Archive for the 'Advice on Life and Circumstances' Category

Jul 09 2015

What’s Happened and/or is Happening to America? 6-30-15

What’s Happened and/or is Happening to America?
6-30-15
This is just something hopefully to stimulate your thoughts. I am not a pastor; nor do I think I can ‘predict the future’… but ‘life experiences’ have certainly shown me a lot. So, looking back, now, and in the future??…

I know there are world-wide financial concerns… and if Greece is any example, what if there were a similar ‘bank shut-down’ here in America, where a person could only obtain $67 per day from an ATM, if it had any funds left. (And an electorate that so stupidly votes to NOT honor their financial agreement and payment to the World Bank… and to NOT get their financial house in order.)

But the issues I am really concerned with are about what’s happened or is happening to America as a nation, a culture, a society?!

Growing up in the 1950’s in a suburb of Oklahoma City, OK., people did not have to lock their doors, as kids we played outside every day, until dark… and even a parent down the street kept watch, or called my mom if I was doing something I shouldn’t.

Divorce was practically unheard of. Television (which became our window to the world) was just introduced during this era. There was no internet. Homosexuality was illegal. Pornography was not ‘readably’ available. Movies were censored for profanity and sexual aspects. (I too saw and experienced the impact of Playboy Magazine on our culture… then Penthouse and Hustler carried that even further)…and all of that has progressed too exponentially…
Now young kids even send out selfies of them nude or in the act of… or even make videos of themselves now that rival or surpass what was/is considered hard-core porn.) Also, I never heard of a female teacher seducing one of her students in HS or Jr.H., as has now become too common an occurrence. (Even then, male teachers or coaches did not have a pristine record in that.)

In my youth, if you got a girl pregnant, you got married. The local police knew everyone. And if you got into trouble at school, the Principal or the Coach would take a paddle/board to you. You did NOT sass or curse authority to their faces.

Not many people had tattoos… usually men who had been in the military… but few women. And ‘body piercings’ were not like today. Things have changed!

In the 76 years of my life, I’ve been witness to many of these things… dramatic changes in America… that at first seemed to slowly make an impact, but now are increasing ‘exponentially’…
Exponential Growth of a system in which the amount being added to the system is proportional to the amount already present: the bigger the system is, the greater the increase. ( See geometric progression.) Note : In everyday speech, exponential growth means runaway expansion, such as in population growth.

In this ‘extremely secular society into which too many in America have evolved’… wherein God is NOT considered as Sovereign (and Science has now become god even though we have witnessed so many flaws in scientific thesis)… too many also somehow believe the Supreme Court and these unelected Judges appointed by the President are somehow ‘the final word of settlement’ on issues… and their decisions have such dramatic impact… unfortunately they too have become even more political and their ideology overrides their interpretation of the Constitution. In effect, they have become ‘law makers’… judicial activists, instead of ‘law interpreters to see if it is Constitutional’…

Let’s look at a few of their moral decisions that ‘to me,’ certainly seem NOT only against God, but that cannot truly be based upon the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution! Nor have these decisions ‘settled the issue’ for this nation, often causing a huge divide that lasts for many generations.

The Declaration of Independence said…

Jefferson’s stirring words explaining that all men were created equal and endowed by their Creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.– ***(note too, there are ‘no guarantees’ but ‘the pursuit of’… so, college was not a right, welfare was not a right, government entitlements were not a right, and so on)…

Yet, in spite of those words above, this same court, the US Supreme Court made this declaration… that excluded blacks from this equality, and instead made them chattel property!

The Dred Scott Decision http://www.ushistory.org/us/32a.asp

From the 1780s, the question of whether slavery would be permitted in new territories had threatened the Union. Over the decades, many compromises had been made to avoid disunion. But what did the Constitution say on this subject? This question was raised in 1857 before the Supreme Court in case of DRED SCOTT VS. SANDFORD. DRED SCOTT was a slave of an army surgeon, John Emerson. Scott had been taken from Missouri to posts in Illinois and what is now Minnesota for several years in the 1830s, before returning to Missouri. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 had declared the area including MINNESOTA free. In 1846, Scott sued for his freedom on the grounds that he had lived in a free state and a free territory for a prolonged period of time. Finally, after eleven years, his case reached the Supreme Court. At stake were answers to critical questions, including slavery in the territories and citizenship of African-Americans. The verdict was a bombshell.
• The Court ruled that Scott’s “sojourn” of two years to Illinois and the Northwest Territory did not make him free once he returned to Missouri.
• The Court further ruled that as a black man Scott was excluded from United States citizenship and could not, therefore, bring suit. According to the opinion of the Court, African-Americans had not been part of the “SOVEREIGN PEOPLE” who made the Constitution.
• The Court also ruled that Congress never had the right to prohibit slavery in any territory. Any ban on slavery was a violation of the Fifth Amendment, which prohibited denying property rights without due process of law.
• The Missouri Compromise was therefore unconstitutional.

Dred Scott’s battle for his freedom began at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Chief Justice of the United States was ROGER B. TANEY, a former slave owner, as were four other southern justices on the Court. The two dissenting justices of the nine-member Court were the only Republicans. The north refused to accept a decision by a Court they felt was dominated by “Southern fire-eaters.” Many Northerners, including Abraham Lincoln, felt that the next step would be for the Supreme Court to decide that no state could exclude slavery under the Constitution, regardless of their wishes or their laws.

Two of the three branches of government, the Congress and the President, had failed to resolve the issue. Now the Supreme Court rendered a decision that was only accepted in the southern half of the country.
Dred Scott v. Sandford

The Supreme Court decision Dred Scott v. Sandford was issued on March 6, 1857. Delivered by Chief Justice Roger Taney, this opinion declared that slaves were not citizens of the United States and could not sue in Federal courts. In addition, this decision declared that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories. The Dred Scott decision was overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

Chief Justice Roger Taney gave the court’s opinion; it had ruled 7-2 against Scott. Taney announced that slaves were not citizens of the United States and had no rights to sue in federal courts, and in fact, blacks couldn’t be citizens. “There are two clauses in the Constitution which point directly and specifically to the negro race as a separate class of persons, and show clearly that they were not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government then formed,” Taney argued.

BTW the most strident voice AGAINST this ruling by the Supreme Court was Abraham Lincoln, the President, and leader of the new Republican Party.

***Along these same lines, it was the Democrats who formed the Klu Klux Klan.

Thus, this Supreme Court decision was flawed, and the 13th and 14th Amendments later clarified and corrected that legally… yet it wasn’t until Lyndon Johnson, in 1964 signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that it truly impacted modern day America.

Then this same court, in Jan. 1973, made another decision that ‘in my opinion’ is definitely against God, and there is no way the Constitution addresses this the way the Justices presented it. And that is Abortion…

I believe all life is a gift of God! And that ‘life begins with conception’… certainly Scripture reveals this as in many instances God’s personal intervention shows their life’s path prior to and after conception… but before birth. (In my opinion. when ‘culture or society or politics become the ‘plumb line or foundation of morals and ethics’… as fickle and ever-changing as they are… and the ‘absolute truth of God’s Word is no longer used to compare, debate or adjudicate’…then, the morals and ethics of that nation or society accelerates the downward spiral of humanism!)

But an interesting fact, that in many if not most states, if a pregnant woman is attacked and killed and her unborn baby is killed too… two Capital murder charges are filed… one for the woman and one for the unborn child… yet via SCOTUS, legalized murder by abortion of unborn children becomes a ‘woman’s right’… (which also effectively eliminates man from the equation on this…even though as far as I know, it requires a man’s interaction for pregnancy… in all pregnancies except one…that of Mary the mother of Christ.)

Sadly, in my life, I have participated in two abortions… thus, I too am guilty of this horrendous sin against God. In fact, the first time it was even illegal then.

When we speak of the crimes of Hitler in his ‘Final Solution’… the Holocaust against Jews during WWII…as being so evil… just how do you think ‘we stand as a nation’ with our ‘murder of unborn children’ by abortion…??!!

Check out this webpage: Each real-time abortion counter is based on the most current statistics* for the number of abortions in the US & the number of abortions Worldwide.
http://www.numberofabortions.com/

It may shock you, but in the US we now do over 500,000 a year! That’s over half-a-million murdered unborn babies! In fact, since Roe vs Wade there have been over 58 Million legal abortions. (Hitler was credited with 6 Million Jewish deaths.)

And you also see how many Planned Parenthood does… and to my understanding, the origination of PP was to focus on the black communities and control their growth. Check out the originator of PP.

U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)
Roe v. Wade No. 70-18; Argued December 13, 1971; Reargued October 11, 1972;
Decided January 22, 1973
Primary Holding
A person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Viability means the ability to live outside the womb, which usually happens between 24 and 28 weeks after conception.

Certainly this decision too, has NOT ‘settled the issue’… and note too how many law-makers have supported ‘late term abortions’… was our current President a supporter before he got to the White House?

And now, this recent declaration by the Supreme Court…about Same Sex Marriage…which in reality ‘redefines marriage’ from what it has always been… a union between a man and a woman.

There is NO WAY this can truly be justified by the Constitution, and anyone who has read the Bible, knows the position of The Lord – who established marriage on this.

***Wasn’t the President’s emblazing the White House in ‘Rainbow colors’ symbolic of ‘gay rights’… an insult to all those citizens of the US whose faith does NOT support this decision?! And do you not believe that

Christianity will come under attack on every front for our religious position on same sex marriage?

Another legal process that has helped to destroy the ‘very fabric of the family,’ in my opinion, is No-Fault Divorce… When I was a youngster, divorce involved very few marriages… now, it is the majority of marriages it impacts… and sadly, I have been divorced multiple times! So, morally, again, I am certainly not a good testimony.
No Fault Divorce

September 24, 2009. No-Fault Divorce Turns 40
By: Josh D. Simon

It’s with unintentional irony that we note the 40-year anniversary of something that, according to some, has enabled fewer anniversaries — of the wedding kind — over the last four decades than anything else: no-fault divorce.

Before No-Fault Divorce

Prior to no-fault divorce, spouses seeking divorce had to prove that their partner was at fault for the marriage breakdown. Accepted legal grounds for divorce included (but were not limited to) physical or mental abuse, abandonment, insanity, or lack of sexual intimacy.

Why No Fault Divorce? ***Note, they always have some supposedly logical explanation for even ‘bad decisions’ to become policy or law.

Legislators viewed burden of proof to be too heavy for divorcing people; particularly on women, who simply didn’t have the resources or means to prove that their husband was at-fault for the broken marriage. No-fault divorce was therefore created to alleviate this burden, and create a more civil, humane, practical and accessible divorce process. While financial, custodial and other issues would still remain in the hands of the court (unless a negotiated settlement between spouses was reached), a unilateral claim of “irreconcilable differences” was sufficient to end a marriage.

The Legislative Process

Signed into law on September 4, 1969 by California Governor Ronald Reagan, no-fault divorce quickly spread across the US; first to Iowa, and then to Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Oregon. By 1985, all states had enacted no-fault divorce legislation except one: New York .

Why not New York?

New York legislators worried that instead of making divorce more civil and humane for women, no-fault divorce would have the opposite effect: it would weaken a woman’s ability to gain leverage in divorce proceedings, ultimately exposing them to unfair settlements. In other words, the courts would grant wives less alimony from their cheating, abusive, neglectful (and so on) husbands, because there was no issue of fault — it wasn’t even something that wives could argue in their favor. As such, under New York Divorce law, both spouses must first formally separate for a year before divorce is established.

NOTE, NY as recent as 2010 NY was also considering no-fault divorce…I do not know its present disposition.
But, in my opinion, it just made ‘getting a divorce so much easier’… thus, the result is our over 50% divorce rate… which, too, if you read God’s word, it points out His position on marriage… and on divorce.
Now, for those of you who have read or read the Bible, and believe it to be the ‘divinely inspired word of our Creator to His Creation’… revealing how He thinks, about Him, and His desire for the way for us to live our lives here on earth…

Then as we follow the history of mankind from Adam and Eve, then to Noah and the flood, then to Abraham and the birth of Israel in his son, Isaac, and the direct lineage of Christ… we see how He carefully guided and protected Israel, until under King David, and then, his son, Solomon, Israel became the most powerful nation on earth… but also in this process, the Bible speaks of those leaders of Israel who ‘forsook God’… and ‘allowed the worship of idols’… and did ‘heinous things in sacrifice to these idols’… even sacrificing babies and children to them in flames. Of the murder, incest, rape, brutality… all things ‘against God’…

And for centuries, He would send prophets to these leaders… many of whom were tortured, then executed… and then to the ‘Kings of Israel, He also sent prophets’ who for the most part were ignored or killed… or forced into hiding…

For centuries He cried out to Israel to ‘return to Himself’…and He also spoke of His judgment of Israel corporately if they did not… of their dispersal…verses like these appear all throughout the Old Testament… which the Word was written for our study and our meditation…

In very dramatic and graphic manner, God spoke these words to Israel through Moses… and there is NO mistaking them… Israel was under a ‘conditional covenant’… (Abraham’s covenant with God was ‘unconditional’… God promised with His determined will, which nothing can affect)

But Israel was not under ‘grace’… and ‘for their obedience, He promised them everything anyone could desire… then, conversely, He also told them the consequences of their disobedience…

Deut 28:13-37 And the Lord shall make you the head and not the tail, and you only shall be above, and you shall not be underneath, if you will listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. “But it shall come about, if you will not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. “The Lord will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. The Lord will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart; and you shall grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you. You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall violate her; you shall build a house, but you shall not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not use its fruit. Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you, and shall not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have none to save you. Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes shall look on and yearn for them continually; but there shall be nothing you can do. A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you shall never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually. And you shall be driven mad by the sight of what you see. The Lord will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. The Lord will bring you and your king, whom you shall set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone. And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the Lord will drive you. NASB
And even further in this same chapter: Deut 28:45-48 So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. And they shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you. NASB

Neh 1:8-9 Remember the word which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’ NASB

Jer 4:1-2 “If you will return, O Israel,” declares the Lord, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver, And you will swear,’ As the Lord lives,’ In truth, in justice, and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory.” NASB

Zech 1:1-4 ZECHARIAH 1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, “The Lord was very angry with your fathers. “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,” Return to Me, “declares the Lord of hosts,” that I may return to you, “says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,” Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds. “‘But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the Lord. NASB

Matt 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

We too should take heed to this history… because we have seen the results of this in His treatment of Israel!
And when Christ came, Israel was dispersed over the nations, and their homeland ruled by Rome, with an Edomite King appointed by Rome with a Roman Governor. God had ‘removed His protection from Israel!’ Still since ‘in the fullness of time’ the Messiah (meaning ‘God with us’) had arrived to initiate a ‘new covenant of redemption, forgiveness of sins, and eternal reconciliation’ with God’s people… He had not allowed the Temple to be completely destroyed. But after Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension…(because Israel had rejected His Son as the Messiah, He allowed Rome to destroy the Temple in 70 AD.

There had been several dispersions before Rome’s conquest… but God had responded when Israel’s leadership repented (and He always preserved a remnant, just as He always will)… until finally He said, I shall not contend with man forever… Now, Israel is re-established in their homeland… but they are there in ‘apostasy’… still in denial of Christ as the Messiah… and many Jews there ‘do not even believe in God’… because they say, “If there was a God, He would not have allowed the ‘holocaust!’”

They are being regathered and protected for God’s purposes… it all began there, and it all will end there, if you read Scripture. And He will demonstrate His power and glory in Jerusalem as well as the entire world.
Do you believe America was ‘raised up by God’ as a ‘beacon of hope for the world’… as ‘a Christian nation?’ According to Scripture, Christ is the ‘light of the world’…

Matt 4:16-17 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, And to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a light dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

And as ‘followers of Christ’ we too ‘are the light’…

Matt 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Statistically, the world is mostly ‘in darkness’… meaning ‘without God’… and ‘the light of God in Christ’ is definitely a minority… as these verses so indicate, though in this it refers to ‘a rich man’…

Matt 19:23-26 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking upon them Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Thus, statistically, comparing light to darkness over the time of man here on earth, there will be few to enter Heaven’s rest.

So, America, as a Christian nation… the only one at the time of its establishment…and maybe even now, the only one with such a large Christian base…thus a ‘beacon’ to many… now sliding down the slope of secular humanism… Philosophy. a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.

As a noun: an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings,…this last sentence segment should really be challenged: Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, Because in history there is NO RECORD of any humanist concept improving the goodness of human beings… rather just the opposite is true!

