By Bob Dodson
Introduction: Every Christian should recognize the “undeniable truth” that he or she can commit spiritual suicide even after being “born again of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:3-7). In 2 Pet. 2:1-3 Jesus declared that (v.l) “many Christians would deny the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” And through their false teaching and damnable heresies they would lead many down their own pernicious pathway. The Truth would be blasphemed because of their despicable conduct. But Jesus declared also in (v.3) that “their damnation slumbereth not.” Below are listed from God’s word many ways by which Christians can bring damnation upon themselves!
This is the seed from which all apostasy blossoms and has its beginning. According to 2 Pet. 2:10-13 the Christian who is “his own ruler” is utterly going to perish in his own corruption (v.12). And he will receive the “wages of unrighteousness” (v.13). In 1 John 3:8 inspiration says that “Christ was manifested that he might destroy the works of the Devil”! Jesus knew that in order to accomplish this great feat he could not be self-willed! But Jesus himself said in John 6:38, “I am come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who hath sent me”! And in Matt. 26:39-42 when his death on the cross was imminent, he prayed “not my will, but thine be done.” If Jesus had been “self-willed” not only would he have perished in his own corruption, but the hope of all man-kind would have been annihilated. But Jesus knew that “he should always be about his Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). In like manner of Christ (Phil. 2:5) every Christian should decide that he is going to have a “one track mind” (Phil. 3:13-16). “Let us press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”! The Christian who does not do this is pushing the self-destruct button of his own soul.
In 2 Cor. 7:1 Christ admonishes every Christian to “perfect holiness in the fear of God”! By doing so he will be cleansing himself from all defilement of the “flesh and spirit”. Every Christian should realize that the very deeds and actions of his life is determined by the mental nourishment of his mind (Matt. 15:17-19)! The Christian can have the ability to “quench all of the fiery darts of the Evil one” only if he is “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10-16). The way to cease “defilement of the flesh” is to prevent “defilement of the mind”! To this intent by inspiration the apostle Paul stated (Phil. 4:8), “Whatsoever is honest, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The Christian who refrains from doing this is “sealing his own doom”! Again Christ exhorts every Christian to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). In order that a Christian not “defile himself” Jesus has given us many passages which warn us of specific sins which will defile us (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rom. 1:28-32, Col. 3:510; 2 Tim. 3:1-4). We do not have to “guess or wonder” whether it is all right with God to do these things! But the beauty of Jesus the “master of psychology” is that he hath given us many “spiritual right things to do” in the absence of the sin he hath stated to abstain from (1 Thess. 5:22; Eph. 5:6-8). Some of these things are found in passages such as 2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 10:25; Matt. 6:6, 2 Tim. 2:2; Jas. 1:27; 1 Pet. 4:9; Rom. 12:9-10! If every Christian will “busy himself” in the work of God doing these things he will present the Devil an awful hard target to hit with his temptations. But the idle Christian “buries himself” under the will of the Devil by his lack of interest and work for Christ! Every child of God should study God’s word so that he is able to determine and discern between good and evil (Heb. 5:12-14), so that he will not “defile himself”!
Untold numbers of Christians are deceiving themselves into believing that “they are going to heaven” when in reality they are “living in malice and envy”! Some Christians literally are hateful unto others who in the past have done them some injustice. In Tit. 3:3-5 Jesus declared that the one who through malice and envy is living his life being hateful toward his fellow man is “foolish, disobedient, and deceived”. The Christian who just cannot “forgive or forget” the shabby way some one treated him, is committing spiritual “harakiri” with his soul being the victim of the crash. He is adding his own name to the “Devil’s fatality list”. Notice these heart-pricking words of Jesus in (Eph. 4:31-32)! If, by carrying this grudge and chip on his shoulder he allows it to “defile the temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16-18) he can rest assured that God will destroy him (v.17)! How many Christians are squeezing the “life” out of their own soul through this kind of self-deception? Rather than continuing being our own spiritual assassin, let us recall the words of our Lord and repent and put away all malice and “deceit” (Matt. 6:14-15).
In Matt. 23:12 Jesus warns against this deadly sin. His message was directed toward to the scribes and Pharisees who barked orders and yelled corrections, but would not lift their finger to “work themselves” for the glory of God (Matt. 23:4). Many Christians have decided that they were too good to be a “common laborer” in the vineyard of the Lord! They have self-exalted their status from a “humble working servant” (Matt. 21:28-30) to sitting in the “chief’s seat” (Matt. 23:5-6)! Jesus himself declares in (1 Cor. 3:9) that “every member of God’s family is expected to work” and there are no “chiefs” in the Kingdom of God but Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18)! All Christians are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath ordained before the foundations of the world that we should walk in them.” God only exalts “workers not shirkers!
