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"Brood of Vipers!"
MT 12:33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
MT 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Is there any misunderstanding about how Jesus (God) feels about many of the Scribes and Pharisees? John the Baptist was the first to label them snakes because they killed others with their venom of hypocrisy and false teachings. He surely recognized that these religious men took after their father- the serpent of old. In fact, "brood" means OFFSPRING or nest of offspring. You might say that John paved the way for THE WAY! As our Bibles will show, when Jesus spoke to these men he had nothing but rebuking words for them. So while reading the Gospels it should be perfectly clear that these thought by the public to be the "men of God", the Scribes and Pharisees, "missed the mark" big time! In fact, Jesus' (God's) harshest words were ALWAYS to these very religious men. Jesus (God) LOVED the rich man; He FORGAVE the prostitute; He SUPPED with tax collectors; and He came to SAVE sinners- not those who thought they were righteous and felt no need of a Physician.
I suppose that most Christians can understand why Jesus (God) was angry with these men, but can Christians see that this dark nature of the Scribes and Pharisees NEVER left us? The same "nature" that deceived these "men of God" has been working within the Christian religion from day one. Some of the RELIGIOUS of today are no different than those pious men of Jesus' day. We were told that wolves would enter into the fold (Acts 20:29, 2 Tim 3:5). Well my friends, the MODERN DAY SCRIBES AND PHARISEES are alive and well today within Christianity. They are just more subtle in their destructive ways, but the fruit is the same- bad. The modern day VIPERS are still injecting others with venom in the form of pride, hypocrisy, ignorance and condemnation. Not only do these vipers condemn non-Christians to an eternal hell, they may even condemn fellow Believers if they do not believe what they do. What they don't realize is that they are the vipers in hell and sons of it!
It would be hard to refute the MANY atrocities that have been committed in Christendom's history by self-proclaimed Christians with good intentions. History books are full of the "fruit"- the horrors and cruelty done in the name of Christ. One only has to look at our "Christian county" to see the hypocrisy and violence from within the false Christian system and culture. We read that times were "violent" before the Great Flood, yet in this century, one "Christian country" has killed millions of men, women and children. Of course, more deaths came before the 20th century in our "Civil?" War. It has been said that more Americans died in this war than in ALL other wars since combined. I don't have the number, but does it matter? This "Christian country" that God has blessed is still full of violence in our streets, in our homes and in our hearts. But why? This "Christian county" is the ONLY country to ever kill innocent civilians using nuclear weapons! Why? This "Christian county" has the highest murder rate in the "civilized" world! Is this CIVILIZED? Is this the transforming life of Christ working in us? Did Jesus or the early Believers EVER use violence to promote, defend or sustain their faith? No, they had all they needed in Christ. Real Christians were united in God's love for each other and for humanity.
COL 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
This is NOT the behavior of many "Christians" in the Dark Ages or even today. But why are so many in the dark? Is it because they never had the Light in them? Jesus Christ did not come to start a new religion, but to transform the human race. A few centuries after Jesus was resurrected, NEW Scribes and Pharisees of the Christian persuasion were well on their way to positions of power within the religious system of Christianity. These now "Christian" Vipers were coming back with an evil vengeance against the Truth.
This should not shock anyone because EVERYONE'S nature BEFORE being born of the Spirit is that of a viper. All have carried and used the venom of the serpent of old- the devil. None are righteous without Christ. None seek God without Christ. None can be perfect like our Father in heaven without Christ. Paul says this about our evil nature:
ROM 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
COL 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
This is our nature according to Adam, but now Christ is giving us the nature of God- Perfection! During the time of the Law, these men of good intentions, the Scribes and Pharisees, were thought to be close to God. The public looked at these "men of the cloth" as many might look at priests or ministers in Christianity today. They knew Scripture, the Law and were thought to be the most righteous men on earth chosen by God to teach the Jews- the chosen race! So here we have the CHOSEN among the chosen! The ELITE among the elite! So the public at large may have been nearly as shocked as the "VIPERS" themselves were when rebuked by our Lord. Do Christians suppose that we are above being rebuked today like these men were? I don't think so. I believe that many Christians despite good intentions have fallen into this same deception of the Scribes and Pharisees. Many Christians are self-righteous, prideful, hypocritical and judgmental like the "brood of vipers" were. They didn't know God nor could they lead others to Him.
