Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Christ's Forgotten Promise: What most religions miss




I love my young daughter to death.  Watching her smile, and yell "Daddee, dadeee daddeeee!" when I get home just melts my heart to mush.  She is an absolute treasure, and I would be completely devastated if something critical were ever to happen to her.  I can't imagine what it would be like if she ever contracted a chronic disease like cancer.  I do know if something like that were to happen I would trade her places in a heart beat if it were possible.  Many don't know this, but that is exactly what Christ did for us.  We are all diseased with sin, and Christ cured that when he became sin for us, on the condition that we place our faith and trust in him.  Many understand that in exchange for faith, we get forgiveness. However, many don't understand that through faith we also obtain God's righteousness, positionally, forever.  Now don't get me wrong, we will sin on this side of eternity as long as we remain in this temporal flesh...that is for certain.  However in the heavenly realm, the blood of Jesus justifies us by faith.  Our faith is exchanged not only for our forgiveness, but again also for Christ's righteousness,  Christ's imputation is when his righteousness becomes attributed to our account.  As sinners we all have a credit card account that is charged with a heinous sin debt, Christ however not only wipes our debt clean, but we get a perfect credit history.  A 700 credit score will get you a nice home, but a perfect life score is what is required for heaven.  Only Christ lived perfectly without sin. Christ's perfect credit is attributed to us so to speak when we place our faith in him, and I want to explore this wonderful promise and gift God has made available to us all. 

But for us also, to whom it (RIGHTEOUSNESS) shall be imputed (ATTRIBUTED), if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification. -Romans 4:24-25

One of the most precious promises from God's Word, that almost all religions miss, is God's promise of Christ's righteous imputation.  Imputation simply means attributed.  Christ's righteousness becomes permanently attributed by faith.  Let's back up and view some previous verses of chapter 4: 

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:3-5

Paul makes the case here that Abraham's faith is what made him righteous, it was not of his own works (Genesis 15:6).  If it were of works, Abraham would have the glory himself and not God (Romans 4:2). 

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. -Romans 4:20-22

Abraham believed God and thereby was made righteous.  The same thing occurs when one places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  His righteousness becomes imputed (attributed) to us.  This is what makes true biblical Christianity unique.  Any sinner can be declared righteous simply by God's grace through faith in Christ, and therefore is dependent on Christ's merit and worthiness, rather than on one's own merit and worthiness.

Think of it this way...


Through Adam, sin is imputed or attributed to all men, the scripture says:

Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin;  (Romans 5:12)

For as in Adam all die... (1st Corinthians 15:22)

It then is by no coincidence that Christ is called the second Adam, he did the opposite of what Adam did. Adam condemned mankind, Christ redeemed mankind. Adam brought death, Christ brought life. I ask that you read all these scriptures carefully my friend.

Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; (Romans 5:18)

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1st Corinthians 15:35)

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1st Corinthians 15:22)

 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17).

Adam condemned us with death, Christ redeems us with life. Adam passed to us our sin nature, Christ blesses us with his righteous nature through faith.  Faith is the ember that activates God's permanent promise where His righteousness is attributed, his grace is given, and his mercy endures, to the believer.  Christ's righteousness, the covering of faith in his shed blood is what allows us to cross into eternal life and forever into His perfect presence (Romans 5:9).

For by grace are ye saved throu gh faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Does your religious institution tell you that you have any part in your salvation aside from faith? Does your religious institution tell you that Christ empowers your efforts, and if you make good on those efforts you might make it into God's presence? Does your institution require attendance or ordinances that determine your final resting place?  Do your religious leaders change the definition of a work to justify teaching that human effort is required for heaven or your final destination? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, your church is pushing a false Christ and a false gospel that Paul speaks of in Galatians chapter 1.

Let's be clear, a work is any human effort outside of faith. The bible clearly states that a man's belief is not a work (Romans 4:5). Upon placing faith in Jesus Christ, His righteousness becomes attributed to you permanently. His righteousness is what justifies you, His righteousness is what allows for our forgiveness, his righteousness is what provides our justification. The law does not justify, our good works do not justify, our church attendance does not justify, only faith is what justifies. 

