From The Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man? A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
From the fall account of Gen 3:1-6, we see Adam & Eve forsook the Law of God in eating the fruit of self-righteousness. In this mankind became each a law unto themselves because they were gods unto themselves serving their own chief end from the fall. The very life-giving breath which God breathed in Adam’s nostrils died, and the image of God, which mankind was made in, to reflect God’s very nature and character was broken.
Gen 2:7 (Creation Account) Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living person.
Rom 5:17 For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
John 20 (Redemption Account) 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be to you; just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
The above 3 pieces of scripture, cites the creation & redemption of God’s elect through His Son Jesus. Now, I would like to you understand, that just like how fallen mankind uses everything to serve their own motives… take the world’s counterfeit of the 10 Commandments for example. Originally in the 10 commandments, the first 4 commandments highlight mankind’s duty unto God while the next 6 commandments specify man’s duty unto His neighbour… but how the fallen world counterfeits this is by putting themselves first instead of God and then loving their neighbour from covetousness according to who serves their best interests… and the reason this is done from wickedness is because fallen man even though he acts like god, he is not truly God, & so the only way he establishes himself as god is by serving himself, as his own chief end through wickedness. The Triune God Almighty on the other hand is truly God, and so His very law or shall I say nature & character, which establishes His Godhead is righteous because He truly is God and that’s no lie. Hence, when a man is restored in Jesus to reflect God’s nature and character, he is a new creation in Christ (2Cor 5:17), who no longer enjoys sin as he get’s a taste of living for God’s glory, which hooks him into finding mankind’s original Godly purpose in being that radiant image of God’s nature and character.
Ephesians 2 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1Cor 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.
The above 3 pieces of scripture highlights the change of nature that overtakes the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the victorious life, where the believer goes from sucking up to people in covetousness to serve his own vested interest from unbelief… to worshipping God in His righteousness and serving His interest for God’s glory. Also, I must say there is nothing more satisfying in life than living for the glory for God. Go take a look at the world, who is seeking in after themselves take to sexual immorality, debauchery and acting from covetousness; but do these poor fools find any satisfaction in seeking after themselves? No! For they have lost sight of the very purpose they were made for by God, & that is to live for God’s glory and reflect God’s very nature and character as their own.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 84:10 For a day in Your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than live in the tents of wickedness.
Mat 6 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Notice how the lilies of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin thread for cloth, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.
You know, looking at the above three pieces of scripture I would like to say there is nothing to stop you from getting what you want, when you want what God wants (Ps 37:4/Rom 8:1). For the Christian who lives for God’s glory is like the salt of the earth, that though we are few we influence the nature of things around us by reflecting God’s nature & character as our own, and we are so hooked by the power of God presented to us in the Gospel that though the world may slay us for making them feel insecure about the way they go about as gods serving their own chief end from wickedness and self-righteousness, the truth is that even if obedience unto God cost us our lives, it is worth it because the Jesus is worthy (Rev 7:10-14) of such true worship (Phil 1:21/John 4:23). So, this New Year 2021, I pray you may know the Lord God and live for His glory in blessed to become a new creation in Christ.
I have been moved to write on this because of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has been wreaking havoc in the name of fighting racism. The truth is faith in Jesus is mankind’s only dividing line which really matters, because there is an earth and sky difference between those who truly believe in Jesus and those who don’t, and this is not because of any personal quality a believer may have but what makes a believer special is the Spirit of Jesus Christ who works in the believer (1John 4:4), and that is far greater than the spirit of Satan in whose sway the wicked people of the world are (1Jn 5:19). This sway is made evident in the degenerate actions of Black Lives Matter that’s all justified in the self-righteous fighting of systemic racism.
John 3 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
1John 3 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
To give you some context for the 1John 3:10 verse mentioned above, I will need to take you back to Gen 3:1-6, to the account of the fall of man, where mankind was bastardized by Satan by being deceived into becoming a law to themselves. This happen by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, in which Adam forsook God’s standard of righteousness only to receive his own righteousness, whereby mankind became gods to themselves, from here stems mankind’s self-serving nature because in becoming a law to ourselves, we also became counterfeit gods to ourselves. However, unlike God who exercises righteousness in serving His own interest because He truly is God. When we seek after ourselves, we do nothing but act and thinks deviously like Satan because the truth is, we are not truly God.
John 1 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Ephesians 2 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Romans 8 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
From the verses mentioned above, we see how God chooses a people for Himself from fallen mankind. From Col 1:16, we know everything in creation exist for the glory of God. Also, from Gen 1:26 we learn mankind was made for God’s glory. Yes, we were made in the image of God, to be a reflection of His nature and character but in the fall, we forsook His nature to receive a righteousness of self and in this we became children of Satan for whom the wrath of God is reserved. However, as much as God’s attribute of love is perfect, so is His justice. So, He sent us His only begotten Son, who added to Himself complete human form in womb of Mary but without Sin and offered Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice to atone for our sin, while at the same time crediting His righteousness to those whom He died to save from Sin. These are the elect, whom God adopted into His family, who are restored to God’s image by the atoning power of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 7 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
John 17 11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.