So now let's consider the judgments Jesus (God) placed on these religious men and see if they stick to some of us. First, consider that these men knew the Scripture inside and out, but did that really matter to God?
JN 5:36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
MT 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
The teachers neglected the MORE IMPORTANT matters of the Law. They were more concerned about giving spices (natural) than giving justice, mercy and faith (spiritual). They were more concerned with "natural" sacrifices to God than SPIRITUAL obedience to His will. They believed that by knowing the Scriptures that they had eternal life, but they didn't know God. How could this be? These were men teaching God's Law and yet were blind of spiritual things. All are born "natural" and all must be reborn "spiritual." The natural mind, or carnal mind does not and can not understand God. The carnal mind is a beast who is a slave to sin and dead spiritually. The spiritual man has the mind of Christ that sets him free from sin and darkness. The New Man in Christ can hear and understand God. Are many Christians still seeking salvation from a book or a church and not the transforming life of Christ? Have many Christians forgot about love and mercy, but are quick to judge others? Jesus only judged those who judged others- the vipers. For the sinners, he had nothing but love and forgiveness.
It should be pointed out that not all of the Scribes and Pharisees were calloused and living in disbelief of Jesus the Christ. Nicodemus came to Jesus seeking the Truth. This man knew the Law, but his natural mind could not understand spiritual things like being "born again." Here is what Jesus said to Nicodemus:
JN 3:10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
So it should be clear that knowing God's word (Scripture) is not the same as knowing God's WORD (Jesus Christ). The natural, or carnal mind can KNOW every "word" in the Bible, but have no realization of Jesus Christ and His Father. The natural mind believes and follows the devil. The devil is called the father of lies, and he is the father of any who believe them.
JN 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."
Imagine that these so called "men of God" did not belong to God, but to the devil. They followed their father the devil because they believed his lies and not the Truth. They lived in and loved the darkness (ignorance) and not the Light (understanding). Do Christians feel secure knowing that they are believing and teaching many traditions and beliefs conceived by those of the Dark Ages? Do Christians really know the True Gospel message BEFORE the NEW Scribes and Pharisees entered Christendom? Are many Christians today believing and practicing rules, traditions and lies created in the darkness of carnal minds? Yes, they are! It really is not even a question- that is if you BELIEVE what Jesus said because he tells us.
MT 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
This is obviously a future scene of "believers" with good intentions who were deceived by their father, the devil. Jesus says "I NEVER KNEW YOU" to MANY apparent believers. We shouldn't be so shocked. All of us are born slaves to sin and believing the devil's lies. God IS RESPONSIBLE for this natural condition we start in, and He is the ONLY One that can get us out. This world is our life lesson being taught. We are nothing without God and everything with Him. The realization of Christ within us is the only way to overcome sin and the world which is done by the grace of God. So Christians should take heed that just knowing the Bible or ABOUT Jesus is not being saved.
Like the Pharisees, many Christians are more worried about the APPEARANCE of themselves than the condition of their souls. They are not honest with themselves nor others while pretending to look perfect. Here is what Jesus said to such people:
MT 23:25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
MT 23:27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Listen, I acknowledge that I have been a hypocrite in this as well, but brothers and sisters, I desire something better! I want the reality of the Light and not just a false shiny appearance! Many are still trying to take Adam (our natural man) and clean him up to shine like Christ, but Adam (flesh and blood) will NEVER enter the Kingdom of God (1 COR 15:50). Everyone born of Adam is guilty of this- it is a lesson to be learned. The Law was given to expose Adam as imperfect. Christ has set us free from the Law. Even so, many Christians live by rules and not by His Spirit. We keep trying to obey the commandments, but believe me when I say that you will NEVER fulfill even the greatest one- to love God with all your heart and soul. Adam was never able to do that and NEVER will, but the Second Adam- Christ can and does! Only through Jesus Christ will we be transformed into new creations able to know and love our true Father and God.