If you go to this website, you’ll get true and vital information about American History, and about our Founding Fathers and their faith… and that America is a beacon of hope… and there is American exceptionalism demonstrated!
A Few Declarations of Founding Fathers and Early Statesmen on Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible
http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=8755

If so, as the political culture now demonstrates, America has become a ‘secular society’… denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

Look at the public ridicule of Christians, of the disappearance of God from our government, even from our Christmas icons… of the forced stoppage of prayer in our schools… of the mockery of Christ… or of Christians…(as the NY Times just did this week with its portrayal of a Pope with condoms…
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/new-york-times-bans-charlie-hebdo-cartoons-but-runs-condom-pope-image/article/2567282

and just a month previous of its mockery of Mary the mother of Christ covered with dung,
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/1/new-york-times-accused-hypocrisy-allowing-dung-cov/

while at the same time saying it does not publish similar things of Muhammad because of the degree of outrage that would create – so, I guess if Christians or Catholics in this instance threatened death to the editors of the NY Times, they wouldn’t publish such offensive stuff of those calling themselves Christians.)

Look at the ridiculous ruling of The Supreme Court in 1947 overturning all their other rulings since we had become a nation…ruling on ‘separation of church and state’…and BTW you can get the ‘accurate history of this’ from Wallbuilders too… many people think it Constitutional, but in reality their ‘revision’ was taken from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist Church… in which he too had ‘just such a concern’ as the court counterfeited in 1947. But all of this has ‘greased the slide’ of secularism, and a denial of God. The war is ‘against Christ’…

http://www.wallbuilders.com/searchresults.asp?q=separation%20of%20church%20and%20state

So then, a simple question: If you ‘believe the Bible’… then, how long do you think it will be before He removes His protection of us? Or has He already… and we are just starting to slide exponentially toward our destiny just as Israel did in the Old Testament?

Prov 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Prov 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. NASB

Matt 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

2 Tim 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. NASB

2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Matt 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.”For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

My prayer for our nation is: “Lord, I pray that there are still enough ‘believers’…’followers of Christ’ in America, that you will not remove your protection of us.” (Because, no matter how strong our military is, if God is NOT for us, we will fall!

The US has NOT won a major war since WWII. And our blood and treasure has been squandered by our corrupt politicians in their nation building and manipulation of others since.)

Isn’t it amazing that pundits say it will take years to defeat ISIS… who has about 40,000 fighters. When in less than 5 or 6 years we totally defeated Japan, Germany, and Italy! That shows you just how badly Washington micromanages the wars they involve us in…and how our military is now so handicapped by the Rules of Engagement we now employ. Our enemies laugh at us!

As He admonished Israel, so us…

Jer. 4:1-2 “If you will return, O Israel,” declares the Lord, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver, And you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ In truth, in justice, and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory.” NASB

Think on these things… and be on the alert for what our ‘puppet-masters’ are doing to us and our nation. And beware the consequences!
Bill Watts

