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THE REAL GOSPEL

The odds are great that most Christians in the world have never experienced the real Gospel or are aware of it, and have embraced another gospel in its place.

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I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! [Galatians 1:6-9]

Christians in general are not so discriminating in their gospel choices. Rather than do the required reading and research which the Lord Jesus, as our Teacher, demands, in order to locate the real one, they accept whatever gospel they are most familiar with or the one their particular tradition mandates. Many apparently do not even refer to their respective denominational beliefs as a gospel. They have been taught, and have accepted, the notion that anything Christian is close enough and anything Christian is the gospel, and that denominational separation and variation are the norm. This attitude makes a mockery of the Lord’s extensive teachings as though His full curriculum were optional, as though one can deviate from it and create partial gospels based on segments of His teachings. It makes a mockery of all He went through and the struggles and great victories of the Early Church which they achieved through never-ending spiritual warfare and incessant prayer. What they accomplished was extremely difficult and demanded real discipleship. Such remains a foreign concept in most of today’s churches.

Therefore, what I write here is an attempt to set the record straight. The record, of course, is contained in the actual written Gospel presented in the New Covenant Scriptures. This record is our Christian foundation. And though the early first-century believers had no written New Testament, the written New Testament is an absolute necessity in our day. For by it we can discern truth from error.

THE GOSPEL, THE COVENANT

We call it a testament. The better word is covenant—from the Greek word diatheke. The writer of the Book of Hebrews explains the nature of this covenant (in a passage we will get to shortly) in a manner most often not acknowledged or fully understood by the very Christians who claim to invoke it. How is it that the majority of Christians spend their lives going through their respective Christian motions yet never participate in the covenant which decides their eternal fate?

A covenant is a binding legal contract or agreement between two parties. This is exactly what the New Covenant is. The Gospel, or Good News, announces this covenant. The Good News, or Good Tidings, or Glad Tidings, is that God has made a way for people to be delivered from the bondage of sin and have their sins paid for and remitted completely. It is an agreement instituted by our benevolent Creator for the sake of being relationally reconciled with the wayward people of His Creation. And unlike most contracts which involve the participation of both parties in the authoring of the contract, the New Covenant is a contract in which God authors the terms. But unlike authors of covenants who control the terms and thus write for themselves the best terms, God blesses the wayward offending party with the best terms—the highly beneficial terms normally granted by the controlling author to himself. And what is more, the Author of the New Covenant must not only be the Priest which divides the sacrifice to shed its blood (for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin), but be the Sacrifice and shed His own Blood. God has so loved the wayward people of his Creation that He was willing to become one of us, shed His blood for us, and die for us. There is no greater love than this.

The Greek word diatheke, translated into English primarily as covenant, is also translated in some Bible versions in a few locations as will, as in last will and testament, which is a covenant that goes into effect only at death. Paul uses it this way in Galatians 3:15, for example. For our purposes here, we may focus on Hebrews 9:16 in which most versions translate diatheke as either covenant or testament, but a few as will. Thus, the New Covenant necessitated the death of the Testator—the Author of the will—whose last will and testament went into effect only upon His death and which involves the rights of inheritance for the second party.

And due to the nature of the sacrifice He made for sin, it is also a covenant of blood—a Blood Covenant in that two parties agree that a sacrificial death must take place to institute it (the death of the Lord Jesus, the first party), but also that a second sacrificial death must take place to ratify it (the death of the second party):

15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. [Hebrews 9:15-17]

Now, the death of the first party of the New Covenant was a brutal physical death involving horrific torture and suffering. It was, of course, undeserved. The Lord Jesus was absolutely innocent of the false charges His accusers threw against Him. He never committed a single sin and kept the Law of Moses perfectly. This, of course, made His an extremely difficult and dedicated life. His love for wayward humanity was such that He subjected Himself to the otherwise impossible task and living a life with no sin so He could defeat sin and release us from the evil power of sin. The Lord had to be completely innocent and pure in order for the New Covenant to be instituted. He was the Sacrifice Lamb and the sacrifice had to be without blemish.

