Teaching the Full Counsel of God
Nena Arias | October, 2013
The body of believers in Christ, known as the church, has always had the problem of people who are Christians in name only. That is, they want to identify with our Lord, but are undisciplined in applying God’s principles to build Christ-like character in their lives. There is no depth to their commitment to become holy, mature, and wise with God’s knowledge. This is a constant battle that wars against true Christianity and causes much damage to its portrayal in the world because it sends a distorted message. In the eyes of many, this poor witness nullifies the Word of God.
The Word of God places high standards and demands that we apply its righteous requirements to our lives if we are to identify and belong to the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. Sad to say that in modern Christianity the church falls short of godly living and truncates the expansion of God’s Kingdom. Too many Christians refuse to deal with sin, in their own lives and that of people around them. The church today is too passive, for the most part, and has an escapist mentality, shirking its command to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-14) and to disciple the nations (Matthew 28:19). There is too much sin and worldliness (i.e. humanism) in today’s Church. This is especially true in America, who, unfortunately, is the “world leader” in Christianity. The Christians of the world have their eyes set on America to imitate what it does in this country and to what it exports to other nations under the name of Christianity and the Gospel. America has miserably failed to teach the full counsel of God for the last 180 years. The problem of sinfulness and delusion persists acutely and is very visible to the world.
The church of today has become plagued with fads under the guise of making disciples and making the gospel more palatable to today’s world. It has produced countless books of sermons and messages promoting its distortions. This leads to the creation of trends and movements passing as the “new visitations and revelations of God” to our times. In essence, these fads are nothing more than man-made teachings, of which those who preach them become like little gods and make their own disciples to follow them, therefore, building their own little kingdom. They borrow Christ’s born-again message but there is no clear idea as to what a disciple of Christ truly means, thus, adding to the problem of a contaminated church. This is highly dangerous and makes the devil’s work very easy because “the church” is actually helping. It lowers the Bible to the radical individualistic interpretations of men and completely violates the covenants that God works through. It makes no distinction between a gospel sympathizer and a true disciple of Christ. The tenets of these falsehoods are certain learned behaviors and not righteous living as the Bible reveals. The content of their teachings are adulterations and prostitutions of God’s word for their personal gains.
True Christians are to be shining lights in the world for God and making true disciples not just teaching mere behaviorisms. We are called to produce high quality undeniable fruit for the Kingdom of God in our own lives and the lives of those we touch with the Gospel along the way.
The faulty interpretations of the Bible become dangerous rhetoric that carries and passes along spiritual death. In Matthew 28:18-20, our command is the following:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
It is impossible for today’s church to produce true disciples because it is not teaching people to observe all that God has commanded as we are instructed in Matthew 28. What passes today as teaching the Gospel is nothing more than individuals teaching and preaching a superficially, distorted, and limited gospel. The true Gospel covers every area of life and demands that its principles be applied. It teaches individuals, families, congregations and nations how to live according to God’s design and standards. Clear and consistent teaching of God’s word is the solution to mediocrity and to eradicate the doctrines of demons that are rendering the church fruitless; this will preserve the purity of the knowledge and wisdom of God. If the church fails to correct what it is teaching, it will continue to fail at its calling and in making true disciples of Christ. Teaching the full counsel of God is imperative.
Who is More Important in the Bible God or Man?
The foundational teaching of the Sovereignty of God is practically non-existent in the church of today. For the most part, everything that is heard from the pulpits of America is “what God can do for you” messages. If the individual and not God is the focus of the “bible” that is preached, then nothing else in the Bible will make sense. Everything exists in God. It is only God’s plan and purpose that matters and everything stems from that. Everything lives, moves and has its being in God. All of history can attest to this since it is God that is producing and directing His design in all matters. God makes it all happen. Not a sparrow or a leaf falls to the ground that He is not aware of. It is His plan and He gives us the privilege to participate in it by following His game plan.
One of the doctrines that are totally distorted in the church today is God’s grace. God’s grace has been cheapened to teach that all kinds of sinfulness can continue to be practiced in the life of the believer because, after all, God’s grace covers a multitude of sin. Believers are misguided into thinking that they can have all the “freebies” through God’s grace and completely ignore the Sovereignty of God who will not abide with sin. If our lives are not exhibiting the holiness and perfection of God; we are not where we should be. Jesus said, “be holy as your Father in heaven is holy” (Leviticus 11:44-45, I Peter 1:15-16), if not, then we are none of His. We know it is through God’s grace that we are saved, but when people are taught by their pastors and teachers of the Word that God’s grace overlooks and gives them a pass on some sin because “He is a loving God and He understands human weakness”, that totally shifts the concept of God’s grace to man’s understanding of grace (i.e. permissiveness) (“…for without holiness no man will see God,” Hebrews 12:14). The universe is all about God and not man. He will never betray His standards no matter how much He loves us.
