To start with, please understand how easy it is to be deceived. God Himself has told us this:
2Th 2:10 …they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Every Christian should take some time and study the book of Acts to see what the true gospel is. In all, there are 8 or 9 presentations of the gospel in Acts. Why the range? Well, two of them are within Paul’s testimony, and as we know, a testimony is not always the same thing as sharing the whole gospel. For the sake of clarity, I count 8 gospel presentations in Acts. They are in chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 13, 17, and 26. (I’m not counting Paul’s testimony in Acts 22.) What do we learn from these 8 presentations of the gospel? What do they have in common? What is missing?
– Jesus rose from the dead (8/8)
– Those who repent will have their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus (7/8)
– Jesus will judge the living and the dead (final authority) (5/8)
– Be baptized (a sign of the above) (3/8)
– Jesus loves you (0/8)
– Jesus wants to know you and have a relationship with you (0/8)
Paul also gave us a very clear capsule summary of the gospel in 1 Corinthians:
1Co 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,
1Co 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Notice that right away that Paul describes the “being saved” part as continuous, proven by the very next clause, “if you hold fast to the word…” Paul minces no words describing the true gospel. By contrast, many today preach a gospel that states that Jesus is offering grace, mercy, and relationship there on the spot, without any of the required repentance. However, the Bible is clear: grace is only available to the redeemed, and a relationship with God begins only after the supernatural work of regeneration. Lost people do not receive grace:
Rom 5:2 Through [Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Lost people receive God’s mercy all the time, but they do not receive His grace until they are regenerated. The following passages reveal what we should offer self-righteous lost people – the Law:
Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
Rom 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Gal 3:21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
Gal 3:22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Gal 3:23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
Gal 3:24 So then, the law was our guardian to bring us to Christ, in order that we might be justified by faith.
1Ti 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,
1Ti 1:9a understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane,
Therefore, when we preach the gospel, the Law is almost always an essential component. Why?
Rom 7:7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
However, again, rather than preach the Law which reveals a person’s wickedness before God, many today preach only that Jesus is “loving and merciful and wants you to know Him” and declare this to be the complete gospel. It is assuredly not. The gaping hole in this gospel is that it cannot cross the yawning chasm that stands between a sinner and a holy God. Even though God is indeed loving and merciful, a person’s sin must be judged before that person can enter into a relationship with Him. If this person never repents, then they are still in their sins; they are still storing up judgment for themselves; and they have never actually entered into any relationship with God. However, for the one who sees their wickedness, calls out in faith for mercy, and repents; the Father rejoices to say, “Don’t be afraid. I judged My Son in your place. I now declare you to be righteous because of your trust in what He has done.” The difference between these two presentations of the gospel can easily be the difference between a person who will go to hell and a person who will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). Again, unless people repent and believe in the One who paid the punishment for their sins against God, the only standing they have with God is one of guilt. We are all God’s enemies until God makes peace with us through the cross:
Col 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
Col 1:22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Col 1:23a if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard,
It’s very important that we study to show ourselves approved (I Timothy 2:15), so if you’re not sure you understand the true gospel, I strongly urge you to study the Bible so you may fully learn what it is and preach it, because the consequences of preaching a false gospel are severe:
Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Now I will show from scripture the reality of false conversion, and hopefully you will see from these examples in the Word that this kind of deception is common in our day.
Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Mat 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (these are earnest ‘Christians’ who think they are saved!)
Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Mat 7:26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Mat 7:27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Simon the sorcerer:
Act 8:9 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great . . .
Act 8:13 Even Simon himself believed (the gospel), and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
Act 8:18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
Act 8:20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
Act 8:21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Act 8:22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
Act 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
Israel as an example to us:
1Co 10:1 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
1Co 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
1Co 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1Co 10:6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.
1Co 10:7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”
1Co 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
1Co 10:9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,
1Co 10:10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
1Co 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
1Co 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Hymenaeus & Philetus:
2Ti 2:16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,
2Ti 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
2Ti 2:18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.
2Ti 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
2Ti 2:20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay (which will not survive fire), some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.
2Ti 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy (sanctification), useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
1Jn 3:6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
1Jn 3:8 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.
1Jn 3:9 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.
Jud 1:8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
Jud 1:12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead (which means they had been twice alive)
Hopefully by now, the scripture has convinced you that false conversion is not only possible but is to be expected and is a serious danger. True Christians are to watch out for it and guard themselves and the flock from its deception.
A New Creation – The Authentic Christian
Let’s move on to what the authentic Christian life looks like, first as it pertains to sin and the ungodly ways of the world which the Christian has left, as the Israelites left Egypt. First and foremost:
We are dead to sin:
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Rom 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Rom 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Rom 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
Rom 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Eph 4:22 [you were taught to] put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Eph 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
Eph 4:24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Col 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Col 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Col 3:6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
Col 3:7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.
Col 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
Col 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Carrying the cross & death to self:
One of the reasons true believers are dead to sin is that they cooperate with the Holy Spirit and follow Christ’s example by dying to themselves. This entails taking up the cross, denying self, and following Him daily. This is not optional, and nothing in our lives is off limits from His Lordship. No activity, passion, or relationship (including even our closest family members) is to come between us and our submission to Jesus:
Mat 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (He said this 3 times!).
