Many people know John 3:16, but don't know that it is a conditional verse. Many people also don't know the rest of the book to gain a better insight into what it means to believe and who are those who truly have eternal life. See key verse highlights below from the book of John on those who have life vs warnings or those who don't. We will also look at the other books of 1John, 2 John, 3 John and 1 Peter.
Promises of life from the book of John:
Warnings from the book of John:
Book of 1st John: Chapter 1 is written to those who have not received the Spirit, Chapter 2-5 is then discussing those who have received the Spirit (or little children). Below are verses to the little children. At the end are the verses from chapter 1 to those who are still in darkness and the gospel message to them so that they can find Jesus.
1 John 2:3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
1 John 2:4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 2:9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1 John 2:11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:28-29 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
1 John 3:7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:14-15 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
3:19-22 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us … 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
1 John 3:24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:16-17 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
1 John 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who is born of God keeps himself, and the evil one does not touch him.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
2 John 1:8-11 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
3 John 1:3-4 For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth
3 John 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
Compare to narrative in 1 Peter:
Below is a quick overview of the beginning of 1st John chapter 1. The 1st question to ask yourself is who is John initially speaking to in the book (in Chapter 1)? It is being written to those who say they believe BUT DO NOT have fellowship with God and His son Jesus.
1 John 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too might have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9 if we may confess our sins, faithful He is and righteous that He may forgive us the sins, and may cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
This above verses you have read above is the gospel message preached to John and announced to the church (see vs 5 through vs 10). Notice the pattern of “if we .. if we… if we… ” … in all of the verses from vs 6-10.
The gospel message is conditional to those who accept and remain in the promise.
Now John transitions and speaks to the Little Children (who later says they “know” the Father). These are people who have received the message and have fellowship:
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, that ye may not sin: and if any one may sin, an advocate we have with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one,
1 John 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Many people are confused and misapply scripture not understanding the transformation that took place to the apostles after they received power when they were spiritually baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Instead they want to focus on the disciples before they were clothed with power [lack of faith, hard heart (not a new heart), lack of understanding, slave to the sin of the bad heart] because this is the weak old man that they are only able to identify with instead of the transformed apostles of power after pentecost. Many deny themselves the power of God and freedom from the power of sin in the life that they war against because the sin still dwells in the thoughts of the bad heart they still have. Thus they are always in a struggle with some sin in their heart that wages war against the soul. This isn’t the promise of the person who has been baptized in the Spirit with Christ.
In seeking to justify their continued weakness in the flesh and slavery to sin (inability to overcome), they point to passages that describe the “old man” or those who are weak in the flesh because they have not been born again by the power of God to the “new man” having become partakers of the divine nature and filled to all the fullness of God. [Listen to episode on Romans chapter 6, 7, and 8 for the full context of the contrast between the two men]. Listen to the gospel and result that happens in our life as Peter describes it in 1 Peter episode.
Let me point out some examples of the lives of the 12 disciples before they became apostles by the Holy Spirit of God. You want to be this person of weakness who still has eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear, does not understand the scripture, still carries about the sin in the hard heart?
BEFORE SPIRITUAL BAPTISM
After the disciples observed many miracles of healings, casting out demons, etc … look at what happens and what Jesus says about them:
Mar 4:38-41 38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"
Then after feeding the five thousand, there was another event which occurred when Jesus was walking on the water. Look at what the word of God says:
Mar 6:51-52 51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, 52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.
Jesus had to explain all the parables to them because they didn’t understand:
Mar 4:9-13 9 And He was saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN." 13 And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?
Mar 7:14-18 14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16 "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." 17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him,
Mar 8:1-4 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2 "I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 "If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance." 4 And His disciples answered Him, "Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?"
Mar 8:15-21 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16 They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 "HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." 20 "When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." 21 And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
Mar 8:31-33 31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
Mar 9:10 10 They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant.
Mar 9:31-34 31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later." 32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him. 33 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, "What were you discussing on the way?" 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.
Mar 10:13-14 13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mar 10:24-27 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?" 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
Mar 14:27-30 27 And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.' 28 "But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." 29 But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not." 30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times."
Mar 14:37-41 37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 39 Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 And He came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
After Jesus was raised from the dead, they continued in doubt. The Holy Spirit still had not been poured out.
Mar 16:11-14 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. 12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. 13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either. 14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.
Mat 26:32 32 "But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee."
