Most of us have a general understanding of what the bible says about what happens when we die BUT, for many of us, that understanding is limited to going to Heaven. The question is, is the Heaven we understand the end? AND, is that what the bible actually says???
Before I started seeking a deeper relationship with God, I understood sin to be those things listed in the ten commandments (which, I’ve probably broken all of, mind you) that we were supposed to try and avoid doing. I’m pretty sure that a lot of Christians think or feel that way as well. But how do you explain those things that aren’t on the list? All of those little sins in between that aren’t listed in the top 10? There is no “thou shall not cuss when people cut you off in traffic,” or “thou shall not be petty towards my neighbor because their unraked leaves keep blowing in my yard.” What about those types of things? Better yet, how do I explain the inclination I had to lie at the age of 4-years-old when I did something my mama told me not to do?
One of my first discoveries on my journey to get a better understanding of sin led me to a sermon by Pastor Tony Evans (Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas, TX-Check him out. He’s a fantastic teacher!). A lot of what I am about to type is directly from his teaching because he explains it so well. He explained how sin itself is the desire to live a life independently of God, or, rebellion against God. He also went into the explanation of how there are 3 types of sin:
- Inherited Sin-The passed on depravity from, or due to Adam’s sin. This may be hard to understand but look at it this way: Adam and Eve’s sin caused eternal separation of man from God. With the existence of sin in our world, God’s presence will not exist among it. God is Holy, and as you can clearly look at the news, social media, etc., and see, the world is not.
- Imputed Sin– “Imputed” is a term used in financial and legal settings. It means to take something that belongs to someone and credit it to another person’s account. Before the law of Moses was given, sin was not imputed to man. Meaning, man was still sinful, due to the inherited sin of Adam, but man had no awareness of what sin actually was so God didn’t hold them accountable for it. After the law was given to Moses however, sins committed in violation of that law were imputed to men. See, God is EXTREMELY fair and just.
- Personal Sin– These are the sins that are committed every day by us humans. Because we have inherited sin (the stuff we got from Adam) we commit everything from seemingly innocent untruths to murder. NONE of which are acceptable under God’s standards. But, we can’t help it. We’re born with a natural inclination to sin, due to the fall and the separation of man from God’s Spirit.
Now, here’s where the interesting part comes in: Those who have not accepted Christ have to pay the penalty for inherited, imputed and personal sin and the price for that is hell and spiritual death. For those who believe in Christ, however, we have the power to resist sin by the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. I talked about this in my last blog post, how the receiving of the Holy Spirit is a spiritual transaction and the ONLY WAY we can have access to the one true God. You see, once man sinned and chose Satan’s way over God’s way, in the beginning, God took His Spirit from amongst us. Now, the only presence of God’s Spirit upon the earth exists within those who desire to receive it, through Jesus. It’s an entirely spiritual occurrence, which is hard to understand if we keep trying to make physical sense out of spiritual things and not laying down our own understanding so that we may receive His.
Knowing and understanding all of this, does this mean that since we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that POOF! we won’t sin anymore? Um no, and God doesn’t necessarily expect that to happen because those of us who have accepted Jesus are still part flesh, living in a fallen world that appeals to all things fleshy! All God asks and expects is for us to: a) acknowledge that His ways are NOT the world’s ways, b) acknowledge that the world’s ways are sinful, c) repent, turn from that sin, accept that Jesus Christ is Lord and renew our minds DAILY with His word, which gives further insight to His ways.
This all sounds easy, right? But of course, it’s not. You can take one look at our world today and see that the human heart is exceptionally flawed and full of sin. Again, once that decision was made to take Satan’s word over God’s in the garden, God washed His hands of the earth and handed it over to Satan, and all of the ways of the world are Satan’s ways, not God’s. It’s like when you’re 17-years-old, and you ignore your parents’ curfew. They tell you to be home by 10, but you come home by 12. When you walk in, your mom tells you, “oh, you’re grown now? Well then, if you’re just going to do what you want to do, pack up and get out of my house!” God kicked us out of the house Y’all, and the only way He’s letting us back in is if we accept Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we go down with the world and all its ways because we chose it over God.
