by Stella Paterson
In my book, Calling Forth The Remnant, I addressed numerous aspects of the apostasy that has invaded the Church, and the resulting error. As I was writing the book, I felt that the subject of "love" should be a part of it. The Lord would not allow me to even begin writing about it, other than to mention love as being fruit of the Spirit. A few weeks after the book was released in December 2006, the Lord began speaking to me about "love," leading me to scriptures and bringing real life stories to my attention. Through it all He began to give me a revelation of the Gospel according to Jesus Christ. My spirit soared, my eyes ran with tears of joy, and from my heart I worshiped as I sat and read all the passages in the Bible as the Lord led me.
What is the gospel according to Jesus? Is it the gospel being preached today? Is today's "gospel" the false gospel of which the Bible warned? Look at what Jesus had to say: "false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray, and because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold." He went on to say that those who "endure unto the end" shall be saved. What are the "false prophets" preaching that is leading many astray? And how does it tie in with the "love of the many" turning cold? (Matthew 24:11-13) Verse 14 says, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come."
As I mentioned, my book (as well as ekklesia4him) have a lot to say about apostasy and deception. What greater deception could the spirit of antichrist bring upon the Church than to present a "gospel" that is well received while it actually promotes bondage to flesh and self? Millions have fallen for such a thing and only the Spirit of God can undo the damage. With this article I am doing my part to expose the error, but let me tell you it is with MUCH opposition from the enemy. I am so grateful to those who have obeyed the Lord and offered prayer support. God bless you!
What do we hear from preachers of “the gospel” when we turn on the television or go “to church?” Invariably, it is a message that tells us we are sinners and must repent of our sins and ask forgiveness. The chapter from my book on “Forgiveness and the New Birth” can be read online at ekklesia4him, and I urge you to read it and see the difference between that “gospel message” and the one Jesus taught. I believe it would be safe to say that today’s gospel is according to the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden because of their knowledge of good and evil. That knowledge is the “engine,” so to speak, that drives both sin and self-righteousness. Therefore, a “gospel” that focuses on sin has its foundation in the knowledge of good and evil and will eventually produce self-righteous “Christians.”
Come along with me as we discover what the Bible says about the new birth from the words of Jesus and His apostles.
When it comes to evangelization, John 3:16 is probably the most used verse in the Bible. A close second would be Romans 3:23. Let’s look at each of these verses and see what similarities they have, and examine why they are so widely used.
What are the similarities in the above two verses? God is mentioned in both, but other than that they have nothing in common. Is it mere “religious” rhetoric when both are used in “evangelism?” In the context surrounding Romans 3:23, Paul the Apostle is speaking to those at Rome and telling how no flesh can be justified through the works of the law because the purpose of the law was to bring the knowledge of sin to Israel. He speaks of how the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus had been manifested and had also been witnessed by the law and the prophets. Paul specifically said that this “righteousness” came to ALL through belief in Jesus Christ and that there was no distinction “for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” He is simply telling them that ALL must come to believe on Jesus; yet the emphasis is always on the “sinfulness” of all.
Jesus also spoke of the law and the prophets who foretold of His coming, in Luke 24:44-49. He caused the people to open their minds to understand the scriptures as He spoke of His death and resurrection and how “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” In speaking of “repentance and remission of sins” He tells how they must turn (repent) and receive the good news that He had pardoned (made remission for) ALL sin. This message of His has been changed to one in which people are told they must ask forgiveness for their sins, rather than be told that Jesus made remission for (made pardon for) all sin on the Cross. Both the NIV and NAS “Bibles” changed the word “remission” to “forgiveness,” which only adds to this erroneous teaching.
The reason we find the word “sin” in the New Testament is because much of the message was addressed to the Jews who were very sin-conscious after thousands of years of making atonement for sin. And because forgiveness was granted upon the shedding of blood for atonement, “forgiveness” is also used in the New Testament when reference is made to the finished work of the Cross.
Did Jesus speak of sinfulness or forgiveness in His words in John 3:6? No! He told Nicodemus that because he was born flesh it was necessary to be born anew – this time by the Spirit. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ from His own lips. Not once did He say that man must ask for his sins to be forgiven. Not once did He say that man must say a "sinner’s prayer." Not once did Jesus say that He is watching to see when man “sins” so that He can judge him and sentence him to eternal damnation. NO! Jesus said that He did not come to judge, but that man is already judged because he is born a mortal soul. That is, until that mortal soul comes to believe (rely on) on Jesus, at which time he is now born from above by the Holy Spirit who begins His work of renovating His new temple.Of course, with that “renovation” comes fruit of the Spirit – the first of which is LOVE.
After Jesus said that through belief in Him we would have life, why is it that we are told we must ask Him to forgive our sins? If you have read the previously mentioned chapter on forgiveness, you will know the incorrect usage in the New Testament of the word “forgive.” So now, let’s look at what “sin” is.
