Am I a Laodicean?

Posted May 31, 2012 by Corey McCain in Everlasting Gospel Hits: 4,288

 

Have you ever got the feeling that saying “I am not a Laodicean” is considered a prideful statement that only a Laodicean could make? In the 3 years I have been an Adventist I must have heard that our church is Laodicea too many times to count. This is certainly rightfully true but I find it strange that we boast about being Laodicean and anyone who would dare say they are not a Laodicean would be considered full of himself. As I have come to better understand righteousness by faith I believe I have found that the message given in 1888 is the cure to the Laodicean message which was given previous to 1888. If a person has an incorrect understanding of RBF I believe it will be impossible for them to know whether or not they are Laodicean. I’m about to explain why.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

There are many things we can discuss when talking about the message to the Laodiceans but I want to focus on the fact that they “do not know” something. In the simplest terms possible the Laodicean does not know that he is LOST as we see he is “naked” showing that he does not have Christ’s robe of righteousness. I find it odd that many feel the cure for this is to simply admit they are Laodicean as if this shows they are not full of pride by admitting their condition. Now obviously we should all admit that we have a nature that is completely corrupt and apart from Christ we are lost and at one point in our lives were more than likely lost. The problem with admitting that I am Laodicean and lost is the fact that I “do not know” that I am lost. You cannot admit you're lost if you don’t actually believe you're lost, that is unconverted. We want to know why the Laodicean doesn’t realize he is lost and therefore can’t truly admit to his condition. First let’s look at a scripture that shows the exact opposite of “not knowing”.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

According to John we can “know” that we have eternal life thus by default if we “know” we have eternal life we cannot be a Laodicean as the Laodicean does not know he is lost. The Laodicean thinks he has eternal life but is deceived.  In order to solve the puzzle so we can “know” we must take a look at the “things have I (John) written unto you” as these should clearly reveal how we can know where we stand with God. John says that he “has” written things, meaning that he gave instruction earlier in the letter to show us how we know we have eternal life.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

In the above John says “these things write I unto you” which shows he is writing about things “that ye sin not.”  His focus in this letter is to keep the children of God from sin. Let’s take a look at what he has written.

1 John 2:3-4 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

John puts it in pretty plain words that we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments. In John 17:3 we see that eternal life is about “knowing” the only true God and Jesus Christ. We should note that a person does not keep the commandments in order to know God but because He knows God he is led by God to keep His commandments. Thus a person who doesn’t know God cannot keep His commandments and he will lie. There is nothing a person can do to keep himself from lying if he doesn’t know God.

We can be sure then that a Laodicean is a “liar” and if you break one commandment you break them all. Do we not all break God’s commandments as we are all sinners? Very true that we are all sinners in a certain sense and thus John must be focusing on a specific type of sin. We all sin in ignorance, make mistakes, or like Moses may fall in the heat of the moment by a sudden temptation. If John were talking about these sins nobody could know God. That’s why John says “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”. He also says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” All of the above sins that I have mentioned are why we need an advocate for forgiveness as we all have this in common. What is it then that John is spelling out?

1 John 3:6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Here John tells us that a born again believer does not sin which again must not mean sin in a general sense but in a specific sense. Notice how SOP explains this:

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he can not sin, because he is born of God." The standard which is to test every doctrine, every theory, every profession, is the law of God. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin,"--break the law of Jehovah. If a man is born of God, he will respect the principles of the divine government, and will not wilfully transgress the law of God in thought, or word, or action. {ST, April 30, 1896 par. 1} 

We now see that John is letting us know that a true believer cannot commit willful sin, that is he will not purposely do something that he knows is wrong. You could also say he will not intentionally break the heart of God. SOP goes on to say:

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." This statement must be so read as to harmonize with the statement that if we are born of God, we shall not commit sin; for "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him." {ST, April 30, 1896 par. 3} 

We know that we are in Him because our God has brought us out of bondage or as Paul says has freed us from sin. Our wonderful Savior lives in us via His Spirit and is responsible for causing us to keep His Father’s Law. By default if we are not born again we will naturally commit sin and there is no way of stopping it in and of ourselves. "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. There is no such thing as a “single sin” or doing it just once. Think about what happened to Adam and Eve after they sinned, they became slaves to sin. The serpent has told us that “you shall not surely die” and mankind has fallen for it. He wants us to believe we have life in ourselves and that a single sin committed is not salvational but scripture says that a born again believer cannot commit sin because the Spirit of Jesus lives in the believer.

We can now be assured that a Laodicean commits willful sin. He does things he knows he shouldn’t be doing and he does this by making the choice to do them. He is a slave of sin. Why then does he not know that he is lost? The reason is because he does not know how RBF works. He does not accept the promise that Christ in you keeps you from choosing to do wrong. He may believe Christ “can” do this but even the demons believe and tremble. The Laodicean does not believe that Christ has freed them from sin in the absolute sense. He believes he can choose to do wrong every once in a while and remain in Christ. He believes he is justified when he struggles (bondage) with a sin for months/years on end but continues to choose to do it. He does not believe God has a zero tolerance policy on willful sin. He believes he can simply ask for forgiveness, but the scripture says:

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Now this does not mean a person cannot be reconverted if he sins. He certainly can but he must thoroughly examine his heart for known sin. He must believe that all the fullness of the Godhead is in Jesus Christ and by being a partaker of the divine nature his Savior will keep him from sin. The proof is in the fact that Jesus lived in our humanity yet was sinless. We must know that He can now live in us and do it again. This is why antichrist comes along teaching that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh, thus you have no way of proving that overcoming sin is possible. We can claim He lived a sinless life in fallen humanity but if we deny His power to do so in us we do not truly believe he took upon our human nature.

John goes on to show us:

1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

How do we do this?

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

What do we have to believe?

1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

We must believe that Jesus is truly the Son of God and if we truly believe this we will walk even as He walked. The trinitarian denies that Jesus is the Son of God but is rather pretending to be a Son and thus can never understand the love of God in what He has done for us. God is a mystery to him and the trio is confusing to explain so likewise salvation becomes a mystery making it hard to explain how to know if we are lost. We must realize that our professing to believe Jesus is the Son of God is not enough. It must be a real faith that recognizes who He is, what He has done and what He will do in us. He will not only keep us from willful sin but He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we seek Him. If this is not our experience we do not have real faith but thankfully God gave us a message in 1888 to cure the Laodicean disease. He has given us a message that shows us how to tell if we are Laodicean. We can then choose to become cold or hot, lost or saved, by denying or accepting Jesus as our righteousness.

The message in its simplicity is a faith that knows the Son of God lives in the converted man via His Spirit and will keep the person from all known sin along with cleansing the rest of the soul temple from our hidden evil traits. Let us not become Pharisees focusing on the “letter of the law” in order to say “I do not sin” but instead become sons and daughters of God who diligently seek for the removal of even our ignorant sin.

In finishing, the Laodicean simply believes he can get away with a small amount of sin and that this sin doesn’t affect his salvation. He does not know choosing to sin means he is a slave to the law of sin in his members. He believes he is covered by Christ’s righteousness because he does not know how to tell he has already lost it or never had it. The experience of Romans 7:14-25 should be especially understood as this will show us the life of an unconverted man. This message can free us from the Laodicean disease and bring Christ’s righteousness to God’s people. Not only will His righteousness be given to us but it will be shown through us as we truly believe that He is the divine Son of God.