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Nov 16 2012

Conversation with my grandchildren about ‘total security’ in the Lord

Nov. 14, 2012
Conversation with my grandchildren about ‘total security’ in the Lord… that ‘once saved’ always saved! (I hope you keep this in a special file on your computer, even print it off for later reference… because it can challenge, stimulate, encourage, and also show you where to look in the Bible for answers to so many of the questions that will arise)…
You have reached the teen-aged years, which have many challenges as you transition into adulthood. There is so much more peer-pressure and outside influences for you to deal with. At times too, this can create stress and strain between parents and their youthful children… plus the ‘family too’ can be in an unrelated turmoil or fracturing which too often a young child may think themselves to blame for that.
Then reaching an age where ‘sexual’ awareness must be factored into it all, ‘maturing hormonal activity’ adds a lot of ‘stuff,’ often not understood, that impact one in many ways and can also create ‘fears or guilt’ for thoughts, feelings and/or actions…
And so too, much of ‘what seems ok or accepted in our culture’ is in ‘direct opposition’ to what God’s Word proclaims as the model for how we should strive to live… thus too ‘our guilt before Him,’ as well as wondering if, or what, or how, or when He will punish us… or just where do we really stand minute-by-minute, hourly, or daily with God.
What do we have to do to stay in ‘His good graces’… what is the measure of sin or doing things we think are wrong, or against God before we incur His anger, and ‘what form will His discipline or punishment take’… then, ‘what penance is required by us’ to ‘earn back’ His favor…
Add to that, so many saying ‘there is NO GOD’ or adding ‘their perceptions’ of ‘what they think about God’ and how they (do or do not) value or respect or reverence Him.
And even the ‘most pious’ may have long-ingrained perceptions that have been taught to them by the leaders in their church or faith, that can be erroneous…even though well-meaning… with the result being ‘we are constantly being judged by our peers’ in some manner driven by their own pride. Thus ‘peer-pressure’…
Thus, how we ‘respond’ to life’s challenges and circumstances is so important… do we turn to the Lord, or do we distance ourselves from Him, and turn within or to others… to ‘the world’… Is God’s way harsh…or heavy, or is it the ‘way’ of peace within…
Matt 11:27-30 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”
I can promise you this… ‘relationship with God in Christ’ is ‘the most important aspect of your life’…
My life has seen so much of ‘my own rebellion against authority’… starting with my own parents, then with God too, wherein I turned my back on Him completely for about 30 years… and, I have committed every sin known to mankind except murder or actually killing someone! I am a miserable sinner!
So, when God re-awakened my spirit in 1984, I wondered ‘why or how could He love me’… and was I truly saved as a child (which certainly I thought I had been because I loved the Lord so intensely until about my Sophomore year in High School when I began distancing myself), and in my rebellion did I lose my salvation, and have ‘to get saved again’… and was that even possible… and ‘why would He ever take me back?!’
Then as I re-read the Bible, the Book of Hebrews was very confusing to me, because it ‘seemed to relate loss of salvation’ or ‘falling away’… so I was really confused… and certainly uncertain of my own relationship with God the Father in Christ. (See it is so important to keep Scripture in context, to know to whom it was written and what it is really addressing less we get a twisted perception of it which then becomes our truth.)
However, by studying the Word, beseeching the Lord for His Spirit to illuminate the truth in this to me, and also having a man of God who was His instrument in awakening my spirit in Him, all that was resolved… (even though I did go through the ‘salvation experience again’ initially due to my confusion, and I was re-Baptized again along with my children)… I finally realized I WAS SAVED AS A CHILD, and even though I rebelled for 30 some years… I was ALWAYS SAVED… though ‘out of relationship’…I’d never lost my salvation, which I’ll explain more thoroughly as we progress.
If you do NOT know where you ‘stand with God’… how can you ever fully have peace? If your ‘status with Him’ is NOT fully understood…how can you be sure of your relationship with God…
Rom 5:1-5 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
God is a ‘God of love’… and is NOT ‘sitting in heaven,’ looking down on you, just waiting for you ‘to screw up’ so ‘He can pounce on you’ or ‘punish you for that individual act of sin’…
He does NOT strike you and make you make a ‘bad play and lose a game’… he does NOT strike you and make you ill… (although continued sin that is also bad for your health – such as gluttony, or alcoholism, or substance abuse, or just unhealthy living such as smoking, etc., can bring about chronic illness)… He does NOT ‘strike you’… He does discipline you to teach you…after all, He is our Heavenly Father…
First and foremost, I am NOT a pastor, NOT an authority, nor am I ‘infallible’ (perfect/without mistake)… I am NOT the Holy Spirit, although He dwells within me as He also does in every true believer… I am ‘a sinner saved by God’s merciful grace through Christ Jesus, my Savior and Lord’ sharing with you my knowledge gleaned through life and the study of God’s Word, the Bible.
Before we get into the ‘meat’ of what I’m sharing with you… there are some critical basics we need to cover… primarily the Bible… and just what you believe about it… and what Scripture says about it…
Be sure you OWN YOUR OWN DATA! You go to the source for study and confirmation… it is ‘your authority, your guide for living’…
If the Bible is NOT true… what difference does it make? Without God we have ‘no hope’… no ‘eternal life’…
The very first thing is for you to personally determine whether or not you think the Bible is ‘the divinely inspired Word of God written by men chosen by God as to how they heard what He imparted to them and how they wrote it’… and thus too is ‘infallible’… without mistake, perfect… of divine origin…
2 Tim 3:14-17 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
And in that same book, II Tim. 4:3, 4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
If you DO NOT accept it as God’s Word (His revelation of Himself to His creation in His own timing, and His model for how we should strive to live our lives, and His plan for our salvation in Christ)…then really there is no basis or foundation for what you believe concerning these things I am presenting to you.
Remember, Satan (a supernatural being) cannot ‘create’ so he must counterfeit or lie (he is the ‘father of lies’) …there is a supernatural battle being waged here and for your soul…but once you’ve accepted Christ, Satan can ‘tempt you’ but cannot touch you… nor can he cause you to lose your salvation…
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.
1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
And by lies and counterfeit (often beginning with God’s truth then perverting it) ‘Satan deludes’ many… thus he is constantly attacking the Bible in many ways… some ‘denominations or religions’ through that Satanic influence have created their own ‘authority’ that supersedes the Bible… I believe such as the Mormon faith with their own Book of Mormon written by Joseph Smith… who also ‘claimed the Bible then was corrupt’…thus his book was and is their higher authority.
Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, the predominant branch of which is Mormonism. At age twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon, and in the next fourteen years he attracted thousands of followers, established cities and temples, and created a lasting religious culture.
The Smiths believed in visions and prophecies, and participated in folk religious practices typical of the era. According to Smith, beginning in the early 1820s he had visions, in one of which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published what he said was an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon and organized the Church of Christ as a restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.
Read more of this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith
Or Christian Science with theirs by Mary Baker Eddy…
Mary Baker Eddy (July 16, 1821 – December 3, 1910) was the founder of Christian Science (1879), a Protestant American system of religious thought and practice adopted by the Church of Christ, Scientist, and others. She is the author of the movement’s textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and founded the Christian Science Publishing Society (1898), which continues to publish a number of periodicals including The Christian Science Monitor (1908).
Married three times, she took the name Mary Baker Glover from her first marriage. She was also known from her third marriage as Mary Baker Glover Eddy or Mary Baker G. Eddy
Read more of this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Baker_Eddy
Or even Catholicism who ‘allow the Pope’s authority to supersede the Bible, and thus ‘what he writes or mandates’ is their higher authority, in spite of a long record of corrupt Popes and leaders.
I constantly hear people say, well “I believe certain parts, and then certain parts are just myth or fables”…
and I want to then say…show me your Bible and highlight what you believe is true and what you believe is false… but how could you possibly have as your foundational basis a book you don’t even fully believe or that you believe is somehow corrupt in certain areas… that does NOT make any sense!
Or I hear people say, “well over time and the many ‘translations’ of the Bible, the ‘real truth’ has either been ‘lost or misinterpreted’…
and I say, that if God is Sovereign, which then ‘by definition’ means He is ‘in control’… don’t you think He could control that too… and thus everything we need to know concerning our salvation in Christ has been preserved… in fact the more ancient artifacts found, the more the Bible is proved…
Then too there is also the ‘spinning’ concerning the ‘Council of Nicaea’… as ordered by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who had ‘an epiphany of God’ before a key battle to win Rome:
On Oct. 27, 312, on the eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a vision assuring him of victory in the name of the Christian God. As emperor, Constantine served as a patron for the church, contributing to its rapid growth in the fourth century.
That victory resulted in his becoming a ‘patron of the church of Rome’ and later mandating this council in order to ‘bring order to the church’ that was widely splintered in what it taught. He commissioned 50 Bibles to be printed from the results of that council… and ‘they decided what books to include in it.’ (At that time, there was much discussion as to the ‘deity of Christ, and whether or not He was the begotten Son of God, and also concerning the Trinity… God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
There are also many books we now refer to as the Apocrypha … which some denomination still include as Biblical… though I DO NOT, nor do the majority of Protestant faiths)… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_apocrypha
The Council of Nicaea:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea (/naɪ’si:ə/; Greek: Νίκαια /’ni:kaɪja/) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day İznik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. This first ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.[5][6]
Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Trinitarian issue of the nature of The Son and his relationship to God the Father,[3] the construction of the first part of the Creed of Nicaea, settling the calculation of the date of Easter,[2] and promulgation of early canon law.[4][7][8]
The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first, uniform Christian doctrine, called the Creed of Nicaea. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy— the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.
The council settled, to some degree, the debate within the Early Christian communities regarding the divinity of Christ. This idea of the divinity of Christ, along with the idea of Christ as a messenger from God (The Father), had long existed in various parts of the Roman empire. The divinity of Christ had also been widely endorsed by the Christian community in the otherwise pagan city of Rome.[9] The council affirmed and defined what it believed to be the teachings of the Apostles regarding who Christ is: that Christ is the one true God in deity with the Father.
So what I write to you is ‘to hopefully stimulate and challenge you’ to think deeply about it… and to study your Bible concerning it… and certainly ask questions of me or of someone else you think is ‘an authority’ on God’s Word… always keep in mind that it is ‘not what I say or what someone says, but what God’s Word says’…
By spending more time in the Bible, you will understand it more if that is your desire… the Bible is simple enough a child can grasp the love of Christ… but also so deep and full that even the best scholar cannot fully grasp it entirely… remember, it is God’s Words and…we are just mankind…not God…
Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Isa 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
Isa 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
This was meant to be fairly short and simple… but then, as I meditated over it, and also lifted this project to the Lord in prayer… then built an outline… I realized there was a lot to cover… so I’ll ‘break it down into several segments’… and suggest you create a folder to keep it in, because this may be a very good ‘study guide’ for you that will always be timely and very appropriate. So many people are troubled (or challenged) by the topics I will cover with you… and “I feel” that even many (well-meaning) churches and denominations too are teaching ‘wrong doctrine’
Doctrine – a Noun:1.A belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group. 2.A stated principle of government policy, mainly in foreign or military affairs: “the Monroe Doctrine”.
thus creating unnecessary fear or insecurity concerning how they view God and also concerning God’s salvation given to us through Christ… and by this holding their members in a certain ‘bondage to them’ or trying to impose a ‘works or personal performance theology’ whereby their holiness and righteousness (and thus their salvation) is dependent upon their ‘good deeds or works or performance’ and their ‘following rules or that particular churches concept of living a Christian life’…
What is a Christian… In it’s simplest form… to ‘me’ a Christian is a ‘follower of Jesus Christ’… It is ‘all about Christ, and His FINISHED work on Calvary’s cross. If we, (any man or woman or organization), tries to ‘add anything to that finished work,’ then they are saying in effect that His crucifixion was NOT enough! And in that they are ‘blaspheming God!’
Christianity is NOT a denomination…nor is it ‘exclusive to one denomination’… Nor is the ‘term Christianity applied to a faith or church or denomination’ necessarily true to the Word of God or the Gospel. Too often it has ‘become like a social club, a fraternity or sorority’ and completely lost the ‘heart of God’…
To me, Christianity is the ‘body of Christ’… meaning ‘followers of Christ’ and those who love the Lord and truly recognize Him as Savior and Lord…
It is ‘available to everyone… it is ‘all about relationship with Christ’… a unique and personal relationship ‘born’ at the mysterious and miraculous moment when one who ‘has realized they are a sinner’…’lost in their sin’…’and need a Savior’… ‘and that Jesus Christ is that Savior’… and they ask Him into their heart as Savior… and once ‘saved’… eternally saved… it is forever…
From a ‘secular perspective’… it is a person who ‘claims’ to ‘follow the teachings of Christ… and who is a member…or attends a church considered a ‘Christian Church’…
***even though there are ‘churches claiming to be Christian’ who ‘in reality’ are ‘cults or false religions’ masquerading as Christians… but preaching a different Gospel than that found in the Bible…
I am ‘saved by faith in God’s grace towards me in Christ’… I DO NOT DESERVE IT… I CANNOT EARN IT… IT IS HIS FREE GIFT TO ME (AND TO ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO ACCEPT CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD!
IT IS NOT BASED UPON “MY PERFORMANCE” BUT ON CHRIST’S PERFORMANCE ON CALVARY’S CROSS! AND UPON GOD RAISING HIM FROM THE DEAD…
AND, CHRIST DID IT ALL, AND IT IS COMPLETE…THERE IS NOTHING I CAN ADD TO IT, OR TAKE AWAY FROM IT.
Key point — Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
Often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
Heb 11:1-3 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
Our salvation from God in Christ is ‘all based upon our “faith” in Christ’… in ‘who He is’ and in ‘what He has done for us’… John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:17-18 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:35-36 “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
***(Obey here means to accept/believe in Him as Savior and Lord… and yes, we then are ‘to obey Him as He is God’…and strive to live our lives like Him, but He knows we will sin, which is rebellion and disobedience… and He has paid the price for us for that. With all the preponderance of Scripture saying our salvation from God depends upon or ‘faith/belief in Christ as Savior and Lord’… NOTHING THEN CANCELS THAT OUT!
So look for the context. In this, it is clear that our ‘eternal destiny’ depends upon what we do with the Son of God. If we receive Him, God gives us eternal life as a free gift. If we reject Him, we will never enjoy everlasting life, and not only so, but God’s wrath already hangs over us, ready to fall at any moment… since we do NOT know when our life here on earth will end. The decision concerning Christ must be made while we live. Notice there is nothing in this about ‘keeping the law…as in the 10 Commandments… going to church…doing the best we can or working our way to Heaven.)
Rom 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Rom 5:1-5 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Eph 2:4-7But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
If you do NOT know where you ‘stand with God’… how can you ever fully have peace? If your ‘status with Him’ is NOT fully understood…how can you be sure of your relationship with God…
No matter what they say, or how it seems, the Bible says…those ‘not saved’ have ‘no peace’:
Isa 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
Also… what is ‘our purpose here on earth’… knowing Christ and glorifying God in Christ…
Phil 3:7-14 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(We are aliens here… Heaven is our home…this is just the journey)…this written to ‘believers’…
1 Peter 2:9-15 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
Death no longer has a ‘sting for believers’ because it is merely our ‘transition’ into Heaven with Christ: 2 Cor 5:5-9 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight — we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
What does God desire… He desires for us ‘to know Him as God, and to worship Him and revere Him’…(the word ‘fear’ in the Old Testament refers to ‘reverence’… and to understand He gives life and He takes life…that He is God!
He desires a deeply personal and unique relationship with each of us (thus He has made each of us unique and individual …no fingerprints or DNA the same)…
He desires this to be accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ… we see all through the Bible, God interacting with His creation… (both individually and ‘corporately as in a city, a country, a race, a people, etc.)…the Old Testament preparing them for Christ…the New Testament the fulfilling of it…
Where do you learn about salvation… where do you learn about Christ… in the Bible if you want to ‘study this from its source’… isn’t it important enough for you to want to know it from it’s source…
When from the Bible (keep what you read in context… and if listening to someone like a pastor, be sure they keep Scripture in context…and be sure they are not just taking isolated Scriptures to promote their agenda)…
When from others…be sure to compare what they say to Scripture to see if it’s true…
When from Church and pastors and teachers there…the same applies… compare it to Scripture for accuracy… and be sure to also ‘check their agenda’…
Scofield has a saying that is so true: “Anything may be proved by the ‘Bible’ is both true and false——true if isolated passages are used; utterly false if the whole divine revelation is in view.”
We see over and over, people using “isolated passages” to develop their doctrine, and getting lost, and worse, leading others to be lost.
Again, God is a ‘God of love’… and is NOT ‘sitting in heaven,’ looking down on you, just waiting for you ‘to screw up’ so ‘He can pounce on you’ or ‘punish you for that individual act of sin’…
We live in a ‘fallen world’ where our choices (Adam and Eve’s) allowed sin to enter… thus… God ‘allows things to happen’… but God does NOT tempt us with sin…
James 1:13-15 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
He does NOT strike you and make you make a ‘bad play and lose a game’…
He does NOT strike you and make you ill… (although continued sin that is also bad for your health can bring about chronic illness)…
He does NOT ‘strike you’… though He does discipline you to teach you…after all, He is our Heavenly Father…
Yes, when we make choices that are ‘against God’ (sin)… there are ‘consequences’… (God’s Law of the Harvest)…Whatever you sow, so shall you reap… generally you ‘reap later, and reap more than you sow’…so be careful ‘what you sow’…
Gal 6:7-10 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Eternal consequences…
Rom 5:12-14 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Consequences or circumstances while here on earth… (resulting from our sin… or a sin committed by someone against God while they are ‘trespassing or even attacking, robbing, or raping us’)… is that ‘God’s will for us?’
No, God only wants the best for all of us… but we live in a ‘fallen world’… and so ‘bad things happen’… but somehow I believe God will use those events for His purposes…
As God, he is ‘Sovereign’… meaning ‘in control’… totally and completely… but we do NOT fully understand His plan or purposes… so we must just ‘trust in Him’… and ‘cling to His promises’…
What is sin? A volitional act of disobedience against the revealed will of God! Thus it is ‘rebellion against God.
How many sins does it take to ‘be condemned eternally’… just one… not plural…
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Who has sinned… all… every one… no one is without sin!
Rom 3:10-18 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace have they not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Christ died for ‘all of us’…
Rom 5:6-10 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
How are ‘we saved’…
John 3:3-18 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things? “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Acts 16:30-32 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
Rom 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Rev 3:20-21 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Was Judas saved and then lost his salvation…
No! He was never saved… if fact he was a thief too who stole from collections for the poor. But his betrayal of Christ is the most notorious event in which he did Satan’s bidding…
Matt 26:20-25 Now when evening had come, He was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. And as they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” And He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
John 6:70-71 Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.
John 13:2 And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,
Are there some sins more heinous to God than others… Does He then hold you ‘more accountable’ and ‘punish you worse’ for these worst sins… Personally I believe only mankind sets some sort of measure on sins while according to Scripture sin condemns one to hell, and possibly there are different degrees of hell, but all I read of it, I do NOT know how any part of it could be worse than another part… Still mankind seems to want to give certain sins different weights like the Catholics have two categories of sin…
Mortal sin: A mortal sin is a transgression of the moral law in a serious matter, committed with clear advertence to the grievous nature of the act and with full deliberation and consent on the part of the will. It is called mortal since it deprives the soul of its supernatural life of sanctifying grace. It deserves eternal punishment (2 Thes 1:9), since the offence is a deliberate act of rebellion against the infinite majesty of God.
Venial sin: An offence against the law of God less grievous than mortal sin, not depriving the soul of sanctifying grace. A sin is venial either when the matter is not grave, or when, given grave matter, either full advertence to its gravity on the part of the intellect or full consent on the part of the will is wanting. Venial sins can be remitted by prayer or other good works.
Here we show the Catholic reference above to demonstrate how Scripture can be ‘twisted’ to ‘fit an agenda’…even by so-called Christian religions… because as we have shown by God’s Word… those ‘who do NOT know God’ and those ‘who do NOT obey the Gospel’ are those who ‘reject Christ’… because Christ and His Person and His mission to die for our sin on Calvary’s cross is the Gospel of salvation and forgiveness of all sins. But the Catholics have used this to ‘justify their own version of sin by category’…
2 Thess 1:7-10 …when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed — for our testimony to you was believed.
Is suicide the ‘unforgivable sin’… No!
There is only one sin that is unforgivable…that is to reject the Holy Spirit’s call to you to accept Christ as Savior and Lord… We can see in Scripture that God gave Sampson back his strength so he could kill his enemies and in that same act himself… which was suicide… yet Sampson is also shown to be a ‘man of God’ in the Old Testament…
Is there any sin that is ‘unforgivable’… No! There is only one sin that is unforgivable…that is to reject the Holy Spirit’s call to you to accept Christ as Savior and Lord…
Is drinking a sin? (Charles Stanley says so… but again… I believe he is ‘twisting Scripture’ in this for his own agenda… and since many pastors have seen the damage of drunkenness in families…they then place ‘all drinking in a sin category’)
God speaks against drunkenness… Eph 5:18-21 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
1 Tim 3:2-3 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money.
1 Tim 5:23 No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
But in His word drinking wine is often mentioned… (it is forbidden for those who take a Nazerite vow for the time of that vow…but then they are released from that condition)… it is referred to lift one’s spirits… and even for one’s stomach health…
Gen 27:28 Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine;
Ps 4:7-8 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety.
Ps 104:14-15 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart.
Prov 3:9-10 Honor the Lord from your wealth, And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
Prov 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.
Prov 23:19-21 Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way. Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
And Christ’s first miracle recorded was when He changed water to wine at a marriage celebration at His mother’s request…
John 2:2-11 … and Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the wedding. And when the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him. And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
Immorality:
1 Cor 6:17-20 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Homosexuality… is it a sin… is it a ‘worse sin’ than other sins… how is it portrayed in the Bible… is it worse than fornication (having heterosexual sex outside of marriage), or adultery (sex with someone married to another, or sex with another while you are married to someone else), or is it worse than murder, robbery, or telling a lie…
Since from what I read… any sin carries the same eternal penalty… condemnation to hell and eternal separation from God… and even while here on earth it carries the consequences too…
Is someone ‘born a homosexual’ so that then they can ‘claim God made them this way’ and thus, by that be exonerated… From all I’ve read… there is no evidence of this… it seems to be ‘an excuse invented by them’ to ‘justify’ their perversion…
Can a homosexual be ‘saved’ by their acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord… I believe they can… but then I too would look to see if there is any visible evidence of their true repentance of their sin… and abstinence from the homosexual lifestyle…
Old Testament treatment of homosexuality…
Lev 18:22-25 ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. ‘Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have visited its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.
This refers to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah… for these two cities being the most evil on earth then… and the word sodomy then became the word associated with sodomizing… generally a homosexual act. Gen 19:4-9 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”
Lot even offered them his virgin daughters…but they not only rejected him…they hated him for it…and were going to attack him too…
But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.
The penalty for homosexuality in Israel during Old Testament times was to ‘be stoned to death’… as was also the penalty for adultery…
New Testament places it with other ‘sins of choice’… (which are NOT birth defects but choices)…
Rom 1:21-32 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Gal 5:16-21But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Conversely the fruit of the Spirit:
Gal 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Does God show He believes in Capital Punishment .. YES!!
Old Testament
Gen 9:5-6 And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
Ex 21:12 “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.
Ex 21:15-17 “And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. “And he who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death. And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Ex 22:18-20 “You shall not allow a sorceress to live. “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death. “He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be utterly destroyed.
Lev 20:10-13 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. ‘If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. ‘If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. ‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
New Testament (because some would say that after Christ came there was to be no more Capital Punishment – but here we see that ‘government bears a sword, which is a killing instrument’ to punish those of evil deeds against society)…
Rom 13:3-4 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.
Do you know that God loves each and every one of us… but HATES OUR SIN?!
Why does God hate your sin? Because He wants the very best for you… and He knows the consequences of sin… so He hates sin! Look at the ‘dear price He paid for us’ for our sins… the crucifixion of His own Son!
Prov 6:16-19 There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Zech 8:16-17 ‘These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. ‘Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the Lord.”
Mal 2:15-16 “But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
Some would say that ‘how can God be a God of love, and then ‘speak of hate’… as in He hates sin… or even that ‘He hates divorce’… my answer is…how would you explain or demonstrate the opposite of love without using hate… the Lord ‘teaches us’ through His Word…
God’s dilemma: How could a righteous and holy God bridge the chasm between Himself and His creation…the ‘separation caused by our sin’…without compromising His own righteousness and holiness…
The only way was for the Just to become the Justifier … for God Himself to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins and to pay the price of our sin debt… only God Himself could redeem us…
If one single person could ‘achieve God’s holiness and righteousness…then a ‘standard set by mankind’ would have been established… and Christ need never to have to come to die for us…
But, He knew and knows that NO SINGLE PERSON IN THIS WORLD COULD “ACHIEVE GOD’S HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS” in order to ‘enter into Heaven’s rest’… NOT ONE! (Even though ‘some’ may so represent that they are ‘without sin’… there is NO ONE on earth without sin! Only Jesus Christ as ‘perfect man and perfect God’ was without sin!)
Thus God ‘made provision for our sins…. He provided the way of ‘our redemption from the eternal penalty for our sins, and also ‘to be eternally reconciled to God the Father’ through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ becoming ‘our sin’ on Calvary’s cross… that was the greatest demonstration of love ever in the entire world/universe…
He dealt there with ALL SIN… past, present, and future!
But that action, in order for us to partake of it, and ‘be covered by it’… is CONDITIONAL on our personal acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord… AND THAT IS THE ONLY REQUIREMENT!
What is ‘God’s grace’… (grace: without merit, you cannot earn it… you cannot manipulate God to love you more…)
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
God’s merciful grace towards us in Christ…does NOT dilute our personal responsibility nor the consequences for our sins while here on earth! Christ paid ‘our eternal penalty for our sins’ demanded by a holy and righteous God! But we will ‘reap what we sow’ while still here on earth…
And we are encouraged to ‘do good’ to try to live like Christ… and our ‘works for the Lord’ will be ‘rewarded in Heaven’… but DO NOT get us to Heaven. The ‘good works’ we do after being saved are also ‘evidence’ of our change of heart if they are truly done out of our love of the Lord. Also, remember this, we are ‘commanded’ to ‘share the Gospel of Christ’… and to stand ready to defend or faith or why we believe.
Btw… ‘there will be NO GOOD PEOPLE IN HEAVEN’… because God’s Word says there are ‘no good people’… that we are all sinners…(there is a ‘huge difference in what society considers good people’ and what God’s standard for goodness is)… so the ONLY PEOPLE who will be in Heaven are those FORGIVEN by God in Christ!
There are two judgments spoken of in the New Testament… this first is ‘the judgment seat of Christ’… and since this is written saying that ‘once forgiven’ and ‘in Christ’ there is ‘no condemnation’ since He has paid that price for us:
Rom 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
So I believe this is the ‘judgment of Christians’ for ‘rewards for their deeds while here on earth’… and also show that immediately when ‘we die here on earth’ we are ‘with the Lord’… and immediately upon ‘our being saved’ our names were written in the ‘book of life’… 2 Cor 5:6-10 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight — we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
And this is the ‘judgment of those who ‘rejected Christ’ or who ‘were not saved’… wherein they will be judged for ‘their deeds’ here on earth… and whether or not their names were written in the ‘book of life’… and ‘those who truly believe in Christ, will NOT be there’…
Rev 20:10-15 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
What is ‘salvation’… It is God’s salvation for us in Christ… His only begotten Son came to earth and was ‘born of mankind’ to a ‘virgin’… and walked the earth without sin… in order to be the ‘unblemished lamb of God’ to be ‘sacrificed for our sins’… he that knew no sin — became our sin on Calvary’s cross… and paid the eternal price for our sins in order to ‘redeem us’ and provide the bridge for eternal reconciliation to God the Father.
This ‘gift of salvation’ is conditional… it must ‘be accepted.’ (A very simple example of explanation: car insurance is available for people who drive… but if they do not purchase it… and have a wreck…they are NOT covered! Anyone who rejects Christ is NOT covered by God’s merciful grace of salvation in Christ!)
1 Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
2 Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 Peter 2:21-24 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
Let us consider the ‘unsaved’ and their status with God’…
Eph 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
The only prayer God answers from one ‘unsaved’ is their prayer to ‘be saved’ by asking Jesus Christ into their hearts as Savior and Lord.
A person cannot truly ask the Lord into their heart unless they know they are ‘lost in their sins’ and ‘need a Savior’… have ‘repented of their sins’… and implore Christ to come into them…
Salvation involves so much… I do NOT believe any of us will know anyway near just how much is involved until the Lord reveals it to us fully in Heaven… but for our purposes let’s examine it in three parts which I believe will help you to understand it better… and also to better understand the Word of God concerning it…
1. Salvation is the immediate mysterious, supernatural moment of our accepting Christ… thus it is called our ‘being born again’… or our ‘rebirth’… it begins our ‘spiritual life with God’… we are immediately adopted into the ‘family of God’ and ‘our names are written in the book of life’ and immediately we are then ‘indwelled by the Holy Spirit’ which means ‘God within us’…
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Let’s look at that last verse again… the ONLY requirement is to ‘believe in Christ’…to accept Him as Savior and Lord… (and why I always include both Savior and Lord is because ‘first He is God’… He is Deity… and as such He is Lord… even though we are also proclaiming Him Lord of our lives): “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Rom 5:8-11But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
John 3:3-7 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
Again, immediately we are ‘adopted into the family of God in Christ’… to NEVER be abandoned or kicked out or excommunicated:
Rom 8:14-17 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
2. Then and only then our relationship with God begins…
Can we ‘break relationship’… YES! And we all do at times… just like in our earthly family, don’t we have time when we ‘disobey our mom or dad’… or ‘get mad at them’… and in that maybe there is punishment involved as ‘in discipline’… and we get angry… or our feelings hurt…but eventually we must ‘come to them or them to us’ and ‘re-establish our closeness’… our relationship…
BUT we are NOT kicked out of the family are we? Well so too with God, our Heavenly Father… we may ‘rebel against Him…which is what sin is… and He may discipline us… and we may in this ‘break relationship’… but He is still our Heavenly Father, and we are still in the ‘family of God.’
(Now I realize that here on earth, some extremes happen wherein a person ‘is kicked out of the home’ thus, ‘out of the family’… or chooses to leave the home or family… even on occasion changing their name… but that does NOT change who your biological mother and father are… so one is ‘still of that family.’)
If we ‘break relationship with God, how do we restore it’… that is shown to us here written to believers:
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous 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 also, since ‘we are in Christ’ we have the privilege of ‘going direct to the Father through Him’… so our ‘confession is to God’ and NOT to man. (as the Catholics and some faiths imply)…
No one can absolve us or reconcile us except God in Christ… and no one here on earth has any higher standing with God than each of us do through Christ… so do NOT allow anyone to try to intimidate you with that.
One final thing… no one, neither brother, sister, relative, or ‘church official’ can deal with our salvation by God in Christ (as some religions would represent)… it is totally personal…‘one-on-one’ with each person and the Lord! And if one does NOT accept Christ as Savior and Lord before they die… then they are eternally condemned based upon their works and conduct here on earth…
3. Finally, our Heavenly glorification… that is the moment, after our earthly death, when we will receive our eternal bodies…
So, salvation is of three parts: 1. The actual moment of one’s accepting Christ as Savior and Lord… and that is the strongest link that can NEVER be broken! 2. Our relationship with God beginning that moment and continuing forever…but it can be ‘broken by us’ when we sin… until we repent, confess it to Him, and are restored by Him. 3. When we are ‘glorified in our Heavenly bodies…
Thus, be sure when you read the Bible and words addressing ‘salvation’…that you understand which aspect of our salvation it is speaking about…
(For instance: Phil 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; First this is written to people already saved, plus, when the word ‘work’ is involved, it cannot be referring to the salvation of one’s soul… because you ‘cannot earn that’… so this is in reference to a problem or situation in that ‘assembly’ that Paul is exhorting them to work out the solution.)
Is Christ the only way to salvation and thus reconciliation with God the Father… or are there ‘multiple ways to God?’
Prov 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
For one to think that God the Father… would put His only begotten Son here on earth to ‘go through all He endured for us’ and to be ‘crucified on a Roman cross… then to make that ‘just one of a group of multiple choice ways to be redeemed and reconciled to God the Father… doesn’t that defy any logic or all the inherent traits of God?!
There is only ‘one way to God’… unless the Bible is a lie…
Isa 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Mic 5:2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
John 14:5-7 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
1 Tim 2:3-6 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.
1 Tim 3:16 And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
1 John 5:9-14 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son. And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Once ‘saved’ what happens to our sins?
Ps 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Does a true believer in Christ still sin even after being saved… YES!! We are encouraged to not sin, and we surely do not want to sin… but our ‘human nature’ is such that we do sin… (but those sins are also paid for as far as the eternal penalty)…
This written by the Apostle Paul, one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament, through whom God chose to ‘explain so much of the Gospel to us’… yet, even Paul sinned… (again, ‘we strive to live like Christ’ but we ‘fall short’… thus it is ‘by Christ’s performance on the Cross and our being washed clean by His shed blood’ that God the Father declares us righteous… and NOT by our performance… as Paul develops here showing us that as soon as we ‘are saved’ begins a ‘war within us’ between our ‘flesh or humanness and our spiritual self in Christ.’)
Rom 7:15-25 For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Rom 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
When we ‘sin’ we ‘break relationship with God the Father’ until we ‘restore relationship’…
How do they ‘restore themselves with Him’… This is written to ‘believers’…
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous 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.
1 John 2:1-2 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Can you ‘lose Christ’s salvation in you’… I often ask those who believe in the ‘loss of salvation’ that if so, how many sins or what is the ‘tipping point of that loss placing you back into eternal damnation’…
Or I ask them that since Christ dealt with all sin at the cross… past, present, and future… and you ‘profess Christ as Savior and Lord… thus all your sins are forgiven… just how would you then ‘get them back’ to be ‘under that penalty again’…
And of those who believe that ‘their good works or their life performance is the key… that if ‘good works can get you to Heaven’… how many good works does it take… when can you finally relax and be totally sure of your being saved and thus Heaven is your goal and you are already accepted there too when the Father calls you home…
Some believe that if you die with some ‘unconfessed sin’ you have lost your salvation… to me that is such a ridiculous concept…what if you just ‘broke the speed limit’…when God tells us to obey government authority… and you are in a wreck and die before you can confess it and ask His forgiveness… do you think you are then condemned to hell…
Each person knows within their own hearts if they have consciously and deliberately chosen to accept Christ as Savior and Lord… so if you have ‘settled that in your heart,’ and KNOW you have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord… then YOU ARE ETERNALLY (FOREVER) SAVED! YOU CANNOT LOSE CHRIST’S SALVATION IN YOU!
John 6:37-40 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”
Rom 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.
2 Cor 1:20-22 For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
Eph 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
1 Cor 15:54-57 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What is God’s will or desire for us… for all to come to the ‘saving knowledge of Christ’… to the Gospel of Christ… to the ‘salvation of God through Christ’ for all ‘who believe in Him’…
Will everyone be saved? NO! Statistically, considering the entire population of the world since Adam and Eve, the way is narrow and few will enter…
Matt 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.
Because our ‘pride is what separates us from God in Christ, the ‘wealthy’ are prone to denying Him… and thus: Mark 10:23-27 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking upon them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
But God has ‘provided the way’ for all who will but accept Christ… He is the way the truth and the light…
John 14:6-7 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
1 Tim 2:1-6 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.
How about those famous men of the Old Testament… called the Old Testament saints… if Christ is the only way to God and the only payment for one’s eternal sins to be forgiven in order to be accepted into Heaven… what is their status with God…
From reading Scripture, I believe that ‘all sin was dealt with by Christ at the cross’… past, present, and future… and that prior to His crucifixion, and His resurrection, those Old Testament believers who died were held in a ‘special place’ called Abraham’s bosom… until Christ dealt with the penalty of their sins… (their system of animal sacrifice taught them that ‘blood is required’… and in my thoughts was became a ‘passover’ wherein God passes over their sins until Christ could deal with them at the cross… (and too, I believe you can get that image from Exodus when Israel left Egypt… and that night of the Passover of the Angel of Death of the homes of the children of Israel…
All through the Old Testament, God is referred to as ‘the rock’ and as ‘our salvation’… and we can see it was NOT their works or the fact that they diligently and without fail obeyed the law after it was given… because they all broke the law too in some manner… but it was ‘their faith and belief in God’ that caused Him to grant them salvation… still Christ had to deal with their sin too on Calvary’s cross.
Abram, later renamed by God as Abraham, the father of Israel: Gen 15:6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Rom 4:1-8 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
Gal 3:6-9 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
James 2:23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.
Let’s look at some of the Old Testament Saints… and ‘their sins’… so we can then compare our own lives… and to see that ‘their sins often were heinous sins’… completely against God’s will for them… ‘Yet, they did NOT lose their salvation from God!’ They often did ‘lose relationship for a time’… but NEVER their salvation!
Abraham gave away his wife to a Pharaoh of Egypt…on two occasions… and also tried to fulfill God’s promise to him by impregnating Sarai’s handmaiden… which then fathered the Arab nations and thus the Muslims… and thus a vicious struggle and a warfare of hatred by the Arabs against Israel.
Lot, who was kin to Abraham…chose to live in the most corrupt cities in the world then… and became an elder in Sodom of Sodom and Gomorrah infamy…two cities God destroyed by fire and brimstone… and Lot’s sons and daughters did not respect him…and his wife disobeyed the angels command…yet Lot is spoken of in the New Testament:
2 Peter 2:6-10 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
Sampson… the strongest man in the Bible… disobeyed God’s commands for Israel, and married outside that people… and in that he also did NOT honor his mother and father’s wishes too… he also married harlots… and finally he got into sexual bondage and revealed the secret of his strength to one of his wives … he paid for this by being captured by the Philistines, blinded, and forced to be a slave for them for years… but God was faithful and honored his request to restore his strength so he could kill 3,000 Philistines and also commit suicide…
One of the greatest examples for me is King David… As a young boy, a shepherd, he had a very personal and unique relationship with God… and his boldness for the Lord caused him to fight Goliath and give victory to Israel… and once King, he was a warrior for the Lord to empower Israel to become the strongest nation… but, then, he too was tempted and fell into sin… he saw a beautiful woman, a married woman…and had her ‘brought to him’… and ‘seduced her’… but in reality… what woman under a King could have resisted…
Then, when she found she was pregnant… David conspired to have her husband killed in order to ‘cover it up’… (this is a very interesting story, and you should read it all…the life of David)…
So, he was an adulterer, and also a murderer…
But when confronted by the prophet of God about this… he admitted it and was stricken with deep remorse for what he had done… for his sin against God… and he repented…
And Psalm 51 is one of the Psalms he wrote concerning this…and you will see… he knew ‘he did NOT lose his salvation in God’ (still forgiven…he paid the consequences of his sin while still here on earth) and his relationship with God was broken for a time… but God is faithful and restored that too…
Ps 51:1-12 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
From this I realized that we can ‘only sin against God’…
Ps 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge.
What we do against another person is NOT sinning against them… it may be ‘trespassing against them’… but since they are NOT holy and righteous… nor are they God… we cannot sin against them… our sin is against God!
This part speaks of ‘relationship’… and David knew he had NOT lost his salvation with God, but he was ‘missing the joy of God’s salvation’… which is the relationship…
Ps 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
(In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit did NOT indwell each believer in God, that only came about after Christ’s resurrection and then ascension into Heaven…when God sent the Helper to us)…
John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.
Then too… I also realized from this that there is NO SIN which God’s merciful grace cannot overcome or forgive… if we truly repent and ask His forgiveness… Again, and this is so important, David realized he had ‘broken relationship but not lost salvation as he said:’ Ps 51:11-12 Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
We can also see by the rest of David’s life that he suffered the consequences of his sin… their first child…the one conceived in adultery…died (God took and told David He would)… and one of David’s own sons (Absalom) tried to kill him and take his kingdom… and David’s story of these sins has been preserved for all to see…
Still God refers to David in the New Testament and also in the book of Hebrews as one of the ‘faithful mentioned in the Hall of Faith’… read Hebrews chapter 11 on this… a beautiful chapter of remembrance…
Solomon, the second son of David and Bathsheba… became King of Israel and was the most knowledgeable man on earth… still in his latter life… he drifted away from relationship with God… took many wives… and even allowed ‘idol-worship in Israel’…
The Old Testament reveals that even those we call the saints of God were ‘human’ and had the same human nature as we do… it was ‘their faith in God that God declared was their righteousness’… just as today it is our faith in Christ…
Final Commentary:
This is just a glimpse of the person of our Lord. Isn’t it so wonderful, and such a blessing, that we serve One Sovereign God in Three Persons, The Father, The Son, And The Holy Spirit; and He has revealed His very character, His attributes, His Person in His names.
There is “nothing new under the sun”, nothing that we can experience, but has been provided for by Him in His word.
And His very names reveal His provision for us!! He is a Holy God, Righteous, Covenant Keeping, Just, Forgiving, Compassionate, Loving, and Eternal, Omniscient, Omnipresent, never changing. He is the Just and the Justifier, Our Savior, Our Redeemer, The Lamb of God, The Suffering Servant, Our Substitute in payment for our sins, Our Mighty Counselor, Sovereign, Lord, Master, Provider, Avenger, Judge, Conqueror, King!!!
He has revealed He can be grieved, He hates sin, but loves the sinner, He has anger and wrath. He can punish, or forgive, and is long suffering, He contends with mankind, all these characteristics that make up our God, our Heavenly Father. All these wonderful attributes to provide for and sustain us!!
Jesus Christ, who broke all precedents, walking this earth as a man, yet God, “being very God of very God, and true and perfect man”,—–”touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebr. 1:8) this does not imply any weakness, but rather that in His earthly life, He experienced every condition, temptation and aspect we must, yet without sin.
The only person who filled all three, at the same time, of the most holy and highest offices, that of Prophet, Priest, and King! And now is our “Advocate” in the presence of the Father, defending all accusations made against us by Satan! He can simply say, ” Father, I paid for that!”
Hopefully, this personalized insight into God in Christ will be of great comfort to you when you approach Him at His Throne of Grace, because as Israel, we too have our trials and tribulations, and temptations—and knowing He has shown us His willingness to deal with all for us by the revelation of Himself in His names is beyond verbalization in praise, thanksgiving, and worship!
But, Praise God, His Spirit, who is in us, will pray with our spirit to the Father, and hopefully this will also expand our mind in the worship of Him through and in company with our Precious Savior, Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
John 4:23-24 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
1 John 2:1-2 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
1 John 5:9-13 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son. And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.
I love you and hope this helps you in times of stress or in understanding…
Just know…that no matter what…God loves you… and if ‘you are in His Son… you are eternally saved’…
God knows every thought before we think it… He knows we will sin… what He looks for is ‘our reaction’ to sin and to Him… do we ‘draw closer’ or ‘distance ourselves’… and this is often a dynamic where both reactions are involved… I turned my back on Him completely for about 30 years… (‘in relationship’… but I was still saved as a child, and my salvation was and is secure in Him)… and He ‘reawakened my spirit in Him’… Praise His name!
In Him, saved by His merciful grace…
Grandpa

