The reason I started this series is because of how the Holy Spirit has been working in my life in a special way.
I have experienced a renewed commitment and zeal of the Spirit concerning my service to our Lord and Savior; in holiness producing love – “love the Christian way.”
Holiness & Sin
It has been precipitated by a desire to become more holy (“Separated unto God”) in my walk with Christ, by addressing sin in my life, especially what is referred to as those “small sins,” which some have even referred to “unintentional sins.”
There is no biblical reference to sins that man would try to escape judgment from, or rationalize in any manner by terming them “unintentional sins.” Some refer to these “so-called” unintentional sins as being based upon David referring to them in Psalm 19:12 as “secret faults,” which is completely incorrect – attempting to define the Hebrew words translated into the English “secret sins” as unintentional sins is in direct opposition to what the Hebrew words mean (Please see Footnote #1).
And the fact that the Levitical system presented sacrifices for sins of neglect or is translated into “unintentional” sins as stated in Numbers 15:22, what you must notice is that there were still the necessity of a sacrifice for the sins, those who would claim to have done them could not escape the penalty for those sins any different than those sins that were presumptuous.
The law was not meant to teach us that man could accidentally sin, as Paul has stated the law was to teach us, that it was to be “our schoolmaster,” (Galatians 3:24-25) that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God“ (Romans 3:23). It is translated in the newer translations as “unintentional” sins, this is never found in the Septuagint Greek translation of the Bible (Please see Footnote #2), nor the Hebrew used in the King James translation as well (This is one of the many reasons that I use the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament, as well as the majority text and other Byzantine Codices and the Greek Septuagint Old Testament; as opposed to the Alexandrian Codices, and 9th century Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts.). The word used is “erred,” which comes from the Hebrew word: shawgaw, which comes from the primitive root; “to stray,” “to mistakenly,” “to transgress,” or to “go astray,” or to “to wander off.”
It is the text used in the Septuagint that we need to be mindful of, because this is what Jesus quoted from regarding what we refer to as the Old Testament Scripture, Jesus validated the Septuagint translation by using it. Many of the newer translations, which Jesus did not authenticate by using them, use different words which lead to the idea of individual sinning unknowingly, and therefore being innocent from those sins.
This is never taught in the Bible. All sin mandated punishment, therefore the perpetrator is never innocent. Even negligence, by its very definition insist that the individual did not prepare properly for a situation that developed into a tragedy, and was held responsible for the consequences of that situation.
Calling a sin unintentional is simply an excuse, And those that live by excuses never grow to maturity in Christ, nor successful in life.
Every sin that man commits is without excuse, and demands justice and punishment, where even the smallest sin condemns an individual to hell.
There are no free passes when it comes to the Holiness of God, and anything that “misses the mark” of God’s purity, is sin, and must be atoned for, or paid for.
For the believer there is atonement, for the unbeliever there is punishment.
Man cannot play the victim, he is the victimizer.
We must understand that all sin is sin, if you remember the Greek definition of the word “sin” (Greek: hamartano) used through almost all of the New Testament, means: “missing the mark,” and in no way, shape, or form, allows for the concept of smaller or greater errors, missteps, mistakes; or any other term that we might try make sin sound smaller.
If we attempt to negate our responsibility for our sin, we are simply attempting to place a fig leaf to cover the violation, and Hell will be our destiny for it.
(If you are now joining this article in “Part 2” of this series, you need to access “Part 1” first, which deals with “Part 1 – Knowledge – The Problem – Self and Sin.”)
We can never come to a place of dying-to-self if we do not deal with sin first. This will be reflected when we speak about our attitude in following Christ a little further down this article.
Outline of this Series
This series on dying-to-self has three parts:
Part 1 – Knowledge – The Problem – Self and Sin
This examination concerns the knowledge necessary to regard the problem of self and sin.
Part 2 – Wisdom – The Solution – From God’s Word
God’s word displays the wisdom that is necessary in order to gain the proper perspective, wherein we gain the correct attitude in learning how to die-to-self.
Part 3 – Understanding and Application – Enabling Dying-To-Self
Understanding, which is perception, Biblical perception, enabled only by the Holy Spirit: gives the opportunity for the correct application of how to specifically practice dying-to-self.
Foundation ~ God’s Word
As always, our foundation and only guide concerning this quest is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the Holy Bible (This is not to imply that we do not seek the wise insight of scholars that the Holy Spirit has blessed with insights, we do. But it is only their insights into GOD’S WORD and language and grammar that is relevant), as delivered in the Hebrew language concerning what we call the Old Testament, and the Greek language in regard to the New Testament. The Greek translation that I utilize is the Textus Receptus, please see Footnote #3, concerning the issue of biblical manuscripts.
God’s Whole Word
No Scripture stands alone and must be interpreted based upon the full context of God’s word (As well as the immediate context, but we are to never stop with the immediate context without considering the whole counsel of God – Isaiah 28:10, 13; Acts 20:27), 66 books which make up one volume, with only one Author, but 40 scribes.