Luk 14:25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,
Luk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Luk 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Joh 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Joh 12:25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Joh 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
2Co 4:8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
2Co 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
2Co 4:10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
2Co 4:11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
Gal 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Php 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Rev 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
True believers also continually forsake all things worldly and ungodly:
Mat 13:22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1Co 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
Tit 2:12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age
Jas 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1Jn 2:15 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.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.
Lastly, true believers examine themselves regularly, according to the following scriptures:
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
2Pe 1:11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Overcoming Life
Now that I’ve allowed the scripture speak for itself concerning many of the realities in the life of a true Christian, let’s look at some of the glory of God which is revealed in the life of a true believer. Romans 8 may give the clearest picture, especially when read in context with Romans 7, which portrays a life that tries to find justification by following rules/Law. As God designed it, the struggle under Law leads a person to hopelessness and despair, and only the truth of the gospel can set them free:
Rom 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Rom 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Rom 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Rom 8:17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Paul goes on in this chapter to describe the fruits that are the natural, ongoing by-products of a person who walks in the Spirit and abides in Christ:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Further evidence of true conversion is the presence of good works, which are also a natural, ongoing by-product in the life of a person who walks in the Spirit and abides in Christ:
Mat 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Rom 2:6 He will render to each one according to his works:
Rom 2:7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
1Ti 6:18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
Tit 2:14 [Jesus Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Tit 3:8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
Jas 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Jas 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Jas 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!
Jas 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
I see a strange trend in these next verses: it seems Jesus is judging these churches by their works (fruit):
Rev 2:2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
Rev 2:19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
Rev 2:23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Rev 2:26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
Rev 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Rev 3:2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Rev 3:8 “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Rev 3:15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Many modern churches would call Jesus a legalist for saying such things; but then, it is Jesus, so what can they say? I have found the following to be the key passage in order to understand the proper place of works in a Christian’s life:
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
There is no way a person can read the above passages on works and then conclude that all of the lax, “backslidden Christians” out there who live carnal, worldly lifestyles are still going to somehow inherit the kingdom of God, with no works that prove their confession of faith. It’s another discussion altogether, but it’s worth mentioning here that only works authored by God through His Spirit are acceptable to Him. Works of the flesh, authored by man’s own invention and from his own mind are contemptible to God and will be rejected as the fleshly imitations (wood, hay, and stubble) they are.
Warnings & the Lifestyle of Compromise and Sin
Now that we have seen what the overcoming life, lived walking in the Spirit, looks like; it’s important to take note of a few of the frequent warnings given to the Church: to guard what they have, to walk in a manner worthy of the life they have been given, and to not be deceived by impostors:
1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
1Ti 6:21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
2Ti 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Eph 4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
Col 1:9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Col 1:10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Rom 16:17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
Rom 16:18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
1Jn 3:8a Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
These warnings have been given for good reason. Throughout church history, there have been false converts mixed in among the faithful – as Paul described them, “ravenous wolves” who would not spare the flock (Acts 20:29). Jesus described them as tares sown by the enemy among the wheat (Matthew 13:38).
Many of the scriptures above make clear that in spite of a person’s profession of allegiance to Jesus, the actual object of their allegiance is revealed by their actions. The following scriptures help us see the difference between the true and the false, the idolatry present in a life that refuses to die and follow Christ:
Mat 6:24a “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Mar 10:17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mar 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Mar 10:22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Mar 10:23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
Gal 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
Gal 5:21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Gal 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Gal 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Eph 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
Eph 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Eph 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Eph 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Eph 5:7 Therefore do not become partners with them;
Eph 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
Php 3:18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Php 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly (the flesh), and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Heb 6:7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
Heb 6:8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
Heb 10:28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Jud 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jud 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jud 1:5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Rev 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
All of these scriptures make clear that there will be those among true Christians who will claim the name of Christ and claim to know Him but whose lifestyles will deny His abiding presence in their lives. We are not to condemn them but to encourage, exhort, and rebuke them for their ways. If they persist in a sinful lifestyle, we are called to exclude them from fellowship and to do everything we can to limit the damage caused by their influence.
1Co 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
1Co 5:13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
This is basic Christianity. While it takes a lot of scripture to adequately describe it and to weed out confusion, in reality, it is not overly complicated. However, that does not make the Christian life easy. Nevertheless, thanks be to God, it is not complicated. True Christians are called to place complete faith in Jesus and walk as He walked. Jesus walked resolutely to His cross (Luke 9:51, 13:32), in continual, complete obedience to the Father. Every Christian should be doing the same.
If someone does not obey what the Word says, it shows that they are placing other things ahead of it, and ahead of the One revealed in it – the Word of God Himself, Jesus. Note the powerful emphasis Jesus placed on obedience as a sign of those who are His, during His last talk with His disciples before His death:
Joh 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Joh 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Joh 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
Joh 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I hope these scriptures have taken root deep in your heart, that they may produce a crop.