Video available here: http://youtu.be/cV7cNwzqpEo
The English Standard Version of the Bible divides Romans chapter three into three segments to help us better understand the subject matter underneath each section.
I really enjoy reading the ESV, and I find the headings to be very helpful. In fact, I like those headings more than footnotes, because you really don’t know whether or not to trust the writer of the footnotes. They may turn out to be deceptive con-men like Scofield, or may not have all the information.
I prefer studying the Bible myself, and letting God speak to me through the pages.
The three sections listed in the ESV for Romans chapter three are listed as this: “God’s Righteousness Upheld,” “No One Is Righteous,” and “The Righteousness of God Through Faith.”
These three sections and the titles given to them agree with the writings of the great men of old -- the ones William Branham pulled out of a hat to assign as “Church Age Messenger” to the dispensations that he plagiarized from Clarence Larkin’s “Dispensational Truth.”
But this message that Paul preached in his letter to the Romans is in direct conflict with one of the many false doctrines brought by William Marrion Branham: the false teaching that sin is the attributes of unbelief.
When the Gnostics started infecting the early church with their pagan worship, one of the pagan teachings was that of leading ascetic lives.
Asceticism is the idea that you can lift yourself to a higher spiritual state by forbidding yourselves of the things of the world. It is the idea that the material world is evil, and we must distance ourselves from the material world to become closer to the spiritual world.
The first two “messengers” Branham chose for the Church Ages, Paul and Irenaeus, both spoke out against this pagan theology. The rest of them also did the same, but by their “ages,” the Gnostics had went underground into other pagan forms of worship, such as Freemasonry and Kaballah -- both of which seems to have influenced William Branham when you compare their teachings.
To the Colossians, Paul says this:
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind
Though the Gnostics are not named in the scriptures, when you read the history of the early church, you will quickly identify them by the very descriptions Paul gives when they are condemned.
Paul reminds us that leaning towards philosophy rather than faith in Jesus Christ will lead to bitter disappointment. In Colossians 2:8, he warns not to be taken captive by philosophy, which he compares with “empty deceit.”
Philosophy, the ideas of man, are what Paul considered to be “worldly.” Faith in Jesus Christ cannot be understood by philosophy, which presents a problem when you entertain the philosophical religions such as Buddhism. Gnosticism is in that same category.
The best example of this comes later in Colossians 2 when Paul condemns asceticism, and compares asceticism to being “worldly.”
He says this:
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, [In other words, since you are no longer worldly] why, as though you still belonged to the world [as if you are worldly], do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use [worldly things], are based on merely human commands and teachings. [In other words, not scriptural] Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom [philosophy], with their self-imposed worship [man made rules], their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Ironically, when compared to William Branham’s message of a “Christian must forfeit their rights,” Paul teaches freedom from these worldly, or man-made rules.
Paul calls the Mosaic Law obsolete. The Mosaic Law DID include many things that dealt with the outward appearance, but the Mosaic Law failed, because man could never be justified under the Law. For this reason, Paul says that Christ established a new everlasting covenant, the Covenant of Grace, so that we could be justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
There are over seventy “sins” in the New Testament, most of them listed by Paul. Not one single sin has to do with outward appearance, every sin Paul mentions deals with the heart. And none of them are man-made rules, or philosophy. Each one Paul lists can be pointed directly to scripture, and specifically can be pointed to the REASON that God sent the Mosaic Law. To show us how sinful that the human race really is. To show us that we NEEDED a savior to redeem us from the penalty of the Law and offer us a better covenant.
But William Branham not only listed many specific attributes of outward appearance as “sin,” he listed many “sins” that are not listed as sin in scripture. These extra-biblical “sins” are man-made rules, or philosophy, and condemned by Paul.
In 1965, Branham says this:
Sin! Sin, there is only one sin, that's unbelief. A man that drinks isn't a sinner. See, that--that--that, see, isn't sin. It isn't a--it isn't a sin to drink. It isn't a sin to commit adultery. To lie, to steal, that isn't sin. That's the attributes of unbelief. If you was a believer, you wouldn't do that, see.
65-0206 Doors In A Door
Here, Branham ties “drinking” to sin, “adultery” (which is correct) to sin, lying and stealing to sin. But rather than sins, he calls them “attributes” of unbelief. In other words, Branham is saying that if you sin, you do not believe.
This is somewhat easy to do if you only consider PART of the sins listed in the New Testament, and if you want to accept Branham’s man-made rules, or philosophy, to be sinful.
Here are some superficial sins that are easy to follow, but are man-made philosophies that Branham either invented or copied from Charles Taze Russell and John Alexander Dowie:
Drinking. Proverbs tells us to drink strong drink when we are old and dying, and tells us to drink wine for our sorrows. “Drink a little wine for your stomach” is a common saying in our culture, and it comes from the New Testament. It does speak against drunkenness, as well as over-indulgence of anything.
Smoking. Not in the bible ... at all. The priests burned incense at the altars. Were they defiling the temples with smoke? No!
Earrings. Ezekiel 16 describes God’s bride, and she had not only earrings, but also a nose ring. Branham’s philosophy was to sever yourself from other Christians by appearing different. In my opinion, had the United States had a fashion of nose rings at the time, he would have also spoke against nose rings.