Our Key Text
Luke 9:23-25 states:
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (25) For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?”
Notice in the second part of the first verse, what it does not say. It does not say to pick up Jesus’ cross — no one could do that. As the holy sinless Son of God, who is the only one that could be our substitution, taking our sins having none himself; it is pride, and the height of arrogance and heresy to believe that we could pick up His cross and what He was to do for humanity, that no one else could.
It does not say to pick up Jesus’ cross, it says for the follower to pick up “his” cross, and to deny “himself.”
The use of the Greek word translated into the English “himself” is a reflective pronoun, further illustrating that the cross spoken of is the individual’s cross, belonging to he who is listening to what Jesus is saying, or reading this passage in reference to anyone that wishes to follow Jesus.
One, Not Two
Yes, according to the Greek grammar of Luke 9:23, it is speaking about one behavior, not two when you read the statements “let him deny himself” and “take up his cross daily” are speaking about the same thing, not separate behaviors.
“…let him deny himself, and (Greek: kia) take up his [Greek: tov] cross daily…”
In Koiné Greek, when two nouns are connected with the conjunctive, “and” (Greek: kia [G2532]), and have the same case (Accusative); and ONLY one has the definite article, (Greek: tov [G3588]), while the other noun does not have the definite article; the two nouns are speaking about the same thing in essence, they are referring to the same person or thing; not separate entities.
The definite article can normally be found in one of three different spellings in the Greek; ho, hay, to (Greek: G3588), though there are other definite articles which apply as well. In most cases the definite article is translated into the English words: “the,” “this,” “these,” “that,” “his,” “he,” “her,” “she,” “some,” “it;” as well as other pronouns.
What Does Jesus Mean?
What does a cross symbolize? It is a device, an instrument that kills – thus when Jesus uses the word “cross,” He is referring to instruments that are to kill the flesh; they are things that we can use to put our self-centered, self-dependent, and self-ruling life to death – they are pragmatic tools.
We must understand that there are specific things that Christ is speaking about that we are to use in our seemingly impossible effort to die-to-self. This is just not metaphorical mumbo-jumbo, the grammar demands that it is speaking about things which are specific, but what could that be?
This is the reason for this series, because we learn that these are not requests. This instruction of Christ is in the Greek imperative, It’s not an option, it’s a command.
The verse may also mean that we may suffer physically in order to follow Christ. Other passages talk about the fact that believers will suffer persecution as pilgrims on this earth, and may suffer physically, which is more common than not.
Therefore, what this verse is saying is that denying yourself is the same as picking up your cross, the two are the same in essence.
And according to the book of Luke how often do we do this, daily; which in the Greek actually means currently all day long.
Very simply, Christ is defining how we pick up our cross, how we crucify the flesh, how we die to self; which is done by denying ourselves.
Therefore, we must conclude that this is a command from Jesus. The structure is plural and it is referring to tools, things that we can use in order to achieve dying-to-self by using instruments to put the flesh to death (Because it is in the plural, there is more than one tool to accomplish this purpose, I know of at least two pragmatic tools that He is referring to, but that is for later), to crucify self, so let us continue to lay the foundation by which these tools can be used correctly.
Conditions of Following Christ – Our Attitude
We must understand that accepting Jesus Christ means to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. This places us as His servants, and demands certain conditions which are self-evident. First among these is that we present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices. He is King and we are His slaves, not just servants.
How easy it is to say we are his servants, but by doing so we often lack the true understanding of our relationship to God.
We turn to Paul in order to gain this perspective.
Paul, Peter, James, and Jude (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; Philemon 1:16; James 1:1;2 Peter 2:19; Jude 1:1), referred to themselves, as translated into the English, as “a servant of Jesus Christ,” yet it is the original Greek text that we need to consider to understand what they are saying.
The Greek word translated into the English word “servant” is doulos and literally means a “bondslave.”
A bondslave is an Old Testament term that goes back to the time of the before the Exodus when a slave would work off the time he owed his master, because of prior loans or other forms of being indentured (a 17th-century word concerning those that would pay for their passage to the New World by doing work; though the term also represents any form of slavery where someone sells themselves for a committed amount of time). Once the debt was paid and the slave was free, they could choose to maintain their position in the household. This was common when they had married another household slave in order to keep their family together.
The Ear Ring
To be a bondslave was a term of honor for a slave that was no longer indebted but served his master because of his free will. There was a ceremony where they would take a nail, actually an awl and pierce the servant’s earlobe as they leaned against the threshold of the house. A ring would then be inserted through the hole in the bondslave’s ear, representing how they were bonded to the house, in an act of free will rather than a slave that still owed a debt to the household.
A function carries over this idea in the current prison system. Long time, responsible prisoners earn the privilege of becoming Trustees, who enjoy greater liberty and are trusted to do jobs normally done by the guards. Though they are not free, they work with the guards to maintain management of the other inmates.