From Col 1:17 & Eph 4:16 we know in Christ all things hold together whether these are heavenly bodies like stars and galaxies or various members of His Church from every nation and tribe. This is made possible by God’s love availed in Jesus Christ. However, for those who are outside Christ, like Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the KKK, these are each a law to themselves, who do nothing but exercise their father’s Satan’s desire (John 8:44& 10:10) is accomplishing what they have been deceived to believe is right.
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
John 15 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
Looking at the above verse in the light of John 6:39-44 we understand that this division is something God has established between the believer and the unbeliever because when a person comes to faith, he or she is a new creation in Christ (2Cor 5:17). Jesus separates this person from his/her desire for sin as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12) and so when you no longer have the same interests and enjoyments, there is no longer any common ground for fellowship. Sometimes when I myself think back of all the things I used to enjoy and laugh at with my unbelieving friends, it makes my stomach churn today. In Salvation, God turns a person around from loving their sin to loving Him and like the two nations that struggled with each other in Rebbecca’s womb (Gen 25:23), is the struggle between the believer and unbeliever in this world. One is united by their saving love & fear of God while the other is united by the hatred for truth in general, & their every thought/action reveals they have no fear of God, as they can’t help but put away His wrath for a time God decrees (Rom 9:22).
2Cor 6 14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
2Cor 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
We therefore see the real dividing line between mankind, is not based on sex, caste, skin colour or ethnicity, it is based on those who have accepted the truth about themselves as sinners before a righteous God and in doing so have received the truth about God by the redeeming power of Jesus Christ (2Cor 7:10), while the rest struggle with the truth about themselves in every area of life, and continually blaspheme God with the world’s trending lies which are circulated and recirculated from generation to generation (Ecc 1:9).
Mat 24 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. … 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
Among those who believe in the rapture, these see the rapture as either happening Pretribulation, Post-tribulation & Mid-tribulation, where the common ground among these is that all these believe that the tribulation occurs before the millennium of Christ rule, which is supposedly initiated by Jesus 2nd coming, where Jesus will come back with the saints who died, and rule the earth with all His saints (both those who died in Christ & those who are raptured). Coming to the pretribulation-rapture, it is of the disposition that Jesus will rapture the believers, so as to provide an escape hatch for the believers to escape the tribulation, while the post-tribulation-rapture believes that the believers will be raptured after the tribulation at the same time as His second coming. Then you have the mid-tribulation-rapture, where people supposedly believe that believers will be rapture in the midst of the tribulation.
So, what’s the problem… you’re probably asking!
Mat 24 6 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
Mat 13 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
If you look at Mat 13:40-42, you will notice that the weeds in this parable are dealt with first and then if you care to notice what Mat 24:39 says, those who were “taken away” by the flood (the reprobate), is the context applied to the “taking away” of the one in the field and grinding the mill in Mat 24:40 & 41. So, from the purview of Mat 13:30 where the angels will first bundle the weeds/tares and cast them into the flames, after which they proceed to gather the wheat into the barn; we understand that the second coming of Jesus i.e. judgement day will happen at the end of Jesus’ thousand year reign, where the dead – both the just & the unjust will rise (Acts 24:15/Rev 20:11-15) and be reunited with their bodies, as judgement is pronounced on both the living and the dead (2Tim 4:1). Here the just who share in the first resurrection (have come to faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:33)), will receive glorified/unperishable bodies (1Cor 15:52), and the second death has no power over because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom 8:1). Also, these who are just are those whom the Lord Jesus Christ has saved by offering Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for their sin (Rom 6:23-24) while at the same time working in them (Phil 1:6) to conform them to God’s own image/nature/character (Rom 8:29/Gen 1:26), which is mankind’s very purpose in the sight of God.
Acts 24:15 …there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
Rev 20 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Another thing which is seriously wrong with the premillennialist rapture idea, is the thought that the saints who are in their heavenly abode with Christ will come back to an earth stained with sin and rule for a thousand years with the Lord after the rapture. Now, if there is one rule about interpreting scripture it is that scripture should be interpreted in the light of scripture and not in the light of pleasing the flesh. So, in the light of Ecc 9:6, people beyond the grave are cut-off from the world never to get involved again with matters of the world ever again. Hence there is no question of the saints coming back to the earth to live among the reprobate. Somehow, I am beginning to see that the premillennialists of today are like the Jews of Jesus’ time, who were looking for a military ruler kind of Messiah who would help the Jews rid their land of the Romans. So too, the premillennialist sees the 2nd coming of Christ somewhat like an initiation of God’s military rule on the earth. It’s almost as though the premillennialist believes in the sovereignty of God only in the area of God’s Salvation, but not in their eschatology. In the light of scripture, we also understand that Jesus’ second coming is not about coming to keep a check on evil that’s getting out of hand in the world. On the contrary, we are to hasten His second coming by exercising righteousness in the world (2Pet 3:11-12) because the groom will only come for His bride/Church when she is ready, and the Almighty Holy Spirit is absolutely competent is making sure this happens. So, let us not look at wickedness in the world as an opportunity to throw caution to the wind to hasten His second coming, rather we are take the bull by the horns and live righteously like lambs unto God (John 10:16) and lions unto the world (Gen 49:9/Rev 5:5/Ps 84:10) in typifying the nature of Christ (Rom 8:29) that is prevalent in the living spirit God has blessed us with in Jesus Christ (1Cor2:14-16).