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. -Galatians 2:21

If you were able to attain heaven and eternal life on your own Jesus would not have to die.  Jesus didn't just die to meet you "half-way" he paved the entire way that can only be attained by faith.  

To my Roman Catholic friend: Are you taught that Christ's righteousness is attributed by faith alone?

To my Eastern Orthodox friend: Are you taught that Christ's righteousness is attributed by faith alone?

To my Mormon or Latter Day Saint friend: Are you taught that Christ's righteousness is attributed by faith alone?

To my Jehovah Witness friend: Are you taught that Christ's righteousness is attributed by faith alone?

To my Seventh Day Adventist friend: Are you taught that Christ's righteousness is attributed by faith alone?

If your answer is no, then go to the authority of God's Word my friend. Read the New Testament with childlike faith, dump your preconceived thoughts and ideas. God can work with a humble heart, the scripture says He is drawn to humility (James 4:6).  God's precious gift of Christ's attributed righteousness is available to all men, won't you come partake? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be made positionally righteous forever, and thus made worthy of his kingdom eternally.

It does not matter if you're a Petrov, Ivanov, Kuznetsov, or a Vasiliev.  It does not matter if you're a Schneider, Weber, or Koch. It does not matter if you're a Sullivan, Dubois, Laurent, Moreau, or Baillet.  It does not matter if you’re a Fernández, Pérez, Sánchez, or Gonzalez.  It does not matter if you’re a  Wang (), Li () Zhang (), Liu (), Chen (). Yang ()Huang (), Zhao (),Wu (), Zhou ().  Christ died for all and you can be saved by faith through His grace.



Saturday, January 28, 2023

Without Controversy: The Lord God Jesus was manifest in the flesh...

 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. -1st Timothy 3:16

By far this is my favorite scriptural text that proves that Jesus is in fact the Lord God Almighty. In Paul's letter to Timothy he writes the above statement that not only professes, but declares Christ's diety. Right after Paul speaks of the church being the pillar and ground of truth in the previous verse he segues into speaking of the truth that is without controversy. The Greek word used for "without controversy" is the word homologéō. HELPS Word-studies states:

3670 homologéō (from 3674 /homoú, "together" and 3004 /légō, "speak to a conclusion") – properly, to voice the same conclusion, i.e. agree ("confess"); to profess (confess) because in full agreement; to align with (endorse).

Paul is speaking of something that is without controversy, a declaration that was agreed upon in unison.  The earliest churches agreed on the following things as stated in 1st Timothy 3:16:

God was manifest in the flesh..

 The word manifest here in 1st Timothy 3:16 means to make visible. God was made visible in the flesh in the personage of Christ Jesus. This matter is made as a declaration without controversy by God. A true Christian will profess that Jesus is the Lord God who was manifested in human flesh (John 1:14). Anyone who fails to profess that this is the case has the spirit of antichrist (1st John 4:3). The word anti means against or instead of, by this the word antichrist then can literally be rendered as "against Christ." It is greatly saddening to see a world of men who erect beautiful paintings or sculptures of who they see Christ as only to deny his deity. The devil's irony here is that in worshipping their counterfeit image of Christ they deceitfully have been placed within the devil's grip.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. -1st 1st John 4:3

All scripture is inspired and therefore  you must compare scripture with scripture to paint the complete picture.  We know from several verses that Jesus is God (Titus 2:13; John 5:18; John 8:58; John 10:30; John 10:33; John 1:1; John 1:14; John 20:28; 2nd Peter 1:1; 1st John 5:7; Matthew 1:22-23; 1st Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:5-6; Colossians 2:9-10; 1st John 5:20). John plainly states here that those who deny Christ is God in the flesh are none of his and are in fact "against Christ." Are you in denial of Christ's deity? Take heed of the apostle John's warning my friend. Paul then asserts that Christ was...

...justified in the Spirit..