The voluntary position of Bondslave (doulos), was called that because they were bonded to the house by a piece of the flesh of their ear being embedded into the threshold of their master’s door.
Bondslaves were always recognized because of this earring, and treated with much honor, due to the integrity that they displayed. A master with many Bondslaves showed himself as an honorable man wherein his slaves desired to work for him even after they did not need to do so.
This was also the manner of when a slave married another slave; they could stay on in the household to work off the debt of their wives as well as the children that were born to them.
Jesus Became a doulos for Us
Jesus is referred to as a Bondslave in Philippians 2:7. We recognize that God created this role as an object lesson so that we would understand what Christ did for us, and which in return we are to do for God.
The Scripture refers to the born-again believer as a doulos as seen in: Romans 6:16, 19; 1 Corinthians 7:21, 22; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Galatians 4:1, 7; Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Peter 2:16; Revelation 1:1; 2:20; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 15:3; 19:2, 5; 22:3:6.
Following Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior as a Bondslave is another way of saying that we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to do God’s will, which is the attitude we are to maintain, daily (Also remembering: Proverbs 23:7 [KJV], which states: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”).
Many people conflate (Conflation occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, seem to be a single identity.), being a bondslave (doulos), with our key text of denying ourselves and picking up our cross daily and following Christ, yet there is a distinction.
Being a bondslave of Jesus Christ is an attitude that we are to maintain, realizing that He is our Master and that we are to sacrificially serve Him.
According to Paul, the attitude that we are to have as followers of Jesus Christ is seen in Romans 12:1-2 which states:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV)
Individuals Who May Say They Are Saved, but Are Not
If this does not become an attitude of the believer, then that individual needs to consider the legitimacy of their relationship with Christ.
In dealing with the subject of what is referred to as “Eternal Security” (A term I detest because it is not in God’s word, and as Jesus refers to salvation as “Eternal Life,” I believe this should be what we should be referring to when we are talking about salvation); it is these individuals who manifest what is referred to as “cheap grace” (Another term I detest because it is an undignified reference concerning God’s marvelous grace, and is not in God’s word), wherein individuals appear to be born again believers, yet when they eventually fall away, and never come back; they reveal that they were not true followers of Jesus Christ.
They displayed that they have never studied God’s word because they do not follow it, they pay lip service only; they may even be like the Pharisees that present holiness on the outside, yet their inside motivations display the total lack of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives.
They are not prodigal sons. The prodigal son returned, giving us an example that Christians can backslide – TEMPORARILY.
These individuals who do not display an attitude of servitude to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may fool others, and may even fool themselves. But they create misunderstanding concerning what Jesus refers to when He speaks of salvation, which He calls “Eternal Life” (Please see Footnote #5).
This is an attitude, commonly referred to as the “Mind of Christ,” (Philippians 2:2-10) which displays humility to God and men, as well as complete allegiance and submission to God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, seeking the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, and it is those pragmatic acts that we’ll address in “Part 3” of this series (In a few weeks): ways of daily denying ourselves by picking up our cross by doing individual acts.
Yet a few more issues must be laid out before then. We need to continue on dealing with our attitude, which is displayed in our lifestyle.
Put Off the Old Man, Put on the New Man
It is our attitude, which is displayed to the world as our lifestyle that we need to now address. One of the best examples is found in Ephesians 4:21-32 (KJV), which states:
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (24) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (25) Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. (26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (27) Neither give place to the devil. (28) Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
In verse 22 of the above Ephesians passage, the word “conversation” is used, which has a different meaning than it did at the original writing of the King James Bible which is based upon the Textus Receptus (Please see Footnote #3).
The English word conversation, which currently is understood to be an auditory function in which people speak words to one another, is not what the Greek word that it is translated from actually means.
This is because at the time of the writing of the King James this Greek word anastrophe meant something different altogether, it meant behavior in the plural sense or a person’s lifestyle. And as stated before, the lifestyle should display our attitude.
Therefore the apostle is stating that we are to put off the form of habitual behavior or lifestyle of the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lust. Not that we are to change our vocabulary.
The point that Paul is making is that we are to stop living in sin because it is no longer our master, even in spite of the fact that we are sinners and will sin. The Greek word translated into the English “put off” is apotithemi.
The parsing of this verb is:
Tense-Second Aorist – “As if the” Action Occurred in the Past (“Once & for all”) to connote certainty
What this means is that in the aorist tense it is not concerned with time and is not addressing the chronological occurrence. It is a way of speaking about something as if it is a fact which occurred in the past, though it can be present or even future tense in the English.
The idea is that since the past cannot be changed, the verb that is in aorist tense is equally unchangeable. This is an unusual concept to our Western way of thinking, but the main point is it has to do with proving the fact that something that was done “once and for all,” and has no ability to be undone, is a complete and utter certainty.