Isaiah 65 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. 20 No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.
Isaiah 11 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
Hebrews 8 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Talking about what the work of the Holy Spirit on the earth to hasten the coming of the Lord. I would like to help you see the 3 pieces of scripture mentioned above in the light of God reconciling all creation to Himself through the redeeming sacrifice of His Son (Col 1:16-20). Also, in the above three pieces of scripture, we see how far we are from this state of peace because right now we are nothing more than human beings with appetites for sin, prevalent in us like animal instincts. So, you somehow notice that there is a restoration process in place for mankind by the redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17), when you compare Isaiah 65:20 mentioned above to Gen 6:3, where God limited the age of mankind to 120 year to restrain their sin after the fall from mankind in Adam.
Mat 24 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Rev 7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” … 9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” … 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Gen 32 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Mat 28 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Mat 22:44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’
Now as I move to debunk the premillennialist escapist view of the tribulation followed by their millennial view of Jesus’ reign. I would like to state that from Mat 22:44, we know that when Jesus rose from the dead and sat the right father, a position of absolute authority, we understand from scripture that He sits at the right hand of God-the-Father until His enemies are subdued under His feet. Also, from the Great Commission in Mat 28:18-20 we learn of Jesus’ authority on heaven, earth & the world below, as given in the present tense. He doesn’t speak of it sometime in the future, and from Psalm 119:71, 75 we know that God uses affliction to teach His children obedience. It’s called sanctification and our sanctification is what makes us Jesus’ Sheep/Israel, that by the power of Christ in us (1John 4:4) we strive against the world under the sway of Satan who in turn yields under duress to God, who is sovereign (Gen 32:28). So, if you look at Rev 7:14, you will notice that the saints across time came through the tribulation by the saving power of Jesus Christ. Meaning the very duration of the tribulation was the very period of Christ reign because God’s sovereignty is not conditional and even the tribulation serves his mighty purpose (Isaiah 14:27/Job 42:2).
Rev 20 7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
1Cor 15 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the context of Rev 21:12 & Jn 3:3, we realize that the city God loves are a people who are born from above, those who are a new creation in Jesus Christ (2Cor 5:17). To conclude, the millennial reign of Christ is not a literal 1000 years but only symbolic of a very long time (Psalm 90:4 & 2Peter 3:8), and going by Isaiah 65:20-22, we know we are very far away from young people dying at 100 and people living as old as trees. So, there is still a lot of time for Judgement Day i.e. the Second Coming of Christ, where towards the end of the millennial rule of Christ, Satan will be released as mentioned in Rev 20:7-10 above, and you must note that Satan’s release doesn’t mark the end of Jesus’ reign. Rather, like Pharaoh in Rom 9:17 this fool is released to serve the purpose of the Almighty Triune God Himself and then after the Almighty Son deals Satan that final deadly blow, Jesus will make His glorious Second Coming to earth (Mat 26:64), where the reprobate will be sent packing first to hell before he brings Salvation to His people who have been waiting on Him (Heb 9:28). Then after destroying all creation with the consuming fire of His presence (Heb 12:29), Jesus will put a heaven and earth in place that is unstained with sin for His people to occupy and be righteous stewards over, for God’s own glory.
Rev 21 (The New Heavens & The New Earth) Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Mat 11 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Have you ever been so spiritually tired that even though you are the most happening person in your friends’ circle, you cry when you are alone? You are all ok on the outside but you’re a mess on the inside and your smile does a good job of covering up for you. The truth is, you have no peace and that is only between you and God. You ought to know that humankind was made to glorify God and enjoy him forever. However, from the fall, humankind became a law unto ourselves (Gen 3:1-6), and in becoming a law unto ourselves, we became gods to ourselves and our chief-end was not living for God’s glory but living for our own glory, and this is why humankind has no peace, estranged from God.
Isaiah 9:6 (makes reference to Jesus as the Prince of Peace) For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Mat 10 (the yoke of Christ as mentioned in Mat 11:29 above) 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
Mat 10 (The Context) 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.
If the above 3 pieces of scripture appear as a contradiction to you, allow me to explain these to you in the context/light of scripture. However, before I come to this, I would like to stress on the importance of doing what’s right, no matter how inconvenient or out of the way it is for us personally. The Bible says that God is looking for those who will worship him in spirit & truth (John 4:23-4), and the Bible also says that the kingdom of heaven is like a narrow gate and the way to God is narrow (Mat 7:13-14) because pleasing God is only possible in Jesus Christ. The truth however is, that there is peace in all that righteous striving because when you act according to the righteousness that is revealed in scripture, though the people of the world may hate you (Mat 5:11-12) for your righteous indignation against homosexuality, counterfeit religion, abortions and immorality, you will know the peace of God in your striving against the wickedness of the world.
Philippians 4 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Coming back to the seeming contradictions that exist in the Mat 10:34-36 & Isaiah 9:6, mentioned above. We must understand that true peace can only be found in the truth, and truth is what God thinks. Sweet lies may flatter the world, but they don’t really bring peace. Sweet lies only help people sweep their sin under the carpet instead of dealing with it head on by way of repentance unto Jesus and believing in His Gospel. So, if you are ok with wearing a smile on the outside while you have an emotional storm brewing on the inside, which you cannot do anything about, you can continue dealing with your life by way of sweet lies.
