There are a lot of quotes going around that well meaning people, even Christians believe are scripture, things from the Bible. Many of them aren’t. We’ve heard many of these things over the years in church, from our parents, other relatives, friends, and other people we respect. Most of these quotes are not bad in themselves, some of them are meant to encourage and inspire, but some of them are also direct contradictions of scripture. Sometimes what we don’t really know about what’s in the Bible can actually hurt us when we confuse something that “sounds like it came from the Bible” with biblical truth.
Nearly two years ago I started a “That's Not In The Bible” category in this blog. I wrote about a number of things that people think are in the Bible but aren't they included:
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Bear
God Moves In Mysterious Ways
Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child
To Err Is Human, To Forgive Divine
To Thine Ownself Be True
Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness
This Too Shall Pass
Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide
This post is to address some things that we as Christians shouldn't say. We often will say things with good intentions in relation to our or other's lives that aren’t based in the Bible. These statements can be damaging and can also interfere with our walk with God or someone else’s. There are many things that we say as followers of Christ so it’s important that what we say is truly representative of our faith and based on what is in the Bible.
Here are five things that Christians shouldn't say from a Beliefnet article by Lesli White. Lesli’s article has six things but I have selected five for this post. I have edited her article adding excerpts from past posts on this blog.
1. “The devil made me do it.”
This statement finds its genesis in the Garden of Eden. When Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God confronted her about it. She shifted the blame for her sin by saying, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Things haven’t changed much over time. As much as we’d like to make Satan the scapegoat for all our bad choices, the concept just isn’t biblical. While Satan is the driving force behind much of the evil in our world today, we have our own sinful nature to blame for most of our sins. James 1:14 says, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” While it may seem discouraging to realize the sin we struggle with finds its origins within ourselves, it can also be empowering. Instead of having to battle a satanic attack, all we have to do is battle our flesh, and we can do that through the Holy Spirit because if we are in Christ we are new creatures.
Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2. “We’re all God’s children.”
Generally when people make this statement, they really mean, “God created us all,” which is accurate. God is the Father of us all in the sense that He formed us and gave us life. We are not, however, all God’s children. 1 John 3:10 clearly describes those who have an intimate, personal, familial relationship with God:
1 John 3:10 (NIV) This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
Because God is a relational being, until we accept His gift of eternal life by confessing and repenting of our sins, accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, and surrendering our lives to Him, we cannot be His children in the truest, most biblical sense of the word. We are just one of His created beings.
Of course, there is a sense in which God is fatherly toward all his creation. But Scripture affirms that we only come to know God as our Father personally when through faith in Christ we are adopted into God’s family. Indeed, God is fatherly toward all his creation. God exercises a “providential care over the works of his hands. He is fatherly in relationship to everything he has made and everyone he has made. The fact that any human being anywhere exists and lives and breathes is a testimony to a paternal and benevolent relationship between the Creator and his creation. But as the confession of faith points out, God is properly Father only to those who know him through the Son.
Scripture attests to the unique fatherly relationship God has with his people on numerous occasions:
Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV) For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
Galatians 4:4-7 (NIV) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “ Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Romans 4:14-17 (NIV) For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
Only those who have the Spirit of God can call out to God as “Abba! Father” (Daddy)
3. “Everything happens for a reason.”
We’ve all heard this statement. We may have even said it to someone who was in the midst of unimaginable grief, pain, heartache or despair. The truth is, sometimes bad things happen for no reason other than we are human beings having a human experience. Pain, heartache, grief, loss, disease and death are inevitable parts of the human experience. God’s plan is never for someone to have cancer. God’s Will is not for an innocent child to be brutally murdered. God’s Will is not chronic pain, illness, disability or death. God’s Will is for us to walk with Him through the cancer, through the abuse, through the death and through the illness. God’s Will is for us to draw close to Him in the midst of the pain. God’s Will is for us to use our painful life events to carry His message of hope, grace, forgiveness and mercy.
1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18 (NIV) Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
4. “God needed another angel.
”No matter the age, death is an inescapable reality for all of us. Ironically, many of us fear the death of family and friends more than we fear our own death. It’s the kind of death that produces extreme pain that stirs our emotions to grasp at any hope we can muster to cause our hearts a brief moment of rest from the effects of brokenness over unbearable loss. In the midst of grasping and searching for the right words to help others, or to even soothe our own souls, we tend to believe and say things that aren’t biblically true. In such seasons, people will say, “God gained another angel today.” The truth is humans are humans, and angels are angels. This remains so even in eternity. Often, the best things we can do in times of grief is hurt with them, hold them and just listen.
The following is from Humans Have Never Been And Will Never Be Angels
Angels are created beings and were created as angels. Angels are not human beings who have died and returned to heaven, nor are angels given physical bodies. They can appear and have the mannerisms of a human being for a time but not permanently. Both humans and angels are created beings and God created them for different purposes and with different different ranks in in God’s hierarchy.
