Deceit vs. Counter-Deceit: Alt-Reality and the Collapse of Common Consensus ( By Chris Anderson)

(The following is an article written by a dear brother, Chris Anderson. I know Chris and have spent time with him in worship, prayer, and discussion about the things of God. When I received this article via email I was once again amazed at how the Spirit of God speaks through his people and wonderfully reminded of how we are all together one in Christ: diverse members, one Body, joined to one Head through whom we share the heart and mind of the Lord.  I immediately asked him for permission to share it with NLI Ministries readers.)

 

Deceit vs. Counter-Deceit: Alt-Reality and the Collapse of Common Consensus ( By Chris Anderson)

I Jn. 5:20 …So that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true….

Gen. 11: 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth….

Ex. 10: 22 …And there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 They did not see one another….

II Th. 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…

Is. 8:12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.”

II Tim. 2:23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.

A phenomenon has begun arising to destroy the world’s core capacity for consensus through communications as chiefly conducted by electronic media. Two articles have already come forth from this ministry in this regard under the caption “Don’t Believe a Word of It.” Yet given the intensity and vastness of what is developing, a third article is required.

In order to deal with this deceitful phenomenon, it is necessary to begin by establishing our reference point for truth. I direct your attention to the five scripture passages that head this article. The first identifies our source of truth. The remaining passages all identify the deceit.

The Truth

So we begin with the truth. The knowledge of all truth is ultimately traced to and anchored in the knowledge of God through Christ through the Spirit, Who Is Truth. We who share together in this ministry are seekers of Truth and truth reconciliation inside of our common knowing of Him Who Is True. We rely on the Spirit of Truth in Jesus Christ for our individual understanding and in turn for our cooperative and collaborative common understanding.

So in moving to discuss what we will discuss here, it is vital that I first reestablish our ultimate common reference point for what Truth is. Truth is not established through the empirical knowledge of our senses, which can deceive us, nor in revelation per se, which can also be deceiving to the false heart. Truth is established in our spiritual knowing of “Him Who Is True.”

Thus the more we know Him through time spent in surrendered waiting and listening in the Lord’s fellowship through His written word, the better we come to know “the truth” about all other “else” pertaining to this life and world.

The Collapse of Common Consensus

The reason this is now more vital than we have ever perceived it to be is because the common bases we have historically accepted for scientifically knowing “the truth” about life in this world are now being destroyed in front of our eyes under a deceitful power of accusatory suspicion, creating mass confusion and conflict throughout world society. This assault is being executed throughout the vast networks of electronic media by which we as a world receive information.

In 2016, we touched on the “fake news” controversy that became and remains the buzzword at the heart of political turmoil particularly in America. Through the ability to manipulate electronic media including photography and video, a capacity has always existed and has been exercised to skew news reporting to create false reports and impressions. It is deceit in the first dimension.

However, in the wake of the exposure of such capacity, a second dimensional counter-deceit in the form of accusatory suspicion has arisen to deny there to be any truth to any reporting of any news. The capacity for any reporting of any kind is assaulted to where any and all news is deemed “fake news.” Thus the capacity for common belief in any factuality is being destroyed, producing culture wide confusion, chaos and mental anarchy. In its place, alternate realities based upon conspiratorial conjecture are being advanced as the true reality, not based on the word of God or of His Spirit.

This scenario is not confined to politics but is reaching out to accuse the fundamentals of empirical scientific belief by which society commonly functions.  The most basic propositions of commonly accepted natural reality are now being assaulted as “false” and “fake,” beginning with the charge that scientific belief in a round earth is a hoax conspiratorially foisted upon mankind. Such proponents are in turn devoted to proving the alt reality of a “flat earth.”

In tandem with this is the charge that everything related to the science of space exploration over the last 60 years has been “faked” (man never went to the moon or even into outer space. It was all filmed in Hollywood.) Again, the result of this is massive debate, confusion, the destruction of the capacity to believe anything to be true and for common societal consensus; and the creation of competing alt-realities (worldviews established merely upon conspiratorial conjectures).

Deceit vs. Counter-Deceit

The difficulty at the heart of these controversies is that one dimension of deceit is being released against another dimension of deceit in order to destroy any reliable common perception of natural reality so as to create mental anarchy across the entire human culture.

Please soak in that last statement:

One dimension of deceit is being released against another dimension of deceit in order to destroy any reliable common perception of natural reality so as to create mental anarchy across the entire human culture.

