Posts tagged ‘faith’

Wearing the Full Armour of God!

Mat 7
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

John 14:26
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I am writing this because I thought I should exposit a little on spiritual warfare for the benefit of Christian Living. We must remember that we live in a fallen world that hates truth, and this is evident by the fact that the people of the world don’t mind it so much if you use the foulest language on them but tell them the truth about themselves and they are agitated enough to get rid of you for good. The armour of God is the battle raiment of every Christian in a world where the battle is not just against the reprobate but also against Satanic spiritual forces that has the masses in their sway. The armour of God is therefore a Biblical discipline we are given to have in righteously reclaiming the stewardship of this world from self-serving fools, who use everything that is around them including people to serve their sinful appetites. We were made in the very image of God, meaning we share in His very nature. We are obviously not omnipotent, omniscient & omnipresent but we were made to share in the very nature and character of God but after Adam sinned against God by eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil despite being warned not to; but in doing so Adam forsook the Law of God to become a Law to himself which he passed to us all through procreation and we have all sinned in Adam because just as the Levites paid Melchizedek their tithes while still in the loins in the Abraham (Heb 7:9-10). So too, all of mankind sinned against God in the loins of Adam during the fall. For those of you who are still on spiritual milk, please note that even though am going to be quoting outside Jesus’s word in the 4 Gospels, this is still very much Jesus speaking because scripture itself says that all scripture is written under the influence of his spirit (2Timothy 3:16-17).

Ephesians 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Now Ephesians 6 sites the full armour of God and this is what I will be expositing. It starts with verse 13 & 14 saying that we are to stand our ground and gird our loins with the truth. If you have heard the term, he’s got balls then this is easy to understand because from the testis flows a man’s masculinity, so too when the believer girds his loins with truth, he is able to look another in the eye and speak the truth without even flinching because in learning to be unashamed of the Gospel, which is the truth concerning God, a person also learns to be unashamed of the truth concerning himself. So, while the world emasculates themselves of the truth, the Christian learns to man up and gird his loins with the truth because he draws his strength from the teachings of Christ that is in the Gospel, which is the ultimate truth.

Jeremiah 9
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Coming to the breastplate of righteousness, we all know a man will only puff his chest up when he is proud of some thing and so to where the breastplate of righteousness is to wear that pride of knowing God, as mentioned above in Jer 9:23-24, & reformed theology is therefore more like having 6 pack abs where knowing we are heirs in Christ of God who is sovereign, gives us the attitude that says as Paul said in Rom 8:31… If God is for us who can be against us! It is a pride backed by our very heart… not the heart of stone from the fall of Adam but the obedient heart of flesh and enjoys the exercising God’s pleasure (Ezek 36:26-27) because on this new heart God wrote His Law that we may die to being a law to ourselves and live for the Lord (Phil 1:21). This breastplate doesn’t just protect our heart, it reflects that righteous pride we have in God which we puff up as we march against self-serving unrighteous goats and the dark forces that accompany them to their destruction.

Rom 10
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Coming to Eph 6:15, where the believer is called to wear shoes on his feet alludes to being ready to go out and preaching the Gospel of peace as mentioned Rom 10:14-15. As believers we called to live in peace with everyone if possible (Rom 12:18), after all as adopted sons of God in Jesus we are called to be peace makers (Mat 5:9) but very often you come across people who hate you, simply because the nature of Christ you exhibit convicts these self-righteous fools as sinners, which is unbearable for them as they go about life serving their own selfish interests. Eph 6:15 therefore very much bears reference to the Great Commission mentioned in Mat 28:18-20 where we are called to bear witness for the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the hope of Salvation that is in the Gospel while making disciples at every opportunity that presents itself from God and teaching them His commandments. I am reminded of Deut 29:5 at this time because after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years the footwear of the Israelites did not wear out, which brings Isaiah 40:31 to mind because it was God who sustained them through all the hardships they faced. So also, God will see us through all the hardships which serves to sanctify us instead of wearing us out, in our passionate labour for His Gospel. After all we are His Church, the new Israel who have overcome all by the saving power of Christ, having striven against God & men because after all, salvation is about God saving you from Himself as the wages of sin is death and it was Jesus who graciously substituted us in death by taking the wages of our sin upon Himself.

