Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

1 Cor 1: 22-23  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishnessThe-Weakness-of-the-Cross-3_24_31-608x430

1 Cor 1: 24-29 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ……But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Why did God do what he did through the suffering of one man on a Roman Cross?

In this world Might and achievement is reckoned by the force of ones armies and the willingness to die for a cause.  For some it is in striving for great riches and wealth. In Islam those who die in Jihad are honoured with immediate paradise whilst those who don’t get to live in a conscious existence in the grave.  For others heroism and bravery is commended and cowardness is disgraces.  Bravery above weakness.  Yet God in his wisdom cuts through all this, and through weakness achieves the impossible.  He brought salvation to mankind.

The scriptures say that Gods foolishness is still wiser and his weakness stronger.

  • Now if salvation could be achieved through wisdom and intellect, then only the wise would get in and the foolish and uneducated would not.
  • If Salvation was based on strength and valour then the weak would be at a disadvantage.
  • If salvation would be found among the healthy, then the sick would loose out.
  • If salvation could be found among the rich, the poor would loose out.
  • If salvation was achieved through works, then only those with the strength of ones might be able to achieve salvation, and those who don’t loose out.
  • If salvation was based upon my goodness, then the bad have no chance.

Sadly for many in their pride are unwilling to humble themselves, they still cling to the notion that might is right.  They clamber in the belief that their efforts will be recognised and earn a reward called salvation, But its all dross and futility.

They battle strive and struggle in the belief that there are points to be mad,e and their salvation is earned as a reward. For many they can climb upon their intellect, look down upon those who don’t, and boast in their pride  believe they have made the grade whilst others cannot.

 God however cut through all this red tape and made salvation infinitely simpler.  As Paul said to his jailer, whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  Faith as simple as trusting is all that is needed.  It does not matter if you are rich poor brave a coward, Healthy or sick.  God made the playing field equal.  Whoever comes will be saved.

You see Gods way strips me of my boasting.  I have nothing that I can hold onto that says I am better that that other person.  I have nothing that says I have earned my place along side God best.    In fact I am totally disarmed.  All my wisdom, intellect, treasures, gifting , pride, and even my  strength is laid bare before him.  As Paul said he counted it all but dross.  Even in my weakness there is still no pride because one in his weakness he chooses to endure the cross in weakness.  All I can do is look and live.  All I can do is fall down and cry out for mercy.  All I can do is place myself into the hands of the one who died and rose from the tomb.  Throw away any confidence in me and place all my confidence in him. 

Gal 2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me

Its not my might but his.  Its not my goodness but his,  its not my bravery by his,  its not by my riches by his infinite riches.  It is not even by my love , but because he loved me before I knew there was a love to be loved by.

Rom 5: 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.In the end Jesus did not die just for his friends, but  for his…… ENEMIES!

In a recent debate on the issue of Joyce Meyers, the argument went something like this:

“But people are getting saved through her ministry”

The idea being that if Joyce and her fellow prosperity teachers are saving souls they cant be that bad.   I have a friend whose father in Law went to a Benny Hinn crusade and went forward to be saved.  After that they would not hear anything bad about Benny. 

NOW IT A FAIR ENOUGH QUESTION IF THEY ARE WINNING CONVERTS SURELY THAT CAN’T BE BAD?

Now please notice that I have change the wording from actually being saved to winning converts, because numbers are not really a basis to determine if someone is genuine.  The appeal to converts does not in itself determine the message.  There is no doubt many cults including the rev Sun Moon of the unification church  and even Islam  all groupingboast in their numbers  as the principle basis that numbers somehow equals truth.   Yet we know their message is in no way genuine.

So the number game does not determine the message or the fruit.  Jesus had few followers at the end and yet his message and fruit was more than genuine.   Sadly it has become the principle debate that mega churches are automatically right simply because of their numbers.    We can’t go on that basis.  As scripture says Broad is the road that leads to destruction, and narrow is the road that leads to life.  The broad road is easy to find, but the narrow is so much harder to find, never mind squeeze through.

THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, SOME OF WHICH IS NOT ALWAYS OUT OF A GENUINE MOTIVE.

Phil 1: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.

Just because someone preaches a gospel message:  Appears to use all the right terminology and even makes an altar call, is no guarantee they are the genuine article.  People have preached the gospel for many reasons.  Some of which have been for reasons altogether insincere.  Many have done so because there were dollar signs attached.   Such as with the case of Marjoe Gortner who for many years went on the preaching circuit, and accumulated vast sums of wealth.   He was brought up by his parents to be the boy preacher.  Many believed on him, followed him.  He preached and prayed for the sick and could speak in tongues as good as anyone.    Yet he is on record as never ever being a true believer.  He could say all the right things and make all the right moves, but was never the genuine article.   Yet how many bought into this mans message and dare I say anointing?  Just because a man claims he is anointed, does not mean he is?  In the end he did a final preaching tour with a camera team to expose just how easy people could be deceived.  Sadly many missed the lesson!!!!