The reason this must be identified is because the body of Christ is 1) being sucked up into this realm of conspiratorial counter-deceit over the natural realm and 2) is experiencing this conflict within Herself regarding the very things of the Spirit and spiritual truth.

The Lure Without

Let’s take the first point first:

The body of Christ is being sucked up into this realm of conspiratorial counter-deceit over the natural realm.

As Spirit-sensitive believers in Jesus, we inherently know that the world is filled with deception. We know that conspiracies exist on many levels, both political and scientific. The New World Order is such a conspiracy. So is the theory of Evolution. These are fairly well known and identifiable conspiracies based in the readily observable evidence.

What we are not however as savvy to is the counter-deception of “alt-real” philosophy based in a spirit of conspiracy exposure that plays off the first dimension of deceit. Under this spirit, true spiritual discernment corrupts into a counterfeit spirit of suspicion on which believers adopt alt-real worldviews based in the belief that all natural reality is being faked—whether political events, violent tragedies, natural disasters or scientific achievements—and their job is to expose it and convert everyone to their alt beliefs.

The net effect of this is that believers are being lured out of their prayer closets and listening chambers, leaving their first love to become caught up into both sides of the conspiratorial “reality” debates, and so swallowed up in the mass confusion. (That is the satanic objective.)

The Lure Within

Now to the second point:

The body of Christ is experiencing this conflict within Herself regarding the very things of the Spirit and spiritual truth.

This ground is more familiar to us but bears repeating. As prophetic people we understand that satan counterfeits spiritual gifts. We know there are false ministers who possess genuine gifts. Judas was the first in that line. We also know there are false / counterfeit gifts that mimic the gifts of the Spirit. There are false tongues and false healings and false miracles. (Simon the sorcerer had this capacity.)

For all these things we require discernment. However we as a body are equally afflicted by the spirit of counter-deceit. It is the spirit of suspicion masking as the spirit of discernment. This spirit’s job is to cast doubt on every work of the Spirit and His ministers, whether genuine or not, charging every Spirit minister and movement with some kind of hidden complicity in the “anti-christ one world agenda,” all bringing the church to a place of internal disempowered confusion and strife. (We saw this so clearly in the Lakeland affair.) The end is to leave the church within Herself wondering, “How can we ever believe whether anything going on is of the Holy Spirit?

Passing the Test

So here is what we want to recognize about what is going on.

First, this counter-spirit of deceit answers to the strong delusion God said He would send in the final end times because people refused to love the Truth. Remember, God is always testing our hearts for the state of our love. It is to this end that the tempter has been released to prove our hearts before Him. We saw this in the teaching on Lying Signs and Wonders. So, if we are a people who fail the test by failing to love the truth, we will become subject to the spirit of counter-delusion.

We should first recognize however that this spirit was not originally intended to judge the church (any more than hell was originally meant for man). The spirit of counter-deceit was intended as judgment on the world. And it is judgment on the world. The chaos now being experienced culture-wide over alt-reality based on the spirit of conspiracy exposure is unlike anything we have ever known.

But because the world is in the church, the church has to be sifted, and if we in the church fail of our first love, we will come under the world’s judgment. Our own common reference points of belief with the world over scientific realities are under this assault. And we are seeing this happen as believers—and I mean prophetic believers—are getting caught up into arguing for the “flat earth.”

The spirit of alt-real counter-deceit is the real power behind the confusion that was put upon Babylon and the darkness experienced in the plague of Egypt. It says it was so dark that they “could not see one another.” This speaks to the destruction of the common reference points for natural reality the world shares among its own.

In the same passage about the plague of darkness, it goes on to say though that “all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.”  This article is meant to be a “sons of Israel” article for God’s people. It is to give light in our dwellings amidst this present darkness. The Lord wants us to remain in His Light as the True One, and not get caught up in the no-win war between deceit and alt-real counter-deceit, where all proponents on all sides lose.

The Pull of Conspiratorial Alt Reality

But in particular, this article is given to keep us from falling into the error of alt-real deception through attacking everything as “fake.” This is where the Lord’s word to Isaiah comes in:

Is. 8:12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.”

Don’t be feeding on “infowars.com” and all the websites and news outlets dedicated to exposing conspiracies, prophetic and otherwise. They do not have the real truth, even if they may have a part of it. They are still feeding on alt-real counter-deception.