Yes, many of the religious folks today have the same nature as those of Jesus' day. They are caught up in rules for Adam to live by instead of living by the Law of the Spirit of life. Many Christians will say, "You can't drink"; "You can't work on Sunday"; "You must go to church to know God"; and so on. They bring death and condemnation on themselves and others while Jesus brings Life and freedom from "rules of men." He lived according to His Spirit which is God- not according to rules of men. We are called to do the same.
LK 6:1 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"
LK 6:6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.
Always looking to accuse- sound familiar? I have heard and seen my share of this happening in Christianity today. One example that comes to mind is this group of "Christians" that will protest during funerals. They will stand with their signs outside the church in view of the mourning family members who had just witnessed a loved-one greatly suffer and succumb to AIDS. Their signs would say "GOD HATES FAGS" and "YOU DESERVE AIDS." This may be an extreme example, but it is very real and to one degree or another it happens everywhere. These modern day vipers are spewing out their venom to kill and sicken the world. They follow the spirit of the devil. Do these not know that they bring judgment upon themselves? Are Christians not aware that the Law has been abolished by Jesus Christ?
EPH 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.
GAL 3:23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
ROM 10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
The LAW was/is for the CARNAL MAN, the beast and not for those in Christ who are SPIRIT and free. This is why the CARNAL "Christians" of today still live by it and kill others with it. It fits their nature- that of a beast. Why then do Christians still teach the "Ten" Commandments (although the Jewish Law had MANY, MANY more)? Are they aware that Jesus Christ gave a new commandment which SUPERSEDES the old law?
JN 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
1JN 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
If we are born of His Spirit, we live by that Spirit which is love. We know what is right or wrong by our spirit. Our spirit is born of God who is love. Do carnal Christians really love their enemies? I doubt some even love those they sit next to in church. Jesus the Christ came and brought us a NEW COVENANT- a higher truth! Read in Matthew chapter 5 where Jesus basically says, "I know that you have heard that the Law says this, but that is WRONG and the reality is THIS." The Old Covenant was only a shadow- not the REALITY. The carnal mind can only see shadows. What is a shadow, but an absence of light? A shadow is NOT real, but is cast from something that IS REAL and is HIGHER than the shadow itself.
HEB 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves.
ROM 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Many are still living in the "valley of the SHADOW of death" instead of seeking the higher places with Christ where there is Light and Truth. The carnal mind lives in a darkness where only shadows are seen. The carnal mind creates illusions that everything is fine, but the REALITY is that they are dead in sin and in hell. The Scribes and Pharisees were not only keeping themselves from God's Kingdom, but actually keeping others from it by their carnal rules and teachings.
MT 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
MT 15:6 Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
MT 15:8 " `These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
MT 15:9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"
Jesus said that these men were NULLIFYING the word of God in order to teach their beliefs and traditions while not knowing God's heart. I believe this is exactly what has happened with Christendom! Look around Christians! We are not looking too glorious. Many Christians are just as violent, sinful and untruthful as those of ANY other religion. Explain that! Something is terribly wrong! Has God taken away His promise to give us the "riches of Christ," or have we been deceived in our own pride and darkness? Of course, the latter is true. We have we missed the mark and been deceived by believing lies. Yes, quite certainly there has been a "falling away" from the Truth and power in Christ. Many of our teachers are NOT teaching the Truth, but are blind guides concerned more with raising money than our resurrection.
MT 23:16 "Woe to you, blind guides! You say, `If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?