Ezek 36 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.
John 12 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
So, if I have to say so, peace is a byproduct of your stand for God and his righteous. If you look at the above verses, you may notice a striking similarity between Ezek 36:31 & John 12:25. If I am to explain this to you, I would reiterate the fact that we are all sinners from the fall of Adam, a law to ourselves, gods to ourselves. We each have gone our own way; our self-righteousness is devious and meets the means of serving ourselves by deeds that are nothing short of wicked. When this realization dawns on us, we understand that God is the real God and the chief-end of our being is to serve His purpose, because He truly is God, and this self-serving nature we have, does nothing but flies in the face of God. The peace we are therefore looking for, lies in finding our purpose in God, and that lies in reflecting the light of His nature (which is His Law), even in the midst of the darkness of this world (Luke 8:16-17), because we were after all made/restored in His image (Gen 1:26/Rom 8:29). So, we are to carry His nature in our hearts, so dearly that it is as good as having it written on our hearts (Jer 31:33), and in doing so wear this heart on our sleeve (Ps 119:102-103), in a world that wickedly tries to suppress the righteousness of God by supporting the likes of abortion as a woman’s right to murder, Islam as a religion of peace, homosexuality in marriage & every other form of immorality, which God hates.
Mat 28 (Great Commission) 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
John 3 (the word of God never returns void) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
1 Cor 6:2 (this is part of the great commission observing that teaching Jesus commandments) Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
There is peace in bearing witness to the righteousness of God in this dark world. The true Christian is like the salt of the earth (Mat 5:13), and though true Christians may be few, we are enough, just like the little salt that is enough to flavour a whole lot of food, and we find peace in it because the joy of the Lord is our strength. So, I call out to you, whoever you are, wherever you are, come out of the lies you are hiding behind, come into the light and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32), you no longer have to pretend to be at peace or even pretend to be happy for that matter. The apostle Paul (2Cor 7:4), found joy sharing the Gospel in prison and that joy can be yours, all you need to do is seek the Lord your Maker in prayer, know Him in Jesus Christ (John 1:18) through the knowledge of scripture (66 books of the Bible), learn His nature and delight in it (Psalm 37:4) and that peace of God will fill up that emptiness in you, which nothing awesome enough but God can fill.
The definition of EUPHEMISM according to the dictionary is: a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.
So, now let’s take a look at a couple of things this world has euphemized, in the doing their very best to escape the truth that is as clear as daylight before their very eyes.
Here are some classic examples of the world’s euphemism…
Homosexuals with high suicide rates are called GAY, which at one time meant happy
The religion of terror Islam is called the RELIGION OF PEACE
Women who hate being women are called FEMINISTS
The political left which stoops to every rotten scheme to sabotage the elections are called LIBERALS
Violent black thugs who take the most black lives via black-on-black-crime, call themselves BLACK LIVES MATTER
Preborn babies are called NOT HUMAN so people can have access to guilt free murder via abortion
Tantric Yoga and the Kamasutra, which is nothing but Adultery/Fornication is called MEDITATION
The RAINBOW, which represented God’s saving covenant with His people is now seen as a mnemonic for Gay Pride
Fascist liberals who take to violence to silence the opposition, call themselves ANTIFA… short for Antifascist
Instead of dealing with homosexuality as a serious sin and mental illness, it is accepted by pushing the so called GAY PRIDE agenda.
When you have a look at the above, it is very clear the world loves to live in denial of the truth. There are all a bunch of wannabees who are wicked by nature but love to see themselves as upright, for such is the nature of self-righteousness passed down to them from Adam in the fall.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We must remember that we live in God’s world and life is to be lived here on God’s terms but we are like animals who try to suppress the righteousness of God, that is so prevalent in God’s good and deserving justice aka karma, which kicks us back into our senses but because we love our sin so much, we call karma a bitch. After all, if we have the nicest words for our sinful actions, it logically follows that we will reserve the foulest of language for the righteous judgements of God.
Isaiah 5:20, 24 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. … Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
So, if you are wondering, what’s the solution at the hand… it’s “Jesus Christ” but as much as a person cannot enter another person’s banquet unless he is invited. You cannot gatecrash faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, unless God-the-Father draws you unto His Son for salvation (Jn 6:44). When this happens, God will grant you repentance (Acts 11:18) so that you begin to die to that self-righteousness nature you received in the fall of Adam and receive in its stead the righteousness of God via faith in the Gospel of Jesus Almighty (John 12:24-26/Rom 5:17).
Matthew 15 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
Ezekiel 36 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Talk about a change of heart… that is the blessing and promise God has in store for those whom He brings to faith. Our hearts once wallowed in the mire of sin but in the Lord Jesus Christ, we delight to do, although not perfectly, that which pleases God Almighty. This spiritual journey, is undertaken, by the believer/pilgrim, whom the sovereign Lord sanctifies in this world. For as such, this is the legacy of Israel (Gen 32:28), am talking of both the Church of the Old and New Testament, who rested their faith in the Messiah.