Voice-Middle – Subject & Object Receives the Action
The middle voice indicates that both the subject and the object receive the action, meaning that we; who are defined in the previous verses as believers, receive the action or the ability to do the action. We cannot do this by ourselves, but are instead empowered to do so.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
The point that is made is that born again believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to achieve the ability to control their lifestyle to the extent that they do not have to live in sin as a lifestyle, and this is made possible by having the Mind of Christ – the correct attitude.
We must always keep in mind that we are sinners, and will sin daily.
HOWEVER, this is not to say that sin is our master.
Final Deliverance of Sin
This is the paradox of living as a soul committed to God within a sinful body within this current physical existence, which we refer to as this life. We are to take comfort that the salvation that Christ brought to those who are the children of God, who are saved by grace through faith, is eternal life. It cannot be compared or contrasted to our current existence. It is our great hope upon His returning for us in the clouds.
We are not to allow the sins that crop up in our lives turn us from that which God has called us to do: to die-to-self by denying ourselves and therefore enabling us to put off the old man, and not let the sin nature (or the old man as it is referred to) control our lifestyle and the behavior it produces.
When dealing with sin there are three simple but difficult steps that we should take.
Step 1. Take ownership of our sins, confess them, repent (Forsake them) of them.
Ownership – John states as recorded 1 John 1:8 (KJV):
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
The grammar concerning the verb translated into the English “we have” (Greek: echo), is in the present tense, meaning it is a current action that never ends, which demands that what the apostle was saying is that we will sin is long as we are in this physical existence. Therefore we must take ownership of when we sin, with no excuses and no rationalizing; simply admitting that we have sinned against God. Psalms 32:5 (KJV) says:
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”
Confession – Solomon stated as recorded in Proverbs 28:13 (KJV):
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
And John states as recorded in 1 John 1:19 (KJV):
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Repent – Paul, in explaining his ministry for Jesus to King Agrippa stated in Acts 26:19-20 (KJV):
“Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”
Paul was using the word repentance in a way that the word fully means in the Greek, which is somewhat different than the English.
Repentance in the English can be a verbal behavior, and may be nothing more beyond that and a conviction of guilt.
In the Greek, the word repentance means to change one’s mind so thoroughly as it changes their behaviors, it is not simple verbiage, it is not guilt our sorrow, it’s a change in one’s lifestyle which displays a change in one’s attitude.
Yet be on this original repentance that one does to become saved, the grammar concerning the Greek word “repent” (Greek: metanoeo), is that it is in the present tense, meaning it is a continuous action that once it takes place never ends.
The point that this word makes according to the grammar is that repentance is not a singular event that occurs in salvation, it is a lifestyle of constantly changing our mind and coming back to Christ. It points to the fact that we don’t become saved them become perfect, but as sin exist in our mortal body, wherein we choose to go our own way, rather you call it backsliding if it is habitual, or a singular sin, you must change your mind from that sin and come back to the correct attitude a desire to do God’s will rather than your own.
How slipshod it is to think that we repent once and therefore maintain God’s desired attitude, wherein we habitually follow Christ and do not deviate from the course.
We constantly deviate from the course, which is what sin is, therefore repeatedly throughout our life we will habitually sin and therefore as a grammar demands we will habitually have to repent, changing our mind that our sin was okay, seeing it as Christ did as being filthy, demanding his death upon the cross as a propitiation, a atonement, wherein Christ took our place and paid the penalty not just for past sins, but current sins, and future sins.
This is why in the Gospels in almost every occasion that the word repent is used, it is in the present tense, necessitating that it is a lifelong re-occurrence in the life of the believer. And were other tense are used, they do not represent singular occurrences, but different tense or used which never validate the point that repentance is a lifelong attitude of the born-again believer in Jesus Christ.
Repentance by its very nature demands a forsaking of sin, not simply a guilt shame or confession that.
Forsaking sin – Hebrews 12:1b (KJV), says:
“… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
Step 2. Flee when we are tempted to sin. Refuse to entertain thoughts of sin.
This advice is from Paul the head elder and founder of most of the Gentile churches to a minister (as a bishop), who was over all the churches in the city and area of Ephesus. This was from one mature, seasoned pro in the ministry to another.
Paul stated to Timothy, as recorded in 1 Timothy 6:11 (KJV):
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
Paul later said to Timothy, as recorded in 2 Timothy 2:22 (KJV):
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
What we must remember is that these admonitions are directly made to Timothy, who was not a young man at this time, but a Bishop over many churches. Yet Paul still warns him to flee temptations and to follow after righteousness, goodness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. Apparently falling back into the trap of youthful desires was still a distinct possibility to be warned against.
The Greek Grammar
The Greek grammar found in the word “flee” is that it is in the present tense, meaning it is current and will never ever end. It is also in the active voice, meaning that the subject or the person that this is addressed to, or hears it, is the one that is supposed to flee.