A Christian who attempts to “justify his actions of laziness, or indifference” and is not honest enough to “own up to his errors” is surely “killing his own soul” (1 John 1:7-9). The lawyer in Luke 10:29, being guilty of neglecting compassion to his fellow men, was “willing to justify himself”. He knew what the term “neighbor” meant but he was not willing to love his neighbor as himself (Luke 10:25-27)! No man is able to boast of his accomplishments in the service of God, neither can any Christian rightfully justify not serving God with a fervent spirit (Luke 17:10)! In Luke 14:18-21 Jesus manifests the anger which God has for the many excuses which men give him trying to justify their lack of love towards God and his great cause. Jesus did not “buy them on this occasion” and the judgment day holds the same verdict. Man may be able to “justify himself before men” (Luke 16:15) and men may buy the alibi of a Christian who misses the assembly of fellowChristians, but God does not! And every word that Christians utter in this life to “justify themselves” they shall eat to their own self-dissatisfaction throughout all eternity. The only way to destroy this “spiritual cancer” from devouring your soul, is to be “obedient unto every good work” (Tit. 1:15-16; Gal. 5:6) because you love God. Remember neither your “business associations, your family ties, your community relations or your pasttime recreations” deserve God’s rightful place in “your life” (Matt. 6:33; 10:37). These make poor-justifiers and you rob God of his deserved glory. The self-justifier becomes his own “kamikaze” pilot!!!
In 1 Tim. 6:9-10 Jesus informs Christians that they should be cautious regarding their earthly treasures! He said that many Christians would “pierce themselves through with many sorrows” as they erred from the faith through coveteousness. The Christian who “consumes his worldly goods upon himself and his family” (Jas. 4:13) and selfishly ignores “giving unto God” as God hath prospered him (1 Cor. 16:1-2) is guilty of self-condemnation religion!
In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus describes this spiritual malady. This man gave “himself” credit for the things which he had done for “himself”. He gave no thought to the truth! God had sent rain to water his crops and God had given the seed he planted in his field the ability to grow and reproduce his harvest abundantly (Is. 55:10). He patted himself on the back “egotistically” blessing himself for his hard work and his great achievements. He pronounced a blessing of rest and refreshment upon himself also. Many Christians are like this man. By failing daily to do “everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” Phil. 4:6 express unto God their appreciation for which they have, they imply they have “given it unto themselves”. This heinous crime of “unthankfulness” is kindred to being “unholy” (2 Tim. 3:2). Many Christians “brag constantly of their deeds” and many give themselves the “day off” from doing the chores of God. They falsely allow their minds to feel secure, while depending upon themselves to save themselves, without any “blessings from God needed” (Rev. 3:17). These Christians were able to provide for themselves without God’s help . . . so they thought! Constant gratitude should swell in the heart of every Christian for God’s blessings and constant care (1 Pet. 5:7; Phil. 4:19). The apostle Paul said “by the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Tim. 1:11-17).
Just as many of the Jews in (Acts 13:46) “judged themselves unworthy of eternal life” so also do many Christians. Some reach the point of discouragement and despair that they convince themselves that God would not have me back. I have gone t”too far” this time and my sins are “too numerous and ugly”! This propaganda is of the Devil, and the Christian who falls into this trap is demolishing his “eternal hope” of heaven which is just what the Devil delights in. If your life as a Christian fits the description of 2 Pet. 2:20-22, rest assured that “if you will repent and ask God to forgive you” (Acts 8:22), he will do so. The “blood of Christ” is God’s eternal testimony that you are worth saving!
Many Christians have not learned that they should “buffet their bodies daily” bringing them under subjection to God’s will (1 Cor. 9:27)! They live like the “Nicolaitans” (Rev. 2:6) believing that the “more they induldge the lusts of their own flesh” the closer they come unto salvation. But Jesus points to the “spiritual consequences” of this ungodly life in Col. 2:18-23: In 1 Pet. 2:11 God commands all Christians to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”! In spite of these very plain warnings and admonitions some Christians “invite their own soul into hell” by allowing the flesh to triumph over their spirit (Rev. 3:20-21)! But 1 Cor. 6:9-11 is “proof positive” that every child of God can break the bonds of “self-indulgence” if he wants to. Not alone of course but with the help of God he can resist the Devil (Jas. 4:6-10). The sinful-pleasures of selfindulgence (Heb. 11:24-26) are only for a fleeting moment but afterwards the horrible realities of an eternity in hell shock our imaginations (Mark 9:43-48)! Give up the “lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life”! These things are not of the Father but of the world (1 John 2:15-17), and God hath said that the world in “condemned” (1 Cor. 11:32)! Do not indulge yourself all the way to your own eternal death and receive the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23)! “Be not deceived”! “Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor any unclean person who is an idolater, shall have any part (inheritance) in the Kingdom of God and Christ our Lord” (Eph. 5:5). This kind of self-damnation is widespread but curable by God.