The death required of the second party in this covenant, however, is not a physical death but a sacrifice of the totality of one’s life. It is illustrated by the anguish, agony, and grief of the full repentance process as one expresses pronounced sorrow for one’s lifetime personal sins and is broken and “burnt” as an offering upon an intangible altar of sacrifice as one surrenders completely to the terms of the covenant which mandates such a death.

The second party, of course, has no leg to stand on as it were and no defense, since he or she is the guilty party, the party of sin. The Author’s terms which one must agree to in order to accept and ratify the agreement cannot possibly be any better, however, since they entail not only a brand new clean and purposeful life in the here and now but eternal life as well. And this eternal life, of course, demands that there also be a later resurrection after physical death, just as the first party had undergone resurrection. The Lord Jesus had died physically but later came back to life. The second party of the covenant will also undergo physical death and will also later come back to life.

But regarding the present, there is more. If the second party repents properly, correctly, and fully, which means he or she effectively dies, the pure Blood of the Sacrifice Lamb, the Lord Jesus, will then be applied to his or her life. The Blood is applied at repentance. Thus, if there is no real repentance, there is no application of the Blood, and there is no ratification of the New Covenant for any particular second party.

If there is real repentance by the second party, then he or she will be thoroughly cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb and all personal sin will be washed away. And since the second party does not actually die physically to ratify the covenant, the Lord Jesus has instituted full immersion water baptism in His Name—it must be in the Name of Jesus—as a type of burial for the “dead” second party. In other words, real repentance signifies death and full immersion water baptism signifies burial.

Now what? You’ve got a person, the second party, who is dead and buried. When he or she then emerges from the waters of baptism it signifies in one sense a resurrection from the tomb. In effect, however, though one is now clean and pure, his or her spirit must be resurrected as well in order to complete the process of attaining the same state that Adam and Eve existed in before they sinned. Remember, God had told them that if they ever sinned they would die. Yet, when they did sin, they did not die physically, but spiritually. They continued living physically but Adam’s spirit had died. Eve’s spirit had died. Because of this, their sin and their dead spirit cut them off from spiritual relationship with God. And because they were no longer innocent and pure they could no longer live in the spiritual Garden made for spiritual people but were required to leave the Garden and go into the wild world.

The last Adam, however, restores this spiritual relationship. He has made a way in which one can return to the Garden (His Kingdom). He does it through the infilling of the second party with His Holy Spirit:

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. [1Corinthians 6:17]

TRANSFORMATIVE SPIRITUAL POWER

Thus, we now see the complete process toward total restoration. This is what was demonstrated in the early history of the Lord’s Community per the historical record of Acts. This is the fullness of the real Gospel. This is the Good News. The second party, previously completely helpless and bound by sin with no chance of changing his or her condition for the better, is fully transformed into a new creation by the sacrifice and power of the first party.

Therefore, the New Covenant is actually a covenant of transformative spiritual POWER. This was demonstrated throughout the ministry of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel accounts. He possessed and demonstrated the power of God. People were miraculously healed. They were miraculously delivered of possession by demons. The poor and downtrodden, those beat down and taken advantage of by others, were blessed with the uplifting Gospel of hope and joy. And the dead were raised to new life.

This great spiritual power and the one Gospel—the only real Gospel—were and remain a package deal. They go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Not only was this great spiritual power (Greek: dunamis) demonstrated in the Lord’s ministry, it was also demonstrated after His initial ministry through the ministry of the Early Church in the first century. So the power never ended with His direct ministry, continued after His direct ministry according to the clear historical record, and was obviously intended to continue throughout the age of His Kingdom on earth until the present and beyond. To support this fact, we have these three passages for starters:

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. [Mark 16:19-20]

“For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:39]

After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. [Hebrews 2: 3-4]

The New Testament, therefore, is: (1) A written record which reveals the spiritual power of God in action, the very cause of the miracles which took place among them and without which the Gospel would have no power or ability to transform. (2) A written record which documents the full teachings of the Lord Jesus—the real Gospel—but also exposes any and all consequent false gospels.

