[self-denial for religious discipline to earn salvation, redemption and blessing,] Jesus did not command His disciples to love our neighbours more (or less) than ourselves, but “AS” ourselves. To explain this commandment, Jesus said, “JUST as you want men to do to you, [because you have to love yourself,] you also have to do to them, [because you also have to love them as yourself…]” (Lu. 6:31.)
According to Jesus’ Royal Law of Love, we should expect others to treat us as He has commanded us to treat them. All relationships are two-way streets of give and take; take and give. The Moral Law of God is a two-way street, designed to build our relationship with God, (we receive everything from God and willingly give Him ourselves in return,) and our human relationships with one another, based on obedience to the truth of Scripture.
How then, would abusers like to be deceived, condemned, raped and rejected without constructive rebuke, or the right to defence? Yet, most often, it is exactly these unscrupulous abusers, who rely on the mercy and forgiveness of God and others, and even attend church diligently, while they themselves do no show their ‘neighbours’ a slither of the grace, which they have received from God and from others. Sadly, such deceived abusers do not know that Jesus “desires mercy” and not outward religious sacrifice, such as church attendance, as described in 1 Sam. 15:21-24. Showing the ‘mercy’ of personal repentance and forgiveness towards others is the highest form of “loving our neighbours and even our enemies AS ourselves,” because we also expect them to treat us this way.
Such obedience to the Moral Law of Love constitutes the whole of God’s New Testament Covenant in Christ. Disobedience to His Moral Law will therefore causes God to “deliver” haughty, selfish, and relentless abusers that will not repent from unforgiveness and self-centeredness, “to the torturers until they too, have paid all that was due to them,” (Mt. 12:7: 18:23-34.) Simply because God is the just Judge, Who shows no favouritism or unfair preference, it is not God’s will that anyone should suffer abuse continuously without any choice.
Jesus knew that those closest to us can deal us deadly blows, and so, He warned, “Do you think that I came to give [outward] peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. [Mt. 10:34 calls this ‘division’ “the sword.”] For… I have come to set an [unbelieving, disobedient, harsh] man against his father [or son] and a man’s [worst] enemies will be those of his own household. But he who loves father or mother… more than Me is not worthy of Me…” (Lu. 12:51-53.) Instead of passively allowing our beloved fathers, mothers, spouses, children, brothers, and friends to commit emotional murder on us by looting our characters and ruining our emotions and lives, we should stand up to them as God commanded in the true context of His Word. To submit to their nonstop abuse, is in fact idolatry, (loving and honouring man more than God,) and blatant disobedience to God’s Highest Law of Love, which commands, “Love your neighbour AS yourself.” If we allow abusers to continue their life-destroying rollercoaster rides across our souls, (or our minds - our will, intellect, and emotions,) over our bodies, (which are supposed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit,) and through our lives, (which are supposed to be submitted to God and lived to glorify His Name,) we love these abusers more than GOD and also more than ourselves. Such stubborn idolatry proves we are “unworthy” of the blood that Jesus shed for us.
DOES GOD SAVE US “UNCONDITIONALLY” - EVEN IF WE REFUSE TO REPENT?
The doctrine known as the “unconditional love and the unconditional acceptance of God’ or the “once saved always saved” belief, stems from the completely unbiblical, Calvinist doctrine, also known as “the perseverance of the saints,” and is grounded in the false Roman Catholic/Calvinist/Lutheran doctrine of Predestination. The truth about the so-called “unconditional love of God” is that love, (any type of love) without conditions, boundaries, or limitations is definitely not from the God of the Bible. Additionally, our “unconditional” love FOR God or anyone else cannot exist; humanity is simply incapable of such damaging love – and Almighty, All-wise; All-knowing God is too holy and righteous to ever love in such a corrupted way. Of course we live by grace in Christ and have no spiritual merit of our own whatsoever, but because Godly love cannot exist in, or attached to sin, God gives us The Perfect Way to repent, or depart from sin, (Jn. 14:6.) In fact, it is for this reason that God commands us to repent from all sin, which damages any of the precepts of His perfect Moral Law of Love. Hence, it is correct to believe that God loves the sinner, (Jn. 3:16;) while He hates the sin, (Rom. 6:11-14; 22-23.) And if the sinner and his sin cannot be parted by the blood-covenant of Christ and the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit, both sinner and sin will have to depart from the holy presence of God.