Christ fulfilled the law and lived a perfect life. He was justified in spirit, and by his blood we are justified. God states that without blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Our past, present, and future sins are remitted by receiving and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:13).  Christ offered himself up for us, and all who are set apart by believing in him are perfected forever (Hebrews 10:14). A believers faith is counted as righteousness before God (Romans 4:5). A believer's sins in this life will not be held against him, will yours be? Jesus was...

...seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 

The angels rejoiced in seeing king of kings born in Luke 2:14: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." God ordered Paul to preach to the Gentiles in Acts 22:21: "And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles." Christ has been believed on in the world for the last two millennia justifying millions of lost sinners by his amazing grace. Lastly, Christ was received up in glory (Luke 24:51) and all those who place their faith in Him will be glorified in like manner as stated in Colossians 2:13: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

Of course those in religious folds who deny the deity of Christ will squeeze their view into the text.  The fact of the matter is, this verse explains fundamentally who the true Christ is. The true Christ was God in the flesh, the true Christ was justified in the spirit on our behalf, he is believed on in the world, he is preached daily to all nations, and he was received up in glory. The Bible says that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. I ask you dear reader by this standard are you perishing? Or do you have God's eternal promise resting in you?

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1st Corinthians 1:18

Friday, August 12, 2022

BREAKING: Grammar Rules that Jesus is God



 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: -2nd Peter 1:1

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; -Titus 2:13

In spite of the word trinity not being found in the Bible, the Bible nonetheless teaches the concept. The word theology is not in the Bible either, however there is in fact theology in the Bible.  In the Muslim world many furiously tout that Jesus was a created being, and that the Bible fails to teach the divinity of Christ.  Suppose I were to tell you that there is ironclad rule of sorts that illustrates that the holy text pronounces that Jesus is in fact God?

"I before E except after C!" -Mrs Paetschow (My 3rd grade teacher)

Most of us have heard of this rule right as it applies to English right?  Well it actually really isn't a rule at all but rather a guideline, as there are several exceptions.  Well there is a hard and fast rule, that we can that is applied in the Greek language known as Granville Sharp's rule.  In 100% of the cases with zero exceptions, it applies when certain conditions are met.  I know some of you antsy types may be thinking...

"SO WHAT? What does this have to do with Jesus being God?!" -An impatient skeptic

Well, I'll get to that friend, let me just first say this.  In the first to verses I posted above, many of the critics who bolster that Jesus isn't God of eternity past will try to argue that "God and our Savior" and "great God and our Savior" refers to two separate beings, rather than to Jesus himself.  They'll proudly parrot that there will be an appearing of God and Jesus  who they deem as completely separate, and on the surface, you may think they have a case.  Unfortunately for them, the Granville Sharp rule decimates this interpretation like a wind blown on a house of toothpicks. Allow me to demonstrate.

From gotquestions.org:

"In simpler terms, the Granville Sharp Rule says that when two singular common nouns are used to describe a person, and those two nouns are joined by an additive conjunction, and the definite article precedes the first noun but not the second, then both nouns refer to the same person. This principle of semantics holds true in all languages."

Article (e.g. a/an/the) Substantive (noun, adj, or participle) + additive conjunction (in our case the word "and") + Substantive = reference to the same person

If the substantives are the same in gender, number (singular or plural), and case, it refers to the same person 100% of the time. A simple example with an English equivalent would be:

We met the captain and sailor of the ship. 

You'll notice that the definite article "the" precedes the first noun captain, followed by the additive conjunction "and" then finally the next noun "sailor".  By this rule we understand that the sailor and captain are the same person. For the sake of argument, let's look at the same sentence with two definite articles,

We met the captain and the sailor of the ship.

Notice that the additional definite article "the" in front of sailor makes the captain and sailor distinctive. 

Now let's look at Titus 2:13, "...the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"

Let's apply the rule here, the definite article "the" precedes the first noun "God" the additive conjunction "and" joins with the noun "Saviour" without a definite article. Both nouns are singular.  In other words Jesus is referred to as the great God AND Savior, without question. In the Greek it's no different, the additive conjunction "and" is "kai" and the gender, case, and number is the same. Vested in the written laws of grammar, those who say otherwise are simply mistaken.