Psalm 91
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;

1John 5:4
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Coming to the shield of faith that extinguishes the flaming darts of the evil one as mentioned in Eph 6:16, we understand from Psalm 91:2 that it is our faith in God which is our refuge and fortress. It’s as 2Cor 4:8-10 says, though we are hard pressed on every side, we not crushed; though we are often perplexed, we are not in despair; though we are persecuted, we are not abandoned; because through faith we carry the death Jesus died for our sins, so that His righteousness and life may be revealed in our bodies. This how we walk in faith and not by sight (2Cor 5:7) and not even the gates of hades shall prevail against such faith (Mat 16:18), which is established on the rock that is Jesus Christ (Mat 7:24-25).

Mat 16
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Coming to the helmet of Salvation mentioned in Eph 6:17, we understand that just as a deadly blow to the head can be fatal. So also, spiritually the helmet of salvation says that even if one were to lose his life for standing by the precepts of God, so be it, though he may die in the body, he shall live with God forever and when the new heavens and new earth is created, he will receive a new body, one which is not tainted with sin. The helmet of salvation is beautifully reflected in Ps 84:10 which says that better is one day living in the courts of God than living a thousand in the tents of the wicked… because His court is symbolic of God’s presence in our lives and a particular moral discipline we are to live by in his presence. Remember, in life we have only two choices either we worship God in His righteousness as revealed to us in Christ or we suck up to people in their sin as revealed in our fallen Adamic self-righteousness.

Hebrews 4:
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

2 Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Come to wielding the World of God that is the Sword of the Spirit, we understand that the knowledge of God’s word is a formidable weapon because as shown to us in Hebrew 4:13, it exposes the wicked intentions of people, as Scripture is the very life breath of that gives life to His elect and condemns the reprobate. To explain this to you in a manner you would understand, I would compare the piercing discernment the believer is blessed with through his knowledge of scripture to the Eye of Sauron in Mordor in the Lord of Rings story from whom little is hidden. It’s like the sea of glass the ungodly masses of this world are compared to in Rev 15:2-4, which is mixed with fire indicating their persecution of believers. The reason these masses are called a sea of glass over whom the elect are victorious is because before the sight of God these self-righteous fools can’t hide anything. Their intentions and their sin is all laid bare before God. This power is given us in the knowledge of scripture where the believer can slice through the deceit unbelievers operate under and exposes the spiritually rotting corpses they really are deep down in their hearts and minds.

1Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

To conclude, just like martial arts encourage a combination of different blows, kicks, headbutts and throws, so as a believer matures in the Lord, he is to master the use of his heavenly armour in his life as mentioned in above in 1Timothy 6:12.

The Deception of Loving Yourself & Believing in Yourself!

Gen 3 (The Biblical account of the fall of man)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [a]any tree of the garden’?” 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.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

The reason I have sited the Biblical account of the fall of man above is because I want to show you that in the fall, man became a law to himself, he became a god to himself, from the fall the chief end of man is to serve himself and he does so through the most devious means because from the fall there is no truth in him and so man can only pursue his own selfish interests through the most devious means. Unlike the Triune God Almighty, who radiates righteousness in pursuing His interest, man does not radiate righteousness but exudes wickedness in the chasing after his own interest because the truth is man is not God… the Triune God Almighty alone is God. Men & angels were created to serve God and it so happens that it is in our best interest to put God before ourselves (Mat 6:33).

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 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.

Psalm 37:4
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

The problem with loving and believing in yourself is that people of the world don’t understand that this is not the solution but root of the problem. We were made in the image of God, as human beings we were made to carry His own image/nature as if it were our own. This gracious privilege has only been given to mankind, even God’s holy angels were not blessed with this purpose. In this unbelieving world, it so happens that people are spurred into this believing & loving yourself nonsense when they are spurned by their peers. So, these people are then moved to prove themselves and the means of doing that is by believing in themselves and loving themselves but even if one should succeed in the material world while remaining spiritually empty, what use is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul (Mark 8:36)? That spiritual fulfillment can only be found in relationship with God, which is only possible through Jesus Christ. To console a person by urging him or her to believe and love himself will only light up his/her eyes for moment just as it did for Eve who was deceived by Satan into believing that she was the chief end of her own being (Gen 3:6) and we know how that went for her because we are still bearing the consequences of the fall of Adam.