 2 Peter 2: 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet

BUT WHAT IF A PERSON GETS SAVED THROUGH A FALSE TEACHER?

Balaam’s was rebuked by his ass and what the ass said was true.  Now did ass gather a following afterwards?  Just because a ass bore some fruit does not mean we should all follow the ass.  The ass may have been used once but the ass remained just an ass.    So someone may have been witness to by something someone said.  Still does not mean we follow the ass.    Plus and what makes this all the more important is the preacher is not the one who does the saving, God does.  Yet in listening to some you can’t help walk away with the thought that the preacher becomes the one who does.

There is an interesting line to point out here.  The messenger is still only the messenger.  A sign post on the road is still only a sign post, but he is never the vehicle that takes you to the end of the road.    So even if someone is convinced by an individual, like Joyce Meyers.  Joyce is not the one who saves, God alone saves the lost soul.  What many are actually pointing to is the fact that Copeland Osteen Meyers or the many others are actually doing is winning converts to themselves, rather than to the Lord.

IF NOT SAVED , THEN WHAT ARE THEY SAVED TO?

Heb 4: 2 For unto us was the gospelpreached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].

It would seem that in some conversation with people, it becomes clear that it is not a matter that people are being saved to know the Lord, But that they are being converted to a certain individual.  What happens is that the convert instead of running after God, spends their time running after the messenger.  When the messenger falls the converts fall away.  It may not always happen,  they may come through to a genuine path and therefore to a genuine faith.  But when trust is misplaced and these pillow prophets will often package their message in such as way that they place themselves central to their message.  That people inevitable follow the individual thinking they are following God.. 

IT’S ALL IN HOW THE MESSAGE IS PACKAGED

There is great subtly in the way the prosperity message is packaged.  There is almost a two tier lever of consciousness to their message.  Yet whilst many hear one level they will embrace both.  One is a very vocal top message that’s very positive.   This message is very comfortable to embrace, health peace financial stability, divine health and how to love oneself.

There is a lot what I call mixture, where both truth and error are all blended in together and it takes almost a blowtorch to separate the two.

But the core lever of the message which drives the top message is altogether prejudice against the truth of scripture.  Both are inevitably embraced without the realisation that the core message is poison and dangerous to the soul.  I have talked with a number of Prosperity believers who would argue blind that Copeland, Hagin and others did not teach a specific aspect of their message.  Yet in the continual conversation on the subject they would begin to mimic the very thing they denied previously.  It is both curious and alarming that the individuals do not see this reality.  It takes some persuasion before even they begin to see that the truth of the falseness of these teachers is actually coming out of their own mouths.

The final level is probably the worst in this regard that they both see believe and accept that what is being taught by these people is not accord with scripture.  It is almost impossible to reach them without God.  At this level the individuals are so persuaded, and their conscience has been so seared and hardened that it almost impossible to reach.    They know what they believe and could not care that the doctrine they pursue is error. 

To put is bluntly people are being brainwashed by this heresy.  Because this message is often repeated word for word, with only minor changes people are becoming subconsciously persuaded by it. Just as people are persuaded to buy the next new product on the market, so people are being persuaded in the same way.  The constant repetition of any product is eventually picked up by some consumer, so the message if listen to on a regular basis on Books TV and tape will eventually hit its mark.

I know of another dear friend who was involved in a church that embraced this heresy many years ago.  Whilst he knows that the prosperity teaching is wrong.  He totally rejects it as heresy.  Yet there are times he comes out with something that I can tell is from the prosperity Message.  Unless you are fully aware of why how and where you can miss the subtitle of this heresy, but once you see and grasp where it is wrong it sticks out like a boulder. 

Ps 119: 105 Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a lightunto my path

The light had dawned.

Years ago when I was a teenager the Gideons came to my school.  During assembly they gave a quick talk and handed out these little red cover backed King James New Testament Bibles.  Whilst many of the kids joked about burning them, I found in my hand something which I treasured.    Now I was not a Christian at that time, but I would from time to time read the word.  But whilst I could read the words I never really understood the message.  Years later I started work.  The production manager was a Christian who would chat to his staff about Christianity.  This prompted me to take out that little King James and occasionally  I read it.  Now I could read the words, but the message was as ever hidden as it had always been.  The mystery of its message was lost.  It remained just another book.  Now this Christian invited me to his church.  I knew what was going to be asked and I talked it over with the Lord the night before.  I was going to say YES to receive him as Lord and saviour.    I remember that the previous day reading my Bible and the message was only darkness to my understanding.

