Spiritual Light

instructions in the faith for spirit filled believers
This book contains perhaps the most needed understanding for God's people today. Prompted by the word of the Lord this book analyzes what the Bible says about the most fundamentally important aspects of Jesus' saving work. Precious understanding revealed by a loving God for His people!
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Book Contents
Title Page
Original Introduction
Introduction to the 3rd Printing
My Credentials
Chapter One
The Third Commandment
Credentials for Chapter One
Marriage - Taking the Name
Spiritual Adultery
Like All the Nations
For Our Admonition
Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ
Credentials for Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ - The Copy & the True
An Important Detail - Where was Christ Sacrificed?
The Witness
Chapter Three
Conversion and Baptism
Credentials for Chapter Three
Two Gospels
Circles - The Body of Christ
Same Wrong Error - Sufficiency of Christ
Chapter Four
Salvation and Works
Credentials for Chapter Four
Ignorant and Unstable
Hebrews - Hope - Kept by Power
Glorified - Two Rocks (Rom 10:9-10)
Acts 16 - Saved Through Faith
Error in the Name of Truth
Remnants of Works - Conclusion

Spiritual Light

Error In The Name of Truth

But not all that at first appears evil may be evil, and not all that appears to be right is always right.16 We must bury ourselves in the love of God and wisdom of His Spirit in order to learn what is truly good (that we might do it) and what is truly evil (that we might hate it). Paul said that Satan disguises himself as "an angel of light" (2Cor. 11:14). In other words, he propagates error in the name of the true Lord. And the sole reason for his disguise is to gain influence among God's people. Any doctrine or tradition that leaves room for any work of darkness is of him.

There are many conflicting doctrines held as true by the multitude of sects within Christianity. Most of them are not directly from Satan. They are simply misunderstandings and opinions of men, which are not usually binding on the soul and are often outgrown and eventually forsaken. But there is a spirit of bondage that comes with the present confusion of salvation and conversion which men did not invent, and which bondage men are hardly able to escape.

One brother confessed to me that when he first heard this message, a spirit of fear troubled him. He was afraid the Lord would be angry with him if he confessed that he had not yet received his salvation, that it was the reward toward which he was striving in Christ. But it wasn't the Lord's anger he was sensing. And he is today more prepared to receive salvation than he was when he claimed he already had it. And had he not been taught that doctrinal error in the name of Jesus, it would not have bound him at all. For it was his love for Christ and his desire to please him that was compelling him to cling to what he thought Jesus wanted him to believe and confess.

Full Circle

Still, all false doctrines, whether of men or of Satan, have one common characteristic. They all excuse or condone at least one spiritual blemish in the lives of their adherents. Sometimes it takes a while for those blemishes to be made manifest, but they will show. As a result, the adherent to any false doctrine is made vulnerable to the influence of at least one unclean spirit. It is a dangerous thing to believe a lie about God.

Jesus said that if we continue to follow him, we would come to know the truth, and the truth would set us free (Jn. 8:31-32).17 The truth neither condones nor excuses any sin among the saints, because the truth is that Christ is sufficient for your perfection in this present world (cp. Tit. 2:11-14).18 The truth leaves no room for demonic influence because "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1Jn. 1:5b), and "…as He is, so are we in this world" (1Jn. 4:17b).

As all the New Testament Scriptures show, the doctrine of the apostles is that the saints are to be God's light to the world, and any saint who will not be what the Father has commanded him to be will not be saved. Jesus warned his disciples:

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. And you yourselves be like men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding, so that when he comes and knocks, they may open for him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he comes will find watching. Truly, I say unto you, that he will gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he comes in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have allowed his house to be broken through. Be you therefore ready also, for the Son of man is coming at an hour when you think not. Then Peter said to him, Lord, do you speak this parable to us, or also to everyone? And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. Of a truth I tell you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But and if that servant should say in his heart, My lord delays his coming, and begins to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, the lord of that servant will come in a day when he does not look for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."