Matthew 11 (Jesus is calling you) 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Romans 3 3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “That You may be justified in Your words, And prevail when You are judged.”
Have you ever wondered; how hard it is to live in denial of the way things are? Have you ever wondered why the LGBT are three times more likely to commit suicide compared to non-LGBT folk? The truth is God designed marriage to be between the one man & one woman, and no matter how the world may try to comfort their peers with Satan’s lies, the truth does not change, and as I said earlier, in this world if we are to be satisfied with the lives we are living, then we are to live on God’s terms, and if we want to live otherwise. You can bet on your own life that you will never live a fulfilling life. So, remember there is no satisfaction in being a law to yourself (Prov 3:7), you are not God, so kick that self-serving nature of yours out of your heart and ask Jesus to teach you His law… i.e. first to love the Lord with all your heart and second to love your neighbour as yourself.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
So, it is time you changed your life’s goal from pleasing yourself, because the truth is you are not God, and so everything you do to serve and please yourself, is nothing short of the deviously wicked and sin but if you were to make the joy of the Lord your strength, and live according to His Law, there will be no limit to the joy you will have in life, because you were made in the image of God and so reflecting His nature is your life’s purpose. So, embrace it in the Lord Jesus, and your life’s pleasures will no longer drag you down into the mire because you will no longer delight in debauchery, sexual immorality, thievery, murder and covetousness but you will instead delight in what pleases God and there will be no stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest (Rom 8:1) and that to without regret and guilt.
Ephesians 2 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
I would just like to conclude by saying that we are not saved by obeying the law, we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this saving grace is made evident in the change of heart I indicated earlier, where a person begins to desire to do that which pleases God, while his/her old nature nauseates him/her spiritually because he/she is now a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ. So finally, he/she is not saved by obeying the law but the Law of God is now his/her life’s standard because of the saving work of Jesus Christ in his/her life (Phil 1:6).
From the fall of Adam, what separates man from God is sin. Sin is the very nature of man from the fall, even if he does something good, it is only to help him put himself in a position to do something wicked ultimately. From the fall of Adam, man by nature is a sinner because he loves to sin, whether it is to entertain covetous thoughts of what belongs to his neighbour or to lust after a woman who is not his or to enjoy things he has stolen or may be bearing false witness to further his own interests.
Gen 3 (the account of the fall of Adam) 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
If you read the account of the fall of Adam mentioned in the above verse, you will understand what is the root cause of sin. From the fall, man has forsaken God’s law and become a law to himself. It’s not like Adam did not know right from wrong before the fall, because Eve clearly tells Satan that God has told them not to eat from the tree but Satan has already fallen and wants some more company to join him where he is going. So, he tempts Eve to forsake God’s law and become a law to herself, so she’ll be like God having a righteousness of her own. However, the truth is there is no God apart from God and no true righteousness apart from God’s law, which is God’s own nature and character. So, as righteousness is the fruit of those who act according to the Law of God, sin the fruit of those who are a Law to themselves because fallen man is not God, and his every self-serving thought & action that tries to affirm he is god is nothing but sin.
Mat 26:28 (Jesus says) for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
Heb 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
If we look at all the instructions in the Old Testament that dealt with animal sacrifice, we see that the animal had to be without blemish. Now, when we read about the Jesus in the New Testament, we are told and He was tempted and yet remained without sin. Also consider this, that there is none worthy in the sight of God, not humans or angels but God Himself. So, it makes complete sense that Jesus had to be the Son of God incarnate to be that holy, unblemished & worthy lamb who was slain as he bore the sins of all of God’s people on the cross.
James 1:16 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Mat 1:21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
If I were to describe the Gospel in a single sentence, it is this… that God’s law is perfect and so sin (transgressing His Law) had to justly dealt with, but God is also love by nature, perfect love, and so He sent His Son to take our place and be that unblemished sacrifice for the sins of all God’s people. The Bible says, the wages of sin is death and salvation is God saving us from Himself. The Good News is, the Son of God took upon Himself the complete nature of man by being born in the womb of the virgin. So Jesus was therefore the unblemished Lamb of God unstained by Adam’s disobedience aka original sin. This Jesus, took upon Himself, the sin of all God’s people and suffered death by crucifixion. So, His Resurrection i.e. His victory over death, is victory over sin for all who believe in Him.
1 Cor 15 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
When you read the 1Cor 15:51-53 in the context of Ezek 37:9-14, we come to understand that it isn’t talking about the rapture but about the first resurrection i.e. people coming to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ aka being born from above (John 3:3). So as true believer, we are a new creation in Christ (2Cor 5:17), we now have an appreciation for God’s word, which we did not have before we were saved as indicated in 1Cor 15:52 & Psalm 19:8.
Mat 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
If you care to read Mat 26:64 in the context of the chapter, you will be moved to tears. Here is Jesus being falsely tried on charges of blasphemy, and my Lord seals His own fate with the truth, before a syndicate of vipers who want to kill him (John 3:20). Any man would lie his way through, even Peter who said He would go to death with Jesus (Mat 26:36), failed to acknowledge he even knew the Lord in this dark fearsome trail (Luke 22:54-62), but my Lord was no coward. He spoke the truth about who He really is, before wicked people who were just looking for an opportunity to take His life, because the Light He is, pierced the darkness their hearts reveled in.
