The Danger of Backsliding

The Danger of Backsliding
Robert Wurtz II

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10 NKJV)

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV)

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 KJV)

Satan is a cunning master at inducing skepticism towards God and His word. His strategy is the same today as it has always been. In Eden he asked Eve, “Has God said you cannot eat of any tree in the Garden?” (Gen. 3:1 ESV emphasis added) Notice that he called God by the generic word for God, Elohim. He sought to reduce God Almighty in her eyes to a mere god figure (numen divinium). Second, he overstates the command in order to incite a rebellious feeling. Then, as the Father of Lies, he tells Eve she will not surely die and then says that man would become like God — knowing good and evil.

Today, there is a wholesale attack on God’s word — especially in the area of prohibitions. Satan has even managed to transform the practitioners of some sins into protected demographics. It is no longer politically correct (PC) to call sin –sin. However, just as in the Garden of Eden, God has already spoken and 10,000 lies from hell cannot undo what God has plainly said. For this reason it is important to revisit some clearly defined prohibitions from scripture. Paul told the saints repeatedly bout the dangers of these sins and we ought to imitate his approach. Otherwise the cunning craftiness of Satan will eventually lull multitudes into the same trap he took Eve in.




Understanding the Verbs

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5 and Mark 10 who will enter the Kingdom. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5 and 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 who will not inherit the Kingdom. All of our passages above state or imply that the practitioners of these sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. Our Greek verbs for inherit are in the future active — meaning that there is an inheriting of the kingdom of God that has yet to take place. Our Greek verb for practice is prassonte (root is prassō) and is the verb for habitual practice, not poieō (poy-eh’-o) for occasional doing. Generally speaking, in Paul’s Epistles poieo denotes “an action complete in itself,” while prasso denotes “a habit.” (Vines) The habit of these sins is proof that one is not in the kingdom of God and will not inherit it. (A.T. Robertson) This is not to say that occasionally doing these sins is somehow OK, it is not. But we need to know exactly what we are being warned of. These sins can and must be repented of so as not to continue in the practice of them. 

Forewarned

Paul tells the Ephesians, “(…) for this you know.” The means he has warned them before. They are quite aware of these truths. He tells the Galatians, “(…) of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” He asks the Corinthians, “(…) do you not know?” These statements all imply that for Christians this should be common knowledge. 

In case some would seek to dismiss these truths, he adds the phrase “be not deceived” (1 Cor. 6:9). Paul is telling them not to deceive themselves or allow others to deceive them into living like Pagans and yet believing they are still in the kingdom. All such sinners are outside of the kingdom of God. This is an awful judgment. They will not be citizens of that kingdom and will not receive the benefits of being in the kingdom. The practice of these sins disqualifies a person from the future inheritance of the kingdom of God unless they are repented of. 

Understanding the Sins

Paul has two lists in 1 Cor. 6:9, 10, one with repetition of oute, neither (fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, or malakoi, abusers of themselves with men or arsenokoitai or sodomites as in 1 Tim. 1:10 a late word for this horrid vice, thieves, covetous), the other with ou not (drunkards, revilers, extortioners). Paul’s adds to this list in Galatians 5 the works of the flesh.

1. Fornicators (porneia, prostitution, harlotry. Illicit sexual relations for money/lust)
2. Idolators (eidōlatreia, worship of idols, eating things as sacrificed to idols)
3. Witchcraft/Sorcery (pharmakeia, a drug, the ministering of mind altering drugs) 
4. Adulterers (moichos, marital infidelity. Illicit relations with a married person)
5. Effeminate (malakos, soft as in Matt. 11:8, yields their body to homosexual uses) 
6. Sodomites (arsenokoites, one who lies with a male as with a female vise versa)
7. Uncleanness (akatharsia, reckless lustfulness and pleasure seeking)
8. Lewdness (aselgeia, outrageous, unbridled, shameless, lust) 
9. Thieves (kleptai, a thief.) 
10. Covetous (pleonektēs, eager for more. Greedy of gain)
11. Drunkards (methai, drunken excesses, Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13)
12. Extortioners (harpax, to take things by force. )
13. Revilers (loidoros, railing on people with rude talk. 1 Sam. 25:14 of Nabal)
14. Sinful personal relations expressed by eight words in Galatians 5, all old words, sins of the spirit, like enmities (exthrai, personal animosities), strife (eris, rivalry, discord), jealousies (zēlos or zēloi, MSS. vary, our very word), wraths (thumoi, stirring emotions, then explosions), factions (eritheiai, from erithos, day labourer for hire, worker in wool, party spirit), divisions (dichostasiai, splits in two, dicha and stasis), heresies (haireseis, the very word, but really choosings from haireomai, preferences), envyings (phthonoi, feelings of ill-will). And such like (kai ta homoia toutois). And the things like these (associative instrumental toutois after homoia, like). It is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is representative.

