The Wages of WORLDLINESS is Death

Here are some thoughts to carefully consider:

  • God’s word, the bible, shows us our sin so that we can turn back from that sin to God.

The word “turn back” in Hebrew is ‏שׁוּב shûv.

שׁוּב shûv or “turn” is the base word to two other very important words:

  1. תְּשׁוּבָה teshûvāh which means return (as in return to God from your sin). The more widely known meaning of this word is “repentance.” Both Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) and Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ) called for those who would hear to “Turn to God from their sins” or in a single word, “repent!” This is what teshûvāh means: it is turning to God from your sin – returning back to him.

  1. מְשֻׁבָה meshuvāh which means apostasy (as in turn away from God to your sin). You may know it more commonly as “backsliding.” A primary understanding that you need to have of this word is that that it is forsaking God for __________ (you fill in the blank). This is what meshûvāh means: it is turning away from God to your sin – forsaking him for your sin.

Here is a very tough question to carefully consider.

Can an “unbeliever” commit apostasy?

If you believe an unbeliever can commit apostasy, I would ask you to consider the following carefully:

  • By definition, for an unbeliever to commit apostasy, he would have had to have been a believer previously since shûv means to turn and meshuvāh means to turn away from God. Turn away from . . . means you were turned towards previously or there would be nothing to turn away from!

I realize that for some of you, this is hard to reconcile with the some of doctrines that you have been taught in your assemblies, and as a result, subscribe to. This then, is one of those “defining moments” in your understanding of God’s word and the words He used in His word – in your belief and trust of His word and the words He used. As the saying goes:

When a defining moment comes along, you either:

Define the moment

OR

The moment defines you!”

I am going to purposely drive home the point so that there can be no misunderstanding – no rationalization (attempt to make the unreasonable sound reasonable):

Your entire life is spent doing one of two things:

  1. Turning to God from sin – (teshûvāh) – repenting

  2. Turning to sin from God – (meshuvāh) – apostasy

In the 2nd temple period, there was a teacher (Rabbi) by the name of Yochanan ben Zakkai (John son of Zakkai).

  • He opposed the Sadducees and their interpretation of the God’s instruction (Torah – law).

  • He argued for shalom (peace) against the zealots in the First Jewish-Roman War or revolt, which as we now know, led to the destruction of the Temple.

  • He predicted the destruction of the Temple before it happened.

  • He was the primary contributor to the Mishna (Oral Law).

  • Tradition has it that he was never found occupied with anything other than the study of God’s word.

Yochanan ben Zakkai had 5 disciples (talmidim), one of which was a teacher (Rabbi) named Eliezer ben Horkenos (Eliezer son of Horkenos). Rabbi Eliezer married the sister of Gamli’el II who was the first President (Nasi) of the Sanhedrin after the 2nd Temple was destroyed in 70AD. You may (or may not) know that Gamli’el II was the great grandson of Rabban Gamli’el the Elder whom is more well known for making the following if/then pronouncement (and in my view, prophecy) in Acts 5:

Acts 5:34-39 (CJB)
34  But one of the members of the Sanhedrin rose to his feet, a Parush (Pharisee) named Gamli’el, a teacher of the Torah highly respected by all the people. He ordered the men put outside for a little while
35  and then addressed the court:

“Men of Isra’el, take care what you do to these people.
36  Some time ago, there was a rebellion under Todah, who claimed to be somebody special; and a number of men, maybe four hundred, rallied behind him. But upon his being put to death, his whole following was broken up and came to nothing.
37  After this, Y’hudah HaG’lili led another uprising, back at the time of the enrollment for the Roman tax; and he got some people to defect to him. But he was killed, and all his followers were scattered.
38  So in the present case, my advice to you is not to interfere with these people, but to leave them alone. For if this idea or this movement has a human origin, it will collapse.
39  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them; you might even find yourselves fighting God!”

They heeded his advice.

You may also know that the teacher (Rabbi) Sha’ul (Paul) was a disciple (talmidim) that studied at the feet of Rabban Gamli’el the Elder:

Acts 22:3 (CJB)
3  “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia,

but brought up in this city and trained at the feet of Gamli’el

in every detail of the Torah of our forefathers.

I was a zealot for God, as all of you are today.

Now you know a little bit more of the history behind the text than you did before – a little bit more about the people involved directly and indirectly. Let’s get back to our earlier declaration and drive the point home yet again:

Your entire life is spent doing one of two things:

  1. Turning to God from sin – (teshûvāh) – repenting

  2. Turning to sin from God – (meshuvāh) – apostasy

What does this have to do with the teacher (Rabbi) Eliezer ben Horkenos (Eliezer son of Horkenos)? I am glad that you asked! 😛

Teacher (Rabbi) Eliezer ben Horkenos (Eliezer son of Horkenos) said something very profound:

Rabbi Eliezer would say: Repent (do teshûvāh) one day before your death.

Asked his disciples (talmidim): Does a man know on which day he will die?

