The Law and Sin - Romans 7:7-13
God’s law reflects His character - He is Holy, He is righteous, and He is good and the source of all that is good.
Why must the law be part of the proclamation of the gospel? Because there is no other way than the law to obtain a knowledge of sin, the conviction of sin, which leads to repentance of sin. Sin is breaking the law of God. Our hearts and our lives must be weighed against the law.
Man is born to be a servant and must have a master, and that master will either be the Prince of Darkness or the King of Light, one or the other will be your ruler.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. - Romans 6:16-18
Audio Version on The Way Radio
My name is Kevin I am in the Charlotte NC area recently left AA after the Matt Slick talk show was speaking of how its a cult and directed me to your website. How I didn't see this before is amazing. I am looking for other people maybe in my area....lost my support group one thing about AA that is...well convenient...first I sold my soul to drink and drug then I sold it for sobriety. Everything you have said makes perfect sense...I have abused alcohol...drugs mostly cocaine...gambling porn and food...5 habitual sins that kept me in bondage...after I stopped drinking could not get away from porn and gained weight thanks to the sugar feast available at my home group. I Just left a relationship that I started in the program...Got saved through Faith in Jesus Christ April thanks to my roommate. I started praying to Jesus but had this feeling that something was not right...looking around at the hate of that "higher power" in the groups. My Sponsor must have been sent by God..an unsaved angry man who died 5 months ago literally due to anger...was very argumentative when he saw what he considered not AA behavior...had a blowout...got kicked out of his home group...the last meeting I saw him at he called the group a bunch of hypocrites because we were supposed to be non religious but recite the Our Father prayer...then stormed out of the room started arguing in the parking lot the next day he died...the reason I say he was sent by God was because he told me this was not a Christian program...told me I was in a cult....we would make jokes...and really did not like Bill Wilson at all as he called him an egomaniac....a womanizing hypocrite...and "The most famous anonymous person of all time". Also told me to research the history of it...that is where it really gets scary...also the similarity with Aleister Crowley and the AA coin and his group named AA also...powerlessness and all that nonsense. Then the fact that the Oxford Group and Frank Buchman and that cult being the basis for the cult of AA. Occult, masonic like practices of seances, conjuring the dead and Ouija boards and his "burning bush" moment in the hospital 1934 where he "saw god" who appears on command for old Bill while going through DTs under the Belladonna treatment full of a cocktail of various drugs and barbiturates...and high levels of mercury. Also love how people who suffer from "terminal uniqueness' have to get with the program, we are all garden variety drunks....that statement REEKS of hypocrisy in that we all all sinners...and need Jesus...but don't think you are Unique in AA newcomer...hello you are in a satanic cult that has a whole program for one sin...so you can separate yourself because other people don't understand...and a 12 step program for every sin known to man...so if I get a coin for time abstaining from alcohol....then shouldn't I get coins for lengths of time I didn't commit other sins...please give my lifetime coin for not murdering please...I need my 3 month coin for not fornicating...and on and on. To say it is a disease is a complete insult to someone who has a real disease like cancer. If God sets you free you are free indeed, He does not wish that you identify yourself by or obsess over past behaviors you may have long since changed, those sins were paid for a long time ago. Well looking forward to hearing from you soon...thanks and my God continue to bless your ministry...the real GOD that is...not a doorknob
In the many faceted and beautiful narrative of Jesus and the woman of Samaria we focus here on how the Holy Spirit works in bringing a person to Christ through the power of the gospel.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) - John 4:1-9
We read in the gospels of Jesus preaching to multitudes, but in this story the Savior takes time to speak to one woman - a sinner, a Samaritan who Jews would normally not associate with. She was a lost sheep and through the working of divine providence the Lord brought her to the well in the middle of the day rather than the normal time of early morning. She may very well have come in the middle of the day in order to avoid the other women who may have looked down on her because of her multiple marriages and infidelities. We never know how or why or by what methods God’s plans will be carried out and we see here how providence brought her through her circumstances and condition to meet Christ face to face.