John 10:18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Phil 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
My Lord could have called legions of angels and put an end to all mankind in an instant but as He said in John 4:34, His food is to the will of His Father. The Bible says in Phil 2:8, that Jesus was obedient to the point of death. In His death, my Lord bore the sins of all God’s people and suffered the deserving justice we deserved both hear on the earth and in hell where He went after He died. Being fully man, He died and being fully God He rose from the dead, victorious over sin for all who believe in Him. This is the significance of Resurrection Sunday, aka Easter. This is the new Sabbath, because like the Son of God rested on the 7th day after creation (Col 1:16), the Son of God rested on the 3rd day (1Cor 15:4), which is Sunday after accomplishing redemption for all God’s people.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Neh 8:10 …for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
There are many who are looking for purpose in life, and they try to find meaning in the thing they desire but it only leaves them dry and bitter. Take the debauchers for example, whom God has handed over to their lust (Rom 1:24), after they have had their fill of sex, drugs and drunkenness, are they satisfied? No! They are left feeling even more bitter with even more resentment for the true Almighty Triune God. However, this is how the natural man has been from the fall of Adam, natural man is a lover of sin and he/she looks for life’s meaning in their love for sin. There is however no fulfillment in fornication, theft, murder, covetousness, avarice, bearing false witness, gossip and drunkenness but mankind from the fall of Adam tries to find fulfillment in these things, as though our life’s purpose was in these things. It is no wonder the Psalm 14:1 says… “the fool says in his heart, there is no God”!… because to go about our lives, like these things were our purpose, is to believe in our hearts that there is no God.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Thankfully, as you have read from the 2 pieces of scripture above, there is hope for us in Jesus Christ but if we are to seek him, we must deny ourselves and by denying ourselves I don’t mean giving up on life, like the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari sort. I mean that we turn from all those desires which are sin before the eyes of God, and wash ourselves by continually reading His word, and by this, I don’t mean reading the same chapters day after day but studying the Bible from cover to cover, till we know it like the back of our hand. Just like how you study to get employed and then you learn on the job as well, the same way you need to study and practice what’s taught in the Bible, that seriously. It’s after all God’s word, the very source of a fulfilling & meaningful life (John 4:13-14).
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Mat 28 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
From the three pieces of scripture mentioned above, what we ought to understand is, that mankind was made in the image of God and so the purpose of man is to reflect His image, which is the nature/character of God, that is His Law. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and His Law is spiritual (Rom 7:14) and true spirituality comes from meditating on His Law (Ps 1:2). The irony is that, though the Bible is out there for everyone to buy and read, no one really has the desire to do so, because they are all chasing after their sin, and so the world is filled with nothing but apathy about true spirituality. The world would rather go indulging in their sinful lust and call it spirituality, the Kamasutra & Tantric Yoga are fine example of such spirituality. So, though many may hate Salvation by predestination, the fact remains that by ourselves we have no desire for God, because all of mankind fell when Adam sinned against God. So, though the Gospel is preached to many, it is only those who are ordained to eternal life who believe (Acts 13:48), because Salvation doesn’t only encompass saving faith but everything from that desire, which draws people to Jesus (Jn 6:44), to that Godly sorrow which brings about repentance (2Cor 7:10), leading us to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8-10).
Mat 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
If you look closely at the two pieces of scripture mentioned above, you will notice that these show Biblical predestination is not to make people feel unwelcomed, it is just to help us understand God is sovereign in salvation (Rom 9:11:24). On the contrary, if you look at Mat 11:28-30 mentioned above, you can see Jesus calling those who are tired and fed up with the world’s wicked scheming, people who are nobody and crying out for hope. In His call, He is offering to take the penalty of your lawlessness/sinfulness upon Himself and in its place give you His nature, so that you may shine radiantly as an image of God – bearing God’s own nature, the very purpose for which mankind was made. Another thing you must remember, is that you must not let anyone discourage in your seeking the Lord, no matter how genuinely Christian that person may be. Take the account Isaac in Gen 27, he wanted to bless Esau but God predestined Jacob to inherit Isaac’s blessing (Gen 25:23), and that is how it happened.
John 6 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
Rom 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
So, there you have it, if you’re looking for a fulfilling life, the solution is coming to faith in Jesus Christ. I am certainly not talking about being just another lukewarm nominal Christian. You need to be something like how Pastor Voddie Baucham describes himself… “a fire-breathing, TULIP believing, five-point Calvinist” because that is how people who find their life’s fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ really are. Their lives are more than just satisfied, they are filled with enough fiery zeal to stand up for God’s truth, even if it’s against the whole world because they have found life’s ultimate purpose in being a radiant image of God.