Said he to them: So being the case, he should repent (do teshûvāh) today, for perhaps tomorrow he will die; hence, all his days are passed in a state of repentance (doing teshûvāh).

Indeed, so said Solomon in his wisdom (Ecclesiastes 9:8):

At all times, your clothes should be white, and oil should not lack from your head'”

Ecclesiastes 9:8 (NASB)
8  Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head.

This is from a Jewish text called Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). It is from Chapter 2:10. It is from the Talmud, Shabbat 153a and is part of the Mishnaic tractate of Avot.

I am going to drive this point home a third time because it is that important!!!

Your entire life is spent doing one of two things:

  1. Turning to God from sin – (teshûvāh) – repenting

  2. Turning to sin from God – (meshuvāh) – apostasy

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know what is coming. I am going to ask some very direct and pointed questions . . .

  • Watching movies where they are having sex on the big screen – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Listening to secular (worldly) music and lyrics such as Bon Jovi, AD/DC, Metallica, Jimmy Buffet, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Idolizing sports figures, movie stars, politicians – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Watching, gawking, coveting scantily clad NFL and other sports cheerleaders – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Loving money and the pleasures it can bring – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Divorce – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Drugs – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Homosexuality – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

  • Abortion – teshûvāh or meshuvāh?

This list is endless. Indeed, the teacher (Rabbi) Sha’ul said “. . . and things like these.”

Here is the next hard question:

If worldliness is defined in the text as living by human standards instead of godly standards

then let’s ask the same questions above again with a slight change:

  • Watching movies where they are having sex on the big screen – human standard or godly standard?

  • Listening to secular (worldly) music and lyrics such as Bon Jovi, AD/DC, Metallica, Jimmy Buffet, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus – human standard or godly standard?

  • Idolizing sports figures, movie stars, politicians – human standard or godly standard?

  • Watching, gawking, coveting scantily clad NFL and other sports cheerleaders – human standard or godly standard?

  • Loving money and the pleasures it can bring – human standard or godly standard?

  • Divorce – human standard or godly standard?

  • Drugs – human standard or godly standard?

  • Homosexuality – human standard or godly standard?

  • Abortion – human standard or godly standard?

You see folks, and I don’t say this to be unkind even though it may come across as very harsh, you are either in a state of repentance or apostasy – teshûvāh or meshuvāh – you are either following human standards or godly standards. Simply put, you are either pursuing Holiness or worldliness.

Holiness turns away from sin . . . towards God and his Holy standards.

Worldliness turns to sin . . . away from God – away from his Holy standards.

As I said earlier in this post, the Bible shows us our sin, our worldliness, so that we can turn away from that sin towards the One True God. It shows us His Holy standards (the godly standards) and commands us to live our lives by them . . . To be Holy because He is Holy.

If you can and/or do rationalize (attempt to make the unreasonable sound reasonable) the above concerning teshûvāh vs. meshuvāh – or human standards vs. godly standards, you are already in a state of apostasy. Harsh, I know but let’s be clear here . . . when you defend sin, over the word of God which condemns sin, your heart is already in a state of hardness towards God. You are NOT being Holy when you do this, you are being just the opposite . . . worldly. By definition, worldly is apostasy.

There was a warning about this in the beginning of the Bible by God Himself:

Genesis 4:7 (CJB)
7  If you are doing what is good, shouldn’t you hold your head high?

And if you don’t do what is good, sin is crouching at the door

it wants you, but you can rule over it.”

This warning wasn’t heeded because Kayin (Cain) chose the worldly standard over the godly one. He had words with his brother Hevel (Abel) and killed him. He chose apostasy over repentance. He chose murder over Holiness. He was warned by God Himself to turn to God from sin, but instead, he chose to turn to sin from God.

The text tells us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death . . .

I would suggest that the wages of worldliness is death . . . it is a life lived in apostasy from the Living God.

wages of sin

I realize this post is not going to make me many friends. In fact, it may even lose me friends. It may make some of you angry. I believe it was my duty to write it and I have done so to the very best of my ability. I have tried to honor God and His word in the best way that I know how. I have tried to write it with the love I am commanded to have towards God, and towards my brother, in the text, in the best way I know how. I have discharged this duty and responsibility to the best of my ability.

The rest is up to you.

You can choose to ignore it or rationalize it away, but God is real and His word is real. If you chose to ignore it or rationalize it, you do so at your own peril because your excuses have been taken away. You can not claim ignorance any longer if you have read to this point. Brothers and sisters, how I pray for you – how I ache for you to put God first in your lives and turn from the world. It makes me cry at times. That being said, and since you are no longer ignorant regarding godly standards vs. worldly standards, apostasy vs. repentance, then if do you choose to ignore or dismiss this, you do so knowing full well what you are doing. Your blood truly will be on your own heads from this point on . . .

 

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About Even If Ministries

Dani'el 3:17-18 (CJB) 17 Your majesty, if our God, whom we serve, is able to save us, he will save us from the blazing hot furnace and from your power. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will neither serve your gods nor worship the gold statue which you have set up.”
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