Mat 28:7 7 "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you."
Mat 28:16-17 16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
Joh 20:9 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
Luk 24:15-16 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
Luk 24:25-31 25 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. … 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.
Luk 24:36-49 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be to you." 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it before them. 44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 "You are witnesses of these things. 49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Joh 2:21-25 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
Joh 12:16 16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
Joh 7:37-39 37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Joh 14:15-31 15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. 25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 "Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.
Joh 15:26-1 26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Joh 16:7 7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
Act 1:4-5 4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
Act 2:33 33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
Some may ask:
Then how were they able to cast out demons on other activities? Because Jesus gave them authority, that doesn’t mean they were born again, they still hadn’t received the Spirit.
Then how did Peter know who Jesus was later on in the gospel? God reveals things by His Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Because God reveals His wisdom through His Spirit. The Spirit of God convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment and draws us out of darkness into light. As the Spirit reveals truth we must humbly accept it in faith. Then we can be clothed with power and be born again into a new creation.
It is sad how many people don't understand when God is speaking about those who are living a vain life. Most of these discussions are applied directly to a people who say they are the people of God. God even applies them to those who He calls His people before He destroys them because they refused to respond to the discipline of God.
I have heard more people quote from Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, 1Jn 1:8, etc .... The list goes on and on. Yet these people do not have context of the book and many times even the chapter. The result is foolish speculations, disputes about words, and controversial questions which God warns against those who understand nothing and are deprived of the truth. They advocate a different doctrine not agreeing with sound words (those of Christ) or the doctrine that conforms to godliness. (1 Tim 6:3-5)
Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin.
Rom 3:10-12 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."
As you can see, the statements from both Ecclesiastes and Romans are the same. Yet many people don't understand the context and teachings of God from his word both in the book where the passages are plucked and in addition for the case of Romans, the OT scripture from which the passage was taken.
Read Psalm chapter 14 from where some of the passages of Romans CH 3 are taken and you will see it talks about the "fool" who does not know God. Those in darkness who are excluded from God. Those who do NO good. They only do evil. Think of the moral atheist. This is how God sees them. Many people would agree in the eyes of man there are many moral atheist who do "good", the same good deeds you see Christians performing. But they don't understand when you still have a bad heart with wicked thoughts to go along with the good thoughts, you are defiled and still have a bad heart. This is discussed in the episode "God requires a new heart" (part 1 and part 2).
Psalm chapter 15 then contrasts the "fool" with the righteous man who DOES do good, and DOES NOT do evil. It is this man that will abide with God!
For 1 John Chapter 1, most people don’t know the first chapter is written to those in the church who are deceived and think they have fellowship with God even though they still walk with darkness in their life. They are so blind because they only know how to go and pick a single verse or two and not understand the whole chapter and the whole book. Go listen to the episode on 1 John and John 3:16.
Now, let me point out some things in Ecclesiastes that many people are blind to, because they don't seek to understand the principle teachings that God wants to communicate. They are attracted and can only seem to see the things that justify what they want to believe because they are unwilling to acknowledge that they may be deceived and not have fellowship with God.
Ecclesiastes: The book is written to point out all the vanities of the world. There are very few statements of God's truth, but many statements of vanity as viewed through the wisdom of the world. This is a reflection of Solomon’s life of vanity . At the very end we are left with the truth of God that is not vanity and is what we are to put our trust in:
Many people are ignorant of the fact Solomon fell away from God. Look below at the prayers offered for Solomon and the conditions. Then look at what God says about Solomon at the end of his life:
Prayer / Instruction for Solomon
1Ki 9:3-9 3 The LORD said to him, "I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 4 "As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 5 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, 'You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.' 6 "But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 "And this house will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss and say, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?' 9 "And they will say, 'Because they forsook the LORD their God
1 Chronicles 28:9 "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.
1Ch 29:17-19 17 "Since I know, O my God, that You try the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things; so now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here, make their offerings willingly to You. 18 "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, our fathers, preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Your people, and direct their heart to You; 19 and give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and to do them all, and to build the temple, for which I have made provision."
1Ki 11:4-12 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.… 9 Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 "Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
Ecc 1:2-3 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?
Ecc 1:18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.
Ecc 2:3 I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.
Ecc 2:8-11 8 Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men-- many concubines. 9 Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Ecc 2:14-18 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. 15 Then I said to myself, "As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?" So I said to myself, "This too is vanity." 16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind. 18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.