Jeremiah 9
(Stressing on put God first)
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Luke 17 (Stressing on the fact that God is our King)
7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

From the fall, man has this perspective of God that he will only believe in God if God will prove himself to him through some miracles & the reason man feels this way is because from the fall man foolishly believes he is a god to himself and even Almighty God must serve his interests, for a man to believe in God Almighty. When the people of the world are rejected by their peers, they do not turn to God instead they turn to people who are blind guides just like themselves, who fill them in how special they are, make them feel proud of themselves and in doing so teach them to love and believe in themselves. However, if you were to read Jeremiah 9:23-24 you would understand that for a man to boast in his wealth or strength or intelligence is shallow and cheap but for a man to boast that He knows God revealed to him in Christ, is to truly lead a rich and fulfilling life. From the fall of Adam, we are by nature sinners, we naturally hate God because we naturally love sin, that’s how corrupt we are. What we need to focus on is how great, loving and merciful God is, that for a bunch of worthless wretches who hate Him, He offered up His only Son, that by His blood we would have atonement for our sins. He certainly did not do this because we are special but because He is a great, merciful and loving who ransomed a people for Himself from the damned family of Adam, saving us from our sin. Take a look at Luke 17 mentioned above, this does not fit the world’s perspective of God in anyway because it shows we were made to serve God and not the other way around. To give you a gist of what your conduct should be before God, I would like you to consider yourself as citizen of a country that is ruled by a monarchy, the respect, awe and fear you would have for your king in that land is the honour, respect and fear we are to have of God & it is in our own best interest to put His interest before our own.

Mark 10
29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

Mat 13
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.

The Bible teaches us that there are two great commandments in Mat 22:36-40, the first is to love God with all the strength our being can muster and the second is to love our neighbour as ourselves. However, for the person who learns to love and believe in himself, he loves his neighbour only in a manner where it will serve himself in return and so this person loves out of covetousness, honouring and pleasing only those who are in a position to serve his purpose because the man of the world from the fall, is a god to himself and in learning to love and believe in himself he excuses every sin, simply because that is the only way he can continue serving his own interest. The Man of God on the other hand is commanded to love his neighbour as himself, even if that neighbour is in no position to return the favour & so the man of God is called to help the destitute because of Jesus, whom the Man of God puts before himself, commands him to do so (Luke 14:13). A look at Mark 10:29 mentioned above shows you the extent to which we are to put Jesus first, that even if following after Jesus with the regenerated heart we are blessed with to keep His law, makes us fall out of our peers with whom we previously shared the likeminded pleasure for sin or if our family abandons us, so be it, because Jesus comes before ourselves. This is emphasised beautifully in the parable of the precious pearl mentioned above in Mat 13:45.

Acts 16
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Isaiah 28:16
16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
will never be stricken with panic.

Acts 4:11
11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected,

which has become the cornerstone.

If you are familiar with masonry, you will know that the cornerstone is what determines the entire architectural structure of a building because the entire structure is built in reference to it. Now the Bible says Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives and we to build our lives in reference to what is taught to us in scripture. Jesus is that precious cornerstone which was tested through the suffering that bore the chastisement for our sins. On this Jesus, those who rest their faith in Him are saved, as God blesses them with a new heart, on which is written His law that the believer may live a life of natural obedience in building his/her life in reference with God’s word given to us in the Bible. Like in James 4:13-15 it teaches us that if we are to undertake a certain task, we are to speak of it as if “the Lord so wills”, or if we are employed somewhere we are to work sincerely as though working for the Lord, that’s in Col 3:23. We also have to take care of our bodies because the Holy Spirit of Christ dwells in our bodies working His Salvation in our lives (Eph 2:8-10). We are taught not to look lustfully at women, so that we do not commit adultery in our hearts. We are also taught to honour the Redemption Sabbath and keep it holy & so we have a moral code that teaches us to put God first and love our neighbour as ourselves while the State is given the judicial law that those who transgress the Moral Law by committing murder, stealing or fornication are convicted in an attempt to hedge the Moral Law.

Luke 6
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

I would like to leave you with some advice for those times you feel dejected and rejected by the world. The solution is not loving and believing in yourself but instead loving and believing in the Triune God Almighty because as much as reading the manufacturer’s manual helps you understand your appliances, so too reading and mulling over what is written in the Bible will teach you more about yourself than you every knew or cared to realize. However, loving and believing in the Lord is something that is going to take you a long time because you need to acquaint yourself with scripture from cover to cover and understand that character and nature of God which will slowly rub off on you in time because the very work of Salvation is to restore that image/character of God that was broken for us all in the fall of Adam.

Do Jews, Christians & Muslims worship the same God?