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water." - John 4:10-15
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” What a profound and wonderful statement Jesus makes here, but the woman does not yet know the gift of God or who it is that is speaking to her - she hears the words of Christ with ears that are spiritually dead and not yet opened to divine truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. So she responds as a natural worldly person does to the Word of God. The lost sinner cannot see beyond the literal, the veil, the words on the page of scripture until the Holy Spirit opens the heart to the divine Word on the page.
Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." - John 4:16-26
When the woman asks for the living water that Jesus told her of the Lord responds in a way that opens her eyes to the sin that keeps her from seeing and knowing the truth of the living water that can only be had through and in Jesus Christ. Jesus brings her sin out into the open by asking her to go and call her husband, and then He opens her eyes more to the truth of who He is by making clear the fact that he already knows of her sin - He is moving toward the cross that will atone for it.
Let’s step out of the story for a minute and try to imagine what this woman may have been like today. Was she insecure? Was she constantly seeking comfort from different men? Was she stable and secure emotionally? Maybe she was past her prime and had been through so many failed marriages that she now just shacks up with the latest guy. Maybe she has developed a drug or alcohol problem in an attempt to cope. Maybe she is one of those people with the barely suppressible anxious panic because it seems it’s all slipped too far to ever be redeemed. Or that person with the overly enthusiastic personality and constant joking who can’t hide the glint of terror in their eyes. Or someone who has become numb and is just living out days without meaning, direction, or purpose. Of course this is all just speculation in order to make a point and bring the story to light in a modern context. But one thing is for sure - she was a sinner as we all are. Everyone has been battered and stained by sin and it’s evil fruit. The stain is just different colors on different people.
“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet…” The Lord has begun to open her eyes to divine truth as He must do for all of us. The supernatural divine glory of Christ and His truth begins to shine into the darkness of her sinful reality. Without the working of the spirit opening our eyes to the truth of who Jesus is we will never come to Him. And then the Lord shares with her the greatest truth there is, “I who speak to you am he.” He is the long awaited for Messiah.
Here we see the transition from a spring of living water - the grace of the gospel, to the terrible bondage that keeps the woman and all others from it - the bondage of sin, to salvation in Jesus Christ. This is a model that Jesus is giving us of how the gospel works in the human heart. Jesus shares with her an image of the boundless grace and glory that is in Him, then He brings to light the sin that keeps her from redemption and eternal life springing up as living water, and then He shows her the way out of sin and into eternal glory which is Him.
It is a grave and destructive error to detour around the gospel and try to come to the message of salvation through a method or program of man’s own creation. To cast aside the reality of sin may be to cast aside the reality of salvation in Jesus Christ. Have faith in the gospel and proclaim it as Jesus did and as He commands us in His Word to do. Never back down from the truth. Stay on the narrow path in our life, our ministry, and our witness.
Jesus brought her sin to light in a gentle and loving way - as we all must do because we all are sinners.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb - Revelation 22:1
A Faith Issue
If you have trouble getting your head around the truth that recovery in it's worldly sense is not needed from a biblical stance - then you have a faith issue.
"Many people are willing to believe regarding those things that seem probable to them. Faith has nothing to do with probabilities. The province of faith begins where probabilities cease and sight and sense fail. Appearances are not to be taken into account. The question is - whether God has spoken it in His Word." - George Mueller
Consider that the more horrific and hopeless a sinners condition may appear, how by appearances there may seem to be no way that the simple gospel truth could ever have power in a mind seemingly destroyed by the power of sin. Then consider the awesome glory that will be brought to God by the transforming of that sinner into a shining child of God by the power of the Holy Spirit through the simple, faithful sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. - Romans 10:17
For You Have Forgotten
For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. - Isaiah 17:10-11
There are certain scriptures during times of Bible study that seem to shine with a more intense brilliance as they apply so directly to the apostasy of the modern idol of recovery that has infiltrated the Christian Church.