The day after having received Jesus as Lord and saviour, I opened that same little King James Bible.  Something had dramatically changed.  Suddenly the words became alive.  They literally jumped out of the page with meaning and understanding.  So what had changed from one day to the next?  There can be no doubt that I had indeed received God into my life.    I still had to read the Bible and study it, but the insight was illuminating.  Someone was now interpreting that word to my heart and mind.  No longer was I looking at mere words, the words now had meaning depth and life.

It was as if someone had literally walked into a dark room and flicked the switched.  The room became bathed in light.    The Holy Spirit brought that light into my soul and was now feeding my mind with the truths contained in the Bible.  From there God started to make all those little connection between all those chapters.  The Bible works folks.    It makes sense from cover to cover.   Now you can never say you know it all because that same Holy Spirit is still revealing his word.   But I can say that what I hold in my hand was treasure indeed.

There is a bridge ahead which you know is down.  Below is a fast running river that will take all who fall into it into a Christless eternity.  You stand on the verge screaming shouting waving with frantic appeals to the oncoming traffic.   As they pass you can see their faces and expressions.  You glimpse momentarily a snapshot of their lives.  Their faces laughing at a joke someone has told, others enjoying the music from a local radio station: Kids playing in the back seat: others the odd kindly argument and banter.  They rush pass ignoring the screams and waving.

Pro 16: 25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death

Some as they pass wind their side windows down  only to shout abuse and accuse you of hatred.  They shake their fists violently at you.  How dare you interupt their peaceful journey.

You try with great desperation to warn and explain.   You try to point to the stark reality of a collapsed bridge and the ford below.  You try your best to explain that there is another narrower road but it’s a safer road.  It will lead to safety.  But the windows are soon wound up and they proceed onwards.

But more and more the traffic ignores your shouting and frantic weaving.  Occasionally a car turns to take the narrower road.  But by far the majority of the traffic heads down to the bridge and over the edge.  You can almost hear their frantic screams.  You remember their faces.  That’s the red car with the lady wearing a brown top,  Or the black convertible with a man who had some crazy beads hanging from his mirror.   You stand wondering as car after car is rushed  down the torrent river into an abyss.  WHY oh WHY will they not listen.  Was it their destiny to take this road?  Was I not loud enough or bold enough?    It’s their faces you remember, the snapshot of individuals which for a moment you entered their lives before they pass you by. There is a brief  memory of this or that face.  The anguish of knowing that at the last moment the full horror of their mistake will dawn upon them.  The final realisation of what is to come.  The ultimate knowledge that there is no turning back,  and they have sealed their own fate.  All the bravado fist shaking, abuse and accusations of hatred and stinking pride no longer matters.

Mat 7: 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find

But what makes all this so difficult is that you know where they are going.  There is a darkness, a futility not of a day or a week or a month, but for an eternity.  As they pass you can see in many faces the hardening resolve to across the bridge.

It seems that your cries instead of being a deterrent, becomes the means to encourage  and harden ones resolve on a road that will only lead to futility and ruin.  The message is ignored, and the waving despised.

There are two roads and two eternal destinies.

For one is the security of the narrow road upon which there is a narrow bridge which Gods own son Jesus Christ bridges.  By far the most secure bridge there is.  It can cross that chasm and into the warm embrace of a fathers love.  It becomes the ever-loving delight of children in the comfort of a parents embrace; The security and knowledge that we have finally made it home; There will be a joy and a peace that will never fade or disappoint.

However for those who have chosen the highway with no bridge comes the futility of a terrible darkness.  No joy to comfort; no pleasant smiles of assurance; no joy or contentment;  no friendship to make their eternal state less troublesome, for they shall become the object of Gods terrible wrath.  His righteous judgement vindicated.

In my flesh I struggle to let go.  The need to grab hold of these people and hold them back from the continuation of their journey over the bridge and to futility of the ravine below.

The knowledge of what is to come becomes too fearful, too terrible to let go. 

The passing faces might remind one of loved ones, or friends of long ago.  But there must also come a point of the realisation that people have chosen to make this journey.  One has to be willing to bow the head and acknowledge

“  FATHER THY WILL BE DONE.”

John 17: 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1 john 2: 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, [even] eternal life

1 john 5: 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son

1 john 5: 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life

One individual bless his soul tried to argue that eternal life had nothing to do with salvation.  Clearly his impression of eternal life was somewhat disjointed.

 There are a number of commonalities with all these verses.

    1. First He has given us (past tense) eternal life.
    2.  It was promised
    3. To have eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ.