I would like to begin this New Year 2019 by offering the first fruits of my labour to the Lord. I have heard many who are feeding on spiritual milk debating on whether the God the Jews, Christians & Muslims worship is the same. I have realized what I usually discuss on my blog is spiritual meat, which is difficult for those who are on spiritual milk to appraise. So, I would like to dedicated some of my time on this New Year’s Day to substantially answering this question with scripture.

Gen 1:26 (Old Testament – Creation Account)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Mat 28:19 (New Testament – Great Commission)
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,

I would like to start this piece by saying Christian, Muslims and Jews do not worship the same God, I say this essentially because only Christians believe that God is One in Three Persons i.e. God-the-Father, God-the-Son & God-the-Holy Spirit. Both Muslims & Jews deny the deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God incarnate who took human form in the womb of the virgin Mary to be that pure, perfect unblemished sacrifice for all sin. So, it is safe to assume that Jews & Muslims do not worship the same God as Christians do because they deny Jesus is God. It’s important to note that everything God does, He does to bring glory to Himself and the reason mankind is a relational/social being is because God is relational within Himself as the Father, Son & Spirit. These three Persons are distinct and are each equally omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent in One God head. Time is as old a creation as the earth itself and the Three Persons of the Godhead have existed eternally before time from the very beginning. Also, you must know that creation did not come into being because God was lonely but for His glory. Take a look at ourselves, we freely glorify His love, His wrath, His justice and His mercy. There is no escaping God (Ps 139:7-12). If you think the elect were made to keep a lonely God company in heaven, think again, because the elect have life from the life Jesus imparted to them & we are who are His elect are the true sons of Abraham, because the God – Jesus Christ who gave Abraham spiritual life, is the God who has regenerated His people, both Messianic Jews and Gentiles with His life giving spirit. You may ask how could Abraham be saved through faith in Jesus, when Jesus hadn’t died before Abraham’s time, to have faith in Him. Well, I would like to direct your attention to the sacrifice Abraham was commanded to offer by God, a sacrifice which the Angel of the Lord (Jesus – the Son of God) stopped and sovereignly moved Abraham to sacrifice a ram instead, which was symbolic of the substitutionary atonement of Christ for the sins of all God’s people including Abraham. If you want to know why I said that the Angel of the Lord was the Son of God, it’s because if you look at Gen 22:15-18 in the context of the John 1:1, 18, you will notice the Son of God has always been God-the-Father’s spokesperson and even assert His own will as God in the Old Testament as the Angle of the Lord (Gen 21:17-19) and in the New Testament as Jesus Christ (Jn 2:19). Another unique thing about Christianity is that, the brotherhood we share, is in sharing in the life-giving Spirit of Christ. You see, the Bible says life is in the blood and the Jews believe they are all blood descendants of Abraham through the promised son Isaac while the Muslims believe they are all blood descendants of Abraham through the promised son Ishmael. Now, for the 6.5 million Jews in the world, this claim is easy to digest but for the 1.8 billion Muslims all around the world today, that claim is absurd.

Gen 2:7
7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

John 20:21-22
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

2Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Romans 5:17
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

What differentiates mankind from the animals is the spiritual life God has given human beings. This spiritual life is the very nature of God, in which we are made. Notice in Genesis 2:7 that God breathed life into the nostrils of Adams. Then notice in John 20:21-22 that Jesus after His resurrection meets his disciples, breathes on them the Holy Spirit and restores to them the spiritual life that was lost in the fall of Adam. Then notice again in 2Timothy 3:16 how the Holy Spirit applies Salvation by taking what is of Christ and teaching us (John 16:14). These teaching of the Holy Spirit is given to us in scripture, it is the very life giving breath that God breathed into Adams nostrils, the only difference is this life cannot be lost, for our life is sustained by the very life force of God-the-Son, who conquered death – the very sting of death, by taking upon Himself the sins of the world, dying as a result of the wages of all sin & rising victoriously to life on the third day and He remain today as He has always been… seated at the right hand of God-the-Father, for He is the strong/mighty right arm of God, which not even death can thwart.

Psalm 2:12 (Jesus as Lord – Old Testament)
Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Mat 2:11 (Jesus as Lord – New Testament)
So, they entered the house; and when they saw the babe with His mother Mary, they prostrated themselves and did Him homage, and opening their treasure-chests offered gifts to Him–gold, frankincense, and myrrh

Psalm 44:3 (Jesus as Saviour – Old Testament)
For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favoured them.

