In a previous video titled “How Do You Know You Are Anointed by Holy Spirit?” I referred to the Trinity as being a false doctrine. I made the assertion that if you believe the Trinity, you’re not being led by Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit wouldn’t lead you into a falsehood. Some people took offense at that. They felt I was being judgmental.
Now before going further, I need to clarify something. I wasn’t speaking in absolutes. Only Jesus can speak in absolute terms. For example, he said:
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30 New International Version)
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14 BSB)
Even in these few verses we see that our salvation is black or white, for or against, life or death. There is no gray, no middle ground! There is no interpretation to these simple declarations. They mean exactly what they say. While some man might help us understand some things, ultimately, it is God’s spirit that does the heavy lifting. As the apostle John writes:
“And you, the anointing that you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But just as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27 Berean Literal Bible)
This passage, written by the apostle John at the end of the first century, is one of the last inspired instructions given to Christians. It may seem hard to understand at first read, but looking deeper, you can perceive exactly how it is that the anointing you have received from God teaches you all things. This anointing abides in you. That means it lives in you, dwells in you. Thus, when you read the rest of the verse, you see the connection between the anointing and Jesus Christ, the anointed one. It says that “just as it [the anointing that abides in you] has taught you, you shall abide in him.” The spirit dwells in you, and you dwell in Jesus.
That means you do nothing of our own initiative. Reason on this with me please.
“Jesus told the people: I tell you for certain the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do.” (John 5:19 Contemporary English Version)
Jesus and the Father are one, meaning that Jesus abides or dwells in the Father, and so he does nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. Should it be any less so with us? Are we greater than Jesus? Of course not. So, we should do nothing on our own, but only what we see Jesus doing. Jesus abides in the Father, and we abide in Jesus.
Can you see it now? Going back to 1 John 2:27, you see that the anointing that abides in you teaches you all things, and causes you to abide in Jesus who is anointed with the same spirit from God, your Father. That means that just like Jesus with his Father, you do nothing on your own, but only what you behold Jesus doing. If he teaches something, you teach it. If he doesn’t teach something, you don’t teach it either. You do not go beyond what Jesus taught.
Agreed? Doesn’t that make sense? Doesn’t that ring true with the spirit dwelling in you?
Did Jesus teach the Trinity? Did he ever teach that he was the second person in a triune God? Did he teach that he was God Almighty? Others might have called him God. His opposers called him a great many things, but did Jesus ever call himself “God?” Is it not true that the only one he called God was his Father, Yahweh?
How can anyone claim to abide or dwell in Jesus while teaching things which Jesus never taught? If someone claims to be led by the spirit while teaching things that our spirit-anointed Lord did not teach, then the spirit driving that person is not the same spirit that descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove.
Am I suggesting that if someone teaches something that is not true, that such a person is totally bereft of holy spirit and utterly dominated by an evil spirit? That would be a simplistic approach to the situation. Through my personal experience, I know that such an absolute judgment cannot fit with the observable facts. There is a process leading to our salvation.
The apostle Paul instructed the Philippians to “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” (Philippians 2:12 BSB)
Jude likewise gave this exhortation: “And indeed have mercy on those who are doubting; and save others, snatching them out of the fire; and show mercy to others with fear, hating even the clothing having been stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22,23 BSB)
Having said all this, let’s remember that we must learn from our mistakes, repent, and grow. For example, when Jesus was instructing us to love even our enemies, even those who persecute us, he said that we should do so to prove that we are sons of our Father “who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45 NWT) God uses his holy spirit when and where it pleases him and for the purpose that pleases him. It is not something we can discern in advance, but we see the results of its action.