Jesus is God, came to us in the form of a man, to saved all who have sinned (this includes you).  As a result of his perfection, he was a worthy sacrifice to justify all men, the unblemished Lamb of God.  Peter writes he bore all our sins at the cross  (1st Peter 2:24), Paul writes he became sin who knew no sin (2nd Cor 5:21). Jesus did all the work for you (Ephesians 2:8-9), you just have to trust in him (Romans 10:9). He did so because of his great love for you (Romans 5:8). Salvation is a free gift. Christ can justify you by the power of faith in Him (Romans 4:5). In trusting Christ this means all your sins are forgiven, and Christ's righteousness is automatically charged to your account.  All your past, present, and future sin debt is cleared.  You gain entry to heaven forever with God because your sins are forgiven through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. As the scriptures saith, "for without blood, there is no remission of sin" (Hebrews 9:22).  Without Christ there is an eternal penalty for sin (Revelation 20:15; 21:8). God has made a way to save you from the judgment of your sin. Won't you trust him today?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved -Romans 10:13


**For more on the Granville Sharp Rule -----> looky here.<------

Saturday, April 23, 2022

By the Law is the Knowledge of Sin




Suppose that life tapped a man on the shoulder and said, "You need a break slim, let's go for a drive."  The man comfortably saddles himself in his vehicle, drags the safety sash across his chest and glides the belt into buckle.  Relaxed, he slowly presses on the gas pedal.  The car doesn't move.  Still hopeful he decides to press the pedal with a little more force. Sadly, the car doesn't flinch an inch. In his frustration he stomps on the pedal with both feet in rapid succession over and over, faster and faster.  He yells at the car as if it's sentient, and stubbornly refuses to put the key in the ignition first.  Due to his Fred Flintstone complex, he firmly believes in exercising feet first, instead of key first. As a result the man never could take that relaxing drive that his life wanted him to enjoy.  My friend, did you know many people do this when it comes to their salvation? Often times they make the grave mistake of placing God's sanctification before justification. Many of those types believe that following the ten commandments or other aspects of the Old Testament will make them justified in the sight of their creator. What does the scripture actually say?

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God -Galatians 3:11

How is a man justified?  Well first we must define what biblical justification is. To be justified is to be declared righteous permanently (Galatians 3:6). Growing up I was taught I needed to "exercise" my faith to be justified before God.  This unfortunately is what the man in the illustration was doing, exercising his foot against the pedal first, instead of placing the key in the ignition. Here is the key my friend, faith itself is what justifies us before God, not exercising obedience to the works of the law.  You see the law is more like a compass, it points first to our sin,

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. -Romans 3:20

The law points to the fact that we all fall short of God's perfection, for by the law is the knowledge of our sin.  We have all broken God's moral standard the 10 commandments (James 2:10; Romans 3:10).  Since we all miss the mark, we all fall short of God's glory and his perfect standard (Romans 3:23).  The law is multi-faceted as it also points to something or rather someone else,

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  -Galatians 3:24

The main focus of the law first then is to illustrate that we are all sinners. By the law is the knowledge of sin, we are able to recognize we fall short and have sinned against a holy God.  The law states not to lie in the 9th commandment, have you ever lied? Well here comes the knowledge of sin, you have fallen short of God's perfect standard and thus his glory. If God was to justify us by our own efforts to do good then Christ's death is in vain! Don't believe me?  The scripture makes it abundantly clear, 

 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. -Galatians 2:21

So we learn that exercising the law as it pertains to justification is frustrating the grace of God.  If you think that trusting in your own moral efforts will get you to heaven you are gravely mistaken.  All our trespasses were forgiven at the cross (Col 2:13), all men have the choice to receive complete justification by faith.  Not by works of righteousness we have done, but by his mercy he saved us (Titus 3:5).  The law points us first to our sin, and then the law as our schoolmaster brings us to Christ. After that faith has come we become graduates of the law, because Christ fulfilled the law perfectly (Galatians 3:25). We are therefore justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law,