1Cor 15:56-57 (Jesus as Saviour – New Testament)
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

To conclude, I would like you to look at the above verses, as it will help you holistically understand why unlike Judaism & Islam, Christianity reveres Jesus Christ as a Lord & Saviour. I would like to site that Jesus is God-the-Son incarnate who is both fully God and fully man. He is unique in the sense that He is the mediator God has appointed (1Timothy 2:5) and He is that worthy representative all of God’s people have chosen to represent them before God (Rev 5:11-12). Additionally, Jesus understands completely the Holiness of God being the Son of God Himself & so as Jesus Sovereignly brings us to mature in His likeness (Rom 8:29), we conform to the image/nature of God, in which we were made. As Man, Jesus understand our infirmities (Heb 4:15) as He pleads our case like a righteous advocate before God (1Jn 2:1), having paid the penalty of our sins on the cross. This is saving faith & this saving faith is not common with Muslims and Non-Messianic Jews for their faith is largely an expression of what they are doing for God while Christianity is largely an expression of the work of God in the believer, right from election, to justification through faith in Christ and regeneration.

Praying To/For Dead People.

Isaiah 8:19
When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Ecclesiastes 9
5 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.
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.

Growing up as a Roman Catholic, I am all to familiar with how they pray to dead saints and pray for souls who have departed from the midst. I have also even seen them offer mass for departed souls on Christmas Day. Roman Catholicism, claims to adhere to the Word of God & tradition but what if the tradition they adhere to is explicitly spoken against in the Bible? Well, from what I have learnt about most heresies like Roman Catholicism, is that they thrive simply because of the sloth and ignorance of God that is prevalent among the people (Hos 4:6). In a study conducted in the US, the number of Roman Catholics who had read the Bible from cover to cover stood somewhere between 5 to 6%. In Sept this year, the Biblically repugnant Pope Francis asked Roman Catholics all around the world to pray to Mary (the Mother of Jesus) to protect the Church from the Devil supposedly. When you look at the scripture provided you above, it is very clear that beyond the grave people are cut-off from this world and the only Person whom we can pray to is that One Mediator who Died and Rose Again i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man. He is the only Person who can hear your prayers, no other Saint or Angel has either the capacity or the authority to hear people’s prayers.

1Timothy 2
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

2Cor 11
14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

1John 3:10
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.

When we look at how Roman Catholic priests have been caught on pedophilia sex tapes and to top it all justify themselves saying that they didn’t know pedophilia was a crime while the Pope keeps silent, we understand that Roman Catholic priest have proven themselves to be the children of Satan because the dead saints they have been praying to all this while are actually demons in disguise. There is after all, good reason why the Bible refers to consulting the dead as an abomination as over consulting with the Lord (Isaiah 8:19). We must understand that there is no return for the souls beyond the grave but what is here on earth are those 1/3rd of the angels (now demons) who fell with Satan (Rev 12:4) and it is these demons who impersonate the dead and deceived people into praying to and for the dead.

Luke 20:38
Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.”

John 4:10
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

1 Jn 4:20
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

I few days ago, I came across this Roman Catholic Church sign that said “fight for the living & pray for the dead” & when I came to reflect on what it meant against the background of what the Bible taught, I thought to myself… man… what a bunch of hypocrites these people are knowingly or unknowingly. You see, growing up as a Roman Catholic I have always understood that people only sincerely pray for the dead because deep inside they believe God is incompetent in dealing with their souls & come to think of it we live in the world that honours and is concerned about people only after they die. Here are a couple of examples: Vincent Van Gogh, who cut off his ear for a prostitute; then you have Emily Dickinson, who had a veiled English sophistication in going about her disrespect for authority while never accepting the Bible as an inerrant guide to life. You also have James Dean, the Hollywood bad boy who died with only one movie released and two in production. When I look at these people who because famous only after they died just like Roman Catholic Saints who are canonized only after their death, I realize and see the sorrow of the world which breeds death (2Cor7:10), that while these people were alive they did not care for them but when they died they suddenly felt that strong need to transfer their guilt to God because they did sweet nothing for them when they were alive. The fact however remains that what marks the people’s unbelief when their neighbour is alive also marks their unbelief after their neighbour is dead and gone. I say this because scripture says that if a person says he/she loves God whom he/she cannot see but does not love his/her neighbour whom he/she can see then this person is a liar (1Jn 4:20). Then when a person dies, his friends and family erect a beautiful tombstone to ease their memory of the neglect that person suffered at their hands when he/she was alive, while they pray desperately to God because from their unbelief they are given to believe God is no better competent than they are themselves.