The point is this passage from Paul to Timothy must be understood that it is not just to the young or immature in the faith. The word “youthful,” does not have to do with the present condition of the subject or hearer of this advice, it has to do with the fact that every temptation known to man occurs from his youth on up, it just presents itself in different forms, or in greater lasciviousness.
On a personal note, I have found that if I allow myself to think about a sin, even if I dwell on what is so wrong about it, I end up entertaining the thought of it wherein as James says, this enticement leads to sin as recorded in James 1:14-16 (KJV):
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren.”
Flee – Do Not Entertain Sin in Your Thoughts
If we know something is a sin, why do we need to think about it in any way shape or form? No conversation should take place in our head about it, as soon as we spot a change in what we’re thinking about, or change what we’re looking at toward something that entices us, or change anything that causes us to entertain thoughts about sin, otherwise; we will normally find ourselves being drawn away from dwelling on Christ because of these enticements.
The most important aspect of dealing with sin in our lives
Very appropriate vernacular is used regarding fleeing by stating that we should not entertain sinful thoughts. Unfortunately that’s what sin usually does: it entertains us.
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) says:
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
This is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 (KJV):
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Flee – The Antidote – Stop considering or dwelling upon sin
2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) says:
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
Philippians 4:8 KJV
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, 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.”
When Paul says “finally,” he is letting us know the conclusion of what was said before, and in the case of Philippians Chapter 4 as well as the previous three chapters this is his conclusion concerning all of which concerns the growth of the gospel, which is seen in the growth of the individual believer. For a believer to grow in faith, we must lay down these little sins that beset us. And this all starts and ends with the mind.
Philippians 4:8 can be summarized by saying “Stop thinking about sin, and start dwelling upon the Word of God, because it is the Word of God that is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report; if it contains virtue, and praise regarding God; this is what we are to think upon.”
It is the only way for the child of God to obtain peace, as Warren Wiersbe states concerning this passage.
Warren Wiersbe’s commentary regarding Philippians 4:8:
Right thinking (Php. 4:8)
Peace involves the mind (see Isa. 26:3 and Rom_8:6). Thoughts are powerful; “as he thinketh, so he is” (Pro. 23:7). Wrong thoughts will lead to unrest and discouragement, but spiritual thinking will lead to peace. Paul tells us in this verse what to think about; if you compare these virtues to Psa. 19:7-9, you will see that the Word of God meets all of these requirements. Meditation on the Word of God will always bring peace (Psa. 119:165).
Whereas, Step 1 is mandatory in order to approach Step 2, fulfilling Step 2 and dealing with our thought life brings peace to the life of the believer, and maturity in our walk following our Savior.
Step 3. Press On – This is what we do when we fail to appropriately deal with sin: we go back to Step 1. Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14 (KJV):
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
1. Psalms 19:12-13
“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (KJV)
The “secret faults” spoken about in Psalms 19:12 is not talking about unintentional sin, as the Hebrew word sawthar here for “faults,” actually means “hidden” sins that are concealed from others, not displayed. (Regarding Old Testament manuscripts, please see Footnote #2)
It is a sin that the perpetrator is fully aware of but hides from the outside world, it is not a sin done accidentally, as if the person could do it unintentionally.
In fact, both these verses are talking about the same thing, it is not talking about two separate types of sins, the “them” is not found in the text, it is added by the translators to make the English sound correct.
These two verses are not separate passages. We must understand that splitting the Holy Word into numbered chapters only happened 800 years ago and then dividing those up into numbered verses only happened 500 years ago.
These divisions are not a part of the inspiration of Scripture or else God would have included them. These additions were simply added to help the reader. They are not part of the holy writ.
A secret fault or hidden sin that someone hides from others is a presumptuous sin.
All sins are presumptuous unless they are done due to the person not knowing it is a sin, or unaware that they committed it indirectly. And if they are unaware that they committed this sin how could they pray about that which they are unaware of.
Typically, these are internal sins such as self-centeredness, pride, jealousy, envy, strife, a bitter spirit, contention, superiority, self-righteousness, righteous-in-self, and worst of all: spiritual pride (See Footnote #6).
2. Regarding the Greek Septuagint Old Testament Scriptures
Once upon a time there was a tribe living in the Middle East that had a collection of sacred texts written in Hebrew, Chaldean and Aramaic. It is the nature of sacred tests to be venerated and transmitted from generation to generation unaltered.
As time passed members of this tribe emigrated to areas where Hebrew and Aramaic and Chaldean were not spoken. A large community settled and prospered in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. Greek replaced their tribal language. They needed an accurate translation of their venerated documents into Greek.
Around 250 B.C. [272 – 278 B.C.; by Brent] seventy rabbis translated the sacred texts into Greek. This translation was not a bootleg edition. The project was approved by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. The Septuagint, the translation of the seventy, was an official document.