For example, when Saul of Tarsus (who became the Apostle Paul) was on the road to Damascus in pursuit of Christians, the Lord appeared to him saying: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 26:14 NIV) Jesus used the metaphor of a goad, a pointed stick used for herding cattle. What the goads were in Paul’s case we cannot know. The point is God’s holy spirit was used in some way to goad Paul, but he was resisting it until finally he was blinded by a miraculous manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I believed the spirit guided me and helped me. I don’t believe I was totally bereft of God’s spirit. I’m sure the same applies to countless people in other religions who, like me when I was a witness, believe and practice things that are false. God makes it rain and shine on both the righteous and the wicked, as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 5:45. The Psalmist concurs, writing:
“The LORD is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9 Christian Standard Bible)
However, when I believed in the many false teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as the belief that there is a secondary salvation hope for righteous Christians who are not spirit anointed, but just friends of God, was the spirit leading me to that? No, of course not. Perhaps, it was trying to gently lead me away from that, but due to my unwarranted trust in men, I was resisting its leading—kicking against “the goads” in my own way.
If I had continued to resist the leading of the spirit, I’m sure its flow would have gradually dried up to make way for other spirits, less savory ones, just as Jesus said: “Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:45 NIV)
So, in my earlier video on the holy spirit, I wasn’t implying that if a person believes in the Trinity, or other false teachings like 1914 as the invisible presence of Christ, that they are totally devoid of holy spirit. What I was saying and still am saying is that if you believe you have been touched in some special way by holy spirit and then go off and immediately start believing and teaching false doctrines, doctrines like the trinity that Jesus never taught, then your claim that the holy spirit got you there is bogus, because the holy spirit will not lead you into falsehood.
Such statements will inevitably cause people to be offended. They would prefer I not make such declarations because they hurt peoples’ feelings. Others would defend me claiming that we all have a right to free speech. Frankly, I don’t really believe there is such a thing as free speech, because free implies there is no cost to something and no limit to it either. But whenever you say anything, you are at risk of offending someone and that brings consequences; hence, cost. And the fear of those consequences causes many to limit what they say, or even remain silent; hence, limiting their speech. So there is no speech that is without limit and without cost, at least from a human perspective, and so there is no such thing as free speech.
Jesus himself said: “But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36,37 BSB)
For simplicity and clarity, we can see that there is “love speech” and “hate speech.” Love speech is good, and hate speech is bad. Once again we see the polarity between truth and falsehood, good and evil.
Hate speech seeks to harm the listener while love speech seeks to help them grow. Now when I say love speech, I’m not talking about speech that makes you feel good, the tickle-the-ears kind, although it can. Remember what Paul wrote?
“For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So, they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4)
No, I’m talking about speech that does you good. Often, love speech will make you feel bad. It will upset you, offend you, make you angry. That is because love speech is really agape speech, from one of four Greek words for love, this one being principled love; specifically, love that seeks what it good for its object, for the person being loved.
So, what I said in the aforementioned video was intended to help people. But still, some will counter, “Why offend people when it doesn’t really matter what you believe about God’s nature? If you are right and Trinitarians are wrong, so what? It will all get sorted out eventually.”
Okay, good question. Let me answer by asking this: Does God condemn us simply because we get something wrong, or because we have misinterpreted Scripture? Does he withhold his holy spirit because we believe things about God that are not true? These are not questions that one can answer with a simple “Yes” or “No,” because the answer depends upon the condition of one’s heart.
We know that God does not condemn us simply because we are ignorant of all the facts. We know this to be true because of what the Apostle Paul told the people of Athens when he was preaching at the Areopagus:
“Since, then, we are God’s offspring, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29-31 Christian Standard Bible)
This indicates to us that knowing God accurately is very important. He considered that those people who thought they knew God and worshipped idols were acting wickedly, even though they worshipped in ignorance about the nature of God. However, Yahweh is merciful and so he had overlooked those times of ignorance. Still, as verse 31 shows, there is a limit to his tolerance of such ignorance, because there is a coming judgment upon the world, a judgment that will be carried out by Jesus.
I like the way the Good News Translation renders verse 30: “God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways.”
