“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor. 2:14)
Matthew chapter 5 verses 23 and 24 says,
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24)
Now, as Christians we don’t bring a bullock or goat to be slain upon the altar of God. The Bible tells us that we offer the fruit of our lips as a sacrifice of praise.
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb. 13:15)
God tells us that before the sacrifice of praise is even acceptable unto Him, the ought that we have in our heart against someone or the ought that someone else feels against us has to be reconciled.
I know in my own life, if someone is angry with me or if I have ill feelings in my heart against someone else, I can’t preach, I can’t study, I can’t pray as I should or praise God until I get it dealt with.
That is why the Bible teaches that we have to be washed before we come into the Holiest of Holies with our Lord. In the Old Testament the High Priest had to be cleansed with water, but we must be cleansed by the blood of Christ before we offer our gift.
It doesn’t matter whether we were wrong or we have been wronged, God declares that He will not accept our gift until we have done everything possible to make peace.
There should be no schism in the Body of Christ.
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” (1Cor. 12:25)
Matthew chapter five verses 25 and 26 tells us,
“Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matt. 5:25-26)
Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63)
The words of Christ have a deeper meaning in these verses than just giving advice concerning civil matters involving judges, officers, prison, and fines.
Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 23 tells us that God is the judge of all.
“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” (Heb. 12:23)
“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Rom. 14:10)
The Lord tells us that we are to come to an understanding with our adversary quickly while we are still engaged in the disagreement, before we part and go our separate ways.
Once we part company and the Holy Spirit begins to convict each heart, the one who repents first of the division commits as it were the other to the chastisement of God.
If my brother in Christ and I were to get into an argument, and I went home muttering against my brother, whether I was right or wrong, and my brother went home and went before the Lord in prayer repenting and asking forgiveness for the argument, then he has delivered me to the Judge.
He has cleansed his heart before God whether right or wrong.
He has forgiven me and asked forgiveness for himself, while as I on the other hand, holding onto my resentment and anger and still having ought in my heart, have been delivered to the Righteous Judge by my brother.
As long as I stay in my bitter and unforgiving attitude, we can rest assured that coals of fire will be heaped upon my head and I will receive the chastisement of the Lord until I turn and repent of my sinful pride and anger.
This is why Jesus says to agree with our adversary quickly while we are in the way with him, lest he delivers us up to the judge and the judge delivers us to the officer and the officer delivers us to the prison.
We will not come out from there until we have paid the uttermost amount.
In other words, we will not come out from under God’s chastisement and conviction until total repentance on our part has come forth.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:19-21)
Jesus said in Matthew chapter five verses 27 through 30,
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:”
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
“And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matt. 5:27-30)
In these verses the Lord is talking about moral and spiritual impurity, and once again we see that is the same punishment for the act as well as the intent of the heart.
Let’s look at the spirit of Jesus words.
He is not saying that we should literally cut our hands off or pluck our eyes out in order to overcome the problem of impurity in our lives.
What He is saying is to mortify or count as dead our members upon the earth.
Treat them as if we had cut them off and it would therefore be impossible to commit the sin.
This is similar to the instance when Jesus was talking about being the bread sent down from heaven:
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:53-54)
Jesus wasn’t talking about His literal flesh and blood. He was talking about partaking of Christ and receiving Him into your being. Jesus went on to say,
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
However, there were those who didn’t understand, and because they didn’t understand, they no longer followed.
Colossians chapter three and verse five tells us to,
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col. 3:5)
The word mortify literally means “to count as dead.” The Lord instructs us to consider our members to be so dead to sin, that rigor mortis has set in and they cannot be revived.
Romans chapter six verses 12 through 14 declares,
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:12-14)
I have literally had to stand sometimes as if I was looking sin right in the eye and say, “Sin, you do not have dominion over me. You cannot cause me to have this evil thought. You cannot cause me to have this evil attitude. You do not have dominion over me.”
The Word of God tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us if we will not allow it.
James chapter four verses seven and eight says,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:7-8)
James says to “cleanse your hands ye sinners.” I believe that some Christians might need to clean their houses also before they can have victory in their lives. They might need to get rid of certain magazines with immoral pictures or certain unrighteous television programming, for the Bible says:
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 13:14)
I have counseled people who tried to quit smoking by trusting in the Lord for His help and yet were still unsuccessful. I counseled them that it takes not only faith to experience God’s power, but it also takes obedience to His Word.
I advise them to do as the Word of God says and make no provision for the flesh.
Remove the ashtrays, break them, get rid of them, get rid of the cigarettes, have your clothes cleaned, and fumigate your home if necessary.
Do whatever it takes to make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof, and you will have the victory that you are seeking from God.
He wants you to have that victory more than you even want it.
Jude chapter one verses 24 and 25 tells us how much he wants us to have it.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)
God is the one who is able to keep you from falling. God is able to do it.