In 1 John 3:4, we are told, “Every one that does sin does also lawlessness: and sin is lawlessness [Greek: violation of law].” We must follow this with Paul’s words from Romans 5:13: “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” If Jesus fulfilled the Law so that sin is not imputed, how does asking forgiveness for sins make us a new creation in Christ?
That may be a question we need to take time and think through. Let me help you a little. The Law of Moses was given to Israel to reveal their sinfulness in not acknowledging God as the LORD God. Through the law, which consisted of 613 different commands, it was impossible for Israel to perfectly obey. As I wrote in my book, the sin sacrifices of the Law were a part of pointing them to Jesus; the One Pure Lamb who would come to “take away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Why would we ask Jesus to “take away” (forgive) our sins when He already took them away on the Cross? If Jesus came and fulfilled the Law, taking away the sin of the world, what “law” is being violated? That leads us back to the question, “what is sin?”
In Romans 14, Paul was speaking to them about judging others by one’s own beliefs and causing the others to stumble, if to them doing a thing was wrong. It was all about having faith in God. He said that the “kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Verse 23 says, “But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” So THAT has been the definition of sin ever since Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Jesus Himself made that point clear in John 16:8-11: “And he, [Holy Spirit] when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged.” We must keep in mind that “faith” and “believe” are translated from the same Greek word.
In the well-known “faith” chapter, Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after [Greek: crave] him.”
A new commandment
In Mark 12:28-31, one of the scribes had heard a discussion taking place and he challenged Jesus, and asked Him “What commandment is the first of all?” Jesus’ reply was very simple: “The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Romans 13:8-10 tells us, “Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loves his neighbour has fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet; and if there by any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbour: love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” To hold up the Ten Commandments as “law,” expecting adherence to produce righteousness, is to go against everything Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
Paul also said, in Galatians 5:13-14: “For you, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
In another passage, Luke tells of an expert (“lawyer”) in the Law of Moses who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. So Jesus asked him what the Law said, at which the lawyer replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” “This do, and thou shalt live” were Jesus’ next words. (Luke 10:25-28)
Is it possible that the true gospel is that simple? Is “Love” the key? Jesus told the man steeped in the Law of Moses, that for him to have life he simply must love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbour as himself. The above verses are not the only ones in the Bible where we find those words.
Jesus also said this: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:33-34)
This is how John describes Jesus’ one commandment: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he gave us commandment.” What a simple message! We must trust in the Name of God’s Son, whose Name means “Jehovah frees,” and love one another. Is “loving one another” an easy thing to do? It is, when God abides in us and we abide in Him, as the next verse tells us. “And he that keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he gave us.” (1 John 3:23-24)
Look at more of what John said earlier in that same chapter. “And you know that he was manifested to take away sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither knows him. My little children, let no man lead you astray: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that does sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is begotten of God does no sin because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.” (1 John 3:5-9) When we understand that “sin” is “unbelief and failing to love,” the reality of the fact that we “cannot sin” becomes clearer. When God, Who is Love, abides in us and we abide in Him, it is impossible to sin. By the same token, if we do not abide in Him, we are “in sin” because we have not seen Him and do not know Him, as verse 6 shows. In 1 John 4:19 we are told that “We love, because He first loved us.”
Jesus prayed a heartfelt prayer, as recorded in John 17. One of the things He prayed was that the love with which God loved Him would be in His followers, just as He would be in them. (John 17:26)
Love covers sin?
Have you ever pondered the meaning of “Love covers a multitude of sins”? I have. And through the Holy Spirit’s revelation of “Love” it has become quite clear. Is this “love” something we do in our own strength in order to have life? No! Our salvation would be through works, if that were the case. How then does this next verse come into play? “Above all things, being fervent in your love among yourselves: for love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8) Paul touched on it in this passage: “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
One real life example the Lord brought to my attention was found on a forum I occasionally visit and participate in. The topic had to do with sin and sinfulness and someone there posted a story of a well-known figure from many years back who had done things we might rightfully consider unwise and even sinful. Another well-known person, desiring to speak to the other about “their sinful deeds,” entered a room where this “sinful” person was crying out in loving worship to God and pleading for souls to come to Him in a meeting which was to follow. The man whose intention it was to confront the other person, stopped short in his tracks and God heard the question on his mind. He told this man that “for that kind of love, I will forgive anything.”
That statement from our Lord’s lips stuck with me for days and caused me to see even more clearly what He was teaching me.
The story of David and Bathsheba is one we all know. David was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13, 14, 15, 16) Did he sin? Yes, he sinned greatly. He had Bathsheba’s husband murdered so he could have her for himself, and they lost their first-born because of it.
David was a worshiper, and his great love for God is evident all through the Psalms. He had a real relationship with his God. He knew the truth regarding his heredity as a creature of flesh, and he said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5) He was not saying that his mother committed a sin when she conceived him. He was saying that he was born in “sin,” as a creature of flesh, even from the moment of conception. Psalm 51 is his prayer of sorrowful repentance over his transgression with Bathsheba.