Deut 18
10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.

To concluded, I would only like to say that there is barely much difference between a Roman Catholic who prays to the dead saints or for the people who died and a necromancer to consults demons disguised as departed spirits to tickle the itchy ears of the unbelieving masses because as the Bible says where the corpses (unbelieving masses) are, there the vultures (heretic/apostate leaders) will gather.

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Genuine Vs Counterfeit – Pleasure, Pride & Power.

1John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

The above scripture shows you what exemplifies a great life in this sinful world… the lust of the flesh (that desire for wicked pleasure), the lust of the eyes (that thirst for corrupt power), the pride of life (selfish pride), which is nothing but the veil that blinds the unbeliever to the redeeming merit of the Lord Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospel (2Cor 4:3). The Bible teaches us that the believer must walk by faith and not by sight (2Cor 5:7) and in doing so, it qualifies saving faith as that sixth sense which overrides all our five senses because our flesh naturally from the fall of Adam, is wired to resist the good pleasure of God, but faith teaches us to say no to ourselves and say yes to God. In any case, when you take a look at the end result of our indulging in our own pleasure, when you have had all that you have wanted, whether it be: drunkenness, gluttony, drug addiction or nymphomania, when have had all of what pleases you personally, you are left feeling very squeamish if not diseased. The reason our pleasures handed to us from Adam are so morbid is because we are not God, we weren’t meant to serve our own interest. Instead we were made to serve the Lord and make his pleasure our own (Psalm 37:4).

John 12
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

Rom 5:17
17 For if by the one man’s (Adam’s) offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

When we look at the above two verses we realize how the free will of man traces its way after the sovereign will of God, like water flowing through a channel made in the mud by hand (Prov 21:1). Keeping this in mind, when we look at the above scripture we realize that the dying to ourselves, which must happen in the life of a believer, is not God calling you to commit social suicide but instead it is the saving power of the Jesus’ Spirit working in the believer (Phil 1:6), in the bringing the believer to repent and believe in God. When Jesus said He didn’t come to call the healthy but sinners (Mk 2:17), we realize that we cannot receive the righteousness of God unless we lose our terribly fraudulent self-righteousness & acknowledge we are nothing but sinners in turning to God. Take a look at the thirst for corrupt power, people will do anything to climb the corporate ladder, sleep with their bosses, bribe their way to get a promotion, bear false witness against their colleagues, then when you look at politics we know that in most socialist countries the best upgrade a gangster or religious baba/conman can get is to become a politician, the whole world practically goes about trying to gain the whole the world at the cost of losing their soul (Mk 8:36).

Gen 3
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

The above verse sights the Biblical account of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Notice how Satan baits the woman, he says you will be like God, in the sense you will have your own standard of what is right and what is wrong, separate from what God has set. Verse 6 of Genesis 3 is where the fall happens because the woman actually believes Satan and all the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life appears to take root in Adam & Eve here. In doing so the living faith that was in them perished but not just for them but for us all who are their progeny. Ever wondered Jesus was born of a virgin? It is so that he would have no part of Adam’s sin (Heb 4:15). It is no wonder that today people are more willing to listen to spirit mediums who communicate with demons impersonating the dead but these same people have the least interest in knowing what the good Lord says in the Bible, because it doesn’t quite whet their rebellious appetite, which is all thanks to fall of Adam.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

When you look at the above scripture, you might begin to realize that unlike man, the reason good comes from God pursuing His own purpose/interests, is because the truth is God and God, man is not God, and to go against this simple and yet critical truth/principle is to dangerously err but we do it everyday unknowingly, and the Bible in this context is quite right in saying: the fool says in his heart- there is no God (Psalm 14:1); because that is the kind of ungrateful lives we are living and then we wonder where’s the joy all gone and why the suicide rates are so high. Still, God in his mercy keeps us alive each day, blessing us with sunshine, rain and all the other pleasures of life, which we can never put a price on. Now take a look at our selfish pride, besides it flying in the face of the Almighty Triune God, you also come to realize that selfish-pride and self-respect are mutually exclusive, the things selfish pride will make an unbeliever stoop to, is something no self-respecting believer will have anything to do with. For any person who takes pride in being very smart/learned, strong or attractive will senselessly speak ill of the other in his attempt to sabotage people’s perception concerning how the other excels in that field, which that person himself self-relates with so proudly. You will also notice that people who speak with great haughtiness concerning themselves can actually do very little, even for themselves. It is as the Bible says that the truth in not in them.