Some Final Warnings from the Revelation 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Here we have six more things to add to the list not already covered:

15. Fearful (deilos, timid. Christians that fall back under persecution, etc.)
16. Unbelieving (apistos, disloyalty, unbelieving and without trust in God.)
17. Abominable (bdelysso, to pollute, to turn away because of a stench. (Rom. 2:22)
18. Murderers (phoneus, murder, homicide, man-slayer, assassin)
19.  Whoremonger (pornos, man who sells his body for lust or for hire)
 20.  All Liars (pseudes, seudos is a noun found in nine contexts, meaning “lie” or “lying.” Lying is a natural expression of Satan’s character (John 8:44), the embodiment of the evil one in 2 Thess. 2:9, 11. Rom. 1:25 refers to the fundamental attitude underlying the sin of idolatry — exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Rev. 21:27; 22:15 refer to those who utter lies as having no part whatever with the people living in the heavenly city. (Renn-Bible Words, Steven D. Renn)

The Loneliness of Honesty

The Loneliness of Honesty
Robert Wurtz II


And Jehovah said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shall you say unto her; for it will be, when she comes in, that she will feign herself to be another woman. (1 Kings 14:5)


Our passage is a fascinating account of a woman attempting to get answers about her sick son. She was sent by her idolatrous husband Jeroboam, king of Israel, to an old reliable prophet who had gone blind from old age. Since her and her husband were not on good terms with the prophet (or God), Jeroboam counseled her to disguise herself and take an offering to the man who was more like a peasant than a king. These measures were hoped to be sufficient to fool the man of God into telling her what will come of their son. The logic behind this appears to be that if someone else asks how the child will be, who has no controversy with God, they will receive a good report. 

Apart from the full implications of this passage and the story involved, I would like to drill down upon the king’s willingness to act deceptively. If we can focus on this area, we may discover one of the core problems that were wrong with this man — that ultimately led to his complete rejection by God. In other words, deceitfulness was a major obstacle for him going on with the Lord. 

In Psalm 51 David wrote a song in response to his repentance in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Verse 6 is instructive and relevant to our discussion. It reads, Behold, you  desire truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part you wilt make me to know wisdom. The Hebrew word tuwchah for inward parts means ” the inner parts. ” Some see the word like a bow that fires an arrow. It’s the place from which the issues of life are derived or spring forth. In that inner place from which all our decisions are made, God desires truth. Perhaps David was reflecting on how he tried to deceive Uriah into believing the baby was his. He went as far as to get the man drunk trying to deceive him. This is very sobering. 


God desires truth in the inward parts. He expects His people to move in truth. Dishonesty creates distrust. Deceit works to undermine the very foundations of life. 



We have looked at two examples of how men can have deception in their inward parts and move in lies. This is an awful thing to contemplate. When a person is willing to say or do anything necessary to deceive a person, there is going to be trouble. It is only a matter of time. Why? Because they have made lying optional. If they get into a scrape, they can just lie or deceive their way out of it. Nevertheless, the person who matters the most is never fooled. God knows when truth has vacated the inward parts. 

