Denying the Power of the Spirit
By Benjamin H. Liles
"But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!" (2 Timothy 3:1-5, Berean Study).
Today, as I was coming home from helping my parents in beautifying their home, I was listening to Jeremy Camp's song Same Power. He sings, in the second verse, "I can walk. Down this dark and painful road. I can face. Every fear of the unknown. I can hear. All God's children singing out. We will not be overtaken. We will not be overcome." Later in this same song he sings yet again, "Greater is He that is living in me. He's conquered our enemy. No power of darkness. No weapon prevails. We stand here in victory" (Same Power, I will Follow, Jeremy Camp, 2015).
Notice that Paul is addressing Timothy in this letter about how some people will claim "God" and yet "deny [the] power [thereof]". Do these people who claim they follow and love God believe they are godly without having accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? In every single article that I have been able to write with the Lord's help, I make sure, 100%, everything lines up with God's word. That I have forgotten nothing. Usually, my wife, Tanya, helps me with little things and I come back to edit some. But more often than not I keep every message authentic to the feel and truthfulness God is wanting me to share with everyone here.
James, in his letter to the churches, writes by way of God's Spirit, "People who think they are religious but say things they should not say are just fooling themselves. Their 'religion' is worth nothing. Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans and widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world's evil influence" (James 1:26-27, Expanded).
I went through a bunch of my old posts and couldn't recall which one or ones where I specifically used this verse, but it bears bringing it up. I want everyone to think about the religious Pharisees of Jesus' day. These men were the religious elect. They believed they had God pegged in all His glory. But they were neglecting a number of things, primarily that of caring for those who God was showing His grace and compassion on.
Fast forward to one of the days Jesus Christ is going about doing God's will, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me...to preach the gospel to the poor...To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:14-19, New American Standard)," which Jesus had been doing. On this particular day Jesus healed a man so he could talk and see. The Pharisees started their grumbling, claiming, "this man uses the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, to force demons out of people" (Matthew 12:24, Expanded).
It seems that the men under the influence of God's Spirit, while writing the New Testament agree with Jesus is the regard of what actual and true spirituality is. It's having faith in the One God sent, who sets captives free from sin and death. He opens the eyes of the blind. He unstops the ears of those who are deaf. He sets those who are oppressed free. His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, son of the most High God, the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So, what does Jesus tell the people surrounding Him? He says this to everyone who listens, "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matthew 12:31-32, New King James).
So, now that we have this whole thing set up for what this article is about, there are those who claim they do belong to Christ, but they have no fruit thereof to speak about. They are the kind of people James speaks about: "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds” (James 2:14-18, New Living Translation).
As I begin to wrap this up, I'm recalling Jesus's words: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:1-6, Holman Christian Standard).
I want this to be made known and made rather clearly. Saying you are saved by the blood of Christ, but denying His saving power to be at work in your life puts you in this same place Christ talks about. If you allow your heart to so harden against the gospel of Jesus Christ, the one that can set you free from sin and death, you are saying you want no part of Him or in having eternal life. It's not something to mock, take lightly, act proud over, or even think you are far better off.
After all, even Paul said, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27, Berean Study). Allow Jesus to extend the mercy and grace of God to you. Allow Him to accept you as you are. Take Him at His word that He will save you and give you His peace. Yes, you and I will continue to have pain, trials and sufferings as long as we life, but it will be made more bearable due to our faith in Him and what He said He would do. Praise His name, the name above all names!
Share your salvation story, be a witness of how God chose you, and minister to those who need you and the works God's Spirit has in store for you as well as to others. Be that light in the darkness that everyone sees and says, "Wow! I want what ________ (your name in the blank) has! I want Jesus as (he/she) has since they make it known they live in Him!" I pray this in Jesus' name that these words help you see clearly on denying the Spirit's power. It can save us from sin, death, and the grave. Amen.