By Nikos Lemonidis

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death.
(Proverbs 14:12)


This message is primarily written for people with whom I share a common starting point in Christ. Namely, it speaks to those who added knowledge to their faith, but skipped the important step of first adding virtue. The resulting failure has been visible to all with eyes to see.

In Eden, Adam ignored God’s stern warning:

Genesis 2:17:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Luke 17:32 tells us, “Remember Lot’s wife.” She lightly took the warning of the angel of the Lord who said, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee” (Gen 19:17).

Genesis 19:26:
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

After the fall of man, the human mind fell into a state of spiritual darkness. Men depended on their experiences acquired by the senses. He became a man of body and soul, an incomplete being.

When Pontius Pilate stood face to face before the Lord, he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). The answer to his question was right before his eyes! Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). But like all fallen mankind, Pilate was blind to this. Why?

1 Corinthians 2:14:
The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Walking in the Spirit of Truth

Jesus Christ walked the way first. He lived his time in the flesh according to the will of God and not according to the lusts of the flesh. Every day of his life he proved “the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2). He showed that only way to deal with the flesh is to crucify it. He walked the way of suffering so we could follow in his steps.

1 Peter 4:1:
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

Hence our Lord was able to declare, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). This kind of freedom os promised to those that continue in his word.

John 8:36:
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Just as Jesus heard the voice of his Father via the Spirit that dwelt in him, you and I must hear his voice via the gift of the Spirit of Christ which dwells in every believer.

Without the enlightenment that comes via the Spirit, the scriptures are meaningless to us. It is the Spirit that turns the scripture from a dead letter to a living gospel. Our faith comes alive when we receive the revealed word of God.

The book of the Acts of the Apostles is filled with examples of men and women following the Holy Spirit's direction. When power from on high was given, it was meant that glory and virtue would be given to those called of God.

2 Peter 1:3:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

The purpose for this great anointing is to restore communication with our Father in heaven.

1 John 2:27:
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

But the gifts of the Spirit must be used according to God’s instruction. Used outside of God’s love, we will become like “sounding brass and tingling cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1). Used outside of God’s order, the “unlearned, or unbelievers” will think we are mad (1 Cor 14:23).

Used outside of God’s will, many will find themselves following the way of Balaam. Balaam was a prophet of God who brought forth one of the greatest messages found in Scriptures:

Numbers 23:19:
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

But this man “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Pet 2:15) more than he loved God, and finished his life as a soothsayer.

Joshua 13:22:
Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.

Confronting Sin in your Life

I would like to review two passages from the book of Romans that have been used to excuse deliberate, willful sins committed by people.

Romans 7:14-15:
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

These verses come to us from God by Paul, the same man who urged all believers, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Are we to believe that Paul simply gave in to the idea that he would do what he hates, and serve sin? God forbid! Paul fought the good fight of faith.

John 8:34-35:
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

People think they may abide in the house forever even though they continue to be servants of the lusts of the devil. What a lie!

Paul said, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 8:1). Those who walk after the Spirit have “crucified the flesh.” The sin nature is still present after salvation and must be dealt with daily.

Galatians 5:24:
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Other sins are committed deliberately; they are the fruit of walking in darkness. What does John the beloved say about these?

1 John 1:6:
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Christians are often “overtaken in a fault” (Gal 6:1). These sins are not deliberate; they are the fruit of our carnal nature. We are cleansed from these sins when we walk in the light and have fellowship with Jesus.

1 John 1:7, 9:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The washing of regeneration cleansed us from old sins. But now that we are Christians, we must keep ourselves pure.

1 John 3:3:
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

This purity comes by walking in virtue. Without virtue, godliness is decreased to a mere form.

2 Timothy 3:1-5:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Some men walk in only a form of godliness. They deny the power of God that transforms a man and CHANGES him. These same people blame Adam for ignoring the old warning, yet they themselves ignore what can be called the warning given to them:

Romans 8:13a:
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die....

In the times we live in, the conscience of many Christians is not functional. Please note that to depart from somewhere you must been there first.

1 Timothy 4:1-2:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

How many sins can a dead body commit? None. Zero. We must mortify the flesh by our own free will. We must bring our sins to their death at the cross of Christ.

Romans 8:13-14:
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

People want to touch the unclean thing one minute and to be excused the next. This is taking the grace of God in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18, 7:1:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

A notion of grace that excuses the sins of the flesh is grace turned into lasciviousness.

Jude 1:4:
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

That kind of “grace” is for people who “profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).

Think of all those who have fallen: Lucifer and his angels, the Israelites in the desert, Ananias in the book of Acts, Demas, the fellowlabourer of Paul… and still there are people who want to live in error and continue in sin “gracefully.”

We don’t have to be included in this sad list. Brother and sister, as long as we are alive, we still have the prospect of REPENTANCE. Grace into salvation goes hand in hand with virtue.

Titus 2:11-12:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

He that is able to receive this word, let him receive it.



From the March 2012 issue of The Vine & Branches