The word to “know,” in John 17: 3 is ginōskō and in the Strongs ( 1097) is carries these meanings

1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel

a) to become known

2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of

a) to understand

b) to know

3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman

4) to become acquainted with, to know

 Some comparisons with other Greek words from the Strongs concordance

See Definition for ginosko G 1097  (Currently Viewing) See Definition for eido  G1492  See Definition for epistamai  G1987  See Definition for suniemi  G4920

       G1097 – a knowledge grounded on personal experience

       G1492 – to see with the mind’s eye, signifies a clear and purely mental perception

       G1987 – a knowledge obtained by proximity to the thing known, cf. our understanding

       G4920 – implies a native insight, knowledge gained through the five senses

Now eternal life is coming into direct contact with God.  This is more than just an intellectual knowledge about God, but a direct knowledge that comes from God. It speaks of an intimacy that can only come from having a direct relationship with God. Now before we receive eternal life we are dead spiritually and to all extend alienated from that life.  Now when someone comes into a darken room and switches on the electricity, the lights come on, and all the electrical equipment begins to buzz.  What made the difference the electricity?  No the man who flicked the switch.  Suddenly that which was dead and lifeless suddenly comes to life. So when we are grafted into the source of all life which is God we become alive spiritually.  But this is more than a mere connection with a lifeless object this is being connected in fellowship and intimacy with the very source of creation.  The fundamentals of the gospel are that we who were dead are now made alive.  Suddenly we begin to have an understanding of eternal things.  We begin to marinate the nature of God into our being.  We begin to have an understanding of things which previously were impossible for us to grasp.  Suddenly we begin to have new desires and hopes and dreams.  Suddenly what once gripped us begins to fall away.  Those habits that once enslaved us begin to die and drop from our lives.  We really do begin to be new creations in God.  Over time we grow both in intimacy and knowledge of God.  Not as one who would gather information from a mere instruction manual but as one who is in direct contact with God.  The term fellowship becomes both real and intimate.  We grow in our desire to express our thanks in worship and communion with him.

We were once in darkness but when God switches that spiritual light ON , you very being becomes alive.  You slowly begin to understand things which previously simply did not make sense.

One man tried to argue that Obedience is a requirement of salvation, that somehow Faith plus works has to go together in order to achieve salvation. 

As I pointed out to him he has to work grovel strive and possibly endure purgatory  to earn his salvation.  Otherwise he has to work towards his goal, But the Christian because he has salvation works out from his salvation.  The fruit he bares is fruit that is produced by being in connection with the source of all life.  Fruit has no means of growing but must depend on the source he is attached to.  If you have to work to be grafted in then you cannot produce what that tree offers.

The same man tried to argue that the Christian has to feed on the Eucharist and thus eat Jesus physically in order to gain life .  But true life is way beyond that concept.

What we feast on is God himself.  We are drawing from his life blood.  His life courses through our being. His holiness and purity impacts upon our souls.  Ours minds begins to chew on his word.  We love his principles.  Jesus said his meat and drink was to do the will of the Father and we can truly say our meat is to do the will of our saviour.  His will become our meat and drink.   We are nourished every time we are in fellowship with him.  We grow and expand in intimacy as we grow to know him in all his fullness.  We begin to see things from his perspective.

2 Cor 3: 17- 18   Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord

As we look upon the one who saves us we are changed by his spirit into the same image.  Growing and maturing with the same glorious nature as Jesus. 

There are times that I feel that I am looking from the other side of eternity and looking back at what is a rerun of time.  From Gods own perspective.  Seeing although darkly the glory that will be seen.  There is a liberty and freedom that is as light as breathing air, and air almost intoxicating with the presence of the living God. 

Jesus used very simply teaching methods. 

The door, the way, the shepherd, the bread, the logos, the rock and water.

 That we might be able to grasp the spiritual dimension that all was centered on Jesus.    

John 10: 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly

1 Peter 1: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Eternal life is not simply the duration of life, but a quality of life we will enter into.  Whilst we may only touch upon that life now, the fullness of that expression is fully expressed in a city with no need of a sun or a moon because God himself will dwell with his people.  He will be the light of that city.  We will live in the very presence of life joy and peace in all its fullness.  And best of all we will be able to give expression to the life we have received.

Or as the old expression says about having your socks blown off, well prepare to lose them.  The best is kept to last and no one is going to be disappointed.

 

One of the major deceptions which Roman Catholics fall into is the belief in the mass, a perpetual crucifixion of Christ that never ends.  When you look at a Catholic cross they always depict Jesus hanging upon it, and this is because that is where they see him.  For them he can never come down from that place of suffering.  A perpetual reminder of the agony at the hands of men.  Satan has no problem with a suffering saviour so long as he remains a suffering saviour.  The difference between the Roman Catholic and the Christian is the reality of what took place afterwards. 

Jesus did not remain on the cross.  He was taken down buried and after three days rose from the grave with triumph and glory.  Now it is important because what took place on the cross was only part of a greater whole.  Physiologically to stay at one point without moving on means that salvation for them is incomplete.  Its like counting down to launching a rocket that never gets launch.  You just keep counting and the rocket never leaves the launch pad.  The flight is incomplete.  It does not matter if the crowd cheers, and  the papers prints the headlines.  The rocket is still on the launch pad.  So for the Catholic Christ still hangs on that cross.  The price for mans sin is still being paid for. The victory that should be entered into is never realised. 