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. -Galatians 2:16

You see Christ takes us how we are, and by faith we are justified (Romans 4:5), our eternal destination is already set and we are made righteous.  By faith alone God seals us with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), and by his power and might (Col 1:11) we are to able to exercise our faith AFTER we have been justified (Ephesians 2:10). If James 2 is your hang up, see my article that goes more in depth here. A true believer is a new creature (2nd Cor 5:17), and God will start a holy work through him. Sanctification follows justification.  Becoming justified is NOT leaning on God by "faith" by exercising obedience to the law. Rather when we are justified by faith, first we are positionally sanctified set apart and made holy (Acts 13:39).  Secondly, the sanctification process is a purging process that grows our faith in the Lord (2nd Peter 3:18). The Holy Spirit teaches and chastens us (John 14:26).  We are still burdened by the flesh, but are promised a comforter to assist us in the meantime. We still wrestle between the flesh and the spirit (Gal 5:17), because we have not yet been glorified.  In this middle arena of being born-again, and yet in the flesh the Holy Spirit begins a new work in us to make us more holy here and now despite the desires of our flesh. He does this by assisting our faith while battling the old man in us until we pass onto heaven (Phillipians 1:6). In our passing we will be made blameless and our sanctification complete (1st Thess 5:23), perfectly purged by the blood of the lamb. 

As a side note, it is important to answer the critic that asks, "If a man is justified by grace through faith does that make it alright for a man to continue in sin? Wouldn't our sinful life further illustrate God's grace?" God's  answer is NO! We are dead to sin and that old man is crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6).

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1-2

While on earth a man will never be perfect, but he can be made righteous through faith in Christ.  The Holy Spirit leads and resides in a believer and will instruct him/her to follow the 10 commandments (Nehemiah 9:20), but that is because the believer is ALREADY justified and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. It's the gently leading of the spirit that grows a man's faith. 

In the religious institution I grew up in I was taught an idea that completely inverted God's truth, it went as follows,

...that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.  THIS ANSWER IS FALSE

I'd like to tweak this a bit and give it a bible-based makeover, so here it goes,

...that through faith in the finished work of Christ all mankind may be saved (fully justified) and nothing elseTHIS ANSWER IS TRUE

It's not by obedience to "laws and ordinances" that determines our final resting place (see Galatians 2:16).  The handwriting of ordinances that were against us were nailed to His cross, there is nothing that we can do aside from belief (Colossians 2:14). The atonement made payment for ALL our sins and through faith in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection we are justified (Romans 10:9). We are promised a one way ticket to the one spiritual heaven that exists (John 3:16)!  Our justification is why we are reconciled to be in the very presence of God in heaven for eternity (2nd Cor 5:18)! The rejection of Christ, or trusting in your own works is a one way ticket to eternal separation from God in Hell (Proverbs 14:12; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 20:15). Why?  Because you're trusting in yourself or something other than Christ to get to heaven. Jesus said he is the only way (John 14:6). Christ is the only one who can charge perfection to your account (2nd Cor 5:21). Why? He lived a sinless life, the eternal God through whom all of creation was spawned has provided a way to justify us, the only one who could ever pay our sin debt by his precious blood (Revelation 1:5).  Christ took it all upon his shoulders so you wouldn't have to die in your sin. We are all cursed (Gal 3:10), this is why Christ had to become a curse for us and suffer for our sins at the cross (1st Peter 2:24; Deut 21:22-23).   All God has ever wanted is a loving relationship with you, and what does that kind of relationship require? Trust. Believing God is trusting in him. He will not leave you nor forsake you, just surrender everything (Hebrews 13:5). God doesn't want your religion, he wants your whole heart (Acts 8:37). 

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. -1st John 5:13




Saturday, April 16, 2022

Quick Edification Series: Ephesians 5:5 and Salvation


 

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.