This is an unchangeable truth of God’s Word, which ‘once-saved-always-saved’ believers never want to hear. However, nothing that I write is to entertain false beliefs and false hopes, but to bring all people, myself included, into a closer walk with God through the truth of His Word — which is the basis of all real power of His Holy Spirit in an through His disciples.
1 Jn. 4:10 explains, “In this is the love of God: not that we loved God, but that He loved us [first] and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” ‘Propitiate’ means, ‘to win somebody’s favour.’ This means, God totally rejected all of humanity in their fallen state or lost position of sin, as sin cannot enter the most holy presence of God. That is why Jesus had to fully atone for all our sins to ‘win favour’ with God the Father for us and in our place! As a result, God’s love for all people is fully revealed in and through the ‘propitiation’ or atonement of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, Jesus is the Only Way to the Father, and [absolutely] no one comes to God except through Him.
Salvation, Redemption, and Blessing are therefore as conditional as can be! No one will every come to God the Father in or through anyone or anything else. There is only One God and One Mediator between God and man: the Man Jesus Christ, (Jn. 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5.)
Furthermore, if we love ourselves ‘unconditionally,’ that means we set no limits on our behaviour towards God and others — and we know that God commanded us to love Him above all else, and our neighbours as ourselves. However, if we love ourselves unconditionally, we will tolerate no criticism and fear; no punishment for bad behaviour, and we will do exactly as we please, expecting God and man to love us ‘unconditionally,’ although we abuse them unrepentantly. To love others unconditionally, would mean that we set absolutely no conditions or boundaries for our relationships with other people. We do not care how others treat us; we accept even the worst treatment without the slightest complaint, self-preservation, or retaliation. Well, if “unconditional” love could exist, it would be a complete annihilation of God’s “first and greatest commandment of the Moral Law to Love God with All our heart, soul or mind, and all our strength,” and “to love our neighbours AS ourselves!” (Mt. 22:36-40.) Scripturally, God never leaves any room for “unconditional love.” In short, unconditional love does not exist!
False Faith and False Salvation Versus True Faith and Real Salvation
There is a false sense of salvation, which is the counterfeit of true Biblical salvation.
The false kind of salvation is faith, seated in self-righteous religion, self-glorification, and counterfeit doctrine; the latter kind of salvation is faith, based on Jesus Himself and the entire, contextual truth of Jesus’ New Testament Word.
As God’s love for humanity is never ‘unconditional,’ God has revealed His love for us through His Son Jesus Christ, His only Way of Salvation. This is God’s complete and utter love for and acceptance of humanity. Therefore, He commanded us to obey all the Moral heart-commandments of this Son; not to win ‘more’ favour with Him, but to prove our love for Him, (Jn. 3:16-17; Mt. 17:5.)
Hence, Jesus also warned in Mt. 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,” shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who DOES the will of My Father in heaven.” Contrary to cheap imitations of Jesus’ Gospel, real salvation, redemption, and blessing can never exist apart from our sincere obedience to the Moral commandments of God, which constitutes our love for God, our fellow man, and for ourselves. Therefore, we know that our salvation and preservation in Christ are as conditional as can be!
The Chisel Versus the Blood
The Old Testament Law was chiselled in stone. And so, the law was inflexible. Rigid. Completely unyielding. Unforgiving. Condemning. Cursing. (See Deut. 28!) If the Old Israelites broke only one precept of the law, they became guilty of breaking the law in its entirety, (Gal. 2:21.) However, praise God, for the New Testament/Covenant, God’s dispensation of grace, is based on “The Law of life,” the inward Law of the Spirit; the Law of God’s love, mercy, and grace in Jesus. This unseen, spiritual law was not chiselled in stone as during the Old Testament Covenant, but written in the precious blood of Jesus on the human hearts of all His sincerely believing, obedient disciples!