How often have we heard someone say, “You just can’t trust anyone these days.” You listen to a person talking and you hope they are being honest. You hope they are telling everyone the same message they are telling you and not modifying it to tell you what they think you want to hear. Abraham Lincoln was once reported to have said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. ” He missed a line. “You can’t fool God any of the time.” However, this has not stopped people from trying. Jeroboam believed he could deceive the man of God, but He had no idea that God was ten steps ahead of him. This ought to alarm anyone who has allowed deceit to invade their inward parts. 


Think about the two examples we have given in this entry: Jeroboam and David. What if, for some reason, God did not uncover their deceptions? What if the blind prophet would not have heard from God and just gave a general blessing to the woman? What if Uriah the Hittite would have raised a son that did not belong to him? The consequences would have been awful. And this is why God desires truth in the inward parts. When a person has a tendency to deceive others in order to put over something false they cause chaos and confusion unlike anything we can imagine. 

Bathsheeba comes into view. Here is a woman who would have been forced to tell David one thing and Uriah the Hittite something else. Jeroboam’s wife did essentially the same thing. She played the part of wife to Jeroboam, but something else to the blind prophet. This kind of deception can be very subtle and extremely dangerous. These women were counseled by their conspirators to give different messages to different people — depending on who it was. Had they been walking in truth they would have all been forthright in telling and conveying the truth. 

There is no new thing under the sun. The pattern that David and Jeroboam was in is commonplace today. The issues may not be a serious as idolatry and adultery, but they are serious still. How often does a man or a woman alter who they are, and how they feel about issues in life, depending on who they are talking to? Tell one person something and then tell another person something completely different. The scriptures call it being “double-tongued” (delogos) and it disqualifies a person from leadership. (1 Timothy 3:8) Some people have told so many variations of stories that they can no longer keep them straight. In fact, this is one of the greatest causes of strife and division in the world. Telling one person one thing and another person something else makes every party involved a victim of lies. A person like this can never be trusted. 

It is hard for a deceiver to acknowledge deceit. David apparently lamented the fact that had he been successful in lying to Uriah, he not only would have damaged him, but everyone else that believed the lie. The crime was so great that had God not confronted him in the mouth of Nathan the prophet, he may had denied the sin and the deception to his grave. Uriah may have gotten suspicious, but denial would be the base response. Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts. Why? Because it can keep you from causing a serious mess. Lying, falsehood, feigning, all just heap trouble on top of trouble. 

Sometimes being truthful is a very difficult thing. If we have truth in the inward parts, we will be honest and genuine as a matter of course. We won’t pretend to be one thing in front of one person and something else around others. That only betrays everyone. Soon nobody knows who we really are. If we have said so many different things and worn so many masks — were liable to forfeit any meaningful identity — other than deceiver. And nobody wants to be thought of as a liar and a deceiver. 

Jeroboam was given a word from God and apparently never repented. David realized his error and sought the Lord for a change of heart. Nevertheless, multitudes have never learned from these serious examples. It’s not too late to change. Step one is to realize that God desires truth in the inward parts. He doesn’t want to look into the core of our being and see a liar or a deceiver. He wants to see truth. He wants genuineness. He wants consistency. He wants our default attitude to be one of integrity and honesty. 




Living In Denial

Living In Denial
Robert Wurtz II

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah. (Psalms 32:1-4) 

It is interesting to read Psalm 32 and Psalm 51, because both Psalms contain confessions of a great series of sins that David once tried to cover up. In fact, his first attempt was so awful, that it vexes the mind that a human being could be capable of such things. Knowing the wife of Uriah the Hitite was carrying his baby, he ordered Uriah down to his home to lie with his wife. David’s intention was that Bathsheba lead her husband to believe the baby was his. One of the primary reasons for “thou shalt not commit adultery” was made a commandment was to prevent husbands from having to deal with the hellishness of spurious offspring. David figuerd, what Uriah didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. However, Uriah refused to obey. Even after Davil got him drunk he would not do it. Uriah was a man of great integrity; so David ordered his death.  