Mat 13 (A Costly Pearl) 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Luke 8 (Parable of the Sower) 4 When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: 5 “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled underfoot and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. 8 Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
Luke 14 (Disciples Tested) 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
If you care to notice, the 3 pieces of scripture mentioned above are saying the same thing, that is if you are coming to faith you must be prepared to give up anything and everything, if that is the price you have pay to come to faith, that is provided if you want to, which is provided if God is drawing you to believe in His Son Jesus Christ (Jn 6:44). Take a look at the Parable of the Sower, the first lot are those who couldn’t care less about God’s word because they are so full of themselves from their self-idolatry. The second lot are those who are surprised to go under fiery trial for their faith (1Pet 4:12) because they are looking for an easier way out in life, but surprisingly for them, believing in the Gospel did not accommodate their sloth, and so their faith turned out to be nothing more than a damn farse. The third lot are sitting on the fence type, they do not know whether to put what the Lord thinks of them first or whether to consider what the world thinks of them first. So, they are never able to live out their faith, as their lives are something like being Ferdinand, that highly self-conscious bull in a bone-china crockery store. The fourth lot are the true believers, who put God first in their lives before everything, their family, friends & themselves. It so happens, they love the Lord so much that though they are given to selflessly love and be concerned about the people around them (Mat 22:36-40), the love they have for their neighbour and themselves is like hatred (Mark 10:28-30/John 12:25) compared to the love and zeal they have for the Lord (Luke 14:26).
Ps 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
1 Pet 2 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” 8 and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
The above 2 pieces of scripture are provided for those who may argue that the seed which fell among the thorns are genuine Christians. The Word of God on the contrary says, these seeds never bear fruit because they are choked between two contradicting lifestyles… a biblical one & a worldly one, and so in their attempt to please the world and serve their own interest, Christ is not the rock on which their lives are founded and so they bear no fruit, fruit which serves as the evidence of the saving grace by which a person is saved through faith in Jesus Christ.
John 15 (Jesus speaking) 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. … 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
Phil 2 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Luke 22 (Jesus is Speaking) 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Further, I would like to say that when the Bible informs the believer to count the cost, it is not from the perspective of the believer earning his/her way unto salvation. Salvation is 100% the finished work of Jesus Christ in the life of every believer, Jesus paid it all. So, when the Bible says one must count the cost, it is simply Jesus keeping us informed about the kind of life we are to expect in this fallen world. So, those who stick with Jesus (John 6:65-66) are only those whom God-the-Father has decreed to know him (Heb 8:11). Another consequence a practicing Christian faces is being handed over to Satan to be sifted, like Peter was, Job was sifted too, but they endured… how? It’s because Jesus was interceding for them (Rom 8:34) and God the Holy Spirit who was in them was greater than the god (Satan) of this world (1John 4:4). In this manner the Bible draws a picture of the Church that is built at the gates of this world/hades (Mat 16:18), because the spirit of Jesus that lives in the believer, is like the stronger man who plunders the house of Satan (Luke 11:21-22), and so the Church is pictured at the gates attacking a fortress built on a foundation of sand (Mat 7:26 & 21:44).
Rom 8 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
2 Cor 4 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Mat 13 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Like it says in Luke 22:35, when Jesus sent out the 72 to preach the Gospel among wolves, they did not lack anything. So also, for the believer whom God has called unto Himself from the foundation of the world, he/she is gifted with the Perseverance of the Saints to pay every price in meeting that standard of the worshiper who worships God in Spirit & Truth (John 4:23-24). This is made possible for the believer, only in Jesus Christ for who’s name sake the believer willingly suffers but his/her affliction is momentary, preparing the believer for the eternal weight of heaven’s glory that is beyond all comparison. For in Christ, we are heirs of God and like Mat 13:44 says, we are willing to risk everything, even our lives for the glory of God and His beautiful Gospel.
Phil 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Rev 15:2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.
1Cor 3:13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
When you take a look at the above 3 verses carefully, you will notice that these verses come together to describe the identity of Israel as described in Gen 32:27-28. We therefore see that the Church is simply the Israel of the New Covenant and the reason we prevail in our striving against God and men is because of the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ that is taking place in us. So, like a noble metal (gold/silver) is purified in the furnace, the Word of God that germinates a living spirit in the believer who was foreordained to saving faith, gives the believer nobility (Rev 1:6). This living spirit grows in the believer, eventually overpowering the flesh in him/her. This is the process of sanctification, where God puts a series of trials in the believer’s life, which acts like a furnace in his/her life (Psalm 119:71, 75), and unlike the unbeliever who goes from bad to worse after going through a trial. The believer comes out a better person after going through a trail, as these trials appear to burn the dross in him/her in subduing the flesh and empowering the spirit in him/her, which all happens according to the will and for the glory of the Triune God Almighty.
Isaiah 48 9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely. 10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
Zechariah 13 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
Have you ever noticed how hard it is in this world for a righteous man of God to make a living? As for the wicked, no matter how easy it is made for them to make a living, those self-righteous fools still cannot make it. For those who can understand spiritual truth, the reason for this is explained in the above two scriptures but the foolish self-serving world we live in however, has discerned that it is better to stay wicked than live by the precepts of God. The Bible however says God is looking for those who will worship him in Spirit and Truth. For instance, as God did with Peter, He did also with Job, in handing him over to Satan to be sifted, that when Satan is through with him, Job/Peter may come forth as gold (Job 23:10) and return to strengthen their brothers/friends (Luke 22:31-32/Job 42:10). In all this sifting, it is our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ who stands with us that we may not perish under the sanctifying hand of God (Isaiah 41:10/Mat 28:20). He was there with Shadrach, Meshack & Abednego helping them prevail in the furnace, which was heated 7 times the usual (Dan 3:25). He was there with Daniel in the den helping him prevail in the midst of hungry lions (Dan 6:22). Also from the two verses mentioned above, we see that God in a manner of speaking, sanctifies the unbeliever too but not as He does so with the elect because the spirit of Christ is not there working in the unbeliever to sustain him/her in the furnace of affliction. So, the progeny of the unbeliever continues, for who knows, may be there is a believer in there somewhere whom Jesus will not lose (John 10:29/Luke 15:4) because He has already paid the price for the Salvation of all God’s elect (Heb 7:27 & 9:12).
