I’ve always found it fascinating of how Brethren people purposely ignore certain Bible passages and only focus on verses which they can twist and distort to justify their evil behavior. This behavior is known as “selective Bible quoting and misinterpreting.” This is a sociopathic strategy invented by Satan himself. Satan and his demons use false teachers to twist, distort, and selectively use only certain Scriptures to present a false gospel to deceive people. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Satan tried to selectively use a Bible verse (while ignoring the rest of Scripture) in order to try and deceive Christ. Satan failed as Jesus knew the rest of Scripture and He showed how selective usage of Scripture is not the correct way to use the Bible (refer to Matthew 4:5-7). In fact, if Christ had used selective usage of Scripture like Satan did, it would've led to Christ sinning. Subsequently, God's plan to redeem and save us would've failed. Satan continues this same tactic of selective usage of Scripture to deceive the rest of mankind into accepting a false gospel which teaches that a dead faith without good works is enough to become saved (aka sola fide and sola gratia doctrines of Protestantism). False teachers (by the inspiration of Satan) have redefined salvation solely based on passages like Ephesians 2:8-9 while ignoring other passages.
Take a look at the authorized KJV of Romans 8:1. Till this day, I’ve never heard a Brethren quote the KJV of Romans 8:1 in their prayers and exhortations. Why do they purposely do this? This is because they don’t like the phrase “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” given in the KJV, as this creates problems for their carnal doctrines (especially unconditional eternal security).
Romans 8:1-17 (authorized KJV):
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 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. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
According to the above passage, who is no longer under condemnation? Is it carnal Christians (following their sinful/fleshly desires) who hide behind their doctrines? No! Rather, it is those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Being carnally minded brings spiritual death/eternal condemnation, not eternal life. Again, who is Paul addressing this to? Unbelievers? No! He’s addressed this to the brethren (believers). Paul is clearly teaching that believers should not be controlled by their sinful nature, as it will bring about their spiritual death (eternal condemnation). Instead, he teaches that they should be controlled by the Holy Ghost, if they truly have the Holy Ghost in them. If they have the Holy Ghost in them, they will not be following their sinful desires. Rather, they will be producing the fruit of the Spirit (refer to Galatians 5:16-26).
Galatians 5:16-26 (NLT):
"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another."
Regarding the statements Paul makes in the above passage, i.e. “But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses” and “there is no law against these things,” to fully understand what he’s trying to say, one needs to refer also to Romans chapters 2 and 7.
Romans 7:11-13 (NLT):
"Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8 But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. 9 At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
13 But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes."
According to Paul, sin/sinful nature derives it’s power from the existence of God’s law/commands which prohibits certain behaviors. In other words, if you are prohibited from doing something, then you will be tempted to actually do it. Thus the Law of Moses failed to truly bring about holiness/righteous behavior in people as it ended up empowering the sinful nature of people. Under the New Covenant, we are to let the Holy Ghost guide our hearts and minds. Perhaps, this is a way of tricking our sinful nature (some sort of advanced psychological strategy being used by God to defeat/disarm our sinful nature). Since God has made no commands banning the fruit of the Spirit, sin can’t derive it’s power from them to instill evil desires in us. I believe that the purpose of the Law of Moses was ultimately to point us to the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, for example, the purpose of the command to not commit adultery was for us to love our neighbor, instead of betraying them.
Romans 2:14-15 (NLT):
"Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right."
The above passage teaches regarding what it means for God’s law to be written in the hearts of Gentile believers under the New Covenant. We (genuine believers) instinctively obey it because of our conscience. However, the Bible warns that there will be carnal Christians and false teachers who will have a dead conscience (sociopaths). Thus, they will not obey God and the fruit of that will be seen through their evil behavior (refer to 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 1 John 3:3-19; and 3 John 1:11).
These truths are in contrast to what John Darby (a well known Brethren teacher) used to teach as well as what modern day Brethren teachers preach. As I’ve shared before, Daniel Steele said this about John Darby, "We have heard Mr. Darby say that if any man had anything to do with the law of God, even to obey it, he was a sinner by that very act." (reference source- http://www.gospeltruth.net/Antinomianism/antinom-chap3.htm)
[Note: the preceding link is from the website (www.gospeltruth.net). If for some reason, you can't access the link on that website, please search for Daniel Steele's articles regarding the topics of Antinomianism and the Plymouth Brethren on other websites by searching online for the title of his book "A Substitute for Holiness or Antinomianism Revived: The Theology of the So-Called Plymouth Brethren Examined and Refuted" by Daniel Steele].