Hebrews 2:6-7 NIV But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor
Human beings don't exist at all prior to their conception. Adam, the very first human became a “living being” when God formed his body from the ground.
Genesis 2:7 NIV Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
He was not an angel first. He originated from the earth. Jesus is the only human being whose existence as a person predated his human life on earth.
1 Corinthians 15:47-49 NIV The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
John 3:31 NIV The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
God’s plan for human beings after they die is not to become angels, but to await resurrection to immortal, eternal life as glorified, perfected human beings.
That means that we will be like angels but not be angels.
Luke 20:34-36 NIV Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.
This was Jesus’ response to a scenario posted by people trying to trick Jesus where the described a problem at the resurrection where a woman had married seven brothers in turn as each died leaving her childless. His point was that angels don’t have a life cycle like ours of birth, marriage, procreation, and death. The widow wouldn't be going back to the old life cycle after the resurrection either.
The good news is that in being like angels everything good that angels have that we don't have now we will in the resurrection. We will be immortal, we will have direct, unfettered access to God. We will have power and knowledge beyond anything we can experience in our present mortal, fallen condition.
In fact it will be even better than that.
1 John 3:1-3 NIV See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
We will have the best of both worlds. We will have the best things of our human nature. We will be able to enjoy the world that God created in it's originally intended perfection. We will keep our genders although we won't need to be “fruitful and multiply” We will have the best of both worlds, just as God intended.
5. "Satan is testing me.”
How many times have you been through a really tough situation and thought “This is the devil’s work” and thought that you were being tested by him. You may have good intentions by thinking or saying this, but the truth is this kind of language hedges on abuse. When a seeker hears this, they hear an accusation that they have allowed the devil to claim territory in their hearts. It’s the kind of statement that can make people think that something is intrinsically wrong with them, something that has reached the inner depths of their souls. No, there is nothing wrong with doubting. Avoid these kinds of accusations at all costs.
The following is from Take Responsibility, Stop Blaming The Devil, And Use The Power, And Authority That You Have In Christ.
So why do we say that Satan did this or that?
I believe that it's because we don't want to take responsibility for our actions.
I repeat the devil cannot make us do anything and the Christian can't be possessed by demons!
Demon possession is a condition in which a demon or demons have complete control over a person. Demon possession involves demons actually inhabiting a person and controlling his or her actions. Christians cannot be demon possessed. The indwelling Holy Spirit will not allow it!
Romans 8:9 (NKJV) But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
So, the devil and his demons cannot control a believer. They cannot make us do anything involuntarily. So, rather than blame the devil, all the time, we need to look at ourselves.
People are inclined to blame the devil in order to remove their guilt, justify their actions, and ignore their responsibility and the things God wants to teach them through their suffering. This has been true from the beginning.
Eve blamed the serpent for her disobedience.
Genesis 3:13 (NKJV) And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Adam actually blamed God for giving Eve to be with him.
Genesis 3:12 (NKJV) Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."
Yes Satan instigated the temptation but Eve responded with unbelief and disobedience, and Adam failed to take his responsibility as the leader of his family.
Resist the devil
James 4:7 (NKJV) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
I don’t think that James would have said that under the direction of the Holy Spirit if it wasn't true so when we resist the devil, and I mean really resist then he will flee. An example is when I was a child and my brother and I would get into an argument and I didn't want to be bothered with him I would go to our room and try to keep him out. He would push on one side of the door and I would hold the door or resist his efforts to get in. If I did it with all my strength he would give up and leave but if I didn't he would push his way in. So we have to resist with all of our might knowing that our strength comes from the Lord so we are more than able to resist. Remember greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world?
Much of our suffering is the direct result of our own self-induced misery, sometimes as a product of our ignorance, or unbelief, or indifference, or a combination of them. So Scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us, to put on the whole armor of God, to be controlled by means of the Spirit, to have Word-filled lives, to walk circumspectly and in wisdom, and to be on alert because of the activity of Satan who is constantly on the prowl.
Don't give Satan any undeserved power
While we need to acknowledge Satan’s constant activity, his ways, and we need to be on alert, our primary focus should be, not on Satan, but on the Lord and our responsibility to grow in Christ. It is often a cop out, for us to blame the devil when what's needed is an honest personal examination and confession.
As Christians, whenever we blame Satan for our sins, we’re empowering him while ignoring Christ. When we do this we buy into the lie that Satan can bypass and overcome God’s redemptive grace in our lives and the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection.
We need to realize that God has delivered us and accept the freedom He’s given us through Jesus' death on the cross. By admitting that Jesus’ sacrifice has real consequences relating to our current lives, our entire perspective changes, and we become fearless instead of fearful, hopeful instead of hopeless, and bold instead of timid.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.