When Jesus declared that it is FINISHED.  The work he did was complete finished accomplished.  There is no need for a perpetual sacrifice or even a continual sacrifice; the hearts of those who weep at his sufferings soon turn to ecstatic joy that he had risen.  But for the Catholic there is a continual weeping because Jesus remains at the point of suffering.   Only by the reality that he came down can one come to the realisation that Victory had been won.  Sin had been dealt with; Satan had been defeated; Prisoners can be set free; Hope is born within the hearts of all who believe in him;  We poor sinner go through the cross, resurrected with Christ into the newness of life. 

Rom 6: 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his deathTherefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

If there is no resurrection then we are still in our sins.

Now as long as you have men and women focused on the suffering of the cross, they are unlikely to move on from the cross.  The door is wide open; God himself beckons them to enter and enjoy his company.  But they stand refusing to enter because they cannot see beyond what their priests and their hellish dogma keeps them.    They are reminded of his sufferings but never of the victory.  They are reminded of the battle, but never the reality that it has been won.  They keep going over and over the struggle, but never see the peace.    They are prisoners to a physiology of status.  For that very reason they will pray to a saint, to Mary or whoever, because they feel they need for another who has made it to intercede on their behalf.    But there is Jesus himself willing to do that Job.  But then if he is still at that place of suffering how can they see him standing to intercede on their behalf.  For that he had to come down from the cross to do so.  That is something their church refuses to acknowledge. 

When you point this out they will say they accept what the Bible teaches, yet physiologically they are still unable to enter in.  Their own institution on the pain of anathema keeps them stuck at one point in time.  Unable to enter into the fullness of what God promises.    The cake is there to eat but they will not eat.  The countdown has finished but there is no launch.  The battle has been well and truly won, but they cannot see it.  For them to enter into the fullness is to endure the wrath of the Catholic Church, the displeasure of the priests and the curses of their popes.    The saddest part of this is whilst the Christian Church stands and a cry out that he is risen, the catholic cannot comprehend the meaning of this.  For a resurrection means no more suffering on Jesus part.  Maybe that has always been the issue looking beyond the cross.  For Movie makers alike it all focuses on the suffering, with a two sec spot afterwards for the resurrection. Yet the resurrection is as vital as the cross. For with the resurrection it herals that death had been conquered and the grave defeated.  With the resurrection the sufferings of the cross is over.  Resurrection is the materialisation that salvation is now realisation.

Phil 3: 9-10 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

You cant have one without the other.  Jesus death and resurection becomes the reality that saves us.

 The main issue of the mass is that it keeps the Catholic tied to the skirts of their priests who deems who can and cannot partake.  So obedience to a priest becomes absolute.    The cycle of despair and darkness needs to be broken and these poor people are allowed to enter into the light of day and into the joy of the resurrection.  It is heartbreaking to see hearts that cannot and will not enter.  The invitations have been sent out but they refuse to attend.  The banquet is set but they refuse to come.  God himself has written the invitations but they don’t believe it.  The joy that would welcome them is indescribable and yet they choose sackcloth’s and ashes.  The peace that is glorious and yet they choose despair.  The struggle has ended but they continue to labour.

Until they are prepared to move on from the sufferings, allow Jesus to die and realise the resurrection.  As Christians we are continually being impressed upon by God spirit of the triumph of the cross, the defeat of the grave, the assurance of eternal life.  The fullness of the glory which is to come.  We see the lights of home and press onwards and upwards.    

Num 5: 8 But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the LORD, [even] to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him

Prov 23: 11 For their redeemer [is] mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Is 44: 6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.

RUTH 3: 12 And now it is true that I [am thy] near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I

Moslems will often hold up Ezekiel 18 in a vain attempt to prove that one man cannot pay for another mans sins.  Yet all Ezekiel. says is that every individual will stand before a holy God to be judged for his own sins. 

The fact of the matter that there is a provision in the law for redemption by another and he is called the kinsman redeemer.   The story of Ruth makes this clear.

The conditions are:

This person must be willing and have the ability to redeem, which means he must be free of the debt upon which he is called upon to pay.  He must also have the resources to pay it.   He must be related to the person upon whom he is to redeem.

Now as man is sinful and falls far short of what is prescribed, he is therefore unable to pay the debt which is owned.  So his need is for someone who is KINSMAN who is free of this debt who is willing to pay what we cannot.  Jesus became like unto one of us a human in order to fulfil the requirements of the law.  But he had to come in a way that made him perfect and sinless.  Muhammad was born of a natural birth and therefore a sinner, as we all were.  Jesus was born of a virgin and therefore sinless.  The only part that Mary played was the feeding of the foetus in her womb.  Jesus was born of Mary but not from Mary, which made him unique.  Thus free from the debt we all carry.  Now that debt which we own now reads

PAID IN FULL NOTHING MORE TO OWE.  “

 Jesus was also God manifested in the flesh.  So he was also in the position to redeem all those who came to him.  Jesus made it clear that he had the desire to pay the price and lay down his life.  Because he came as a human he was in a position as a human to play the part of our kinsman.