Clearly, John Darby was confused and deluded (a sociopath himself). Paul clearly states that the Law of God (Law of Moses) is not sinful. Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that obeying God’s Law is sinful. The possible reason why I think Darby would make such a foolish statement would be if he misinterpreted Paul’s message in Romans 7. I think this practice is very common among modern Bible teachers as they will staunchly preach about being "no longer under the Law," but they have no clue what that means and instead, they have promoted antinomianism and perverted God’s grace into licentiousness. This is the root cause of people being enslaved in sin (having addictions, engaging in sexual immorality, being hypocritical gossips, insulting others, looking down on others, trying to elevate themselves, etc.) among the Brethren as well as other Calvinist groups who share the same doctrines regarding sin and salvation. Of course, I've come across Brethren youth and adults who will throw the "don't act like you are holier than me" phrase when you confront them about their hypocritical and evil behavior. That's what doesn't make sense. However, when you recognize the psychology involved, you'll recognize they behave abnormally because they are sociopaths. Sociopaths never like getting confronted nor do they want to change. They want to sin freely, while trying to look for the faults/weaknesses in others in order to elevate themselves. The Brethren (as well as other Calvinist groups) have been turned into sociopaths by their own doctrines.
Hebrews chapter 10 is also another commonly used passage by the Brethren for their prayers, exhortations and sermons. They focus on only certain verses like 1-10, but then ignore verses 26-31. Till this day, I’ve never heard anyone reading verses 26-31. They just conveniently skip over it/ignore it. Again, why is this? This is because verses 26-31 create problems for their unconditional eternal security doctrine. It creates cognitive dissonance in them, and so they resort to ignoring those verses altogether in order to resolve the dissonance.
Hebrews 10:26-31 (NLT):
"Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28 For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. 30 For we know the one who said,
“I will take revenge.
I will pay them back.”
He also said,
“The Lord will judge his own people.”
31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
I've seen a Brethren teacher (a seminary graduate) twisting and distorting 1 John 1:8-10 to teach that Christian believers will continue to sin even after coming to the knowledge of salvation. He did this by cunningly distorting the above passage by saying that anyone who claims to be without sin is only fooling themselves and living a lie. This is what seminaries do today- train false teachers to promote licentiousness. What does the above passage mean? It's referring to the past tense (previous state) of believers before coming to the knowledge of salvation (this is echoed by Peter and Paul in what they wrote in 2 Peter 1:9; Colossians 3:5-10; Romans 6:15-22; and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God. No one can ever say that they have never sinned. It's when they deny that they have sinned in the past- that they fool themselves and deny the truth (which is what this passage is really saying). This passage is not teaching that Christians are supposed to sin after coming to the knowledge of salvation (again refer to Hebrews 10:26-31). John emphasizes in 1 John 2:1-2 that he wrote the letter to keep people from sinning. He further reiterates this truth in 1 John 3:1-19. Brethren teachers (and other Calvinists) are dangerous carnal minded sociopaths- using methods like twisting and distorting and selective exegesis (selective Bible quoting and misinterpretation) to gaslight people (i.e. make them doubt their own conscience regarding right convictions- in this case one's conscience should convict them that deliberate sinning after coming to the knowledge of salvation is sinful and very dangerous and thus it shouldn't be ever justified through carnal doctrines). What such sociopathic false teachers do is disarm people's conscience and brainwash them to think that the Bible actually teaches and supports licentiousness. This creates a dead conscience in people (which is characteristic for sociopathy- aka antisocial personality disorder). Thus, this is how Satan uses false teachers to create sociopaths (his children) in the world. This is how Satan creates weeds (impostors/fake Christians) among Christians (refer to Matthew 13:24-29,36-43). These false teachers are con artists and agents of the devil (they are empowered by him to use his sociopathic strategies in order to deceive others). Never bother to interact with them as they will go to great lengths to come up with cunning arguments and charm to deceive you. See how Satan works within Christianity to discredit and destroy it.
Paul and Jude clearly addressed licentiousness and what it means to be no longer under the Law (Law of Moses). Eternal life is all about letting the life-giving Holy Ghost to free you from the power of sin (that leads to death) and thereby allow you to obey God instead (in other words, obedience to God is the key to eternal life, not abusing His grace and forgiveness into licentiousness).
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NLT):
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Romans 6:1-2,15-16,20-22 (NLT):
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
Romans 8:2,6,12-14 (NLT):
And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Jude 1:4 (NLT):
I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.