Ecc 3:18-20 18 I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts." 19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.
Ecc 4:1-4 Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter-- On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter. 2 Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive. 3 Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. 4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Ecc 6:1-6 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction. 3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he-- 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice-- but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place?
Ecc 8:14-15 14 There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 So I commended pleasure, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.
Ecc 9:2-10 2 All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; To the good, the clean, and the unclean; To him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; He who takes an oath as he who fears an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
In summary, people need to first look at the entire book and the principles of what God is saying, especially when he contrasts the life of a fool or the old man vs the new man; wisdom of the world vs the wisdom of God. Sadly most people cannot give you an outline of the book from which the blaspheme the word of God by falsely holding to individual verses and vain/empty speculations or thoughts of men.
Romans 7:13-25, one of the most blasphemed and distorted passage from the bible. Why does this occur? Because people are unwilling to seek God's wisdom through His word and explanations, but they seek to take passages and then add in their context so they can twist the word of God to fit their life and justify that even though they are still a slave of sin, they have peace with God.
Let's examine these passages and compare them with what God has already established as Truth in His word. Let us not rely on our own thoughts or life, but on God's word. If you life does not conform to God's word, then it is YOU who are WRONG. Stop trying to twist and distort God's word to justify your life as reflecting that of a true Son of God when you are still a slave of sin.
As you look into the verses before and after this passage, God has already defined who has eternal life or who is born again and who isn’t. He shows how the man who is still a slave of sin has NOT been baptized with Christ. The man whose members produce sin is the man who has NOT been baptized with Christ. The man who still walks in sin will be judged and receive the burning wrath and anger of God.
Book of Romans Background:
There is a difference between existing in the flesh and walking according to the flesh
Description of a Christian
Thos who have been baptized into Christ have also:
Rom 6:11-13 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Rom 7:4-6 4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, so that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
Rom 8:2-14 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Rom 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
1Co 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you re not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? [Note: he just stated at the end of Chapter 2 that those who are of the flesh are not spiritual, do not have the spirit, and cannot understand because they are spiritually appraised]
1 Corinthians 11:29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Gal 5:13-24 13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, BUT the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Eph 2:1-3 And you were being dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Eph 4:20-24 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you put off the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Phi 3:17-19 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Col 1:21-23 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister..
Col 2:22-23 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)-- in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-humility and neglect of the body, but are of no value against gratifying the flesh.
Col 3:1-10 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Stop lying to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--
Jam 3:13-18 13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
1 Peter 3:21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
1Jo 1:6-7 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jo 2:3-7 3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.
1Jo 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
I have many conversations with people telling them about the true gospel of God. The doctrine that actually conforms to godliness. Sadly, many of the responses are:
I will then ask then how they think it is okay to still live a life a sin. The typical response is "I don't want to sin, it is something that we battle. I pray everyday for God to help me overcome the sin in my life."
Now think about that statement. They acknowledge they do not want to sin, they want to be changed, they appeal to God to help them ... BUT in their heart they deny that God can remove all sin and set them free. Out of guilt they pray to God for deliverance, but in their heart they deny the truth and power of God when they say God cannot make you perfect.
Fundamentally, many people do not understand the sin is what lives in the heart. It is due to the wicked/evil heart that everyone is born with. No where in the word of God does God say He is only willing to:
Reflect on the passages from 1st Peter below and see if these resonate with the gospel that you believe in:
1Pe 1:14-16, 14 As obedient children, no longer conforming to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
1Pe 1:22 22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
1Pe 2:1 Therefore, put aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
1Pe 2:5 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:11-12 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1Pe 2:15-16 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
1Pe 2:19-23 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
1Pe 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
1Pe 3:8-12 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For "He who would love life And see good days, must keep his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 He must turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."
1Pe 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
1Pe 4:15-1 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
If you're like me, you have probably had some shakeups in your life. Over the last year, many of our lives have been shaken by COVID. But that paled in comparison to what happened to me and my relationship with God. If you haven't already listened to the podcast "Proof God Can Do the Impossible," I encourage you to give it a listen. God has forever changed me, and I will never be the same. I pray that you look at your life. Consider whether you are living a life worthy of the indwelling of the Spirit of God or, if like me, your garments were stained, never really cleaned. Our eternity rests on whether we are truly clean.
Peace and Blessings to You,
Either Kyle or Sam...just check the signature at the bottom of what you read.