Isaiah 17:10-11 is one such portion of scripture.
In a time of suffering and pain when a sinner must be presented with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, so often instead, by the very Church commissioned with proclaiming the gospel, are led into false man made and man centered beliefs in the name of "recovery". The Church and through it's neglect the suffering sinner, "...have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge". The faithless Church instead of pointing to the cross and relying on the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit instead points elsewhere.
You, the misguided sinner may find relief and get back to a normal happy life in a worldly sense through the attainment of sobriety and the idolizing of recovery. But although, "...you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain".
You, the misguided sinner, so in need of hearing the gospel and of being led by the power of the Holy Spirit into it's truth, instead trade the God of your salvation and the Rock of your refuge for an erroneous obsession with a fraudulent recovery that when exposed to the glorious light of the love of Jesus Christ withers in it's futility.
The heretics in the Church worshipping the idol of recovery and the sinners being led to it's altar should heed the last portion of this scripture, "...yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain".
"Cannot" Leaves No Wiggle Room
Imagine in a few years it is discovered that there is indeed a planet far far away inhabited by an alien race. This alien race is ahead of us technologically - but not by as much as we had for years speculated they would be. However, they are very advanced spiritually and emotionally. They never fight, argue, or even have disagreements. This race of aliens gets along great, and their planet is awesome because the planet actually is what to each alien mind feels and wishes it should be. It's everything the perfect planet could be for everyone there and even though they all have different tastes and interests all their tastes and interests are satisfied by the planets unfathomable ability to be the best it can be for each individual alien.
We earthlings send astronauts to investigate and the aliens on this planet treat our astronauts with grace and hospitality when they arrive. And after a very short time it becomes clear to the astronauts that this is the place that we humans need to move to - it is literally perfect. However, the aliens have one very strict law which states that the only way to become a citizen of their planet and live there is if you are born there. What a bummer.
So, as it is with us humans, we beg and plead and try our best to get the aliens to change the law - but they can't - it's not possible. We even try looking just like the aliens (they aren't little and grey with big eyes), we dress like them, learn to talk like them, walk like them, but it just can't be done. We cannot live on their planet.
So it is with the kingdom of heaven.
Put on all you like of Christianity, appear in every way Christian. However, if you are not born again of the spirit - then heaven is closed to you.
A person may do wonderful and caring works, spend their life in altruistic pursuits. If they are not born again of the spirit - then heaven is closed to them.
A reprobate in the clutches of the sins of alcoholism and addiction may strive valiantly and reform themselves. They may turn away from their destructive vices and lead a commendable life as a fine member of society. But if they are not born again of the spirit - then heaven is closed to them.
A christian is not a Christian without a Christian heart. And for a heart to be Christian it must be born again of the spirit in the heavenly country. To see and dwell in the kingdom of God we must be born anew there.
This may seem like a frightening and confrontational message - but it is the message the Lord gives us: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." - Jesus (John 3:5)
There is no wiggle room.
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
When you break it down, victory over the sin of addiction is victory over temptation - the temptation to sin. Our natural fallen desire to sin must be transformed into a righteous desire to please God which from a purely human capacity is impossible and in direct contradiction to our nature. It is only by the supernatural power of God's grace that a person's natural desire to sin can be transformed into a desire to please God in righteousness.
The prophet Jeremiah explained perfectly the human condition without the transforming power of God's grace: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
But even as Christians, saved and transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ, we still struggle against temptation for the time that we are here in the flesh. So the question becomes, "Just what is the most powerful way, as we grow in sanctification, to obtain victory over the temptations of the flesh"? This question - especially during the time in which we live, in which so much Christian teaching has come to look outside of the Word, or added to the Word from the teachings of psychology, psychiatry, new age philosophy, secular recovery, etc... is a very important one to address. And, with the hope of not seeming to overly simplistic, might we now consider turning back to the founder and perfecter of our faith and casting aside the influences of this world for the needed victory over the age old battle against the temptation to sin? Might Jesus our Savior have provided the means of victory for us in this battle?