Oh and yes, it is always about MONEY and still is today. Getting more "gold" for God! Many religious institutions are more concerned with passing the plate than passing on the Truth. Jesus said, "freely you have received, freely give," but there are some churches that will banish you if they don't get "their" ten percent! The Church after joining forces with the State around 400 A.D. quickly became a monetary juggernaut. They led the sheep to believe that if they gave some money to them, that God would pardon their sins. This evil doctrine mocks the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross! These high ranking Vipers within Christendom also created the idea of an everlasting hell to scare many into giving money to them so that God would release their loved ones from hell. This has been well documented of the Church system during the Dark Ages. They wanted more money above all else and conjured up deceitful fear tactics to get more of it. God doesn't need money. If He has your heart, he will have all of you in due time. It should be clear that NOTHING has changed in carnal, religious minds. They will not enter the Kingdom of heaven and are keeping others out by their false teachings! Understand this! The carnal man will TRY to obey God using the fear of punishment as motivation. The spiritual man in Christ will obey God because Christ loves His Father. Love is the ONLY motivation of those born of God. Fear is NOT of God. God's perfect love will drive out all fear and false beliefs.
Not only do they keep Truth-seekers out, but they go to great lengths to gain another follower of their belief who will fall into the Pit with them.. Today's "preachers" will go door to door to "WIN A SINGLE CONVERT" to his religious beliefs to make them even more a son of hell (deception and darkness) than they are.
MT 23:15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."
Have Christians considered that NO ONE comes to God on their own strength, but God draws them to Christ? No one CHOOSES God, but He chooses us when He desires us to be saved! Why are these fundamental TRUTHS NOT being taught to Believers? No church or religion including Christianity ever saved anyone! God is our ONLY Savior, yet many modern day Scribes and Pharisees say that if we don't believe what they believe then we are going to hell to be tortured forever. This is exactly what the Catholic Church told the world for centuries. Even though they have retreated from this position today, many Catholics still believe that theirs is the only "true" church. They are deceived and dull not knowing that God's "Church" (ecclesia Gr.= called out) are members of a spiritual body of believers that no man can see. God "calls" us out of the world's ways and we are His Church. Being a "Christian" doesn't make us part of the One True Church.
You will know a tree by its fruit and not by its religion! I am quite certain that many Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus and others have been called out by God. Their fruit is proof that Christ has transformed their hearts and souls. Carnal knowledge is good for NOTHING in our relationship with God! One could know EVERYTHING about the man Jesus and not know Christ. One could know every word in the Bible, but be violent and evil as history has clearly shown.
"Believing" doesn't save or change anyone. Have you not read that even the demons believe (James 2:19)? Faith is a gift from God and must be acted upon. We must USE God's gifts. We are responsible for what He gives us. If we believe because of Jesus Christ's faith given to us, then HIS works, or fruit will be manifested. If nothing is produced, we have wasted God's gift of faith and our spirit falls back asleep. We can not save ourselves nor earn salvation, but salvation is obtained by using what He freely gives us. Many will however want to take the credit for their salvation. They take pride in "their" ability to be strong and make Adam righteous looking. Some Christians are thankful that they are not weak like those evil, foolish and lost sinners.
LK 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed aboutn himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
LK 18:13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
LK 18:14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
TRUE Believers are to be humble because they know WHO is responsible for every good thing that they produce. I believe this is one of our biggest problems as Christians. We see a little Light come from us and think WE are the Sun! Foolish and prideful Christians! Pride is like yeast- it puffs up something, but it is nothing- only hot air! Beware the yeast of the Pharisees be they Jew or Christian.
LK 12:1 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
Many of us Christians live in hypocrisy whether we see it or not. For instance- Jesus told us to love our enemies; do good to those who hate you. Who REALLY does this? The Christians that come to mind that actually did this were the Early Believers. They were not violent like those who followed them in the Faith. Also, Christians should not gossip (put others down) because it "will be heard in the daylight," but many do this as well. Again, do we inspect our fruit? Of what spirit is it produced? Even the disciples after following Jesus the Christ and being taught by Him were still carnally-minded (see "Who Then Can Be Saved?"). But when inspecting ourselves, do we see venom from a viper, or love from God coming from our hearts and actions? We can not serve two masters. Either we accept that we are nothing without God, or believe the lie that Adam can be righteous enough to reach God's Kingdom.
