eye) under the new there would be no national law to guarentee justice, so the command was not about how a person's government should judge with equity, but rather about how the children of God ought to forgive one another. Not a contradiction - but a correction. Not that Jesus was correcting the old law, but correcting the notion of applying what was given to the nation to guide it in judging fairly, in such a way that there was no room for mercy and forgiveness between individuals who were dealing with one another on a personal level. The government was still supposed to judge with equity, but the individual under the New Covenant was required to be forgiving.

    (Cont)

     
  • At 6:22 AM, September 22, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    With regards to the inspiration of scripture, Peter tells us this, starting in 1 Peter 1:10, "As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

    It was the Spirit of Christ provoking and inspiring the writers of scripture to write the Old Testament. Likewise for the New Testament.

    Luke, the writer of Acts and the gospel of Luke, began his gospel stating simply that it seemed good to him to write these things down in order. He too was writing under the influence of Christ through the Holy Spirit - but not in a way where Christ was dictating what was to be said - rather Christ sovereignly uses people like Luke, to say what He intends to say through them as they write according to their own understanding and experiences.

    That being said, the bible contains all that we need to know in order to know who God is, and turn to Him in earnest.

     
  • At 4:44 PM, September 22, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks alot, you seem to have all the answers to my questions, Savva

     
  • At 2:31 PM, September 23, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas,

    I don't have any answers, but I know the scriptures well enough to repeat what I have heard concerning the message Christ gave us.

    The truth is, if you read the scriptures and believe them, you will be able to find answers such as these for yourself.

    I am just serving my Lord when I share what His words say with others.

     
  • At 7:32 AM, September 27, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well all the same its much appreciated, hey Daniel do you believe babies need to be baptised? Or even we need to be baptised with water to truly have Jesus in our life? If no then why did Jesus show us this when he was baptised by John? If yes then how would a baby be full of sin when their so innocent? Bible says we are born into sin but does Jesus dying on the cross wash that away and make babies innocent? Please quote scripture if possible, thanks, Savvas.

     
  • At 8:09 AM, September 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas,

    Water Baptism in the scriptures pictures the spiritual union with Christ that we call the new birth or being born again. In Romans 6, it is described as being baptized (spiritually) into Jesus Christ.

    The word baptism means to be "put into" or immersed. It was used at the time to describe such things as burying a body entirely in the ground ("baptized" into the earth), or to fully submerge a cucumber in brine when you were pickling it. The notion from scripture is that we are in Christ, even as Christ is in us. That is the only "Baptism" that pertains to our salvation.

    The scriptures teach that believers should be baptized, but it does not teach that people without faith should be baptized, so baptizing babies isn't really biblical - it is traditional, and it is founded on some wrong theology about cleansing from former sins. Water baptism doesn't clean anything - it is just (as Peter writes) the answer of a good conscience to God - in other words, it is an act of obedience because believers are commanded to be baptized.

    A believer who rejects to the command to be baptized, is probably a false believer, because the spirit of Christ constrains us to obey our Lord, and baptism is a pretty easy command to obey. Anyone who opposes it, is likely unsaved, but in some cases may just be very, very confused.

    Either way, water baptism neither cleanses nor saves. Baptizing an unbelieving baby may make the parents feel better, but it serves no spiritual purpose, other than to perpetuate a superstitious approach to baptism.

    (cont)

     
  • At 8:20 AM, September 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)

    The thief who was crucified alongside our Lord Jesus Christ had not been baptized, and the Lord said, upon that man's good confession, that he would be with the Lord that day in paradise. So, no, baptism isn't required for salvation - but unless one simply cannot be baptized before he or she dies, it is a good sign they are theologically messed up.

    Baby baptisms don't count. I was baptized as a baby, but when I became a Christian, I was re-baptized because I understood that my baptism as a babe was invalid - i.e. not a Christian baptism.

    So we don't "need" it to be saved, but we do "need" it if we are actually going to be obedient Christians. The only reason a genuine Christian wouldn't get baptized is because they were willfully disobedient, or because they were woefully ignorant.

    Jesus was baptized by John in water, but that only pictured what was going on Spiritually. Recall that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus - that was the day that Jesus (the man) was spiritually baptized (born from above). Christ received the Holy Spirit - which was the anointing for which He bore the title "Messiah/Christ" - the anointed one. He was, the first "Christian". He wasn't being baptized with a baptism of repentance like everyone else John was baptizing, He was receiving the Holy Spirit - the "new birth" even as all Christians do when they believe.

    In other words, you're mixing apples and oranges there.

    Babes may be inclined to sin from the womb, but that doesn't mean they have sinned (yet). They are not responsible for the sins of their parents, and so are in a state of innocence. They haven't earned hell by their own sin, but they likewise have not merited heaven because they are not righteous. They do not need Christ's death to cover their sins, but they do need Christ's life to be fit for paradise. So Christ takes little ones like this with him, apart from personal faith, because he is gracious.

    King David, on the death of his son with Bathsheba, said that the child could not return from the grave to David, but that David would go to the child when his life ended - suggesting the child would be in paradise. There aren't a lot of verses that make this plain, so it isn't the hill to die on. But I believe that babes who die do not go to hell.

    Hope that helps.

     
  • At 8:20 AM, September 27, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    (cont)

    The thief who was crucified alongside our Lord Jesus Christ had not been baptized, and the Lord said, upon that man's good confession, that he would be with the Lord that day in paradise. So, no, baptism isn't required for salvation - but unless one simply cannot be baptized before he or she dies, it is a good sign they are theologically messed up.

    Baby baptisms don't count. I was baptized as a baby, but when I became a Christian, I was re-baptized because I understood that my baptism as a babe was invalid - i.e. not a Christian baptism.