Please notice that all this confusion is coming through the mass airwaves. It is all coming through mass electronic communications with the power to manipulate communications media of every kind, audio and visual. And you know who is the prince of the power of the air. The chaos is not coming through your Bible! It’s not coming through your prayer channel!

Staying in the Truth

So one asks,

Then how are we to know what to believe about anything we are hearing? Was 9-11 staged or wasn’t it? Was the shooting in Las Vegas staged or wasn’t it? Did people really die, or was it all actors? Did some people die at Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon, or was it all faked? What did NASA fake and what didn’t it fake about the space program? (Are the Challenger astronauts really still alive?) Are these fires and earthquakes and F5 tornadoes being caused by HAARP or by chemtrails or by God?

All I am going to say right now is what I said in the beginning: Stay in your prayer closet, listen for the Spirit, and wait. Don’t come out of there. Don’t venture out into the airwaves.

Remember what Vicki [she and her family are in the midst of the fires raging in California] just said to us about staying hidden in the Lord during the fire. Some things cannot be known until the smoke clears, literally as well as spiritually. (The ones actually in the midst of the fire had no way of knowing what was happening! Their airwaves were cut off.) You just need to abide under the shadow of the military love of the Lord!

In due time, everything will be revealed for what it really was. We don’t have to know what it really was. If something was faked, or part faked, it doesn’t matter. If it was man caused or God caused or both, it doesn’t matter. Determining who did something doesn’t determine whether or not it was God’s judgment. (It doesn’t matter why the Tower of Siloam collapsed. It didn’t change anything for the eighteen who died under it.)

The Lord is on a different playing field with you than that. So don’t venture out to get caught up into the confusion. When you need to know what you need to know, the Spirit will make it clear. He is the Spirit of Truth. But He doesn’t reveal to us all that He knows. He only reveals what we need to know when we need to know it.

As pertains to this ministry, we will only be discussing airwaves issues and any related conspiracy points at the Lord’s convicting of their need to be discussed, and no further. We will offer to this Circle private spirit witness and testimony to whatever is revealed and prompted to be discussed. But we will not be entering into alt-reality discussions and debates over unverifiable conflicting evidences regarding what is said over the public airwaves. This is for your assurance going forward.

&&&&&&&&&&

I have written this to stablish, strengthen and settle hearts, to keep us from counter-delusion posing as “true reality” and from all those things Paul speaks of as “foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

If we can pass this test, we will be well on our way to readiness for the Lord’s voice when He calls our name at the Exodus.

With steadfast love,

Chris Anderson

First Love Ministry

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When The Sun & Moon Speak

Yesterday, as we all watched the Eclipse together from different places across the country, as we all stared with wonder at the moment of Totality, something really wonderful happened. Magically (or so it may have seemed), all hostilities ceased, protests abruptly came to a halt, and we didn’t care about the color of the person’s skin who stood or sat next to us. As one were simply amazed. Watching some of the news coverage after the event, people said that they had cried not really knowing why and that they had felt a peace and oneness with everyone and everything. All eyes were fixed on the heavens, and somehow we knew there was MORE and that we  wanted to be a part of it.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.
 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

[God] has planted eternity in the human heart…      

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature…

You and I were created in the image of God. No matter the color of your skin or if you are male or female, you were made in his likeness; you were made for Him. And though sin has brought death and separation, perverting our understanding of God and ourselves; we KNOW. We may not understand how we know or entirely what it even is that we know, but the truth is that when we behold the glory of God in his creation our hearts know that we were created for something more. And what we experienced yesterday as we watched the eclipse together was creation itself, the sun and the moon crying out, “God is here, and he wants you!”

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

[God] has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature…

Know it or not, yesterday, we all watched the same “podcast.” In our hearts, we all heard the same message: “Come to Me, let me love you and show you who you really are.”

 

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We all like the Psalms, the way David and others so poetically describe God and their relationship with him. But it’s another thing altogether to experience those truths, to own them, and know them. I guess that’s the way it is with the Bible as a whole. I mean really, you can know a lot about it and still know nothing at all. True biblical knowledge, true Theology is relational, and anything short of that is just empty religious gnosis.