ANY Christian teaching that deviates from the Lord’s pure curriculum is in essence a false teaching, either because it contains error, that which the Lord never taught, or it acknowledges only a portion of His teachings. Whatever gospel thus contains additions to His teachings denotes a false gospel. Whatever gospel thus contains omissions from His teachings denotes a false gospel. And whatever gospel that denies and does not possess the transformative spiritual power of God is a false gospel. It was none other than the renowned Apostle Paul who first claimed this fact in his second letter to Timothy when he wrote:

…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these. [2Timothy 3:5]

For greater insight and clarification, the phrase “form of godliness” in the preceding verse is from the Greek words morphosis eusebeia. The first is defined as “a forming, shaping, semblance, a form, embodiment.” The second is defined as: “reverence, respect, religion, piety.” Putting the two together, using various existing Bible translations, we see much better the man-made formulation of the many false gospels in the world and their inherent character:

A Form of Godliness

A Form of Religion

A Form of Piety

A Pretense of Religion

An Appearance Indeed of Godliness

The Appearance of Godliness

The Form of Religion

The Outward Appearance of Religion

The Outward Form of Godliness

THE REAL GOSPEL

Partial salvation is not real salvation. Partial cleansing of one’s soul is not real cleansing of one’s soul. A partial born again experience is not a real born again experience. Partial healing is not real healing. A broken heart cannot be partially healed and actually be healed. The real Christians of this world know they had to surrender all and give their entire heart to the Lord in order to receive all that He had to offer and must be offered in order to be fully transformed. With the Lord Jesus, there are no partial or halfway measures. He will never allow a person to think he or she is okay when he or she is not okay.

HE IS NOT A QUACK MINISTER LIKE MOST OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTERS IN THIS WORLD, EACH OF WHOM HAVE THEIR PRICE AND HAVE SOLD OUT.

And a lawyer (a Torah teacher) stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” [Luke 10:25-28]

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” [Matthew 12:30]

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” [Luke 11:23]

According to the Lord Jesus, who is our only authority, real Christianity is a 100% proposition. One is either with Him or one is not. If one is with Him one is with Him 100% or one is not with Him at all. He has all authority and all power both in heaven and on earth. As part of His ministry, He shares his power with His real followers. He even said His real followers, those who believe in Him, could do anything He did and more:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” [John 14:12-14]

To this astounding statement, however, He adds an apparent caveat:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” [John 14:15]

And it is here that we see the answer. We discover how real Christianity works. We understand how the people of the Early Church, not only the apostles, were able to be used of God to allow for the doing of the same miracles that the Lord performed. They must have loved Him with all their heart. No one would ever do all that He commanded otherwise.

Though they believed in Him and trusted Him completely, their obedience went beyond mere trust. They obeyed Him because they loved Him. This is why they kept His commandments. He loved each of them with all His heart. And they loved Him the same. We know the Lord was willing to do pretty much anything for anyone to help them and bless them and that His help went beyond the mere natural into the supernatural. He empowered His disciples to do the same works He did but they were only able to do them after they reached the same point of love for Him that He had for them, and by this they were able to love each other.

It was the bond of spiritual love (agape) which made the early believers so effective in doing miraculous works (ergon). Their love of the Lord Jesus meant that they trusted the difficult discipleship process they had to go through to receive the spiritual power (dunamis) through which the works were activated. Their love of their neighbor allowed them to work well together and meet the spiritual needs of their neighbor.

And this is why the one Gospel—the real Gospel—is founded upon spiritual love and works through the power of spiritual love.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” [John 15:12-14][1]

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

May the richest blessings of Christmas be upon you and yours, dear readers, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, from whom all blessings flow.

 

 

THE REAL BIRTHDAY OF JESUS: ENTERING THE SEASON OF OUR JOY

THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE

      “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.

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         “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

        “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

         “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

         “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” [John 15:13-27][1]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Let Every Day Be Christmas 2017

       This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

      This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

      But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

       Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

        I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2018 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

      Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my email updates. You have all been a great blessing!

        It is my belief that 2018 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritual communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Let Every Day Be Christmas 2015

         This really is a great time of year, of course. Regardless of whether one is a practicing Christian or not, people in general have a greater tendency to appropriate the spirit of Christmas during the holiday season. Most are nicer to one another and more accommodating. Many live out the Golden Rule by visiting friends and relatives, engaging in quality fellowship and family time, smiling a little brighter, giving gifts, helping others, and loving one another.

