BELIEVING THAT GOD IS VIOLENT IS “THE SIN”
by Ozzie Grant
Jesus is the “Everlasting Father,” the “Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9: 6, emphasis added). And the reason Jesus is called the “prince of peace” is because He never had nor ever will have violence in Him. As Isaiah wrote:
“Because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth (Isaiah 53: 9, emphasis added).
Isaiah had simply and clearly stated that “He [JESUS] had done no violence.” He was completely innocent of any violence. Therefore, since Jesus is the “express image of His Person [OF THE FATHER]” (Hebrews 1:3), the same also has to apply to the Father. And Jesus Himself said, “I and My Father are one (John 10: 30).”
In the New Testament, the apostle Peter took Isaiah’s passage from chapter fifty-three, verse nine, and quoted it, but with a definite, distinct difference. Look at how Peter interpreted Isaiah’s words “He had done no violence:”
“Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth (1Peter 2: 22, emphasis added).”
Peter changed the first phrase of Isaiah’s passage, “He had done no violence”—which referred to Jesus—into “Who committed no sin.” But he left the second phrase—“nor was any deceit found in His mouth”—unchanged.
It is so important that we note that Peter equated violence with “the sin.” In Jesus there was no trace of sin, which means that there was no trace of violence in Him. And what does “nor was deceit found in His mouth” mean? It means that Jesus never deceived anyone into believing that God is violent. Jesus always told the truth about the Father, because He is the truth. He never deceived anyone, therefore no sin nor deceit was found in His mouth. Had He revealed a violent God, then He would have committed “the sin.”
By teaching and living out God’s character of agape love—which is absolutely nonviolent—Jesus had no sin in Him. Even though the writers of the Old Testament clearly revealed God to be a violent killer, punishing the wicked, Jesus never agreed with or taught such a belief. Had Jesus agreed with that theology, then He would have deceived people. But He was not deceiving anyone by teaching and living out that neither He nor God are violent. Therefore, He did not commit “the sin” when he gave the truth that God is a nonviolent God.
According to Peter then, it was because Jesus “had done no violence” that He had also “committed no sin.” Thus, Peter equates violence in any form as “the sin.”
If we say that God is violent—which is what the Old Testament teaches—then we are saying that God did commit “the sin.” Jesus also would have committed “the sin” because He then would have deceived all of us into believing that God is agape love and that there is no violence in God. But we know from the Holy Bible that Jesus “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth (1Peter 2: 22).” Hence, He could not deceive us, because there was “no deceit in His mouth” as He told us the truth that God is agape love and that there is no violence in Him whatsoever.
Paul also tells us that there was no sin in Jesus:
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin [HAD COMMITTED NO VIOLENCE] …For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26, emphasis added).
“For He [GOD] made Him who knew no sin [OF VIOLENCE] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Corinthians 5:21, emphasis added).
JESUS’ APOSTOLIC CHRUCH FOR THE END TIME
Since Jesus Christ is the Creator-God of the entire universe, it is only through Him that we can know the ultimate truth about God. According to Jesus He was born for one particular purpose: “to bear witness to the truth,” which is that God is agape love.
At this juncture we must delve into a critically important question. Why did Jesus need to say what He said to Pilate concerning bearing “witness to the truth”? If the truth was already prevailing in the world before His First Advent then why did He have the following dialogue with Pilate?:
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a King. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. 38 Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ [How tragic for him and for all of us that he did not wait for Jesus’ answer to such an important question]. And when He had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, ‘I find no fault in Him at all (John 18: 37-38, emphasis added).
Jesus revealed something of supreme and profound importance relating to “the truth” when He was arraigned before Pilate.
Throughout His ministry Jesus was revealing God’s character of agape love, which was absolutely nonviolent. During His earthly ministry, Jesus gave “the truth” which had never been given to humanity until He gave it when He was here in person.
What would be the result of neglecting, overlooking, and not seeing His revelation of God’s character as being supremely important? Such a huge negligence on our part would leave us in total ignorance in knowing, from Jesus only, what is the truth about God’s character of agape love. This is the one thing that everyone needs to know.
After Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” he quickly left and did not wait for Jesus’ answer. In my opinion, this is the tragedy of tragedies.
Unfortunately, Pilate was overly concerned with appeasing the murderous Jewish mob so that he could save his position as governor. For a selfish reason he did not wait for Jesus’ answer to his extremely important question, ‘What is truth?’