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Sep 15 2010

Our choices and our actions can have far more ‘far-reaching consequences’ than we may ever imagine…

This ‘began as a devotional with commentary’ but as it evolved… became such a very powerful study of God’s interaction with His creation… and His perfect plan…

and how there is ‘supernatural warfare’…with Satan and his minions trying their fiendish best to corrupt, destroy, or delay God… then…in the beginning… and now…

But praise God… He is Sovereign… and thus…in control… and everything works out ‘according to His “determined” will (as differing from His “desired will”)…

***yes to me it seems ‘God has both’… a ‘determined will’ which NOTHING CAN STOP or CHANGE… and a ‘desired will’ such as His will is for all to come to Jesus and to be saved… but He knows… and by His Word we see…that is not being done… but that is another study…

So…lets proceed… and my hope is it will stimulate and challenge you in so many ways…

and also impress upon you that ‘your choices, your actions’ can have far more ‘far-reaching consequences’… either good or bad…than you may ever even have considered… and thus…YOU can be a influence that can impact the world…

“I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” — Jer 33:3

Here I have placed expanded Scripture framing the above Devotional verse but used the New American Standard Bible:

Jer 33:2-9
2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name,
3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
4 “For thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword,
5 ‘While they are coming to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the corpses of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My wrath, and I have hidden My face from this city because of all their wickedness:
6 ‘Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.
7 ‘And I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and I will rebuild them as they were at first.
8 ‘And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me, and by which they have transgressed against Me.
9 ‘And it shall be to Me a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear of all the good that I do for them, and they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’
NASB

And now… written by a man of God — Charles Spurgeon — who wrote this over 115 years ago in England …but his illumination of the Scriptures are still so relevant even today…as God’s word never changes…and this only shows again that His Holy Spirit…who has illuminated His word to saints preceding us…is also faithful to do so for us…if we will but search His word diligently…

Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment.

There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers.

We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven.

There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers.

Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, “By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto Him: he found Him in Beth-el, and there He spake with us.”

Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy.

Prevailing prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as He is, so are we also in this world.

If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of importunate prayer.

When you open the window on your side, it will not be bolted on the other.