Psalm 37:4 (Pleasure)
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (Pride)
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Romans 8 (Power)
15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Do you remember the parable of the pearl of great value in Mat 13:45-46, the Gospel is compared to this pearl of great value, where a merchant in realizing its value (1 Cor 2:14) relinquishes his self-righteousness in receiving Jesus Christ as His Lord/Master & Saviour? From Jesus we learn that a man cannot believe in the Gospel unless he repents (Jn 12:24-26), which is to say that he willingly and happily renounces his self-righteousness in receiving the righteousness of God. The scripture I have quoted above, tell us what exactly is the pleasure, pride and power a Christian is genuinely brought to yearn for. We must remember that we were made in the image in God (Gen 1:26) that was broken in Adam but restored in Christ (Rom 8:29), and so the pride, pleasure & power we ought to reflect must be all for the glory of the Triune God Almighty.

P.S. I DON’T SUPPORT #GayRight or #GayPride for the same reason I DON’T SUPPORT the Right to murder, or the Right to rape, or the fallen Pride murderers/rapists take in their capacity to sin. After all these are all sins deserving of death but our world is lost ever since the fall.

Shout out their Conviction from the Roof!

Mat 10
26 “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Have you ever heard that story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, it took a kid to tell the emperor he was parading naked! The people of this world vehemently despise those who are morally straight, it’s almost as though the righteousness of God which is revealed through the Spirit of Christ working in the believer, convicts the unbeliever of his sin and in that moment the unbeliever’s heart is either hardened (Rom 9:18) or his unbelieving heart is pierced with the weight of godly sorrow that brings him to repentance (2Cor 7:10-11). Today, Christianity for many namesake Christians is just a story but for those who really believe in the Lord Jesus, this religion is an original filled with substance. Take a look at Stephen (Acts 6:8 – 7:60), the first Christian martyr, when he was brought before the council, he spoke boldly of his faith in Jesus Christ before the pharisees and the apostate Jews, to the extent that their hearts were hardened and they took his life because God did not grant those poor fools the capacity to repent and be saved from their sins. Look at the average Christian witness today, does his life testify of the righteousness of Christ working in him, does it convict the unbeliever as Stephen did. No! To a great extent, unbelievers see namesake Christians living the same lives they are living but only believing in a different story and there is really no conviction in that. So, what is the point am driving? I am certainly not implying that the true Christian must be on a suicide mission. This is not Islam, where you can excuse yourself from the hardship of life by blowing yourself up in the midst of non-Muslims and fool yourself into thinking this is your straight ticket to heaven because that’s more like going from the frying pan into the fire.

Mark 1
14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

“Until Sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” Thomas Watson

If we are living by what is right in God’s sight then we are walking by faith and not by sight, knowing that the righteousness of Christ we are called to exercise in this world, will be met by hostility, but our lives and theirs, is in God’s hand and they shall be able to nothing to us, until and unless God decrees that we suffer martyrdom for His namesake. After all, if Christ could suffer and die at the hand of sinners what right do we have to consider ourselves as more privileged to lead a Godly life without paying a dear price, which even if it be we lose our lives, it is nothing compared to what Jesus endured. Think about this, God’s wrath was not satisfied when He destroyed all of mankind in the days of Noah but His wrath was satisfied when He poured out the wages of all sin upon His Son Jesus Christ, who suffered the humiliation of this world leading up to death on the cross and then 3 days in hell. Look at us, we have a rough week at work and an anxiety filled weekend and we start grumbling against God. What we are going through for the sake of Christ is nothing compared to what Jesus went through, He was born in the stable because there was no room in the inn, Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Him when He was a child, in the wilderness in His weak state (from His 40 days of fasting) he was tempted by Satan, during his ministry the pharisees in their inability to deal with their own guilt claimed He performed miracles by the power of the leader of demons, the foxes have their holes and birds have their nest but my Lord Jesus had no place to lie down, then His own disciple Judas betrayed Him and He was slandered, whipped, scourged and put to death on the cross among two thieves and then after He died He went to hell for three days. So, if the Captain of our Salvation could go through all this why should we surprised when affliction visits us as the means of perfecting our faith in Jesus Christ and proving our religion as genuine.