I think that we as American Christians are entering a time in which, like never before, we are going to have to experience the reality of the biblical story in our own context or we may fail to survive. The trials, conflicts, and economic uncertainty that lie ahead will require more than an ability to quote scripture and recite biblical promises.  We must know that YES, “Your steadfast love O Lord is better than life.” Our hearts will only experience true peace when, “The Lord is with me, whom shall I fear?” is reality. We need to know that the faithful caring intimacy of God is indeed more valuable than having a fat bank account and a retirement package. And believe it or not, many of the trials we are experiencing right now are the very tools with which the Holy Spirit is making real the things we only think we know.

The reality is that in the Christian life, usually, it is in the midst of conflict that we learn and maturation occurs. The battles we are encountering today are preparing us for the wars still to come. As we walk with God, relational experience makes objective truth subjective reality.  Biblical truth becomes our own as we walk with God and comprehend his love in our own experience. It’s how we come to “know that we know.”

“…even though you are temporarily harassed by all kinds of trials and temptations. This is no accident—it happens to prove your faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold, and gold, as you know, even though it is ultimately perishable, must be purified by fire. This proving of your faith is planned to bring you praise and honour and glory in the day when Jesus Christ reveals himself. And though you have never seen him, yet I know that you love him. At present you trust him without being able to see him, and even now he brings you a joy that words cannot express and which has in it a hint of the glories of Heaven; and all the time you are receiving the result of your faith in him—the salvation of your own souls.”

 

Don’t Freak Out

Something that’s on my mind a lot these days is the tendency we as Christians have of freaking out when the “world” behaves like the “world.” Why does it come as a surprise that those who don’t know Jesus reject the Truth, call right wrong and wrong right? I think we should remember that those who aren’t intimate with Jesus walk in darkness- it’s really as simple as that. We also need to keep in mind that there are those who know the truth, have been exposed to the Light, and have chosen darkness of their own free will. They are a god unto themselves, defining and redefining truth as they see fit. It can be frustrating for anyone when logic and any consistent standard of critical thinking have been abandoned, but we as the Body of Christ have to resist the temptation to freak out.

We as lovers of Jesus have not been asked (by God) to win “the argument.” We have not been asked to convince the world that we are right and they are wrong. No, we have been called to love those who are in darkness, to offer Jesus, and live our lives in such a way that wherever we go it can be said, “The Kingdom of God has come near.” But today  Christians are freaking out, and it honestly seems like many of us actually want to see people go to hell. (As if that would somehow validate us, and we can say, “I told you so!”) Have we forgotten that once we too walked in darkness and were by nature hostile towards God? Answer me this: was it some freaked out, mad at the world Christian that brought you to the Truth? Or was it the love, grace and mercy of God offered through the lives of those who had themselves encountered and been changed by Jesus?

Yes, as this age draws to an end we as Christians will find ourselves diametrically opposed to much of what goes on around us, and we are supposed to speak the truth. I’m not at all saying that we are to turn a blind eye to sin, adopt some kind of escapist mentality, or ignore the brokenness that surrounds us. And folks do need to know that God has indeed “fixed a day on which he will, through Jesus, judge the secrets of men’s hearts.” But we need to remember that Jesus really is the Truth. There really is freedom and healing in him. He really is the Light of life, and by his Spirit we can share Reality with those around us. Don’t freak out, reach out!

Don’t Be Surprised

Although Jesus was not confrontational merely for the sake of confrontation, his teaching nevertheless caused much consternation among his listeners. His mere presence stirred up strong emotion. He said at one point, “I provoke hatred because I show the world how evil its deeds really are.” The  Good Shepherd had appeared, but they said, “He is leading people astray.” To the One who cast out devils they said, “You have a demon!” Speaking of the Son of God who taught the very words of the Father, the religious leaders said, “Only foolish people who are already damned listen to this imposter.” And Jesus tells us, “If they did these things to me don’t be surprised if they do them to you.”

Jesus was (and is) reality. And when reality “shows up” mere concepts of reality are exposed for the facades they actually are.  The presence of Truth provokes, divides, loves, heals and brings liberty- all at the same time. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day said, “We know God!” Jesus’ presence exposed the reality of their situation. ” You don’t really know him.” he said. “If you did, you would recognize me .” The Truth exposed their hypocrisy, and they hated him for it. “Don’t be surprised if they do the same to you.”