As I began reflecting upon this devotional… somehow I was led to consider so much more… as I started taking his text… and then ‘finding the actual verses’ from which he had taken it… as this one… and in this presentation…you’ll see ‘world-wide effects’ still ongoing…that also should show you…that ‘your choices and decisions too can affect so many’… thus each of us can be ‘an influence for good or for evil’…

Hos 12:3-6 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.
KJV

This was the story of the birth of Jacob… a ‘twin’ with Esau… his ‘older and thus the elder brother’ if only by a matter of a few moments… still in the family of Israel as God’s Word traces the lineage of Christ…

the eldest son — the firstborn son…was given great responsibility and the blessing of his father… and if there was ‘great wealth’…he was given the largest portion… and his ‘siblings’ were affected too by his position in the family… as he carried on the headship of his father…he became the patriarch… 

Historically and Biblically… this is more of this fabulous story… and in it too… we see this evolving fulfillment of God’s plan… and too…we can see Satan’s attack trying to thwart God’s plan… and disrupt the lineage of Christ… this ‘supernatural battle’ between ‘good and evil’… between light and darkness…

which is still being fought…but we have tremendous advantage for those of us who believe God’s Word… we know how it ends…Christ VICTORIOUS!

Gen 25:21-26 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
NASB

Thus we have the birth of ‘two nations’… one in Jacob continues the lineage of Abraham… and Isaac… and thus Israel… through which is also the lineage of Christ…the ‘seed of promise’…

***(Also… previous to Isaac… Abraham sired Ishmael through Sarah’s handmaiden… who became the father of all Arabs… also enemies of Israel… and that is who the Muslims trace their lineage through)…

But the ‘birth of these twins’… Jacob and the other Esau…which became the nation of Edom…and the Edomites… who became bitter and deadly enemies of Israel…

Gen 36:9 These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.

in fact… Esau even married a daughter of Ishmael… in ‘direct opposition to his father’… and aren’t we too…so ‘rebellious by nature’… haven’t each of us ‘rebelled against our parents’…or ‘against God’… (all sin is rebellion against God)…

Gen 28:6-9 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram, to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Now let us ‘fast forward’ to the time of Christ… and see just how this situation with Esau has evolved… since Esau became the ‘father of the Edomites’… who became deadly enemies of God and Israel (out of Isaac and then out of Jacob)… as we see in Matthew…that Herod the Great was a descendent of Esau… and of Edom… and still an enemy of God! (his father was Antipater and his mother Cypros, an Arabian woman…so she had to be from the lineage of Ishmael (father of the Arab nations)… if my facts are straight…

Matt 2:1-6 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
KJV

God warned the ‘wise men’…so…again there is ‘divine intervention and interaction’… and I believe there still is today…

Matt 2:12-13 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
KJV
We see here the evil of Satan and of his minions…their merciless slaughter of babies 2 years old and under… (***and compare that to our ‘allowing…even protecting’ abortion’…the ‘murder of unborn babies!’)…

Matt 2:16-18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. ***(My note: as Satan’s instrument trying to destroy the Christ-child) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
KJV ***see this was even prophesied in the OT years and years before the birth of Christ… in Jer. 31:15…when one sees ‘all the prophecies of Christ’ that He fulfilled literally… His birth, His life, His ministry, His death, His resurrection…years or even centuries before He was born… how could anyone doubt?!

Other mentions in the devotionals text are worth study too… such as Bethel… as each of these have special ‘spiritual meaning and significance’…
Bethel…a special place of worship…first mentioned here…

Gen 12:7-8 And the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.

***Note later when Abraham had sinned against God in reference to ‘giving his wife to a Pharaoh’ and telling him she was his sister… God did NOT punish him… but rather took him to Bethel to worship…

Carmel…is often mentioned in the OT…but here is a verse I love…

Isa 35:2 It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, The majesty of our God.

But lets go back to these moments in Biblical history… of Isaac… and his twin sons… Jacob and Esau… (preceded by Abraham’s own sin… complicited by his wife…when they ‘tried to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham…by him siring a son through Sarah’s handmade, Hagar… who was named Ishmael…the father of all Arabs)…

Gen 16:2-4 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.

Gen 16:11-12 The angel of the Lord said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. “And he will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

Gen 16:16 And Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

But here is where God ‘again’ promises Abraham that he would be the father of many… and a great nation…though whom ‘the whole world would be blessed’… and here is how the whole world would be blessed… the birth of Christ… and His sacrifice for our sins on Calvary’s cross…

Isa 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Here again is the blessing validated…

Gen 18:17-18 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?

Gen 22:17-18 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

This blessing again promised to Isaac… Abraham’s ‘son of the promise’…

Gen 26:1-4 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;

This blessing also given to Jacob… the ‘son of Isaac’…the ‘twin of Esau’…

Gen 28:10-14 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Here…after the birth of Ishmael…when Abraham was still confused… as he and Sarah had tried to fulfill God’s promise through the flesh…

Gen 17:1-2 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly.”

Gen 17:15-17 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”

And here even Abraham questions God…concerning Ishmael… and God tells him that Ishmael is NOT the seed of the promise… but that God will still bless Ishmael… but Ishmael IS NOT OF THE COVENANT!

Gen 17:18-21 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!” But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”

(***and herein lies the split too with Islam…who considers Ishmael the seed of the promise with Allah!)… and again…Satan has ‘counterfeited’…and we see a ‘false religion’… delivered by a ‘false prophet…Mohammed’… which is controlled by darkness…and therefore condemns so many to hell)…

So we see how ‘significant our choices can be’… and how too the ‘consequences’ can be’… and how ‘history’ seemingly repeats itself… because as we too see… the Prince of the Power of earth is Satan… and by him are controlled this deep hatred of Israel… as God’s chosen people… and also ‘this hatred of us’ who are Christian…

And it really ‘should not surprise us’… if we but consider that…that Satan’s tactics have NOT changed… because ‘they work’…

and the ‘heart of man’ is still in complete conflict and rebellion with God… until he is ‘reborn into Christ’ by the Holy Spirit…and given a ‘newness in Him’…

(***and then…the ‘internal war begins’…between the ‘flesh’…the ‘natural man’… and the Holy Spirit of God who is now indwelling us…and this ‘internal warfare will continue until He calls us home…but Christ is also ‘victorious in us’)…

There is ‘supernatural warfare’… here Daniel is speaking of the angel Michael…and his struggle with one of Satan’s minions…

Dan 10:13 “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.

Dan 10:20  Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.

Here the NT also confirms spiritual warfare..

Eph 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Eph 6:11-13 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 
***red is my emphasis… to show we are in a supernatural war…

But here is God’s promise in Christ…

Rom 8:37-39 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And there is so much Scripture of God’s promising us ‘victory in Christ’…

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

John 17:1-5 These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.

John 6:37-40 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Here are some things ‘precious to me’…said by others…

“I shall rise from the dead…I shall see the Son of God, the Sun of Glory, and shine myself as that sun shines. I shall be united to the Ancient of Days, to God Himself, who had no morning, never began…No man ever saw God and lived. And yet, I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen Him, I shall never die.”

                                                                                    John Donne

 

 

“Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead.  Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive then ever before.”  D.L. Moody

 

“I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after dark; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.” C.S. Lewis

Thus too…in closing…you can see why this poem means so much to me… as it captures my ‘reality in Christ’…

One of my favorite poems… sure does seem ‘to frame me — the snapshot of me’…because ‘certainly, I am NOT holy or righteous’… so must rely on the ‘blood of Jesus Christ’ to wash away my sins…


 
 

I AM A CHRISTIAN
        by Maya Angelou        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin.”
        I’m whispering “I was lost,”
        Now I’m found and forgiven.

        When I say…”I am a Christian”
        I don’t speak of this with pride.
        I’m confessing that I stumble
        and need CHRIST to be my guide.

        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not trying to be strong.
        I’m professing that I’m weak
        and need HIS strength to carry on.

        When I say.. “I am a Christian”
        I’m not bragging of success.
        I’m admitting I have failed
        and need God to clean my mess.

        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not claiming to be perfect,
        My flaws are far too visible
        but, God believes I am worth it.

        When I say.. “I am a Christian”
        I still feel the sting of pain,
        I have my share of heartaches
        So I call upon His name.

        When I say… “I am a Christian”
        I’m not holier than thou,
        I’m just a simple sinner
        who received God’s good grace, somehow.

Bill Watts… a sinner still…saved by God’s merciful grace in Christ Jesus…my Lord and Savior…

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Sep 07 2010

Do you believe that once saved you can then lose your salvation in Christ?

This is NOT written as a condemnation of this denomination… but to point out the ‘doctrinal differences’ between ‘what they believe’… and ‘what I believe’… and the Scriptural basis for my understanding…

written to stimulate your hearts and minds to study His Word for His truth…

because ‘our salvation in Christ’ is totally what our faith is all about…

and in my opinion… for it to truly be divine and validated by our Creator… our Father God… to me… then ‘the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross’ is complete… and it is ‘all about Him and His shed blood’ and that God the Father raised Him from the dead the third day…

And “ANYTHING” that tries to ‘add to His finished work on the cross’ or somehow ‘makes each of us responsible for the maintenance of His gift to us’… seems to then say, “His work was insufficient”… and “not complete”…

***and in this…I AM NOT saying one’s works for Christ are not important…they are… and certainly I believe they will also be tied to ‘rewards in Heaven’… but these works are NOT significant to the miracle of our receiving God’s salvation in Christ… they are the result (the fruit) following our conversion… but only God will judge them and validate them… NOT MANKIND…

Last Sunday… 9-5-2010…

I attended an adult Sunday school class at a Church of Christ… because we were waiting on someone we needed to pick up there…who was in the children’s Sunday school class…

And they believe that a person can ‘come to Christ’… and be saved… but then too… ‘can also lose their salvation’… which I do NOT believe!

(In this I write… I believe once-saved, always saved… so my position is adversarial… thus if you are a member of the Church of Christ…you may want to defend it… or even be offended… but I would hope you’d at least read my paper… and then… pray about it… and then… study the Scriptures on this… and TRY to NOT be influenced by the years of indoctrination of your denomination)  

and I tried to keep my mouth zipped as I listened to their study of 2nd Peter 3… 

(listening to ‘what I considered’ their ‘prideful perception that they are righteous living saints’… ‘based upon their own performance and works’)..

and yet…as the one teaching the lesson said, they also  ‘always ask God to forgive any sin they commit’… EVEN THE ONES THEY FORGET OR DO NOT REALIZE

which to me really disproves the above… how could one ‘be so righteous’ and ‘still sin’… and even more…somehow forget a sin… or do NOT realize they sinned…

this just does NOT equate… if one is ‘so righteous by their own ability or performance’…certainly too…they would ‘be so tuned to God’ that they would NEVER sin and NOT know it… or forget it until they pray in repentance…

So this certainly too dilutes their perception of righteousness (that they have sins they forgot or did not realize)… and thus too by that theory even possibly considering that ‘if they have an unconfessed sin’… EVEN THE ONES THEY FORGET OR DO NOT REALIZE… then their salvation…by their own doctrine of loss of salvation… is also threatened…

so I listened quietly …clear until verse 17…

2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,

When finally I asked if this means… ‘they believed one could lose their salvation’… they said…”YES”…

and I said, “Prove it”… meaning by Scripture…

Wow…it is ‘like an alien or the enemy was in their midst’… as they all started giving me Scripture references… the three I have used in this ‘they also read to me’…

I answered them…that I would study their Scriptural references on this… as we are taught in the Bible… (I never ‘accept’ an isolated Scripture used to prove something contrary to what I have learned in my own Biblical study)…

Acts 17:11

11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

And my very first method is to ‘be sure they are in proper context’ and not just ‘framed to prove their own views’… as we see so often today in organized religion…

And ‘does their interpretation fail to consider’ the ‘preponderance of Scripture on the same topic of once saved eternally saved’… which ‘loss of salvation does fail to consider!’

Once saved… we can ‘fall out of relationship’ in ‘our rebellion and sin’ (because we all still sin…everyone does)… but NEVER do we lose our salvation! Once ‘reborn in Christ’… we ‘are His forever!’ (Btw these verses cover just this situation: 1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous 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 for those of you so interested…I have some really detailed devotionals on ‘once saved, eternally saved’… (with a preponderance of Scripture)… because I personally feel it is so important!

And I also stated to them… I am saved by God’s grace in Christ… and NOT BY MY PERFORMANCE… rather by Christ’s performance on Calvary’s cross…

and there is nothing I can add to it… nor take from it… and that ‘once-saved, always saved’…

That Christ’s work on the cross is full and complete…  we cannot earn it nor can we manipulate it or do anything to maintain it… it is His free gift to those of us who ‘believe in Him’…

and yes…we can ‘lose relationship’…but once in the ‘family of God’ He never kicks us out… as illustrated even by the ‘prodigal son’… and so many other verses… with some key ones here:

John 6:37  “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

2 Cor 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Eph 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —  having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,  who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

1 Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.

Needless to say…not ‘one single man there’ was ‘hospitable or exhibited any friendliness to me as I left’… though a few of their wives did try to still be kind…

Church of Christ Scriptures used to ‘prove one could lose their salvation’…

First Scripture they used to ‘prove this to me’.. 1 Cor 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Below is an expansion of Scripture for contextual purposes…

1 Cor 10:1-14

10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

3 and all ate the same spiritual food;

4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.

5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.

7 And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ” The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.”

8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.

10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

My comments… Their using Israel to ‘prove loss of Christ’s salvation’ can be difficult or misunderstood…and thus misinterpreted…

Israel’s Covenants with God were so conditional… God said “HE would do this… IF THEY did this”…

(even-though I believe they too were saved by His merciful grace)… theirs was NOT the economy of Christ risen…

However the ‘example used above’ is one of His punishment for their rebellious sin… they ‘fell into punishment’… however extreme… but ‘as believers today’ we are under a different economy… we are under the ‘Grace of God in the shed blood of the risen Christ’… which is the ‘eternal sacrifice’… given by God’s merciful grace… NOT BY WORKS…

And we too are disciplined by God for our sins while here on earth…even when we are saved… but ‘we DO NOT LOSE OUR SALVATION!’

Next verse used: Gal 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Expanded for context…

Gal 5:1-6

5 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.

3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.

4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

My comments: Again…this is comparing Judaic law to Christ’s gift of salvation by grace… and points out that the law was a fierce taskmaster … and did NOT save… being under the law… was condemnation by that law…

Legalism requires men to keep the whole law! Legalism makes Christ of no value! The Judaizers insisted on the necessity of Gentile believers being circumcised for salvation! To thus depend… as Paul points out…makes Christ of no benefit… either our salvation is ‘in Christ’ or we are NOT saved!

The Lord Jesus is a COMPLETE SAVIOR! And also AN EXCLUSIVE ONE… Paul is NOT referring to these verses to any who may have been circumcised in the past, but only to those who might undergo this ritual as a necessity to complete justification, to those who assert the obligations of law-keeping for their acceptance with God!

Gal 5:4 shows: Legalism mean’s the abandonment of Christ as one’s ONLY HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS! Some use this verse to illustrate ‘falling into sin’… and therefore to ‘fall from grace and be forever lost’…

I believe it to be ‘unsound’… First the verse DOES NOT DESCRIBE SAVED PERSONS…who fall into sin! In fact there is no mention of ‘falling into sin’… rather, the verse speaks of those who are living moral, respectable, upright lives and hope to be saved thereby… Thus the passage acts as a boomerang on those who use it to support ‘the falling away doctrine’… they teach that a Christian must keep the law, live a perfect life and otherwise refrain from sinning in order to remain saved…

However…this Scripture insists that all who seek to be justified by works of law or self-effort have fallen from grace…

Secondly…this interpretation contradicts the overall, consistent testimony of the NT to the effect that every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternally saved!…that NO SHEEP OF CHRIST will ever perish! And that salvation depends ENTIRELY on the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST OUR SAVIOR, and NOT man’s feeble efforts (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:46, 47; 10:27-30)

John 3:16-18  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 5:24  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

John 6:46-47 “Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

Nothing of ‘works’ in these words of our Lord… only belief in Him through faith… and then His promise to us ‘once we are His’…

John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”

Next…  another interpretation of the verse they used is that it refers to those who were originally saved by faith in the Lord Jesus, but who subsequently put themselves under the law to retain their salvation or to achieve holiness. In other words…they were saved by grace…but now seek to be kept by the law. Thus to turn away from God’s way of perfecting His saints by the work of the Holy Spirit in them… and to seek that end through the observance of external rites and ceremonies, which men of the flesh can observe as well as Saints of God…

This view is unscriptural, first because the verse does NOT describe Christians who seek holiness or sanctification, but rather unsaved persons who seek justification by law-keeping…. Note the wording… you who are seeking to be justified by law;

Also it implies the possibility of people being subsequently severed from Christ, and that is inconsistent with the right views of the grace of God… and in Christ’s own words…

Finally…another interpretation is that Paul is speaking of people who might profess to be Christians but who are not truly saved….they are seeking to be justified by keeping the law. The apostle is telling them that they cannot have two Saviors! They must choose between Christ or the law! If they choose the law…then they are severed from Christ (to whom they have never truly accepted as Savior) as their only possible hope of righteousness….