Makeup. William Branham lessoned the fact that Jezebel was put to death for her idolatry by claiming that she was put to death by painting her face. But notice how he never preached about Esther, who was given cosmetics to prepare herself for the king! The culture for that time in royalty was for the women (and sometimes the men) to paint their faces to appear majestic.
Long Dresses (For Women). Branham used the scriptures “garment that pertains to a man” to push his philosophy of women in long dresses (though pictures show that this rule did not always apply to his own family.) But God does not speak culture-specific. During that time, and in the United States, this philosophy seems correct. But what about scottish men wearing kilts? Or Hawaiian grass skirts? Amazon naked natives?
Remember, this was an Old Covenant Law, which Paul calls obsolete. That same Law instructs us to stone our children for disobeying.
The list can go on and on and on, but you can see the pattern here. Either they are outward expressions, or they are man-made rules or philosophies. And they have nothing to do with the heart or even the change of the heart. I have seen some of the most bitter and un-Christian-like people who apply all of these rules to their lives.
But the biggest problem here is his man-made philosophy that you ONLY sin because you do not believe in Christ. This is asceticism, and is not only unhealthy to the person but very damaging to the church.
Let’s take the three sections of Romans Chapter Three and compare Paul’s message of Grace to Branham’s message of asceticism.
He starts out by comparing them to the Jews, who had done their best to abide by the Mosaic Law and all of its rules and regulations:
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Some of you may not have caught this, but the JEWS were entrusted with the oracles of God. Oracles is the word used for prophecy.
Next, Paul outwardly condemns William Branham’s teaching that sin is the attributes of unbelief. Listen carefully:
What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”
Notice the start contrast between what Paul just said and the recent “Catch The Vision” publication put out by the cult headquarters, Voice of God Recordings. While they threw their bibles under the bus to uplift a lying false prophet, Paul does the OPPOSITE.
This next part is key. Paul does not say that we are to live ascetic, holy lives so that we can be the “perfect Christian” or so that we can have “rapturing faith.” He does not say that our sin is because of unbelief, or even that we are failures because we fall into sin. He says we are ALL SINNERS! SAVED BY GRACE! We are all unrighteous!
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
Next, Paul takes that entire “little bride” philosophy that Branham stole from John Alexander Dowie, and casts it aside. There are no small groups of Christians better than other Christians. We were all sinners. It is only by the grace of Jesus Christ that we are able to call ourselves His Own.
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
Watch this next part. This is Paul’s direct rebuke, and he does it BY SCRIPTURE, to prove Branham’s man-made philosophy is against God’s Word:
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; In their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Here is the concerning part. Branham tried to uplift PORTIONS of the Law, and pastors try to enforce PORTIONS of the Law. Followers try to follow PORTIONS of the law. Listen to Paul condemning even this:
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
This is the reason that in the next verse, Paul separates the Law from the Grace of God. Two separate Covenants, one rendered obsolete by the everlasting Covenant of Grace:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
All have sinned. Yet justified by faith.
Honestly, I fail to see how Branham could have combined these two into one theology unless he never read the New Testament. It is the opinion of many that he never read it, and I can certainly understand why. To introduce this theology, that “sin is the attribute of unbelief,” we must deny the very REASON that Christ died on the cross. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News that the Redeemer came to die for our sins, because mankind could not justify themselves by trying to uphold the Law.
This is the simple, beautiful Gospel of Jesus Christ, and William Branham does not seem to know it. His philosophy about the attributes of unbelief prove that he has absolutely no understanding of what is written in the New Testament.
So if you’ve been programmed with this false teaching, the first question you will ask yourself is this: Why would God do this? Why would God send his only Son to die for our sins? Couldn’t he have just forgave us and let it go? Couldn’t he have lessoned the law a bit, and only keep the few portions of the Law that William Branham tried to enforce?
Let’s let Paul answer this question, since it is the very next thing in the chapter:
This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. t was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
The next question you will ask yourselves if you are programmed by the cult of William Branham is: how then are we justified? Don’t we NEED the law? Or at least “laws?” Don’t we need rules to follow, enforced by the “messenger for our day?” Why even have a messenger?
(that last question, I’ll let you answer for yourselves. You’ll find the answer in the New Testament, the part in Hebrews where Paul says that the prophets were used in the days of old, and now the Holy Spirit speaks to us.)
But to the other questions, regarding the law, we’ll let Paul answer again. It comes next:
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Notice HOW we uphold the law, and compare it to WIlliam Branham’s false teaching that sin is the attributes of unbelief. This is the Mosaic Law, many portions that we will never be able to uphold.
Paul says that the Law is upheld by faith in Jesus Christ. Not by works -- doing the Law. Not by adding man-made rules to it so that we can live ascetic lives. Not by associating ourselves into a denomination of the “little bride.”
There is only ONE way to uphold the Law. And Paul says that way is through faith.
Those of you who disagree, having been programmed by a lying false prophet, and believe that sin IS the attributes of unbelief, I’ll ask you this one question:
How’s that working out for you? Have you successfully lived a sinless life? Have you avoided ALL of the seventy sins listed in the New Testament? Like “gluttony,” or “pride” or “anger?” How many of you have made it through your entire life without being angry at another person?
Wouldn’t you rather choose Paul’s message?