A Hebrew Bible exists today. It is used by Jews everywhere. It is called the Masoretic text. It was compiled around 700 A.D. It is almost one thousand years newer than the Septuagint. The rabbis who compiled the Masoretic text were not accountable to the High Priest in Jerusalem. There no longer was a High Priest. The rabbis who compiled the Masoretic text were not accountable to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. There no longer was a Sanhedrin.
The Septuagint predates the first appearance of the Masoretic text by almost ten centuries. The Septuagint is based upon Hebrew texts at least twelve centuries older than the texts upon which the Masoretic version is based. Yet, modern Christian translations of the Old Testament rely on the Masoretic Text, not the Septuagint.
Where is the problem?
Most of the quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament used the Septuagint as their primary source. The integrity and truthfulness of the Septuagint is completely dependent on the Septuagint being a truthful translation. Discredit the Septuagint and there is no New Testament.
There was no controversy about the integrity of the Septuagint from 250 B.C. until 135 A. D.
What had happened to provoke dissatisfaction with the Septuagint among the Jews?
Annas and Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin had rejected the messianic claims of Jesus. The New Testament documents had been written and were circulating by A.D. 70. The Jews knew that the credibility of the Christian Gospels depended on the credibility of the Septuagint. Something had to be done.
Around 95 A.D. Rabbi Akiva, who later proclaimed Bar Kochba as the messiah, hired a man named Aquila to translate a Hebrew to Greek version of the Old Testament that would undermine the messianic claims of Jesus found in the Septuagint. Some scholars believe that the Masoretic text was based in part on this tendentious translation by Aquila.
How is the Masoretic text different from the Septuagint?
Psalm 22:16 the word “pierced” has been replaced by “lion”.
Psalm 145: 13 omitted entirely.
Isaiah 53:11 the word “light” is omitted.
On 134 occasions the Tetragrammaton, the name of God, has been replaced by “Adonai”.
Psalm 151 was omitted entirely. (It is now omitted by almost all Christian Bibles!).
Exodus 1: The number 75 replaced by 70.
Genesis 10:24 some generations removed.
Deuteronomy 32:8 “Angels Of Elohim” replaced with “children of Israel.”.
Jeremiah 10 verses 6 and 7 have been added in the Masoretic.
Psalm 96:10 “Say among the nations, YHWH reigns from the wood” omitted.
Isaiah 19:18 “city of righteousness” changed to the “city of the sun” or in some versions “the city of destruction.”
The Masoretic scribes purposely and willfully rearranged the original chapter order in the prophetic Book of Daniel, so that the chapters make no sense chronologically.
Isaiah 61:1 “recovery of sight to the blind.” omitted.
In Psalm 40:6 “a body you have prepared for me” was replaced by “you opened my ears.”
Deuteronomy 32:43 ‘Let all the messengers of Elohim worship him.’” omitted.
Genesis 4:8: “Let us go into the field” is omitted.
Deuteronomy 32:43. Moses’ song is shortened.
Isaiah 53 contains 10 spelling differences, 4 stylistic changes and 3 missing letters for light in verse 11, for a total of 17 differences.
Isaiah 7:14. “Virgin” replaced by “young woman.”
(When Aquila made his Greek translation of the Old Testament at the behest of Rabbi Akiva, he changed the Septuagint’s “virgin” into “young woman”. The Masoretic compilers may have followed his lead.) [This was done because Rabbi Akiva did not believe in the inspiration and in inerrancy of the Scripture, and could not conceive of a virgin giving birth, therefore thinking the Scripture was wrong had it changed. by Brent]
The Masoretic text differs from the Septuagint in hundreds of places.
How do we know which text is accurate?
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered just after World War II.
According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. There are fragments from all of the books of the Hebrew Bible fragments except the Book of Esther and the Book of Nehemiah.
In addition an independent Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible exists, the Peshitta.
Control of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a military objective of Israelis. It was achieved by their victory in the Six Days War.
The publication of the scrolls slowed to a trickle.
After 1971, the international team even refused to allow the publication of photographs of the material. They excluded scholars who wanted to make independent evaluations.
The embargo was not broken until 1991.
An addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars can use the Peshitta to decide between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.
The given examples above of some of the places the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Peshitta, and the Septuagint agree.
The Masoretic Text is part of a tradition that began with Rabbi Akiva. Rabbis rewrote the Jewish Bible to destroy the credibility of the New Testament.
The Hebrew versions of the Old Testament have been used to proclaim scores of “messiahs.”
The Septuagint was only used once.
By Robert E. Reis
[This also explains why when using the Protestant translations of the Bible, often you will read a Old Testament quote as found in the New Testament, wherein the quotes are not exactly the same, sometimes quite different. The reason why is that at the time of the New Testament the Septuagint was what they were quoting from, and are modern English translations of the Old Testament utilize the Masoretic text, therefore the quotations are not exactly the same. Yet the main point of utilizing the Septuagint, is that Jesus, except man in the Temple or synagogue, quoted from the Septuagint, therefore validating it as the accepted text of our Lord. We do not have a copy of the Hebrew text that he read in the synagogue concerning Isaiah 61:1 and 2b, and other passages. This is why it is prudent for the diligent Bible student who desires to do word studies in the Hebrew utilizes same text that Jesus validated and used Himself, the Greek Septuagint. By Brent.]