Failing Miserably at the Cultural Mandate
In this country, 86% of its population claims to be of the Christian faith yet the country is corrupt, perverted, and manifests a total reproach to the name of Christ. What is wrong with that picture? When modern Christianity is compared to the Christianity of the past, there is a clear contrast in the impact each had on its culture. Let’s go back to 1620 and 1630 the budding years of a nation that later became the United States of America. When we study the impact the 16th Century Christian reformers, Pilgrims and the Puritans had in Europe and later in the birthing of this nation, there is no comparison with today’s Christianity in America. Their influence in making the whole culture of nations in Europe and in America submit to the culture of Christ is truly admirable. Their influence changed the world culturally and birthed the Western culture, which has impacted the world like no other.
The impact and influence of Christianity is no small matter. How has the Christian influence impacted the world?
Social Change - social reform across the known world is due to the teachings of Christ transforming the lives of individuals throughout generations. Christianity has stood against social injustices such as slavery, infanticide, and the degradation of women. It was the Christians who started hospitals in monasteries during the Middle Ages. The Salvation Army in Europe and America was created in response to poverty and alcohol abuse, most orphanages and shelters for the homeless are founded and operated by Christian organizations. Christians in America founded the most prestigious universities of today. Over 90% of the first 110 universities in America were birthed because of the Christian influence. Universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are examples of this. Through Christian influence literacy skyrocketed in America.
Modern Science - Many of the early scientists were Christians, including Newton, Pasteur, Kepler and Paschal. The Christian influence on the rise of modern science in the Western culture originated from an overall positive view of the world and awareness of order. The belief in cause and effect rooted in God being the ultimate Designer of it all led to the scientific method of discovery.
World Relief - During plagues of the Middle Ages, Christians took care of the sick and orphaned. Today Christians run relief programs across the globe to assist the sick, starving and stricken from various disasters. Christians and Christian nations are the most generous when it comes to providing for world hunger and medical needs and healthcare.
So, as you can see, it is tragic that the church of today has compromised and capitulated on the godly principles that give Christianity its essence to continue impacting the world by being salt and light and God’s witness to the world of how true governance is carried out. Our duty is to obey God individually and culturally; one should not be separated from the other.
Sadly, Christians today are sitting idly by passively waiting to be “raptured” out of this world. Their escapist mentality is rendering them sterile. It has become commonplace in Christian churches to teach the people not to even consider attempting to change the culture. They see no use because Jesus is coming soon to clean up this mess for us, so all we have to do is just worry about “making it.” Let’s just “save souls”, for what, I ask? If God’s only goal is to save souls wouldn’t He zap us out of this world the moment an individual becomes born again? Modern Christianity is taught from the perspective of “just hang in there and endure until your day comes.” This is false teaching that contradicts the Word of God.
Created man was to take dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). This commission was reiterated to the sole survivors of the flood, Noah and his family (Genesis 9). That commission still stands today. We are supposed to put order to this planet that is in disarray. We are to create cultures and societies according to God’s standards. We are to delight in knowing God and making Him known not in pleasuring and comforting ourselves. Our congregations are not to be little sanctuary bubbles where we go to sing and socialize and pat each other’s back to then go back to the grind and endure and lament another week of horrible “attacks from the enemy.”
God has never retracted His original mandate. The fall of man into sin did not detour God’s original plan to this day. We have to fight against more difficult odds to accomplish it. Christians still have the responsibility before God to take dominion and disciple this world for Him. To ignore or rebel against God’s original mandate is to continue to produce carnal Christians who are doing the devil’s work for him, therefore, denying the divinity and work of Christ.
What Guidelines are we to Follow to Accomplish this Dominion?
The church has done the body of Christ a great disservice in teaching that the Law of God no longer applies to us in our time. The fact that Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” completely flies over their head. Or they say, “Well since Jesus has already fulfilled the requirements of the law of God, then we don’t have to.” There is nothing that can remain outside of God’s jurisdiction; therefore, nothing can be outside of the requirements of God’s Law. God’s moral law applies to every individual, family, congregation, government, and nation. These are the only guidelines God will honor.
God in His sovereignty knew He would have to give us His law in writing to establish it for all time and not run the risk of it being distorted or lost by humans. God’s Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments and its regulation is detailed in the books of the Law namely the first five books of the Bible. This Law is what is applied for morals in the Old and New Testament. If this Law had not been given, we would not have the faintest idea of what right living is according to God’s requirements.
It is so sad to see that God’s Word was always respected, especially in this country of the United States of America, up until approximately 180 years ago when humanism and strange doctrines were allowed to circulate without being strongly challenged and debunked through the grid of God’s Word. Added to this were the ideas made popular by so-called intellectuals who in reality were God haters. Karl Marx and Charles Darwin in the 19th Century began to make their way into the institutions of higher learning through the minds of college and university graduates, later on into the public school system, and finally into the churches.