In conclusion, I’d like to put my business in the streets to further illustrate how sin and the Holy Spirit are working in my life. Before renewing my relationship with God and my understanding, I had sex outside of marriage with no thought to it whatsoever. I mean sure, I knew the Bible stated that I wasn’t supposed to do it, but the Bible was a book written thousands of years ago and times have changed! The world has changed! Once I surrendered my will to God, confessed that I was a sinner, and I realized that my ways were nowhere near superior to His, the Holy Spirit revealed to me WHY God’s standard for marriage, sex, commitment, etc., was important, and how it was the exact opposite of the world’s standard. It changed my entire perspective. Now, does that mean that after my realization, I never had sex outside of marriage again? Um, no. Remember what I said about still being flesh and the world appealing to all things fleshy? Yeah…that. The only difference is. However, I no longer view it as something I should be able to do just because I want to and I’m not hurting anyone else. I trust God’s will and way over my own, even if I don’t fully grasp the “why” just yet. Therefore, I strive for obedience versus doing what is physically satisfying to me. Because once I realized that God loves me so much that He sacrificed someone else for my sinful nature so that I could live in His presence eternally, how could I repeatedly take advantage of that? But I would have never been able to come to that realization and had that kick in my conscience without the Holy Spirit. And if you doubt that truth, try it for yourself. Tell yourself that you won’t do a, b, and c because God frowns upon it. You can’t deny that without some kind of spiritual transformation, it’s hard to prevent yourself from doing something that is pleasing to you and not hurting anyone else but quite frankly, a sin in God’s eyes.
I hope that if you had any questions or hang-ups on sin, this cleared some things up for you. Most of all, I hope it clears up the misconception that all it takes to get to heaven is to, “just be a good person.” In God’s eyes, NONE of us are righteous (Romans 3:10-12), and we have to stop limiting our understanding or definition of a “good person” to the world’s standards. God knows we won’t reach perfection until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom here on earth and we receive those new, immortal, sinless bodies. Until then, however, seek Him, seek His ways, pursue righteousness, know that you will fall short (but Jesus died for those falls), and live every day to please Him above all. When you know, believe and live by this, none of these things plaguing the world can or will affect you. Peace and clarity are the amazing side effects of the pursuit of righteousness.
Trying to make natural sense out of spiritual things serves as a hindrance for many of us when it comes to our spiritual growth and understanding how God works.
What I’m about to explain is something that a lot of us probably never really learned or were able to grasp when we were growing up in church as kids and teens.
I also think that when it comes to speaking about things of the spiritual nature and the spiritual realm that exists outside of our physical one, people tend to get scared.
BUT, let me tell you this: this is one of those things where not being aware of it or ignoring it doesn’t make it go away and since it’s something that affects your life daily and definitely affects your communication with God, you should probably be aware.
You can’t stop it, you can’t change it. The spiritual realm exists and we as human beings, are like Gold medals in the Spiritual Olympics between two teams: Good and Evil.
So, as Christians, I think it’s crucial that we know where we fit into all of this and how our relationship with Jesus is the key to being gold medals to the winning team!
Did you know there was a difference between your Spirit and your Soul?
We, as humans are comprised of three parts: Spirit, Soul, and Body. (The world will tell you different by telling you that we consist of “mind, body, and soul” or that spirit and soul are one in the same, but God’s word says otherwise.)
Your spirit is what gives life to the body. Without the spirit, the body is dead.
Your soul is your personality, aka, your mind, will, and emotions.
Your body, of course, is your physical shell.
When we are born, we are born with the human spirit of life. We are NOT born with God’s spirit.
However, when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are then gifted with God’s Spirit, aka, The Holy Spirit.
And no, the Holy Spirit is NOT something you only receive when you’re in church and you have a reaction to the music that causes you to jump up and down, take off running down the aisle, turn a cartwheel, whatever.
I’ve had that same reaction at a Beyoncé concert and I can guarantee you there’s nothing “holy” about bopping to Drunk In Love.
NOW, In scripture, there is actually a distinction made between man’s spirit and God’s Spirit.
God’s Spirit is always capitalized when written about and man’s spirit is always written about in lower case.
Romans 8:16 states: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (see the distinction made between THE Spirit and OUR spirit?)