The one who was offended decides to become the one to pay the debt that was owed. 

When the reality hits that the debt we owe was paid for by Jesus we should jump  and dance with  joy.  But he does not leave it there.  When a person is born again he becomes a changed person.  God never leaves us where he found us, in the dirt and in a mess.  He lifts US up and cleanses us down, clothes and transforms us.   We are made acceptable in the beloved.  We are welcomed at his banqueting table and his banner over us is LOVE.   Now we become part of his family and welcomed into his home.

The greatest thing of all is that he knows my name, he knows me personally and he knows where I live.  Think of it the God of this whole universes calls me by name. 

This is not where it ends!!!

Jehovah Witnesses on the subject of life after death will always post or use the same verses, usually to the exclusion of all others.  Like some mantra that has been pounded into them by the organisation.    They do not believe in an immortal soul, and therefore upon death the person simply ceases to exist.  Nothing transpires for the soul afterwards.

Here are a few quotes I was given recently. 

Ecclesiastes 9:5  The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered.

Ecclesiastes 1:11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow

Ecclesiastes 2:16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!

Isaiah 26:14 They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them

The implication is that once the person dies he simply ceases to exist. The dead are buried and after that there is no more hope.  Nothing is carried on and there is no immortal soul.

But do these verses or even the Bible as a whole support this concepts?  Let’s take a closer look and judge for yourselves.

Ecc 9: 6   Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun

Taken out of context any verse can be made to say something else. Such terms as “perish” would imply an extinction, until we place the verse back into context.

Ecc 9:4-7   For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun

Solomon used a phrase which he repeated often.  >>> UNDER THE SUN<<< He uses it to refer to what happens to mankind in general.  The emphasis then in this chapter is again on what happens to people who are alive on this earth.  It is from that perspective that he talking about.  The dead don’t know what is happening in THIS LIFE!!  They have moved on and have no contact with what goes on IN THIS LIFE!!  The dead have no interaction with those who are alive on this earth.  Living have no interaction with the dead.

So the dead do not come back to haunt people or places.   Nor can they send messages back from beyond the grave to comfort the Living.   A good example has to be the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.  The rich man had an awareness of where he was at, he had feelings and he was in a position to experience bodily sensation.  But at no time was he in a position to know what his brothers were doing or even to contact them.  Even when he pleaded for someone to send his brothers a message no such message could be sent.  They have Moses and the prophet was the reply.

Reward:  There is no more reward.  The Bible says it appointed unto man once to die and then the judgement.  Whilst a person is alive he still has time to find God, receive salvation.  Know the truth.  Once dead that opportunity passes.  Their fate is sealed forever. Every opportunity to interact with the living for good or bad has passed.  Whatever one has in worldly goods money fame honour is gone.  You can’t take it with you.

Ecc 1:11   [There is] no remembrance of former [things]; neither shall there be [any] remembrance of [things] that are to come with [those] that shall come after.

Again this verse is open to abuse.  What things have “NO REMEMBERANCE OF FORMER THINGS” REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME”  What things?

This verse might give us a clue >>>Ecc 1:9   The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.  Notice the common term is repeated once again “UNDER THE SUN”   Solomon is not talking about what happens after one is dead but what happens when one is still alive.

Ecc 1:13   And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all [things] that are done UNDER HEAVEN: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Solomon is not exploring what takes place after one is dead but what is the wisdom of those who are alive.  History unless one is famous and it is recorded is forgotten by those who come after. In many cases the experiences that have been experienced by many are not always remembered or valued by future generations.

Ecc 2:16   For [there is] no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now [is] in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise [man]? as the fool.

Again there is no mention here of how the dead exist, but in how they lived.  Both the wise man and the fool will die.  Death is the inevitable consequences of the fall. Both will die and both will one day be forgotten.  The sad reality is that one day all who have lived will be forgotten.

Isaiah 26:14 They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them

Does this verse say that the departed are no more?  Poof gone!!!

Ecc 2:17   Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought UNDER THE SUN [is] grievous unto me: for all [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.

Again Solomon uses this phrase  “UNDER THE SUN”. At no time is Solomon exploring the realities of the departed other than the knowledge that what comes to all men under the sun.  The dead do not come back to speak to the living unless resurrected

Ecc 2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken UNDER THE SUN: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

Otherwise the wealth we labour for will one day be owned by someone else.    Solomon’s preoccupation is about all that took place UNDER THE SUN, NOT WHAT TOOK PLACE UNDER THE GROUND.  You can build a kingdom and accumulation of wealth, but you can’t take it with you when you die.

