By Simon Ifeanyi Ezeh

If you listen to the lyrics of Michael Jackson’s song seeking to make the world a better place for mankind, you would love it because it’s very pleasant and embodies the thoughts of most people on earth but it’s also very ungodly. It’s ungodly because it preaches the love of human lives and the love of this world including the world’s systems.

One could only be righteous if he hates his life!! Hating one’s life in order to fulfil the commandments of Christ is the only way of inheriting the kingdom of God and it has nothing to do with terrorism or religious fundamentalism which makes people kill and destroy lives and properties.

Terrorists are usually brainwashed religious people who use their evil religion to terrorize the world. Such people are sons of the devil and have their end in hell if they fail to repent. The ascetical ideology of Christ is what is referred to as hatred for one’s life in the Bible and it’s fundamental to inheriting eternal life because only a man who’ve denied himself completely could love his enemies, forgive any offence whatsoever, reject the quest and aspiration for relevance on earth, reject honour from men or the society, reject temptations to rule others, steal, fight, lie, show off or boast of personal accomplishments regardless of the level of provocation, etc. The commandments to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, strengths, and to love our neighbours as ourselves are only fulfillable by those who have deliberately denied themselves or laid down their lives or hated their lives for Christ’s sake and not by some Paul’s whimsical, non-existent grace.

Joh 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. 

Joh 12:25  He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 

Joh 12:26 If any man serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serves me, him will my Father honour.

The above message of Christ is as clear as day light, it’s not amenable to any form of argumentation no matter how dishonest a person may be. It doesn’t predicate “grace” or any possibility of one getting someone else to do it for him. Anyone who would inherit the kingdom of God MUST lay down or hate his life by himself. Christ hated his natural life, not on our behalf but as an example for us to copy. How could anyone read and understand John 12:24-26 as quoted above and still believe Paul’s false doctrine whose summery is that God capriciously chooses the person whom he wants to inherit the kingdom and gives him the “grace” to obey him (God) so that the recipient couldn’t boast about it since it was a gift. How does this eternal life described by Christ in John 12:24-26 appear like a gift to anybody?

For a man who’ve laid down his life (denied himself) for Christ’s sake, no reason is valid enough to prevent him from obeying God (Christ). Such a person couldn’t disobey God because of personal, patriotic or group considerations. In other words, if you lay down your life or deny yourself, you’ve also laid down or denied your country, organization, family, groups, etc. because if you couldn’t steal, kill etc. no matter how needy or challenged you are, you couldn’t also steal, kill etc. even if your country, family, or organization etc. commands or demands that you do so.  So, a child of God or a follower of Christ, won’t be patriotic or nice to relate with because he won’t obey his family, parents, friends, country, or even himself: he only obeys God.

Christ told someone in the immediate passage below that he shouldn’t follow him if his goal is prosperity or success in this life. So, if you have laid down your life for Christ sake, you’ve got to live under the guardianship and control exercised by God over his children as opposed to setting goals for living. Any goal we set outside of God’s commandment takes us away from the kingdom of God. A child of God must be subject to divine providence.

Luk 9:57  And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 

Luk 9:58  And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

The main reason our lives must be subject to the will of God is that the life of a son of God is as mysterious as the wind, only God knows and understands the properties. Don’t try to control your life because it’s beyond you! Leave it to God. This also explains the danger of not hearing from God, it’s the most dangerous kind of blindness.

Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

The conflict between Christ and Paul the “Apostle” will always come up whenever we consider the real message of Christ. For instance, Christ says that some people aren’t God’s children because they don’t obey God (whoever you obey becomes your father and God) even though they were created by God but Paul wrote that every authority is set up by God and that we should obey every worldly authority – Rom 13. Authorities are made up of human beings and some of these human beings are not children of God. An authority or a system that’s made up of or controlled (governed) by children of the devil would definitely be doing the will of the devil and not the will of God – John8: 44.  Should a child of God also obey such evil authorities? Of course, he shouldn’t.

Many times, we hear people say they have given their lives to Christ but if you probe to find what they gave up or lost for Christ sake, you don’t find anything. What exactly did they give to Christ? Giving one’s life to Christ in its real sense would mean laying down one’s life or hating one’s life for Christ sake so that the world (sin) could never be found in him and he would do anything he’s commanded by God including dying like Christ. Note very carefully that God/Christ would never command anyone to do evil and we know how God defines evil as in Matt 15:17-20 below.

Mat 15:17  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 

Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 

Mat 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 

Mat 15:20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. 

The above clarification is necessary to let people know that those terrorists who kill others, abuse women etc. in the name of God are evil people who’re doing the bidding of their father, the devil.

Instead of seeing the death of Christ for what it is and learning the requisite lesson which is that Christ demonstrated extreme obedience to God by agreeing to die in the hands of wicked people whom he could have wiped out simply by his words, he rather chose to die and prove his extreme obedience and trust in God’s faithfulness to raise him up as he promised, men keep chasing shadows with Paul in believing that Christ died for men’s sins as a sacrifice to appease God.

A God who needs the death of one son to forgive other sons or another son would not be merciful but God is merciful. The gospel as delivered by Christ is of repentance for sinners (because we could repent if we elect) and mercy from the merciful God whereas Paul’s gospel is of Sacrifice of Christ to God in order to obtain grace (unmerited favour, they say) for sinners or for everybody since everyone is a sinner according to Paul.

One wonders why anyone would still perish in hell since Christ had been sacrificed for all sinners because no one is capable of personal repentance, according to Paul. If salvation is a gift, according to Paul, why are there still requirements or conditions attached to the so-called grace? Beware of Paul.