We are not born of the Spirit until God wills it. Haven't we read, "I never knew you!" Can we assume that Jesus is not speaking to us? You see, some Christians are in a dark delusion that they DID something (good works) to be saved. They believe that they were WISE enough to "make a decision for Christ." Until we realize that God is the Force behind EVERY aspect of our salvation, we will not mature in Christ.
We live in darkness until He reveals His Truth (MT 13:11, JN 12:39). We can not seek Him unless drawn by God (JN 6:65). We can not believe unless given the gift of faith from God (EPH 2:8). We can not repent unless brought to godly sorrow by God (2 COR 7:9, ROM 2:4). We can not choose Christ, but God chooses us to be saved (JN 15:16). He is the Author and FINISHER of our faith and salvation- not just for you and me, but for ALL. God will settle for nothing less than ALL of mankind although Christians want to covet God's love and salvation for themselves. Like the religious Jews of old who actually believed that God was only interested in Israel's salvation, many Christians believe that those outside of Christianity are headed straight to a never ending hell be they babies or barbarians. Well brothers and sisters, that dark thinking is completely wrong! But that is not the subject of this article. Suffice to say that hell is for corrective punishment and is NOT everlasting. You see God DOES love His enemies and DOES do good to those who hate Him. His love is unfailing which means that evil WILL fail, sin WILL fail, and our own personal hells WILL end.
Our God and Father of ALL did not create a plan where most of humanity would end up hopelessly lost from His love and life. God's perfect plan was conceived before we were. He knew exactly how, when and what it would take to save every one created in His image and likeness. His Seed, Christ is in everyone. All came from Christ and ALL is to return to Him. His spirit will be born and will mature in all of us. It is only a matter of time which is nothing to God. His patience is unlimited (1 TIM 1:16) even though we Christians may be quick to judge and condemn others. God literally has ALL the time in the world and has purposed that time should not end until God is ALL in ALL(1 COR 15:28)- that means EVERYONE will be saved by His grace and faith found only in CHRIST.
My hope in writing this article is that we Christians will look in the mirror and judge ourselves. If we be in Christ, let the Consuming Fire of our God burn our conceited natures away. Let Him remove all that keeps us from true communion with Christ. I can not lie to myself and ignore the BAD FRUIT produced by the many "Christians" throughout history or today. The violence, the lies and the self-righteousness are NOT the fruit of the Spirit. Do we really need reminded what is the True Fruit?
GAL 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
If the "fruit of the Spirit" is not being manifested in us, we need to ask ourselves, "why"? Have we become more like those Paul warned about?
2TI 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Now, this sounds more like some of the "fruit" recorded in the history of Christianity and perhaps even today. The only one we should judge is ourselves. We ALL need to take the PLANK (board) out of our own eyes first because we are not seeing clearly. We need to keep seeking Christ and NOT be content with bogus beliefs, treacherous traditions and dark doctrines found within man-made religions. I do not want to be a modern day Scribe or Pharisee. I want the reality of Christ in my soul! A Reality that will change my life! PLEASE understand that Adam will NEVER be good enough! We can try all we want to follow the rules of men and the traditions of our religion, but it will NEVER bring us to Life!
COL 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
COL 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Christ is to APPEAR in us (2 TH 1:10)! We are created to be the image of God- CHRIST! Jesus the Christ became the Seed of God to produce after Himself. Without God, we are truly nothing. Until we are brought into this realization, we will continue to fail as Christians- we will NOT overcome without Christ in us- the hope of Glory! (COL 1:27) Jesus the Christ overcame this world and now desires to save us by living in us!
JN 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
1JN 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Let us not be FOOLISH GALATIANS anymore! No religion, including Christianity with carnal rules will ever save us or truly change us! Only Christ within us will bring us change and life!
GAL 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
My words have been harsh at times within this article, but are Paul's no different? We must judge and examine ourselves NOT others.
2CO 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?
If we "fail the test," we must be brought to ruin (poor in spirit) and godly sorrow (he who mourns). We should pray that God does whatever it takes to break our wills, our pride, our hate and our disbelief! He will surely answer our prayers. God's love will draw us to Him. His Son will give us life! Live by His Spirit of Life, not the law of death.
His peace and understanding be with you,