John 16 (Jesus Speaking About the Holy Spirit)
8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

The world garnishes their sinfulness with hypocrisy, it’s like the unbeliever sins against his neighbour in the full view and knowledge of his neighbour, so as to subdue & assert his godless authority over his neighbour, which is in keeping with the ungodly leadership this world resorts to, in controlling their environment through tyrannical/unholy fear (Mat 20:25). However, if you have the courage to confront them with what is clearly evident, they will be taken aback because somehow it seems they have no problem with sinning against God and their neighbour but tell them about it, and God will either harden their hearts to hate you or God will take away their hearts of stone and give them a heart of flesh to obey His Law (Ezek 11:19). So what God reveals to you in your quite reflection of scripture, it is good to hide in your heart & keep your peace (Ps 119:11), till you confront your neighbour in the light of that knowledge at an opportune time as guided by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:2). Remember, the world’s people are neither your standard nor your audience, whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord (Col 3:23-24). When God is your audience and standard, your hands and tongues will not be tied to speak out against the sinfulness that plagues the whole world, instead you will be shouting out their judgement from every rooftop for the Glory of God alone.

Yes, this is all possible when you are in Christ (Mark 3:27).

Not Just Recipients of Grace but Agents of Grace!

Rev 22:17
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

John 4:13-14
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The true believer is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, by whose sacrifice the anger of God against him/her as a sinner is quenched, while the rebellion in the sinner is doused, conforming the sinner to the image/nature/character of Almighty God in which he/she was made. In Christ, we are a new creation, that old Adamic nature withers away while a new nature (of Christ) germinates in us occupying more and more of us each passing day. We aren’t just called unto Christ for our salvation, we are also called to reflect Christ to those around us, which is why the second greatest commandment after loving God with all our strength is to love our neighbour as we love our selves. Take a look at the above verses, it helps you see that Christ is so influential in breathing life into the lives of His elect that we can’t help but continually seek Him and in doing so we become more and more Christlike each day.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Mat 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I have quoted another set of verses for you to help you see that Jesus rubs off on the believer. If there’s one thing I have noticed in a heresy or cult is that it thrives simply because of the people’s sloth in not genuinely seeking the Lord. In most cults like Roman Catholicism and the Charismatic Movement, only about 10% of them know their Bibles from cover to cover, and among those ten a good majority have neither the guts nor the gumption to question their pastors/priests on the cherry-picked Christianity they have been teaching and move out of there. Most of such congregations, are more concerned about themselves than seeking the Lord, so while in the world they remain Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers and Managers, their knowledge of the Lord is shoddy because they don’t know their Bible as well as they know their worldly studies, which goes to show they do not rely on the Lord for their sustenance. These people therefore remain within these cults/heresies as they don’t know any better and frankly speaking, they don’t really care because the reality with a majority of them including their priests & pastors is that these people are only doing what they are doing to serve themselves and not unto serving the Lord.

John 13:34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Mat 25:40
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The Bible says that life is in the blood, and blood is what makes family but as spiritual descendants of Abraham through the promised seed that is Christ (Gal 3:16), the family that is established in sharing of Jesus’ Holy Spirit is of much greater value than a family established by blood, for two reasons as I see it. One because, a family established by blood lies still in Adam where each member primarily serves himself from the fall, in the family of Christ however, every member learns to put Christ first & love their neighbours as themselves. Second because, the life that is in the blood is perishable but the life we have in the Spirit of Christ is immortal. Therefore as Christians in fellowship, we do more than just reflecting Christ to the world, we actually reflect Christ to each other, making His presence known to our brothers and sisters in Jesus (Jn 13:34) who can appreciate and digest that is spiritually appraised. As children restored to God through Jesus Christ we are called to be conduits of His blessing in the lives of our brothers/sisters.

Mat 5
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jude 1
22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

2 Cor 8
6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

I would like to conclude this post by citing the above verse in Mat 5:44, 45, 48 which shows us that we who have received the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, do so only to become bearers of grace to the elect and to the reprobate in the context of Jude 1:23 as unto serving the Lord & not in the context of sucking up to the world to serve our own sick interest, because the grace of God we exhibit unto others testifies of the salvation that God is working in us (Phil 1:3-6) while proving our love for the Lord to be genuine (2Cor 8:8). For as Rom 8:30 says those whom God predestined, He also justified and glorified but why would God do so… because He predestines us to conform with the Image/nature of His Son as explained in Roman 8:28, which takes us from being recipients of grace to being agents of grace, not by our own capacity surely but by the power of the Triune God Almighty who saves.

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