As Hoag and Vine write: Christ must be everything…or nothing to a man! No limited trust or divided allegiance is acceptable to Him! The man who is justified by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is a Christian…the man who seeks to be justified by the works of the law is not!

NEXT SCRIPTURE THEY USED: Heb 12:15  See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Expanded for context: Heb 12:14-17 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

My comments: Again the ‘context’ is so important…Hebrews 12: 15 and 16 seem to present four distinct sins to avoid… But there is a ‘strong suggestion’ in the context that this is another warning against the single sin of apostasy and that these four sins are related to it…

First of all APOSTASY IS A FAILURE TO OBTAIN THE GRACE OF GOD! The person looks like a Christian… talks like a Christian…. professes to be a Christian…but he has NEVER BEEN BORN AGAIN! He has come so near the Savior but has NEVER received Him; so near, yet so far…

Apostasy is NOT a root of bitterness. The person turns sour against the Lord and repudiates his Christian faith. His defection is contagious. Others are defiled by his complaints, doubts, denials…

Finally Apostasy is a form of irreligion…illustrated by Esau. He had NO REAL APPRECIATION for the birthright…he willingly bartered it for the momentary gratification of his appetite… His later remorse was for ‘his loss’ and for the ‘older son’s double portion of inheritance’…but he was too late…his father could NOT reverse the blessing…

So it is with an apostate… he has no real regard for spiritual values. He willingly renounces Christ in order to escape reproach, suffering, or martyrdom. He cannot be ‘renewed to repentance’…There may be ‘remorse’ but no godly repentance…

Thus… again… my belief is NOT shaken… nor  amended… and I believe so many ‘denominations’ have ‘fallen into such a narrow view of God’… one so ‘limiting’… and ‘so punitive’…so controlling…that they so often miss the ‘heart of God’… and become so ‘legalistic’… just as the Pharisees were in the time of Christ…

Another ‘personal test I apply’… which ‘interpretation makes God bigger’ and ‘more loving’… the same love that while we were still enemies to Him that still caused Him to send His only begotten Son to ‘become our sin’ and ‘take our place’ on the cross… and to die for us…

Then this doctrine of ‘loss of salvation’ seems to represent that HE has done it all for us through His Son, Jesus Christ… or that somehow He allows us to ‘accept Christ’.. . but then… there is some ‘maintenance imposed’ that we ‘must supply’… which if that is true… makes ‘the finished work of Christ on the cross INSUFFICIENT!’ Or that there is some way or some sin so grievous that He then ‘kicks us out of the family of God’…

An interpretation that is ‘by interpretation’ so condemning…yet so vague… and has ‘so much implied loss’… I mean…don’t you think a loving God… would want us to BE SURE OF OUR STATUS WITH HIM… especially as to our salvation in Christ!!

He would NOT want us to wonder if we have ‘broken some rule’ that ‘disqualifies us’ or forces us back to square one… or that ‘kicks us out of His family’…

Remember…Paul turned a ‘saved but an unrepentant sinner – caught in a sin he would not correct or let go of’ over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh…to preserve his soul… even this sinner was NOT kicked out of the family of God…

1 Cor 5:5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. ***underlining mine for emphasis…

I always want to ask these groups… ‘how much or how many good works is enough’ for our salvation to be complete…

or if we ‘can lose our salvation’… which sin is it that is the one that ‘black balls us’… gets us kicked out of the family of God…

or can we live our lives so perfect that in spite of that being written in Scripture to be impossible…that somehow we ‘earn justification’…

and conversely… can we live this life…and then…lose our status with God for one short period of rebellion or sin… or ignorance… or a sin we failed to confess…

And too… but so important… WHO MAKES THESE JUDGMENTS… the Church of Christ… or whatever church has set this standard for their members (and that could certainly be political or skewed with bias)…

My judge is God the Father… but my Advocate before Him is His Son, Jesus Christ… and the Bible says…

Rom 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Pride is a great seducer… and those who think ‘their salvation’ is ‘anything but Christ’… to me… are somehow declaring ‘their own prideful worthiness’ to God the Father… and thus diluting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross…

As for me… I am in Him… a sinner still…saved by the merciful grace of God through Christ…He is worthy… I appear as justified by His shed blood… NOT by my own actions or performance… by His…

Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

Written by Bill Watts… meant only to stimulate your heart and mind to study God’s Word for His truth…

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Sep 06 2010

Hell is real! So is Heaven or Hell our default Destination?

This has been placed upon my heart to send… as there are so many ‘spouting things’ … often filtered by their own disguise… claiming them as Scriptural or words of God… that my prayer to the Father…is to help me NOT become confused or to listen to these ‘agents of Satan who would pervert the Word of God’…

Too often these are people in authority in some church… often too these are those ‘who have created a HIGHER AUTHORITY than the Bible’… or a ‘person or office’ who ‘speaks for God’ that also ‘has a higher authority than Scripture’…

2 Tim 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.

Father GodHelp me ‘stay close to Scripture’ and ‘examine and compare everything to it’…

 

 

Hell is real!

So….

Is Heaven our ‘Default Destination’

Or…

Is Hell?

Written Dec. 31, 2005…

 

This may be a bit long, and certainly is intense…….but then, since, according to Scripture, everyone’s final destination is either Heaven or Hell, and, they are ‘eternal destinations,’ (that there is no ‘state of complete annihilation’ as we are ‘eternal beings’)……shouldn’t we know more about each?

 

Today… we even see ‘those who call themselves followers of Christ’ who say…’there is NO HELL’… that God the Father would NOT ‘eternally punish anyone’ in such a place… that it is ‘symbolic’ or ‘some short term punishment’… that HELL is ‘really only an eternal separation from God the Father’… and other such ‘fantasies’ that would have a ‘hard time’ being supported by Scripture’

 

In fact, some of these even say…there is really ‘NO MENTION OF HELL IN THE NEW TESTAMENT’…that it was only referenced ‘before Christ’…

 

But these are Christ’s own words: Mark 9:43-48  “And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.] “And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell, [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.] “And if your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

Matt 8:11-12 “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Rev 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. 

In his book, Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, he quotes Ivor Powell, “At the age of 83 I asked myself what I knew about the home of God, and I was truly shocked to admit I knew very little….Increasing age and the fact that I shall soon be making my own pilgrimage, have begotten within my soul an intense desire to explore this fascinating subject.”

Again, please realize that no matter how impassioned I write, or ‘how authoritatively’…………I am fallible, and am not your pastor, or a person of ‘authority’……and certainly not your Holy Spirit………rather one who is ‘saved by the merciful grace of God, through Jesus Christ’…….and is so thankful that I spend time trying to have a better relationship with Him through the reading of His Word………and this is my ‘illumination’ of what I read………and is meant to be a ‘stimulus’ for you to study the Word yourself, to decide what you feel it says to you………..

 

 

Hell is real!

So….

Is Heaven our ‘Default Destination’

Or…

Is Hell?

 

CS Lewis wrote: “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one….the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

GK Chesterton wrote: “Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice.”

Dante, in the Inferno, envisioned this sign chiseled above Hell’s gate: “Abandon every hope, you who enter.”

Novelist Dorothy Sayers wrote: “There seems to be some kind of conspiracy to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. The doctrine of Hell is not ‘medieval priestcraft’ for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin………We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ.”

Randy Alcorn writes (and his book, Heaven, also supplied the motivation and many of the thoughts): God and Satan are not equal opposites. Likewise, Hell is not Heaven’s equal opposite. Just as God has no equals as a person, Heaven has no equal as a place.

CS Lewis wrote: “There have been times when I think we do not desire Heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.”

And he also wrote: “All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the final grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach, and you have lost it forever.”

Of course, Hell being real is based upon the Word of God revealing it, just as it also reveals Heaven, and our way to Heaven through our faith in Jesus Christ, and His redeeming act of dying on the cross for us, and that He is risen—-and lives forever, and is ‘preparing a place’ for us ‘with Him’ forever. They are ‘all interdependent’ on God’s truth—thus each one of them is dependent upon the other.

(And, I believe that whether a person ‘believes it or not’ God’s truth is absolute.)

Is it ‘unloving to speak of Hell?’ If you were giving some friends directions to Oklahoma City, and you knew one road, maybe even more narrow, less traveled, and required a bit more time, or was longer led you there;—-but a second road, a wider road, more traveled, more modern, even shorter, that required less ‘course correction’ but ended at a sharp cliff on a hill by a river because the ‘bridge had been washed away’ in a flood—that is ‘even now’ raging, and there ‘were few warnings or lights illuminating this danger,’ and people were crashing off it to their death—-would you only talk about ‘the safe road?’ In fact as Randy Alcorn points out in his book, Heaven, it would be terribly ‘unloving’ not to warn them about that ‘second road.’

The basic truth is that there are only two possible destinations after death: Heaven and Hell. Each is just as real, and just as eternal as the other. The most loving thing we can do for our family and friends, and those we may meet, is to warn them about the road that leads to destruction and tell them about the road that leads to life—-share the ‘good news’ of the Gospel of Christ.

What ‘mankind says’—-‘in regard to this’ is not the final yardstick by which to measure, we need to look at what God says in His Word because that’s what counts………

 

Christ’s words: The Narrow and Wide Gates: Matt 7:12-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Mark 8:36-38 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 

We do not know how long we will live here on earth, we may die at any time: James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

It is of paramount importance to make sure you are going to Heaven, not Hell, The voice that whispers, “There is no hurry, you can always think about it later,” is not the voice of God. He says: 2 Cor 6:2 for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION” —  

Choose for yourself who you will serve: Josh 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

What would keep us out of Heaven is universal: Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

The ‘status’ of all ‘mankind’ (without Christ) as revealed by God: Rom 3:9-12 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

Rom 3:18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

Again speaking of: The Folly and Wickedness of Men:  Ps 14:1-3 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

The eternal consequence for man’s actions and choices: Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  ***Note: sin is singular and NOT plural…just one sin condemns…

God is so holy that He cannot allow sin into His presence: Hab 1:13a Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favor.

Because we are sinners, we are not entitled to enter God’s presence. We cannot enter Heaven ‘as we are.’

So Heaven is NOT our default destination. No one ‘goes there automatically.’ ***Note: There will be NO GOOD PEOPLE in Heaven… there will only be those FORGIVEN! Forgiven by God in Christ!

 

Unless our sin problem is resolved, the only place we go is our true default destination……Hell.

 

Hell is the single greatest tragedy in the universe.

 

We each ‘have a choice’ because God, in His merciful grace has made ‘provision for us’ in His Son: Rom 5:6-11 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

How can we be saved? : Acts 16:30-31 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

What is this ‘being born again? It is the miraculous moment we ‘accept Christ’ and ‘become a child of God’: John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 

It is ‘realizing you are lost in sin’ and ‘need a Savior’—-and that Savior is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God—and then, believe God’s promise: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

And NEVER READ THIS WONDERFUL SCRIPTURE WITHOUT READING THAT FOLLOWING WHICH SO EMPHASIZES IT…THAT IT IS ONLY BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST: John 3:17-18

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  ***underlining by me for emphasis…

Realizing He is ‘the only Way’: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Either you believe Him or you ‘call Him a liar!’: 1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous 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.

We must obey God rather than man: Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Realize the fact that you can be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus: Rom 10:9-13 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

2 Cor 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Then, if one’s heart is convicted, and they ‘repent’ and want to ‘come to Jesus,’ a person might pray this simple prayer: “Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I want forgiveness for my sins—-my past sins,—–my present sins,—-my future sins. I believe Jesus Christ died on the Cross for me, and rose again—-that He lives! Father, I give You my life to do with as You will. I want Jesus to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus’ name—–Amen!”

It is ‘between you and God.’

Since we have established there is a Hell, lets look at some things that might give us a better ‘picture of it.’ Nothing is ‘more powerful and impacting’ than a ‘word picture.’

 

If you read in the OT about the different Gates into and out of Jerusalem, you will find the ‘Prison Gate’ where all the trash and garbage collected in Jerusalem was carried out of into the Valley of Hinnom, or Ghenna, and burned.

Here is what Nelson’s Bible Dictionary says: HINNOM, VALLEY OF [HEN nahm] — a deep, narrow ravine south of Jerusalem. At the HIGH PLACES of Baal in the Valley of Hinnom, parents sacrificed their children as a burnt offering to the pagan god Molech (2 Kings 23:10). Ahaz and Manasseh, kings of Judah, were both guilty of this awful wickedness (2 Chron 28:3; 33:6). But good King Josiah destroyed the pagan altars to remove this temptation from the Hebrew people.

The prophet Jeremiah foretold that God would judge this awful abomination of human sacrifice and would cause such a destruction that “the Valley of the Son of Hinnom” would become known as “the Valley of Slaughter” (Jer 7:31-32; 19:2,6; 32:35). The place was also called “Tophet.”

Apparently, the Valley of Hinnom was used as the garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem. Refuse, waste materials, and dead animals were burned here. Fires continually smoldered, and smoke from the burning debris rose day and night. Hinnom thus became a graphic symbol of woe and judgment and of the place of eternal punishment called HELL.

Translated into Greek, the Hebrew “Valley of Hinnom” becomes gehenna, which is used 12 times in the New Testament (11 times by Jesus and once by James), each time translated in the NKJV as “hell” (Matt 5:22; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6).

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Unger’s Bible Dictionary says: HINNOM, VALLEY OF (hin’om). Otherwise called “the valley of the son of Hinnom,” or “the valley of Benhinnom”; a deep and narrow ravine with steep, rocky sides to the S and W of Jerusalem, separating Mt. Zion to the N from the “Hill of Evil Counsel,” and the sloping rocky plateau of the “valley of Rephaim” to the S. The earliest mention of the valley of Hinnom is in Josh 15:8; 18:16, where the boundary line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin is described as passing along the bed of the ravine. On the southern brow, overlooking the valley at its eastern extremity, Solomon erected high places for Molech (1 Kings 11:7), whose horrid rites were revived from time to time in the same vicinity by the later idolatrous kings. Ahaz and Manasseh made their children “pass through the fire” in this valley (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3; 33:6), and the fiendish custom of infant sacrifice to the fire-gods seems to have been kept up in Topheth at its southeast extremity for a considerable period (Jer 7:31; 2 Kings 23:10). To put an end to these abominations the place was polluted by Josiah, who rendered it ceremonially unclean by spreading over it human bones and other corruptions (2 Kings 23:10,13-14; 2 Chron 34:3-5). From that time it appears to have become the common cesspool of the city, into which its sewage was conducted to be carried off by the waters of the Kidron, as well as a laystall, where all its solid filth was collected. From its ceremonial defilement and from the detested and abominable fire of Molech, if not from the supposed everburning funeral piles, the later Jews applied the name of this valley Ge Hinnom, “Gehenna,” to denote the place of eternal torment. The name by which it is now known is Wadi Jehennam, or Wadi er Rubeb. See Gehenna; Hell.

(From The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

Here are scriptural references to Hell that in simple, but dramatic words show this to be a ‘real place’—-totally separated from God, in total darkness, and eternal torment: Christ’s own words…Mark 9:43-48 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.]  “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

Matt 8:11-12 “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Rev 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Prepared for Satan and his angels (but Satan will not be master of it, he will be imprisoned there.) Matt 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

Matt 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Man’s choice to reject Christ—thus to be separated from God forever: Luke 19:14 “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us.’

Rev 21:8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The saved will be able to look down from Heaven and see this: Isa 66:23-24 “And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD. “Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”    

Matt 18:8-9 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

Powerful picture of Hell—-the condemned sinner in hell still has his senses, feelings, desires, a body, etc., it is a ‘living hell’: Luke 16:19-31 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ “And he said, “Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house —  for I have five brothers — in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” 

The way and gate to Heaven is narrow, whereas the road to hell is wide, and requires ‘no course correction’—the ‘auto-pilot’ in us from birth will take us straight to Hell, unless we ‘accept the free gift’ of salvation provided for us by Jesus Christ: Matt 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Speaking of the ‘wisdom of the world’: Prov 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. And repeated: Prov 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Devine election does not dull human responsibility, but once saved, no longer condemned: John 3:18-20 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

There is ‘no neutral ground’—-you either believe God, or declare Him a liar!:

1 John 5:10-12 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

The way to Heaven: John 14:5-6 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

We will exist forever—-either with Christ—or separated from Him—forever! If a loving God spared not His chosen people, Sodom and Gomorrah, nor His only begotten Son in relation to His righteous and holy justice in regard to sin—how can anyone think He will spare them if they reject His salvation purchased with so dear a price by His only Son’s persecution and crucifixion and death on a Roman Cross at Calvary?!