3. Greek Translation ~ Textus Receptus
Time does not permit for a proper examination of Textual Criticism concerning which Greek New Testament is best. Many have spent dozens or even a few hundred hours studying Textual Criticism in Bible College or Schools of Theology.
I have spent thousands of hours (I an not a King James only extremist, because I trust in the Majority Text also; the common denominator is that they were NOT based upon any of the Alexandrian Codices, but upon the Byzantine Codices only) and have come to the conclusion that the Byzantine Codices (Collected by Lucian of Antioch, Presbyter of Antioch and founder of the School of Antioch, who in the third century, compiled what became the Greek New Testament utilized for over 1000 years which eventually became the basis in the 15th century Textus Receptus, used in the translation of the King James Bible, completed in 1611), used in the Textus Receptus is the best Greek New Testament to utilize.
Greek Text & Grammar ~ Not Greek Root Dictionary
Many individuals, unfortunately many ministers as well misunderstand the purpose of Strong’s Dictionary, which is associated with “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.”
James Strong along with 100 other associates produced a concordance in order to locate Scriptures based upon a single word that is remembered. The Hebrew and Greek dictionaries placed in the back, which concerning the Greek have subsequently have become a freestanding Greek dictionary, which is simply a root dictionary, meaning it defines generic roots of words, not the specific words used in any individual text.
Expository Greek Dictionary
This is why many Christians use “Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words,” which will list specific words according to their passage in defining these words, yet it still does not break down the grammar by way of explanation, wherein greater nuances are achieved. Though it does many times directly indicate what the grammar means.
Word Study Dictionary
I prefer word study dictionaries, regarding the Greek I use more than any other “The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament” by Spiros Zodhiates, which I use alongside of Greek grammar guides in breaking down the exact meaning of words, as compared to the generic root word meanings.
One of the other reasons that I use Spiros Zodhiates material more than any other is I have found his work to display immense integrity, also understanding that he is Orthodox in all of his biblical stances concerning biblical doctrine, and he singularly utilizes the Textus Receptus.
During my decades of research on Biblical translation, I have noted that almost all research sources, including James Strong material utilize Alexandrian Codices.
James Strong was a devout adherent of work of Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, who challenged and changed the accepted rules interpretation, impugned the Textus Receptus, and caused all of Christendom to utilize the contaminated Alexandrian manuscripts (This is a immense and complicated subject, my article on this is over 80 pages long, please email if you wish more information on Textual Criticism).
This is why I do not utilize Strong’s concordance because it is merely a root dictionary, which does not give specific meanings on specific words and specific passages (When utilizing Strong’s dictionary, which is never meant for a word study or to handle the Greek or its grammar specifically, it is normal that one word translated into the English will represent two or more words that originated in the Greek, which have differences in meaning, some only nuances, others quite substantial based upon the grammar).
I must point this out because many times in defining the Greek grammar of a specific word, individuals will use a root dictionary which will not give them the nuances which the Greek grammar does, and therefore will doubt the credibility of what I have presented.
I welcome individuals investigating what I present, this is what I desire for individuals to do, to quit having others fish for them, and simply eat off someone else’s plate, wherein they become subject to that person’s interpretation or presuppositions. I have wasted too many years doing this myself. I present what the Greek grammar states, this is not subject to interpretation, and follows what I believe should be the mandate of every teacher of God’s word, it is the only way to be true to Peter’s admonition when he as recorded in 2 Peter 1:20-21, which states:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (KJV)
A good example of how Scripture becomes distorted when the grammar is not correctly applied, is this very Scripture. When the grammar is broken down what this Scripture is stating is that there is a singular meaning and therefore interpretation to any passage in God’s word, and that an individual’s interpretation, they are private interpretation is not allowed.
If you were brought up in the same denominational circles as I was, this passage was abused and taught completely in reverse, when someone didn’t like your interpretation of the Scripture, they would use this to say that there is not a private interpretation; as if there was not a singular interpretation of any passage, that anyone could have their own individual interpretation (Please see Footnote #4 in considering what Warren Wiersbe has presented on the subject.).
4. Warren Wiersbe ~ 2 Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (KJV)
“In 2 Peter 1:20, Peter was not prohibiting the private study of the Bible. Some religious groups have taught that only the “spiritual leaders” may interpret Scripture, and they have used this verse as their defense. But Peter was not writing primarily about the interpretation of Scripture, but the origin of Scripture: it came by the Holy Spirit through holy men of God. And since it came by the Spirit, it must be taught by the Spirit.