When we look at David’s lineage, we see Rahab the harlot, the mother of Boaz who married Ruth (a descendant of Moab, the offspring of incest between Lot and his daughter) whose grandson was Jesse, the father of David who became King. It was this same lineage God chose for His Son Jesus. If God is “hung up” on man’s “sins” how can all this make sense?
It is all about relationship – it’s all about Love! Read these words spoken by Paul to the Philippians: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
James also referred to “life” and “love,” when he said, “Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he has been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12) And later, James said “My brethren, if any among you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converts a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:19-20)
Indeed, if the whole book of James is read, a beautiful “picture” emerges. In James’ letter to “the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion” he explains how the law under the Old Covenant is replaced by the “law of liberty” in the New Covenant. That new “royal law” is “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (James 2:8) Please check out the link in this paragraph and read James’ epistle.
Life and death
John told us, “We know that we have passed out of death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not, abides in death.” (1 John 3:14) When the Life of God dwells in us by His Spirit, the first evidence is our love for one another.
Read these verses that tell us more of the same:
“But let us since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
“We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have toward all the saints, because of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, …since the day ye heard, and knew the grace of God in truth: …who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:3-8)
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth." (1 Peter 1:22-23)
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 20-21) Do you see how “keeping ourselves in the love of God” is our salvation?
“Ye search the scriptures; because ye think that in them ye have eternal life: and these are they which bear witness of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye may have life. I receive not glory from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves.” (John 5:39-42)
“He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.” (John 14:21) Remember, His one commandment is “Love” – love for God and our neighbour. And it can only be by His presence in us.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is begotten of God, and knows God.” Do you hear what He is saying? If we choose to love we are choosing God. Do we not think that He will come and make His abode with us? “He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved, us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. …If we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we abide in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. … God is love; and he that abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him. Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has punishment, and he that fears is not made perfect in love.”(1 John 4:7-21)
And now, allow me to share a wonderful story. Last month, during a phone call, I mentioned to a lady how I am a walking miracle. She was interested in my testimony and at one point said “I have seen Him.” I urged her to say more, and what a wonderful account it was! She told how she had been facing a surgery which concerned her and she prayed for God’s protection. While she was under the anesthetic, Jesus came to her and told her He had heard her prayer and that all would be well. She said His “hair was gold,” He was dressed fully in white, but she could not see His face. This lady does not claim to be “a Christian” by the usual standards, but she has such an awe of God and said that she will never fear death because she knows she will be with Him. Jesus came to her and now she is His. This reminds me of Acts 2:21 which says “and it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
In John’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he wrote “I know your works, and your toil, and patience, and that you can not bear evil men, and did try them which call themselves apostles, and they are not, and did find them false. And you have patience, and did bear for my name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you did leave your first love. Remember therefore from whence you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except you repent.” (Revelation Ch. 2) Look at how dearly we will pay if we do not return to our first love for Jesus. This is spoken to anyone who may have discerned and dealt with situations in the Church, but none of it matters without LOVE and loving Jesus with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength.
Faith works through love
Paul the Apostle brings in the “love” aspect together with faith when he says, “Ye are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you are fallen away from grace. For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love. " (Galatians 5:4-6) The two go together – faith is not a “side issue” in a Christian and love is not a “side issue” in a Christian. In fact, without both we are still lost. We have no Life and therefore, no Love. We are still dead – we are still flesh.
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the “love chapter,” but it is too lengthy to include here. I will let you read it for yourself, and think about how important love is in the eyes of God.
1 Corinthians 16:22: “If any man loves not the Lord, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” What strong words Paul spoke! “Anathema” means “excommunicated,” while “Maranatha” is an exclamation of approaching judgment.
All of the preceding verses make it easier to understand the meaning of John 5:28-29: “Marvel not at this: for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgment.” Those who have “done good” did so because Love resided in them. And those who have “done ill” had not come to trust in Jesus and receive His Love to live through them.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
Look at what is considered to be “evil” in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2: “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run, and be glorified, even as also it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men: for all have not faith.” Paul then adds, in verse 5, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.”
This next passage pretty much defines what a “born-again Christian” is not. James 2:15-17: “If a brother or sister be naked, and in lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself.”
It is my heartfelt prayer that the Holy Spirit will give revelation of the Love of God. Only He can remove the false teaching from our minds that tells us it is something we have done that requires forgiveness in order to receive Jesus. I refer again to what Jesus told Nicodemus: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born anew.”
The Holy Spirit is the One who changes us when we come to put our trust in Jesus. When we choose Him, we choose Love. It is that simple. Praise God, for this is the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is the Gospel of which Paul the Apostle declared he was not ashamed. Here are his words: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God by faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17) Paul was not ashamed to proclaim that it is the power of God that saves anyone who believes. Notice his last phrase which tells us again that life comes through belief.
As always, feel free to write me with comments or questions. I know this may be a little hard for some to “digest” but God’s Word is true, and hopefully I have shared sufficient to start you on a path to freedom from that old thinking.
The word study of the New Testament word "love" is available at https://www.ekklesia4him.net/Love_study.pdf.
For more on this vital subject read "False Gospel - Exposed"
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