The death of Christ has many key lessons to deliver: 1. Death is not enough threat to stop a child of God from obeying God since it’s been proven that God nullifies death at the appropriate time. 2. God’s faithfulness is unfailing and everlasting. 3. We should also trust God with our lives because he’s trustworthy as Christ demonstrated. 4.  The gospel or God’s kingdom is unstoppable. 5. Death is not a finality as we have been lied to. Igbos answer “Onwuemelie” which means “Death has won” but it’s a lie. Death never wins because death is not the end. So, if you’re Igbo and answer Onwuemelie, change your name to Chukwuemelie and stop answering a lie. God or life always wins.

5. Sometimes, laying down of one’s life may include dying physically. 6. Christ demonstrated his own gospel of laying down one’s life to inherit God’s kingdom by laying down his own life. He always did it prior to his physical death on Calvary. 

Joh_10:15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I laydown my life for the sheep.

Joh_10:17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I laydown my life, that I might take it again.

Joh_10:18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Let the dead bury the dead.  

Luk 9:59  And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 

Luk 9:60  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 

Luk 9:61  And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 

Luk 9:62  And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 

Anyone who fulfills the commandments in Lk 9:59-62 as quoted above is born again, has given his life to Christ, hates his life and has laid down his life but the world would consider him foolish and irresponsible. Why won’t a responsible man bury his dad or carry his family along in whatever he does? It’s getting clearer why most Christians fight the true message of the kingdom as presented by Christ.

It’s important to notice that Christ describes certain people as unworthy or unfit for the kingdom because those people showed lack of commitment or traits required for the kingdom of God. He said they were unworthy or unfit or that they didn’t merit it, not that they lacked grace or hadn’t received grace yet that would enable them react appropriately. The capacity for positive or negative reaction to the gospel is in every man, it’s not external. So, we enter or qualify for the kingdom by merit, not by any non-existent grace as canvassed by Paul. If we want the kingdom desperately enough, we get it but if we are lukewarm, doubtful or uninterested, we don’t. God hasn’t got the kingdom as a gift for anyone. It was offered to Jews (John 4:22) but they lost it due to lack of merit as quoted below.

Joh 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 

Mat_21:43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be takenfromyou, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Luk_19:26  For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

In God’s/Christ’s economy, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer and the wealth or poverty is not material in nature. What it means is that a little effort towards God yields a support or assistance from heaven which enables one to do more but a zero effort towards God ensures an increased difficulty or resistance to even taking the first step. If this is true as in Lk 19:26, how is it possible that the kingdom of God or salvation is a gift from God?

What does it mean to let the dead bury their dead? It means we (God’s children) should leave the world alone and focus on the gospel. There are so many things that hinder us from preaching the gospel or from obeying the voice of God as soon as we hear it. Those things are distractions or activities of the dead!!! It might have to do with our businesses, families, ourselves, the government, friends, etc. but they have been programmed to distract us, slow us down or completely derail us from the narrow way of righteousness – evangelization. We really have to watch out for those businesses of the dead before they ruin us.

According to Christ, the only thing that causes celebration and rejoicing in heaven is the repentance of a sinner! Therefore, evangelization of the world must be the most important business of the believer in Christ just as the most important thing you could do to anyone is to tell him the truth. But, what’s the truth?

Joh 18:37  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 

Joh 18:38  Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 

The message that Christ brought is simple and is repeated every time he opened his mouth to say something but Paul and his followers would try to mystify it and mislead those who listen to them. Christ, in John 18:37-38, states clearly that he came to bear witness to the truth or to tell us the truth. He never told anyone that he came to die for peoples’ sins because there’s no need for that. Pilate asked him what the truth was without bothering to wait and hear it because he didn’t think Christ was a responsible character worth listening to. Now, hear the truth in the next two paragraphs.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world by revealing to mankind that God is actually our Father who is merciful and forgiving. He also revealed that the power to forgive sins has also been given to man apart from God and this he (Christ) severally demonstrated by forgiving everyone who came or was brought to him as a sinner. As the Messiah, he brought forgiveness of sin down to the realm of men so that man could and should forgive whenever he is offended (before Christ, it was God’s exclusive preserve).

This way, Jesus Christ takes away the sin of anyone who asks for God’s mercy and forgiveness as far as the petitioner forgives his offenders as well. So, Jesus Christ sorted out the sin problem at both levels: at the level of God and at the level of man. He solved the sin question by this revelation (not by dying on the cross), exposed the dynamics of the kingdom of God and delivered the fundamentals of our faith in God to us.

This is how and why he is the only Saviour of man. Repentance and forgiveness of sin is the door way to the kingdom of heaven according to Christ. That’s why his first sermon is ‘Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand’, not that ‘he’s come to die for our sins to be forgiven’. He came to preach repentance and mercy for repentant sinners as opposed to Paul’s gospel of human sacrifice and grace for sinners. Those who repent and believe the gospel as preached by Christ have received eternal life are transferred into God’s kingdom even while they still live on earth but those who reject Christ or Christ’s message have rejected God or God’s kingdom and shall remain in their sins and in the perishing kingdom of men or Satan (the kingdom of men is the same as that of Satan – Matt 16:23).

If we’re always able to forgive our offenders and God always forgives us and has always forgiven whenever we repent of our sins, why should anyone still perish in sins? Since forgiveness had been available with God and man since time immemorial without the shedding of the blood of man or beast, why should Christ die for the selfsame forgiveness which had been available even before his incarnation of God on earth? God is merciful, has always been merciful and will always remain merciful since he’s not subject to change.

So, let’s repent and lay down our lives for Christ sake for that’s the only way to eternal life. The Lord bless your eyes and hearts to see and hear him yourselves.

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