All Christians must realize, as did Paul in 2 Cor. 3:5, that they are not able to guide themselves without God’s word! The results of trying to do so are disastrous to man’s soul (Rom. 10:1-3) Self-righteousness results when we attempt to serve God without “God’s authority” in all matters! No man is able to deliver himself from temptation (1 Cor. 10:13)! No Christian is good enough to “be the judge of others” (Matt. 7:1-2; Jas. 4:12). Jesus told his disciples in John 15:5 that “without him” They were nothing. This is true of us all!
Jesus places this person in the company of blasphemers in 2 Tim. 3:2! This person loves himself “more” than he loves God! He will go out of his way, to “show love to himself”, while ridiculing God! On the Lord’s Day he will manifest “love for himself” by sleeping in instead of communing with his Lord. He will be “affectionate unto himself” by going fishing because he loves to do that, while. “fishing for men” (Matt. 3:19) holds little lustre to his.mind. He “loves to take himself to the lake on week-ends” so he forgets that “God will be in the assembly of his saints” (Matt. 18:20). He “dearly loves” to work in his own yard and around the house, but labor in the vineyard of Christ is “below his dignity” (1 Thess. 1:3)! He will buy “himself” everything his little heart desires (Eccl. 2:10) but sacrifice to help the Lord in his work, is beyond reason (2 Cor. 8:1-5). How many Christians would risk “thousands of doll4rs” of maybe even borrowed money to go into a risky business venture? Do you know of any Christians who would even consider borrowing to assist the work of 4he Lord as individual Christians? Far too many of us shay be ensnared in the “trap of Satan” and too blind to admit that we “love ourselves more than we love God”. Lord God open our eyes (Eph. 1:18)! Loving self ‘too much is courting death in a Devil’s hell of fire (Matt. 25:41).
In 2 Cor. 10:12 the Christian who measures himself by the world around him is sadly but certainly headed for destruction. The Christian who goes out to the beach and lays there in nudity or reasonable facsimile is measuring himself by worldly standards of ungodly men. For he would say “I have as much on as everybody else here”! God has given all mankind the “perfect standard of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) by which to measure their lives by! God intends for us to try to grow up into his Son in every way and in all things (Eph. 4:15). The Christian who justifies smoking by saying “I’m not doing anything worse than those around me” has chosen the poorest standard by which to order his life. The Christian must come out from among the world (2 Cor. 6:17-18) and dare to be different before God.
Jesus refers to some who “trusted in themselves” (Luke 18:9) but not in a complimentary manner! The worse counsel and advice that man can rely upon is “his own understanding” (Prov. 3:5)! God discusses the folly of any man confidently following his own counsel in (Jer. 10:23). “There is a way which seemeth right unto meth, but the ends thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:16). Christians who do not take advantage of the Throne of mercy daily and ask God to forgive them of every sin and cleanse their hearts of all unrighteousness” are “trusting self” and in grave danger of losing their soul forever (Heb. 4:16,1 John 1:8-9). Christians who fill their minds with carnal knowledge (Rom. 8:5-7) instead of “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) are relying upon human intellect and power to deliver them in the day of judgment. Man is no match for God (Amos 4:1013);; Any time you “know to do good, and do it not” (Jas. 4:17) you are trusting in yourself to deliver you from God’s wrath and indignation (Rom. 2:8-9). “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus” but how sour to our own souls will be our lot for believing in ourselves and shun Jesus (John 12:48-49).
Let every Christian realize that in order to follow Jesus, he must “deny himself” daily! Let us never murmur or complain while sacrificing unto God or let “self” obstruct our way to heaven (Phil. 2:12-13). Let “self” be comforted only as I like “beloved Epaphroditus” regard not my life as anything but an instrument by which I glorify God and influence others to also (Phil. 2:25-30)! And I said unto “myself” as I wrote this, “Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself” (Rom 2:21)! May “self take note” and sacrifice self for the “self.”
Truth Magazine XXI: 5, pp. 74-77
February 3, 1977