Scouring across the terrain of the internet one cannot escape vast valleys of deceit. More often than not these days, one has to work their way through the digital fog, and climb to a peak void of the noise to find the truth so often obscured.  As it is with the case of the Bible, many proponents of false positions love to take their anonymous blow horn touting their half baked opinion on scriptures such as these.  I have discovered many love to cherry pick their pet verses and build their straw hut of doctrine, that mere context could easily blow down. One of these such verses is Ephesians 5:5. So instead of the big bad wolf huffing and puffing and blowing down the poorly constructed dwellings of swine, let's allow instead the Holy Spirit's breath to melt away the misconceptions of swine like interpretation.

The misconception of this verse state that people who commit the sins that Paul mentions can: A. Lose their salvation or B. Cannot be saved.  Some expect that you have to broom sweep and squeak clean your life before God accepts you. Others that if you stumble as a believer into these sins you are at a grave risk of being voided of your grand inheritance in God's kingdom. Instead getting into a verbal tussle here, one should ask what saith the scriptures? 

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Ephesians 4:17

Throughout many of Paul's letters, he compares and contrasts what a Christian's walk should be, compared to that of the world of unbelievers. He talks of being imitators of God, and walking in his light (Ephesians 5:2). So when we get to Ephesians 5:5, Paul is saying not to walk like those in the world (Ephesians 4:17) because they have no inheritance in God's kingdom. Paul warns to stay away from these things because they are the very reasons that will cause God to pour out his wrath on sinful earth.  Notice Paul in 5:7 mentions to be not partakers with them.  Believers should not have yoke with the world (2nd Cor 6:14), and this is what Paul is talking about.  Those who live such lives void of regeneration will be judged for these things.  So Paul is not talking about losing one's salvation, but rather stating that we should all allow Christ to live through us, rather than give place to the vain spirit that plagues this world. We should not live vainly for these are the very reasons God will judge and carry out his penalty on a sinful world. After all, worldly things are temporal and will perish (Proverbs 14:12).  If you would like to see how scripture supports that a believer is eternally secure see my article: 7 Reasons All in Christ are Eternally Secure.

Friday, January 28, 2022

From Marijuana Addiction to Lasting Deliverance




Marijuana addiction. In drug circles this has been laughed off as benign for decades.  I recall as a young man that such a concept was treated as an oxymoron by my peers.  "You can't get addicted to marijuana!" They'd scoff.  "It's a dependency! Not an addiction!"  I remember hearing that statement, and had trouble making sense of it as the two terms seemed synonymous. Nevertheless I figured a dependency meant it was much less serious.  I feel one of the many reasons marijuana is not taken seriously is because of the great over exaggeration of it's effects from propaganda akin to Reefer Madness.  However, in these times the opposite has seemed to occur.  With the push of it's health effects, now even grandmothers dotingly say they got a script for their "medicine" after stopping by their local  marijuana dispensary.  Marijuana is argued as harmless by many today, but in my personal experience with it for over a decade it became a ball and chain I could not sever from my heart.  I eventually got delivered from it along with alcohol, but not in the ways conventionally taught by the world. 

My friend, are you addicted to marijuana or something else?  Deep down you want to quit, but just can't seem to buck the habit?  I was in that place for years and years.  I remember I would get overwhelmingly anxious when I wasn't a puppet under it's effects.  You see as a young man, I struggled with depression and anxiety.  Marijuana would provide a fleeting escape for me, I would forget my struggles, and as soon as they'd mushroom back up, I'd go right back to it.  It became a cycle that crystallized more weight upon my shoulders and eventually became too much for me to bear.  My work performance became less than mediocre, I became impulsive and toxic.  I found myself spending less and less time with my family, and more time with vain entertainment.  I became incredibly lazy, and didn't want to spend an ounce of my schedule outside of servicing myself in my hedonistic sphere.  In the beginning, I could recall things under the spell of the drug, but as I got older my memory got worse and worse.  I would see movies on it, and completely forget what I watched the next day.  This bled into a fragmented reality where years became a blur, and I could not live a moment without being absolutely consumed by it.  I remember I wanted so desperately to escape it, I sought counselors, and read self-help literature.  Meditation seemed to help but it never lasted. I wanted a normal life, but it was the only thing that seemed to offer calmness to my mental chaos. Ironically marijuana use was making my life worse at the same time. At it's peak it lead me to a place where I was completely heartbroken. I want to share with you what I discovered to be the solution to my addiction problem, and pray you discover this wonderful treasure for yourself.

