To Rend or Not To Rend

The conflict reflected among the body of Christ is more less a clash of separate beliefs that often leads to confusion and even spiritual genocide. I have witnessed such destruction on many social medias, especially YouTube. I have seen the true narrative of biblical truths being shredded apart by those who deem to make holy scripture a strategic battle plan for their own directives completely taking verses to mean something that they don’t in correlation to their argument. Truths becoming untruths, and untruths, truth. But those who desire to make tales of God’s truth are forgetting one very important matter; the devil himself, Satan. He comes to kill, steal and destroy and he brings with him some exclusive key weapons to use to distort the word and work of God and this is what I have observed…

I was brought up in a Christian home. My father was a minister and legalism was a way of life. There were the behaviors, disciplines and practices where you had to perform certain deeds in order to be counted faithful and true to God. In other words, you secured righteousness in God through works, requirements of the laws. Most believed that your good works and obedience was the main focus rather than a true relationship with God. Later in life, I left that prison after being condemned into oblivion as it wore me down to the point that I actually backslid and almost became an atheist.

Not long afterwards, I somehow stumbled across a movement known as Once Saved, Always Saved acronymically known as OSAS. I felt like a bird released from it’s cage of long captivity. It was more less a feel good doctrine that eventually brought me back to that cage where I preferred to stay and hide away in my newfound confusion and a heart needing more. Something was not right and it did not take long to realize I was in the wrong place listening to those who taught all you had to do was absolutely nothing but believe, it felt good for a while, I will admit, but deep down in the very depths of my hungry soul the false doctrine was not clicking.

I took it upon myself to read scriptures outside traditional church settings and study the word of God on my own. I came to realize the truth! I also came to realize how loving, patient and compassionate God really is and from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, the Bible is stock-full of grace and mercies and the perfect blueprint to live the way I am supposed to live. Mind you, it didn’t happen over night it took a mound of undoing, miles of retraining and most importantly, allowing God to remold me , my mindset that is.

I wanted to start my own YouTube channel and share my enthusiasm of what God was doing in my life, so I started watching others and my mind was blown at the teachings being aired all over the place. There were those who were bent on speaking boldly about things that are not in the Bible as if they were true such as living life the way YOU want to live and not according to how God wants you to live. I will agree, there is nothing you can do to earn eternal life as it says in Romans chapter 6 verse 23; “… but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” This is truth as eternal life is just that, a gift! It’s not something that is paid for or wages earned for works done. It’s a gift! God does hold the power to grant the gift of eternal life, but it is a gift with conditions given only to those who have qualified.

Let me make it clear to remove some doubt you may be experiencing, salvation is a free gift from our Father God, our Creator. There is nothing you can do to earn it or merit. And God’s grace is completely unmerited pardon of one’s sins. What is salvation? Salvation means you are saved from death. However, unless God intervenes to apply the blood of His son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for man’s sins to cover the REPENTANT sinner’s part, there can be no salvation. point blank! Ephesians 1: 5, 7 tells us, “Jesus Christ…In whom all have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:14 states the same thing, that God gave grace-forgiveness-through Christ’s blood.

But this hyper grace movement which is a sub-movement of the once saved always saved movement in our 21st century teaches that all sin, past, present and future has already been forgiven and there is no need to confess. They teach you can do as you please and that you are not bound by Jesus’ teachings. They teach you that you are not responsible for your sin and if anyone disagrees, they are a pharisaical legalist. So in short, the grace-teachers pervert the grace of God into a license to sin. Jesus never taught that you should just “believe on Him.” We need to repent of our sins and I personally believe it goes further than just believing. There are many scriptures throughout the New Testament that speak on repentance, and there are many in the old testament. What about real genuine heartfelt repentance? The kind that goes deeper than just feeling sorry for what you have done that is wrong. This kind of repentance requires more than a partial surrender you need to give God your ALL. Everything! It’s all or nothing! I am talking about what Joel suggested in the Old Testament, rendering your heart. What does it mean to rend your heart? It simply means to repent with a raw and sincere heart. Repenting leads to getting rid of those things that separate you from God. SIN SEPARATES YOU FROM GOD!

God does not dwell in darkness and if there is sin in your life, God is not dwelling in a heart of sin. God wants us to be holy as He is holy. We will never be perfect by any means, not until we are made perfect in heaven. In Joel chapter 2 verses 12 and 13 say, ” Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and He relents from sending calamity.” We need to repent with a sincere heart, we should be grief-stricken and horrified when we sin against God. Back in Biblical days people would “rend” their garments which means they would tear their clothes as expressions of deep emotions such as from a death of a loved one, or of some kind of terror. The above scriptures is talking about rend (repent) our hearts with the same expressions of deep regret knowing God is not pleased in us doing our will and not His.

If you listen to those who tell you its okay to sin you are listening to false teachers. We need to abide in Christ which means to live, continue or remain, so to abide we live in or remain in Him, Jesus Christ. The difference between abiding in Christ or not abiding in Christ is the difference in being saved or not saved. To abide in Christ is to know Christ! To know Christ is to follow Christ. To follow Christ is to be in an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And to be in an intimate relationship with Christ means you are doing more than just believing, you are abiding. You are growing and that’s what the word of God is for, its our blueprint our life manual, abiding means we allow His word to fill our minds to transform us and help our faith to grow. And faith itself is rooted in the activity of God and faith without works is dead. We become obedient as in responding to the truths of Jesus Christ. “If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you…” Then we abide in His love, resting on the love of Christ, the one who gave His life for all.

But as we are in the abiding process, we are also called to submit to the pruning knife of God. This is where He cuts away those things that are not important and keep us from abiding in His son. I’ve been through His pruning. Its not easy and it is painful at times, but in order to continue to abide, this is a process we need to be who and what we are suppose to be for God. How can one live for God and not want to grow? How can you continue in known sins without repenting, better yet, how can you not fall on your face with a contrite spirit and rend your heart before God? How can you not? Jesus went to the cross and the entire journey was nothing but torment, torture, He was beaten beyond recognition, spit on, cursed at, and ultimately died on a cross all for one purpose and that purpose was for you and for me. Oh I believe! I believe God so loved us all that He gave His only son and whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. But “believe” is more than just a thought of an action, to truly believe is to go deep, all in. To believe is to adhere to multiple layers of truth and hold something dear. Its not one dimension its multifaceted and if we truly belief with our whole hearts, our lives will be the witness to that belief.

If you engage in voices that are loud and obnoxious, telling you it’s okay to do whatever you want, live however you want, remember Jesus did not come to a cross on Calvary just so you could continue to party and live life the way you see fit, He came to give you life and give it abundantly. I love Jesus! I want to do whatever He will have me to do or be. Do I sin? Yes I do. Sometimes knowingly and sometimes not, but I always repent, and many times when my spirit is contrite within me, I rend my heart. I grieve over what I do and what I struggle with. But one day in the very near future, I will no longer have those struggles and it will be worth it all to live eternally with the one who loved me enough to lay His life down for me. If you are struggling with whom or what to believe, get in the word of God yourself and study it for yourself and it will change your life…