SO, what it means to receive the Holy Spirit is that a spiritual transaction ACTUALLY occurs upon your acceptance of Jesus.
This isn’t something you can physically make happen. It is a spiritual thing.
When you make that decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God implants the Holy Spirit inside of you in seed form.
This is what it means to be “born again”. Your spirit, which was only human, is born again and intermingled with the Holy Spirit.
Now, just like any other seed, the seed of the Holy Spirit has to be fed and watered in order to grow.
The food and water for this seed is the wisdom and knowledge of God, which is the word of God, only to be found in the Holy Bible.
Now, as you take in this food and water, this nourishes and grows your spirit and you grow stronger in the wisdom and knowledge of God.
BUT, here’s where the hard part comes in and where the struggle happens with us as a whole:
God’s intention for us through our relationship with Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit is for us to operate in this order:
- To receive wisdom and instruction from the Holy Spirit
- Which then dictates God’s truth to the soul (our mind, will, and emotions)
- Which then dictates to the body how we are to physically respond to a matter.
BUT, unfortunately, we do it the other way around because our human spirit is now in conflict with the Holy Spirit and why is this? Because we have allowed our SOULS (mind will and emotions) to determine what’s right and wrong for so long.
How have we done this, you wonder? Well, it’s complicated but yet, oh so simple.
Our souls (our mind, will, and emotions) have led the way for so long and determined what is right and wrong according to the information of the world.
Our souls have accepted what the world tells us as truth and allowed the world’s truth to dictate how we live our lives and so forth.
So we haven’t been operating out of spirit. We’ve been operating out of man’s limited knowledge our own will and our own emotions.
Once you’ve been saved and you start to read the word of God, your new God-infused SPIRIT recognizes the word as truth, but if your SOUL is still taking the lead and determining what is true and false according to the world, then you’re going to constantly find conflict within yourself because you’re operating out of confusion.
This is because what the world dictates as truth and what the scripture dictates as truth are total opposites.
This is why Romans 12:2 says: 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.
This is where we have to get on one accord and decide whether or not we’re going to live out of our flesh or out of our Spirit.
And if we choose to live out of our Spirit, then the only way to overcome this is to surrender our souls (again, our mind, will and emotions) to our Spirit.
Because when you surrender your soul (your mind, will and emotions) to the Holy Spirit and allow it to dictate what is true to you, only then, can you truly be transformed.
Jesus speaks on this in Matthew 16: 24 when he says:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
He’s basically saying that by denying your “self” (aka ego, which stems from your mind, will and emotions) and living by the Holy Spirit instead, only then will you receive eternal life.
NOW, knowing this,
This explains why there can be so many Christians who claim to love and follow Jesus, but their actions don’t reflect that.
It’s because they are still operating out of instruction of the world, versus submitting their souls to their new (BORN AGAIN) Spirit, and allowing the Spirit to lead them.
Too many times due to a lack of understanding, Christians do it the other way around: We become believers but we still operate from the outside in.
This is because we’re not growing that seed of the Holy Spirit through taking in the word of God.
I know this to be true because I did it myself. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior but I was still sinning it up!
But I didn’t do this on purpose. At the time, I didn’t understand the spiritual nature of the whole process and I wasn’t allowing myself to be transformed because I definitely wasn’t taking in the word of God.
I believed in the spiritual but I’ve always seen it as something that occurs invisibly around me only. I never knew that one of the gifts of accepting Jesus was receiving God’s Spirit.
So, I was believing in Jesus but I was attempting to manually control my sin by just saying, “oh okay, I know that’s wrong. I won’t do it anymore”.
Not yet realizing that if we were physically strong enough to resist temptation on our own, there would be no need for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit does a work in us that eradicates sin from our hearts. But when we try to do it on our own, we’re only removing that sin from our mind and trying to manage it without any true change of heart.
And again, I know THIS to be true because it happened to me. Over time, when I did fully surrender to the Holy Spirit, the desires of my heart began to change and it became much easier for me to say NO to the things I previously wasn’t strong enough to say no to in my own will.
When you do allow the Holy Spirit to take over, THIS is how you get Christians who truly DO change and it’s noticeable in the way they live their lives. You can tell it’s not a front and that they’re not trying to manage their actions and behavior.