         In other words, we all generally do as the Lord Jesus taught us to do. Though it is not really His birthday, we celebrate it at this time and it makes all the difference.

         After the holidays, however, most people go back to their regular lives of disobedience and indifference toward God. There is a quick return to doing things our way, living our way, sinning our way, demanding our way, hating our way, and forgetting all about the wonder of Christmas.

         This means Christmas is merely a time to briefly touch upon the reality of human existence and the answers and gifts each of us has for each other. It is a faux construct revealing the truth of how most of us wish it could be but will never be. It is a time to celebrate the mere idea of the Christmas message. It is a time when people doing good things is culturally legal, where one’s good heart blends with everyone’s and brings no personal disdain as a do-gooder or clueless nice guy. People set aside their prejudices and hatred because the pressure’s off. We get a lift from giving. Joy is allowed a place in our hearts. Those who rarely smile grin a little.

         But it is all only temporary. The New Year will bring a return to the rat race and justifiable lying, cheating, and slander. Bad attitudes are only placed on hold during the Christmas season. People do not actually repent. People do not actually embrace the Lord and obey His teachings. As wonderful as it all is, Christmastime is an aberration.

         Why can’t we live out the spirit of Christmas all year long? Some of the reasons are as follows:

(1) It would no longer be a special once-a-year season.

(2) Too much work! (Decorating, shopping, entertaining, family—Yikes!)

(3) People cannot fake love for that long.

         The real reason?

         Most people refuse to make the giant leap toward real repentance and living a spiritually-disciplined lifestyle. Most people cannot conceive of possessing an inner joy all year long. Most people do not know the Lord Jesus and do not want to know Him. And this includes most “Christians.”

         It is far easier to obey one’s will than His will.

         It is far easier to be deceived than know the truth.

         I recently stated in the comments section of this blog that most churches would never allow the Lord Jesus to be in charge of their operations. This also holds true for most of us who say we are Christians. But for those fellowship groups who would agree to let the Lord be the boss, let 2016 be the year we accomplish this at a higher and faster rate, and to a greater degree. Let real Christians do the same. Let us truly love one another, help each other, and see about one another. And let it last all year long.

         My hope this Christmas is that it will continue being Christmas. Keep buying gifts and giving gifts. Keep entertaining and blessing others. Keep the wonder and the happiness and the love. Make your heavenly Father proud. Indeed, make Him cry tears of joy. Move His heart with your attention to His curriculum and course of personal conduct. Make Him pleased with your discipleship. Honor Him as your Lord and Savior who stopped at nothing to bring you abundant life. Love Him with all your heart and love one another as you love yourself.

         Be blessed this Christmas. Be very, very blessed. Remember the One who made it possible. Thanks to all of you who have read my articles, commented on them, and passed them on to others. I especially want to thank those of you who have subscribed and allowed me to send out my email updates. You have all been a great blessing!

         It is my belief that 2016 will be a pivotal year in many respects, but mostly as a year when an even greater number of real believers will be born into the kingdom, when many Christians will rededicate their lives, when many more solid groups, spiritually communities, and fellowships will be formed, and when the Lord’s people become even greater salt and light for such a time as this.

         It is impossible to lose when on the Lord’s side. Allow the wonder of Christmas to stay in your heart all year long. May we all be real and may we all keep loving.

         And may we all have a Merry Christmas.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.   

 

The Greatest Love

        If a real Christian has anything at all, he or she has a backbone, and will never back down.

         Why would a person surrender their very life in exchange for a belief? Why is a belief more important than one’s life? The law of self-preservation dictates that above all things we must protect and defend our greatest possession—our life—against any attack or threat of attack. Yet, real Christians have historically chosen to choose death rather than choose to discard something they believe in.

         There must be something more to Christian belief.

         If a parent is given a choice to lay down his life or substitute the life of his child, what should be the proper choice? Is it somehow more moral or socially acceptable to choose one over the other? The answer exists in the simple fact that many parents (I would hope every parent), would choose to die and allow their child to live because it is both the obviously correct choice and they would not be able to live with themselves if they chose otherwise. Even though they could protect their life, their life afterwards would no longer be worth living.