The word translated “private” simply means “one’s own” or “its own.” The suggestion is, since all Scripture is inspired by the Spirit it must all “hang together” and no one Scripture should be divorced from the others. You can use the Bible to prove almost anything if you isolate verses from their proper context, which is exactly the approach the false teachers use.
Peter stated that the witness of the Apostles confirmed the witness of the prophetic Word; there is one message with no contradiction. Therefore, the only way these false teachers can “prove” their heretical doctrines is by misusing the Word of God. Isolated texts, apart from contexts, become pretexts.
The Word of God was written to common people, not to theological professors. The writers assumed that common people could read it, understand it, and apply it, led by the same Holy Spirit who inspired it. The humble individual believer can learn about God as he reads and meditates on the Word of God; he does not need the “experts” to show him truth.
However, this does not deny the ministry of teachers in the church (Eph. 4:11), special people who have a gift for explaining and applying the Scriptures. Nor does it deny the “collective wisdom” of the church as, over the ages, these doctrines have been defined and refined. Teachers and creeds have their place, but they must not usurp the authority of the Word over the conscience of the individual believer.”
5. Jesus’ Definition of Salvation ~ Eternal life
Salvation is always defined as receiving eternal life according to Jesus. A consequence of receiving eternal life is that sin will no longer be your master, though you will sin is long as you are in your earthly body (1 John 1:8-10).
All sins are intentional, unintentional sins would be sins that you’re unaware that you do so you don’t even know if you do them. The “secret faults” David speaks about are intentional sins that are secret from the world, they are hidden sins that nobody sees but he that commits them. This is what the Hebrew means, and cannot be disputed.
Salvation is not freedom from sin, though the believer has been free from the price of sin, and when he receives his resurrection body sin will no longer be a part of his life, believers do not pay the punishment of their sin, though most of the time they pay the consequences for those sins.
Jesus always defines salvation as receiving eternal life!
Jesus is recorded in John 10:28-30, as stating:
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
Eternal life Passages – Where Salvation is Identified as Receiving Eternal life
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? (Matthew 19:16 KJV)
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46 KJV)
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17 KJV)
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:30 KJV)
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25 KJV)
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 18:18 KJV)
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:15 KJV)
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. (John 4:36 KJV)
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54 KJV)
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:68 KJV)
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28 KJV)
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25 KJV)
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2 KJV)
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3 KJV)
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48 KJV)
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Romans 2:7 KJV)
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21 KJV)
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12 KJV)
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:19 KJV)
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (Titus 1:2 KJV)
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7 KJV)
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (1 John 1:2 KJV)
And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (1 John 2:25 KJV)
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15 KJV)
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1 John 5:11 KJV)
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13 KJV)
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20 KJV)
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:21 KJV)
Do you notice how many times in the sentences eternal life is the last word, conveying the idea that eternal life is the conclusion and cannot be changed, a point not missed by many translators. Also notice that is always used with the same term “eternal life.” And notice that a word search for everlasting indicates that there are only two choices, everlasting fire or hell, or everlasting life with God in heaven, and the sentence structure and grammar pronounces that a person is in either one state or the other. Though there are times where it talks about an individual becoming a believer has now entered into salvation – yet the point is no one ever leaves everlasting life to go to everlasting damnation.
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. (Matthew 18:8 KJV)
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29 KJV)
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46 KJV)
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Luke 18:30 KJV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36 KJV)
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14 KJV)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24 KJV)
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. (John 6:27 KJV)
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40 KJV)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47 KJV)
And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:50 KJV)
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13:46 KJV)
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22 KJV)
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8 KJV)
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (1 Timothy 1:16 KJV
6. Spiritual Pride
Spiritual pride is no doubt perhaps the worst form of pride there is. The end condition of spiritual pride is seen in the class of people referred to as Pharisees in Jesus’ day. Those He had nothing good to say about, who He spoke about as appearing good on the outside, yet on the inside were dead man’s bones, venomous snakes, and other repulsive metaphors.
The main aspect of the mind of Christ is humility, the polar opposite of pride, and no doubt the worst displays of pride is spiritual pride, because it is completely descriptive. At least the pride of someone like Donald Trump is acknowledged, but how evil is it when someone ACTS humble out the outside, yet inside is full of nothing but pride, especially if they are ACTING spiritual, such as in spiritual pride.
Wherein unlike Christ, we must gain a proper mindset concerning our own sinfulness, limitations, and for those in public ministry; especially spiritual pride in order to submit not only to Christ’s will our lives, but the fact that He sometimes allows great travesties which are not meant to have dominion over us, but meant to bring us to the end of ourselves.
If you know someone entangled by spiritual pride, which is normally evidenced in either self-righteous at the most extreme, or righteous-in-self at the least, which is very easy to fall into; show them love and humility as an example of what Christ would have us focus on, so that they may come to the place of understanding their sinful character in order to become a profitable vessel in Christ hands. Otherwise, left to their own selves, they will be very surprised at the Bema seat of Christ, if they even make it there.