This shows that to worship God in a way that he accepts, we must know him. But some will counter, “How can anyone know God, since he is beyond our understanding?” That is the kind of argument I hear from Trinitarians to justify their doctrine. They will say, “The trinity may defy human logic, but who of us can understand the true nature of God?” They do not see how such a statement denigrates our heavenly Father. He is God! Can he not explain himself to his children? Is he limited in some way, incapable of telling us what we need to know so that we can love him? When faced with what his audience thought was an unresolvable conundrum, Jesus rebuked them saying:
“You are completely wrong! You don’t know what the Scriptures teach. And you don’t know anything about the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29 Contemporary English Version)
Are we to believe that almighty God cannot tell us about himself in a way that we can understand? He can and he has. He does using holy spirit to guide us into understanding what he has revealed through his holy prophets and foremost through his only begotten Son.
Jesus himself refers to holy spirit as a helper and a guide (John 16:13). But a guide leads. A guide does not push nor force us to go with him. He takes us by the hand and leads us, but if we break contact—let go of that guiding hand—and turn in a different direction, then we will be led away from truth. Someone or something else will then be guiding us. Will God overlook that? If we reject the lead of the holy spirit, are we then sinning against the holy spirit? God knows.
I can say that the holy spirit has led me to the truth that Yahweh, the Father, and Yeshua, the Son, are not both God Almighty and that there is no such thing as a triune God. However, another will say that the same holy spirit has them to believe that Father, Son, and holy spirit are all part of a godhead, a trinity. At least one of us is wrong. Logic dictates that. The spirit cannot lead us both to two opposing facts and yet have them both be true. Can the one of us with the wrong belief claim ignorance? Not anymore, based on what Paul told the Greeks in Athens.
The time for tolerating ignorance is past. “God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways.” You cannot disobey a command from God without serious consequences. Judgment day is coming.
This is not the time for anyone to feel offended because someone else says their belief is false. Rather, this is the time to examine our belief humbly, reasonably, and most of all, with holy spirit acting as our guide. There comes a time when ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Paul’s warning to the Thessalonians is something every sincere follower of Christ should give very serious consideration to.
“The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they believe the lie, in order that judgment may come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 BSB)
Notice that it is not having and understanding the truth that saves them. It is “the love of the truth” that saves them. If a person is led by the spirit to a truth that he or she previously did not know, a truth that requires him or her to abandon a previous belief—perhaps a very cherished belief—what will motivate that person to abandon their former belief (repent) for what is now shown to be true? It is love of truth that will motivate the believer to make the hard choice. But if they love the lie, if they are enamored with the “powerful delusion” that persuades them to reject truth and embrace falsehood, there will be serious consequences, because, as Paul states, judgment is coming.
So, are we to remain quiet or speak out? Some feel it is better to remain silent, to be quiet. Don’t offend anyone. Live and let live. That appears to be the message of Philippians 3:15, 16 which according to the New International Version reads: “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”
But if we take such a view, we would be overlooking the context of Paul’s words. He is not endorsing a blasé attitude toward worship, a philosophy of “you believe what you want to believe, and I’ll believe what I want to believe, and it’s all good.” Just a few verses earlier, he lays down some strong words: “Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reasons for such confidence.” (Philippians 3:2-4 NIV)
“Dogs, evildoers, mutilators of the flesh”! Harsh language. This is clearly not a “You’re okay, I’m okay” approach to Christian worship. Sure, we can hold different opinions on points that are of seemingly little consequence. The nature of our resurrected bodies for instance. We don’t know what we will be like and not knowing doesn’t affect our worship or our relationship with our Father. But some things do affect that relationship. Big time! Because, as we’ve just seen, some things are the basis for judgment.
God has revealed himself to us and is no longer tolerating worship of him in ignorance. Judgment day is coming over the whole earth. If we see someone is acting in error and we do nothing to correct them, then they will suffer the consequences. But then they will have cause to accuse us, because we did not show love and speak out when we had the chance. True, by speaking out, we risk much. Jesus said:
“Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34, 35 BSB)
This is the understanding that guides me. I do not intend to offend. But I must not allow fear of causing offense to keep me from speaking out the truth as I have been led to understand it. As Paul says, there will come a time when we will know who is right and who is wrong.
“The work of every person is revealed, for that day reveals it, because the work of every person is revealed by fire, what sort it is; the fire will test it.” (1 Corinthians 3:13 Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
I hope this consideration has been of benefit. Thank you for listening. And thank you for your support.