As such, the Moral Law, as depicted in the contextual truth of the Bible, is God’s guiding power, applied by His indwelling Holy Spirit to every situation of our lives through our obedience to all its various precepts, which show us how to love God, our fellow man, and ourselves. We have to earnestly strive to obey God according to the Law of Love. God will surely punish all wilfully unrepentant sin; but His New Testament Law of Love is not set in stone. It was written in His mercy and grace so that, if we do miss the mark and have remorse for our sin, God can and will forgive us and restore us according to the grace we have found in Jesus, (1 Jn. 1:7-10.)
In the words of Jesus’ disciple Paul, “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service [to Him.] And do not be conformed to [the thought patterns and immoral ways] of this world, but be transformed in your mind [through your Scripturally renewed thought-patterns,] that you may know what is that good… and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:1-2.)
We can never know the good and perfect will of God if we do not have knowledge of His will, as revealed in the truth of the Bible. Obedience to the “perfect will of God” is what God desires of us on a daily basis. That and that only; nothing less, nothing more. Not obedience to the will of man, to our own will, or to the will of the sinful world and its many false religions, but obedience to the entire will of God.
Those who choose to disobey God actually hate themselves, because they wilfully choose to destroy their relationship with God and with their neighbours to spend eternity in hell. It is either false religion or obedient living in the power of the Holy Spirit according to the truth of the Bible. When it comes to the salvation and the true preservation of His blood-bought souls, God tolerates no middle path of religious thought, seated in human philosophies, which is outright idolatry and witchcraft, (Rev. 22:15; Col. 1:8-9; 1 Sam. 15:21-24.”
God said in Acts 5:32 that “He gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FORGIVE SEVENTY TIMES SEVENTY?
As we have seen, not every offense can be defined as abuse. We will get to Jesus’ commandments concerning unrepentant abuse. When Jesus commanded us to simply to forgive, (interpreted in the full context of Mt. 18 and relating Scriptures,) He was NOT referring to unrepentant, soul and life threatening abuse. In the case of overlooking offenses, Jesus was implying unplanned, ‘minor’ faults and mistakes, or a mere insult — in which case, we are supposed to “turn the other cheek.” Jesus was speaking metaphorically, of course. We are not supposed to legalistically count how many times we have to forgive, just as we would not like God to keep score of all our confessed sins, which He forgives on a continual basis as we seek His face and obey His Moral Law of Love.
Paul too, referred to unintentional offenses when he wrote in 1 Cor. 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind.” This means, Godly love does not jealously oppress and compete with the sinful ‘self,’ flying off the handle over every little thing. God’s love does not act arrogantly and moody; behave unmannered, selfish, ill tempered and over-sensitive. Godly love never “rejoices” in the failures of others, but seeks the righteousness and will of God in every situation. God’s love is prepared to suffer for the Kingdom and glory of God, (not for the gratification of controlling, torturous abusers,) and trusts in the commandments and promises of God concerning all people.”
Although all wrongdoing is sin, and therefore needs forgiveness, (and the offender’s repentance and restitution, as defined by Scripture and not according to our own ideas,) most offenses we commit against one another are not worth a second thought and simply need to be overlooked. After all, none of us is perfect. We will minister effectively to most of our offenders (and ourselves,) if we simply overlook offenses, which are not likely to reoccur and wreak havoc on our lives, or do great damage to us personally, and/or the innocent involved. In the case of ‘minor’ and unintentional offenses, we should simply obey Jesus’ instructions to forgive and pray for our offenders.
SPIRITUAL ABUSE IN CHURCH AND AT HOME
Woe to those by whom such terrible grief comes!
In 1 Sam. 15:1-23, we read how King Saul tried to manipulate the commandments of the Lord. To justify his disobedience, he first claimed that he did obey; then he blamed the people for his insolence, and finally, he tried to pacify God by bringing Him a religious, ritual sacrifice. But Samuel said, “Has God as great delight in sacrifice as in obedience… For rebellion is the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is idolatry…”
The first commandment, which binds together all the precepts of the Moral Law, is ‘to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.’ Thus, we commit idolatry by insisting on following our own sinful ways or the sinful ways of others, instead of obeying the truth of God’s Word.