(Lk. 12:35-46)

Obedience or disobedience will be the determining factor in the judgment of every child of God. Salvation or damnation rests in the moral quality of each saint's life. And so, we are now come full circle and are returned to our original question: If we must live holy lives in order to receive salvation, how then could Paul say that salvation is "not of works"?

Paul's Greatest Challenge

Let us understand what kind of works are of no use to help us attain to salvation. There are many different kinds of works mentioned in the Bible: works of the flesh, works of the Spirit, works of the devil, good works, and others. So, let's allow Paul himself to tell us what kind of works, or deeds, are no longer of any use for justification before God:

"Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight."

(Rom. 3:20)

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law."

(Rom. 3:28)

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law; for by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."

(Gal. 2:16)

In saying that salvation is "not of works," Paul was not saying that salvation is not of good works. Paul's message was that the ceremonial works prescribed by Moses' Law were no longer of any value; they were dead works, useless in the soul's preparation to meet God. In order for anything to be a work of the Law, these four criteria must be met:

  1. It must have been ordained by God for men to do or to make.
  2. It must have been ordained during the time in which the Law was in effect (from Exodus 20 to Acts 2:4, though it may have been practiced before or after).
  3. It must be ceremonial in nature or purpose.
  4. It must point to a spiritual reality.

Physical circumcision, for example, is a work of the Law. Though given to Abraham before the Law (Gen. 17), it was also commanded by the Law (Lev. 12:2-3), as a ceremonial act that showed a man's connection to Abraham. It also represented spiritual circumcision in the heart, as Paul explained to the believers in Rome (Rom. 2:28-29).

Using the above criteria for works of the Law, take some time to determine for yourself which of the following are works of the Law and which are not:

  1. the veil in the temple
  2. Moses's rod
  3. the Day of Atonement
  4. the opening of the Red Sea
  5. holy water (Num. 5:17f)
  6. David's sling
  7. the passing of the wine and bread at the last supper
  8. manna
  9. the washing of the disciples' feet (Jn. 13:4-15)
  10. the golden calf (Ex. 32)
  11. robes and costumes for worship (Ex. 28:1-4f)
  12. the cloud of glory (Ex. 40:34-38)
  13. the Passover
  14. the rainbow
  15. water baptism

For reasons which will be made even clearer as we continue, the correct answer is that all the odd numbered items are works of the Law and all the even numbered items are not.

The works of the Law were prophecy without words, prophecy acted out rather than spoken. What they symbolically prophesied was the kingdom and glory of Jesus Christ; and when he accomplished his work, the purpose for having symbolic works is finished. Therefore, as Paul emphasized, for believers now to perform works of the Law implicitly denies their fulfillment in Christ.

Paul's greatest challenge, and perhaps ours today, was to communicate to the hearts of God's people that Christ alone is sufficient. Those who were trying to lead Paul's Gentile converts into the Law's symbols were, as he said, only trying "to make a fair shew in the flesh" (Gal. 6:12). But more than that, those who had been spiritually circumcised in heart, who then submitted to circumcision of the flesh, were saying in effect that Christ, the fulfillment of that Old Testament symbol, was insufficient. This is why Paul asked the Galatians "having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?" (3:3).

The entire Galatian letter has to do with this crucial question. Paul had started this Gentile assembly in the liberty of the Spirit, but others came behind him bringing the message Paul battled throughout his ministry; namely, that it was necessary for Gentiles to be circumcised and obey the Law in order to be saved in the end (cp. Acts 15).

What Paul could not get so many of his sensitive Jewish brothers to understand was that Christ had not destroyed circumcision; he had perfected it. He had not destroyed the sacrificial system; he had become the perfect sacrifice. He had not destroyed the High Priesthood; he had simply become the perfect High Priest. And so it was with every other work of the Law. To be in Christ is to be beyond those carnal symbols. And to have been taken by the Spirit beyond the works of the Law, and then turn to them, is to go backward and declare that the Christ you met was insufficient - to "fall from grace" (Gal. 5:4).