    So we don't "need" it to be saved, but we do "need" it if we are actually going to be obedient Christians. The only reason a genuine Christian wouldn't get baptized is because they were willfully disobedient, or because they were woefully ignorant.

    Jesus was baptized by John in water, but that only pictured what was going on Spiritually. Recall that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus - that was the day that Jesus (the man) was spiritually baptized (born from above). Christ received the Holy Spirit - which was the anointing for which He bore the title "Messiah/Christ" - the anointed one. He was, the first "Christian". He wasn't being baptized with a baptism of repentance like everyone else John was baptizing, He was receiving the Holy Spirit - the "new birth" even as all Christians do when they believe.

    In other words, you're mixing apples and oranges there.

    Babes may be inclined to sin from the womb, but that doesn't mean they have sinned (yet). They are not responsible for the sins of their parents, and so are in a state of innocence. They haven't earned hell by their own sin, but they likewise have not merited heaven because they are not righteous. They do not need Christ's death to cover their sins, but they do need Christ's life to be fit for paradise. So Christ takes little ones like this with him, apart from personal faith, because he is gracious.

    King David, on the death of his son with Bathsheba, said that the child could not return from the grave to David, but that David would go to the child when his life ended - suggesting the child would be in paradise. There aren't a lot of verses that make this plain, so it isn't the hill to die on. But I believe that babes who die do not go to hell.

    Hope that helps.

     
  • At 1:03 AM, September 28, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well said thanks alot.

     
  • At 2:18 AM, November 28, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Daniel its Savvas long time no speak, hope you are well, quick question, what sins are unforgivable in Gods eyes? Will murderers be forgiven? And do you believe in different kingdoms in heaven as in different level or is there just a heaven and a hell? Thanks.

     
  • At 6:09 AM, November 28, 2015, Blogger Daniel said…

    Savvas,

    The one and only unforgivable sin mentioned in the scriptures, was to ascribe the miracles that Christ performed through the power of the Holy Spirit, to the devil - which Christ described as blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    Clearly, it would be impossible to believe that Jesus was the Messiah if one believed that Jesus was actually a false prophet whose supernatural miracles were actually demonic in origin. This was the charge that some accused Jesus of - saying that He was possessed by a demon and that the miracles He performed were performed through Baalzebul.

    Anyone believing this nonsense would already be unsavable by virtue of their rejecting the one and only way of salvation through God's Christ - but Jesus singled out the fact that the offense in this particular sin was not directed at Him, but at the Holy Spirit (whose role in the salvation promised through the new covenant was to indwell, and thereby give the life of Christ to, the new believer). So while simply failing to believe that Christ's miracles were of divine origin would have been sufficient an error to keep a person from becoming saved, to go one step further and blaspheme the very Spirit through whom the promised new life is given, is something unforgivable.

    Now it may be that the reason it is unforgivable is because as long as you are convinced of that lie you will not come to Christ, or it may be because the Holy Spirit is under no obligation to save anyone who blasphemes Him. It may be a sin that is committed in the heart and not necessarily the mouth - that is, you'd have to really believe it, and not just say it (getting someone who doesn't speak English to blaspheme the Holy Spirit unwittingly for example - probably wouldn't qualify). Regardless, it is not something any rational person, with knowledge of the truth, should ever do.

    God lives in heaven - people don't and won't. When we die we go to paradise or hades and await the day of judgment. On the day of judgement the old earth and heavens (I.e. The "sky" - and all that is in it - the stars and the rest of the universe) will be destroyed and a new earth and universe created. Those who are in paradise when this day comes and those who are upon the earth as Christians in this day (the day of Judgment) will go to the marriage supper of the lamb on the new earth where they will live forever with Christ. Those in Hades and those upon the (old) earth on the day of judgement will be cast int the lake of fire and live in eternal torment forever.

    No kingdoms (plural) for there will only be one Ruler: God. Who will be the only sovereign and all those upon the earth will be subjects of that one kingdom. Rewards will differ for believers, but the bible doesn't describe that as different levels in heaven but rather as being given greater or lesser authority on the new earth. We will reign with Chrust, at varying levels of authority. In the lake of fire, the bible likewise does not describe different levels where people are grouped together sharing similar "levels of torment" rather people suffer entirely alone in eternal torment according to their sin - the degree of torment may be worse for those whose sins were worse.

    Hope that helps.

     
  • At 5:31 AM, November 29, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It always helps thanks alot. Savvas.

     
  • At 9:40 PM, April 23, 2016, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I really appreciate reading the answers you've given to Savvas. I have found myself wondering a lot lately too. I've been going to church since I was 12 and I became baptized then. I'm 31 now and as I look back at my life, wonder if I were ever truly saved. I've been in some terrible places and have recently fallen back into sin. The inner struggle is something that keeps me up at night. I feel so guilty and yet I continue to fulfill my flesh. I want so badly to obey God and I pray all the time and ask for forgiveness. I know God is real and I also know Satan is too....I've experienced blessings and felt and given into the temptation of sin. I'm sorry this is all messed up but can you direct me? I feel so alone and hate my sins. I wonder if I'm even saved :/

     
  • At 8:01 AM, April 24, 2016, Blogger Daniel said…

    I would be honored to share whatever I can.

    I'm tied up for a few days, but feel free to email me directly, or if you prefer this medium we could discuss these things here. My email is linked on the blog.

     
  • At 12:44 PM, April 24, 2016, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you Daniel. I will email you. My name is Andrea so just be on the lookout for it. No pressure to respond quickly, I understand things are busy for everyone. I appreciate you taking the time out, however.

     
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