In the short period of time Pilate had with Jesus, the Saviour’s answer to that question would have been the most precious gift Pilate could have ever received. Jesus’ answer also would have been on record for all of us. In answer to that question would have resulted in everyone knowing what was the truth Jesus gave to Pilate. Of course, it would have been the same message that He gave for three and a half years as He taught and demonstrated the truth, but to Pilate a very concise answer would have been given. It would have been an answer similar to what He did say to Pilate: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Here, in these few words, Jesus encapsulated all He had taught and demonstrated during His three-and-a-half-year ministry. Here He also gave us the reason for His coming into the world as a human being.
Jesus communicated to Pilate the reason He was born and the reason He came into the world: to be the king of the truth and to bear witness to the same. Leaving us to conclude that in all what He taught and demonstrated for three and a half years there was something of profound spiritual significance concerning “the truth” that was needed to be known and that had never been known before. This truth He gave to His apostles and to anyone who would listen to Him. Thus, originated the first Apostolic Church of God, with Jesus as its head.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ 14 So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ 16 Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ 17 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock [what Peter said in verse 16. See also 1Corinthians 3:11; Eph. 2:20.] I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail [be victorious] against it. [Jesus Christ is the supreme head of the church in which is taught that He is the truth. Since He is the truth His Church will believe, teach and demonstrate His revelation of God’s character. Such a church is the only true church and will have the truth in Jesus to give to all of humanity. Jesus is the truth, so all the truth that He taught and demonstrated during the entirety of His earthly ministry is the same truth His Church will share with the world. To such a church He gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven because such a church knows how the kingdom of heaven functions. Not by the death principle represented by “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” but by “the tree of life’ which is His agape love]. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16: 13-19, emphasis added).
Jesus Christ and all of His revelatory teachings were the foundation of the apostolic church. Subsequently, the apostle Paul also received personally from Jesus the truth that he did not know prior to meeting Him, even though he was a scholar of the Hebrew Scripture, the Old Testament.
BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES WERE IN SPIRITUAL DARKNESS WITHOUT JESUS
Jesus’ prime antagonist, “the prince of this world,” the devil, is “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). Satan has lied to all of humanity about God’s character—both to Jews and to Gentiles. Prior to Jesus’ ministry, spiritual darkness veiled the minds of both Jews and Gentiles—which are types that point to all of humanity. The following verses addresses these two groups, and point out that both were in darkness:
15 The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned (Matthew 4: 15-16, emphasis added).
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins [having a warped view of God’s character, John 1: 29]. 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring [dawn of Jesus the Messiah] from on high has visited us; [NU text shall visit us]; 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1: 77-79, emphasis added).
When Jesus said, “for this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth, everyone who is of the truth hears My voice”; He was saying that prior to His birth, the truth He was bearing witness to was nonexistent. Both Jews and Gentiles were in spiritual darkness concerning the truth Jesus came to give.
We can conclude, then, that even though the Old Testament was “given by inspiration of God,” it still lacked “the truth” that Jesus came to proclaim. Note how that is addressed in John’s gospel:
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John [THE BAPTIST] bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1: 14-18, emphasis added).
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” What this means, then, is that even though the Jews had the Old Testament, Jesus came to give them the “light” which they did not have. He came to His people “to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.” As God’s chosen people, the Jews still lacked the light that Jesus Christ came to give. Hence, they were still sitting in “darkness and the shadow of death.” Even the minds of God’s people were governed by darkness and the death principle as far as the character of God was concerned. They did not know His character of agape love.
By bearing “witness to the truth,” Jesus was presenting all of the truth concerning how His and God’s kingdom functions, which is with agape love.
Jesus’ words to Pilate reveal a kingdom whose principles are diametrically opposed to those of the kingdom of this world. Christ’s and God’s kingdom of agape love is completely and absolutely void of violence, unlike the kingdom of this world. The kingdom of this world uses violence to protect its own. But Jesus said that not even to protect Himself would He use violence: “My kingdom is not of this world, if My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
Tragically, many Christians, who have based their knowledge of God’s character upon the Old Testament, have made God’s kingdom to be the same as the violent kingdom of this world. But the violent kingdom of this world is the kingdom of “the prince of this world”—the devil. Violence is not of God.
Paul spoke of these two diametrically opposed kingdoms when he said:
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly (Romans 16:20).
The God of agape love is not the God of war; He is the “God of peace,” the nonviolent God. When we understand this basic truth, then through such a God, we will have peace, and all aspects of what it means to have “life” will be fulfilled in our lives. Once we know the truth about God’s character and no longer believe the devil’s lies about Him, then the devil’s head is crushed under our feet. Then, every aspect of peace will prevail in our lives.