Jesus said much the same thing about not laying up treasures on this earth where moth and rust can devour, But lay up for yourself treasures in heaven. However unless ones survives death such wealth accumulated will serve no purpose.

The Watchtower will often point to Genesis by saying:  This from their own web site

Genesis 2:7 states: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” The first man, Adam, was a soul. Source article titled :  (DO YOU HAVE AN IMMORTAL SOUL?) http://www.watchtower.org/e/20070715/article_01.htm

The idea here is that Adam body was called a Soul.  However as we all know the Body of Adam had already been created and was lying motionless on the ground until God breathed the breath of life into him.  It is only then he became a living Soul and not before hand.

The understanding that the word “soul” can mean the whole person is supported by other scriptures. For example, the Bible speaks of a soul’s doing work. (Leviticus 23:30) The soul is spoken of as being impatient, irritated, sleepless, fearful, and depressed. (Judges 16:16; Job 19:2; Psalm 119:28; Acts 2:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:14) Referring to a soul as a person, Romans 13:1 states: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities.” And at 1 Peter 3:20, we read: “In Noah’s days, . . . a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water.” Nothing in these scriptures indicates that the soul is some immaterial entity that lives on after death

However nor does it say that the soul was equal to the Body.  If the soul and the body meant the same thing why bother to make such a difference.  Why not simply change all the reference to the soul and place it with the word “body”>>>>  Let every BODY be subject to the higher powers.  Or only eight Bodies were carried safely through the waters.  Why make a difference between the term BODY and soul.  Could it be because there is a difference?

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

If the soul is just another word for the body then why does Jesus make a clear and precise separation between them?  Is not killing the Body the same as killing the soul?  Jesus says Fear not them which >>>KILL THE BODY >>> But ARE NOT ABLE TO KILL THE SOUL<<<<

If Jesus himself says that there is a difference between the two than it would seem logical to take heed to what Jesus says.

1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now again why bother to make any difference if the soul was the body.  In fact why does it not simply say that your whole spirit and body be preserved blameless, But they don’t believe in the spirit either.  That is nothing more than ones breathe.  How can ones breath be preserved blameless?   So Paul would have to change that verse to say that your whole Body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus.  However as they don’t believe anything exists after death what is there to preserve anyway?

Clearly, the Bible shows what man is. He does not have a soul; he is a soul. Because of what man is—his nature—any hope for future life for the dead depends on a resurrection, a raising up. The Bible promises: “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [Jesus’] voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29) That sure promise of a resurrection—not the teaching of the immortality of the soul—is the basis for real hope for the dead.

Yet the very fact that scripture makes such a separation would say otherwise.  What hope does the watchtower offer ?  Absolutely Nothing!!!!!  So what is resurrected if there is no immortal soul?  I mean  if nothing survives death what is there to resurrect.  The term often used IS GODS REMEMBRANCE OF THE DEAD.  So what gets resurrected is only Gods memory of an individual.  The individual is therefore never resurrected.  What you have is a fact simile, a look alike.  They try to persuade people to call this a HOPE!!!!

Without a immortal soul there can not be a resurrection to speak off.  It would therefore be called a recreation.

Jesus in sharing about the rich man and Lazarus make it quite clear that these two men had died,  Did they cease to exist ?  No Jesus says that the rich man wakes up in hell,  He has ceased to live among the living.  His brothers have no way of contacting him.  Though he was dead yet he was alive.  So what died?  His body was in the grave but the rich man was clearly not in the grave. Was there a separation being made between the Body and soul here?  Absolutely!!!!

…in his resurrection he ‘became a life-giving spirit.’ That was why for most of the time he was invisible to his faithful apostles… He needs no human body any longer… The human body of flesh, which Jesus Christ laid down forever as a ransom sacrifice, was disposed of by God’s power.”—“ (Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie,” pp. 332, 354)

“So the evidence indicates that the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known also by that name since his return to heaven where he resides as the glorified spirit Son of God.”—(Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, 1989, p. 218)

 1Cr 15:12-15 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not

1Cr 15:17-19   And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Yet is this not the very argument which the Watchtower uses that the dead are not raised.  That Christ was not actually raised from the dead but was a created spirit being.

Whilst many believers in those early days wondered about what happens to a love one that has died.  Are they resurrected or was that a furlong hope.  It was made clear that the dead do indeed live on.  One day they will be reunited with a new resurrected body.

1 Cor 15: 35-40 But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds. [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another.

