I have touched on black and white thinking a lot, as I believe this is a big issue with Christians experiencing high levels of depression and anxiety. I believe it’s a pandemic of the society we live in and not a Biblical truth to live by. I have sat through many lessons and some sermons where the teacher and/or preacher have said we must live in a black and white state of mind when following God. This has caused me such great anxiety and chaos within my mind that I have struggled to find peace in it and even grow. I know that God in not the author of confusion. Black and white is a worldly term used to view a person’s life. Black and white says its either right or wrong, good or bad. It gives security to place judgement based on external appearance or the surface level of a person. You look, you see, you decided ifs its good or bad and judgement is placed. Anxiety and Depression are considered to be placed in the black and white theory as black or bad. It is something we should avoid and we question others who experience it, and judge their level of faith in the process. Thus, judgement is then executed at surface level and the true depth of what God is working in someone’s life is ignored. The true question we often leave out is, how does God see us? God does not see us as good or bad. He sees us as his children. Children that once they have accepted Jesus as their savior, are covered with the blood of Jesus sacrifice for our sins. We are seen blameless and whole in Gods sight God does not see us as good or bad, black or white. We are growing members of his family, adopted by his grace and faith in Him. (Ephesians 1:1-14) We are His and He is ours!
Black and white is also a place of fear. Fear is a tool that false teachers use to drive others to submission. Or, a way for preachers and teachers to get a quick conversion. A way to hit us in our emotional body to get us to conform to spiritual rituals. I do believe that it does take some to realize the fear of their circumstance to shake them into thinking about their spiritual well being as it says in Jude 1:22-23. Some are saved with compassion and some with fear. Regardless if it was compassion or fear that first led us to question our spiritual state, we need to realize that believing in God is not about a ritual or religious ceremony or acts you perform to stay in God’s good graces. It not a way to get God to see you as good or bad. Believing in God goes much deeper than that. Deep into the heart and soul of a person and wrapped up with a person’s core belief system and moral ethics. So, I want to set the record clear on black and white thinking and dig deeper in God’s word to get the answers. So, what does it mean to be a child of God?
To be child of God is a choice. A choice to believe by faith (unseen proof) in God with hope of a promised end. This is the first part called justification. It’s a life changing decision to not only believe, but to commit your heart to it. The second part is called sanctification. To live that belief every day. To study and understand the battle we are truly facing in this world with Satan roaming and seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). To face those battles with God by your side to grow you and change you in ways you never thought possible. To enhance character traits (fruits) that will help you root out the lies of this world and give you a foundation of truth to stand on. The only thing that stops us from escaping the life of black and white is the truth of who God is and what he has done and your choice to believe it. So, what I am going to do is give you some biblical truths about what it means to be a child of God. To be justified or live with justification. This is non-negotiable, foundational facts the Bible states are what you need to believe to be a Child of God. (OR as the world says it, these are the black and white issues to becoming a believer in Christ.) I ask that you read and really think on these 6 non-negotiable truths the Bible clearly states you must trust in to be a child of God.
- Salvation-Romans 10:9-10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. 1 Peter 1: 3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- Faith and creation– Hebrews 11: 1-3, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
- Bible– John 12:48 – He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
- Love– 1 Corinthians 13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing .And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 John 4:19-21 We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
- Obedience with Sacrifice– 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. Luke 9:23-26 And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
- Growth- 1 Peter 2:2-3 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Hebrews 6:1-6 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
- Conclusion– 1 Peter 1, Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
These 6 things are non-negotiable to be a child of God. Salvation, which is the acceptance, belief, and confession of your sins and belief in God, his son, and the Holy Spirit. Faith and creation, that God existed before the world and created it and with faith (hope of things not seen) we believe in God. That the Bible is the infallible word of God. That we love as this is the greatest character trait and foundational truth that God bestowed upon us. That we love God and others. That we are willing to be obedient with sacrifice. To choose to lay aside the old man and commit to following God and look to him for guidance. Lastly, to grow in knowledge of God and his ways, and look to him for guidance and the purpose he has for your life. Growing is a huge part of the next step of Sanctification. The next phase of a Christians life. But commitment to growth must come first. Lastly, is the conclusion of how this all comes together in 1 Peter 1. Salvation in all is simplicity, yet we tend to make it harder than it truly is. I hope this has given you some clarity on what is non-negotiable when it comes to salvation and give you peace to know that it’s not what you have done, but believing in what God has done for you!
If you feel solid in your salvation and in these 6 truths, then I recommend continuing in my next blog titled Is Black and White Thinking a Biblical Truth? 2…coming soon!