John 15 18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Heb 10:15 For by a single offering he (Jesus) has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Hebrews 12 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
Like the first 3 verses mentioned in this post, the above three pieces of scripture shows us how Jesus endures with us & empowers us under the sanctifying hand of God in this world with us. God is sovereign and this unbelieving world is the furnace He uses to sanctify His people. Salvation however, is God saving us from Himself, where God puts us believers in this kiln while His Son sustains in the furnace. The Bible says, we were made in the image of God, which was broken in the fall of Adam. So, we are like broken pieces of pottery fixed with the knowledge of God presented to us scripture (2Tim 3:16-17) and sustained by the spirit of Christ in that furnace, that we may come out of that furnace being conformed to the image/character of the Almighty Son of God (Rom 8:29). So like the Parable of Sower, where the true Christian yields crop thirty, sixty and a hundred fold in Mat 13:23 & like the Parable of Talents in Mat 25:14-30, where the true Christian stewards gains and pays back their Master, 5 & 2 more talents respectively, as over what they had received… similarly, it is with the Christian who comes forth from the furnace as gold or silver for the glory of God. It’s important to note that this is not the work of the individual but these fruits are simply the evidence of saving faith (James 2:17-18) the believer has been granted by saving grace.
Psalm 119:108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
Mat 28 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Many people say they pray and pray but God doesn’t seem to be listening. The real problem is that it is these people who are really not listening. It is these people who don’t trust and believe in God. They have taken neither the interest nor the time to read God’s word from cover-to-cover but they want God to hear them out. They will pay through their nose for an education to secure a comfortable life for themselves but they will want a Bible to be given to them for free, and will only read it only when there is nothing left to occupy their time with. This is the priority people give God and they expect to be heard when they pray to God, when they themselves are the ones who are not listening. The Bible says, God only hears the prayers of the righteous (Prov 15:29/Ps 119:155) because these are the people who have taken the time and effort to know the Lord. These are the ones the God has called out from the world by His Sovereign Might and brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ezek 36:26-29), which is Salvation in itself. Please note that we are not saved by the works of the law, we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, & conforming to God’s Law (Mat 7:21/Rom 2:13) is simply the fruit/evidence of God’s saving grace (Jam 2:17-18), we have received in Jesus Christ.
John 16 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I (Jesus) will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
So, what is knowing God? Well, it starts off by overcoming that hatred for righteousness and the bitterness in truth through repentance unto the Lord Jesus Christ and thereon believing in the Gospel. So, what is the Gospel? Well, it is God revealing himself in the Lord Jesus Christ to mankind, through inspired (God breathed) scripture (Gen 2:7/John 20:22/2Tim 3:16). So knowing God, is essentially God overcoming our enmity towards Him and restoring His purpose in us, which is making us share in His nature, because we were made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). An image that was broken in the fall of Adam but restored by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10) in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17).
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
Rom 8:29 For those whom he (God-the-Father) foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
In 2Pet 3:11-12 we are taught to pray for the hastening of Jesus’ second coming, by living righteously, and Jesus isn’t going to come to a bride (Church) who isn’t ready for her groom (Rev 21:2/Jn 3:3). As much as we look to be equally yoked in marriage (2Cor 6:14), then in the light of Rom 8:29 & 2Pet 3:11-12 we see that God has decreed His called-out-ones (Ecclesia/Church) to conform to Jesus/God’s nature at the earliest. This nature is the very law of God that is written on the believer’s heart (Jer 33:31-34), which makes us a new creation in Christ… the old is gone and the new is here (2Cor 5:17)! So, as believers, we must pray as David did (Ps 119:29), asking God to “Teach Us His Law (Ps 94:12), because God’s Law is God’s very nature which God’s people are sanctified to, each passing day. His law teaches us to put God first and love our neighbour as ourselves (Mat 22:36-40).
Mat 22 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Mat 6 (the blessing of putting God first in our lives) 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Today, what the world suffers from is lack of purpose because they have estranged themselves from God in the fall of Adam, the believer on the other hand by the redeeming power of God, finds purpose in conforming to the image of Christ. God says in 1 Sam 15:22 & 1Cor 13:3 (Rom 13:8-10) that God places obedience even over sacrifice, & God also says in John 4:24 that He is spirit & those who worship Him must do so in spirit & truth, which is precisely what the Law of God is according to Rom 7:14, 8:4 & Psalm 119:142. So, if we understand a Christian’s journey in this world as being sanctified to conform more and more to the nature of God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ, then we must understand that as we are instructed to pray according to the will of God (1John 5:14), we must therefore pray for ourselves in asking God to teach us His Law each day.