1 Cor 15: 42-44 So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

1 Cor 15: 45-48  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.

1 Cor 15: 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly

Now Paul is trying to tell us something here that should blow our socks off.    The carnal seed is the Body we know have.  Its sown into the dust of the earth and decomposes.  The same goes for many seeds that are planted.  The outer shell dies and out from it comes a plant.  Even so our bodies are returned to dust.  Its only the carnal shell.  However there seems to be this aspect that the soul needs a body to house the soul in. Paul compares the first Adam with the second.  The first reproduced the carnal flesh we live in now.  The second Adam will reproduce a spiritual body.  All who are of second Adams seed will be raised in glorious body that will be immortal.  We cant say exactly what it will look like all we know is that when his body was raise it had been changed.  It was the same body but it had been altered.  Even those whose bodies have long since decomposed to nothing or destroyed will be housed.  This new Body will have none of the imperfections of the last.  It will not age and therefore can’t succumbed to decay.  I suspect that its make up will be radically different from the one we have now.  Otherwise the laws which confine us to this earth will be changed.  It will bear the image of the heavenly.  We will have a completely different perspective on what is going on around us. 

Rev 7: 9- 10  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Now if we are to stand before the throne and the throne is in heaven, then it sure makes sense that we will have bodies that can do so.  We will be able to behold what is until now veiled.  At present only angels behold the throne and the few who were taken up in heavenly visions.   Those that did recalled at the awesome glory and majesty that touched their souls.  Man by nature because of the fall recoils from such a purity and holiness.  On that day we will be as pure and holy as Jesus is.  We will not recoil at its brightness or its warmth.  But rejoice in its glow.

 

We stand before God as condemned men,  but his gift can change all that

Rom 3: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Rom 6: 23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

He found us wallowing in the mud of sin. But he did not leave us there. He took us as we are but did not leave us the way we where.

In the mud and mire he found us. Thankfully he did not leave us there.

John 3: 16-17  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 John 3: 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3: 19-20  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3: 21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God

 Rom 8: 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

2 Tim 1: 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 Eph 1: 3- Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

 1 Cor 12: 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit

 Eph 2: 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus

 

Pro 14: 34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but  sin [is] a reproach to any people

Letter from a devil

Prov 10: 2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death

 Prov 5: 4 For thou [art] not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee

 Hosea 10: 13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: Prov 10: 13 because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

 Prov 11: 5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

 

Wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death

 Police have published a letter, written by a burglar, which mocks the victim of the crime and describes them as “dumb”.

The burglar, who was 16-years-old when the crime was committed, was told to write a letter of apology after being sentenced to a 12 month Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Plan.

However, the teenager took a different view.

In a letter riddled with spelling mistakes the thief told the victim:

“To be honest I’m not bothered or sorry about the fact that I burgled your house. Basically it was your fault anyways.”

The burglar also took the opportunity to point out the “dumb mistakes” which led the victim’s property to be selected.

The letter states: “Firstly, you didn’t draw your curtains which most people now to do before they go to sleep.

“Secondly your dumb you live in Stainburns a high risk burglary area and your thick enough to leave your downstairs kitchen window open. I wouldnt do that in a million years.”

West Yorkshire police have released the note to warn homeowners about securing their property.

Officers want people to follow the advice of the young criminal in an attempt to cut the number of burglaries.

Chief Inspector Melanie Jones, from West Yorkshire Police , said: “The contents of the letter are disgusting but it does highlight the cold and dispassionate way burglars select a property to target.”

The letter concludes with a final insult from the thief: “But anyways I dont feel sorry for you and Im not going to show any sympath or remores. Yours sincerely.”

Thankfully the letter in question was never passed onto the victims.  The letter however does show the clear lack of remorse or guilt over what he did.  Today we are seeing a growing callousness by criminals towards their victims

John 3: 19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should

The fundamental flaw is that we love our sin, and few are willing to accept personal responsibility for it.  Its always the other mans fault.  Adam and Eve took the same course of action. Adam  blamed  Eve and Eve blamed the snake and the snake had nothing to stand on. 

When a nation forgets their God, that nation will be given over to their wickedness.   That nation cannot be blessed.  However when a nation holds up the principles of scripture Gods blessing follows

 For too long the nations have been spoon fed that God does not exist, there is no personal responsibility, let alone accountability.  We have all evolved from some primeval ooze or some primeval animal.  So when we act like animals we are simply being true to our base nature.  NO GOD and NO JUDGEMENT.  But the reality is that there is a God and there is a judgement to come.  Until we get back to the proclaiming a morality that shuns wickedness,  A Gospel that demands repentance,  Salvation that comes only from one place and by one man Christ Jesus.  The future is very bleak indeed for  a nation  who have chosen to reject the light of Gods word.   

Until holiness, purity and true justice becomes central to our way of life there can be no hope of a change.  

 let us pray that the LOVE of who God is becomes a growing reality.   That the Love we hold for  our God will become infectious, and proclaim that what man made laws could not change the saving power of God can.