We are living in a day in whlucysurpriseich authentic Christianity will put you at odds with the mainstream. Really, it always has. We in America have had it so easy for so long, and I believe we are beginning to see that the jig is up. From now on, truly following Jesus is going to cost us. We will experience increasing rejection, estrangement from “church” friends and perhaps even physical persecution in the days to come. Jesus told us that it would be this way. “Don’t be surprised if they do the same to you.”

I’ll leave you with this:

After their release the apostles went back to their friends and reported to them what the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they raised their voices to God in united prayer and said, ‘Lord, you are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ’. For truly against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to do whatever your hand and your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word, by stretching out your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ When they had prayed their meeting-place was shaken; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God fearlessly.”

To Tell The Truth

We’ve reached the final chapter in John’s  first epistle. I’ve been a good boy, keeping my mouth shut and offering no commentary as promised. It has been my prayer through our little excursion that you will see that it is possible to actually KNOW that you have eternal life.

So without further ado, 1 John 5:

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

“This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
disillusioned
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

” If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

” We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus
Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

Testing. Loving. Knowing.

I don’t know about you, but in reading the book of 1 John, I’m seeing some things that really challenge me! (I hope you are as well.) Maybe after reading the book as a whole it would be a good idea to go back and explore it a little more in depth. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve got a few questions! Anyhow, let me go through my check-list before we start…

Presuppositions: Check.
Mouth Shut: Check.
Here we go.

1 John 4- “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to telvistruthhem. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and
his love is perfected in us.

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Welcome To Reality

Welcome to reality. Those entering must agree to check (as honestly as possible) all presuppositions at the door.
Today we are continuing our look into “1 John” to see how we can know, can we really know, and should we even care if we know that we truly posses eternal life? Let’s do it!

1 John 3: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps owelcome to reality picsn sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”

Can I Know? How Do I Know? Why Should I Care?

So, we’re going through the book of 1John, chapter by chapter, to see how we can know, can we really know, and should we even care if we know that we truly posses eternal life?  We agreed that we would check our presuppositions at the door ( It’s hard to do, I know.), and that I would keep my mouth shut, offering no commentary. I hope you’re writing down any thoughts you may have. If discussion ensues, we can all lovingly and respectfully go there together. (Remember, you can like us on Face Book and join the discussion there.)  Let’s go to chapter two!

1John 2: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkneesher 2ss, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

“I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”

Work It

Any one that knows me or has heard my testimony knows that I’m all about grace and mercy. I will never understand why a holy God would extend to me this awesome love. I know that it is by his grace, through the faith that he gives us as a gift, that we have been and are being saved. However, we have to understand that being in relationship with God also involves (I’m gonna say it) WORKS.

Check out what the Apostle James has to say:  “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?  Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.’ He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”

This portion of scripture troubles a lot of people as they see it in opposition to being saved by grace through faith. I believe that in this passage James is showing us what real faith looks like. True saving faith involves more than just an acknowledgement of the gospel’s claims concerning Jesus. Even the foulest demon of hell believes that Jesus is the Son of God. What a travesty it is that America is filled with folks who believe that they are in Christ because they were sprinkled as babies or 20 years ago walked some aisle and shook a preachers hand and said, “I believe.”  Their relationship with sin has never changed, they look and act no different from the world, and yet they believe that all is well. We have done a great injustice for which we will be held accountable if we do not seek to correct this faulty understanding of saving faith. Faith that is real is faith in action. When you truly believe, there will be corresponding works that attest to the validity of your faith. Authentic belief (faith) is always accompanied by a tangible response (works).

James points out the fact that Abraham’s faith was proven to be real by the things he did. He did not merely profess belief in God; he obeyed him by not withholding Isaac. Rahab the prostitute demonstrated her belief in God by her actions. The truth is that we can say anything, but who we are is ultimately revealed by what we do. If a man tells his wife that he loves her, but doesn’t speak to her, hold her, kiss her, protect her, or in any way demonstrate his professed love; would she be inclined to believe that his love for her is real? Even so, if we say we have faith in God, but live the same way we did before we came to faith, if we never speak to him, serve him, or in any way demonstrate the faith we say we have; is there any reason to believe we truly have faith?

We are saved by God’s grace, apart from anything we could ever do. Our salvation is a result of a loving God extending faith, grace, and mercy to us in Jesus. We can’t do anything to deserve God’s grace and the faith we have is given to us by God. But James reminds us that the one who possesses the real deal will be one whose life demonstrates its reality by the things he does.