Note the comments in brackets in the following texts, with this in mind, that God is a nonviolent God of peace, a God of agape love:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. [“WE” HERE MEANS ALL WHO HAVE COME TO KNOW THE AGAPE LOVE CHARACTER OF GOD. THOUGH ALL WALK IN THE FLESH, SUCH DO NOT WAR WITH SATAN’S MILITARISTIC WEAPONS]. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [WE DO NOT USE SATAN’S MODE OF WARFARE] but mighty in God [IN HIS AGAPE LOVE] for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments [ALL WITH AGAPE LOVE] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God[THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IS THAT HE IS AGAPE LOVE], bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, [ALL ACHIEVED BY AGAPE LOVE], 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience [BY AGAPE LOVE, WHICH GIVES FREEDOM, AND WITH FREEDOM COME CONSEQUENCES, BUT NOT AN ACTIVE PUNISHMENT FROM GOD] when your obedience [WITH AGAPE LOVE] is fulfilled (2Corinthians 10: 3-6, emphasis added).
10 Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might [IN HIS AGAPE LOVE]. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, [JESUS CHRIST AND HIS AGAPE LOVE], that you may be able to stand [WITH AGAPE LOVE] against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the ruler of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. [EVERY THING THEY DO IS DONE WITH VIOLENCE.] 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [WITH THE POWER OF AGAPE LOVE.] 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness [AGAPE LOVE], 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace [AGAPE LOVE]; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all of the fiery darts of the wicked one [WHO LIES TO YOU THAT GOD IS NOT AGAPE LOVE BUT GOOD AND EVIL]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God [JESUS CHRIST IS THE WORD]; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all of the saints – 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak [SPEAK ABOUT GOD’S CHARACTER OF AGAPE LOVE] (Ephesians 6: 10-20, emphasis added).
The Old Testament clearly represented God’s kingdom as using the same principles as the kingdom of this world—principles of violence. It portrayed God and His servants as fighters who use overwhelming violence, and who even commit genocide. Even the events involved in the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage exposed a modus operandi that was in line with the principles of this world rather than the principles of God. Violence, destruction and death were the main tools used against the Egyptians for Israel’s deliverance. The same resources were used all through the Old Testament when dealing with the wicked.
As we ponder these things we must always keep in mind Jesus’ conversation with Pilate:
36 Jesus answered, [PILATE], ‘My kingdom is not of this world, if My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here. 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are you a King then?’ ‘Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a King. For this cause I was born, for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice’ (John 18: 36-37, emphasis added).
Jesus Christ must have shared with the apostle Paul the words He spoke to Pilate: “You say rightly that I am a King. For this cause I was born, for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Why do we say this? Because of the insightful truths Paul presented concerning the Old Testament, things he could have only learned from Jesus Christ. Note his words in 2 Corinthians 3: 4-18; 4: 1-6 (with commentary in brackets):
4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, [NEW TESTAMENT], not of the letter [OLD TESTAMENT] but of the Spirit, [JESUS’ SPIRIT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT]; for the letter kills, [OLD TESTAMENT UNDERSTANDING WITHOUT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST], but the Spirit [OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE NEW TESTAMENT] gives life. [NOT THE DEATH MESSAGE BUT THE LIFE-GIVING MESSAGE OF JESUS.] 7 But the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious (2 Corinthians 3: 4-8, emphasis added)?
Anything we view and understand through the lens of the death principle embedded in “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and not through “the tree of life” is “the ministry of death and “the ministry of condemnation.” Such are written and engraved in our hearts of stone.
9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory (2 Corinthians 3:9, emphasis added).
How did the “the ministry of condemnation” have glory? “The ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious,” because it revealed to us the utter evil of such a ministry when compared to “the ministry of righteousness.” One is written and engraved on stones, and the other on human hearts, as Paul writes in Hebrews:
“12 ‘For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ 13 In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8: 12-13).
16 ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ 17 ‘Their sins and lawless deeds, I will remember no more’ (Hebrews 10: 16-17).
10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. [COMPARING THE DEATH PRINCIPLE OF “GOOD AND EVIL” WITH THE LIFE PRINCIPLE OF “THE TREE OF LIFE,’ WHICH IS AGAPE LOVE.] 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, [KNOWING THINGS ABOUT GOD FROM THE LENS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT] what remains is much more glorious [THE WAY JESUS INTERPRETED THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THROUGH HIS MINISTRY. THE APOSTLES DID THE SAME BY WHAT THEY LEARNED FROM JESUS.] 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech – 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away [WAS UNDERSTANDING GOD’S CHARACTER FROM THE LENS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT]. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in reading of the Old Testament, [THE OLD COVENANT], because the veil is taken away in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:10-14, emphasis added).