The Rev. D.L. Burch often said that some people are apt to read the story of David and Bathseeba and get so angry that they backslide. This is just a way of saying that the sin was bad enough to stumble the people on the receiving end of it. There are few things more vexing than trying to live a lie. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; so that is not the issue. The question surrounds covering our sin. It is an ancient practice. Millions upon millions have done it. 

When we come to Christ we are told to acknowledge our sins (1 John 1:9),
but what happens when we continue to live in denial of some serious sin that happened in our past? In a word, “fear.” Fear of discovery that turns into a general fear of almost everything and everyone. Fear leads to anger and hate. This is important to consider. Living a lie has the power to turn us on everyone and everything, including God. Why? People begin to hate the one they fear will discover their secret. Criminals often live in fear that the police will finally find that missing piece of evidence that links them to their crime. So they hate police. This is an oversimplification, but there is truth here. People grow to hate the one they live in fear of discovering and confronting them. Soon, fullblown paranoia sets in. Solomon said that the wicked flee when no one is chasing them. Why? Their conscience won’t let them rest. 




What will people think of me?

“The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)

David tried to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. This is what Psalm 32:1-4 is all about. He could not cover it forever. His life became a perpetual misery. He was vexed out day and night. He went so far as to try and get the husband Uriah to have relations with her to blame the sin on the husband. When that did not work he devised a plan to have the man killed. Why would he do it? Because he didn’t want anyone to discover what he had done. He had written many psalms (songs) and was in reputation for being a man of God. Pride rose up and told him he had to save face. He was dying within. The old fellowship with God was not what it was. Him and God had fallen out over this sin and rather than confess he did as the old writer wrote, “he told it like it used to be.” He referred to, and lived in, his past experience in God. Why? He had no fellowship. He also knew that he could not live this lie forever. A lying tongue is but for a moment. He knew that he would have to come clean.

Lies come of age

Lies are born and grow up to be monsters that we cannot control. When a lie is conceived it brings forth as surely as a woman with child. The world would say, “It comes home to roost.” It can take 1, 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years to develop. The longer it is allowed to grow, the harder it will be to deal with in the end. So it is best to deal with the thing by prevention. Don‘t commit a sin that you will have to later try and cover up. Fear of disappointing family and friends will drive you to do unconscionable things if you allow it. Denial is a first human and carnal response. David obviously did not want to disappoint the people, so he covered his sin as long as he possibly could. He was the great king and didn’t want people to think bad of him. It was pride. He tried to shift the blame here and there, all the while Bathsheba was the evidence that he had sinned. He could not deny it in the end; he could only postpone the inevitable.

Tired of running and hiding

It is sad that a good man had to die because of David’s sin. Indeed he was probably better off dead, than to live with knowing that his wife had become pregnant by another man. Understand that Uriah was a casualty of David’s sin. Sin always has consequences. In time the prophet Nathan appeared at his door and confronted him. “Thou art the man…” are the resounding words that echo down through the ages. This is God’s estimate of all of us. “Thou art the man… thou art the woman.” It was time to stop running. 

If we acknowledge… 

Over 20 years ago I was subpoenaed to testify in a federal civil lawsuit related to a former employer. As evidence in the case began to mount, so did the resistance. In time I asked why the parties would not just come clean and admit what they had done. One of the lawyers aids simply looked at me and said, “Robert, it is an age old problem known as denial.” 

I must say that denial is the enemy of forgiveness and restoration. The first step is to humble ourselves and acknowledge the sin. It can seem like the hardest thing we have ever done, but if we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ) David discovered this when he looked at Nathan and stated, “I have sinned against the Lord.” God’s response? And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13b) No waiting. No delay. As soon as he acknowledged what he had done, the lie was over with. What a powerful truth. He had to live with many consequences, but he could go forward now on the right path. If he had continued in denial the lie would have become a monster that totally destroyed him. The same is true of us. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can acknowledge our sins and move forward in God. 
 