Also, we commit the sin of witchcraft when we rebel against the Word of God and turn truth into lies. When we conjure up deception and seductive charm, or when we lead, or force others to honor and follow people instead of God! Thus we become male and female witches when we do abusive tricks to “provoke our children [and others] to wrath” by our manipulation, oppression, domination, and control; forcing them do our sinful bidding, instead of teaching them to do the will of God above all else! – (Eph. 6:4.)
Our own sin, left unconfessed and unrepented, brings us under God’s judgment. However, when we do not only sin ourselves, but also commit witchcraft by provoking, grieving, influencing, deceiving, and pressing others to sin, God will judge us much more severely! For this purpose, Jesus warned in Mt. 18:6, “Better that [such abusing pastors, elders, spouses, parents, children, friends, and family,] who cause those who believe in Me to sin, were to hang millstones around their necks, and were drowned in the depth of the sea… Woe to that person by whom the offense comes!”
“Woe!” invokes the Devine judgment of God
The announcement of Jesus, “Woe to that person by whom the offense comes!” should make our bodies shiver and our knees bow in reverent fear and worship, because “righteousness is the scepter, [authority, or sword of state] of His Kingdom,” and ‘woe’ is a word used through Scripture to invoke the inescapable judgment of God, as also in the judgments pronounced in the Book of Revelation! - (Mt. 18:7; Heb. 1:8.)
Jesus judged male and female ‘witches’ who make others sin, so harshly because such abuses lead and push people away from Him through disobedience to the truth of His Word. Paul explained in 1 Cor. 8:12, “When you thus sin against [your spouse, parents, children, friends…] you sin against Christ.”
The M.H. Commentary wrote, “If someone sins against you by grieving your soul, [by humiliating and rejecting you through unfaithfulness, false accusation and unnecessary trouble;] by affronting you continually, or putting contempt or abuse on you; if he blemishes your good name by false reports or hurtful tale-bearing; if he encroaches on your rights or be in any way injurious to you in your estate; if he is guilty of any of the trespasses that are specified in Lev. 6:2-3; if he transgresses the laws of justice, charity, or relative duties… [Like when you reject your Godly friends and family, your children, your Godly spouse, or Godly parents, and neglect to take care of their needs…] Such deeds [of idolatry and witchcraft] are of very mischievous consequence.”
God did not give us parents, spouses, children, and other ‘neighbors’ to sinfully abuse as if they were our personal property; He merely blessed us by entrusting them to us during specific times in our lives. May God give every ‘bewitching’ parent, spouse, teenage and adult child, family member and friend – and especially the members of the body of Christ - the grace to realize that we are indeed one another’s keepers while we are living together here on earth!
Defining spiritual abuse as abusing God first
Spiritual abuse is the most severe form of sin, as spiritual abusers go beyond physical and emotional mistreatment by abusing the Word of God, and thus by abusing God Himself, to satisfy their selfish greed, lust for control, and desire for human adoration. Just as physical abusers manipulate the truth by twisting the contextual meaning of words and conversations, abusers of Scripture effectively turn verses and chapters from the Bible into dangerous doctrines for the purpose of enslaving their followers to their rule, (Mark 7:13.)
“Witches committing witchcraft’ best describes these ‘stumbling-block’ abusers and their crimes against Christ and His believing body. In Mark 8:15, Jesus warned His disciples not to partake of “the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod.” Jesus was actually saying, “Take heed, or watch out for yourselves not to embrace the twisted Scriptures, demonic doctrines, and religious traditions of spiritually blind leaders, lest you become deceived, proud, sanctimonious, and hypocritical like they are!”