How can He do this? We have this Bible—which reveals 6,000 years of His relationship to us—that we have ‘chosen’ to sin, and are thus condemned, by our own choices and actions—but He has provided us a ‘way out’ of our sentence, our penalty—through Jesus Christ. And, if then, we reject Him, we reject God Himself, and take the position of Luke 19: 14 “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us.’

And instead, rely upon the two Proverbs repeated above: Prov. 14:12; 16:25.

Rather than God’s way, John 14:5-6 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. And: John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And that person ‘makes God a liar’ and condemns themselves to Hell!

 

Praise Him, and His patience, in that He sent His Holy Spirit to convict me as a young child, and even when I turned my back on Him for years ‘in rebellion,’ He remained faithful, and in ‘His timing’ called me back into ‘fellowship and relationship’ with Him! His merciful grace is so awesome, my heart is broken before Him when I consider His love and sacrifice so that I may live forever with Him in Heaven. Jesus lives, and I live in Him.

 

Bill Watts

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Jul 23 2010

Is Baptism required for one to be saved, and my understanding of it…

This is an in-depth study of baptism… and some questions about it… explained from my understanding…

Baptism…beginning with the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist

7-23-10

This deals much with the ‘baptism of Christ’ by John the Baptist…

However, recently I have been ‘challenged concerning baptism’… and ‘from the stance’ that ‘without being baptized’ one is ‘not saved’… that ‘baptism’ is an integral and vital part of ‘being saved’…

My following thoughts here are only intended to stimulate — and challenge yours… as I am NOT your pastor… or anyone’s pastor… and I am totally fallible…just a man ‘saved by God’s merciful grace in Christ Jesus’ sharing my understanding..

My position is: Yes… baptism is very important… certainly the result of our conversion… and may even be our very first work as a result of our conversion and being reborn in Christ…

(I also believe it should be by full immersion… Just as our Savior’s was by John the Baptist)…

However…I DO NOT believe that baptism is the ‘act of salvation!’  

***And below what I write about the baptism of Christ… I will place the things I would present to explain my own understanding of this… thus… this is a ‘more in-depth study’…

I believe it is ‘our act or work following our salvation’…that ‘symbolizes our being saved’… thus ‘being crucified with Christ… buried with Christ, and raised from the grave in newness of Christ!’

I believe the moment of salvation… is a mysterious and miraculous and supernatural moment spiritually between each of us and God in Christ… as called, convicted and lead by God’s Holy Spirit…who indwells us immediately upon our repentance of our sins… or professing our need for a Savior, and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! I believe it is totally ‘by faith’ in Christ…just as our Lord Himself so stated in John 3: 16

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

I believe all of that is done by God’s Holy Spirit… and that ‘no man or woman or ritual’ is so entrusted with this highest redemption and eternal reconciliation between God and us… just as He did NOT entrust our salvation to any ‘man’… or ritual… but He personally and completely fully performed and accomplished that bridge through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ!

Matt 3:1-17

1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!'”
4 Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan;
6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance;
9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves,’ We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
10 “And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  
11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

***Notes from William McDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary (page 1211)… John explained that there was a significant difference with his ministry and that of the Messiah who would soon arrive. John baptized with water unto repentance; the water was ceremonial and had no cleansing power; the repentance, though real, did not bring a person to full salvation. John viewed his ministry as preparatory and partial. The Messiah would completely overshadow John. He would be mightier, He ould be more worthy, His work would reach farther, for He would baptize…with the Holy Spirit and fire…

The baptism with the Holy Spirit is distinct from the baptism with fire. The former is a baptism of blessing, the latter of judgment. The former took place at Pentecost, the latter is still future…

The former is enjoyed by all true believers in the Lord Jesus, the latter will be the fate of all unbelievers. The former would be for those Israelites whose baptism was an outward sign of inward repentance, the latter would be for the Pharisees, Sadducees, and all who showed no evidence of true repentance.

Some teach that the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the baptism with fire are the same event, i.e., could not the baptism with fire refer to the tongues of fire that appeared when the Spirit was given at Pentecost? In light of verse 12 which equates fire with judgment, it probably does not.

12 “And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him.

***Notes from William McDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary (page 1211-1212) Jesus walked approximately sixty miles from Galilee to the lower Jordan River to be baptized by John. This indicates the importance which He attached to this ceremony and it should indicate the significance of baptism for His followers today.

14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”
15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.

***Notes from William McDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary (page 1212)…Realizing that Jesus had no sins of which to repent, John protested against baptizing Him. It was a true instinct that led him to suggest that the proper order would be for Jesus to baptize him. Jesus did not deny this; He simply repeated His request for baptism as a fitting way in which to fulfill all righteousness. He felt it appropriate that in baptism He identify Himself with those godly Israelites who were coming to be baptized unto repentance…

But there was an even deeper meaning. Baptism for Him was a ritual symbolizing the way in which He would fulfill all the righteous claims of God against man’s sin. His immersion typified His baptism in the waters of God’s judgment at Calvary. His emergence from  the water foreshadowed His resurrection. By death, burial, and resurrection, He would satisfy the demands of divine justice and provide a righteous basis by which sinners could be justified… (***My note: we are justified by His shed blood…His finished work at Calvary…not by our works.)

16 And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him,
17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Mark 1:4-11

4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  ***(John was ‘the messenger’ as prophesied in both Mal. 3:1 and Is. 40:3)

Mal 3:1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.

Isa 40:3 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

***Notes from William McDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary (page 1319)… His (John the Baptist’s) message was that people should repent (change their minds and forsake their sins) in order to receive the remission of sins. Otherwise they would be in no position to receive the Lord. Only holy people are able to appreciate the Holy Son of God.

When his hearers did repent, John baptized them as an outward expression of their about-face. Baptism separated them publicly from the mass of the nation of Israel who had forsaken the Lord. It united them with a remnant who were ready to receive the Christ. It might seem from verse 5 that the response to John’s preaching was universal. This was not the case. There may have been an initial burst of enthusiasm, with the multitudes surging out to the desert to hear the fiery preacher, but the majority did not genuinely confess and forsake their sins. This will be seen as you read this in full…

6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.
7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.
8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;
11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.”

Luke 3:21-22

21 Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,
22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.”

John 1:23-37

23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
27 “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 “And I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”

32 And John bore witness saying, “I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33 “And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
34 “And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
35 Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
36 and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Now… as referenced at the beginning… here is what I present to explain my understanding of ‘our being baptized’ when ‘we receive our salvation from God in Christ through the Holy Spirit’…

I fully support baptism… and believe every believer should be baptized… BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE BAPTISM IS THE MIRACULOUS AND MYSTERIOUS AND SUPERNATURAL SALVATION EVENT… you are ‘already saved when baptized!’

****A point I would like to make… that I feel is very important is: Salvation in Christ (to me) is truly three major elements…(and I’ll expand upon them later if you desire) 

but this is often the very hardest to grasp … some never get it… and some it takes them years to get it…but ‘getting it’… can truly open Scriptures so much more…

  1. the instantaneous and mysterious miracle of our being saved – and receiving God’s Holy Spirit to indwell us!

 

And we are IMMEDIATELY ADOPTED INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD IN CHRIST! And our names written in the Book of Life…

And that is the strongest bond…ONE THAT CAN NEVER BE BROKEN! Eternal! Because it is done by and through Christ! I do NOT believe one can lose their salvation in Christ once receiving it… someone could question whether or not they are really saved… but that is between them and God!

  1. Then ‘begins our relationship with God’…because ‘until we were saved…we had NO personal relationship with Him’…

 

and that is the weakest link… because when we sin…we ‘break relationship with Him’…

just like in your own family when you rebelled against your mother or father…thus ‘fellowship was broken’… until reconciliation… yet you were still a part of that family…

then too…in the family of God… once we have received Christ…we are from then on…always still in the family…but we can have times of ‘broken fellowship’… because all sin is a rebellion against God…

thus we have been given the way ‘to restore that relationship’: 1 John 1:8-10 — 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
NASB

However…if we sin… are rebellious against Him… HE DOES NOT KICK US OUT OF HIS FAMILY! (The story of the prodigal son is a great example of this)…

Our relationship with God in Christ is not a ‘moment’ rather a ‘process’… once saved… we are ‘in process by God’…from that moment on…forever!

And 3. Will be ‘our glorification in and by Him in Heaven!’

Thus…understanding this… when you ‘read of salvation’… it will better help you to decipher which element of it He is addressing…

Now… Christ always ‘encourages us’ to ‘do live the right way…and set the example for us’…thus…it is a ‘process’…

EVEN THOUGH HE KNOWS NO ONE COULD LIVE IT PERFECTLY…NO ONE… because if even 1 person could…then a ‘human standard’ would have been set…and Christ need never have come to earth to die for our sins… because it would have been ‘humanly possible to achieve God’s righteousness and holiness of ourselves’… so…even those He told to ‘go and sin no more’… He knew they ‘would still sin’…because ‘they are still human!

I’ve also noticed what can cause one person ‘to stumble’ may be completely different than for another…

FIRST OF ALL NO SCRIPTURE WILL EVER OVER-RIDE CHRIST’S OWN WORDS… so if we (or some teacher) tries to ‘make that case’ then…they are ‘twisting the Word of God for their own agenda!’

So…lets go to the key to this the most well known New Testament Scripture – which I believe is the foundational statement about our salvation in God through Christ:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
NASB

It is our ‘belief in Him’… which is ‘by faith alone’…Lets note here too…there is NO OTHER REQUIREMENT! NONE…NADA!

Yes…there are those things that count for us…in Heaven for our rewards… but NOT for our salvation…

that was all done ‘by and through Christ’…via God’s Holy Spirit’s presentation of Christ to us…and it is ‘a finished work’… total and complete… all done ‘by and through God the Father… in Christ Jesus and expedited by God’s Holy Spirit’…

to add anything to it…or deduct anything from it makes this work ‘insufficient’ to the eyes of that person…and thus…denigrates what Christ did for us!

That is why ‘salvation by Christ’ is so simple a child can understand it…(yet the total of it so complex even the greatest Biblical scholars cannot fathom the total of it)…

And really what I am emphasizing here… is that Christ’s own words declared the basis of our salvation in Him…

So…when we then read ‘other Scripture’ that and interpret them as to ‘their seemingly adding to that’… in my opinion, our ‘interpretation then is on shaky ground’…

(yes… certainly all Scripture is important… but we …mankind… often take God’s Word… and ‘build layers upon it ourselves’… to prove our own agenda)… all I am saying is… Christ is the foundation… and what He said… so things ‘layered over it’… DO NOT CHANGE WHAT HE SAID… or add to it…

Salvation in Christ is a mysterious and miraculous moment when we…realizing we are lost…and that we need a Savior…and ‘our repenting of our sins against God’… ask Christ into our hearts as Savior and Lord!!

And ‘at that moment’ we are ‘indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit’… forever! (not at some later time with a second baptism or miracle)

Yes… the Bible also ‘addresses our life’…or our ‘walk with Christ’… and encourages us to live ‘like Christ’… (which NO ONE CAN DO… NO ONE EVER HAS)… but, over time, we can strive to be more like Christ… and maybe we will be better in certain areas than in others…

if anyone could or had…then there would be a “STANDARD” set by mankind for holiness and righteousness achieved by man… and God would NOT have had to send His Son to die for us on a Roman Cross!

And I continue:

First…lets note in preceding verses: John 3:14-15 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.”
NASB
Recall this refers to: Num 21:5-9
5 And the people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.”
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.
7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.”
9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

*** here I am using red highlight to emphasize my point… 
 

The point being…if any man bitten merely looked upon the bronze serpenthe lived!

It did NOT make anything else part of the requirement!

It was ‘literal’it was simple to understand!

Just as John 3:16 is literal…and does NOT add these numerous things so many ‘claiming to be scholars or in authority try to add’… it says: that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
And lets then take verses following: John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
NASB

Thus…to me…and unequivocally… Belief in Christ is ENOUGH!

(No… I am NOT discouraging baptism… or living for Christ… or doing good works…but as ‘to salvation’… that is ‘all by and through Christ’…and that was the ‘finished work on the cross!’)

That is the Gospel…

yes…one must ‘first know they are lost’… and that they sin against God…and THEY NEED A SAVIOR…that is the position of the one lost being ‘brought to Christ’… and the entity of the Trinity doing ‘all of this’…is THE HOLY SPIRIT…HE DOES THE CALLING …THE CONVICTING…AND THEN THE INDWELLING! Then…their ‘accepting Christ as Savior and Lord in their heart and mind’ accomplishes this wonderful miracle…this eternal blessing!

Everything else is ‘ancillary to this’ (and by saying ‘ancillary’ I am NOT doing so in a condescending way nor am I ranking Scripture)… because without ‘belief’ in Christ as Savior and Lord…NOTHING ELSE MATTERS OR WILL GIVE YOU SALVATION…

And over and over God’s Word says salvation is ‘BY GRACE’…NOT by our works!

Thus NO ONE can achieve it… only God could…THUS THE JUST BECAME THE JUSTIFIER

Rom 3:21-25

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

Rom 3:26

26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. ***red my emphasis

Rom 11:6
6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

In this…to me… grace means ‘unmerited favor’… I ‘do NOT deserve His free gift’… I have NOT earned it… He gave it to me!
Eph 2:4-6
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

***(NOTE HERE IT IS “PAST TENSE” to all who believe — we are already seated there…so if you are already seated in Heaven…then…’how can you lose your salvation)

Eph 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
NASB
 

2 Tim 1:9 who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
NASB

I also fully believe that God’s grace does NOT absolve mankind from their own personal responsibility for their choices while here on earth… ie… we ‘reap what we sow’… so that when we sin… though FORGIVEN FOR OUR SINS IN CHRIST — the eternal penalty of them (if we have accepted Him in our hearts)… while here on earth…we suffer the consequences of our sins… just as David did in relation to his sin with Bathsheba!

But David DID NOT LOSE HIS SALVATION… and Psalm 51 is so beautiful as he wrote of this…

Again…I NEVER SAID BAPTISM WAS NOT IMPORTANT!!

I said…baptism does NOT save you!

It is your public profession of your faith… but it does NOT save you… if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord…YOU ARE ALREADY SAVED at that miraculous and mysterious and supernatural moment!!!!

Some people do NOT get baptized at that moment… for some it is at a later date… some never get baptized… still they are saved!

Again… a preponderance of Scripture:

Now to Baptism — because that too is referenced in Acts : Acts 2:38
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
NASB

At first glance this verse seems to teach salvation by baptism…and ‘many people’ insist that this is precisely what it does mean.

Such an interpretation is impossible for the following reasons:

    1 In dozens of NT passages, salvation is said to ‘be by faith’ in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12; 3:16,36; 6:47; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9, for example) NO VERSE OR TWO could conceivably contradict such overwhelming testimony!

I’ve already listed John 3:16 and 36…but here are these:

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

John 6:47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

Acts 16:29-31 And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”

Rom 10:9-11 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

    2. The thief on the cross had the assurance of salvation apart from baptism (Luke 23:43). (some even then say… that ‘Christian baptism’ began after Christ’s death and resurrection… as symbolized by our ‘dying with Him’ and also resurrecting with Him from beneath the baptismal water… interesting…Christ was baptized by John the Baptist while alive before He began His earthly ministry)…

    3. The Savior is NOT stated to have baptized ANYONE… a strange omission if baptism is essential to salvation!

(This DOES NOT DENIGRATE IT OR MAKE IT UNIMPORTANT…rather shows that the act of baptism is NOT salvation!)

    4. The apostle Paul was thankful that he baptized only a few of the Corinthians — a strange cause for thankfulness if baptism has saving merit (1 Cor. 1:14-16).

I think baptism is very important as ‘our public declaration of our faith’…and symbolizes our ‘new birth in Christ’…but I do NOT believe it is ‘required’ for us to be saved by Christ!