 

  

 

Liars Are Not Lovers

Liars are Not Lovers
Robert Wurtz II

For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. (Mark 14:56)

Our passage is insightful, as it gives us revelation into the motivation behind the actions of those that would lie on Jesus. Simply put, they did not love Him. We know this from an examination of Romans 13:9, 10 that tells us, For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. When a person bears false witness against their neighbor it is sure evidence that they are not walking in love. This is what they did to Jesus. Because they found no fault in Him they had to resort to fabricating stories. The problem was, but their witness agreed not together.

The Instruction of Silence

You would think that Jesus would call them all liars and breathe out threatenings against them for their flagrant breach of the 9th commandment. He did not. What did He do? But He kept silent and answered nothing (Mark 14:61). It was of no use for Jesus to plead for them for truth, because they were not interested in truth. This is an important consideration. Their lies were merely a means to an end. They wanted Him destroyed, but they had no truth volatile enough to move the crowd. To shoot down the lies would have only angered the leaders more by obstructing their deadly ambition. Jesus just sat back and watched silently. Before it was over they had thoroughly exposed themselves as children of the Devil (John 8:44).

Lying and Humbug 

The act of ‘bearing false witness’ is the Greek verb ψευδομαρτυρήσεις pseudomartyreō and it means to utter falsehoods when giving testimony. This is our same word from Romans 13:9 that answers to the 9th commandment. The reason why the false witnesses could not succeed in destroying Jesus is because there were rules as to how testimony was to be received in the Old Testament. We read in Deuteronomy 19:15; One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Their testimonies did not agree, a clear evidence that they were lying- even if a total stranger was listening in. Another word I’m interested in more common to modern times is the word humbug. Sometimes this word is employed to make a distinction between all-out lying and simply speaking deceptively. In both cases of lying and humbug the state of mind of the person speaking is front and center. If a person utters words that are either lies or misrepresentations with an intent to deceive they are committing sin. Again, the design is to make an impression upon the hearers so that they believe what is said and react accordingly. This is what Satan did in the Garden of Eden. He moved people with lies and half-truths. He, not being interested in truth, cares only about achieving his aim. He will say what ever works to gain the result. 

Moving a Crowd

Notice how that while lying the liars appealed to hot-button issues the people cared about, like the Temple. We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. (Mark 14:58) The false-witnesses knew that the people cared about the building. They used that as a means of inciting anger against Jesus. This is the worst kind of malice. I find it worth considering just how deeply painful being lied against in this way would be. Long before the whip tore through His flesh and the nails tore through His hands, lies tore through His soul. Is there any wonder it was listed among idolatry, adultery, theft and murder in the 10 Commandments? What a shameful thing to do to a person. 

Christian Liars?

Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, (Colossians 3:9 NKJV)

Ancient Adam, the one that took on the nature of the father of lies (Satan), is our Old Man. Those that are in Adam, our old man, lie to one another. Paul warns the Colossians, Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds. It would seem like common sense that Christians should not lie to each other, but it appears we sometimes need reminded. Returning to an earlier point it is evidence that you do not love the person. In a phrase, liars are not lovers. Jesus sought to do what was right and they lied on Him. What did He say? “God will bless you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are following me.” (Matthew 5:11 paraphrased) That is a tremendous promise! No need to seek revenge. As the Rev. D.L. Burch has said many times, “We can live so far above reproach that when folks hear lies they wont believe them anyhow.” This is good wisdom. What else should we do? But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44) 

The Consequences?

In modern time it’s as if people don’t even bat-an-eye to lie about something or someone. With the election drawing near in the USA we are bound to be inundated with malicious lies. Liars figure, the best defense is a good offense. The problem is a day of reckoning is coming. Revelation 21:8 tells us that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. All Liars (pseudes). Seudos is a noun found in nine contexts, meaning “lie” or “lying.” Lying is a natural expression of Satan’s character (John 8:44), the embodiment of the evil one in 2 Thess. 2:911.Rom. 1:25 and refers to the fundamental attitude underlying the sin of idolatry — exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Rev. 21:2722:15 refer to those who utter lies as having no part whatever with the people living in the heavenly city. (Renn-Bible Words Steven D. Renn)  

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