“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) How many times have you heard this scripture in sermons that justify the sinful nature of a person? Typically it goes like this: “Well even Paul called himself a wretched man, that he’s a sinner. And if Paul was like this, then what can we say about ourselves?” But what is Paul really writing about here? Is this the condition (the condition of a wretched man) of a person who is born again, born from above? Paul is writing about the condition of war, a condition where you are in constant battle between the law (which is good) and sin (which is bad). This is the condition of a person who is under the law. Christ came to free us from the law and from the wretched state, from sin!
Salvation depends on faith, on the right faith.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38)
The devil, however, is interested to lead a person away from the Truth, to distort, to shake. This is why there are so many doctrines and interpretations of the Bible! “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2: 1). The question is: how can one reject the Christ who has redeemed him/her? The answer: The Lord has redeemed mankind from sin, from the old man, which was Adam, who lived under the law.
“But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation,” (Hebrews 9:26-28). And: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).
If teachers and preachers, in spite of what the Word says, teach that believers continue to sin, and in practice it is clear that the people do continue to sin, that it is unlikely that anyone dare say the he did not sin for one day. Maybe for one day perhaps they can refrain from sinning, but how about for a week?- most likely not. Then what is done with the teaching of Jesus Christ about the destruction of sin by the sacrifice of Christ? From the freedom of sin? Of righteousness by faith? It is rejected! The scripture says, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). Where are these enemies of the cross? Who can see them, know them, and then expose them according the True Word? Only the one who knows the Calvary correctly and actually accepts the redemption of Christ! Or,
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
The time has already come and is continuing, and who can see and understand where is the Truth and where are the fairytales? All of this is very serious, deep, and thorough! The fact is that the devil walks with many teachings, signs, wonders, and these are his false weapons, while he is clothed in what “appears” to be righteousness, by which he tries to devour the wavering, the young ungrounded infants, who just began seeking God! What must be done to survive the devil’s traps? You must be very watchful, to look into yourself and into the teaching, to engage in this constantly. (1 Timothy 4:16) Being awake and ready, one must only eat the True Word, which is the bread that came down from heaven, giving life to this world. (John 6) While reading the word, you need to accept it, make it your faith, your thoughts and if there lives other feelings or understandings that oppose the True Word, then you have to reject yourself and those feelings. And in spite of the internal opposition, you need to accept the Word and hold on to it with faith until it dissolves and goes into your heart and brings benefit to you! For the word that is heard and not dissolved into faith does not bring any benefit (Hebrews 4:1-2) At the same time, you must be ready to take up the cross which will appear- this can be persecution or rejection from society, or any other trials!
In general, what is faith? Faith is always from the teaching of the word, and faith is from hearing, hearing from the Word of God (Romans 10:17) or:” But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach!” (Romans 10:8). Therefore, if the teaching is wrong, then this faith will also be wrong. That is why it is vital and necessary to know the Word of Truth. When a person comes to God, he also had faith and knowledge, which lived in him and comes from the old man (Adam), but this knowledge and understanding were incorrect and false. Accepting the true and correct faith creates a struggle within the man, that is why all effort needs to be taken to drive out the false teaching and belief so that the truth may take its place (Matthew 11:12, James 4:7). It is very important to submit to God and to withstand your inner self if your inner self is protesting against the True Word (James 4:7), and this is how it will be, especially if a person leaves a religion. Birth from above completely changes your understanding, thinking, and faith! It is very important not to build your faith on your feelings, but on the Word. The Word of Truth must take the lead, and then the feelings will follow, but if the feelings are opposing the Word of Truth, they should be rejected, that is, don’t pay much attention to them. The truth and fact is – that Jesus Christ was the sacrifice on the Calvary, I was in Him, and I was crucified with Him there and died (Romans 6:6-7), with Him I was buried, so the old Adam is no more, and with Him I was resurrected for a New life, by the Spirit, and I became a New creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a fact that no one can remove, and for this fact one must firmly take hold and uphold in faith and to proclaim and confess this fact: I was crucified with Christ on the cross and died for the world of sin and evil, buried with Christ. The old Adam is gone, he is no more, I am in Christ, a new creature and my life is Christ. He is the true food and drink; He is my faith and hope. I do not recognize or accept any other teachings or understandings! Confessing and holding firmly to this faith – victory is guaranteed, the devil will flee, for our victory is Christ! (John 16:33)
Sometimes believers are deceived, and this occurs in feelings in which the devil tries very hard to manipulate, a person believes what he feels. A person builds on their feelings, and the feelings are always the fruit of their faith, which is in him. If the faith is wrong then the feelings will also be wrong, false. Therefore building on one’s feelings in anyway is wrong and should not be done, until the person establishes himself or herself in the correct faith, then the feelings will change, will become true and will not deceive. Therefore one must always deepen their understanding in faith, according to the True Word. I want to give a simple example using mothers and children, where the mother is faith and the children are feelings. There lives a mother with her five children. The mother, an intelligent woman, makes the decision of how the children will continue to act. But the children did not like the mother’s decision because they were used to acting differently, they raised their voices and began to protest, that they don’t want to act this way. But the mother, knowing that her decision was good, stood firm. The children made more noise and tried to change their mother’s decision but it did not work. At last they calmed down, submitted, and everything was well again. Imagine if the mother agreed to the children’s protest, where would have all this gone, what would’ve become of her household?
And another example, one sinner sincerely repented. The preacher asked him, “Did God forgive you?”- He thought and thought and answered “Probably not!” “Why not?” asked the preacher. “I did not feel anything,” answered the man. Then there was a second sinner who repented and the same question was asked and he answered firmly, “Yes, I have been forgiven!” “How do you know this?” asked the preacher. “Because this is what the Word of God says!” answered the man! The first man is the person who builds his understanding on feelings, while the second man on faith. Then the preacher asked the first man, “Tell me, do you have money with you?” The man said, “Yes, I do.” The preacher continues to ask, “Do you feel the money that is with you?- “No but I know that I have money with me.” The man answered. With much faith- the preacher continued. But the same is also with the promise of God that God forgives the sincere repenter, and here you don’t need to feel but to have faith and to know.
And another example: one believer came to a priest and said, “I am a great sinner, I want to confess for a whole hour or two.” The priest agreed to accept his confession. When he was done, the priest said to the man, “Go with peace, God has forgiven you.” But the man said, “Can I come again tomorrow and confess one more time, for it to have have more effect, can I?” “No,” answered the priest, “you confess and you doubt, you have already done enough. But to believe… you do not believe in Him who has shed his blood for your sins! Believe in the promise of God, otherwise your confessions and doubts will lead you straight to hell!” The man in tears replies, “I have read everything about how the Lord forgives sin, but I cannot believe this, that he has done this for me as well because I am a great sinner!” “Everything is forgiven for you like for everyone else, there is no partiality in God,“ said the priest. Believe and you will be saved. This person built everything on his feelings, so he could not believe. To believe in the cross of Jesus Christ is the dying of the old man and then the birth of the New creature in Christ (Colossians 3:1-4).