         And this is the crux of the distinction: One’s life can be devalued and even greatly devalued by making such incorrect choices. Why? Because healthy, sane people have a conscience, and one’s conscience will put forth a prompt reminder than one has chosen incorrectly.

         Otherwise, human beings could do whatever sinister thing they may wish and never be bothered by the choice they made. In the natural world, for example, animals make choices that often have bad consequences according to the moral beliefs of humans, but the animals that make the choices don’t seem to be bothered by them. If a wild animal, for example, attacks and injures a child, the wild animal probably has no moral conscience regarding the act, does not get depressed by the act, and will likely repeat the act. This can possibly be attributed to instinct or hunger, but the animal’s choice nevertheless causes an injury to a helpless child, and this cannot be construed as a good thing. So we often deem animals as innocent, in that they don’t know any better, but human animals are a different story.

         Therefore, for those who have a conscience in good working order, it will override mere self-preservation, especially when it comes to one’s offspring. Using the natural world as an example once again, even wild animals will protect their offspring with their lives. Many an animal mother will protect her young using whatever extreme measures she deems necessary, and becomes decidedly ferocious in those instances.

         But what is in the conscience of a real Christian that causes him to give up his life rather than surrender his beliefs? It is not so much about giving up his beliefs as it is turning his back on his best friend. The Lord Jesus claimed,

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]

         The word “friends” in this usage indicates the most dearly beloved in one’s life. But the absolute most dearly beloved of all people in the life of a real Christian is His Lord and Savior—the One who purchased his life—and the One who first gave His own life to save the ones He considered His most beloved. This is why a real Christian could never surrender his beliefs, because it also means betraying the One who loves him the most.

         What good is life without the One who made life possible? For example, the person who betrayed the Lord to those religious authorities who intended to murder Him had been deceived into thinking he was doing the right thing. He did not know his act of betrayal would result in the Lord’s death. In fact, Satan had possessed this man and essentially blinded him and animated him to act against his conscience. And even though we know Judas was a thief, he still had a conscience in good working order, because after his diabolical act, after the devil went out from him, after clear thinking returned, and after he saw what he caused, he immediately killed himself. There was no way he could live with the knowledge on his conscience of what he had done. His life was no longer worth living. It had become greatly cheapened by his terrible choice. Self-preservation went out the window and the only salve for his horror was the opposite.

         This knowledge should cause a person to immediately reflect on the great love of the Lord, in that though our conscience does the same thing to us when we sin, and though we deserve all that Judas got in the end, 

         THE LORD FORGIVES US AND SILENCES OUR CONSCIENCE—OUR CONSCIENCE IS APPEASED BECAUSE A SACRIFICE HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE.

         We don’t have to run out and find a tree and a rope, because the Lord had already appropriated a cross!

         The Lord Jesus allowed to have happen to Himself what Judas did to himself, and what we should each receive for ourselves. Our conscience convicts us as guilty, but through an act of legitimate repentance on our part, we display a contrite heart and express sorrow for our sin. We hate what we did and never want to do it again. And through this act of knowing we did wrong and being remorseful for it, and because God will not despise a broken and contrite heart, [1] our sin can be washed away by the miraculous cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb.

         Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:25]

         The Lamb of God, through His incredible love and forgiveness, actually acts as a defense attorney on our behalf!

         What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. [Romans 8:31-34] [2]

         This is why so many persecuted Christians the world over always choose to die rather than surrender their beliefs. They know they are loved by God, and they love Him—with all of their heart. He proved His love by giving His life. They prove their love by doing the same.

         And it is not as if they are purposely trying to prove their love, as if they had an agenda to display to the world. No, it is simply because Jesus first showed His greatest love for them while they were yet sinners, and He pursued them, and gave His heart to them, and won their hearts, and they loved Him in return with the greatest love and gave their hearts to Him also, and could not possibly do otherwise.

         Real Christians would never recant in a million years. They would never turn away from their faith because they would never turn away from their Lord. His life is infinitely more important than their own and they always choose to lay down their own life for His.

         The greatest love is funny that way.  

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Psalm 51:17

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.