The rejection of God’s pure Word has been increasing in the last 100 years even in the church. The popularly accepted humanism has taught people they are the sovereign ones and not God. People think that it is up to them to rule the universe. So, if people have so much power, then who needs God and His Sovereignty, is what they say. For the most part the church teaches that once you are born again all you have to do is hang in there until you go to heaven. You don’t have to worry about changing the earth and its culture because it is only going to get worse anyway and Jesus is going to come and fix it. They forget that the commission to disciple the nations was given to the believers. They forget that it is God’s Law that reigns supreme and not man’s law. We will be held accountable.
The result of such teaching is producing ignorant and powerless Christians for the world to laugh at. Even though so-called Christians are the majority in the U.S. they are primarily ineffective in leadership. As long as Christians are taught that the Law of God no longer applies to us because Jesus already fulfilled it all, then the moral guidelines are all erased, “covered under the blood of Jesus,” and under the rug of forgiveness and cheap grace. Thus, the believers have been exonerated. The godless are trampling all over the world and the Christians are not offering any serious alternatives. The salt has lost its saltiness and good only to be trampled underfoot. There is too little of Christ in Christians.
However, God does judge nations. His justice will not sleep forever and to whom much is given much will be required. America has been given much and an account will be required of it very soon. It is reckoning time for the world and especially for America who has been the leader of the world economically, technologically, militarily, and socially. It has definitely squandered its privileges and blessings for far too long. It will not be the exception. We only have to take a look at history to see where we stand in the measure that God uses on nations to bring His judgment. Many great civilizations that were sanctioned by God are now only mere ruins visited by tourists.
Notwithstanding all that, I have hope for Christianity in America and the world. God has always had a faithful remnant throughout history and our generation will not be any different. The early Christians proved so strong in their commitment to God enough to conquer and collapse the mighty Roman Empire in spite of horrendous persecution. This has been the case of unwavering believers. They have overcome overwhelming odds and have come out victorious to conquer the world with the unequaled power of God’s wisdom and truth. This is why, the church must guard the purity of God’s Word and preach and teach its full-undiluted counsel at all cost.
History is “HIS story.” The fact that humans endeavor to create and write their own history makes no difference because God always has the last word and governs all of His creation according to His master plan. He rewards obedience according to how He has promised and sanctions negatively those in rebellion to His statutes. Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 are clear records of how God deals with obedience and disobedience. In regards to morals and ethics, the modern church does the believers a great disservice to teach that the Old Testament is not applicable to our times. Jesus Christ did not come to abrogate the Law but to fulfill it. The only aspect of the Old Testament Law that changed was the ceremonial law (i.e. the need for animal sacrifices, etc.). God still upholds his moral standards recorded in the Old Testament because that is where we find the Ten Commandments. Prosperity, peace, freedom, and justice are present when a people are in obedience to those standards. In old Israel, God caused even their enemies to be at peace with them when Israel was in obedience to Him. On the other hand, if they were not in obedience they could expect disastrous judgments. When we shift from God’s covenant with man we can expect God’s negative sanctions full force.
For the most part, modern Christianity is producing carnal Christians who are confused about everything. They have no deep roots in God’s Word and are easily swayed like leaves in the wind in the world of ideas.
God Never Loses
Please let me say clearly that I believe we will overcome, just like Christians of old endured and emerged victorious. The Christian message introduced into the world something that had never occurred before. This was foretold through the dream God gave Nebuchadnezzar of the image made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay (Daniel 2) a stone not made with human hands is introduced which toppled the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, a statue symbolic of the best ideas of men that would rule empires yet would collapse in failure. This stone appeared from outside of human history yet grew into a big mountain that covered the whole earth. This is the impact Christ and Christianity have had on the world but only where the full counsel of God has been applied. The message of the Bible is unique and incomparable to anything humans credit to themselves. It presents God’s presence and design in the past, present and future. Nothing in God’s full counsel will hurt us; the opposite is true, it empowers us with indestructible knowledge and wisdom to benefit our lives and this world through the established Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
God’s Word applies to everything in life, good character, family, raising children, profession, commerce, education, economy, politics, science and every aspect of human development and design not only here on earth but it also gives us guidelines that will lead us into eternity. The church has erred in diluting and throwing away its vision and commission to conquer and take dominion; to disciple the nations.
Once again, the promise of victory over all and the superiority of God’s full counsel as revealed in His Word should be very much alive in the church today and producing valiant soldiers for the Kingdom of God in the likes of the early Christians who were willing to lay down their lives for their Lord and King. This is in direct contrast to the ineffective Christians in name only that the church is producing today.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away”, (Matthew 24:35).
In the words of George Washington:
"[T]he propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained." – George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789