Are you heartbroken?  You may not know it and neither did I at the time, but if you are you're in a great place for deliverance.  

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. -Psalm 34:18

The good news my friend it that if your heart is in fact broken, the Bible says God is near.  If you're still in denial about your problem, or take pride in your habit, your heart is not ready. You see, our hearts are where our treasures are, is your treasure of this world?  The world only can offer you temporal treasures that will rot over time. Meditate on this fact if your pride still consumes you. The reason you seek marijuana is because your heart seeks after corruptible things that have no lasting impact.

 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth. and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: Matthew 6:19

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt 6:21

You see, the reason we seek and build up worldly strongholds in our hearts is because of man's appetite for sin.  Sin is insatiable, meaning it can never offer lasting fulfillment.

[Those that walk after the flesh] Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin.  -2nd Peter 2:14

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. -John 3:19

My friend the reason you struggle is because the world can only offer you a temporary solution to your sin problem. Sin is the entire reason that we have a void in hearts, it's what separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2). It's what causes men to lose hope, and the world offers nothing but pleasures for a season. Just as the world offers no real solution in our time here, it offers no solution after death.

[Moses] Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; -Hebrews 11:25

For the wages of sin is death;. -Romans 6:23

My friend, all of mankind's hearts are filled with a void the world simply cannot fill.  Humble your heart my fellow struggler, God is near and wants to help you.  

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. -John 4:14

Jesus will fill you with an unlimited supply of water your heart thirsts after.  Believe in Christ with your whole heart, and he will not only save you from a much grander eternal penalty but will also deliver you from your current problem of addiction.  This was the case with me, I wanted deliverance more than anything, I needed a savior. Carnal weapons have no place against spiritual strongholds so I sought Christ with my whole heart (Acts 8:37).  Not only did my addictions fall off without any effort of my own, but Christ filled me like His Word promises.  I no longer thirst for the strongholds that consumed my life, and so long as you continually seek and feed on His Word, you will no longer have an appetite for the temporal things the world has to offer.  Input the Lord Jesus and lasting fulfillment will be your output.  Believe on Him to have eternal life, cling to Him and he will protect you from the wicked desires of your heart. You will never be perfect, but he is your advocate. He will be your shepherd just allow him to lead, His power is beyond measure.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 2nd Cor 10:4-5)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:1-13


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Will You Die As A Fool? Or Live Within Refuge?

   

    It was a refreshing mid-week Autumn night, the kind where the air runs across your skin at just the right temperature.  My wife and I had just bolted from my in-laws and were in the middle of embarking to a thrift store in close proximity. "We aren't going to make hun.." I told her.  "We will, we will!" she snapped back.  I wasn't going to argue, the truth was I wanted her to be right.  My foot weighed heavy against the pedal, I was hopeful that we would get the items that we were seeking after.  After wearing the edges of my tires from some sharp turns, we found ourselves planted in front of Goodwill with seconds left.  In running to the doors much to our surprise, they weren't locked! "Yes, we made it!" I say out loud. Upon entry, I recall being met with ten sunken eyes pasted on the heads of five employees. It was safe to assume we knew the words that were coming.  "We're closed," four said in mantra-like unison. "But..but..." my wife protested.  The fifth employee was a little behind, but knew this was his opportunity to parrot what he had missed, "We're closed." he pipingly stated.  Well... needless to say, we failed to make it within the gates of refuge.  We'll I mean we made it inside, but you get my point. We were denied access.  Although I exaggerated this story a bit, this illustration is a crumb similar to the type of picture we see with Abner and Joab, in the book of 2nd Samuel.  However, the picture woven in God's Word depicts a story with weighted eternal consequences. 