Satan is perfectly capable of telling the truth – and sometimes he does, but always with the intention of turning that truth into a lie, (Jn. 8:44.) In this way, spiritual abusers also use the Word of God completely out of context to make ‘utensils,’ or merchandise of their gullible victims. Thus, Peter warned in 2 Pt. 2:3, “There were also false prophets among the [Old Testament] people, just as there will be false teachers among you, [the born again believers of Jesus,] who will secretly bring in destructive heresies [or false teachings…] And many will follow their destructive ways… By covetousness, [by preaching a false gospel of greed,] they will exploit you with deceptive words…”
Paul also explained in Col. 2:20-21, that the commandments of men only indulge people in the sin of spiritually dead religion, which is without of a relationship with Christ.
Spiritual abuse in the church
Despite the many Scriptural warnings, spiritual abuse or, the sin of Christian witchcraft remains one of the most common forms of maltreatment in the church. While emotional and physical abuse is frequently exposed and discussed, spiritual abuse is hardly ever mentioned. Most people fail to realize the cause, severity, and extent of spiritual abuse, simply because the Bible does not use the word ‘abuse.’ However, the ‘offenses’ Jesus so severely condemned in Mt. 18:6-7, can be described as all forms of abusive sin, which enslave, rob, humiliate, demean, misuse, and harm our neighbor – especially sin which hinders our neighbors’ relationship with God!
Subtly, spiritual abusers always teach their followers to submit unquestioningly and unconditionally to the teaching, leadership, false ‘anointing’ and ‘authority’ of their so-called ‘pastors,’ ‘elders,’ and ‘prophets.’ [Read God’s commandment concerning personal accountability in 1 Pt. 3:15!] Contrary to the truth of New Testament Scripture, such false ‘leaders’ actually place themselves above reproach in a ‘mediating’ and self-enriching position between the congregation and God, (read Heb. 1:1-2 to find that this is pure idolatry!) These unbiblical ‘chiefs’ and ‘high priest’ males are mostly unscrupulous misogynists. Hence, women are especially vulnerable to their abuse, as they frequently misquote and misuse Scripture to force all women to submit to their abusive control, just because they are female.
Concerning this false hierarchical priesthood - Jesus Himself is the Only New Testament High Priest. Every sincerely born again child of God is therefore a spiritual priest. Although New Testament priests, or the body of Christ, received different gifts from the Holy Spirit to minister to one another, they are all on the same level under the Headship of Jesus Christ Himself! Leaders or so-called ‘elders’ are not to rule and lord over others as unbelievers without Christ do. They all have to become humble servants of all the individual members of the body of Christ, (1 Pet. 2:9-10; 1 Pt. 5:1-4.)
Spiritual abuse in the marriage relationship
In the beginning, God made one man and one woman, and fused them together through the marriage covenant, (Mt. 19:4-10.) God did not, however, command the man to ‘rule’ or ‘lord’ over the woman. Neither did God command women to submit to the misogamist abuse of all men – or the abuse of their own husbands. In fact, God commanded husbands to “honor (or respect) their OWN wives because their own [sincerely believing] wives [in Christ] are heirs together with them of the grace of life, that their prayers may not be hindered,” (1 Pet. 3:7.) Scripture also commanded in Eph. 5:25-33, “Husband, love your wife as Christ loved [His believing body...] so a husband ought to love his own wife as his own body; he who loves his wife loves himself…”
Respect must be earned; respect can never be forced or demanded.
Sadly, many women also abuse their husbands, yet expect their husbands to love and respect them. It is in this light that Scripture commands the wife to “submit to her own husband, (and not to men in general,) as to the Lord, [in everything good and Godly.]”
As God is only holy and good, He will never expect anyone, wives included, to submit to idolatry and witchcraft. Therefore, this commandment does not mean that a wife should ‘revere’ her husband by submitting to his sinful control and demands – just as a husband cannot ‘revere’ his wife by allowing her to humiliate and oppress him, and lead him away from the Lord. The phrase recited at the church altar, “With my body I thee worship…” is therefore completely against Scripture! God and His contextual commandments must be first in every life.
The abovementioned verses mean that a wife must respect and follow the Godly leadership, protection, and provision of her own husband, while a husband must respect, and allow the Godly advice and help of his own wife. Many believing men and women have been brought down to emotional, physical, and even eternal hell because of their misplaced ‘love’ for, and submission to their ungodly spouses!