Consider the greatest single onslaught of temptation that any human has ever had to endure - the temptation that Jesus faced in the desert and the victory He claimed over it. Also, as you read through this section of scripture please bear in mind that when Jesus faced these temptations he had fasted for forty days and forty nights out in the desert by Himself. Jesus also knew what lay ahead for Him in just three years. He knew that He was moving toward the time when His closest followers would desert Him, when He would be betrayed by one of His own apostles, when He would be arrested and accused falsely, then spat on, ridiculed, tortured, and stripped naked and hung from a cross by those He came to save. But beyond all the ridicule and physical pain Jesus knew as Satan tempted Him that He would have to take on Himself the sins of all mankind and endure the wrath of His Father in order to atone for our transgressions - in order to save us from that horrific and justified wrath.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. - Matthew 4:1-11
All the Lord had to do in order to avoid what He knew He would soon endure was to give in to Satan's temptations. But by giving in to Satan, the Lord Jesus would have been abandoning us to eternal damnation. Because of love for us He stood firm, fought of the temptations of Satan and the devil left Him.
When we are faced with temptations, why would we ever consider looking for a solution other than what Jesus Himself shows us so clearly in His Word? Jesus, when tempted declared "It is written" in response to each temptation and the power of the Word proclaimed faithfully gave Him the victory. For whatever temptations we struggle against, for whatever attacks Satan unleashes on us through the enticements of this world, Jesus shows us the way to victory - through His Word!
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2
Every alcoholic or addict knows what slavery is. You become a slave when you hate the booze and you hate the dope - but it doesn't matter. You reach that point where your liquid and chemical friends that used to be so fun begin to take and take and take until the stuff on the outside of you is either gone or completely messed up, and then they start ripping out pieces of your soul. And even though you despise the thought of giving them more after each time they have used you up, it's not long until you go looking for them again. And each time you find them they make the horror go away just a little less and for not quite as long as they did the last time, and after they've worn off and gone away the terror is a little worse than it was the time before.
The truth for the slave in this state of servitude is that they are already dead. Not because of their relentless friends booze and dope. The slave is dead because he is a slave to sin, and anyone not freed from the clutches of sin regardless of whether they look like it or not is a dead man walking.
The slave to sin is not a sinner because he sins; someone is not a sinner because they are an alcoholic or an addict. The slave sins because he is a sinner, he was born with a nature already enslaved to sin as we all were. His nefarious friends feed on the sin that has already killed it's slave.
There is only one way out of the bondage the Sin Slave is trapped in death to. But the slave must beware, because the darkness of this world will do all it can to entice and lure the slave away from the only truth than can redeem him and bring him back from the dead. He must learn and know the one and only truth that can save him.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray. - Proverbs 5:22-23
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:4-9
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12
Spurgeon on Sobriety
Oh how complicated our modern world makes sobriety, what an industry it has become! It's so refreshing to read the works of such an amazing man of God like Charles Spurgeon and see the way he pleaded with his readers to simply have faith in Jesus Christ, to go to the throne of grace in the name of Jesus knowing the hope that God's promises hold for us.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered... - Joel 2:32
"If sin is the cause of your present trouble, if sin has brought you into bondage to evil habits, if you have been a drunkard and do not know how to learn sobriety, if you have been immoral and have become entangled in evil relationships, call upon God. He can break you away from the sin and set you free from all it's entanglements. He can cut you loose right now with the great sword of His grace and make you free. Although you feel like a poor sheep between the jaws of a lion, ready to be devoured immediately, God can come and pluck you out of the lion's jaws. The prey will be taken from the mighty, and the captive will be delivered (Isa. 49:24). Only call upon the name of the Lord, and you will be delivered!" - Charles Spurgeon
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way R122 Ministry USA & Kenya.