And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? 2nd Samuel 3:33

    Abner died like a fool, why would David say this? After all, David respected Abner greatly.  Let's take a look at the background in order to rightly divide the context of the passage. Abner was a commander, and David had considered him a great man (2nd Samuel 3:38).  David had no doubt known him for years as he was the cousin to King Saul who had proceeded him.  In spite of God anointing David to be the next king, and taking the throne of Judah after Saul's death, Abner attempted to supplant Saul's son Ish-bosheth as the ruler over all of Israel. A confrontation inevitably ensued as Joab, David's nephew and commander, met Ish-boseth's commander Abner at the battle of Gibeon.  After Abner's retreat, Joab's brother Asahel confident and quick-footed decided to pursue Abner.  Despite Abner's warnings not to pursue, Asahel stubbornly ignored them. Although initially reluctant, Abner came to a point where he had no choice but to defend himself.  Spear gripped tightly in hand, Abner struck Asahel. The piercing was well calculated, the spear penetrated just below his fifth rib, killing him in an instant.  Upon the discovery of his brother's death, Joab desired vengeance and sought after Abner. Over time and as the war of the house of Saul and David continued, Saul's army waxed weaker and weaker.  However, it wasn't until Ish-boseth falsely accused Abner of sleeping with his father's concubines, that Abner sought to join David and was accepted.  Angered by  David's new recruit, Joab sought this as an opportunity for vengeance.  After coaxing Abner to meet at the city gates, Joab succeeded in avenging his brother killing in like fashion by stabbing Abner just below the fifth rib.  Abner died just outside the city of Hebron, the city of refuge.  David immediately mourns over Abner, calling him a fool for this very reason.

The city of refuge was a place of protection for Jew or Gentile (Joshua 20:1-9).  Hebron was one of several cities that offered protection from vengeance generally for unintentional manslaughter. A trial would have to be heard before judgment could take place.  Abner, acting in his own defense, during a time of war would have met this criterion of protection.  Yet Abner, as keen as he was on the battlefield, died as a fool by Joab's deceit. Abner died just outside his city of refuge, which would have been his protector. God's Word is full of symbolic pictures, and prophetic allegorical representations.  What is the bigger picture that God is illustrating here?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10

Abner had died inches away from his city of refuge by foolishly choosing to believe his deceiver.  The fact of the matter is, all unbelieving men are just outside the spiritual gates of refuge.  Unbelievers are just a few inches from believing in the God of the universe, Jesus Christ who can be their strong tower.  In Psalm 14:1, the Bible states that the fool hath said in his heart there is no God.  You would have to be a fool as David put it, to trust in a deceiver (Satan) instead of your safety (Christ). If you don't know Christ, you are just outside the safety of eternal life found within His arms. God is a spiritual refuge available to all men, and none are turned away Jew or Gentile (Romans 1:16).  If you're reading this, you still have time (2nd Corinthians 6:2).  Abner's time expired unexpectedly, and so can yours (Proverbs 27:1). All God asks is that you come unto him.  Recognize your condition as a sinner (Romans 3:23) and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-13). He will in no wise cast all who come to Him (John 6:37).  You will be forgiven of all sin past, present, and future, and will be given of place with Him in heaven for all of eternity (Colossians 2:14; John 3:16). Eternal life is just inches away, will you die as a fool as Abner did?  Or will you live unto life everlasting with the only wise God who turns none away (1st Timothy 2:4; Jude 25).

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us Hebrews 6:17-18


Joab the deceiver in this instance is a type of Satan, and the gates of refuge are a picture of God's protection of all who come to Him.  Abner is a type of unbeliever, and died as a fool, just as those who die without the Lord Jesus Christ.  All God asks is that you come unto him.  Recognize your condition as a sinner, believe in the Lord Jesus and you will find yourselves safely protected from the second death (Rev 21:8) within the eternal gates of refuge. 

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