Jesus Christ removed the blindness that veiled Paul’s mind in the reading of the Old Testament, which is the Old Covenant. Only Jesus could have done this. As we study the Old Testament—the Old Covenant—our minds are blinded, and the same veil remains unlifted because it can only be taken away in Christ, that is, through His teachings in the New Testament or the New Covenant.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:15, emphasis added).
The same applies to us as we read the Old Testament. When we allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be our ultimate teacher of the Old Testament, the veil of erroneously understanding the same Scriptures is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17, emphasis added).
Jesus has the Spirit of God in Him, so He also is the Spirit of truth. With Jesus’ Spirit in us we are set free, liberated from all of the warped understanding we have had of God’s character. Verse eighteen of 2 Corinthians chapter three reiterates this actual truth:
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18, emphasis added).
The Lord’s glory is His character. Through Jesus Christ alone can our minds be unveiled of all of the lies we have believed about God’s character from the Old Testament. As we behold this glory of Jesus Christ more and more, what happens to us? We begin transforming into the same image as His and the Father’s, the image in which Christ had originally created us in the beginning, which is in the image of the God of agape love.
1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God [WHO WAS JESUS CHRIST, THE CREATOR] who commanded light to shine out of darkness, [IN GENESIS 1: 3] who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God [IT IS ALL ABOUT REVEALING THE TRUTH, GOD’S GLORY, HIS CHARACTER OF AGAPE LOVE] in the face of Jesus Christ (4: 1-6, emphasis added).
The Old Testament is the Holy Scriptures that Saul, a Pharisee, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, knew as a theological lawyer. As a result, he imitated everything he believed the God of the Old Testament would do to the wicked. This means that since he believed that the followers of Jesus were evil, he persecuted them and was responsible for their death. Paul persecuted the early church with such passion and zeal because of what he knew about God from the Old Testament—about what was recorded regarding how God dealt with the wicked.
After his encounter with Jesus Christ Paul admitted that all he had done to the Christians was done in ignorance. In fact, he calls it unbelief:
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief (1Timothy 1:12-13).
As a Jew, Paul had the same mind as that of his people:
But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away ((2 Corinthians 3:14-16)
It was from the Old Testament that Jesus Christ personally taught Paul the real truth about God. Paul was ignorant of that truth before he met Jesus. His mind had been blinded in the reading of the Old Testament, but in Christ he understood it correctly. Once he had the right understanding of God’s character then he began to share the truth with others. Thus, note what he wrote to Timothy, his protégé:
14 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:14, emphasis added).
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:1-4, emphasis added).
As the soldiers of Jesus, we should do everything that pleases Him. And especially, we should not get caught up “with the affairs of this life.”
14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14, emphasis added).
We are not to neglect giving out the most important truth, which is the truth about the character of the God of the universe. When we give out the truth of God’s character of agape love in our Bible studies, the hearers will learn the truth about God. Everything we do to that end will be biblical based and will have the same purpose, which is to share the agape love character of God. When this is done, then we will not strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15, emphasis added).
When we anchor all of our studies on the character of God, we will be diligent to present ourselves approved of God. To some, it may appear that we are misguidedly over-zealous, fanatical, and even obsessed with God’s character of agape love. But such workers for God need not be ashamed. Why? Because they are rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:16, emphasis added).
Jesus was born to give the truth. We who are His “disciples indeed,” must do the same. When we give out the truth as it is in Jesus, we shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some (2 Timothy 2:17, emphasis added).
What Paul said above had a local application for his day. For us today, the message that has spread like cancer is the wrong belief regarding God’s character. We have strayed concerning this truth, which is encapsulated in all that Jesus taught and demonstrated about God’s character of agape love.
19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal; ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity [INIQUITY IS THE SIN EMBEDDED IN “THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL”] (2 Timothy 2:19, emphasis added).
23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2Timothy 2: 23-26).
“Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” How do we “depart from iniquity”? What is iniquity? Iniquity is “the sin” that Lucifer initially committed when he rebelled against God’s law of agape love. Agape love was the moral law that governed the entire universe until Lucifer introduced his “law of sin and death,” which is iniquity. Notice what the prophet Ezekiel said about Lucifer and iniquity:
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you (Ezekiel 28:15).
We depart from iniquity when we learn “the truth” about God’s agape love from Jesus, when we share it with others, and most importantly, when we live it out in our lives. Paul taught Timothy this new doctrine he learned from Jesus. His words should also apply to us:
13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from Me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (2Timothy 1: 13).
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me – at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra – what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2Timothy 3:10-13).
This passage applies to all who are convicted of God’s character of agape love message but who also want to adamantly hold on to the message of the violent God of the Old Testament. They “will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” because they will become more and more entrenched in viewing God as a violent Being.