Interesting… (maybe I should have said…up to this point — in Acts) only Jews were ever told to be baptized for the ‘forgiveness of sins’ (see Acts 22:16). In this fact…we believe is the secret to understanding of this passage. The nation of Israel had crucified the Lord of glory. The Jewish people had cried out, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25). The guilt of the Messiah’s death was thus claimed by the people of Israel.

Baptism became the ‘outward sign’ that their sin in connection with the rejection of Christ (as well as all their sins) had been washed away. It took them off Jewish ground and place them on Christian ground. But baptism could NOT save them. Only faith in Christ could do that. To teach otherwise is to teach ‘another gospel’…and thus those consequences…

In fact… even in Galatians we read where Paul confronted Peter about ‘taking the Gospel to the Gentiles’… so there was even strife and contention between the disciples as to the Gentiles even being preached the Gospel… much less being baptized…

Gal 2:1-21
2 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.
2 And it was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.
3 But not even Titus who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
4 But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.
5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
6 But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) —  well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.
7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised
8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 
9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.
10 They only asked us to remember the poor —  the very thing I also was eager to do.
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.
13 And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
15 “We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles;
16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
17 “But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be!
18 “For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
19 “For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God.
20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
21 “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
NASB

Again…NOTHING HERE ABOUT BAPTISM!! Not that baptism is not important…it is…because there is also so much Scripture indicating God’s desire for us to be baptized… but it is NOT salvation… it is an act (or work) we do as a result of our ‘being saved’…

The book of Hebrews speaks of those trying to influence Jewish Christians to return to Judaic Law…and Paul in that book shows ‘the excellence of Christ’… it is all about Christ… NOT RITUAL….NOT WORKS!

I believe baptism is a command…not ‘an option’…but an ‘obligation’…thus to ‘not be baptized if at all possible…(realizing too… it may not be possible right at the time of one’s public confession of their faith) is rebellion – and thus…a sin…

An alternative interpretation of baptism for remission of sins is given by a top Biblical commentator… by Ryrie:

This does not mean in order that sins might be remitted, for everywhere in the NT sins are forgiven as a result of faith in Christ, not as a result of baptism (which would also be categorized as a work). It means be baptized because of the remission of sins! The Greek preposition eis, for, has this meaning “because of” not only here but also in such passages as Matt. 12:41 where the meaning can only be “they repented because of (not in order to) the preaching of Jonah.” Repentance brought remission of sin for this Pentecostal crowd, and because of the remission of sins they were baptized.”
Realize… I also included this important aspect in my email to you… about ‘justification’… because that is the ‘issue’ or ‘being justified’ in God’s sight…

Back to part of the book of James: The section might actually be entitled “Justification by Works,” because there is a sense in which we are justified by works. In fact, in order to grasp the full truth of justification, we should clearly understand that there are six aspects of justification.

1.       We are justified by grace (Rom. 3:24). This simply means that we do not deserve to be justified; in fact we deserve the very opposite.

2.       We are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). Faith is the human response to God’s grace. By faith, we accept the free gift. Faith is that which appropriates what God has done for us.

3.       We are justified by blood (Rom. 5:9). Here blood is the price which had to be paid in order to procure our justification. The debt of sin was met by the precious blood of Christ, and now God can justify ungodly sinners because a righteous satisfaction has been made.

4.       We are justified by God (Rom. 8:33). The truth here is that God is the Person who justifies.

5.       We are justified by power (Rom. 4:25). Our justification is linked to the power that raised Christ from the dead. His resurrection proves that God is satisfied.

6.       And we are justified by works (James 2:24). Works are the outward proof of the reality of our faith. They give outward expression to what would otherwise be invisible. From this we see that the person is justified by grace, by faith, by blood, by God, by power, and by works. Yet there is no contradiction at all. These statements simply present different aspects of the same truth. Grace is the principle upon which God justifies; faith is the means by which man receives it; blood is the price which the Savior had to pay; God is the active Agent in justification; power is the proof; and works are the result.

Then this question was raised:

So, how does the bible say we are saved?  First of all, Hebrews 9 and 10 talks about the old covenant, before Christ died.  ***Paul here was showing the ‘difference between the two covenants’… and the difference between the blood of bulls and goats and Christ’s blood! There is nothing anyone could do before Christ died to be saved. ***NOT ‘by the Law’… the Law NEVER saved anyone… but even in the Old Testament… salvation by God was through ‘faith in God’ and ‘by grace’ because NO ONE could live the Law perfectly to obtain holiness and righteousness.

However we have a clear ‘shadow’ of how God ‘handled their sins’ in Exodus in the ‘Night of the Passover’ in Egypt where he killed the first born in each Egyptian’s family and ‘passed over the homes of Israel with the blood on the door‘… that ‘symbolized’ that God placed them in a ‘special dispensation’ whereby He passed over their sins until Christ could deal with them at the Cross…where ‘all sin was dealt with!’ And then later their sins were addressed by ‘animal sacrifice’ as He prepared them for the fact that sin required life’s blood… but again…theirs were given a special dispensation until the cross…

And at the same time… in the ‘rituals he gave them’… he prepared them for the fact that the blood of animals did NOT absolve them fully… That is why when John the Baptist ‘baptized Christ’ the Jewish religious leaders were so angry when John said:

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

And what ‘so offended them’… was John’s calling Christ…the Lamb of God… (thus making the millions of lambs sacrificed no longer sanctifying or vital)…

and also that he said ‘who takes away the sin of the world’… and the Jews thought the Messiah was just for Israel!! (and we even see the disciples themselves had a huge confrontation over this… as Paul took the Gospel to the Gentiles – then confronted Peter about it in Jerusalem…and Peter agreed Paul was right)…

btw… in the Old Testament: When God tested Abraham… and had him take Isaac and sacrifice him… and Isaac asked his father: Gen 22:7 And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham’s answer was this: Gen 22:8
8 And Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
NASB

This was ‘fulfilled here in the New Testament with Christ’… because the ‘ram found in the thicket to replace Isaac was NOT a lamb’…

Gen 22:13
13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
NASB

thus… the ‘lamb provided by God was not fulfilled until Christ!’ So… Isaac’s question was NOT answered until Christ…

So…these comments backed by Scripture are ‘what I believe’… based upon my own study… and I hope can give you ‘food for thought’…

I am no expert… but I love the Lord…and His Word…

I decry all the ‘splintering’ of the ‘body’… here on earth…with each denomination having so much pride…they each think they are right…and all the rest are some form of second class Christians…if even that…

And often they are just ‘splitting hairs’ over ritual… and thus losing the heart of God in the process…

Bill

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Apr 29 2010

How does this affect us: “All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”

How does this affect us: “All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”

 

This is a devotional I ‘broadcasted today to a special email group’…that ‘when I write something like this…(which is when I feel God puts it on my heart)…I send it to them…

I am NOT trying to invade your privacy… nor am I trying to convince anyone of anything…rather stimulate your heart to consider these things…

If you would like to be ‘added to my email broadcast list’ for spiritual things I may write or forward…let me know…if not…I’ll not send you this type of devotional…

I was reading this devotional (that I am sharing with you)…written so many years ago by Charles Spurgeon…and it struck my heart …pierced it to the very core… two major ways…

    1. Israel…God’s chosen people… and how they are still being treated today…(they have been abused more than any race or nation… over-and-over genocide has been attempted on them… to eradicate them from this earth)… 

and I fear now…even by the US government behind the scenes of our state department and by our President…takes actions not ‘in Israel’s best interest’…in fact…very dangerous to Israel’s very existence…as they seem to side with those against Israel in the Middle East…all under the political agenda of ‘for the better good’…

    2. And certainly ‘my own heart’…how ‘hardened it becomes’…

how ‘rebellion’ (which any sin against our Holy and Righteous God is)…

how rebellion so easily creeps in…invades me…until my flesh so easily succumbs…

and at first when I willfully sin against Him… the Holy Spirit in me (as He dwells in the heart of every believer)… pricks my heart…

but then…as I continue in rebellion (instead of immediately prostrating myself before God and in full remorse…repent and ask His forgiveness)… as I continue in my sin…my calloused and hardened heart can ignore the Holy Spirit’s warnings…

and I feel less and less guilt before God… and my prayers become ‘a forgive me of my sins’…instead of me taking each one of them before Him ‘individually’…(as certainly I sinned them individually)… and asking His forgiveness…

Yes…I am covered by the shed blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ… and I am forgiven…and forever saved… Yes… my salvation here is NOT the issue!

Rather it is ‘my daily walk’…my ‘fellowship with God in Christ’…that is what is broken when I sin…

That is why He gave us these wonderful verses:

1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Spurgeon’s reference verse:

“All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”
Ezekiel 3:7

Just below, I have included more of today’s Scripture referenced from the Bible — but have used the New American Standard Bible translation. ***red highlighting mine for emphasis

Ezek 3:4-11
4 Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.
5 “For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel,
6 nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you;
7 yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate.
8 “Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads.
9 “Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them, though they are a rebellious house.”
10 Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, take into your heart all My words which I shall speak to you, and listen closely.
11 “And go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, ‘Thus says the Lord God.'”
NASB

Another powerful and empowering devotional to stimulate our hearts and minds in Christ The author is Charles Spurgeon (1834-92) — you can tell by the way he uses language, it is from much earlier times — but also timeless — and also, again reveals that the Holy Spirit has illuminated the revelations of God to the saints preceding us……and is faithful to illuminate God’s Word for us. 

Are there no exceptions?

No, not one.

Even the favoured race are thus described.

Are the best so bad?–then what must the worst be?

Come, my heart, consider how far thou hast a share in this universal accusation, and while considering, be ready to take shame unto thyself herein thou mayst have been guilty.

The first charge is impudence, or hardness of forehead, a want of holy shame, an unhallowed boldness in evil.

Before my conversion, I could sin and feel no compunction, hear of my guilt and yet remain unhumbled, and even confess my iniquity and manifest no inward humiliation on account of it.

For a sinner to go to God’s house and pretend to pray to Him and praise Him argues a brazen-facedness of the worst kind!

Alas! since the day of my new birth I have doubted my Lord to His face, murmured unblushingly in His presence, worshipped before Him in a slovenly manner, and sinned without bewailing myself concerning it.

If my forehead were not as an adamant, harder than flint, I should have far more holy fear, and a far deeper contrition of spirit.

Woe is me, I am one of the impudent house of Israel.

The second charge is hardheartedness, and I must not venture to plead innocent here.

Once I had nothing but a heart of stone, and although through grace I now have a new and fleshy heart, much of my former obduracy remains.

I am not affected by the death of Jesus as I ought to be; neither am I moved by the ruin of my fellow men, the wickedness of the times, the chastisement of my heavenly Father, and my own failures, as I should be.

O that my heart would melt at the recital of my Saviour’s sufferings and death. Would to God I were rid of this nether millstone within me, this hateful body of death.

Blessed be the name of the Lord, the disease is not incurable, the Saviour’s precious blood is the universal solvent, and me, even me, it will effectually soften, till my heart melts as wax before the fire.

First my dear friends…NEVER THINK GOD HAS ABANDONED ISRAEL!

Rom 11:25-33
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in;
26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
27 “And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,
31 so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
32 For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
NASB

Let’s go back to the Old Testament…and God’s promises to Israel…(and though ‘the world’ may change…God’s Word NEVER changes! And His promises are kept.) God deals with His chosen people…but NO MAN — or nation is ever supposed to curse them…

Gen 12:2-3
2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Num 22:12
12 And God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people; for they are blessed.”

Num 23:7-8
7 And he took up his discourse and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, ‘Come curse Jacob for me, And come, denounce Israel!’
8 “How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce, whom the Lord has not denounced?

Throughout the OT this message is revealed…only God can deal with Israel…for they are ‘His chosen people’… and through them…in Christ… He deals with us… for in Christ was our salvation perfected in His merciful grace…

As I look back on each nation that has cursed…or tried to annihilate Israel… or mistreated them because of their race and faith… each of these nations has ‘been dealt with by God…

look at Egypt in the OT…when God said… they would never be powerful again… look at the Roman empire…its gone… look at Nazi Germany… even look at Russia in recent times…

more even look at England…the most powerful nation on earth prior to WWII…and they first supported Israel ‘re-establishing their homeland’… but then…due to Arabic pressures…they ‘reversed themselves’…and instead ‘blocked Israel from immigrating back’…(even fought…jailed and killed them)… and the fortunes of England…ever since have declined…

Thus… I fear for our nation now… and the events that seemingly show us no longer being trustworthy as allies with them…maybe even becoming ‘like England’… more politically allied with the Arabic states in the Middle East against Israel…certainly we try to ‘restrain them’…

This speaks to us…(we are the Gentiles)…

Rom 5:8-11
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
NASB

Eph 4:17-20
17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;
19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way,
NASB

And the theme of Spurgeon’s devotional… here in strikes directly at my own heart… My Lord and Savior paid such a ‘dear price for me’… as ‘He took my place’ on that cross in judgment for ‘my sins’ (and yours)…to pay the supreme price to a holy and righteous God for my sins…because He knows I cannot ‘measure up’ to ‘achieve redemption by my own performance’…

Rom 11:6
6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

Eph 2:1-22
2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 
7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 
12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;
18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;
22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Again…repeating…it is ALL BY HIM AND OF HIM!

Eph 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

I have ‘no merit’… I am NOT worthy… it is all based upon Christ’s performance on the cross…as He suffered all judgment and punishment for my (our) sins there…

But it is ‘conditional’…in order to ‘be covered by His shed blood’…ie… FORGIVEN… we must ‘accept Him as Savior and Lord…

John 3:14-18
14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.
18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Praise Him…He has done it all for us… there is no requirement (nor can we) add one single thing to it…or take one single thing away from it… IT IS SUFFICIENT! It is complete…

and I am His…forever…

sinner that I am… my heart is broken ‘when I grieve His Spirit in me’ and willfully sin against Him…

Bill Watts.. .

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Mar 25 2009

Question — how does this strike you — Tulsa — Zoning for (49 ft. tall) Buddhist statue OK’d

Question — how does this strike you — Tulsa — Zoning for (49 ft. tall) Buddhist statue OK’d — Tulsa World story below these comments of mine…

 

 

If we ‘truly believe the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God’… and is ‘infallible’… (God’s word is true…though often the ‘exceptions’ are for our interpretation of it)… so personally…I feel every bit of the Bible has meaning for us…and reveals the heart of God to us…
 
2 Tim 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
NASB
But in it too … we read so much of Israel’s Old Testament history…of their ‘turning their back on God’… and always in that…was ‘their embracing of idols’…and ‘idol worship’…
 
and ‘spiritually’… as in this first Scripture reference…Egypt is always ‘associated with darkness’ and an ‘enemy of Israel…and of God’… and God calls their ‘abomination’ their idols… Continue Reading »

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Mar 23 2009

The Secret of Happiness…

The Secret of Happiness  pasted below my initial comments here… ***(also the Spurgeon sermon of this is in the attachment above should you wish to print it out)…
 
With all that is happening around us… or with life’s challenges… in marriage…in family…in health…in war… in economics…
 
so often we can ‘get so inwardly focused on ourselves and our circumstances’…that we may ‘forget in some manner’ just how ‘truly blessed’ and ‘favored by God’ we are by the provision of His merciful grace towards us in Jesus Christ…and that His free gift to us in Him of eternal reconciliation and salvation… that we ‘are forgiven!’
 
and then… when we ‘revisit our precious Lord’… and what He suffered to ‘redeem us’… by becoming ‘our sin’ on Calvary’s cross…and dying the most horrible death in order to pay the just and righteous penalty of a holy and righteous God in relation to our sins against Him… to demonstrate in that the greatest act of love this universe has ever witnessed… and all for each of us…for you…and for me… that should over ride any and all circumstances… so as Psalm 118:20 to 24 says… Continue Reading »

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Dec 12 2008

Social Comment — New Movie: Milk

My opinion: Just read about a new movie being released to ‘already critical acclaim’… Milk with Sean Penn playing the lead… about a gay activist named Harvey Milk…

Now I personally do NOT believe homosexuality is any worse sin than adultery or fornication or theft… other ‘acts of choice’ with which it is grouped in the NT… even though in the OT it was certainly emphasized in the record of Sodom and Gomorrah…

(and btw, I am guilty of the sins of adultery and fornication in my life… so I am not casting this rock from any safe house…or that I am holier than thou)…

But it ‘does seem to me’… as this (homosexuality) becomes ‘more accepted — even glamorized’ in ‘any society or culture’… Continue Reading »

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