This is what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:15-16 when He said:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Their “fruits” pertain to their output, or their actions and their behavior.
A lot of people don’t recognize this because they don’t recognize or acknowledge things of the Spirit.
And this is DANGEROUS! While you’re operating from the perspective of there being nothing influencing your life that is outside of your physical existence, demons in the spiritual realm are laughing at you and having a field day manipulating your circumstances.
BUT, that’s another topic for another post where I plan to talk about how the spiritual realm is the true source for MOST of our earthly, physical problems and how we can combat that.
THIS IS WHY it is CRUCIAL to have a personal relationship with God, OUTSIDE OF CHURCH, as well as inside.
Because I cannot stress to you enough how growing in God is a SPIRITUAL OCCURRENCE.
It’s not about just opening up a book, reading something and doing what it says.
It is about receiving the Holy Spirit and growing it through God’s truth.
ONLY THEN, can you recognize and understand the spiritual things of God and only THEN can you begin to have an impact on your physical circumstances.
One more thing I want to point out when it comes to the spiritual.
Science and Spirituality are NOT in competition with each other.
Science is amazing at explaining how things work in our physical realm but it CANNOT explain the spiritual.
Science breaks down the facts of how things work in the physical.
But you can have all of these facts and still have no truth.
1 Cor 2: 11– For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Translation: Just as no one can tell you what’s on your mind because they can’t access your spirit, no one can know the mind of God without His Spirit.
But think about how AMAZING it is that He grants us access to His mind through the acceptance of Jesus Christ! Talk about a blessing!
I’ve included a couple more verses that refer to the spirit of man and the Spirit of God below. I hope this has been helpful and I hope you’ve taken away the most important message that I’ve tried to convey here: A relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not about religion. Religion is actually the opposite. As a matter of fact, knowing the truth of God is more freeing than anything this world could possibly offer.
Through His word, God lets us know that there’s a whole lot of deception going on around us daily that has been happening since the beginning of our creation. Trusting in Him not only reveals but saves ❤
A couple of additional scripture verses:
1 Cor 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
If you watched My Testimony, I mentioned that my journey back to a relationship with Jesus was a long, winding, twisted road but I didn’t explain why. In this video, I explain how I had a very short experience with New Age Spirituality and how through that, I discovered that there are only two sides to this thing we call “Spirituality”: Good and Evil. This whole movement, however, has found its way into even the Christian church through things that seem quite innocent at the surface. They lead some to believe that we’re worshipping the same Jesus when in fact, we definitely are not.
Below are some links to testimonies of people who were deep into the New Age movement. They go more into the history and roots of it all and how they came to truly see it for what it is.
Steven Bancarz, a former New Age blogger turned Christian, explains how he discovered that New Age Spirituality at its roots, is a deception, leading people to believe that these practices lead to a closeness to God or a higher level of Christ-consciousness. Here are two links to videos he’s done:
Why Am I Exposing The New Age
Proof The New Age Is Satanic
Why is the New Age Movement Dangerous
1 John 4: 1-3:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God”-New Age teaches the exact opposite: that Jesus is merely a prophet. If any teaching you follow teaches that Jesus is NOT the Son of God, it is a false spirit.
Bible verses that speak against consulting mediums, spiritism, etc.
Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 27
1 Chronicles 10:13–14;
Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) implies that the dead cannot contact the living.
1 Samuel 28:3-23
I hope these references are helpful. I have lots of sources but didn’t want to overwhelm anyone. If you need more please feel free to contact me via email and I would be glad to send you more!
For a long time, I never understood what it actually meant for Jesus to die for my sins. I guess I thought of it from a sort of abstract perspective. But once I started studying and seeking for myself, I discovered that the reason is very concrete and very real.
My video, “Why We Need A Savior”, is part of a series of videos I want to do, getting back to the basics of what it means to believe in and have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ because, let’s be honest, Christianity (due to a ton of bad theology, the hypocrisy of man and several other reasons) doesn’t really do The Most High any justice. Unfortunately, people are unable to separate the religion from the reality, which is; if you take away all religions and spiritual practices in the world, The Creator of All Things and His Son would still exist. Getting to know about Him and what He expects from us isn’t a religion. It’s a matter of eternal life or death ❤